Saturday, May 31, 2008

Many rivers to cross...

I can't get this song out of my head. Amandine sang it the other night on Nouvelle Star and I have had to go to the M6 website to watch her version of Jimmy Cliff's classic and compare it to his... She's good.

The other song playing in my head is "Can't Find my Way Home" by Blind Faith. I have to wonder what is up with my subliminal thinking? At least I'm not seeing a dancing baby!

My son will be finding his way home tomorrow. He has spent this week on a class trip to Cardiff. For all the traveling he has done in his life, this is the first time he's been on his own.

We are cranking up the machine for the next exposition at MBF. Think purple... think serendipity... think Sri Lanka... it is going to be an amazing installation! More details at the end of the summer. I think the part I like best about my work is the beginning of the project... the planning, the sharing of ideas and possibilities. What about this? or that? do you think? No limits.

That creative beginning is a journey in itself.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

That’s what friends are for...

I have been shamelessly plugging my own blog. I have added it to my email signature and I keep telling people to click on such and such label for this or that photo. Since I have a few photos posted that I really like, I have decided to create a "Fav Photos" label. I'll have to go through the posts to label the shots I like best, but I think it's worth the time invested.

This blog started as a learning project. I know enough about web design and layout to make it look the way I like, but I needed to know how to promote the blog itself. I have learned about labeling and networking the link with other sites. There are a few sites I visit everyday, JimH Crossword Blog is one. Here's a shameless plug for Rex Parker; I get a lot of hits from his site. is another source of traffic flow. How do I know this? I signed up with Google Analytics. Just add a simple bit of code to the html file and watch the data come in!

I am a total believer in networking. I like putting the right people together. I like it when good things happen for friends of friends because they had the chance to meet.

That said, I spent this afternoon with my favorite printer in Paris, Robert Ruscoe. I have known Robert for 13 years and he has given me great advice and little tricks of the trade to help me along in my pedagogical print progress. If you have something that needs to be printed, large or small, contact him. He's bilingual and expert at his trade. Tell him QB sent you!

The above photo was taken during a digital photography course at Parsons School of Design in Paris with Bob Bishop... (pattern, texture, shape.) Bob is the editor of, formerly the magazine, now an e-zine and packed with all kinds of info as to what is going on in Paris. Your first stop to your outings in Paris!

Another Parisian friend, David Sprawls, has something you need to help make your summer tasty! Lt. Blender's Drinks in a Bag! Frozen Margueritas to go! Strawberry Daiquiris, Pina Coladas, Mojitos... no problemo! He's got it, you want it! Tell him I said hi! PS: I'll shamelessly accept a bag of Margueritas!

Keep smiling...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Sometimes things seem so clear. Other times... clear as mud. This post has no rhyme or reason, which feels just about right.

It has been a weird week thus far... but opportunities have made themselves available and in the course of my work, I have learned so much by trial and error. Right now, things are coming together on so many fronts, it is something to behold. More on this down the line.

As you know, it is Wednesday night and Ycare has just gotten voted off of Nouvelle Star. He is a great entertainer, I hope he gets signed by some big record company and has a chance at his singing career. It is now down to Amandine, Benjamin and Cedric. I'm still waiting for Amandine to belt out some Janis Joplin.

Meantime, it's been rainy and cold... the sun peeked out today for a little while but tomorrow it is supposed to pour. Again.

Rainy day, dream away...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Lest we forget...

I'm a military brat. My dad was a Navy pilot and flight instructor during the 60s. I spent a lot of time in Pensacola, Florida and Kingston, Rhode Island. I learned how to pack and move a house in 2 days. I learned how to make friends and just as quickly, leave them. I learned that sometimes, people never come back.

My most impressionable memory was of one of my father's friends and colleagues. He was a young man, gung-ho... virile, masculine, funny and always had something for us kids... He was the epitome of what my very young mind thought a man should be.

The last time I saw him he had just gotten a motorcycle. I remember that he pulled up into the driveway gunning the engine and grinning like a lunatic... he was so happy with his new toy.

Before my mom died I asked her about him. She knew exactly who I was talking about. Some people stay with you. He went to Vietnam in 1965 and never made it home. I wish I could remember his name. I do, however, remember his spirit.

To him, and to so many others, thank you.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hang on...

Wish I could do like Snoopy and just stretch out on top of my dog house. Parties in the building have kept me awake both Friday and Saturday nights. I wouldn't have minded so much if I had had fair warning... I could have dealt with the noise. Frankly, most French music sucks even when it's at low volume. Loud and pounding through the walls, with dancing until 4:30am... no comment.

I did manage to get some catching up done with a few web projects, I finished reading a book, did a buttload of laundry and went into debt booking the NY trip.

Bright side of all that is my life is a little more organized than it was last week. I know where I stand on a few things. I still want to do the 20 minutes/100 items list. Let me know if you tried it?

