Welcome, May! (back to blogging)

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Tulips in the Parc de Belleville

It feels as if it has been forever since I have been online.  Eleven days ago, the fMIL (a/k/a my Mother-Sinlaw) arrived in Paris, just in time for some GORGEOUS spring weather. I have been online in those days, but only to just catch up on a couple of emails and to be able to read a post here and there as they came up in either Google Reader or Facebook. I’ve missed checking in on my fellow bloggers more regularly. If you have not seen nor heard from me in this time, it’s nothing personal! Finding moments to read and respond to people have been few and far between in the past week-and-a-half. I’ve missed you all!

But I am back, and with a KarinBrain-style post at that.  I’ve taken lots of photos I would like to share, so here goes.

Author’s Note: I tried to add some “anchor tags” and a little table of contents here at the beginning so that one could “jump” within this blog post to the appropriate section, but I can’t do that in WordPress, apparently. Trying to do so jacked everything up. So, if you are in a hurry and looking for some specifics about the tags in this post, let me put the headings here and what’s in each section so you can find what you need perhaps slightly more quickly:

  • What’s New in the Hood —  more signs of spring in the 19th arrondissement
  • Parc de Belleville —  another journey to Paris’ most elevated park (in terms of elevation, literally). Also, photos of Place Fréhel and Rue Dénoyez.
  • And then there was cake… — A link to a gluten-free cake recipe is in this section, as well as information about the Degranges Boulangerie
  • How the fMIL helped to de-Ghettofy things in our apartment… — Home improvements and “ghetto gardening”
  • I’m almost finished… — A write up on gluten-free options at the restaurant and juice bar chain in Paris: Le Paradis du Fruit

Of course in and through those topics are juicy bits on my personal life here in Paris. I aim to entertain as well as inform. 🙂

Enjoy.

What’s New in the ‘Hood

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Here is a photo of the triangular “square” in front of our apartment — it is also the view out my dining area window of which I like to take photos. The above is what the trees looked like on April 18, 2010.

Here they are now:

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The leaves have come out! (Orrrrrrrr, here are the shadows the leaves make now. I thought the pattern was interesting! I realized I did not take an actual photo of the leaves themselves, yet. Whoops. I’ll get on it, soon.)

Here is another photo of the leaves across the street, along with some rain clouds that were looming on Sunday:

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It is so nice to have green leaves fluttering out my window again. Paul and I are really lucky to have this view. A lot of views in Paris apartments involve looking at other buildings and nothing as natural as these trees, which I am pretty sure are chestnut trees.

In the past eleven days, I did a lot of walking, shopping, cooking, and hanging out with the fMIL and the rest of the family (Paul and his two teen kids. The youngest just turned 13! More on that in a moment).

Parc de Belleville

On Saturday, April 24, we visited the Parc de Belleville in the 20th arrondissement. We walked there from our apartment, which induced moans from the kids. It is up an incline from where we live and is maybe three-quarters of a mile (about 1.2 km) or so away (maybe a little less, actually). At any rate, it is a bit of a hike. Because the kids are used to taking the Métro everywhere, they aren’t used to walking places. It was good for all of us, though! Exercise in the sunshine! Puts hair on your chest! Oh no, wait, that’s orange juice. It does burn calories, though. And it was a beautiful day.

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When you arrive at the top of the hill on rue Piat, coming from rue de Belleville (see it on Google Maps here), the view in the photo below pops up out of nowhere. It is the most amazing thing to feel the movement from inside of maze-like Paris with buildings all around you, and then suddenly “BOOP!” — you have all of Paris at your feet. It’s incredible.

This photo shows that it was a bit of a hazy and polluted day, although it was also very sunny and warm. Off in the distance are the Tour Montparnasse and the Tour Eiffel (Montparnasse Tower and Eiffel Tower).

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It was warm enough to sunbathe, as these chicas were doing:

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And the flowers! Oh the flowers… They were gorgeous.

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I have all of the Parc de Belleville photos in my April 2010 set on Flickr, if you want to see more.

After walking through the park, we found ourselves further down the rue de Belleville, here at Place Fréhel (click on the link to see the street view and location from Google Maps):

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Those aren’t real people up there –they are a part of this piece of building art, as is this painting here, also in the place:

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This is Jean Le Gac’s “Detective,” as I discovered at Virtual Tourist. The building art above “Detective” is by artist Ben Vautier and says, “Il faut se méfier des mots” = beware of words.

Another famous place in Paris for street art is the rue Dénoyez. I had explored here before, but this was the first time Paul or any of his family had been here. Rue Dénoyez is an alleyway where graffiti has been officially sanctioned by the city (source here).

I think this one must be called “Nose Picker.”

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The walls have all sorts of things glued and stuck into the bricks.

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Comic book, pop art is present:

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An artist at work:

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Here’s an atomic mouse with asplody head:

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and the view of the alleyway looking towards rue de Belleville. The café Aux Folies, a hipster bobo (bourgeois-bohème) spot, is just around the corner to the right.

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Métro Belleville

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For more on the area called Belleville, Catherine Sanderson, author of Petite Anglaise, has written an article for The Observer entitled “My love affair with Belleville.” Her writing captures the multicultural essence of this dynamic neighborhood.

After traveling back to Métro Jaurès, we stopped at the Café Jaurès for some drinks. I had a cider, Paul had a pastis, his mom a white wine, and the kids an ice cream and a milk shake. While there, I spotted this little girl in her bubble skirt and Winnie-the-Pooh boots. She cracked me up, and I thought about how she is a mini-chic Parisian girl in style: skirt, tights, boots, but with a four-year-old twist. I did not want to take a photo of her face, just to preserve her and her parents’ privacy, but she was really adorable.

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And then there was cake…

Tuesday, April 26 was Paul’s daughter’s 13th birthday. We had an amazing dinner (fixed by moi, so I shall add “If I dare say so myself”) of cocktail shrimp as an apéritif, duck (magret de canard), roasted potatoes, steamed asparagus, and birthday cake for dessert.

Girl Child had requested chocolate cake for her birthday, so I made this one from scratch. It was a basic white cake recipe to which I added Dutch processed cocoa and made a chocolate frosting. Since it had gluten I did not try it, but I have it on the gluten-eaters’ word that it was tasty (I did try the frosting and it was appropriately chocolatey). The little roses are cake decorations sold in Monoprix in the baking aisle along with the colored sprinkles. Girl Child seemed very pleased.

