Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Last post

And, here we are. No response, to my Travelers’ Tales submissions. No response, to my U.S. and UK newspaper submissions. Nothing from the agent, my cousin’s acquaintance. Nothing from my cousin in London. And nothing, yet, from the magazine that was to publish a piece, albeit reduced to a reader’s letter.

I’m almost fifty-six. My little Tuscany is disappearing, first one cypress and then another, while other trees grow higher, closing its view. Like that view, disappearing, so are my hopes of getting Half Italian published.

I’ve PERSEVERED, tortoise and hare style, even reaching to the UK. Little by little, here I am, nowhere, as far as getting published. You need to know someone, or be someone; how would editors otherwise pick, with so many submissions? My newspaper queries probably weren’t even read. My last bit of hope remains with Travelers’ Tales, an anthology to be published in 2013.

Half Italian’s permanent home appears to be a shelf in my study. No regrets; I have, on record, a document that saves a precious period of life.

I’ve enjoyed this blog and it’s nurtured hope. But this is my last post, unless there’s success to report. (It would’ve been fun if I’d received just one comment from Russia.)

This truly has been fun. I didn’t need to be so nervous after all.

- PJ

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nearing the end

I spent U.S. Thanksgiving in Vancouver, Canada. Two days rain, two with sun, all about forty-two degrees Fahrenheit. For a native southern Californian, wearing a below-the-knee raincoat and bundling up in scarves is fun. With a wise eye-glint, one local man said that novelty would probably wear off after a day or two.

Canadian Thanksgiving is second Monday of October and not a big deal, compared to U.S. Last Saturday, however, my Canadian in-laws prepared one of the best Thanksgiving dinners I’ve ever had. Oh, how good stuffing is when made with a fresh baguette, torn to pieces.

Here’s the turkey, just out of the oven. 

And the apple crisp, being readied for the oven.

The holiday season has begun; this Thanksgiving post is simply for fun; responses to my getting published are none.

Nearing the end, and that’s okay.

- PJ

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tickets and Teeth

I got another speeding ticket in France, it turns out. This one came in the mail, after we returned, unlike the one I received on the road, four years ago. Someone in Los Angeles with whom I share a first name received the same, from the same town in France, just one day before I received mine, although he recalled seeing a traffic camera go off.

I didn’t mention before, but on this trip my travel companion lost a tooth, a front tooth, while eating a croissant one morning in Alsace. A day or so later, someone here in Los Angeles with whom he shares a first name also lost a front tooth, while lunching in a deli. What’s up, with all that?

You’d think when something official is sent from one country to another, the sending entity would write it in the language of its destination, particularly when money’s demanded, with threats for late payment. But it was in French. A google search, however, indicated the person with whom I share a first name and I are not alone – a link in English is out there that says, in essence, if-you-received-one-of-these-here’s-where-to-pay-it.


- PJ

Friday, October 5, 2012

Final submissions

Today I made my final submissions, two to UK newspapers and three to Travelers' Tales. The latter were shorter versions of previous submissions.

I'll make no more; if nothing comes of these, I'm done. But I'll continue to blog until the end of this year, which allows enough time for follow-up and any responses.

- PJ

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Red bell peppers

I often return home from France and Italy with new food ideas. Trying an idea or making something learned from a prior trip, combined with jet lag, help extend the feeling of a trip.

Tonight, it’s a red bell pepper tart I learned on a 2006 visit to France. (Thank you, Sophie!) Place a rolled out puff pastry in a quiche dish, spread it with Dijon mustard, fill with sliced red bell peppers and bake about an hour at 350, or until the crust is done. Oh, how I love three-ingredient dishes. Here it is, ready for the oven. 

With a roast chicken (hot from the grocery store, picked up on my way home) and lettuce leaves tossed in olive oil and vinegar, this makes an easy and nice dinner. Red wine, anyone?

 - PJ

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Taxis - yikes

Arrived home, yesterday. Last Saturday, two miles in a Paris taxi cost twenty-five euros, about thirty-two US dollars for a half-hour drive.

Monday night, two speedy miles (about ten minutes) in a London taxi cost twenty-five pounds, over forty US dollars.

Yesterday, during a 2 ½ hour taxi home from Los Angeles International Airport (eighteen miles, normally a half-hour drive) I was thankful for jet lag, which kept me fading out. Our driver said two accidents on Interstate 405 were the cause. The damage: $116.85, even detouring on Sepulveda Blvd.

Home and broke, but still soaring from the joys of France.

- PJ

Friday, September 28, 2012


The internet here has been iffy, at best. Time along the wine route, La route des vins d'Alsace, is time well spent if you love beautiful scenery and Villages Fleruis, charming villages with lots of flowers.

Not a problem that much of the weather has been gray with intermittent rain; these are cold-weather villages, the kind that seem warm
no matter what. I imagine sitting by a fire in one of the stone houses, cozy, happy, and looking out the window.

I loved Choucroute Garnie before this trip. 


  Now I also love Baeckeoffe.

 We’re renting the second story of a home in one of the towns along the wine route. Here's the back.

The owner leaves us fresh grapes, on our steps.


 Each morning I walk a few doors down to the boulangerie for fresh bread. Twice I’ve had a Linzer Tourte. Our kitchen is well stocked, from the local stores.

Here's the beginnings of dinner, a few nights ago, turkey cutlets with mushrooms fried in butter and brandy.

 Back to Paris, tomorrow. 

- PJ

Thursday, September 20, 2012

France 2012

Anyone who read my April 12th post saw what’s necessary to do in our new condo, each time it rains. The leak is now worse, so here’s Tuesday, before leaving for France. Rain controls our lives, and until that roof has been replaced we take no chances when we’re not home.

Arrived in Paris yesterday morning. The skies are nice, the air cool. Here’s yesterday afternoon, in Place Saint-Sulpice.
- PJ