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A funny thing happened on the way to the laundry room

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I'm heading back to my apartment, carrying my plastic laundry basket, heavy with 2 loads of freshly washed whites. The basket itself is pale green only because I couldn't find turquoise. I am absolutely crazy about turquoise. So there I am, walking down the path, when I'm startled by a glimpse of turquoise at the top of a neighbor's stairs. 

My eyes dial in and I see it's a girl, a girl with bright aqua-colored hair, the very same Katy Perry blue I yearn to dye my own hair. The girl, talking to her boyfriend (my assumption from how close to each other they stand) catches my eye, we smile.

"I love your hair," I call out as I pass. "Oh, to be young again, I'd love to have hair that color."

At which point she peels away from her boyfriend and heads down the stairs. "You should!" she says. "And I'm not that young, I'm thirty." 

"Ha! You're a baby!" 

But I'm glad I haven't called her a girl out loud. D…

Dreaming of France: Kicking back in the Sun at the Tuileries

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Le Jardins de Tuileries (from my instagram) I took this photograph last Spring on our trip to France.  I love how most everyone is simply relaxing in the sun, sleeping even, in the middle of the work week.

Every week for the last few years, I've tried to create a French themed blogpost like this one, here or at Chapter1-take1 to connect with my friend Paulita's Dreaming of France meme. I call her my friend but we've never met. You know how that weird internet thing can be, connecting you with strangers from around the globe in oddly intimate ways.

Now Paulita, who has been dreaming and fantasizing about living in France for years, sharing her photos, her memories from her trips, is actually doing it. After taking oodles of journeys to France, waiting for their kids to reach adulthood, scouting out locations, she and her husband put their house on the market. The house is in escrow and in the next couple of months, escrow will close and they'll be gone. Like F. Scott and Ze…

Dreaming of France: Washing our cares away

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What’s the most time you can spend on vacation before you have to do any laundry? A week? Ten days? A little longer if you can do your ‘fine washables’ in the hotel room sink? Or perhaps you’re well-heeled enough that you can leave your clothing with the cleaning staff to take care of ala Tom Ripley pretending to be Dickie in The Talented Mr. Ripley?

When the hubs Mark, and I went to Europe for a month this past spring we found we needed to do a load about every 10 days. We did laundry three times, in Paris where we were lucky to find a laverie just a block from our hotel on the Rue de Seine where in early May, the temperature still a fairly brisk 55º and we wore multiple layers and our raincoats everywhere to keep off the chill. We did a load in the beach resort town of Rimini in Italy where someone had left a box of detergent in the lavanderia. The temperature had risen to a balmy mid 70's by then and we left our raincoats in the back of the rental car. By the time we did our las…

British Isles Friday: Strange Days

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The Marble Arch St. Martin's (where we saw The Mousetrap) Sir John Soane's Museum
The weeks pass so quickly and are so full of strange happenings these days that Friday hits me in the face hard. How can it be British Isles Friday again? I feel as taken by surprise as if I looked up from my desk to find a whipped cream pie being thrown at my face. 

Hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquake, terror attacks. There’s so much going on, do you feel the same way I do? Overwhelmed by it all? A vulgar, mean-spirited, loose cannon ‘running the country.’ That stupid saying ‘The world is going to hell in a hand basket’ feels absurdly true.

We had an earthquake here in Los Angeles. A jolt, like an elevator settling, a ‘nothing burger’ as some might say. That was followed by the truly horrible Mexico quake where we watched four story buildings collapse before our eyes, watched first responders try to dig out victims, rubble by rubble with their hands. 

In the Caribbean, Hurricane Maria has devastate…

#10: Surfing Lessons [Memoir—Listen on iTunes and SoundCloud]

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Thinking of tiny Puerto Rico, holding you in my thoughts P.R., home to some of my sweetest memories. The year we lived in San Juan with the beaches of the Condado and Isla Verde our playground, the beautiful blue cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, the soft smooth flavor of coconut ice cream and every surfer boy I fell head over heels for, memories I still hold dear today. It was 1968, the year the World Surfing Championships were held in Puerto Rico, the year I turned 15. Sharing an old post about an old memory from that idyllic time.

Originally posted on 6/17/2016



#10 Avenida Ponce de Leon, San Juan Puerto Rico

This is another story from my not quite year in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the 10th in the long line of places I've called home. We lived in a high rise above the city on Avenida Ponce de Leon, but my second home that summer was the beach. It was the year I turned fifteen.


