REUNION

Not everyone keeps in touch after high school.   I have one solid friend from Sophomore year, my first year in LA.  And one solid from university and one I occasionally keep in touch with.  But before that…. No one

Except this year there was a milestone reunion and there was Facebook.

I left Minnesota after my freshman year.  Some of those kids had been in first grade with me (we lived in the country – there was no kindergarten or preschool.) so when I got the invitation to go back to that reunion, I decided Pourquoi pas?   I reconnected with one of my closest junior high friends on FB, then we texted and finally chatted on the phone several times.  She convinced me.  I made arrangements to stay with a faux cousin.  Bought the plane tickets.  And then school friend realized that her flight to Europe was leaving on the Saturday of the reunion, not the Sunday after.  Bummer.    But I had left enough time so we could spend the Thursday together from Brunch til dinner.  Great fun.  With some people, you just reconnect and the years disappear.  Then Saturday was the event,  At times I can be introverted and shy and other times extroverted and genial.  I kicked the genial into high gear.

But it was strange.  Without Anita there I kept wondering why I was going…. And throughout the night I continued to think that.  I saw my next door neighbor.  His older brother was the first boy I kissed -at 5!  And Donny from across the street.   He had always had an invisible friend when we played. It was so cool I wanted one too.  But I kept losing her.  She’d be there – we’d be all four together.  And then we would run down to the woods.  Three of us.   His friend, him and me.  And when we got there, there were only three of us.  I had no idea where mine went.  I think she was twiddling her thumbs in the tree house.  I finally gave up.

Imagine.   He didn’t recall at all.

Anita said all these kids were anxious to see me.  Fortunately I didn’t believe that.  Three were excited.  Maybe another 5 chatted briefly,   My memories stopped at grade 9.  They were all about 10 through 12 and mostly 12. So I was oddly disconnected.  No real surprise but I hadn’t thought that through,

We left on these highs of keep in touch!!!  Yadaydayda…. I figure we really won’t.  Maybe Anita.  But the others… in the light of day on Sunday, I saw the experience as just that…. An interesting experience.

On the other hand,  I was so happy to have reconnected with my faux cousin. My siblings and she and her sister were older than me so I always felt a tag-along kid.  To connect as adults was terrific.  We had seen each other many times as they came to visit my mother or we went out there.  But always with others around and always for a short few days.

Truly sympaticio as my mother would say.  She saw more of the Twin Cities than she had for years.  Me too.

Do you remember the house you grew up in?  I do.  My dad built it.  I had visited on an earlier trip to Minnesota for business.  We drove by this time and saw a lot of construction going on.  So of course we stopped.  It was being remodeled to become an AirBNB house.  And actually, many of the cool things my dad designed were still there and left intact.  We looked down the very very very steep hill I had to climb to get down to the lake.  Now it looks like a gentle sloop.  Age will change the angle of the climb dramatically.

My faux cousin lived in the house bought and added on to by her grandfather in 1911.  Her mom had been born there.  She came home from the hospital to this house.  I can’t imagine living in one place that long.  Although I am working on 15 years in Sacramento.

The Minnespolis Institute of Art had an outrageous exhibit – one that was more theatre than art.   https://new.artsmia.org/power-and-beauty/  if you want to find out more.

And overall I was so impressed with Minnesota’s welcoming feeling.  Very diverse.  Big population of Somalis.  Very Macy’s had the mannequins wearing hajibs.

Very different from my protected childhood amidst the Swedes and Norwegians.  But good!

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Back!

Well!  I have been very lax I know.  And yet, I wrote at least two blogs… but forgot to post them.  So here’s something from May and then from June.  And if I can keep the energy flowing, I will catch up.

Bonjour

So I have actually been back for almost  months.  And where has the blogging gone?

Actually it’s gone on in my head.  I find myself composing such interesting passages and pithy observations as I go about daily living.  But I don’t seem to sit down at the PC anymore.  Today I am trapped on a Delta flight from Sacramento to Minneapolis for not quite 3 hours.  So what better time to catch you all up.

