Thursday, September 30, 2010

laissez les bons temps rouler

Greetings from the most beautiful city in the world. I finally made it after what seemed like days shuffling around airport. Got in at 1:15 PM today. Apartment delightful. I'm exhausted. I'll take pictures but not right now. Out to a little marché for some vitals for a light dinner. It's going to be an early night.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

ready, set, no go

I got all tarted up for my travel adventure, showed up at the airport only to find that there was nooo way I could get out of Atlanta to Paris. There is a baggage handlers' strike in Madrid, so all those passengers waiting to board a flight there had to be rerouted to Paris and then into Madrid. Presumably the strike will be over by the time the Paris flight is ready to go.

(As an aside, when Mr. C and I de-trained in Barcelona in 2004 there was a taxi strike. We exited the train station to find a completely deserted landscape. We learned pronto how to use the excellent Metro system.)

Along with the very helpful and knowledgeable Delta staff member, Arturo, I scanned all the available flights that might get me eventually to CDG before the end of my rental contract. We finally came up with this plan: tomorrow out of Sacramento to Minneapolis/St. Paul, then to JFK. Then via Air France to CDG. (Delta has a partnership with AF; I only have to pay the taxes on the ticket, $125.) When I got home I canceled the hard-won hotel (had to pay anyway; less than 24 hrs. notice), made my AF reservation (departs JFK at 7:05), notified the shuttle service, for the 4th time, of the change, and can now relax until 4:00 AM tomorrow morning when I have to get up and start this whole thing all over again. If I don't make the 7 PM flight out of JFK, there are two more, one at 9:45 PM and the last one at ll:30 PM. Surely I'll make one of them. If not, I'll either hang around JFK until the next morning and try again or I'll just kiss the whole thing adieu and return home. This Non-Rev is not for sissies. Or old folks, either.

Monday, September 27, 2010

ready and set to go!

I spent hours on the internet today trying to find a hotel room for one night, Wednesday, in Paris. Since I changed my flight plans from departing Wednesday to Tuesday I had no roof over my head. And the apartment was full. I was getting mighty discouraged. I even called the local travel agency for help and they came up empty, too. I was about to bag the whole thing, but kept on clicking away, certain I'd fine something. I guess everyone is there for the opening of the opera and for the big Monet extravaganza. The town is packed. I inquired at more than 25 hotels all over the city. And the prices as posted on hotel sites were appalling; between 300e and 700e a night, and at a wallet-busting rate of exchange, that's a pretty pricey sleep. Even the sites like Expedia and had nothing. I finally landed a room at a place in the 15th, not far from the Eiffel Tower. The room is called a "compact single." That's French for "closet." I'll take pictures.

Cait has been on the Delta flight info for me and she is assuring me I'll make it from here to Atlanta and then on to Paris. Plane leaves at 11:30, has a 2 hr. layover in Atlanta, and leaves for Paris at 10:50. Arrive in Paris Wednesday morning at 11:30 AM. I went to the market to buy my airline food; I don't think I'll make Business, at least not on the Atlanta leg, so I'll have to do it myself. Boiled eggs, finger veggies, cheese, crackers, little Dove candies, a couple of energy bars. I should be all set. Other than that last minute stuff I am all packed with enough room left over for a memento of this trip ~ a little Chanel suit or something . . .

Mr. C came through his surgery just fine. The Valium did it's trick and he floated through most of it. I'm concerned about leaving him in his condition but I'm positive he's just as glad I'll be out of his hair while he recovers.

Now it's time to fix myself a little dinner, do a sweep of the area in case I've left something critical sitting on a table, and go to bed and try to get a good night's sleep. It will be awhile before I'll have another one.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

one minute message

Went to de Young today. Second half of Impressionist show. Fabulous. More on that later.

Got seat on flight to Paris on Tuesday instead of Wednesday. Taking lap top. More on that later.

Mr. C having oral surgery tomorrow. Perhaps result of radiation three years ago. More on that later.

