Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Last fall while 8 months pregnant, I got a call from a friend who works with Woody Allen's editors. They were looking for French accordion music for his latest film, Midnight In Paris, and knew my friend had an accordionist friend in So she put us in touch. When they asked me if I had any recorded music in this genre I promptly said "Totally. I have tons."


ME: Come home right now.
FB: Why? Is everything ok?
ME: Yeah yeah, the baby is fine. I just need you to lift my accordion onto me and set up my studio.
FB: Why?
FB: What? Woody Allen? How did that....
ME: I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR QUESTIONS! JUST. COME. HOME. Oh, and pick up some duct tape.

A few hours later teetering in a semi-reclined position with FB's help and some creativity duct taping a 50 lb. accordion onto me, I pulled myself together, went to my quiet place and said "YOU GOT THIS. YOU'RE GETTING IN THAT MOVIE. RIGHT NOW." To my unborn child I explained, "Look pal, I'm about to play accordion basically on your face soooo....I'm not sure if you'll like this or not but this is who I am and I gotta get this job and this is what trying harder means so you'll just have to sit tight in there and enjoy the new sounds....cause it's gonna be loud."

And with that, I spent the next weeks in a constant stream of hobbling in and out of my accordion, writing and sending songs, revising others, pitching new ones. Every time I played, the baby would kick like crazy inside, putting me in a constant state of burping. Play, kick, burp, play, kick, burp. In the end, Mr. Allen asked me to cover the French classic "Parlez Moi d'Amour". Three versions later, I got the email at piano and accordion version is in the final cut featured under the romantic scenes.

I stood up, one pregnant transplant New Yorker, went to my window, leaned out far enough to see the Eiffel Tower and just smiled and rubbed my belly. It seemed the perfect culmination of my time in Paris. Sometimes life makes a perfect sweet circle. Today I can say I am in the opening film at Cannes.
Score. :)

Friday, February 25, 2011


It's official.

Tomorrow we are moving out of central Paris. No more Eiffel tower and no more Louvre.

We are moving into the banlieue of Montreuil, just east of Paris. Moving out of a 6th floor walk up/tiny one bedroom apartment and into a house with room to throw concerts and parties in. Something feels momentous about moving out of the middle of the city and into the fringe. FB is on an overnight trip to get our things out of storage tonight and I'm sitting in the dark in a near empty apartment drinking a beer next to my two month old sleeping son and feeling sentimental. I took him on a walk today to say goodbye to an arrondissement he will never remember and I was filled with contradictory feelings. On one hand, I feel burned by this area. The lightning speed and intense colors of my life in New York has been replaced with the slow burn of an elusive Parisian candle. Friends have come and gone here and in my solitude I haven't yet found the equivalent of the fiery humor and tree trunk solid of my NY circle. I know it's here somewhere, hidden like the garden my window looks out onto, the garden where nobody has gone in the two and a half years I have been staring at it.

We walked today, my son strapped to my front looking at the world with fresh eyes and me having a big think. As we passed by the infamous taxi stand where two sets of people stole a cab from me while I was in labor in the middle of a snowstorm, I got enraged all over again and thought that most of all, I will not miss the lack of community in this area and the general frosty and negative attitude. BUT....I WILL miss walking a block to the Seine river, the beauty of my surroundings, my boucher and cheeseman but most of all, my dearly beloved and worshipped Eric Kayser bakery, also known as the best bakery in the entire universe and beyond. It's currently donut season there so I ate 12 of them yesterday in honor of my departure....

Au revoir little apartment in the sky on the left bank.
You were kind to me and a lot of music came out of these walls.
As I move onto my next Parisian adventure, I will always remember my time here with a smile...