 

I arrived back in January.  Jet lag was not horrible.  Either it is age or conditioning.  Is my body just used to the 9 hour time difference after three years of these trips?  But wait – I have been making the transatlantic crossing annually since 2007.  Maybe when you get to double digits trips, it improves?  Or disappears?

 

I had a full schedule.  Home things.  Family things.  Political things.  Always rushing.  Always making lists.  Then making new lists.

 

My house.   Time to re do the flooring in the shower and closet area.  Shower was lino.  Closet and vanity was carpet.  Got that done in record time.  I like the company – I had the same guy who laid my kitchen floor three years ago.  It wasn’t the half day project – when is it ever?  But it was done in a day.  And I mischose the color tile.  Yup.  Big sigh.  It’s very pretty,  I know I liked it.  It’s just that a decision I made in this house 15 years ago still haunts me.  I selected a cool black tile for the entry and kitchen.  And it would have been very cool except the entry was already dark and then it became darker.  So for this tile, I wanted to avoid too dark and ended up overcompensating.  Especially when there is a solar tube in the shower and the daylight can be powerful.

 

Oh well.  I am getting used to it.  And it is very nice to not have carpet by the sink.

 

Then I sat in my backyard.

 

It’s a beautiful calming serene. Back yard with two Buddhas and two Kwan Yins.  Can’t have too many is my thought.  And a pond with cascading water pools.  Lovely.  Gurgling.  Relaxing.  Except you have to have the pump turned on for the water to flow.  And you have to have the pond full of water for the water to flow.  And you have to have the pond empty of leaves for the water to flow.

 

I have a guy who will clean it.  Had a gal who charged me $80 but she retired.  The guy wanted $250. So I sat outside in the balmy 70s degrees of a Californian January afternoon and sighed for the sound of the fountain.  And said to myself, put on your big girl panties and clean it out yourself! And so I did.  I am getting too old for this.  But later I could enjoy it.

 

Going out one day, I saw the Gardener at my friends house,  I slammed on the brakes and arranged for him to clean out the rest of the yard.

 

Home after a fine flight from CDG to SLC to SMF.  A friend picked me up.  Got home and decided to try the car.  Nope.  Of course it didn’t work.  But what was worse was that the key didn’t work.  The battery was dead in both of my keyless ignition units.  Batteries Plus was still open so my friend ran me down there.  They replaced them, but now even though I could now lock and unlock th care, the battery didn’t turn over.

 

Next morning after an evening of fretting over where to buy a new battery, I found AAA, got it going and they said it will be fine after driving for half an hour.  The bettery was in good shape.  Nice.  However, then I discovered the flat tire.  He put in air so I was able to get to the gas station.  Two tires later – well, the next day as they had to order them… I was good to go…. Radial tires might be good but dammit it’s expensive when you have to replace two.  And this is the second time I have come home after Paris to tire issues.  It was the back two last time, this time the front.

 

The car is 8 years old.  But with my three years in Paris, it feels like its only 5 years old.  Still.  Was it time to buy a new one?  My personal commitment to the environment was that the next car would be a hyrbid.  So I looked.  And looked.  And I don’t like any of them. Not at all.

 

Then my tire warning light comes on.  Huh?  I just got new tires!  And of course its while I am driving to the Bay Area.   The consensus of Toyota dealerships is that the Sensors in the tires are defective.  Apparently they have a -7 life span.  Replacement…. Maybe 400 bucks.  I decided to fix them and save on the new car for the time being.  Now the car should be fine.  Right?

 

So the underbelly falls off.  Well, it cracks and drags along the road.  Another hundred bucks….

 

I swear it’s the year of the Repair.

 

But you have to have a car in California.  I miss the public transportation.

 

Last year the garage spring broke. That’s held up so far.