One minute up.

Paris weather: 53º and mostly cloudy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

a championship season

Emily and her parents celebrated Thacher's win of the Santa Paula Championship Volleyball Tournament. From Alex:

"We were in Santa Paula yesterday watching Emily's (Thacher) Varsity VB team take the Santa Paula Championship. They whupped 10 teams! Man she was awesome! They played 11 games in 12 hours! Em was poised, super consistent (her serves never faltered even in match point situations), she played every position, was invaluable and played the best, most consistent VB of her life for 12 straight hours. It was wonderful to see! In between games she settled down on grimy concrete bleachers in the midst of chaos to do her calculus homework. What a day!"

That's our Emily. . . what a gal!

Paris weather
: 66º and mostly clear

Saturday, September 18, 2010

a weekend read

I don't know who recommended this author ~ probably MSMASSF over at No More Commas Period. She frequently recommends very good reads by authors I've never heard of. But, if not MAS, to whomever it was, I thank you. This brilliant Irish writer has given us a taut, quirky psychological thriller that is a can't-put-it-down read. That's why the title, a weekend read. No phones, no chores, no scheduled activities. Just the extravagant luxury of long hours of solitude and quiet especially designed for reading.

When I finish this one, probably tonight or tomorrow, there's a second one waiting.

Paris weather: 57º and partly cloudy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

the fifth child

Some of you may know my reasoning behind the idea of having four children: a divine of some ilk ~ priest, rabbi, pastor ~ to look after your soul; a doctor to look after your body; a lawyer to look after your interests; an airlines employee so you can get out of town free. All your life's needs are thus covered. I have decided we all need a fifth; one who works in a book store. Why? Just look at the Mother Lode that landed in my mailbox yesterday, compliments of my darling niece who is the Children and Young Adults manager and buyer for R.J. Julia, an indy bookstore in Madison, CT. I hardly know where to begin ~ Richard Russo? Elizabeth Rossner? Isabel Allende? Sarah Gruen? Oscar Hijuelos (I loved "Mambo Kings")?

No, I think I'll start with "Claude & Camille" by Stephanie Cowell, a novel about Monet and his wife, Camille Doncieux (think Susan Vreeland and Tracy Chevalier). Two reasons: I'm about to go to Paris where I will definitely make a pilgrimage to Giverney and see the Monet show at the Grand Palais. Already bought my ticket; 1:30 PM on October 6. Two hundred pieces, some rarely if ever shown. I realize that tout le monde will be there and it will hot and stuffy and jammed, but we'll all be there for the same reason; to be awed by such genius. As for Giverney, this is not the ideal time to go; the gardens will be a bit faded, but nothing can spoil the beauty of the house and its situation.

Thank you, dear Kaley, for this wonderful surprise. The readers at the Mexican library will also thank you. I also thank the gods who invented Paris. What a brilliant idea!

Paris weather: 64º and partly cloudy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

a new blog on the block

L to R: Megan, Candy, Krissey, Caitlin, and Peggy

Over there on the left you'll see a new addition to the People to Know, Places to Go list. It's Destination Everywhere. This is daughter Cait's blog about a Delta Airlines-sponsored fund raiser for the United Way campaign. Great reading. These Delta Dollies are having a fine time in this contest. Come along on their adventure. Start at the very beginning with "What We're Doing" to get the full picture of their challenge.

Paris Weather: 57º and fair

Sunday, September 12, 2010

don't let this one get away

I watched this sweet, funny, imaginative and tender movie yesterday. It's a Southern Gothic fairy tale about fathers and sons, estrangement and redemption, ego and love. It's told through the eyes of the son, played by Billy Crudup, about his father, Albert Finney. The father, a traveling salesman, was a great storyteller and would tell anyone who will listen (yet again) to his imaginative descriptions of the experiences of his life. Wonderful cast including Jessica Lange plays his loving and patient wife; Ewan McGregor, Helena Bonham-Carter, and Danny DeVito in a great role. The DVD had been sitting around here for a few weeks and I was about to send it back unwatched. But then I decided to give it a look. I'm glad I did. I liked it very much.

