Friday, October 30, 2015

the road to recovery

I heard from the surgeon this morning that whatever it was that she removed has come back from the lab totally negative for residual bad cells.  That must mean she "got it all".  What's   now left is for the wound to heal.  I have dutifully changed the dressings and everything looks pink and healthy.  Enough said.

While I was recovering yesterday, leg elevated,  I watched this movie.

It's heartbreaking but I recommend it.  All those beautiful boys mowed down by war, leaving behind their grieving mothers, wives, lovers.  The true story of Vera Brittain, poet, author, pacifist.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

all done

I was in and out in less than an hour.  The procedure involved a little nip here and a tuck there to be sure all the cancerous cells were cut away.  The wound is about the size of a penny, not very deep, not too much bleeding.  Instructions include lying down or sitting with foot elevated, no walking (exercise type) until Sunday, go to the wound specialist next Thursday for a check up.  Meanwhile I have to change the dressing once a day, can take a shower on Friday, take some antibiotics for three days and, if all tests come out as the doc expects, that's it.  Not as bad as I feared.  As a diabetic, if someone approaches my lower extremities with a knife I am filled with dread and foreboding.  But the original biopsies healed up very nicely.   I am confident this one will, too.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

the eyes have it

The doc was very pleased by his handiwork on Mr. C's eyes.  The patch is gone and it is now just a matter of the fuzziness resolving itself.  A trip to the market and the post office were in order for an o-say-can-you-see test drive this afternoon and since he made it home safely I guess all is well.

Tomorrow it's my turn to go under the knife.  I trust it will all go well and that the surgeon will clean out all the nasty skin cancerous squamous cells and I'll be back in the bathing beauty and leg modeling business soon.  I jest, of course.  I'll let you know how it goes.

One more thing.  Today here in the valley it was cold.  Actually COLD.  I actually put on my fleeces!  So nothing would do but while I finished up "Being Mortal" Mr. C laid a lovely fire to celebrate the end of the heat wave and the beginning of Fall.

Monday, October 26, 2015

the patient is fine

Mr. C had his surgery this morning ~ cataract removal ~ and it all went just perfectly.  While he was being worked on I tore off to the CostCo nearby, did some essential shopping ~ coffee, shrimp, lamb shanks, Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand ~ and by the time I got back he was ready to come home.  Tomorrow he goes back to see the doc and get his eye patch removed.  Other eye gets done in a couple of weeks.  I've had this same procedure done and it is an absolute miracle.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

safe and sound

First, for those of you who read about Mexico on this site, all is well at the beach.  I talked to Fernando last night.  He reported that the house, gardens, palapa, plate glass windows, in fact EVERYTHING made it through the storm safely.  There was a lot of rain and wind, and the puestos and malecón are a mess but otherwise the town is OK.  Very good news given the scenario that was painted by the media.  We are extremely grateful that this storm spared us, Manzanillo, PV, and most villages along the northern coast.

Second, I finally got home from Paris Wednesday afternoon and, believe me, I was glad to finally be here.  The saga goes like this.

Tuesday morning we got into the taxi at 6 AM sharp and headed through dark and deserted streets to CDG.  The usual travel time is anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 1/2 hours (when I arrived it took that long), so we had allowed plenty of time ~ 4 hours start to finish, we decided.  Well, we got to the airport, went through check-in, passport control, security and were IN OUR BOARDING LOUNGES by 7:04 AM; 1 hour and 4 minutes, start to finish.

sunrise at Charles deGaulle airport
That included the miles one has to walk to get anywhere in that "it's really a small city" airport.  I sat and waited, downed a cup of coffee, read, listened to my book (Being Mortal by Atul Gawande ~ a MUST for anyone over 60).   The plane was due to depart at 10:40.  I finally got a seat assignment in ~ GASP ~ Business Class.  I was delighted!  Delta has these fully reclining seats that turn into a quite comfy bed.  I flattened it out, pulled the nice, warm comforter up and went right to sleep.  I managed to get in about four hours of shut eye.  I really wanted to take off my shoes but thought I'd never get them back on because of foot swelling.  But it was all very nice and comfortable.

