The Crack of the Bat

Away on this side of the ocean

When the chestnuts are hinting of green

And the first of the café commandos

Are moving outside for a fine

And the sound of spring beats a bolero

As Paree sheds her coat and her hat

The sound that is missed more than any

Is the sound of the crack of a bat.

There’s an animal kind of a feeling

There’s a stirring down at Vincennes Zoo

And the kid down the hall’s getting restless

Taking stairs like a young kangaroo

Now the dandy is walking his poodle

And the concierge sunning her cat

But the heart’s with the Cubs and the Tigers

And the sound of the crack of a bat.

In the park on the corner run schoolboys

With a couple of cartons for props

Kicking goals à la Fontaine or Kopa

While a little guy chickies for cops

“Goal for us,” “No it’s not,” “You’re a liar,”

Then the classical shrieks of a spat

But it’s not like a rhubarb at home plate

Or the sound of the crack of a bat.

Here the stadia thrill to the scrumdowns

And the soccer fans flock to the games

And the chic punt the nags out at Longchamp

Where the women are dames and not dames

But it’s different at Forbes and at Griffith

The homes of the Buc and the Nat

Where the hotdog and peanut share laurels

With the sound of the crack of a bat.

No, a Yank can’t describe to a Frenchman

The rasp of an umpire’s call

The continuing charms of statistics

Changing hist’ry with each strike and ball

Nor the self-conscious jog of the slugger

Rounding third with the tip of his hat

Nor the half-smothered grace of a hook slide

Nor the sound of the crack of a bat.

Now the golfer is buffing his niblick

And the tennis buff’s tightening his strings

And the fisherman’s flexing his flyrod

Like a thousand and one other springs

Oh, the sports on both sides of the ocean

Have a great deal in common, at that

But the thing that’s not here

At this time of the year

Is the sound of the crack of a bat.

Dick Roraback is a former sports editor of the Herald Tribune. His springtime elegy has appeared in this space since the 1960s.

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Thursday afternoon was Opening Day for the Oakland Athletics Baseball team.  Although I have missed the last three seasons, I have always gone back for Opening Nite. Not this year.  Friends posted many photos on Facebook. As I looked at them, I could see the green grass, the blue sky, Jeanni in a sleeveless blouse (it’s still really cold in Paris), the smoke from Opening Day fireworks rising over the Coliseum.  I felt such nostalgia.  I could feel the sun on my shoulders, the happiness of the first day of the season when everyone is in 1st place.  But I couldn’t hear the crack of the bat.  What a sound that is.  Every baseball fan loves it–the ball hitting the sweet spot and the absolute certainty that it will be a home run..  It’s only a sound but it’s more than a sound. It’s six months of the year.  It’s Ken Korach’s voice rising in exhilaration at another A’s homer.  They seem so much better at that than at small ball.

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When I moved to Paris, all my friends in the Bay Area had the same two questions: “What about baseball?” “What are the Oakland A’s going to do without you?”   No one could believe I would miss a season of Baseball.  And that was when I was just coming for one year!  This will be the fourth season I am missing.  

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Subscribing to MLB.tv turned out not to be an option for me.  I could only get the A’s when they played on the East Coast and it was daytime.  So I’ve been subscribing to audio.  Last night as I was doing something else, a dialogue box flashed across my screen; ‘The Angels now lead the Athletics 1-0.’  Wow, the game was on! And I was awake.  I hurriedly found all the right buttons and heard Ken Korach, one of most favourite people in the world, announcing the top of the 1st inning, Game 3: A’s vs Angels; Game 3 of the 2018 season.

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We baseball fans, just like the players, are extremely superstitious when it comes to baseball.  Within the first twenty minutes of listening,  two A’s dropped the ball, blew two chances for a double play, missed an outfield fly ball and all in all played just like minor leaguers. By the bottom of the second inning, the score was 3-0 Angels.  “Nothing has changed” I thought to myself.  “Maybe it’s my fault and I shouldn’t listen to any more games” second thought.

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But, as Marty Lurie says, every game is a new chapter in an unfolding book.  No one knows who is writing it or how it will end.  And that’s why we go to games.  Because we love baseball, anything can happen and to hear the sound of the crack of the bat.

