Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Oh, hail...

Must be April in Paris... it hailed... again.

This was taken from my kitchen balcony... please note all you potential apartment swappers! Lovely garden, well maintained greens and it's quiet! You only have to contend with the global warming weather oddities. I left the image large so you can see the little balls of ice on the well-kept lawn. (Go ahead and click on it!)

Needless to say, I'm still looking for that ever-elusive perfect apartment swap! Come to Paris, live it up now! You know W. is going to blow us to kingdom come before he leaves office...

Seriously. This is for all my US friends who have not yet visited me in Paris. Now is the time! You can have the whole place all to yourself! I've Americanized the joint! Maybe I should do a lottery??

And the winner is...

Monday, April 28, 2008


Thought that might get your attention! :-)

Actually, no news, nothing to report and still looking for a place in NY.

It seems that everything always falls into place when you least expect it. I know something will come my way that will be way betterer than I could have anticipated. Somewhat like serendipity, non?

Today it was back to the Parisian life... Carrefour, the guardian, stuff. Catching up and doing laundry. I never thought so much of my free time would be spent doing laundry. I think that's why my mother gave up on it. Five kids, who could blame her? We had to fend for ourselves if we wanted clean duds.

Tomorrow is a hunker down kind of day. Need to finish off a bunch of things and clear the way for upcoming projects.

If you come to a fork in the road, take it.
~Yogi Berra

Sunday, April 27, 2008

O’ crikey...

...Craig's List.

Well, I went and did it... posted a listing on Craig's List... it's going to cost about 3K euros to get a hotel/apt for 3 weeks. I know I can write it all off, but I'd rather spend the money enjoying the pleasures of NYC and Boston.

Dear friends, if you know of anyone who has a place I could use for even parts of July, let me know!! I can be flexible.

I'd really like something downtown... midtown is fine, actually anywhere would do. Forward my blog to people you know! My Swiss audience is up... Quelqu'un at-il un appartement à New York pour échanger? / Hat jemand eine New Yorker Wohnung zu tauschen? How about the Rex Parker readership?? (PS: Merci for the link, Rex!)

Dreaming of lobsters and bagels with cream cheese... Bergdorf's, the Mac store, let's not forget Macy's... Fast yellow taxis with seats that have springs... These are a few of my favorite things...

I love NY! :-)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

While the cat's away...

...the mice will play...

While I was away, my son and his friends did a bit of recording in the studio. I've been listening to him practicing his bass lines for weeks now, but this is the first time I've heard the entire song all put together.

Their band is called "Slow Motion" featuring: Christian (17): vocals and acoustic guitar, Jeremy (16): guitar, Christopher (16): bass, and Yvan (15): percussion. The song is called "Baby, oh"... here's a link to the MP3 (5.3 MB)

Christopher wants to be a sound engineer and will be spending two weeks this summer in NYC at rock & roll camp! (Still need an apartment swap!!)

I had a nice trip back to Paris, seated backwards... I guess that's appropriate, I got to say à bientôt as I left... A lot to catch up on this week... will rehash some photos from Switzerland. Also, need to brush up on a bit of astronomy!

Slow ride...

Friday, April 25, 2008

The deep end...

After driving around all week and not having ANY traffic, we got stuck in standstill traffic on the way to the Lausanne train station and I missed my train back to Paris. I'm really bummed not to be home tonight... NOT! I'll take the TGV from Geneva tomorrow afternoon. I'm sure my son is thrilled to have an extra Friday night sans Mom.

My horoscope for today said: "You can be beyond brilliant today, but there is also room now for self-deception. It may be hard to ride your ideas to their conclusions, because new ones float into awareness before the old one is completed. Cut back on your caffeine intake and try to keep your mind focused on the practical issues that are right in front of you."

The funny thing about that is we stopped for a coffee on the way to the train station thinking it would only take 15-20 minutes to get there! It took 45 minutes... et, viola, I have an extra night in my new favorite place to be. :-)

I love Switzerland. It's my kind of country... everything is organized, there is no question about how to do something, but rather when it is your day to do it! The recycling here is incredible... even the little Nespresso capsules have their own recycling bins... colorful and they smell good! I promise a photo of that next time I'm here.

Okay, going to go enjoy the view on borrowed time and sip a bit of Minervois while the sun goes down...

Life is but a dream...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Flower power

Almost the last day here... back to Paris on Friday. Heading to Geneva tomorrow for an afternoon on the boat... a bit of well deserved R&R!

This is a late post and a late night. Suffice to say, a lot got done today and the energy level is waning.

