Oh, if Only…
If only I weren’t budgeting to decorate an entirely brand new abode….. You read that right, I finally decided to stop whimpering and whinging about the depressed property value (seriously people, we’re talking less than 25% value from what it was purchased at — YEAH, Phoenix real estate… SUCKS BALLS — sorry, but it does). I’m about to have a new abode. Ironically, to me, it is in a community in which I attempted to purchase eight years ago when the Phoenix real estate bubble was rising, and hadn’t yet burst.
You know, every little bit counts, when counting dollars and cents, especially since I refuse to move my stuff, and I determined years ago, I make enough money to budget for professional movers. Especially in a Phoenician July.
I’m such a sucker for stationary, and these pieces remind me of the salons at Angelina and Laduree. Oh! If only…. When can I go back to Paris? In the meantime, if I cave into temptation (which I often do)….
I did decide that I HAD to budget for this tres adorable pillow for my sofa; l I can’t wait to see it in person! I can’t wait to see my sofa in person; this quasi-vagabond interim period is really driving me nutty. I really could have never survived as a gypsy. BIT I think my heart has a gypsy soul, but that’s another realm altogether…. I’m ready to have my own space again, but, timing. What do you do….

Meanwhile, I’m feeling very proud of myself for not trowing a temper tantrum tonight (I get crabby when I travel), recognizing I wasn’t sweet enough to see the sweet man who cooks me fantastic dinners and acts as if I rose from the sea in a seashell surrounded by cherubs and rescheduled our Fourth of July/Welcome Home/Finished Comprehensive Exams date tonight, and drinking a less cheap bottle of wine tonight. I splurged at Whole Foods. I apparently bought more than brussels sprouts, peaches, kombucha, and manchego cheese…..

But, I have to say, I miss my mom. I felt even more earnest leaving her than I ever have before. And this was the first time I saw her and said “goodbye” to her since she came to Clanton, AL to help me with my dad’s funeral. Every time I saw her during these past two weeks, I just wanted to hug her, and hold her, and put her in a safe sphere where nothing could hurt her or age her. The anxiety I felt was just so beyond anything I ever expected I would experience. Just LOOKING at her made me feel frantic. I don’t know how to measure my blood pressure, but I’m sure if I could measure it, it would have jumped and been doing some sort of jive. My poor mom! Who knows what she thought. I tried to ride it out as tension and nerves for my exams…. Having to deal with frantic me. Me, regular me, is a handful. Crap, frantic me may be the reason I’m still single…..

Rose is a Rose is a Rose
Or so she said….
By “she,” I mean Ms. Stein, of course.
Everybody who writes is interested in living inside themselves in order to tell what is inside themselves. That is why writers have to have two countries, the one where they belong and the one in which they live really. ~Gertrude Stein

This lovely Francophilian American author would be, well, really old — I can’t do the math right now, it’s sort of beyond my tired capacity (1874 – you do the math). Next time I’m in Paris (I can’t wait for the time that is my next time), I’m going to spend some time spending time in seasoned haunts.

America is my country and Paris is my hometown.

Two things: try to find out what happened to my old copy of Ida (and if it is truly lost, probably on the lam from a loan out to a friend but to whom I have forgotten, use my store credit at Bookman’s to buy another used copy); and, oh, I forgot the other thing. I think I should call it a night. Speaking of night…. I think I might take Ernest Hemingway to bed with me tonight.
Hemingway’s remarks are not literature.
Remarks aren’t literature.

For the love of Verdigris!

On my first stroll through Tuileries (first of several “strolls” I took through the gardens during my excursions in Paris) I had to exclaim verbally my delight in sighting verdigris! In Phoenix the only verdigris that will be seen is any applied as faux finish. In Paris, as most manifestations I saw, the verdigris was the real deal – and worth a squeal.

I especially like when the wash and staining is visible on the rock beneath the statues….


Toujours > Always

On my final full day in Paris, I went on a shopping spree madder than the Hatter and went on a second visit to Angelina, this time Shanghai-ing Erin for some sinfully decadent hot chocolate — luxurious hot chocolate! 

226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
We shared a pot of L’Africain, the creamy, silky hot chocolate and the trademark dessert, a Mont Blanc. Think, a wafer of meringue, topped with chantilly creme, topped off with chestnut creme/mousse…. 

According to the book, “1,000 Place to see Before You Die”

“The decadent Mont Blanc dessert takes a backseat only to the richest hot chocolate imaginable…”

Between the two of us we could neither (A) finish the hot chocolate or (B) finish the Mont Blanc. Don’t get me wrong, we WANTED to, but these slices of edible heaven were too… RICH… for us to finish without feeling sick. 

And for the record, if I were still in Paris I would have made a third trip to Angelina to do it all again within another 48 hours.

And for the record, during my first visit to Angelina, where I had a beautiful and perfect croque madame with my hot chocolate AKA l’Africain, I decided that if I ever have a belle jeune fille of my own, I’m taking her directly to Angelina on her eighth birthday! While Erin and I sipped our hot chocolate and nibbled on this meringue/creme masterpiece with our teensy forks my sweet friend asked me what my favorite experience during this past week was while in Paris. 

I paused, because I anticipated being asked this question numerous times upon my return stateside, and I reflected on my answer, then decided to respond with the truth — as honesty IS ALWAYS the BEST policy. I couldn’t then, and I still cannot, isolate a single defining moment, visual, or experience that might sum up the totality of my days in Paris. 

