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Posts from the ‘Paris, Trains, Facecream’ Category


YEAH, I know…’s that time of year that everyone visits the fabulous Christmas markets in Salzburg Austria, Lille, France, Nuremburg Germany, La Defense, Paris, Alsace-Lorraine (She just won MISS FRANCE, btw) but

I’m not talking about these, –  yet.  This is a diary.  And today it consisted of none of the above, but it did consist of LAUNDRY and IRONING and as much as I’ve turned most of you OFF, I’m going to write about it.  How interesting is that I decided to stay home today and do mundane chores, eh?  But, it was the LOUVRE the other day, so hey, why not?   Besides, TUESDAYS are our “SATURDAY” after a marathon of working with business English adults etc and so if you  are to look your best, SOMEONE (moi) has got to do the LAUNDRY.

First, there are no dryers here so your clothes hang wet.  But every bathroom has a TOWEL DRYER so you can put your clothes on this huge thing and they’re dry in about 5 mintues.  No kidding.  And if you hang the rest to dry on the suspended racks across the bathtub, then they’ll dry in a few hours.  It’s amazing how these tight little spaces are conducive to wet clothes  or wet shoes from the rain, drying very fast.

Today David did not know how to get into the Washing Machine.  I just looked at him like ‘How did you not know this?’  The owners had explained once how to do this with a very large screw driver because the proper handle is missing and I can imagine it’s just not worth the time or the money to replace this part.  So, I washed the clothes, (2 hours here in France for a wash) – I know it can be shorter but haven’t figured out how to make it shorter thus far……opened the door and saw from the cup dispenser that the soap had not “projected” into the washer thus, they had not been washed.  Hmmmm.  Another 2 hours.  Never mind, so I repeated and this time tossed the large soap tablet right into the washer on top of the clothes.  I had always done this before, but thought, wow, such a cute little soap dispenser thingy, I’ll use that this time.  Wrong idea.

Ironing was the next thing so I struggle with the humongous euro-ironing board and got it out into the living room right in front of the TV, POIROT (in French) on at the time,  and then set up the HUMONGOUS steam iron contraption that is almost heavier than the ironing board.  It has a large receptacle that holds distilled water and a cord coming out of that into the iron, so in essence you are ironing with a very professional steam iron that is pretty amazing.  However, I was out of distilled water and the owners told me to use “Distillee eau” ONLY  for the “repasser” (iron).  Okay.

So, I get my jeans,  shirt and boots on and head out in the cold.  For DISTILLED eau.  The first place I go is the PHARMACY as they have all sorts of lovely,  very expensive items for your baby’s buns, baby’s body, baby’s drinking habits, then also for a woman’s face,  arms, legs, your bowels, anything. I thought that because of the above they might have distilled water.  Wrong.  Non!

But!   “You can find it at the local Auchan,” she says.  Well, Moi  – was just there yesterday and it’s a little far by bus and so I went home to iron with out any water.

That’s okay. The iron works without the water as long as you don’t hit that little button.

The freshly ironed clothes came out looking like NEW!  Now I know this is not the slightest of interest or importantance to most of you, but after 2 months of washing clothes and having no means at all to iron them and wearing them mostly ugly wrinkled, it was joy to my soul to have beautiful crisped ironed clothes now, my heart tells you true.

The thing is, that when the steam works next time, it’s going to be even more fun and a lot better looking, cause I’ve tried it once. Amazing contraption.

When the clothes were finished (for the 2nd time) in the washer I had to show my husband how to use the really large screw driver to catch the latch and open the little door.  I said to him, “ I could be laying in a hospital somewhere and you would have these wet clothes sitting in here for weeks on end and unable to get them out of the washer because you didn’t listen to the instructions of the Madame on how to open this door!”    😉

They smelled so divine.  LIke I said, since there are no dryers ( to speak of) in France,  there are no BOUNCE sheets.  Last night I bought (what I thought was) fabric softener because once again I didn’t understand the words, but I SMELLED it and it indeed smelled like Fabric Softener.  This would make me again very happy because it’s important for clothes to smell nice.  So, in the washer it went and out came the freshest lavender smelling clothes and  why is this so important?  BECAUSE,  I have washed in strange washers since I’ve been here and dried a lot of our clothes to where they looked liked they had come out of the garbage.  Those little “niceties “ that we take for granted in America are HUGE in a country that minimizes, economizes, saves, does without.  We are a very very clean society in America.   It takes a lot of money to be so clean.  I understand exactly where the French are coming from in this case, because all of this takes money, energy, and is a “luxury” where luxury is not in their vocabulary when it comes to CLEANING .   Luxury goods, on the other hand – is a whole other animal.

