It’s All Maya!

If Life is an illusion, then why do I keep banging my head against the wall?

Si la Vie est une illusion, pourquoi je n'arrête pas de me taper la tête sur les murs?

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When It Rains, It Pours - Quick Get Me An Unbrella!

July 25th, 2014 · By Lynn

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Or better yet, get me a tent!  I have seen no less than ten doctors in one month, all for various reasons and complications.  One doctor who made a house call for my bronchitis, ended up telling me to get dressed and he would drive me to the emergency!  I did, and he did,  he was so nice.

I ended up staying overnight in the hospital.  My first time and hopefully my last!  Well, not counting when I was born, of course, but I don’t remember, so it doesn’t count.  Apparently I didn’t have enough oxygen in my blood.  Who knew that could be so dangerous?  I also had my first ambulance ride.  It was another first I could have done without.

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Hey, guys! Uh, you forgot to strap me in!

Speaking of firsts, I was tortured (No, the word is not too strong!) when they needed to take blood from an artery in my wrist.  (It’s nothing like drawing blood from a vein. That’s a piece of cake.)  This happened while Mercury was retrograde in Gemini and also during a new Moon.  It was absolutely the worst time to do this if you know anything about medical astrology.  They tried to draw blood 8 times, each time was excruciatingly painful.  They succeeded only twice, the other six times, shall we say, were bonus tortures.

Then I saw an ophthalmologist from hell!  I was afraid there were complications with the scleral buckle I had put in 14 years ago for a torn retina.  No, everything was fine, but it’s a miracle this doctor didn’t tear my retina out!  She was so brutal and the worst part, I think she enjoyed her brutality.  You couldn’t pay me to go see her again!

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To make matters worse, the antibiotics I took, ended up giving me a whole other problem that needed to be treated.  Why do doctors do this when an easy solution is to prevent the second infection from ever occurring?  I mean, is that too much to ask?  Really!

Anyway, I haven’t been on the internet as much because I’m still not up to par.  I’m not sure if it’s the medications that are making me feel this way or it’s because I haven’t fully recovered yet.  Either way, I think I’ll be happy to say goodbye to July and look forward to a healthier August.  Fingers crossed!

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Maya Muses:  I have to run.  I need to pick up lab work, plus my mammogram results, and yes, this afternoon I have another doctor’s appointment!  Maybe I should put on my dancing shoes….

Photo Credits:  Rain in Paris, Ambulance, Eye Exam and Google Images

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Happy Father’s Day!

June 15th, 2014 · By Lynn

Father’s Day is always bittersweet because my dad is no longer here.  It’s been many years since he passed away, but I think about him not just on this day, but often.  Some years ago, an old family friend of my parents mentioned to me how patient my father used to be with us “kids”.  It was true.  Like most of us, life dealt my dad many blessings and many hardships.

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Pancho Villa and Zapata.

As a young boy he saw the uprisings, hangings, and rebellions led by Zapata and Pancho Villa that became the Mexican Revolution.  At twelve he climbed the Sierra Madres Moutains with an old man and his donkey panning for gold.  And by the time he was sixteen, much to the sorrow of his parents and family in Chihuahua, he made his way to the United States (legally).  Well, he did tell immigration he was eighteen.

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The big band era.

Dad spoke several languages, he was an avid reader, and shared his love for the arts with his children.  He taught himself guitar and later joined a big band who played all over the northeastern part of the United States.  He was a very handsome man and he planned on staying a bachelor all his life.  Why not?  Life was good and he enjoyed his freedom.  Well, until he met my mom that is.  They met when she was a bridesmaid and he was a groomsman.

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Mom and Dad on the left.

Mom herself was an independent woman.  A Rosie the Riveter during the war and marriage wasn’t her first priority either.  She was already 26 by the time she met dad and back then she was considered an old maid!  Dad was 45 and well, what can you say when two people fall in love?

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They married a year later.

I have wonderful childhood memories of him taking me and my brothers and sisters to the library to check out books.  We’d pile into the car making all kinds of noise on the trip over.  Coming back home you could hear a pin drop, we’d each have our nose in a book.  Mom never came along on these excursion.  Now I realize it was her down time to be away from us.

