Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday Soiree at Patricia's New Home

A beautiful Sunday evening. Actually the entire day was perfect weather, however, the quiet days of early August summer have ended as so many of the Parisians have returned from their summer vacations. The streets are filled with traffic, sidewalks and cafes are packed again.

It's amazing how calm the city was for the past few weeks. My first August in Paris, something I was looking forward to experiencing. That's one goal I can now check off my list of things to do.

Patricia is in the middle of renovations and moving into a beautiful apartment next to Notre Dame. Tonight was the first Soiree in her new place. It was another amazing party, new faces, new friends...I took a few photo's on my way...

Landmark - Notre Dame

Can you magine using Notre Dame as a landmark in telling guest how to find your new home? This is now a landmark for finding Patricia's home...sometimes I have to pinch myself.
Am I really still living in Paris, visiting a friend who lives just steps away from the Seine and Notre Dame? or did I just fall asleep at my cubical staring at all the pictures of Paris taped to my computer?

On the way to Patricia's I have to find a bakery to pick up some bread...

After buying two baguettes, now looking for her new home...somewhere around here.

Patrica's new neighborhood...
The dinner party, conversation and music was so interesting...I completely forgot to take pictures. We didn't leave until after midnight!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

No More Conversations with French Men

"Florence, no one does something for nothing." a friend explained about French men.
"He only wants to have conversation with me, on Fridays." I reply
"He's attracted to you and he will want more than conversation..." explained my friend.
"No, he's a nice guy, he only wants to practice his English." I insist.
"How well does he speak English now?" asked my friend.
"Well, actually he speaks English, very well. If you didn't know him, you would think he was American....uh.." I replied, as it dawned on me, hmmm.

"Okay, so if he speaks perfect English, why does he really need you?" questioned my friend.
"Uhh..?" I answered.

"You will see tonight or in a few weeks what his real intentions are..." my friend explained. Adding, "French language is better to learn in a class. Why don't you learn in a classroom?"

Suddenly, I remembered having this exact conversation last year with Adrian about Pierre. I insisted that he was only interested in talking about real estate, since we both owned property. I was wrong.

So, tonight I cancelled my Friday conversations with Luc and will register on Monday to begin formal French lessons starting in September.

Dare I say, I had a boring Friday in Paris?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dinner with the Boss - Partnerships

Thursday, and another week is almost over. This has been one of the busiest weeks of work since I arrived in Paris more than 2 months ago. 11 September 2009 will be 3 months of living my dream.

Sometimes my own thoughts try to beat me up for not having accomplished more of my goal, since I've arrived, but today I realized that I have not been here 3 months yet and it usually takes about 3 months just to get settled into a new environment, much less start accomplishing goals.

My apartment is almost, comfortable and almost organized. I'd like to install some cabinet doors to cover the dishes, pots and groceries over the stove and sink. I doubt I will, so maybe I will just have to keep every thing neatly organized as if exposed in a curio, or come up with another creative idea for the shelves. Curtains are not an option over or near the stove. No fire hazzards.

I also still need to shampoo the carpet and finish the bedding with pillows and a nice bedspread or comforter. I've narrowed the colors down to green, burgundy, and beige with black accent pieces. (the best I could do, without starting from scratch) The deco theme is definitely "Tribal". Egyptian, Asian, and African Tribal ethnic, jungle. It might sound masculine, but the Asian tribal items will give it a more feminine feel. Sounds crazy huh, but it's me! I'll post photos when it's a little more decent and not so student/prison/ghetto looking.

This evening ended with a nice dinner with Adrian. And of course I have to share some of the wisdom she shared with me tonight.

Happy Hour with Adrian

This is what the Parisians do in the evening...every evening...

As I've said before, I am so fortunate to work with such an ambitious, "Real", woman in Paris. Although so many still suffer from the economy, it's as if Adrian uses the challenge of the economy as fuel for the success of her business.

It's like she walks into a city that's just been destroyed (the economy) by enemy bombs, totally evacuated, leveled and smoldering. She stands there in her skirt, comfortable sandals, wearing black and red (those are her colors) and instead of seeing loss, devastation and destruction - without blinking an eye or giving a second thought, she immediately sees opportunity, potential, hope and improvement for everyone involved.

She surrounds herself with "her team", and does not waste a minute beginning the process of growth and improvement. She doesn't make time for those who doubt or believe the task is impossible. She takes action. She moves.

