Posts Tagged With: Jardin des Tuileries

Happy Something To Me

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The view of the leaves outside of our window – May 5, 2010

Greetings, dear readers of An Alien Parisienne! Sorry it has been a couple of weeks. The good news is I have been out, living life, and as you know my motto is, “Life first, blog later.” I’ve stolen that motto from a long time online friend, Bonii Jo, to give credit where it is due. It’s true, though, that if I am not writing here, it is often because I am “out there,” doing things.

Or, perhaps more truthfully, I am on the internet superhighway reading as if I am in a 1994 Dauer 962 LeMans (allegedly the fastest car in the world).  The sheer number of open tabs on Google Chrome turns into a solid bar of color where I cannot even see the icons of what is on each tab anymore. Hunting down a web page becomes a game of guess and click, or maybe hit and run, to keep with my superhighway metaphor. I try to use things like Read It Later to little avail. I like to read anything and everything I can get my eager little fingers and eyes on, and inevitably my brain gets clogged up with all of the mental commentary about said readings and all they inspire, and before you know it, I am blogging here. It’s like a brain detritus bomb most times. A blowout on that superhighway when I actually stop to contemplate in writing what I have in mind.

I was the kid who always had something to read in front of her. I read the cereal boxes at breakfast. I read the billboards on the way to school on the schoolbus. I read everything set before me — I even passed that stupid little “pop quiz” that teachers used to give where it says at the top of the test in the instructions, “Before you do anything on this quiz, read ALL of the questions FIRST, then begin to work.” Then the last question says something like, “Only perform the task in item number one, and ignore the rest of the questions and/or tasks on this quiz.” The task in number one is to write your first and last name at the top of the paper, and that’s it: end of quiz. It was the kind of quiz designed to make most kids feel like idiots, laboring over the questions they didn’t even have to do, if they had read the directions. But of course a good percentage had not followed the directions (kind of the whole point of the quiz — to hit kids over the head with the idea that it is always good to read the directions first) and it quickly became obvious who had and who had not done what they were supposed to. I remember teachers sitting, smugly, at their desks, chuckling silently to themselves over the fact that they duped kids into needless work.  I remember the audible groans from the children who realized the error of their ways in not taking care to read the directions first. The whole thing boiled down to rewarding readers and rule-followers such as myself, and shaming the ones who were more renegade in their approach. Still, I am the one who can actually set the timer on the DVD (used to be “the VCR” and I almost typed that — god I am getting old. More on that in a mo’) because I READ THE FREAKIN’ INSTRUCTIONS and therefore know what to do and how to do it.

What I am getting at is that I love to READ and with the interwebz at my disposal, it is like quick and easy crack almost all day long at the crack whore house of endless crack. Until the man of the house gets home and wants his due time on the ‘net, too. He is more of the writer, though. And the organizer of media for his writing. I, on the other hand, cannot seem to stop reading long enough to write, and then when I do: KABOOM.

Here we are for another explosive installment of the life and times of Paris Karin, the Alien Parisienne.

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Categories: Karin Brain Miscellany, Life in Paris, Paris Adventures, Paris Blogging, Paris Friends, Paris Museums, Personal Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ladurée, Part Two

November is going to be the “see how much I can post at this blog” month in conjunction with NaNoWriMo. Explanation here: November NaNoWriMo Challenge. I need to post 616 more words today to meet my goal of 1,667 words per day through the month of November. Ergo, gratuitous sentences like the previous one just so I can increase my word count, heh.

You may have read my previous post about going to Ladurée. Well, I had to go back. Continue reading

Categories: Life in Paris, Paris Adventures, Paris Dining Gluten-Free | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Return From Canada

I’ve been sitting on thoughts of posting to this blog for over a week now. PJ and I returned from our Canada adventure two weeks ago tomorrow, and I have postponed (procrastinated, lol) writing here as I have just not been sure what strategy to take in summing the adventure up, especially from a gluten-free (and sugar and yeast-free) perspective!

A lot happened in three weeks that was very, very good. I had a lot of worries about whether or not the food and snacks I packed for the journey from Paris to Detroit and then north to Cumming Lake would make it through airport security and customs/immigration  — I’m glad to report that everything did. I’m happy that I made it though security, customs and immigration, too, both into the States and Canada! All went well on that end.