Dad taught me how to play guitar and each one of his kids (5 of us) learned an instrument in school. I took clarinet and yes there were times we played as an ensemble. Our own family band.

My father was always debonair no matter where he went. He wore a hat, his Florsheim shoes were always shiny, and he carried a cane.

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As I got older, I realized just how smart my father was.  Every time I learned something new in school, whether it was history, geography, science, etc., I would think, “Oh, Dad doesn’t know about this!”  It became a game.  I would come home and ask him, “Do you know….”  There was never a time I could stump him, he knew everything.  Afterwards, Dad and I would sit and talk for hours and I learned a lot from him during our conversations.

I forgot to mention, dad had two serious accidents and he was in constant pain.  Relief came only when he slept.  The first accident occured when I was very young.  He hurt his back, and in those days they operated by taking a bone fragment from his leg to place it in the spine.  Long story short, the operation was not successful.  He not only continued to have back pain, but cramping and numbness in his leg that never went away.  So, for most of my life, my father was in physical pain.

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Dad was 55 years-old here with Mom and my sister, Rose.

He could have been bitter.  He could have made life miserable for his family and make us suffer as he was.  But he didn’t.  Instead, my dad had a wonderful personality.  He laughed and told stories (he was a great story teller) and he sang and played his guitar.  Only in the privacy of their bedroom did he let his guard down and my mom could see what he was going through.

The second accident happened when I was in high school and he lost the use of his left hand.  He could no longer play his beloved Gibson.  It was tragic because the music died.  Not his spirit.  He continued on with his other interests, but music had been his love, his salvation.  When he had played, he sometimes forgot his pain.

And then before you knew it…he was gone.

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Maya Muses:  That’s what the family friend meant by his patience.  He had his kids late in life. And even when someone is young and healthy it takes a lot of patience to be a parent.  My dad had that patience despite the odds.  He was a wonderful father who showered us with kindness and love.  It’s been many years, decades even, but I miss him as much as ever.

I love you, dad!

Photo Credits: Zapata & Villa, Glenn Miller Band, and Personal Photos

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D-Day June 6, 1944 / June 6, 2014 - The Great Escape!

June 7th, 2014 · By Lynn

Bernard Jordan landed on D-Day and 70 years later, he hoped he wouldn’t be landing in trouble.

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Yesterday was the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.  There were commemorations, ceremonies, live reports and documentaries for the past several days here in France about the D-Day invasion.  One of the best stories I was following was a human interest story.  89 year-old Bernard Jordan was a Royal Navy Officer and he hatched a plan.  The biggest D-Day celebration was going on in France and he was determined to be a part of it.  The only problem was Mr. Jordan lives in a care home and he’s only allowed a short walk to town and down to the local pub.

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The still spry and agile veteran put on his medals under his raincoat and headed out the door.  He had made arrangements with a friend to drive him to Brighton Station.  From there he took a train to Portsmouth.  The rest of the way to France, he was going to play it by ear.  There at the dockside he says, “I saw someone I knew and asked if I could go on the trip. They said, yes.”

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When Bernard didn’t return home for dinner that evening, The Pines care home called police and a search was put in place for the missing octogenarian.  Everyone was on high alert for the well-known former mayor of Hove.  While they searched the surrounding area, hospitals, bus depots, etc., Bernard had already crossed the English Channel and had checked himself into a hotel in Ouistreham, Normandy.

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when one of Mr. Jordan’s old comrades telephoned the care home to let them know he had been on the coach with them to Normandy and that “he would come home when he was ready.”  His wife, Irene, who lives with him in the care home was in on her husband’s adventure.  He said, “My wife knew I was going - she supported me. I’m really pleased I did it and I’ll do it again next year if I’m still here.”

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Today Mr. Jordan returned to Portsmouth, Hampshire on the Brittany Ferry “The Normandie” to a hero’s welcome.  He was given a hearty breakfast of fried eggs, sausages, bacon, orange juice and coffee.  The crew said his appetite matched his appetite for life and that he was a real charmer with the ladies.  He sipped tea with the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the Parachute Regiment and they declared him “our new best mate.”

