Cleaning. Wine. Bus. Gilet Jaune.

The cleaning lady who accompanies the apartment came today.  She’s a talker.  I was warned. Yet given the mess with the gilets jaunes, I am staying in while she cleans.  Best thing is she confirmed that the ants are not a new problem.  I was so worried that my forgotten pastry enticed them in and I was responsible for the invasion.  No.  Josey says the building is rife with bugs.  So, I am now relieved all I have seen is ants.

It’s a beautiful Saturday.  And I feel quite stuck.  So many metro stations are closed – Invalides, Concord, L’Etoile…  Where you would make a change to another line.  The cleaning lady was 20 minutes late because the transfer stations were closed from 8 am on.  From what I can find on the internet, the gilet jaune are starting at Gare de l’Est and marching down to the Seine, across it, then to Champs de Mars and the Eiffel and Trocadero.  The Eiffel and Champs de Mars are about 2 blocks to my west.  I would have considered taking my kindle and sitting in the park today reading, it’s so nice.  But no.  Too close to the action and the possibility of tear gas.  I do believe in free speak and in demonstrating.  But I am all about peaceful demonstration.  OK, some point out to me that the gilet jaune themselves are peaceful.  Probably true.  But they somehow are allowing the “hooligans” to join into their demonstrations and set things on fire and break glass windows.  I have read that the chief of police refuses to give permits to any marches down the Champs Elysesees.   Now the gilet jaune are posting – we must regain the Champs Elysesees.  What? It’s enemy territory to be recaptured?  Enough already.  It has all the earmarks of a mob.  Even today I don’t believe there is a defined leadership.  How can the government meet demands when there are no formal demands?  Trust me, I do think back to our early beginnings and the Boston Tea Party…  I don’t have this resolved.  More thought necessary.

But the bottom line – I guess it’s become a blog and reading in the apartment day.  I do need to go to the grocery but that will wait until midafternoon.  Saturday morning is the day for Faire Les Courses – Shopping!  The French shop every Saturday.  Shop early.    This early evening I do have drinks scheduled with a French friend.  I am hoping the bus will be running by then, but if not, there are working metros I can take.

Last night I went to a wine bar at the invitation of an American expat.  Quite clever.  Perhaps there is the same setup in the US?   You are welcomed (in English – I complained about that to the host who from then on insisted I speak French) and given a card, like a blank credit card.  Then you are shown many rectangular boxes with wine bottles you can see through a glass.  There are small touch screens above each bottle.  It shows the small, medium and large glass.  You press one, put the wine glass under a nozzle and voila.  Your wine glass is filled.  It also shows the cost for the bottle and for each size of taste. When you are done, you hand the card to the Monsieur who is now speaking French.  He tells you that you owe 10 euros.  You pay.  And possibly stagger out.

I did not stagger.  I did, however, taste about 6 wines.  I will go back.  This evening was a meetup event; however, the wine bar is open for the pubic all the time.  It was convivial.  There were only 5 of us, a rather nice size for a quiet and interesting chat.

Going home was an Uber event.  The bus I would normally take was not going to arrive at my stop for 40 minutes.  Far too long to wait.  The metro?  Sometimes I am just not up to it.  I would have had to transfer lines.  Uber was simple.  I don’t use it often but feel it’s money well spent when I do.

Metro vs Bus.  Bus wins every time.  Where I live now there are about 6 bus lines I can take.  The variety is wonderful.  I am seeing far more of Paris than on any other stay.  Yes, some lines are bumpy.  And some drivers are too fast.  And sometimes they see you running for the bus and leave anyway.  Yesterday mid-day I waved and waved and she left.  But then she stopped about 20 feet down and let me on.  Was that a power move?  I don’t know.  I said both Bonjour Madame and Merci bien.

Dream Big. Go Big. Tea. And Ants

One of my favorite stores here is actually a Dutch chain: C&A.  I found a sweatshirt there this week.  My acquired-in-the-past-four-years French style sensibility has pretty much removed sweatshirts from my wardrobe.  And God forbid a sweatshirt with a saying.  Although, I find in Paris there are a lot of shirts and sweats with “cool” words and phrases, but I tend to avoid them.

Not yesterday.  The phrase:  “Dream Big” in big print.  Under it “Travel Far.”  It’s a sentiment that appeals to me.  OK.  Duh.