Image via JorgeMachucaSurfer.com
Surfing Lessons
Chris lived in a low-slung house on the water’s edge out in …

Home is where the heart is

Last week at this time I was with my husband at the emergency room at Cedars Sinai. I don’t know why they call it a room, it’s really a mammoth labyrinth of rooms and partitioned-off portions of hallways filled with doctors, nurses, volunteers, patients in beds, family members pacing. 

It was one of those days you don’t plan for, don’t expect. One of those days that proves ‘life really is what happens when you’re making other plans.’ 

My husband had been having chest pains the day before, nothing major, he said, just twinges. It wasn’t a sharp pain, it wasn’t a dull pain. More of a thrum. Of course he didn’t say anything to me about it until the end of the day because, men. They whine about their cold symptoms but, potential heart attack? Mums the word. 

Mark did finally come out with it, at the same time promising me he had none of the other symptoms that most men experience when having a heart attack. No nausea, no pain radiating out, no shortness of breath, no dizziness, no cold sweat…

Dreaming of France: Table for Two

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I was scrolling through our vacation pictures from this past spring when this shot of a cafe caught my eye. I wasn't sure what pulled me in. It's certainly not that it's a perfectly composed photo. It's a bit busy, the light fixture at the top left intrusive, the yellow building with the shutters and charming grey and white striped awnings cut off too soon.
But I love it. Why, I wondered. Because it takes me back to such a happy period? Of course that's part of it. On the left side, out of range of the photograph is the small market where my husband and I would buy bananas, yogurt and pain du chocolat in the morning. Learning how to use the machine at the grocery store to weigh the bananas, figuring out how to make ourselves understood to the clerks at the checkout line, part of the fun of being adrift in a city where you don't speak the language. When your Ou est? and Combien? are not quite enough. The view of this cafe across the street from our hotel is wha…

Dreaming of France: Tour de France hits the Louvre?

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Those don't look like official cycling shorts to me. Just a group of girls following their tour leader. Ah, oui! Time for a photo! If only they had French berets.

I can't decide which of these photos to put on my Instagram.
Any suggestions?
Connecting with Dreaming of France

Dreaming of France: Trompe l'oeil

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photo credit: moi
The trompe l'oeil technique used here works better on a sunny day when the real sky matches the painted blue sky on the building. On the day we visited this spot in the 10th arrondisment, the grey clouds visited the neighborhood too.
Literally, to deceive the eye, the official definition of the French phrase trompe l'oeil is
• visual illusion in art, especially as used to trick the eye into perceiving a painted detail as a three-dimensional object.We spotted this one on the Rue du la Faubourg above a storefront near the Gare de l’est. But that’s all I know about it and so far, even my friend Google, has been of little help. I have no idea what he initials ELZA stand for, they don’t seem to be connected with the shop below, one that sells military accoutrements.


photo credit: www.paris-en-photos.fr
I did discover that Paris boasts an abundance of buildings done up in trompe l’oeil to fool the eye. The one above (not my photo) is of a wall next to a fire station. In…

There Goes the Sun

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By the time you read this, you will have already seen some spectacular photographs of the eclipse. Good. Because you won’t find them here although this shot of the totality taken by my husband Mark is pretty awesome. It’s what we saw but not all of what we saw. All in all though, the research we did about taking photos of the eclipse on our iPhones proved to be right. Unless you got incredibly lucky, had some special skill sets and filters, knew how to adjust the ISO and other techie doodads, your pictures would be grainy, the sun small and unimpressive. In other words, nothing like the eclipse we would be seeing with our own eyes. Relax and watch the eclipse, most of the articles advised. After all, maxxing out at about two minutes, the totality itself wasn’t going to last that long. And while there’s another eclipse coming to the eastern states in 2024, for most of us, this would be a once in a life time event.

For someone like me, a rank amateur who loves taking pictures with my iPh…

Eclipse 2017: Heading to the Path of Totality

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the things you see on a road trip to the totality
Are you in the Path of Totality? Excited to see the eclipse? No matter where you are in the country, you'll see some part of the eclipse on Monday. Mark and I headed north from Los Angeles, hoping to see the whole dang thing. Which is why I totally forgot to write my weekly British Isles Friday post! Sorry fellow followers of Joy Weese Moll's Friday meme.

A couple of months ago, we thought it would be kind of awesome to get out to see the eclipse from somewhere along the Path of Totality. Idaho or Oregon, both about two long day's drives from L.A. It took about 60 seconds to learn most people had that idea months and even years ago. People are coming from all over the world to see the eclipse. Hotels, campsites have been booked for eons, what remains are prices jacked up to the clouds. 



We decided to leave early, drive through Oregon which is in the path, into Washington (which isn't) and go back into Oregon on Sunday or …