Sunday, October 31, 2010

Madison Bumgarner

He's only 21, the 4th youngest pitcher in World Series history. The youngest was Ken Brett, a relief pitcher for the 1967 Boston Red Sox. Baseball: it's all about stats. Thank you, Madison, for a beautiful game. Tomorrow night, for the championship (!), Tim Lincecum.

Tim, Joe and Edgar


Here he is, the wunderkind hurler for the SF Giants. He looks like a 15-year old girl and, in fact, got wolf whistles in Phillie! This boy obviously loves to play baseball! I am using him to represent the whole team, now getting ready for game 4 tonight in Arlington, TX. Not such a good performance last night. They'll do better today, we can only hope. It's been 56 years since the Giants won a World Series. Egad! Eisenhower was president!


After lobbying for more than 10 years, we finally have a Trader Joe's in town. It opened on Friday to much fanfare, including a march-through by the Big U's marching band, a ceremonial lei-cutting, and lots of goodies for grazing shoppers. The place was absolutely packed all day long. I can now get my favorite nibbles without having to drive 20 miles one way! The process of getting this store was not easy. Initially the City Council gave permission to build on a site but ignored the fact that there was already a business there that had no intention of moving. The second site suggested was not acceptable to TJ's. It was all put on hold for a couple of years. Rumors flew. They're coming! They're not coming. But eventually, it all worked out and we now join the ranks of towns worth moving to because we have a Trader Joe's! All of this just goes to show how exciting life is in small town America.


I have just finished reading this book and was sorry it was over. An exquisitely crafted and beautifully written novel. I was a bit daunted by its size at first but was hooked immediately and loved every single one of its 500 pages. I have a confession to make, however. It took me awhile to "get it." Miss Parker, my high school English teacher, would not be pleased at how long it took me to make the Hamlet connection. The author gives all the clues necessary; the mother's name is Trudy, the uncle's name is Claude, the dead father appears to the son as a ghost. How much more do you need him to tell you? And Ophelia? Well, she's a dog, it's true, adoring and faithful and not the least bit nutty. As one might suspect, it doesn't end well. It ends the way it has to.

Next on the night stand: The Help. It was the topic of several conversations at the Santa Fe reunion. Highly recommended.

Friday, October 29, 2010

travel, anniversaries, travel

Santa Fe

Photo courtesy of Deborah Michel

When last we met, I was awaiting departure from Sacramento to join my boarding school classmates at a reunion in Santa Fe. I actually did make it albeit not until 10:15 PM. By that time everyone had done the cocktail routine in our room, gone out to dinner, had post-dinner drinks in the hotel lounge, and gone to bed. The Welcome mat was rolled up and put away. My roommate ~ classmate Sandy ~ was still awake when I finally stumbled through the hotel grounds and found our room. I rustled up some crackers and cheese, a glass of wine, finished off the carrots I had brought on the plane, got a quick rundown on who had shown up. Then I fell into bed in what bordered on a coma.

The next morning I passed up the opportunity to go on a forced march at some unholy hour, choosing instead to join the group in the very lovely dining room for a full breakfast buffet ~ fruit, yogurt, eggs, quiche, all sorts of breads, cereals, etc. Plans were afoot for the day's activities. A ride out to the Audubon refuge? The folk art museum? Shopping and lunch on/around the Plaza (the hotel is only 2 blocks from the center of town)? It all sounded swell until I began to contemplate the effort any or all of these things would take. Besides all of that, I was suspicious that I had contracted Pink Eye someplace or other. I had all the symptoms. I decided I had to take care of that little problem first. Someone was planning a trip to a pharmacy so I joined in, bought some drops, returned to the hotel and decided that, with a combination of jet lag (remember Paris?), high blood sugar, low blood pressure, and Pink Eye, I needed to rest. So I returned to our room and slept away 3 hours of the first day.

I woke up about 1 o'clock, decided I didn't want any lunch but foraged some more cheese, and headed up to the plaza. I walked around for a couple of hours, looking at the shops, the people, the dogs, the uniform architecture. I saw more silver and turquoise than I could have imagined existed in one place. I didn't see any of the group but did see some great "public" art, including this row of wooden angels lining the street.

Back at the hotel I found this one in the garden outside our room.

