Friday, May 26, 2017


Got a very kind note from a friend today. 

We had sent her an Amazon gift card for her birthday (she lives in Canada, and the prospect of paying cross-border fees did not enchant) - just a way of saying Congratulations, hope you are doing well in your law studies, keep in touch.  And what she said in return was that she'd had a very tough week,  law school not being a bucket of fun, plus she's working, and when she got the notification of the card, it was like 'balm on a wound'.  She said she almost cried.

I was overwhelmed, myself.  Its nice when you can do that for someone.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Potty Training

Well, not exactly.  But doing it in another country can be intimidating, and requires some advance awareness.  This article, which is set in Italy, is mostly  applicable to France, too.  (Really?  No toilet paper??? Yeah. )

Saturday, May 20, 2017


One of the things that people yearn to do when they enter retirement is to travel.  Frequently, that means buying or renting an RV (I recall the glam vehicle one relative bought; privately, we referred to it as 'the superbus', and it was nothing in comparision to what's available now). We're going to do a little bit of that -- instead of going overseas (to France, natch), we're going to take a drive through the Northeast -- over to Pittsburg, up to Niagara Falls, down to the Finger Lakes wine area, and home again.  Should be fun.

Yet I have to admit, I still want to go to France, to the point where my wife has said "Then go".  She's perfectly okay with me taking a week or ten days and going to see some friends -- a close friend in Paris, as well as a new conversation partner in La Rochelle (which that partner refers to as 'the prettiest city in France')  I'm thinking about it, but am relucant, for two reasons, each of which, I have to admit, is a little strange.

One is the food.  I am, I suspect, the only person who has even gone to France and lost weight (going through security at Charles De Gaulle airport on the way home, I abruptly demonstrated what happens when they ask you to take off your belt, and you've lost about ten pounds).  I just don't like most French food.  I'm a very simple food person, and things that -- well, hell, let me just say 'don't look American' don't appeal to me.  This is particularly strange when you realize that much of the quotidian French food is really basic - for example, hachis parmentier, which has a name that immediately sets me on edge; turns out, it's essentially shepherd's pie.  Ditto Croque Monsieur, which many Francofreaks adore; its a ham and cheese sandwich. (Okay, I'm not a fan of ham-and-cheese even here, and French ham is usually too thickly cut for me, with hyper-gooey Gruyere -- but still: ham and cheese)  So I intellectually acknowledge that French food is not inherently awful, but still: I have this atavistic no-not-for-me reaction to it.  Last time, when I had the interesting experience at the airport, the only 'real food' I had was the night before departure, when a friend made a food run for me to McDo's -- and sat, amazed, as I wolfed it down.  Its me, not them, but....

The other thing thats keeping me from going is that I don't want to think of myself who says Oh, yeah (elaborate yawn), I went to France, but only for a week.  Visiting some friends, doncha know.  I know, no one is EVER going to confuse me with Jay Gatsby, but still: casuallly tossing two thousand dollars (round trip, Dulles to Paris, Air France Premium Economy), plus another five hundred or so for hotel in Paris (La Rochelle, I'd be staying with my friend) -- I don't know, it just seems profligate to me.  I despise the idea of 'we can afford it, so why not do it?'  (Whats particularly weird is that if my WIFE wanted to do something similar by herself, I wouldn't think twice before saying that Of COURSE she should do it.)

So, no France for me this summer.


Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Watch This

Liking this due to its size, but wishing for something that also had the day/date on it, I did a Google Image search for "Mens Watch Big Face".

So many little dials!  Big clunky bracelets! Must be the watch-owner equivilent of the SUV-owner compensating for something.....

Monday, May 08, 2017

Light Impressions

I freaking love this.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Chain of Events

It turns out that if you leave the Venza in the street, so that the two people who need to get to their cars in the morning can do so in the warmth of the garage....

and if you leave the moonroof open on the Venza....

and it rains....

and water collects in the cup holder....

and you find your missing MP3 player and drop it into the cupholder so that you can see it when you get out of the car....

it will not be good news for the MP3 player.  Dammit.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017


Just got through looking through the Facebook comments of a guy with whom I used to work, and ancillary comments by others, some of whom I knew.  Hard to believe I never realized how conservative they are.  Whats particularly interesting is the guy himself, who apparently is both quite conservative and disgusted with Trump.  He commented quite a bit on my FB feed before the election (not necessarily in defense of Trump), but since then, radio silence.

In my continuing quest to improve my abysmal ability to understand quickly spoken French, I came across a web site called Linguo.TV, which offers free videos in French, with or without French subtitles, at full speed and reduced speed. It can be hard to understand, but somehow I find this site easier to use than others that offer the same thing.  Oddly, I think its because this one's narrator (at least, for the video on surfing, which is the only one I've seen thus far) has a thicker French accent.  Somehow it feels more genuine. 

Not going to Italy this year after all.  I'm mulling going to France for a week while my wife takes a drive in New York to see various things with her mother.  I probably won't.... but I might.