The advice she shared with me tonight was on partnerships. She said, "Florence, in business, if you are 100% of the business, you don't need a partner." She said this in response to my contemplation and questioning having a partner in my own real estate investments, investing in Paris and my future company. "You can however, have employees." she added. I realized that my bookkeeper, accountant, property managers and real estate attorney are like employees in the States. "If however, you are 60% and he or she has the 40% that you do not have, then together you form a partnership to become the whole". she explained in a way that simply turned the light bulb on again in my mind.

Food for my thoughts after dinner with Adrian: I am 100% of my own real estate investments right now, so I do not need to entertain the tangled thoughts in my mind of a partnership. Instead, I will continue to work one day at a time towards living the dream on the outside that lives on the inside of me.

...establishing a Partnership with the Dream inside and the life outside.

Food for my Thoughts...

The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve.

An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people. As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don't help you climb will want you to crawl.

Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream.
Those that don't increase you will eventually decrease you.

Consider this:
Never receive counsel from unproductive people.
Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how.

Not everyone has a right to speak into your life.

You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person.

Don't follow anyone who's not going anywhere.

With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it.
Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships.

If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl, but, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights.

A mirror reflects a man's face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

An Anchor on a Yacht

The negative person is a drag. Like an anchor dragging behind a yacht that has set sail on amazing adventure on the seas of Life.

"Come up on your chain and into the boat." we ask the anchor. We're about to set sail and you've done your job of keeping us stable in harbor, but now it's time to come up, dry yourself off, rest and sail with us. Live with us, Laugh with us, Love with us. There's a time for everything on the journey of Life.

The negative person is the anchor that refused to come on board, into the sunshine, onto the dry deck with the others laughing, sharing friendship, love, anticipation and hope for the journey ahead. The weather is perfect. The anchor chooses to stay at the bottom of the sea, in the mud and darkness, dragging behind the yacht, miserable and unhappy, by choice.

We set sail with the anchor dragging behind. The journey would be smoother if we didn't have the drag, but we cannot cut it free to fall further behind in darkness and lost forever. It is a part of the ship, the family, the friendship, the whole. We need it at the next harbor and we need it in the middle of a storm. I wonder what thoughts it uses to justify being such a drag on the yacht for the entire journey carrying friends, family and even a few strangers.

Is it insecurity? What thoughts does it allow to dominate it's existence in the deep darkness? I wonder as I lay in the sunshine. When will the anchor come up from darkness to see the light or will it remain dragging the bottom of the ocean for the entire journey of Life? I wonder as we sail in the sunshine on the journey called Life.

Tuesday Metro, Eat, Shop

Tuesday morning, I have a lunch meeting with Adrian. She tells me exactly which metro stop to get off, but I decide to take a "short cut" and get off at a different metro.

I'm too tired from a long day to write about why it's usually a good idea to take Adrian's advice when out and about in Paris....

But, I did snap a few photos of my day...Starting at the "short cut" metro, then running to the next, and then the next on the way to meet Adrian. I stopped to call her when I was totally lost, as she patiently sat at the cozy Cafe de la Marie on rue St Sulpice, and gave me, rue by rue directions to find her.

During a nice light lunch and a small business meeting, I almost wanted to pinch myself as I sat in the cozy cafe watching the tourist and Parisians pass by realizing that I "Live" here...In I dreaming?

After lunch, we went to take photos of a beautiful apartment that she will manage soon.

Next, on my way back to the metro, I stopped by "La Grande Epicerie Paris" Le Bon Marche, which must be the chicest grocery store in Paris. Extremely overpriced, but I had to shop anyway.

Living in Paris is still my dream and each day, I love it more and more.

The Metro

Not a Shortcut
One of My Favorite Metro Stops - Saint Sulpice

Lunch with Adrian at Cafe de la Mairie

Photo of a Beautiful Apartment

Shopping at Le Bon Marche
Le Bon Marche

Le Bon Marche

The end of a wonderful Tuesday.

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Favorite Boulangerie

My Favorite Boulangerie

Have you ever met a stranger who seems incredibly nice for apparently no reason at all? As I rushed into a small boulangerie around the corner from my apartment, in the afternoon, I saw that I was too late for the baguettes, they were all gone. It was only 3:00. So I asked in my simple French, "What time do you close today?" the young lady told me in French that they closed at 8PM. I was confused, as I wondered where was all the bread.

