Tuesday, November 26, 2013

the boys

Huck and Zeke
They're bigger and better than ever!  And hairier!  I wore black pants upon my arrival and they now look like gray mohair.

Weather continues cold, sunny, clear.  We've visited several grocery stores, some more than once, and are almost ready.  Tomorrow is a bake fest; pies (Mr. C ), cranberry-walnut tart (Susan), cornbread for stuffing (Mike), Part I of stuffing (Cait).  Roasted boneless leg of lamb for family dinner tomorrow night.  Flowers ordered two weeks ago have arrived and look very festive.  I think it's all going to come out just perfectly!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bozeman via Butte

We made it safely with only a short diversion from Salt Lake to Butte instead of Bozeman.  No seats available so Cait rerouted us and drove up to get us.  Beautiful drive back to snowy, very chilly Bozeman.  It is right now a bright and sunny 19º.  We've started making our to-do list for the day's first shopping outing.  There will be more, I'm sure.  It's good to be here.

Looking west across the meadow toward Bozeman

Saturday, November 23, 2013

To Bozeman

Tomorrow morning it's off to Bozeman where the weather is cold ~ 12º tonight ~ but the 27 lb. Hutterite turkey awaits our attention.  Pictures of family, dogs, neighborhood, snow, etc.  This, of course, providing we actually make a flight.  It's always thrilling.

A sweet recommendation for movie watch:  "Toast" is available on instant watch by the Flix.  Delightful.

Currently reading "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis."  Saw the movie years ago but the book is much more comprehensive.  I recommend both.

Friday, November 22, 2013

where were you?

I remember exactly where I was on November 22, 1963 when I learned that the president had been shot.  I was studying in the library at San Diego State and had just come up to the circulation desk to check out a book.  Staff and students were huddled over a radio.  I had no idea what could have been so riveting  and asked, rather casually if I remember, what they were listening to.

"President Kennedy has been shot," came the answer.

At first I didn't believe it.  Impossible.   We don't do politics this way.  I left the campus and as I drove home I saw that flags had been lowered to half staff.  It must be true.  It was true.  It was so shocking, so dreadful.  And today, fifty years later, it still is.  It was the loss of faith, the loss of innocence, the loss of the vigorous, idealistic idea of politics and public service.  By the time the '60s were over, we had lost our entire generation of leadership; two Kennedys and a King.  And we are the poorer for it.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

this just in . . .

1919 - 2013

nutritional guidelines

Here's what I'm currently feeding on.  First for the body, from CostoCo, Penn Cove mussels.

I just happened to glance in the fish case and there they were, all netted and cleaned and just begging to be taken home.  So for $15 I got 5 lbs. of the sweetest, plumpest, most tender and delicious mussels imaginable.  Almost 20 years ago Mr. C and I took a trip up to Seattle, Polsbo and Port Townsend.  We went to a little waterfront resto in PT and had big steaming bowls of Penn Cove mussels and have been hooked ever since.  I know we had mussels in Siena, Bruges and Paris, (and the Paris ones were the best) but these were even better.  First we had them in a simple wine-onion-garlic-shallot broth.  We had the rest in our favorite recipe from the NYTimes, mussels with roasted tomatoes and garlic served over fettuccine.   Mr. C bought some excellent cherry tomatoes at the Farmers Market ~ some sweet, some acidic, all with tender skins ~ and roasted them for the sauce.  It was fabulous!  I think there's a little left over for my lunch today.

Second, for the soul, I am about half way through this marvelous read.

If you're as big a fan of books about academia as I am ~ think Lucky Jim, The Groves of Academe, Pictures at an Institution, Richard Russo's Straight Man and Donna Tartt's Secret History (although it's in a somewhat different vein), you'll not want to miss All Souls, a take on life at Oxford as lived by a young Spanish instructor.  He is there for two years and, later in life, is recounting his experiences.  It's wonderfully wry, sardonic, funny and also soulful.  This author, Javier Marais, is new to me and I look forward to reading more of his work.  I should add that, to my ear, the translation from Spanish to English is spot on and rings completely true.

We are continuing to have bright, sunny days here in the valley although it is cold and brisk.  I had a fine walk this morning, tromping through piles of leaves on the sidewalks and streets.  The fireplace is getting good use in the evenings.  This next week is filled with doctor and dentist appointments, a hair cut (at last), and packing for Bozeman and what's become our annual family Thanksgiving.  I've already sent the Trader Joe's care package and it has been received so we're set for snacks.  In truth, we've never gone hungry.

