Thursday, September 22, 2011


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.


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.


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.

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.)


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.




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 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.