Saturday, December 18, 2010


From moment one, I wanted a natural birth. No drugs, no interventions, no doctors and NO HOSPITAL. A full on tree hugging, green, fuzzy, give birth in the woods while unicorns unite in a birthing circle of wondrous rainbows gleaming from all the creatures of the earth culminating in a beam of light spiritual experience I could hold in my heart of hearts forever. Over the summer, I mentioned to FB a story I read where a woman leaned on a walking stick throughout her birth. It made me think of wizards and lasers. FB immediately went on a vision quest into the Burgundy woods, found a sapling tree, cut it down and hand carved me my very own 7 foot long birthing stick, varnished and everything. It was beautiful and I was Gandolf. I practiced spinning it on the lawn while chanting...."BRING FORTH THE SPAAAAAAAAAAWN!" (insert lightning bolts)

And thus I sailed through the second trimester, feeling like a million wizard bucks until around the 7th month of pregnancy when I began to feel severe pelvic pain if I moved. As in, moved at ALL. My midwife and the sonogram confirmed that my baby was, in fact, a rather LARGE one and was currently in a posterior position (head down but turned around the wrong way) and therefore pressing on my pelvis. Whatever, I thought. I'm American with German and Dutch roots and I have size 11 feet and I am POWERFUL. None of the men in my family dip below the 6 foot tall mark and besides, I am NINJA. And a WIZARD. I am a NINJA WIZARD. And if anyone could turn this baby around, I COULD. Duh. Talk began of "he might be a 10 pounder" and even though I began to have serious issues making it up and down the 104 steps to our apartment nor could I walk more than a block without searing pain in my groin, or even turn over in bed without crying out....undeterred I marched on, knowing in my heart that I could, in fact, get this big baby out naturally.
No one could tell me any different.
No one.

I spent months reading copious amounts of natural birthing books, doing yoga and practicing deep breathing. I bought the Hypnobirth CD series and taught myself to self hypnotize every day...I followed Ina May Gaskin's guides to the letter, got into my spiritual place early on, talked to my baby every day about what a magical birth he and I would take on together in a field of wild poppy dreams of greatness. After watching The Business Of Being Born, I decided I wanted to home birth but was finally deterred by the fact that we live in a tiny 7th floor walk up with no room for a yoga mat to be spread out, much less a birthing pool and a midwife and some unicorns. In the end, I found a birthing center in Paris with a pro-natural team of midwives and OB/GYNS (WAY harder than I thought it would be to find) and decided that was about as close to the woods I was going to get. C'est la vie. So even though I would end up giving birth in the hospital/clinic they worked out of, at least I trusted the process would still be drug and intervention free. I would just bring my birthing stick and my cape to the hospital, exclaim "PREPARE THE ROOOOOOM!" (insert more lightning bolts) close my eyes and go to the Inner Earth place in my mind. To top it all off, a few weeks before giving birth, I was sent this birth video of a theatrical natural birth complete white curtains and candlelight, ancient songs, poetry in multiple languages and a couple of cats hanging out in the foreground. RIGHTEOUS! I added candles to my hospital bag and wondered where I could rent some cats.

My fairytale birth was WELL on its way.

Then December 7th came.
For most of the pregnancy, I had been obsessed with this date, I knew something would happen on the 7th. In the week leading up to it I started to have practice contractions and felt a sense of excitement looming in the near distance. I vigorously cleaned the apartment over and over, I cooked enough vegetable curry to feed an army and spent hours rolling back and forth on my newly purchased birthing ball telling the baby to turn his fat butt over while watching shitty American TV shows and ignoring the fact I could barely move from the pelvic pain. He was near......and so, as my eyes popped open on the 7th, I knew immediately that I was in early labor. The contractions were still mild enough to do housework throughout but I sensed a pattern starting. I skyped with NY friends and family all day and each time a contraction came, I laughed through it with a giddy feeling of FINALLY this show was on the road. FB and I watched movies all night and as the contractions got stronger throughout the night, I tried to get some sleep as I knew it would be tomorrow. He's coming tomorrow. BRING FORTH THE SPAAAAAAAAAWN!! (CHOOCHOO! lightning bolts)

December 8th
After a rather sleepless night, I woke up in the middle of a painful contraction that wrapped around my back like a vice. Whoa. Um.....THAT was uh....intense. I tried to sit up in bed but the pain was too enormous and for the first time, I got scared. What happened to those nice funny little contractions of yesterday that made me laugh and dream of rainbows and ponies? Oh no....did I get this all wrong? Do I have no idea what is in store for me? WHERE ARE THE RAINBOWS???!!!! WHERE ARE THE FRICKIN' PONIIIIIIIES?!!!!!!! Okokokokokokokokokokok....I calmed myself down and decided to settle in for what would be a very. long. day.

