I know it is clichéd, but I do
love Paris! This city of romance is truly seductive!
As you trip down cobbled
streets in the different quartiers, you began to sense the centuries of history,
from the Sun King’s lavish building projects in an effort to make Paris the
‘new Rome,’ to the gory beheading of Marie Antoinette, the conquest and
opulence of Napoleon’s era and the ambiguity of the Vichy Régime.
Amble along the rive gauche of the River Seine and rummage through the
piles of old books for sale as so typically portrayed in the movie, Midnight in
Paris. Weave past the gifted street artists in Montmartre as you climb up to
the Sacré Coeur Basilica, erect and majestic at the top of the many steps -
it's highest point higher than the top of the Eiffel tower with unsurpassed
views across Paris. Here even the least religious will embrace a sense of light
Enjoy the pace of life, though still more hectic than where I live,
in Nice, compared to many other Western capitals, no one rushes yet everything
gets done efficiently. Waiters never write down an order but remember
everything and food is served at a pace in complete harmony with the community
– where there is time to digest and discourse, which Parisians love with a
passion. This is a city where academia and philosophy are not disdained (forget
not that the official world language of Diplomacy is still French!) Traffic is
scary fast (though not quite as dangerous as Italians in Nice) and there is an
element of courtesy in the honking and breakneck maneuvers! Scooters zip around everything and everyone,
with rider chatting on cell phone squeezed between ear and helmet, possibly
carrying a dog in a basket between his legs!
Paris needs to be
experienced on foot and with minimal agenda and an openness to be enticed into
an antique shop, or a Jewish bakery or spend two hours over an espresso at a
table on a busy sidewalk or tranquil square. For any Americans, please don’t
even larger Statue of Liberty than yours - approximately 35 feet in height. She
stands upon a tiny island called Swan Ally, [Allée des Cygnes] in the Seine near the Grenelle Bridge – a gift to
the French in 1889, by the American residents of Paris as a remembrance to
commemorate the Centennial of the French Revolution.
could rave for pages of this city that has been home to so many great artists
and writers, instead I want to leave you with some book and app recommendations
pertaining to Paris should this city be part of your summer vacation plans.
Madeline by Ludwig
4-8) - I think this classic, award winning 1940’s rhyming story about an orphan
girl is still one of the best picture books on Paris for younger kids. The
illustrations of this Parisian era are sublime.
from 0-10by Suzie Morgenstern (ages 7-11) Ernest has lived a
regimented life with his elderly grandmother and equally aged housekeeper for
10 years. All changes when Victoria and her 13 brothers come into his life. His
dull routine is blown apart. He has NEVER even been to a grocery store until he
helps Victoria, but on this fateful day, he discovers a book in the paperback
rack that may have the answer to his life-long question; where is his father,
and why did he leave him?
Anna and the
French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (YA) - A somewhat predictable ending, but a cute and very
funny teen love story set in Paris.
Author Bio:Joanna Marple is the author of Snow Games. She grew up
surrounded by the architecture of the city of Cambridge, UK, and
immersed in the books and landscapes of the Brontes, Tolkein and Beatrix
Potter. Her tall tales were not always appreciated as a young child, but her
passion for storytelling remained unfettered and was fuelled by the marvelous
people and animals she encountered during her humanitarian work across the
continents. More recently, her years as school librarian in Southern France
relit her passion for children’s books. Her stories focus on her love of the
natural world and the richness of the cultures she has encountered in her
travels. She lives presently in Nice with two quirky cats and a stream of
visitors from all over the globe.
My family had such a fun night last night. First was the monthly Old Time Fiddle Session at The Brick pizzeria in New Bedford. These sessions have been going on for three years now. They draw people from the South Coast area and beyond. It’s an open session which means that anyone can show up and play or simply come to listen (like me). All players need is an acoustic stringed instrument (e.g. fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar, bass) and enough skills to play along. It’s casual and fun. People teach each other tunes, play together, and generally have a good time. Plus, we get to enjoy a glass of wine or beer and eat delicious pizza.
