Friday, November 23, 2007

A Last-Minute Feast!

OK, I lied! At about 7h30 pm last night, something kicked in (tradition? habit? gluttony?) and I just HAD to make Thanksgiving dinner. So within 30 minutes I had a stuffing in the oven, and potatoes, green beans, and cranberry sauce all cooking happily on the stove. I didn't feel the need for turkey but my other half (who is 100 percent carnivore) did, and grilled up a couple of breasts (uh...I don't know how else to word that!). No pumpkin pie this year - in fact, no dessert at all, but we did manage to polish off a bottle of champagne (when in France...)

p.s. There is a quart of cranberry sauce left over, if anyone wants to come around...(No rush, I'm sure it will be there until we move next spring.)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

What I Am Thankful For Today

Blue sky.

Clean sheets.

Functioning body parts.

An almost-full fridge and cupboard, and recipes to spare.

Friends and loved ones who are willing to put up with my neuroses and laugh at some, if not all, of my jokes (thanks, guys).

And last but not least...

Cranberry bogs!

(which immediately makes me wonder, If there are cranberry bogs, then surely there must be cranberry blogs?? I would do a search right now, but I gotta go and make the cranberry sauce!)

Last Thanksgiving in Paris

Sounds a lot less sexy than Last Tango in Paris, huh? But it's true that we are only a few months away from our departure from Paris, and this will be the last time (at least for a while) that I need to track down a specialty store across town to buy canned pumpkin (for 5 euros no less!). Actually I didn't even bother this year - I didn't feel like fighting the crowds (crowds because of strikes, obviously, not because of the holiday) - and also it feels nice to not "have" to cook, because for the last month I've been doing practically nothing but: making soups, stews, casseroles, tarts, cakes, and so on. I guess you could say I've become more "French" in this sense: with big, well-planned meals now the norm, rather than the variation. So in a way I'm doing Thanksgiving in reverse: I'm spending the day differently than I usually do by not dealing with food that much (in spite of ambitious menu shown here - which I thoroughly enjoyed planning and might use next year, who knows?).

But I am going to make cranberry sauce. Every year, no matter what, I make cranberry sauce (notice it's the one thing circled on the list). Even if I don't really like it (I think I've eaten less than a tablespoonful in my entire life), and no one else seems to like it much either, because there is always exactly the same amount that I made left over. There's just something about watching those bright red berries bulging and bursting in the pot - perhaps it's a metaphor for the abundance of the season (not to mention for what happens to our abdomens after too many mashed potatoes and gravy!). Anyway, I have frozen ones from last year that I need to use. There is no "use by" date printed on the label, but what the heck! Livin' dangerously...just call me Marlon.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

All in a Day's Walk

I've been doing the walk up Montmartre almost every day again, renewing the tradition I'd established earlier this year (but had abandoned in the wake of so many tourists in spring and summer). Every time I walk I see something new that I'd never noticed before - like today, this beautiful holly tree behind the carousel. Was it always there, I wonder? Does it only bloom in winter? Do people ever pick the branches? (I was definitely tempted). There is so much going on, even in one small square of dirt; I could take a million walks and never get bored, if my eyes and heart were truly open. Why is it so hard to remember this sometimes?

Not Your Average Street Juggler

OK, look carefully at this photo. Not only was this guy juggling with a vase of water on his head, but there were two goldfish swimming around in it (poor goldfish - talk about an occupational hazard!).

