Season’s Greetings!

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Métro Jourdain (L11), sortie rue de Belleville (20th arr), 20 December 2010

A very Métro — I mean, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year to all you readers out there!

I hope that everyone is having a spectacular Solstice, I hope that that Hanukkah was happenin’, that your Festivus will be fantastic, and that Kwanzaa is completely creative, cooperative, and community-driven (q.v. Kwanzaa principles).

Okay, that right there is the “short version” of this blog. The long version is coming right up. Get your coffee, or should I say café, or vin chaud, a tisane or heck, a Diet Coke, eh? Come back, and sit down, and read. I have a lot on my mind, and was stalling on writing a post because I just could not choose what I was going to focus on, so you are going to get the smörgåsbord of blog posts. You know, the kind of one where I break all the blogging “rules” and am all over the place for around (over???) 3,000 words. One of those. (A warning: I am committing a HUGE blog no-no, and pretty much blogging the entire month here. Just giving you fair warning. I’ve tried to divide it up so you can take it in chunks, haha.)

If you are not much of a reader, please press on to at least peruse the pretty pictures. There are some good ones of holiday scenes at the end. 🙂

 

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The Snow Family, 8 December 2010 — during the “Big Snow”

In front of the Synagogue Michkenot Israël, 6 Rue Jean Nohain.

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Here’s the little snowman brother. I could not get the whole family in one shot. I need a wider-angle lens.

So, the snow. Since maybe a lot of you read those other Paris Bloggy Folk who are more on top of things, posting-wise, jumping on the top Paris news stories with alacrity, you have probably seen pictures of the snow here. Pretty pictures of the snow at pretty places like the Place des Vosges, and the Eiffel Tower, and maybe some chi-chi places in the Marais. You know, Paris in the Single Digit Arrondissements. Here are my pictures of the area of Paris I have kind of started to think of as like Brooklyn. Although I have never been to Brooklyn, so I don’t really know. But I have read a lot about Brooklyn, and I see a basis for comparison. Maybe one of you New York-y people out there who also know my ‘hood in Paris could concur, or deny and let me know if it is more like the Bronx. At any rate, this is what I have come to call “Ghetto Paris,” and this is going to be a Ghetto Paris post.

My Snow Photos

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18 December 2010

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19 December 2010

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20 December 2010

No, it’s not as much as the UK or other places in the EU has gotten, not in my part of the Île de France anyway, although some who live in the southern ‘burbs around Paris say they have had a lot more than Paris. Certainly it is not as much as in Germany or anywhere in Scandinavia in a normal winter. But those of you in parts of the U.S. that get some snow in the winter (like Colorado, for example) will understand that for a place like Paris to get snow like this, not just these three days in a row, but very consistently throughout the month of December, it is a lot like when there is snow in Texas or California. Parisians freak on it a little bit, and are not all that well-prepared when it snows often or a lot, especially as was the case during the snow of December 8th.

Actually, in the second photo up there, you can see what looks like the street-sweeping truck equipped with a snow plow. Instead of scrubbing streets, this one was scraping snow. The city workers actually seem to be doing a pretty good job of things when the snow is light, but here is what it looked like in our neighborhood on the night of the 8th, when traffic was a honking, paralyzed, clusterf*ck around the entire city:

Traffic Jam

There is not normally traffic like this on this street. While it is the direct street on up to the Mairie XIXeme (Town Hall for the 19th) and the Buttes Chaumont Park, it is not ever jammed up, bumper to bumper quite like this. I was also near the Place Gambetta that night, and every street coming into the roundabout in front of the Mairie for the 20th and the roundabout itself was filled completely with honking buses and cars. It was a total mess, and I was grateful to be taking the Métro, which was working just fine. Those taking the RER trains were not so lucky, though. They were delayed and even stopped for a while, too.

My story is so boring compared to this one, though: Kung Fu Dana’s And Then There Was Zed: A Birth Story Gone Awry. It is about what happened to her on the night of the snow, and she tells it in a humorous and poignant way. All I did that day was help the mom for whom I babysit assemble some IKEA shelves. Heh.

What Else Has Happened This Month

NaNoWriMo

On November 30, I logged in 51,506 words on the NaNoWriMo website, confirming that I had “won” the goal of writing 50,000 or more words of fiction during the month of November.

I have had a lot of interesting questions/comments about NaNo in person and on Facebook. I wanted to clear up a few things as some of those comments and questions make me think that people believe me to be submitting a manuscript and getting published from the experience.

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Okay, no. While I am sure that some seasoned writers have been able to come up with a manuscript with which to work, revise, and hone into a novel ready to submit to agents and subsequently publishers within a month’s time, I am a NOVICE. All I did during the month was dedicate several hours a day to try to write 1,667 words for that day (and making up for it on other days when I did not). Yes, the goal is to try to write an entire novel with a beginning, middle, and end in the month of November (and 50K being the minimum number of words publishers designate a “novel”), but I did not accomplish that. I went into the experience this time (my third attempt, my third year of trying) with no plot outline, no story idea, no nothing at the beginning. I free-wrote the first couple of days until a character name popped into my head and I got some exposition accomplished. After writing some of the basics of the beginning of the story, I wrote the middle, and then the middle, and then some more middle… Basically, I have about 50,000 words of the middle of the story where some interesting things happen to the protagonist (she has drunk-sex with an old college friend and meets the ghost of Jim Morrison in Père Lachaise Cemetery, as well as Ethan Hawke in the Shakespeare and Company bookshop), but there is no real narrative arc to anything, and certainly no complete story.

What there is is a lot of practice at what it means to write fiction: I came up with action, dialogue, and descriptions — I learned what it is to move from one scene to the next and establish a lot of things in the process such as characterization and motivation. What I also learned is that it’s all well and good (and very hard!) to write enough words to have a novel, but unless you have some kind of plot outline before going into something like the NaNoWriMo experience (or for *any* sort of writing experience), you’re probably going to flounder a lot like I did and not really have much to speak of in terms of an actual story at the end of it all. I learned that it’s helpful to have an idea of what is going to happen, an outline of the story and the major conflicts within it, before jumping in to write actual words.

So, this was just practice for whatever is next. I am actually thinking of working on the thing I started on back in August about the 12-year-old girl. I realize now, however, after November’s experience, that creating a story outline is what I need to do next. Then I can set about some actual writing and see what happens.

