March 1st, 2005 08:47 am
non-celeb sightings pt.3
Having lived in my neighborhood for over 4 years, I finally actually saw Congressman Bill Jefferson who lives 3 blocks from me. I think he was worried that I was going to talk to him when we made contact, but I was too busy walking Sienna.
In Rouen, it’s 28° and it feels like 18°. And it’s snowing lightly.
In Paris, it’s 32° and it feels like 24°. But it’s fair.
I’m not sure I’m ready for that kind of weather. Maybe it will warm up by next week?
March 2nd, 2005 02:32 pm
while putting on my makeup the chorus from Rush’s Tom Sawyer popped into my brain. I don’t even like prog-rock, I think it’s a y-chromosome-thing. Is it just another manifestation of my non-morning personality? I channel music that I don’t actual like.
However, hearing Tom Sawyer does remind me of the family summers in Grand Isle. I remember having the back window of the bedroom open and the island natives were listening to nothing but Rush. So now I associate it with a beach breeze (salt water, stinky fish, and shell lot) on my face.
March 8th, 2005 01:03 pm
another stellar looking movie
I’m so disappointed that I’ll miss this premiere.
March 9th, 2005 04:31 pm
I’m off to France tomorrow, so I’ll be offline for over a week. How will I survive?
March 20th, 2005 03:14 pm
What I did on my first day back from France…
Ate breakfast twice.
Washed 8 loads of laundry.
Checked my home email (only about 35 messages).
Checked my yahoo email (about 40 messages).
Could not face checking my work email, that will have to wait until Monday.
Went to the New Orleans Museum of Art because niece, SGL, had a piece in a student art show there.
Bought fresh bread at the french bakery nearby, evil french influence already showing.
Dropped off and picked up all my pictures at the 1-hour photo place. ($100)
March 21st, 2005 08:37 am
Checked work email – 488 messages!
Withdrew 200€ in Paris. That amounted to $271.88 from my account. I have no idea how much that was in fees though.
since I’ve been home
On Saturday morning, one of the neighbors witnessed a couple of children (age 12 and under) smash a car window down the street. The cops were called a child was arrested.
On Sunday around noon, two fire trucks were parked around the corner because there was a kitchen fire in the 4-plex that backs up to my backyard. The fire had been put out with a garden house before the arrival of the firetrucks though, according to neighborhood rumor.
This morning I had an altercation with a woman who was driving at 5 mph down my street. She took exception to my following too close, slammed on her brakes, got out of her car and started yelling at me. Never one to shy away from a confrontation with a stranger (people that I care about, that’s another matter), I started yelling back.
I finally get to work and one of the 2 lanes of the parking garage is blocked by white truck. The driver is lurching out of his truck and falls, SMACK, down on the pavement. He immediately starts bellowing. I grab for my cell phone and call the university police emergency number; no, I’m not totally sure why I have it memorized.
March 22nd, 2005 09:09 am
I bought a bag of jelly beans and now I can’t stop eating them. All of my teeth are going to fall out of my head. These are the Brach’s Tiny Jelly Bird Eggs. I even like the red ones.
Left NOLA on a flight around 2-ish; we flew through Miami. A child who sat behind LEM threw up all over himself during turbulence over the Atlantic. Luckily, the flight attendant spread coffee grounds all over the place to replace the vomit smell. They showed 2 movies, Princess Diaries 2 and some really bad movie about a golfer from the 30’s. All 3 of us got a little bit of sleep on the plane, so we weren’t totaled when we got to France.
Arrived in Paris at around 9 a.m. Took a taxi to our hotel. Cousin Kruh had recommended the place. The taxi was not a great idea; it cost over 50€. But I don’t know if we were equipped to figure out the subway system after flying overnight. We were too early to check-in but we left our luggage. The Hotel San Sebastien is on a 2 block street in the Bastille area of Paris. In retrospect, I wish I had dug in my luggage and put on more clothes. Our first day in Paris was pretty cold.
Paris Day 1
We arrived at our hotel at around 10. Attempted communication with the desk clerk, left our luggage and went out walking. It was an overcast day and chilly. We walked up Blvd. Richard Lenoir to the Place de la Bastille. The actual Bastille is gone; instead there is the Colonne de Juillet.