Arriving in Cincinnati

Flying into Cincinnati was beautiful.  The trees are beginning to turn red and golden and the Ohio River sparkled through the city.  We arrived at noon, EDT and my next flight, to Salt Lake, was to leave at  3:30 PM.  Plenty of time to get through passport and immigration.  I rechecked my bag on to Sacramento and wandered through the very nice airport.  I found the departure gate and sat to wait.  Cait had sent a message that there were 40 available seats so I was a definite go.  BUT, there's always the unexpected.  Another flight to SLC was cancelled so ALL THOSE PASSENGERS who had actually PAID for a seat moved way up in the line and left me, and several other non-revs- behind in the dust.  Alas, the flight was actually 5 seats overbooked so I didn't have a prayer.  I got myself ASAP to the Delta "help" desk and a very efficient and delightful agent had me all set up in about half an hour.  She gave me a new routing to Los Angeles and then on to Sacramento.  She gave me a hotel voucher, a little goodie pouch with soap, shampoo, toothbrush and even a T-shirt that says Sky Team Delta on it.  I was completely set!  Next thing I knew I was here.

I called Mr. C to say I wouldn't be coming home until Wednesday afternoon.  I ate a bit and went to bed with the alarm set for 6 AM.  Since I was still operating in some other time zone, I was up and ready to do battle by 4:30.  Caught the 7 AM jitney back to the airport, found the boarding area and waited.  And waited.  Oops!  This flight had been delayed for mechanical reasons for almost 2 hours.  I did the calculations and discovered that I would have about 20 minutes to make the Sact'o flight and I had to go from one terminal to another.  Oh well, at least there are several flights to Sac from LAX and surely I would make one of them if we arrived too late.  So I just sat back and waited to see if I would make this flight.

Yes, no, maybe.  Flying non-rev is always a crap shoot unless you KNOW there are lots of seats.  I saw a couple of other would-be passengers who had also lost out on the SLC flight yesterday.  But we all made it on and off we went.  I got seated in an EXIT row which meant more leg room but I had to sit bolt upright for 4 long hours.  Please, no grousing allowed if you don't PAY for your ticket.  Now my only thought was would I make it to LAX in time?

The plane landed at 12:10 and the Sac flight left at 12:40.  The only dramatic thing that happened was tearing through the LAX airport  through the A terminal to the B terminal, waving my boarding pass at the agent waiting at the door of the aircraft.  I was the reason they were holding the flight ~ only about 5 minutes ~ and the other passengers glared at me as I took the last seat in the last row.  But I made it and I say, "Glare all you want!"

I made it home safely, my bag made it home a day earlier, and Mr. C was there to fetch us both.  All I wanted to do was lie flat for a few minutes to give my aching back a rest.

As promised, here are a few pix of the Paris apartment for your amusement.  Would I stay there again?  I might; it's quite space-agey but in such a wonderful area.  On the other hand, it's not really comfortable; it's quite dark ~ needs several more lamps and someone needs to replace the burned-out bulbs in the kitchen ~ and cold ~ only two of the 7 heat registers worked.  But it was only for a week and I can put up with almost anything for a week.  As I said, it's in a fabulous location and I would stay in the 8eme anytime!

entry hall

living room

TV, bookcase.  Got the TV to work once.  But it's Paris!  Who needs TV?

dining room

Kitchen; check out Gagganau and  check out the appliances in this apartment.  You need a pilot's license.
Eating nook in kitchen.  We ate, worked, read here; both heat and light in this spot.

Double shower with both overhead and hand-held nozzles.  Wonderful!

La toilette

Bedroom #1, twin beds.  Comfy and warm.

Bedroom #2, double bed (maybe queen?)  Very comfortable.  Nice bedding.

So that's where we were.  I took these photos with all the lights on in the evening so you can't really tell how dim the rooms are.

So now I'm home and a whole new set of issues are presenting themselves.  Tomorrow Mr. C goes to the hospital for cataract surgery.  Wednesday I have surgery on the pesky skin cancer on my leg.  But we both have every expectation that all will be well for both of us.  Kaiser has never let us down in the past.

Happy 9th Anniversary to this blog,  THE ALL OF IT 
I actually started it under the title THE TONSIL WAR on October 25, 2006 when Mr. C began treatment for tonsil cancer.   I decided on June 6, 2009 that the war had been won and we could withdraw the troops and write about something other than illness.   Eight and a half years later he he is alive and well and cancer free.  We are very, very thankful.

Monday, October 19, 2015

the party's over

Yes, tomorrow morning we get into a taxi at 6 AM and head out to CDG for our flights home, Alex to Boston and me to Sacramento.  Caitlin has rerouted me from Salt Lake as the first stop to Cincinnati, then Salt Lake, then home.  We'll see how it works.

We had a busy last day, with shopping, a nice out-to-lunch at Le Cafe de Poste (right next door to the post office) where I had mussels and she had a Croque Monsieur (basically a grilled cheese sandwich).  We've finished a light supper of soup and salad and I'm about to hit the hay.

