Bacon, Tango, M/F

I went to bed late, energized by conversation that was early by Pacific Standard Time.  Shrug.  It happens.  As a result, I lounged in bed until 11.  This is a good thing because I then can indulge myself in a big breakfast that doubles as lunch.  Yum.  Or as we say in France, miam, miam.

I was particularly looking forward to this breakfast.  In a previous blog, I mentioned that I am here in Paris this stay in a different time frame.  Decembers have normally been the time to wrap up my trip; this is just the beginning.  Previous trips had a break of only 3 months.  I remembered things.  This time the 10 month gap has proved vexing.  Most recent example?  BACON.  Thinking of my impending trip to the country for New Year’s, I recalled that I was promised Irish bacon.  Sounded delish.  Yesterday I was in the grocery and suddenly the Irish bacon came to the front of my mind.  And then I remembered, I had bought bacon here in France before!

Straight to the meat section: I found it.

Today I was looking forward to the bacon with my scrambled eggs.   And to the escargot pastry.  So named because it is rolled and looks like a snail shell lying on its side.  Tasty devils.  The boulangerie gal picked the one with raisins.  That’s fine.  I’ve had those so I said oui.

Eggs, scrambled.  Bacon, cooked with eggs.  Escargot pastry heated up on top of the toaster.

Eggs – tasty.  Bacon – delicious.  Escargot – wait.  Wait what?  Those are NOT raisins.  This is not escargot pastry.  It is – quell horreur – pain au chocolate.  You know how hard it is to pick tiny (smaller than toll house) blobs of chocolate out of pastry?  Especially when they are warm and melty?  Tossed.

Why would anyone ruin perfectly delicious pastry? And perfectly good chocolate? by mixing them together?  I cut a slice of bread to have toast and jam instead.

Minor disaster last night, fixed this morning.  When I finally got in bed, I took off one earring and put it on the night table.  Then reached for the other.  Not there.  Normally, this is a major disaster.  If I hadn’t been so tired, I would have gotten out of bed and searched the entire apartment (which, you may recall, is not big but it is like a black hole in terms of what can get lost inside it).  Why is this a disaster?  Just a silver hoop earring, you say.  I wish.  For some strange reason, my body has decided that anything but a gold post or hoop will make my ears ache after a day.  Surgical steel?  Hypoallergenic?  Nope.  And I choose to wear silver, not gold, as adornments.  So these “silver” earrings are really white gold.  Do you know the prices of gold these days?  Costly.  So I try not to lose these things.

Good news.  When I woke up, I noticed the solitary earring and remembered.  Sighed.  Turned on the flashlight in my iPhone to start my search and immediately spotted the mate on the mantel.  Apparently, I took the one out and then promptly went to bed… to wake up just enough to take the other out and not recall the one on the mantle.

Tango progresses.  Yesterday was a fabulous session.  I had worked on the moulinets all week and somehow it came together when he led that step…  I got dizzy!  Then we just danced all about the studio and I really had a better understanding of the improvisational style of the tango.  And how to NOT anticipate the next move.  That’s a very bad thing for the woman to do.  And actually, it takes great discipline and yes, power, to wait.  To breathe.  To stand, balanced, with your axis straight, your legs flexible.  And I am getting brave enough to watch those tango videos showing the women’s embellishments.  Woo Hoo.  And the music.  Every now and then, Patrick reminds me to listen to the music.  What a concept.  So I have been asking Echo to play tango music while hanging out at home. (Yes, I brought an Alexa to France with me.)  I think that’s why my foot started drawing circles with my toes while at the stove.   video on female steps

Soon I must finish my washing and start packing for my trip.  Dear friends live in the country about 25 minutes south west of Paris.  The closest town/village is Longvilliers.  They pick me up Sunday and will return me on Thursday.  So the gilet jaunes who are planning stuff today, Saturday, and NYE will not impact me at all.  Well, perhaps today as I have to go visit a friend in the 7th.  Some buses may be diverted.  I’ll figure that out.

My work continues.  My mind is turning over the concepts of male and female speech.  Communications.  I have been focused on Myers Briggs for so long.  And the Enneagram recently.  I read Deborah Tannen’s work back when it was on the best seller list.  Now thanks to my partner, I am revisiting it.   It’s like walking into a new house.  Or new addition to the house that was always there but I never went to that wing.   That’s a metaphor I heard in the 80s from Leland Kaiser, PhD, a visionary in healthcare.  I would go to any conference where he was a featured speaker and sit in the front row transfixed.   He said think of your brain as a house.  And you are usually sitting in the kitchen or the office or even bedroom, looking out at the backyard and the scenery is basically the same.  What if you went into the front room and looked out those windows for a change?  What new things will present themselves to you?

And what other things roll around in my head in this process?  From female communication to the larger concept of femininity.   And what better place to ponder femininity than in Paris?  I ask you.

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.

Miscellaneous

The title is in honor of the French woman next to me on the bus who saw me reading English and asked if I was British or American and could I help her with a definition – the word was miscellaneous…

I walk down the sidewalk thinking and suddenly I have to push Andy Rooney back into a box in a recess of my mind.  My blog makes me think in Andy Rooney speak sometimes… did ya ever….

It’s a tense time right now.  Nope, not terrorists.  My last days in France.  I find I am consciously trying to avoid any catastrophes….  I have slipped and fallen twice and am being so careful to not a third time.  But other catastrophes rear up in my mind.  As I was leaving the apartment today and holding my keys in my hand, I had this image of the keys slipping out of my hand as I was pulling the door shut, falling inside the apartment while the momentum closed the door and thereby locking myself out of my apartment.  I must have a special little man in my brain (see previous blogs for explanations re the little men… and the French and American/English librarians…) whose only job is to be fearful.  With an active imagination!  Fortunately, he is usually back in a nice room with ice cream and he rarely comes out to worry me.

I am also discovering a relaxation of a tension that I wasn’t very aware of.  It’s the “get out of speaking French free card!”  And I thought I loved this experience.  I DO love this experience.  But my brain is apparently looking forward to a few months of just one language.  HA!  Little does it realize – I still have TV 5 – the French channel on Xfinity and I have 3 French novels I want to finish.  There will still be French spoken!  And I might join Alliance Francaise again too.

I have a birthday upon me.  The reality is that I am actually older than the day would suggest – meaning that when you reach your first birthday, you are actually starting your second year of life.  It’s funny because centuries are done the same way – we are now in the 21st century.  I don’t like this.  Makes me feel old.

It has been cold here still.  Yesterday in the Metro, I saw my breath.  Yikes.  That just isn’t right.  Well, not on the platform itself, but down the corridor to get there.  Brrrr

I was sick with a bad cold over NYE so my plans to spend it with a friend evaporated.  Instead I sat on the couch hacking and coughing but I did stay up for midnight.  This year Paris had a light show projected on the Arc de Triomphe followed by fireworks.  It was televised so I enjoyed.  Then I suddenly remembered how the airplanes flew over my apartment on the 14th of July for the Parade down the Champs Elysees.  And I rushed to my window and yup!  I could see the fireworks!  It was sooooo cool.

My cold is almost gone.  I am meeting all my friends for the final conversations for this visit.  And in the midst of that, I am trying to get to sites I have not seen and pack.

I hate packing.