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Showing posts from November, 2017

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Have Broom Will Travel [memoir]

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Halloween 1995, Batman and me
My history is littered with Halloween fails. Before I became a mother the question of what I was going to be for Halloween terrified me.


1958:  Halloween on a blazing hot afternoon in Tripoli, Libya. Age 5 All the military brats from Wheelus Air Force base were going to a Halloween party in an airplane hangar just outside Tripoli. Lots of civilian kids—mostly Brits and Yanks—whose parents worked on the base in various capacities were invited which meant my brother and I got to go too. Our dad, who spoke Arabic fluently and had been with British Intelligence during the war, had something to do with managing the PX on the base. My brother went dressed as a hobo, his cheeks smeared grey by my mother with a piece of burnt cork, while his friend, the older boy who lived next door, dressed up as a woman—a pillow stuck down his sweater shaped into clownish balloon-sized breasts and big red sticky lips. I went as Minnie Mouse in a cheap, cellophane-thin, store-bough…

Dreaming of France: Picturing Paris

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Bonjour! Can you guess where, precisely, this picture was taken? I love the diamond motif on the staircase, and the diamond pattern the lattice-work trellis creates on the wall. I shot the photo in France when we were there last spring, but where exactly? It took me a moment to remember where until I spotted the man tucked beneath the stairs. 

So who was he and what was he doing? He isn’t Harry Potter, I can tell you that. An American tourist? A French student? I’m not sure. What was he doing? Drinking a cup of coffee. Perhaps a Cafe Américain or maybe a cafe au lait. Chances are it was espresso. 

Where? Any guesses? I’m betting some of you more experienced French travelers will be able to pin it down. 


The answer: Starbucks on the Boulevard Saint Michel just down the road from Boulevard Saint Germain. Located quite near our hotel, Cafe de Flore and Deux Magots were both just up the street but on that occasion I just wanted to grab a coffee and take it back to our room. No muss, no fuss.…

Time to slay your own dragons, ladies.

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My first kiss was an unwanted one. I was seven years old when a boy named David pushed me up against the wall outside our apartment building. Forcing his mouth on mine, his breath, hot and fusty, something sickly sweet like apple juice and milk gone sour in his gut that made me squirm. I don’t remember seeing him as I ran with my brother and the other neighborhood kids through the empty lot next door, scrabbling over the toppled trees, slick with moss, tripping over the bramble of twigs and woodsy decay, but he must have been there, his knees as scratched and muddied as ours, before he caught up with me in the driveway that ran alongside and behind the apartment building. 
As usual I’d tagged along in my older brother’s shadow. Tag, hide and seek, cowboys and indians, the games kids used to play. Outdoors, up and down the streets, no watchful mommies on red alert. Ignoring our mothers’ warnings—don’t go into the woods, don’t go into the woods—we went into the woods, woods that in fact …

As Seen in Britain

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Iconic British Phone Booths in Marylebone May, 2017
With cellphones prevailing many of these lovely totems of once up a time in Britain, always a popular photo opp, have been revamped as cell phone hot spots and wifi zones. Speaking of which, I shot this pair with my iPhone.
There is even talk of transforming the red phone boxes into mini-offices! Long may they reign!
Posted for British Isles Friday hosted by Joy Weese Moll.

Dreaming of France: Guarding the Louvre

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When we entered the grounds of the Louvre, this gentleman, standing as still as the statues within its walls, gave us our first glimpse of not only the dizzying financial value of the treasures housed within its walls, but the importance of the Louvre as France's most beloved cultural institution. 


Home to some of the most famous and valuable works of art in the entire world—the Mona Lisa alone was last valued in 1962 at $100 million, and is presumably worth many times that now—and the museum, as the most visited tourist site in Paris, is worth much more than that. 


Over 8 million people visit the Louvre every year and when we were there this past spring, I have to admit it felt as though most of them had come to see the Mona Lisa that same morning. For anyone who wanted to linger and really look at DaVinci's masterpiece—like moi—it was a frustrating experience. 

Liberty Leading the People / Eugene Delacroix
Still, there is so much to see at the Louvre, there is no time to linger…
It's been just over a month since 58 people were killed by a gunman in Las Vegas. There is still nothing being done. We need to keep fighting the NRA.

'Can't you hear the children scream?' — this man's spoken word poem about America's gun violence will move you to tears (via @inqlife) pic.twitter.com/4JaviUM9RY — NowThis (@nowthisnews) October 6, 2017