Saturday evening we all strolled up to the plaza for dinner at La Fonda, one of Santa Fe's oldest and most famous hotels. First stop was the rooftop terrace which was, on a nice mild evening, jam packed, so we sat inside for cocktails. Then down to the dining room for a sort of Tex-Mex style dinner. After dinner, some more strolling and then back to the hotel for what this group does best; talk. By this time I was so exhausted I could only excuse myself and go to bed. We had big plans for Sunday.

Again I excused myself from a morning constitutional, got myself together somehow and made it over to the dining room for coffee. We were scheduled to drive up to The Bishop's Lodge for brunch. You know, "Bishop's School - Bishop's Lodge"; seemed like a good idea. And it was. This uber luxe place is up in the hills outside of town. It's a gorgeous drive through high desert. The cottonwoods and aspens had turned bright yellow. The Sunday Brunch is famous, and rightly so. Two large rooms serving the most gorgeous food anywhere. One room for breakfast sorts of things ~ eggs, omelets, ham, sausage, etc. ~ and the other serving luncheon things ~ cold poached salmon, oysters, shrimp, salads, ham, turkey, breads. And then a whole table of decadent desserts. How to choose? I managed. And kept the blood sugar under tight control, too!

Back to the hotel for more talking and laughing and reminiscing about the bad old days in boarding school which, as it turns out, weren't all that bad most of the time.

At 5 o'clock we were back in the cars headed out to the home of the sister of one of our classmates. The sister, Barbara, lives in Boston but has this splendid vacation home in Santa Fe. It wasn't easy to find but with a combination of MapQuest and a GPS we arrived. What a beautiful place, quite isolated, but with a view to the west that is breathtaking.

The house is large and spread out with a big front terrace where we had cocktails and dinner. We started a fire in the big fireplace and pulled our chairs into a semi-circle and, yep, talked. It was really the highlight of the weekend. Then Monday morning rolled around, time to pack up and get on another plane to come home. I was back in residence by 6 o'clock, determined not to go anywhere again for at least a month.

We hear a lot about how people don't change, that once the DNA is decided, that's it forever. I have been a doubter of that certainty. But this weekend showed me that, by the time you're about 14 (the age most of us were when we met) it's pretty much a done deal. These women are, almost exactly who they were then. They may have newly found interests or skills, have given up some of their foolish ways, studied new things, gone new places, but basically they are still the girls I grew up with. There's something so comforting about that. It makes reunions so easy, dependable, reliable,
without surprises.


Back to Paris for just a moment. Dinner at Christine's on my last night was fabulous. I was there when the doors opened, without a reservation, and got the pursed lips and furrowed brow of the maître d' that one expects when showing up dressed in one's cleanest jeans and a cashmere sweater at a place where coat and tie and swishy dresses are the norm. He informed me that nothing was available until 8:30 (it was 6:30). I said, "Maintenant?" He brightened and said that Oui I could have this table right by the window and bienvenu et bon appetit! I settled in for a very fine meal of the entrée et plat. I selected a heavenly mushroom ragout (I wrote the chef after I got home and asked for the recipe; so far, de rein). This dish was coarsely chopped mushrooms of various types, lightly sautéed in butter with a hint of nutmeg and something else that I couldn't identify but what might have been Chinese Five Spice. Then they were spooned into a small covered iron pot and baked. When the garçon uncovered the pot the fragrance was enough to make me swoon with pleasure. And the taste? Ambrosial. After that came a poached and grilled fish called "bar." It's a very mild white fish, probably fresh water. The fish was fileted and the skin on one side removed. It was then poached. To finish, the fish was put under a broiler, skin side up to turn it crispy. Then it was all bathed in a delicate champagne sauce. What a circus for the mouth; sweet, tender fish, slightly salty crispy skin, lovely fragrant sauce. And to accompany it all, a luscious glass of really good Sancere, not the cheap screw-top stuff I'd been drinking. I paid the exorbitant bill with pleasure. What a way to bid farewell to Paris.

One last thing I did while here. My sister and I had two marvelous trips to Paris over the years. I did some retracing of our steps throughout my stay. I took this picture of her on the Champs de Mars on our first trip in 1985. We had just bought some goodies at a street market and were having a picnic. As I recall, it was March and very cold.

This time when I went back I found this. Not quite in the same spot, but you get the idea.


