Sunday, May 30, 2010

Books I Love

I have been doing a lot of reading lately. I wanted to share a few books with you, my blog friends, just incase you are looking for some good summer reads. Most of my reading is non-fiction. For some reason, I feel like I must learn something when I read.

The BEST book I've read in a long time, is one I swiped from my mom (with her permission). I was lucky enough to be able to spend a few days at Clearwater Beach with Scott (he was busy the entire time... business) and when I dropped off my daughter and nephew (who has been living with us) at my mom's, I not only gave her (actually, my Dad) the rigorous schedule of driving them around, I also spied this book, and HAD to take it with me. Mom had gotten it at Costco, (she does NOT need it) and it is SO full of great tips! In fact, I was reading it on the beach, when a group of women asked me to take their picture. One of them said, "Don't ask her, she's studying." When I showed them what I was "studying," they said, "You don't need that..." to which I said, "Maybe you don't think I need it, because I'm following the principles in the book..." We all laughed really hard at that!

Here it is... (do not click to Look Inside, I did not link these covers to anywhere)

Now, don't diss me if you think I'm not fat. I'm not saying I am, but we all know certain things we wear make us look way better than other things. Usually, I wear them anyway. This book puts a whole new spin on it, and it really is full of great tips and ideas for looking your best. I'm just sayin'... it's really a great buy. I plan to get my own copy... there was too much to remember, and I know I will reference it often.

So, I of course did what I always do (no, I didn't steal the book from mom). I pulled up my local library online, and reserved another book by the same author...
Now... you may not necessarily think I look exactly 'old' either, but I will admit we are awaiting the birth of our SECOND grandchild any minute (literally), AND I HAVE A VERY SIGNIFICANT BIRTHDAY COMING UP TUESDAY!!!!
I haven't read all of this book, but so far, it seems like a lot of trouble. I'm a five minute makeup girl, so I can't imagine doing a lot of this stuff... and I'm highly against needles and plastic surgery...
(I'm not a hippie that believes in's just plain FEAR). I have only read a bit of it, so check it out for yourself, if you want. One thing I did tell Scott... "I have decided we are getting those Crest Whitestrips. Just that alone should take 10 years off our appearance. If we get them tonight, and wear them around the clock, maybe we'll look young for the new grandbaby pics... LOL."

So... by the hotel pool I read "How Not to Look Fat" (with dust jacket removed) but at night in the hotel, I read this book that was recommended by Tracy Porter...I think...

I have never been divorced, or a career woman, but I could still relate to so much of what she experiences in the book. It's a really good, quick read. I think most of you would enjoy it. Makes you think about what's important in life. Another blog friend of mine Vava's View, recommended it as well in a really cool post... Click here... she's really fun!

And finally, an update. Last night, I read the last and final chapter of this book aloud to Scott. I mentioned it in my last post. Let me tell you, by the end, we were mesmerized... we began to dream... AGAIN... (snore). But anyway, I must quote the author. I'm not sure about rules of quoting someone, but her name is Ellie Nielsen... and I don't think she'll mind me quoting her, since I am recommending her book.
At the very end... she summed it all up... at least for Scott and I. She's just bought the apartment, and the owners have her over for a celebratory drink. They serve her orange juice... here's what she's thinking...

"The juice tingles down my throat. It tastes like champagne. Of course it does. I smile around the room. It's just occurred to me: there's a special measurement of time spent in Paris. These are our champagne hours. That's the name for all the heady, sparkling days
we'll spend here."(1)

Isn't that just absolute perfection? ;)

1. (Nielsen, Buying a Piece of Paris, 2007, chap. 36, pg. 243/ St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Ave. New York, NY, 10010)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Hello... First of all, thank you to everyone for your beautiful comments... they meant a lot.
I want everyone to know, that Scott's appointment today really told us nothing. The number stayed exactly the same. It shouldn't have gone up last time, and we were certainly hopeful that it would go down this time, but it didn't. He was supposed to be on an every six month check schedule, but instead he's now going to be checked every three months.

I won't say no news is good news, but since it isn't any worse, we consider that something to be thankful for. Perspective is everything.


Now... on a happier note. I've been reading that book "Buying a Piece of Paris" that I mentioned in a previous post. I have read most of it aloud to Scott, so we can stop and analyze each and every paragraph, and try and relate it to our situation. We talked and talked... BUT... once I read the part where the woman mentions that their Paris apartment will be bought with an inheritance, we kinda lost momentum. We thought there was some secret way they afforded it... we were ready to be let in on it. Come to find out, they are related to money... a lot of it! I continued reading the book, which is hilarious each time she describes dealing with a french real-estate person. Basically, they got maybe 10 minutes in each apartment. If they decided not to make an offer, the response was, "I do not understand madame et monsieur, if you didn't want to make an offer, why did you want to come look at the apartment?"
Can you even imagine? They really expect you to buy if you look.