I’m also a follower of Mike Dooley.  I may have mentioned him before.  I read his book Infinite Possibilities in 2014.  He didn’t say anything I didn’t already know or believe- he was just more articulate than me.  I subscribed to his Notes from the Universe.  Emails to me from the Universe, almost daily.  This was the one from today.  And I so believe it.

People believe what they want to believe, Marcie. And this, alone, explains what they have or don’t have. 

Does that make your entire flippin’ day, or what?! 

   The Universe

Believe what you want, Marcie. Give yourself permission, and don’t be afraid to go BIG.

© www.tut.com ®

So.  Dream BIG.  Just like the Universe says; Go Big.

Why is this important or meaningful today?  My attitude has not been at its best for the past few weeks. Yes, Chamonix did give me a break!  But back to Paris and back to the existentialist dilemma of what’s next in my life?  You’ve read the recent blogs on Owning Paris and France.  What’s to conquer?  I’m the kind of person who seems to always be looking for the next big thing.  And I don’t know what it is.  And waiting?  Waiting is not my favorite activity.

So then I find my sweatshirt:  Dream Big. Travel Far.  And The Universe through Mike Dooley reminds me of the same thing.

A dear friend suggested I travel, perhaps to Cassis.  I was hesitant as I spoke with him.  The last trip to Chamonix, no matter how much I enjoyed it, left me a bit rattled.  I don’t forget wallets.  I don’t lose things in cabs.  I am a master traveler.  These setbacks made me wonder if I was getting too old to travel by myself.

That thought lasted maybe half a day.

Today I went BIG.  Next week – and it is another sudden trip like Chamonix.  I checked the weather.  The window is great for the next week, not so great after.  Just Do It!  Instead of going to Cassis itself, a small but pretty village in the south of France (where it should be in the low 60s with sun!) (I will NOT lose my sunglasses this time – of course, now I have 3 pairs of good sunglasses.), instead of going there, I am going to Marseille.  Down on TGV (tres grand Vitesse – high speed train) on Wednesday and there by noon.  The going Big is the hotel.  I have splurged at the Grand Hotel Beauvau Marseille Vieux Port by Sofitel.  A queen bed with view on the port itself.

Go Big.  It’s only money.

Two for one.   Marseille has been on my go to list for a long time.  And Cassis is pretty.  I called the Sofitel and talked to the concierge.  At first they were unwilling to transfer me to the concierge.  I had to have a booking number or date.  They don’t just talk to any old person calling!  Sniff.

I said I have the website open.  I am going to reserve your fanciest room (and costliest) but not until I know I can get a boat trip out of Marseille or Cassis.  Amazingly enough, I convinced him and he transferred my call. The concierge was wonderful.  He suggested a bus ride to Cassis and take the boat from that harbor.  So I immediately got my train ticket and made the reservation.  I upped for breakfast too.  I figure a four star hotel will have more than a croissant and runny eggs for a breakfast choice.

And by going to Marseille and not directly to Cassis, the train ticket was less.  That’s my justification for the fancy hotel.

Who am I kidding? I never need justification for a luxury hotel.

Which leads me to the next topic:  Tea.  You all know about my tea adventures at luxury hotels and tea salons.  This stay in Paris I have found that those outings have introduced me to new teas.  I am now buying this tasty stuff and drinking it at home.

tea stuff for blogI am hoping to insert a photo – my teas from Palais des Thes: Blue of London and Montagne Bleu, and from Mariage Feres: Milky Blue.   I now buy in tins for loose tea.  I have two tea thingies.  The thing that holds the loose tea… ?  And shall buy more.  And I have small tea spoons (not teaspoons) to mix in my cream.  And now I have found cute little pitchers for the cream.  Both from a flea market. I love the one that says Bonjour!

But tea leads me to ants.

Before going to Chamonix, I stopped by the boulangerie and bought this delicious … not tarte… pastry. To have with my afternoon tea.  Vanilla cream and icing.  Yum.  But I got busy packing and forgot to eat it.  I left it on the stove top.  I was in a rush.  Didn’t think about it.

Ants must have a tremendous sense of smell.  And vanilla pastry left for 3 days must emit a fragrance that is an aphrodisiac to those tiny creatures.  Or maybe it smells like heroin?

Ants all over the counter.  Don’t tell Norm, my friend on his cruise.