Birthdays

Images from Google Search

On Saint Nicholas’s Day, and the Finnish Independence Day, Paul turned 47. I was asked to babysit from 8 pm until midnight that night, so we didn’t really celebrate Paul’s birthday that day. However, his son turned 16 on Tuesday the 7th, the day which will live in infamy (not because of his birth, because of Pearl Harbor. Duh 😉 ). The 16-year-old had been spending a couple of weeks with us during this time (and will again in the coming year, living with us every other week or so. Maybe every two weeks — it’s TBD at this point). His mom and he have needed a little break from one another. Those of you who have raised teen boys can probably understand this. Anyway, that week he was with Paul and me, so Paul, his ex-wife, her boyfriend, Paul’s daughter, son, and I all had McDonald’s dinner together (well, I ate fries and had a Coke Zero) at our place.  It was a nice gathering. It’s a good thing I am a flexible person and quite enjoy hanging out with Paul’s ex-wife and her boyfriend.  I made a cake; in fact, it was the one I posted about here, the chestnut flour cake. I made it dairy-free by subbing coconut milk for the crème fraîche and it worked out great! (Thank you, Mary Cadogan, author of the recipe!)

Meetings

I’m of a mixed mind for this next part. Sometimes I feel like things about which I am about to write are a little gratuitous, as if I am trying to say, “Look who I saw in Paris!” and “Look what I did in Paris!” and it could seem, you know, braggy.

But I don’t mean it that way.

In fact, for me, part of this blog’s purpose was to help me get out, connect with others, and help me enjoy Paris more. The first six months I was here, I had agoraphobia, I barely left my apartment, and when I did, it would take me 20 minutes or more just to open the door and go down the stairs into the “outside world” of Paris (like, I would stand by the door for those minutes, physically shaking and freaking out, and talking out loud to myself, trying to convince myself it was safe to go outside). I was smoking back then, too, and the whole going-outside-thing would freak me out so badly, I would chain smoke up until going out, then I’d chain smoke while outside, and then I’d do it some more when I returned home because I had flipped out so badly. It was not pretty, and it was probably really stinky, too.

So, if anything, this is the part where I am trying to note, mostly for myself, to tell myself the following: “Think about how f*cked up you used to be, and NOW look at yourself! You are able to go out by yourself to meet people, you no longer need to smoke to get through the experience, and WOW. Look how far you’ve come, baby!”

There are ten events listed below, ten things I did this past month.

( 1 ) At the very beginning of the month, I was pleased to connect with Lily of Context Travel, who talked with me about options here in Paris for work, and who told me more about her Paris story (how she arrived, and so on) and also a little about the tour business. I had met her at Misadventures With Andi’s get-together in October. Getting to know Lily better was such a pleasure, and I was really impressed with the way she runs the Paris office for Context Travel (there was a bit of a crisis while I was there, and she handled it smoothly and graciously!). I note that Context Travel is now working with not only one of my favorite sites for information about Paris, Bonjour Paris, but also with Discover Paris, whom I wrote about this past autumn. Context Travel seems like a great organization with whom to book tours, so if you are visiting Paris, check them out. (That was a totally un-coerced endorsement, by the way. I have not ever been on a tour of theirs, comp’d or not. I have read a post by someone — a friend — who has been on a tour, and it sounded great. I just think Lily is really nice, and the company appears to be professional and top-notch. So there you go. Sounds like a good deal.)

( 2 ) The first weekend of the month I got to meet some very special people, who graciously met with me on the down-low during their low-key Paris honeymoon trip, in order to finally meet face-to-face (we kept missing one another on their previous trips). I took them on the Ghetto Tour (most of it — it was a VERY chilly day, so we abbreviated things) to see the Église Saint-Serge de Radonège, my local Leader Price (which underwent a makeover in November!), and the “square” in front of my apartment. I very much appreciated being able to meet this special couple.
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( 3 ) I have also been getting together with another blogger who shares my sense of humor and also the same era of birth and coming-of-age (that is to say, we are ladeeez in our fordeeez! 😉 ). We have a lot to giggle about together, just like a couple of teens. I like it when people make me feel like I am 17 again. 🙂

Also, check out the size of this wine goblet she has. It’s GINORMOUS! That baby has got to hold at least a half a bottle of wine, if you filled it all the way up (37.5 centiliters — a bottle is 75. That’s about 12.7 ounces, or a cup-and-a-half. THAT’s a wine glass!).
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( 4 ) This past spring I met Leesa of News From France. When I met her, I also met Dawn, aka Notes from Noëlle. Dawn goes to a monthly book club, and this past fall, she invited me to be a part of it. Every third Wednesday of the month, I have been getting together with some ladies to discuss a book we have read prior to the meeting. I’ve been attending since October, and here are the books we have read so far:

Actually, Sea of Poppies was the September selection, and I did not go to that meeting. But one of the book club members donated her copy to a book exchange for the group (the “leftovers” are taken to the American Library in Paris), so I decided to pick it up and read it, anyway. Our book for discussion in January is The Other Hand by Chris Cleave. This book is called Little Bee in the States. I just finished it, and it is really good.

( 5 ) On the 16th of December, I told you I would be going to a promotion party for Mademoiselle London (see post here). I had a great time seeing Franki Goodwin again, and also meeting Katya Jezzard-Payraud. The event was held at Adam Studio on Boulevard Sébastopol, in the 1st.

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While there, I met a couple of new people, very briefly, but one was Amanda of Skinny Cappuccino in Paris (I think that’s her link…) and the other a German woman named Anna who writes for European Chic Design. I had fun talking with them, as well as the event photographer, and this guy named Cedric, who works in press relations of some kind. And there was this really drunk guy, too, who was kind of annoying, lol, but I forgot his name.

What was important about this event for me, personally, was that I actually went OUT on a Thursday night, all by myself. It was pretty fun. A little, hmmm, how to put it — probably not my normal kind of crowd to hang with, but it was interesting. I got video interviewed by the photographer/videographer guy and the video is supposedly going to show up on DailyMotion on Adam Studio’s account/page, eventually, but I can’t even find their page, so god/dess only knows what the deal is on that one. There was free alcoholic punch, though. 🙂

I hope that the event drummed up some business for Franki and Katya, who have a cool concept on their hands, as I have written about before.

( 6 ) Earlier that day, I met with my photographer friend, also a Karin in Paris. You have to check out her Flickr site. She takes incredible photos! We are, believe it or not, both Karins born in 1968, and in the springtime, no less. Karin in Paris is originally from Sweden, a country I have not been to, but when I was growing up, we had two Swedish exchange students living with us (at separate times), so I have felt a connection with Swedish culture since I was a kid. Karin made me a delicious gluten and dairy-free Thai shrimp and coconut milk soup (it was fantastic!) and we visited in her home in the 18th, talking about all kinds of things. She’s really cool.

I took these photos out of her apartment window because I am fascinated with the views outside of apartment windows here in Paris, haha.

