May 24, 2008 at 12:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Picnic?

Well… It’s noon right now, and the sun is shining, so I’m going out to buy some wine and snacks and calling it a picnic!

Saturday, May 24 from 14h until 17h (at some point, I’m planning to meet up with katia and kyliemac‘s evening adventures).
At the very tippy-tip of the Ile de la Cite — square du vert galant, near the statue of Henry IV.
View Map

Bring blankets, plus whatever food and drink you prefer.

If, come 2pm, you’re worried about the weather, call me and I’ll let you know what’s up.



May 21, 2008 at 12:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Just popping in for a minute to say I’m alive….  My parents are in town and keeping me very, very busy, so there’s not really time for careful, considered, typo-less blogging.  I did see the Babylone exhibit at the Louvre, and about a third of the Touches de Sacre exhibit at Pompidou (it’s terrific — I’ll definitely be going back.), plus a lot of shopping and eating.  I’ll blog it all when I can, but for now, I just wanted to remind people about the picnic Saturday!  See the post below for details.

I just realized the meteo is saying rain for Saturday, so….  if it rains, it rains, maybe we’ll try again the following weekend.  I’ll post something here the morning of to let you know.

We’ll always have… well, you know.

May 14, 2008 at 1:01 pm | Posted in vie quotidienne | 7 Comments
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There are certain predictable phases in life-cycle of an expat blog.

From the timid introduction and the giddy opening posts, to the desperate self-abasement in hopes of winning more readers, followed by long hiatuses while the author struggles for anything to say…. As regularity finally sets in, you begin to look forward to the appearance of daily, weekly, or monthly posts. But then one day comes the inevitable announcement: the author has lost her excuse for residing in this exotic land — the fantasy is over, and she must return, regretfully, to ordinary, unblogworthy life.

Alas, that moment has come for me: On June 3rd, I will stop being “la petite americaine,” and go back to being just a plain old American.

But don’t write my obituary quite yet… I’ve been coming to Paris off and on since I was less than a year old, and I know I’ll be back, even if I’m not sure exactly when or how. Nevertheless, the time is approaching for me to bid adieu to this particular sejour, and so I invite you all — fellow-bloggers, commenters, lurkers, and whoever else may be wandering by — to join me next Saturday for a farewell picnic in the sun.


Saturday, May 24 from 14h until whenever (at some point in the evening, the picnic will join forces with katia and kyliemac‘s “aperi-picnic”)
At the very tippy-tip of the Ile de la Cite — square du vert galant, near the statue of Henry IV.
View Map

Bring blankets, plus whatever food and drink you prefer.


May 7, 2008 at 1:18 pm | Posted in art, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Johann Heinrich Füssli (1741-1825)

Le Désespoir de l’artiste devant la grandeur des ruines antiques, 1778-1880

The despair of the artist before the grandeur of ancient ruins… And honestly, what artist among us hasn’t felt like this some days?

This sketch is from the exhibit L’Âge d’or du romantisme Allemand: Aquarelles et dessins à l’époque de Goethe, currently on at the Musee de la Vie Romantique. It may not be the most fashionable style these days — the people will have their realists and impressionists — but the passion and drama of Romanticism has always had a strange attraction for me: the desolate landscapes, the fascination with overlooked periods of art and architecture, the easy familiarity with death and the supernatural… The idea is to be swept away by the visceral impact of art, instead of dispassionately admiring the skill of the artist.

While the style may sometimes veer into base sentimentality, I’m nevertheless drawn to its ideal of privileging subjective experience — as Casper David Friedrich put it, “The painter must not be content to paint what he sees before him, but also what he sees in himself.”

P.S. Since the exhibit was devoted almost entirely to pen and ink drawings and watercolors, it might be of some interest to the illustrators in my audience.

Musée de la Vie romantique
Hôtel Scheffer-Renan
16 rue Chaptal – 75009 Paris
until June 15th

Bonne Continuation

May 1, 2008 at 11:58 am | Posted in vie quotidienne | 11 Comments
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If you’ve lived in France for any amount of time, you’ll have noticed that the French have made a national pass time out of wishing each other pleasant activities. No, not engaging in pleasant activities — wishing that the ordinary events and activities of every day will be pleasant.

In French class, you might have learned that hello is bonjour, good evening is bonsoir, and good afternoon is bon après-midi. But it doesn’t stop there, because there’s also the option of bonne journée and bonne soirée. In all these years, I have not figured out the difference between bonsoir and bonne soiree, except that if you say bonsoir to someone, they are legally required to answer “bonne soirée!”

But these are not the only things you can be wished. There’s also bonne matinée, bon weekend, bonne fin de l’après-midi, bon dimanche, bonne fête, rebonjour, bonne route (for someone taking a drive), bonne séance (at the movies), bon vélib (for bicyclists)… It’s like they sit around dreaming up new ones, just to catch you off guard.

The other day Brumaire heard someone wished a hearty “Bon scan d’identification!” as they swiped their Navigo. Maybe this hobby has gone a little too far.

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