I used my own method of extermination.  Oh… that sounds cruel… well, it was the ants or me.

Over the years I have found hot water does the trick.  I pour boiling water on a sponge and sponge them up and then again wipe down the counter with the hot water.  Started that on Tuesday night on my return.  This morning, Friday, they are no longer visible.  And no chemicals.

Going big takes some time planning.  It’s now midafternoon.  I see the sun out my window.  It beckons.  But first I have to do some cleaning up.  Straightening.  The apartment’s cleaning lady is coming by tomorrow morning.  I need to put stuff away after my crazy jaunt to Chamonix so she can actually reach surfaces.

A friend said yesterday that my tiny apartment would make for slit wrists – feeling cramped and closeted in.  But no.  In fact, this is the largest apartment I have rented (or not, given I am house-sitting) in all my visits to Paris.  It’s very comfortable.  The one drawback is that he left his stuff here.  Oh, he cleaned out some closet space and two drawers…  but it’s not like the normal Air B&B with empty furniture.  So I have piles of stuff around.  That is what I shall tackle next with the incentive to finish in time to enjoy the sun.

Hope the weather is treating you well too.

Grumpiness abates… slowly

A good night’s sleep does wonders.  Well, demi-wonders today.  I haven’t shaken a lingering bit of grumpiness but am much better than yesterday.

I did the marketing.  To the local marche to search for panais (parsnips!) and finally found them in the last stall I looked at.  (obviously.)  Then I had to bring them back to the apartment because they are not light.  On to Picard for some frozen stuff including protein.  I am wondering if I am suffering from a lack of protein.  Last night’s meal was some goat cheese and a delicious vegetable soup.  The cavewoman is coming out in me.  Where’s the beef?  Oh wait.  That wasn’t the cavepeople – that was Wendy’s.

And a final stop with my back pack to fill it up with bottled water.  Yes.  Last year I went cold turkey off bottled water…   The water in this arrondisement is not as tasty as it was in Neuilly.  Especially in the tea.

On the street I had a confrontation with a pigeon!  Really!  He (Don’t know how to tell the sex of a pigeon walking down the street…  are the males more colorful?) was walking straight towards me.  We both stopped.  He did not fly away.  I took a step forward.  He held his ground.  Another step.  Again, he didn’t fly away, but he did turn to the left and walked around me.  Is the word out about my war on pigeons?  Was he the pigeon John Wayne?  Or was she the pigeon world’s Barbara Stanwyck?

I wore my short Rei puffy jacket.  If it’s over 50 degrees out, the new long coat from M&S is actually too warm.  I wore the jacket with my new pink turtle neck.  Well, it was pink.  Now, after an accidental washing with dark clothes, it is horrid grey pink.  Sigh.  At least it wasn’t expensive.  And it still keeps my neck warm.

Didn’t matter about looking chic today.  I haven’t even put in my contacts yet.  That in itself is a declaration that this will be a lazy day.

Or maybe later.  One of my insights from yesterday’s blog stuck with me.  I am cleaning, washing, and putting things away today.  I am hoping that will push the grumpiness out totally.

My appreciation to the readers who contacted me to see how I was doing or give me perspective about all the disruption I am facing.  I also realize that other stays I was here for 9 months.  I could put the hassles of packing back in a corner of my mind and not think about it for months.  If you are a long term reader, you will remember my packing anxiety surfacing every January as I prepared to return.  Triple that.

Hours later…

Bedroom is clean.  I can see the top of the mantle.  Bathroom clean.  Living room clean.  Dining table/workspace organized.  Just the kitchen counter left and I will do that as I cook my lunch of Charolais beef.  Started sacks for taking to Christmas dinner, to NYE stay in the country (for 4 nights), and even to take back to the States.  (Lots of Christmas cookies.  I may end up checking a bag just so I don’t have to lug around that weight.)    As much as I like to brainstorm and change plans on a dime, there are times I need to have organization.  Yesterday and today are obviously one of those times.

And my arms… another shirt that the sleeves are too short.  Really?  Is there a rack upon which elves put me at night to stretch my arms so no sleeves fit?  It was always my sister who had the strange long arms.  I know I am getting old and one starts to shrink.  But everywhere but my arm length?  Nah.

OK  On that strange note, I am off to eat protein!  Yum.  Miam Miam.