 

My sister who had the stroke in 2016 has recovered well.  She is back to making her overalls and her knitting has improved dramatically.  But she had decided to move into a senior residence – not assisted living.  Just a nice studio and they provide the meals and cleaning.  She has a fridge and micro and sink.  However, this year it was time to sell her house and get rid of the things in it.  That was a chore.  And it’s not over – my next challenge is learning ebay for selling family antiques.

 

Working with her and her fabulous step daughter got me primed for my place.

 

Three years of living in 400 sq feet has changed me.  Those family heirlooms that I loved to see don’t mean as much to me.  Instead of reliving memories, now I see potential cash.  So I have been going through all the rooms and all the closets and other storage places and sorting and tossing and stocking to sell.

 

A former rentor told me I could run an office supply company out of my closet in my office.  She was right.  I think it was four trips to my girlfriend’s full of boxes to donate to the schools she works with.  Other things have ended up in my garage to await the ebay store.  It’s not done but I need a break.

 

Politics.  So I came back to work on politics.  I attended a Sister District Captains conference in Oakland in the first two weeks that I was back.  Somehow… I went there as an interested party and came out as SD Captain for Sacramento. I have been frustrated.  At first, just learning.  And having all these other house and family obligations so I didn’t reallly start work on it until May.  Then frustrated because the Sacramentans don’t seem too interested.  I had 5 informational meetings…. Only a handful of people showed up and at two no one showed.

 

Now I am off to Minnesota for the high school reunion.  When I come back, I shall try again.

 

Au revoir

<This was written on January 10 and 11 – my last evening in Paris and during the day of my journey back.  I have been back in the States for a while but haven’t found time for blogging until today and I discovered this blog finished but not posted.  Enjoy.>

As I rode my last metro and bus this evening, I was looking at all my regular landmarks with a careful eye, wondering what will be different when I come back.  It’s what happened in the states in the 9 months I am gone – I return and see huge new buildings replacing small old ones that I can’t even remember very well.

And this time I don’t know when I will be back.  It truly feels like a new stage, new chapter in my life. Full of possibilities…

My last vacuuming of the apartment.  Stripping the bed this morning for my landlady.  Looking at how I arranged my stuff for the plane.   And knowing I will immediately forget.

The taxi was on time actually early.  But I was in the other room and didn’t hear the message ding.  We left at 720 not 715 but still made good time to the airport.  By 8.  Checked my bags by 815.  Paid for the extra bag by 820.  In the security line by 825.  And through there and waiting now in the comfy chairs by the shops at 9.  Boarding starts at 952.  Enough time to blog a bit and then find the toilettes and stand in line again.  That’s travelling these days, isn’t it?  Standing in line…. Endless lines.  In Europe you don’t have to take your shoes off through security.  Every little bit helps.

Weird.  No plans to return.  Open ended.  I know I will be back.  But when.  So I will do the things I know of – remodel my bathroom at home – help my sister sell her house, toss and sell excess stuff in my house.  Which is funny because I am bringing home excess stuff!!!  But some are gifts.  Oh well,  decorations.

While I felt like I was done with lines, I was  not.  I went through Police Frontiere here and got my passport stamped.  But I have to go through that in Salt Lake City for the US authorities.  I will see how easy Global Entry is this time.  Last year it was a snap.  Just put my passport down on the reader and stared in the camera and good to go.  Then I collect my bags and transfer them to Delta for the flight to Sac.  And once again go through security.  This time I hope to remember.  Every other year, after the 11 hour flight, I totally forget and am surprised I have to find my electronics again.  One Laptop, one Ipad, 3 Iphones, one Ipod (yes!) and my kindle.  AND take my shoes off once on US soil.

I had a half bottle of water in a cool small bottle – fortunately I remembered to drink it in the security line so I could take it through.  I then just ask the flight attendants to fill it for me on the flight.

In Paris I got up at 6 am after what I thought was a fitful night – well, I thought I woke often but went back to sleep.  My Fitbit Alta says I got 6 hours and 5 minutes of sleep so I will trust in that and feel rested.  I will arrive in Sac at 3am Paris time tomorrow.  So a long 21 hour day ahead of me.  And of course, flying west you are in the daylight and who sleeps?  Not me.  I have the Fire and the Fury to read.  Or watch movies.  The options these days are numerous.  Time to catch up on the movies I have missed.

Will you keep reading this blog I wonder?  Can it morph into Infinite Paris in Sacramento?  Or just the US?  In a way I think it can.  Because Paris will always be part of me now.  I know the city like the back of my hand.  Rarely do I  get stopped for a question that I cannot answer.

I have never been so organized for a return trip before.  I even made some breakfast today.  And packed some GORP  (Gobs of rotten peanuts for those of you who are not hikers).  So no need to visit any shops except to spend the coins in my pocket.  But then it’s another thing to have to carry home.

Counting Down

<A very delayed post!  I am back in the States and life has kept me from blogging.  So I sat down this afternoon to write and discovered two posts that had not yet made it to the internet.  Enjoy.  This was written around Jan 9, 2018.>

A week from today I leave.  Still packing.  Still mailing home a box.  Shipping a suitcase tomorrow with many concerns about the tags for it…

And sitting at the laptop figuring out values of things for the suitcases that go with me and the box that goes via la poste.  To make the drudgery palatable, I started listening to Amazon Music.  Cool.  Found the relaxation stations.  One station had too many words.  So I clicked on Brinkman whom I recall maybe plays the piano.  The first track was great.  Then the music  stopped.  Sometimes it does that.  I guess it gets to the end of the playlist.  Yet I kept hearing things.  Sort of staticky noises.  I had just had problems with my hearing aid but fixed it.  Was it going bad again?  I took it out, put it back, changed the volume.  Always that noise.  Then I looked at Amazon music to find something to drown it out.

Brinkman was playing indeed.  And the title was Rain and cicadas.  OK.  Let’s change that station right away.  Now, soothing music, no static or cicadas.

This morning I slept in too late to go to the d’Orsay during my private time.  So I headed off to the Louvre.

So many tourists!  Someone said the Louvre is always busy.  Well, yes.  But after the attacks in Nov 2015 things changed and the normal became less tourists.

That’s over and done with.  Restaurants crowded.  Shops packed.  I’ll go to the Orsay before I leave at 9 before it opens to the hordes.  As a member I can go in at 9.  Empty!  Wonderful!  All these great works of art to myself!

 

Happy New Year 2018

Bonne Annee!  The Champs Elysees was full!  The street was literally person to person from one side to the other and from the Rond Point up to the Arc de Triomphe.  I know this not because I was there.  Heaven forbid for an introvert.  No, I watched on television, with my sponge cake from Marks and Spencer’s and my glass of champagne. (I am getting quite good at opening champagne!)  Paris did this last year too.  They project scenes on the Arc de Triomphe.  Gosh, the French are good at these light shows.  I have seen them on many cathedrals and it is simply spectacular.

Except.  This year on the Arc they had some dorky cartoony story with a cat and baguette and other Paris icons. But at midnight the fireworks exploded.  At that point, I looked out my window for the show.  Did I tell you how I realized that I can see the top of the Arc from my window?  So I had a nice view down the street for the festivities.

There was a party in the building.  The neighbor below me knocked on doors to warn everyone.  She should have invited us too, but hey…  In fact, even with the windows open, they were pretty quiet. Still, I didn’t’ get to bed until 130.

Numerology anyone?  I dabble in it.  My birth number is 11.  Aha!  You don’t reduce 11, 22, 33 etc.  They are considered Master numbers.  OK so I don’t know quite what that means, but it sounds impressive.  2018 is an 11 also.  So I am feeling good about this year coming up.

Paris in December

Wow.  So many people out this Christmas season.  The tourists have certainly picked up. I met several Americans while in various lines.  Here in Paris from our Embassy in Niger to meet Sacramento parents, from Canada to California, New York.  They are all here.

But I had my quiet time at the Musee d’Orsay.  As a member of the museum and holder of the Carte Blanche, I can go in at 9.  The public enters at 9:30.  And what an experience that is.  To walk in and behold, it is empty.   Oh, occasionally I see a docent/guard, but usually not.  In fact, I scared two of them once who walked in to find me alone in a room of china.  I guess that was not a popular destination for the early hours visitors.  I waved my carte blanche and they smiled.

Immediately I went to the Van Gogh room to see all my old favorites.  Starry Night was there in its usual place.  Sometimes it goes traveling.  Earlier this year it moved across to the special exhibit area for an interesting Under the Star expo theme.  Other times it goes far away.  Once to Russia this year.  I recall years ago I went to London and the National Portrait Gallery to see Richard the Third.  He was GONE!  I found out he was on tour to Washington DC.  I learned to always call ahead if I plan a trip for a certain painting…

There were some Van Gogh that seemed new to me.  But the d’Orsay owns so many paintings it can do that – just walk through the attic and pick this one or that one.  Wouldn’t that be a spectacular tour?  Les Greniers d’Orsay.

Notre Dame has had long lines again.  But I went to an evening of Gregorian Chants there and it was wonderful. First, though the line was long to get in, in fact the church was not totally full.  It can accommodate so many people.  And unlike the concert at St Germain des Pres, this concert was awesome.  The acoustics amazing.  There were maybe 9 singers total and several musicians playing instruments from the time period including a bagpipe.  At one point four of the singers walked up the center aisle.  Only one man was singing and his voice filled the entire cathedral.  Goose bumps.

Speaking of lines… that will be a culture shock for me next week.  (OMG NEXT WEEK!)  The British are excellent at queuing.  The Americans too.  We stand in line pretty politely.  The French – not so much.  And I must admit that on the Metro, I am as French as you can get, slithering past people – turn your shoulders to slide between if you must – to get to the coveted seat in a crowded car.

On Sunday December 31 the town was a zoo.  I needed more duct tape (Scotch American) so I headed off to Leroy Merlin again.  It’s open on Sunday!  And apparently it is ALWAYS open on Sunday.  Sounds like any of our home improvement stores.  They realized people need hardware stuff on the weekends.

But all the boulangeries were open and open late!  Usually those that open on Sunday close by 2.  Nope.  7 on NYE.

And other small stores were open.  I discovered Flying Tiger, a Danish store much like the Dutch Hema.  Ah but it’s so sad.  Even if I wanted to, I can’t buy anything – duty or weight holds me back.  It’s a good thing.  I don’t need anything more at this point.

Today, Monday New Year’s Day may be the opposite of yesterday.  I think everyone is staying home recovering.  Besides, it’s raining.  I have more packing to do.  (Just realized I didn’t put my Tile tracker in the suitcase that will be shipped so I have to find a way to open it.  Did I say I repacked it yesterday?  Much better arranged and it looks thinner too which helps meet the required dimensions and saves me additional charges.  I am starting to pack all the things on the shelves…  this is a dreary task.  I try to visualize opening it in Sacramento.  Of course, I then try to ignore the time in between at the airport, changing flights, etc.

Moving

Lots of posts in the past hour or so!  Clearly, I am procrastinating.  Or, wait, give myself a bit of credit.  I am taking a break!

I hate packing to come here and packing to go back.  On one hand it’s a puzzle and I love puzzles.  But moving what you have accumulated over 3 years is not fun.

Last year I left far too much with two friends here.  This year I bought two small carryon bags – really small – for the European airlines.  One I used for several trips in France.  The other is new just for storing things. But both were only 10 euros each so sure why not?  Thus one bag for each friend to store in a garage for me.  That’s it.  I am also giving them some things I won’t need – like a duvet and a nice fan.  And cubes.  Cubes are always useful.  The two bags and the printer.  The one bag must be ready Jan 8, the other Jan 9.  I fly on Jan 10.

