February 2013 – the latest from Paris

Dear All – was emailing this to groups of friends and suddenly thought, “Why, this is a post!” So here it is!!!
How is it going? VERY cold here – intermittently snowing and blowing at 1 and -1 Centigrade. Brrrr.
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Big news- I have a new apartment! Or at least I will soon.
My landlady dropped the bomb a few months ago that she wanted to move into my current apt, and that I had until August to find a new place. Long story short, Jaime and Steph have been looking, and they found one – right next door to them! 

If you had asked me 2 plus years ago if it was a good idea to live so close, I probably would have said no, but now it is going to be a huge blessing. For all of us! Anyway, I will be moving sometime in March. Very odd in the land of hurry up and wait for things to move this fast. Will send pics as soon as I see the place. Jaime saw it and says it is great. One way or another, it will be.

Carmen in Lion King!

Carmen in Lion King!


The other thing that is happening in March is that I am going to Florida for a week – March 9-16. Greg and Sofi sent me a ticket, which was very sweet, and the weather shouldn’t be too, too hot. But you know me, I will be sweating and dodging the sun. Greg Sofia and Carmen are in a new house which is close to the beach.Eat your hearts out all who live in clod climes! I am goin’ to the beach!! Really looking forward to spending time with he Florida Araujo’s and hanging out with my little lion.
My so, so wonderful life in Paris –
US Ambassador to France, Charles Rivkin and his wife, Honorary AWg President Susan Tolson.

US Ambassador to France, Charles Rivkin and his wife, Honorary AWg President Susan Tolson.

American Women’s Group (I am Madame La Presidente) just had our annual Gala and Wine auction – I have attached a couple of pics which will give you a little of the flavor of this wonderful event. Above is the Ambassador to France and his wife who is our honorary President – Charles Rivkin and Susan Tolson. Ooo-la-la – the circles I travel in these days! It was a Lovely evening and it looks like we raised about 13,500. So our doors will remain open another year and we will be able to donate some euros to our charities.

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Me, Gala Chair Marjorie Renner and UNESCO Ambassador’s wife, Kristin Killion.

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Beth Wilcox, me and Chantal de Lescure – they keep me young-ish.

That’s what is fit to print at this moment. Sorry for the group email! but I am lazy.
Hope you are all well and happy – miss you.

2012 in review – this is the coolest thing I have seen in a long time!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Major Catch Up!! First, Dublin and Environs – Ireland


I knew better. I know better! I should have been adding to this every day of my 2 trips – Ireland and Toulouse. But I didn’t, so now I must pay the price. And if you choose to slog through these next few of updates, so will you!

Ireland was fantastic. I spent the first 5 days of the trip with my friend,Michelle Larkin, who graciously schlepped me all over the place, and showed me some wonderful sights. Highlights?

Michelle’s mum (a real firecracker!), her garden, Michelle’s kitchen window view, a beautiful bay I can’t remember the name of but lots of famous people live there, and Dunne’s Stores – think Target at its best.


Powerscourt – a fabulous stately home with unbelievably beautiful grounds. Here are some pics of Powerscourt.


Then my sister, Marian, arrived, we gave Michelle a break, rented a car and got down to some serious sight seeing in Dublin and environs.

But before the car, we took the Big Red Bus Tour of Dublin. the only way to get the “lay of the land” in a new city. We declined the Guinness and Jameson tours.But enjoyed the Book of Kells at Trinity college. And, yes, the sky was that dark!

Then we went to Glendalough – a very beautiful historic site and grounds boasting a very well preserved round tower.


After this we hit the road. Next posting – Killarney – The Ring of Kerry.



Arrived Tuesday afternoon, and apparently I singlehandedly brought sunshine and semi clear skies! Unintentional, I assure you, but the break in what has been a completely rainy summer so far is appreciated.

Michelle is beyond the hostess with the mostest. I have been toured, fed, shopped, toured and shopped again. The woman is incredible. Had a lovely dinner at her Mom’s house the first night I was here’s – cooking that so reminded me of my grandmother. Yesterday we had High Tea at the Sherbourne Hotel where we ate until we just about popped. THEN we had to go to another dinner at a friend’s house. I thought I was going to burst.

Today we skipped breakfast altogether, had a late pub lunch and will forgo dinner. I have to fit into my jeans!!

My sister, Mimi, comes tomorrow, and Sunday we are off in our travels to Kerry and Dingle.

More as we go.

Chartres – St. Aignan’s – Better than the Cathedral

There is a breathtaking little church in Chartres, hiding behind the magnificent cathedral, just waiting to be discovered.

The outside is obviously old, not particularly in great condition, but OH MY, when you open the door! It took my breath away. Here is a blurb from the web on the history of the church:

Saint Aignan Church was first built around year 400, in the era of pre-Romanesque, by the bishop of Chartres – later his name has given as the name of the church. In its history, the church has suffered from several times fire in 12th, 13th and in the early 16th century, that rebuilding the edifice had become necessary,
The main portal in the center of the front facade was the only part of the church that preserved for the new church. The church also suffered several times of change function during the French Revolution – it was once served as a military hospital, then once became a prison and even as a fodder shop.
It finally returned as a worship place in 1822. the polychromy painting was done in 1869 by Emile Boeswillwald, a French architect born in Strasbourg on 2 February 1815.

My photos do not do it justice.

A professional pic



An Incredible Sight – La Fermette Marboeuf

Yesterday, as my friend Mary and I were wandering around the streets surrounding the American Cathedral (waiting for the 6pm service to start), we stopped in front of a restaurant called La Fermette Marboeuf. There, across the street from each other, were two perfect examples of Hausmann buildings – 6 stories, businesses on ground floor, apartments above, second floor (we would call it the thir floor) balconies fancier than all the rest (Deuxieme Etage was for the wealthier folks).

While I was regaling Mary with my smattering of knowledge about the architecture, a waiter who was setting up the outside tables for the evening asked us if we knew about the buildings? We said we didn’t, and he proceeded to give us a little lesson in 19th century Art Nouveau. Mind you, this was all in French, and while I confess to smiling and nodding a few times when I had no clue what he was saying, I did understand most of it. AND I could speak back to him!! sort of.


Waiter – these buildings were built in about 1850 and are on the National Register as historic buildings.

Me – What I wanted to say – How beautiful! They are amazing!
What I probably said –  Good things! It is fantastic!

After I impressed him a few more times with my French, he asked us if we wanted to see inside. I figured, hey – it’s a restaurant. How special could it be? But we accepted his kind offer.

I amazed!!!!! As we turned a corner into the room below, he explained that this part of the restaurant is original, making it over a century old. Mary and I about fell over. I couldn’t breathe for a minute. It was overwhelmingly beautiful.

As you can see from the pictures below, it was spectacular! Stunning! Breathtaking. And, yes, fantastique.

France Miniature

Two posts in one day! Unheard of.

Wednesday, it being Vacance Printemps or Spring Vacation, Aidan, Angèle, Suzanne Yoder (good friend here in Paris) and I took a trip to the southwest of Paris to an amusement park called France Miniature. Didn’t know quite what to expect, but I had been told that you can see all the important sites in France in one day. Everything from the Alpes to the Ile de Rey is in miniature, and I have to say it was amazing.

Of course, it rained.

But we all had umbrellas and capuces (sp?) (the equivalent of hoodies), and it didn’t POUR, so we happily wandered all over France. The detail was incredible. Kids were fascinated and Suzanne and I had fun recognizing things we have already seen and noting the places we haven’t that looked interesting.

Pictures are worth bunches of words, so here you go: