I Think: Global
The bad news is that the 5.5 kilo Thanksgiving turkey cost 81€ and the good news is that it was down-right delicious. The 12 of us ate almost every morsel leaving a bare carcass, one wing and shreds of meat stuck on the bone.
We have Lillian Zacky’s recipe and the French farmers to thank, as well as the luck that the oven was working! The next day, when attempting to reheat the meager leftovers, every time the breaker switch that is connected to the stove or oven was turned up and on, the power in the apartment blew! Thank goodness for a functioning microwave or we would have been deprived of one last taste of the yummy bird.
A couple hours later, when all was eaten and gone, the electricity was all working fine and we never discovered what the problem was. Electrical issues like this occur from time to time, with no explanation for what causes the glitches and no electrician has been able to solve the problem. I chalk it up to a 17th-century building with “Poltergeist” — who seem to be friendly enough, but want to make their presence known.
The next morning, the “Brocante de Noël” opened along rue de Bretagne and throughout the “quartier” along rues Spuller, Perrée, Debeylleme and Caffarelli and more, making it impossible to pass down the narrow streets. The entire neighborhood was swarming with stands (about 500!) and shoppers (in the thousands). I know that it’s one of the favorites among lovers of rummage sales at which to find “treasures,” but I’ve never been wild about other’s people’s old stuff — I think that’s because I’ve held too many of my own garage sales to want to acquire more of the junk I worked so hard for which to be rid! It drove me out of the neighborhood for the weekend.
WASHER WONDER WOMAN
While the hoards were on the streets nearby bargaining for treasures, my favorite plumber was tearing apart the bathroom to change the plumbing so that my new larger washer/dryer combo would fit as far back into its designated space as possible. Two days before, the installers had to take off the door of the washer and the doors to the hall and bathroom, just to get it wedged into the bathroom, and then still couldn’t get it to fit, thanks to the bulky (and as it turned out, loose) pipes at the back.
Just before the imminent death of the old one now in its teens in age, I went for broke and bought a washer/dryer combination from Darty, a store that gained my loyalty at that time. This was after a nine-month saga with Conforama where as five different machines from Conforama lived in our apartment during that time, phone calls were made to their customer service department every day Monday through Friday until they finally, after the nine long tedious months, hauled out their crappy machines and refunded my money. Advice to those who are about to purchase appliances in France: Darty is the ONLY place to buy your appliances if you want good products, at a fair price, with a decent level of customer service. There are stores everywhere — 222 of them with 321,800 square meters of selling space.
This particular machine, a Siemens brand, is so complicated to operate that it takes a PhD to understand it. In addition, it has a sensitive touch to the programming panel — so much so that if one barely breathes on it, the program changes. I now have “fear of washer/dryer” and stay as far away from it as I can while it’s on. The thick little booklet that came with it was only in French, but with a little sleuthing, I found a U.K. version of the same model and its equivalent instruction manual in English. With 44 pages printed out and placed into a binder (yes, I’m a bit of a precisionist), I could just about figure it out, or at least some of it. It seems to do just about everything except wear the clothing for you. No real complaints, though. One big bonus is the fluffy towels (even though I know it cost a fortune in electricity). For all these years I’ve “enjoyed” scratchy hard towels and forgotten what it’s like to have this small luxury.
Sunday, my daughter, Erica, and I took the afternoon to see the current exhibit at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie. It was sad for us that the Herb Ritts exhibition had ended, but we were not disappointed by the Andres Serrano and the Harry Callahan French Archives, Aix-en_Provence, 1957-1958, and particularly Nicholas Nixon’s Brown Sisters (all on until January 29, 2017). Erica jokingly photographed her bird finger in the foreground of the portrait of Donald Trump by Andres Serrano which got a big laugh from the others in the room.
Serrano’s work is powerful, but Nixon’s photos of the four Brown sisters (his wife being one of them) that were taken once a year for 40 years…in the same order, in the same way, is an impressive look at how we age over time and is not to be missed. (I apologize in advance to anyone who might be offended by such a gesture aimed at our illustrious president elect, but it was pretty funny at the time!)
As we wandered around Le Marais after, with her camera slung around her neck, she snapped a few opportunities of Paris at its best.
PARIS PART TIME
The weekend ended with dinner at Le Gai Moulin and a delightful talk by Lisa Anselmo about her recent book, “My (Part-Time) Paris Life” and “How Running Away Brought Me Home” as the program of Patricia Laplante Collins’ Paris Soirées. Lisa, author, blogger, and co-founder of No Love Locks, has a few books to sell and sign. She will also be speaking at Après Midi on December 13th and will share the story behind her new memoir and will reveal how she turned the devastating loss of her mother into a purposeful new life as well as share her five Keys to Reinventing a Happier Life. This is yet another opportunity to hear her speak, buy a book that she personally signs.
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, FROM GLOBAL TO TRIBAL
We lost Fidel Castro this weekend (may he rest in peace), but gained François Fillon. Castro, the 47-year leader of Cuba, was about as left as it gets, as a Marxist-Leninist and considered by supporters to be “a champion of socialism and anti-imperialism” (Wikipedia.org). That’s pretty far left. In the same news report, François Fillon won the Republican nomination yesterday by a landslide — a politician (Prime Minister from 2007 to 2012) under President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is almost as far right at National Front’s Marine Le Pen.
This isn’t good news for the French liberals who were rewarded recently with the right to same-sex marriage and adoption rights for gay couples, beating out Alain Juppé, a more moderate candidate who fought against anti-Muslim sentiment and support the diversity of the French people. One thing for sure, Fillon has a better chance of getting the vote in the presidential elections next year than Marine Le Pen whose political views agree with some of her essential ideas.
Economically, France needs his capitalist views to overcome its financial ailments, but his nationalist and xenophobic views are a clear indication that tribalism is battling globalism and that we may see more of that in the future.
Someone relatively new to spending time in Paris in her own newly acquired “pied-à-terre,” said to me last night that in Paris, when you arrive here an anonymous person, without the “baggage” of your previous life, when meeting new people with whom you can immediate relate (such as other Expats in the same big boat), that this is your true essence. You can be who you REALLY are — not the sister or brother, wife or husband; not the rich person or poor person; not the person born in one place or another — but be the person with no labels whatsoever so that the only person you meet is the pure person.
I had never thought of it this way before, but it’s so true. Is it a facet of globalism or tribalism, I wonder?
I think: global.
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
(by Erica Simone)
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