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( 7 ) Aurelia came over this past Saturday to use my oven to make some wonderful-looking Mexican Wedding Cookies a/k/a Russian Tea Cakes a/k/a Pecan Dreams (if made with pecans instead of walnuts) for the holidays. I did not try any since they had flour in them, but they looked great! We lunched on some gluten and dairy-free pasta with sauce. I love visiting with Aurelia. She is so kind! And funny, too. 🙂 You have to read her story about meeting David Sedaris on her blog. It’s a riot. She’s another friend who graduated from high school the same year as me, and so we have the whole growing-up-in-the-80s thing in common, just like I have with Amy75. She’s also one who eats differently from most people, so I take comfort in the fact that she understands some of what I go through in social situations, not eating like other people do. She’s in the middle of writing a book about living in France, and I cannot wait to see the results! She encourages me a lot that it is possible to write, to find someone to publish that writing, and to do the work. I really enjoy hearing about her writing process, too.

That same night (the night in the first snowy picture with the windows up there), dear Tess, my very first friend here in the city, who is so kind and has such a gentle personality, came over for a Christmas dinner before she leaves (has left, actually, at the time I am writing this) for a holiday retreat in Ireland. She got me the book Sacred Contracts, by Carolyn Myss, for Christmas. I have already started reading it, and am blown away by its insights. It is a perfect follow-up to a book I have read and loved for a long time, Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés.

( 8 ) Then I connected with the writer/blogger/photographer Sab in Paris this past weekend, too. He has a few blogs (this one, Paris If You Please, is his newest, but check out his sidebar for the other nine [9!!] blogs), a Flickr site, a Facebook page, and another project, which is organizing a MeetUp group. It was the MeetUp group I joined on this past Sunday the 19th.

We met just next to the Passage Jouffroy in the 9th, the “secret location” of Sab’s favorite tearoom, which we found out when we got there was the Le Valentin.  Sab, a woman named Sylvie, a man named Jean, and another guy named Jean-Baptiste all met at 8 Blvd. Montmartre next to the Musée Grevin to gather, coverse, and discover more about Sab’s favorite tearoom in the city.

I had a macaron framboise (no gluten & no dairy, allegedly, in one of those) and a pot of Lapsang Souchong, which is a smoky, rich, Chinese black tea I love to drink in the wintertime. It’s a very cozy tea.

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We walked around and took photos of the shopping Passages Jouffroy and Panoramas. (Click on the images to make them bigger. This post is too gigantic as it is, and I am not quite wrapped up yet, lol.)

Passage Jouffroy

Passage des Panoramas (mostly, I think)

The Philatérie

This one is interesting — it was photos of the windows of a Philatérie — a stamp-collecting shop in the Passage des Panoramas, across from the Passage Jouffroy. It looks like it is in one of the older locations of this company, Stern Graveur,  an engraving company which is now located in the 8th on rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré. –a little research later–  Yes, in fact, French Wikipedia has more about it here. I just learned that the Philatérie is one where some of the collection of a famed philatelist, Arthur Maury, is kept (again, I think).  At least that’s what I got out of reading in French, and then with the help of Google Translate. Maybe you try reading it and see if you can get more out of it than I did…

Anyway, I was fascinated by these buckets of old letters with their fancy handwriting, colorful envelopes, and exotic stamps. I wish I could have seen some of the correspondence within (and then understood what it said). I wonder where all of that stuff was found! Oh, too many questions I have with my inquisitive mind.

( 9 ) This past Monday I met up with a young woman in the city who is struggling with health issues very similar to my own. She found me through my blog. It was really good to meet someone who knows what it is to not eat what everyone else is eating in social situations. I hope that she and I can start a Paris support group for people with food intolerances and Candida! At first, with just us two. After that, who knows?!?

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An organic, fair-trade cola with the same name as a version of a Linux OS

After meeting with her, I met up with Leesa (again, of News from France), Susa and Brigitte, whom I had not seen in ages and had hoped to see before the holidays, and I met for the first time Jennifer, whom I had heard a lot about and had seen comment on various Facebook posts of my friends I have met because of Leesa.

We ate lunch at this great place on the Boulevard Montparnasse called “Exki.” Leesa has blogged about it before. What I liked is that they had organic items as well as gluten-free ones, and all the ingredients on every food were marked really clearly. It was a little pricey, but delicious. The place was clean, fairly spacious, and really convenient.

( 10 ) The last event — and I will be caught up for the month. Promise.

So Amy75 Facebook-messaged me on Tuesday and wrote that a friend had cancelled for a “pedicure” because she had sick children, and how would I feel about going with her for a “fish exfoliation”? You know, the fish that tickle and eat the dead skin off your feet. I said, “Sure! Why not?” and so I went to have my feet and calves exfoliated, by fish. It was… weird. Funny. Now that I look at the photos a couple of days later, it’s kind of creepy, haha. It was cool to try once in my life, though. I’m glad she thought of me to go with her. Many thanks to her friend, too. 🙂
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Some Final Holiday Thoughts and Photos

So, all of the above is why I have not really blogged much for the past month — I have been out living life. Always a good thing to be living life. 🙂 Gives me something to write massive blogs about! 😉

Paul and his two kids are in New Mexico right now. I’m not. The reasons why are too complex for this very public blog, but suffice it to say it was the wisest decision that I made the choice to remain here. They left on the 14th of December and will return on January 1st. It is one reason I have been out the past ten days, doing a lot of things. It has been nice to have people to do things with since I am by myself during the holidays here. No worries: my friend Janet is arriving on the 26th to stay for a week. I have been doing just fine being by myself. In fact, it is kind of refreshing and a true confirmation of just how much I have grown. I am so far past that panic-stricken woman I described earlier, and it is wonderful to be by myself in Paris this holiday and know I *can* be by myself. It’s like getting to pass a test with flying colors, and I feel very proud!

So, two more things and then I will bid you adieu.

The first is that Janet, my best friend in the whole world, could not abide that I was not really decorating for Christmas and that I was going to spend the actual day by myself. I am honestly fine with not decorating and having Christmas Day to myself, but she up and ordered me a teeny-tiny Charlie Brown Christmas kind of tree from Tati, which my downstairs neighbor accepted from the delivery people yesterday afternoon, and then brought to me last night.

Here is how to assemble a Christmas tree from Tati:
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1) Open the box. Duh.

2) Open the second box with the origami-folded tree. Duh.

3) Read the directions. Apparently, make sure you are an adult before assembling the tree. I think I am mostly adult when it comes to assembling origami Charlie Brown trees. (The funniest thing was that I could not find anything labeled “A,” “B,” “C” or “D” anywhere on the Christmas tree parts. But, you would have to be pretty dense to not be able to figure it all out.)

4) Put everything together not *really* following directions, but your common sense instead.