And tomorrow: to conquer the world, or at least Paris.  Today – time to watch A Christmas Story.  That will get me out of the doldrums for sure

Merry Merry

Philosophy of Cleaning

Did you ever (here I go again, Andy Rooney) notice how the mind wanders while cleaning? I am preparing for my visitors next Monday. OK, she has three kids under 8 – I know I don’t have to clean too much as the younger you are and the more kids you have, your cleanliness standards can lower for a bit. So that got me thinking about my own standards.

Living alone in Paris there is only me to please in terms of cleanliness – unless I invite someone over but in these cramped quarters, I prefer to meet in cafes. But I am not a total slob! Yet, today as I put some elbow grease and Comet into my actions, I was quite surprised to see that the Formica in the kitchen was a bit lighter than when I started. I wipe the counters often, but apparently I need more than a simple sponge. That led to more cleaning – suddenly I looked with new eyes and found grime in many places.

The old adage is that we clean frantically before our mothers visit. I wondered about my mom’s standards. Frankly, I can’t remember her having me re-clean something that wasn’t to her in initial satisfaction. My siblings may say I was spoiled. So? I do remember my brother on his hands and knees scrubbing the cork tile flooring in the Minnesota house. Glad we moved before I got old enough to be roped into that job.

So my obsession today with cleanliness came from? Cleanliness, they say, is next to Godliness. If that means I get to sit by God for a bit- til it gets dirty again which will be soon given the dust in the French air (remember the dust bunnies from a former post?), if I get to side by him or her, I will ask about the mess going on in the States and the World. And I realized, He or She will probably tell me to listen to the masters he/she already sent – like Jesus or Buddha or even Dr King… the only response is love. OK I do recall the Dali Lama saying something about worldly consequences… about Bin Laden… Oh this gets too complex for me.

Fortunately, I have finished so my musings can stop. Even the floors were washed! I didn’t do much more than vacuum the parquet as I am nervous about doing something that might damage it. It is quite beautiful.

OOPS. Can’t rest on my laurels yet – have to clean the tub. I’ll put on Party Rock to sing and avoid musing. I’d love to play Hamilton but when I do, all the songs are stuck in my mind for at least a week! It’s worse than It’s A Small World from Disneyland!

It’s Just Not Right!

Here I am in Paris!  And I have to vacuum.  And dust.  And clean.

And even shine my shoes!!!

I didn’t sign up for all that.

It’s when you have to go out and buy shoe polish that you realize you are not in Kansas anymore.  (OK well duh!)  But my point is that when you are on a vacation, you don’t have to do those things.  When did you last pack shoe polish for a trip?  Exactly my point!

But after 2 plus years, you’d think I realize I live here.  Guess the ambiance of Paris clouds my mind.  Or the dust…

And let me tell you!  As beautiful as these Parisian gardens are, they are all full of dirt.  I am not quite sure of the right word… it’s not gravel on the paths.  It’s tan colored and very fine.  And when kids play, they kick up a dust storm.  And when you walk, you bring the garden path home with you.  My black shoes look beige.  Seriously!

Hence the vital need for polish.

 

 

 

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.

Sunday in the Park

I must admit that I weaseled out of the cooking class. Maybe I shouldn’t have. But my gut wasn’t excited. Making Sole (some French word) was just not appealing to me. So I worked it out with the chef to pay him for the materials (I told him the day before) and we are no longer ennuyer (irritated). I think the reality of prepping the fish was getting to me. In the abstract, making a meal of sole sounded exotic and French. As the reality of it became clearer and clearer, my reservations about taking biology classes came back to me. I have a feeling it was not going to be like unwrapping a frozen fillet of sole and plopping it into a pan.

2015-05-23 12.39.37Instead I went to the Musees of Liberation and Jean Moulin. These two free museums are located at the Gare Montparnasse next door to each other. Jean Moulin was seen as the founder of the French Résistance – he was killed/died in 1943. The museum of Liberation is all about the Liberation of Paris in August 1944. I actually bought a book – a heavy book! – with photos from that week.

It’s Pentecost Sunday. And that’s another and the last holiday in May for France. But I have also noticed that anywhere there is a plaque to someone having been killed in the Liberation fight, the Marie de Paris (city hall) has placed a bouquet of flowers. That makes it feel like Memorial Day back in the States. I can’t find out why. I will ask around. I went by a government building the other day and saw a plaque that said it had been bombed during WWI and the marks were left for the world to remember. Similar to several places in London where you can still see the damage from the Blitz. People here grow up with these souvenirs; to Americans, well, to me, they are sobering reminders of what war is. We are so fortunate to have been spared.

After that visit and a bit of shopping (well, Galleries Lafayette just happened to be there!), I came home to clean. I appreciate my cleaning lady in Sacramento. But I would be embarrassed to hire someone to clean 400 sq ft. And I have found the way to reduce the cleaning time. No, it’s not do it faster or more efficiently. It’s to wait until I am hungry and then I clean right through and don’t stop and procrastinate in the middle of each task. I hadn’t had lunch and it was 4. So I whipped through the vacuuming and got to the restaurant for a very late lunch and early dinner. This is a new place for me – Coffee Parisien.  2015-05-23 17.04.22When I walked by it coming off the bus, I noticed someone with a delicious looking hamburger. It’s a great but strange place. There are two others in Paris. They are basically American burger joints. The bacon cheeseburger was delish. Except for the fact I ordered medium and what I got was well done. No worries – it was still tasty. And the paper placemats – had the pictures of all the US presidents from George to Barack.

2015-05-23 11.42.41Saw a French La Poste mail lady on a bike yesterday.  My Dutch friend thinks this is normal.  Maybe here, not in Sac!

2015-05-24 13.44.34 2015-05-24 13.32.14 2015-05-24 13.35.26 2015-05-24 12.54.56This Sunday the parks are filled with Parisians. And me. Rented a velolib’ and biked the Bois de Boulogne. High 60s/Low 70s. Clouds and sunshine. Saw families, dogs, bike riders, kids on scooters, handsome horses, the equestrian competition at the Bois de Boulogne, ducks and baby ducks, and landscape and lakes.  2015-05-24 14.19.45And saw the kids train that goes to the Jardin d’Acclimatation (kids zoo etc)  This photo is for JS.

And I simply cannot take a bad picture of me – even selfies –2015-05-24 13.52.19 here in Paris. <shrug>

Last days (for my guest – not me!)

My guest is gone. It was great to see a friend. But after 12 days in a 400 sq ft apartment with two people, it is relaxing to have it to myself again. Only for a couple days, however, as Guest 2 is arriving Thursday afternoon.

Guest one spent her last day, Saturday, packing and downloading movies for her layover in Toronto. We did find time for a delicious lunch at my favorite soufflé restaurant. It was closed for many months as it remodeled. Frankly, it doesn’t look that different to me! And it has a new name. Les Soufflés de Recamier. The menu now includes some things other than soufflés. But the soufflés remain delicious. The new dessert soufflé – pistachio! Mmmmmm

.2015-04-25 13.43.59 2015-04-25 14.52.14 2015-04-25 14.52.20

On the way home, we stopped in at Guerlain 2015-04-27 22.16.18to buy my eau de toilette. In the States it is sold at Macys and Nordstrom’s and others. Here Guerlain has their own little boutiques. Quite snooty, actually. Friendly, but snooty. They have to wrap it just so. And with a pretty ribbon. And into the special very pretty Guerlain shopping bag. And your receipt isn’t handed to you – it is put in a discrete tiny folder that says Guerlain. All the clerks in little black dresses, heels, no hair out of place and with beautifully made up faces. I am sure my hiking boots stressed them out – but not enough to refuse my credit card. (Got another month to go with doctor- ordered hiking boots – remember the pulled tendon? I do.) (Speaking of hiking boots, I was walking on some serious cobble stones today 2015-04-27 10.36.37and thanked the heavens for these boots. I have no idea how French women get across this city in spike heels.)

Sunday we rolled Guest’s bags to the Air France Le Cars bus stop – conveniently located about 3 blocks from my apartment. And she set off for the US.

I came back and tackled the apartment. That meant cleaning and washing. 4 loads. Washing is another strategic process here when you don’t have a dryer. You have to think about each load- where will you hang the contents out to dry. What order is the washing? What dries the fastest and where? Will that spot be taken? Use the heating rack, sure. But do you need one or both heaters?

That and vacuuming did me in. Early night Sunday. But felt very accomplished and clean! And ready for Guest 2.