From there we tried to find the Seine. We wandered around for a bit and then actually made it to the river. They do have signs up on most corners pointing towards sites of interest. We finally followed the spires of Notre Dame Cathedral and made it across the Seine to the Ile de la Cite. OK, so maybe I’m ignorant, but I didn’t realize that part of Paris was on an island in the middle of the Seine River.
We ate lunch in a cafe that stood on the side of the cathedral, the first of many bread and cheese sandwiches. Mmmm….baguette, emmental, and crudite (lettuce and tomato). It was really good to go inside someplace warm. I also enjoyed the first of many cups of “the” (hot tea). Just for the record iced tea is tea American. LEM had a tuna sandwich on which the tuna was really chunky and not like American canned tuna at all. Quintulus didn’t eat and thought we were wasting time by stopping to refuel.
We wandered around inside the cathedral which was beautiful. Many of the monuments in Paris (and Rouen for that matter) are under renovation. My guess is in anticipation of the getting the summer Olympics in 2012. There were signs for it everywhere. So the cathedral was wearing scaffolding and netting.
We then waited in line to pay to be able to climb to the top of the cathedral using the curved tower stairs. It’s 387 steps according to this website. I think that they pace the number of folks who are in the stairwell at any one time. I followed some Japanese tourist girls who were wearing kitten heels. I really couldn’t imagine climbing a spiral staircase in those.
I was totally winded and had to stop several times to catch my breath. But the view was spectacular. We wandered around the ramparts and took pictures of the gargoyles and the city. (I’ll post links to the photos once they’re up.) There are balustrades and railings all around the ramparts and then these are enclosed in steel cages, just in case you have any suicidal (or homicidal) thoughts. I also got to check out one of the bells in a bell tower. It had an attendant to make sure that you didn’t try to ring the bell and deafen everyone in the vicinity.
After leaving the cathedral we meandered back towards our hotel. We were starting to feel tired and I was definitely pretty chilled. I have no idea what route we took back, but Quintulus recoginzed the Centres George Pompidou so we must have been along Rue Beaubourg at least for a little while. Of course, we had forgotten our maps in with our luggage so we (and by that I mean LEM & Quintulus) mostly headed in the direction that seemed right. So we kept heading North and eventually realized that we had overshot the mark, but that was OK. And eventually we found the hotel. Since it was after 3 p.m., we could formally check in. We also discovered that at the other end of Rue St Sebastien that there was a pastry shop (mmmm, I had something filled with chocolate and almond paste).
Once we made it to our hotel rooms (one for me & LEM and one for Quintulus and Kruh), everyone took naps. Kruh was supposed to make it to our hotel by 4:30 or 5 after he finished work for the day. Our room was on the 4th floor and overlooked the street. Bonus, the windows actually opened so we could enjoy fresh air. Plus you could hear children from the ecole down the street.
So when Kruh got to the hotel and woke us up. I changed into warmer clothes and we headed back out into the city. We took our first subway ride and WOW! the Paris metro system is pretty darn cool as well as complicated. We went to the top of the Eiffel Tower and were almost blown away by the intense winds at the top.
We took another metro to the Montmartre neighborhood and walked up to Sacre Coeur. And I do mean up, the Basilica is on the top of a hill. We ate at a restaraunt on place du Tertre that had live music. During the summer this supposed to be one of the most touristy areas of Paris, but since it was cold and at night, it really wasn’t too crowded. Although I would have enjoyed seeing all the art that is normally for sale there. We stopped at a Irish pub and I enjoyed the best cup of chocolat that I had in France. It’s not sugary at all like hot chocolate here and it’s super rich. Yum.
We headed back to the hotel and crashed for the night. We made it past midnight!
March 23rd, 2005 11:37 am
Paris Day 2 – Saturday, March 12th
We woke up and ate breakfast at the hotel (comes with). Breakfast was cafe, chocolat, or tea and then a croissant and section of baguette with butter and jam. I think the first place we went at Kruh’s suggestion was the Jardin du Luxembourg. It was interesting to see these gardens in their winter dormancy. Kruh had been there the week before when his girlfriend was in town and the whole place had been covered in snow.
