Thursday, January 27, 2011

Il Dolce far Niete

One of our favorite places in Paris is Luxembourg Gardens.  The first time we went there, we walked around the big lake where the children sail the boats, sat in some chairs, and thought the whole place wonderful.

A few years later, we rented an apartment one block from Luxembourg, and as we entered the closest gate, we didn't recognize anything we saw.  We literally spent the entire day wandering around, and never even found the original lake we remembered.  We were awed not only by the sheer size of the park, but the many, many, intimate settings you could find to sit and relax, and feel like the park was there just for you.  

There's a huge children's area, along with basketball and tennis courts, and pony rides,

a puppet theater, 

food areas, 

huge green spaces, 
(stay off the grass, s'il vous plait)

 an art museum, numerous statues,

even a pavilion for concerts, 

 other lakes and fountains, unbelievable trees and vegetation, fruit trees, and even an area full of tiny, adorable bee hives, occupied by french bees! 

 I could go on and on.  We ended up going to the garden every single day for the entire week.  The weather was perfect that year, and we fell in love with 
il dolce far niete
 (Italian for 'the sweetness of doing nothing'). 
 I have never done anything like that on a vacation.
 It was heavenly.

A favorite of Scott's, was sitting by the Boules Court, and watching the men play boules. They take it very seriously.  If you've ever seen Samantha Brown on the travel channel when she goes to Paris, on one episode, she plays boules with some really cute, elderly men...I hope you've seen the episode, it will make this clip a lot better if you have...

We spent a lot of time watching entertainment... and I could tell, Scott was imagining himself doing exactly this, in this exact spot, in his old age.  I had to video on the side, and talk super softly, because they were really serious about the whole thing.

Here's another clip.  I won't point out the obviously hilarious double meaning in this clip... I think you'll get it all by was accidental... I PROMISE!  But later that evening, I showed it to Scott, and as we listened to it, we went into hysterical fits of laughter.  
Hope you get a laugh too!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Speaking French

As you all know... when you go to Paris, it is imperative that you go there with a working knowledge of at least 5 phrases in French.  Before our first trip, I bought the CD's and practiced in my car.  I knew how to say the basics, tell the weather (incase anyone asked) and could count to 100.  Yes, I had French in the palm of my hand.

The reality hit me like a ton of bricks once I stepped onto French soil.  I felt like a fake... anytime I opened my mouth, I knew they knew that I wasn't one of "them"... still, somehow, whenever I tried, I got a smile.  

I've heard the French are rude my entire life.  I did not find this to be true at all.  As long as I played by the rules and spoke French, things were fabulous.  I expected Scott to feel the same way, and jump right in and try... but there is one huge, colossal difference between he and I.  I am perfectly willing to jump in with both feet and make a fool of myself, if needed.  Scott does not in any way feel the need or desire to jump into ANYTHING, until he's sure he will not embarrass himself.  So... I did ALL the talking on that first trip...all the ordering... all the question asking... everything.  I was annoyed at first, but adjusted quickly.  Necessity was my motivation.

I had also heard that French people will not talk to you, or answer you on the street.  I read they are actually shy, not rude, and most of them are just as uncomfortable speaking English, as we are French... and bonus, we usually massacre the pronunciation, so most times, they honestly don't know what we are trying to say.

Once (well, one time of many) we were hopelessly lost... I got up my nerve, and walked right up to a frenchman on the street.  I said (in French) with my best Texas accent... "So sorry to bother you, but could you tell me where Rue Cler is?"  I knew I was saying it correctly... I practiced it in my mind over and over before I said it.  The reaction?  He stared at me... blankly!  I was not to be deterred... I repeated the question THREE times!  Finally, a light seemed to go off in his head, he smiled ever so slightly, and pointed to the street sign on the side of the building.  WE WERE STANDING ON RUE CLER!!!  

It was so worth it... we saw this man walking up and down the street, greeting every single shop keeper.  I couldn't help it... I walked right up to him, and asked if I could take a picture with him.  

He began telling us his life story, in French, and even pulled papers out of his pocket, showing when he arrived in France from Italy, 50 years ago.  When he finally took a breath, he realized we didn't understand.  He said, "No French??? No Italian???"  When I shook my head he said, "Hello....goodbye."  Cute!

Now for the greatest thing that happened on trip one.  By day two we were both hopelessly in love with Paris, and by day 8, we were the two saddest people you've ever seen, loading up in the taxi to head to the airport.  Scott had watched me all week, muddle through.  He finally decided to give French a go.  The taxi pulled up to CDG, and the driver unloaded our bags.  Scott paid the fare, and as the driver was getting back in his car, Scott said rather loudly, while waving, "Bonjour, bonjour!"  The driver gave him a blank stare, and half waved back.  I held my laughter... until we got inside.  I looked at Scott and said, "Bonjour means hello... au revoir means goodbye."  Scott looked a little deflated... and then we had a good laugh together.

