Sketches so far

Thursday night, Paris, France, 15 May 2008

There are some people I want to remember by jotting them down before taking a first nap in Paris. First, the woman on the train to Chicago who is 73, has lived in the same house her entire life and considers Frank Sinatra the love of her life. Eek. Then, the sparkling grandmother traveling cross country on Amtrak, returning home to Washington state where her husband works for Microsoft and where she is a college junior, trying to pass algebra. She knows she has my heartfelt sympathies and support. On the flight to London, my seatmate was a lovely (and lovely) German man who was a fascinating conversationalist and also knew just when to be quiet. And, how could I forget?! The very kindly doctor’s widow from Lincoln, England, who visited with me on the Eurostar, gave me a banana to snack on, and was not offended when I fell asleep across the table from her while we were talking. It was a long trip and I enjoyed almost every moment.

Friday, Paris, France 16 May

Went to the Pompidou museum today and saw the Louise Bourgeois exhibit. Walked all the way from our hôtel, my friend trying to drag me into numerous boutiques along the way and me pulling her out of store doorways. Ever it was thus. She called me late Tuesday night and wanted to know if I was still coming over. So she hopped a flight Thursday evening from Edinburgh and here we are, the introvert and the fashionista. Had we not met and been friends since the age of ten, we might not even get along, so striking are the differences. But we know one another inside and out and she’s the first to hold me accountable and the first to encourage me in pursuing good things. So, I’m thrilled to have her here.

Saturday, Paris, France 17 May

Slept in this morning after a night of listening to some street gangs fighting in the alleyway outside the hôtel. Thankfully there was no killing, but they were incredibly loud and we both were awakened and unable to go back to sleep for hearing them. Took a leisurely brunch and headed back into town. Today we walked even further, all the way into the Opera district for our one afternoon of fashion. I can only take so much oooing and ahhing over clothing before I turn into a truculent bitch who will do anything to get out of the store. I almost got there, just after the one hundredth entreaty to look at a blouse I wouldn’t be caught dead in. So, I have paid my dues to the Paris fashion world.

May

Time for a road trip! It will be so good to get away from the daily grind, even though I’ll start missing my son intensely the moment I step out the door. It’s good for him to see Mom happy and engaged in something unrelated to his activities or homework! Yesterday, I was mowing the lawn and stupidly tangled with the push mower to an extent that could have made the trip less enjoyable. I pinched one of my fingers greatly while messing with the self-propel going around some trees. Then, leaning down to tie a shoelace, I fairly smashed my entire lip on the handbar, so much that I saw stars and felt for blood and swelling. Thankfully there was none. Two hours later, filthy, drenched in sweat and grass splatters, I staggered back into the house to fix dinner for son and a friend. It’s a wonder they let me prepare their food. Even after cleaning up a bit, I remained a creature. Now, only a few last minute errands, an attempt at a decent meal for my son and his grandmother tonight, and morning will be here with it’s call to the 6am Chicago train. Sweet escape!