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At Home and In Paris

Updated: Jan 4, 2022


We are just like the Penguins and Polar Bears. . .

The truth is, neither Ted nor I can bear the heat.

Hot weather for us is anything over 75 Farenheit or 23 Celsius. For the Parisians, this is cool, and most all run off this time of year to the South. But these days, nearly all of France in the Summer is too warm for us. So, Ted is reading,Mickey's curled up somewhere near him, and I am writing to you, while all three of us are content in our air conditioned apartment.

The catch is, when you are homebound, what do you write about? What stimulates imagination and memory? Music is one source of inspiration. Usually when I write, I play classical music with decibels so high that they remind me of all those years playing the violin in the middle of the many youth orchestras I belonged to, like the California Youth Symphony, which I played violin with in my tweens and early teens.

The founder and director of this youth orchestra, Peter Meremblum, was a great teacher and even more a generous mentor. Recently I ran into a photo of him and it brought back so many good memories. More than anything else, I enjoyed rehearsing and performing with groups, ever since I was a child. I was never one to go out for sports, but playing in a quartet or an orchestra takes a tremendous amount of goodwill, sportsmanship, cooperation, and mutual support, and the sound is exhilarating and filled with life and good vibes.

So, why now do I sit here, listening to the rock and roll music of the 70s rock group Queen? After the late seventies, this genre was not for me. But Queen can always make me move my body, even when I’m siting in a chair writing. Freddy Mercury singing his heart out in “Those were the days of our lives” seems appropriate right about now, especially when one of the things I miss in the Summer are our friends.As the song goes:

“Those were the days of our lives

The bad things in life were so few

Those days are all gone now, but one thing is true

When I look and I find I still love you."

So I am fortunate to have my darling Ted to cook with, to cuddle with, to laugh with, and yes, even to quarrel with. And my Mickey (Mouse) who is an endless source of pleasure for the senses: for sight, touch, and even the variety of sounds he omits, even when he sometimes gets under foot, or pounces us in bed, or hides at the top of the dining room hutch, he’s a bundle of sheer furry delight.

And although we have yet to find a house and kitty-sitter to stay while we travel, he is worth every inconvenience, especially these days when there is such uncertainty anyway about the safety of traveling.Of course we can be patient when we know that next year our trusty and faithful l”homme a menager, Jeffrey, and his lovely wife Michelle will be able to move into our home when we’re away after December, when their adorable Genevieve will be three, and can be safe in our place, which is not exactly kid proof. Although I don’t think she can fall out of the windows, which are all screened in.

We have missed seeing Jenny since the pandemic, but receive frequent reminders of what we are missing. She has really grown up since we held her in our arms when she was a newborn, and later celebrated her first birthday at Christmastime with us in 2019. She and her Mother are just two of the people we have missed having in our lives in a consistent way since the beginnings of Covid-19.

In fact, so much has been missed in these 18 months, I often think we must have hardened ourselves in order to avoid the full impact of these loses of time and company, and found ways to circumvent those devastating feelings of loss.

As for our friends, seen all too infrequently between one confinement

and another, one holiday and another, one vacation and another, it has sometimes seemed that they have scattered to the winds,

taking refuge in their country homes, occupied with grandchildren, and living too far away to safely reach even if we were invited. We also miss out cousins with whom we gather far less frequently than we used to.

Most painful is the great distance that has come between us and the friends we enjoyed most often, sometime weekly.Phil and Mona spent last Summer in Porto, Portugal and decided that in the October break they would move there for a least a year.We are happy for them, since they truly are feeling more relaxed and content in what appears to be a far less treacherous milieu that the one in which they lived in Montmartre.And we have constant contact by every modern means available, and of course photo swaps back and forth. But, very much like a great concert, it’s never the same as a live performance.

Luckily, the heat won’t last, and beginning tomorrow we will have some cooling rains and then a number of sunny and mild days to take some day trips an hour or so outside of Paris proper.

Our last trip was to visit St. Germain en Laye.We entered at a round-about with a charming fountain surround by colorful plantings.

With it’s impressive castle, its lovely City Hall, and A yummy brasserie with a large terrace and the best riz de veau I’ve had in ages. Ted’s perfectly grilled tuna was a much to his liking and each dish came with its own special sauce and individually combined medley of sautéed fresh vegetable that tasted as if they had jumped off the vendors cart in the open marché that this suburb of glamorous homes near the Seine is so well known for.

After lunch, we took a delightful walk through the town with it’s many shops full of delicacies, some of which we took home to enjoy along with the memories of the day.

These picturesque villages on the outskirts of Paris are so Parisian, and a good place to practice my French, since fewer people are likely to want to speak English, even though the citizenry are friendly, polite and helpful at all times. We’re sure to drive back on market day prepared with plenty of heat resistant bags to carry home. Bon Appetit!

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