Chez moi… Brrrr

However, it’s not difficult to stay home when it’s 31° outside at nine in the morning and the Weather Channel tells you it actually feels like 24°. And it’s not going to get over 39 by noon. 

I know the museums will be warm inside. 

But you have to go outside to get to them and I’m not ready- even with my Minnesota heritage- to brave the cold.

But in reality I will go out because there’s just too much to do and I’m tired of the computer and reading about Donald Trump.

Days at Home (chez moi)

I find that I end up staying home some days.  And somehow I end up not feeling accomplished at all.  Even though I clean or wash or pay bills or research and organize trips.  It is the fact that I look out the window and am reminded I am in Paris, not Sacramento.  I still have some of that tourist mentality – you know, you MUST be out taking advantage of every single minute being in France.  Or wherever you are on vacation!  Vacation days are in limited supply so treasure them.  Get the most out of them.  Even if you go home a tired wreck of a human.

You’d think I would be over that…  I mean, I am not on vacation – I LIVE here.  But I worked for many years and it’s a habit that is hard to break.  So I have this inner conflict going on.  I want to be out and about.  Yet there are things to do!  And trips to plan.  And returns to France to plan.  I can’t request a visa more than 90 days out – so when exactly do I want to return?  And where will I go for the Schengen break?  And for how long?  And so should I change my appointment in San Francisco from the 19th to the 17th?  Will two days matter?

And then my FitBit sends a vibration to my wrist to say Get Up And Move!

And suddenly I remember that this is what I used to do.  Sat at a desk, at a computer, for years of human resources work (when not in continuous and often unproductive meetings).  So that’s one of the ingrained habits that makes me feel comfortable sitting at the computer and not being on the streets of Paris (don’t take that wrong!).

And when I do have these computer days, I must admit I do accomplish a great deal of useful things (what’s that you say?  cat videos aren’t useful??) (Ok, how about puppies?).

Back to the calendar.

The Phantom of the Opera….

Thanks, Andrew Lloyd Weber.  Love that musical.  Tonight while continuing with the game of “where to hang stuff to dry,” I needed music.  While I almost selected The Messiah, I opted for Weber.  And it reminded me – maybe I haven’t shared my Opera Garnier experiences with you.

2016-11-07-20-15-32Last year I went on a tour of the Opera House in French with a French friend.  This year I went back with my niece for an English tour. The place is gorgeous.  On a MUCH smaller scale, to me it rivals Versailles. And to see that entry stairway – that was replicated on stage in the Masquerade number.  Oh my!

While on tour we were able to sit in the audience and marvel at the house.  And see the 2016-11-07-20-06-35Phantom’s box – “Box 5 is to be kept empty!”  Yes.  Box 5 has a sign on it saying The Phantom.  In French.

But my experience was not complete without attending a show there.

With limited choices, I found an evening of the ballet.  And I selected a box for the lowest price.  I was so sorry I didn’t have a ball gown and opera fan and long gloves to make my entrance.  (With sturdy walking shoes hidden under the silks, of course.)  Even in casual dress, it was an experience.  You could just imagine the scene in the early 1900s.  Just think about all those paintings of Degas and the others.  And as I was led to my box, I discovered it was Box 3 – right next to the Phantom’s box!

2016-11-07-19-10-19Do you know the history of the opera? And the box seats?  They were meant more to be seen than to see.  And that’s very true.  You have a great view of the audience.  And a limited view of the stage.  During the entire production, I had to twist myself in the seat to watch the dancers.  And twist my neck.  OK. I left at the intermission.  The ballet was good.  I am just not a dance fanatic.  Probably goes back to when I was a theatre student and had to run lights for a dance show.  It’s not easy to figure out lighting cues on a dance show.  2016-11-07-20-02-392016-11-07-20-07-47But the whole evening at the Opera Garnier was magical.  And now I have all those memories running through my head as I listen to the soundtrack.

The French may love American movies, but they have not discovered the musical theatre – neither American nor British.  When the local theatre put on a stage version of Singing in the Rain last year, it was a sellout.  They even brought it to Broadway for a short run.  Probably the fact it was based on the American movie with Gene Kelly was the reason it was so popular.  And it was great so that helped.  The theatre then put on Kiss Me Kate – but that was when I was back in the States.  A couple weeks ago I went to their latest: 42nd Street!  Full on Broadway musical.  Full of tap dancing and energy.  Several of the actors from Singing in the Rain were also in this.  I was so impressed with their command of English.  Wow.  But I read somewhere that it’s easier to sing without an accent than to speak without one.  Must be true.  I was so impressed I wanted to know more about them.