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Thank you to my friend, Darcy, who sent me the poem Crack of The Bat.

A bientôt,

Sara

A birthday in Nantes–Part 2

Sunday morning, the morning after setting our clocks forward.  Of course, I slept too late.  But as it turned out, we had the perfect day to look forward to.  The sun was out, it was warm and we were headed to the water and Ile de Nantes.

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Ile de Nantes is somewhat like Ile de la Cite in Paris.  The Loire river divides in two and goes around a large tract of land.  Much of the old shipping and slave trade took place on the island.  The shipping yards closed in 1987.  Slave trade doesn’t exist anymore (there is a wonderful museum recounting the years that Nantes led Europe in slave boats that left this continent.  We didn’t have time to go but it’s on our list for next time).  Now there is a large park, Parc des Chantiers, and the fabulous Machines de l’ile.  A Parisian friend had told me to be sure to see the machines that look like animals.  That is all she said.  A bit of an understatement!!!  Nantes is the home of Jules Verne so it probably shouldn’t come as any great surprise to see wondrous creations out of all sorts of material.  As we crossed the bridge, we saw the Carrousel des Mondes Marin–“a universe of strange and disturbing marine creatures which revolve in a huge three level structure” -Tourist brochure.

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I wanted to see the Grand Elephant first.  I love elephants, for many reasons, and one doesn’t get to see many outside of Stomper, the mascot of the Oakland Athletics baseball team.  We wandered towards the gift shop and suddenly there it was before me: A majestic animal of steel and wood, 40 feet high, 26 feet wide and 21 feet long weighing in at 48.4 metric tons.  I literally gasped.  It looks like a real elephant.  When it goes for a walk, it is “architecture in motion”-tourist guide.  The trunk can blow like a trumpet and shoots water at a great distance.  It seems to use the water to get children to move out of the way of it’s movement.  It would not be fun to be stomped on by one of those huge feet.  I took photos and videos and smiled like a kid.  The eyes looked real and seemed to be looking at me as I walked backwards trying to get the best shots.  I had wanted to take a ride but there was a line and I had so much fun just watching the elephant stroll.

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We did buy tickets for the Carrousel, which opened in 2012, and went to all three levels to pick the marine animal we wanted to ride.  Of course, we weren’t nearly quick enough.  Children were fast and found their favourites. I chose the tortoise.  I had to climb up tiny little stairs and swing my aging knees on either side of a saddle. The turtle was made of steel and had four distinct parts: the body that I was sitting on, the head that I could swing back and forth with a handle and two side handles that moved the front legs.  By the time I figured out how to make the tortoise look like a live being, the ride was over!  In front of me were two flying fish each one built out of a bicycle.  Next to me were two giant horses pulling a carriage that held a family.  Barbara rode a giant snail.  She was sad because she wanted the horses.  They rode up and down – about the only things that moved similar to the carousels you and I are familiar with.

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Even after the ride was over, it was hard to leave.  The park is an extraordinary creation.  It was founded by Francois Delaroziere and Pierre Orefice.  they are major figures in Street theatre and urban performance in Europe.  Today, Pierre Orefice is the director of Les Machines de l’Ile.  Francois is the art director of the company Les Machines and dreams up live performances.  The structures are built in the workshop before the public’s eyes.  The Machines first opened in 2007 and have given thousands of people, old and young, a great deal of pleasure.  Go see it!

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Across from L’Ile de Nantes sat the Belem, originally a merchant ship and now berthed for all to see on the Quai des Fosses.  Right behind the Belem was a 40 foot sailing boat that belongs to Antoine and Marion, friends of Barbara’s oldest son, Mathieu.  They are getting ready to leave on afive year trip around the world.  They invited us on and into the cabin of their boat for a coffee.  Marion showed us where she is renovating the ceiling with wood which she will then paint.  Antoine was working the outside.  I asked them if all this had to be finished before they left.  They said the proverbial answer: it is a work in progress!!

