Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Eye Candy for Halloween

Just a little eye candy for Halloween.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Living Virtually Again with Vicki Archer and Garance Dore

Lunch at Brio is not quite Tuscany

So, here I am living virtually again.  Before I start with the French blogs though, I want to share this image taken in Birmingham at Brio's in Brookwood Mall this Wednesday.

Harriet and I had lunch there before going to Leeds to visit our 91-year-old aunt before she "goes to her reward."  (That is her phrase for "going to Heaven," which by the way a neurosurgeon has visited while in a coma.  See here.)

Now, back to living virtually.  Vicki Archer of "French Essence" has a great Daily Click today on LaDuree, one of mine and Maha's favorite places in Paris.

La Duree is famous for its macaroons, but for me the atmosphere is the draw.  For a real taste of Paris, see Vicki's Daily Click.

And then, no morning tea would be complete without Garance Dore's fashion blog.  She's in Dallas now, but the Paris blogs are the ones I like best.  This link will take you to one of my favorites.

Finished my second cup of tea, and now it's time to get back to the "real" world and go to the ATT store and see why my iPhone isn't working?!?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lunch at the Waysider with Bear Bryant and Coach Saban

The bust of Bear Bryant which sits on "my" table at the Waysider.

Those of you who know me, know what an unlikely scenario this is, but -- wait -- let me explain:

At least two days a week I have my lunch at the Waysider, a restaurant in Tuscaloosa known for its support of the Alabama Football Team.

It is covered with photographs
of the team, the coaches, etc.  And there is a bust of Bear Bryant and a life sized cardboard statue of Coach Saban.

My favorite table at the Waysider is in a corner, by the restrooms.  It's quiet; it's a bit dark; but from here I can eat my lunch in relative calm and observe the other patrons as they come in.  If it's somebody I know, I can speak without leaving my table.

Well, for some reason, probably lack of space -- there is no more space on the walls to hang a single photograph, and I noticed the tables have been slightly rearranged to add another chair or two -- for some reason, "The Bear" has been placed on my little table for two.  And there he sits, keeping me company on those days I take my lunch there.  Coach Saban, on the other hand, is pointing and screaming something presumably at one of his players.  I don't notice him so much, but occasionally I have to move the sugar and butter around "The Bear" to make room for my lunch.

This is the view from my table into the main dining room.

By the way, Tuesday was Anita's birthday and the flowers and balloons were for her.  Anita and Dean always save me a piece of chocolate pie to finish my meal.  Thanks. ladies, and Happy Birthday, Anita.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Settling Back into my Life at Home

Juggling is a great metaphor for balancing.

I haven't posted in a week, and I want to get something new posted, but I find I haven't had much to say.

Maybe that's because it takes a while to settled back into my life at home.  I have certainly enjoyed doing that, and my life is full of love and engagement, even if it's not quite as exotic as a trip to Paris.

Anyway, this image of a woman juggler reminded me of how important it is to juggle all the elements of a fulfilling life.  It is truly a balancing act.

In Zurich, when I was feeling overwhelmed by doing my analysis and living my life, which was certainly trimmed down to the essentials, my analyst said, "It's like juggling.  You will get to the point where you can do your inner work and keep your outer life going at the same time."

It seemed like an impossible task at the time, but I am happy to say that I think I'm doing it.  Being retired helps, of course, not having to worry about bringing in the money to pay for it.  Having your children raised, also takes a few balls out of the act.  It's really quite a wonderful time of life; and it is almost as easy as it looks in this image of a woman keeping all those balls in the air while looking poised and even a bit unconcerned.  She is juggling all the aspects of her outer world, but she is definitely "somewhere else."  Like a circus act.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Schmuck's the Jewel on rue de Conde

Photo by Sandra Busby

Enhanced in PicMonkey and BeFunky

Photo by Sandra Busby

Enhanced in PicMonkey

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Playing with Paris Pictures in PicMonkey and BeFunky

This is what can be done in PicMonkey with a blah shot taken on a rainy afternoon when the light was flat, somewhere in the sixth arrondissment in Paris in a store window display.

This is the original shot.  The red lazer looking light was caused by a light  caught in the camera.

This was the day it did not rain and I got a rather good shot of this fountain in the Place des Vosges.

This is what happened in PicMonkey.

And this is the watercolor done in Befunky, which I adore.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Flower Shops, Fruit Stands, and Salons deThe in Paris

Not much to say here, just a lot of eye candy.

The little tea room pictured, La Fourmi Ailee, is where I had my lunch today. Blanquette de veau, my all time favorite meal in Paris with rice and gravy.

Notre Dame de Paris and the Love Locks

When you cross the river behind the Notre Dame on the Pont Marie, you will see a strange sight. The chain link fence on the bridge is covered with locks (see the photo below).

