The Dynamic (Demi-) Dozen Dames
It’s the 12th day of the 12th month in the year 2012. It is the last repeating date to incur in our lifetimes, unless you think you might live to January 1, 2101. (Doubt it.) This date is known as the “Nerd New Year” because it’s a binary number and because it wasn’t quite as big a deal as 11/11/11 (if you read Parler Paris regularly, then you know how I feel about the number 11 — (parlerparis.com).
Today, however, let’s focus on the DOZEN. We may think of things that come in dozens, such as eggs, months of the year, apostles, drinks, donuts, oysters, roses, cupcakes, jurors, flocks (geese) and a whole host of things.
Remember the Dirty Dozen? — a 1967 film about a US Army Major who was assigned a dozen convicted murderers to train and lead them into a mass assassination mission of German officers in World War II. Well, that’s men for you. And it’s not a very good association on this 12th day of the 12th month in the 12th year.
Instead, let’s concentrate on a DYNAMIC DEMI-DOZEN — six American WOMEN who have either been enriched by or who have enriched our lives here in France. Over the years, I have come to know so many that there are many dozens to note, but today, we will reflect on just one-half…”une demi-douzaine,” that is. There is no particular order to those noted below, nor is this list to be considered my “top” demi-dozen, but these are women with whom I’ve had recent contact and who have truly touched me…as well as many others. The second half of the demi-dozen will come in a future Parler Paris Nouvellettre®!
Ladies, let me introduce you:
1. Yesterday at Parler Paris Après Midi, SUSAN HERRMANN LOOMIS, author of nine books, chef, proprietor of the “On Rue Tatin” cooking school and resident of France for more than twenty years, talked about the trials and tribulations of how she turned a dream and a passion of living in France into a career and a real life here — with two children and an 11th-century Normandy house with which to take care. Susan’s storybook house was featured in one of our House Hunters International episodes — “Historic Country Homes in Normandy” — Episode HHINT-2411H, thanks to her open spirited generosity. If you’ve ever tasted her cooking or had the privilege of learning about cooking in her incredible Normandy kitchen, then you will know that Susan ranks way up there as a DYNAMIC WOMAN everyone should meet. (For more information about Susan and her cooking classes and books, visit susanloomis.com and read about our afternoon at Parler Paris Après Midi.
2. Monday I lunched in Nice with ex-Consul of France in Philadelphia, DANIELE L. THOMAS EASTON, who I’ve known for what seems like a zillion years (but, not really!). Now she is the Director of France-Philadelphie, but she has also sported such titles as Projects Director of Greater Philadelphia First (GPF), member of the Greater Philadelphia International Network (now GPF), co-founder and officer of the French-American Chamber of Commerce, Philadelphia Chapter, co-founder and board director of the French International School of Philadelphia, chairman of the Alliance Française and President of the French American Association of Greater Philadelphia. “En plus,” she serves on various boards of American business, cultural and historic organizations. DYNAMIC? More than! In fact, in recognition of her work in Philadelphia, the French government (Ministry of Industry) knighted her as “Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite” in 1994 and in January 2007, she was knighted as a “Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur!” She’s now writing for France-Amérique Magazine and doing what she does best on the Riviera — networking. DYNAMIC, right? As an avid reader of Parler Paris, Danièle wrote me yesterday: “This is the way I feel when I read your newsletter…I call it the second pang. Early in the movie ‘The Human Stain,’ the protagonist, Coleman Silk, played by Anthony Hopkins, hears a recording of ‘Cheek to Cheek’ and breaks into spontaneous dance. ‘That’s Irving Berlin,’ he says. ‘I hear that and everything in me just sort of unclenches, and the wish not to die, never to die, becomes almost too great to bear.'” (Find her by contacting http://www.france-amerique.com)
3. Last night, we shared drinks with LIZA REAVIS of San Francisco. Most recently she was a finance consultant at the firm DLC, specializing in financial and accounting projects, but Liza was instrumental in creating our strong relationship with the Alliance Française of San Francisco (http://www.afsf.com/intro.shtml) where she serves on the Board of Directors and where we held conferences on several occasions over the years. Animated and beaming, full of stories to tell, she is just completing her 8.5 week dream trip around France — alone — with one suitcase, no computer, no iPhone and a whole lot of cheese (about which she is passionate!). Liza showed us her detailed itinerary printed on a spreadsheet in a type too tiny for me to read and filled with notes about each adventure. She’s promised the AF to speak about her travels and incredible experiences getting to know the people of France…and we await the date!…and we congratulate Liza on her incredible accomplishment.
4. HARRIET WELTY ROCHEFORT (harrietweltyrochefort.com), the author of French Toast, French Fried and her newest book, Joie de Vivre, grew up in Shenandoah, Iowa, studied in the Midwest, then moved to France and married a Frenchmen. In 2004, she moved from the chic suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine with her banker husband to a 100 square-meter ground-level apartment with 185 meters of garden in the least chic arrondissement of Paris — the 20th — and is still loving it…noting that she feels like she was living in the country only with place Gambetta a few meters away (and all this cost her one-third of what the same apartment would have cost her in the 6th arrondissement). Harriet went through an author’s hell trying to get back her rights to French Toast, and succeeded, then went on to be one of France’s best proponents of explaining the old ‘cultural clash’ as we all know it and ‘love it.’ She spoke recently at WH Smith and she’ll be speaking next month at Parler Paris Après Midi, so if you want to learn how an Iowa girl got mixed up with a Frenchman in France, and lived happily ever after to tell about it, be sure to be there! Visit Parler Paris Après Midi for more information.
5. Wikipedia.org will tell you that San Francisco author CARA BLACK is a bestselling American mystery writer known for her Paris-based Aimée Léduc mystery novels. She was included in the Great Women Mystery Writers by Elizabeth Lindsay Second edition and her first novel, Murder in the Marais, was nominated for an Anthony Award for best first novel. The third novel in the series, Murder in the Sentier, was nominated for an Anthony Award as Best Novel. On June 22nd, 2012, Cara received the Medaille de la Ville de Paris at which I was fortunate to be present. On one of our many rendez-vous, Cara and I went looking for a good place to hide a dead body! That was for the last book to be published, Murder at the Lanterne Rouge. On her Web site at carablack.com, you preorder a signed, limited Parisian Edition of Murder Below Montparnasse and receive an entry form to win a trip to Paris with the author and our illustrious friend, who has given us all so much reading pleasure, Cara Black!
6. No one in Paris has helped more people meet other people in Paris than PATRICIA LAPLANTE COLLINS. Patricia has been hosting “Paris Soirées” for about 14 years — Sunday night events that include a dinner and a speaker as well as a real chance to network. She will tell you that she was destined to be a party host, as even when she was a little girl growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, she was the person to pass out the canapés to her parents’ guests, cooking from a young age, holding tea parties and developing a real sense of southern hospitality. Here in Paris she opened her home and her heart to anyone who would come and share in their own experiences. I’ll just bet that there are many of you out there who have been touched by her. She is still hosting her soirées, so be sure to attend next time you’re in town.
Hats off to these Dynamic Demi-Dozen Dames — and stay tuned for the other half, coming soon to Parler Paris. Happy 12/12/12!
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
(with Cara Black)
P.S. We recently experienced technical difficulties with our emailing system for which we apologize — as many of you may have not received our Nouvellettres® in the past couple of weeks…particularly those who have email service with Hotmail, MSN, AOL and other Internet-based providers. We believe it’s been fixed, so things should be back to normal now (we hope!) and we appreciate your patience. And remember, you can always access the latest newsletter and past issues on our Web site.