Saturday, October 30, 2010

"Rally to Restore Sanity" and "Keep Fear Alive" in Paris.

The actual "Rally to Restore Sanity" and "Keep Fear Alive" was hosted by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (from the Daily Show, of Comedy Central), on Oct 30th from 12pm-3pm in Washington, DC on the Capital Mall grounds.

Those of us in Paris who could not be in D.C. were rallying at The Thistle Pub via live satellite on several large screen T.V.s. The rally was organized by a meet-up group and hosted happy hour prices all evening.

"Rally to Restore Sanity" and "Keep Fear Alive", Paris

"Rally to Restore Sanity" and "Keep Fear Alive", Paris

"Rally to Restore Sanity" and "Keep Fear Alive", Paris

The rally included a benediction by Father Guido Sarducci, where he asked God for a sign of the "Right" religion...a rainbow? flock of doves? etc.

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear
Father Guido Sarducci - Rally Benediction
http://www.comedycentral.com/
Rally to Restore Sainty and/or FearThe Daily ShowThe Colbert Report


The rally was an energized and humorous event in Paris. As we were leaving, a woman was shouting at random Americans, "IF YOU DIDN'T VOTE, THEN SHUT UP!!"

Hopefully if you are American, you won't keep your mouth shut...Go out and Vote!

Money Bags October Luck For October 2010.

An interesting fact about October 2010:

This October has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays, and 5 Sundays, all in one month!
It happens once in 823 years.
These are called money bags.
Pass them to 8 good people and money will appear in 4 days.

Based on Chinese Feng Shui.

Hope it brings luck!

.....actually, I just found out that "Money Bags" also happens in 2021, 2027, 2032, etc. It happens all the time not every 823 years.

Still wishing EVERYONE a Money Bags Month!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Customer Service with a French Man - Part 2 of 2.

"We want to know what happened when you went back to get your wood." my friend calls to remind me, a blog post was left hanging (from 13 October).
"Oh, yeah. I went back to get the wood and my shelf is now built."

There was silence from my friend.
"I built the shelf myself!" I added, somehow knowing my friend wanted to know more.


So here's the end of a long story of simply picking up some scrap wood, cut by an attractive French carpenter:

After having my wood pieces and measurement taken from my hands and refused customer service (promised only if I returned the next day), I left the store amazed at how smoothly the French carpenter convinced me to return to him the next day.

Walking home that evening, the fantasy of having the carpenter in my kitchen building a shelf and kitchen cabinets faded. I could clearly see his manipulation. Looking at the tools left near the sink with no wood project for the evening, I felt angry. "I could be building a shelf right now, but instead, it has to wait until tomorrow just because the carpenter would not cut the wood!"; "I'll show him. I won't return! I'll go to another store!" I fumed.

Not one to stay angry very long, the next afternoon, I headed back to the corner of the hardware store to pick up my wood pieces. Two new carpenters were standing behind the counter looking in my direction. Neither of them were the attractive carpenter from the night before.

Approaching the counter, I could see he was not there. The two men looked at me with friendly expressions, but not smiling. "Bonjour! Can I help you?" the one closest to the front asked me in French. I wondered how was I going to explain, in French, that a man who was there last night, cut some wood for me and I would like to pick it up?

So I began in broken French, "Bonjour, the man last night, here..." I said in French, "Uh..." my mind was blank as I tried to figure out how to perform impromptu charades.

"E has your vood from last night... and you vant to pick eat up." he finished my sentence in English!
They both looked at me and smiled as if they had just performed a flawless mind-reading trick.

"Yes!" I said shocked that he completed my sentence so precisely. How did he know? I wondered.

"His name is Sergio, he's upstairs." the man continued in English.

"I have to go upstairs?" I asked.

"Yes, you will find him upstairs." he replied.

As I walked up the stairs, I thought to myself, "Not only did the smooth carpenter get me to return, now he has me chasing him all over the store!"

