Saturday, March 21, 2009

The day is long...

I have been thinking about my grandmother for the past few days. Songs have been coming on the iTunes radio station I listen to... and this afternoon, my cousin gave me a call. We talked for a long time. I enjoy his calls... easy rambling and lots of good laughs. It was nice to share memories of Gram with him.

I am the first grandchild. I have special memories of time spent with my grandmother. The Florida coast, Michigan, North Carolina... In 1967, I spent a lot of time with her. I was nine years old. She had just gone through a divorce, we were in transition from the military to a civilian life... it was easier for me to stay with her for a few weeks. It was the best time ever. We played Yahtzee and Scrabble, ate Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and watched Johnny Carson. She smoked like a chimney and enjoyed her Crown Royal in the evening. I still use one of her blue Crown Royal bags for the Scrabble tiles.

This photo was taken at Clark Lake, Michigan on June 24, 1950... 8 years before I was born. It's of my great-grandmother, Charlotte; my grandmother, Rachel; and and my great-aunt, Rhea. I can see my mom's face in all of them, and now I know where the chin comes from!

She called me in Paris on the Wednesday before she died. We had a nice long conversation, got to say a lot of things and gave each other our love when we hung up. I went off to the house in the country for the weekend. We had no phone and no one nearby to reach us. When we got home that Sunday night the answering machine was blinking like crazy... I was on a flight the next day.

At her service, I was in the car with my cousin and three of my brothers. A few songs came on the radio that will be forever etched in that moment. I miss you, Gram...

Hold on...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Snotty, beam him down...

By all rights this should be a snow covered, mountain capped, fondue enriched scene from Switzerland where I spent this past weekend... Instead, I offer you this: a sculpture outside the H. R. Giger museum located in Gruyere, the heart of milk and cheese. How did that happen??

Factoid: Giger's album covers for Debbie Harry and the band ELP were voted among the 100 best in music history in a survey of rock journalists.

Last Friday I ditched Paris and hopped the TGV for Geneva and an extended weekend visit. Spent Saturday in Lausanne and Ouchy, Sunday in Gruyere and Fribourg, and Monday hanging around taking in the fresh air and view. It was much needed and most definitely appreciated! (Merci, A!)

This is a short post... I'll be back on the TGV tomorrow morning, bright and early, looking forward to new horizons, projects and adventures. Spring is imminent...

Prepare for Metamorphosis. Ready, Kafka?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Who let the dogs out?

First off, I apologize for this photo. It was not what I wanted to use for this post, but... the cow shots really didn't work (lighting, color, focus... blah, blah, blah...). In this dog's defense, he had a crowd around him; we were passing through and this was a quick, action snap. During the time it took us to pass through, he didn't move, bark or whimper a bit... AND, no... I don't know what she is doing with her hand. Obviously, both are professionals. Don't try this at home!

I went to the Salon de l'Agriculture yesterday. Met a friend there and we did a tour through our favorite halls: food, wine and livestock. I have a few folks whom I like to see and buy from every year. This year was an exception... I said hello, picked up my free magnums, had a tasting and said I'll be back next year. They all understood. In today's economy they are waiting for the bottom to fall out. They told me that although some folks are still buying, they are buying only top quality and a little less of it... leaving the lower quality (which is still good!) for next year.

Even the halls themselves were smaller in proportion. The cows used to have their own space... this year, they were sharing the same space as the pigs, sheep and goats. A lot of space was blocked off and unused. And, considering the day I went, there were not as many people there that I thought would be. This does not bode well for the French agriculture industry.

My hope is that things will pick up by summer time. The Salon Saveurs des Plaisirs Gourmands happens from May 15-18. If you happen to be in Paris, make a point of trying to attend. The vendors go out of their way to introduce you to their products. It is a treat to your senses... and lord knows, we need some tasty treats!

Woof, woof!