Martha tells me that all the fences on the bridges look the same: people put locks on the fence vowing eternal commitment to their current love objects. All the spaces are full. And more people want to put a lock on a fence symbolizing their connection.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Merci, Merci, au Blvd. Beaumarchais

Martha has been telling me about Merci, the new "in" shop on the Boulevard Beaumarchais since she returned from her trip to Paris last fall. And we had both read about it in Ines de la Fressange's PARISIAN CHIC.

So it was with great anticipation that we finally got to visit Merci together yesterday. Women's clothes and kitchen gadgets were what we saw mostly, though I'm sure there is lots more.

The visual displays were breathtaking as were the prices on the women's clothes. But looking was free and we got permission to take pictures as long as we didn't shoot too close (they don't want you copying their ideas).

In addition, they have recently added a small restaurant, totally vegetarian and totally organic. We both had the carrot and acorn squash soup with fresh whole grain bread, and I also had the risotto with basil and mushrooms.

I Almost Lived in Paris Once on the rue Parc Royale

It was 1994, the year I rented my first apartment in Paris out of Sandra Gustafson's CHEAP SLEEPS IN PARIS. I had a small inheritance, I was not going to be a Jungian analyst -- that had been decided in 1985 -- but I was working in Atlanta and was financially responsible, but I was tired of it.

Anyway being in Paris for a month gave me ideas and so I started looking at studio apartments. The one I came very close to buying was on the rue Parc Royale. It had a little park in front of it and was owned by an airline stewardess who used it for a pied a terre.

The building and the environs were exquisite as you can see from the photos, but it was tiny. The bathroom was like a fold up closet and the kitchen was not much more than a hot plate and a fridge on a shelf.

But I didn't and good thing, too, because then I would have missed all those good years in Tuscaloosa.

Shopping in Paris

Here are some pictures I took while I was out shopping yesterday. I hasten to add that these are not items I bought, only items that caught my eye and that made pretty pictures, partly because of the way they were lit.

So just enjoy looking.

Jardins du Luxembourg

After lunch yesterday, it was cloudy, but not raining and not too cold, so Marie and I walked in the Luxembourg Gardens and did our visiting.

We talked about the two subjects that are our favorites: traveling and relationships. Marie is not a shopper. She adores traveling and, unlike me, she researches and visits all the important places in all the countries she visits.

She has visited me in several of the places I have stayed in. She came to Ville Franche while I was studying French on the Riviera several years ago and she stayed with me in both of the apartments I rented in Florence, the one overlooking the Ponte Vecchio and that fabulous one on the Piazza della Signoria.

Relationships are also important to both of us, and we talked about how ours is one where we don't see each other for several years -- I'm also not good to e-mail -- but that when I think of Paris, I always think of Marie. We always make a plan to visit and pick up right where we left off.

The secret to having supportive relationships, I believe, is to find areas of interest and interact in those areas, not expecting people to be with you in places where they have no interests.

Anyway, the Luxembourg Gardens was a lovely setting for our visit.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Time for a Little Shopping on the rue de Rennes

Today is the day I'm going to devote to shopping. In the area near Odeon and Saint Sulpice there are several streets that are my favorites: rue de Vieux Colombier,rue de Sevres, rue de Four, and rue de Rennes.

Or, if the rain gets really tiresome, I'll just go to the big department store in the 6th, Bon Marche, and look around for trinkets: earrings, hats, handbags, scarves.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lunch on the rue de Conde

I was going to call this post "Lunch at Schmuck's" because that is the name of the restaurant, but that does not come close to conveying the experience.

It helps if you know that "schmuck" is the German word for "jewelry," but somehow even that bit of linguistic sophistication does not erase the feeling tone of "schmuck."

My photos are blurry, but even they convey the feeling, the atmosphere of this jewel of a restaurant on the rue de Conde, every inch of which is covered in wall paper that looks like toile.

It was my intention to eat outside today, but the weather wasn't agreeable, so we ate inside instead.

For 15 euros, you could get either a salad and an entre or an entre and a dessert. The salad was crab; the entre was filet mignon stuffed with prunes; and the dessert was creme brûlée. Paola and Martha both got the crab salad; I, of course, got the creme brûlée.

Afterwards, we had a cafe with chocolate.

Grand Hotel des Balcons' Petit Dejeuner

Breakfast in bed is one of my treats to myself in Paris. Parisians, unlike Americans, don't feel like you are being dissolute if you have your tea and croissants snuggled down under the comforter. And it's the closest I'll ever come to being like Lady Mary on Downton Abbey.

I think I like looking at the tray as much as drinking the tea and eating the croissants. But the food is fine: creamy yogurt with lots of fat and no fruit, soft cheese, three kinds of fresh bread, and French butter. I don't mention the orange juice because it is not fresh squeezed and I don't have it anyway. Even a Madeline today.