Missing pastries too...

As I tried to ask in French , where is all the bread?, she explained to me in English what time they bake the bread and what time I should arrive if I wanted the bread fresh from the oven. She explained that if I arrived even 5 minutes late, there would not be any bread left for me.
Maybe I looked pathetic hearing the possibility of no bread left for me, as she just looked and smiled. She was unusually friendly from the moment I rushed into the bakery. She then asked me what I wanted, and said she would hold it for me, I could return at a half past 5 and she would be sure I could have the bread. Do I look hungry, I wondered. Why is she being so nice to me?

She smiled a sincere smile and asked me if I wanted to come back. I said yes.

A Nice Stranger
When I returned, she remembered me and as promised, she saved some bread for me! This has become my favorite boulangerie in Levallois!

Sunday Soiree with Friends

So many wonderful and interesting people travel thorough Paris and make time visit Patricia's Sunday night dinners, which are a great way to network and broaden social horizons in so many ways. Some guests live in Paris as expats, some guests were born and raised in Paris, others live in the south of France and some are in Paris on vacation for a few weeks or days, all are interesting.
The mix of people I meet on Sunday evenings is always enlightening.
This has almost become my Sunday evening ritual; helping Patricia serve the food, cutting bread and signing in the guests. I actually love serving her home cooked food on the plates.
This is just one of the many, many, many reasons I absolutley love living in Paris.
I am learning and growing each and everyday that I live here....

A few GREAT women!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Finding Light with Adrian

Saturday morning, 1045AM, I'm early for the French-English Conversation group on rue Sebastopol, I'm happy, it's a beautiful Saturday morning in Paris. 1046AM, my cell phone rings. It's Pierre. "Come over" are the two words I hear. Was it a question or a command?

"I'm at the school right now, I will be finished at 1230." I reply to silence, no response. "Hello?", Is he still on the phone I wonder as I push the codes to open the door to the school lobby. "Okay after okay." he says, "Okay", I agreed committing myself to visit his apartment right around the corner from the school. Immediately I planned to pick up a few more of my things that I had left at his apartment before I returned to Colorado last year.

The French-English conversations were interesting as usual. Our group discussed French architecture, sports and skiing in the alps. We also talked about Japanese architecture from the perspective of the one Japanese girl in our group.

As the conversation group ends, I help Adrian re-arrange the rooms, close the windows, tidy up the kitchen and file the sign-in sheets.

"Okay Adrian (my boss, in case you are just now reading my blog: I'll see you later." I say as I plan to visit Pierre. "What? Where are you going? Aren't you coming with me to get the lanterns like we talked about?" she asked puzzled that I was rushing off.
I forgot. I had made plans earlier in the week to go with her to pick up lanterns for one of her properties. Interesting, because, right about now, I could use a lantern to shed some light on why I bother with men like Pierre.

"Oh, I uh..." I mumbled, "What? What do you have planned?" she wanted to know."Oh, uhm I uh, well I was going to meet Pierre?" I managed to explain. "Pierre?"she asked puzzled even more that I would mention his name. "Yeah, I know..." I said, knowing that she and I both know he's not the best French man for me to spend time with.

"Well, call him and tell him you've made other plans!" She says, in the tone of a Jewish mother, but in a way that I know is for my own best interest.
"Can I meet you at the lantern shop?, No, wait, Can you just wait for me here, or How about....." I can't can't decide what to do and I don't know what to say as she looks at me, waiting for me to speak a complete sentence.

Patiently, she asks, giving me time to collect my thoughts "What do you want me to do?"
"Why don't you come with me to Pierre's place? I will just pick up a few of my things and then we can leave." I reply, since I did not have healthy intentions for being at Pierre's apartment in the first place. "Okay" Adrian replied, "...that way, I'll keep you out of trouble!" How did she know? I wondered. Instinctually she knew it was not a good idea for me to see him alone. He messes me up.

We walk around the corner to Pierre's apartment. I rang the buzzer, "Ah-low!" his voice sings over the outside speaker. "It's me, Florence..." I speak to the intercom. The door clicks unlocked. "I have Adrian with me.." I announce to him as Adrian and I walk through the lobby entrance. I hurry ahead to make sure he heard me.