5) Spread out the cheap-o, scraggly branches to make a “Christmas Tree.” *snicker*

6) Put the silk-flower fairy lights your fiancé’s ex-wife gave to you and your S.O. for Christmas two years ago on the tree as well as popcorn you stringed on tooth floss and had wrapped around your philodendron until the tree arrived.

The Philodendron (sans popcorn chain)

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Et voilà. You have a Christmas Tree.

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Okay, now for the grand finale.

This year, so far, I have decided to not go to see the shop windows at the Galaries Lafayette and Printemps like I did last year. First, there are other bloggers who have done it for me. (And here, too.)

Next, my life is really not in that part of Paris, but in the 19th and the 20th arrondissements, as well as the other neighborhoods on my journey about town, such as where I go to my book club and to events such as the Mademoiselle London party. Here is a collection of the lights in the neighborhood places I have been in Paris over the past month:
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Église Saint Jean-Baptiste de Belleville

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Bûches de Noël at a bakery just at Métro Jourdain

So here you are.

You have made it to the very end of this post. Kudos to you.

I want to close with what happened to me this past Monday just before I met Leesa and Co. for lunch. I was just near the Église Notre Dame des Champs on the Boulevard Montparnasse, so I went inside, looked about, saw fantastic murals of the life of Mary, and had a short conversation with one of the volunteer ladies working in the church to greet guests that day. The convo went successfully, more or less, in French (those volunteer church ladies are so nice!). But it was this scene, the scene of the Nativity that got to me, that reminded me of Christmases past, and how much I loved the story behind the Nativity, the story in carols like the peaceful and powerful “Silent Night” or “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” I am not particularly religious any more, but I do respect that there is a reason for the season. I view the message of  “Peace On Earth” and “Goodwill toward men,” as something  good, no matter what beliefs I have at this point.

This scene makes me think of books like The Very Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and stories of love and redemption.
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I love how the Wise Men are all the way across the central pulpit area, making their way to the scene of the Nativity. 🙂

I saw this Nativity Scene in the church, and I got a very peaceful feeling, thinking of the baby in the stable, a baby who came to say, “Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward men!” along with the angels that announced his birth.

When I saw it, I remembered all those Christmases past when I loved to hear this story, and it was good to see it represented in a church all the way in France, all those years after I first heard it when I was small. For the moments I gazed upon this scene, all was right in the world.

I want to wish you and yours peace and goodwill. Thank you for your loyal readership, even when I don’t post so often, and especially when I post something that is “too long” and “too unreadable” as a result. 🙂

May your holiday be merry and bright, and may 2011 be your best year yet.

With Love,

Karin

(an alien parisienne)

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Categories: Blog Friends, Ghetto Paris Living, Karin Brain Miscellany, NaNoWriMo, Paris Friends, Personal Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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57 thoughts on “Season’s Greetings!

  1. After reading this I:

    [x] feel like I know you
    [x] want to know you
    [x] wish you were my friend
    [x] think we could be friends
    [x] want to write my novel now!

    MERRRRRRRY CHRISTMAS, KARIN!

    • Awww, Cynthia! Those words are (that checklist is?) a high compliment in my book. 🙂 Thank you. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, too, and THANK YOU for reading!

  2. well my dear ..that’s a post and a half….so glad you are out there living life and meeting all these people…

    Thanks so much for taking the time to meet me this fall..it was a real treat!

    hope all is well in the new year and you continue to enjoy Paris more and more

    good for you…enjoy the day even if you are on your own…Merry Christmas and a happy Happy New Year.

    from one of your “most loyal” readers!

    • LOL, yeah, no shit, hahaha! Since it is seriously a post for the ENTIRE month of December, and any blogger worth her salt would *normally* post once a week, let’s say it is actually FOUR posts, shall we, hee hee! (I just cannot be “normal”!)

      I am so glad I got to meet you this fall. That was a highlight for me this year, for sure. 🙂

      Thank you for your loyal readership, my Canadian friend, and a very Merry Christmas to you, too.

  3. oh and ps

    that Exki place was just down the street from us in September…we went there and I agree..a bit pricey but really really good…and the staff were great.

    • The staff there are FANTASTIC, something that is, uhhhh, a little unusual for the majority of Paris places, haha! Although there were some really nice staff in the chocolate shop Jeff de Bruges near my house the other day. And the checkout lady at Leader Price today. I guess even Parisians can express some holiday cheer. 🙂 Except for the people in the taxi on the night of the 8th for Kung Fu Dana!! Grrrrrr!!! If you read that, you are going to be pissed at Parisians. Just sayin’.

  4. Dianne

    Thank you for your posts and beautiful pictures.. we have been having rain for a week now here in SoCal and is just beginning to dry out. I have been wondering about the snow in Paris so your pictures have explained it! Take care and I think the support group is an excellent idea..always look forward to your writing..Dianne

    • You’re welcome, Dianne. 🙂

      Man, SoCal has really been hit hard. I have been watching some CNN Int’l here, and the reports of the weather there have been that you guys have been getting soaked. I hope things dry out more thoroughly very soon for you all.

      I’m glad the pics explained the snow in Paris, at least in my neighborhood.:)

      I’m also glad you enjoy reading, Dianne. It’s nice to know that people like what they read. 🙂

      Happy holidays to you!

  5. Hi Karin, I loved reading about all that’s going on with you and seeing all your photos! Being a “wordy girl” myself, it’s nice to see someone else do an “everything but the kitchen sink” post. 😉 The snow photos are beautiful and I love the holiday photo at the beginning. Well, really I enjoyed all your photos … I always like that peek into someone else’s life. 🙂 That nativity scene is peaceful and calming. I knew exactly what you mean about that moment. When one has one of them, it’s such a gift. Congrats on the NaNoWriMo success! I’ve thought about doing that, but haven’t made it yet. Sounds like you really learned a lot–major kudos! Much admiration for sharing and overcoming the agoraphobia. I’m sure most of us cannot fathom how monumental getting from point A to point B truly is, so, again, I applaud you on your success. Finally, very cool on the support group. I started my support group with my friend and it was just us at the beginning, but now we have over 150 folks on our email list and about 30 different folks showing up each time. It’s nice to have it start out and grow slowly though. Our group is now 6 years old, and it’s invaluable to all of us. I’ll look forward to your support group snippets as time goes on. 😉

    Merry Christmas!
    Shirley

    • Hi Shirley! I was just checking out some of your yummy recipes on GFE earlier today, in and around finishing this post. 🙂 Yeah, I cannot *not* do an “everything but the kitchen sink” post. I think there are some of us that are just cut out that way, eh? 😉 I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, too. I know they are something people really enjoy to capture that bit of vicarious Paris living, and I love taking them. Thank you for the understanding and support about the agoraphobia, too. I’m not as far as some expats have come for the amount of time I have been here, but considering where I started, I have come MILES along. Or, I guess that should be kilometers. 🙂 I’m glad to know that your support group started small, too, and then grew into something bigger. It makes the wheels in my head start turning, thinking, “Surely there must be more of us in Paris — how can we connect with one another?” Hmmmmm. Food for thought. At least there is this one young woman and me so far, sticking it out in the land of pastries, breads, and fine cuisine that make both of us sick, haha.