It's just after 8:30 a.m. and much too early to think about going out unless you are being picked up by a sightseeing tour bus, which of course I'm not.

My own day should look something like this: have breakfast and read my blogs, find someplace to get my hair cut... I told Jo I was not going to do that this time, but I feel my resolve weakening. In fact, I noticed walking home last night on the rue Monsieur Le Prince a place I'm going to try.

Then Paola is coming to the hotel at noon. She and Martha and I are having lunch. About all that, more later

Sunday, October 7, 2012

In the Marais with Maha

This post is going to be mostly images because the sun came out this morning. What a difference that makes on your mood as well as on your lens.

Maha and I put on all our gear and took the metro to Chatelet--the busiest interchange in Paris and the only way to get to the Marais from Saint Germain des Pres--and took Line 1 to St. Paul.

From there we walked into the Marais for some shopping and eating, enjoying the sunshine and the beautiful shops. The shops in the Marais are fully open on Sundays, one of the few areas in Paris where they are.

We got there about 10:30 when the streets were half empty and had breakfast. By noon it was hard to get through the crowds, lots of bicycles and baby strollers.

These candy colors ankle boots are not what we bought, but for a picture they were irresistible.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dinner at Betsy's on Blvd. Montparnasse

These are not the roses that Martha got for us to take to Betsy and Richard last night. The ones Martha got were lovelier, but alas, I didn't get a picture of those. This will just give you the flavor as I write about the evening.

When Betsy found out that Martha and I were coming to Paris for a week, she invited us to come to their apartment on the Blvd. Montparnasse for dinner on Friday evening. And we did that.

For dinner we had pigeon with rice and lentils, creme fraiche, and Parmesan cheese. Lots of fresh bread and real French butter, salad and cheese. Finally, tart au citrone and cafe.

Betsy and Richard listened to our escapades, gave us tips about Paris marches, and told us about "Nuits Blanches" -- the night when Paris is even more lit up than usual with music and dancing all night.

Sounds good in theory, but the rain makes it dicey for me. Any way, Maha is coming over about 5:30 pm and we'll see.

Playing with Photoshop in Paris

Came back to the Grand Hotel des Balcons about 3:30pm. The metros are packed, it's raining, and tonight is "Nuits Blanches.". Too much for me.

But I did find out how to put PhotoShop on my iPad since I couldn't get PicMonkey to work. The learning curve is steep for me, as usual, but here is my first effort

This hotel is fabulous for only 94 euros a night. Something I've never seen before: you put the room key into a slot just inside the door and leave it there until you leave. When you take it out it turns all the lights off.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bread and Roses, in the Sixth Arrondissement

It's late for me, after 11pm here, so just a short post about the lunch we had on Thursday at Bread and Roses. Martha picked it out and led me by the hand,I was practically comatose after the flight, the bus ride, the taxi ride and getting settled into my hotel for one night.

But it was worth it. Martha had quiche and salad, but I had the pumpkin soup with country bread and that wonderful ham they have over here, sliced thin, a plate full. Eaten with a whole pot of English breakfast tea and followed by a tart au citrone. Half of which I had to take back to the hotel for later.

If it weren't for the people I love being in Alabama, I would be living in Paris for the bread and butter.

In Paris, at Last

Sometimes when I'm enduring the long plane ride, the bad weather, the tedious process of getting technologically savvy in another language, etc., I ask myself, "Do I really want to be in Paris that much?"

But from where I am now--sitting in my wonderful little room with my stomach full, euros in my pocket, hooked up to the internet -- finally, the answer is "Certainment."

It took 30 hours (that includes 14 hours in the bed) and I'm afraid to count how many euros to do it, but now it is done. And now I can look in the windows and make pictures.

Maha was already here and functioning. She had already been to the Monoprix to lay in supplies like water and snacks. She had her metro tickets and she has already been all over Paris.

Needless to say, I can't keep up with her, but there's no need to. We just text and meet. It's a great system and shouldn't cost a house payment since we bought the package. Mine may run out. She's an avid texter.

The image is of the church at Saint Sulpice during a moment when the sun came out. The weather is capricious. Maha says, "The Parisians don't wear sunglasses." And I know why. The second you put them on, it clouds up and you have to take them off again.

But it doesn't matter. I just wear my raincoat, scarf, and hat and keep changing my glasses--because it's worth it to look in the shop windows.

We are having dinner with Betsy and Richard tonight. Of that, more later.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Paris Fashion Week Mode

Getting in the Fashion Week mode in Paris.  Here are some shots I took of Nat in Milano a couple of years ago.

Maha is already there having coffee at Angelina's and following The Sartorialist around in the Tuileries  trying to get the courage to snap his picture.

Photo by Sandra Busby

Edited in PicMonkey and BeFunky

Photo by Sandra Busby

Edited in PicMonkey and BeFunky

Photo by Sandra Busby

Edited in PicMonkey and BeFunky