Jeff ( @rhubarb_andjelly )added a new event following the session: a free ukulele lesson open to anyone who showed up. And boy did people show up! Jeff has 20 ukes available and they were all in use. At least 6 people had brought their own, and I handed mine off for someone to play. Loads of people had heard about the event and came for it, but others happened upon all of us in Wings Court, paused to see what was going on, and were welcomed in by Jeff. Most people stayed the whole time, but some had to leave after a while (young kids who needed to go to bed, for example). No sooner would the uke be returned than a person would walk up, pause, be invited to join and start strumming on that newly available instrument. It was pretty magical. One couple was from NY. Another woman was from Wisconsin. They told me they felt really welcomed by all of us. And it’s all because of Jeff Angeley’s big heart and vision. He knows music brings people of all ages and backgrounds together. He knows music builds community. He’s building it one instrument at a time and I am grateful for that.
Special thanks to the New Bedford Economic Development Council for seeing Jeff’s vision and helping to fund these free community lessons.
If you want to know about future events, follow the South Coast Lessons page or The Old Time Fiddle Session pages.
Today’s basil harvest. From one plant. We have 10 more. 😳 #PestoTonight
It’s been a stellar #gardening year for heat loving plants.
This lovely lady came to visit us with her husband and teen-aged daughter. More than 25 years ago, she was a Rotary Exchange Student who lived with my family. We’ve stayed in touch for all of this time. She has visited a few times since then and my parents attended her wedding. When we lived in Dublin, my family of 4 flew to France to see her family of 5. (On that trip, we also visited a different, lovely French sister, @florence.pit, who lives in Paris). Watching our kids play together was a real joy. It’s always such a pleasure to have her around. #citizensoftheworld
We have friends visiting from France right now so we took a little day trip to #Boston. Here are some pics from @newenglandaquarium. (Yes, I’m always extra happy to see an octopus). #science #ocean
The newest plane by @dantecusolito #STEM #STEAM #FutureEngineer
Some photos taken around my parents’ farm yesterday. The cozy coop in front of the corn makes me smile. My nephew left it there when he visited. The egg is so small because the chicken just started laying- that was her first egg. Also, my dad grows the best corn around. #farmlife #NoFarmsNoFood
I received THE SONG OF SOLOMON as a gift many years ago, back when I was still teaching. It was the night before winter break ended and I decided to read a little before bed. 100 pages later I had to force myself to stop reading and go to sleep. I devoured that book. Next I read BELOVED. Damn, did that book challenge me as a reader. I had to work so hard to understand it. I had to lean in and really concentrate. I was so thankful for that gift- it reminded me what reading must have been like for many of my 4th graders for whom reading was not yet second nature. It made me a better teacher. And what can I say about PARADISE? Another book I had to lean in to understand due to the complex interconnected family trees. Once I was too far in, I wished I had drawn up family trees to help me remember all of the relationships. I’ve been meaning to go back and read that one and make the trees from the beginning. Maybe now is a good time to do that.
RIP Ms. Morrison. The world is a better place for you having been in it.
Our garden is super prolific right now. I’m harvesting zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, jalapeños, sweet basil, Thai basil, and purple basil nearly every day. There are loads of green tomatoes and bell peppers I’m hoping to start harvesting soon. But the zucchini and summer squash...OY! The last picture shows what I harvested THIS MORNING. And we only have one plant of each. We’ve been eating it regularly, and I’ll freeze some, but we can possibly use as much as we’re getting. (This is what happens when you use compost from your parents’ farm!) There are loads of squash blossoms on the plants. Anybody want some? Because we know what those blossoms will soon become... (Seriously local friends... hit me up if you want some squash or blossoms). #organicgardening #gardening #wondersofcompost
With his gourd banjo completed, @dantecusolito decided to make a remote controlled tug boat. Isn’t this thing the cutest? #STEM #STEAM #summertime