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My fMIL is eating gluten-free now! She was having some health issues that have *completely cleared* (and fast!) by giving up gluten. I cannot tell you how nice it was to have a fellow intolerant person in the house during the week she was here. It was so comforting to have more than one person eating this way in our home. Paul has said that I am welcome to feed everyone in the house gluten-free, but honestly, I choose not to at this point for a couple of reasons. First, it is much more expensive and time-consuming to do so (I find gluten-free breads in Paris to be about four or five times the price of their gluten counterparts, and making one’s own is complicated), and it is more difficult for me to find gluten-free filling foods that will satisfy everyone on a budget. I know that there are gluten-free mommy-types out there that make nutritious, inexpensive, filling, and tasty gluten-free fare for their families out there, I’m just not “there” in coordinating it, yet. In addition, I have had more than just the gluten intolerance working against me, so it has not been practical to really switch everyone over to the things I have had to eat (or, more accurately, not eat). Anyway, like I said, I might eventually get there, but for now it is enough to make their meals and my meals, and occasionally coordinate a meal all of us can enjoy together. I did find with Paul’s mom’s stay that I tried some more variety of gluten-free foods while she was here. I reacted to some things I tried to eat again (tomatoes! Onions! Argh!) but did okay with some others (potatoes? The belly, body, and brain jury is still out on whether potatoes are having ill effects). We’ll see how it goes.

Girl Child’s birthday was a good excuse to cook an entirely gluten-free cake, which fMIL and I both nibbled on over the next few (okay, maybe just a couple, lol. It was very good) days. I found this fantastic chestnut flour (farine de châtaigne) cake recipe on the BBC Good Food site. It’s in British measurements, so it includes both metric weights as well as things like teaspoons. This suits me fine as I use both forms of measurements when I bake. You can find an online converter here (and I just noticed the BBC Good Food site has a converter as well), but I have to say I am enjoying using a scale and working with metric measurements for baking. It is actually easier and more exact for baking, I think. A good digital kitchen scale will have both U.S/British and metric units, by the way. Heck, there’s this one at Wal-Mart.com for under 20 bucks! You can open a whole new door on gluten-free baking with a scale. Try it!

Here’s the cake:

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So, my cake does not look as sexy (food stylist I do not aspire to be, obviously) as the one in the photo at the recipe link here: Lemon, crème fraîche and chestnut cake, but it tasted gooooood. Yum. It is a recipe from Mary Cadogan, whose site is here: marycadogan.com. Mary moved to France from Ireland (or maybe the UK — she is Irish, but it read like she may have lived in the UK) a few years ago. While clicking on links around and about the Good Food and Mary’s sites, somehow I came upon this site as well: La Tartine Gourmand. The site has an entire section of gluten-free recipes. I know I am committing a writing error by throwing in this sort-of off topic sentence in this paragraph, but it was an open tab right next to the one I had opened for Mary’s site, and I wanted to add it in here in case anyone is interested. There are some tasty-sounding gluten-free recipes there!

What can I say: My blog is often like a messy notebook with Post-It Notes stuck all over it. Welcome to my brain.

Welcome to My Brain

(Oh, check the photos out here! That’s me. I guess I just have right-brain leanings. )

Back to the cake: this cake is not only good as a dessert, but it would be perfect for a Coffee Klatch with the girlfriends.

In fact, this past Saturday, I made this same recipe, but divided the batter up into 12 cupcakes, baked them for about 25 minutes, and brought them to a luncheon with Tess and Natalie (they are the friends I went with to the reading of Elizabeth Bard’s Lunch in Paris at WH Smith).
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Check it out. Those are a half-dozen of the muffins in the Ziplock baggie next to the box of these sexy mofos:

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Who could compete with these lovelies, eh? God I love/hate Paris. These are treats from Degranges Boulangerie/Pâtisserie in the 16th (I’m sort of guessing at this. Natalie picked them up on her way to Tess’, and a quick Google search yields this address in Paris not far from Tess’ place. Yes, that site is in Japanese. Yes, it’s the bakery on rue de Passy around where Natalie said she got them, and 2+2 adds up to 4, even though I don’t read Japanese. It looks like this is the store website. OMG, *this* makes me want to be able to eat gluten again).

I did not give a rat’s behind if these babies had gluten in them or not, I was *trying* some.

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There is a small section of the humble muffin up at the top of the plate (and also a corner of an entire one still in the plastic bag) next to the fudgy-chocolate-to-die-for whatever-it-was up there (the one with the pistachio, almond, hazelnut and coconut on top). TOTALLY worth a little tummy swelling and achiness later, totally. Those goodies were pretty foodgasmic, lemme tell ya.

I have to say, though, I really feel like those muffins as an American woman living in Paris among Parisiennes. The muffins are delicious in their own right, but they sure cannot hold a candle to the good looks of those sweet little dressed-up beauties. *sigh*

But mine are organic. Substance over style is what I say.

(*snort*)

How the fMIL helped to de-Ghettofy things in our apartment…

Future MIL likes to go shopping, or as she puts it, likes to “go buying.” This is a nice thing. We all got spoiled while she was here, with new clothes for the kids, treats she brought from the States (a couple new Maybelline Great Lash mascaras for me that did not cost an arm and a leg! Yay!), and a little bit of not-so-extreme-but-more-than-adequate home makeover items.

One of the many things she got for Paul’s and my place were some new plants:

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There’s a ficus on the left, and a bamboo stalk and philodendron on the right. “Ficus” is pronounced “fee-koos” in French, which Paul says sounds like something vaguely sexual to him. “Let me take a look at your fee-koos.” Kind of like how I think about the word “kumquat.” Giggle-worthy words, don’t you think?

Then she also got some new window boxes and planted hot pink geraniums in them:
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Another view here:
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and here:
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We got new boxes because one of the boxes we had before now contains our Ghetto Garden:

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The Ghetto Garden is keeping in theme with our Ghetto Lifestyle in Paris (see posts here and here). This is the Ghetto Garden this past March, when it was in the early stages.

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One day last year, I saw a sprouted garlic clove in with the other garlic cloves. I decided to stick it in one of our then-empty window planters. Then on another day a few weeks later, I found a sprouted onion in the onion bag. Finally, there was a tiny sprout in a shallot that I saved until I was prepared to plant them in with the garlic.
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In they went, next to the garlic, which had been growing for a little while by that time, in cold and snow, no less!
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The garlic during the first snow on December 17, 2009.

First Snow December 2009 - 19th arr

The garlic a couple of weeks after that snow.
Garlic growing in our windowbox

That garlic clove is quite a survivor, eh? So keeping in with the ghetto theme, methinks. 😉

Well, then the fMIL and I saw potted herbs for sale at the local Mr. Bricolage (“bricolage” has no exact one-to-one translation into English, but it is a noun generally meaning “home improvement/DIY”). Mr. Bricolage is pretty much the same as good old Ace Hardware in the States. You can buy lumber, fixtures, nails, tools, paint, kitchen and bath items at Mr. Bricolage — there is even candy at the checkout just like at Ace. Mr. Bricolage is on rue de Meaux just near our home:

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It’s just there on the right in the above photo. The photo below shows the interesting building in which it is housed. It’s very Art Deco-looking.

