Category Archives: moving

Lawdy But It’s Hot

Bonjour from Austin, Texas, where the second full day of summer finds us wondering how many more days until fall, and will it rain again before then? The answers are “too many” and “sweet baby Jesus I hope so”. Until then, we spend most of our daylight hours inside, venturing out only mornings and evenings, which are cooler but still make our sports bras and Nike shorts stick to us like cling wrap. And by “we” and “us” I mean “I” and “me”- not sure why I am gravitating toward the third person today.

My house is currently redolent with the sweet smell of the double batch of granola I just removed from the oven. IMG_7168

This is my go-to granola, and I have gifted some of you with your very own portion, casting me forever in your good graces. I will be bringing this crunchy Nirvana In A Jar to friends who are hosting us on our Colorado road trip next month. If this moves you to invite us to stop by your mountain retreat, feel free to leave a comment below. Or you can make your own, but that’s not as much fun for me.

Can you guess what this lovely concoction is?

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This, mes amis, is the beginnings of lavender and honey ice cream! My good friend and I went to the Lavender Festival in Blanco, Texas the other weekend, and I bought a jar of cooking lavender specifically so I could attempt this ice cream. When we ate at Chicon recently, one lucky person at our table ordered lavender and honey ice cream, to which I sneered and opted for the coconut cake, because who wouldn’t? The ice cream turned out to be the clear winner over the cake, which was the only weak link in a delicious meal, and I have been thinking about that ice cream ever since. I used this recipe, but with one cup of cream and two cups of whole milk and a tad less honey. The loose lavender is strained out of the batter after steeping for ten minutes, so you do not end up with purple bits in your teeth after dessert. But it would be worth it, even if you did. We liked it with a sprinkle of that heretofore mentioned granola (did you know I was a lawyer in my previous life?) because the granola makes everything better. I think you can buy culinary lavender at Whole Foods, in case you happened to have missed the Blanco festival this year. I didn’t ride this to Blanco, but someone did. Lest you think Lavender Festivals are for sissies.
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It hasn’t all been lavender and unicorns around here. We moved all our stuff that had been in storage from Paris into the rooms not being renovated in our new house. Fortunately, everything appeared to be in as good shape as it was the day it flew out the window of our Paris apartment almost a year ago. Those Frenchies know how to pack.

We also moved out of our Houston home and have stuffed boxes and belongings into our lake house until it is groaning with the strain. But whew. Glad the heavy work is done and that our treasures weathered the sea passage and storage.

What else? I finally finished Queen Of The Night, a delightful tome by Alexander Chee. I loved all six-hundred pages of this story about a star soprano of the Paris opera who discovers that someone has written a novel of her life, including secrets that few people know. As she tries to figure out who the author is, she tells us of her amazing life as a circus performer, a courtesan, an assistant to the Empress, and a starving orphan. This book was enchanting from beginning to end. And did I mention Paris?

We had Martha all to ourselves for Father’s Day, which we ended with a nice dinner with a view.

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Cheers to dads and sunsets everywhere.

Stay cool, y’all.

 

 

 

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Filed under Austin, Austin dining, books, cooking, moving, Texas, Uncategorized

“En Un Clin d’Oeil”

 

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* A few of you will notice that I originally posted this about a week ago and then quickly removed it. Turns out I had jumped the gun a bit, and Mark asked me to take it down until he had officially notified everyone at his office that we were leaving Paris. We arrived in Houston yesterday and Mark told me I could safely re-post, so here it is.

For those of you who don’t speak French, the title means, “in the blink of an eye”. When we got the news we were moving to Paris, we were told our stay would be from three to five years. I didn’t dare to hope it would last the full five, and I never really believed it would. Although we went from “full-time” to “part-time” residents after three years, we actually have had our apartment and Mark’s Paris office for five. Incroyable! If you have been a regular around this blog, you know that we have loved every minute (well, almost every minute) of what Paris has given us. It has been such a joy to be able to share the experience with all of you, and to share our apartment and our excitement for this city with so many family and friends.

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Our time here has finally come to and end, something we knew would eventually happen but didn’t want to talk about. Or think about. Or blog about. The last few weeks have been a frenzy of planning and packing and trying to remember which end is up. The movers arrive tomorrow to put our home in crates and send it back across the ocean. We will enjoy one last weekend in Paris and then fly back to Texas on Monday.

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I think my kids have all been worried that I would go into a full-on funk about leaving, as they keep asking Mark how I am handling the move. Thankfully, I am doing just fine, kids! Although I am sad to see this incredible adventure reach its denouement, I am mostly grateful for having had this time here- time I never dreamed about or expected or deserved. Living here was so much easier than I had anticipated it being, and even more rewarding. I will always carry a bit of Paris with me, and I know the memories of our time here will buoy me through rough waters ahead.