Such great memories...

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Napoleon I is buried in SIX coffins.  Really, it's true... and whenever I hear that statement, I crack up...

On our first trip to Paris, we went totally blind.  No guide, no help, no group tour, nothing.  It was the biggest blessing to tour Paris this way... it's the only way in my opinion, as long as you have tons of patience.  We were constantly lost, tired, and hungry.  How our marriage survived and thrived during that first trip remains a mystery.

So one day we ventured out, and for the very first time during that trip, we went exactly right to the spot we needed... no back tracking... no deer-in-the-headlights look... we walked right up to the Rodin museum.  See how proud I look???

This photo was taken about 30 seconds before I read the sign... CLOSED on Mondays!  I thought I would cry.  We slowly walked away, and came upon this magnificent building.

I said to Scott, "Hey... I've seen this building in the book...I think we are supposed to see this, I think it's important."  (That's how clueless we were).  We crossed the street, and realized it was Invalides... I quickly scanned the guidebook, and explained to Scott that it's a war museum, and where Napoleon is "buried"... (well... sort of).  Inside we were not disappointed.  It is a beautiful building full of war memorabilia... Scott's favorite.  

 I read in the guidebook that Napoleon is entombed in six coffins.  As we wandered the museum, I looked around, confused.  Everything was in French, of course, and for the life of me, I couldn't grasp the six coffin concept.  I saw lots of coffins...his brother, other military leaders, etc.  In the center of the building, is one huge beautiful casket...

All I could think was... 
"This must be where his head is.  It's the biggest, most elaborate one... but I wonder where the other five caskets are??? What is the reason... did they put the legs in one, the arms in one, the torso..."  
I thought the whole thing a little macabre!  Finally, I mentioned this to Scott, and well... he stared at me a moment, and started laughing.  I hate not to be in on the joke, but instinctively, I started laughing too, a nervous laughter. He said, and I quote, "The coffins are inside one another you idiot." This was said with love and care of course.

 Here's the explanation, that I guess should have been obvious:

The first coffin is tin, the second mahogany, the third and fourth lead, the fifth ebony, and the sixth porphyry. Porphyry simply means stone.  (

We still laugh about this!  I wonder... has anyone else thought what I thought???



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Very Unscientific Drawing

Good Morning!

It's time for the giveaway drawing. 

Here is my very unscientific hopper for the names:

Here is the winner...

Incase you can't read that... it's Cathi!

You must, must, must click over to her blog, Everyday Adventures of a Curious Gal.  She loves to travel, and has fabulous pictures and great posts.  She has a second blog, Everyday Matinees for Seniors that is tied to a non-profit organization she started in memory of her father.  Read her profile...she is an amazing gal, and truly gives of herself.

I actually prayed before I drew a name, that the person that most needed a "happy" surprise, be chosen... so Cathi... I am sending you an email requesting your address. As soon as I get it, I will send the package your way.

Thanks for all who entered.  Next post... back to Paris!


Friday, January 7, 2011

Giveaway Day!


Here are the details...

Just for fun!

Good Luck... Your chances of winning are really, really, good!


Monday, January 3, 2011

Hello 2011

It's a New Year... hummmmm...usually I am SO into January.  It's almost as good as September with the feeling of a fresh start.  Sometimes I wonder when I don't have any more kids in the house, if September will have the same feel... I tend to think so... old habits die hard.

This is the first beginning to a new year, that I don't feel the love of moving forward.  You see, Scott's cancer has spread.  Not hugely, but even a tiny bit is too much in my estimation.  Luckily, we didn't find out until Dec. 27, so Christmas was wonderful.  I will admit though, that a big, dark cloud feels like it's hanging on the horizon.  I WILL get past this feeling I know... but I feel compelled to be honest here, and not tell you what I think you want to hear... but to tell you the truth.  This is hard.

Now...moving on.

Scott has asked me to start blogging again.  He says he misses Paris so much, and would I please get back to it.  So here's a short video.  It's our very last night in Paris this past September.  We had walked through the COLD and RAIN to our favorite place, and it was CLOSED.  We were devastated.  We had saved it for our last night.  We walked back towards the apartment, and ducked into this tiny restaurant that we have eaten at before.  Not the best food in the world, but passable, and cheap!  I just love the atmosphere.

You know when you are doing something, and at that moment, you realize you will never forget it?  This is one of those moments.  We were having such a great time laughing at nothing, even though the return to the U.S. was hanging heavily over our heads.  We didn't get in until after 11pm.  It was a great night.

So signing off today with some giggles.  Hope you giggled too!  OH... and Happy New Year!

 P.S. Please don't feel like you have to comment or respond to my news on Scott.  You have ALL shown your kindness and thoughtfulness in numerous comments.  I hate to think anyone is sitting there trying to think of what to say. I understand... and I know each and every one of you is sending thoughts our way.
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