Thursday, September 22, 2011

ode

dear cappuccino,

how do you make me feel new, and good, every time?
i look forward to your foam, and strength, cinnamon, and sugar crystals sitting on top.
is it the experience, or the combination?

i can drink you while i walk
or savor you sitting in a cafe
alone, or with a friend.

you remind me of europe.

i love it every time.

scent

each day as i walked or rode to work this week, i smelled paris again.
a mix of exhaust and something new and a moistness in the air.

tuesday was best. it was still dark and reminded me of an early morning scene.
newstands stocking papers.
trucks clearing garbage.
the last sounds of hard-partiers laughing and swaggering along the street.
the tired metro workers heading to another long day.
me, on a walk, thinking of the arc de triomphe.

today, i smelled something different.
i can't remember what it was.
it may have been autumn.

when i visited my babies in the garden, they told me they were happy.

keep this

i live my life in widening circles that spread out across the world.

reflection

each day is a step toward tomorrow
a step toward greatness, or failure.

remember that today is a tomorrow, too.

yesterday, you wanted this.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

looking forward to...

the end of this work week.

originally we thought we would try to take a vaca in september or october. since cade has a new job, we can't. i feel like i need a break, so i planned to take a few days off from work. i asked for thursday-monday, so i would only use up 24 hours of time-off and have a 5 day rest.

however, i will leave work at one thursday and return tuesday morning. i happen to be able to work a shift at my other job thursday at three, and then have FOUR WHOLE DAYS off!!!  :) so happy. delighted. when does it happen that i have four days off with no commitments, no holiday gatherings, and no travel? seldom, and not a long while. (sidenote: i actually had a dream last night that i was asked to teach french. although i knew there was no way i could do that right now, i said yes and was so excited about the holidays. ah, the teacher summer...i knew that carefree bliss.)

i plan to rest, organize like mad, perhaps a couple or three hours of deep cleaning, running errands (hopefully having some extra money to buy some things like a new shower curtain liner), etc. i think i will devote a whole day to rest, such as monday i think. or friday, or both. including a massage and other pampering, perhaps a mani-pedi.

excited.
AND only a three and a half work week at the library.
which is practically only three days!

i would like

to learn more. always.

so perhaps i will start this:

each week, i will learn:

a new word or two, in english
a new word or two, en francais
a new word or two, en espanol

(this includes etymology)

a quote from literature, or science, or history, etc (can be in french or english)

a bible verse or passage.

i don't think this is too much, considering the extra time i have during the day...

virginia woolf

"one cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."

cheers to a good meal.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

one time

one time for my birthday, i think 20th, my mom wrote "happy birthday, sara" on my cake in blue icing.
she couldn't fit the H at the end of my name.

things that make me feel bad, PART ONE

1. just now realizing i haven't written in almost a week.

2. complaining

3. running/workout injuries

4. complaining (btw, this is VENTING, my last complaint! must relieve self!)

5. not liking people

6. 96% of the time that i look on facebook

7. eating too fast
8. feeling full (don't usually feel too full, but i did last night and it was yucky.)

9. hurting someone's feelings

10. saying something inappropriate

11. talking too much

12. annoying someone

13-21. failure of any kind.

22. thinking bad thoughts about someone.

23.-1,000. being judgmental

for the sake of brevity, #24 being fat

25. not working out.

26. picking at my face.

27. not having enough time to water my babies in the garden this morning.

28. watching tv or a dumb movie

29. spending money

must stop here. getting depressing.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

la robe longue

 
la robe longue

nezy a la robe longue
henri matisse, 1940

 I cannot find the original of this, but my sketch is a good depiction. Of course, she does have a face in the original. I am just not talented in that area.  I am not sure why I have scribbled (upside down) about Morisot's "bergere couchee" in the corner...maybe i thought the flow is similar? Interesting. In my mind, I can see this in Musee Maillol. Maybe that is where she hangs. I am confusing myself. Isn't it a painting? I see that I wrote "dessin au papier." Maybe I was labelling mine.

This is actually one of my favorite sketches. It happened naturally, and quickly.

:)


his artistic creation

probably one of the most ironic and most annoying things that ever happened to me was when i went with a friend to have her bridal photos taken. being in a real snapshot mood, i brought my camera and clicked away. we had barely started the photo shoot, outside in a gorgeous but stifling hot garden, when the photographer took a minute adjusting his camera. while he did, i had anna do a little something different while i took some shots. i think i had her put her feet in the stream while sitting on a small bridge and lean back or something. i was into it, and it looked good. very natural. pretty much unlike what he was doing.

when the superb-artist came back to take the photos, and while i continued taking shots of the position i put her in, he interrupted, so concerned, and asked that i not take photos of his artistic creations. WHAT? i do truly regret that i didn't have the gonads at that time (oh, how i would now) to say, "then don't take a photo of her, here, like this, because i created it!!!" instead, he talked about what a great shot it was and snapped away. what a jerk. seriously?!?! next you'll tell me that you thought of the whole internet idea.  wth.

san remo

meet me at san remo.



SAN REMO, 17th arrondisement

San Remo is my favorite restaurant in mon quartier in Paris. It is just a couple of streets from where I lived, quaint, tourist-free, outstandingly delicious, and ridiculously inexpensive. I used to go with friends or "my kids" at least once a month. A time or two we ordered take-out. I think every visitor I had (about nine in a year!) experienced San Remo. Once or twice...

