Back in Paris (and flirting…)

It is a catch up kinda day.  Several blogs.  You have noticed, I assume.  At least if you signed up to have them emailed to you.  Sorry.  I do keep notes as I travel along so that when I have the time I can share observations.  That means several blogs at once.  Shrug.

I had to exchange a tea cup I purchased last week.  It had bump on the inside of the ear of the cup.  That’s the handle for those of you not familiar with crosswords.   Seems like handle of cup is always a good go-to clue.  I was braced for some push back but the store was very accommodating.  We just switched with one that was on display so I was sure it wasn’t deformed.  This was at Palais des Thes.  I wrote about it before – the Blue of London tea.  They gave me several samples when I made the purchase last week.  I can now tell you it is my favorite tea shoppe.  Forget Twinnings.  Forget Mariage Freres.  This place has good tea!  And you will find several locations in Paris.  Stop by next time.

This was in the Marais.  It’s an area I have often avoided because it is very touristy.  But it’s fun to walk through.  It’s one of the oldest areas of Paris.  You know a building is old when it pooches out, it’s not straight up and down.  But nice stucco now a days so who knows?

Then I picked up some more pencils from Muji.  Very interesting Japanese store.  Again, several locations.  Clothing and home stuff.  I always like checking it out.  And of course, there is always Hema.  My Dutch favorite.   And then I wandered by a jewelry store and was forced to buy myself a present.  Pourquoi pas?  A nice necklace.

You recall my smoking hot 2.5 inch heel boots that I bought in London?  How could you not?  Not even a week and the bottom of the heel fell off.  <pouting face>  I started to take the boots to the local cordonnerie (shoe repair) but they were closed.  So I trekked down to the place I discover 3 years ago. It was far less expensive than the store in Neuillly where I was living at the time.  This one is run by a guy who last time flirted outrageously with me.  Pourquoi pas?  It’s always nice and ego-boosting to be flirted with.  Especially outrageously.  By a stranger.

He didn’t disappoint.  My French was better this time.  It was more fun.  Except I think I said yes to something I should not have said yes to…  He looked a bit surprised….   So I quickly said non non and changed the subject.  When I said I came over for 6 months, he wanted to know how I could do that, I must be working here?  Didn’t I have to go back to work in California?  I said I was en retrait – retired.  Oh my.  That could not possibly be true because I looked so young.  Yes.  This was a worthwhile stop.  In fact, I’d pay him more for the shoes just because of the compliments.  But don’t tell him that!   And of course, I have to go back to pick up my boots tomorrow.

Now to take a nap.  I have been non-stop for too many days.

Odds n’ Ends & Some Eye Rolls & Christmas

First, some housekeeping details.

I didn’t realize how much I would LOVE this dishwasher!  I feel so blessed.  OK… that was a bit much. But I do enjoy it immensely.  I was so used to hand washing everything in Paris for the past 3 years.  This is indeed a treat.

I bought a cashmere sweater last week.  Grey.  V neck.  Cozy.  Comfy.  I slipped it on at the store and it passed muster.  Beyond muster, I was happy with it.

Since then, either my arms have gotten longer or the sweater has shrunk.   And since it fits fine everywhere else, I think I didn’t pay any attention to the length of the sleeves.  It’s going to become an expensive ¾ length sleeve sweater.  And who needs cashmere if it’s warm enough to wear a ¾ length sleeve?

Actually, it’s more like 7/8 length sleeves.  Maybe 15/16…

Christmas songs…  I’m listening to Amazon’s holiday music station on my Echo (my name for the black Alexa) – I brought her over and got her on the wi-fi.  (French call wi fi, wee-fee.)   And I am rolling my eyes…  hmm.  An aside:

What exactly does rolling of one’s eyes mean?  In a friendly text exchange yesterday, a friend said that an eye roll was registered as a contemptuous judgement.  Whoa? What?  I always thought it was more dismissive in an amusing and loving way.  Like, yeah, really.  Smile.    So.  As I just started to roll my eyes, I thought I best investigate.

