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LaurieP, Paint Fox (Read 4951 times)
Reply #3 - Nov 11th, 2003 at 7:36am

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Posts: 1196
Congradulations on your completed move, I know it's work.
And I know you are going to love the new place, it's in your nature.
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Reply #2 - Nov 11th, 2003 at 7:26am

LaurieP   Offline
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"Were you the Muffin Man?" I asked the jolly fellow in front of the oven on the back of a flatbed at the Bio Market.  "Yeah, I AM the muffin man," he replied.  I remembered him from our days in Paris, 1993.  He made English muffins that he sold to the Bon Marche, Galeries Lafayette, and the other big stores.  He told us how, since then,  he chucked all that success in favor of buying a house in the Loire Valley, and making his muffins on the back of the truck.  It is a deluxe truck -- "3 tons of stone in that oven!"

Life in the new neighborhood is great.  It is much more lively, with a wide choice of coffee bars and restaurants, markets and shoe stores.  This morning I passed a sculpture studio, not before seen.

I was shocked at just how ensconced I'd become in the nearly six years at 72, rue de Lille.  All that was there (at least fifty boxes) had been accumulated since our move to Paris in 1998.  And to pack it up really took the wind out of my sails.  Each item was a trip down memory lane -- how could this new apartment be better?

I felt like I was leaving Paris, not just our little apartment in the 7th Arrondissement.  And I started to dislike Paris, just so it wouldn't hurt so much.  I packed Pollyanna, my artnotes alterego, in that corrugated carton, with the curry powder and map of Rouen.   Painting was confined to the wine store at the Petit Lux, and my hotel room in London (the viewpoint for this week's painting).

Randy, a former Seattlite, and barbecue cook (he had a famous barbecue restaurant in Paris), helped us move our large items from rue de Lille. Randy moved most of the furniture in there, from the store, when our former "partners" stole the rest of our sample furniture.  It was great to see Randy again, under less pressing circumstances.   He drives the same beat up Citroen van as five years ago, slightly more obscured by graffiti.  He does portable barbecue now, and eyed our private little courtyard.

There is more than one way to live a life here (or anywhere, I imagine).  Our new apartment is a juxtaposition to the old.  We are on the ground floor, not the third.  The neighborhood is vital, not sober.  We live across the street from the Catholic Institute, the former academic neighborhood of Gertrude Stein.

My kitchen is large enough for Benihana.  I can fry on the gas stove top and toss a shrimp onto my guest's plate.  My studio is Barbie pink; Blair's is billiard table green.  Our bedroom and office is deep purple.

Foucault developed his pendulum at our present address.   The earth is, in fact, turning.  I feel I am on the brink of something big, and this change of venue has changed my mind.  Foucault also invented the gyroscope.

The sails on my toy boat may never be untangled and I may never find the teapot, but my psyche has survived, poised for another turn.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
(limited computer usage due to
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Reply #1 - Oct 15th, 2003 at 9:26am

LaurieP   Offline
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Wild Flowers for the Queen

I have made an active decision to work in the early hours of the day.  It 
isn't a new idea.  But I wake up chock full of promise, but as the morning 
progresses great ideas are replaced by chitchat over coffee.  As I walk through the 
gardens, my ideas slip away between the flowers.

So, by noon, I am worn out of creativity.  Good, maybe for cleaning, or 
typing, but certainly not for outlining the differences between England and France.

We sit just outside the Chunnel, near Ashford, England, while the railroad 
makes a quick check for illegal immigrants traversing the English Channel.    I 
used to wonder why someone would choose England over France.

Two days this week, we had our usual meetings with clients in London.   We 
stayed at our regular hotel, unfortunately a little too expensive, but something 
we indulge ourselves in for working as hard as we do there.  "Where's Tim?" 
Blair asked the woman behind the desk.  Tim is the tall, handsome Australian 
who carries our bags.  "He found another job," she admits, "but he didn't really 
want to leave."  We ask where he went -- she tells us he is a lawyer, and 
took a job with a top English firm. 

When I tell people in France I work in the restaurant from time to time, they 
cringe.  If I really want to shock them, I tell them Blair and I are going to 
buy a calliope when we retire and play music on the street.  These things are 
not possible in France.  I am breaking them in slowly.

We eat well in England – at a wildly decorated Moroccan restaurant for 
Wednesday lunch.  Blair couldn't place the accent of the owner, and asked if he was 
from Iran.  "No!" he announced.  "I am from Iraq.  You are Americans, aren't 
you?"  I cowered; secretly I hoped he wouldn't poison me.  In fact, his family 
left Iraq thirteen years ago.  Christians, oppressed by Saddam Hussein, his 
parents and brother went to Phoenix, Arizona, and he went to London.  "My 
brother is an American soldier", he tells us.