Ha.  Turns out the leads are all either English or American.  No wonder they have such a command…  Oh well.  It was still fun.

Back in Paris

Remind me not to plan things so close together!  Five nights out of town.  Train arrives in Paris at 2.  Uber home.  Quickly unpack and wash and then off to the Musee d’Orsay for the first of their American Movie program.  It’s an interesting selection – some Capra, Spencer Tracy, Walter Huston… most if not all from the 1930s.  One of my friends loves American movies so we are going together.  Not a surprise – French are known for their love of American cinema.  It was a double feature so we watched the Walter Huston, American Madness, had a quick dinner break and back for the Spencer Tracy Loretta Young flick Man’s Castle.  Both are set in the depression.  Very different.  Surprised me.  But instead of wine for dinner I had two coke zeros because I was ready to fall asleep.  Train rides lull me to sleep.

This Sunday I slept in and then tackled apartment stuff.  Cleaned for one thing!  And of course did the Bee crossword.  Played the “where to hang it next” game with the laundry… I washed the fitted sheet and then later the duvet cover.  And I shopped.  Too late for the marche since I slept in.  So this evening a quick trip over to the Galleries Gourmand (the 9am to 9pm store in the lower level of Palais des Congres) and Marks & Spencers Food Hall.  If you’ve been reading for a while, you have heard my trials and tribulations of getting food home from the grocery store.  I thought I had solved it with delivery from Monoprix.  But now I have a new routine.  Take the empty backpack and a couple bags to Galleries Gourmand.  Fill up.  The weight is negligible with the backpack.  And grab the 82 bus back towards my house.  Saves me almost half a mile of walking.  Very simple.

Funny.  Once I made the reservations to return to Sacramento, things I haven’t thought of for months suddenly pop up in my mind.  Like…. A DRYER for clothes!  A dishwasher!  Someone posted a photo on Facebook of friends eating at a fast food place – In-‘N-Out Burger!  Yum!  I haven’t thought of that for ages.  Although, now that I say that, I did notice that the Five Guys place on Champs-Elysees is almost ready to open…

And the Champs Elysees…  Christmas lights are up!  The marche is going strong.  I have discovered about 5 other marches in Paris that I must visit. Including a special Norwegian market that will have only Norwegian things for sale.  The lights seem bigger and brighter than last year.  And more of them everywhere.  I wonder if there will be a tree down at Notre Dame.  Last year everything was toned down because of the attacks on November 13.  The country was still in shock and mourning.  And discouraging people from congregating.   Photos of the lights will come later in December.  Still too close to Thanksgiving for you Americans.

Can You Drive An Automatic?

The gal at Alamo/Enterprise Car Rental had to ask me three times before I understood that the manual shift car I had reserved was not available but they could substitute an automatic… if I could drive one.

Automatic shift cars are a rarity here in Europe.  So I suppose it’s not a strange question.  But certainly unexpected.

I said, with a straight face, yes I could drive an automatic.

And off we went.

The train got us to Montpellier in the south of France.  Why?  I am not quite sure myself.  Except friends have continually asked me if I have gone to Montpellier yet. Pourquoi pas?  And it’s centrally located so off we went.

Fortunately the trip ended up much better than the first few minutes portended.  Off the train, we went straight to the tram to get to the apartment.  The ticket machines are usually easy but this one stumped me at first – you have to figure out if it’s a touch screen, has buttons or a roller…  And a very nice young lady came over and offered to help. Two tickets.  Pay by Visa because the coin drop slot is crammed with coins and doesn’t work.  No worries.  I have the wonderful UNFCU card with a code.  The helper moved back a few steps while I entered the code – but I wondered if she was watching?  But – no worries as you can’t use the code without the card or the card without the code.  Got our two tickets, receipt and put my card in my wallet and into my pocket as usual.  Then we waited for the next tram.

Stepped on the tram behind a lady who suddenly stopped to ask a question of a rider – something about where was the tram going…. I pushed her a bit to get by but she didn’t budge.  Then I looked at this other gal, standing behind her and directly next to me.  Instinctively, I put my hand down on my wallet pocket and stared her in the eye.  The two women left before the tram started and we took seats.  My friend and I decided we had been targeted – helpful one memorized the code.  One made me stop, the other was going to pick my pocket.  Except it didn’t work.