There he was, upstairs, standing on a ladder explaining to an older man and an older woman the difference between a piece of equipment he was holding and another one on the top shelf. The man and woman were looking up at him, with their mouths open as if he were a God. I joined them as I looked first at his dirty shoes, wrinkled blue jeans, well defined thighs (my eyes almost stopped there), but I had to keep looking up further, to his bright red working jacket, then his arms, then his neck, his lips, nose and eyes. Eyes that were watching me.

"Sergio?" I asked, wanting him to know I knew his name.

He immediately came down the latter, finished his conversation quickly, almost shoving the small box into the older mans arms as the couple looked at me, smiled then quickly departed.

"Ah, You! Come with me." he said in English, as he folded the ladder, put it in a corner and walked downstairs.

Once again, I followed him.



Sergio?



French men flirt. Alot. He flirted, as he prepare to give me the wood pieces. He's friendly, but makes me uncomfortable, since I know I will return to the hardware store often. I don't want it to appear as if I am returning only to see Sergio rather than needing a mop head or screwdriver. (if I am returning just for a glimpse of Sergio, it will be my secret).


Cradling the wood in his arms, as if it were a newborn, he gently lays them in my arms, smiles and looks as if he wants to kiss me... right then and there. (or maybe it's just my imagination). I take the baby-uh, I mean wood pieces, look away quickly, and leave as I say Thank you!... in English.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Entrée to Black Paris™--Black History after WWII Tour and Bonus Books.

The dynamic duo, Monique Wells and her husband Tom Reeves decided to rechristen their Paris business Discover Paris! with the name “Entrée to Black Paris™”, and invited a few bloggers on a Thursday afternoon to experience Black Paris after World War II” – one of Discover Paris!’ most popular private, guided walking tours.
Additionally, Monique recently launched a blog: http://entreetoblackparis.blogspot.com/ and Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/EntreetoBlackParis called “Entrée to Black Paris™.” she says: “My goal in doing so is to increase awareness of Paris’ black heritage among all people – particularly those who already know and love Paris, and are seeking new avenues of exploration to enrich their cultural appreciation of the city.” I am one of those people.

So there we were, a few Paris bloggers (and one Rock Star) on a Thursday afternoon, following Monique as she led us through the streets of Paris, walking the same path and visiting the same Parisian cafes as writers Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Chester Himes did years before.


Entrée to Black Paris™--Black History after WWII Walking Tour

One of many interesting stops along the way...

Monique shared the facts, stories of the past with photos, and contemporary aspects of black life in Paris. Without imposing her own opinions to slant our views of controversial facts, she leaves us to contemplate Black Paris, post WW2. She watches our expressions as she smiles. She knows so much about Paris, it’s people, history, struggles, successes, it’s impossible to hear it all in 2 hours.

'If I told you everything, I’d have to shoot you.' is an expression used in my Military career.
If she told me everything she knew, I wonder all that I would know?
Her tour makes me more curious to know more, learn more, read more, ask questions, find facts...

Entrée to Black Paris™--Monique Shares Facts.

The tour concluded at Café Tournon where Monique shared more insights of African-Americans who frequented the café years ago. As Kim Bingham (aka my Rock Star friend “Mudgirl”) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Bingham and I leave for coffee at the Tournon, Monique casually suggests, “Ask to see the photo of Duke Ellington and Beauford Delaney at the Café when you get there.”

Monique, me and "Mudgirl".


Sure enough when we arrived and asked to see the photo, the waiter gladly pulled it from the side of a curio cabinet, stored in a place we would have surely missed if it weren't for Monique's suggestion. The French waiter seemed as fascinated by the photo as we were.
Gazing at the old faded black and white photo, I yearned to know even more about Black Paris.

Books by Monique Wells and Tom Reeves :

"Food for the Soul."