A typical visit to my beloved restaurant:

We would choose to sit inside or outside, depending on the weather, and on nice days the owners would open the store-front window so that everyone could enjoy the sunshine and light breeze. First, the serious servers would serve us a complimentary kir. The first time we came, we didn't know what was happening, gladly drank our kir, and assumed we would see it on our tab. Non! Pas de tout! Such a treat. I think now they even add a complimentary appetizer? We would order un carafe d'eau (tap water) and perhaps some wine. Sometimes we would order bread sticks, which are not to heavy, salty, and definitely whet the appetite. It is a pizzeria, but has other tasty options as well. For instance, La Salade
Roi-Soleil has juicy chicken and chunks of pineapple with a creamy, sort of mayonnaise-like dressing. Sounds unusual, but chances are, you would love it. (Also, a tribute the Sun King, a.k.a Louis XIV. Not sure why, but it's fun.) The pizza is so similar to the way Italians make it, I'd almost think I was actually in San Remo (coastal town in Italy, not far from France.) I usually had the Quatre Fromage (four cheese) which pretty much blew my mind every time I ate it. I had an out-of-town friend who ordered a pizza with a sunny-side-up egg on top. Traditional, and delicious. We'd usually splurge on dessert. Something small, probably chocolate and tres rich, and just the right size. And then after, the customary espresso. Always a good experience, always left me smiling.

I felt at home there.

Please visit if you can.
See the pictures below for your enjoyment. They do not truly represent the experience.
(I think I took one picture there, I will look for it and post it if I can.)




SAN REMO, PARIS



pizza, just like italy


                                                                                                                                                                                   





complimentary kir
                                                    




always "un express"
                             
(the perfect ending to the perfect meal.)

planting dandelions

it just wasn't for me. and this doesn't happen too often. maybe i just couldn't get past the mental picture of the work space. and too much talk about kids.

i only recently started letting myself stop reading books i don't like. i never used to before, but life is too short. and there are too many good books within my reach. today when i was bored out of my mind and scowling occasionally, i was glad that i had banished my new rule.

sorry, neighbor. i am sure there are plenty of readers who adore you.

a good sneeze

i have always loved a good sneeze.

about 6 months ago, i started experiencing several sneeze teases a day. this is when a sneeze comes on...ah, ah, ah, ah...
and instead of the huge CHOO...nothing. i really can't stand it. aside from death, severe pain, and heartaches, it must be one of the worst feelings in the world.

recently i have had about 8 teases a day. you can imagine my frustration. however, about every other day, one follows through. i don't care if i have to sneeze in your face (really, i don't, sorry) i am going to let that sneeze go.

and don't tell me to eat something hot, or a spicy peppermint, or even to sniff pepper...nothing works.

also, i used to be able to encourage a sneeze by squeezing the bridge of my nose. this no longer works. but try it out, it will probably work for you. and, of course, the gazing into the sun or light fixture. that almost always satisfied the sneeze monster. oh, and if you don't want to sneeze, try pinching the bit between your nostrils. that one really works. if only i needed it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

johnny depp

well, i recently found out that johnny depp will be starring in the rum diary.  and of course i have to read the book before i see the movie.  i had a funny thought just now. wondering if they will print books with him on them as a marketing tool. anyway...i am sure the film will be fabulous, as he is.

meanwhile, a good, quick read by a more-than-probably tortured genius former sportswriter extraordinaire strangely handsome author, who also happened to say his favorite bar was none other than the capital hotel's (pre-restored) bar & grill...

The Rum Diary: A Novel


excellent read! love it, can't wait for the film. definitely read it yesterday, as in one day, and encourage you to read it soon!

grammar/capitalization/fabricated words/ (spelling?)

i've never written a disclaimer that i am actually educated.

just lazy.

please forgive, etc.

sincerely,

blogger.

yuckytown.

reading a new book


Planting Dandelions: Field Notes from a Semi-Domesticated Life
by karan pittman, local author.
so far, so good. and then i came across this sentence:

"Somehow I always wind up right back at the dining room table, laptop propped open amid the dirty breafast dishes and school papers."

i just can't imagine it!! perhaps a full book review to follow...

maugerite


maugerite sits in the garden behind musee rodin.

she loves coming here and visits at least once a week. her favorite spot is to the left, near the statue of john the baptist. if it is winter she usually sits closer to the fountain, where she might find more sun. if she comes to seek solace in the garden and it is crowded with noisy tourists, she walks back to les invalides and sits in her favorite spot there. (facing the building, to the right, there is a fountain surrounded by benches. she likes to face west.) it is usually quiet there; the hedges and trickling water somehow act as a muffle to the loud city traffic. with her back to the foreigners waiting to see napolean's tomb, she can imagine she is in the country. she also loves to watch strangers visit with their families while they push them in wheelchairs along the dirt paths. she thinks that this must be their escape from their sick, maybe dying, hospital-life reality, but still wonders how they find joy in any moment.
she clings to the their small happiness.

today the museum is not crowded, and after paying her one euro entry fee, she stares at le penseur for a full minute before she heads to the cafe, descending along the tree-lined dirt path.  the trees, with their reaching branches create a narrow path, and for a moment she feels she has left the city. she sits for a while outside the garden cafe , enjoying a coffee and pastry in the sunshine. she tries to read a book but her mind wanders to the contrast of the blue sky with the green leaves. she thinks she can smell the roses, too. 

she wanders along the perimeter of the garden and finds her favorite place, next to the statue of john the baptist. thankfully no one else has chosen her bench today.  she retrieves her sketchbook from her satchel and starts to draw the thinker. she only sat near the statue the first few times she drew it, and now uses her memory to create the likeness. her art teacher told her that this is good for the mind and the hand connection. no glancing up to distract from the strokes. as she draws, using her pastels, this time trying to emulate munch's interpretation, she realizes that the thinker's strong features resemble sammy's, her latest lover. she had spent last week with a new stranger, again, but this time in the south of france. she revealed some about herself, but still lied about major details of her life. she told him she was un prof, for example, at la sorbonne, of all places. sometimes she tired of telling everyone that she lived from her inheritance like a spoiled rich girl, like someone living in another era. she never wanted a career, doesn't live lavishly, and loves taking care of grand-mere a couple of days a week. her days are always full, and she hasn't enjoyed any job she has tried. she doesn't need a job to find purpose.

maugerite has always found it difficult to keep friends. her parents died tragically when the family was living in kenya, and because of this, she finds it hard to open her heart to anyone. the closest she has come to true intimacy is with the opposite sex. having been raised by grand-mere, she missed out on having a father figure in her life. occasionally she will become attached to someone, usually an older man. eventually, usually quickly because she becomes vulnerable so easily, she glimpses a possibility of abandonment and she detaches herself. she likes americans because they don't stay around long, and aren't as demanding as french men. her lack of a consistent date, however, doesn't diminish her confidence. she possesses a surprising aplomb for a single girl living in paris.