While all the above was being accomplished I had simmering on the stove my first “meat  dinner”  in TWO months, as I found GROUND beef in the frozen section at Auchan, that was actually affordable.  I know, I said we were becoming vegetarians, but from the amount of beef compared to the cut up veggies in this dish – it was almost vegetarian.  But as the funny looking squiggly beef things were being cooked I thought that they not only looked strange but smelled strange. “WHAT IS THIS?”  I said to myself.  “Horse meat?”  Ahhh, but Non!

It was pure beef, now that I’ve tasted it, but at first……….it was a question.

Another thing that is most important here is the saving of all the things you cut up.  Well, almost.  You know how most of us take those little stems out of the beautiful mushroom caps and toss them to the garbage or (in my case- the COMPOSTER?)  Well, you USE all those stems in France.  Everything is tres cher and you do not waste a thing.  It is a good practice – a good lesson.

The spagetti meat sauce came out beautifully with all the fresh veggies added, the shallots, garlic, teeny diced celery, carrots, peppers, fresh tomatoes.  I threw it over some curly pasta, added some basil pesto to top, then some wholegrain French bread with D’Isgney butter………. a little bit of heaven…..all in a days work in “Marti’s Laundry”. Oooooh, isn’t there a famous restaurant in California called the FRENCH LAUNDRY?!?!  I think I’m on to something!  🙂

You can live in Paris on a Teacher’s Income if you Shop at Saint Ouen

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Okay, I’ve said it.  We’re teachers.  We’re very poor teachers that live in Paris.  We aren’t retired yet, nor do we expect to retire in the near future.  We are Americans living in Paris who cannot retire in the United States, and cannot retire ANYWHERE.  So what do we do since we can’t retire?  We COME TO PARIS to teach!!!  How crazy is that?  Yeah, a bit .

Today I woke up and it was raining and thought, ” there is no way that I’m going to trek to the RER train, change  in two places on the metro, get off in a  Northern Suburb of Paris and walk to the ends of the earth to shop in a soggy flea market.”  But that is exactly what I ended up doing.  And it was the best time of my life.

The stalls, the long paths through incredible mazes of stalls is more than can be described. But I will try.  First, it was wet, and some stall owners had given up and  left remnants of what was and what had been –  packed up and gone home.  Others were lucky because of their wonderful plastic tents and covers, so, as they usually do, they stayed.  And they smiled and they asked me to check things out, to take a look, and most of the time it was a “No, Merci” kind of answer because there is no way that I could stop and talk and look and browse because there was WAY to much to get through to do so.  The antiques section was so lovely and not really of interest to me because I need things to survive, like FOOD and  BELTS (to keep my jeans up) and maybe a MOP.  But antiques?  Jewelry? Ralph Lauren type Leather Steam Trunks?  I think not.  What about awesome antique dinner rings, cameos, one of a kind antique watering can?  What about a 1940’s fur  coat complete with hand muff and siberian style fur hat?   What about antique handbags, the kind my mom used to carry?   ….ahhhh, NON!

Not now anyway.  But as I weaved my way through wonderful things and stuff and baubles and paintings and furniture and vintage clothing I was reminded that this was a museum all to itself.  A wonderful memorabilia type of museum.  You can’t help but be enthralled and amazed at the vast amount of items that people once owned that brought them joy , perhaps,  that has  history  of its own, that new persons are going to own again and the story continues and continues.

It was absolutely delightful. And I think shopping in the rain made in even more so.  It was less crowded and the shiny wet streets added a distinct flavor and ambience to the entire setting.

I bought things from Senegal vendors and Ethiopian’s just because I liked who they were and how they reacted and the things that they said.  I may never light the incense or wear the earrings, it doesn’t matter.  They were just so personable and kind, and had great smiles and I felt blessed to be there among the hard working people, just another visitor, tourist, woman with an American accent. BUT,   they treated me as though I was the only one.   When I tried on my fake leather boots the guy was so nice and said, “here I have a special place for you to try them on – right here “, which actually was a top a huge box of shoes and he swore that it was safe and secure and I could “sit there”.  I had to laugh.  I thought to myself, I wonder if the posh place in the Marais that has my coveted tall red boots with the ballet type leather has a place to try on THEIR shoes as fun as this?!?