We took the metro back over to the Ile de la Cite and went to Sainte Chapelle and the Conciergerie. These 2 buildings are all that’s left of the early palaces of the French kings. The Conciergerie was later a prison and it’s where Marie Antoinette spent her last days. Both buildings are surrounded by the Palais de Justice complex, so you have to go through metal detectors to get in.
But before going in we ate sandwiches from another roadside vendor. I think I had a baguette with camembert this time.
Ste Chapelle was really beautiful. It’s really amazing that a large percentage of it’s stained glass still dates from the 13th century. When the sun finally broke through the clouds, the colors of the glass on the floor were really stunning. We would have stayed longer, but unheated medieval buildings are really, really cold. My legs and feet were aching by the time we exited. The Conciergerie is right next door and besides stunning architecture, it has creepy wax mannequins, representing famous prisoners including Marie.
We walked along the Quai (roads next to the Seine) in what was the pet store district. I was reprimanded for putting my fingers in the cages — but really the puppies wanted me to touch them. Also, you can by a chicken at a pet store. I’m guessing for laying rather than eating. LEM & Kruh got nutella crepes from some dude along the way.
We walked over to the Louvre, but had already agreed that we wouldn’t go in; there just wasn’t enough time. So we walked through the courtyards of the buildings and saw I.M.Pei’s pyramids. Then proceeded through the Jardin des Tuileries. We sat for a while in the chairs near a fountain and soaked up the sun.
We walked through the Place du Carrousel which has a mini arch. I saw it and thought isn’t the Arc d’Triomphe supposed to be a lot bigger. What a dope. We passed the Place de la Concorde and the Obelisk of Luxor. This is where the guillotine was set up during the revolution.
Then we walked all the way up the Champ-Elysees. It sleeted for a minute or so while we were an enormous Swatch store. We also went into the Mercedes and Renault stores, which were more like showrooms rather than sales departments. We ate lunch at an Italian restaraunt and Kruh got to watch the rugby finals on TV.
We made it to the Arc de Triomphe and yes it’s really big. Because their are 4 lanes of traffic around the etoile (star not square or circle) where the Arc is located, you have to go underground to get to it. Crossing the street would seem deadly. It’s pretty amazing to go up in it and see all the roads that run into the circle around the Arc. People drive like maniacs but we didn’t see a single accident.
After the Arc we found ourselves in the fashion district (I think just South of the Champs-Elysees, but I’m not sure). All of us felt like we weren’t dressed fancy enough to walk around there. So we took a metro back to the Latin Quarter (more affordable restaraunts). By the time we got there we realized that lunch had been so late that we weren’t that hungry so we all ate desserts instead: sorbet for Kruh, flan for Quintulus, pomme tartin for me, and I can’t remember what LEM had.
March 29th, 2005 09:52 am
So Sienna dog has been limping since last week. LEM just took her to the vet. He thinks she has the beginnings of hip dysplasia. So she gets to be even more of a slug-dog than usual and she’s on 2 new meds. She’s always had bad joints (dumpsters just don’t offet the proper nutrition for a growing puppy), but I still hope it will get better with medicine.
I was extra worried about this visit since brother #2’s dog had to be put down the day before we left for France. Poor baby had a tumor on his spine and he was losing feeling in the lower part of his body. Mackenzie was only 2.
So I guess, I’m just glad it wasn’t anything worse.
Just glanced over a review of a book about Napoleon and the Battle of Waterloo and now I have the ABBA song in my head. I seem to have ABBA stuck in my head fairly often. Damn those tuneful Swedes.
Again with the credenzas
First the credenzas were stalking me in person, then on TV, and now via the newspaper. What’s up with that?
March 30th, 2005 03:40 pm
small dogs are stalking me
So when I got home from the gym the other night, it was duskish. The light in the side yard was not on, but I thought I noticed movement in the yard as I got out of the car. I figured it was the neighborhood stray cats. But as I walked up to my front door, a small dog started yapping at me with a very how-dare-you-type attitude.
Anyway, the min-pin from around the corner had broken into my yard (through 2 fences) to play with my tenant’s cat; to make a more humorous picture, the cat is bigger than the dog. I finally captured Minnie and returned her to her owners. It’s really hard to catch a dog that small that doesn’t want to be caught.