Monday, November 11, 2013

autumn in the valley

The days are warm and sunny with bright blue skies.  The nights are cold and still now although there were some terrific wind storms here before we got home.  Trees are turning red and gold throughout town.  Lots of big leaf piles on the streets.  Autumn in the valley.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

getting to "yes" in French

It could be "we" or it could be "wish" or it could be "way" or "weigh" or "a-way" or "whish" or "whey" or "mm-oye" (usually murmured between two people having a close, quiet conversation where one is confiding to the other or that's how it looks to me), or any other iteration or interpretation, in French, of the word "oui."  It delights me to sit and listen to the French talk ~ which they do on and on and on ~ and to deconstruct how they pronounce certain words, "oui" being one that has innumerable interpretations.  There's also the "bah-oui!!" which is like our "but YES!" or "sure!"  Then there's the pursing of lips and blowing out a little puff of air "(puff)-OUI" which is like "don't be stupid!  Of course!"  There are also non-verbal communication skills; the arch and lift of the eyebrow meaning "Who knows", the downturn of the mouth accompanied by the shake or nod of the head which usually indicates the listener doesn't speak the language you're using, or the shrug of the shoulders-eyebrow lift-downturn of the mouth, simultaneously which means "who knows" or "I have no idea where that bakery is you're asking about."

The French don't talk with their hands like the Italians.  It's the face that tells the tale, answers the questions, can be read as a gauge of how funny the story is, how fresh the cheese, how pretty the woman walking by, how outrageous the headline on Le Monde or Le Figaro.  And, of course, how gross is your linguistic faux pas. It's a show not to be missed.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The last time I saw Paris . . .

was at 10:30 AM this morning. We managed to get a seat on the outbound, another seat on the MSP to SMF.  We're home.  Exhausted, of course.  It's now 6 AM tomorrow in Paris and we've been up since 4 AM today, or something like that.

I'm having some soup then to bed.  But no fresh croissants whenever I manage to wake up.  Bummer.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

DATELINE: Paris (10)

It pains me to say it but our revels now are ended.  Tomorrow morning we leave this most magical of all cities and head back home.  We are on the stand-by list for a 10:30 AM flight and although I could stay another month, I guess it's time to go home.

But today I had a fine time out and about with a little bit of sun, a little bit of really icy wind over by the river (the Seine, that is) and some light rain.  I was not deterred in my search and enjoyment, however.

I headed down rue des Rosiers toward the Village St. Paul.  I passed by the old site of Goldenberg's, now an upscale outerwear shop. 

This was probably the most famous Jewish deli and restaurant in Paris until it was attacked and shot up in 1982.  A sad loss.

On to the Village St. Paul, only about 3 blocks away, across the rue Rivoli toward the river.  This beautiful church, St. Paul and St. Louis, is just about at the junction of rue Rivoli and rue San Antoine.

The red doors of the Church of St. Paul and St. Louis
Down the block I found this sign.

 The area has changed greatly, however.  At one time this was THE center of antique stores and of workshops where one could order handmade furniture, fabrics, find a designer to advise you on redoing your hôtel particulier or buy beautiful objects, both local and imported, to help decorate that grand manse.  But they are mostly gone new.  Gone are all the workshops  in the various courtyards at the St. Paul addresses.  I went in to many of them but the ateliers are shuttered and vacant.  There were just a few antique shops still operating but the real workshops are gone.  A sad note to progress.

I walked down St. Paul to the river, across the Pont Marie  bridge and into the 4eme arrondissement to have a look around.  This area is tucked into the southern corner of the Right Bank  and includes the beautiful Ile St. Louis.  Now that's a place I would like to stay.

I still hadn't found what I was looking for but it was starting to rain so I headed back.  But lo and behold!  I looked in the window of this little ~ and I do mean LITTLE ~ shop and found just what I had been seeking  In fact. I found several but didn't have enough euros for more than one.  (I would show you what I bought but the recipient reads this blog and I don't want to give it away!)  As an aside, it's very easy to run out of euros in this city.  Everything takes a lot of them and what I'm using for exchange ain't worth squat!  In fact, the cost of the euro has gone as high as $1.40 and only as low as $1.32.  I have no idea what's propping up the euro; every country using it is going broke.

Passed a gorgeous bakery on the way home selling these tasty treats.