I came over with two bags.  I will be going back with only two.  But why then am I carping on bags?  Because I have three bags full of stuff.  Delta lets the first international bag on free.  The second is $100.  OK.  The third is $285.  WHAT????   My third bag is going home by way of Sendmybag.com  for 189$.  A friend gave me an old but huge soft sided case.  I can send 66lbs in it.  It was all packed and I started to wrap tape around it when I realized I should be using duct tape so now I will start again.

The complication with sendmybag or any of the shipping services is that I live on the 3rd floor (American 4th) without an intercom or gardien (that’s like a super).  And the drivers do not have cell phones and will not climb stairs.  The bags must be on the ground floor waiting.

Yikes.  What to do?  There’s a hotel close by, less than a block.  But I have been worried that they will be very unhelpful French and say too bad for me.  Can’t leave it there.  Au contraire!  I finally got my courage up to ask and the concierge Charles was delightful.  Of course, we are neighbors.  No worries.  Whew.  Then we chatted on for 15 minutes – his wife is from NYC.  The only outstanding issue is how I get a large suitcase weighing 66 lbs down stairs and out to the hotel.  Gravity will be my friend.

I discovered Leroy Merlin. (A French friend said he was going to Leeee rwaieh mare lan – which I finally figured out was Leroy Merlin.) Bricolage.  The hardware store.  I look up the names for items I want but if I am not sure, I find a picture on Google images and take that with me.  Duct tape here?  The guy took one look at the picture and said Scotch American.  OK.   Not Scotch Tape.  Just Scotch.  All tape is just Scotch here.

I leave on January 10.  It’s Dec. 30.  I have well enough time but what if I want to ship one more box?  So I am attempting a dry run this weekend.  That means everything needs to be put away and I shall live here in a pristine uncluttered as it was when I arrived state.  But I love clutter.  What if I need something? No No No.  Be strong.

Actually, I am not too worried as this is the third time I have done this and it worked twice before.  I just have to remember that after I go through border patrol and customs in SLC, I have to go through security again before getting on the plane to Sacramento.  I forget every time and have to pull all my electronics out and take my shoes off and pfhafff.  (I don’t think I spelled that sound right…. You get it.)  Even though I am TSA pre-check, the screening between flights doesn’t seem to recognize that.  Maybe because there is just one check point.

And now I have caught up on most blog ideas.  It’s back to packing… unless I decide it’s too dark now to do a good job sorting and arranging and then I get to read…

Transport , Russians, & Cookies

I totally get the RER and pretty much all the French transportation systems!  In Reims I even used their bus system.  Found the bus stop for the return to city center.  Happy.  Really, RER intimidated me three years ago.  It was the big scary underground TRAIN.  But now I jump on and off for shortcuts on the Metro.

The RER is the Paris and Ile de France regional transport.  Regional Express Reseau (network).  It’s funny because lines A, B, C, D, and E are all called RER.  Pronounced air euh air.  RER A, etc.  But then there are lines F through P (at least) that are just letters.  Same idea.  Trains to the suburbs.  I read SNCF (Societe Nationale de Chemin de Fer) (National Society for –literally- Roads of Iron) is planning on dropping the RER and just calling them all trains.  What? Make sense?

SNCF has also just changed their website and marketing.  It is now OUIGo.  Like We Go.  Which is fascinating for the French to make an English play on French words…  They also now have Oui Bus.  Nevertheless, I must say they have improved their services.  The bathrooms are less often out of service.  Their wifi in first class works well and is easy to join.  They send me both emails and texts about my train – if delayed (not) or change of cars (they say take any seat as long as it’s in your class of service). And they send out surveys.

Changing topics.

