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Dreaming of France: 29 Avenue Rapp

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Scrolling through my Instagram& finding this image, I’m surprised I haven’t shared this particular French door for Dreaming of France before. 29 Avenue Rapp boasts what might be the most famous door in Paris. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful.



Designed by Jules Lavirotte in 1901 it’s a striking example of Art Nouveau architecture and features the very risque sculpted Adam and Eve above the door. I first saw the building in the movie Gigi as the building where Gigi's Aunt Alicia lives and where Gigi goes for her lessons in how to catch the right man. Preferably someone rich like Gaston.

Naturally when Mark and I visited Paris, we had to pay the building a visit. What struck us about 29 Avenue Rapp was how many people just walk on by, as if were nothing special, just another old stone edifice, the door, just another entry. I think even if I lived on the block, even if I saw the building and its door every single day, I would still have to pause and take it in. Not a whole …

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?
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