I finally just looked at Scott and said,
"Let's stop killing ourselves trying to figure it all out. Let's focus on returning as often as possible. As soon as our youngest is old enough, let's expand our trips to a month, two months, and finally three. That would be perfect...remain in America, yet live the Parisian life as often as humanly possible."

He looked at me with an uncertain grin and said, "Whatever." He was not impressed. I went to bed that night with relief. No more torturing myself. The decision was made. That was Saturday.


Last night, we relaxed on the couch and Scott told me to put a movie in. We chose Julie and Julia... this was a bad move. As soon as scenes of Paris danced across the screen in HD, we immediately looked at each other...

"What was that you were saying?" Scott asked...

So basically, just like Scott's cancer, we have no answers. Sorry to disappoint, I'm sure some of you were waiting for the gameplan! There just isn't one...we are just going to keep doing what we are doing, and be on the lookout for opportunities... you just never know! (Bummer of all bummers... the company Scott works for has branches all over Europe... in every country except one... FRANCE).


I also said in a recent blog I have a new product video for you... it's not very pretty, not romantic, and actually kind of clinical... but I wanted to share it anyway. I tell you in the video that I got the product at Walmart... it was actually Target. It is not a lotion... not sure what's in it... probably some unknown Chinese Herb...but again, I am not their spokesperson! I just like it...

It worked for me overnight, but it might take a few extra applications depending on your situation. I plan to use it once a week just to keep my feet chic!

So... Bonne Chance!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Do We Really Have to Think About 'THAT' Again?

I shared in a post, many months ago, that Scott has been diagnosed with cancer.  I wanted to share with you something I wrote while sitting in the waiting room at the cancer center, before he was diagnosed.  I had never really written anything before this... I'm sharing it, because I think it really encapsulates how I was feeling that day.  We go tomorrow for another check up.  The last one didn't go so well, but we have high hopes this check up will be better.  Hey... we've got places to go, things to see, and a new grandson on the way!! 

 I do NOT like this interruption.  
It's REALLY inconvenient!   

Anyway, here's what I wrote...

How Did We Get....HERE?
April 2008

         I’m sitting in a waiting room at the Moffitt Cancer Center.  As I look
around me, I’m amazed by many things.  The first thing I notice, is how old everyone looks.  The sign on the door says, ‘Senior Adult Oncology Clinic.’  Senior Adult!  How did that happen?  Every woman in here is wearing hose and sensible shoes. All the men are wearing tube socks, and shuffling around slowly, some with the aid of a walker.  I feel like I’ve entered another world, one I’m not sure I’m going to like.

         I glance down at my leopard sandals and designer purse my husband bought me last year in Paris.  That’s the couple we are.  A couple that travels, goes out to dinner, and spends most evenings together, watching reality TV.  Not this strange, new couple I’m seeing, going to doctor appointments, labs, and biopsies.  I think often of how lucky we are, blessed would be a better word for it.  Neither one of us has ever been sick, not for more than 2 or 3 days anyway.  I don’t think we’ve met our medical insurance deductible in 13 years, when our last child was born. 

         Wait!  I see someone in the back corner.  A woman, dressed in cute jeans, a white shirt, and sporting a super cute haircut.  She looks about my age.  I wonder about her.  Is her husband in the back, finding out his fate, as mine is?

         Cancer is for other people.  Not my strong, quick-witted husband, who has stood by my side, no matter what, for 27 years.  Last night I was holding his hand in mine.  As I held it, I thought about all the work his hands have done over the years, on behalf of myself and our 3 kids.  So selfless, never complaining, everything done for the good of our family.  Now with quiet strength, he faces this, the possibility of cancer.  Again, I’m did we ever get here?

         A woman in green scrubs keeps coming to the door of the waiting room, calling out names.  One by one, people file out of here, to the back.  For some reason, at this moment, I’m thinking of the Holocaust.  Some lived, some died, seemingly at random.  I feel like this room is full of people with similar odds.  But I quickly remind myself that God is in control.  There is nothing really random about this at all.  God knows everyone in this room, whether they acknowledge him or not.  He cares for them, loves them, and knows them by name.  I’m thankful I know Him, and I feel His presence right now.