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I applauded them their courage to do a trip like this before they start building careers and a family.  I also took a couple of years off between university and Graduate School and hitchhiked around Europe.  My parents thought I was crazy and it’s true that it is a luxury to be able to take off like that.  Not everyone can.  I have never regretted it.

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We left in time to get ready for our final adventure of the day: dinner at La Cigale.  Our AirBnB host had told us not to miss it.  It is Art Nouveau at it’s most extreme.  Barbara had made a reservation when she was told she couldn’t have her birthday dinner there.  La Cigale was built by Emilie Libaudiere and opened in 1895.  It quickly became the place to meet and greet for the bourgeoisie, aristocracy, dancers and actors.  It is now an historical monument.  In 1961, it was chosen as the film set of ‘Lola’ by Jacques Demy.

We walked in and were seated near a window looking out on the Cours Cambronne, a beautiful terraced walkway.  We quickly ordered then both of us were up taking photos of everything.  The waiters didn’t blink an eye.  They must be terribly bored of seeing all the tourists repeating the same things over and over again day after day.  But it is an eyeful.  Tiles everywhere of cigales and family shields and basic blue and yellow strips.  An old wooden standing clock perched on the bar and was topped with a Cigale.  The Cigale is good luck in Provence but has brought it’s luck to this restaurant.

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We ordered cabillaud again and bar and grilled vegetables.  It was good but so was my dinner that I’d cooked the night before!!  But I couldn’t top the atmosphere of fun at La Cigale.  When we left, we walked to Place Royal and were able to see it without the stalls. A centre fountain was bathed in blue light and again, I thought of Rome.

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The next morning, we went full circle.  We walked back to the Chateau and strolled along the ramparts getting a good view of the city.  It was impossible for me to imagine what the scenery would have looked like in the 15th century and what a person standing on the ramparts would look out on.  As we came down into the Courtyard, Barbara realised that with all the photos we’d taken, we had none of the two of us together.  So, in French, she asked a woman who was sitting next to us to do the honours.  “I am English and would be happy to take your photo!”

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With that, we went to get our suitcases and take the bus to Gare de Nantes.  Two and a half hours later, we arrived at Gare Montparnasse.  For me, I love to visit everywhere in France and I love coming home.

After you hear the elephant roar, turn the sound down, it’s a poor choice of background.

A bientôt,

Sara

A birthday in Nantes–Part 1

On the train riding home from Nantes yesterday, I asked my friend Barbara, should I title my Blog ‘Nantes’ or ‘Barbara’s Birthday’ and with that cheshire cat smile of hers, she said ‘Barbara’s birthday in Nantes’.  So I compromised.  For no good reason, I just like the title!!

Nantes, the sixth largest city in France, holds a unique place in French history.  Originally in Bretagne, it is now the administrative seat of Loire-Atlantique department.  In the mid-20th century, France changed the regions of France and made Rennes the centre of Brittany and created Pays de la Loire with Nantes as its centre.  The vast majority of Nantes would prefer to be Brittany and consider themselves Bretons.  Pays de la Loire says it could not exist without Nantes as it’s largest city and port.

Whatever its history, Barbara picked Nantes to spend her birthday and off we went last Friday.  We stayed in an AirBnB in the heart of Nantes, walking distance to all the attractions, of which there are many.  We could have easily stayed another 2 or 3 days.

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One of the drawbridges and the moat surrounding the Chateau

Our first stop was to the Chateau des Ducs des Bretagne or Chateau d’Anne of Brittany.  It was late in the day after the trip from Paris and rather than take the 10euros tour to the large and informative museum inside, we opted to walk over to the Tourist Office–Barbara’s favourite first stop! We stood in the courtyard and knew we’d like to walk the ramparts at some point.  The chateau has been completely renovated.

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Inside the courtyard

At the tourist office (french tourist offices for those that don’t know are a must stop.  Kind people will pull out a map and show you how to get to suggested sites.  There is usually a gift shop with wonderful postcards and things from the region.  I always leave with lots of little booklets that I end up tearing apart and putting the photos in my journal!), we decided we’d return in the morning and take a self-guided tour with a talking box.

