Category Archives: Christmas

Welcome To December

Whoa. December. How did that happen?

I am still shaking the sand out of my eyes and ears, having buried my head in escape from much of what was going on around me for several weeks following a certain day in November. I am back in the game, though still avoiding as much news as possible, which I am fully aware is not a mature way to deal, but it seems to help manage my anxiety so I am going with it. And also this.

img_8226

Anne never lets me down.

We made our first trip to Napa last month and I was smitten. What a gorgeous part of this country.

img_8151

We also made a second trip to Washington DC to visit our daughter. It was a lot more fun than the moving weekend- no trips to Target required. The city was aflame with autumn and refreshed us with crisp air.

img_8194

img_8193

Thanksgiving happened at our house this year. Having my whole family at my table made me very thankful.

img_8236

but it was kind of hard to pass the salt

My November Nature Escape took me to Pedernales Falls State Park with my dog and a good friend. Still not many colorful trees to be found, but the day was glorious.

img_8223

Meanwhile back in the kitchen- did you know you can freeze pomegranate seeds? Well YOU CAN!

img_8117

I usually remove the seeds in a big bowl of water, but this time I tried a Martha Stewart technique which involved holding a half in one hand and spanking the peel side with a wooden spoon until all the ruby beauties fell out. I’m not sure it was any easier, but it did relieve some frustration.

Then I put spread the seeds out on a tray and froze them before sealing them all up into a large zip bag, where they await my December salads and cocktails and any other uses for them I can dream up. They taste pretty good by their little frozen selves, too.

img_8119

I have sought refuge in many a good book these past few weeks. This one particularly pleased me, and didn’t seem to get a lot of press. The author is British and wrote the short story on which the film 45 Years was based. (I also loved that film, though Mark yawned all the way through it. Anyone else see it?) The prose in this novel took my breath away.

img_8210

And yes, I would be lying if I said I haven’t fantasized about flying back to Paris for a good long while. Remember December in Paris?

img_2773

even though I never cared for those “hula hoop” decorations on the Champs

img_2493

img_1755

img_4843

img_4868

img_4888

Le sigh. Let’s go back.

But no- it’s onward and upward. Bring it, December! I am looking forward to a driving trip back to Pagosa Springs, Colorado (where it was 9 degrees this morning!!), lots of time in my kitchen, some fires in my fireplace, all the books, and good thoughts for 2017. What about you?

8 Comments

Filed under books, Christmas, cooking, Paris, Paris in winter, Uncategorized

Happy New Year, Paris!

Mark and I took the mid-afternoon train on Thursday from London to Paris, arriving just as the City of Light was getting dark. Mark has some business here (hooray!), so we thanked London for her hospitality, kissed her goodbye, and returned to this place that holds so many wonderful memories.

Can I just tell you how happy I am to be back in my favorite city??? I don’t think I have stopped smiling in the two days we have been here. Paris in January is divine-the big winter light is everywhere and the crowds have disappeared. Restaurants that usually require reservations days in advance are happy to offer us a table on short notice. PLUS it’s SALE TIME again! I have virtually no room in my suitcase but I am not opposed to jettisoning all of the clothes I have been wearing non-stop for four months to make space for bargains. Or even for “not quite bargains”. For the first time in several years I don’t know when my next trip to Paris will be, so I might need to take some Paris home with me. And compared with London, everything is a bargain. I think you can see where this is going.

I covered some serious ground yesterday.

image

breakfast!

image

It’s King Cake time again!

image

I stopped by Merci, hoping for bargains.

image

imageimageimage

Of course I had to go say “bonjour” to the Place des Vosges. It looked a tad woebegone without its leafy green canopies, but still managed to be elegant.

image

My favorite fancy hot chocolate spot was sparkly and beautiful.

image

 

With some quick steps I managed to just catch the pink of the sun on the tops of Notre Dame.

image

image

That evening I met Mark and some co-workers at the Mini Palais, one of our favorite places for drinks or dinner. I took the metro, and when I popped up I was pleasantly surprised to find the Champs Elysees still wearing her Christmas best.

image

image

The Christmas vendors were still hawking their wares.

image

The Mini Palais sits in a corner of the Grand Palais, and has one of the best terraces in town.

image

The food looked almost too pretty to eat.

pumpkin soup with chestnuts

pumpkin soup with chestnuts

the BEST scallops

the BEST scallops

Not a bad day at all.

7 Comments

Filed under Champs Elysees, Christmas, Grand Palais, Marais, Notre Dame, Paris, Paris dining, Paris in winter, Place de Vosges, Uncategorized

More Paris Christmas Past

Bonjour my friends. My two college kids are both home, the tree is up, and most of the presents are bought and wrapped. I guess Christmas is really going to happen. In addition to worrying about whether anyone  who is going to end up with fewer gifts than everyone else and what we are going to eat on Eve and Day, I am also beginning to make lists of what I need to take back to Paris on the 28th. We will have been gone for three months this time, and I have kind of forgotten what I have there and what I need for the cold months ahead. Today I added stone-ground cornmeal and steel-cut oats to my Paris pile, items which can be bought there but rarely on the first attempt. I am also taking a jar of “Better Than Bouillon”, as pre-made stock is not available and I hate those little cubes that taste like they came straight from the chemistry lab.

I hope you are all checking things off your list and staying in good humor. This cartoon from the New Yorker reminded me to smile or take off my party hat. And I do so love a good hat.

unnamed

 

Here are some more pics from Paris in December, to keep you feeling the cheer!

IMG_1518

IMG_1517

Bouche de Noel- yum

Buche de Noel- yum

no idea what they are but too pretty to eat

no idea what they are but too pretty to eat

IMG_1524

IMG_0139

IMG_1528

 

Fa la la la la la la la la la!

 

2 Comments

Filed under chocolate, Christmas, Galeries Lafayette

December in Paris

No, I am no back in Paris yet. I will stay here in balmy Texas until December 28th. But I am kind of missing Christmas time in Paris, and I thought you might be, too. So here are a few photos from last December. Enjoy.

IMG_3921

Bristol Hotel

Bristol Hotel

IMG_3927

IMG_3895

IMG_3913

IMG_3897

I hope you are all feeling the spirit of the season by now! We are a week into December, after all.

Ho Ho Ho and all that.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Christmas, Eiffel Tower, Paris