He's standing outside his door at the top of the 5th floor, waiting. I told him again that Adrian was with me. "Oh non!" he moans, turning around sharply, shaking his hand in the air, mumbling "ola-la-la-la-la-la". He does that when he's angry. I quickly look down the stairs and ask Adrian to wait in the hall.

At this point, I'm thinking Pierre thinks I'm stupid and my boss must think I'm crazy. I'll just get my electric kettle and leave.

Adrian waits one flight below, as Pierre marches back to his front door asking where is Adrian? I said, "She's going to wait outside." He insists that if she is already inside the building, then she must come inside the apartment. He shakes his head no, still waving his hand in the air and walks away again. Adrian waits outside, as I follow Pierre inside and tell him that I just want to get my kettle and I will see him later. "Non! non!" Pierre insists, "Come in, come in, sit down!" He returns to the front door for the third time and invites Adrian inside. I stand behind his back, waving my hand shaking my head, non! Adrian, politely says, "No thanks, I'll wait outside." Pierre insists that she come inside as he moves me aside with one hand to allow her to enter.

She enters. They speak in English first then French. She makes him laugh, he likes her immediately, I can tell. "Is she good with your business?" Pierre asks Adrian. "Yes, very good." she replies. Pierre smiles proudly. "With me she is not very good." he comments. "Only at night Pierre, I am not good for you, but in the day time, I'm very good." I correct him.
"She is like an Indian woman, she is untouchable..." Pierre tells Adrian. She smiles and , as I open my mouth, just as a mother would say, she says "Okay. Enough!"

Pierre, "I'd like to get my kettle and then we are going to leave." I tell him. He looks as if he doesn't understand any English. "My kettle, the electric pot for water." I explain. "Oh, oui, yes, go and get it from the kitchen."

"You mean the kettle I gave you? Is that the kettle you're talking about?" Adrian asks, sounding like my mother again asking if I gave away her good jewelry. I opened Pierre's cabinet, and there were three kettles in the cabinet, I didn't remember which one was mine. Just as I started wondering, how many other women had left their kettles with him, I hear from the living room, "That's it! That's it right there! Yep, that's the kettle I gave you!" Adrian yells as I reach for the kettle on the top shelf. She really reminds me of my mother. How could she see what I was doing from across the room?

Pierre and I spoke briefly as Adrian led us to the door. I watched his eyes follow her body to the door. Is he really "checkin' out" my boss with me standing right here? I wondered. As we walked out his front door, he said, 'You're friend is a very good woman!" She's my boss, Pierre, not my friend." I replied, in a way to remind him to respect her as my boss. "Ah, but she is not my boss-She is only a woman to me." he quipped back.
"Not yet!" Adrian replied, almost before he finished his remark.
Pierre's jaw dropped, he laughed, and Adrian was gone.

He kissed me on both cheeks, I walked down the 5 flights of stairs to find Adrian waiting outside the building. "Let's go get the lanterns." she said. I left with Adrian to find the light...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Shopping at the Mall

Yeah, it's Friday! What a busy week it's been, but it's been a good kind of busy, where everything is interesting, challenging and new, but today I had to get out of the apartment for a "shopping fix".

Just as I finished a few online tasks this afternoon, I got the sudden urge to go to Ikea and buy a new pot, since the only pot I own in Paris was turned into a flaming torch last week. I can't seem to scrub it clean.

Once I realized Ikea was almost 1 hour away by train, I changed my mind and decided to go shopping at a small mall and Carrefour (my Wal-mart fix) in the neighborhood where I lived last year.

There were hundred's of pots, but not many with lids, which is a requirement now since the fire. I also saw a small indoor grill for the kitchen, but as I reached for it to take a closer look, a voice inside asked, "Florence, how determined are you to burn down your apartment building?" No reply was necessary, instead I slowly backed away from the enticing indoor grill and went to look for microwave popcorn.

I did not find a pot, which means I'll have to plan for a trip to Ikea next week, but I did have a successful shopping day.

Shopping Mall at Porte de Bercy

Paul's Boulangerie Bakery at the Mall...ahhh the smell of fresh baked bread

Ah Chocolat!

...and Mc D's!

Friday, The Mall, Fresh Baked Bread (when you're on a low carb diet) , chocolate (on a no-sugar diet) and Mc D's (just because I love Mc D's) all this in Paris on a sunny afternoon?!...This might just as well be heaven for me!

