Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Paris via New Hampshire?

Well, I'll be pretty close to Montreal. Beautiful, picturesque New Hampshire...and right on the sea (thank you, God!)

Truth is...I've kind of lost my interest in the big Paris dream. Maybe it's just too overwhelming; packing up and moving 1200 miles north is stressful enough. I'm not sure I've got the gumption to take it overseas. I have a difficult-enough time trying to fit in where I speak the language and understand the pop-cultural references...maybe I shouldn't tempt the fates.

This is going to take months...hope my house sells. And can somebody tell me why I have SO much STUFF!?!? Getting rid of it daily.

My only Resolution this year: to make this my year of change. So far, so good.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bon Anniversaire!

I almost missed my one-year anniversary! I just happened to notice that my ClustrMaps visitors at the bottom of the page were gone and have started anew. I had 799 visitors last year. Considering that I write about nothing of particular interest, put the blog on the shelf for about 6 months and had only told two friends about it in the first place, I think an average of 2 people a day from around the globe is pretty neat. So, thanks a lot for stopping by for a visit and reading my ramblings!

Time to say farewell to all of those little red dots (they're sooo 2008!) and start accumulating new ones:

Illustration credit Bella Pilar. (She's my favorite right now - totally amazing: check her out!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Oh my God, I am so depressed. I feel old and tired. I hate my job right now and daydream about selling everything I own and hoofing it through Europe like a young university kid.

I don't know what it is about technological and cultural "advancement" but it seems to me that the more advanced society gets, the more unhappy everyone is. Why do we make everything so complicated? I do love city life, I suppose (if you can call living in metro Atlanta 'city life') but I wonder if I wouldn't be happier with a quieter pace, living on a farm somewhere with a family and a little garden or something.

Maybe this is early Seasonal Affective Disorder? All I know is, I don't see the point in having such a stressful job that I abhor and that doesn't have any positive impact on society. I guess, given the current economic state of things, I should be thankful to have a job at all. Jeez, this makes me sound like such a jerk. "Look at all the nice things I have and take for granted because it's not quite what I had in mind." Counting my blessings would be far more productive than whining about a lack of fulfillment. But still, I just have that nagging feeling of discontentment; something is missing that I can't quite name or identify. I guess I'm a grown-up Goldilocks who just can't find the right porridge.

Back to daydreaming...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Rain Made Me Do It

It has been raining in Atlanta for a solid week. Everyone and everything is completely waterlogged and this morning the city came to an almost complete standstill due to flooding. Most of the major highways and their arteries were closed thanks to overflowing rivers and creeks (pronounced "cricks" in the more rural parts) and all I can say is I am so thankful I had the day off.

I waited until late afternoon to run some errands, which included a trip to the tanning bed. I need to bronze-up for my upcoming beach vacation and, sadly, time to put the tanning membership on hold until next year (I don't want to look funny in my turtlenecks this winter.)

So I was on auto-pilot when I headed out and never gave a thought to my appearance. I tanned, which makes you sweaty, sticky and stinky, and ran into a store when I realized I looked sweaty and sticky, smelled like burnt flesh and lotion, had no makeup on and was wearing grey yoga pants, a No Doubt concert t-shirt and flip-flops. My first thought was "Oh, God, how the hell did I let myself walk out of the house like this?" and my second thought was "Thank God I'm in Atlanta." My only saving grace was my fashionable parapluie; I would never get away with that get-up in Paris...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ceci est un It Bag

I love Longchamp. And I think the ad campaign for the "it bag", spearheaded by DigitasNYC, is très adorable. In the first place, I just love advertisements, especially clever advertisements. In the second place, I love the use of English in a fun way for a French company - sooo like the mid-century Franglais our grandmothers, Miss Piggy, and yours truly, are fond of using. Phrases like "I'm très broke right now" or "Oh, that is just sooo gauche" and "He did what? Quel nightmare!" and so on. Obnoxious, yes, but a fun throw-back to the cocktail party and TV-dinner era.

Speaking of broke, though I love the "it bag", what I really pine for is this little beauty:

If someone has an extra $850 just lying around, let me know...I'll give you my shipping address.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Stinky Cheese and the Faux Pas

My dear old friend from Versailles, whom I've sadly lost touch with, loved to throw dinner parties. We lived just down the street from each other and her soirées were often last minute, very simple affairs. A few friends, a bottle of wine and something on the grill were the perfect ingredients for a pleasant evening.

So, she was expecting a baby and her parents flew in for a baby shower and quick visit. While they were in town, her mother invited me over for dinner one night with the family after they'd spent the day shopping and decorating the nursery. I was younger then, seeing Frenchy, and very body-conscious (I was only a few celery stalks and lemon wedges away from anorexia) so when I arrived to the most heavenly home-cooked smell I braced myself for moderation.