This week brings lots of meetings for future projects. Time to toss around ideas and get ready for the fall. Let's face it, in France, May is June and June is summer, ergo... nothing will get done 'til October after La Rentrée in September!

Vive la France!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Change your life...

I was feeling a bit bummed out yesterday and randomly Googled "change your life". I came across this blog: WiseBread. It had an entry called "Feeling Stuck? 100 Ways to Change your Life". It looked like it was right up my alley so I followed the link.

Essentially, the author, Nora Dunn, suggests you turn off the TV, computer, cell phone and other distractions, grab a sheet of paper, make yourself comfortable and for 20 minutes write down 100 things you would like to see, do, accomplish, change... whatever. Sky's the limit.

You are then supposed to leave the list alone and definitely not make any revisions to it. Take a look at it after a day and ask yourself: "...How many of the items on it are feasible? Can you see your way to accomplishing any of it? Any surprises in there?".

I told AG about it today and sent her the link... While there, I started reading some of the other articles; there is a lot of good information on life hacks and financial tips. This is not in the shameless plugging category, but I hope you'll take a look.

Dream big...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I have been a derelict blogger!

It has been a few days since I last posted anything, but note how much time I have made available for other things! Did I do anything worthwhile with that extra time? Sort of... announcements soon!

On the other hand, I saved money and did NOT go to the Salon des Saveurs. I know that had I gone, I would have plunked down a few much needed euros for wines and other goodies that I shouldn't indulge in right now. It was a tough decision, but I stand by it.

I have gone walking twice, I must absolutely make more time for that. Had lunch with a friend, it was good to get away from the home office. I really need to do that more often!

I guess I'm feeling like I need some changes in my life, or more precisely, my routine. Not quite sure what, but I will figure it out. I'm still hoping for suggestions from the outside world! Best tips for the home worker on how to manage everything and still have a life beyond the office door (that opens into the living room)...

Time is what we want most, but... what we use worst.
~William Penn

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tasty morsels...

It seems that last night's photo is missing in action. Not sure what happened to it... the link is still there and I haven't deleted it or anything. Of course, I am on my laptop and that particular image is on the other machine. Something to look into tomorrow. [fixed]

I am going to head over to "Le Salon Saveurs des Plaisirs Gourmands" tomorrow afternoon. I have an invitation from a chateau that I bought wine from this past February at the Salon d'Agriculture.

This is one of the best things about living in France... the regional foods that come together for the big salons. You really get a sense of the flavors and specialties of France. Fresh cheeses, wines, olive oils, honey... so many things to taste and sample. A delicious way to spend the afternoon!

Mangez bien!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Get into the groove...

Tonight (Thursday evening) was the changing of the guard at one of the associations I am involved with. I went to the annual general meeting where the volunteer Board, incoming and outgoing, was thanked and feted.

The outgoing prez has been a huge inspiration to me, pushed me to "go for it and believe in myself". The incoming prez has been a friend for a long time and I am so glad to see her take on this challenge. She is the perfect person for the job. Congratulations to you both!

I also got to see some women whom I have not seen since I left the office position. I wholeheartedly believe in networking and connecting people, so... for those of you who I promised to send a link to this blog... here it is! :-) I will soon be sending you an invitation to LinkedIn. I am still rebuilding my 'database' of contacts...

I think the nicest part of tonight was seeing some people who I really care for and have not seen in a long time. I look forward to my promised hand-written September luncheon invite!!!

Cheers, dears!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Got a monkey on my back...

...and it's called Time Management!

Ever since I started working from home, I have lost all sense of time. The day is longer than when I had an office to go to. The office now blends into the living room, laundry gets washed while working on websites, editing gets dropped for dishes, the phone rings, Skype dings, incoming email blings... Yikes! I need to define my time!

I've had a few suggestions which I could put into place. One woman said, "Don't schedule meetings for Monday or Friday." Another said, "Turn the computer off at 6pm." While these are great ideas, I haven't found the time to be able to get away on long weekends and I still use the computer for personal communications.

It would be great to have a regular plan to to stick to. I'd also like to schedule in my daily walk and/or workout session and build in some creative time for gallery visits, shows, photo shooting, etc.

I know there are plenty of folks out there in the same predicament, so... I am turning to you, all three of my faithful readers, for some tips on keeping the clock in control!

I want to fly like an eagle...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day...

My mom passed away on December 17, 2000. She had lung cancer. She was diagnosed in May 1998. I racked up a lot of miles going back and forth between France and the US during those two years. We also made a lot of memories.

When she was in the hospital that last time, she asked me if I loved her. I said, "Of course I do!" I just didn't know the depth of that love until she after was gone. There is a lot of story between those lines.