      Take care, Shirley, and thank you for reading and commenting. Merry Christmas!

  6. Carole

    Can’t get enough of Ghetto Paris and the view outside your window. The snow family is so cute. Great catch. Paris sure looks beautiful covered in a blanket of snow.

    What a social butterfly you are! Glad you are getting out and about and sharing your experiences with us. Thank god not all church ladies are like Dana Carvey.:-)

    Merry Christmas to you, Karin.

    • Carole

      Hey! I messed up my smiley after Dana Carvey’s name! Take Two 🙂

      • Whoops.

        Carole! I had a tweet that came through to me from someone who follows that said I was not finished with replying to comments and that person was RIGHT! I forgot yours in the shuffle of replies. It was not meant on purpose! 🙂

        I am glad that you enjoyed more Ghetto Paris snowy views, and that snow family was too cute. All kinds of people were stopping to take photos. Whoever made them brought a lot of smiles to people’s faces!

        Well, I don’t know if I am a social butterfly. Sometimes I still feel like a social caterpillar, lol. Somehow I picture the weirdo caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland when I write that! 🙂 I am sure I don’t appear that awkward, but you know how we all feel pretty weird inside! But yes, social, and it has been a transformational experience, so butterfly-like in that case.

        “Thank god not all church ladies are like Dana Carvey.:-)”

        AMEN. And I like the old school smileys anyway!

        A very Merry Christmas to you, too, Carole! 😉

  7. ...m...

    Never forget, you are LIVING the LIFE. I think that when Truman Capote was working with Jean Cocteau they were in “Ghetto Paris,” and Buchwald had legendary stories about the mice in his apartment there.

    That first photo of the Metro decor was a STUNNER, Karin. Far better than the one in DENVER, doncha think?? ~grin~ (Oh wait, there AREN’T ANY in DENVER!!) ~BIGGER GRIN~

    (MAIS, le petit gâteau rose avec du thé noire a resemble un diaphragme pour la contraception, non?) HA!

    Tu vive la VIE PARISIENNE, mon amie. N’importe quelle arrondisement.

    Joyeux Noel et merci bien pour cet histoire ci,

    …m…

    (Dans le mois prochaine, SUNDANCE!!)

    • Hey there, …m… — A very Merry Christmas to you. 🙂

      It’s true — this existence here is going to go down in my life history as one that was really dynamic. And yeah, ALL of Paris in its various sections was “Ghetto Paris” at one time or another, really! If you go back far enough! I’d forgotten about the Capote/Cocteau connection (I really need to get my hands on some Capote one of these days… and read up more on Buchwald’s “Paris Years”).

      I’m glad you like the Métro photo. 🙂 And yeah, it’s better than the ones (not) in Denver. Still, the snow-covered Rockies are a sight to behold in Colorado, too. A sight I love… Every place has its charms, and sometimes we have to be away from them to truly appreciate them. I am certain one day I will appreciate the hell out of Paris just by virtue of the fact that I am no longer in it, lol. Unless I wind up here for the rest of my life. Who knows?!

      (Yeah, that macaron kinda does look like that, hee hee hee! Quelle horreur! :D)

      As I try to be with everything, through it all, I am grateful for ma vie parisienne, …m…, I really am.

      You’re welcome for the story, and YAY!!! Sundance time again! I expect reports. I shall check into your place in the bloghood to see what’s up! (Oh I am hoping I put it into Reader…).

      Take care, and Bonne Fêtes, dear …m….

  8. OMG, longest blog post of all time. Cliff notes please!

    • My dear Andrea, you were amply forewarned in the first paragraph!!!

      Here you go:
      1) Pretty Métro Photo
      2) Warnings about length
      3) Snow Family
      4) Snow, snow, snow in Paris; other entertaining snow story from Kung Fu Dana
      5) NaNoWriMo: completed it; learned lessons; may try another story idea
      6) Paul and his son’s birthdays
      7) When I first arrived in Paris, I had agoraphobia and extreme anxiety.
      8 ) Met with a lot of people in December — one reason I have not blogged more this month
      9)By myself for Christmas. This is empowering.
      10) My friend sent me a Charlie Brown Christmas tree
      11) Merry Christmas. I still think the “reason for the season” is kinda cool, even if I am not religious anymore.

      There it is, in a list of 11 for 2011. Cliff Notes for this post. 😉

      • Wow, Cliff notes! Brilliant! You should do that with every post for peeps like me with a short attention span 😉

        Glad you’re managing ok on your own. Have a happy and prosperous New Year!

        Bisous!

      • LOL. I used to sometimes put a summarization up at the beginning of posts, but with most of the posts now I just try to break them up with photos. Long-blogging is an acquired reading taste. I am sure there are some people out there who hate it and think “WTF is she thinking, always writing such impossible blogs!” but mostly I have people comment and tell me it is something they really appreciate in this 140-character, tweety bird world we are living in now. Sure, I could profit from some good editing. But it’s the way I roll, for better or for worse, and there seems to still be a place for it. 🙂

        Take care, Andrea! Hope Oz has been fun? You back yet? Hope to see you again soon. 🙂

      • Haha, don’t worry, I was just messing with you. I love your long posts and I read (most of) it. 🙂

        Oz has been great. I’m loving the hot weather and am going to the beach as often as possible. I don’t have definite plans but I don’t expect to be back in Paris before March. Times flies though so we’ll see each other soon enough!

      • Hee hee hee! I’m a good person to mess with. Sometimes I think I have a bit of Asperger’s Syndrome. I see things super-literally sometimes. I was the one a few years back where someone walked up to me and said, “Did you know they just took the word “gullible” out of the Webster’s Dictionary this past year?” and I believed them.

        Well fiiiiiine. Stay in a nice, warm, sunny place and out of dark and dreary Paris winter, then! 😀

        Seriously, I’m glad it is good. Stock up on your Vitamin D reserves for what could be a rainy spring. And yeah, time WILL fly! The past couple months has sped on by!!

        Take care, Andrea!

  9. Ken

    I love commenting on your photos before coming here and finding what those photos are of and what they mean, because photos actually tell a story of their own outside of their intended context and I can give a more pure comment of the image not knowing that context. It is also funny to see when I was right or horribly wrong.

