Still Here — Sort Of


Jardin des Plantes, September 4, 2010

Unlike these sunflowers, I have not died. But this blog sure seems to have gone the way of dodos, 8-track tapes, and leisure suits, hasn’t it?

I thought I would take a quick minute (although this is me here, so take the word “minute” with a grain of gros sel de cuisine and go grab your cup of coffee, or glass of wine, or whatever) to let you know what has been up and why my corner of the bloghood has been so quiet of late.


Old Antibes, August 26, 2010

The Deep End of the Pool

The last time I posted, I was here, in Antibes, Côte d’Azur, with my best friend, Janet. That was about a month ago. I’ve been back in Paris for three-and-a-half weeks, but as soon as I got back, I jumped into the deep end of the pool and started treading water, getting water up my nose, and choking on it.

This past summer I was approached by a company to write some tours of Paris for a company creating downloadable smartphone applications — a kind of one-time, subcontracted, technical-writing gig, that, honestly, by the time I am done with it, based on the hours I have already put into it, is probably going to net me about two euros an hour in wages (not exaggerating). On the good side of it, I am learning a TON about Paris, especially more about how the city is organized, the various interesting sights around the city, and its history. I’m really enjoying the learning part of this project, the writing part of this project, and the (eventual) paid part of this project, but not the time-suck part of this project.

As a result of jumping in the pool, my recreational blog reading has completely dried up, and I can barely even keep up with what my other half is doing with his increasingly popular blog sites and articles. Like I have mentioned before, and to which many of you have responded — thank you– Paul writes for his own Paris blogs now: Paris Inspired, and his Paris Inspired photos page, as well as keeping up with his Paris by Cell Phone page, not to mention writing articles for the great site Bonjour Paris — a helpful place for expats and travelers alike — which I have been keeping tabs on for over a year now (in fact, Paul found out about them through me. Just sayin’. ;-)).

All this and we share one three-year-old home-built desktop whose motherboard is starting to go. (Think: the old beater car you had in high school that you had to get up early and go out to start as the engine would not turn over on first try. Or second. Or third. Finally, it gets going, but then you have to do all of your driving in one go because if it sits there, idle, for more than a couple of hours, you have to go through the whole process all over again. That’s the computer.)

I’ve been getting up earlier and earlier each morning to get the computer started and get to work, doing all my personal stuff in the first couple of hours in the morning, and then working as much as possible until the afternoon. I started with getting up at 7 am, then 6, and for this morning I had set the alarm for 5:30 am. I confess I did not get up right when the alarm went off today, but that’s because I’ve developed a change-of-seasons cold and had taken a nighttime cold pill, which I discovered last night, after having taken it for a couple of days, has gluten in it — but that is another story.

Paul commented once to someone (I think it was MJ from An American Mom in Paris) on (one of) his blog(s) that he and I and the computer are like the 1985 movie Ladyhawke. In case you don’t remember, here is this, from the linked Wikipedia article about the movie:

In medieval Europe a thief called “The Mouse” escapes the dungeons of Aquila, setting in motion a chain of events that may save or destroy a beautiful woman and a brave captain. The two lovers are doomed to lifelong separation by a demonic curse invoked by the corrupt and jealous Bishop of Aquila: by day Isabeau is transformed into a hawk, while at night Navarre becomes a black wolf. Imperius, the monk who drunkenly betrayed their love to the Bishop, has found a way to break the curse, but only if he and the Mouse can get them back into Aquila to face the Bishop.

Matthew Broderick is the thief, “The Mouse,” Rutger Hauer is the brave captain, Etienne Navarre, and Michelle Pfeiffer is the beautiful woman, Isabeau d’Anjou.

The movie tag line went something like this: “CURSED FOR ETERNITY…No force in Heaven will release them. No power on Earth can save them.” (Thank you, IMDB.)

They are “Always together; eternally apart” for by day Isabeau becomes a hawk, and by night Navarre becomes a black wolf. Neither has any memory of their half-life in animal form; only at dusk and dawn of each day can they see each other in human form for one fleeting moment, but can never touch. (Wiki)

That’s me and Paul and the computer/life right now.  One reason I have taken the on the tour writing project is to be able to afford to fix the existing computer and hopefully get an additional laptop so we can become a two-car — I mean, two-computer family and stop the insanity that is two writers using one lousy desktop.

On the good side of all this, Paul has been in more and more of a place of rekindling his love for Paris, something I blogged about before (it’s about halfway down, under this heading: “Paris as Girlfriend versus Wife versus Potential Best Friend.” It’s a good story, I think, if you have time to take a look at it, and will show you just how far Paul and I have come in this Paris Thing, for lack of a better way to explain it at the moment, as I see the computer clock advancing and I am thinking, “I have to move on to other things…”). Paul and I have been getting out to do a lot of things. Or, as was the case of this past Saturday, getting out to not do a lot of things.

The Tour of Jean sans Peur That Wasn’t

I hope to get to a couple of other things I need to tell you, but first this little tale of how I fucked things up this past Saturday.

(Sorry if you freak at he “F word.” I rather like it. I usually refrain from using it in these posts, but now and then one of them slips in there. It’s just the way I roll, and, like they say, if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen, hmmmm? I don’t do it a lot, though, so if you are persnickety about language and good manners, please do not let this dissuade you from returning in the future. It’s not really my usual M.O.)


Tour Jean sans Peur, 20 rue Etienne Marcel in the 2nd arr.

aka The Tour Jean sans Peur (Fearless John Tower) Turns into Fear and Loathing in Las Paris (But Then Gets Better).