Eight years later, whenever I dust mom's photo I have to laugh because it was something we always joked about. "Don't forget to pick up the frame and dust underneath it!" If you knew her, you'd know the joke in that!

I wish she were still here to see her grandson becoming a young man. She'd be so proud of him. I sure am.

I miss you, Ma.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I felt like I was dragging my feet today.

I did get out, but not for my walk. I went to the grocery (walked there as I always do) and picked up fish and salad stuff. There were police everywhere: in buses, vans, horses, motorbikes, bicycles... all that for the Paris Saint Germain / Saint Etienne match. The game is over, but there are still people outside.

I'm going to call it an early night. Will be in a better state tomorrow. :-)

Bonne nuit!

Friday, May 9, 2008

If only you believe in miracles...

Miracle 1: I did the walk. It took a total of an hour for one tour around the Hippodrome and lake. The above photo is the fountain in front of the Hippodrome. It was a gorgeous day today and it felt good to get out there.

Miracle 2: With any luck, I will look like one of those water nymphs in a short time. The last time I did this, I lost two sizes in two months without dieting. You know that now that I have started I will do it again tomorrow.

Miracle 3: I had a comment! :-) To tell the truth, it was the impetus of that comment that made me go out and do the walk. Sometimes you need that kick in the butt to say "yes, you can!". Thank you, Earlycreek!

Miracle 4: That nice photo of Hobbes (see May 4) snoozing in the afternoon sun and I had him cruising on the mortal plane...? Apparently, he had a round trip ticket! He's still with us!! I had UB on the phone last night and I told him that someone (hi Bluefish!) thought he was adorable; too bad he was gone. UB said, "Nope he's right here!" Eek! Ol' Hobbes is 19 years old and still standing! Me? I stand corrected.

Miracle 5: Got a great price on a great hotel in Boston through Hotwire. Yippee! I will be spending a few days with UB, AS and TS! We have tix for CSN... can't wait!

Miracle 6: Hasn't happened yet, although I am sure it will...

I believe!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I never promised you a rose garden...

I finally made time this afternoon to put the geraniums into some dirt. I bought them the other day and they had been sitting in the bag on the balcony. It was just too nice out to let the opportunity escape, so... I got the trowel out and went for it.

While I was digging away, I noticed something that will get me to move my be-hind-butt-ocks. For as long as I have been living in this neighborhood there has been a blind man who walks around the block on a daily basis. He taps his way along and everyone makes room for him. I remember, many years ago when I first saw him, that I thought he was learning the ropes. He seemed to bump into an awful lot of stuff no matter how many times he had been around the same block.

Mind you, most times that I saw him, I was coming home from work and that was the only time I had seen him for that day. This afternoon, I heard his tapping first, looked up and sure enough, there he was. Today, however, I noticed that the tapping had come around again, but it wasn't the first time, and it dawned on me that this blind man has made NO excuses to go out and make his daily rounds, not once, but several times! Sheesh.

Here's my plan. I need to do the same thing this guy is doing. I need to move my butt, at the very least around the block, NO excuses! I have the advantage of sight... I will bring the cell phone with me (did I mention that it has a Carl Zeiss lens?) I will take some photos along the route. I am near the Bois de Boulogne and Hippodrome... there should be plenty of photo ops... so much to see... if I only make the effort.

I am humbled by this man.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mama mia...


I spent my formative years in NY. I grew up watching the tube. Johnny Carson, SNL when it first started, Monty Python, Chiller Theater... That expression was from an Alka-Seltzer ad a way long time ago... The photo is a bit more recent, just a few years ago, and it was the start of the "Smiley Face In Situ" series, still a work in progress.

UB and I were frying up the meatballs for that night's dinner, when lo and behold, there was that face, smiling up at me! (A bit evil, if you ask me!) All cooking ceased as I pulled the pan off the burner and ran for my camera. I'm sure my family thinks I'm a bit on the wacko side, but this sort of left them speechless. "Don't touch that pan!"

All that to say, mama mia, I am booking my NYC flight and hotel. Maybe I should use a catch phrase from another commercial and say, "Cha-ching!".

My only solace in dropping all that dough is that it is Wednesday, and in France that means it's Nouvelle Star night! Yeah! Tonight is song suggestions from the viewers. I couldn't resist and hit the M6 website... and guess what??? Someone else wants Amandine to sing "Cry Baby"! Merci mille fois whoever you are!! We'll see what happens. I may even do a follow up tomorrow! Til then, in the immortal words of Janis Joplin:

"...Seems like the grass always looks greener,
When you're looking over there in somebody else's back-yard..."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Sax appeal...

When you swap out my fab Parisian apartment, not only do you get well-groomed gardens, weird global-warming weather and boulangeries, you get street musicians too! Yeah!

These guys seem to be coming around once a month now... Last time they were playing "When the Saints Go Marching In... today we were graced with "Those Were the Days, My Friend", two fine morsels of Americana music. I tossed them a few euros that I had folded up in a piece of scrap paper and they played their way down the street. Lucky for you, you won't have to listen to my son's back-up burps. That particular special effect is not part of the exchange plan.

I guess this will be my last appeal for a trade... leave a comment! Call your friends! Book your trip!

Play that funky music!

Monday, May 5, 2008

’Cause I'm the taxman...

Not a great photo, but I just think it's funny that the Minister of Contributions, the tax reimbursements and the Brotherhood of Pirates are all on the same street. Taken in Ouchy in Switzerland.

The taxes are signed, sealed, delivered and, phew... just in the nick of time. So, to anyone I may have been putting off recently, I just about have a clear slate to start and/or finalize projects. This past week (and weekend) has been spent knee-deep in paperwork and forms. Not my favorite way to pass the time!

In the end, I walked my papers to La Poste and sent them off... passed Fleurs d'Auteuil on the way home and decided to pick up some balcony geraniums. Dear potential apartment swapper... my balconies will have beautiful geraniums for you to water!

That's it for me ce soir... gonna shut down the machine, step away from the box and take a break!

...yeah, I'm the taxman...

Sunday, May 4, 2008


There's a certain point of contentment/exhaustion one can reach before it just takes over and lays you out.

I was up at seven this morning, but opted to go back to bed and read for a little while before Brailing my way to the coffee machine. Yeah. Right. Next time I opened my eyes it was almost noon! I haven't slept like that since before childbirth!

Maybe it was because said child spent the night at his friend's last evening? Tax form exhaustion took its toll? Who knows? Whatever it was, it felt great, if not a bit self-indulgent!

This kitty was Hobbes and he has since left this mortal plane. I can still hear his purr and feel the warmth of the afternoon sun coming in through the windows. One day I'll introduce you to Ayo. We had some pretty cool cats in the family.

Thinking of you, UB.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Behind bars...

Yup. That's where you might find me next year...

I'm doing the taxes. It's all in French and it's all so damned confusing! I could very well be tapping out next year's blog from cellblock 6.

Dépenses, recettes, amortizations... Cripes, I hope I got it right. FYI to France Gestion: I am an honest person trying to do the right thing! Please don't haul me off in cuffs! I have spent the better part of last week and today entering, finding receipts and invoices, and trying to figure out what they mean by multiple échéances... and how to do it!

This will all be done by Cinco de Mayo for the first approval and then on to the real deal of French Impots.


Thanks AG, for all your input today. A lot less painful with a sidekick! :-)

Friday, May 2, 2008

In vino veritas...

A friend is here visiting... she left France a few years ago having come to the realization that after 20 years, it just wasn't working. She went back to her home state and has found that life is much easier in the US.

I popped a bottle of the good stuff while we caught up and then we went to dinner at a nearby place and had another bottle with our meal.

Our discussions ran the gamut from what is love and how do you find it and where, to how do you give yourself up to someone when you have reached our age (not that old!!) and had the experiences we have had.

The conclusion we came to was you are never too old for love and you should always hope for the best. Eternal optimists that we are...we'll never give up.

Besides, you never know what might be around the next bend.

Wino Forever
~Johnny Depp
(The tattoo once read 'Winona Forever'!)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

True confessions...

Okay. I admit it. I'm a Nouvelle Star junkie. For all the Yanks in the audience, it's the French equivalent of American Idol. Now that that's out in the open, I can give my 2 centimes worth of comments.

This year they have a really talented lot... no sitting through the painful ones wondering when the hell they'll be voted off. They kinda did that in the first show with three right out the door. Merci.

They are now down to seven as of last night. Five men, two women. Of the two women, Amandine has the most amazing voice with a lot of power behind it. I want her to do anything by Janis Joplin, but most specifically, I would love to hear her do "Cry Baby". She has the range, the intensity and I think she could take the song and make it her own, not just cover it. The other woman, Lucille, is a Cyndi Lauper wannabe; still waiting for her to wow the crowd.

On to the men... Cedric. Woof. Anchors aweigh... he has a great voice and he looks like Pierce Brosnan. I'd love to hear him sing anything from Van Morrison. He has a folky style, but good range and depth. Ycare is good but he sorta has that psycho Charles Manson stare and he hasn't yet found his forte. As Philippe Manœuvre said, he needs to "Let loose the monster!"

Thomas did a great version of Robbie Williams' "She's Come Undone"... I think a lot of attention is being paid to Jules and Thomas may well be the dark horse. Jules just turned 18, he's good, but young... someone to watch. And then there's Benjamin... he'll hang in there. Who will go next?? I'll seal my predictions in an envelope.

See that? Give a junkie a bit of freedom... I didn't even mention the apartment swap once!

I still love NY!