Thursday, November 17, 2011

Back in San Francisco

After a very long, but blessedly uneventful, trip I got home around eleven and was in bed by midnight. The kitties were glad to see me:

And this morning I got to take in the view of the city from my bedroom window:

Natasha is actually smaller than Boris. I don't know why she looks so big-boned in that picture.

It's good to be home. Now that the bills are taken care of, I can turn my attention to all those back issues of Entertainment Weekly and The New Yorker. Time to read all about that vampire baby that William and Kate (oops! I mean Bella and Edward) have been cooking up. It could be next in line for the throne some day!

Oh, all right. Maybe some opera as well. I missed "Lucrezia Borgia" and "Don Giovanni". But with the right credit card, maybe I can score some tickets for "Turandot" and "Carmen" before the season ends!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Adieu, Paris.

Tonight is my last evening in Paris; as I am flying all the way through to San Francisco tomorrow, it promises to be a very long day, literally and figuratively. Let's hope that my shiny new green card means that I can avoid the not-so-delightful "secondary screening" process when going through immigration. It's happened to me twice at Washington Dulles already, and I'd just as soon avoid the hat trick.

This visit has been amazing. I haven't blogged as much as on previous trips, but that largely reflects the huge number of private lessons I had scheduled during half the time I was here. These were expensive and draining, but extremely rewarding. I feel the same way about this whole autumn adventure -- the side trips to Ireland and Scotland took a certain amount of energy to set up and carry through, but were unforgettable in all the right ways.

Etc etc. Add superlatives and stir -- you get the picture. It's been a terrific two and a half months, and I feel blessed to have been able to do it. And, I know that I go on about this, but it bears repeating, I feel totally blessed to have rediscovered this crazy language thing in my fifties, that ignites my passion and acts as a doorway to a completely different kind of life than I might have imagined.

As I don't generally post from San Francisco, the blog will go on hiatus until the French adventure starts up again in the spring. The target date for my return to France is March 1st. In previous years I've always used getting my taxes filed as a reason to procrastinate, and then ended up requesting an extension to file and doing them in July or August anyway, so I'm hoping to avoid that particular little trap next year.

I leave you with the very first photo I took on this trip, taken on Labor Day, just before we took our class trip on the bateau mouche.

Hope you will tune in to the sequel in 2012. Thanks for reading!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Last weekend in Paris (for a while!)

It's hard to believe this particular Paris adventure is winding down, and that I have to leave on Wednesday. Did I get to the Louvre or the Musee d'Orsay? No. But I had a blast, nonetheless. And I learned a bucketload of French.

On Saturday evening I had dinner with my friend France, who is professor of biostatistics at one of the local universities. At the end of the evening she invited me to give a lecture series at her university in the spring. In French! I was delighted to accept -- this will certainly give me something to work on over the winter. Time to dust off those Berkeley lecture notes and translate them into the language of Voltaire. Yippee!

Last night I joined my cousin Anne and her friend Maura (both from Cork) for a farewell dinner at this restaurant, near their hotel:

Le madeleine C.

It was extravagant, but truly excellent!

On the way home from the restaurant, I visited the Christmas display windows at the Printemps department store. They were done by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, and were quite impressive:

The window displays at Galeries Lafayette were quite tacky, in comparison:

More photos of the Christmas window displays can be seen at this link:

Printemps window displays

Passed by the Grevin (the Paris version of Madame Tussaud's) on the walk home:

It's almost a full moon here again in Paris (and presumably everywhere else?)

Tonight I am scheduled to have dinner with Nancy and Gabriella. Ellen and Leslie left this morning for California.

Have I mentioned how much of a blast I am having? And how I am already plotting my return in the spring?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hommage à Space Invader

Regular readers to this blog will recall a previous post about the street artist known as Space Invader:

1000 Space Invaders dans la Rue

In June, a milestone of sorts was reached, when the 1000th space invader was posted in the streets of Paris. It's hard to overstate the pleasure that finding a new, unexpected, space invader brings - it's like finding a little unexpected Easter egg that brightens your existence and leaves you with a spring in your step for the rest of the day.

A friend of mine, who wishes to be identifed only as Milky, la vache qui courtepoint, was moved to compose a hommage to Space Invader, the street artist who brings us all so much pleasure anonymously. Here are two pictures of the result, which I'm sure you will agree is rather fine indeed:

I myself have neither the talent nor the dedication to compose such a tribute, but I would like to take this opportunity to add my thanks to Space Invader for his terrific ongoing efforts to brighten our daily lives here in Paris.