This past weekend was the Journées du Patrimoine — Heritage Days in France. This is the third year for which I have been present for them, although I only just became aware of them last year. As far as I can understand, it is an opportunity for French and other Europeans (as other places in the EU observe these days, too) to get in touch with their “patrimony” (ooooh, this is interesting over at Wikipedia — national patrimony/essence) and see some of the inner workings of national heritage places normally closed or limited to the public at other times of the year. There are special events at museums, churches, and other national and historical sites.

The Tour Jean sans Peur is located in the Second Arrondissement and is a medieval tower of the former residence of the Dukes of Burgundy dating to the 14th century or thereabouts. Lots of historical stuff, blah blah blah, but another interesting (to me) note is that the building was a very early theater for the King’s Players circa the 16th century.

Paul let me know earlier in the week that he had reserved a 4 pm tour time on Saturday for us and whichever kid wanted to come along to check this place out. Wanting to know more about what I was going to be seeing, I looked up lots of information on the site a couple of days before, and even copied off and used Google Translate to record some information to save for maybe a blog post, or another writing project. I was psyched that Paul had set all this up, and was really looking forward to learning more about the place and getting an insider’s look at it.

Saturday rolls around, I got up early (7:30 am) to start the computer and got some work done. I made almond flour bars for myself, and did the dishes — household stuff like that. I showered.  I helped the Girl Child learn to cook spaghetti noodles and a special sauce called “Ay Carumba Pasketti Sauce” , which is one of our Ghetto Paris Living recipes (I still hope to blog about that one day soon. I make it for the kids just about every Friday night). I went shopping at Monoprix for some ingredients we needed for that night. I was planning on making Breakfast for Dinner and wanted to get “bacon” (which is in quotations as the closest stuff I can find in Monoprix is this hybrid Canadian-style and regular Amuurrican bacon-style-bacon).

(BTW: Any of you ever do the Breakfast for Dinner thing? That was the good part of our day. Let me finish the bad part first, though.)

I’m not sure what else I all did, but I do know that at 10 minutes to 3:00 pm, I decided to do the last of the shopping, thinking I could be in and out of Leader Price and have all the groceries put away by 3:30, when we needed to leave. For sure.

Well, you all know what’s coming, and the road to hell is paved with them (as well as unbought stuffed dogs).

I walk in the door at about 3:32 pm with groceries still needing to be put away, plus needing a quick trip to the loo before leaving (always, ALWAYS go before you leave in Paris — you never know when you next will get to use the toilet as they are as scarce as dodos in the city). Paul was ready to go, toes tapping, already knowing how late we were going to be and how we are likely to lose our spot on the tour.

Sure enough. We were too late. The next tour with an opening was at 6 pm. Feeling ashamed and guilty for making us late and missing the tour (even though it was for the good reason of ensuring the family was fed for the next few days, to mediate this ever so slightly in my favor), I wanted to try to find the silver lining in the debacle. Maybe there would be a cancellation — someone like us who did not show up on time — for the next tour. Maybe we could spend the next hour and 50 minutes taking some other photos in the area, having a coffee, and making the 6 pm tour. Maybe, maybe, maybe — but all of my ideas were falling on the deaf ears of the man I love, who was clearly miffed we missed the tour, who hates waiting for anything, and who clearly just wanted to go home. Which in turn pissed me off because I DID NOT WANT TO BAIL. It was a beautiful day nonetheless, and I thought we should have stayed and at least tried to do *something.* So, fight or flight — the two classic responses to a situation like this — were going head-to-head. I wanted to stay and fight (knowing how hard it is to get out of the apartment with the kids. The Girl Child was with us while Boy Child — or Guy Child as I should be calling him since he is almost 16 — was out doing what Guy Children his age do: hang with friends). Paul wanted to take flight.

So what did I do? Like a petulant three-year-old, I stomped off, thinking “Screw this! (Okay, it was really “F— this,” but I can’t bring myself to write it twice in one post.) I came all this way to see *something* so something I will see!” and I left Paul and Girl Child in the dust, just wanting to be away from the entire situation. Girl Child ran up after me and said “What’s wrong?” and I replied something about her father being an a-hole, except I really say the word, and how I just wanted to walk AWAY and SEE SOMETHING on this BEAUTIFUL DAY. Not one of my shining moments. I have to say, though, I am usually the picture of calm and composed grace around Paul’s kids, almost always. Yeah, I have fallen apart in front of them a couple of times, but I really think that I have done a pretty good job of holding myself together in front of them, not always an easy thing to do with blended families and this whole living-in-France thing being something new for me.

So I stomped. Stomped all around an area for which I had just written a tour for that project I mentioned.  I saw a lot of cool things as I cooled down. Karma had its way with me, too, as I jammed my toe really badly while hopping off of a concrete seating area I had jumped upon to take this photo:

Bourse de Commerce, 1st arrondissement, Paris

(To read more about the interesting history of the little tower there to the left, see this about Catherine de Medici.)

It turns out I had a pretty good time. I wandered around Église Saint-Eustache, got to see the Chapel of the Duchess of Orléans, which is normally closed to the public, saw some acrobats doing some kind of show hanging from ropes tied up to the ceilings and walls of the church (I have a crappy little video of it, but it’s not finished uploading yet — oooh wait, now it is, as I am editing the post — see here), walked through the inside of the Église Saint-Germain de l’Auxerrois, and found and took the Number 48 Bus all the way home. It was an enjoyable afternoon for me after all. (I’ll link in photos from Flickr if they ever get finished uploading. *a little later* Okay — here you go. Sorry. They are all jammed in with the rest of the unlabeled September photos so far.)

When I got home, Paul and Anaïs met me with huge hugs, there was forgiveness all the way around, and I proceeded to make them chocolate chip pancakes, eggs, bacon, and Paul grated and fried potatoes for homemade hashbrowns. It was proclaimed a fantastic Breakfast for Dinner and We All Lived Happily Ever After.

The End.

Just Kidding

Oh no, no, there is *always* more.