         I study the swirling pattern on the carpet, and notice how it clashes with the upholstery on the chairs.  Actually, this place is modern and clean.  The 3-story lobby, with floor to ceiling windows, reminds me of standing under the pyramid at the Louvre.  They even offer valet parking here at the clinic.  The last time we used valet parking was just a few weeks ago, when we went out to dinner.  We sat outside at a table, with a view of Tampa Bay, and watched the sun set.  It was so beautiful, so romantic, so us.  Oddly, this valet parking doesn’t feel like a privilege, it feels like pity.

         This room is so cold.  I look around again, and notice lots of people with canes and masks.  There’s a group sitting right behind me, laughing.  They are discussing how strange it is to reach for the shampoo in the shower, out of habit, even after all their hair fell out... I feel like I can’t breathe.  How long am I going to have to sit here?  I glance around one last time, and I see a Starbucks across the lobby.  Ahh, that’s more like it.  I think I’ll go get a chai.  Maybe that will make me feel normal again.

So that was it... how I was feeling that day.  We've had some ups and downs for sure during this ordeal.  I think we've done a really good job at staying positive, and we have learned the meaning of living for today... not in an irresponsible way, but in a "we might not have tomorrow" way.  Many, many people with cancer have had it much worse... as I say, we are blessed... and we most definitely have learned to be thankful for the little things.


P.S. Over the weekend, we came to some conclusions about our move to Paris.  We have made a decision... for now... will share that in a later post.  

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sitting by the Pool...

So I'm sitting here by the pool with my laptop... trying to blog... and I'm just not feeling it.
Ever have one of those days? Weeks?
Well I'm having one now.

I just did a new product video for you, my blog friends, and guess what? I tried to upload it, and I noticed the video icon is missing from my posting page.  Yes, I looked up the problem, and it said to return to the old post editor.  So, I did that... no good. It still won't work.

Now I'm frustrated.  I'm going to get on my float and read my new book Scott bought me... "Buying a Piece of Paris"... yes, that is always the undercurrent of our lives.  It is in our conversation almost daily. When we finish talking, it's always the same old thing... money.  I hate it that money can really dictate a person's life.  I mean, I get it... money isn't EVERYTHING... but it's SOMETHING when you want to make a serious move to a place where you don't speak the language and can't make a living.  I mean, we could liquidate and buy a place there... but then what?  We have to eat don't we??  I've seen the old women sitting on the corner with their cup... doesn't look too appealing.  We don't play instruments, so living in the metro won't work.  There are only two things working in our favor right now...

1.The Euro is down to a four year low and
the European economy is falling, thus, property may get cheaper. 

2.Scott buys one lottery ticket a week, and is in a big pool with his friends at work...he has all the faith in the world... but I tend to put this on the same level as the Publisher's Clearing House... it ain't gonna happen!

Oh, another glitch, as their economy falls, ours does too!

The other day I was looking up a location of a place we want to go in Paris next time we are there.  I clicked on 'map' and as I read the street names, I started to CRY. In my mind I was visually walking those streets.  They were so familiar...

It's not funny.  I feel extremely guilty about it.

I don't live there, I live here. I like living here... here is where my friends and family are. 


 Off to read my book. I'll let you know if she (the author of the book) was independently wealthy or what, and how she managed the move. If anyone has any bright ideas, let me know... and if anyone knows how to fix the video posting problem, let me know. 


Sunday, May 9, 2010

More Picnics

I recently blogged about a picnic Scott and I had near the Eiffel Tower.  I realized that we have these picnics every single year we go to Paris... it's truly one of our favorite things to do.  
So simple, so relaxing, and well, romantic.

Here are some of our random picnics we've enjoyed over the years. If you ever go to Paris,
 I highly recommend it!

On our first trip, we went here to buy our food... we had NO idea what we were heart was actually pounding as I walked through here and tried to pick up the vibes and figure out what to do.  Rules, rules, rules... only in France! They really prefer to choose the fruit for you in this kind of market.  However, in the grocery store, you are supposed to weigh the fruit yourself and mark it... seriously? When I got to the counter with unweighed fruit, all kinds of French was being spoken to me... I finally said, "Never mind," and sheepishly walked off.  Of course, Scott is always standing three feet behind me, acting like he doesn't know me.  He's really good at sending me ahead to get all the foolishness out of the way, before he enters the picture to pay.

We must have figured it out, because here we are at Tuileries.  

Another spot by the tower... the hat... I know! Embarrassing! 

Scott feeding the pigeons some of our strawberries. 

A random picnic at the Louvre. See our must have item... the strawberry tart.