being in her early thirties, she didn't find it too odd to spend time with sammy. he was in his early fifties and it made it easier knowing she would leave in a week. she has dated younger men as well, but usually finds them sophomoric in most ways. she has a friend, joseph, who she sees sometimes. occasionally they will go out for a proper dinner or to the opera or for a picnic, but most of the time it is just sex. she finds his strong, young body and youthful energy refreshing.

the closest she has come to a normal relationship is with an american, nic. she like to call him nicolas and loves to see the skin around his eyes wrinkle when he smiles. nic lives in the states but comes over twice a year. in the summer, he stays for longer, and she finds it perfect to be with him for this short time. they don't correspond during his absence; he calls her when she arrives. he didn't call this summer, and she was still considering yesterday that she might call him.

instead, he called her this morning. her heart fluttered to hear his voice, but she managed to restrain her excitement, and was thankful her blushing wasn't evident through the phone. they planned to meet this evening at their favorite restaurant, san remo. the pizza there is so similar to the pizzerias in italy that it is like une petite vacance. she likes to walk the mile down avenue niel from the arc de triomphe alone, so they planned to meet at the restaurant at eight.

she had four hours to kill before dinner, and wanted to distract herself from being nervous. she decided to head to the champs-elysees for the cinema. she loved going alone and watching people's reactions as much as she did the film. she engrossed herself in the drama, and soon it was 19:15. she touched up her makeup and hair a bit and then called grand-mere to say goodnight.

she enjoyed watching the beginning of the sunset as she strolled, and noticed the chill of the coming of autumn. she felt a bit sad as summer was nearly over, but had a feeling she might enjoy this fall more than ever before. she thought she might forget herself and allow anything to happen. nic had never stayed in paris longer than twelve weeks, and she didn't think she could stay away from allowing herself to fall in love with him. arriving at san remo, she took a deep breath and walked in. when she saw nic she lost that breath, and had to remind herself to take another. he looked so much more handsome than last time, and appeared more carefree than she'd ever noticed.  they greeted with kisses and neither one's smile ever even began to fade.

she requested a bottle of burgundy from her favorite area in burgundy (beaune) and relaxed as she sipped her first glass. they waited a while to order la salade de roi-soleil and a quatre fromage pizza. they made their dinner last a whille, and had another bottle of the gorgeous, earthy wine. nic kept his hand on her bare leg under the table. when he had touched her skin for the first time that night, she gasped with pleasure. embarassed, she masked it with a quick laugh and quickly changed the subject. usually they ordered a dessert and coffee, but the anticipation of more made them leave their dinner early.

nic had made reservations at l'hotel chopin. they had always stayed at a hotel, as maugerite felt it less intimate than her flat, and nic felt it more special. she had only allowed him to visit her home once or twice. this helped her to keep part of herself from him. tonight, as they undressed one another slowly with their wildness restrained, she looked at him differently, and allowed her gaze to return his. as they took one another, as she gave herself to him, she knew her search for a man would end. no more breaking hearts, no more quick exits, no more short nights in hotels. this was the final time. she slept more soundly than she ever had, letting nic hold her all night long.

and i return

so, a holiday, and now, many more posts.

today i chose a different spot to wallow in the grass and soak up sun on my lunch break. just near the amphitheatre. so i am lying there and see a horse cop coming my way. i think, "am i not supposed to be on the grass?" doesn't usually happen here, unlike paris. "interdit!," the signs would say. and if one were caught (usually unknowingly breaking the rule, forgetting that the grass is for  looks only!), he/she would be treated like a criminal. they might as well be yelling "thief!" or sewing a letter A for the perpetrator's chest. so anyway, as the horse cop is approaching, i think, "i hope he does come over here!" so i can yell WHOA NELLIE. and then i thought i was super funny. later, when i walked by the horse, who was tied to a rail near a tree and looking rather depressed, i swear he could hear my thoughts. i told him how cute he was, and that i wanted to pet him and feed him a treat, and that we would both be happier if i were riding him along a beach.

after the horse cop walked by, i heard a terrible raucous. i actually thought a couple of crazy birds were about to attack me. then i saw that it was only a toddler with some shoes that squeaked or something. i felt silly.

speaking of birds...
 this morning as i was walking with my good friend bon, both sipping (glorious!) cappuccinos and smiling at the sun on our face, i asked her if she had heard the mockingbird near the adjacent building. she could barely tell me between laughs that it was actually an alarm. i had walked by there so many times, impressed by that bird squawking his heart out.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

lunch break

i truly enjoy having an hour lunch break. today i was thinking how an hour and a half would be so nice. but i guess if i had that, i would want two hours.

earlier, before it was hot for months, i would take my hour to walk along the rive to the clinton center. this takes about 20 minutes each way. i have a favorite bench behind the building. it faces the river, and is underneath a huge, inviting tree with the greenest leaves. i like to lie down and stretch out on the bench and close my eyes. my favorite is when a small glimmer of sunlight slithers through those leaves down to my warm body. i smile inside, and rest for five minutes before continuing back. soon it will be cool enough to do this again. (for a reminder of a super cool sighting, see http://youwhohavealwaysthought.blogspot.com/2011_05_01_archive.html (halfway down the page, picture of darling critters.)

today i went to another favorite spot, the other direction, also near the river. i sat in a patch of sun on the prickly grass and bathed in the hot sun. i ate my small lunch, and drank a delicious (tres cher!) sparking water from boulevard. i closed my eyes. i talked to my dragonfly. i listened to the nearby fountain and the chirping birds. i did some yoga stretches in the grass. i may have looked tres folle, but it felt so good. i had visions of someone leading a lunchtime yoga in that very spot.