Not too much though, I hope. I have to write some of the tour today.

In addition to the tour project, I am participating in the care of a three-year-old French boy whose mother wants him to be exposed to more English. In addition, I am taking care of a thorough weekly housecleaning for them. So I am now investing 12 hours a week (16 with transportation time) into this family’s life and well-being. There are a few tricky things about blogging on this whole situation, one of which is the strict importance of keeping the family’s privacy as well as keeping my own when it comes to exchanging “goods for services,” shall we say; in this case “goods” being grocery money, which is pretty much all I am earning while doing this stuff. But it is a vast improvement over the nothing I was making in the past.

I think all I shall say more about this here is that I really like helping this family out as they are helping me out, there are a couple of little glitches where I am having to demonstrate some flexibility and be available to them when I might rather be doing other things such as reading all y’all’s blogs, cleaning my own home (which is being sadly neglected by comparison these days), working on the tour project, or just plain sleeping. But it is going well, and sometimes we have to do what we have to do to make ends meet, and that’s where things are at right now.

Another thing all this busyness is doing is putting a crimp in my being able to go out to do things with friends I have met here in Paris. But thankfully, I have still been able to connect with a few of you, like Anne in Oxfordshire, who was visiting from England two weeks ago.

The best photo I have of Anne, which is this wee one of her in front of the Mairie for the XIXeme.

Anne, if you read this, the other photos I took of that day are here in this set. Let me know if you have troubles seeing them/downloading them, and I will email them to you instead.

I also got to meet MJ (again, after a serendipitous meeting at the Centre Pompidou) along with the wonderful Debbie in Toronto (but, she was in Paris this time, heh!).

MJ & Me

Deb & Me

I have so enjoyed the friends I have made through blogging, which is why I feel especially forlorn that I am not able to keep up with people’s posts right now, and that I have already missed a couple of opportunities for getting together with others. I hope that things will settle into a steady pace soon, and in a few weeks the tour project will be completed. I’ve needed these income-increasing opportunities, so I am grateful for them. I know eventually this type of schedule will likely be the norm, too. It’s what I have been wanting and needing all along here in Paris, so I’m trying to embrace the different rhythm of life. But it is taking a toll. First, forgive me, Dear Readers for not only not posting here with more consistency, but also for skipping out of the bloghood with no forewarning of vacancy. I’ve had to move back into Real Life World for a while until I find my balance (and a really cheap laptop, haha).

I keep thinking about the lines from Professor Keating in the movie Dead Poets Society, paraphrasing and embellishing Thoreau:

Sucking the marrow out of life doesn’t mean choking on the bone.

It’s a bit the opposite of my situation right now — I am not really sucking on the marrow so much that I am choking on the bone (i.e., living for pleasure so much that it is my downfall), but I recall what my life was like before Paul, before Paris, in the Before Time of Stress — too much mindblowing, incapacitating stress that it about broke me. I sucked so hard at the marrow of expectations of society, norms, and others’ expectations of me, that I choked. I choked on my own life of trying to have, be, and do it all. It left me here, gluten-and dairy-intolerant, weakened, having had to, in a spiritual sense, cut off my own hand to spare my life (at least that is how it has felt to me).

I don’t want to be back there again, and some of what I have been experiencing the past three weeks is feeling back in that place. Please hope along with me that a fine balance of all the parts of my life can be found once again. Please hope that I can find a reasonable and achievable schedule, and that I can find the time to start back up on that young adult novel I started working on. It is another casualty of my recent schedule.

Connecting the Dots with Julia Roberts

I was wondering how to ségue into the final part of this post, and I found the connection within two degrees of separation. Woot!

Here we go.

I referenced Aron Ralston up there in the link about cutting off the hand to spare the life. Aron Ralston is the Colorado man who was hiking/climbing in Utah in 2003 when he got trapped in a canyon and got to the place of desperation where he chose to amputate his own arm with a dull knife rather than stay in the canyon and die.

I just read that Danny Boyle, one of my favorite directors (“Trainspotting,” and “Slumdog Millionaire”) is making a movie of Aron Ralston’s story, due for release in late 2010. The movie will feature James Franco as Aron Ralston.

James Franco is the actor who recently starred as “David” in “Eat, Pray, Love,” which had its Paris premiere on this past Sunday evening (September 19), and GUESS WHO was there at the premiere?! Why little old moi and Monsieur Paris Paul, that’s who. Here are Julia and her co-star, Richard Jenkins, who played “Richard from Texas,” along with producer Dede Gardner (far left), one of the screenwriters Ryan Murphy, and the announcer, who a Facebook friend of mine says is this guy (Niko Aliagas, from the French show “Star Academy.” That’s one show I have not seen, so those of you in-the-know can voice your knowledge here and weigh in on who the announcer guy is. More photos of him are here on my Flickr page).


Dede Gardner, Ryan Murphy, Julia Roberts, Richard Jenkins, and ???

Julia was herded quickly past us by all her hulking and serious-looking goons, but she was just one body(guard) away from Paul and me when she passed us. I got to see her this close (I’m holding my arms less than a meter apart). She is really very, very pretty in person, and oh my word, her legs? Granted, she is wearing, I shit you not, what looked like SIX INCH Lanvin heels, but her legs go up to her neck anyway, I swear. You can see even better pictures of her here: Zimbio, Celeb Showbiz, and Broadwayworld (and yes, I just noticed that it was Nikos Aliagas who announced them all, as he is pictured and named at that last link).

An Honorable Mention

In closing, and before I get the load of laundry out of the washer that just finished spinning and kick in on tour production for the day (no babysitting this afternoon, thank goodness), I want to direct your attention to a marvelous blog about Paris’s monuments and history as well as other places in France. Keith, if you have not seen this blog, you should take a look at it — I am really impressed with the work and scholarship in it.