Before the tour, Monique signed a copy of her cookbook that's more than just a cookbook: “Food for the Soul: A Texas Expatriate Nurtures Her Culinary Roots in Paris”-Monique Y. Wells. She has purposefully published recipes for expats (and even Parisians) longing the comforts of Soul Food in Paris. She even explains where some of the ingredients can be found in local Paris markets. I’ve already made my French grocery list to prepare Smothered Chicken (Monique’s simple recipe of only 6 ingredients!), Jambalaya, and Chili….each recipe is perfect for these cool Paris Autumn days!

Additionally, After the tour, Tom introduced me to his book: “Paris Insights-An Anthology”. – Tom Reeves. I have to confess I love the idea of a book named Paris Insights. Sounds interesting and peaks my curiosity, but “An Anthology”?! my first thought was “An Anthology"- definition: a collection of literary works (to me ='s boring)…Zzzz.

I was wrong. Once I got home and reviewed the book, I was amazed; NOT BORED!! Little did I know, that Tom placed in my hands a collection of fascinating, delicious, bite sized insightful (1 to 2 page) nuggets of facts and photos of all things interesting and fascinating about Paris. He writes about Americans in Paris,(some I didn’t know), fascinating facts about Paris Churches and Cathedrals, Wine Pairings…and (my favorite section of the anthology), Tasty Treats, which includes Hot Chocolate in Paris(and so much more).
The book holds answers to intriguing questions that would take me hours to research individually or online. To hold the book in your hands, visit:

Paris Insights-The book: http://www.discoverparis.net/premium.html


Entrée to Black Paris™ on Thursday afternoon was a wonderful Entrée to Black Paris.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sharing French Chic

"American women have harsh and determined attitudes, their style is not feminine..." an American women tells me in a conversation. "What are the attitudes of French women?" she asks.
"The average French women are definitely not like the average American women..." I try to explain, but this French girl explains it so much better:


Create Your Style:
Secrets Of Style: French Chic

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Customer Service with a French Man.

A spontaneous decision to build a shelf for my microwave oven lands me at the hardware store to buy 3 pieces of wood.

No, I did not know there would be an attractive French carpenter working in the little back room of the hardware store with piles of scrap wood and lots of big heavy machines surrounding. But I watched as he effortlessly worked with a scary looking dangerous table saw..."hmm, how brave." I thought admiring his entire profile. Sensing my presence, he turned to look, stopped working and asked me something in French.

"Uh, (still the first word out of my mouth before I think about speaking French) Bonjour. I'm looking for a small piece of wood to make a table for my microwave." I explained in simple French, pointing to the measurements I wrote on a small piece of paper.

He looked into my eyes, (I should have looked away, but I couldn't) as I held out the paper. In one smooth move, he took the paper from my hand, smiled, look at my lips, hips and breast, saying "follow me", all at the same time.
I followed him...

"You will find the wood here." he points to exactly what I needed. "I will cut it for you. For free." He says in a way, with an expression that I'm not sure if he's doing me a favor or if "For Free" is the store policy.
He gives me back my piece of paper to continue his work.

After finding the wood I wanted, I wait 10 minutes behind one customer ahead, as the French carpenter chats with the customer while glancing at me while I waited.

They finish talking, signed some papers and finally it was my turn. Before I handed over my three pieces of wood, "Bam!" right there in front of me, the carpenter slams on the counter a "Do Not Enter" sign painted on a wooden board.

"Closed! I'm sorry. I am closed now." he says to me, in English with a French accent that I love.

I wanted to laugh, but he was serious.
"No!?" I said. But was really asking.

"Yes. I'm sorry. I close at 7 and I have all these papers I must finish." he explains in French now as he lifts a few slips of paper off the counter.

"But, I was standing here before 7." I say in English, too shocked to think in French.

"I tell you what..." he says softly in English with a French accent that makes even standing in the dusty back corner of a hardware store seem romantic. The way he's looking at me, my mind immediately imagines him in my kitchen building the microwave shelf for me.