55 rue de Meaux, Paris 75019 France

Here’s another view of the building.

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Anyway, we saw all these pots of herbs and fMIL bought six to put in the other extra planter we now had:
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We have, from left to right: thym citron, verveine citronelle, menthe verte, estragon, romarin, and ciboulette. In English, those are lemon thyme, lemon verbena, mint, tarragon (I always think of “estrogen” when I see it in French, though, haha, like I need more of THAT), rosemary, and chives. Some parsley and sage, and I would have a regular folk festival going on in the planter. The lemon thyme and chives are taking off like crazy, and I expect the mint to do the same. I’m a little worried, actually, that some of the herbs are going to oust out the others, so I may have to consider repotting some of these. Either that, or we’ll play Survival of the Fittest and see which ones make it and which don’t. We could start a betting pool or something, ha! I’m a little worried for the tarragon, but it would be fun to root for it as the underdog (earworm alert!).

I’m almost finished…

Per usual, I am just going for broke on a post and want to add in a couple of more things. One is to add that the fMIL, Paul’s Expresso, the Girl Child and I had a lovely meeting together during the week fMIL was here at a restaurant and juice bar chain here in Paris. Expresso has Celiac Disease and eats gluten and dairy-free, too. (We have a running joke that knowing Paul causes it. My best friend, Janet, also an ex-girlfriend of Paul’s and how I met him, has gluten intolerance as well.) The fruit and juice bar serves gluten and dairy-free foods and drinks, so I thought I would post about it here to alert travelers and city dwellers about another g-free option for food and snacks.

It’s called Le Paradis du Fruit (just like David Lebovitz cautions on his posts re: linking French websites, there is MUSIC and some sound effects on this site. Turn your speakers down if you visit) and there are several in the Paris area (seven on the Right Bank and two on the Left as well as others in the Île de France region). We went to the one on Wagram. Le Paradis du Fruit serves fresh-pressed juices, fruit desserts, salads, fish and chicken dishes, ice cream, sorbet, and more. Prices for meals are generally under 15 euros, and at a glance, there appear to be gluten-free meal options. Like anywhere, if you have true cross-contamination issues and suffer from even the smallest amounts of ingested gluten, you may not want to have an entire meal here, but the fruit juices and smoothies would likely not be a problem. I had a carrot and pineapple juice and some apple and anise-flavored sorbet, which was lovely. Girl Child had this, the Île Paradis, a giant fruit salad with two scoops of ice cream:

The Île Paradis from Le Paradis du Fruits

She said it was awesome. So, while a gluten-free meal is not out of the question if you ask for bread items on the menu to be left off (many of the wait staff at the Wagram location spoke English and there was an English menu available, too), certainly a gluten-free fruit snack is available in the form of fruit, juices, teas and herbal infusions. It was a very refreshing place to meet and have conversation.

What I appreciated the most is that there we were: one ex-wife, one mom-in-law, a daughter/granddaughter, and fiancée all there, comfortable and enjoying one another’s company. Not a typical thing, I expect. But then again, we four are all clearly exceptional and loving women, all there for the shared love of one little girl growing up and celebrating becoming a teenager. I think that was the most lovely thing about the afternoon. Thanks to V, the Expresso, for introducing me (and now you) to Le Paradis du Fruit.

So there you go…

That’s more or less what I have been up to in the past couple of weeks since I posted last. I appreciate your reading all the way to the end here! I hope you are all well, and for those of you that have blogs I usually read, I’m ON IT, just as soon as I can hit “post.”

Over and out;

Karin

(an alien parisienne)

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Categories: Ghetto Paris Living, Gluten-Free Recipes, Karin Brain Miscellany, Life in Paris, Paris Adventures, Paris Beauty, Paris Dining Gluten-Free, Paris Friends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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61 thoughts on “Welcome, May! (back to blogging)

  1. I made it! I made it! Although I sat here one Saturday and flipped through all you photos on Flickr, I enjoyed reading the stories along with them here. (But thanks for the follow-up comments on Flickr!)

    I love geraniums! Those hot pink ones look stunning, and I like how they hang over the railing. I’m also a fan of the Japanese yummy stuff. I would have broken any rule to have a taste of that!

    Your chocolate cake looks delish. Way to go, Karin!

    • Hi KJ! Good to see you and I am so glad you enjoyed going through the photos on Flickr. It’s really true that there is more of the story in pictures there. I wish I were better at writing titles and descriptions in Flickr, but it is what it is for now.

      I like geraniums, too, and the hot pink ones really work. They add a bit of pretty to the ‘hood, too, and it could use a bit of brightening.

      Come visit and you can eat some of those treats and I’ll make you a chocolate cake, too. 🙂

  2. Whooooa! I had to scan quick and do not feel worthy of being the first commenting person because I didn’t read every single word … but I read a lot and took in all of the photos – and ahhhhhh, life in Paris is GOOD! I loved the flowers and park shots and the desserts, oh – how decadent and lovely. Thanks for sharing – I must revisit your post again to soak more in!

    • Hi Cynthia! I hope everything is coming together for your trip here! Are you at four months, yet?! 🙂

      Yeah, you are totally worthy if you read every word or not, lol. No worries on that one. It’s why I put lots of pretty photos. I want there to be something for everyone, including me with having a place to organize my thoughts and life around words. Brain mush dump for me — info and cool-looking things for others. 😉 I always try to choose the pics that tell the essentials of the story, too, so folks can skim and still know the essence. I know I skim longer posts, too, and often try to come back to the longer ones to read again as well.

      When you visit, try to make time for the trip to Parc de Belleville. The view is so worth it!

      See you later, Cynthia!

  3. Kate

    🙂 It’s amazing the difference a few plants can make in “de-ghettofying” an apartment… I especially love the bright pink geraniums in the window boxes.

    as for the little cakes, I’ve always suspected that they’re better art than food anyway… nicer to look at than to eat. Of course these days that much sugar would probably put me into a coma anyway.

    • It’s amazing the difference a few plants can make in “de-ghettofying” an apartment…

      No kidding! It’s really nice to have some greenery in the apt. with the plants, and the geraniums brighten up not only our place, but the whole building, too, I realized from replying to KJ up there. I mean, I realized they made the building look better, but from commenting it really sunk in that we did something to beautify the neighborhood, too.

      You make a good point that in most cases, the pastries are more works of art than food. I have to say that these ones tasted worthy of their looks, too, though. *sigh* Like I wrote: love/hate, lol. Yeah, the sugar was coma-inducing, or would have been if I had eaten a whole of any one of those. Just a little taste was enough, for sure.