But the experience cast a pall on the trip.  The apartment was not located in the poshest neighborhood and so we looked at everyone we passed with skepticism.  And then the security gate for the apartment complex was broken.  Our nervousness was heightened.  A wonderful Madame Baghdad was the contact person for the apartment (the owners live in Paris) and she was delightful.  Upset at our story and assured us that we were in a safe neighborhood.  And we calmed down and had a great visit.2016-11-22-15-41-31

And yes, driving the automatic Citroen was easy.  I could find reverse.  Even conquered the GPS system. And relied on my Google Maps directions.

The weather was tremendous – after forecasts of 100% chance of rain for all four days at all the cities we were going to visit, it turned out to be high clouds and strong winds.  Perfect.

2016-11-23-13-37-09Aix-En-Provence was the first venture afield.  It’s a sweet old town.  The Mediterranean influence – everything looked Italian!  And the buildings had balconies that reminded me of New Orleans.  Another Marche de Noel for my list. It was just a walking day, enjoying the city in general.  We came upon construction.  Surprise.  2016-11-23-14-01-25But this time when we looked down, we didn’t see a ditch with pipes or wires.  Two archeologists were brushing dirt off a skeleton.  Not a sight we often see in the US.  But as I expressed my surprise to a French friend, she said it happens all the time… and I guess that makes sense here.2016-11-23-15-48-00  Pn the way back we drove through Nimes to catch a glimpse of the Roman arena.


2016-11-24-13-03-14 Next day off to Carcassonne.  I visited in 2012. Loved it.  Missed the church, however, and always wanted to go back.  It was new for my friend.  The walled city was started by the Romans in the 4th centuy and then added to – the church was built in the 1300’s.  2016-11-24-13-19-02Much of it fell apart over the centuries until in the 1800s a fellow named Viollet-le-Duc came along to restore.  And create.  He also rebuilt the chateau at Pierrefonds.  An architect and historian, he had his own ideas about what medieval should look like.  2016-11-24-13-14-48And it wasn’t necessarily accurate.  But pretty.  At Carcassonne he put pointy towers on everything – while the current historians suggest flatter tops.  But I can’t complain too much because Viollet-le-Duc is the reason we can visit a restored city and not a pile of rubble.

2016-11-24-13-15-54The church has great energy.  2016-11-24-11-09-26  You enter into the nave where it was started in Romanesque form and move to the transept for the 2016-11-24-11-26-47transformation to Gothic.


After those two trips, our range was limited.  Our rental had a max of 750 kilometres.  We were pushing 630k. So we went to a town close by – Aigues-Mortes. Dead Water.  2016-11-25-15-17-27It was built by St. Louis (king Louis IX) as his port for the Crusades.  2016-11-25-15-01-182016-11-25-15-07-53The church was finished in 1289.  The first tower mid 1200’s.  And then the ramparts and eventually the city filled in.  But in 200 years or so, it was replaced by other ports.  The canals to the sea filled in and you couldn’t get anywhere. 2016-11-25-11-01-17 It looked like it has sat there undisturbed for centuries.  I don’t think even Viollet-le-Duc put his stamp on it. 2016-11-25-11-39-49

I finally found a toilette like I remember from when we visited France when I was 9.  years old!

Thanksgiving in France

Because we were out and about, we had a very low key Thanksgiving.  We had cassoulet for lunch in Carcassonne.  2016-11-24-14-07-592016-11-24-20-25-14My first.  And pretty good at that.  And in the evening we chanced upon a great restaurant where I had filet du porc with a butternut squash side.  At least the color was thanksgiving!  I didn’t miss the turkey but did miss the pie.  My French friend has promised me a pumpkin pie.  I gave me my mom’s recipe last year and she made it for her family.  While they professed to liking it, I think it might be an acquired taste.

A Trifecta of Facetime

Yesterday I hit the Trifecta of Facetime when I facetimed a friend and wow she was with two other friends.  Three for one!

And the conversation was spirited and fun.  Lots of election discussion and lots of catch up.  But it was rather one-sided.  One-sided?  Yes, they are interested in me.  It’s not that they didn’t want to hear of my adventures.  But whenever I said something…. Oh yeah. I read your blog.  …. Oh that was in your blog.  …. Oh you talked about that in  your blog….

And that caused me to find this blog draft that I have been thinking about for several months but never posted.