Online Travel France is written by DeeBee L.  DeeBee is a fourth generation Parisienne on both sides of her family. Large portions of her life have been spent abroad, so she knows what it is like to be an expat, too. In her posts you can find a wealth of information about some of Paris’s major sites, and their historical backgrounds. I have found her site so helpful in the tour writing project as she has really researched her topics well. As a thank-you to her for her help, I said I would give her a huge shout-out here. Thank you, DeeBee!

Please go and visit her site, and add her on to your list of Paris Must-Reads if you love to read about sights and monuments in Paris and their roots in history.

Et Voilà

There you go. I’m finally finished. It’s good to catch up with you here, and if you are a blogger whom I normally read, if there has been anything huge going on in your life, would you mind letting me know what’s up with you in comments? Maybe link me into a post I might read up on to get the skinny, the 411 on your life? And the rest of you readers-but-not-bloggers, by all means share if you like what’s going on in your lives as you have experienced the whole rentrée (aka “back to school”) month for yourselves.

I hope I can figure out a way to be back here with a little more frequency, like, maybe finally learning that whole “short blogging” thing once and for all. In the meantime, go to Paul’s blog, haha! He’s keeping you posted. Add me on Facebook (see sidebar) — I am discovering that I can quickly check in there more often than on blogs.

Adios, amigos. Make that au revoir, canard! (I just learned that is the French version of “See you later, alligator!” from the subtitles on “Eat, Pray, Love.” Check this out — so cute: Au revoir, canard.)


(an alien parisienne)

Categories: Blog Friends, Life in Paris, Movies in Paris, Paris Friends, Paris Monuments, Paris Places, Personal Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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45 thoughts on “Still Here — Sort Of

  1. Bonjour Karin….I’m back in toronto (boo), back at my desk but my head is still in Paris…I came home to a house full of sick people..everyone has that change of season turn will be next I’m sure.
    It was wonderful to meet you and MJ..thanks so much for taking the time to come….and for all you commentors out there it’s a very strange sensation when you see two ladies you know from pictures and from reading their blogs both walking towards you in Luxembourg Gardens..kinda surreal.

    I had a wonderful week..took a million pictures…so far have just been too tired to write anything or even download but I will I promise…Paris was on it’s best behaviour ..we had the best weather…gorgeous

    oh can I just say that the Air France terminal 2 in particular terminal 2F is possibly the worst designed place on earth..there is no room for a 747 worth of people to wait…crazy ..anyway just saying

    stay well Karin…get that new deserve it.

    • Hi Deb!

      Oh I hope you can avoid that change-of-seasons cold. I have to say, though, this one feels like it is short-lived, so even if you get it, it might not be bad. I have some gluten-filled cold medicine you can have, lol.

      It was a bit surreal to meet one another, but then also kind of comfortable, too! Like we already knew each other without ever having seen one another before. I guess that is the surreal part, huh. 🙂

      I am so glad that your Paris trip was a success. How soon it was here and then gone! Alas!

      Can I use a swear word again? Terminal 2F is a complete clusterfuck. In fact, every time I see that Terminal 2 check-in area at CDG, I think to myself, “This is the definition of ‘clusterfuck.'” They were thinking of Terminal 2F when they made up that word. 😉

      I will do my best to hang in there, Deb. Looking forward to eventually seeing those pics of yours! Take care!

  2. Good to see you’re still around. This summer I have been very lax in my blog reading (and um, posting, ahem). My problem is that I’ll tell myself I have to finish some chore around the house, which ends up taking much longer and then I never get back to the computer. Which is good and bad, I guess.

    Anyway, congratulations on the paid writing gig. That’s always good, even if the per hour is less than spectacular. Writing is still writing, no? And any time you can get paid for it is a win in my book.

    The latest posts on my blog are about making apple butter from crabapples (so technically crabapple butter) and of finishing a 5K obstacle course called the Warrior Dash up at Copper Mountain. You probably already saw some of the pics on facebook, but a bit more of the story is up on the blog. Sometime this week or the next I hope to get up a post about the raised beds I’m working on. I just have to finish them first. 😉

    Take care.

    • Hi Wendy!

      Yes, I live. I’m still breathing, anyway. 🙂 I think it is a good thing to take time off of blogging. I know that for most people, they only know me from this blog, but the facts are that I first signed up for a Blogger account to be able to co-blog with another writer in 2003, and I began in earnest to post to Yahoo! 360° in December of 2005. It’s had its ups and downs through the years. You have been “at it” for a long time, too, and I am glad you had a break. Like you wrote: good and bad.

      Yup, paid writing is paid writing. 🙂 I am grateful for it. Now I just have to be able to *do* it all, which remains to be seen! I had a little meltdown about it last night again, and was questioning the wisdom of completing all 10 tours I have to write. (I can hear Paul thinking as he may read this, “MELTDOWN?! That is the understatement of the year!”) Yeahhhh, we’ll see. If the price is also going to be my sanity, then I don’t need a laptop *that* much. Things may feel better today. We’ll see…

      I did see some of your photos pop up on Flickr, I think it was! And yes, I have been peeking at things on FB a little too much. It’s a good way to keep a little in touch with people without getting sucked into Google Reader and spending 2-3 hours reading blogs, though. Thank you for your update here about what I have missed. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer before I can get around and take a gander at a couple of posts. I really like seeing what creative thing you come up with next. 🙂

      Bye for now, Wendy!

  3. And here I thought when I started reading this that it was going to be a short post 😉 As always, full of good stuff and good stories! I was approached on that app as well, but chose to pass, sounds like that was the right move, although I am glad you got some benefit from it. Are you going to be in town on Oct 15th to come to the blogger meet-up?

    • Hey Andi!!

