The Doctor Is A Woman!

The other day I shared a link on the blog’s Facebook page to an article I found interesting.  It discusses how your language changes how your think. It mentioned in the article that English leaves more room for ambiguity than some of the other widely-spoken languages in the world.  I was thinking of this later and remembered the e-mail chain riddle that went around [numerous] times a few years back.

A father and son have a car accident and are both badly hurt. They are both taken to separate hospitals. When the boy is taken in for an operation, the doctor says ‘I can not do the surgery because this is my son’. How is this possible?

The answer being that the surgeon/doctor is a woman. I don’t bring this riddle up to shame you for not being pro-woman (although, really, come on already…jk, jk), but to point out that this riddle makes the point for gendered nouns. For example, any of you that speak or have studied Spanish, French, or Portuguese know that gender is specified for every noun.

For example:

  • My [woman] neighbor is American: Ma voisine est américaine.
  • My [man] neighbor is American: Mon voisin est américain.

If you speak clearly, no one has to ask if your neighbor is a man or a woman. Though it drives me crazy sometimes (and can cause oober confusion when I mess up), gendered nouns are actually quite a time-saver.

But now, I must point out that this riddle maybe wouldn’t work in Quebec either, but might in France, because according to the very academic “French for Dummies” site:

  • “…According to the Académie française, which regulates the “purity” of the French language, some nouns that refer to people, such as un médecin (doctor) and une victime (victim), retain their gender regardless of who they are applied to. Although this is the official stance in France, other French-speaking countries such as Canada have both masculine and feminine forms for most of these nouns….”


Why French Women Swoon for Bradley Cooper {One movie, several names}

Bradley Cooper, lead actor of Silver Linings Playbook, of course, is fluent in French. Take that Daniel Day-Lewis (Oh, Daniel, I didn’t mean it, I still think you’re the method actor of our day…I am even thankful that I had to review The Ballad of Jack and Rose when the movie was challenged at the library I worked at…but you don’t speak French).

With all that said, to be honest, I have no idea if being fluent in French makes French women swoon…they obviously know a lot of French speakers already, so maybe it’s not that impressive to them. But I do think that being fluent in French will help you with the ladies who are learning it.

You can listen to snippets of Bradley Cooper speaking French at the LeMonde link here. Luckily for my developing comprehension skills, the vocabulary used is relatively basic and he speaks clearly. Even if you don’t have a listen, you quickly notice talk of the film La thérapie du Bonheur. If you know a bit of French, and even if you don’t, you can quickly realize that the title wasn’t translated directly. La thérapie du Bonheur means Happiness Therapy, which is actually how it appears on the movie posters in France.

happiness therapy

In Quebec, though, due to Bill 101, there’s no Happiness therapy poster to be found.  Instead, I bring to you  Le Bon Côté des Choses, or The Good Side of Things. You know, looking on the bright side to find that silver lining.


Denise, I thought you might find these posters to be interesting.

Have any of you actually seen the movie yet?  In any language? I plan to, but am waiting for the rental/Netflix version…


The saga continues….

Yes, last week, Quebec set a record for the amount of energy used in one day.  See the article in English. For a challenge, read it in French.

We fell into the category of “Quebecers” coping with a burst pipe. The burst pipe caused some flooding, which took out the heating for the entire building.  Thus my post on the 23rd and the musings on Facebook.

I believed our management when they told me it would be fixed by night fall. Silly me.

Friday, we received a note saying that someone would come to remove our radiator, install temporary heating, and then the problem would be permanently soon after.  And I believed it. So we moved to the couch (away from the drafty window) and buried ourselves under our quilts, afghans, (thanks to Grandma and Donna!) and our sleeping bags (thanks to Mike and Laurie!). I wouldn’t normally post a photo of Jordan sleeping, but I don’t think he minds this time.

sleepinginthecold (375x500)

Head completely covered. Saturday, we woke up to an apartment of 46 degrees, hoping for the temporary heating to arrive. Our sleeping bags are guaranteed to keep up warm down to 40 degrees…

Then the worker who came to hammer away on our radiator told me that they were out of temporary heating units and that I should talk to the management. He also told me that there is no way this will be fixed until at least eight days from then.

I went down to talk to management. She told me that if we bought a small space heater, they would reimburse us. By the time we got one and had it turned on, the office was closed. The temperature the next day was 60 degrees. Not bad at all.

Then someone came to the door and said we had to hand over our space heaters. Now I’m thankful that we had to go buy our own, so that they could not take it from us.  Still, we are all but forbidden to use it and/or the oven as a heating source.  Putting too much strain on the electricity.  Now, since we’re one of only a few people in the building with a heater, the overall temperature of the building has dropped. After an hour of baking, we reach about 53 degrees.