You can't tell, but here we are at Luxembourg Gardens, our #1 spot in the WORLD!

Click on this photo and you can see the elderly couple walking together in the center... Scott and I hope that's us someday...still visiting Paris years from now~

Oh, notice the green chairs I'm always talking about that are almost in every park we've ever been to... straight-back, straight-back with arms, and lean-back with arms.  It's always a chore to find two empty lean-backs together.  Oh... they weigh a LOT,  and are hard to drag around.  Maybe that's why they stay put day after day. I'm afraid in America, someone would back up their giant truck and haul them off.  I guess the thought is... if you see one of these chairs on someone's balcony, or in their apartment, you KNOW it's stolen... LOL.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Silver Lining?

There are a few things that give Scott and I pause from moving to Paris (besides the serious lack of extraneous cash flow).   They pay really high taxes, and seem to have bought into the nanny state.  However... as the U.S. seems to be moving in that direction, this argument is quickly losing it's validity...
I'm a boot strapper at heart... I believe we should each take care of ourselves thank you very much.
I imagine  you can guess which side of Obamacare I fall on.
could there be a silver lining???  The French sure have found a loophole in their healthcare system, one I hope will cross the pond to us...

There is this one pair of Chanel's I've been eyeing for years... ;)

I don't think this is for real but it sure gave me a laugh. I don't know enough about French politics to judge.

I subscribe to this website on Facebook, and it's full of great information if you are planning a trip to Paris anytime soon. 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Raining in Paris...

I believe one of the secrets to staying in love and staying "happily" married, are memories. Even when you look across the room, and think, "I'm going to kill him someday," you can still look back on memories, and fall in love all over again.

In the past four years, Scott and I have made enough memories to last a lifetime. We love nothing more than to sit and talk about the things we've experienced in France. One such memory went like this...

We were walking around in Paris with no plans, no particular place to go, and ended up here around three in the afternoon...

We decided we would lie in the grass between Trocodero and the tower, (as we did the year before) and stay until the lights came on. When we got there, those silly French had changed the rules, and this area was now off limits,
(the French can be really weird about their grass).

So we continued walking until we came upon a park to one side of the tower. We decided to stay there, and have a picnic. We took off down one street, bought some wine and some grapes (we had glasses, a corkscrew, and cashews in our backpack... 'always be prepared' is my Eagle Scout husband's motto) and headed back to the park.
The afternoon was perfect, and we polished off that bottle like there was no tomorrow.
We were acting a little goofy (I wonder why) and took some silly pictures. Scott had just bought me a new purse the day before, and I was just a little bit excited, so I took this photo, and entitled it 'these are a few of my favorite things'.

A few more shots from that day...

After awhile, we decided to change locations to get a closer view of the tower.

We explored a bit...

and came upon this little park...

We felt it had been built just for the two of us. No one else was there... we had it all to ourselves. Now remember, we have invested THREE hours into seeing the lights come on. Within about 15 minutes of getting to our new spot, the wind started up, the temperature dropped, and the clouds rolled in (the top photo shows us right as this storm was rolling in). We just looked at each other and thought,
"It wouldn't dare..."
Well, it did! It began to sprinkle. We hopped a fence, and stood under a tree. It began to rain harder and slowly the drips made it through the tree, and on to us.

Was I worried about getting wet... catching cold? NO, I was worried about my brand new LOUIS VUITTON. Despite the cold temperature, I whipped off my jacket, and wrapped up my purse. By now, it's POURING. We decided to make a run for it. We had no idea where a metro was from there, so we just blindly ran through the deserted streets. We popped into a small store, bought two umbrellas, looked at a map, and carried on. We jumped on the metro, and didn't speak. I was too afraid to look at my purse, which I had clutched to my chest, still wrapped in my now soaked jacket. I was shivering in my thin white tee, had water dripping from my hair, down my face, and Scott had the NERVE to say, "I think you are having a bad hair day..."

We got off the metro in Montmartre, and when we came up the stairs, the streets were dry. It hadn't rained up there! We walked through Place de Terre to our apartment, getting lots of stares (everyone there was dry) and went up the elevator in our building. We remained silent... both wondering if the purse survived
(hey... it cost more than a few $).

The moment of truth had arrived... I laid my purse down on the bed. I began to upwrap it like it was a newborn baby, checking for 10 fingers and toes... we held our breath...


I was mainly worried about the leather being water stained, but it was perfect.

Relief... euphoria...

After all this, Scott's response was...
"Let's open another bottle of wine to celebrate!"

~Only in Paris my friends... only in Paris~
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