      I just saved this from the “Spam File” where the comment went for some reason (?!?!). I got a tip that someone else’s comment went there, and I found this one there, too. I’m sorry. I need to remember to check the spam now and again.

      I think that the guide writer was making the rounds, and I was the sucker. LOL. Ah well. I am almost done with the first part, anyway, and if I can make it through the whole second thing, it will be good. Don’t know if I am gonna make it, and yes, be glad you passed.

      Ohhhhh! A blogger meet up, eh? I guess I need to find out when and where, and then see if I can!

      Thanks for reading, Andi, and see you at your blog soon.

  4. Hey Karin. Thanks for the update. I can relate to the drowning in work syndrome, though you sound even busier than I do! I’ve turned down some opportunities recently just to try to stay focused on what’s most important to me right now. It’s great that out of all of this you’re learning more about Paris and earning some cash, though! Plus, how in the know are you with your Julia Roberts premiere and all? You go, girl. See you around sometime – though no pressure! We all have our projects making this a rentree on speed! Bon courage!

    • Thank you, Sion. 🙂 I’m glad that you have been able to stay focused on your writing and tasks at hand! I know you are working really hard, too. I hope that you will see lots of fruits for your labor as well.

      It is great that I’m getting some wonderful learning in, and a bit of cash, too (although I will believe it when it is in hand. I’m still a little suspicious of this all coming together, but figure if I’m defaulted on, then what I have written becomes my property, too. 🙂 ).

      I have Paul to thank for being in the know about Julia – but a little secret is to check up on movies that will be out soon on UGC’s website. They have these teeny-tiny announcements at the bottom of the pages that show the avant-première showings, and *anyone* who is willing to reserve a ticket can go! In fact, we got in with our movie pass, so it did not cost us extra. So now you are in the know, too.

      Bon courage to you, too, chica. And let’s try to hang out in October. 🙂

  5. LOL! I didn’t know you’d told Girl Child I was an asshole! When she came back to me after running to catch up with you, I asked her what you’d said and she just looked very serious and said, “She’s *really* mad.”

    It’s nice to read a blog by you! You always put things in such good perspective here…


    • LOL Paul, I was curious what she would say.

    • When she came back to me after running to catch up with you, I asked her what you’d said and she just looked very serious and said, “She’s *really* mad.”


      Oh maaaaaaan. Well, all’s well that ends well. Except for my post-blog-writing meltdown last night…

      You always put things in such good perspective here…

      Well, my dear, let’s just hope I don’t lose my capacity to do just that, eh? 🙂 Thank you for your love and support.

  6. Thanks for the tip, Karin – I’ll look into it tomorrow as I’ve got a headache at the moment – caused, no doubt, by all the red cars on the road (everyone knows that only total nutters drive red cars!) and a massive traffic jam outside Rennes!

    Good to see you back – keep practicing all that stomping! Stomping is good for the soul!

    All the best


    • You bet, Keith. I know you are on the lookout for more blogs of note, and I really have found DeeBee’s to be so well-done.

      Fie on those red cars and their drivers!!

      And here’s to keeping on stomping. True, what you say: stomping is good for the soul. I think I might have to adopt that as a mantra! 🙂

      Take care! And just so you know, I look at a Taste of Garlic every day that I get the email update. I appreciate being able to do at least that — seeing what it is that I am not able to read and keep up with right now. BUT, for when I am ready to read more, I know where to go to find it!

  7. hello Karin , I am going to come back and read this .. just got in from work, I want to read it properly .. yes it was so great to get together .. .. as some have said Stomping is good for the soul , I do it a lot at home 🙂 xx

    • Hi Anne!

      I will see you later, then, but thank you for stopping by now. I’m glad to know you echo the sentiment that stomping is good for the soul. 🙂 Let me know if you need me to send you more photos. The waterfall ones came up blurry, unfortunately. I also need to direct you to more photos of the Église Saint-Serge! Well, next time you comment here, I will give you the links.

      See you soon.

  8. I have to say that I would do many types of immoral acts just to get a job writing a tour of any place. For it to be my job to dig up the well known and little known histories, critiques of places and goods and to highlight what can be found in any area and why they should be important to us, it is just too exciting.

    There is some mirror to the Isabeau/Navarre relationship in my own failed relationship in that my job hours were midnight to 10am and then I went to class from 10am to 3pm while Lysa taught class from 8am to 3pm and then had classes for her certification from 3pm till 7pm (drive time included). We slept together and in the end, that was all we had in common, that is where the paralel ends except maybe being cursed.

    I quite often have breakfast for dinner for several reasons, sometimes breakfast food is all my stomach can handle at the time, others I’m eating late enough that I won’t have time for breakfast in the morning, sometimes I’m too lazy to fix anything else than something instant (like cold cereal), mostly it is simply a whim about what I prefer to eat at the time.

    OOOOH, a multi- media blog. tres chic.

    I don’t see you “able” to go back to who you were before Paris, because then you lived life to others expectations and while you do take others under consideration now, could you ever simply NOT do what is good for you (not nessesarily what you want to do, but those things that you need to do for your own spititual center) just to apease someone elses expectations?

    (movie premiere) I understand that black is the universal ‘go-to” for all “dress” occations, but does it occure to anyone that at, what should be the “birth” of their endevor, they all look like they are dressed for a funeral?

    Paul commented on my blog and I am sure he shared anything that would have been of import.