      Thanks for coming by, Kate.

  4. Well welcome back blog-friend….I haven’t been posting much either..started my new position here this week and it’s been a bit frantic….

    skimmed thru your post just now and sounds like piles of fun with the “sin in law” and the step kids…I know all about that ..I have 3 step sons…all grown now..22,20,18…put them all togehter with my two (19 girl, 15 boy) and you couldn’t get one of them that would want to “walk” anywhere…so I get it.

    fingers crossed I’m back in Paris in September..my sister is a knitware designer and she attends a show there most years…so La rentre for me…..

    keep writing ..I’m out here reading.

    • Hi Deb! I’m sorry to read things have been a little frantic. I hope they settle in for you, and I’m looking forward to catching up with your posts, even if not much is new there. Good luck with balancing everything.

      That’s a lot of kids in their teens and 20s! Lots of dynamic conversations in your home I bet, haha! I love young people those ages to death and they are also the ages that drive me the most crazy, heh. Yeah, I know when I was that age, I would have been moaning, too, lol.

      September, eh? Ooooh, crossing my fingers!! Let me know what happens!

      I’ll keep it up if you will, too. 🙂

      See you again soon, Debbie!

  5. I look out on your view, the triangle and am both enraptured and horrified. I am thrilled that there is “green” in the cold, stone heart of the city, but I can only imagine the nightmare life it must live surrounded by cement and only the smallest hope for some life giving decay (I mean, there is a small area for water to get in, but what about nutrients). The trees give the aire of urban survivors though, seeming to thrive in this hostile environment and if they can, we can too.

    The mere mention of chestnut trees reminds me that I once knew how to roast chestnuts. I don’t remember how I got that knowledge, but do remember watching to cook them “just enough” that the covering split, but not enough to burn the meat inside. I strange memory that floats around with no context to ancor it in my history, but knowing that I once had this skill that I no longer remember makes me sad for all of the things I once did that I’ve forgotten (ah, that old adage “you don’t use it, you lose it”, so true), such as catching, scaling and gutting fish, cooking this spinach, cheese and egg dish I used to love, Oh so many things from my childhood that simply faded away.

    Parc de Belleville – There is a hospital I have occation to visit here that is built on a small hill, thus the parking lot is a walk down hill from the front doors and the path looks much like the first picture of this park with the same water fall construction. I notice that yours, like ours is no longer fully a water fall. Although yours still has water in parts and the rest, nice seating for sun worshipers, ours is now a planter (water shortage, yanno).

    S’funny, but in sub-urban areas, like the one I live, where there is much green and open space, there are many hikers, but few sunbathers. However, if you head up to San Francisco where there are only islands of green surrounded by city, you will find it is much like your park here, dotted with sunworshipers.

    I’ve the post-it note feature on my new computer and have never really figured out a good use for it. Would it replace all the notes I leave for myself in My Documents using Notepad? I wanna play with the image clip feature also, but haven’t found an appropriate moment for it yet (although it is a function I fully understand).

    Mmmm, I wonder how well those pasteries would travel overseas. Remembering the condition of boxes of clothing and/or electronics from my shipping days, I’ll not even try.

    They sell those bamboo twigs all over here (high asian population) as “luck plants”. Foriegn superstitions fascinate me, I thought it was crickets that were supposed to be lucky.

    Did I ever tell you the story of how I figured out I am alergic to Kiwi? I’ll post it later when I get home from work. Gotta earn a living right now.

    • Hi Ken!

      I was re-reading that first paragraph of yours and I got to thinking. It’s funny, but much as Paris and I are some days at odds with one another, I cannot go with the idea of Paris having a stone, cold heart, surrounded by cement. To me, that sounds more like Detroit, lol. Poor Detroit. *sigh* I have to say that I think one of Paris’ charms is that trees and flowers and prettiness really do abound, even in and amongst the concrete. Maybe it is also the older buildings with wrought iron and bricks that were taken out of the Buttes Chaumont park back when it was a quarry that make it a relatively pretty city (making the assumption that cities, by their very nature, cannot compete with *ahem* nature itself [lol]). I somehow realized that while, yeah, some people can only see man-made structures out of their homes here, at least Paris capped the height buildings can be within the city and the city works hard to preserve the old and not abandon it to the new. As cities go, it could be a lot worse. Like Detroit. (I’m sorry for picking on Detroit. I am sure it has some nice places in it, too, but when I think of cold, concrete, abandoned, depressed cities, it is a “go to” in my head.) It is true though that nature will survive, even in cities, and I love how you write if nature can survive, so can we. 🙂

      Ken, I hereby challenge you to, in the next 365 days, roast a chestnut, gut a fish, and make that egg, spinach and cheese dish and then write about it all. 🙂 Here’s to recapturing lost skills!

      Your comments about the turned off waterfall in the park here remind me to check in later and see if it is ever running again. No water shortages in this part of the world (although everyone, everywhere should make it a concern), but it made me wonder if it is ever on. I bet it would look cool if it were running. The comparisons you make between urban and suburban areas and green places is very true. I think it is the fact that few people have yards to play in that make parks so attractive. It does seem to be a characteristic of cities to be that way, huh.

      If I had a laptop, I think I would use the Post It thing a lot more. As it is, I just use the real ones. A lot, lol.

      Those pastries would die a horrible and tragic death in overseas travel. I have read about how people have tried to bring back macarons in their suitcases with dismal results. Ya really do just have to visit here to have them, methinks. You know, I bet in SF there may be a really good French-style pâtisserie, though. There’s another task for you: find one and try something there! 🙂

      Yes, they had the bamboo luck plants in Denver, too, in the Asian stores and markets. I’d forgotten they are for luck! I hope that I have some more now that I have one!

      Okay — I saw you posted about the kiwis below. I’ll comment there.

      Thank you as always for all of your thoughts, Ken. It is appreciated! 🙂

      • “Ken, I hereby challenge you to, in the next 365 days, roast a chestnut, gut a fish, and make that egg, spinach and cheese dish and then write about it all”

        I’ve really thought about both the chestnuts and the egg dish, I think I’ll pass one the fish as that was something I did as a family outing or summer camp thing and was not something I was into. I may have even told you this story, but I never really spent time with or connected with my mother’s father. He had promised to teach me golf, but probably didn’t because his trying to teach me fishing was a disaster. While a romantic at heart, it is my anylitical side that rules. There used to be a “wild west” theme park in San Jose called Frontier Village ( http://www.frontiervillage.net/ ) and one of its attractions was s stocked pond that you could fish in. This pond was very popular to take kids because they actually overstocked this pond and catching a fish was guarantied. While he was trying to teach me to bait the hook, the proper way to toss it out and such, I looked over the whole situation and said, “There’s no point in all that work. you can just sweep the hook through the water and and up hooking a fish” and I promptly demonstrated by swinging my line through the pond in front of me and hooking a fish in the fin. Gandpa went balistic trying to tell me how this was cruel to the fish and the traditional way was more “humane”. I just couldn’t wrap my head around a “humane” way to rip this creature out of the water to suffocate in the open air then rip off its skin then gut.