We rode over to the Gallerie Lafayette at Montparnasse so I could pick up a few items to take home.  My eye fell on the most beautiful cashmere coat I've ever seen.  In fact, it's the most beautiful piece of clothing I've seen in either France or Italy on this trip, and I've been looking.  I made the mistake of trying it on and, well, now I own it.  I will not post a photo until I get home.  But let me assure you, it's gorgeous!

I've also taken a few shots of the apartment and will post them when I return also.

Let me assure you, dear readers, that this has been a splendid trip in every way.  Alex got to see and do what she wanted and I got to watch her doing it.  We walked, we talked, we ate and drank lovely things and generally eased through the days.  She wanted this trip to be restful for her, and I think it was.  I just wanted to be here.  I don't really have to DO anything when I come to either Paris or Florence.  I've been to both places several times ~ I think this is my 15th trip to Paris ~ so I am just as happy strolling the streets and not rushing from place to place.  Suits me just fine.  And for this visit, I think it suited Alex, too.

So adieu and I'll let you know how it all works tomorrow.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

on the Champs Elysee

Sunday dawned dark and dreary.  It rained on and off in the morning and was very cold.  This apartment, in fact, is quite chilly.  There are heating elements in all rooms except the toilette:  hallway, both bedrooms, 3 in the living room, one in the bathroom, and one beside the little kitchen eating area.  But only two work; the one in the kitchen area and one in the cavernous living room.  So it's cold in here, which means we (I) live in a couple of sweaters and maybe even my down vest.  We puttered around, did some cleaning up, read the news on line ~ none of it very good ~ and waited for it to at least clear up a bit.

About 2'oclock I said, "Let's go out and walk over to the Champs."  The sky was getting a bit lighter so we bundled up and off we went.  The Champs is about a 15 minute walk from here, not a bad stroll on a crisp Fall day.  As usual in Paris when there is even a HINT of sun, everyone who could be out was.  Sunday sun on the Champs!

I do not remember the sidewalks having these cafes that take up the entire sidewalk but there they are and they were bustling.  There were literally thousands of people on this street, now line with almost exclusively American brand shops.  We made out way down  to the western end of the Champs to this venerable icon.

The first time I was here with daughters we went up to the top of l'Arc and discovered it was snowing up there!

We crossed the street and strolled back up, stopping for a chocolate chaud (our first during these cold days).   In one of the old passagesthat line the Champs I saw this beautiful floor.  Love the floors in this town.

And who wouldn't love to live in one of these exquisite apartment houses ~ except for the noise and mobs, of course?

 Both of us were a bit undone by the huge crowds just out for an afternoon's stroll!  Back toward our apartment where we beheld this amazing building!  No matter how often I come here there's always something to surprise around the corner, and this Chinese pagoda-like building was it for this trip.  It's such a stark contrast to all the buildings around it, with it's red color, exotic roof line and decorative facade.  The gate in front is capped with little wooden carved animals and, I hate to say it, it's looking overall quite sad and almost abandoned.  It was once a private home of the Choo family but is now used as an "event" hall.

Back home to our smart abode.  Here are the front doors.

They need a little touching up but I think they're quite elegant.  And on every landing in the apartment are four stained glass windows like these.

I would love to know the history of this house which features many elegant touches of old fashioned design.

Another quiet dinner made in our space-age kitchen.  Here's a look at what we saw out of our window very briefly last night.  About two minutes later it was all cloudy and stormy.

That's how it went on Sunday in Paris, France.  Not a bad day at all.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Saturday in Paris

It was another grey day with occasional showers but not terribly cold.  But the street market called so we suited up and took off to see what was there.  It's about a 15 minute walk up to Miromesnil and there it all was, spread out before us.  The market is about 5 blocks long with stalls in the street plus a whole line of food shops ~ very Right Bank-y.  The first thing I saw was this!

If I could have found a vase in this space-age apartment I would have bought an arm-load.  And right next door was a little cafe with these colorful tables and chairs out on the street.

Next eye-popping sight was as the patisserie across the street.

This is a little sampler of several of their delicious offerings, tiny bite-sized treats.  I passed, although I was sorely tempted.

We moved on to buy some prepared moussaka at a Greek deli, then some quiche for tomorrow brunch, some greens and fruit.  We passed by this delightful toy store brightly painted and full of beautiful things for children of all ages!  The dad in the photo was lifting up his daughter so she could peek in the window.

This is a typical corner stall for all your fruit needs, including a huge pile of grapes from Italy.

I saw this huge display of hydrangeas in another stall.  They are the strangest color; a sort of bloody rust shade, not the pinkish tone in the photo.  Very fall!