if i could have squeezed in a small nap, it would have been perfect. it was close enough :)

libellule


Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly
credit: http://stevecreek.com/arkansas-river-dragonfly/



today on my break i had a visit from a bright blue dragonfly. he was so pretty and i was delighted to see him. he seemed tame and even landed on my arm and "smelled" me. i love dragonflies.

when cade and i were married outside, dragonflies flew all around us. in different cultures, they symbolize different things. i take from the chinese to mean prosperity, and our native americans to illustrate happiness. i and others thought this was extra special on our wedding day.


the ones who visited that day were green, i believe. they seem so content flitting around.  :)

http://lyce1.free.fr/cours/chap1_svt.php (credit)


furrowed brow to smiley eyes

after having a tough time at my second job first thing this morning, i am now smiling.

i have permission to take a day off tomorrow, and i am going to get some things done that i have, literally, been needing to do for years. i am not trying to recall if there is anything i am forgetting from this list...
 
eye doctor/new lenses/contacts
i don't have vision insurance (not a good one offered at work) so it will cost a bit...but i can't see out of these scratched lenses! and...i wouldn't have had to go without contacts for so long if i would have bought some while i still had a prescription...well, i'll take care of that! maybe i will even get a cheap second pair of glasses, or some prescription sunglasses! (notice the excitement expressed by the exclamation points...)

passport name change
and the passport bit is depressing...i renewed my passport shortly before we were married. so, if i would have notified them of my name change within the year, it would have been virtually no cost to renew. now it's over $100. oh well...it will be finally finished! that way if we should be able to take a quick trip down to mexico, i'm not holding us back.

other name changes
there really isn't an excuse for this. my car note, for one...laziness, but also annoyed that this is such an ordeal to change, unlike, say, my credit card name change procedure... but it will be done!! i will finish them all.

years, people, years. and i will finally get it done! i will feel so good.

 (i think i will also use some time to clean out the music area of our house. i am trying to be sneaky about my day off and that way can surprise the husband with some organizing!)

also, please see WISHLIST on http://youwhohavealwaysthought.blogspot.com/2011_06_01_archive.html

since we know have a king-size bed, the first three desires on the list will be fulfilled!
really hoping for a new job for cade (waiting to hear about a few options) and i am s-l-o-w-l-y on my way to being slim and fit.  and the bank accounts goal is slowly getting there... i wouldn't have imagined all this could happen :) maybe it helped to write them out and share them with someone.  thanks  ;)

maybe my life isn't as rough as i think it is  :)

***EDIT POST*** just called for an estimate on appt/lenses...looking at at least $300 here. yeah, i might want to opt in for that vision insurance...oh well, hopefully the passport bit will work out...

Monday, August 29, 2011

so angry

i just found out that my stepson is in cancun, for a visit, with his mother (reminder: aka kidnapper.)  the way we found out this information is from her telling someone else on facebook. if she would have told the boy's father that this was happening, we could have gone to cancun for way cheap, and even a long weekend. it takes so long and so much money to travel to where he normally lives. we can't afford the time or money. (the mother left him and moved to cancun.)

thanks, it feels better to release it. hope my husband doesn't mind me sharing.

so what, part II

*read post below first.*

i try not to do this, for it is rough on readers (if i created the blog, i would have it go in order oldest to newest...and if you have to scroll down a few pages to read the newest, so what! it's like filing. put the new stuff in the back of the folder. i want it in order.)

wait, this post is supposed to be positive.

i am thankful for my blog. there. that's better.


i will buy a hot tea, and enjoy a white orange spice instead of my lady grey.

i will think more of my love for my husband every time my thumb tries to touch my invisible ring.

write what i can from memory, make new lists! (next larger purchase: l'occitane eyecream. i have monstrous wrinkles. that isn't being negative, just honest.)
list #1: buy detergent!
chore #1 this pm: throw in a load of laundry. in one hour, repeat.

i am thankful for my extra sleep, and will probably have a better workout tonight. even if i have to wait for a treadmill or a lane in the pool.

i have 2 good, mostly easy, somewhat well-paying jobs, both with excellent benefits. i enjoy waking up early (well, 4 am wouldn't be my first pick) and will turn off the light by 9 or 9:30 each night.

we will make loads of money housesitting, have pool access, and have a three-day weekend, even if it's not in our own bed.
better?

so what

so i don't have a tea bag to brew my morning tea.

and i left my wedding ring at home and feel naked without it.
(my thumb will nudge at nothing all day.)

and my pile of lists are by the printer (at home.) no organizing today. no satisfying cross-offs.

and i didn't get that next load of laundry in the wash. i might not even have enough detergent for it, anyway.

and i slept in instead of tackling my workout.

and my work week is looking extra tough (three early morning shifts t,w,th) at the second job. 4 am wake-ups, 12 hour days. three in a row.

and we have to housesit, in a double bed, with four dogs.

(i just planned to list the first three, i'll stop there.)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

what.

this is one of the cutest things i have ever seen

7_21_10_EagleStreetAnnie10487

did i even know what tiny bunnies look like?

from http://www.edibleselby.com/

dinah vierny et aristide maillol


                                                                   a love story.

this was one of my first drawings. besides the face and the lack of hips, i like it

img199.jpg
le grand nu jaune
aristide maillol
huile sur toile
1943

his muse


dina and her lover
maillol chose vierny as his model around the time she was fifteen. he was nearly 75, and they became lovers. ten years later, he died. she inspired beautiful works of art and eventually founded musee maillol in the early 70s. the gorgeous building is located in the seventh arrondisement on rue de grenelle. near there, just down rue de bac is a lovely parc perfect for a small visit or quick picnic.(it also has a fun playground for children.) dina would visit the museum for events, and my friend was able to go and meet her one evening. she didn't have an extra ticket, else it would have been one of the most spectacular nights of my life. madame vierny was almost 90 when she died.

i am not sure if she ever admitted to being his lover, but i imagine it was true, and that she carried a deep sadness with her all of those years. can you see it in her eyes?