All yours for 24 euros

Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries
This little flower shop caught my eye.  So trim and modest and beautiful, tucked away on a tiny street.

This doorway is just down the street from the flower shop.

There is a wonderful bicycle service in Paris called Vélib'.  You can rent a bike at one of many stations  of them throughout the city.  You'll pay €1,70 for a day ticket or €8 for a seven-day ticket, which lets you take an unlimited number of 30-minute journeys. Trips longer than 30 minutes incur small additional "usage charges."  You pay by time instead of distance.  You  pick up a bike and cycle off to do your errands, drop it at a station in the area where you'll be, then pick up another one at some other spot and cycle on to your next chore.  The bikes are sturdy and have baskets to hold your packages. This is the "station" around the corner from us.

On a bit further are these splendid doors.  I have no idea what's behind them but I think they're a great addition to the street scene.

We went out to dinner this evening to bid our farewells to this marvelous place.  We found a lovely place called Tresor tucked back in a little walkway called rue Tresor.  I had a piece of grilled sea bass worthy of a rave review; Mr. C opted for a hamburger with a poached egg.  The fries were fantastic.  A good "last meal."

And now, folks, that about wraps it up for Paris this year.  It's time to go to bed for a few hours; the alarm is set for 4:30 AM and it's almost 9:30 PM now.  I will have a few more things to say about this trip later on but right now all I can say is I don't want it to be over but it is.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

DATELINE: Paris (9)

It was a cold (43º) and rainy day in Paris today so no go to anywhere.  I did get a couple of things accomplished, however.  First, I finished this astonishing book.

If it isn't on your list or already on your bedside reading table, add it.  A read for our time.

Second, I got repacked.  I hated to do it but it's time.  It seems I have less than when I left home.  More room, somehow.  But that can't be true because, if anything, I've added to the load.  But everything fits into the 2 bags with even a bit of room left over.  I managed to pack just about right; there is only one thing I brought that I didn't wear (a dress) and most everything I have worn so often that I'm sick of it.  This reminds me of my time in boarding school when we, as a group, pledged that we would burn our uniforms in a great beach bonfire after we graduated.  And we did so on Coronado beach during our graduation party at the grand old Hotel del Coronado!  I never want to see any (or most) of these clothes again!  Actually, after five months in Mexico in shorts and T-shirts I won't remember any of these winter duds and will be amazed to see them again.

Tomorrow's forecast is for partly sun/partly clouds.  I am hoping to take a last gasp walk over to Village St. Paul and then that will be it for this trip.  The van picks us up at 7:30 on Thursday morning for a trip out to Charles deGaulle for a 10:30 flight home.  I'm keeping a bit of room in my suitcase for any treasures I might find.

Monday, November 4, 2013

DATELINE: Paris (8)

This is a no-photo day since I didn't take my camera with me when I set out this morning.  Mr. C was feeling mighty poorly so he stayed home while I ventured forth to see what I could see.  I have been searching for a requested item to bring home and, so far, have not been able to find it.  But I went off this morning with high hopes that I would come across it in my wanderings.  (I did not.) 

My first stop was at a newish store here in the Marais called Merci.  It's a mix of the old Design Research with a bit of IKEA and some Conrans thrown in.  It's got the flair of DR and its price tags with the stripped-down designs of both IKEA and Contrans.  But it did not have what I am looking for.  Some great stuff nonetheless.  For the next couple of hours I strolled through the neighborhoods of the 3rd and 4th, noticing the changes in these arrondissements.  There are so many up-scale stores ~ mainly women's clothing.  This area has gotten very jumped up in the last few years.

Back home for a quick lunch and then back out for the great hunt.  This time I headed down rue de Rivoli toward the new Bastille opera house to see what I could find.  Still no luck but I did come across a great place to buy scented soaps of every size, shape, color and couldn't come away empty handed.  Also found a good-looking fist restaurant that I may choose for lunch tomorrow.  I revisited the Place des Voges to see if we had somehow overlooked Le Muoe du Pape but, alas, it is truly gone.

