Oct 29, 2010

Paris Neighborhood

Stealing this from my sister's blog. I love this and love the band, but I hadn't seen this video for awhile and just realized it was filmed around the corner from where we've been living in Paris.

#93.3 - BON IVER - For Emma, Forever Ago
envoyé par lablogotheque. - Regardez la dernière sélection musicale.

Oct 28, 2010


Tartine Bread from 4SP Films on Vimeo.

I'm just learning how to make bread, but this is pretty inspiring.

Oct 26, 2010

This Moment

Have I told you that my girl is growing up? Yes, I realize this was bound to happen, but please forgive this lovestruck mama for being so amazed. Every day she is changing, becoming more of her self. She is both cautious and adventurous, trying anything new but doing it with her measured precision. She loves taking care of her animals and dolls, wrapping them up, kissing them, feeding them and lately taking them to the potty. These days you would often find maggie walking down the street with one of her dolls or animals stuffed in her shirt (yes, she is pregnant apparently) although usually the baby is her "sister". (Don't get any ideas, here. I'm not sure where this came from.)

Maggie loves people. You should see her on the metro when the train is stuffed and she's making eyes at all the people crowding around her, making them all smile, laugh. And at the playground she is always trying to make friends. A couple of weeks ago there was a quiet little boy sitting on the ledge near the sandbox. She sat down about six feet away and then proceeded to scoot all the way next to him. She looked over at him, trying to get him to look up at her. They played this game with their eyes and then maggie started kicking her legs, trying to get him to do the same. A few days later they were chasing pigeons together, laughing and shrieking. She watches other kids, studying them with amazing focus, but she also leads. She is confident, this girl.

Maggie likes to sing. She makes up songs, often in an almost operatic voice. She is the loud one, breaking through the discomfort of others and inviting the world to join in. I love it. She amazes me.

She tries all food. How did I get so lucky? She is a good eater.
She goes to museums and stops to say "Look!" and describes something she sees in a painting.
She likes being outside most of all, gathering and exploring.
She loves books, and has the patience to listen to a long story with no words.
And I see small things that don't mean much perhaps if you're not her mom, but the way she has started trying to color in the lines in her coloring book, and at the same time the freedom to make a mess when painting, splattering and splotching and everything else.

And aren't children amazing? The way they teach us adults to be in the moment? because although she misses her grandparents, and aunts and uncles and friends, she is here, and that is all there is to her. Ahhh. If I only I can keep learning this from her; stop the worrying, the missing, the stress. There is only this moment.

Oct 24, 2010

Castles, copper and country

Last weekend my parents, maggie, jon and I packed our bags for a weekend in the country. We took the train to Tours in Loire Valley, and from there, rented a car and drove 45 minutes to our hotel, just outside a little town called Amboise. I should pause here and admit that we did not drive immediately to Amboise. You see on the train I realized I had forgotten my knitting, and my mom, thank goodness, is even more of a fiberholic/knitter than I am. So she looked up Loire Valley and knitting on her phone and quickly found a yarn shop in downtown Tours. My dad grumbled and rolled his eyes but after a bit of pleading he agreed to stop.

We had just found a parking garage near the yarn shop when we encountered a small problem: we could not get the car to go into reverse. So after a couple minutes of dad trying, my mom got out of the backseat, and stepped into the front to try. By this point we had stopped a bit of traffic and the parking attendant had walked towards our car to see what was the matter. My mother was trying (unsuccessfully) to get the gear to shift to reverse, jerking and jostling the stick shift. the parking attendant was peering around at us. We were stuck and not sure if we were going to have the push the car to back it up, so we asked the attendant if he would please give it a try.

I wish you could see the type of communication that took place here. Jon asked in french if he would help us, while my mom and I signalled with large arm gestures for him to come towards us. Its not a surprise that he entered the car with some trepidation.

We must have seemed crazy. Some mix between National Lampoon vacation and Faulty Towers perhaps, but he stepped into the car of crazy strangers and swiftly shifted the gear to reverse. We laughed and thanked him, and he nodded quietly, retreating to his office.