                                                                                                         maillol dina.jpg


                                

X


the south

he lives alone but shares himself with all.



sammy sighed and pushed the duvet to the end of the bed. it would take a second for him to get up. if it were winter he would stay in bed and read. dropping his head as his eyes greeted the morning sky, he felt happy to know he would be in the ocean sun later, and finally swung himself out of the bed. fifteen minutes later he greeted the concierge as he stepped outside his small hotel into the beckoning lazy streets of old antibes. he went to the cafe on the corner for a newspaper, un cafe creme, and a croissant. he read french now like english although when he spoke an occasional phrase revealed his southern u.s. accent.

although he had only planned to come south from paris for a month he had stayed for thirteen months, with no plans to return.

today he would meet a new lady friend for a swim at the rock beach. later he would take her to the musee picasso, where the artist once lived and worked. it was open and light, unlike the one in paris. here, the balance of looking at his work while staring at the mediterranean out of the window cut in stone could never grow old. he saw something new each time.

sammy had met maugerite the night before where they sat and listened to music in a smoky cafe. she had come to the south with her grand-mere and had tired of spending the afternoons alone in her room reading to her granny. she looked better in her swimsuit than sammy had imagined and she smiled brightly when he greeted her. he didn't know much about her except that she was on a break from  teaching at la sorbonne.

they spent the next couple of hours soaking up the faithful sun of the la cote d'azur and casually exchanging a summary of life stories. the only time sammy lost the smile on his inviting lips was when he remembered that these magical days always ended with final goodbyes. they ate paninis and drank cold drinks from a beach vendor and maugerite smiled when sammy ordered in french. she noticed how he didn't pause and cherished the idea of spending time with an ex-pat.

later at the museum the art took hold of her. she reached out and touched sammy's soft hand. ladies hadn't always treated him this way, not until after he started selling his stories and living a life of luxury. most didn't know about the money but all of them were attracted to his confidence and gentle demeanor.

he had come to france three years ago to start writing. without an increased and healthy self-worth he would have never taken such a chance. his family fortune provided the opportunity. most days he would read and write for 7-8 hours and usually worked late into the night.

 maugerite would be here a week longer and he grinned at the thought of seeing her each day. he would share time with her, and a bit with her grandmother. elderly people always thought highly of sammy because he shared a great respect with all of those around him. it pleased his lover that he would take the time to meet someone who was dear to her.

in september when they left, he went back to his quiet hotel life. he would forget maugerite soon and never know that she would think of him always, keeping the story to herself of her brief and passionate affair on the riviera with a funny and charming american.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

the final time.

nic first came to paris six years ago to run the marathon. he taught history at the time and this freed him for ten days in the spring. he had never travelled outside the states and he hungered for any foreign place. he enjoyed the visit that first infected him with a constant fever for travels. each time he came to paris he promised the city he would see her again soon. and one inviting september, he kept that promise and arrived for a long stay. he began by visiting a friend a la rive droite, enjoying being spoiled but left to himself when desired. he planned to perhaps rent a small flat in le marais later; he'd come into some money and he planned to live well.

he started out his day as usual running along the quai. he used his morning run to collect his thoughts, plan his day. he often allowed the city to distract him and always smiled inside when he spotted the eiffel tower. today he ran to parc citroen and back alongside the left bank. he returned from his run satisfied yet hungry. while he showered, ate a still-warm pain-au-choclat, and drank his espresso (from his host's state-of-the-art espresso maker), he listened to the morning news. he had visited often enough to be able to decipher main themes and ideas when listening to french. his own accent and vocabulary needed work but he could manage a conversation. being in paris provided the best practice, as natives spoke and listened so quickly.

 he decided to take the bus to le marais for a visit to musee picasso. while riding he observed the sights of the city and the people nearest him. he always noticed the bus driver and liked to imagine his daily life. the thing he noticed most was that they were all so different. his thoughts wandered to what he would see at the museum. he liked his early work best, always feeling a connection somehow to his pieces from the blue period. he once figured he related this to the part of himself he rarely revealed. not because others couldn't understand him, but because they probably wouldn't take the time to do so, and even the thought of this hurt him and caused him to release the idea of showing himself. he'd been like this since il etait petit, playing alone most of the time.






the third floor intrigued nick despite its correlation with modern pornography. it always prompted him to wander why great minds always turn to sex, drugs, self-destruction in the end. was it emptiness, perhaps, or unfulfillment, despite a tap into celestial secrets? he looked intently and pondered these ideas but didn't find the answer today. he had only come here to find calm, not enlightenment. even upon his entrance to the courtyard calmness had reached out and stroked him. after leaving he dined at a cafe on the terrace. he made sure to finish his meal with a taste of fine cheeses-- du chevres, du comte, et du camembert. not usual for the mid-day meal, but he was in a tourist area so he felt comfortable breaking the rules.

he walked home afterward with his usual confidence and a respect for those around him. he took time to notice a leaf on the ground or the look of pain behind the eyes of someone who had lost yet decided to live again. he remained oblivious, however, to the responses beautiful women naturally gave to him. he couldn't notice this because he always felt shy, unworthy, and insufficient around the opposite sex. outwardly he displayed a happiness and almost reverence for women no matter her status or appearance. his parents had taught him this yet he didn't grasp (or realize) this treasure he held. women who didn't know him found him attractive even after two glances. they always looked a second time.

that night nic met an ex-lover for dinner at san remo. he liked the italian cafe, away from the tourists,  because it was cheap yet impressionable. he enjoyed a complimentary kir while he waited, and his thoughts drifted to their history. he always met maugerite each time he came to paris. their relationship remained on good terms but he knew he would have to say goodbye when he met a girl he planned to stay with. he pushed this thought out of his mind as he greeted her with kisses. she looked ridiculously sexy in a clingy black dress and he felt glad he put on a clean long-sleeved shirt and some aftershave. his face broke into a smile each time she giggled, revealing his laugh lines that had come with time and age. when he looked at her through the haze of burgundy wine, he knew that the night would end with more than the formal goodnight kisses. he smiled again, clutching her bare leg beneath the table, knowing if he died tonight he would feel satisfied with life.