        My ex-gf was a girl scout, which seems to be a little more “hard-core’ on the east coast than it is here, because she talks about one ot the badges being a “survival badge” where the girls are put in a remote place (they had an island that had sufficient survival tools on it) and they must use skills they’ve learned in the scouts to survive, so she has killed and prepared an animal to eat. She says that if people HAD to kill their own meal, there would be a lot more vegetarians then there are.

        ” (I’m sorry for picking on Detroit. I am sure it has some nice places in it, too, but when I think of cold, concrete, abandoned, depressed cities, it is a “go to” in my head.)”

        I already have that vision of Detroit because a friend came back from a business trip there and commented just as you did about it being a “dead city”. What struck them was that no where in the city did they see children playing in the streets. Chicago, New York, San Francisco (the Tenderloin), all of the urban centers, they had see children adapt to living in the city and still be children, play outside and still be “street-smart” safe, but not there. They were sadder still when they realisted on the plane back they had missed the one ray of light in this “grey” city: they have Van Gogh’s “Sun Flowers” at their Metropolitain Museum. That description stayed with me as a plane I was on flew over the motor city on my way to Ohio.

      • Frontier village sounds fun! 🙂

        C’mon dude: you eat canned tuna, right?? How do you think the tuna got in there, eh?!? 😉

        I get it — I really do, but I have also been fishing in Canada now, and I see how humane it can be, and how tasty fresh lake trout is. Mmmmmm.

        Tell you what, just find THREE other things you can do in the year. I will try to do the same here, okay? Lemme give it some thought.

        Oh this is very true, I believe: “She says that if people HAD to kill their own meal, there would be a lot more vegetarians then there are.”

        I am actually pretty close to wanting to do it most days (go veg), but the thing is right now I already eat in such a limited way, animal protein is kind of essential to me. I do try to reduce my carbon footprint, though, and avoid beef somewhat (I hanker for an occasional hamburger like a lot of people, though).

        Then there’s that “Meat Free Mondays” thing that people have going on these days. I don’t know who started it, but it is a growing movement. Anyways, it is a good idea!

        “They were sadder still when they realisted on the plane back they had missed the one ray of light in this “grey” city: they have Van Gogh’s “Sun Flowers” at their Metropolitain Museum. That description stayed with me as a plane I was on flew over the motor city on my way to Ohio.”

        😦 *sniff* I think that is one of the saddest stories I have read in a while.

        Poor damn Detroit. *sigh*

  6. Welcome back, Karin! Glad you had a good visit. I always find the coolest things on other peoples blogs — now thanks to yours, I get to add that graffiti alley to the list. I looove it.

    We have a Paradise du Fruit around the corner from us right on the Seine. It’s way good. Even the Loosh found something he could eat and he doesn’t want to eat anything except mac-n-cheese. Picky little punk.

    Anyway, glad to have you back in the bloghood. See ya around!

    P.S. Let’s go meet Debbie at CDG in September with signs.

    • MJ — I am so feening for my American Mom in Paris updates that I have to make it over to your place in the ‘hood TODAY! I have had some other online stuff in my other incarnations in wonderful, well-loved haunts (Multiply and Facebook) that I just have not made the entire circuit of Blogs I Read, yet. I have skimmed a couple of yours, but really want to get back for a proper read. Be there soon.

      Seriously, if you want a personal tour of the graffiti street with the kiddos some sunny and warm afternoon (WARM being an operative word here. Are you as freezing as I have been the past couple of days?!), just let me know. 🙂

      Little kids and their pickiness is enough to drive a mom insane, for sure, so I am glad that you have a Fruit Paradise near you! Yay! I can see how a kid would like the stuff there — so colorful. I was looking at the price of that one that the Girl Child got and it is 9 € 50. OUCH, lol. The ice cream and juices are a little more reasonable.

      I would LOVE to go meet Deb in person with signs at CDG in September. I think we should coordinate to do so!!

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by. See you over at your place, MJ. 🙂

  7. Well that was very inspiring with all those beautiful flowers photos and inspiring words it looks to be a great May after all nice job thank you “K”

    • Thank you so much for coming by to read and comment, Eric! Your presence is always appreciated. 🙂 I’m glad you felt inspired!

      Be well!

  8. hey Karin …you tell MJ I would love to see those signs…way too funny….I’ll keep you both posted….

  9. Just enjoyed this lovely post with a nice merlot! Love the photo with the shadows of the trees out your window. I remember reading other gluten-free posts from you a couple of months back. I think that gluten-free would be so hard to do in France!

    • Mmmmmm, Mmmmerlooooot. (said like Homer Simpson, lol). I’m so glad you could come and sit for a spell at my “place” and have a relaxing time.

      My gluten and other allergen-free existence has been challenging here, mostly because of all the tempting things there are in a (the?) culinary capital like Paris.

      But I have to say that I am learning a lot about myself and my strengths in the process, I am learning how to negotiate it, and discovering the things I *can* eat. It has been a process. It is not impossible, though. And it does develop creativity and fortitude.

      In all honesty, I would hate to be a tourist and deal with it here. I know people have written about doing it, it is possible, but I do feel lucky to at least be a resident with access to a couple of really nice health food stores in my neighborhood. Cooking on one’s own with this kind of thing is a real necessity to get by in the day-to-day with it. One reason I try to write about it, though, is because I know people who have intolerances and want to visit here need to have as much information as they can get about possibilities for eating.

      It would definitely not be my choice to deal with this, but since I do, I am trying to get my head around making the best of it. Sometimes, though, it is worth being a little sick for, like with those cakes up there. Oh they were good!! 🙂

      Thanks, Andi, and I hope to be by your blog again very soon. 🙂

  10. When I was living with the GF, I was always made aware that I was making less, so I wanted to make special purchases that would lt her know she was in my thoughts even when buying groceries. Trying not to get in a rut, one day I descided to purchase something really different for fruit and bought three kiwi’s and put them in our hanging basket (where we would usuall put garlic, grapes or other small, self-contained food stuffs). I dunno if she didn’t like kiwi’s or what, but after a few days untouched, they looked on the verge of going bad. Not wanting to waste, I set about eating them myself. I cut one in half, grabbed a spoon and scooped one side into my mouth when my throat went from itchy to closed up. She was in the livingroom working on sometime on the computer. I poked my head in and while I could still talk, wheezed, “Honey, if I come back in and cannot talk, take me to the ER, I’m having an allergic reaction to the kiwi. She was ready to panic and I said, “Not a problem right now, but my throat is closing up. If it does close, I’ll need to go and may not be able to tell you, but right now I can breath fine”. Well, I did get better and did end up throwing the other two kiwi out, but won’t touch kiwi again.