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Upon arriving on British soil, Mr. Jordan was met by the media.  “I’ve had a really good time.” he said.  “It meant the world to be part of the anniversary.  I just wanted to go over and join in with the commemorations. Being a veteran myself this was important to me and it meant the world to be there. I met some great characters - from old veterans to dancing girls - and I loved every minute.” He went on to say, “It was such an exciting experience - it was a smashing event but it is marvellous to be back. I will have to face the music at the care home now, but that is just one of those things in life.”  Mr. Jordan didn’t have to worry.  The Pines care home was just happy to have their new celebrity resident back home.

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Maya Muses:  A spokesman for Brittany Ferries said Mr. Jordan can travel with them for free in the future.  I think The Pines is going to have to help with his preparations for D-Day next year.  It seems nothing stops Bernard Jordan when he puts his mind to it.  And just maybe his wife, Irene, will join him on his next adventure!

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Photo Credit:  The Daily Mail

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May Roundup

May 31st, 2014 · By Lynn

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The best kind of flowers are those that are bought for no reason except that they’re pretty!

Patrick and I had so many outings in May, I thought I would have time to write about each one, but it wasn’t to be.  It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words, well I’m glad I took quite a few photos so they can do most of the talking for me.

First of all, we went to several Expos at the Porte de Versaille:

At this one we saw Ruben Sarfati, the young chef who first appeared on Un Dîner Presque Parfait and then was chosen for Top Chef.

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If you like honey, you wouldn’t have been disappointed here.

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There were food and wine stands where Patrick and I took advantage of sampling quite a few cheeses, wines and charcuteries.

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That wasn’t all that was on display!  Plaisirs Coquins was a popular booth too!
Believe me, those aren’t professional photographers!

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It’s so easy to get around Paris on a scooter and no worries about finding a parking space.  You just leave it on the sidewalk. (This is a great little hotel in front of the Luxembourg Gardens.  I use to live next door to this place for years.)

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And because of our scooter, Patrick and I have been taking little trips outside of Paris that we normally wouldn’t visit.  One of them lead us to an American Cemetery in Suresnes.  Who knew?  You can see the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

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The American who supervises the cemetery invited us to come back on Memorial Day.  He said they had a nice ceremony there every year.  Patrick and I decided to go and we weren’t disappointed!

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French and American flags were everywhere.

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I laid flowers on the tomb of a soldier from Pennsylvania.

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It was also the 10th annual Nuit Européenne des Musées.  The museums throughout Europe were open until midnight, some until 1 a.m.  Patrick and I decided to go to four museums.  We only made it to three:

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There were lines of people ahead of us at all the museums, but the wait was well worth it.

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Les Nymphéas - Soleil Couchant by Monet
Musée National de L’Orangerie at the Jardin des Tuileries

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Delacroix’s atelier at la Place de Furstenberg! Can it get any better than that?

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Musée Eugène Delacroix

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We got to the Luxembourg Museum around midnight. There was a queue waiting to get in.

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I wouldn’t mind having Empress Josephine’s earrings!
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We also spent a day at Saint-Germain-en-Laye.  Friends of mine had lived here for years before moving to the countryside so I know it well.  It’s a nice little town and the chateau and the gardens are a great place to walk  on a beautiful day.

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Another little town that is quaint and makes you feel like you’ve left the Île-de-France far behind is Rueil-Malmaison.  The little streets and shops had us thinking we were on holiday in the south of France.  We plan on going back and spending more time there.

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We couldn’t help ourselves when we saw this butcher shop.  We bought some great filets here!

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Every year in May neighbors get together and have a party.  It’s called the Fête des Voisins.  The goal is for everyone to get to know one another.  It’s a great excuse to eat and drink.  And you know no one is going to complain about the noise because all the neighbors are invited.

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We were lucky to go to the Parc de Saint-Cloud at the right time.  They have one of the most beautiful fountains in France but the cascading waterfall isn’t always on.  It was this day.  Some people must be in the know because there were quite a few people with cameras for the occasion.

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Patrick getting a little wet!

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You have to keep panning out to get the whole fountain in the photo!

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I had to sit down when we got to the end. (Not really, I love to walk.)

Maya Muses:  These were some of the places we went to in May.  I could write more about our excursions, but I’ll have to save it for another time.  We always end up at our favorite café for a drink before heading home.  No complaints here!

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My flowers not only look beautiful, they smell divine! A lot of the lilies were still closed in this photo.