joseph A paris



he rides a moped, wears plaid shorts with thick, high, maybe colored socks. he looks tres bizarre on that bike but it doesn't matter because he's cool. it works for him. he earns his euros at someplace like monoprix or the newstand, and only eats a baguette all day until dinner when he always has a beer. he knows where to get the best bread, a good beer, and smiles at least one smile to a stranger each day. he grows stubble and then shaves it off again. he can't decide. he goes to a free internet cafe where he knows a guy and always scores a free coffee. he likes to wear his headphones when he e-mails. sometimes the french keyboard still frustrates him.

he listens to good music and drinks a carafe of wine while he sits at the jazz cafe. a busty brunette locks his eyes from across the room.  he is used to this but still acts awkward. girls fancy him on many days but mostly he's scared of really letting someone know him.

 he runs at parc monceau and the surrounding streets. people notice him because he is tall, and his feet hit the gravel loudly. he often stops to watch the old men lazily play their games. they are always smoking and someone sits on a bench in the silence. he wants to be like them. they are comfortable with life.

on sad days he visits le jardin du luxembourg and imagines himself running at the pigeons. this always makes him chuckle. he buys a cheap panini from a vendor on the street and always savors it. sometimes, on these days, he rides the bus just to feel like he's going somewhere.

he thinks about how when he's old he will come back to paris and in a park hidden away from the crowds he will play le petanque with the old men. he has a manual camera with a brown leather case. he takes photos of everything. he hopes to work at a photostation soon.

he likes to sit pres de sacre coeur and look at the tourists. people often think he's german. he takes pictures for them sometimes and prides himself on a good shot. later, when he is at home drinking coffee and listening to his favorite record, he thinks about this and feels good.

he still plays the drums. a little girl once told him he panicked while playing. he liked that and told himself to remember it. he misses the food channels and once or twice a month he watches them at a friend's flat on his day off. then he cooks for someone, usually a girl. and after, he has a good time with her. he finds a reason to put on his shoes and leave quickly.

he listens more than he talks and sends postcards to his family. his sister likes them best.

he misses his grandpa on most days.

he has friends visit but mostly they come to see paris. he feels good about being here and like his life but knows this is only one chapter. he's okay with it and does what he can.

he has a small wooden nightstand with a lamp from IKEA. he always reads a psalm before bed and checks his alarm three times before switching off the lamp. once during a fete du cinema, he went to the movies seven times in three days. he made sure he watched only french and spanish films.

once he washed his socks by wearing them in the shower but after they felt mushy. he usually washes his white t-shirts in the sink.

he sketches the eiffel tower from a picture in his mind.




Thursday, August 25, 2011

workout update

i don't think anyone has read any of this since i pledged my five days a week.

however, i will post something tonight to stay true to my word.

update on working out:  finally lost 5 pounds, maybe, i think.
geez, that's great. only 3 months and 5 whole pounds. wth. that'll be ten whole pounds by christmas, instead of the projected 40. surely i can still do it.

i will have my mother measure me again when i am at her house and maybe i will see some difference.
i KNOW i am smaller.

to keep training toward a goal, and to hopefully help shed pounds, i signed up for the SOARING WINGS HALF MARATHON. (sorry, i can't italicize for some reason.)

check it out on facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Soaring-Wings-Half-Marathon/131630762393
or, for those less socially mediac, swhalf.com

saturday 29 october, unfortunately just a few hours before the most hardcore shift of the year at my second job. and hopefully not too hilly of a course.

but i am sure i will have a blast, regardless. and maybe not walk on sunday.
(this is pending no hip injuries. if so, my registration fee will be more of a donation...)
hoping for the best.

sorry for the lame post, ghost readers... i had a flashback of the grand canyon today, so hopefully i will write about that tomorrow. instead of smell, which is the sense that most often triggers memory, it was touch. super cool.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

berk!

that's french for yuck!

so i just started a new book

The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - Citywell, my (library) copy has a better cover

i am having a grand time so far, finding myself lost in each page and already choosing a recipe to try tonight.. of course, how could i not love a book about paris, cooking, and la vie parisienne written by a man who worked over a decade at chez panisse?

and then, on page 27, i come to this paragraph with a solution to a lack of space in an oh-so-typical parisian apartment:

     And why limit the bathroom to personal grooming? My dated, but thoroughly utilitarian, marble bathroom shelves are a perfect pigeon-proof environment* for cooling candy. When there are lots of pots and pans to be tackled, there's much more room in my generously sized bathtub than in my dinky kitchen sink , which would frustrate even Barbie if it were installed in her dream house.

*He had tried using his roof top to cool his delicious desserts.

disgusting!!! degoutant!!

my friend jenifer walked by while i was writing this and i had her read it. when i read it, i thought immediately of the episode on seinfeld when kramer decides to take care of some kitchen duties while showering (e.g. peeling vegetables.) when jenifer read it, she thought of something else...while looking for an apartment in new york, she became excited about what seemed to be a good find. when she went to view the two-bedroom, one bath loft, she was surprised to find an unusual kitchen/second bedroom. in the kitchen there was a bathtub, and above that bathtub there was a murphy bed.

 i guess we do what we have to do with the space we have.  just remind me to only eat what lebovitz has cooked in a restaurant or bakery.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

associated

You know how in the Bible, those around and near Abraham were blessed? Just by being associated with him?

Au contraire, Jonah brought destruction and cursing to those he encountered.

I used to be that Abraham, I think.

I feel more like Jonah these days. 

Maybe it's more of a Job thing, in a way. hopefully.

:(   :(

Sometimes we just can't see it.
Like in Esther, how the name of God is never mentioned.

"And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Just His work, and greatness, and direction, implied.

This may not make much sense to you, but I need to share it a bit.