For these purposes I had made three birthing music mixes:

I switched back and forth between these three mixes all day while trying to go into myself and become some semblance of Zen. But it was getting harder and harder. Despite my efforts over the weeks, the baby had refused to turn and I was now in full back labor which can best be described as this...think of the spot at the bottom of your spine where all those sensitive nerve endings meet up. Now think of it like a giant gong with a bullseye in the center that a vindictive ogre with a sledge hammer hits as hard as he can every 30 minutes, then 20, then 10, then 5, then 4 etc. Then imagine the pain radiating around your entire body like a giant wave each time that brings you literally to your knees and takes your breath away. Stand up. Repeat. Nerves. Vindictive ogre. Sledgehammer. Knees. And on and on and on....on a hot tip from my massage therapist friend, FB started applying counter-pressure on my sacrum during each contraction and for a while it all seemed doable.....especially when the aforementioned scientist husband graphed a contraction chart in real time while carefully timing out each one...I seriously love this man, WHO DOES THIS???!

But then the snow came.
First a dusting, then heavier and heavier until the afternoon where it became clear it was not stopping anytime soon and this was, in fact, a full on snowstorm (I found out later this was the first one of this magnitude in Paris in 25 years). When they shut down the buses and the trains at rush hour, I knew we were in trouble as our clinic was across town. Paris is not like NY where you can get a car service or taxi any day, any time, any weather. Paris is Paris. She shuts down at the first sign of trouble and leaves you to hang on your own. As I had been previously warned about NOT calling an ambulance service or the fire department should I be in labor due to 45 minute paperwork processes, untrained drivers, unnecessary episiotomies and the biggest fact that they would only bring you to nearest hospital, not the one I was registered at across town....we thought if we waited until after rush hour we might have a better chance at getting a taxi. At 10:00PM I could take no more. My midwife awaited our arrival at the center and FB began the taxi cab calls.
His face said it all after the first call.
Not one company picked up the phone.
My list of carefully put together numbers yielded 0.
Think about the unicorns, the ponies and the rainbows.
What would a ninja wizard do?

We decided to just grab the delivery room bag and get out of the apartment, make our way to the main boulevard and try and find a cab there. I knew if I was moving, I could ward off the labor. I put my mind in "TRY HARDER" mode, shut down my labor as best I could, got my coat and shoes on and headed out into the snow. For me, this was actually the easiest part of the night, trudging through the ice and snow 1/2 mile up to the taxi stand in St. Germain des Prés. I had to stop a few times to go through a contraction but the icy air felt good on my face and at least we were MOVING towards the hospital. Everything was doable again. Until.....

As we got to the taxi stand, my heart lifted a bit as there were people waiting. FB explained that I was in labor and could I please have the next cab. No one said yes or no, they just ignored us. Thanks friendly people of the 6th arrondissement! (insert massive eye roll) After waiting a few minutes, I spied a cab letting people out across the street outside the famous Café de Flore and told FB to run for it. I ran across the street after him holding my giant belly yelling (in French) "I'M IN LABOR, I'M IN LABOR!! PLEASE GIVE ME THAT CAB!!" I arrived just in time to have two young men cut in front of me, get in the cab, slam the door shut and give me the "too bad for you" shrug as the cab sped off.
I could not believe what had just happened.
I stood there stunned for a second but then survival mode kicked back in.
I get it.
People SUCK here.
We moved a bit down the street towards the metro and started discussing whether I could make the 45 minute trip with a change of stations as I spied another cab coming up the small side street next to the café. It was free.
"RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN!!!!!!!!!" I shouted to FB who took off after it.
I sprinted waddled after him and my eyes widened in horror as I saw three women in their 50s who had been waiting at the taxi stand across the street ALSO sprinting for it. These women KNEW I was in labor and they SAW me running for it and STILL, they went for it anyway. They beat us to the cab and got in. At that point, something in me snapped. Something primal and bigger than myself. That cab was MINE and those bitches were going to GET THE HELL OUT OF IT. NOW. I can safely say this is the first act of maternal love I acted on, where NOTHING in the world could have stopped me from getting my baby safely to the hospital. IN. THAT. TAXI. As I approached the cab, I threw myself on the back door and started pounding, screaming and crying as loud as I could (in French) "I AM IN LABOR! I NEED THIS CAB!! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?? WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE ARE YOU???!!! REALLY???? REALLY??!!! YOU ARE SAYING NOOO??? I AM IN LABOR!!! I AM A PREGNANT WOMAN IN LABOOOOR!!!!!" It was Oscar worthy and it caused the kind of public scene and humiliation I had hoped for. The women finally BEGRUDGINGLY opened the door and proceeded to argue with us saying "Just call the firemen!! Why should WE get out of the cab?? It's not what taxis are FOR!", etc. etc. As if THIS weren't enough, we then had to talk the taxi cab driver into TAKING us to the hospital as she started arguing that she didn't want problems, didn't want me to give birth in the back of her cab, etc. After FB pleaded with her and she was satisfied I wouldn't "cause any problems", we were allowed in and FINALLY took off for the hospital.