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This morning three more opened up - simply gorgeous!

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Photo Credits:  Personal Photos

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Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

May 10th, 2014 · By Lynn

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Some people think they have the best mom in the world.  I’m one of those lucky people, because I do!  She’s what has kept our family together all these years after my father passed away.  I wrote about her life in a post on Mother’s Day 2010.

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Mom working at Dravo’s shipyard.

I wrote about how difficult her life had been when it started out 91 years ago.  And the part she played as a Rosie the Riveter during WWII.  It was women like her who built a battleship a day (or a fighter plane every hour) that helped win the war.  I also wrote about her time as a Foster Grandmother for more than twenty years and how she worked in a children’s hospital taking care of sick kids.  She’s more than a wonderful mother, she’s a person who is always giving.

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Mom with a few of her orchids.

Children love her and so do plants.  People bring her their sick and dying plants and no matter how far gone they are, the flowers and plants always get better in her care.  I once asked her what her secret was and she told me, “I tell them, ‘you better not die on me!  You’re going to get well and they do!’”

I spoke about her mini stroke and how she willed herself into getting better again.  Over and over she told herself she would recover completely and she did!  Her mind is sharp and she’s as active as ever.  I call her almost everyday on the phone and it’s always the same:

“What are you doing, mom?”
“I’m taking clothes upstairs from the dryer.”  Or, “I’m bringing plants downstairs to put out on the porch.”

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91 years young and at the gym!

She’s always on the move.  I call her the Energizer Bunny!  People 20 - 30 years younger aren’t as tech saavy as she is.  She has her Facebook page, she reads her emails, and she sends text messages over her phone.  Sometimes I’ll be on the computer and someone will Skype me.  Yes, it’s usually my mom!

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Mom Skyping in her office.

The other day she told me, “Oh, can you call me later?  My doctor’s office is just about to fax me.”
“Fax!  I didn’t know you knew how to fax.”  I said, somewhat surprised.
“Why not?”  Mom said.  “It’s easy.”

She still watches her soap operas, but now she likes to say she’s multitasking.  What she means is, she turns on the TV and turns on her iPad and plays Candy Crush while she’s watching her soaps. She’s too wonderful for words!

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Mom getting ready to sing a song with the Mariachi band!

Maya Muses:  Yes, she still loves to travel.  As a matter of fact, she’ll be taking off on a trip soon and she doesn’t mind a frozen margarita every now and again.  They don’t call her generation “the Greatest Generation” for nothing!  I call her “the greatest mom!”

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  I love you!

Photo Credits:  Bouquet and Personal Photos

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No Love In Placing Locks On Bridges - Just Vandalism!

April 8th, 2014 · By Lynn

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The Pont des Arts before locks.

I’ve written about this problem two years ago and it’s time to write about it again.  The article I wrote was, If You Think Putting Locks On The Pont Des Arts Is Romantic - Think Again!!!  Tourists who come to Paris do not realize, or else they don’t care, how much they’re destroying this city by placing locks on bridges, lampposts, and monuments and then throwing the keys in the Seine.  It started out on the Pont des Arts and now it has become an epidemic that has spread to other bridges.  The situation has gotten out of hand.

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Locks on the Pont de l’Archevêché.

There was a report on the news yesterday (TF1) that the locks on the Pont des Arts now weigh several tons, the equivalent of three large trucks.  It’s destroying the bridge and costing the city of Paris (and the taxpayers) money that could be better spent elsewhere.  Instead, when the wire structure of the bridge breaks under the weight of the locks, the panel structure is replaced and the battle begins again as new locks are once again placed on the bridge by people who are unconscious of their acts, or who just don’t give a damn!  If that’s not bad enough, the Seine is being polluted by the number of lock keys being thrown into the river.

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Must people be like sheep?

Tourists were asked, in an interview, if it mattered that they were ruining the bridge; and did they know that their locks weren’t going to be there forever because they’re taken down every six months due to the weight destruction and security of the bridge.  One girl said, it just gave her and her boyfriend another reason to return to Paris and place another lock on the bridge.

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If this isn’t vandalism, what is? Even the lampposts aren’t spared!