Rather, the entire collection of days, sights, tastes, sounds, and emotions I witnessed and directly experienced come together… flower stalls in St. Germaine, the pungence of open air cheese shops in Marais, the feeling of the rain sprinkling on my face as I walked home one night from dinner at Le Hangar….

My first bite into a macaron from Fauchon, a slice of Tomme, the wheel of camembert waiting for me in her refrigerator, the incense assaulting my sinuses in Notre Dame Cathedral during Lenten Mass, the mostly fractured conversations overheard in a language I once but now no longer know…

…sitting on a wall for two hours watching boats float by on the Seine, staring at the sprawling sea of rooftops and chimney pots from the steps of Sacre Couer in Montmarte.

 The sky! The sky in Paris… looks like I  dreamed it would! Not grey! But, dusty blue, cream, apricot, rose, pewter, all striated and wisping together in bands and streams of color together… and on a couple of days, that positively perfect wide open sky blue, sprinkled with just the right shade of white clouds.

These and at least a thousand other stimuli and moments of both a traditional Paris, and old city, and a modern metropolis (A perfect dichotomy!) combine together.

From sassing back at a pushy bathroom attendant in the over-exploited Les Deux Magots, dodging motorists who aimed for my jaywalking as if they would earn points to the bonus round if they made contact,

or emphatically trying to tell my friend’s kooky neighborhood lady “je ne parles francais!!!!” as she followed Majerle and me down the street, chattering away at us in French…. 

In fact, I think I disappointed my friends when they asked me how my travel was for I’m at a loss for accurate words to convey how overwhelmed I was with the city –


all expectations were superseded and the best of my imagination didn’t come even close to preparing me for the experience that is Paris!

 Paris, je t’aime!


LeibensneidLife Envy, as termed by Nietzsche. What this means is that someone, somewhere has a better life, and not in the grass is greener sense. Some woman has better legs (the kind that don’t puff up like marshmallows with trans-Atlantic flights), a faster metabolism, better real estate, a happy romantic relationship, and so on. With this life envy we I have a certainty in mind that this phantom person has every bit of luck that we I don’t have and if I could just have… her investment portfolio, romantic partner, family, my life would be so much better – – – – –

I talk with my single friends and they long for a marriage with children, I talk with married friends who express yearning for days of being single.

Our yearnings and our choices – I say again, our CHOICES – lead us to where we are and they also cause us to sometimes doubt our own decisions and even to judge. Judge ourselves and judge the decisions and choices of others. I can’t count how many times I have wondered “I should have,” “if I only,” “why didn’t I.” I hear others ruminate and sometimes torture themselves over the same beatings. I have conversations… with myself, friends, family, counsel, and ask the question, answer the question, and hear the expression “what I want is.”

I can want what I want and work for what I believe can be attained – but wanting can haunt – and relationships, opportunities, and lives can be wasted by lamenting what did not happen, was lost, or never gained or saw fruition.  Wanting is also what compels us to push endeavors, to risk, and to explore our potential and boundaries… and to grow. I guess it can also be good to want…. And it is good for us to own our actions, choices, and decisions.

While walking in Pere Lechaise our conversation turned to choices and implications of choices and of regret and action. The conversation turned to my foray in acting professionally. I never did anything big and I chose to remain in Phoenix and not pursue a bigger dream. My friend didn’t know that I acted professionally or that I held a multi-year contract for representation by one of the premier model and talent agencies in the world. Nor did she know that I planned to move to New York City to pursue this “dream.” She didn’t know for the same reason most people don’t know – I don’t make it a point to speak of because I don’t define myself by this experience, merely, this is one experience of several things I have done. This is significant in story now because I spoke of my choice to not move to NYC because my boyfriend at the time (with whom I believed myself to be in love) told me, directly, that if I moved to NYC I went alone, he would never visit me, and he would not wait for me. So I chose not to go. And instead decided to try to make the relationship work with him. I wanted to marry this man and I believed him when he said he wanted to marry me… years later the relationship fell to shattered pieces. But I do not look back. I made my choice and it was mine alone to make. I hold no resentment to him nor place any responsibility to him for my decision. And I haven’t reflected backwards ever thinking “I should have gone….” Because that decision led me to the life I have now… which includes typing this in the Philadelphia International Airport as I wait another hour and a half in my four hour layover (and who am I to assume that a choice to move forward with that idea would have guaranteed me an easier or better life than what I have for myself?).

And while I do dabble sometimes in Leibensneid, my life is mine, and my life resembles me – I resemble me. And at a risk of sounding arrogant – which is not at all intended, the intention is expression of the genuine thankfulness for the many graces and gifts of my own luck, my relationships and friendships, my family, and a condo that I can decorate and paint exactly as I alone want it to be, and my choices – those choices that brought me fortune and choices that brought me lessons… and I know that I have green meadows with blossoms in my own life. Although I would love ankles that don’t retain water as furiously as mine do.

As I said yesterday, when the sky opened up on us as we lingered at the terrace table at Les Deux Magots (an old Hemingway haunt) “it’s raining, but it’s raining on us – in Paris – and today was a beautiful day – in Paris!” Heck, if one must get stranded in the rain one should definitely be in the Latin Quarter in Paris!