    • Thank you, Ken, as always, for an attentive read and comment. 🙂

      I am really having to focus on the positives of this tour writing right now. I’m having a lot of second thoughts about continuing after this main one is submitted. Maybe it was just yesterday and feeling like crap, and feeling too under-the-pile with it all, but I am wondering at the wisdom of continuing. I guess first things first, which is get the first one done, and then go from there…

      I had an Isabeau/Navarre first marriage, too, as he worked the swing and graveyard shifts for many months. It was very hard on the relationship… It’s bringing back bad memories to be like this with Paul, now, too. Maybe this is all a lesson in what NOT to do, and what I cannot handle. I don’t know. I’m coming off a really bad night with all of this, and I think I need to get some perspective like Paul says I am good at finding up there. 🙂

      “I don’t see you “able” to go back to who you were before Paris, because then you lived life to others expectations and while you do take others under consideration now, could you ever simply NOT do what is good for you (not nessesarily what you want to do, but those things that you need to do for your own spititual center) just to apease someone elses expectations?”

      I think that is just it: with this whole thing, I see that old pattern emerging of doing something that is not that good for me, but doing it because I have an expectation of myself to do it — like, basically saying to myself “I need this money at all costs” and then killing myself to get it. We’ll see what lessons I learn from all of this. It’s good to know that you feel I have grown enough to not completely go back to “that place,” though. 🙂 Thanks.

      You take care & I will check in with Paul to see what he read on your blog. I know I was able to catch up on an important one for you from this past week, so I was glad to be able to do that. 🙂

  9. Dang! Jealous and impressed, Karin! So much fun, sun, action, adventure *and* productivity – brava!

    • Oh sweet Sweet Freak! I don’t know if jealousy is what you wanna be feeling, lol. I had a major meltdown later the night I wrote this, eeeek! It was not pretty. Doing better today. But, your comment helped me see the sunny side, and how actually there has been a lot of sun, fun, action, adventure and productivity. I needed the perspective check, so thank you very much!

      I miss reading your blog(s). And I still hold such fond memories of the macaron tasting at your place! Thank you so much for that. I would love to try to grab a cup of coffee or have an evening drink one of these days. I am hoping you will read this, and that we can get a rendezvous set up soon. 🙂

      Be well, Sweet Freak!

  10. Well, I’m moving to become a Swiss blogger, in case you missed it 🙂 I really hope you and Sion can come to my party!
    Courage, Karin, times of stress are how we are able to sort out our priorities.

    • times of stress are how we are able to sort out our priorities

      Ahhhh yes, very, very true, Res! Thank you for the reminder, and yes, I am learning a lot about where my priorities lie right now. This is all helping me to figure that out, for sure.

      And yessssss! I know you are moving to Switzerland as I have been on FB!! 😀 I am so happy you got the job, and so sad you will be leaving town. But I really have a feeling this is a good move for you and that the job is going to be one of those defining things for your life. I am truly excited for you. Yes, I hope I can make it to the party. I have been waiting to reply to the invite to see what schedule I have for babysitting. I will respond soon.

      You take care, and good luck getting everything sorted out for the big move, m’dear. 🙂

  11. Oh look at all of you in your scarves…so parisienne. I find that whenever I put on a scarf, I just look like an American pretending to be French. You guys are glowing.

    • LOL! We are scarfed out, aren’t we. 🙂 I know the feeling about thinking I look like an American pretending to be French when I have one on, haha! But I am sold on them. When I lived in China, women felt the same as women here: neck scarves seem to help keep in body warmth, especially in the change of seasons times in spring and fall, and at least in the Chinese traditional medical view, the throat is considered to be very vulnerable. They think that wearing scarves helps protect them from illnesses from seasonal changes. I have heard the French think a similar thing.

      I obviously did not wear my neck scarf on a day I should have… (although I am recovering very quickly. Just a minor cold. Maybe because I was wearing my scarf!! ;-))

      Thank you for saying we are glowing. 🙂 I think so, too.

      Hope things at Posted in Paris and Just Another American in Paris are going well! I have been on PinP a lot because I “liked” it on Facebook, but I need to hop over to JAAinP soon. I love the things I learn/find out about from your site there.

      Be well, Anne!

  12. Loved loved loved this update, Karin. I too am just coming up for air and hope to get a post on my own blog, and re-enter the community, soon — you’ve majorly (don’t care if that’s not a word!) inspired me to do so with this wonderful post.

    All good and positive thoughts are with you for that elusive ‘life balance’ we all seek — sounds like this particular time is one of rather frantic activity yet some real benefit for you, at least in terms of the paid writing (GOOD ON YA!!!) and the value you are unquestionably providing to this other family in terms of child care, cleaning, English, and your beautiful and unique spirit and personality that is sure to have a positive effect on them — you are worth your weight in gold so don’t be afraid to ask for a RAISE.

    I don’t yet have my own blog post to point you to but I really want to get on FB myself sooner rather than later, I love that you and Anne from Oxfordshire met in person, I agree with Anne from Paris that you are very glam in the Parisian scarves, and I LOVE the girl child’s ‘re-phrasing’ of her exchange with you and then report to her dad. Aren’t kids amazing. I like that girl/young woman! And thanks for yet another great blog suggestion – can’t wait to explore DeeBee’s site – it looks wonderful.

    All is basically fine in Sydney — more on the blog soon.

    Hang in there and yes, you deserve your own laptop. I have actually written about this in a post about travel technology here:
    And this only related to sharing a laptop on our travels — CANNOT IMAGINE sharing a computer at home. You and Paul are both saints to do this, IMO. Just cannot imagine.

    Then once you have your own laptop, computer, netbook, whatever — next is a wireless of one’s own!! which I wrote about here:

    Really, with you talent and desire to write (and Paul’s, also) to me this is just a fundamental, ‘bottom of the pyramid’ on the Maslow / Carolyn hierarchy of needs thing, right up there with food and shelter. I wish you huge success in obtaining whatever computer and Internet connection you need and deserve in the days and weeks ahead!