“This blog topic has been a long time forming…  after two years of my Paris visits, I find I do reflect on the nature of connection. In the midst of high school, I moved to Los Angeles from Minnesota.  I have a friend from the 10th grade that I still keep in touch with.  She’s one of those special people with whom you can start up a new conversation as if the last one ended just minutes earlier – when in fact it has been more like 4 months.   She remains in the LA area; when not in Paris, I am in Sacramento.  Pretty simple to make an intrastate telephone call, right?  We talk more while I am in Paris via Skype than ever in California.  Why am I more in her mind when out of the country than in?

 Then there are others I have known for years, since college.  I talk to them frequently in the states.  Here – not so much.  And that’s true of other friends with whom I have lunch or dinner, just hang out.

 Many of them tell me they follow my blog.

 Maybe that’s the problem.  Maybe there is no need for my friends to connect with me directly because they connect via my blog.

 Hmmm.  Didn’t mean for it to have that effect.

 I blog for you, dear reader, and I blog for myself.  It’s a combination travel diary and journaling experience. I didn’t blog so that you can feel good about my adventure and not worry about me and not connect with me.  OK OK OK WAIT!  I don’t want you to worry about me!  But I do like those occasional connections: phone calls (Skype or Face Time or my CA Skype number that works to France), an email from time to time, or even a comment on a blog if something interests you.  (I don’t make comments public most of the time so no worries there.)

 And dialogue is different than writing or blogging.  I don’t really talk to myself when I blog.  And because I don’t want to write a blog that will take hours to read (I honor your time!), there are things I don’t describe in detail or even at all.  So if we do talk, bear with me as I get into a description – we will soon reach new territory – a funny event or a weird perspective that wasn’t in the blog but you might enjoy.  Or even just ask me about something from the blog…”

 Off the soapbox. But I am not even sure that was a soapbox…  And a special thanks to the dear readers who routinely comment or email me.  Those are treats!  Merci mille fois.

2016-11-21-10-11-08Back to Paris life.  There’s a HUGE crane outside my window.  I mean


HUGE.  It’s putting the pieces over the building into the building2016-11-21-10-11-14 courtyard for a crane that will be in place for a year while they continue to work on the remodel across the street.  It’s a really really bigly project.

Now off to buy maps for the adventure in the south of France.

Hungary and more

Last week I jaunted over to Budapest for a few days.  Just to put a toe into the Eastern European arena.  It was good.  And different.  It’s been a long time since I was in a country where I had no clue as to what people were saying.  In 2012 I visited Greece and Turkey.  No clue.  Since then, I have been rather French centric.  I visited Barcelona in 2012 also but after living in California and having studied both French and Italian (lots of similarities between Romance languages) I didn’t feel out of place linguistically.  And my trip to Berlin last summer – everyone seemed to speak English.

Many people spoke English in Budapest, but not all.  I managed.  Sign language. Pointing.  Smiling.  And I have learned to limit my personal expectations – I don’t have to see EVERYTHING.  So I have a relaxing time while seeing a new place.  As usual, I started with the hop on hop off bus.  I find that the best way to get an overview of the city. 2016-11-16-16-07-59 I don’t hop off much – I just note those things I want to come back to see again. I skipped the big basilica.  But found time for the Notre Dame church near the Elizabeth Bridge.  It was built in the 13th century.  And they recently discovered frescos from that time.  Apparently someone had the smarts to cover them up just before the Turks invaded.  And when the Turks finally left, no one remembered.  The church was having work done and voila there they were.

Budapest has black buildings.  You never see that in Paris.  We clean the buildings regularly (I hear there’s a law for that…)  Many of the Budapest buildings have years of dirt and grime built up.

2016-11-16-16-41-53 The Budapest Christmas Market was open for business.  I am collecting these Marche du Noel.  Great fun.  Many similarities but some fun and tasty differences.  A specialty in Hungary is fried bread.  I got mine with cheese – passed up the sausage as I wasn’t that hungry (Imagine, not hungry in Hungary… hahahaha).  And had the best mulled wine I have tasted yet.  Products for sale included hats.  A LOT OF HATS.  Fur (faux and not) hats.  Cold weather I guess.  And anything embroidery.  Beautiful embroidery.  I ended up getting table runners – and hoping that they will both fit and look good.  As I was trying to decide between different ones, I realized that I haven’t seen my dining room table for 8 months!  I was having trouble remembering it.  Hope my decision was a good one.