I think I shall keep it really short and say bonne nuit...

Bonne nuit!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Last night's post was about life. Life is a balancing act in so many ways and this day has brought so many aspects of it my way from so many different sources. Renewal, reinforcement, recommendation, reinvention...

AG, I'm thinking of you and yours. You know my heart and soul is with you and I hope for the best. No matter what it brings, I will be here for you.

CB, I was young once, too. One day I will sit you down and we can trade stories. Today's phone call is nothing in the grand scheme of things. I love you. Enjoy yourself.

PG, my pleasure, you should excel at all you do. I hope to maintain the friendship that is being built. Be happy!

AS, you made the right move. Timing is everything and you so totally rocked the clock with the whole situation. Live it to the fullest!

Seek peace, and pursue it.
~Psalms 34:14

Monday, April 21, 2008


We're wiped out.

My grandmother had Edgar A. Guest poems taped inside her kitchen cabinets. My great-grandmother had an album of his poetry that she had meticulously cut out and pasted onto both sides of the pages. Me? I have great-grandma's album, obviously not here. We've been going through stuff, putting it in its new place and as always, certain objects bring back memories. I'm really tired right now, but I wanted to share this poem one with you, called "Life".

Life is a gift to be used every day,
Not to be smothered and hidden away;
It isn't a thing to be stored in the chest
Where you gather your keepsakes and treasure your best;
It isn't a joy to be sipped now and then
And promptly put back in a dark place again.

Life is a gift that the humblest may boast of
And one that the humblest may well make the most of.
Get out and live it each hour of the day,
Wear it and use it as much as you may;
Don't keep it in niches and corners and grooves,
You'll find that in service its beauty improves.

Just do it!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Walking on the Moon...

We got lucky last night... as we sat around the new patio furniture, we witnessed the rise of the full moon. From the backyard! I put the Sony on a tripod and hit it every few minutes as the moon rose.

Took today off and headed northeast, following the north shore of Lake Geneva to Ouchy and had a fondue lunch. Then, up a bit more to Montreaux, did a bit of walking around, had coffee and crepes, walked back up to where we parked the car by the Casino and decided to pop in for a quick look. That turned into cashing in some paper for coins and playing a few slots. I came out ahead by 31 Swiss francs!

We then headed back to home base via the autoroute. The scenery here is spectacular. I would seriously consider living here...I really need to give that some thought!

Not much thinking tonight though...we're all a bit tired, so, it will be an early night and back to the boxes tomorrow.

Giant steps are what you take...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The hills are alive....

...ooops... wrong country!

What can I say? I'm ready to leave Paris and head for the hills... Gorgeous day today; sun shining, fresh air and the views are amazing.

We went to the market this morning, Rolles this afternoon for lunch on the lake and then... Ikea. An in-and-out for patio furniture which we are enjoying right now. We have a view on the lake with the mountains in the background, wine, and creme de Gruyere with veggies. The cows are happy.

This is beginning to feel like a diary. The deep part of this trip is to branch out and look at what the future might hold. My one thing is to be able to plug in and work anywhere. Geneva would be a nice place to do that.


Google-Konto erstellen

Okay... I apologize for the quality of today's photo... it was gray, it was very hazy and there really wasn't as much going on (that I could see) from my First Class TGV seat perspective.

One thing I have noticed, it is incredibly quiet. I guess I must be used to the city sounds of Paris street noise. It's Friday night here in St. nada peep. Although, I know my own apartment must be rocking with my son at home "alone"!

Good thing is, we got a lot of boxes unpacked, we have a shopping list going and, since everything is closed on Sunday, the lake is waiting to be explored. There is a quaint little walking village nearby, we'll see who is in town and make note for a turn later in the week.

It's late. It has been a long day. (Bon voyage, AG, thinking of you!!)

Gute Nacht...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Say cheese...

Swiss cheese, that is.

Switzerland. I'm leaving, on a fast train... at least I know when I'll be back again...

What do I need, aside from a well-padded Swiss account? How about some fresh air, preciseness and a nice Swiss watch? Other than that, a fondue will do me.

Will be busy unpacking the boxes that we packed a little while ago. Three of us to do a massive disgorge into this new apartment. We'll be done in six hours. Which should leave us lots of time to see the sites! Anyone have a favorite place in Geneva to recommend? Let me know! This is 'new' territory!

Short one tonight, gotta pack and be outta here in the morning... looking forward to speed shooting from the TGV!

Cheese! :-)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tiny baubles...