I started this blog four years ago on October 25, right after Mr. C (then known as "The Patient") began his radiation and chemo for tonsil cancer. At that time it was called The Tonsil Wars. The name changed to reflect his recovery. So that's one anniversary. The second celebration is along the same lines, however. He has just passed his 4th year exam by the cancer crew. Looking clear and clean all around.


In less than three weeks we head off to Mexico for the winter. Mr. C has already started loading the car with the various "musts" that we seem to need there. One of these days we'll decide that we have enough stuff and will just throw a couple of pairs of shorts in a paper bag and call it enough. But until then we continue to cram the car with goods. This year it's the 6 wicker dining chairs from IKEA that are taking up all the room. To be fair, I did search all over our area, including Guadalajara, for such chairs and could find nothing. Then there are the several items we are taking for friends. There may be enough room for our own stuff but I'm not holding out much hope. We will drive to Long Beach to spend some time with Alex, Pete and the kids, then down to La Jolla for two nights to see and say good-bye to friends. Next stop will be Tucson and we'll cross the border in Nogales on Thanksgiving. All things being equal, we'll be at the beach on Sunday, November 28. I have never been too apprehensive about our drive, but things are a lot worse than they have been. We have to drive through the states of Sonora and Sinaloa, both notoriously in the news these days. Even the road from the city of Tucson to the border has been a shooting gallery of late. Think good thoughts.

Friday, October 15, 2010

another airport, another destination

I am wired into the Sacramento airport's server while I await a flight to Albuquerque and, eventually, a shuttle to Santa Fe. This is the weekend of my high school reunion; 18 of us hanging out and getting up to our usual mischief. I was supposed to fly out on Delta via Salt Lake but, like the best non-rev plans, it didn't work. Between the time I checked in downstairs and found out I was #4 on the wait list and made it up to the waiting are, I dropped to #9 and there were only 6 seats available. Not a chance of getting out of Salt Lake into ABQ for the rest of the day . . . or tomorrow. So I had to do something I haven't done for several years; BUY A TICKET on a competing airline, Southwest. But they can get me there, albeit late. I will take a shuttle from the airport directly to the hotel in Santa Fe and should join the revels by 8 PM. I have brought the trusty camera, the hard-working LapMac and will keep you posted on the weekend's events.

I still have some Paris stuff to relate but I have been sort of asleep on my feet since coming home. Just when I think it's time to do a bit of writing, the idea of a nap seems alot more fun. I've accomplished nothing since returning except laundry and, yes, I did finish that terrific book. I'm about to start "The Story of Edward Sawtelle" and am looking forward to it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

oui, oui, oui all the way home!

I made the early morning flight from Salt Lake City, arrived in Sacramento at 9:30, picked up my bag ~ it had spent the night locked up in the Delta luggage office, having made the flight yesterday without me ~ and was back home by 10:15. And might glad to be here, let me tell you. The Airporter Inn in Salt Lake is not a destination lodging. The lamps beside the bed didn't work, there was no hot water in the bathroom sink, but I was so exhausted that, after noting these shortcomings, went to bed and slept until 4:30 AM this morning. After 20 hours of travel time ~ admittedly, some of that was spent sleeping in SLC ~ I'm back where I started.

I had a nice nap this afternoon, followed by a lovely dinner cooked by Mr. C that included a bottle of Spanish cava to celebrate my safe return to the bosom of my family. Right now, at 8 PM PDL, I am going to bed. I will have to keep you in suspense about my last day in Paris until perhaps tomorrow when I am more awake and alert. I have an appointment for a massage tomorrow morning. When I regain consciousness from that heavenly ordeal, I'll write more. For now, good night from a very tired and very happy traveler.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

within the shadow of the Everlasting Hills

I've made it this far, to Salt Lake City, in my journey home, and here's where I'll stay for the night. The well-located Airporter Inn had a room just for me. My luggage has gone on to Sacramento where I hope to catch up with it tomorrow. But the flight here was wonderful. Left at 11 AM, got a seat in Business, got fed, napped, and almost finished my splendid book. But everything on to Sacramento was either sold out or oversold. I'm going to try again tomorrow morning and hope to make it then.