2016-11-17-10-47-03Budapest is also a rebuilt city.  All the bridges were destroyed during the war.  And many things were destroyed in other earlier wars.  And they rebuilt them.  So you really have to hunt to find “authentic” old buildings. The Palace on the Castle side of Buda is one of the biggest buildings I have seen – I was told it was rebuilt many times – got destroyed a lot.  But they kept putting up new ones on the same spot.

Oh – did you know? Budapest is the combination of two cities – Buda and Pest.  On opposite sides of the river.  Buda is the hilly one.  Looking over the Danube and Pest.  (Surprise for me – the first evening I was reading through material about the city in my hotel room and I kept hearing thumping sounds.  2016-11-14-21-49-55I finally looked and saw fireworks lighting up the sky over the Parliament buildings.  I love fireworks!  It was so much fun.

Budapest is an interesting city with Turkish influences popping up here and there.  With wonderful mansions.  With wide Parisian streets.  With gorgeous lights on the Danube (always make time for a river cruise!)  Someone in Paris said check out the thermal baths.  So I threw in my bathing suit.

I went to Gellert Spa on Wednesday morning.  And was so disappointed that I hadn’t gone there on Tuesday.  If I had, then I would have been able to go a second time on Wednesday.  It was so relaxing and felt healthy.  My old bones just lapped up the 40 degree C mineral water.  It was not easy to figure out the place.  Took a while to find someone who did speak English and could explain where everything was – and he just said oh you need a map.  Why didn’t they just give me one when I walked in?  In the hot bath I chanced upon a couple from Pennsylvania.   Funny, after the election, there is now a hesitancy… where are you from?  And a mental checking – did that state vote for Trump?  Once I said California, they disclosed that they supported Hillary.  So we ended up having a political conversation.  But my initial hesitancy surprised me.  Have to get used to it.  (Although I don’t understand how any elector can possibly cast their vote for him given his actions after the election – the numerous conflicts of interest, the lack of distance from his business interests, the total lack of understanding of State department protocol?  And really? Talking to heads of government on his own cell phone, not a private line?  This does not bode well for America.)


As I reflected on the prevalence of the English language, I thought about Brexit.  My understanding is that English is the official language of the EU.  Will be funny to see that continue while Britain leaves.  But it makes sense because it is the most common language.  I read an article on the plane – Boris Johnson the foreign secretary wants a free market with EU but not the free movement of people.  Apparently he said something to an Italian – “you won’t be able to sell prosecco to Britain – you lose a big market.”  The guy responded – “maybe I lose Britain but I still have 27 other countries to sell to.  You won’t sell any fish and chips.”  HA!

Congratulations to You!

WordPress just informed me that I have made 200 posts on this blog since it started. Well that’s exciting. But I congratulate you even more if you’ve taken the time to read all 200. Let me know if you have. I’ll enter you in some kind of drawing for some kind of something French. But don’t get your hopes up,  it will be some cheap souvenir probably. But a tasteful one since I’m picking it out.  And who doesn’t like to be a winner?

Wait there’s more

And did I tell you that I sat on my glasses? Fortunately I wear contacts most of the time. When I tried to bend the frames back, it worked for about two hours and then the lenses fell  out. 

In France there seems to be an optical store on every block. It reminds me of the shoe stores in America. But what with the holiday weekend I didn’t go to get them fixed. However, two years ago before I came over I messed up my glasses and bought a second pair which have been sitting in a box waiting for this eventuality. I’ll be back to Kaiser in January to see my favorite optician to get them really fixed. I don’t trust the French.


Well, that’s an interesting word.  I was going to make this a blog a miscellaneous blog, but then I type the title: aftermath… I guess meaning after the election.  But After Math… after the math is done?

Why do we still have the Electoral College?  Didn’t we all want to do away with it in 2000?  Nothing happened.  So now there’s a lot of discussion…  I don’t know.  I saw a vid on FB that supported it.  I don’t know if it convinced me, but it confused me.

Friends here continue to be in shock…  Still can’t really eat.  Looking forward to going to Budapest tomorrow to have a change of scene.

In fact, I should have titled this Better than an Alarm Clock…   I was lounging in bed this morning, reading news and weather on the iPhone when notification of an email popped up.  Your Air France Boarding Pass!  YIKES.  Jumped up and straight to the computer.  I was able to change an awful seat – at least an aisle but the second to last row – to an exit row with more leg room.  OK it cost 20 bucks, but well worth it.

And that led to the rest of the day in front of the laptop.

How can 6 hours disappear so quickly?