    • but won’t touch kiwi again.

      Sounds like a good idea. 🙂

      Kiwis are actually something I have heard other people being allergic to, too. It is related to a latex allergy, just so you know.

      Latex and Latex Food Allergy

      • Wow, but I don’t think it is me. I’ve eaten all of those foods (a lot, exept maybe Cherimoya which I’m going to have to look up) and exept kiwi, no reaction. Plus wear latex gloves for work and have worn condoms with no reaction (from either of us luckly).

  11. Yet more lovely photos you have shared with us, you have such a good eye for a photo disdonc! I especially love your flower photos, you could probably sell those!

    Yes, you’re lucky to have that view and a sense of air and space and having to trees to look at is even better! I so dislike apartments with views that are closed in, they make me feel claustrophobic. I like where I live currently as I have lots of views of the sky (and at the moment of grey clouds).

    Its difficult to believe that those women were actually sunbathing in the park when you think what’s happening now? Can you believe that it has actually snowed in some parts of France? Amazing isn’t it!

    Some of the graffiti pieces are a bit grim to me, I’m sure if I saw the one with the doll I’d be having nightmares for weeks! Good job you put the photo of that little girl on, her cuteness saved the day after the doll!

    I won’t comment on the cakes other than they look delish. I think I may have already put on 2 lbs just from looking and thinking about them. STOP CAKES!

    Your window boxes look lovely, its amazing what a difference some plants and flowers can make isn’t it. My geraniums have already lost all of their flowers, I only planted them two weeks ago. I see you planted a variety of herbs as well – my lemon thyme, chives and rosemary all survived the winter however I always manage to kill mint which is quite freaky as everyone says it’s easy to grow. I actually blogged about this last week as well! I will be keen to see how yours are doing in a few weeks. Any tips appreciated.

    I’m glad to read you had an enjoyable week and it looks as if that Paradis de Fruit just topped it off for you! Much better for the calories!

    • Hi Piglet!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I have wondered about selling photographs for a while now. I have looked at some sites where you can upload and receive fees for them, but none of the sites I have looked at have really grabbed me as something worth the effort required, so I have not really pursued it. What I am glad to know is that they bring a lot of enjoyment to people, which is really my primary goal! So I have achieved at least that. Good. 🙂

      I am very grateful for the sense of air and space we have in this apartment. While some of its features bother me at times (like every time I look at the living room walls and think, “OMG, I want to PAINT!” and how the flooring either needs a good shampoo, or just to be completely replaced), one of the things I feel totally happy about is what things look like outside of the windows. We have an east-west exposure, so we do get sunlight in the morning and evening, which is also important to me. I know of some people who live in what seem like caves here. I’m glad we live on an upper floor, too, even if it means lugging groceries up stairs.

      I am shivering looking at that picture of sunbathers today, too. Boy, we sure had a weather turn of events, huh. I hope it warms back up VERY soon.

      Okay, yeah, I picked a grim picture with the scary dolly, huh. It is very Tim Burton-esque, isn’t it lol. It kind of cracked me up, but it is also pretty creepy, you’re right.

      Here. Here’s another photo for you of the same wall, but one of a sunflower:
      DSCN2423

      STOP CAKES, indeed. 🙂 With all the food intolerance concerns, I was not even thinking about the calorie content, aaack. LOL.

      Do your geraniums have more buds waiting to open? With the breeziness of the past couple of days, the blossoms have blown off, but I have a bunch more ready to open up soon. I am going to come and check out your herb post very soon, chica! I’m looking forward to it!

      I did have a very nice week. Thank you so much and see you again soon. 🙂

      • “I have wondered about selling photographs for a while now. I have looked at some sites where you can upload and receive fees for them, but none of the sites I have looked at have really grabbed me as something worth the effort required, so I have not really pursued it.”

        I think folks may have in mind selling wall prints and postcards made from your photos out of your own Starbucks like cafe that caters to those with similar dietary restrictions along side cook-books on the same theme. The reality of such an indevor is that it would take so much of your time to manage, you would not have time for further exploration of photo taking, IMO (remembering you also need time to be a “home-maker. how did Mrs. Fields and Martha Steward do it?).

        “I am shivering looking at that picture of sunbathers today, too. Boy, we sure had a weather turn of events, huh. I hope it warms back up VERY soon.”

        A string of storms has now been broken up by almost endless sun, but the wind has been constant every day, so, on the coast at least, it has not yet been warm. I am sooo looking forward to warmth.

        I quite enjoyed the Atomic Mouse. This is what separates “tagging” from “urban art”, these images make a statement (although I’ve seen some really creative tags also).

      • “I think folks may have in mind selling wall prints and postcards made from your photos…”

        This really did make me think about starting up an ETSY site, Ken, and what that all might involve. This could be really helpful, so thanks for getting the old brain going on that one! 🙂

      • You already belong to Flickr which offers pricing on turning your photos to Prints, Photo Books, Cards, Photo Canvases, Posters, Collage products, Calendars and I believe that you can sell them straight from the site also. For comparison I am also on Fotki and their pricing is http://help.fotki.com/fotki-pricing/ . You might want to talk to Kate about the ins and outs as she is doing something simlar on wordpress.

  12. Your posts are not made for people who have little time to visit blogger friends, but always so well written and interesting that I just had to take my time!
    Nice spring weather (unfortunately now gone for a while) helps to better appreciate places, including Paris! I’m happy that you discovered Belleville with its urban art / graffitis, hidden alleys and backyard, park (with one of the best Paris views), far away from the major tourist attractions!

    • Hello Peter!! I am so glad you came by. I need to return the favor to you soon!!

      I am so glad you took the time to read. I *almost* decided to take the final written post here and divide it up into five days-worth of posts, but then I had a revelation. I realized that because I “post long” but also only post about once per week (or even less), technically people have at least seven days to read around 3,000 words. I was thinking about the people who post something new *every* day, and how there are times I cannot go to their site each day. I get a “backlog” that is quite long by the time I visit again (and I like to read posts I have missed, too). I was thinking that the whole thing really comes out to be the same: five short posts a week at even just 600 words per post adds up to 3,000 words to read. This is about the same as one of my posts. I just cram it all in to one day, haha!! 😉

      I’m just so glad that everything is well-written and enjoyable enough to read, Peter. That is such a compliment, and I hope you had a good time. 🙂

      Oh my goodness — the cold. I am freezing my tookus off right now as I type. Brrrrrrr. May warmer weather return very, very soon.