It's time for me to go get a bowl of soup and call it a night. I have no idea when I'll wake up and be raring to go; perhaps 3 AM. But for now, I'm ready to sleep. I'll tell you about my splendid dinner at Christine's tomorrow night.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

the last dispatch from Paris

Tomorrow morning I depart this wonderful place to return home, also a wonderful place. I spent my last day roaming the 5th and 6th arrondissements, familiar territory. I took the last of the pictures I'm going to use here, mostly iconic.

I went to Notre Dame (I and about 5,000 other people), stood in line, got into the Cathedral, did the candle thing and left. Just too crowded. I tried to get a good shot of the ornately carved entrances but really couldn't get close enough.

The best way to see these is to look at the series Utrillo painted. Monet did Rouen, Utrillo did Notre Dame. I walked over to the Ile St. Louis, looked at the grand houses, crossed back over the river at the Pont de Change.

I thought I might see Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron dancing along the banks.

Had to take this picture of what is billed as the narrowest, shortest street in Paris.

It leads you from the traffic-clogged quay into a street lined with Greek restaurants, each one smelling better than the last. I walked over to the Luxumbourg Gardens jam packed mostly with families letting their kids run riot in the beautiful sunshine.

Eventually I got back to my own neighborhood, bought a little piece of quiche for lunch, and came back to the hotel to start the packing chores. The shuttle will be here at 7:45 tomorrow for what I am hoping will be an 11 AM flight home. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Here are a few random observations from this trip. First and foremost, the French are the talking-est, eating-est, drinking-est and smoking-est group I have seen anywhere. The cafés are always full, no matter what time, with people deeply engrossed in conversation. Unless someone is alone, everyone is talking, and fast! And they walk with great purpose; no idle strolling, unless in one of the parks. Paris supports about 10 daily papers of every conceivable political and social angle. Le Monde is still probably the biggest seller but I've seen all different papers in the hands of café coffee drinkers. The new generation of young women are no where near as chic as their mothers and grandmothers. It's blue jeans, t-shirts, tennis shoes; the only bow to traditional French fashion is the ubiquitous scarf. It used to be that you could pick out an American because of our travel uniforms. Now everybody wears it. The shops still display the most gorgeous clothes but I have no idea who wears them.

How I know I'm not really French:
1. I don't smoke.
2. I have not had a device grafted onto the side of my head into which I speak.
3. I do not have strings coming out of my ears leading to a musical box that shuts out the world.
4. As above, I do not walk fast enough. Especially in high heels.
5. I pay far too much attention to my surroundings, admiring and gasping at what I see. I am not blasé enough, by far.

Otherwise, you'd never know the difference!

It's been a marvelous trip. I hope you've had as good a time as I have. Well, almost. Now it's time to go get some dinner and make it an early night. I'm even having breakfast delivered to the room so I don't have to take time out to go downstairs.

Homeward bound reading: "Bad Things Happen" by Harry Dolan. Recommended by my friend Babz. It gets you from page one!

Friday, October 8, 2010

gorging on art

I am back after four hours spent wandering through the L'Orangerie in the Tuilleries. First off, it's a beautiful art space, remodeled in 2006 (its 4th iteration). Light pours in through the glass walls, roomy display spaces (comfortable places to sit) and what's hanging on the walls is the best of what went on in France ~ mostly ~ during the Impressionist and post-Impressionist periods. Artists I've not seen ~Chaim Soutine, Marie Laurencin (the only woman represented), perhaps André Derain, too. The museum's two large oval galleries are for the Monet Nympheas, Water Lilies, eight huge installations.

This is called Soleil couchant, "Setting Sun." Fortunately, in this museum, photos are allowed without flash. I helped myself to its banquet of goodies.

Everybody does a nude, and the pictures, like the women, are all different. The most luscious is this Renoir.

She's pink and plump and glowing as if just out of a hot bath. Next is Derain.

Followed by (a very fuzzy) Picasso.

Here are two more beautiful Renoir's. One is the painting of the two girls at the piano. It reminded me of my friend Patty, a woman who most probably could have been a concert pianist if hormones hadn't gotten in the way.

We went to college together and I heard her playing Chopin's "Fantasie Impromptu" and thought to myself, wisely, "I want to know the person who can do that." We've been friend for 52 years.

Well, enough about art. Here are a couple of photos I know you've been waiting for. One is of Carton's, the sine qua non croissant bakery.

The hotel still gets its morning croissants from this wonderful place. Some things never change.