Yesterday, while we were killing time before the lecture started, we walked around the Marais. Lots of nice little shops and great window displays. The above shot is a phone photo of a bunch of necklaces and bracelets hanging in a window. Nice light, pretty colors.

The talk itself has had echoes today. My cousin in North Carolina called. He mentioned he plays World of Warcraft. This game came up last night when Pauwl was speaking. He said that a CEO in San Francisco can be teamed up with a housewife in Shanghai and a student in Bombay. They are literally worlds (and backgrounds) apart and yet they need to work together to come up with solutions to play the game. (I don't have a clue as to the rules, so Google it yourself!) Bottom line is, the global village is turning into a tepee.

Speaking of global village, one word: New York. Okay, so it's two words... still looking for a swap! I have classes just about lined up, concert tickets for Crosby, Stills and Nash... just need a place to stay! Save me from Craig's list!

I'll be heading to Switzerland for a short sojourn. Taking the TGV and the cameras. Hope to snap a few pics along the way. In the meantime... laundry awaits me.

Tiny bubbles...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Oh bouy.

So, we tried invoicing today. Didn't get far. Played with Photo Booth instead. Very productive. Seriously. We laughed our butts off! It felt great to cut loose like that...
Heading to a talk on the "Future of Interactivity". I don't know how much more interactive we can get at the moment! More later on...

Back... 10:30 pm. Great talk, excellent speakers, made some good connections. I'll get to the shameless plugging in a moment.
The talk was about the Future of Interactivity. The first speaker, Chauncey Zalkin, spoke about how much technology has advanced in just the last 8 months. She showed a YouTube video called "The Machine is US/ing US". Essentially, with every keystroke we are teaching the machine how to be in tune with ourselves. We live online and off... move over Web 2.0, here comes 3.0! She recommended the book, "The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism".
The second speaker, Silvia Cambie, a journalist, made the point that "people want to create content, not just consume it". We have become "passionists"; we have an interest, we write about it and share it with friends. As a journalist she spoke of the vanishing newspaper, that citizen journalism brings back the "gossip component", much like how the street market in the olden days was how you got your news.
Pauwl Lunow was the third speaker and addressed interactivity on a CEO level. His key advice was "remember why you don't do something as well as why you do!". Pauwl and his wife Lara have a chateau in Burgandy. Alice and I have been saying we need to get away to do web stuff without the regular interruptions of phone calls, laundry, etc... Ideally, we were looking for something within 2 hours of Paris with free internet. We've found the place! Lara was very nice and hopefully we can pick Pauwl's brain over a breakfast or two!
Our moderator for the evening was Bernadette Martin, founder of Visibility Branding. Her book recommendation was, "The World is Flat". She was personable, friendly and made sure the speakers were watching the clock! :-)
Looking forward to future events... time management for the entrepreneur perhaps?
Simplicity is key!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Shoot the moon...

"Deciding to shoot the moon is a critical decision that can be "make or break"...". This according to Wikipedia.

Perhaps I am at a reflective point in my life where every little decision made now will have a huge outcome/impact later. Much like pregnancy. Lucky for me, that was a great outcome with a bright horizon.

These past few days have been tough... deadlines on several fronts, some timed, some not, but everyone wants it "now". Taxes, deadlines, divorce laywer, stress... this will all be over by Thursday... but right now? Holy crap... Xanax, Calgon, take me away!

My horoscope for today said, "Your frustration level is high today because you aren't as patient as usual. You may be tired of waiting for your chance or maybe it seems like your friends aren't giving you the support you need. If something in your life isn't working now, don't try to alleviate the situation by fixing the symptoms. You'll be happier sooner if you work on changing the underlying cause."

Nuf said.

For some reason, this moon shot reminds me of the illustration of the asshole in Breakfast of Champions... minus the rays. What did I say yesterday? 'The sun'll come out tomorrow?'... NOT! It hailed! Again! Chunks of ice bombarding my geraniums! It's April! In Paris!!!...

Okay. Changing the underlying situation. New song, on a positive note...

Eva Cassidy. Time is a Healer.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Still raining...

This has been a cold, wet spring. Feels like fall...

Quiet day working on a magazine deadline. One of the stories refers to an article in the New York Times from April, 1967. I was reading the headlines, "Syrians and Israelis clash in air battles near Sea of Galilee","Paris erupts in anti-U.S. demonstrations"... Not much has changed, they could be today's headlines! Showed my son. He nodded his head. Yup. Happening day.

Not for nothing... the weather forecast back then was: cloudy, possible showers, 8C, also pretty much the same.

Still looking for a place in NYC this summer. Anyone??