That was my trip to the Saint Ouen Flea Marche at the Metro Clignacourt stop and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

A Beautiful Life – A Tragic Ending

Stories I’ve been told since I came to France.  #1

Musee de Nissim de Camondo


This is one of those ‘hotels particuliers’ in France that one never really gets to see on the tourist circuit. It really is fun to peek inside the lives of the upper crust of Paris at the turn of the 20th century, however it does pique me when I think about the life of such a devoted art collector and love of all things most beautiful, giving his family such a  posh, cushy  life, and yet it all ended in such tragegy.  The home is especially meaningful to me because a friend of mine in St Louis has a direct maternal line to the family.  Her mother’s grandmother actually was Esther Fua and gave birth to 2 male heirs of this old banking family. They were Nissim and Abraham, Nissim being the grandfather Moises, whose home is now on 63 Rue de Morceau. Fascinating to know this bit of history,  so close to home.

Musee de Nissim de Camondo

This Nissim de Camondo museum was the former home of Moise de Camondo, a banker of Turkish-Sephardic decent whose family had founded the most important bank in the Ottoman Empire.They originally came from Spain but escaped persecution during the Spanish Inquisition. Moise’s  grandfather was named a count by Victor Emmanuel as thanks for helping to fund the reunification of Italy. His father Nissim and uncle Abraham moved to Paris in 1869 and were known for their philanthropic work and banking prowess. Issac and Moise, sons of the two men followed their fathers into the family’s banking business, although their banking efforts were mostly concerned with preserving their assets.

As adults, Moise and his cousin Isaac established two homes facing the Parc Monceau in the 8th arrondisement. Isaac, who never married, was a devoted collector of Impressionist art as well as an avid collector of Japanese and 18th century decorative arts and furnishings. His house now houses Morgan Stanley’s Paris office. Following Isaac’s death in 1911, his hundreds of works, including some of the Louvre’s most important impressionist paintings, by Degas, Sisley and Monet (he was friendly with Monet) were donated to the Louvre under the condition that the paintings be shown together for 50 years. Today they are spread around different galleries at the Louvre, the Orsay and other state musuems.

Moise followed in his brother’s footsteps as a collector. His society wife (I assume an arranged marriage between banking families), Irene Cahan d’Anvers left him for one of his stablemen (another count no less) in 1891, but their two children, Nissim and Beatrice stayed behind with the father. Moise was a devoted horseman, hunter, and ‘gentleman’ whose banking was mostly concerned with the family’s weath, and who otherwise spent most of his time on his hobbies. His greatest interest was collecting 18th century art. In 1913, he had his home on Parc Monceau rebuilt specifically to showcase his decorative arts collections. The updated plumbing, state of art elevator, intercom system and electricity make this home more unusual a museum than most in Paris,  but the home is no less elegant and glorious to visit.

After Moise’s son Nissim was killed during WWI, Moise withdrew from society and the bank, spending the rest of his life refining his collection as a legacy to his son. The complete home and its contents were donated to the state and the Union of Decorative Arts following his death in 1934. In his legacy, he saw that ‘maintaining the integrity of his residence would be conserving a glorious period in France with the most beautiful objects that could be collected for the period that he most loved (the 18th c.).’ In typical ‘old world’ paternalistic fashion, his daughter Beatrice,** an accomplished equestrian, and her issue, were not part of the patrimony of the house. Beatrice, her husband and daughter had lived in the Camondo home until their second child was born, but they moved to Neuilly, a posh suburb, in 1923. Ignoring the threat of the Nazis, they remained in France during the occupation, and were all deported to Drancy in 1942. All four of them perished at Auschwitz in 1945, effectively ending the Camondo line.