(I will take a small pause outside of my usual KFD banter here....honestly, I can't find anything funny or witty to say about this incident because two weeks later it STILL angers me to the core and brings me to near tears to think about that night as I cannot imagine ANY situation whatsoever that I would NOT let a woman in labor take a taxi at night during a snowstorm....none. The fact that I found TWO sets of people within minutes of each other who had no problems doing this makes it really hard for me not to question the quality of people in this area or make huge generalizations about Parisians. I will try and do neither but suffice it to say, we are moving to Montreuil in February and no one could be happier to say au revoir to tourist central Paris than me). OK back to it....

Upon arrival, the baby's heart rate was checked, all was good. Then I was checked. Fully effaced but only 1.5 cm dilated and baby is still posterior. My heart sunk a bit but I convinced myself that it was because of the taxi fiasco and I must have managed to shut my labor down completely. So, we were left to continue laboring and I focused on opening up. I was safe now, no more traveling and I could really go into myself and make it happen. The contractions started back up heavy and though we were both exhausted and I had not really eaten all day, we continued the cycle of Nerves. Sledghammer. Counterpressure. Knees. Repeat....

3 1/2 cm dilated. YES! Progress. But baby is not turning. At this point, my midwife gives me the best advice so far. "The pain is bigger than you. You are fighting it through each contraction, try and let go into it." And so I changed my mindset. FB laid on the floor and took a nap and I laid on the bed and let myself go into the pain. These few hours I will never forget...truly transcending pain, it was as if I was floating above myself and the more I let go, the deeper the experience became, my only thoughts were holding hands with my baby and walking him into this world safely. It felt as though I had spent just a few minutes but also an eternity in this state when I finally looked up at the clock.

3 1/2 cm dilated. OMG. NO. Labor was stalling out and the baby was not only posterior but his head was not tucked to his chin but was instead straight so each contraction, his head was being pushed into my pelvic bone instead of my cervix. My heart sunk and I knew I was losing steam. I had been in unmedicated back labor since the previous day and I could not take much more of it. My midwife and I discuss the possible next step of an epidural and an oxytocin drip to make the contractions stronger in the hopes that it might make the baby turn. At the very suggestion of these medical processes, I felt nothing but doom and gloom and a sense of total could all my ponies and unicorns abandon me? I was a ninja wizard with no staff and no nunchucks and suddenly I felt very, very small. The pain of the next contraction plowed into me and I cried for the first time. My midwife was amazing at this point, talking me through it and then giving FB and I time to discuss our next steps and come to terms with it. We decided I would take the epidural as by numbing the pain a bit, it might give me more steam to keep laboring. Shivering and trying to stay calm, I got the epidural injection and the oxytocin drip. I knew the next step was the dreaded C section but I focused all my thoughts on the last chance of turning him around and making his head tuck. Pleeeeease baby, turn, pleeeeease. I will buy you twenty ponies if you do....

4 cm dilated and I am totally out of steam. The word "Ceasarean" is mentioned for the first time and I feel knives go into my soul. I did NO research whatsoever on C sections because I was THAT SURE I was NOT going to have one. I am deathly afraid of the knife and the thought of being awake during a surgery is enough to send my soul into a blood curdling scream. Tired, hungry, sick from the meds and distraught, I agreed to a C section and my OB/GYN began the preparations. The only thing that made me feel better was seeing FB in scrubs and calling him Dr. Boulé.