I kicked out the Russians.  I just went back to Norton for my computer security.  Best Buy Geeks got me on Kapersky.  Then I read this year that they are actually a real Russian company and that our government has dropped them as they were lacking confidence in them.  Made sense to me.  Not that I have much of global importance on my PCs… well, not much is really nothing.  Not even nothing of significance, I mean actually nothing.  However, my laptop seems to be working better since the change.  Everything moves faster.  I like.  (added a week later – yes, everything is running better with Norton!)

Marche de Noel sightings.

A sign for “Vertiable Cookies American”  Which means REAL AMERICAN COOKIES.  Had some interesting exchanges about that – a friend was surprised to see it.  And I thought well, we say French macarons all the time.  So we distinguish.  But then I thought more about it and realized that real cookies are nonexistent here.  They just don’t make cookies often and they are more likely to be called biscuits.  With all the buttery pastries they make, I can see them turning down cookies.

The Bonjour Effect

That’s a book written by a couple – he’s Quebecois and she perhaps English but they wrote this book looking at the differences between France and North America.

The Bonjour Effect is what I have told you before.  You simply MUST say Bonjour before interacting with a French person.  I know yet I still forget sometimes by starting with Excusez-moi.  Nope.  And I even heard a French person say Excusez-moi and once she had the attention of the other person, she then said Bonjour.

I thought it would be interesting to see what the French people think of the book so I lent my copy to one of my friends.  At our next meeting he said he now understands me!

I guess he hasn’t always approved of my interaction with waiters.  Hey.  I am NOT rude.  I smile.  I say please and thank you.  But apparently I am not deferential enough.  Say what?  And he said that – you think it is their job and they should wait on you and take your order and check back etc.   Ah? Duh?

I still don’t get quite what the French think about this – it’s almost like they have to convince the waiters that you are worthy of their attention.

Speaking of waiters – my friend and I were having a wonderful Italian meal at Fuix by the Luxembourg gardens.  We sat in the enclosed patio with the heaters because inside was suffocatingly hot.  The waitress was not attentive.  Pas du tout.  I think we asked for the water three times.  Oh well.  It’s Paris.  Then a group of students (the university is close by) came in – maybe 10?  They were loud and obnoxious and there, I thought, went our nice lunch experience.  They started to move tables together to be able to sit as one.  Loudly.

And then the mean waitress came out.  Oh my did she give them what for.   Who were they to come in and rearrange the tables?  They were disturbing her clients (us!  She was defending US!).  And they could just leave, thank you very much.  The students argued.  She held her ground.  And they left.  She rearranged the tables back to normal,  shrugged her shoulders, smiled at us and went inside to continue to ignore us.

My friend suggested that in fact the students would only have ordered a café and would have taken a lot of her time and energy for not much return.  So get out

Food

I have been thinking a lot about food. Turned down an offer to go to Hard Rock Café…  Even 5 guys or le camion qui fume don’t appeal much right now.  I will have burgers too readily available in 12 days.

I lived in Visalia for 21 years.  It has fabulous restaurants. My consultants loved to have lunch or dinner with me.  They had their favorites.  So then I move to what I think is cosmopolitan Sacramento- being the capital et al.   I was very disappointed and still don’t have a go to Italian restaurant.

So after three years in  Paris has something happened to my taste buds? Maybe. And my idea of a meal. I can eat a dinner at lunch.  And I understand  an entree. And dessert.  My mom always had  to have dessert to cleanse her palate.  I get it now.  Not quite ready for eating a full pizza by myself but I am getting closer.  (Although I do miss Round Table pizza!!!)

And now I enjoy rarer beef.  Not quite at the French level but leaning towards red.  And cheese. I shall never  get into the sweet breads etc. But sauces – oh yes.

I will miss Picard Surgeles the most perhaps.  That’s the frozen food store (across the street from me!).  They are all over Paris – and France.  And have been around for 20+ years.  I have no idea why an American company has not figured out their secrets.  The food is delicious.  And even easy to microwave sauces.  And to die for desserts.  I could go on and on but you get the idea.

Pretty amazing post for the self-declared Non-Foodie.  Scary….