I did change my seats, pay for the upgrade, print my boarding pass.  Figured out when I must arrive at CDG.  Got the bus tickets to get there.    Le Bus Direct (replaced Le Cars Air France) makes it simple and cheap.  It’s a 10 min walk from my house and 15 euro to the airport.  There are now flat taxi rates to the airport (40-50 euros?) (All because of Uber) and I will always use my driver when I am coming or going over the pond with my heavy bags.   But a quick trip with my roller bag – the bus is the way to go.

And I paid my bills on line.  All my bills.  I try to do this around the 15th of the month but I didn’t want to do it in Budapest.  And I need to take much more care right now.  After the election, my mind is shot.  Really, I am in shock and slowly coming out of it.  I totally forgot to pay my rent. (Fortunately, my landlady was very understanding of my election shock.) I messed up several appointments that were clearly marked in my calendar.  Brain simply did not function.  (No, it is NOT dementia!)  Bills led me to the question of what can I afford…  which led me to my excel spreadsheet to figure out my retirement needs…  Do I take early Social Security or do I hang on for age 70 and a lot more money?  But if I don’t have a renter next year in Sacramento, less money now is more than no money now…  I hate these types of decisions!  If I live past 85, then waiting would be a better idea.  And with a mother and grandmother who lived to 98 and 102, that’s a possibility…  But with the current politics, take it while it’s there and before the world blows up…  That’s tongue-in-cheek…  A bit…

Washing needed to be hung and moved around – from the lines over the tub to the rack over the door or to the towel warming rack – all depending upon the item and how damp it was.  And in that process, also decide what goes to Budapest and what stays home.

And then of course for some reason I had to check Facebook….  I know people scoff at FB.  But I find it a great source of news.  Links to articles or vids from all the major newspapers and broadcast stations.  This way, I don’t have to watch TV.  Hurrah.  But with the election, FB has been consuming my time.  Along with my subscriptions to The Washington Post and NY Times.  I prefer to read my news, not have an anchor tell me.  And there are many fascinating articles, not just politics…  so there go more hours.  I have to check in the morning to see what’s gone on in America while I slept.  And then I go out and live my day and I have to check your morning news when I get back in my evening.  Makes me tired.  And eats up a lot of time.

A French friend wanted to chat this afternoon.  I wanted to.  She’s fun.  More chance to speak French.  But I said no.  And clearly, the way my time has been eaten up, that was the right call.

I had a great customer service experience with my chiropractor.  She’s French, but trained and licensed in Texas.  So she’s a real American-type of chiro.  Thursday I noticed a niggling pain in my lower back.  Not where I normally get spasms, but still.  It worried me going off to Budapest.  And Friday I noticed it more.  But Friday was Veteran’s Day here.  A normally solemn occasion.  But I didn’t know if she was open or not.  So what the heck?  Ask.  I texted her.  And she called and said she’d meet me at 3.  Wowie zowie!  I hurried in.  She was great.  And clearly it was a day off – her husband was waiting downstairs for her.  Got a normal adjustment.  Left happy.  Until an hour later when my mid back started screaming She Touched Me!   Yes, there is a specific spot mid back that when massaged too deeply or stretched too much will go into spasms.  That was Friday afternoon.  By 730 I left the restaurant where I was having dinner to come home to my drugs.  Another  pain pill at 1130.  Another at 4.  And a fourth at 9.  Finally about 1030 I could feel it kick in and my back relaxed.  So I was very cautious Saturday and am continuing that today Sunday.  I still really like my chiro… my fault for not warning her she was getting close to the dreaded spot.  I will be pain free in Budapest!

Marche de Noel are cropping up all over.  As are decorations.  The one on the Champs Elysees opened Friday.  The one in Budapest opens today.  Decorations are out in stores and lights in trees and across streets.  It doesn’t offend me here.  There’s no Thanksgiving so there is no arbitrary date for the opening of the Christmas season.  And so we enjoy it.  (No carols in my house til after Thanksgiving, however.)

After math…  Things I know for sure.  At this moment, Trump is the president (unless some Electoral College voters want to change that).  I don’t agree with much he says – but what he says seems to change from day to day (now he is not going to repeal Obamacare?).  I do think we can survive.  I do think we have to prepare now for 2020 for women’s rights.  And I am trying my best to remember Michelle Obama – when they go low, we go high.   Civility is my goal.  (And this took up another hour! I have to go put things into the actual suitcase – clothes laying on the bed will not make it to Budapest.)