Category Archives: Paris

Springtime in Paris

Bonjour y’all! Who doesn’t love April? NO ONE. That’s who. Here in Austin the  jasmine is in full flush and wildly redolent (all except the jasmine on my fence at the lake, which was burnt by the freezes and looks really skimpy and sad). Iris are still standing proud and roses have loved the recent rain and are showing off bigly.

My Paris-heavy Instagram feed has reminded me how much I loved springtime in Paris when I lived there. Of course, spring in Paris was well-earned and frequently took its sweet time getting there, making it even more of a celebrity than it is here. Hooray for spring everywhere, whenever it chooses to arrive.

I think we all deserve a little Paris this morning, so I gathered some of my favorite pictures of Paris pink, a color that embellishes Paris in springtime like pink frosting on an elegant confection. Enjoy.

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Have a good week, my friends.

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Filed under fashion, flowers, France, Paris, springtime in Paris, Uncategorized

Happy Valentine’s Day Y’all!

The Day O’ Love blew in to Austin with cold rain and grey skies! Dreary, yes, but it’s good to know that winter isn’t already over in these parts.

I gathered these photos taken in Paris on or around Valentine’s Day in the years I was there. Let’s break out some red wine and pretend we are back in the City Of Light for a while!

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Valentine’s Day was not the big commercial event it is here. No surprise, as every day is romantic in Paris, n’est-ce pas?

I took this last photo today here in Austin, or as I like to call it, the “Paris of the South”. It may be grey outside, but I got some raucous color going on in my house!

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I hope you are able to spend some time with people or things that you love today.

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Good Morning, World

Fall has finally arrived here in Austin, Texas, and not a moment too soon. This morning was particularly beautiful.

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Tomorrow morning we point our car back to the west for a week in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. If all goes as planned, we will be having dinner in Santa Fe this time tomorrow night. We are taking this guy with us, but he doesn’t get to go to dinner. Don’t tell him.

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It’s hard to believe that a year ago today we were walking around Hyde Park in London.

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And two years ago we were in Paris, living the dream.

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If someone can figure out how to slow down this experience we call “life”, please let me know. It’s all happening way too fast.

Enjoy whatever life brings you in the next week, and thanks for checking in with me!

 

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Filed under Austin, London, Notre Dame, Paris, Texas, Uncategorized

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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?

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

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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?

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

October

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Ain’t it the truth? I think of this quote every year when this glorious month rolls around. I have spent the last several Octobers in Paris or London, where this month is everything it’s supposed to be- cool and colorful- beckoning us to follow it into the darker and colder months ahead. Meanwhile, it’s ninety degrees here in Austin, Texas, and all my plants look as sick of the heat as I am. So I wait for a cool breeze and flip though some of my favorite photos of falls past.

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Now I’m really feeling nostalgic and maybe even a bit grumpier with my current October. This would be the time to slap myself and  be thankful that I am not in Haiti or any of the many places in Hurricane Matthew’s path right now. It’s hot and humid and green here, but at least my home is cool, dry, and comfortable. Reality checks are good.

September was a frenzy around here. Claire flew home from Paraguay, accepted a job in Washington DC, had some oral surgery (sorry about those two permanent teeth you never received but pretty sure it was the only mistake your dad and I ever made, and you’re right about dental implants not being the sexy kind), found a place to live and moved in, all in a period of three and a half weeks. This month should be a bit calmer, and we are hoping for great progress on our house renovations, which continue to charge ahead at a glacial pace. Apparently it’s true what they say about its being faster to build a house than to renovate one. They do say that, right? If not, they should.

I hope you all are safe and dry, wherever you are, and if you’re in a place where October is in full splendor, please send me a photo. Or maybe not.

P.S.- I have been reading some really great stuff lately and have updated my Books page accordingly. Check it out if you are in a reading slump.

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Filed under France, London, Paris, Uncategorized

Leaving So Soon, May?

Bonjour from my new “office”, and by “office”  I mean the porch of my lake house, now offering a view of a very full Lake Travis, which is a most beautiful thing. Hallelujah.