We headed “home” stopping at Monoprix, which was conveniently placed on the RDC of our building, for good food that would make a quick dinner.  After eating, out came the map and the booklets and we plotted when we would do what.

The next morning, Barbara’s birthday, I called on Paul McCartney to serenade her with “You say it’s your birthday” in true rock and roll style.  Then I looked out the window.  Everywhere I looked, every space of sidewalk, every inch of street and concrete was full of tents and floating stores.  It was the once a year Braderie de Nantes/Giant Sidewalk Sale.

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Barbara opening up cards and presents

After a pow-wow, we thought there was no way we could do the self-guided tour.  We’d be caught up in a sea of people wherever we turned.  We thought we’d brave the crowds immediately and go to Passage Pommeraye.

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Paris’ many passages had nothing on this three story passage.  As with the Chateau, it had been completely renovated and cleaned up.  In fact, what struck me during the entire day was how clean and new Nantes looks.  Nantes’ city centre was destroyed by American bombs during WWII.  The Allies eventually took back the city but the decades following weren’t kind to Nantes.  It wasn’t until 1989, under a new Mayor, that Nantes finally experienced economic growth and developed a rich cultural life.  And in the years since 2010, Nantes has been cleaning to show off it’s rich history.  Between the cleaning and the 20th century building, Nantes has the feeling of a newer, contemporary city.  It’s median population is the youngest in France.   But Nantes puts money into small everyday things to keep the city clean.  At the end of Saturday, around 10pm, I looked out the window and there wasn’t a trace left of the huge sale.  Fifteen boxes were piled up at the corner to be taken away by the garbage truck and a machine with rolling brushes was covering the sidewalk, vacuuming into its insides any debris that could have possibly been missed.  Very impressive.

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Parvis of Musee d’Arts de Nantes

From the Passage we went to Place Royal but there were too many stalls and too many people so we pushed through that and found our way to the Musee d’Arts de Nantes, another icon that has recently undergone a huge renovation.  The museum houses art from the 13th century to the 21st century.  The modern art is located in a part of the museum appropriately called the Cube and looks nothing like the rest of the museum.  It is large enough for installations yet paintings and photographs don’t get lost.

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From the museum, we worked our way up to Cathedral de St. Pierre et St. Paul.  We really wanted to make it to the Prefecture by 4pm at the latest.  I had learned that there would be a March for our Lives in Nantes and both Barbara and I were anxious to be there and march.  So we gave the Cathedral short shrift as they say.  Our hearts weren’t in it.

IMG_0595.jpgSo we wound our way to the Prefecture and spotted a small crowd of people huddled together.  There were probably 20-25 of us but that is a lot when you think it’s France and not Paris where most people are paying attention to American politics.

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The middle banner is Unicef

In fact, we didn’t march at all but formed a circle while Alison, the head of DA, read moving excerpts from speeches, from the surviving HS kids and a wonderful letter from the Obamas to Parklands School. As I stood there listening,  I was remembering that it was 50 years ago that I was protesting the war in Vietnam, campaigning first for Gene McCarthy and then Bobby Kennedy, that MLK was murdered in April or May of ’68 and Kennedy in June.  I prayed that these High School kids could do for Gun control and murdering children what my generation did to stop the war in Vietnam.

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Extraordinary statistics were cited.  Since 2001, the number of school killings in each country one by one were mentioned.  The largest being five, I think.  Whereas in the US, we have had 217 since January 1, 2018.  It’s hard to write that.

We made our way back to the apartment a bit thoughtful.  Stopped at Monoprix for the birthday dinner (we wanted to go to La Cigale but it was full so you will have to wait to hear about that wondrous place till tomorrow).

Le Menu:

Cabaillaud cooked in demi-sel beurre and herbes de provence.

Roasted rutabaga cut up to look like french fries.

Green salad with dressing of oil, vinegar, and mustard.

The final present of the night was that we lost an hours sleep BUT no longer had to do mental acrobatics trying to figure out how to align with the US who changed clocks two weeks ago.