      I really adore Belleville. I feel very “at home” there with its diversity and “vibe.” I want to explore more of it when the weather gets warmer.

      BTW: I found another hidden spot, courtesy of fellow blogger Sion of Paris (Im)Perfect: Buttes Bergeyre.

      Let me know if you want to explore this area soon! I am game if you are!

      Take care, Peter, and I will see you at your blog very soon!

      • ” I realized that because I “post long” but also only post about once per week (or even less), technically people have at least seven days to read around 3,000 words. I was thinking about the people who post something new *every* day, and how there are times I cannot go to their site each day. I get a “backlog” that is quite long by the time I visit again (and I like to read posts I have missed, too). ”

        Comparing sites and your blogs, there is also the consideration that you also collect such interesting readers and comments that one has to come back time and again to find something new and wonderful in the comments section. Now I suppose I could sign up in such a way that I am told when there is something new added to your blog, but those other sites do it automaticly for others who also use those sites (and I miss that feature here).

      • Thanks, Ken! Yeah, I really love the folks who visit her and the contributions they make to the blog. I maintain that blogging is an exchange between readers and writers and that a whole lot of good stuff can happen in comments.

        I know, there is not really a great way to check back on updates in blogs like this, is there. That’s the advantage of social network blogging on sites like Multiply. I know that people can use feeds on comments, I also know that there is a tool called Disqus that can help track this stuff, but I think I would need to upgrade this site to use it. I’m too cheap right now, lol.

        Anyways, I love the exchanges that happen here, and I am glad that people like to check back.

  13. Welcome back, Karin! Great work re the birthday cakes and the get-together with the four females 🙂 Gorgeous Paris photos, as always.

    Cheers and I look forward to your next ‘wide-ranging’ post from Paris.

    • Hi Carolyn!

      Thanks for the welcome back and I am glad you enjoyed the photos. Thanks for the props on the cakes and the multi-generational, blended family gathering, too. 🙂

      Cheers back and see you around the blogosphere, Carolyn!

  14. Welcome back, Karin. And back with a force! I like that you’re adding headers now, even if the jump feature didn’t work in WordPress. Wow, fancy 🙂

    For the record, I don’t need cakes to look delicious. I just need them to be delicious. So congrats on that one. Yum.

    Also, I think you need to get into garden photography or something. Those shots are unreal! Good thing you had a visitor while it still felt like spring. I’ve pulled the winter coat back out the last few days. What the heck is going on?

    See you in the blog ‘hood soon.
    -Sion

    • May the Force be with us!! LOL. Did anyone else use that joke on May 4th?? It’s too late for here — ah well.

      Re: the headers. I’ve done it in a couple of posts before. It just seemed practical in case someone arrives here looking for the gluten-free cake recipe from a search and goes, “OH MY GAWD!” when they see the post.

      Since I am just trying to embrace the fact that I blog long as I don’t really want to seem to change it, even though I have had many a RL and internet conversation with people about it and sometimes feel like I “should,” I thought I would at least outline things beforehand.

      I am glad that the humble cake looked good in all its nakedness! There is the most lovely hint of lemon in it from the lemon zest it calls for. Really yummy. So yes, like I wrote, substance over style really *does* work, huh. 🙂 Thanks for the support of the cake.

      Thanks for the kudos on the shots. I would like to do *something* with them, like Ken and others up there suggest. I will have to think about this some more and kind of just see what happens. It is possible that perhaps an ETSY site might work, if I can figure out what it is that I would like to do with all the photos! I’ll put some more thought into this.

      Finally, it had BETTER warm up soon or I am going to have a freak out, lol.

      See you, Sion, and thanks for coming by!

  15. We must be the opposite ends of the spectrum for length of blog posts, LOL Sounds like yo had a nice visit. The tulips are gorgeous. I am jealous of you herb garden; I have a very shady yard and have one very small sunny patch that I manage some oregano in and that’s about it….

    • Hello, BJ!!

      I really did think about breaking up this one into tinier posts, lol.

      But then like I commented to Peter up there, I decided that it is about the same as those folks who post shorter blogs several times a week. I can see that a post like this *every* day (like I was doing for NaNoWriMo last November) is not a great thing to do to people, but that once a week with something like this might just work! I’ve decided to stop fighting with it for now and just work on embracing it — being different. I’m okay with that.

      We did have a nice visit, thank you, and mmmmm, Oregano! If you can only grow one kind of herb in the shade, that is a great choice! I’m thinking about pasta sauce now, and my mouth is watering. 🙂

      Take care, BJ, and know you are on my catch-up list. 🙂

  16. Hello Karin
    Your photos of the spring flowers are just beautiful. Strangely looking at them made me feel quite disoriented in time and space. Yesterday I sat in two jumpers watching snow – yes snow(!) blanketing the rolling hills and trees outside my window! Like Sion said it is a good job you had the mother in law and co when you did – to see Paris in the spring. Being a complete country bumpkin I was facinated by the discussion on ‘the idea of Paris having a stone, cold heart, surrounded by cement.’ I have lived in London and briefly – other cities, but find it increasingly hard to be in city for very long these days. I always go with great excitement and expectation and usually I am not disapointed but after only a day or two I start getting edgy and claustrophobic. I adore Paris. (prefer it to London) It leaves me breathless with its beauty and complexity but I could never live in a town or city now. It is not that I think it has a ‘cold stone heart’ because it is a vibrant place but I couldn’t cope with all the buildings and people around me – I think I would rather live in a tree. But I admire people who do – that is why I read your blogs! Oh dear, I must be getting so old!
    Anyway, thanks for taking the time to write and show us all the photos!
    All the best, Lydia
    ps your cake looked stunning!

    • Hello Lydia! I am so glad you stopped by. 🙂

      Trust me: the flowers were looking a little strange to me, too, with the weather turn-of-events the past week! But oh my goodness: SNOW. France is seeming more like Colorado to me with snow in April/May — crazy-making weather.

      I hope it will return to warmth soon. I guess one consolation is that usually with a little snow, the moisture helps the blossoms to come out. Kind of like grapevines, a little cold seems to make them more hardy (as long as they don’t freeze!). Here’s to warmer weather.

      I know what you mean about your comments on the city: Paris is a beautiful place, indeed, with the vibrancy and excitement that you write about, but in the day-to-day it really is a city with lots of potentially claustrophobic moments. I think that’s why I like the Buttes Chaumont and Parc de Belleville so much — with both places not only is there some nature, but a sense of being above all the claustrophobia, up high and away from the maze it can feel like sometimes.