The surgery room. It feels about 0 degrees in here and I am naked and on the verge of a panic attack as they strap me to the table. My French is gone, looooong gone. While a dozen people hover around me speaking in tongues as far as I am concerned, I focus myself on not barfing in my own mouth or screaming...small victories with every passing moment. WHERE IS FB??? And why is this male nurse talking to me when I clearly have no idea what he is saying??? I make a mental note that I really DO NOT EVER want to be abducted by aliens because this is what it must feel like and frankly, I can't think of another situation that blows more, not even my 8th grade prom. FB arrives as they put up the paper curtain that hangs in my face so I can't see what they are about to do to me. He tries to make me feel better by telling me we are about to meet our son but I can't get my mind out of alien abductions. As the doctor feels around my abdomen, I realize...I CAN FEEL HIS HANDS. In my panic, I feebly, I can feel that but hardly any sound comes out. He is feeling around more and it suddenly dawns on me.....I just walked off the anesthesia. When in a full panic, I have no doubt I could walk off horse tranquilizers and before I can say any more, I feel a sharp, searing pain in my belly that sends me jerking from the table as my voice regains itself in full force..."I CAN FUCKING FEEEEEEL THAT!!!!!!!OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!" and I let the full panic in. Suddenly, there is a mask on my face and I am being told to breathe deeply. I stare in horror into FB's eyes and breathe in and out and in and out.......alien abduction, alien abduction.....

I wake up. I see a few hospital staff wheeling in a small boy of 4 years old or so who is moaning in pain and no one I know in sight. My head is killing me and my abdomen is on fire. Where am I? Where is FB? Wait, WHERE IS MY BABY????? I try and get up to no avail and am told by a male nurse something in French but I can't understand...where is my baby??? I say over and over....they say something and leave me alone and I feel I am going to die...did something go terribly wrong?? What happened?
This is my official hell.
A nurse comes in to tell me that my midwife is on her way to me and that everything is fine. They wheel me down the hall, I am crying an ocean of tears the whole way until at last, I see FB and he is holding a crying baby.
OUR crying baby.
Zed Emile Boulé has made his way to us at last.
I see him for the first time and suddenly, nothing else matters to me in the world.
My son is here.
On my belly.
And he wants to eat.
I cry with FB.
I cry with Zed.
I just cry and cry and cry and cry until I laugh and hold him close to me and promise to always take care of him and feed him cheeseburgers.

I didn't get the natural birth I wanted. Not even close. I got a dubbed version of Rosemary's Baby with no subtitles. But I got Zed and he's a fat, happy healthy baby with blue eyes and a smile that slays me. And for that, I'd do it all over again a million trillion zillion times.
Because in the end, I AM a ninja wizard.
Welcome to the world, Zed.
We're gonna have fun.
That's a promise.

Monday, November 15, 2010


As my 40 week due date looms right in front of me, this weekend I decided to finally get my hospital bag together, or as I call it, the "GOOOOOOOO!!!!!GET OUT NOOOOOOW!!!! LOCK AND LOOOOOOAD!!!!!" bag. For someone who tends to pack 30 minutes before a month long trip, I thought it would probably be in my best interest this time to not just wing it as forgetting toothpaste is probably slightly less of a hassle than forgetting clothes for your new human being or like, a car seat or whatever other lifesaving item I am supposed to know all about but will surely not bring. Is there really already so much to REMEMBER?

But this what I excel at.
Number one.....uh......BAG. I realized that the first thing I needed to buy for my hospital bag is an actual bag as my current options are a ratty backpack given free to FB at a science conference, my NY Knicks duffle bag that I stole from a friend in 2003 that has wiped the floor of practically every bar in New York and Paris as it has been used as my music gig gear bag (complete with gum stuck to the inside and a broken zipper), some heavy duty trash bags, or a giant four wheel suitcase with a broken wheel. Okaaaaay. I was comfortable moving across town via the metro with most of my belongings in trash bags and I have often hauled my accordion to across town gigs strapped to my back with a giant trash bag covering it like some sort of cape of yesteryear meets the homeless look.....but this time, I dunno, maybe I should present myself as a little more "professional" or something considering I will be taking a human being home with me.
"Yeah yeah, just put him the bag, he's fine there, RIGHT SON?"

So after purchasing a super cute bright purple wheely bag, I happily dropped a couple diapers in it, a blanket, one baby outfit and a shirt for myself, zipped it and called it a day.
That was easy.

