The French Make Funny Jazz

Today is happy with a chance of grinning. Increased sunny outlook with a high of plus positive and zero chance of precipitation. Even if it rains, our guaranteed low is snuggling with a good book and a doggie.
When I grow up, I want a cottage on a lake where I can invite my friends to take care of them for a little while. I want a haven filled with old quilts, a lot of great books, ridiculous board games, fishing equipment, a fire pit, an incredible kitchen, and really comfortable beds. Skinny dipping, and acoustic guitars, and good wine, and arts and crafts with things found in the woods. No power boats, no television, no loud neighbors.
If you came to visit, you would be greeted with great music, and a nice glass of whatever you like. You would unload your bags, and there would be pretty little snacks for grazing. Something would be chilling in the fridge near the dock, and your chair and towel would be set up. I’d have a stack of books and magazines selected with you in mind, and something delicious would be marinating for the grill later.
There would also be chocolate fondue.
After supper, there would be a huge fire, and quiet time counting the stars, and you would be full of peace. The air would be crisp and cool, and I would have extra sweaters if you needed one. They would all smell like lavender.
I’d sing you songs under the stars, and if you knew the words you could join in.
We’d each make a few wishes.
You would sleep better than you have in years, listening to all of the magical sounds that the woods make, and you would wake up with the sun to the smell of coffee and bacon. And loons. The sound of loons makes my heart sing.

Rusty Stars Are Better Than Roses


Life is getting a little bit more fun each day!
I’m moving this weekend, and though I have a huge hole in my ceiling, a bathroom under renovation, and an apartment that smells like Raccoon poo, I’m feeling really good about finally having a place to call home. It’s a great place, and I should know this because I used to live there! My life is so funny, isn’t it?

I’ve started dating. And a lovely feller who I hung out with coined it best when he referred to it as “Happy Days Style Dating”. Holding hands, sharing, milkshakes, and just seeing what different people have to bring to the party. Courting. Testing the waters. Makin’ friends.

I’m not SERIOUSLY dating. I mean, let’s face it, I don’t have a home, and when I do (on Saturday), I won’t have any furniture, and well, if you count the renovations, my “HOME” is a big, big mess right now. I don’t think it would be nice to invite anyone into it. Do you catch my drift? Once I have somewhere nice to sit, and the raccoon poo has been cleaned out of the walls, and the gaping hole mended in the ceiling, and I have a proper way to deal with private matters, then it’s open season. Do you see what I did there? I just realized my crazy apartment is a great analogy for my crazy life. I’m not sure how ripping out the old carpet and replacing it with something new fits, but I think if we put our heads together, we could all come up with something clever.

I seem to be inspiring lots of thoughts of home and children, which is fascinating to me, because those things are probably the furthest from my mind that they have ever been right now. It’s amusing what people pick up from you. I am marveling at it all.

I’m also channeling Nina Simone. She is my internal soundtrack right now. I am in a bluesy, jazzy, soulful, funked out, deep, rich, mocha, velvet frame of mind.

Lilac Wine baby…Lilac Wine…

Just Because It Smells Like Marshmallows, It Doesn’t Mean It’s Good.

I was amazed to learn that there are one or two of you out there still willing to read this, even though the fabulous Parisian fantasy has come to an end. Bless your hearts. I did enjoy this entirely self-centered writing experience, so I may continue with this blog, until the novelty wears off once and for all. I promise never to write about dieting.

I have two days to choreograph and polish my first ever solo burlesque number. This prospect is entirely terrifying. I’m trying hard to channel some of the tenacity (and perhaps insanity) that drove me off to Paris by myself, but I fear that without the help of a stiff gin and tonic I may not pull this off.

The number will make it’s debut at a fundraising cabaret on Saturday night, and I’m pleased with the concept. It’s an Edward Gorey inspired tribute to the silent film era vamp. The music is of course a Lenni Jabour tune with just the right mix of drama and silliness. The trick will be to make the number read as being really tongue-in-cheek, and not like some crazed artsy chick taking herself way too seriously. I think breaking into the cha-cha mid-way through will help.

There’s something a bit sadistic too in getting up and doing that in front of people when you have not lifted a finger to exercise in several years. I try to console myself with the idea that the women I am trying to channel would have had very similar bodies. I won’t get too hung up on it, because some of you reading this may want to punch me. Let’s call it empowering instead, shall we?

Also, there’s the idea that perhaps it’s better if I curate and cultivate the burlesque numbers rather than participate in them. If it’s not my forte, I don’t want to look like I’m up there just because I need some of the glory, you know? I have been curious about what will happen if I just go for it though.

I’ve booked a private studio at work on Saturday, and I have a bag of treats to practice with. Fingers crossed…

(p.s. The title of this entry is because a bottle of marshmallow scented body spray leaked everywhere in my purse, and now only my left earphone works. But my ears smell delicious.)

Please don’t forget me…

Are any of you still reading this?

If you are, this is my very last evening in Paris. I’ve just returned from a quiet walk up to Sacre Coeur, where I had a look at the city and said goodbye to the Eiffel Tower. I’m trying very hard to keep my chin up right now.