    Take care and cheers from Down Under xxoo Carolyn at My Sydney Paris Life

    • Oh what wonderful love in that comment, Caro! I just approved it, and I am supposed to be working on The Tour right now, but I will be back to you with a little longer response tomorrow when I’m taking care of such things in the early wee hours. But you have encouraged me mucho, and I wanted you to know that right *now*. Thank you. 🙂 Be back soon…

    • All good and positive thoughts are with you for that elusive ‘life balance’ we all seek — sounds like this particular time is one of rather frantic activity yet some real benefit for you, at least in terms of the paid writing (GOOD ON YA!!!) and the value you are unquestionably providing to this other family in terms of child care, cleaning, English, and your beautiful and unique spirit and personality that is sure to have a positive effect on them — you are worth your weight in gold so don’t be afraid to ask for a RAISE.

      Thank you so much for these words, Carolyn. I really appreciate the support in them. I felt buoyed up by what you wrote, and it did me a world of good. 🙂

      The Girl Child was most diplomatic in her rephrasing, wasn’t she, lol, and it seems it is “Meet the Bloggers Month” as now I can add DeeBee from Online Travel France to the lineup of bloggers I have met! She is as kind in person as her blog is informative about Paris. I have had such good fortune in meeting bloggers. I don’t know if one day the other shoe is going to drop on that one, but so far, my luck has been excellent. There are some wonderful people out there. 🙂

      I love how you put this:

      Really, with you talent and desire to write (and Paul’s, also) to me this is just a fundamental, ‘bottom of the pyramid’ on the Maslow / Carolyn hierarchy of needs thing, right up there with food and shelter. I wish you huge success in obtaining whatever computer and Internet connection you need and deserve in the days and weeks ahead!

      Thank you. I don’t know if we are saints, lol, but we sure are getting good at rotating the use of the writing instrument. 🙂 I really do hope that our wishes to become a multi-computer family will indeed work out. Thank you for your good wishes for that, too.

      I am hoping to check out those posts you link this morning! I have a cup of coffee all ready and everything. 😉

      Take care, hope to see you here and there, and HERE, in Paris, really soon.

  13. A job, however underpaid, can be validating. I’m glad someone has recognized your talents. Go you. The blog can wait.

    • Hello Betsy!!

      I’ve been missing your blog, too. 🙂 It is really true that one’s motto must be “Life first, blog later,” though. It’s a dictum that I have to live by, and it really can wait. And it is true, that while I may be getting paid peanuts for the work involved, it feels good to feel useful once again. It is validating. Thank you for handing me some perspective glasses on this all. 🙂

      Be well, and I hope all things are good for you, Ian and the girlies!

  14. Karin, you rock. Our meeting with Debbie will go down in history as the first ever somethin’ somethin’ of the somethin’ somethin’. Anyway — at least the three of us knew it was important. Looking forward to seeing you and Paris Paul in the near future. The menfolk better wear scarves, too, or else they will not be permitted in the clubhouse.

    So happy to see you on here again. You’re busy, no sweat, we’ll wait.

    • MJ — reading from you that I rock is high praise, for I think the same about you. It’s a mutual rockin’ fan club. 🙂

      Anyway — at least the three of us knew it was important.

      And that is all that matters, lol!!

      We need to find a manfolk scarf around here… Thinking of Al in a scarf just gave me a fit of the giggles. He does not seem much like a “scarf guy.” I dare you to try to get him to wear one and then blog about it. 😀 Double dog dare!!

      So happy to see you on here again. You’re busy, no sweat, we’ll wait.

      Thank you, and thank you. I hope that it’s all just a matter of finding my groove with everything going on and that I won’t have to postpone being here for too much longer!

      Take care & see you here and there. 🙂 Eventually.

  15. Carole

    Congrats on the writing gig! Look at you! Practically a Paris tour guide expert! I know you are doing a thorough job and the apps will be stellar. Will there be a Ghetto Paris Living tour app? You know that’s the one I want to see! 🙂

    I’m with you regarding the “F” word. Absolutely one of my most favorite words in almost any language. LOL.

    • Hey there, Carole! It is good to see you here.

      Will there be a Ghetto Paris Living tour app? You know that’s the one I want to see!

      Hahahahahaha! I tell you what: Since I will be so good at it after all of this, I think I need to write one, just for this blog. I’m putting it on the To Do List.

      And there is nothing like a good F-bomb in an appropriate situation (or an inappropriate one, for that matter!). I’m glad to have you in my corner on that one. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to be back with that Ghetto Paris Tour very soon. 😀

  16. I really enjoyed reading your post about your life lately, it’s been over a month. I like you long posts, it makes me feel less guilty to have long ones too. We went to Norway, then when we came back went to Nashville and Savannah. I am behind too in reading all my favorite blogs. My daughter no. 2, with the 2 young ones (2 and 3 ½ years old) moved close to Nashville and got an “au-pair” young French woman. It did not work out – as she is not really used to young kids and has zero initiative. So my daughter is now expecting another “au-pair” young guy this time – a 19 years old French Algerian. I wish I could go and help her for a while but we are going to New York as I got these good flight deals ($118 round trip Atlanta-NYC). I am afraid for the young Algerian guy in Tennessee but I hope he will feel OK. In Murfreesboro, TN, which is not far, they have vandalized an old mosque. We’ll see. (don’t mention it on my blog though.) Did you know that Julia Roberts grew up in my county, Cobb County, and went to high school not far away? I think some of her family still lives around here.
    A couple of years ago I was in France during les journées du patrimoine and we went inside the chateau de Vaux le Vicomte. I took my husband there last November, but it was the day they close. I made a post on it anyway : Well it is past midnight here so I better stop. I had fun reading your post.

