Thursday, September 27, 2007

Waiting For Travaux (the sequel)

Here we go again! Whee! Our combination living room/kitchen/studio is under wrap again a la Christo (minus the publicity orgy, of course) and our lives are turned upside down. Of course it's for a good cause: the insurance is paying to have the whole space repainted after a roof leak last year, and the result will no doubt be stunning. But it means living in chaos for two weeks, and inhaling a whole lot of DUST - neither of which is high on the list of "My Favorite Things." Still, I guess the silver (dusty?) lining is that not having a proper living space is forcing me to get out of the house and enjoy Paris more than I usually do: see friends for lunch, take long walks, go sketching, window shopping, etc. It's also been sort of fun to be camped out in the bedroom, eating picnic dinners on the bed, making phone calls, and watching television - like being a teenager again. (You think I'm kidding? Last night I stayed in and watched six episodes of Friends on cable while munching homemade popcorn out of a giant bowl. Before you know it, I'll be a regular visitor to MySpace and Facebook...)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Flower Vine Grows in Paris

After a year of waking up and looking out on a depressing color scheme of manmade grays, blacks, and whites, I took action and bought pots of flowers and soil at a big garden store near Gare d'Austerlitz, lugging everything home on the bus (swearing and cursing the whole way, of course, as one does when one doesn't have a car - which is usually a good thing, until the day one needs to make errands such as this one).

I thought the flowers might bloom a bit, and add some nice color, but am amazed at how beautifully they have flourished in just a few months (though I can't take credit - I am not the green thumb in the family, I'm just the one who likes to buy things.)
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Monday, September 24, 2007

A Paris Balcony

In Paris, having a balcony adds a lot to an apartment's value, and it's easy to see why: an outdoor space which is still linked to the city's rhythms, a place to sit and look at the sky as well as see what's happening on the street below...this is what makes city living bearable, and even poetic at times. If (and when) I leave Paris, I think it is this I will miss most: the intricate, dense way in which the city is put together, layer upon layer of stone and iron and zinc; all the lines and patterns and shadows that make even the simplest sight (here, a friend's balcony) a singular visual feast.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

It Was Just One of Those Things...

On a recent (sunny) day, I took a walk through the Jardin des Plantes in the 5th arrondissement, and feasted my eyes on some truly sumptuous flower and vegetable gardens. I clearly wasn't the only one having fun...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Slice of Life

Is there anything more satisfying in life than the pleasure of chopping a perfectly ripe zucchini? (OK, please don't answer that question!)

Life Imitates...Avocado?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Chez le Dentiste

The other day I went to my dentist, a gentle soul who insists there is nothing wrong with my teeth, in spite of my whining about a intermittent dull ache in my back molar (which I've had now for over three years -but because it comes and goes, I tend to forget about it unless it's happening. Kind of like bad weather, or unpleasant odors in the Metro).

There were no magazines in the waiting room, so I took photos in the big mirror instead. Check out that pink furniture, and that chandelier! I don't think this room has been touched since sometime in the early 70s. (Where's John Waters when you need him?) Another funky self-portrait to add to my collection of "things I might want to paint someday." Ha! The neverending list...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Autumn's Bounty (or, the Ultimate Comfort Food)

The colors alone are enough to make me happy. But the abundance, the variety! I'd forgotten how the produce markets come alive this time of year, bursting with a cornucopia of good things to eat - much of it from France's own rich farmland. This is just a snippet of what I bought the other day; there were also tiny purple artichokes, Swiss chard, green plums, red and yellow peppers, fat wild mushrooms (cepes), and a pumpkin-like squash called a potiron, which will be cooked tonight in a friend's barley-veggie recipe. There is something about this season that just makes me want to gather food, cook it, and store it for the winter - even though I live in a city where it never snows, and I have easy access to markets all winter long. Ah well, what can I do? The inner squirrel asserts itself. Pass the acorns.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ridin' High

I tried out a friend's bike Sunday, a new style known as a "cruiser": it's got a heavy, sturdy frame, high handlebars (giving you very good posture), and an unbelieveably comfortable seat with built-in shock absorbers that make riding on Paris' cobblestones - normally a tailbone-crunching agony - a veritable marshmallow pillow of fun!

Last Throes of Summer on the Seine

Sunday was a beautiful day and everyone in Paris came out to enjoy it. The banks of the Seine were literally covered with people reading, eating, talking, napping, and otherwise just doing their thing, "while the sun shone brightly in the sky."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

September Sun!

In a word: fabulous.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Men in Kilts!

The Rugby World Cup has turned my neighborhood (the 10th arrondissement) into a mini version of the British Isles. Too bad old Mel isn't filming a sequel to Braveheart; he'd have lots of extras here to choose from.

Meanwhile, perhaps we can ponder this question together: Why does it seem that professional sports, while reinforcing certain macho tendencies, also seem to be such an acceptable haven for male cross-dressing?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Floating Torso in the Fontaine de Medici

Who? What? How? Why? Last year it was a profile that was floating; this year it's a torso. Maybe next year we'll get to see some legs and arms. Can you say Mr. Potato Head? I didn't see any information about this piece but I'm assuming it's a work of art and not someone's idea of a prank. Or perhaps it's both. Modern art does have its pranksters...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Marching Men in Luxembourg Gardens

Saw these fellows in uniforms today at the Jardin du Luxembourg. They looked like firefighters but they were carrying bayonet rifles. Huh?? Couldn't understand what it was all about, which is a frequent feeling for me in France (or anywhere?). Well, I guess I could have asked someone, but almost everyone watching looked like a tourist (i.e., more clueless than I). Anyway, the reason I took the picture (before they marched off) is because I liked the way the human formation merged with the tree formation, to make a solid, almost symmetrical shape. Perhaps there's a semi-abstract painting in here. All sorts of parallels come to mind...the fastidiously groomed trees alongside the rigid conformity of the marchers...the training of nature, the training of men...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Faces in the Canal

(I heightened the contrast, but otherwise did not doctor these photos in any way.)

Autumn Leaves in the Canal

Extra credit if you spot the elephant shape in the water (or wild boar, take your pick).

It's the Rentree!

Well, our rainy, soggy, downright flabby excuse for a summer is over. This week ushers in the "rentree" (pronounced "ron-tray" - there is usually an accent on the 2nd e, but i don't know how to make that happen in Blogger) - which literally means the "coming back", or "coming home." And indeed, it feels like the city's population has doubled overnight (at least in the neighborhoods where people could afford to take the whole month of August off).

It's been nice to walk around and feel that exciting, back-to-school energy in the air. Fall - my favorite season in many respects. Happy memories of sharpened pencils and clean, white notebooks ready to be filled with important things. The appeal of a clean slate. New friends, new teachers, new ideas. And pumpkin pie just around the corner...

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Under the Louvre Pyramid

People, patterns, and shadows...these are a few of my favorite things in Paris, or anywhere. I could have stayed here all day, snapping photos of people below. But I think I was starting to look suspicious, like a Louvre spy or something.