"You're Stupid" love Pierre

My cell phone rings. "Hello?" there's no number, so I have no idea who's calling. "You are Stew-ped." I recognize the voice, the French accent, and the rhythm of the words. "Oh, Hello Pierre." I reply. "Why?, Why?, Why?" he says dragging out the y as if he's in pain.

Why me?, I ask myself at the silent pause. "Whyyyyy?" Pierre asked again. "Pierre, Why what." I demand without asking. "Why, why, why, nothing, nothing, I hear nothing from you, why?"

This is the story of my life. I try to break away, I leave, I move, I hide, they search for me and find me. I explain to Pierre, that I deleted his phone number from my cell phone. (ah, now it dawns on me as I write, why there was no identification of the number) and I told him I was finished with him after he went to Germany with his girlfriend. A women I don't really know exists , but my intuition tells me there's another woman or two, possibly three in his life. I don't want to share my life with a French man who has a few girlfriends and wants to add me to his collection.

We have a long conversation, in his broken English and my limited French. We argue, we debate. He tells me that the problem is that he and I are too much alike. He said I am a woman who knows what I want, just as he is a man who knows what he wants. He tells me that I am stupid to leave him and I am stupid to believe that we are finished. I wonder if he realizes how hard his words are translated?

His words seem to reach deep inside to break me down. I tell him goodbye.

The real problem is, I am a woman who doesn't know what she wants with this man and can't find who really she wants to be with. I wonder if I am going to find problems with every man I meet? Maybe I am stupid? I realize those are his words inside me, not mine. But still they are there echoing inside of me....Stupid!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The World Stopped, but I Couldn't Get Off

Today as I went for a walk, I looked around and noticed the beauty of the Paris suburbs. My camera could not capture it all; the coolness of the tree shade on a hot summer afternoon, the silence, the rhythm of the leaves falling softly from trees, the grass growing swift and silent, the world was waiting...

I stood for a moment in the center of the neighborhood with my camera, wondering to myself how could I possibly capture the beauty of it all with such a small camera. I couldn't. So, I just stood there looking around...the world stood still, and I took a few pictures.

Then the world said, "Okay, get off...."

The World Standing Still

"Huh?" I English. "Get off. Remember your wish? You wanted the world to stop so you could get off, collect your thoughts and pull yourself together. Remember?" the World softly whispered as I noticed that everything around me stood still....

Looking to the Right

I looked to the right, and nothing was moving. There was only the beauty of the Paris suburb...everything was waiting...

Looking to the Left

I looked left, which way do I go? How can I leave this beauty? and to go where would I go? How?

The Open Gate
There was a gate, that stood The beauty of the flowers, bushes, trees and nature stood still waiting for me....

A Way Out Through the Treetops
I looked up through the trees which were also standing still. They made a hole towards the sky, as if offering me a way off the world, to go and pull myself back together....

Standing Still and Waiting

I noticed that even the flowers and trees in planters on the street all stood still, waiting for get off.
"Where do I go? and How?", I asked the World.
"Stand still in your mind, that is where to go and that is how. You are already whole and there's no life to put back together. Those are incomplete thoughts in your mind, but you are complete.: the World answered.
"Why do I feel like I am so behind, and like I need some time to catch up?" I asked while the world stood still. "You feel like you are behind only when you compare your life to the life you see of others. Do not compare and do not covet what you see. You have everything you need..." the World replied.
"You are not behind, you are exactly where you are supposed to be in your life. Your life is the only life you have to live. Just live." said the World, "Live...and Let Live." echoed as the last words in the stillness before the World started to turn once again.

Stop the World...I Wanna Get Off...for a minute

Have you ever just wanted to stop the world to get off for a few minutes, collect your thoughts, then get back on?

I've decided to take a few moments away from blogging, to pull my life back together. Right now it seems as if it is going in about 7 different directions, and something's gotta give...(sorry blog)

Please stand-by....I'll be back shortly...In a few days perhaps.

Have a great week wherever you are.

I've posted a few pictures I took on a random walk home...Just a few more reasons why I still absolutely love, love, love living in Paris!!