Her mom had made a very simple dish but I have had dreams about it for years. In fact, I bet I think about it more than any man I've ever dated. I have tried in vain to recreate it so I guess it's a meal best enjoyed in memories. In an enormous casserole, she placed large chunks of ham and boiled Yukon gold potatoes, then dissected a large wheel of Brie cheese and placed the two halves, rind-up on the potato and ham mixture. Everything baked in the oven until the cheese ran all gooey, down into the ham and potatoes and the rind became the most deliciously crunchy crust. I swear to God, I could have polished that whole thing off all by myself, hips be damned.

But, in the presence of company and considering that my exotic boyfriend was due in town for a rendezvous a few days from then, I showed a great deal of restraint and ate a fairly modest portion. Her mom noticed and I heard her say from the other end of the table "Elle n'aime pas..." to which I replied "Oh, no, I totally love it!" If a record had been playing, the needle would have scratched. Everyone stopped eating and in my memory, I think a fork or two dropped. Lesson #1: don't contradict the hostess. Lesson #2: let the hostess know you speak and/or understand her native language before she embarrasses herself by speaking about you in front of you, completely unaware that you understand.

No worries, though. We got along swimmingly and I was invited back for dinner before they left town and I even had them over to my house for Sunday dinner. She would not give me the recipe for the magic casserole, though, saying simply "just some good ham, good potatoes and a large wheel of Brie, bake it until everything is bubbling"... I know she's leaving something out.

Image credit: LIFE Magazine, 1949

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Way We Were

Almost exactly 10 years ago I met "the one that kind of got away but all-in-all that's definitely better for my emotional stability" at a mutual friend's small dinner party. She said "Please come for dinner, an old school friend is in town on business and my husband hates him. He's arrogant, opinionated, narcissistic and will only speak en français unless another American is present." I'm a good friend. I had recently purchased my little 2 bedroom condo and was in the throes of face-lifting it with paint and such. I remember I had worked and worked all day and realized that I only had about 30 minutes to spare to shower and dress. I didn't have enough time to think about what I should wear, I didn't have enough time to check and re-check my hair and makeup in the mirror, I just went with whatever was clean and closest to me, after all, who would dress up for arrogant, opinionated and narcissistic? I went to the dinner, begrudgingly, thinking "she owes me one" on the drive over.

Of course, it was like a moment out of a novel, or a scene out of some drippy Nora Ephron film (not that there's anything wrong with that.) Time stood still, it was one of those instant connection things. My friend and her husband were invisible to us and when we left them behind hours later to go out for a nightcap, I recall looking back down the stairs to them and mouthed an overly-dramatic "OH, MY GOD, THANK YOU!" to her astonished face.

I can't get over how young I was then. And, strangely, how so very similar to my 2009 self I was. Though I now know a whole lot more in general about the world and being a grownup, we still share the same tastes. French Culture, French Food, French Men are the obvious front runners but a lot of my other day-to-day loves are the same. Will probably always be the same. I love the smell of babies. I love apricots and nectarines. I LOVE good pastries and the smell of brewing coffee. I love sunshine and trees and walking around, fresh air, my family, music, Brontë novels and other great tomes, fashion mags, classic movies, laughing with my sister, drinking champagne, jeans that fit oh-so-well and sweaters that make me feel like I'm wrapped up in a big hug. So if we're still the same essence of one girl, then why do I feel so far away from that innocent naif?

This must be the frustration of aging; I don't feel a day over 24. A decade has passed but it seems like only yesterday. I remember what I wore, what he wore, what they served for dinner, what we drank. I remember using the Laguiole steak knives that were a wedding present to the happy couple. It's like that day is frozen in time. Is this nostalgia or insanity?

I don't really pine for him specifically, I think it's for who we were at the time. What I thought we would develop into. We're still in touch; he's wealthy, lives in a beautiful Haussmannian building in Etienne Marcel, has had two adorable children with a beautiful and energetic Parisian woman whom I quite like. And quite envy, if I'm being fully honest. He works a lot (don't believe the "French don't work" myth) but they also travel a lot and he is very devoted to his family.

Maybe it seems like only yesterday to me because one side of our little relationship really grew up and moved on where the other side (moi) has spent years daydreaming about Mr. Charmant and what might have been. And the real kicker? I ended it! On Valentine's Day, no less. Maybe I'm some kind of relationship bozo but I thought I could do better than an opinionated narcissist, Parisian or not. Little did I know that opinions and narcissism are the modern equivalent of snips and snails and puppy dog tails: that's what men are made of.

C'est la vie, I guess.

He asked to see me about a month from now but I will be away on vacation. Still dissing him after all these years...what a foolish gal.
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A Southern Belle Goes to Paris, y'all. by Meg G is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.