Sunday, September 27, 2009


(the view from the Trocadero overlooking the Eiffel Tower)
I absolutely loved our trip to Paris! We had an amazing time. The only downfall was my feet giving out before my brain. (FYI - I set aside my upset feelings about missing our plane - although Bob and I will have to work through that one.)

The Olivier's were wonderful hosts. Not only did we get to crash there, Michelle made us gourmet dinners and brought us wonderful breakfasts from the neighborhood patisserie. Marc
took a day out of his busy schedule to speed walk us around the Latin Quarter (I've never seen him move so quickly!) and Max and Lucas joined us for several adventures.

(A breakfast of almond croissants, chocolate almond croissants and pain aux chocolat.)

Max, Lucas, Nicole and Kristen were troopers - especially for the stuff that wasn't as interesting to them. I did my best to add interest - thus the following story from the cathedral at Les Invalides, where Napoleon is entombed.
Inside this beautiful cathedral are several tombs/caskets - but the most notable is of Napoleon Bonaparte. As you can tell (picture below) from comparing the size of the people to the casket - the thing is immense. It is surrounded by gorgeous inlaid marble and stunning statues all around. There are a set of stairs to take you down next to the casket, or you can look at it from the main level. I had gone down and seen it up close and thought the kids, who were getting bored, would enjoy the close up view. By the time I had gone back up to the main level - they had gone down the stairs with Bob. As I looked down onto the casket - I spied the kids and thought the angle would make a cool picture. I leaned over the marble railing to take the picture, forgetting that my sunglasses were hanging from the front of my shirt. In horror I watched my glasses fall down and shatter next to Napoleon's tomb! The noise was surprisingly loud, and mine was not the only gasp to be heard. I felt like I would be kicked out of France. I raced down the stairs to discover that I could not retrieve the glasses, as there is a marble wall all the way around. Bob and Kristen had seen the glasses fall - only with the loud noise thought it was my camera.

This whole incident brought the kids to life. Of all the cool things we had shown them, nothing was as fascinating as my shattered glasses.

I know the picture is dark - but you can see from their expressions the sheer enjoyment of my clumsiness. They documented the event with extensive photos and talked about it for some time afterwards. I'm here to entertain.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Super Powers and to do lists!

My super power of invisibility returned today! I had to run to the store before going to work. I walked up to the automatic grocery store door and it failed to open. I tried the exit - same experience. I then went back to the entrance - still no luck. As I started to walk to the entrance at the other end of the store I saw another woman approaching the unreceptive door. I turned to let her know that the door wasn't working - when I saw it swing open and allow her to enter. I decided to give it another try. I confidently walked up to the door, expecting a welcoming door swing - and was again denied entrance. Finally, using my brute strength, I allowed myself into the store. What is up with that? What does it mean when the "magic eye" cannot see you?

I have ridiculous amounts of things to accomplish before we head off to Paris tomorrow. That's right, Paris, Baby! I had all of these wonderful intentions of being organized and ready to go on Monday, so that Tuesday and Wednesday would be relaxing. (as travel guru Rick Steves recommends. He also recommends not getting sick before a trip...hmmm interesting advice.) Unfortunately, one of my employees has been out sick all week and I have been teaching extra classes. When I do that I have absolutely no energy left at the end of the day. Just enough for making dinner, helping with homework, and playing chauffeur. So, here I am at the end of Wednesday - actually Thursday - spending my time blogging. The amusing thing is I spent the first 5 years in the work force working for time management companies - see how effective I am?!

I have felt hyped up today with excitement...the best part is that we are bringing the girls AND we get to camp out at Marc and Michelle's in Paris. Pretty much the best of all worlds!

I figure my invisibility will have all kinds of advantages in Paris. First, I won't stand out as some obnoxious American tourist; second, all of the museums will be less expensive; and third, no one will see me lie down in the middle of the sidewalk when I simply can't take one more step. Have you ever been to Paris?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Prepare to be shocked!

For the past 2 weeks I have only had Diet coke 3 times. That's right people 14 days - 3 cokes....who would have thought it was possible? Last week I was terribly sick with a sinus infection and happen to read that the caffeine would dehydrate me. Since I was convinced I would have a speedy, somewhat miraculous recovery, I was drinking gallons of water and did not want anything to impede its cleansing power and therefore stopped the diet coke.

Now, I am not going to go all nuts and say I won't be drinking it anymore, (Sorry, Mom!) but I am amazed that I have been able to get by without more - even since I have returned to full health (thanks to the miraculous healing powers of a z-pack). The weird thing is - today at work one of my employees had a 32 oz. diet coke sitting on the desk and my mouth began to water! What is wrong with me?!

Also, for the past two weeks I have radically changed what I have been eating. I figured, I was already feeling yucky, what better time to change. I am mostly eating vegetables (loads of them), fruit, and some protein and grains. I will tell you one thing....I am hungry. But I am determined! I have lost some weight, but with the amount I have to go it is not noticeable yet, so don't pretend you can tell! I have figured out a couple of things. You cannot lose weight and eat all your favorite foods (no matter what the commercials say), unless you change your favorite foods. You do have to exercise. You will have to deal with all of those emotions that you have been stuffing down your throat - or whatever change you make won't last. There you go..the weight loss truth...and without the aid of caffeine.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pennies & Paper Clips

Sorry no photos...Blogger wouldn't let me add any...grrr.

A few weeks ago, Bob let me know that his work had a desk that they were going to get rid of and asked if I wanted it for free! I was definitely interested. Now my desk was workable...solid surface top, on which to clutter random papers and messages, four drawers, that stayed nicely closed with duct tape, and a credenza attached to one end, duct tape played a role there, as well. As nice as that has been, the idea of duct tape not being an essential part of my desk was appealing.

So, one Friday night he arrived home with an enormous 3'x6' desk cleverly crammed into the mini-van, ready for transport. The following Saturday night we disassembled (un-taped) my desk and somehow managed to bring in the behemoth new desk into my office - let's just say the elevator ride was interesting.

As we began moving the old desk drawers and random pieces to the van Bob notice several pennies and paper clips wedged into corners or being tossed from side to side. "Do you want these?" Bob asked. "No - I don't need them." I replied - as I then opened my new tape-less drawer and discovered a few pennies and paper clips wedged into the corners.

Which led me to thinking, as any over-thinker would, how many things are wedged into the corners of our lives, just taking up space? How many things or habits in our lives are just there, getting in the way of who we are meant to be? Why, for example, did I put up with a desk for 7 years that had to be taped closed? I consider myself to have good taste and yet I seem to continually surround myself with objects I don't like, don't want, or in some cases truly hate!

(I was going to say "as I continue to clean out my drawers...but that just sounds WRONG.") As I make changes I hope I won't fool myself into leaving behind a few things here and there - that in the end will just clutter up my life - or worse yet, wedge me into a corner. What are the pennies & paper clips in your life?