The sun'll come out tomorrow...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Time flies...

I had a friend here this afternoon, we were talking about her upcoming website. She's an illustrator, primarily for children's books and we have just now found the time to meet... almost a year after purchasing her domain name!

One part of the discussion we had was how our generation, as it ages, will be different from the generation before us, in that we know how to fend for ourselves and live on (off?) the internet.

Ten, fifteen years ago, it was a friend or neighbor who came by with the groceries and pharmacy run. Now, we can go online and order to our heart's desire... anything we want from the internet. Delivered to our doorstep! The mind boggles!

The above photo is me in Hawaii in 1983. I was a young newlywed, working for the airlines as a flight attendant back in the glory days of charter and 7-day layovers... I didn't have a clue that my life would bring me to where I am now. And even now, 25 years later, as I consider my situation, I need to look ahead. To be honest, I still don't have a plan. Crazy, huh? What have I learned? All I know is I need to do what makes me happy inside.

Oh, very young...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Building bridges... a lot like building a blog... one piece at a time while trying to keep it all tied together.

I set up another blog for AARO yesterday to coincide with the Overseas Americans Week which runs from April 13-18. The blog is called "Mr. Coyne goes to Washington". Andy Coyne is the Executive Vice-President of AARO.

In Andy's word, "OAW is the annual lobbying visit to Washington by the Association of Americans Resident Overseas (AARO), American Citizens Abroad (ACA) and the Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas (FAWCO). That means that twenty of us will converge on Washington this weekend and spend April 13-18 begging, pleading and coercing members of Congress to do the right thing on our various issues, primarily voting, tax and the Americans Abroad Caucus."

Check out the websites above. At last count there were over 6.6 million Americans living abroad. We vote, we pay taxes and we deserve to have a voice!

The Chair recognizes...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I love Paris in the springtime...

It can sizzle even more this summer! Swap my apartment! Say 'bah' to the exchange rate! Think Paris Plage... the Louvre, the Grand Palais, art, music, fine wine and long summer nights... (washer & dryer included!) C'est la vie!

Okay, I have a few feelers out for this, I hope something comes through before I have to resort to Craig's List. Seriously; midtown, downtown, Chelsea, SoHo.... your place for mine! Leave a comment with your email address and I'll get in touch. Tell your friends! Tell your family! Tell me to shuddup already!

I [heart] New York!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Start spreading the news...

New York City. Will be there this summer and need a place a stay! Will trade my apartment in Paris for same in the city, midtown, SoHo... Contact me for dates!

Bringing my son with me for his first visit to NYC, we're both looking forward to it. He's lined up for rock and roll camp! :-) I'm lined up for some Adobe stuff. Need some time to take him around, get him set up with a few things and see the sites.

Above photo taken last summer in NYC... liked the imagery, couldn't resist the moment.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

It was all a dream...

Today is shameless plugging day. The photo above was taken by Fred Marigaux, the official MBF event photographer. Fred is an amazing photographer and an all around great guy. He works discreetly in the background, gliding in, grabbing the shot and slipping back out.

In his words, "Freelance photographer since 1995, my EXPERIENCE has become very helpful in capturing some unexpected or short-lived situation that must not be missed : tears, smiles... I have decided to cover approximately 12 events max each year in order to stay 100% FRESH & MOTIVATED on every single date. FRENCH / ENGLISH SPOKEN".

Check out his website, and book him now for your next event!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program...

Monday, April 7, 2008

April in Paris...

...and it's snowing! Again!

Okay, so it doesn't last long, it'll never stick and it ain't nothin' like a spring blizzard in NY, but it is still pretty! Took this shot off my kitchen balcony with the Nokia. As I was shooting it a kid who lives in one of the other buildings stopped and was catching snowflakes on her tongue. Simple pleasures!

James Taylor was great last night, sang so many of his hits and had a few new songs from his "One Man Band" CD. He was accompanied by Larry Goldings on piano and "keys"... very warm and intimate evening.

Tonight was the vernissage with the Sri Lankan Embassy in Paris at the MBF. It was so nice to be with everyone involved with the show. Stay tuned for future contacts and connections! Met some very nice people!


PS, HB AG! :-)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

J is for...

I was wondering what to write about today and went through some old photos. I came across my alphabet and thought, hmmm... I could use the "J" for James Taylor (later tonight!)... then I saw the JOY image.

A few summers ago I took a graphic design course, just a mini-course really, but the instructor was great. She had us go out and shoot the alphabet in one medium. I headed over to the Serres d'Auteuil, one of the greenhouses here in Paris. It took several hours, but it was an enjoyable afternoon and an excellent project.