Short cut through an Old Mall

Quite and Cool

A Beautiful Church Hiding Around a Random Corner

A Sculpture in the center of a round-about

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fire Protection and Adrian's Words of Wisdom

After surviving Saturday night's fire, I could hardly wait until the stores opened on Monday so that I could buy some "fire protection".

Attending and helping Patricia at her Sunday Soiree Dinner a great way to finish the weekend. Paris is a great place to meet amazing people who are accomplishing and living out their life dreams. Many of the people I have meet, seem to have escaped the corporate "rat race" and are surviving in unique and fascinating lifestyles in Paris.

The guest speaker was Janet Hulstrand. I can now call her a friend since I finally met her in person a few weeks ago and I've also worked with her for almost a year through Adrian's newsletters.

Janet is living her dream in the French countryside of Essoyes, in the home that she purchased through Adrian Leeds. Janet has also started her school for writers in Essoyes and spoke about her upcoming workshop. You can read more about her here:

Patricia cooked a wonderful meal for over 20 guests...everyone had a great time....still, I could hardly wait for Monday...

At Last, Fire Protection for my Cooking - Smoke Detector and Extinguisher

I can cook safely now that I have "Fire Protection". I can also sleep better at night..knowing that the smoke detector will let me know if there's anyone cooking with less skill and luck than I had.

Lastly, as always, I must share words of wisdom from Adrian: When she heard about my incident, she kindly shared a few more words of wisdom: "Florence, MICROWAVE POPCORN!" then she put her hands around my neck, squeezed and softly said, "Fire - No Air!"

She shook her head in amazement and disbelief, but was thankful I did not set the building on fire Saturday night. I'm sure she would have been one of the first persons notified. Once again, I am grateful the weekend ended nicely and it's the start of a new week.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

OMG! - I Almost Burnt my Apartment Down Tonight

Saturday, 15 August 11:48 PM (Paris Time) whole life almost changed! I am so grateful for God who MUST be watching over me. A few minutes ago, I almost burnt my entire apartment down! My hands are still shaking as I type.

So what happened? Well, it all started with a nice Saturday evening, watching the Coco Chanel movie on my laptop. At first I made some cream cheese dip and crackers to enjoy while watching the movie and later I got the idea to pop some popcorn. I've popped popcorn a few times before in a pot on top of the stove. Thank God, that tonight, I decided not to use as much oil as I normally do. I thought by using less oil, it would make the popcorn I only poured about half the oil I usually use.

I put the pot on the stove, threw one kernel in, which was a mistake, because I usually put three kernels in which I hear when they pop and know that the oil is hot enough. I did not hear when the one kernel popped...I was watching the movie...

Suddenly, I remembered the oil and the one kernel on the stove. I looked over at the stove top to see the pot overflowing with smoke seeping out the edges of the top like dry ice. I immediately took the pot off the burner and lifted the top slightly to see if the kernel was popped (why?...I don't know.)...The room started to fill with smoke, so I went to hold the pot next to the open window and the outside air. I failed university chemistry, but I think that was the wrong move, because it seems like the air and the slightly opened lid created a huge flame inside that pushed its way over the top of the pot and billowed in the night air.

I got scared and knew I could not hold a flaming torch of a pot outside the window. I looked down and thought about yelling as I drop the flaming pot down the five stories to the street below, but there were cars lining the street that I imagined blowing up in the fire. Also I did not know what to yell in French, so I pulled the flaming pot back inside the window as I watched the bright orange flames reach out towards the curtains as I brought the pot back inside. "$#%^&@#" I thought. "I cannot believe this is happening."

Everything seem to be happening in slow motion as I stood there in the middle of my studio holding a flaming pot in one hand, waiting for the curtains to ignite. Thank God, the flames did not reach far enough. The curtains were not set ablaze. I stood there holding the flaming pot with my mind moving in slow motion as I looked at the sink and thought about dousing the pot with water, but also knowing that grease, water and fire are not a good combination.

I thought about running down five flights of stairs out to the courtyard in the back, but just as quickly imagined burning down the entire stairwell on my way down, leaving other residents no way out. So I just stood there, visualizing fire trucks, and wondering how much would my insurance company cover. Holding the flaming pot in one hand, I slowly slid the lid back over the top, and just as I did, there was a small muffled "Boom!" inside the pot, so I left the lid slightly opened, waiting for the pot to explode perhaps. I realized, the one kernel finally popped. I reached across the room keeping the flames in the center of the room away from everything, and started typing on my laptop with one hand...g-r-e-a-s-e f-i-r-e...