He walks around the counter (as I fantasize about his wood working skills) and stands so close to me, that my right boob is almost touching his arm as he finishes his sentence, while taking the paper and wood pieces from my hands again "....why don't you give these measurements to me..." he suggests looking down at me and my measurements, "...leave them here with me tonight. Tomorrow you come back and I will have them ready for you."

The American in me, wanted to protest. Instead, I walked away, without my wood, without my measurements, only a smile, and wondering why I wasn't angry...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fall.

Fall is in the air. I just took 2 pictures of nothing really....it's just Fall.

Walking down the sidewalk on a Fall morning in Paris. The book vendor is just opening up his sidewalk display to start his day.

The Tour Eiffel in the background...maybe I should have used the zoom...

This is the beginning of Fall in Paris.

A View from the RER-C

I love taking the C - Train home from the city. Feeling like a tourist each time my favorite view appears. I can resist taking a few pictures, no matter how many times I've done it before.

So here goes again...


Watching the stations go by...
Gazing at the Right Bank.

Ah, This is "It".
My favorite View from the C-train, going home.
No matter what the weather is like this will always be a beautiful view.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Last Day of Paris Fashion Week at Paul & Joe

Waiting in line with the rest of the crowd, I began to wonder what the heck I was doing out in the crowded madness, then I remembered, this is the last day of Paris Fashion week. I had to be here.

My heart skipped a beat as the security guard put his hand on my arm saying: "Okay Madam. Go!". I ran inside the Paul & Joe Show like a 7 year old running outside for recess. Ah, I love Paris, and I love Fashion...





"Okay, Madam. Go!" are wonderful words to hear, when standing outside in the "Standing Room Only" line of PFW.


Once inside, the next best thing we could possibly be told was, "Okay, we need you all to fill in the seats. The show is starting now."


The Fashion Paparazzi.


The show begins quickly.


End of the Show, the designer takes a bow.

video


A short video.


Each time I'm surrounded by the beauty of Paris Fashion Week, I want to throw away my blue jeans, put on a dress and some makeup and mascara. But then I remember that my blue jeans are what makes me feel "American", so maybe I'll keep them and just wear a little mascara.

Just in case you missed a few fashion week shows, they can all be view at: Style.Com

Friday, October 1, 2010

Paris Fashion Week at Dior.

No, I did not get inside the show, although I'm sure I would have easily passed security if only I moved forward when trapped inside Kate Moss's paparazzi mob. Instead, I pushed my way sideways, outside the mob and outside the entry barrier.

Still somehow, I think being on the outside was more entertaining.

"Amy, sweetheart. Listen. I'm with Vogue UK . I know I'm not on your list, but I am supposed to be inside, front row." the strange man standing next to me pleads to Amy as she stands on the inside of the Dior barrier.
"I'm sorry." Amy replies nicely.
"Amy, listen darling. You know we only have 5 hours to get the video posted online for Vogue. I really need to be in there on the video podium." he begs.
"Is it front row or video?" Amy asks.
"Video." he replies.
"I'm sorry. The video podium is full." Amy explains.
"I'm shooting for Mr. blah, blah." the man changes his story.
"Do you know how many people have arrived saying they're shooting for Mr. blah, blah?" she asks, almost laughing.
"Yes, there are 5 of us, I know." he still pleads.
"I'm sorry." Amy replies.

The music from the tent starts to boom and ends just before the rain begins to sprinkle the "outsiders".


Heading to Dior.

Kate Moss and the Paparazzi mob.

A coveted Invitation.

An "Outsider"


Rain falls after the show.

Dior Model.


Rachel Bilson.

I wondered if the models take the metro.

Dior models waiting for...


Not the metro.


More Dior models...long legs.


Legs....




More legs...

Maybe next week, my legs will get inside a Paris Fashion Week show. Until then, I'll watch the show like the man standing next to me on the outside at Vogue U.K.