This is the beautiful floral shop right across the street from Carton's. It has wonderful cut flowers, boquets, and plants to put in your flower boxes on the little terraces of your apartment.

I went over to rue Christine late this afternoon to check out Le Christine, a delightful restaurant I first learned about through the SF Chronicle's Travel section (which I don't think they have anymore). Mr. C and I went there on our last trip here and I wanted to go for dinner tonight. But I was too early, and I see they're open for lunch tomorrow, so that's on the dance card. I ended up eating, again, at L'Atlas, this time having a huge bowl of mussels in a delicious tomato-wine sauce and, again, with powder-dry Sancere. Next to me sat two gents from Romania who, when they discovered I was an American, wanted to be sure I understood they were NOT Russians. "Ve do not like zee Russians!" I assured them I didn't think they were Russians. More likely Portuguese. They thought that was OK and said, yes, because of the "ch" and "zh" of the languages. Right? Right, I assured them. And I do remember being in Portugal and remarking that I thought all those folk were speaking Russian. No, it was Portuguese.

I am back at the hotel after dinner and a lovely walk. It's Friday night, the weather is mild and warm, the cafés are jammed. Much street music, people dancing and having a fine Indian Summer time of it. Back in my room, the computer is charged to 85%, life is good. Tomorrow is a shopping day, not an art day. I have sent off a boat-load of post cards, most of which will reach their intended addressees well after I return. If you don't get one, don't take it personally. I just didn't find the appropriate card. I'm going to try to go over to Notre Dame tomorrow; no trip here is quite complete without lighting a candle to thank God for having such a place and for letting me come to it. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

swooning over Monet

If you were even vaguely contemplating coming to this show, make your reservations now, mortgage the mobile home, buy some very expensive money with some worthless money,and do it. I cannot begin to describe how beautiful it is. So I won't even try. I will tell you, however, what happened in the course of seeing this show. First, I had a ticket for 1:30. I got there in plenty of time, got in line only to discover some fans in front had tickets for 11:30 and they were still waiting. After an hour and a half I finally squeezed through the door, checked my bag AND my camera, and made it up the stairs and into the first gallery. It was packed, although viewers was inching along. Not much standing in one place and gazing. It was hot, stuffy, crowded and, you can just see it coming, can't you? I began to feel dizzy and weak and before I knew it I was flat on the floor, out cold. The next thing a security guard was hauling me up into his chair and sticking smelling salts under my nose. That stuff will wake the dead. I don't recall anyone yelling, "Stand back! Give her some air!" But maybe they did. After about 10 minutes I had recovered sufficiently and went back to the beginning and started all over again. I did sit down every time I found a bench, put my head down and got some fresh blood into my brain. Well, it made the visit memorable.

I will comment on just a couple of things. It is laid out in a very interesting way, by topic rather than by chronology. All the Normandy paintings are together, the Venice group, a selection of what they call the Mediterranean paintings. There are four Gare St. Lazare paintings; one is pink-toned, one blue, one pink and blue, one grey-white. All the same view with only very minor shifts in perspective. Several "studies" for what became later the final painting. In particular, "Dejunere sur l'herbes". I think Luciano Pavarotti was one of the models. Check it out. The second thing was how the exhibition is lit. Beautiful lighting casting almost no shadows and angled in such a way that you can see the layering of paint, the brush strokes, the daubing of colors. When you look up close, you can't see anything except technique. When you step away is when the magic happens.

I finally dragged myself away at around 5 o'clock, hit the Metro and came back. By the way, the Metro stop is Chales de Gaulle-Étoile. And here's the statue that looms over it. The light was not very good but I tried to get a shot showing the prodigious profile!

I went out to dinner last night, again to the corner cafe for a roti de porc and some brussel sprouts done the English way - cooked all day. But the pork was delicious, the sauce wonderful. I treated myself to a creme brulé for dessert. You know, I'm not a diabetic in France. Isn't that amazing. it was worth it! Then went home and started packing up. I decamped from the apartment this morning and have moved across town to a hotel in the 6th.

