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Message started by Admin on Jan 6th, 2006 at 8:18am

Title: Paint Fox catch-up
Post by Admin on Jan 6th, 2006 at 8:18am

We arrived in Paris on the 27 December, just in time to prepare for our New Year's party.  The all night flight and six hour time change takes its toll, which is generally a full day or two of disorientation.

I postponed my shopping until the last minute, and pawed through whatever was left at Inno, the supermarket at Montparnasse.  I filled my caddy with pickles and horseradish, mustard and bread and made for the line, not unlike the one at the airport.  Luckily, Blair had bought a venison roast at the market, and G&W bought shrimp.  M arrived at 7:30 with roasted garlic, and everyone brought champagne.  The eleven of us exchanged grab bag gifts, Blair winning the prize with a floating shark bathtub stopper.

This is the time of year I most like to live in the city, with everyone preparing for the biggest night of the year.  I stood shoulder to shoulder at the toy car stand in the market, my five euro ready to buy the last "Smart" car.  "The Mercedes is more expensive but if you buy that for ten, I'll give you the Smart for just one more euro".  No dice.

E and Q brought sparklers, and we ran around the courtyard of our building writing our names and dirty words at the people looking out the windows.  I can imagine we'll be spoken to, but just how harshly can they attack ten adults and one child playing on New Years Eve?

At eleven o'clock we made the trek to Concorde to get a look at the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower.  Tour buses pulled up, and Eastern Europeans drank champagne and carried one another around on their backs.  A Chinese man sold us blinking rubbery amulets, mysteriously lit, perhaps by nuclear waste.  I try not to think of it, but took a liver cleansing vitamin before bed.  North African music blared from small cars full of people.

We sat on the cold stone railing awaiting midnight.  Suddenly, firecrackers and horns started to go off all around us.  We threw our streamers, kissed our husbands.  The Eiffel Tower sparkled, but no, NO FIREWORKS!  Half a million people in cars and buses on foot and sitting on the curb waited.  "We're not high enough" Blair said, and we walked over to the bridge.   No fireworks.  T mentioned she read they might not have them this year.  It took a moment to sink in, and individual revelers lit their own fireworks, exploding roman candles, and spiraling cascades in the sky.  

Strangers wished us "Bonne Annee" as we walked toward home.  A big man in a lavender shirt invited us into the only cafe open at 1 AM.  A disc jockey played dance music and a couple of shills danced like professionals in front of the speakers.  We ordered another bottle of champagne and Blair and I danced.  A skinny, shopworn woman with a tambourine spun around as her friend took pictures on his telephone camera.  A sleepy blonde harassed the bouncer until he danced with her, barely moving, as he grimaced. The Sri Lankan cook danced from the kitchen to the front of the house, under the eye of the maitre' d.  Q and I took a spin on the floor before we moved along towards home, just before 2, on account of Q's son had to get up at 7 to catch a train.

Three party girls, in sexy dresses shouted "Bonne Annee" from a balcony, as men below cried, "Open the door!"   Two friends slept over, in front of the fire's dying embers.  I fell asleep knowing that "no fireworks" can't stop the new year.

Laurie and Blair PESSEMIER
"New Years Eve" collaborative linocut  4 x 6 " on hand tinted paper

Laurieeiffel_new_year.jpg (64 KB | )

Title: Re: Paint Fox catch-up
Post by Admin on Jan 6th, 2006 at 8:23am

We throw a half dozen chunks of bread to the crows congregated near the chess players' vacant tables.  One enterprising fellow captures three fluffy white chunks.  He looks like the taxidermists mistake as he tosses them onto a bench.  He turns his head from side to side to admire his cache before another crow comes along to swipe it.

We have been feeding the birds in the Luxembourg Gardens.  It is a "forbidden" act, but in light of the sub-freezing weather the guards look the other way.  The terns standing on the pond take flight -- they know I like to feed them mid-air.

Like a horror movie, they circle me and sweep in, trying to make eye contact to get a bead on a flying morsel.  Pigeons crowd around my feet.  One who's figured out the routine takes flight and tries catch a crust in mid-air, too.  "Look at me, look at me, I'm a tern".  I cringe as the pigeon loses control and nearly crashes into me.

Blair has a group of ducks who stand at his feet, jumping into the air with their bills open.  He gives each a small bit of bread.  They tumble off the rim of the pond with glee.

We celebrated Thanksgiving this year with our friend Quentin.  We went to the Dome, the classic fresh seafood restaurant in Paris.  It is brilliantly lit and happy, with waiters in tuxedos serving overflowing plates of fresh clams and oysters.  The restaurant was delighted we were celebrating our American holiday there, and treated us to champagne.

It was a rainy night, just above freezing.  From our table in the window we watched giant yachts pass by headed for the boat show.  Boulevard Montparnasse has no wires down the center, so these mega-bateaux could pass with ease.  "Beep-beep outa' my way, I'm an ocean liner".  With a few colored lights, we could have been watching the Christmas ships from Seattle.