Stay tuned for Nantes–Part 1

A bientôt,

Sara

The most famous rock star you’ve never heard of (unless you are French)

Two weeks ago, I was invited to the Mona Bismarck Centre for a screening of a documentary “The Second Act of Elliott Murphy”.  Because I’m a member, I could bring someone with me: two for the price of one!  I invited Barbara.  She was so excited and told me she had followed him for a long, long time. Really? There is a rock ‘n roller that she knew about and I didn’t? How could that be?

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As we waited in the bar to go into the screening, a man stuck his head out the door.  I turned to Barbara “There’s a guy back there. I’m sure I know him.  But I don’t know how I know him.”  I ran through a long list of acquaintances in different parts of my world and landed ……in Paris! I’d seen him a gatherings of my friends a number of times over these past four and a half years.  “Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked Barbara.                                             “Just wanted to surprise you.”  She had a cheshire cat look on her face.

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The documentary was terrific.  I kept thinking that I’ve known this guy and no one ever mentioned he was a musician.  The film narrated the story of Elliott and his brother who played music together from their teens.  After a bad car accident, the brother never played again but became Elliott’s agent.  Both Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen, good friends of Elliott’s, talked about him throughout the film.

It described his move to Paris in the late 70s and he has never left.  His French fan club is huge.  He married a french woman and now has a grown son who is also a musician.  And all through the film, we were treated to his music.

After the documentary, we stayed for a concert.  Elliott was accompanied by Melissa Cox playing an electric violin.  His tunes are catchy and many are uplifting.  The violin lent a dreamy air to the music.  He finished by playing “On Elvis Presley’s birthday” which he said is his most popular song.  I liked it but liked some others better.

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At the end of the concert, he announced that the following weekend was his birthday and that he would be playing at New Morning, a jazz club in the 10th.  Barbara and I bought tickets.  The concert was to be at 8pm so we showed up at 7:15pm hoping to get good seats.  The club hadn’t yet opened and a long line was building up.  We waited and waited.  It rained a little and still we waited.  The doors finally opened up at 8:10pm.  Is that called building up the excitement?  We found good seats on the right side.  By the time Elliott came out with his long time guitar player, Olivier Durand, the place was packed.  People were standing everywhere.  There was very little English spoken.  He indeed has a French fan club.

Elliott and Olivier played three or four songs together and then out came, as Elliott called them, the Murphy Family band.  Gaspard, his son, was on the electric bass.  Although I had only heard some of the songs once, I was humming along as if I knew them by heart. The French were ecstatic, singing with him, screaming, clapping along, jumping up and down.  It was wonderful.  There is a quality of total happiness about Elliott’s songs and singing and the french response make it only more so.

 

Want to know more about Elliott?   http://www.elliottmurphy.com

If you get the chance, go hear him.  You’ll find yourself grinning and dancing—just like the old days!!!  You too will fall in love with the greatest rock star you’ve just now heard of!!

A bientôt,

Sara

La Foire de Chatou

Outside of Paris, to the west, in the middle of the Seine is a small island called Ile des Impressionistes.  Twice a year, le Syndicat National du Commerce de l’Antiquitie, de l’Occasion et des Galeries d’Art Moderne et Contemporain (SNCAO-GA) rent the island and stage the Foire de Chatou.  I wrote about Chatou a year and a half ago but focused on two women who make a living going from Brocante to Brocante.

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This year, The 96th Foire de Chatou opened Friday, March 10 and ends Sunday, March 18.  There are 700 stands selling nic-nacs, good silver, good bone china, paintings old and new, vintage clothing, furniture old and new, beautiful old books that one buys for the way they look on the outside and many many other things that you didn’t even know existed. The first time I went to Chatou was with a friend and her mother.  My friend, Alicia, knew to take her caddy along with her.  Smaller purchases went inside the caddy.  Alicia took her time at every stall.  She picked thru all the boxes laden with goodies, she stood in front of paintings one at a time and carefully thought through her purchases. Sometimes I would skip ahead of her but always find her again as she would leave her caddy outside a stall for me to see.  I don’t have Alicia’s patience.  I did come home with some lovely purchases that year.  My favourite was a small Afghani rug that is probably a prayer rug.