This has been an incredible opportunity to run away from real life for a brief spell, and there are lots of things to deal with when I return to Canadian soil, and lots of decisions that are effected by this experience that I’ve just had.

I spent the entire day today with the incredibly gracious Lenni Jabour. She took me to the Marche Alesia in her neighbourhood, which was a lively open-air fruit, vegetable, and flower market. It was incredible, and the vendors were all hurling compliments at us. Besides the fact that the produce here is out of this world delicious and fresh, they also like to arrange beautiful samples of the food to entice you to buy. My favourite were the full pineapples will sliced rings resting prettily on the spiky tops, and a female flower vendor who was screeching “Come and see my pretty tulips” at the top of her lungs. Ladies, if you want a delicious treat, and a lovely little ego boost (not that I needed one after the last couple of days here…) head to the Parisian street market nearest you with une jolie amie.

After that we visited her boulangerie of choice and got a little arrangement of patisseries to enjoy at the cafe across the street where we each had un creme. A creme is the Parisian way of ordering a coffee with cream, rather than an espresso, which is what you get when you simply order a cafe. I tried macarons for the first time today. Macarons are delicate little morsels available in several different flavours and happy, lovely colours. They are a blend of almond flour and meringue, with a layer of gooey happiness in the middle. They only make them in Paris, and the boulangeries pride themselves on their good macarons.

After returning the groceries to Lenni’s lovely apartment, we strolled through the streets to St. Germain, in the hopes of catching the jazz festival there. We grabbed some crepes and a couple of kir as we made our way through the streets. It was quite a hike, and it was 26 degrees here today. The lovely thing about Paris is that you never grow tired of walking because there is so much to see here. We did a lot of window shopping, which in Paris is aptly named “Window Licking”.

The sampling of French Jazz turned out to be a bit of a let down, but the weather was lovely, and the company grand, so we grabbed another kir at the Cafe de Flore, which is legendary. After that we were pooped, so we headed back to Lenni’s to relax and then she made an exquisite little supper. (Bless you Lenni for keeping me company all day!!)

After we ate and rested, we met with Lenni’s lovely British viola player Caroline at The Canal. It’s a lovely Canal, which is of course part of the Seine, and there were groups of young people all lined up along the banks enjoying picnics. The picnic is a phenomenon that we don’t appreciate nearly enough back home, and with the summer right around the corner, I think I’m going to make it a new fun thing to enjoy with my darling posse. I crashed hard after my final Parisian Kir, and I think everyone else was tired too, so we called it early.

I had to climb the millions of steps to Montmartre one last time though. I wanted to see the city again by night, and see the Eiffel Tower in all its glory. I didn’t wait to see it sparkle again, because the last one was really special, and I’d like to keep it at that until I return.

The photos today weren’t taken by me. My camera battery died again, and with only one day left, I didn’t want to spend too many Euros on new ones. You’ll see pictures of me above with the Mountie who stands guard at Crazy Horse (who says he’s grossly underpaid), and at the Cafe de Deux Moulins, which is the cafe in Montmartre where Amelie works in the movie. There is also a great photo of the Moulin de la Galette, which is the only original windmill left in Montmartre. Tomorrow I will get up early to pack and do laundry, and then hit a couple of choice shops here one last time.

What an incredible experience this has been. It’s everything I dreamed of and more. I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity, and will always remember my first trip to Paris.

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
Ernest Hemingway

Something In Me Changed

Yesterday was incredibly touristy.
I did an open-top bus tour of half of the city, which was a fairly decent way to get around, but then I felt like I was getting heat stroke. I hopped off near Notre Dame and then took the Metro home. Walking around the city is still the best way to experience it.
I got back here, and showered, and then went to the Crazy Horse show. I had a lovely little supper at a bistro on Avenue George V, and then went to the cabaret, which was absolutely out of this world. I was totally inspired. The venue itself was gorgeous, and the show was everything I dreamed it would be. Any questions about this will be fielded via my personal email. Wink wink, nudge nudge.
After that, I went to the Eiffel Tower and paid the small fare to ride up to the second level and see the entire city by night. The tower sparkled for me not once, but twice, and is truly the most magical thing I have ever seen. Walking along the Seine, watching the tower sparkling, was incredibly romantic. This place, and this experience really does fill me with hope.
Today was the Louvre, which I barely put a dent in before my feet gave out. What a massive, magnificent place. Then the Jardin Des Tuileries, which was a perfectly manicured French garden of huge proportion.
After that, lunch and a pitcher of drinking chocolate at Angelina’s
The drinking chocolate was unbelievable. It was the best sex I’ve ever had served in a teacup with a bowl of cream to add to it if I wish. It was the miracle of life in a tiny pitcher. It was Christian Bale in smooth, silky, velvety drinkable form. The restaurant itself is an exquisite, elegant salon du the with original decor from when it first opened in the 1900’s. I wished so much that I could bring my mother there. She would be the perfect travel companion for my next trip. (Um, maybe the second best. No offense mom.) This city would sweep her off her feet, for sure.
After that I returned to Notre Dame to see the inside, and visited a gorgeous outdoor flower market, where I bought petite Lenni a fushia for her little French balcony. She’s having me for dinner tonight to meet some of her other Paris friends, but first a kir at the local bistro.