There are increasing numbers of ethnic restaurants in France, but no where 
near the number there are in London.  Admittedly, French food is among the best 
in the world, but it isn't the only good food.  For the number of immigrants 
from the former French colonies, there are surprisingly few non-French 
restaurants.   It is extremely difficult to begin a business in France.  Up until six 
months ago, one had to have $10,000.00 (approx.) in the bank to be granted a 
business license.  After that, the cost of social security is 1-1/2 times 
one's salary.  The social safety net is an expensive luxury for those who fit the 

We visited Decorex, the annual design product show held in London.  I 
"womanned" the NEWH (Network of Executive Women in Hospitality) booth for two hours. 
I had one seriously interested woman take an application form.  A man came by 
the booth, asking for information.  Mr. Sharif had a hotel.  "I'm sorry," I 
said, "but NEWH is for women". He told me how he was interested in 
organizations for "fringe" people.  He thought it interesting that in England (and in the 
US) there would be an organization to help people who were outside the 
mainstream, to find a mainstream.  He was interested in creating a group so that 
people would be able to learn more about how to be effective in a world alien to 
them, in an atmosphere they would feel comfortable.   I took his name and 

In Paris, I told my girlfriend  about my group.   "Surely that wouldn't work 
here," she snipped, "no French woman would want to join a business group 
without men."

After the show, we were cold and starving.  We forget those few degrees of 
latitude represent so many degrees of temperature.  We went to an Italian 
restaurant nearby and settled into a little red wine, pasta and rabbit. While we 
were there, a tall, thin nostrilled man came in with an exotic wife.  "How good 
to see you milord," the entire waitstaff bowed.  The couple sat adjacent to us. 
He ordered a double vodka over ice with bitters on the side.  During the 
evening, nearly half the people who came in paid respects to him and his wife. 
He ordered a second vodka as his son arrived, likewise impeccably suited and 
shoed.  The formality of the family, the subservience of the crowd was something 
I formerly abhorred, but I realized, this evening, that the lord was doing 
his duty, and the crowd was thanking him for that chance to be in England, to 
open a restaurant, to practice their religion. And to sell him another drink.

As usual, I breathed that sigh of relief when the train entered the tunnel 
and the conductor announced the time in France.   I felt at home.  But at the 
same time, I reflected on role, on duty and on just what we do.   And resolved 
to do it better.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
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Oct 15th, 2003 at 9:10am

LaurieP   Offline
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Posts: 24

The early weeks of September are fondly known as "rentree" (reentry) here in 
France.  Families return from vacation, school starts, and business percolates 
once more.

We see the vestiges of vacation being removed from cars, left by the door. 
Our neighbors on the floor below left fishing rods, four boxes of potatoes, two 
sacks of salt, downstairs as M, very tan, unlocked his door.  Their birds 
sang all night long in celebration of their return (birds were fed, by the maids, 
in the meantime).

The lady on one dyed her hair.  Our concierge received the royal treatment 
from the harem in Morocco.  She had her hair restyled, and her hands and feet 
were hennaed.  I can't get an appointment for a haircut until next week.  Maybe 
not all the makeovers were successful.

The Petit Lux is open again.  It is a slow week, although late Friday night 
the restaurant was full.  My temptation is to eat everything on the menu, which 
is new, prices in Euros only (not Francs). 

Not everyone had such a joyous rentree.  Fifty-eight bodies, victims of the 
summer heat in Paris, are yet to be claimed.  Names of next of kin were 
published in the Parisien yesterday, with a "correction" that two [bodies] had just 
been picked up.  We used to joke that even if one's mother died, one couldn't 
be interrupted while on vacation.

I was a little depressed when I first got back.  I loved swimming with my 
niece and nephews every day; friends were closer than I remembered.  A trip to 
the butcher set me straight:  "It's like that", he told me, "we all feel the 
same way," as he packed my lamb chops.  He spent a week with his ex-wife and 
their eleven year old son, pretending life was always like that.

The wine man denied the fact his air conditioning had broke down while he was 
away and all the white wine oozed around its corks.  I inspect before I buy. 
Missy, O's dog, cried when she saw us from across the street.  Pamplemousse 
was a little cool.

After nearly a month's break from Artnotes, these words come with difficulty. 
I painted on vacation: some "chair" portraits.   I got new butterflies at 
the New Milford, CT flea market.  The price was good, but the antenna aren't 
People from Connecticut are called "nutmeggers" on account of the fact they 
used to make and sell wooden nutmegs.  Some things never change.

My sister (in Connecticut) tells me she thinks that September is the start of 
the year.   It is certainly so in Paris.  Bonne Rentree.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
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