Dictionary.com says: Face with rolling eyes is an emoji used to express disbelief, annoyance, impatience, boredom, and disdain. It can also be used to indicate sarcasm or irony.

 Emojipedia.org: A yellow face with a small, closed mouth, flat or frowning, rolling its large, white eyes upwards. As with the gesture of an eye-roll, commonly conveys moderate disdain, disapproval, frustration, or boredom. Tone varies, including playful, sassy, resentful, and sarcastic, as if saying Yeah, whatever.

🙄

Wikipedia.org:

Eye-rolling has been defined as a passive-aggressive response to an undesirable situation or person. The gesture is used to disagree or dismiss the targeted person without physical contact

 In a study conducted by John Gottman, it was determined that eye-rolling is one of the #1 factors of predicting divorce, followed by criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling.[8] The gesture shows the other party that what they are doing is so undesirable that it is not even worth looking at or giving a thought, which is why many relationships are destroyed by excessive use of the action.

I was liking the Emojipedia definition.  Then I got to the Gottman reference.  In my coaching world, I became familiar with Gottman.  And through friends who are seriously trained therapists.  Gottman knows his stuff.  Yikes.  That’s certainly not my intent.  I still think of it as amusing…  But ok.  I guess I am now enlightened.  And you are too.  You are welcome.

So back to my listening to Christmas music – with no rolling eyes.  They just played Baby It’s Cold Outside.  I have been hearing about the US controversy.  I just can’t get excited about this.  Maybe I should.  It’s just a song.  Sung today by Dean Martin.  On whom I had a serious crush at 17.   I liked Dino.  He was funny.  And probably a serial philanderer and drank too much and who knows what else.   Now they are playing Come All Ye Faithful…  I could go on and on about every damn song and find some way it is not politically correct in this day and age.  I just don’t have the energy for that.  I like the Christmas season.  I like snow.  I like fires in the fireplace on a chilly night.  I like the songs.  Heck, I’d even like a sleigh ride.  And hot toddies.  Or a chilled Baileys.  Or even better hot chocolate, lots of whipped cream and peppermint schnapps.  Heaven.  Someone to cuddle up next to would be nice also.

That’s Christmas to me.  A warm heart.  A generous heart.  Peace on Earth.  Goodwill to everyone.  No exclusions.

Merry Merry.  With no rolling eyes.

London 2018

Rode the Eurostar to London to see the Christmas lights, visit with a friend, and shop.

All goals were met wonderfully.

My approach to Eurostar is to take the standard class over.  It’s a two hour + trip but then with the time change, London being an hour behind Paris, it feels like just an hour jaunt.  And I usually leave quite early so I arrive about  10:30.  Straight to the hotel to check the bags and then head out.

Coming back on Eurostar is different.  I always start out on the reservations page booking a return in the standard class of service.  Then I think about the fact that I leave at 4 and arrive at 7 something and then have to get a cab or Uber to the apartment and realize I will be missing dinner or having to fix something late after having been gone for several days – what will be left in the fridge?  And then my hand moves the mouse over to Standard PREMIER that provides dinner on board.  Click.

The shopping excursion was to my favorite shoe store in Harrow.  OK. So I have wide feet.  Sigh.  They sell the best walking shoes.  This was my fourth time there.  And they didn’t disappoint.  Now that I tango (oh how much fun it is to type those words!), I am getting used to 2.5 inch heels.  My shoe store had a pair of boots with heels!    I tried them on and strode through the store.  Breathing air 2.5 inches higher than you are accustomed to gives you a swagger.  The salesman was a bit surprised.  He said most women who put on heels end up wobbling a bit.  I smiled and said,  “I dance tango on heels like this.”   Oh that was fun to say!  Needless to say, I purchased the boots.