The taxi arrived right on time and 20 minutes later I was in the lobby of the Hotel Le Regent. The room wasn't ready so I stashed my bags and hit the pavement, rediscovering a neighborhood where Mr. C and I stayed 10 years ago. Yes, Carton's is still there. The souvenir shops are still selling plastic Eiffel Towers and striped T-shirts. The restaurant-cum-bakery Paul was full of lunchers. I went down a different street and went in to Café Atlas, a place where we had dinner one night during our stay. Big dalade Niçoise and a glass of Sancere Blanc (one degree drier and it would be powder). The French are to be admired for several inventions; the Metro system, the Citroen Deux Chevaux car, the chaise longue, and especially celeri remoulade, a raw celery concoction I could eat by the kilo. There's a charcuterie over in the 14th on Alesia that has the best remoulade in Paris. But this was just fine.

Just noticed computer not recharging. Battery low. Signing off. Don't know when I'll get back on. Must be either the adapter or the converter. Not the power cord. Worked fine this morning on apartment adapter/converter gizmo. More later. Maybe.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

some random catch-ups

Last Monday I went over to the Bourse (Wall Street) area of the city to visit the wonderful passages, the glass-roofed passageways line with shops. Well, like my ill-fated trip to L'Orangerie, it was Monday so many were closed. But I did have a couple of interesting sightings. I did go to the Passage Colbert but most of its stores have been taken over as classrooms for the Sorbonne. The beautiful glass dome is still there but I couldn't get a good photo of it. Too bright. The Passage Vivienne however, was shuttered.

The other sighting was this, just as I came up from the Metro. And in a Catholic country, no less. Does the Pope know about this?

Since I was right there, I wandered into the Palais Royale for a look around. I don't think I've ever been there when it hasn't had scaffolding up on some part of it.

It was build by Cardinal Richelieu for himself and his 200 nearest and dearest friends. The hundreds of apartments are now very upscale shops, government office, part of the biblioteque nationale, the Comédie Française,a few private residences, and one of Paris' most famous restaurants, Vefour, where I did NOT stop for lunch. I had the 150e for the Prix Fixe lunch, but I wasn't dressed for the occasion!

Instead, I hopped back on the Metro and went over to Opéra Garnier where it was all I could do to restrain myself from buying a ticket to L'Italiana in Algeri for Friday night. But I passed that up, strolled through Galleries Lafayette ~ a Nordstroms-Macy's-Saks kind of store except better than all three. In the upstairs food court I came across this aromatic display of herbs and spices.

When I snapped this photo a very officious security guard rushed over and wagged his finger in my face and barked, "No photos!" "Why not?" I asked. He just scowled at me and walked away. So this is the only view you get. I still haven't figure that one out. I remember when the food hall at the GL was just a few aisles of goods. Now it's a whole floor of one exotic thing after another, a very upscale butcher shop, about a billion bottles of wine, and everything that comes between the appetizer and the cognac. But no photos allowed. Sorry.

I went back to the Opera Metro, got on the train and came home. It was on the way back that the ankle issue made itself known. But as of today, Wednesday, it's not quite so painful. And I've got a whole afternoon of shuffling through the Monet show ahead of me. So now it's time to have a bite of lunch and head off for the Palais Royal. Full disclosure when I get home.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

la chasse de l'oie sauvage

I got up early this morning to go over to the Tuilleries, take a look at the gardens and go to L'Orangerie museum. Out to get the morning croissant and the IHT. Back for the coffee-yogurt-croissant breakfast. Tidy up the apartment, take a shower and wash the California haircut, and I'm out the door at 10 AM. I waited a bit because it was drizzling. Got to the Metro, found the line, transferred at Charles de Gaull-Étoile to another line, got off at Tuilleries and there I was. It's a huge park, with lots of statuary, fountains and ponds encircled by chairs where one can sit and drowse away the day. But not for me! I hobbled (more on that later) through the park to the far corner and found the museum. Fermé! Merde! Yes, Tuesday it is closed. I stood there staring at the place as though by force of concentration I could open it. It didn't work. I finally gave up and went out onto the Place de la Concorde and took a few snaps. First, of course, is the obelisk with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

There are two very grand fountains, one on either side of the obelisk. Neighbor Nelson: If you're reading this, how about one of these for the garden in Cuyutlán?

How about this one instead. About the same size but all the figures are painted black with gold trim. Perhaps a bit much for our village?