Irene Cahen d’Anvers by Renoir

An interesting aside–because we were curious what happened to Moise’s ex-wife, I looked her up. She came from a well-known and very wealthy banker’s family. Renoir painted her portrait as a child but she hated it. Renoir had also painted her sisters and her father. The d’Anvers family had not been happy with any of the paintings (all of which were to become priceless treasures), and had treated them publicly with such disdain, that Renoir took major offense. During Irene’s marriage to Moise, the painting was stuffed in a cabinet and forgotten, and then found years later by Beatrice, her daughter, in the Camondo home. The painting by then had become priceless, and Beatrice returned it to her mother. The Nazis confiscated the painting, and it ended up in the hands of Goering who gave it to a Swiss munitions maker, Georg Bürhle. After the war, Irene found it on a list of works stolen by the Germans and was able to recover it, but as she had always disliked the painting, she put it up for sale. It was sold in a Paris gallery, to none other than Georg Bürhle, and hangs today in the Swiss Collection, Buhrle

As the only surviving blood relative, Irene inherited her daughter and son-in-law’s wealth after WWII, and as in true dilletante fashion, blew it away.

Some of the above material was supplied by “travelingmom” on travel.


** Béatrice Reinach (1894 – 1944) was a French socialite and a Holocaust victim.

  • DAUGHTER OF MOISE de CAMONDO and Irene Cahen d’Anvers both from prominent banking famlies.  She was married to composer Leon Reinach (1893-1944) the son of Theodore Reinach.  They had 2 children Fanny and Bertrand


Born into the Camondo family of Paris, she was the daughter of Moïse de Camondo and Irene Cahen d’Anvers, both of whom were from prominent Jewish banking families. One of two children, her older brother Nissim served as a fighter pilot during World War I and in 1917 was killed in action.

In 1918 Béatrice de Camondo married composer Léon Reinach (1893-1944), the son of Théodore Reinach. They had the following children:

  1. Fanny (born 26 July 1920 in Paris – died in 1944)
  2. Bertrand (born 1 July 1923 in Paris – died in 1944)

On her father’s death in 1935, Béatrice inherited a large fortune. Her father bequeathed his Paris home, including its contents and a major collection of art, to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs to be used to create the Musée Nissim de Camondo in his son’s honor.

In 1943, under the German occupation of France during World War II, Béatrice, her husband and their two children were forcibly removed from their Paris home and taken to the Drancy deportation camp north of the city. From there, they were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp  where they were all murdered.


Beatrice's son, killed in Aushwitz

As a girl, was painted by Renoir, later marries Moises de Camondo & leaves him


Beatrice and her brother Nissim

The Hors d’Oeuvres without recipes

The hors d’oeuvres without recipes.

Okay. I have a new oven and I don’t know how it works because it’s FRENCH.
Not only that but I had NO stuffing for my usual standby appetizer of stuffed mushrooms so I found QUINOA and thought that might do.  It did, but I added some lentils to beef it up a bit……then I added cheese (goat cheese and brie in teeny little peices on top with some finely minced parsley. Then I set it in the oven for about 10 minutes  – I have no idea what temperature  -I just winged it – temps in French are not temps where I’m from.   I just timed it with my iPod and watched it.

Also, I had sauted the mushrooms beforehand in some butter and a bit of olive oilso that they would have better flavor.   They did.

Then I set out duck pate, noix cheese with Kirsch, Brie, and some thinly sliced sausages along with some kind of crispy bread from the market, small toasts, and some freshly cut french baguette that David just brought home.  PERFECT!

Then I had some carefully  cut sized carrots sliced just so (from my culinary class instruction) and celery and radishes in  small bowls out as well.   There was a beautiful  baguette out for a nice effeect.  Did I say I had sausage/ yes.

And did I say this was for our first guest in the new digs and to share the CHAMPAGNE with him which was left by the owners of the apartment??  Wasn’t that just so incredibly nice?  They did not have to do this – nor leave the BRAND NEW KNIFE in the drawer because they know I love to CHOP (veggies)!!  And because we are so grateful to this wonderful French man in the apartment next door for helping us with the last 2 apartments?!? He is a saint!!!  We love you Maurice!

This is short because I need to go to bed!!  It’s December 1st.  We have been here 2 months!

The Tangerines that became Plump from the Heat of the Radiator

There is a chapter in one of Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher’s book , “The Art of Eating” where she talks about Tangerines.  She was the all consummate food writer of the 50’s before there were serious food writers.  The tangerine she refers to is sitting on top of a radiator in her apartment in Montpelier and slowly becomes full and plump from the heat and she describes it in such terms that it makes one want to run to the nearest food market and buy a sack of these jewels and try to do exactly what she did.