I have such gratitude to those of you who have been loyal readers here. I tend to forget that there are so many of you out there and then I run into you at the gym or the grocery store and you mention how much you enjoy my blog and I float around with a very happy heart for the next hour or so. Others of you I have never met but your presence here has been so appreciated. Thanks for hanging in there with me through good posts and bad posts and long time in-between posts. It wouldn’t be nearly as fun to send out words and photos if no one were listening.

I still have quite a lot of Paris to share with you from Texas, but it always takes me awhile to get my boots on the ground and jalapeños back in my bloodstream. I don’t really know what will happen here when I run out of Paris. I know many of you will break up with me, because Paris is why you’re here, and that’s fine. But I hope some of the rest of you will stick around to see what happens. We have some fun plans that include several months in London, so maybe we can explore that city together. And maybe we will keep talking about other things that make us tick, like books and food and great floors and the internet and other crazy, miraculous, sad, hilarious, painful stuff that is this life. I am open to the possibilities if you are.

Bisous from Paris, mes amis!

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Filed under moving, Paris

One Month Today

Today, September 20, marks my official one month anniversary with Paris.  It has been typical of new relationships- started out giddy and oh so wonderful, and then gradually the hormones began to drop and the ups and down of reality set in.  Some days I am madly in love with Paris, some days I want to kick her ass.  Yeah- a lot like other relationships, now that I think of it.

So lets start with the things that piss me off.

1.  It’s really noisy here.  People love to honk their horns and to rev their motorcycles.  And there are a whole lot more emergencies here than at home- those nasal-sounding sirens go off all the freakin’ time.

2.    Paris needs a good anti-littering motto, like we have in the Lone Star State.  How about Don’t Embarrass Paris?  The trash on the streets here is out of control, despite the fact that they have an amazing public street cleaning process that  seems to give the entire city a nice bath every morning.  By the next morning, though (before the sweepers/sprayers ride through) it looks as though the trash bins have all been systematically turned over on the sidewalks and streets. Ick.  What would Willy do?  Don’t know, but if I were the Boss of Paris I would outlaw flyers on cars and smoking in public, and also require the metro tickets to be inserted into the metro exits in order to leave.  If cig butts, flyers, and metro tix were off the streets, Paris would be way tidier.

3. The internet is crazy unreliable.  Our Macs have been twirling more beach balls than they ever did in all their years in the US.

4.     Ummm- I’m having trouble coming up with number 4.  Maybe it’s time to switch to the things I love about Paris.

1.  I’m so ashamed.  I know it’s really shallow to be attracted to another based on looks alone, but lets face it, Paris has it goin’ on.  She is gorgeous in the sun, the rain, the fog, the clouds, the morning and the evening.  She’s got bridges and monuments and beautiful  limestone buildings.  She just never has a bad day.  Gotta love that.

2.  The food.  Not just the obvious- chocolate and pastry.  I have had the best fish here I have ever eaten.  And I so love that they add fresh eggs with a gloriously golden, runny yolk to everything from salads to pizzas.  The food here is pretty darn awesome.

3.  Paris moves me.  Her public transportation system is out of this world.    Yeah, the metro can be hot and smelly and crowded, but it’s on time and it’s quick and it’s easy to figure out.  Coming from a state that has never figured out how to get out of the car, I am happy with fast and easy.

4. I know this may surprise some of you, but the people here have been really nice.  When I make eye contact and give them my southern smile, they frequently say “bonjour” and give me a demi-smile of their own.  And they love my dog.  Sure, I have received a few stink-eyes, but I probably got an occasional one of those at home and didn’t even give it a second thought.  Maybe even from one of you????????

So after just a month, I already love more things about Paris than I hate.  We’ll continue to have our good days and bad days, but for now, we’re comfortable.   And comfortable is good.

Austin is still first in my heart, but I’m in Paris now, and you gotta  love the one you’re with.

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Filed under moving, Uncategorized

Moving Day

I can't believe she put that video on her blog.

Today our furniture arrives at our Paris apartment.  Mark is there to meet the movers and tell them where to put that really tall bookcase and which beds go in which rooms.  Speaking of beds, I know he will be relieved to sleep in our king bed again.  The rental furniture bed was European, which meant the (very firm) mattress was set in a frame that barely hovered above the floor.  It wasn’t the most comfortable.  I can’t wait to see how our stuff looks in that space, which is so very different from the space it has previously occupied.

Change is almost always hard,  I think.  Here was how Sawyer felt about leaving his brothers and sisters (and humans) behind when we brought him to our house for the first time.. I know I will have similar feelings of sadness and frustration in my new home, too.  However, I hope to be gnawing on a baguette rather than a palm frond.

Please ignore the commentary- it wasn’t shot for distribution.  I really just wanted to try out the new video upgrade I added to my blog!

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Filed under homesickness, moving, Uncategorized