I walked around the Place, past the Hotel Crillon (starting rate at about 1200e per night for a modest little room), admired the goodies in the window of a jewelry shop ~ pearls that would choke an elephant and make Nancy Pelosi's South Sea strand look like something won at a carnival ~ and walked along the rue Rivoli to check out the shops. Then across the river at the Pont de la Concorde with the Assemblée Nationale ahead.

Quite a bit of traffic on the river, with the bateaux mouches full of tourists having a look at the city from the river's point of view. I've done this a couple of times and it's always a pleasure. The skyline from that vantage point changes very; the beautiful apartments and hotels particuliers (grand old mansions) that face the Seine, hulking historical buildings, little parks and green spots here and there. But no ride this time. If you look carefully you can see the twin towers of Notre Dame in the background.

I strolled by the Musée d'Orsay, closed for remodeling. Many of its treasures are now at the de Young in San Francisco. On toward Les Invalides, a military museum, among other things, and the place where Napoleon Bonapart's remains reside.

Just on the other side of the river, facing Les Invalides, is the Grand Palais where I go tomorrow for the Monet show.

I had a bit of a scare about that show earlier today. As I was taking photos of the river two American women asked me for directions to the d'Orsay. They were disappointed that it is closed so I mentioned the Monet show at the Grand Palais. "Oh no," one of them said. "It's closed all week because of Fashion Week." I gasped and said I had a ticket to the show tomorrow, oh dear. Not to worry, she said. If you have a ticket you can get in. Although I am now relieved about that I am not relieved that Fashion Week is still going on. I thought it was over last weekend and that everyone going home would be gone by now. It's the Non-Rev thing, you see. I am supposed to fly out Sunday morning. Better get Caitlin busy.

It's now 5 PM here, time for a glass of some yummy Bordeaux I bought. I'm going out to dinner tonight; haven't decided which of the four close-by spots I'll choose, but when I do go I must remember to take my two empty wine bottles and shove them into the recycle kiosks. How handy!

So about that hobbling mentioned above. My right ankle feels like is has been, is or will soon be broken. It gets increasingly painful to walk as the day goes on. I got in touch with my doc and asked if it was a foot issue or an ankle issue. He thinks probably a foot issue because I'm not wearing my super orthotic insoles. I am wearing boots, not spike heels, but am probably not getting the kind of foot support I need. It was better today; yesterday I didn't think I'd make it home. No swelling so no break. A little elevation, a little ice, a little less vanity.

Monday, October 4, 2010

rue Cler, etc.

Saturday morning I went to the market on rue Cler. Stopped for the Sat/Sun edition of the IHT. If I buy that it must mean I'm really here. Rue Cler is one of the prettiest markets, very popular, especially with families. It's a pedestrian-only cobbled street with great food shops on either side, three or four restaurants that are always jammed. Great smells, lots of chatter, best people-watching.

I walked across the Champs de Mars, with this on my left

and this vast pile, the École Militaire, on my right. It's somewhat akin to West Point. Napoleon Bonapart studied here.

Through the park, across Avenue Bosquet to Saint Dominique to rue Cler. Along the way I saw several of Dorothy's relatives including this snappy black one,

this little silver number,

a cute cream color one,

and then Dorothy's twin, who got to come and live in Paris instead of the Sacramento Valley. Now that's a Smarty!

As an aside, I also have seen the Toyota version called the IQ Car. I would have waited but was told they wouldn't be in the US until 2012. They're mighty cute, tho.

Here are some of the goodies I saw at the market. First, the fish. And a beautiful one it was.

Or perhaps you prefer oysters? Baskets and baskets of them, all different kinds from different waters.

Beautiful berries

and vegetables.

In a cheese shop I found this rhubarb yogurt in a jar. Turned out to be exquisitely creamy and rich and delicately flavored. My favorite yogurt brand here is Laitiere. It comes in little glass jars which I then use as juice and wine glasses. Found some of it, too. Bonanza!

Yes, everybody shops the rue Cler!

With my few goodies I walked back to the apartment. Along the way I saw this delightful alternate mode of transport comeing down the street.

Got home, unloaded, then went down the street to the Brasserie Suffren for a late lunch of my favorite French meal, Poulet Frites. And very nicely done, I must say.

The chicken was moist and tender, the sauce redolent of herbs and garlic, the frites delicious and soft enough inside to sop up the extra sauce. I'll definitely go there again and when I do I'll tell you all about it.