Friday, December 16, 2011

Something Borrowed

I was talking on the phone with my friend, Tenley, yesterday. She lives across the street from me but is in Paris right now, taking care of Bella the dalmation. We are a tag team. She came up last week to take over from me and we spent a couple days together in Paris before I came back to Aix en Provence.

We were talking about the WORST SANDWICH EVER EATEN, which we had shared one night after our walk with Bella. We stopped at a little Greek sandwich shop and ordered a meat and cheese gyros. I asked for it to go and we ended up eating it trying it and giving the rest to the dog, at a little table outside the shop. It would follow that a sandwich like that would be lamb, feta and veggies and a garlic white sauce....correct? Mais non! Instead it was dried up turkey, smothered in a white, gelatinous, flavorless, substance and topped off with a slice of American cheese. Terrible, terrible, terrible.

As Tenley and I were laughing about the WSEE, she told me I've given her courage to go ahead and just speak the language, in spite of mistakes.

"Why is that?", I asked her.

"Because when you ordered the sandwich, you didn't ask for it to take-out, you asked him to print you out a sandwich! And it didn't still got the sandwich."

This is an example of how things go when one is prone to muck up a language. No wonder the guy had that stupid smile on his face. And all this time, I thought it was because he knew he was serving us a crappy sandwich and we were falling for it. In fact, if he had printed out a sandwich it would have tasted far better.

Today, I realized that she had it wrong as well. I did not ask for the sandwich to go (emporter), nor did I ask for the sandwich to be printed out (imprimer). I actually asked to borrow (emprunter) the sandwich.

I should have given it back.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Need a Little Christmas

Christmas isn't quite the affair in France as it is in the states. Don't get me wrong, it's a well celebrated holiday. But you don't see the extravagant decorating or the hear the incessant Christmas music starting in October that you get stateside. On one hand, I don't mind it. On the other, I miss a little bit of the excess. And I really miss decorating my home for Christmas.

Friday, I wandered up to Boulevard Haussmann to see what was happening at the big department stores here in Paris. I can't really do any shopping but I just wanted to see if I could scare up a little dose of Christmas. The two biggies here are Galerie Lafayette and Printemps and they came through, injecting me with the fix of Christmas commercialism that I desperately needed. First, the light show on the exterior of the Galeries Lafayette. Absolutely breathtaking. I couldn't figure out how add a video to the blog but these lights change colors and design constantly across the huge facade.

The interior of the building, which dates from around 1912 was just as beautiful. Yes, that is a stained glass dome at the top!

It's main rival store, Printemps, is just across the street and also stunning.

Both of the stores featured Rock and Roll themed animated windows this year and though I didn't take any photos, they were delightful and brought back memories of  the annual trek to Minneapolis with my boys to take in the delightful animations in the Daytons' windows...just as my parents did with me when I was a child. 

The reason I didn't take any photos of the animations was because the other windows at Printemp were just so beautiful. Sponsored by Chanel, they take us on a trip around the world. Not my world, but perhaps the world of Chanel! Nonetheless, they are exquisite and I thought you should be treated to a few of them.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm supposed to denounce Christmas commercialism and revel in the simplicity and love of the season. Fa la la la la. Which I generally do. Unless I'm without all the overkill and excess. Then I get all hinky. So thank you Paris for pulling through for me. I've got just enough to survive until I get back to the states for just a couple of weeks!

Have a great week everyone,


Friday, December 2, 2011

Window Licking Good

I've come to the conclusion that 3 pairs of shoes for a week in Paris are not enough. I was really so proud of myself for keeping the number down. But these old hoofs are sore and though I've been re-shod several times, I'm still feeling lame. 

Sore feet led me to peruse the shoestores in my neighborhood today. Of course I would be doing this anyway but sore feet seem as good an excuse as any. As I wandered, I came  across a teeny-tiny shop on Rue des Entrepreneurs. A wee bit small for a shoe store but you know what they say about small packages!

I first noted these (not for me, of course but good looking nonetheless) in a chocolate brown.

 Then I noticed the women's shoes in the same window that came in a multitude of colors that caught my eye....but also in varying degrees of chocolate brown. 

I'm not sure if you're getting the picture let me clarify.