Yes, I’m wearing a hat and mittens right now. Yes, I’m drinking oodles of tea. Yes, downstairs neighbor, that was me doing jumping jacks to stay warm.

53 degrees

I’m so over my I’m-celebrating-the-season-of-winter feeling I had a few weeks ago!


Il fait freakin’ froid….



You always know it is a good day when it’s -28 degrees (only -18 degrees Fahrenheit–I won’t be running my 3.5 miles outside, PJ) and you come home to an apartment building surrounded by eight nettoyage après sinistre (afterdisaster cleaning) vehicles.

We have no heat. The ambient temperature on our thermostat is reading 14 degrees (about 57 F). It is steadily dropping. Yikes…but they tell me that it will be back on before la nuit tombe.

.il fait tres froid

I thinks this merits afternoon coffee. And then maybe enough cups of tea to last until the heat is restored.


Wishing you a warmer day…

In Celebration of Snow

Not too much to update you on here. After a brief respite last week, our temperatures have plunged and the polar winds have picked up. Our balcony was covered with snow over the weekend. Had to laugh when I saw the following on the balcony…

Snow-worshipping statues

Jordan’s aunt picked up this interesting little piece at an estate sale and gave it to us before we moved to Montreal. Normally, it holds a candle, but I removed it before the first snow.  I think I prefer the snow actually.

I fully intended to come home, read and write a little bit in French, and watch something French while doing some cleaning. But I’ve been sucked down a rabbit hole that started with mention of the meal at the Inaugural Luncheon. You can see the full menu at this link. All of it sounds delicious except for the strawberry preserve with the red cabbage.  I think I’ll have to taste that one myself to believe that it is good.  For you South Dakotans out there, does anyone happen to know Bruce Anderson, the man who supplied the South Dakota bison to the Inaugural Luncheon? Mr. Anderson appropriately mentions the ranchers who produced the meat.

Everyone in Wisconsin, stay warm this week.  To those in Tennessee, did everyone survive the winter snow storm last week?

Merci, McDo, for helping me with my French

If you’ve studied French, you probably spent some quality time with the pronouns en and y. At first, I found them frustrating, and they rear their ugly heads everywhere. But I’m slowing warming up to them.

Yesterday, I came across a funny and timely McDonald’s (one of my conversation partners told me they call it McDo-pronounced McDough-in France) ad in the local free daily newspaper. It’s a truly Quebecois ad, since it features le hockey and references the hockey strike.

mcdonalds.newspaperad.french (290x350)

  • French: Complète ou pas, impossible d’y résister; Bonne demi-saison de hockey; Fier partenaire des Canadiens de Montréal:
  • English: Complete or not, impossible to resist [them], Happy half-season of hockey; Proud partner of the Canadians of Montreal

I get it and had a good chuckle, but can honestly say that a half-eaten order of fries is possible to resist. I’ve either already eaten the first half and feel sick, or they are leftover from someone else and are probably cold and soggy now. Also, are they trying to rub salted fries into the wounds of hockey fans?

Still, I am pleased to say that thanks to this ad and its use of the pronoun “y,” I will remember that résister needs to be followed with an “à.”

Merci, McDo, merci.

On y danse

I’m not taking about le pont d’Avignon, but Montreal, of course (Can the anglophone get a point for making that reference already?! Woot, woot!)

Here’s something I didn’t think I would be saying: I went out dancing twice in the last week. Yes, that’s right. This hasn’t occurred, since, well, ever. I barely had the dance club stamps off of my left hand before I got a new stamp on my right hand. Cultural clash on the dance floor: the conservative Saudis told me I needed to loosen up when dancing…I got all my dancing skills from my stoic German lineage.

Here’s something I really, really didn’t think I would be saying: Jordan convinced me to go swing dancing this week. Read it and weep, ladies. My husband wanted to go swing dancing.  It only took four months of him working next to a physicist/swing dancer/ghost myth-hunter to break him down. Jordan’s colleague taught the class (in Franglish ou Franglais, si vous voulez). After the class, the real dancers went to work. It was fun to learn a bit ourselves, but even just listening to the band and watching the “real dancers” was really fun.

Aside from the dancing, the week is plodding along per usual. French classes and a bit of baking for me. Jordan’s busy with school. The mild temperatures we were experiencing have dropped to their January averages. The metro system threw a couple delays my way. As I said, the usual. We did make a point to a meet for a brief coffee date Wednesday. Nothing like a nice cuppa joe to help you feel motivated to tackle conjugations into the subjunctive verb tense, huh?

pikolo latte (374x400)

Hope you are all getting into the SWING of things this week. Weekend plans anyone?