In desperation I sent an email to our apartment's owner asking for advice on finding what I'm seeking.  He gave me some great hints (two of which I had already tried) including an area very close by called Le Village St. Paul that is mostly antique and antique-type stores.  Even if I don't find what I'm looking for it will be fun (for me!) to poke around and see what's there.  So, rain or shine, that's on my agenda for tomorrow.  Depending on how he's feeling, Mr. C may join me.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

DATELINE: Paris (7)

The sun came out and so did we.  Off we went to Parc Monceau and the Nissim museum, and I am so glad we did.  The owner of our apartment has been pushing us to visit this temple to 18th Century decorative arts so today was the day.  What a beautiful home ~ une hôtel particulier (mansion) ~ it is.  I've already mentioned how much Mr. C likes the Jacquemart-André; he wants to off-load that place and buy this one instead.

There are three floors of beautifully furnish and preserved rooms open to the public.  Since Sunday is the traditional day for entrée libre to French museums we thought the place would be packed.  Mais non!  First, this museum does not offer such a thing and second, who comes here anyway?  There were very few visitors and thus we could roam around  freely and take our timel

The family of wealthy Jewish bankers lived in this beautiful mansion, filling it with exquisite 18th dentury furniture, art, silver, china and tapestries.  When the patriarch died in 1935 he gave the home and its contents to Les Arts Decoratifs in memory of his son, Nissim, killed in WWI.  His daughter Irene, her husband and two children were deported from Paris in 1944 and perished at Auschwitz.  The Camondo family died out.

Le salon bleu

Part of M. Comodo's "office"

Main dining room



The kitchen.  Through the open door in the rear right is the scullery.

Kitchen; the cook top and oven in the foreground; a roasting oven in the right rear

This is the "call box" on the wall of the kitchen.  Someone in a drawing room or salon pushed a button to summon a servant; this box showed who rang.

A display of the family's Sèvres china.  There are probably 300 pieces for every conceivably use.  Each piece has a different bird.

 Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (7 September 1707 – 16 April 1788) was a French naturalist and is considered the "inventor" of the idea of "species."  He made hundreds of drawings of birds and they were used to decorate this delicate porcelain china.

The "modern" bathroom.  Through the doorin the corner is la toilette.  Note two bidets; I think one is for feet!

A beautiful apartment building with a 5th floor garden.

The wide walkway through the Parc Monceau

Lots of children playing in the park, hoards of runners/joggers/walkers.  You can see that the Plane trees are starting to turn and the leaves to fall and cover the ground.  A beautiful autumn day here in Paris.

All told, about 300 stairs, counting the museum.  But it all seemed very easy today.  Tomorrow's outings are iffy as it's supposed to rain most of the day.  We'll do something but I'm not sure just what.
  Only three days left . . .

Saturday, November 2, 2013

DATELINE: Paris (6)

It's quiet in the Marais on Saturday as it is a traditionally Jewish section of the city.  Everything shuts down at sunset on Friday, now about 6 o'clock.  Almost nothing is open for business until late in the afternoon today, if at all.  The Synagog next door held services, then a meal, then afternoon study so all was peaceful.  We went over to the old nabe because there is a wonderful butcher who sells cooked meat and, besides, Saturday is the big street market day at Maubert.  So instead of doing some research over here to find what we want we got on the Metro and went over there.  Remember what I said about the StairMaster?  It is 206 stairs ONE WAY between the St. Paul and Maubert Metro stations.  That includes both up and down!   There are escalators in two of the stations but we can never find them!  After all of that it's 25 stairs up to the apartment from the ground floor. I just call it good exercise and forget it.

We did find what we were looking for ~ a hunk of roast pork ~ and bought some veggies and some other treats and came home.  This afternoon I did the last load of laundry for this trip while Mr. C went on the "liquid" run at the local market.  We're set for the next couple of days.  We haven't gone to any restaurants since we've been back because of his cold and cough.  But perhaps before we leave on Thursday we'll get in one smart dining experience.

It was raining off and on today but tomorrow should have some sun.  If so it will be a visit to the Musée Nissim  over in the 8eme alongside the beautiful Parc Monceau.  Only one Metro stop; maybe 35 stairs?

Friday, November 1, 2013

DATELINE: Paris (5)

rue des Rosiers in the morning light
I have absolutely nothing to report for today.  I did not leave the confines of the apartment; I stayed in bed, read and dozed and coughed.  Mr. C went out foraging for something to eat and drink but otherwise he, too, sneezed and coughed.  Oh, did I mention that it was raining and 47º?  That had something to do with our burrowing in for the day.  Tomorrow, however, the sun is supposed to come out for part of the day and so we will be out and about.  We only have five days left and I don't want to convalesce any longer than necessary.