Until my appointment this week. The hospital and my midwife gave me a printed out list of items to bring in TWO separate required bags (one for delivery room and one for the hospital stay). Huh? Uh......scanning the 40+ items on the list, I understood about three of them. What's a gilet? Coquilles recueil-lait? And what the hell is a gigoteuse? And why do I have to bring my own sheets? Wait, what IS this???

I enlisted the help of FB that evening to translate. I stood by the ever growing pile of "the baby crap" reading off the list, ready to pluck each item from the stack and throw it into the bag while FB put his "let's get serious" look on.

ME: OK, what's a velour pour l'hiver?
FB: A velour pour l'hiver.
ME: Yes. What is it?
FB: You know, a velour pour l'hiver. (FB's most useless learning tool for me...I ask what something means in French, he repeats it back in French. Thanks. So helpful.)
FB: know, that theeng you wear in winter.
ME: OK, is it a sweater? A shirt? A jacket? A coat?
FB: Yes.
ME: WHICH ONE?? I just said four things! A SWEATER COAT?
FB: Oui, oui, like that theeng...
ME: OK, I could be googling this WAY faster than you are helping me right now...
FB: OK! Sweater! Yes, it's a sweater. Jeez!

Item after item went on in this fashion, until we got to the brain teaser of them ALL....THE BODY.

ME: OK (scanning list)....what do they mean by "1 body"? I'm assuming it's not a corpse they are talking about and they probably don't mean "bring yourself" or "bring the body of the baby to be delivered".....
FB: Oh! Non non non, it's that theeng...
ME: Yeah ok, we've been down this THEENG road 23 times already....what makes this THEENG different from the OTHER 23 THEENGS?
FB: AAAAAAGH! Dana! It's that TIGHT theeng.
ME: Alright, I could go down about 400 inappropriate roads with that explanation....
FB: Non non! (he grabs his computer and does a quick search) It's THIS but not like this exactly! It's a body!

He passes me his computer with the following photo attached:

ME: Are you fucking kidding me?
FB: Non, non, but's that tight theeng....
ME: A sexy swimsuit. You are ACTUALLY saying that the hospital wants me to make ABSOLUTELY certain that I bring my sexy swimsuit to BIRTH MY CHILD IN. Do I need hooker heels too????
FB: NON!!! It's that THEEEENG...(he shakes his hands with frustration)
ME: Ohhhhhhhhh wait, do you mean a BODYSUIT?
FB: (with great relief) YES! YES! THAT'S IT! A BODYSUIT!
ME: (pause) Ok, well...that is actually EQUALLY as ridiculous as the sexy swimsuit. WHY would I need to bring a bodysuit to give BIRTH in?? I actually can't think of another type of clothing I would rather NOT try and give birth in...where is the baby supposed to go? Am I supposed to squeeze it into the bodysuit like some horrible modern dance gone awry? And more importantly, do I need to bring Jazz shoes?
FB: Non! You know, like maybe if you want to cover up something or something...
ME: What??? For like, modesty purposes? I'm GIVING BIRTH! Do I need a sheet with a hole in it too? OK, they can't POSSIBLY mean that....forget it....ok, moving on. Last item for the delivery room...what's a brumisateur d'eau?
FB: Oh! It's that theeng that puts water into the air.
ME: A humidifier?
ME: They want me to bring an actual HUMIDIFIER? Like, the machine??
FB: Yes!
ME: And that is supposed to fit in my bag? OK, do I need to bring a heating unit too? And some nurses uniforms? And lunch for 6? And a doctor? And some walls? And...
FB: I don't know why they put that but yes, it means a humidifier.
ME: Dude, you are worse than I am at this and it's your native language.
FB: Yeah well, whatever. How am I supposed to know what all this is either?? And it DOES mean humidifier. Hmpf.

I consulted FB's mother the next day who gave me all the answers I needed including the two major revelations that a BODY is actually a baby ONESIE, NOT a sexy swimsuit. And a brumisateur d'eau is the little water spritzer bottle you buy to spray on your face when you get overheated, NOT an actual humidifier machine.