Lots going on in these parts. Spring has been sassy, bringing bounteous rain, flowers, and unexpected cool snaps. Although many folks around here are weary of the rain, we can’t help but be grateful for every drop, and hopeful that it doesn’t disappear again.

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Tomorrow we move all of our stuff from Paris into our new Austin house, even though a large part of that house looks like this.

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After ten months, we want to get our things out of storage, even if it means cramming  all the boxes and cartons into bedrooms and studies and moving it around again when we finish this project (which could be a glimpse into eternity). So that’s my day tomorrow. You?

Later in the week we make one last trip to our Houston townhouse, which we will pack up and vacate next Monday. It will be strange to no longer have a Houston landing spot after so many years. Fortunately we have friends and family there who will offer us beds occasionally. Right? Hello???

Mark and I have been exploring the Austin restaurant scene, which like many other parts of Austin is totally different from when we lived here in the early 2000’s. We are keeping lists of places we have gone and places we want to try, and both lists are getting longer each week. We have already learned that reservations and/or off-peak dining times are crucial at all of the trending eateries. Even with advance planning, the search for parking places at many cool spots can mean that you walk into the restaurant in dire need of a house cocktail STAT. But if you make your reservation well in advance and get lucky on a parking spot, you are likely to enjoy many a fine meal in Austin, Texas.

True Food  is one such place. Turns out there is one in Houston (and other places), but we never discovered it. The Austin location is in a corner of downtown that is being redeveloped and still feels a bit awkward, but no doubt will blossom into something lovely in no time.

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Def try the cocktails.

The interior was sleek and handsome, but all those shiny hard surfaces meant lots of noise bouncing around. We scored a table on the patio that suited us fine.

My favorite dish of the evening was the Mushroom Lettuce Cups. Bonkers good, and not something I would be tempted to make at home.

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Something I have been cooking lots of at home is this Roasted Broccoli. There are endless variations on this theme and all are quick and easy. I make a bit batch, and what we don’t eat that night gets gobbled up on salads or on rice or grains later in the week. Trust me- you will never let your broccoli near the microwave again.

Mark and I loved watching a six-episode show called The Night Manager on Apple TV. Lots of glamour, hard-bodies, and gorgeous European locations. And with only six episodes, you don’t have to commit to a long-term relationship. Yea.

That’s all for now, friends. Thanks for keeping me in your radar. I’ll be back. Just like the fruit flies I finally got rid of in my kitchen this weekend.

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Filed under Austin, Austin dining, cooking, flowers, Paris, Uncategorized

And Now A Word From Our Sponsor

Paris has been much on my mind the last few days, probably because of the senseless tragedies that continue to be inflicted upon Europe. While missing Paris, I am also reminded that this time of year can be difficult there. You are sooooooo ready for spring (which according to Instagram has arrived in just about every other place in the world), and yet there you are, still wearing your tired sweaters and boots and hating them. It was also difficult to be so far away from home on Easter, and so I’m extra happy to be home to celebrate Easter with family this year. I’m making jambalaya for our Easter feast, because I am ready to swap out the ham tradition (never been a big ham fan, myself) and I think jambalaya could be up to the task of supplanting the pig in the middle of the table. I hope so, anyway.

So shall we lose ourselves in some Paris for a few minutes?

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See- don’t they look cold under that stunning tree?

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Yep- there was a reason those chairs were empty on April 4.

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Eventually the lighter scarves come out again!

Eventually the lighter scarves come out again!

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Wisteria!

Wisteria!

Ridonculous ranunculus.

Ridonculous ranunculus.

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OK. Enough of that. Don’t we all have grocery lists to make? Eggs to stuff? Jelly beans to eat*?

I know I do. Can’t wait to see myimage

*Just reminded me of the time one of my precious kids all dressed in Easter finery took my hand, opened it up, and spit a sticky mass of half-chewed black jelly bean pulp in my palm. I totally understood the impulse but ick.

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