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Alicia and her family went back to California that summer and I went alone to Chatou the following Fall.  Alicia and I had made a friend of one of the women who run the stalls: Mary Cook.  Her stall is Tinker Tailor.  She goes to the UK where, I believe, she is from and brings back lovely bone china and beautiful silver.  I have bought some wonderful things from her that I use every day.  I had bought a sugar bowl that I loved and dear Bijou broke it in her phase of “let’s break everything that Sara owns”.  I told Mary and I’m sure I looked very sad.  So that Fall, I went to her stall first thing to say hello. She had a sugar bowl with a small crack in it and had saved it for me to buy at a small price!!  Now when I go by myself, Tinker Tailor is my first stop.  I feel like I have a friend there and I can come chat if I get tired of walking around.

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Tinker Tailor. Look carefully and you will see a silver toast holder upper left corner.  They are wonderful to hold cards, checks, bills, etc.

There are brocantes all over Paris every weekend and they often will spill over into Mondays or start on a Friday.  Now that Spring is supposed to be arriving, there will be any number to go to.  But Chatou is the largest by far. One time as I was chatting with Mary, I met an American woman who had brought over five other women just to shop at brocantes, particularly Chatou and the famous Flea Market at Clignancourt which I’ve never been to.  Either they find things that cannot be found anywhere in the US or they just like to shop in Paris but Chatou is not cheap and neither is shipping back to North America.

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I’m partly writing this blog for Alicia as she will be sitting in San Francisco reading it wishing she was here spending money at Chatou.  And I miss her.  Chatou is more than twice the fun if you go with another person.  Alicia is the best of all persons to with!

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At the end of a tiring day, Chatou provides a navette (shuttle) back to Reuil-Malmaison where I can take the RER A back into Paris.  This year, I only bought a vase and a wooden duck.  Both I love!!  I didn’t see much else that grabbed me.  But that won’t stop me from going again next September when Foire de Chatou returns to Paris.

A bientôt,

Sara

The Further Adventures of Bijou the Cat

Dear Reader

I apologise for the long absence.  I have been flying back and forth from Paris to New Jersey in order to be of support to my Uncle Stan and my cousin, Joan.  I say support because Joan has done the lion’s share of the work to get Stan moved into Skilled Nursing and packing up, cleaning out and closing up his 2 bedroom apartment.  I was there for the final week of closing down the apartment.  Anyone who flies a lot across the ‘pond’ knows that going up and down, crossing time zones really does take a lot out of you.   So although I’ve had many ideas for my blog, I just didn’t have the energy to do anything with my ideas.

Until last night.  When Bijou disappeared for about four hours.  As the old Joni Mitchell song goes: “You don’t know what you have till it’s gone,” I thought my heart would stop a couple of times.

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Tulips: the sign of Spring

So I’ll back up.  The sun has been shining in Paris.  The temperature has gone up.  For three days, it has felt Spring like–although many of us feel too superstitious to actually say Spring has come to Paris.  As I’ve reported in an earlier blog, I have a huge terrace.  It is a third room that is mostly accessible in warm weather.  There are two large sliding glass doors in both the Living Room and the Bedroom.  That is my access to my terrace.  Yesterday, I had both doors completely open and was inspecting all the plants that I’d put on the terrace last summer and fall.  Bijou followed me in and out.  She is a very social cat and likes to be around people.  Where I go she goes and makes herself comfortable.  If there happen to be pigeons or other flying objects near the terrace, she will sit on the couch or perch herself on the outside table and chatter away as only a cat can do.  This is not meowing for you non-cat people.  This is a true chatter.  The sound is like a far away typewriter going at full speed.

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Bijou not sure she likes being photographed

After six plus months in this apartment, Bijou knows not to jump up on the terrace guardrail.  When we first moved here, she would jump up and discovering it was six inches across, go walking along happy as can be.  She would visit the next door neighbour’s terrace and come running back when she heard the fear in my voice as I called for her.

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Bijou on chair watching for birds

I don’t want her on the terrace guardrail.  I don’t trust in her sense of balance and assume there is a reason for the saying “A cat has nine lives.”  When I can’t find her, the first thing I do is look down eight flights to the courtyard below to see if there is cat splatted on the concrete.