Ahhhhh, the theengs you learn together along the way.....come on little rocker, we're waiting for you now in our sexy swimsuits.....and yes, I'm using the NY Knicks bag for the delivery room, gum and all. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Sometimes I understand French. Other times I don't get anything at all. As of late, I have noticed it depends on my mood, level of interest in the subject being discussed, my level of interest in the person talking, quality of the "sell" (if you use lots of wild hand gestures, I am more apt to be interested in what you are saying). It can also depend a lot on the weather, if I've eaten or not, whether I feel you will take too long to get to the point, or if my pants are too tight.

Having gotten knocked up by a French boy in a French land with a French medical system, I have found myself in a whole new blur of incomprehension for the past nine months. Medical terms, insurance terms, procedure names, long windy explanations of red tape to get through the system.....multiple visits to the hospital to be explained why something is not right with my card followed by phone calls to FB to talk to the secretary while I stand there as she explains it to him over the phone and I look around the office with a glazed over blank stare like a mute foreign trophy wife with a 9 month pregnant gut of goodness pouring over my pants while I think again for the millionth time "I used to be somebody."

But not understanding is sometimes a gift in disguise. At three months pregnant, I had to get a root canal redone and a crown put on one of my teeth. I dropped my New York transplant dentist because he brought with him New York prices and instead I opted for a Parisian dentist recommendation from FB's dentist in the village he grew up in. After making an appointment with her, I asked FB where his dentist knew this woman from and he said "I think he met her once about 20 years ago or something at a dental conference and now they are Facebook friends."
Sooooooo....I am now making my healthcare decisions based on a village dentist's Facebook friend who he may or may not have banged at a dental conference sometime in the late 80s. Great. Seems one step short of the yellow pages but whatever. I'm so used to rolling with random punches here, I may as well give her a try.

I went to see her for the first appointment, told her I was pregnant and spaced out for the next five minutes as she explained a bunch of terms I never heard of while I answered in my usual pretend I know voice "ah oui, ah oui, ah oui". I've always been a less talk/more walk type of girl so I happily ended the conversation with not one question and after some xrays....PLOP...into the chair I went, expecting the usual shot of Novocaine. It never came. As the minutes ticked by and the drill came out and into my tooth with the sounds of metal sheering off metal, I realized that maybe there was something in those five minutes of jumbled words that might have explained why she was now drilling into the side of my head without any sign of using a numbing agent on my now screeching gums. I spent the next 45 minutes with a drill in my face, debating in my head whether this woman (whom I now call Dr. Torture) was actually doing a root canal with no anesthesia, or if maybe she DID give me a shot and I just didn't see it. Then I ran through the Little Shop Of Horrors soundtrack in my head. I had to remain as calm as possible as to not upset the other human being I am growing so I did what I always do in times of extreme stress.
Pretend I am Bruce Lee and just get on with it.

Having made it through the first session alive, I went back to Dr. Torture two more times, never once asking for any explanation beforehand of what would be done that day. I know it sounds crazy but I actually prefer to not know too much about anything I do beforehand. Like my dream date would be if FB said "we're going for a ride today!" then I found myself being pushed out of a plane skydiving. THAT sounds fun.

I'm applying this train of thought to the last stage of the birthing process now as in just a few short weeks, I am apparently pushing a human being out of me. I read all the books I was supposed to read, I overgoogled everything you could dream of, I heard from way too many people about their experiences. So now....I'm shutting it all out of my head because in the end, it's just a giant root canal in my vagina. I don't need Novocaine, just the floor, my baby and me.
And a margarita afterwards. ;)

Monday, October 11, 2010


This is the bag of a total moron who doesn't know how to travel safely with belongings in a city.

The open bag is mine.
And the total moron is me.
I have carried it since I moved here nearly three years ago......until I got pick-pocketed last week in the St. Germain des Prés metro stop.

I never EVER thought that would happen to me in Paris what with me being so ninja and everything. I am hyper aware of my surroundings at all times, I mistrust everyone and I am fast on the street....WAY a CAT....a CHEETAH. Yeah, whatever, so I carry a canvas bag with no zipper. So what? I clutch it to my chest on the metro while giving everyone around me the hairy eyeballs. And besides, it says BROOKLYN on it which duh...screams YOU ARE SO F'IN STREET and should scare off any potential hoodlums and hooligans, right?