I will never brag about being able to pat my head while rubbing my stomach again.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Afternoon Light - Bathroom Window

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Woman and Her Dog

I wish I was bold enough to have taken a better photo of this woman. In addition to that massive fur coat worthy of weather in St. Petersburg, she was wearing leopard print shoes (with matching leopard print purse), large black sunglasses, and a daringly tight gold and black dress. She looked like she stepped out of a Fellini movie. Meanwhile, her dog was peeing literally on every single car they passed. La Dolce Vita, indeed.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

It's Always Good to Get out of the House and Take a Walk

Helping Eachother Up the Hill

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Meanwhile, Commuters Struggle During the Strike

Sunset Views from Montmartre

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Afternoon Light on Squash and Grapefruit

Monday, November 12, 2007

Afternoon Light on Ficus Leaves

Apartment Envy

Here's a dilemma (that I should consider myself lucky to have): envy for my own apartment. That's right - we're selling our place and moving in a few months, and suddenly I'm heartbroken to think we are giving up our home to someone else (OK, not actually giving - we are getting some euros for it - but still, they will reap the benefits of our love and labor). It's like we finally settled in here - we just got the place repainted - I'm finally home - and now we're leaving???

But of course this is the time of year when the whole concept of Home means the most to me. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all of that. It's the time of year when I am not interested in adventure; rather, I want nothing more than to curl up on a couch with a book and a cup of tea and a giant down comforter, my biggest ambition in life being to make a soup out of 10 different vegetables at once.

So what's the solution? I guess I'll just have to focus on living in the present, and enjoy what I have right now, and not think about the future too much. Embrace the changes when they come. What is life anyway but a series of changes that we are constantly racing to keep up with?

As the Buddhist comedian said: "The only constant in life is Change - except when you need it for the bus!" (And to that I might add that "the only constant in my life is me telling this joke over and over again to anyone who will listen!")

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What, Me Married?

I guess it happens to the best of us eventually...we give in to societal pressure and embrace "tradition" for the sake of pleasing family, the government, or whomever. But for years I avoided the M word, and loved nothing more than to bust out this quote from an old movie (I think it was with Myrna Loy?): "Marriage is a great institution - but who wants to be in an institution?"

Har har har. Very funny indeed. And now I have to eat my hat - or my bridal veil, or whatever - because here I am joining the millions, no BILLIONS, who have already been served by the wonderful institution of McMarriage (served or brainwashed? you make the call).

Perhaps you think I doth protest too much. But this really has been a tough decision for me. NOT because of anything to do with the person who will be my "spouse" (every time I hear that word I think of The Game of Life, with those little pink and blue pegs, and little cars you drove around in, trying to be the first to acquire money, a house, and finally a "spouse." It always sounded like a rather spongy sort of pet to me).

No, nothing to do with him. But just, you know, the feeling of joining a club that I feel pressured to join. Maybe it's the rebel in me that resists this notion. I don't know. (This is probably more appropriate for therapy than for a blog, but I can't afford therapy right now, so bear with me.) Or maybe it's something to do with the fact that you can be with another person for years and years, share a bed and a bank account, know eachother inside and out, love and hate eachother in equal measure, see eachother through thick and thin (literally) - but until you're given the official stamp of marriage, you are not taken seriously as a couple by a large number of people, because you haven't made a "real commitment yet."

Huh?? I think it's the illogic in that equation which makes me bristle - especially since I have seen firsthand so many official "marriages" that are about as committed as the weather in San Francisco. But anyway...where was I? Oh yes, I'm finally getting married. And of course, in keeping with my generally obsessive nature, I am making a big deal out of not making a big deal out of it. What's most important of course is that there will be a party, people will get drunk, friends will gather and a good time will be be had by all. And when I wake up the next morning, I will still be me and he will still be he - the biggest difference being that we will never again have to hear someone say, "When are you getting married?" (And hopefully they will refrain as well from asking, "So when's the divorce?")

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

To Market, To Market... buy a fat pumpkin?

Or rather, potiron, a kind of French pumpkin. What Americans think of as pumpkin is known as citrouille, a word that is virtually unpronounceable to anyone who is not born French (though I have given it my best shot on several occasions).

They were selling this particular potiron by the slice, or tranche. I cut up my slice into cubes and made a friend's macrobiotic recipe, Aduki Bean-Squash Combo. Totally un-French of course, but still deliciously sweet and satisfying!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Mirror Image on the Canal