It’s crazy!  Would those same tourists, who don’t seem to care, write on or vandalize a bridge or a monument with graffiti?  Would those same tourists throw plastic bags or containers into the river and pollute it?  I doubt it.  Yet, they have no qualms in defacing a bridge with a lock that they consider a romantic gesture and then throwing the key into the Seine!

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Hefty fines should be paid for this!

Maya Muses:  Wake up people!  Destroying the city’s bridges and monuments and polluting the city’s river is not romantic! The beauty that was once so evident in Paris is slowly being destroyed by these ugly locks.

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Spray painted locks on the Pont des Arts - need I say more?

Some people call them “love locks”, but I won’t even use that term in what is pure vandalism.  Please click on the link below and sign the petition to have the government bring forth a solution to get rid of this serious problem!

http://nolovelocks.com/fr/#petition

Photo Credits:  Each photo comes from a website that talks more about the problems in this post.

Photo #1

Photo #2

Photo #3

Photo #4

Photo #5

Photo #6

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Kids Say The Funniest Things!

March 14th, 2014 · By Lynn

I laughed so hard listening to these first two videos, I had to share!  They’re so funny!  The first one is about an 8 year-old Irish girl, Becky, who wants to demolish her school.

The second is by a 4 year-old little boy who calls 911 to ask for help with his math homework.

Et pour mes amis Français - Mec Si Beau! (Oui, je parle de notre cher président!) LOL!

Maya Muses:  Enjoy and have a great weekend!

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A Sunday Walk In Montsouris

February 23rd, 2014 · By Lynn

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Just a regular day in the park. You can’t get lonely here!

It was Sunday, sunny and warm, as Patrick and I headed over to the Parc Montsouris in the 14e arrondissement.  Well let me tell you, we weren’t alone!  There were people of all ages soaking in the sunshine.  Organ grinders, children, dogs, ponies, and swans were the entertainment for the day.  It’s hilarious when a small child goes chasing after a swan, the mother runs after the child, and a big swan decides to bite the mother’s butt to show her who’s boss!  Yes, you can find entertainment just about anywhere!

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Cute ponies!

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Having a drink in the park.

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There were 2 young organ grinders on the other side of the park giving this one competition!

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Careful! Those swans can be mean and nip you in the butt!

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Now this looked like an interesting street to explore! (And less people!)

After walking around the park and the pond, Patrick and I noticed a small street across the way and headed over to have a closer look.  The Square Montsouris is a small cobblestone street that was built back in the 1920s.

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When you don’t have a garage, you buy a Smart car and problem solved!

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Patrick checking out the bikes.

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This looks like an old Normandie house from the Middle-Ages!

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(Hmm! I wouldn’t mind owning that one.)

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A lovely library in a cozy setting to curl up and read.

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Le Corbusier pavilion. (And look at the terrace!)

Twenty-eight of the homes that make up this small street were built for families of modest income.  The HBM homes (habitations à bon marché) had to be built out of red brick or ocher.  The rest could be built according to the owners’ whims and fancies.  Famous artists, sculptors, doctors, etc., have lived here.  Today, each home is worth a fortune.  The most famous pavilion is the one built by the architect Le Corbusier for his friend, the painter, Ozenfant.  It’s the very last one which meets up at 51 Avenue Reille.

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I love red doors!

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This looks almost like a Hobbit door!

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One of the more modest homes? I think not!

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(Hmm! Or maybe this one.)

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Yes, what can I say? I love doors!

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I wouldn’t want to clean those windows!

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Stained glass above the door.

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Another modest house? Not in today’s market!

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Maya Muses:  It’s a gorgeous little street, but I’m sure it’ll be even prettier in the summertime when all the vines and the trees are in bloom.  (Patrick and I plan on returning then.)  It reminds me a little of the Cour Saint-Pierre in the 17e where I use to live.

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View of the street, Square Montsouris, from the park.

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View of the Parc Montsouris from their street.

Photo Credits:  Personal photos

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The Voice - Toujours Les Mêmes Habits!

January 29th, 2014 · By Lynn

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Patrick et moi aimons regarder The Voice et chaque semaine Florent, Jenifer, Mika et Garou portent toujours les mêmes habits!  Incroyable que l’équipe de production n’aie pas pensé à ce detail si important.  Ouais, je sais que l’enregistrement se déroule le jour même pour plusieurs émissions. Mais, ça aurait été tellement simple aux vedettes de se changer à chaque nouvelle emission pour au moins “prétendre” que c’est une semaine differente.