    • Hi Vagabonde! It is really good to be back for a bit, and to have you read and comment, too. I think we both need to continue to encourage one another about the long posts. 🙂

      Sounds like you had quite the Scandinavian trip, and too bad about the au pair (the first one) not working out. I hope that the next one is better! Hmmmm. Tennessee for a French Algerian boy eh? I’ll cross my fingers for him. 🙂

      I peeked in on that post you linked — wow! That is a very cool place! I love how the people dress up like from the 17th century. I’d like to see that place…

      I am so glad you had fun reading. Hope you got to sleep all right, and I hope to be by your blog soon, too.

      Take care!

  17. Haha I love the opening of this post. Karin you have a great writing skill (no duh) that really captures your audience, I must say. I hope that you can find balance in your life, just remember “this too shall pass.” And…wow?! You saw Julia Roberts that close up! So cool..

    • Hi Brittany!! I hope that the baking and cooking have been going well for you. 🙂 Thank you for the props on the writing. I’m glad you felt captured. It’s good to know that can happen for people. 🙂

      I’m really hoping “this too shall pass,” lol. I try to remind myself. Truth is, things are feeling a little better already as I think I passed the steepest portion of the learning curve with what I have been writing. There is still a lot of work to be done, but I think I passed a difficult section of it all. I really hope that is the case…

      It was fun to see Julia just that close. It was very quick, hard to realize it was really her, but very memorable! She was shorter than I thought in person. 🙂

      Thank you for reading Brittany, and I hope to return the favor soon. But in the meantime, I hope anyone reading this comment will quickly go in my place to your site for some terrific recipes!!

  18. Hi Karin, Thank you for your visit and joining my blog toady. I am an alien in Denver and you in Paris. I like that. I grew up in Germany 500 km east of Paris. Are you planning to come back to Co or was your move permanent?
    Let’s visit soon.
    Greetings from Denver.

    • Hi Kirsten! I really liked seeing your blog, and yes, I noted that you are a German transplant to Colorado just as I am a Colorado transplant to France. 🙂 You are welcome for the “Follow.”

      I would love to come back to Colorado for a visit soon, and while I am assuming that my presence in Paris is more or less permanent, I have come to understand that in life, change is the only constant, lol!! And given my life and amount of change, lord only knows where I will be in the future. But for now? Yes, my home is Paris.

      If you ever come to Paris, let’s do have coffee! And if I am in Colorado, I will send out the word for a blogger meet up. 🙂

      Be well!

  19. Thanks for your long comment on my blog, I appreciate it. I love the term “treasure stories” but I am afraid my posts are not worth that name, you are so kind.
    I was checking some blogs on the Net because they had French names, hoping to find some other French expat in the US. It’s very weird – I must have found at least 20 or more blogs with French names like French Blue, Chez la Vie, French Essence, French Brocante, La Blogue de Paris, Paris Fou (bad grammar) and none of them were written in French but all of them from women in the US and about the “French style” which looked mostly like white furniture or white decor, etc. Have you seen any of these? I would think that women in the US enamored of Paris would rush to your blog since you live there. I wonder what this is all about. I have not seen French blogs with American names talking all about New York or Los Angeles from a distance. What do you make of it?

    • Hello there, VB!

      You are welcome. 🙂 I think that “treasure stories” are exactly what you write, though, and I really think it is an appropriate term! 🙂

      …none of them were written in French but all of them from women in the US and about the “French style” which looked mostly like white furniture or white decor, etc. Have you seen any of these? I would think that women in the US enamored of Paris would rush to your blog since you live there. I wonder what this is all about. I have not seen French blogs with American names talking all about New York or Los Angeles from a distance. What do you make of it?

      LOL! I have seen these types of blogs. It reminds me very much of the Regency period and beyond in Great Britain and the US when women looked to France for fashion and style direction. I think it is residual of those times when France dictated those trends in furnishings and clothing, and women who are interested in cultivating a romantic, refined perspective of life are still attracted to France as en example of these things. As for them naming their blogs in French, and being focused on “French style” I think it is a little bit of, hmmmm, how shall we say it? Maybe tromp l’oeil doings on their part?! 😉 I think “to each his — or her — own” but I think you bring up a good point that there seem to be few French blogs dedicated to all things American with English titles.

      Somehow I don’t think my blog would be terribly inspiring to them… My photos maybe! But I don’t really feel very connected to “all things French” so I don’t know if I fit in with that crowd. Like I wrote, though, the internet is FULL of things that are geared to all people. I really do hope you wind up finding that French expat blog in the US or maybe another country, though! Ahhh, you know — there is a French expat who is living in the UK now. DeeBee writes at this blog: (it’s the one I mention at the end of this post).

      I really enjoy her posts very much about the history of places in and around Paris, and other places in France, too. She is a 4th generation Parisienne, though — so maybe check her blog out!!

  20. My most vivid Julia Roberts memory is when I was still good friend with a couple I liken much to you and Paul (for reasons I wont go into here). One a whim, they took me to the Santa Cruz openning of Pretty Woman and I believe that they had bought the last tow avialable tickets, becuase they were dead-center, front row (rather like looking up her dress should it be rereleased in 3D). I am not one for romance movies, but the Roberts and Gere chemestry kept me awake and engaged, but from my unfortunate vantage point, the biggest impression that stayed with me every since is wondering – are Julia’s feet really that big??? I’m sure it was just the angle I was watching from, but then maybe it just drew my attention to a real attribute. I may never know.

    • but from my unfortunate vantage point, the biggest impression that stayed with me every since is wondering – are Julia’s feet really that big???

      LOL!! You know, I have a feeling she does not have teeny tiny tootsies, but I did not notice that they were extraordinarily large, either. Her shoes, though, were AMAZING.

      Paul’s favorite seats in the movie theater are dead center, front row, so in the 2.5 years we have been watching films together, I have gotten used to that seating arrangement. It’s so he can “guy cry” in peace, if necessary, and also so that he can stretch his long legs (he’s 6’1″) out in front of him with no hindrance. I don’t always like it, but I have really gotten used to it, too.

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