Tonight is the night for bragging.  I try not to do this too often because bragging gets really old and people start to yawn and say  “Yeah, WHATEVER, it must be nice to travel like you do, or it must be nice to be living in Paris or it must be just so great to have the world as your oyster,…. Smell you!   So, because I cringe when someone says “I’M SO JEALOUS” because it is honestly not my intention, at the same time, I am just feeling  so incredibly blessed that I want to share tonight’s very simple story.   First,  this is a place we have wanted to live for just long enough to have  memorized some major metro stops, not just one week in and out on an airline pass where we’ve seen and experienced so very little.  So, guess what?   Lo and behold, it has actually happened. It has come to fruition.  I don’t need to tell you that I prayed a very long time for this to happen to us.  They say be careful what you wish for, and in this case, “Be careful what you pray for”.   🙂

We have no idea how long we have here, so we are enjoying each and every day as though it were a gift from God.  Honestly.  Truly.

Now the cool things that happened with food tonight.  I love M.F.K. Fisher  and have devoured her books for several years.  I’m not a true “Foodie” because if push comes to shove and I need to get a meal at a “chain” – yes, even in France, that is where I will go.  But I do appreciate, as does David really really good, well prepared & lovingly prepared cuisine.   There is nothing quite like it.
In my “Black Friday Blog” where I show that a Haute Cuisine meal can go from $100 a plate to $500  + and say “Don’t do it”.  Yeah, don’t do the high end.  Unless ofcourse, money is absolutely no object whatsoever.  But a once in a lifetime Haute Cuisine meal – yes – on the lower end – maybe $100 each with wine – do try it – if you can at all afford it.  It is really like nothing you have ever experienced.   The one meal I had like that (since we have been here) was to thank the wonderful gentleman who helped us find the most incredible furnished apartment for 6 months.  We are extremely grateful to him and all that he did, so we took him out to “one of those” Auberge places with incredible cuisine. When the first course arrived  I could not believe each bite that I put in my mouth, it was just THAT good.  The second course, it was the same , ‘I cannot believe how good this tastes!” I would say over and over again.  I don’t think the gentleman understood a word I was saying, but he saw the delight in my face.   And it continued on until the last morsel of dessert was consumed.

Now, that being said, and because you know my history of eating at way too many pizza places since we’ve arrived, or at the Lamb Kebob place off the street, so that we didn’t go entirely broke the first month we were here, I have news of extreme importance.

If you know how to cook, even a  little, and you don’t have to rely on recipes because you have no books with you, and it doesn’t do much good to go on the internet because everything is in different measurements not to mention an oven that you have to just “wing your way through”…..if you can ignore all that –  you can have one of the most incredible meals, in your own place, even with only a hotplate, if you are so inclined.

Tonight, I had prepared two plates for me and my husband and it was so delicious that I had to share it with you, because, from my calculations, the entire meal was not over 6 Euros for the BOTH  of us. ($7.50)   And you do not go out for an even mediocre meal in France without spending atleast $17 per person.

Here is what I scrambled up after a 2 hour and 45 minute excursion to a local market by bus – that is from out the door of the apartment with grocery cart on wheels in hand, and the waiting for the bus, and the standing on overcrowded bus and the shopping at the big Auchon and the carting it back to the bus  stop and waiting for the bus again and schlepping all that heavy stuff plus cart onto the bus, finding your navigo pass, and sitting down (finally) for the bus ride back home. All in very cold and windy weather.

I’m not complaining, I’m just telling you like it is.

Tonight’s dinner consisted of:  left over spanish rice with added fresh mushrooms, small roasted eggplant pieces and a shallot, (from outdoor market) first sauted then added to rice.  A very small piece of turkey.  Salad with Mache and curly leaf lettuce from the outdoor market ( yesterday. )  It also contained,  fresh sliced radishes, fresh tomatoes from market, slivers of fresh carrots, and slivers of Blue Cheese from the cheese case at Auchun tonight. It was tossed with olive oil and on mine a bit of red vinagrette.  It was a “to die for “ salad.  Maybe it was all the fresh wind in our faces to and fro the market, but I think not.

A bowl of potato soup, and no, not from scratch, just KNORR and oh so reasonable and oh so good.

Then we had (with all of the above )  a fresh baguette of French Bread from the Bolangerie with my all time favorite butter but which I can never buy from Whole Foods Market in the US because it’s tres cher, but not here, and that is Beurre D’ Isigny Extra Fin Beurre.  D’ Isigny is where Walt Disney and family came from.  I don’t know what it is about that butter, but I could eat it all by itself, without a thing, it is just that good.  “Rapturedly” so.