Monday, August 22, 2011

read

i am extremely thankful for reading. definitely one of my favorite things to do. sometimes i think of a book or story i am reading and i become sort of giddy, like an eager child looking forward to a trip to the candy store. i have lost countless hours of sleep from not restraining myself from turning another page. i have thoughts of staying in for the weekend and reading for days. i might do it if i were single.


one of my favorite settings for reading is just like the opening chapter of a wrinkle in time. (one of my favorite books.) meg has a room in the attic of an old house and on this night the wind, rain, and thunder shake her bed. literally, l'engle writes, "it was a dark and stormy night." can't you feel it? meg wanders downstairs and shares a warm drink and cold sandwich with her mom and brother, who are also kept up by the storm. charles wallace eats something very strange, perhaps liverwurst and cream cheese? (no, i don't think that is unusual enough. tell me if you know, i don't have to book to reference right now.) they enjoy their good conversations and the sound of the storm.


if i were meg, and i had that room, in that house, and on that night, i would make a grilled cheese sandwich, golden brown and slathered in butter (just like my mom used to make), brew a cup of hot tea (with the fine sound of the piping cry of the whistling kettle), perhaps grab a biscuit (shortbread?), and climb those creaky stairs to my solitude. i would snuggle under my favorite quilt, the tattered one sewn with primary colors, and read. later, as i listened to the now quiet storm with my now full belly, i would fall asleep thinking about the words i just read, letting them soak into me.


i also like to wake up early, when the sun is just peeking over the horizon, drink a black cup of strong coffee, and lose myself for a few moments before the day begins. i like to have a kitty next to me. he looks forward to the warming sun and tells me of his happiness with his purrs. i purr back.


..........


i read in a super good magazine article (from oxford american) that there are three voices the reader hears while reading--the author's, the character's, and his own. i find that this is mostly true with me--rarely nonfiction, of course--but i sometimes lose the author's voice in the story. it's hard to hear my voice sometimes in the poetry, too. i often think about these voices while i am reading, and sometimes become cognizant of all three at one time. not in a way that distracts from the words, though.


one of my favorite authors, if not the favorite, is kevin brockmeier. he is native to little rock and still lives here, so i have had the privilege and pleasure of hearing him read on several occasions. each of his written words filters in, almost becoming another part of me. perhaps changing me a little with every word? i tried to express my thoughts and thankfulness to him once, after reading the illumination for the first time. we were in the middle of a crowded mexican restaurant, and tears formed in my eyes. (embarrassing.) i had no way to tell him. i had no voice of my own.

 i always hear his voice when i read his words.


this will sound cliche, but his voice is like dripping honey, cool and syrupy and viscous, stretching out with every word. it has a calming sound and soothes (but does not overly pacify) the audience. he reads with a changing rhythm, a short pause in the perfect moment, and sometimes an uncomfortable long one. i find myself holding my breath for the next word, not wanting my breathing to muffle any part of the experience. he reads with a humility, hiding his power and not allowing his confidence to distract from the words. do you know what i mean, how some authors almost read too loud, and you can get lost in the voice instead of the words? i like hearing his voice, but it never leaves the words behind. sometimes they even linger above my head and fall down like a mist. i like to think that there is something in that mist that changes me.

sometimes a moment unexpectedly reminds me of his words. like in one story when he describes the coolness of a pillow, once it has been turned over from the other side. it makes my face feel cooler to think of it. or the pain of a mouth ulcer that keeps me from talking. it somehow makes the pain less, to know that someone else can describe it.


one of the reasons i love his work so much is that he knows people-in an uncanny way. he is inside the mind of so many different kinds of us, knowing so many different kinds of love, and hurt, and feeling. happiness and sadness, strength and weakness. i can't understand how he can know so much. his characters are so real, it's as if he's embodied each of them.

his settings, his imagination, his execution. connotations, denotations, comparisons. genius. i can't imagine the hours he thought and wrote. and rewrote and thought again. and finished.


please read something by him, and tell me what you think. he has to appeal to a part of everyone. and i think that if we aren't reading him in a hundred years, something went wrong.

i did get a little carried away. i just wanted to tell you how much i like to read.

Friday, August 19, 2011

help!

going crazy here.

which is correct?

my husband cade...

my husband, cade, ...

one would imply that i only have one husband. the other would imply that i have more than one husband.
such as, i have 4 sisters, so i would either write

my sister rebekah ...
 my sister, rebekah, ...

i think the commas with the husband are correct, but i can't remember.

help! please reply.

bra

skip this post if you are a man.


those who know me know that i hate wearing a bra. i will try to get around it as much as possible.
i hate bra shopping, i hate how they feel. i hate how other people enjoy their bras, and how some even sleep in them.

recently i accidentally dried one of two bras that i own.
(neither of them fit properly.)

the black (dried) bra now flipped out considerably on the left cup. it looked ridiculous.

i had a thought this week that perhaps wearing my bra inside-out would look better.
and it did! there was a noticeable line at the top of the cups, but nothing to compared to what it was.

this morning i thought, "maybe the inside-out days fixed the bra." and it did! my bra now fits the way it did before. not perfect, but better. i am thankful.

:)

yesterday in paris

every so often, i smell paris. it is a mix of a lingering perfume, cigarette smoke, and exhaust fumes. sometimes just baked bread adds to the mix, but usually the bread doesn't smell good enough to remind me of my old home. the smells hit me like a gust of wind, and a scene of me walking along my favorite path in a parc, or looking at the seine, or marveling, still, at the arc de triomphe returns to me. i sigh, the smell dissipates, and i look forward to next time.

yesterday as i walked along president clinton avenue to fetch an order i had called in for pick-up, the smell caught me.

on the way back to work, as i carried good, local food, i thought about the smell, and realized i still felt like paris. i was enjoying a walk down the street and looking foward to a delicious meal. my turquoise light sweater heated my body allowing me to truly appreciate the cool breeze. and i smiled.

it made me happy to have paris linger a bit more this time.

wow! favorite new food.