Just outside the market, on an  island in the midst of swirling traffic, sits this carousel.  My theory is that if the tots behave well while Maman or the au pair does the shopping, the reward is a spin in one of the space ships!

We went back laden with our purchases, had a quick lunch of soup and baguette, and headed off for Dehillerin's.  We walked through the Parc to the Monceau metro and finally ended up at the Tuilleries stop (our original destination, Louvre-Rivoli, was closed for repairs).  We walked up the rue Rivoli to rue de Louvre, made a left and walked up to rue Coquilleriers and, le voila!

It being a Saturday, it was mobbed with lookers and buyers in this most famous of Parisian cookware stores.  The store itself is very small and cramped with narrow aisles and shelves crammed with beautiful ~ and VERY expensive ~  wares.   But it is so much fun to inch along and look at the goods, including things I wouldn't have the vaguest idea what to do with once I got them home.  I counted 15 different sizes of ladles ~ FIFTEEN!  The very largest is probably to use with this soup-for-the-city pot (about 3 feet tall).

Both of us were looking for  something specific.  Alex wants one of the traditional French sugar bowls that held paper-wrapped sugar cubes; they're rarely seen in restaurants these days but I think you can still see them in zinc bars in tabacs.  I wanted one of the Dehillerin aprons; all out.  So we came away empty handed but glad we had made the pilgrimage.  Memo to self:  NEVER GO TO DEHILLERIN'S ON A SATURDAY.

It had begun to rain as we walked back to Rue Rivoli.  We took the Palais Royal metro back home, Line 1, direction La Défense to Charles DeGaulle Etoie and then Line 2 direction Nation to Monceau.

For €1.80 (Yikes!  I remember when it was 25 centimes!!) you can go anywhere in this city in relative comfort, except at rush hour when it's sardine time.  The new cars, without the tricky door handles, don't rock and roll along the tracks which always added to the thrill of the ride.  But what a wonderful system they have for moving thousands of people throughout a city with NO street-level  maneuvering necessary!  Imagine.  Oh yes, there's plenty of that with the cars and busses that clog up the city.

Back home through the park on the damp afternoon.  There were lots of families enjoying the cold autumn day, little children so bundled up they could barely walk.  We even saw the ponies plodding their way along the paths with thrilled tots and their terrified parents hovering beside them to avert any possible disaster.

Back home in the late afternoon after a good day of shopping and strolling and marveling over this most wonderful of cities.

The inside courtyard of our apartment has this handsome  building at the back.

On the upper edifice is a big bronze horse head which leads one to believe that at one time it was the stables and the "stable boys" lived upstairs.

So what is its current function?  It's where you put the garbage.  Lo!  How the mighty have fallen.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Paris when it drizzles

It did rain almost all day yesterday, not hard but enough to be a bit slippery out there, cobblestone sidewalks and all.  Nonetheless, we were out and about to get a few items and check them off the list.  The battery in my blood tester died so we had to find a place that sold that type and not too far away.  The fearless Alex stopped into a shop, asked for a pile of  the appropriate size and was referred to another shop some 3 or 4 blocks away.  She returned to the apartment with that information, along with two not-so-wonderful croissants (missing you, Carton's).  We found the shop, bought the batteries and all is running perfectly.  We passed a bakery with all these beautiful things in the window.  Wayne Thiebaud is alive and well and painting in Paris!

Thiebaud does Paris!
We decided the weather called for an out-to-lunch foray so went down the street to a spot recommended by past tenants of this apartment.  Le Valois is a hugely popular spot in this neighborhood and it was hopping.  We sat outside under those dreadful heat lamps but our lunch was wonderful.  I had a bowl of soupe a l'oignon, Alex had a fish soup.  So very delicious.

I know it looks like tomato soup but it wasn't.  It was rich and cheesy and onion-y.  Blame the photographer.

After lunch we walked across the street into the beautiful Parc Monceau for a lovely afternoon stroll, rain notwithstanding.   It is such a lovely park with well tended gardens, winding paths, lots of benches to sit and reflect, sculpture to enlighten and amuse, a delightful foliie, a carousel and, on weekends, pony rides for the littlest visitors.  On a Friday it was calm and quiet.

We wanted to catch a glimpse the Monceau metro stop which is right outside the park boundaries.  It's one of the last remaining original Art Deco signs and decorations.

We walked home in the light rain, down Avenue Malherbes to rue de Lisbonne and home.

We're up on the 6th floor, the very top with views of surrounding buildings; nothing very glamorous but lots of light.  A real aerie.

Plans for Saturday include trip to big street market up at Miromesnil and to Dehillerin's to look at what one MUST have in the kitchen.  Until then,bonne nuit mes amis