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J’en ai marre de voir Mika toujours habillé avec son costume bleu électrique qui date des années 80s et qui ressemble à un vieux petit garçon.

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Ce n’est pas mieux avec Jenifer accoutrée de sa mi-robe, mi-sortie bain de plage.  (Elle porte les même sous-vetements depuis trois semaines!  Dois-je en dire plus?!)

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Les choses se passent un peu mieux pour Florent Pagny et sa veste couleur moutarde. Cependant, il me fait penser au chef d’orchestre d’une fanfare, sans fanfare.  Garou, quant à lui, s’en sort mieux avec sa veste en cuir noir, c’est lui le moins tapageur.  (Étonnant, non?!)

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Maya Muses:  Mon plus grand souhait est que ce samedi les quatre vedettes seront habillées de frais!  Sinon, je vais demander au publique de faire une donation pour aider ces pauvres gens. 

(Ouais….!)

Photo Credits:  The Voice, Jenifer, Florent Pagny, Mika, The Voice

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The Dinner by Herman Koch Or Hell’s Kitchen – Bon Appétit!

January 19th, 2014 · By Lynn

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First of all, let me say I enjoyed the novel.  The writing was good and the plot somewhat intriguing.  A 309 page story that takes place in a restaurant over dinner.  And not just any restaurant, but a fashionable one to boot.  Of course, I had to buy it if only to see what was on the menu and the service.  Okay, and because the story takes place in Amsterdam and I happened to live there for a year.

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The book starts with the apéritif, then the appetizer, the main course, dessert, and last of all, the digestif.  All that was missing was the cheese course–not!  The author managed to have the protagonist order cheese instead of dessert.

The storyline is, two brothers and their wives go to an upscale restaurant to talk about their sons.  The two teenage boys were caught on camera in an act of violence that resulted in a death.  The story is told by Paul.  His brother, Serge, is considered a shoo-in for becoming the next prime minister of Holland.  The last thing the politician needs is for his son and nephew to be implicated in a homicide.

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The video that was shown nationwide on the news shows the two boys committing the act, but they’re not readily identifiable except to the parents.

As each course is served, we get the back story about Paul and his son Michel, as well as, Serge’s son, Rick and his adopted son, Beau.  Paul’s wife, Marie-Claire, who calls herself Claire and Serge’s wife, Babette round out the cast.  (I find it interesting that out of the seven named characters, five of the names are French instead of Dutch.)  Still, the parody about a four star (French) restaurant was amusing although the author never names the restaurant.  As a matter of fact, several times the authors prefers not mentioning important details that would have made the story more interesting.  Instead, he tells the reader, they’re details that are private and not necessary to reveal.  (Go figure!)

Psychologically there’s a lot to be said here.  How far would someone go to protect their loved ones even though they know they’re guilty?  What are the consequences of that protection, how will that person turn out in life when he suffers no consequences for his actions?  The problem is the author spends more time with Pauls ramblings and back story rather than the four parents getting into discussing the real issue which is the reason, afterall, for the dinner.  Instead, we learn about Paul’s mental disorder and inability to control his own violent behavior which comes off as an excuse for his son’s random acts of violence on helpless people.

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The main reason this novel didn’t work for me and it hindered the enjoyment of reading this book was the choice of setting.  Who in their right mind, especially someone who’s a famous politician as Serge is in the story, would go to a public place to discuss something so private?  No one!  The last place anyone would talk about such a secret as their sons being murderers, would be in a top restaurant with the maître d’ hovering and patrons sitting all around trying to eavesdrop on their conversation.

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Maya Muses:  Even though hardly anything was said during dinner about the event, I had a hard time getting past something that seemed to me so illogical, it just didn’t work. Don’t let that stop you from reading this novel.  After all, there are a lot of other books who’s settings defy logic, yet we enjoy them and are carried away without question.  I think the seriousness of the acts of violence, without consequences or remorse, is what kept me grounded and unable to completely enjoy the meal.

Photo Credits:  Google Images, Menu, and Maître d’

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