Red wine from a “box” washed it all down and it was  okay! Do not fear box wine. We had that wine at the school  last month and it “coats” the glass, it is that good.  Plus, my ex-husband & his wife turned us on to box wine and we are now sold.   It was a dry red Bordeaux.   SO so perfect.

Topped off by PLUMP tangerines sitting next to the heating element that my soup pot was on and with a teeny bit of dark chocolate.   OH OH YUM!!!!!!!!

That my dear friends is my “bragg-a-mony” tonight because I’m so happy to have not only saved a fortune (by not eating out at a mediocre restaurant,) but because everything we tasted in that little kitchen of ours,  became blessings on our tongue and I am truly grateful for my kitchen and for the chance of being able to do what I just did.


Late night thoughts: I don’t care what time it is – there are always 20 people on the street…….

Yep.  Walking down Quai d’Orsay towards the knitting class at church  – 20 people.  Usually though it’s more like 120,  say around  7-ish – but tonight after a late supper (after work) around 11PM,  there were another 20 people on the sidewalk walking to the train, walking to their cars, or walking down the little village – cashmere coats on, nice shoes, sometimes hats, some with canes, some with packages;  doesn’t matter…..they were walkin.”  You think everyone is in their own little world and not a care for anyone else until you here a story like this (by Jeanne Feldman). She tells  about a  handicap man who got on the bus grabbing the center handpole for dear life and looking a little sad, and much of a blank stare in his face.  Because he was so much in the MIDDLE of the bus, holding onto that pole,   people had to go around him when getting on the bus – it was a bit inconvenient  especially so as the bus became more and more crowded. Then one African guy,   young and full of it,  starting yelling (in French) how rude it was that this guy was standing in the middle and everyone had to go around him and how he was going to kick his ass.”  Well, the little man standing at  the pole, hugged it even tighter , got even a little more wide eyed as though he were scared out of his wits and all of a sudden the entire bus load of people started moving this maniac guy who was  yelling towards the exit door,  one passenger talking to him softly and before you knew it,  this group of bus riders  had “escorted”  this guy OFF the bus at the next stop!!!”  Someone else put the little wide eyed man in a seat towards the back of the bus and someone else talked to him to calm him down.  Unbelievable.    And this is not the  first time to see and hear of things like this happening in France when a group of  people, out of nowhere, get together to either protect someone that needs protecting, or just helping out a couple of clueless tourists.  It’s a beautiful thing.    I feel so incredibly safe here, walking alone, walking at night, walking with 2 people or walking with 20, or walking with no one.   I said to my husband, “If someone doesn’t like PEOPLE all that much,  and wants wide open spaces where they never see a soul for maybe – ALL DAY – they need to go to the middle of America.  There are not a lot of people walking in mid-america, except, maybe CHICAGO.  Yes, there are people at MALLS, but I suppose it’s because we have no real transportation system, so of course you won’t see people walking this much in America.    That being said – David and I are  in the outskirts  –  8  miles north of Paris,  but still,  there are people  constantly out, walking, even in this little village away from the city.  It’s one of those things that just hits you in the funniest/weirdest way, because you are so NOT used to seeing  so  many people  at any given time,  OUT, on a sidewalk, late at night – ever.   That being said,  I suppose not being in a car constantly  has an awful lot to do with this.     It’s really rather nice.

That’s what I was thinking, late at night.

Also,  yesterday,  I was winked at, as I strolled back to my apartment with a baguette in my hand.  He said something French like  “Ca VA??”   and I  thought, well how cool is that…I’m a GRANDMOTHER and still I turn heads…….and then he opened his mouth and smiled a huge toothless smile, and I looked down and just shook my head.  “Back in the day, in Paris, when I made my mother walk ahead of me – it was so different.  They were ALL so good looking.  “   Hmmmmmmmm.    Oh well.     🙂


and I’m not talking luxury items, but rather plain ordinary tights to keep my legs warm, or a simple top, or some shoes, good shoes, but nevertheless, what I encouter blows me away.

Today I bought new shoes, it’s a brand I get in the States, but they’re French so they were only a few euros more than what I’d pay in St Louis.  Still – it shocked me, but my feet thank me as they are very good walking shoes. ( Mephisto). I felt guilty even looking in the windows for anything else.  I finally saw a top I could afford because I have the same clothes I came with 8 weeks ago in a CARRYON and they are few and far between and looking a bit shabby.  This top would be about $7.00 at Kohls, but I’m not going to even think about this for any longer.  It  was on sale, and that in itself is a huge deal.