    Snow is pretty to look at, but otherwise I’d rather not deal with it as it is cold and wet and slippery and as my muscles tence because of cold, it creates discomfort and I have never been all that balanced. Cold is fine if there is no wind to remove ones own blanket of warmth and it can be fun to walk around, all bundled up to see a winter day or night because the cold tends to have a purifying effect on the air making thinks sharp and clear. One also appreciates the pleasure of warm drinks and food more intensely. It somehow also creates an atmosphere of intimacy or the illusion anyway.

    I believe that Ami (our volunteer coordinator) lived in Brooklyn the year she took off for NY and a lot of her friends also stayed there and had art gallery shows there giving me an impression of Soho or Greenwich Village in the 60’s. So it is more of a yuppie getto mixed still with blue-collor from impressions. Speaking of comparisons, of course Germany gets more snow as I would compare it to Wisconsin (with everything north being Canada).

    I’ve not gone back to the story I started for Nano, but I think about the story line and my disatisfaction with the form it has taken so far. Two chapters, I’ve linked three story archs, but it has all been flashback, preamble character and story introduction. I’ve not really had any action or even gotten my characters out of the cetral place that ties them together. Basically, I’ve created situations, motivations, conflict and intent of action, but have little concept of resolution yet (thought that might come to me as I put the characters in motion, but this is getting really wordy and I want to intrege the reader, not put them to sleep. I’m wondering if anyone cares anything for any of them yet or if I should have “flash-forwards” to some of the action to create more tension? I’m figuring that I will simply write it the way it is going now to get more frame-work to work with before I go rearranging the story any. I should really know where their stories are going and what I want to say with them (I do believe in having a point to a story).

    So what do we do with our stories?

    I’ve not blogged a lot lately, but that is not to say that nothing has happened, just that I’ve not been motivated to share “those little moments” that have made my life “not boring”. I have been able to use my skills in interpersonal communication to make a few others feel good (or better than they had) and this has given me a sense of worth in the face of my growing inaction.

    • Hi Ken!

      As you can see, I fixed the whole “name thing.” 😉

      I got partway through answering your comments on Flickr before I left to have Christmas dinner with the neighbors. I’ll finish up soon. 🙂

      the cold tends to have a purifying effect on the air making thinks sharp and clear. One also appreciates the pleasure of warm drinks and food more intensely. It somehow also creates an atmosphere of intimacy or the illusion anyway.

      I really liked this, Ken! What you wrote are the reasons I like the cold, too, and also the reasons why you *don’t* like the cold and snow are mine, also. I think one day I need to be in a place with less snow, somewhere warmer.

      What you summed up about Brooklyn getting Yuppified I have read about, too, and yeah, “gentrification” of our ‘hood is in progress as well. It has a certain attraction because it is still inside “Paris proper,” but it is moving from being a less-desirable neighborhood to a more desirable one. Just like Brooklyn. Glad to know you caught onto the sense I was grasping at, and that it fits with what you know, too.

      I don’t know about you, but what you summed up about your NaNo experience really drives the point home about just how difficult the whole fiction-writing process is. It is *not* very intuitive, and does take practice, I think, much more than I ever would have figured was needed. I think you should keep going! I think I am going to re-visit that other idea I had for a while.

      I think there are a lot of motivations for blogging, and if your reasons are still working for you, then they are still of value. I know I appreciate being connected to you on FB just to check in. I really admit that over three years after starting an account there, I appreciate FB more than ever. So you know, see you here, there, or on FB. 😉

      Take care, Ken. Merry Christmas.

  10. Hi Angel!

    I am indeed lucky to have a fiancee as understanding as you and I LOVE the Christmas tree. Tonight with my sister and the kids we watched the Charlie Brown Christmas and it’s amazing how much his ‘wooden tree’ resembled yours.

    Missing you,

    Paul

    BTW You’re really rocking those collages, aren’t you?

    • Hi Angel’s Boyfriend/Fiancé/Dude,

      I think the tree kick’s Christmas’s ass. 😉 I love it. You know, they actually sell Charlie Brown Christmas trees online, I discovered when writing this post. This one is for sale, quite suitably, at K-Mart. I need to find one red ornament to hang on this one, I think. 😀

      Miss you, too, and yeah! I’m getting good at collages. I just discovered that you can make them in Paint Shop Pro, too!!

      See you soon.

      K

  11. Michelle

    I felt like I needed a Karina fix, and here it is. 🙂

    I’m so proud of the interesting and amazing woman you are, sis.

    Miss you lots.

    • Here I am!! And here you are. {hug} I’m glad I got to give you a little Karin Brain for the holidays. 🙂 Thank you for your very sweet and supportive words. Man, things have come a long way for both of us over the past couple of years, huh. 😉

      Miss you, too. Come back. 🙂

      Karina

  12. I made it to the end of your post! 🙂 My smorgasbord of comments… gorgeous photos of the snow! Indeed, all this snow has been so pretty, but I for one am over it. Bah! Love your Charlie Brown Christmas tree, too, and am wishing you a wonderful, peaceful day tomorrow. Felicitations on the writing! How were those fishies and how was the Mademoiselle London soirée – just a couple of the things that I’ve wanted to do… and haven’t… Anyway Karin – wishing you a very happy holiday season and an especially phenomenal 2011! Bis, bis, Amy

    • Amy!! Thank you for stopping by! After you commented here, I was all “DOH!!! I totally forgot to write about us getting together with Sion and Opal and Kim! OMG, I wanted to kick myself after that. I really liked the place we met up at, too (in case anyone wants to know, it was a cute bookstore/bar in the Marais called La Belle Hortense at 31 rue Vieille du Temple). Alors, désolée, ma bonne amie!.

      I always like snow up to and until Christmastime, and the New Year, but after that, I want it to get nice and spring-like again, lol. Gray February has to be the worst month, I think, and sometimes March, too because there are *hopes* of spring without a lot of fulfillment. *sigh* But, I will be in Paris, huh. I can’t tell you how much you have done in increasing my gratitude, Amy. You rock. (And everyone should go and check out Kasia’s blog where Amy writes her Paris story. It’s a beautiful read, so I hope you all see this comment and then go there. Dooo eeeeet. 😉 )

      The fish were fun at the moment I was having it done, but honestly? Looking at the pictures after-the-fact kind of creep me out a little, like, “Oh my god, I had my legs in water where fish were eating the dead skin off me!” *shudder* It was a zany kind of experimental thing that I love to try once in my life at any rate, and it was kickass to do it with the other Amy who has such a wonderful sense of humor. Try it!

      And about Mademoiselle London — the best part was seeing Franki again and meeting Katya. Those girls are a trip, a really fun duo. I’d love to be able to go out with them again and watch them interact! There is a real synergy that is there. The book is such a neat little collection of drawings and writings. It’s like having a little artist’s notebook on hand to read, and is quite fun. I hope that you get a chance to check it out.

