Thursday, October 27, 2011

Breakfast at a Laundromat

When you travel for two weeks, there comes a time when you have to do laundry; that would be today. I bought detergent, headed for the laverie automatique, started two loads, walked to the boulangerie, bought breakfast and returned to the laundromat. Here’s 11:00 a.m. breakfast, croissant and chicken-comte quiche.
Little comte in the quiche, but generous with chicken chunks. Across the street, a security guard watched me chew. A girl entered with her detergent in a Maille mustard jar. Good idea. Then I read France magazine, which confirmed my boulangerie, Eric Kayser, was a good choice.

Tonight, dinner at L’Oulette. Off to Bordeaux on Saturday.

- PJ

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Angelina for Anita

Last November, a friend at work visited and fell in love with Paris but never made it to Angelina. Tired, cold, and disoriented at the end of the day they were to visit Angelina, she and her friends returned to their hotel, in the rain.

We visited Angelina this morning. Wishing you were here too, Anita.

- PJ

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Day in Paris

Tuesday in Paris. My friend has taken the group to Mont-St.-Michel and St.-Malo, with a possible stop in Dinan, leaving from and returning to Paris, all today. Too much for me, thanks; I think I’d be cranky. (And I recommend two days for St.-Malo: one for the ramparts and beach, another for the town, down inside.)

So today was my day alone in Paris, and I slept until 9:15 a.m. My sister asked me to check out the baba au rhum at a patisserie ancienne located near St.-Eustache, so after coffee in bed I headed over there.

I bought a wedge of quiche Lorraine and a baba, and then walked down Rue Montorgueil to a bench and enjoyed the quiche. A passing dog watched me, no language barrier in his hungry eyes. Here’s the baba.
Flowers are gone by this time of year, so parks are better visited in spring. Still, I’ve always wanted to see the Bois de Vincennes, so I went.
Forecasts had called for rain but there were only scattered clouds until I was well into the park. Glancing west at 3:00 p.m. I saw black skies, heading my way. Knowing well how fast weather can change in Paris (there’s a story about that in Half Italian), and having ditched my umbrella at the hotel, I made record time back to the Metro/RER. Thunder confirmed the need for aerobic walking. Yet, by the time I reached the Etoile/Arc de Triomphe, sunny blue skies were once again overhead, with beautiful scattered clouds. Gutters were temporarily transformed into rivers, washing Paris clean.
And now, I sit in by my hotel-room window, my southern-California legs aching from days of walking. I sip a whiskey, and write. Here’s what I see, to my left.
- PJ

Sunday, October 23, 2011


We arrived last Thursday, as planned. The weather is clear and cold – “doo not” forget to dress warm!

More tomorrow.

- PJ

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Off to France again

I left work behind me this afternoon and walked across the parking lot in late afternoon October sun.

Tomorrow it’s off to France. Who knew when I returned last fall that I’d be off again, same time of year?

My sister has asked me to visit a particular patisserie in Paris; I plan to do that next Tuesday. I’ll post a picture or two, for anyone who’s interested.

Then, off to Bordeaux.

- PJ

Friday, October 14, 2011

Request for information

Is it true there's nothing at the bottom of this blog to become a follower, nothing to click? That's what someone told me. On my work computer I see it's true, but on my home computer I see a "follower" button.

- PJ

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I've come out from the funk of my 9/9 post. I move forward, continuing the second collection of stories I started sometime back, the project I like to call The Other Half. The rough phase of a project like this is pleasing: I write in any section I want, add what I want, and enjoy. There's much to say about the Catholic nuns, who were my teachers.

This feels better than not moving forward.

- PJ

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I confess an interest in tornados. Recently, I did some reading online about causation and formation. There are lots of pictures. A few days after, late afternoon, the sky took on a look I’d never seen -- low layers of black and high layers of white. At the bottom of one area I noticed a charcoal-colored, circular swirling pattern. Would I see a funnel form, here in Los Angeles?

But absence of noise and wind, as well as an airplane flying directly beneath the swirling area confirmed these were just clouds in the sky. Shapes changed by minute and the clouds moved west, gone within an hour. I didn’t think to grab my camera until the show was nearly over, but here’s what I saw.

One week from today I’ll be up in the clouds, on my way to France.

- PJ

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Today, one of the soup selections in a cafeteria was potato leek.

A passerby said, “I don’t think I want a leaky potato.”

I said, “Sounds like someone didn’t shake it enough.”

- PJ

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Culinary Amusement

My friend and travel companion is on the phone, organizing meal deals with Paris cafes for the upcoming group trip. I type and listen, catching a word or two of his French.

“But Madame, haven’t you any specials other than tete de veau? This is not for all Americans.” 

Tete de veau is, literally translated, head of veal. The online menu of the establishment in question presents its tete de veau specialty in large font, center menu. The woman with whom he speaks is easy-going, offering alternatives.

Later, a local friend asks him if veal’s head is the same as “head cheese” -- chopped organs in aspic, she wants to know.

Rabbit, anyone?

- PJ

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Another Thought for the Day

There's an old expression about talking with your hands; Italians are sometimes branded with this stereotype.

My thought for the day: If you know someone who "talks with his hands," make sure you see them both. The animal of prey keeps one behind her back.

My family blowup isn't resolved.

- PJ

Monday, October 3, 2011

Decision making

My mind is on the pending trip to France, and also on this blog's reason for existence.

I won't make any more agent queries for Half Italian until I know if Travelers' Tales accepts any of my submissions. If they do, that's a publishing credit I'll need, and use. But I won't know that until next year.

So for now I'm waiting, similar to last year, when I sent all those agent queries. Whiskey, anyone?

- PJ