The first page pops up...explaining how grease fires are started - No #$%^@! I already know the fire started from an unattended pot of grease on the stove! Help! I need some advice.

The second page...advises, call 9-1-1 and get out - I can't call 9-1-1 from Paris! %&*$#!

The third page...explains, "The easiest way to smother a grease fire is to put a lid over the fire".

Thank God the grease was slowly burning down, so I completely slid the lid over the pot....and stood there in the middle of my studio, waiting for the smoke to clear and the pot to cool off....Thank God again, I already had both windows open, and thank God, I did not drop the flaming pot to the street, the curtains did not catch on fire, nor did I drop the pot on the wall-to-wall carpet.

Tonight I am convinced that God is watching over me and I am so grateful for that. I was shaking and nervous afterwards, and now it seems like it all happened in slow motion. I am thankful that I did not panic. Although, this was not half as scary as being stuck in a tiny elevator!

The first week I arrived in Paris, I helped Adrian install fire detectors in her apartment, and I've always had intentions of putting one in my apartment along with an extinguisher. Monday, when the stores are open again, I will buy a small fire extinguisher and smoke detector. I promise myself.

Friday, August 14, 2009

French Conversation with Luc and a Promise

Friday, the weather was perfect as I walked along the Seine to meet my French friend Luc, for our conversation session. Each day I am in Paris, I love the city more and will never get old, because it's already old. For me, it only gets better and better.

On my way to practice my French...

View from the Paris Beach during our conversation session
My French is improving little by little, very slowly. This evening I brought the lyrics to Je Te Promets (the song from yesterday's post) to Luc and said I wanted to learn the words and sing this song. I asked him if he would tell me what the words mean. He looked at the printed page, read the words and said, "These words must never come out of your mouth. Where did you get these?"

What?! Don't tell me Luc is another controlling man that I have attracted into my life., I thought. I told him that I saw the video on French MTV and explained that it's a beautiful song about a girl who is walking away from a mean boyfriend and she's starting a new beginning...
"No!" said Luc, "This woman is a slave to her emotions, she is not free." You must never sing this song.

"Why? are you saying that Luc?" I wanted to know. "Here, right here, these words say: ....and I will not be able to escape from you, even if you do things that will separate us. " he continued to translate the entire song, concluding, "She is blinded by love and he cannot see that she loves him, this is not good. Why don't you find a song with lovely words to learn?"

Hmmm, I wonder if the Universe is trying to tell me something. Luc knows nothing about the men and Love in my life and I knew nothing about the lyrics of the song that attracted me. "Okay, I promise you, I will not learn the song Luc." I said. "No, no, You do not need to promise me. You must promise yourself that you will not...." he replied.
I promised myself.

We talked in French, then English, then French and English into the night...

Walking home...I had a few things to think about...

Paris at Night is so beautiful!

I walked home full of the Promise of a wonderful Life in Paris....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Promise

A nice French Song, I like to listen to... called "I Promise" by Zaho

I's a new beginning..(Je te promets c'est un nouveau depart...)

Lyrics to Je Te Promets :

T'aime rai que je te dise, que je t'aimerai toute ma vie
t'aime rai que je te promets, toute mes nuits jusqu'à l'infinie
t'aime rai que je te suive, a jamais sans faire de bruit
et que je comprenne tous ceux si sans que tu le dise

et je ne pourrai te dire, ce que je ne sais pas
et je ne pourrai te donner, ce que je n'ai pas
et je ne pourrai te fuir, même si tu nous sépare
tous ce que je te promets c'est un nouveau départ

j'aimerai que le temps s'arrête lorsqu'on se parle
et qu'apparaisse en plein jour dans le ciel, un milliard d'étoile
pour que je fasse un Vœu, sans que mon soleil se voile
et qu'on puisse être a nouveau, deux sans se faire ce mal

et je ne pourrai te dire, ce que je ne sais pas
et je ne pourrai te donner, ce que je n'ai pas
et je ne pourrai te fuir, même si tu nous sépare
tous ce que je te promets c'est un nouveau départ

et j'aimerai me cacher, sous tes paupières
pour que tu puisse me voir, quand tu fait tes prières
et j'aimerai les casser toute ces lumières
celles qui t'empêches de voir, un peu plus clair
lala lala lalala laala

mais je ne pourrai te dire, ce que je ne sais pas
et je ne pourrai te donner, ce que je n'ai pas
et je ne pourrai te fuir, même si tu nous sépare
tous ce que je te promets c'est un nouveau départ

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Live and Let Live

This morning I decided that in my relationships with different people, Life will be so much smoother for me, if I can "Live and Let Live." I would have less emotional stress and distress, I would sleep better and accomplish more of the things I need to accomplish, because my mind would not be so preoccupied...