Maybe the lightning method works for hyperactive people who run through their life as if being chased by wild dogs which has safely spared me from pickpockets for the past 20 years of my existence in urban living. But then I got knocked up and everything changed. Everything. I went from cheetah to goldfish in 8 months. Two months ago I had to trade in my beloved 8 pairs of Converse for the only shoes I own with actual support in them which happen to be white ugly Mom jogging shoes. And yes, I wear them with dresses because frankly, I don't give a shit anymore and my back hurts. My once cheetah pace has slowed to a near crawl and my mind is perpetually absent or is thinking about way more important things like cheeseburgers and Pad Thai. I'm the perfect bait for any shark. A pregnant, slow, dopey goldfish with a giant, open bag. I may as well wear a sign that says HELLO. STEAL EVERYTHING I OWN BECAUSE UNLESS YOU ARE SHAPED LIKE A CHOCOLATE DONUT I WON'T NOTICE AND EVEN IF I DID I CAN'T RUN AFTER YOU ANYWAY.

The scene of the crime just fits so PERECTLY. I knew when I moved into this area, aka tourist CENTRAL, that I should watch my step because where there are large amounts of prey....there are also large amounts of predators......sigh....oh hindsight.....

I moseyed my way down to one of the ticket machines and bought a carnet of tickets using my bank card. I never think to cover my hand as I type in my code which is pretty stupid because the way the machines are set up, it's really easy to read someone's code as they type it in (I know this now because I have spent the last week reading other people's codes as they type them in). As I waited for the tickets to print, I took my bank card and put it in my open change purse in my open bag. I grabbed the tickets after they printed and as I walked down the steps, I reached in my open bag to put them in my open purse which.....quelle surprise!...had been dumped over and the contents were spread across the bottom of the bag. Interrupting my thoughts of Korean BBQ, I decided I must have accidentally spilled I put everything back in and went along on my day.

It wasn't until that night at the grocery store with a cart full of Haribo, cheddar cheese and green bell peppers (weirdest pregnancy craving to date...I eat them like apples) and no way to pay for it that I realized my bank card was gone. Disappeared. Bye bye. And even THEN, I thought I must have just lost it until I looked at my bank statement the following day which informed me that I was now 600 euro lighter. I didn't even have 600 euro in my bank account to begin with. Thanks a lot, overdraft system. That was REALLY HELPFUL TO ME. I thought I left the whole "criminals stealing money borrowed on YOUR CREDIT" thing behind me......guess not.

To get reimbursed by the bank, I had to make a formal declaration at the police station. One hour later after an Oscar worthy performance dramatically recounting a detailed description of what happened in my shit French to the police officer "I descended the do we stairs....and OH LO LO....I bag it is not good, it is like this (miming upside down).....but I didn't think then that there is baaad.....I went to the grocery in the night and I have no money for candy and then I think OH LO LO, someone....someone in the day takes my things."

Hey, I'm progressing.
Signed, sealed, delivered.

8 more weeks left and I can begin my return to cheetahland (not to be confused with cheetOland).
Until then, this goldfish in white jogging shoes needs to get her mind off the donuts and back in the game.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Today was one of those perfect Parisian September days and as I have been stuck indoors for the most part since April either sick and knocked up or sick, knocked up and recording an album, I set out on a wander to remind myself that yes, there is still life outside your apartment......

Ohhhhh Paris....sitting in the park pondering your pretty face, I lose the disgust I have had for you these past few weeks that you are an unfriendly and unloving city. I'm just cranky because my best friend just moved away and I'm too knocked up to run fast right now or hit stuff or have dance parties and margaritas. But sometimes you DO make me feel a bit like THIS....

I wandered around and got caught behind a pack of 17 year old French boys. All smoking. All snickering. All cocky. All wearing the exact same jeans. And all under 5'7. This is my future, I realized, as I am going to have a French boy as a son in two months. Wait, how did THAT happen? Is he gonna smoke and complain about everything in a thick French accent? Maybe by then, I'll actually understand the language..... favorite English school has a new affront to my senses up in the metro..."A new language! A new job!" As what? A serial killer whose signature is to lick the flag onto his victims? Seriously. Couldn't they have found a model who doesn't have bloodshot wandering dead eyes?

And last but not least, the award of the day for most unfortunate clothing store name goes to.....Teenflo, who, by the way, sell business casual, not maxipads and zit cream.