Paris weather: 70º and clear.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tinker to Evers to Chance

These are the saddest of possible words:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double –
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."

Franklin Pierce Adams - 1910
Baseball has taken over the household. Well, it could be bed bugs instead. Will it be the Giants or the Padres? Will the Reds prevail? Can the Twins hold their lead and eventually unseat the dread Yankees? There are only 20 more games until we know the answer. Meanwhile, it's knuckle gnawing time.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Forget this Movie

I'd forgotten that Debra Winger is my least favorite actress. Then I saw this movie and was reminded all over again. Paris is absolutely beautiful, the star performer. Oh yes, Joe Mantegna is as yummy as ever. All else can be forgotten.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

the amazing journey

I have just watched Ken Burns' "Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery." I was prompted to see this after our car trip from Bozeman to Portland, past the Bitterroot Mountains and along the Columbia River, part of their route. Except they went over the Rockies, in the winter, without really knowing where they were. The film, shown on PBS in 1997, is well worth attention, not only for its heart wrenching story of bravery and courage but also for the gorgeous scenery Burns' has filmed and for all the usual historical documentation and commentary he so brilliantly weaves through his work. Got it, on 2 disks, from the Flix®, of course.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

our newest scholar

It's hard to believe but grand niece Ruby has started school. She went off to her first day of kindergarten like a real pro. She had been to an "orientation" this summer so she knew what to expect.

She catches the school bus right at the end of her driveway.

All aboard for the start of a great adventure!

She's in the morning session and is back home for lunch. It looks like she survived her first day in fine shape!

My only regret is that Vic is not here to witness this big event. I remember when my daughters went off to school, both so eager to get going and see what this school thing is all about. According to her mother, Ruby feels the same way. She is a very articulate, smart and curious little girl. She'll love it!

Monday, September 6, 2010

my memory bank is full

Starting back in Lunenburg . . .

Remember those props I showed you a few days ago? Well, here's the lovely Bel Canto, all propped up and ready, almost, to face the winter.

Here's a close up of the hull and the props.

The only thing left to do is put the cover on her to keep her dry and clean during the coming storms. But Jon has someone else do that.

We drove back to Halifax on Tuesday, spent the night at a hotel near the airport, and flew out Wednesday morning. We made the first leg, Halifax to Detroit, without a problem. Even made first class; thank you, Cait. Detroit to Salt Lake was a full flight but we squeezed into coach and were happy to be there. Salt Lake was another matter. Didn't get onto the 2 PM flight OR the 5 PM flight but did make it onto the 10 PM flight. Eight hours in the SLC airport is not an exciting prospect, believe me. Good people watching, but even that gets boring after awhile. Airport food is terrible and terribly expensive. We got onto the last flight out of SLC to Sacramento, arrived here at 10:45, local time. Our luggage had been waiting for us since the 2 PM flight landed. Went out to the parking lot, couldn't find the car and had to make it speak to us before we located it a few rows away from where we thought it was. Got home after mid-night, and fell into bed. It was a wonderful trip in every way. Really good food, beautiful scenery, fine fellowship. I am exceedingly grateful that I have lived long enough to grow old with these friends.

A new travel opportunity has arisen. I am thinking seriously of going to Paris for 10 days at the end of this month. And Cait may fly over for the weekend while doing something for Delta. Would that be fun or what? I have located an apartment in the 5th, on the edge of the Luxembourg Gardens, 4th floor with an elevator (a requirement at my advanced age; no more 5th floor walk-ups for me!). My usual digs are not available for this particular visit. I haven't been to Paris in five years so it's high time. Mr. C has no interest in going so I'll just have to go it alone. Hélas. . . somehow I'll manage, don't you think?