And my other favorite place is Marks & Spencers.  Perhaps I have a soft spot in my heart for them because I recall shopping there with my mom when I was nine years old while we lived in London.   That plays a part, but also, they have clothes I like.  I found a fabulous black downy puffy to the knees coat for cold weather.  It was an awesome purchase.  I have enjoyed it every day since.  My wool coat goes to mid-thigh so while it is warm, my legs get chilled.  The  M&S coat will see much service.

And lights…  Well.   I think I am close to being done with Christmas lights.  And markets.  The lights in London are beautiful.  But they are the same this year.  A bit of “been there, done that.”   Even here in Paris, I went to the marche at La Defense and found myself striding through quite quickly, seen that, bought that, would never want that…..

The best part of my London trip was spending the day with Amanda, my accidental friend who works at The Regent’s Pavilion in Brighton.  We met as I toured the Pavilion in 2015.  Struck up a conversation in the dining room about Regency England.  Became Facebook friends and the rest is history.  Last year I spent 3 days in Brighton.  This year it was my chance to show her London.  Really!  I know that sounds weird, but I know London very well.  Lived there as a kid for 2 years and spent 3 months there while in college.  And have traveled back many times since 2007.  So yes.  I navigated.   We laughed and laughed.  Saw sights.  Churchill museum and War Rooms.  And ended with prime rib and Yorkshire pudding at Simpson’s in the Strand at the Savoy.  So very posh.  Oh.  We really ended the day with me getting her on the tube in the direction of Victoria Station.   I know the transportation system well too.

The worst part of the trip was when I got back to Paris and discovered that I had lost the packet of 5 socks that I had purchased.  The next morning I suddenly remembered I had stuffed them into my new boots for efficient packing.

I lose so many things in the 380 sq ft apartment.  It’s appalling.

What is this anyway?

A dear reader asked me what was the purpose of my blog?   Just a diary for me or news for them?  Or a travel journal? Or a global political economic treatise?

Hmmm.  I dunno.  I just write.  It started out in 2015 as a way to keep in touch with friends.  But if you have followed the blog for a while you will have chanced upon comments from me saying how discouraging this can be.  What “this?”  When friends read my activities.  And I finally have a realtime conversation over Skype or FaceTime or the phone.  And everything I start to say, their response is: “Oh yeah.  I know about that.  I read your blog.”  So there goes whatever fun moment of bonding I might have had.  I become grumpy.   Sometimes I insist they listen anyway because I might add something interesting that didn’t make its way into the blog.  Sometimes they relent.

The inquiring reader wanted to know if I was going to write more about the riots.  And what and who was involved?  Issues?  History?  I put links into the Riot blog.  I am not qualified to explain the French.  I can observe and make small notations.  But explain?  No.  That’s totally beyond me. Their fascination with burning tires during demonstrations?  I am beyond puzzled.

So it’s just stuff I write to mark my observations on the French, on Europe, on life abroad.  Where and what I saw so that someday I can skim back and see how busy I was and how much fun I had.  How I met and expanded my friendships.  How I lived the life of An American Abroad.  (Thanks to Amanda in Brighton for so naming me.)

A friend spoke to me about his blog.  It sounded amusing so I asked where I could find it.  Yikes.  He looked a bit shocked and said it was more his diary.  And ultimately said, no he would prefer I not read it.  OK then.  (With my sleuthing skills, I expect I could find it, but I shall respect his wishes.)  It made me think about this blog.  There are times I come close to that too personal edge.  And then I take full advantage of the backspace and delete keys.  Word Press does an competent job of sending my blog out to a variety of folks suggesting they might be intrigued.  So I have many followers unknown to me.  I wish I could reciprocate and follow their pages.  But I hardly have time to write my own, let alone read others.  So when you write for this combined audience of very close friends, friends, and total strangers, you find you have put some filters into your fingers.

Basically.  I like writing.  And you, dear reader, will see whatever flows through my fingers on any given day.  I hope it entertains and amuses you and occasionally educates you.