There are a few people I would like to change.
There are a few people that would like to change me.

What would happen if I just Lived my life and let them live theirs? I decided that might be the best thing for me to do. The same is true, if they would live their lives and let me live mine.

Then, this afternoon, at the French-English conversation group, I was telling a few women how I resigned from a great job with a good income and benefits to follow my passion to Paris. I explained that I realized happiness and joy do not come from large amounts of money and benefits, but it comes from some place else. Some people thought I was crazy to quit a job when the economy was so bad. Then one lady exclaimed, "Florence, when you moved here, you are living your life!...It's your life, Good for you!"

I did not tell her that is exactly what I was thinking about this morning, but I did realize that maybe I am, maybe I can, Maybe I do...."Live and Let Live".

Here are a few photos I took on a stroll through the Tuileries...Just Livin'....

Ahhh, that man looks like he knows how to "Live and Let Live."

Hmm, is that a man's head in her hand?....Live and Didn't Let Live? (Not so good) ....

Approached this statue from the back....hmm, my mind he sliding to home plate? is that a baseball bat? where are their uniforms.... jerseys, ouch, that butt rash is gonna hurt.

Oh, uh...I guess it's not baseball, that's not two men...I get it. (actually I don't) That's not live and let live either...but that's what I'd like to do to some self-limiting thoughts that creep into my head sometimes.

Could it be possible that there is just too much beauty in Paris?
All this on a casual walk back to my apartment. It might be easier than I think to "Live and Let Live" in Paris.

A "Work Day" in Paris

This is a part of what I do. Look at apartments...It's important to know the backbone of the business. Real Estate and Paris are my PASSION of Life...I absolutely love it!

Le Aubergine Apartment

You can stay here on your next visit to Paris:

Then I visit a few more apartments...afterwards have lunch with my colleague....

So much for no carbs or low carb...sometimes I just gotta have a great American Cheeseburger, Fries and a Coke. I think the side salad is a French thing...

Visit more apartments...This is our most exciting project, Le Palace des Vosges!

Walking home in the evening after eating all those carbs, walk, walk, walk....

Walking past all the sidewalk diners are just another part of Paris to Love!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday Already...Where Have You Been?

I've been so busy, almost too busy to blog! Where does the time in a day go? I still don't understand how there just does not seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done, even when I am not working a full time 9 to 5 job?

Maybe there have never been enough hours in a day to get it all done? I wonder if that's why there's a tomorrow?

This Monday morning started off with the (almost usual) phone call from the boss. I suppose if this were a regular job, the morning calls would be equivalent to walking past the boss's desk each morning, and when she sees you headed for your desk, she summons you into her office for the morning's tasks, deadlines, schedule updates, priorities...etc.

This mornings top priority was to create an ad for Wednesday...Since I had already made an appointment to meet Antonia for breakfast in Saint Germain this morning, I finished the task quickly and went to have breakfast....

Ahhhh, breakfast at the Cafe de Flore. This man brought to our table, the best ham and cheese omelet ever...with coffee and cream, and of course fresh bread, butter and jams. Maybe it was just the ambiance of the restaurant and surrounding, that made everything taste so good.
What a nice Monday Morning!

Wikipedia writes:
The Café de Flore, at the corner of the Boulevard Saint-Germain and the Rue St. Benoit, in the VIth arrondissement of Paris, has long been celebrated for its intellectual clientele.

My friend Antonia and I have decided that Cafe de Flore (the cafe for intellectuals) will be "Our" cafe! After discussing our goals, hopes, dreams, accomplishments and to-be accomplishments in Paris, we strolled past the museum...with the plastic dome thingy...what's that place called? Anyway it's in the background of my self shot of the "intellectuals".

An "Intellectual"...I feel so well-read after spending the morning at Cafe de Flore!

Hope your week has started off just as well...