Now I don't know how to drive a stick shift car, but apparently there is some secret to shifting to reverse in a citroen and we did not know it. Well we got out, had an interesting lunch, and then successfully found yarn in Boite a Laine.That would have been the end of our time in Tours but we were fated to have one more encounter with the parking attendant. You see we realized as we were returning to our car that we had lost our parking ticket, and so Jon had to go explain this to him, thus confirming in the parking attendants mind that we (and perhaps all americans) were crazy. Meanwhile we sat cracking up in the car, laughing almost to the point of tears. It was a good start to a trip.

It was a much needed get away from city life--fall colors, a chill in the air, horses, chateaus, bike rides through the country, a walk in the woods, and ahhh, a big (HOT!!) bathtub.

Oct 19, 2010

About home

Two months have passed since we arrived in Paris, and I'm afraid I haven't been sharing as much as I should. I feel like I've been given the chance to look at my life, (and myself) from a great distance--from this vantage I see things I couldn't see before and I am learning so much. It's also difficult; the simple things are not always simple, and what I want most of all--home--seems far away--a dream. A few admissions here: I have literally been dreaming about homes lately, so i suppose it is on my mind! AND I sometimes look on craigslist for homes to rent in the bay area.

Yes, its ridiculous and we won't be returning home for many months, but its comforting to dream.

Yesterday, I was sitting in front of Notre Dame. It was cold, and dreary and wet, but I was happy. Maggie had fallen asleep in her stroller, and perhaps this had something to do with it. Though she is now two years old, I still feel the comfort and surrender I felt when she was just a baby sleeping (mostly in my arms). I looked out at the groups of people swarming by; at the gothic spire and arches and plunging tower. I couldn't help but recall the six months I spent here ten years ago. Actually I was thinking, has it really been ten years? And who was that person, who was I ten years ago?

I was twenty one years old. Technically I was in Paris as part of my Global Studies major. I was taking classes and doing research for my thesis about identity and the European Union. Ha! That makes me laugh just a little now. I think that my wonderful advisor at the time thought Paris was a little tame for the type of study abroad experience he hoped his students would have. He did research in Africa, and many of my fellow students (there were about 40-50 people in this major) spent time in Columbia, Nigeria, Libya...Things have certainly changed a lot since then. Well, despite my relatively tame aspirations, I was interested in politics, philosophy, thinking. I wanted to make the world a better place. But at the end of my 4 year degree that same advisor sat me down and basically asked me, now what? What do you want to do with your life? And I said "write." Probably the first time I admitted something I'd felt for a long time.

Even then I was exhausted with politics, exhausted with the way our ideas seem to go round and round. It has been a long journey. So much has changed. here I am in Paris again, but this time its very different. I have a daughter and a husband. THis time he is doing research. And this time we are going to Senegal for six months.

Another guilty admission: I have not read a newspaper since we arrived in Paris. And I don't know that I will. I know that since we;ve been here there have been strikes and demonstrations. Yesterday I saw highschool students demonstrating down the street. So much is going on in the world, and its not that I care any less than I use to. I do care so much. But all I can do is take care of what's in front of me. And if Im lucky, write.

What have I been up to? A lot. its been busy here. But so much of what I spend my time doing these days is trying to find any way I can to feel at home. SO here it is, what we've been loving lately:


Arts and crafts. We love gathering treasures at the park and bringing them home with us!Meet "camille". Got to have a french name for a french doll, yes?

Sewing! I've started a log cabin quilt for Maggie

dress up and dancing of course

Oct 4, 2010

Musee Rodin

On Sunday we took advantage of the free day at Paris museums, and went to Musee Rodin. This is always one of my favorite museums, not only for the art, but for the light and the windows and of course the gardens. It is also a perfect size for a toddler--she can handle about 45 minutes inside and then it was time to go back outside and enjoy smelling flowers, studying ladybugs and collecting leaves.