      I guess one of the best parts about blog reading is the ability to vicariously be in another place — to experience something like the city (or for me, the country) anytime we like. I’m glad if I can fulfill your “jones” for a little city living without your actually having to live in it.

      You’re not getting old at all: just tuning into a human that needs too be in touch with nature, and I think that is a very good thing. 🙂

      Thanks for the compliments on the cake!

      Take care, Lydia!

  17. Hi Karin,
    I sure picked a day to stop by. Actually, I recall reading your ‘pre-fMIL’ post and was happy to stop by to see a very long and lovely new post.

    I will have to join the chorus and tell you that your photos are beautiful. You’ll figure something out; the right opportunity will come your way.

    Welcome back!

    • Hi Tanya!

      I hope your transitioning is going smoothly. 🙂 Sorry about the lousy kirs. *sigh* I’m glad to read the pizzas were better.

      I’m so glad you have returned to catch this post and thanks for the compliments on the photos. I think you are right: the right opportunity will come my way! I’m thinking a lot about how I might nudge it along, too.

      Be well, and hope all your endeavors are going smoothly!

  18. Shel's Bells

    Wait! I want to know what happened to the little ghetto herbs! Did the garlic get evicted?!?!

    I looooove girlchild’s cake! 13- a good year.

    I must see the graffiti place myself. Can anyone do it, or do you need to ask? Can I bring my Sharpies? What happens if they run out of space?

    I’m glad you had a gluten-buddy.

    Parisian children are so gorgeous!

    I have something to tell you and it’s KEEELLING me, but it’s a secret for now. :))

    • Hi dear Shel!

      The garlic is there! It’s this photo here:
      DSCN2530

      and it is the tallest one on the right.

      I’m really concerned about the mint, though. It is taking over like crazy, just as Janet told me it might, and I am worried it is going to kill everything else. I’m either going to have to pony up and get another pot or two to put it in, or it’s going in with the garlic, onion and shallot, lol. Could be an interesting battle among plants. I wonder if planting the mint in with those three ruffians will make it taste like garlic, onion, and shallots (I really should read up on gardening).

      I’m glad you like Girl Child’s cake. 🙂 Come and visit and I will make you one. 😉

      I have no idea if unsanctioned (that is, anyone coming up to graffiti the wall at any time) graffiti is kosher. I mean, that seems like an oxymoron, huh. I’d say, bring the Sharpies (if you come here, that is) and we’ll be surreptitious about it. What they do is paint over and over the tops of whatever is already there. The same spot the guy is working on in the photo up there is this one here last summer:

      DSCN5280

      That’s the same “garage door”-looking thing as to the left of the man painting in the photo in the blog.

      This would lead me to believe that Sharpie graffiti is probably okay. 🙂

      No need for you to die anymore, babe. 😉

      XOXO

    • Bet I could guess the secret, but I’ll be good and wait like everyone else.

  19. I’m going to reply to comments in just a little bit, but I was linking up to some sites and discovered this one:

    Paris Notebook: The Best Baguette in Paris 2010, in which the writer reports the Desgranges baguette was voted the fourth best baguette in the city.

    So, head to the rue de Passy location for one of the best baguettes in Paris!

    Another one, which got 7th place, is just near where Paul works.

    MMMMmmmm. Wish I was eating gluten. If I ever decide to do a “gluten challenge,” I’m getting a baguette from one of these places. 🙂

  20. photogirl2u

    Reading your blog makes me want to move to Paris, but for now, it’s Tennessee for me… =)

    • Hi photogirl2!

      Hey! No knocking Tennessee! 😉 I am a big believer in blooming where you are planted. 🙂 I have lived in a few places that are not Paris, such as Denver, Tulsa and Dallas, and while some of those places were more favored than others to me, I look at aspects of all those places fondly. I hope the weather has settled down in your part of the planet & here’s some good vibes to all who need them in TN.

      Thank you for reading and commenting & I hope to see you again soon.

  21. Carole

    Hi Karin!

    The park is beautiful and I love seeing the graffiti photos. I’m tempted to bring chalk on my next visit to Paris and do some discrete tagging. 😉 That birthday cake turned out really nice. What 13 year old girl wouldn’t love it?

    Welcome back to the world of blogging. And as I say to my friends: may the FRENCH be with you. 🙂

    • Wheeeee!! “May the French be with you” — lol. That’s great. Totally bring chalk and tag the next time you visit. It washes right off!! I think that is a great idea. Thank you for the props on the cake. I had a lot of fun making it.

      Take care, Carole!

  22. Happy Mother’s Day Karin! I too have not blogged in a month. Got sick with an ulcer and then added a two month old to the bunch that I now babysit….needless to say very little time for socializing on or off line. But I wanted to at least stop by and wish a fellow mom a wonderful weekend. Love your cake and Paris in the Spring. All the best 🙂

    • Hi Corine!

      Oh my goodness, you have been up to your next in it, huh. Happy Mother’s Day to you, too, and I hope that you will be feeling well soon. I’m glad you were able to stop by and check in and enjoy the pictures.

      Hang in there & hope to see you again soon, Corine.

  23. My my. So many comments.
    Here is my favorite part of your post: “What I appreciated the most is that there we were: one ex-wife, one mom-in-law, a daughter/granddaughter, and fiancée all there, comfortable and enjoying one another’s company. Not a typical thing, I expect. But then again, we four are all clearly exceptional and loving women, all there for the shared love of one little girl growing up and celebrating becoming a teenager.”

    Looking forward to more, and getting back to Paris. The tracks are under construction in our region right now, which makes sneaking away to the big city a bit less simple.

    • Hi Betsy!

      It’s comment craziness here, lol. It’s fun. 🙂 I’m so glad you could stop by.

      You know what? Your favorite part is actually my favorite part, too. It is good when people can get along like that!

      Train track construction, eh? Two words for ya: Easy Jet. I don’t know if they fly out of a regional airport near you, but they are cheaper than the train (often), quick, and makes popping up to the city a cinch. Just sayin’. 😉

      Hope the rain is not drowning y’all down there! We aren’t having downpours, but it is a gray, gray rainy, cold day today and I WANT SPRING, DAMMIT!

      *fit over*

      Good to see you, Betsy. 🙂

  24. Would be happy to make the walk Cité Bergeyre you propose! Haven’t been there! Please propose a date as from May 21 when I will be back from a short trip to Sweden!

  25. Carree Henry

    Lovely pictures. Europe is fun and exciting. I missed Wal-Mart when I lived in Germany. I was fortunate to have access to the commissary and post exchange. I would luv to go back and visit can I visit u sincerely carree henry

    • Thank you, Caree! If you make it back in this neck of the woods, by all means let me know! 🙂 It is always good to have visitors.

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