The second part of the assignment was the presentation. I loved this part, too. I had the images printed and then meticulously cut 28 mat boards, punched holes on the sides and spray mounted the photos to the board. The book was assembled accordion-style, tied together with raffia (which lasted long enough to present). I wrapped it up with hand-made paper and tied it with raffia, and added a sprig of lavender in the bow. She loved it, I still have it, even made a box for it! I did a second alphabet presentation (which was sold) for a photo show. You can see that project and the entire alphabet here.

Some of the other students shot their alphabets in a playground, street scenes and architecture. Take a look around... you'll start seeing letters everywhere!


Saturday, April 5, 2008

So sari...

The women who worked so hard on the Expressions of Independence exposition took the leap with seven yards of silk, a bit of champagne and got wrapped! Our thanks to the lovely woman from the Sri Lankan Embassy who helped us look (and stay) presentable. (Lots of safety pins involved!)

For another take on the show, here's a link to The Paris Blog and an article written by Matthew Rose, whom I finally got to meet the other day.

Next adventure is James Taylor in concert tomorrow evening. Going with with some friends. We're in row 13... maybe I can snap another phone photo?? I will share it here if I get a good one!

Shower the people you love with love...

Friday, April 4, 2008

Expressions of Independence

This exhibition is a first time and exceptional event, as no other group exhibition presenting the work of living Sri Lankan artists has taken place outside of Sri Lanka.

The Mona Bismarck Foundation in Paris and the University of Visual and Performing Arts in Sri Lanka have chosen to create this exhibition within the framework of Sri Lanka’s national history: sixty Sri Lankan paintings for the 60th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence to be celebrated this year.

Expressions of Independence takes an eclectic vision of Sri Lankan contemporary art, with renowned artists meeting emerging talents. The sixty painters, mostly living artists, range in age from 25 to 80.

The works can neither be interpreted by occidental frameworks such as Modernism or Post-Modernism, nor categorized by the conceptualization of these artistic methods. The trend of these paintings reflects the variety of resources which have become the strength of Sri Lankan art.

April 4 through July 12 at the Mona Bismarck Foundation, 34 avenue de New York, 75116 Paris,

Come and see the show!

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Much of our trip was spent in the backseat of our car going from one temple to the next, one hotel to the next. We quickly figured out that stopping for a "shot" was not going to happen. Thus, many of the photos are "drive-by shots", which includes the blurs.

This shot was taken as we were heading towards Dambulla. People use the side of the road as we would use a sidewalk, it's there, it's open, but it's the side of the road! This backseat shot from the moving car of these girls floored me. Their innocence, and their sudden awareness in a split second that they were being photographed was amazing.

Today was wonderful. From the lunch through the vernissage. Wonderful. Our Sri Lankan guests were pleased, we were happy and the show looks great!


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The soft white underbelly...

More shameless plugging... :-)

On our next to last day in Sri Lanka, we visited a turtle hatchery. The owner told us that while he survived the tsunami, he lost his parents and his home. He showed us his scars, and the scars on the surviving turtles. He also showed us how, through the goodness of strangers, he was able to rebuild his turtle hatchery.

The turtles shown here are alive... he explained that the bellybutton is how you can tell how old the hatchling is. The one on the right is newly hatched. The middle guy is one-day old, as is the one on the left. He had piles of eggs marked out with dates and breed, waiting for them to hatch.

We're ready to hatch this show... nice segue, eh? There's always the last minute shuffling, but everything seems to be in place. Hopefully there won't be too much exposure of our soft white underbellies!

A demain!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


In a total reversal from yesterday's "Word of the Day", today's word is: jollification: merrymaking; revelry. Yippee!!

A friend and I had lunch today at our favorite Indian resto in Paris, Pooja. Great food and really nice background music... I have discovered Ry Cooder and V.M. Bhatt, "A Meeting by the River". Give it a listen! Between the food and the tunes, a few senses were sated! We then went on to the Gare du Nord for sari/saree accessories. Here's where jollification comes in...

The women involved in putting the MBF show together will be attired in saris for the vernissage, this should be quite a sight! I do not promise any photos, but I know we are all getting ready for the opportunity to get dressed up and enjoy a different cultural experience right here at "home".

Today's photo is from our visit to the elephant orphanage in Pinnawala. What does it have to do with today's post? Nothing. I just like this elephant's face and the fact that I was able to get close enough to see his wrinkles, white whiskers and eyelashes.

I spy with my little eye...