      Amy, I think your 2011 is going to be great. I hope that I am right! You are going to be missed here in Paris, but I am so proud of you and what you have accomplished here, and what you will accomplish in NYC. Thank you for the good wishes, too, and I am of a mind that things can only get better in 2011! (Now I have that Howard Jones song in my head. I bet you are too young to know that one, lol. Maybe. I bet you were in something like kindergarten when that was out! So maybe you know which one I mean. 🙂 )

      Bisous back atcha!
      K

  13. It was really nice to read more of what you’ve been through when moving here. Living in Epinay-sur-Seine it truly is the ghetto of the Paris area. Many times I’ve made the same example of “the Brooklyn of Paris” and I have seen Brooklyn so we aren’t far off base there at all. You still get the snobs sometimes saying how you just don’t have the right zipcode even though you are just a couple miles from the center of Paris.
    When I moved here I didn’t have as many issues of feeling like I just couldn’t leave the apartment when I moved here but feeling like I didn’t really want to. As you may have read in the post you commented on, I’m quite the homebody. That’s why I’m a freelance artist I think. But it was easy to figure out how to go around with the public transport and now I often know it better than my husband who is French.
    It’s good to hear you’ve gotten over that problem now and this time alone in Paris at Christmas is getting your self-esteem higher and seeing you’re much stronger than you thought.
    Merry Christmas Eve fellow Expat!

    • Hi Christina!

      I’m so glad you made it here! I really enjoyed your blog, and yeah, I think we have a lot in common with both living in Brooklyn-esque places. Thank you for actually confirming my comparison. 🙂 Pooh on snobs is what I say. Why are snobs so miserable? I wish them peace and love, though. Maybe that’s what they need a little more of, poor insecure bastards, lol. 😀

      Isn’t French public transport the bomb? Really. It and the healthcare system are two glittering examples where I can totally get behind the praise of the place. They know what they are doing in those two areas.

      So today it is Christmas. I hope you are having a Merry one, fellow Expat! I hope to see you around the bloghood, if not the real ‘hood, again very soon!

  14. Merry Christmas and best wishes for a happy New Year!

    • Why thank you, Ms Ross Donahue! Bonne Fêtes to you, too!

      (Does anyone else think that Bonne Fêtes is a wee bit like someone wishing you to have good feet? I mean, I know it is pronounced like “fet,” rhyming with “pet,” but it makes me think of “feet” because of the spelling. And like someone with an accent who can’t quite make the long-E vowel sound, so it comes out with the short one. I’m strange. I know. 😉 )

  15. Hello! This was long! At least I read, with big interest, the part about myself. You’re cool too! Happy Holidays Karin!
    cheers,
    The other Karin

    • It was really, really long. Super long, lol! I am glad that you liked the part about yourself! 🙂 It is all true. 😉

      God jul, gott nytt år. (Google translate is cool, too. :D)

  16. Hi Karin. Wow. I made it to the end! Good to see you what you have been up to. No kidding – living life! That sounds like enough social events for an entire year for me 🙂 I’m so glad you’re getting out there and enjoying yourself in Paris now. Good things are coming in 2011 for sure.

    • Cool! Thanks for reading. It was a lot going on this month! And then you maybe saw I added the meeting with you, Amy, et al in, too. I was relying on my calendar to keep all the meetups straight, but I had written that one down on a Post-It and then mislaid it. But I got it added in. 🙂 It sure is a contrast compared to when I did not know a soul here. Here, here! to a wonderful 2011. Take care, Sion!

  17. Carole

    I couldn’t reply under your reply so I’m replying here!

    Funny Twitter story. Best use of Twitter. EVER! 😉

    You may feel like a social caterpillar at times, but so do most people. Even the too-cool-for-school kids. Of course I might not know what I am talking about cause I never read Alice in Wonderland. Nor do I intend to! You are the best kind of social butterfly: one with heart and soul and kindness. (Even if you forgot to reply to one of your loyal followers. Yeah, I know: it wasn’t intentional. No harm, no foul. Blah, blah blah. Just do let it happen again. You have been warned! I probably shouldn’t write this here cause people might not realize I am teasing and that I have a twisted sense of humor. But you probably expected no less!) But yeah, what a difference from a few years ago. Keep on shining your light on the city of light.

    • LOL!! 🙂 It was a funny Twitter story. 😀

      Okay this part really cracked me up. Freudian slip?!?

      Just do let it happen again.

      Are you SURE??! 😉

      Thank you for these lovely words:

      You are the best kind of social butterfly: one with heart and soul and kindness.

      And I think you are in the clear with writing that you are teasing, too, haha!! I like your twisted sense of humor — it’s fun.

      Now I want to sing something like that little Sunday school song “This Little Light of Mine.” *snort* 😉

      Be well, Carole!

      • BTW, in case anyone is curious, the Twitter Story. Thanks to @DiBadGuy for his role in the story.

        All on December 25, 2010:

        @pariskarin: I got all caught up on returning comments on Season’s Greetings!: wp.me/pzsfz-dY. Merry Christmas to you all!

        @DiBadGuy: @pariskarin liar! 😉

        @pariskarin: @DiBadGuy I don’t think my pants are on fire! And I am not hanging by a telephone wire… and I have NOT forgotten my underwear. :)~

        @DiBadGuy:@pariskarin thank heavens for that;)

        @pariskarin: @DiBadGuy Oh you were riiiiiiight! I forgot to answer reader Carole. I got it taken care of, though!! 😉

        @DiBadGuy:@pariskarin you see what i do for you 😉

      • Carole

        Hahahaha! I totally did not see that Freudian slip! But you can do that again or anything you want! It is rather rude of me to tell you what to do on/with your blog. After all I am only a guest here. 🙂

        Thanks for showing the tweet that started it all. My, what good eyes DiBadGuy has! Happy-what-remains-of-the-Holidays to you both.

  18. Hi Karin,

    Loved this long post about your life in Paris! Good to hear that you are doing so well! It must be hard to overcome your fears and all. (I guess I know a bit about it myself). Anyway, keep up the good work and hope you have a great New Years Eve! And of course a FANTASTIC 2011!!!

    • Why thank you, Miss M! I’m so glad you enjoyed reading. Overcoming fear is an interesting experience, especially when it is a very strong fear. I remember from your blog post about exactly how you had to overcome fear this past year! Thankfully, you are here to tell about it. 🙂 I am so glad! I hope your 2011 is *totally* fantastic, too! Take care, Marije.

  19. Happy Holidays!

    I love your blog. Thanks for sharing with me, glad to be here. I think it is such a beautiful place where you live. I am looking forward for more photos and stories.

