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The house I'm living in for the summer is decorated with a capital D. It's not really my style, but it suits the house, and I'm kind of enjoying it.





I've gotten into the habit of sending a picture of The Bossy Cat to CameraMan every morning, usually taken on my phone. This one was so cute/ridiculous that I had to share it with you, too.

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This is the Bossy Cat's new thing: hanging out underneath the comforter when I'm in bed, and sometimes for hours after I've already gotten up. In fact, she's under there right now (seriously).




Our first rehearsal space was pretty much in the middle of nowhere, with nothing around it. Our new rehearsal space is right in town, steps to coffee, and restaurants, and best of all, the lake! We are happier now.

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It was raining all day, so instead of taking more country pictures, I came inside to photograph one of the many many props in our fabulous show. Don't you want to come see it? You should.




I've been passing this sign every day on my way to rehearsal, and I love love love it. It makes me feel like I've stepped back in time.




A well-deserved night off spent with good friends, beer, and Cranium (the Turbo Edition, which is still painfully long). You haven't lived until you've had to shape a wheelbarrow out of purple clay.

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Two of my favorite things about being back in the Northeast: Poland Springs Mandarin Orange Sparkling Water and Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar.

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And the portraits of my rural summer begin! This city mouse is having some difficulty adjusting to country life, but it certainly provides no shortage of photo opportunities.

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For my last night with CameraMan, we went into the District for lunch at our other favorite tapas place and an incredible (and romantic) movie. I'm going to miss those kind of days this summer.




Back in the car for another road trip, this time heading north to upstate New York and our rural summer home. The Bossy Cat is such a good traveler. I may or may not have taken this picture with my iPhone while driving (cue Mama and Papa Bossy's simultaneous heart attacks while reading this).




I'm not sure how it happened, but what you see here are the remains of my 50mm/1.8 lens, which incidentally would have been the perfect lens to use for this photo. Rest in peace, my lovely.

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This look could either be interpreted as "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!?!?!" or "Who are you? CameraMan is the only mother I know," depending on your point of view.




Silly presents I brought home for CM from Paris. Yes, they are champagne flutes that say "tchin tchin" on them.




We've made this delicious recipe for Orzo with Garlicky White Beans and Chicken Sausage twice now, and I heartily recommend it. In fact, I could totally go for some right now.

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I don't know if you've noticed, but I've fallen behind on posting my 365 project (not on TAKING the pictures, just posting them). I'm going to try and catch up over the next couple days so that I can get back to a regular posting schedule (and maybe some non-365 posts as well, who knows).



The day after I got back from Paris (and magically NEVER had jet lag!!), we went into "the District" for dinner at our favorite tapas place. Afterward, we walked around the monuments at night, something that holds some romantic significance for us. This shot was taken at the WWII Memorial.




No sooner was I back than I was leaving again, this time to spend a couple days in upstate New York for a preview of the impossibly scenic place I'll be calling home this summer. You can be expecting a lot of photos of picturesque barns, delapidated silos, and things I did not know existed anymore, like backyard water pumps.




Oh, and wildlife!! These goslings live on the front lawn of the opera house, and I also got to see a turtle laying eggs behind the opera house. Spring has sprung, people.

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Home sweet CameraMan, if only for a few days.

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For my last evening in Paris, I FINALLY got to ride a Vélib, something I had been hoping to do all week (you need a credit card with a chip in it, and I don't have one). The weather was gorgeous, the sun was setting, the wind was in my hair, and Paris drivers were honking at me right and left.

It was the perfect ending to my trip.

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I arrived at the Arc de Triomphe just as they were sending the last group up. I sweet talked my way up to the top to look out over the gorgeous view of Paris at night. When I came back down, I experimented a little with shutter speed, which resulted in many many blurry pictures of the Arc. And this one, which I should point out I took sans tripod!

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I spent a couple days hitting lots of Paris tourist sites. On Wednesday I went to Notre Dame, the Picasso Museum, the Pompidou, and this, my favorite of the day, Sainte-Chappelle. The stained glass was breathtakingly beautiful.

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This picture represents everything that is good and lovely about Paris.

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Looking forward to getting home to my own petite chat...

Paris, je t'aime

My only other experience traveling alone was a year and a half ago when I went to Austria and Germany for a month to heal my broken heart (if you haven't been around since the beginning, you can catch up by reading the archives for November 2007 and December 2007). Turns out, going to Europe alone in the middle of winter with your life in a shambles is quite different than going to Paris alone in the springtime when you're in love. Not that I haven't had a great time; I have, of course. I'm so glad I came, and it was especially lovely to catch up with the Army Brat.

But, let's be honest, Paris is called The City of Love for a reason—it is ridiculously romantic here! The streets were made for strolling hand in hand, the parks were made for canoodling on a blanket, the Seine was made for starry-eyed lovers. Everywhere I go I am surrounded by honeymooners and other couples who apparently subscribe to the "What happens in Paris stays in Paris" philosophy, given the amount of PDA going on here. I would probably feel like this anywhere, but I am missing the hell out of my CameraMan. I'm looking at this trip as an exploratory mission—I'm casing the joint before I come back with CM.

Despite a persistent feeling that something (someone) is missing, I love love love Paris. Here are just some of the reasons why:
  • Cheese. Duh.

  • The chairs of the sidewalk cafés all face the street, for unabashed people watching.