Jack's Nut Butters
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jacks-Nut-Butters/138410739545716

i tasted a spoonful of this early this morning.
AMBROSIA!!
can't wait to have my own few jars.
best nut butter in the world!!!


also in a close competition, for dessert:

LOVE THEM!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

fun surprises

hopefully my husband does not read this until next week. (and if you do, darling, surprise!)

 i read the happiness project (see former post) and will write more about it later, perhaps. Rubin did talk a bit about money related to happiness. not really that money can make happiness, but instead that small splurges (or sometimes big ones) can ignite a bit o' feeling good.

the surprise...i went on amazon and bought a few fun things:

1. sink or swim by waterdeep. if you are not familiar with this album, please check it out immediately! i am not sure how both of us lost our copies. my honey has been wanting to listen to it lately.


enclosed note: for you xoxo

2. sombra. sombra warm therapy gel. you will love it. natural, miraculous, good for all pain. we made our supply last as long as possible, but we are out.


enclosed note: for us xoxo

3. vanilla extract from madagascar. i love using a good vanilla extract. i had this from a wedding present. clearly, i also made that one stretch, but i need more.


enclosed note: for me xoxo

they are really all three for both of us, but i couldn't resist the cute notes.
and for only 32 dollars and 19 cents, endless happiness!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

5 days!

although i am not sure how many followers i have, if any, i have decided to try to write five days a week...i haven't written in five days, which is totally unacceptable. well, i have been writing, but not posting.

i hereby declare that i will do what is within my power to post five days a week. should i fail in this goal, i will write at least two posts for every day i have missed.

signed,

sms

Friday, August 12, 2011

when you're in...

birmingham, alabama:

trattoria centrale
chef-owned pizzeria.

east nashville, tennessee:

holland house
delicious, unusual cocktails
the hearty menu will make you smile.

somewhere in south carolina:
heirloom book co
just books about food, etc. old and new.
gorgeous and quaint.

these are all on my list, as i haven't been to any of them. i just read september's food and wine. also copied a recipe for butterscotch pot de creme!

coming soon

i read about this new novel (first-time novelist) in the book review.  i have been thinking about michigan for about a month now. i hear about it, read about it, look at pictures of places. it keeps coming back to me. i think, maybe i need to go to mackinac island or whatnot (spelling? pronounced mack-e-naw.)

anyway, when i read this review, i knew. this book is for me!

it just came in from being on hold at the library. can't wait.

South of Superior(don't click to look inside)
i hadn't seen the cover, and it surprised me. but i like it. :)

btw, september is national library card, so make sure you have yours. and some businesses offer discounts for those with library cards during this month, so check with your local branch. all four of you.

speaking of happiness

currently reading:



The Happiness Project: Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Funi am enjoying it. a bit like julie and julia meets eat, pray, love meets somebody that likes organization. gretchen rubin follows a year with different goals directed at being happy. interesting to note: she actually is a pretty happy person to being with. she already had a career change, and that was life-changing. she starts the project, however, when she realizes how her life is a bit "blah." i have already implemented a few of her suggestions, and many of them are ones i have thought of before (e.g. going to be early/same time for one week.) it is also a blog to book deal, which makes me happy for her. (project working, affecting readers, we are happy just thinking about it!) "be gretchen."  "be sarah."  (be you.)

this next image is from her website. i think it is too cute, and it may make you happy!

Happyfingers

happy weekend :)

ritual. novelty. challenge

every human brain seeks these three things. think of this, it is so true. i ponder this often and it amazes me.

if you are unhappy, try making sure you have these aspects in your life. it might change it.
(also, fresh air helps.)

this is a short write, but please take a long time in reflection.
(thank you, the management.)



paradox

i was thinking about writing this blog when my sister came to visit me. she noticed my brand of lipstick when i was showing her the darling little mirror on the end of the tube. so small! so convenient!  i don't remember her words about me, but she said, "i've never even bought YSL lipstick."  i told her next time she had a manic mini-shopping spree, maybe she could pick up some.

here's the story...i had to drive the black clunker to work (see previous entry) and as i was driving i touched up my 'taboo rouge' (taboo red) yves st laurent lipstick. and then i thought, "i guess i am a little bit funny."  walking (driving?) contradiction. for you to have the complete picture and laugh, i'll describe the car.

 black clunker was given to us by my husband's uncle, so we are grateful for it. it's a saturn, and 2-door, and probably from 1995. it has a smashed in front end (which is apparently plastic--"we don't work on plastic cars!" they tell me at the shop) and the styrofoam is showing through the hole  (who knew? styrofoam on a car?) the A/C does not work, so the windows have to be down most of the time. the mini-window in the back on the driver's side is smashed, so we sit on a towel when it has rained, since the car's all wet. at least 2 of the tires are usually low. i mean super low, super fast. (we've had them "fixed" but i am certainly not justifying new tires on a car worth less than my other car payment. plus, then i wouldn't have such a blast at the ghetto gas station using the air pump. cat calls. stares. grease on hands.)n i digress. car description continues:  the light fixture on the ceiling dangles, as does the ceiling material and the material on the side of the doors has been pulled off...i may be forgetting something.
 it did look pretty "washed" from the rain this morning.
and i'm glad we have that second car while the "real" car is in the shop :)

you probably have a good image. that + super expensive lipstick and bright red lips!  :)

closing thought: on a regular walking route in paris, i would stroll past the YSL "haute couture" building. i always wanted to see in, or at least to see a famous model or actor walking out, leaving their fine fitting. i didn't, but i enjoyed just imagining it.

and another: i feel that this bit of writing doesn't flow well. maybe it's the morning i've had. or lack of caffeine. coffee tastes gross to me these days :(

did you know?

didn't realize i had been a blog-slacker this week!
probably from my traumatization from the lost words.

regarding that, i found them!! should publish soon.

i had to have our car towed to the garage this morning. wouldn't start.
as i was fretting about the cost of towing + mechanical work, my mother said that insurance may cover it.
and it does! i had NO idea. so, i want to inform: always check with the insurance!! i am happy about that part, but waiting to hear from the garage about the other.

right after we decided to just go ahead and buy a new bed (sleeping on a very old one, and it is breaking about once a week now. we daydream about good sleep and think the new bed may help.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

reading

i want to cry. i almost am. was writing it. was getting better.

lost it all again. i may have it saved somewhere else.
if i don't, i did not learn my lesson.

if i don't, i am not re-writing it. and i might cry.