I am also happy to report that I was able to stick to gluten-free, low-sugar, and yeast-free foods while I was in remote Ontario, thanks to the help from PJ’s mom and sister. They were great blessings in helping me to do this.

I did have ill health while I was there, though, and still had flare-ups of symptoms, including getting a virus that started in my sinuses and went straight to my bronchial tubes. I also struggled (still) with my chronic yeast infection. My immune system was definitely challenged by the trip. The challenge with this was so great that I came to a deep resolution that I have to quit smoking. (“Duh!” you say. I know, I know. But knowing with one’s head what is good for him or her is different than really feeling it to the ground and knowing that deep change needs to arrive. It was the same with me and resolving to be gluten- and sugar-free. These things sometimes take time to really go “Ding!” in our heads, you know?)

Anyways, since coming home to Paris (without a hitch, I’m also glad to report), I have been working on cutting way back from being a pack-a-day smoker to on average 6-7 a day. I have set the 21st of September as a final “Quit Day.” I’m using the same mental strategies to put smoking away in my life just as I did gluten and sugar.

I am uploading photos to Flickr as I type, and I welcome you to visit those photos via my Flickr widget here on this page! I have not added descriptions there yet, but hope to.

On one of the social networks I belong to and also blog at, one of my good friends there was writing about how she would like to live a simpler life. She wrote the following:

Part of me wishes I could run away to a place like that [a remote, simple place]. I think everyone has those moments of fantasy when going to an extreme feels like the most amazing thing that could happen. There’s something inside me that wishes I could live in a small house that used mud and straw for insulation, where my daughter would play outside with views of a mountain range rather than a 6 foot wooden fence. As much as I love TV, part of me wishes I could throw the damn machine out the window and rediscover the joys inside old novels, crossword puzzle books, and my own notebooks full of ideas. At night, I want to hear crickets and wind and nothing else–no cars, no trains, no creaks that lead my mind to thinking someone outside is breaking in to rape and kill me. It would be liberating to give away everything I own and be free of all material attachments. Buddha said, “You only lose what you cling to,” and that quote has been in my mind for weeks. I cling to so much, so many things that are so unimportant in the grand scheme.

Her words sum up a lot of what spending time at the cottage at Cumming Lake is like. It is simple in terms of a way of being. Most things to distract are removed there, and there is the fun of rowing a canoe, doing a crossword or a 1,000 piece puzzle, or taking time out to journal in an actual notebook, with handwriting (imagine that!!). Yes, it is hard work to keep everything going smoothly, from buying food in the closest town, Thessalon, and getting it to the cottage, to making sure the boats have gasoline, to keeping everything  in good working order at the cottage. But there is satisfaction in doing tasks to support the fun and relaxation in being “away from it all” and I see why PJ’s family keeps it as a precious part of their lives each summer and have done so for the past 41 years.

Now my life in Paris has resumed, along with school for youth here in France and other parts of the world. It feels to me like a new year has come — the beginning of a school year, the change in the weather, which feels more like autumn, with passing into a time where this time last year I was in Paris, and I now have Paris memories in my past instead of everything being new. I can now say, “This time last year, I was doing X in Paris,” or “I remember Y in Paris from last year…” It is a strange sensation to have fully moved into my second year here and it has become more like home, even while I still, most days, feel like an Alien.

I already have some more Parisian adventures on which to blog! I recently made gluten-free lentil pancakes, successfully. The batter is essentially soaked and processed lentils and rice. I also went out with my friend Tess to an oxygen bar in the 2nd arrondissement, and had a pigeon jump up and sit on my knee in the Jardin des Tuileries! This past Sunday I went, with Parisians and tourists alike to the Louvre on Free Sunday (the first Sunday of the month offers free admission to many of Paris’ museums). Now that I am past the writer’s block of “How I Spent My Summer Vacation,” I hope to share these and more adventures as I have them here.

Until then, be well. I leave you with one of my favorite photos I took this summer.

Sunrise, Lake Cumming (with what I believe is Venus up in the early morning sky)

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Categories: Personal Life | Tags: , , , ,

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