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Vaseline (and Unicorns)

Earlier this year I was asked if I would read a yet-to-be released book for a good friend of mine in the publishing business. This meant turning off my lap top and actually turning real pages instead of just scrolling down with my thumb. Weird. I almost felt like a pioneer woman.


It didn't take me long to get over that feeling as I was quickly enthralled by the true life story of what happens when a woman moves to a new country, complete with new customs and a new language.

It's a long held fantasy of mine to one day uproot my family and live happily ever after somewhere tropical and warm and far, far away. Preferably somewhere where the food is great, the people are friendly and there are no such things as conservative politics.

I'd also appreciate if this mystical place was rampant with fairy tale creatures so I can finally realize my dream of owning a Unicorn ranch where I'd hire leprechauns to do my laundry and cook for my family as I taught my children how to ride the silvery mystical beasts.

So far, I'm still looking.

Still, this book, (although sadly devoid of any unicorns,) was one I easily understood as the author told her real life story of love, family and blogging. How the universe collided when her blog was discovered.

Boy, do I understand that feeling. (Understatement of the year.)


It's a special treat for me to be able to have Catherine herself, guest post over here a la Redneck. She may not call herself a Redneck what with her French sophistication, but she is still my type of gal.


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Found here.

This autumn I’ll celebrate the anniversary of thirteen years in Paris. ‘That almost makes you a real Parisienne,’ said a French friend of mine the other day, raising an eyebrow.

I suppose it almost does. I’m one of those annoying old-timers who say ‘Beaubourg’ instead of The Pompidou Centre. I know where to stand on almost every métro station in the capital so that I’ll be correctly aligned with the exit when I reach my destination. My knowledge of Parisian public toilets is encyclopaedic, a by-product of being pregnant in Paris. (I’m particularly fond of the underground conveniences on place de la Madeleine with their old-fashioned shoe-shining throne.) I gave birth (in French) in a Parisian hospital.

What I’m not, however, une française. I’m sometimes mistaken for a native in conversation, but language is only ever the tip of the iceberg. I haven’t the faintest idea how to knot a Hermès scarf nonchalantly around my neck, for example. And I’m hopeless at fashioning an elegant chignon out of thin air with only a pencil to anchor it in place. I don’t consider an espresso and three cigarettes a square meal, and one square of chocolate – even 70% cocoa – is never enough.

One day I was sitting outside one of my favourite neighbourhood cafés with my four-year-old daughter, Tadpole, when another cultural difference became apparent. In between sips of my beer I was busy fishing various random objects out of the depths of my handbag for Tadpole to draw around. When my boyfriend (of two weeks) arrived, she was tracing around a tiny pot of Vaseline that I’d purchased in an English supermarket, which she then proceeded to transform into a sun, complete with wiggly sunbeams and a smiling face.

‘You carry Vaseline in your handbag?’ said the boyfriend, his eyes almost popping out of his head.

‘Mhm,’ I replied, reddening slightly. ‘It’s, um, for my lips. They’re always chapped…’

‘In France,’ said my boyfriend, ‘there’s only one thing people use Vaseline for.’

He smiled a sly smile. A smile that left me in no doubt a conversation about other potential uses of petroleum jelly lay in my not too distant future.

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    Tanis Miller - Attack of the Redneck Mommy - Vaseline (and Unicorns)

Reader Comments (20)

Vaseline and unicorns are not two things I often associate with each other, but I will now.

May 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTravis Erwin

Vaseline and Unicorns... hmm lube and horns.
Yep, I can see the relation :-)

I love the cover of the book and the excerpt makes me mad to get it!
Thanks for the heads up hon.
If it can get you to put down the computer, it must be good ;-)

May 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterrachel

Oh ... I've always dreamed of running away to my own island, and it wasn't until I saw the made-for-TV mini series "The Thornbirds" that I put much of it into perspective. I would need the occasional supplies dropped from a plane ... for I wasn't going to hunt/gather or GROW my own food - not when I can relax on the beach all day. AND who was going to comb my beach for me every day - to get rid of all the dead things that washed up on shore (the stuff that kinda stinks); and where would I get fresh water from? Indoor plumbing anyone? And what about electricity? oh ... it's just entirly too scary to think about ... but my imaginary island with indoor plumbing and electricity (and INTERNET access- how else would I eBay) would have unicorns as well!

ROFL ... can't wait for the book. And I don't know that I'll be able to look at Vaseline the same way ...


May 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBrea in Texas

Oh, MY!

I love this! I'll have to get the book, and I just started reading her archives....thanks, T!

May 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdaysgoby

I use to have a tub of Vaseline on my bed for my lips (up here, dears), too. Until my then boyfriend, now husband, saw it and said the same thing to me. I think it is taught to men as they exit the womb. It is nice to know that men across the world are pretty similar.

May 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

Hehehehe.... reminds me of a rhyme we used to recite in middle school..

Late one night I heard a scream...

May 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

I'm gonna have to get this book, for sure! I'll be bookmarking her blog too.

That, and know that I can never look at a jar of Vaseline the same again. SAND??!!!?! That's just wrong. So very, very wrong.

May 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMaddy

Even though I'm 61 trust me my friends and I would often quietly joke about the other uses Vaseline were noted for. And in my day, all you would do was talk about it....thanks for the memory...

Meanwhile I'm still laughing and I'll surely buy the book...this is so funny....

My best,
Dorothy from grammology
remember to call gram

May 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDorothy Stahlnecker

OH that's sassy!! I think this book better shoot to the top of my "I didn't spend THAT much" list!!!

Thanks for the excerpt!!

May 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRebelRescuer

Oh, I have to get the book! Thanks for posting about this.


May 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGoaldeeBug

conservative politics are everywhere (it's a worlwide epidemics! :(() but if you are looking for a warm place with nice food and friendly (or at least social-street pleople) come to my country! there is a big lack of mental health services but they are replaced by bar tenders, and litle shops-around-the-corner owners who make do quiet well.

good luck!

May 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterunicorn's lover

she's awesome. i heart this book!

May 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterali

I still think she's in for a surprise when she finds out the French use Vaseline for BACK door action. No chapping the chaps so to speak.

May 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLotta

Just read this book. Loved it.
Good review.

May 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGodless Sunday

Your commenters are funny. I guess vasaline brings that out in people.

I have to read this book. Now thanks to you I will feel like laura ingalls whilst I do.

May 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLisa b

Dude. The title of this post is wicked. I can see it being the title of an adult flick. Can't you?

May 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermamatulip

I actually ended up here from petite's website, and I have just one thing to say about vaseline... I'm pretty sure that you are NOT supposed to use it for that OTHER thing, especially if the one partner is wearing, um, a raincoat, cough cough. because petrolium eats away at, umm, raincoat material like ... rubber.... Personally, I too carry vaseline in my bag, but not in a little jar. I buy the US version for lips, Lip Therapy, in a little tube, that when you squeeze it and the the vaseline comes out, look like ... umm, the "thingy" under the raincoat... you know what I'm talking about? Anyway, I also live in Paris and you should NEVER use Lip Therapy alone o the Metro...

June 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermagillicuddy

Very funny!

And I think I know the other use for Vaseline.

Does it have something to do with carburetors?

See...I'm quick!

June 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJozet at Halushki

Your work is marvelous!!i

October 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

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