Tuesday, July 31, 2018

French thoughts

We got back from France (and Italy) just over a week ago.  In the process, we evaded the brutal heat that is hitting parts of Europe now, we met three conversation partners whom I had never met in person before (one of whom gave me two massive books about Italian cooking and about the history of her seaside ville, and another of whom gave me a delightful commemorative T shirt for the French win in the World Cup; both are much appreciated, but I have to say that the T shirt is particularly close to my heart because the colors on the sleeve can be read as ours (red/white/blue) or theirs (blue/white/red; it is a quiet giggle for me to think that I'm wearing a shirt with the French colors on it, and no one knows it)

Plus, we got to see our friends in Toulouse, and stay on their farm for a few days -- hot, beause people there don't believe in air conditioning, but still quite nice; we got to see our friends in Bourgogne (arranged so that we would not be in Paris for 14 July, instead seeing the local fireworks -- that didn't work out, because the wife was recovering from some emergency surgery, but it was still good), we got to see my friend the Sorbonne doctorante, and, perhaps most notably, we got to stay with the family of our French exchange student, which was simultaneously overwhelming -- they are very nice, very generous people who stunned us on more than one occasion - and heartbreaking - I had to admit to myself that except for the occasional trip, I'm not going to  see her ever again, which saddened me a lot.  I know, I know, her life is there, not here.  She's their daughter, not ours. Still, the part of me that still believes in Santa thought that maybe, maybe.....

But overall, it was a very nice trip.

Saturday, June 30, 2018


I am startled and amazed when I realize how utterly vicious my thoughts become when I think about the current hard-core conservative environment.  Utterly vicious.

And perhaps the scariest part is that I'm not sure that I want to change, because I don't see any benefit in doing so. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Air Who?

I like the image of flying on Air France.  Its classy, at least in my mind. What ISN'T is the fascination that AF staff has with going on strike, every summer.  We're going to France this summer, and yes, the tickets over and back are on AF.  But this will be the last time, I think.  Enough is enough.

Sunday, June 10, 2018


Today's the day that our French exchange student goes home.  We're sad.  Not devastated, but - sad.  Wishing that things were different.

Friday, June 08, 2018

The Return

This week, my American daughter returns to her new home in Virginia, and my French daughter returns to her home in France.

Meanwhile, my wife will be on a trip with her mother and sister, leaving me and the cat.

Going to be lonely around here.

Monday, June 04, 2018


This is the last week of the French exchange student as a resident in our home.  This coming Sunday, she gets on a plane for Paris.  We are sad, because we really bonded with her. 

I am sure that as things happen, we will become just a memory to her, but still: when her mother thanks us energetically for always being there for her daughter, and for being very supportive - in fact, she referred to us as famille et amis - family and friends -- well, its hard not to have warm feelings about their whole family.  That's a little ironic, because our contact with her parents has been minimal -- something to do with both of them working, and a six-hour time differencee between here and Paris.  But still:  we feel warmly toward the girl, and by transference, toward the family, too.

Even if they're curiously reluctant to let us adopt her.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Move Along, Move Along

Every available sitting surface in the Empire State Building observation areas has one of these spiky edges to make sure you don't rest there a bit. Except the toilets, and where they sell you stuff.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018