Last night, I was catching up on e-mails (for some reason, I think it is actually possible to catch up! Silly me).  I suddenly realised I hadn’t seen Bijou in an hour or two.  I closed the living room doors and went from room to room looking for her.  I couldn’t find her in any of her preferred sleeping places. I stood outside on the terrace and called her name.  She usually comes running when I call her.  She is under the impression I might feed her.  Nothing, no sign of her.  I told myself to calm down, she would show up.  I turned on the TV and watched a BBC mystery in hopes that my mind would not obsess on where she wasn’t.

Thirty minutes went by.  I did my rounds of the apartment again and stood on the terrace again calling her name.  Nothing.  I watched another half hour of TV.  Did the rounds again, this time, I pulled out some wet food that she absolutely adores.  I don’t give it to her as a rule because she then will go on strike and not eat her regular dry food.  As I tore open the envelope of food, the smell seemed to fill the apartment and the terrace.  I walked to the dividing wall between me and my neighbour, calling her name and holding the smelly wet food towards his terrace.  Nothing.

I looked down into the courtyard again.  It was dark.  So I took the elevator to the RDC, went out into the courtyard, climbed up into the garden and called her name.  Maybe it’s true. That cats can fall and land on their feet.  I was walking on dirt not concrete so I guess anything is possible.  Nothing.  I peered into the next door courtyard trying to catch a glimpse of the concrete to see if there was a cat.  Nothing.

Up the elevator I went trying not to cry.  I was sure this time I had really lost her.  Anyone who has followed the escapades of Bijou knows she was especially precocious as a kitten.  When she turned 18 months old, she turned from her “monster” self into a very sweet kitten.  When she stayed with my friend, Melinda, during my California trip and surgery, she gave that family some heart stopping moments.  I haven’t had to worry about her since it turned cold in November and I have had the doors only cracked open for air.

I opened and shut every closet door calling her name.  I closed all my bureau drawers, found my flashlight and looked three and four times in the exact same place.  There are just moments when the mind will not take in information.  I find myself repeating an action over and over until finally acceptance moves me to some other action.

Three hours went by while I tried not to give in to the thought that this time was really it.  I had really lost her.  While I tried to get interested in something else and give my mind a rest from it’s end of the world scenarios.

Around 11:30pm, I was stepping out onto the terrace from my bedroom when I heard a tiny ‘meow’ from far away.  I ran to the dividing wall calling her name.  Nothing.  I came back to the doors one foot in and one foot out on the terrace.  Where was the ‘meow’ coming from?  Was I going to have to wake up a neighbour I’ve never met because somehow Bijou managed to get herself into another apartment.  I heard the ‘meow’ again.

I pulled open one of the bureau drawers that I’d slammed shut while I was so nerve wracked.  I saw a tail.  I called her name but nothing happened.  I took everything out of the drawer and out came Bijou. She didn’t even have the grace to look embarrassed.  She had gotten stuck behind the chest of drawers when I shut the drawer.  I was so happy to see her I gave her the entire envelope of wet food.

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Jonquils: a sure sign that Spring has arrived

When a tourist comes to Paris, one of the first things they see are the millions of postcards, greeting cards, trinkets, etc of cats on Parisian roofs, cats in front of beautiful doors, cats with their tails wound into a heart.  Parisian cats!  It’s almost as emblematic as the Eiffel Tower.  If I really wanted to scare myself, I could spend some time wondering how those cats got on the roofs, whose cat exactly is in front of the door.  But I won’t do that.  I do think I’m in for a long Spring/Summer wondering how many escapades I’m going to be dealing with as Bijou drums up more things for me to write about.

A bientôt,

Sara

More snow

Paris woke up this morning to the most snow, 15cm, since 1987.    Here are photos taken by different people of the morning of February 7, 2018

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Last night from my terrace
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This morning from my terrace

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Eiffel Tower from Trocader
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Skiing at Sacre Coeur
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Notre Dame
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Houseboat on the Seine
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Pont Alexandre III
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Waking up to snow
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Champs de Mars