I could go on…..but why?   The TITLE of this post says it all and more.  Still, still all that being said, I am very grateful to be here and make the best of what we’ve have, because we have SO MUCH.  God is good. All of the time.


This little piggy went to market – We are now becoming VEGETARIANS in FRANCE!

The price of chicken is exhorbantant, not to mention the price of Salmon!

I could give up chicken, but not fish.  So we’ll have to figure out something there.

Today the roasted chickens were 11 euros – or $15.00  ($3.85 at Costco)

and 2 small pieces of North Atlantic Salmon came to 11.83 Euros which meant

$15.85.  Non!  No way.

ALL my veggies (see pics only missing bananas) came to $12.42.  Not bad as they will last me a long time sauted up with some rice on one dish and sides to another pasta dish on another……$12.42.  I can handle that.   But not the price of huge hens, chickens with the heads still on – yes I know they’re super fresh, but am not acclamated to seeing those heads and beaks – just not – not right now.  Give me time.

Since you’re all talkin’ ’bout BLACK FRIDAY, I have some prices for ya………(Updated 12/10/11)

We went to France with ONLY a Carry-on, and now look what’s happened

FIRST, may I say  HAPPY THANKSGIVING  and THANK YOU to my friends, who write on FB, “like” stuff,  and make me smile a LOT and who I can call “FRIENDS” whether we see each other a lot or a little or not much at all, but only via cyberspace.  It’s okay  – it’s the way of this world, like it or not.  This Thanksgiving will be so different, because it’s an extremely THANKFUL day with all my heart for the love that’s been shown to us by strangers in a foreign land, who don’t even speak my language and I don’t speak theirs.  What they have done for us I can’t even begin to describe, but suffice it to say, what we have had in the last 8 weeks and what we have today we wouldn’t have in any – way- shape- or form had it not been for the goodness and generosity of these new friends.

I am a teeny  bit sad as I take the last of the items from the old apartment.  On the balcony over looking a hilly northern landscape just beyond Paris I glance at twinkling lights in a misty fog, not too cold, and very beautiful.  The last of the cigarette butts stashed in the planter and  left behind by my good friend who was the first to visit me is scooped up and it makes me laugh.  She knows how I feel about smoking, and she knows that I want her to live a long time, but sometimes you just have to let people do what they want to do because all you can do is say it once, and let it drop.  I turn around after sweeping the top terrace where we spent too little time and pass the tall wine cellar with extremely ancient bottles of wine and champagne filling the unlocked cabinet.  I am thinking  how trusting these people were to let us stay here with that treasure!!  🙂   We never opened one!  It wasn’t ours to open, but I’m bemused by their trusting spirit.

I walk by the TV on the floor that my friend tried to get to work because when you’re jet lagged and just can’t sleep there is nothing like the drone of background noise of a television.  It never did work, but it was okay.  We never had a couch, so we sat in lawn chairs for 3 weeks and that wasn’t so bad either.  But sometimes when you come home from whatever work or excursion you’ve just done, there is NOTHING like a COUCH, and sometimes NOTHING like mindless TV to just veg out on, simple as it may sound. Simple simple pleasures. How we take them for granted sometimes.

We are moving as I am writing this to the new semi-permanent apartment across the way from the old temporary apartment. I will miss that roof top terrance, but not the stairs that I had to climb to get up there.  They were circular and lovely to look at and the light streaming down from the rooftop was so pleasant and the terrace itself was spacious and lovely, but I needed FRIENDS, PEOPLE , preferably some that spoke ENGLISH, to entertain and to make full use of it. 🙂

The last of the items from our old apartment is finally in the new one.  But I have made about 7 trips already and I don’t understand how this happens when we only came to France 8 weeks ago with 2 carry-on’s and a backpack!!!  Amazing what you accumulate in such a short time when you have an apartment to put it in….and I haven’t even been shopping!!

Well, off to clean it now and leave it as good or better than when we took possession of it.  I want Madame to be happy, because she certainly made us quite happy.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL – whoever might read this, because I only know of 3 souls that are, ha ha – but just incase the rest of my  cyber friends out there might  be reading – This is a Warm and “Huggy” HAPPY THANKSGIVING to YOU!!!!     🙂

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