Thursday, June 22, 2017

Early arrival

Getting to the train or plane early has been an obsession with me since I worked for a company that insisted every possible second be booked and if you missed a flight, you paid for the extra charges.

Too many times I have arrived at the departure gate, my high heels in hand, panting from my OJ-run thru the airport corridors.

So when I said we should leave Puteaux at 8 to get our train from Gare de Lyon, Rick didn't think anything of it.

It is our tradition to eat breakfast at the Montreux Jazz Café, which used to be Le Train Bleu brasserie. Le Train Bleu restaurant is still there.

I was still worried about making the 10:07 train, when Rick said, "But the train doesn't leave until noon. It was the train coming up that left at 10."

Now even for me, being that early is bit OTT.

"I just that it was you being you," he said to my question about why didn't he question me.

We arrived at the station by 8:30.

"Let's see if we can get an earlier train."

We could.

We had a lovely breakfast, had time to buy sandwiches for lunch and did make a 10 am train.

Next time I will check the tickets more carefully, but I still want to allow plenty of time for any mishaps.

Saturday, June 17, 2017


We are heading to the Paris airshow and visiting with family of choice members. Will be back blogging late next week.

Friday, June 16, 2017

30 years

For almost thirty years I've been saying, I should go to the Fortress de Salses which is close to Argelès-sur-mer every time I passed it, which was often. Today was the day. One word...


Built at the order or Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain and costing about 20% of their wealth, it is high tech for the 15th century. It took by 500 worker six and a half years. Contrast that with Boston's Big Dig to put an elevated bridge underground sixteen years with modern equipment and many more workers.

How was it high tech? Partially because architect Lopez worked with Arab experts to make the walls thicker and deeper than any other fortress of its time. Ventilation allowed for shooting of fire arrows without killing the archers. The ability to fire cannonballs thru out meant that the fort was protected on all sides.

There was an almost modern sewer system, about one toilet for every 15 men stationed. The waste was treated with charcoal before flushed out to sea.

Rain water was trapped by slanted walk ways. Combined with underground springs water for all needs including cleanliness was never an issue.

A dumb waiter brought food to the dining room (and storage area of food was enough to outlast a multi-week siege) and there was a sink to wash one's hand before dinner.

I marveled at the original doors of iron and wood.
The tour was mainly in English, but the guide would repeat things in German and Spanish for the couples whose English was weak.

Remind me not to wait 30 years to see other things that trip my interest.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Random thoughts

Random thoughts while reading in bed.

I really like the Show and Tell Fiction piece in the New Yorker.

I should count how many times the church bell rings at seven, but I don't think of it until it has been ringing for a while.

When I was little I thought of our front hall as the beach and the parlor (extra living room) as the Atlantic and I would wade in the imaginary water. Sometimes I would roll around on the rug and pretend the waves were coming in.

The huge hill at my kindergarten turned out to be only a slight slope when I was a teenager.

I wonder if congress will take mass shootings any more seriously now that some of them have been a victim.

I heard, but can't verify that the congressman hit voted against gun restrictions for mentally ill. I can't help think poetic justice, but feel badly I think that.

So glad my kid is still here.

Looking forward to Paris. Not sure what I should take for the awards dinner outfit.

Must remember to email my landlord about watering their flowers.

Should I wash the spread today.

If I get up now I will get some good writing time.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Love is

Love is...

I don't want to get schmaltzy or anything, but I don't think love is great proclamations or the buying of expensive jewelry.

I think it is the every day little acts of consideration and warmth...such as...

Bringing a cup of tea in the morning before your lover gets up. I use the word lover because my husband is also my lover and a best male friend. Female friends are different than male friends and viva la difference.

Making sure the towel warmer is on.
Leaving a heart on a bed you've made.

My dad could never say "I love you" although he would reply "me too" when I said I loved him. However, I knew he loved me when he gave me his green stuff from a baked stuff lobster which he adored as much as I did if not more.

I know my daughter loves me when she comes carrying blueberry muffins from Dunkin' Donuts or sends a cryptoquote book things I can't get in Switzerland or France. 

I try and reciprocate with the towel warmer and bringing my husband a treat. I want to make sure he is comfortable with whatever we are doing.  I will send my daughter Irn bru every so often when she's been having a difficult period at work or the weather is horrible. 

Not big stuff, little stuff. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Sitting behind L'Hostalet sipping tea and munching Catherine's savory tarts, we watched the vendors and customers at the marché. They gave us much inspiration for my writing friend and I to do our ten minute exercises creating a flash fiction piece. The only drawback was we know too many people to chat with. And people come first. But we did get one piece written. Here it is unedited.

GINA spent at least 10 minutes trying to decide to buy flowers. She left the marché stand, selected cheese and tomatoes from Jean and Pierre's stalls.

The desire for flowers was too strong. She went back. Lilies were four euros, a mixed bouquet five, and a single rose three.

"Is it a gift?" the vendor asked.

"Yes." It was a gift for herself.

He put the flowers in a transparent film, took yellow and orange ribbons and made a bow near the bottom of the stems. He used a small knife to run down the ends, creating curly cues.

Gina's other errands were mundane, although the smell of fresh bread from the oven made the bakery smell heavenly. The butcher was able to sell her a cheap piece of mutton, that she knew she could stew into tenderness

Back home she put the flowers in a vase on the kitchen table, but then moved them to the living room.

As she prepared the stew, she changed her mind and returned the flowers to the kitchen table. She found herself smiling every time she saw them as she moved from table to counter to stove in preparing the lamb stew.

The kitchen door opened. Thomas stormed in. "What are those?"


"How much did you pay for them?"

She told him.

"God damn waste of money." He went into the living room slamming the doors behind him.

She looked at the flowers and a wave of sadness swept over her not at the waste of money on flowers but the waste that was her marriage.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Monday morning

As I head out to buy a croissant, the neighborhood cat, decides to visit.
Laurent sets up La Noisette for the day.

The church bells have rung for its 7 o'clock mass.

Mille et Une has set out its local goodies. One woman has drunk her coffee.

Elisabeth and her son Daniel among their veggies and fruits. Their cheeses are great too.
The streets are still deserted. Many stores will stay closed for Monday. 

One man is out for his fresh breakfast bread. I love the sign where the owners denying their bread is not baked by them and gives the address of their oven. It is important whether it is industrial bread or done by locals.

The street cleaner heads back to the garage.

Came home for the end of the fresh fruit salad after yesterday's picnic and the smushed Dunkin' Donuts blueberry muffin loving carried from Boston by my daughter.

Life is good, very good.