146-152/365 – A week in France

The Eiffel Tower as seen from the peace memorial.

The Eiffel Tower as seen from a peace memorial.

Looks like a week has passed since my last blog entry. Oh well, France has been too much fun for blogging. We were also in a house without an Internet connection for three days down in the south near Nice and Cannes. But I don’t need to make excuses — some photos did go up on Facebook — this is my project and I can choose not to beat myself up about deadlines.  Deadlines — ffffp! (A French expression I have observed.)  In a recent conversation, my Dearest reminded me of the tyranny of deadlines that drives publishing, which we have both now drifted away from.  A blog of one’s own is an opportunity for expression, not a requirement.  And I will have plenty to say soon.

145/365 – Waking to endless pealing

DSCN1932We’re blessed with church bells this morning.  They echo down the narrow lanes in endless peals, lanes empty of traffic this sunny Sunday.  I ‘ve learned to manuever in our tiny galley kitchenette, unplugging the coffee maker in order to toast some French bread which grows increasingly crunchy as it ages.  We’ve begun to find the tiny convenience stores and haul back a bag of goodies each night — butter, cheese, short beers, fruit. It finally feels like a normal night and day here rather than an extended airplane dream.

There are no screens on the windows — no mosquitoes, apparently — so you throw open the shutters if you’ve got them and pull open the tall window panes — I wave at a line of tourists passing on tour one floor below on King of Sicily Street. Across the way I see our neighbor’s kids flit back and forth in their apartment. Paris begins to absorb me with love.

144/365 – You call that a pancake?


Looking for all the world like a brown washcloth, a galette de sarrasin turns out to be delicious.  The English translation is “buckwheat pancake,” but it’s actually two thin crepes with your choice of cheese, mushrooms, onion or tomato inside.  We came across them in a small crepe place on a sidestreet in Montmarte, the former (like 100 years) artists’ hangout that has now become a major tourist trap where you get a wonderful panoramic view of Paris.  Be prepared to hike uphill until your legs hurt!

143/365 – I love Paris in the springtime!

 This was our very firt cafe, the Philosphe on [rue to come] where two jetlagged lovers opened the place about 10:30 a.m.  The waiter showed us Obama on the cover of the newspaper and was thrilled when Dearest said he was her hero.  That's the new litmus test for Americans -- be for Obama and the suddenly love you!
 This was our very first cafe, le Chaise au Plafond (Chair on the Ceiling) on Rue de Treson, where two jetlagged lovers opened the place about 10:30 a.m. The waiter showed us Obama on the cover of a French newspaper and was thrilled when Dearest said he was her hero. That’s the new litmus test for Americans — be for Obama and the French suddenly smile at you! 

PARIS — Reporting from 33 rue du Roi de Sicile (that’s 33 King of Sicily Street, a whole three blocks long), I am absolutely thrilled to be in this historic capital, especially with my soulmate and tour guide, my Dearest.

Yesterday was dreamlike for both of us, first of all from jetlag — you fly about 8 hours and your body thinks it’s 1:00 a.m., but it’s 8:00 a.m. here, so you stay going, as if pulling an all-nighter during the day, if that makes any sense.  Finally a four-hour nap from noon Paris time set us up for a wonderful late afternoon and evening out and about, making for a very fulfilling first day, strolling the streets and alleyways of the Marais and the Latin Quarter — which has gone ultra touristy and the Greeks have driven away all the Algerian food carts, Dearest tells me.  But that was in her student days and some things change, while Paris in spirit will never change.  Will is change my spirit?

Wonderful meal at Chez Marianne in the old Jewish section of the Marais, Lebanese sisters run the place with fierce intensity and warmth.  We selected 10 items which all come on one plate: felafel, hummous, pastrami, feta, some variety of eggplant, tabouli, I forget the other 4, but it was all delicious.

Photo albums to date (6/9):

The Eiffel Tower like you’ve never seen it

Paris with Jane and Paul

142/365 – Birth of a healing movement

DSCN1871It’s not often one gets to be present at the creation of something.I had no idea when I began the conversion process to Catholicism that part of the program would include sessions on forgiveness from a professor who more or less invented the process by which angry hearts are healed and oppressors saved.  School children in Belfast and Milwaukee’s Inner Core are doing better in school and life when they learn to forgive.  Now we are seeing if a church parish can learn to be proponents of this movement.

So far, we’ve had one meeting, and I’ve set up a group site online, but the energy and enthusiasm seems sincere.  St. Michael the Archangel came to me after the meeting, and I take that as a very profound vote of confidence from the vanquisher of Satan.