    • Happy Holidays, Olga! I’m glad you liked the post, and OMG! Your art and photos are beautiful! Thank you for linking in your site! I will try to keep the photos and stories forthcoming. 🙂

      Be well! Bonnes Fêtes!

  20. Susan

    Hi Karin! Wow, what a post! I think it’s so funny that you think of your hood as the Williamsburg of Paris but you’ve never been to Brooklyn. We lived in Williamsburg – okay, really it was Greenpoint – 5 years ago and we always compare other neighborhoods to “Billyburg”. I’ve lived in LA for many years now but I would never think to compare a place to Venice (the East Village of west LA) or Silverlake (the LA Billyburg).

    I find it so hard to think of you as being fearful of going out when you first got to Paris – your writing is so confident and self-assured. But I can relate – I moved to Chicago when I was 18 and it was scary because I grew up in a small Midwestern city and had never even been to a big city. I’ve relocated enough now that I’m not as bothered by it, but I’m sure that our move to Paris is going to be a little stressful at first (I got a bunch of Prozac from my Dr. ;))

    So we are moving to Paris in April! My husband just gave notice yesterday so we are speeding fast toward becoming Parisians. We have a short term rental in the 15th. We spend most of our Paris vacations on your side of the river so it’s a little strange to be going to an area we don’t know – we generally avoid the Eiffel Tower touristy areas when we vacation.

    So I guess I have to start a blog now – it seems that’s what American women in Paris do, huh?

    Happy New Year!

    • Hi Susan! Thank you for your comment. I guess when you get here in April, you will have to go on the Paris Ghetto Tour with me and tell me if it is really like Billyburg or not! 🙂 Yeah, I wish this were like Venice… Although, I was just in Montmartre today, and what I know of Venice, I would say that Montmartre actually compares in a lot of ways to Venice, CA. Several similarities, in fact!

      So maybe my ‘hood really is more like the Bronx. Maybe Queens! I really should get to know New York City better, lol.

      Well, I am glad the writing part is self-assured. The rest of me is not, ha! I’d say Prozac is not a bad choice for Paris, but maybe Xanax would be better, lol. Although in April, things will just be getting SO beautiful! It will be a lovely time to arrive. In theory. It’s possible that things could be weird, weather-wise, this coming year.

      Actually, the 15th is a bit of a no-man’s-land when it comes to tourists, and there are some really nice sections of that arrondissement that I have been to, too. I bet it is going to be pretty nice over there in your ‘hood.

      Yeah. Keith of A Taste of Garlic says there are nearing 300. Might as well be a lemming. 😀

      Happy New Year to you, too. 🙂

  21. Pingback: A Taste of Garlic

  22. Happy holidays Karin, after my travel I fell sick and have not had time or energy to do any blog reading. Yours is the first one I visited on my journeys through my favorite blogs. Once again another delightful tome. Love all the stuff you have been up to and the people you have met, I am going to check out all the blogs. I haven’t decorated for the holidays for years, I am totally not into it. When I did have something it was a tiny fake tree like yours! I hope the break from the hubby works out, from my perspective it is something I need from time to time too! I have seen the fish pedicures before and have always wondered about them! Lastly, as always the photos are wonderful! I will be highlighting this post in my Saturday Six this week!

    • Hey there, Andi! I think your comment wound up in the moderation queue, and I finally got back here to sort it out. 🙂 But I made it. Been busy with my friend, Janet-O, doing some things in and around Paree, marveling still at how these days I get out and about with nary a problem. *knocks wood that it stays that way*

      You really got slammed there, first with no internet access in Zhong Guo and then coming home and getting ill. 😦 That’s not easy stuff, and I hope that you are recovering well. Remember the motto from my online friend Bonii Jo: “LIFE FIRST, BLOG LATER.”

      I had a terrific break here on my own in Paris. I really have to find a way to write about it, for it really was a good thing for me. It truly was a kind of test to show me how far I have come.

      Yeah. That fish pedi was interesting! Funny. 🙂 Kind of whack, as my high school students used to say, lol. Definitely worth a try one time in one’s life, I think.

      Thank you, Andi, for not only taking the time to read, but also for highlighting in the Saturday Six. I do appreciate it! 🙂

      Bisous!

  23. Hi Karin.

    I’ve enjoyed your blog for quite a while, but haven’t commented until now. I’m wholly support your “year in review” post! I’m glad I’m not the only one who breaks the sacred blogging “rules” – I’m a harpist and when I get busy over the St. Patrick’s ad holiday seasons, blogging falls by the wayside. So there are lots and lots and lots of posts on my blog that kind of string everything together when I finally have time!

    I fell in love with Paris during two visits in 2009, and reading your blog helps me keep in contact with the city. Thank you for sharing!

    Amy

    • Hi Amy! I am so glad that you stepped up and commented. 🙂 I really appreciate it. I’m a little disappointed in myself for I have just not been in a “bloggy mood” the past few weeks, but I have always maintained “Life First, Blog Later.” How fun that you are a harpist, and I would have had no idea that St Patrick’s Day is a busy time for harpists. I mean, it totally makes sense, especially with how there is traditional Irish music for the harp, but it is something I never would have known. You learn something new every day!! 😉

      I peeked at your blog just now, and I really like it. What a unique point-of-view you have! I love it!

      I’m glad that my blog can help you keep connected with Paris. I am figuring out more and more that this is a special city in so many ways, and I hope that in coming months to show how it is that I have begun to feel that way.

      Have a good week, Amy, and thanks again for commenting!

  24. We certainly did some damage in December! So glad I met you. Looking forward to having more fun in 2011.

  25. hi Karin! I’m slowly catching up with all the blog-reading I’ve been wanting to do for weeks. Thank you for sharing your gorgeous pictures and thoughts about Paris at Christmastime! I was in Paris for Christmas 1995 with my then-boyfriend. We stayed in a bunkbed room at a youth hostel and bought a roasted chicken from a man turning spits on the street and ate it on a bench for Christmas lunch. (Then my backpack was stolen in the Gare de Lyon on our way out of town–making it a truly memorable Parisian holiday!)

    • Hi Sarah! I am glad you enjoyed reading and looking at the photos. 🙂 Oh man, that does sound like a memorable trip! Mmmmm, chicken. 😀 Boo on the stolen backpack, though. That just blows. When I think back to experiences like that, I can feel my stomach clenching with the anxiety and shock! Having things stolen like that is the pits, for sure. But, mmmmm, the chicken part of that story sounds delicious. I think I need to go and have lunch. 😉 Take care, Sarah, and thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment!

  26. Pingback: Saturday Six #47 on Sunday - Misadventures with Andi

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