Insight while watching Guest pack.  I have decided that when I leave – I hate to think about it but I do have to come back – I was stressed enough trying to get here.  The thought of packing up to go home is intimidating.  But I have a solution.  I am going to move into a hotel room for at least one, maybe two nights.  That will allow  me to get stuff out of here and clean it up and be able to pack in a neutral setting without going crazy,  There’s one right around the corner.  OK, now that I have that settled, I don’t have to think about moving anymore.  Whew

Back Home Again

Friday was a late night; the taxi dropped me off at midnight. The added price for the “reservation” turned out to be 17 euros…  but he was there.  Not sure I need a reservation next time – at least at this time of night.  I recall standing in a taxi line for 30 minutes once when I came over on the Eurostar.

An observation: during this adventure, I am having new experiences daily.  That is exciting, exhilarating, daunting and tiring.  I am realizing that by my age, life is normally … what’s the word?  Certainly, not boring, but perhaps routine. And living in a foreign country, with a new language, is more “different” than I expected.

It has been cleaning weekend.  I started the washing when I got home (yes, midnight), and have done 4 loads since.  It’s now Sunday night.  Saturday morning after a surprisingly good sleep I set out for the last (I hope) round of upgrades for the apartment.  A towel that is softer than those here.  A drying rack so I can hang clothes somewhere other than over the bathtub, a thermometer so I know the temp (but I didn’t notice til I got home that it is only Celsius…. I added the Fahrenheit.)   And a new shower head.  And stopped by the pharmacy on the way home for some hydrogen peroxide.  She was hesitant to sell it to me… wondered what I was doing with it.  So common in the US, here in the back room.  Why did I want it?  I saw a FB post about it’s use on mold.  Now, don’t think my bathroom is full of mold!  But there are a few spots.  It’s because other people didn’t open the window when taking a shower.  And I was determined to rid the place of it.  Successful.

IMG_5885The drying rack is also a godsend.  Except these are 7 foot doors and that’s the only place I can hang it.  Climb on the bed to hang the clothes…

In the second to the last month (I have a deposit), I plan to give her an accounting of what I have spent to customize this place and see if she wants to credit me anything.  And even if she doesn’t, I am happy.  No reason not to be comfortable for such a long time.

And I am happy.

Yesterday  Edith of La Vie Parisienne had another outing- this time to Montmartre.  I like her walks because she gives detailed information – all about the commune of Montmartre in the 1800s.  French are strange.  Big on barricades.

2015-04-11 15.51.23 2015-04-11 16.14.08 2015-04-11 15.39.09We walked from the famous Moulin Rouge (which she doesn’t recommend) up to the base of Sacre Coeur through an area that was new to me.  Past the café from the movie Amelie.  I thought it was on a square… nope.  just a crossroads.   Past several cafes that catered to Picasso, van Gogh, and other artists and writers.  2015-04-11 16.26.13And finally by the last vineyard in Paris.

2015-04-11 16.21.46Edith always dresses the part: leather skirt, black jacket, black and white kerchief scarf over her hair, red red red lipstick and spike heels – spike heels up and down hill on cobblestone!

It was a drizzly day.  And after this hill climbing adventure, I rushed off to pick up the extra key for the apartment.  Visitor arriving Tuesday.  Decided to go by my preferred transport, the bus.  Bad idea in the rain.  I waited with a crowd for many minutes.  Only to discover after I got on the crowded bus that I had waited on the wrong side of the street so I was going the wrong way.  Got off at the next stop and just walked to the metro.  My landlady was waiting in front of Monoprix.  So I thought I would pick up some things.  Not.  Everyone and their brother was there.  I went up the escalator and fought through the crowd to get to the down escalator.  Metro back.  With this clever idea – if I got off at Etoile I could take the 73 bus which has the closet stop to home. A great idea in concept.  However, I believe the walk through the Metro station was twice the distance I was supposedly saving.  And the bus wait was 20 minutes. Bustimate loss. But while waiting, I did notice that the leaves are coming out.  2015-04-11 18.16.14Soon Paris will be green and flowering again.

Sunday was another stay inside day – aided by the fact that I didn’t get up til 11.  I am amazed at how long I can drag out the cleaning of a 400 sq foot apartment.  I excel at delays.

But now it is cleaned and rearranged and ready for guests.

When I walk around in the bustling areas of the Left bank or Montmartre, I wonder if I picked the right location.  Those areas feel so French.  But when I come home to rue du midi, I appreciate its peace and quiet.