Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fall weather

I wonder if we don't leave the television on because, as a secondary benefit, it heats up our apartment. 

In related news - it was the first bowl of soup for dinner night of this season.  Hooray for boyfriends that cook soup!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dream Killer

When I visit the U.S. and go shopping and the lady at Banana Republic/Express/Ann Taylor/Victoria's Secret/Bath&BodyWorks asks me "Can I get your email?" I have to say "No" and then she says "It is just for our internal purposes" and then I say "I don't live here" and then she says "we have stores all over the U.S." and then I say "I live overseas" (because if you start with "I live in Paris" somehow you just automatically sound like a real bitch).  And then the lady at the counter gets all excited and says "oh, where do you live?"

And then it starts.
"In France."
"Oh Really!?  Where?"
 And then I can't lie even if I do try to soften the blow for this girl who probably started taking her first French class at 13 and has dreamed of the Eiffel Tower since she was 10.
"In Paris"
"Oh you must love it there!"

Yes it is all pastries and wine and stinky cheese all day long in Marie-Antoinettes gilded bed surrounded by expensive ultra-cool splashes of black paint on a white canvas - otherwise known as "Modern Art"!  It is like Disneyland for adults!

"The pastries are really good"
"It must be so cool!"
And then I can't take it
"Actually it is gray skies 85% of the time, people still can't throw things in the trash or pick up after their ridiculously fluffy, small dog droppings, and people are angry all the time because they are stuffed like sardines into tiny metro cars where many people forget to use mouthwash or completely refuse deodorant.        But the pastries are really good"

And then she gets that look on her face, like B when I want to talk about anything serious, - like
 "that girl just killed my dreams."

I can now say that I love the architecture, the art, the food (in most restaurants), the countryside and châteaux but only because I have learned to accept the other parts AND been assimilated into this theater play full of rules of social grace - yes before I actually ate my hamburger with my hands (gasp!) instead of cutting and eating it with my knife and fork. (How gauche of me, I know.)

I've gotten rid of my nice girl (I locked her in the closet).
And I know how to get things done.  Nice girl had tire tracks and boot prints on her face.  Sorry nice polite girl, but you can't kill them with kindness here. You must move so the rest of us living in Paris can cut around you in line and demand what we want using  insults and ridiculously obvious "carressing" compliments, alternately.

But I digress
So maybe don't ask for my email address lady.  And if you come over here, don't be sad.  There is still the opera/eiffel tower/La Durée and Notre Dame - you just have to accept that your dream is also stinky, angry and a real bitch who will cut in front of you in line if you take your eyes off your goal.

You are welcome.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Who loves you?

It's not my's his mom
His dad comes over with his tools and hangs shelves/bath towel hooks/frames slightly askew on the wall while he drinks white wine.
His mom brings bags of things - some perishable goods from the kitchen, herbs from the garden, some high quality linens or clothes if she thinks we might use them, and fresh flowers.  Always fresh flowers.  Then she wanders around the neighborhood and buys strawberries, mignardises, and anything else she thinks we might need. 

mignardises photo by  

Monday, September 24, 2012

The complete inability to be positive

A French compliment:                      C'etait pas mal  It's not bad.

What French person telling you that 'you are right' sounds like:

       Ce n'est pas fausse It's not wrong.

A good restaurant/movie/play/etc.:      C'est correcte It's correct.

I have an Iphone.  I have never, not once seen any French Application rated above a 3.5. 

Where Americans say "That was AMAZING!"
A Parisian will say "It was good."

For survival I have had to learn translation skills and so I imagine them jumping up and down on the inside when they say
"C'était bon."

Friday, September 21, 2012

Through a window: Chantilly

Chantilly is a chateau outside of Paris. 
Chantilly is also the french word for whipped cream. 
I played tour guide for some friends and because Versailles was closed we went here.  We ate in the garden with the ducks and had Strawberries and chantilly for dessert. 
It was more like a sweet heavy cream the just lighter than sour cream.  
The memory of it is going to last me a least a couple of months. 

The view out the side of the castle

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Things you don't know if....

If you've never lived with a man or you don't have a toilet room (i.e. a small room/closet, separate from your bathroom with NARROW walls and a toilet)

you might not know about splashback.

I grew up with all girls, who sit on the toilet.  This man-standing up thing  with Splashback?  I had the pleasure of discovering here in France while doing my own business only to see some yellow marks on the white walls.
um gross.

I am the first to admit that I would totally write my name in the snow if I had the proper equipment. But dude - if you are in a house? sit down or pick up a cleaning wipe.
While the French government pays to clean up after you on the street, I don't have one of these guys for my toilet room!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I love a good belly

Another one of my friends here let me take photos of her awesome 8-month belly

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012


The fading sun on St Eustache through the travaux in Châtelet

 Bikes & Sunset

The Cheese Plate at the end of dinner

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sundays are for...

  • French toast made with brioche and eggs with milk, vanilla and little bit of molasses.

  • Walks in the Marais (Mar-eyh)

The Marais is one of the only places with open shops on a Sunday
A nice walkable Jewish/Gay/start-up-clothing-designer neighborhood.  Somehow this works.

  • And then there are the pitas.  

At least 5 different pita shops that also sell to-go through a walk-by window.  Strange for the country where sit-down dinners are a national sport. 

But these pitas, they are divine. Every bite is different. They seem to hit every flavor and texture on the palette.
Start with a toasty pita bread, spoonful of garlicky hummus, 3 piping hot crunchy-on-the-outside falafels, sweet shredded carrots, fresh shredded cucumber and purple cabbage, then red tomato sauce, grilled eggplant, a white yogurt-tahini sauce and a  dill pickle.  (the only place in all of Western Europe I have found real dill pickles). 

photo from

 It is a crying SHAME I didn't take a picture of mine.  I am pretty sure it was 50% bigger than this girl's

  • AND Sundays are for warm September sunsets

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The truth about McDonald's

I don't LOVE fast food. 
I cook a lot
I like strong flavors
I'm a big fan of being a guest at long dinners
but being the chef at long dinners just sucks

Do you ever just want to eat.  Like put something in your stomach so it stops screaming at you?  So it stops making you HANGRY at everyone.  Yea me too

I don't love McDonald's
but sometimes when I am tired and hungry.
or when I've been in 6 grocery stores + Primeur and in the micro-kitchen with no dishwasher for 3 days straight - surprisingly - I don't want to make something creative.  I don't want to find some new fancy thing to cook and then go on a hunt for the ingredients, come back home, cook, and eat 3 HOURS LATER.