  • The women: they dress beautifully.

  • The men: they have artfully disheveled hair and really good shoes.

  • The children: they all speak French.

  • Some of the Metro stations still have those Art Deco entrance signs.

  • The ice cream at Berthillon on the Ile St. Louis. Astonishingly good.

  • Fresh bread any time you want it. Which is constantly.

  • Air heavy with history.

  • So many public parks: all the big ones, and then little tiny hidden ones to discover.

  • Versailles. I didn't expect to love it so much. Those gardens are unparalleled.

  • The public bike sharing program (Vélib), which I finally got to try on my last evening!

  • L'Orangerie.

  • Street performers. Everywhere.

  • The Rodin Museum, especially the garden.

  • The Metro. People make eye contact, and they don't all wear headphones! Plus, there are so many stops, it's always easy to find a convenient one.

  • A dozen kinds of chocolate mousse at the grocery store.

  • The people are friendly. Yes, FRIENDLY.

  • Cats. I knew I would see a lot of dogs, but I was surprised by the number of cats on balconies, cats in windows, and cats roaming around.

  • The Seine. Breathtakingly beautiful at any time of day or night.

  • The pure Parisness of it all. All week I felt like I was in a movie.

  • An infinite number of photo ops. I'll be sifting through pictures for the next couple weeks—you can find them here.

I'm just about ready to go back to the States, but before I do, may I just say:

  1. Stop waiting for a man to take me to Paris and just go there already.

12 down, people, 88 to go.

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I'll admit, I'm Baby Krazy (BK). But I'm staving off cravings by taking pictures of other people's kids. It's working pretty well so far.

Cry me a river

I've become something of a weeper of late. I've always cried fairly easily, but since my divorce, it takes almost nothing to set me off. A sentimental commercial, an emotional story, the slightest hint of unkindness, and I'm tearing up, if not sobbing uncontrollably. I'm sure it makes me a joy to live with/love, but I can't help it.

However weepy I get over everyday occurrences, though, it still takes a lot for me to get emotional over art. Oh, I cry in movies, pretty much every time someone on the screen is crying, and sometimes even if they aren't, but I tend to experience music and visual art and even opera more academically, from a distance. I have my soft spots, of course. Elgar's cello concerto gets me every time, and no matter how many times I hear the end of Bohème Act IV, I tear up the minute before Rodolfo realizes that Mimì is dead. I'm tearing up now just thinking about it, wouldn't you know. But I honestly cannot think of a painting or sculpture that has affected me that way. I love museums, and I have my favorites, but I've never been really moved by them.

And then, in the midst of two jam-packed museum days here in Paris, I walked into the Musée de l'Orangerie and was completely wrecked by Monet's Water Lilies, of all things. The museum has eight of them, and they've built two white oval rooms to house them. The setting is beautiful, but there was something else, and I can't even put my finger on it, so I probably have no business even writing about it, but I had to sit down and pull myself together. I've seen Monets before, I've even seen some of the Water Lilies before, but for some reason this was different. And it changed my whole day. I went from there to the Musée d'Orsay, and it seemed like every room I entered, every painting I came across, was fraught with meaning that somehow applied to my own life. I was on the edge of tears the whole time, and I can't even blame it on hormones this time.

While I often wish that I was better able to keep my emotions in check, that I could control my reactions more reliably (recently I almost broke my no crying at work rule, almost), I suddenly realized today...maybe wearing my emotions on my sleeve (or my face) could actually make my life better.

Signing off so I can have a good cry about it, obvs.

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The best meal I had in Paris was from a restaurant without a printed menu, let alone a menu with English translations—just these chalkboards suspended above us.

Girls just wanna have fun

It's been a very long time since I indulged in some serious girl time, something beyond meeting for lunch or going shopping or watching a movie. So when I found out that the Army Brat had an entire 3-day-weekend to come join me in Paris, I couldn't wait.



And the girl time did not disappoint. Late nights staying up talking, dressing up in the evenings to go out to dinner, shared bottles of wine and desserts, frank conversations about boys and family and life, long walks through Paris, shopping... it was perfect. The Army Brat's been living in Europe for the past 2 1/2 years, and this was her 10th trip to Paris, so she helped ease me into being here by showing me where the grocery store was, telling me about all the neighborhoods, and teaching me how to buy a Metro ticket.

I was sad to see her leave Monday afternoon, but so glad that we got the time to catch up.



Also, I'm crossing off another list item.
  1. Take a girls only weekend away.


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I've been eating quite well here in Paris. It seems impossible not to, actually. I'll be attempting to recreate a gorgeous salad I had here: asparagus, pears, and shaved parmesan over lettuce. And I'll be dreaming about a dinner I had in my neighborhood: a tartine with apricot compote and thinly sliced foie gras, and a shared creme brulée for dessert.

Still, my favorite thing is just grabbing some cheese and a baguette and eating it outside.

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I am well aware that this is pretty much the lamest picture ever. I spent the whole day Thursday either in an airport or on an airplane, and this was apparently the best I could do.

That says PARIS, by the way.

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These are my beautiful new shoes for Paris! Perfectly casual and comfortable for any occasion!

Of course, what I DIDN'T know when I bought them is that they had the potential to actually eat my feet. And that French band-aids cost about $3 each.

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Oh no! I forgot to take my daily picture! REALLY?!?

Oh well, add this one to the failure pile.

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