Quentin's design of the Benjamin Franklin coin was launched at the Musee de Monnaie this week.  We attended the festivities, in a room also dedicated to Benjamin Franklin.  Franklin is the first American to be featured on a French coin.

The event was attended by the hoity-toity in the Franco-American community.  I could understand why Blair's entry of Ben Franklin with pierce-through glasses was not the winner.   We introduced ourselves as the runners-up and visited with a man who represented the sons of the American Revolution in France.  His grandfather-way-back was a captain in the French Navy during the American Revolution.  We thanked him.

White confetti has been falling all weekend to celebrate our holidays, and I make snowballs to throw at unsuspecting targets.

Laurie (text) and Blair (painting) Pessemier
"Crow" by Blair Pessemier  32 x 48" acrylic on paper

lauriecrow112605.jpg (19 KB | )

Title: Re: Paint Fox catch-up
Post by Admin on Jan 6th, 2006 at 8:28am

This artnotes comes to you through gloved fingers, as I tap out this note in our unheated apartment.  Last Wednesday, our landlord scheduled a new heater/hot water tank to be installed.  We cleared the decks and prepared for a three hour hiatus in service.  At the end of the day, the machine didn't work, and the installers split, telling us to call the service department of the heater manufacturer.  After a freezing night and an uncertain waking, the technician arrived.

"These people [who installed our heater] are hacks" the tech announced.  A gas leak, water leak and improper venting were cited.   It looked like a second freezing night loomed.  The romance of the fireplace was wearing thin, as was my patience.

On Friday, one hack returned, and left, saying things were just fine.  Our dazed landlord was present.  The hack said he'd bled the radiators, and wrote a receipt saying he'd fixed the outdoor venting -- both untrue.  Less than 10 minutes after he left, the heater shut off again.   It relit itself, shut off, relit.  We could have hot water.  The house filled with a little gas each time the flame went out.

Saturday morning we awoke with terrible headaches.  A deliveryman came to the door.  When Blair opened it, the courier jumped back, saying, "this house is full of gas!"  We shut the gas off at the meter and went to the restaurant.

Luckily, the restaurant was busy all week, and we ate and stayed warm helping in the kitchen and bar.  Nicole sent us home with a plug-in radiator.  I might smell like Pommes Sarlandaises, but at least I was warm.

On Saturday, two friends of a friend, called, offering to take us out for dinner.  YES.  We invited them over for a glass of champagne in front of the fire.

Two bottles of champagne later, we were laughing and joking with this Russian American, who spent six years in Siberia, and his girlfriend from Berlin.  He didn't flinch at the chilling temperature.

We talked about eating fat in cold weather.  He said in Russia the fat on a pig is more prized than its flesh.  He talked of a breakfast of frozen fat on bread, and a glass of vodka.

When I was growing up in Connecticut, my grandmother introduced me to my first "drug". Scuda is the fat crispy outside of a roasted ham.  My father, an early enemy of cholesterol, would cringe as the roast was lifted from the oven, and we'd all wait until it was cool enough to rip off a chunk of the crunchy fat. I can still remember the feeling it would give me immediately after I ate it.  We kids would be packed off to romp in the snow while the grownups had shots and beers before the big dinner.  I was never cold.

We talked about other fat delicacies we knew:  the bit between the salmon flesh and the skin.  He told us about how in Russia, he knew people who drank antifreeze and brake fluid.  He was the only man who ever drank bush rum in Australia without cutting it with water.  Immediately exhaling after the intake of the 95 percent alcoholic drink is the key.

These stories made us feel warm.  G and I talked about my favorite German words -- that can amalgamate a variety of feelings into one neatly wrapped expression.  I love to say Scheuklappen (blinders) and  Liebling (sweetheart).  I learned a German wine toast that sounds like "cymbal", but means "everything good" (I can't recall it exactly).

We woke up this morning and made tea in the microwave.  Blair took a cold shower.  We looked at other apartments and houses available around the world.  We hope we'll always be surrounded by warm conversation.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
Evergreen in Winter, acrylic on linen, 24 x 65 inches

LaurieEvergreeninWhite11-20-5.jpg (58 KB | )

Title: Re: Paint Fox catch-up
Post by Admin on Jul 14th, 2016 at 12:41am
What a great block print of Paris 2006, your a lucky girl Laurin, I love your work. I want to go back to Paris again, I should do a block print, there just isn't time. Oh well, back to work. Don 7-13-16
I did an acrylic painting of a jacaranda, they are blooming up here in Makawao.

Title: Re: Paint Fox catch-up
Post by Admin on Jul 14th, 2016 at 1:16am
I just had to say how lucky you and Blair are, Paris at New Years 2006. You both are in sunny Italy now, learning Italian. 7-13-16. Europe is great.

The weather up here in Makawao on Maui is hovering around 82, not bad at all. I've been stuck inside for 8 years, I really should get out and paint, my van is crying to move around. I missed the 4th of July fireworks. There is a grove of trees about 3 miles from here I planned on painting, I hope it happens.

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