Have you figured it out yet? 
Yeppers...I'd landed in a chocolate shop. With my mouth open for all kinds of obvious reasons. This little unassuming shop in the 15 arrondissement and off the beaten track was a feast for the all the senses. 

In case you're wondering, this is what one does with a chocolate shoe.

 But the folks at Jicara make all sorts of containers for their fine chocolates.

Form follows function is an underlying principal in modern architecture and design. In this case, I'm not sure which follows what!

Here in France, instead of window shopping we "lecher les vitrines" or lick the windows. Of course, we don't really....except maybe in this case!

Jicara Chocolat
91 Rue des Entrepreneurs
75015 Paris

Have a great weekend everyone. Gotta go. I've got more windows to lick.


Thursday, December 1, 2011


I spent yesterday afternoon packing for my trip to Paris. I will only be there one week and I’ll be dog-sitting, so I should be able to get by with very little. I mean, one doesn’t need high heels or a cocktail dress when spending every free moment with a Dalmatian, right? So why is it so difficult to pack everything for a week in a little carry-on? I’ve decided that its age.

Normally my packing problem begins and ends with shoes. It’s a simple fact of female life that you have to have the right shoes for the right outfit, am I not correct?  But this time, with a minimum of outfits, all in black (this is Paris after all), I still needed 3 pair of shoes. And now I have to admit, this is NOT for vanity’s sake. It’s because my old feet get so sore and cramped that I need to change my shoes often when I’m doing a lot of walking. Plain and simple. So, one week…one pair of shoes and two pairs of boots.

Then there’s the personal product bag. It used to be one, now it’s three. First there’s the creams and potions. I try…I really try…to keep these at a minimum. But my face no longer seems to bounce back  when I go without. Plain soap and water causes my skin great agony and it quickly takes on the look of the leftover December grapes still hanging on the vines. It seems that every year I have to add a new cure to the myriad of miracles that will supposedly keep my skin young. Fat chance. This goes for hair products as well.

Ditto on the makeup. Now, apparently, I must spackle my face and eyelids with various emulsions before applying makeup, in order to keep it from permanently lodging in the crags and crevices of the years. I’m thinking at this point that if it rained on my face, the droplets would slide off…the same theory as that stuff you put on your windshield. None of these products have managed to keep my lipstick from making it's daily migration up to the base of my nose, however. 

Undies. One ugly bra in beige used to do it. And a couple of pairs of cotton granny panties that I could wash out every other day. Now I have to have at least 4 sets and they have to all be different, pretty and matching. This is not the fault of age however. It’s the fault of France. But these bras do take up a lot of space and that IS because of age. In order to replace, reorder, re-hoist all that has fallen or completely disappeared, they require a lot of extra parts and pieces. 
I’ve also had to pack 5 French books because I fully intend to do some studying while I’m there. I’ve been lax and it shows in my conversation abilities disabilities. And I’m afraid I have to attribute this to age as well. If I were younger, I’m sure I would have been able to learn to speak French correctly within the 3 years that I’ve been here. But I haven’t. My old brain is still trying to work out the pluperfect, conditional perfect and the future perfect as well as feminine and masculine versions of everything. And I've decided I’m not even going to require myself to go any further than that.

Then there’s the comforts that I’m no longer willing to do without. A pair of warm slippers, lounging p.j.s with a nice, comfy ELASTIC waist. I had to leave the down pillow at home this time, which has me worried. Will I be able to sleep without my squishy pillow that goes everywhere with me? Or without my down comforter?

On top of it all I have to pack 3 pairs of glasses, one for day, one for work, and one as a spare, plus all the junk for contacts if I should choose to wear them.  

As I was packing, rearranging, adding and subtracting, I wondered what the hell has happened to me? Will I soon become one of THOSE woman, hauling around several giant bags for a 2-night sejour in Sandusky? You know, the one that takes up all the trunk space of the taxi so her friends have to resort to sitting on theirs in the back of the cab.

I’m writing this while on the high-speed train to Paris. I did manage one carry-on style bag and my computer bag with any and all electronics, chargers, cords, and cards that I might need. I have a one bedroom in the 15th in exhange for the dog-sitting, so I imagine I can do laundry. Which will be necessary... considering there was barely any room in my suitcase for actual clothes.