Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Rest of Paris

Longer, more detailed posts later, but for now dying to remember all we did!

Day 4:
Our 10th anniversary!

Got a late start due to a grumpy kid, but made it on the train to Versailles.



Long wait in line, but got in and walked through. Incredibly ornate, though the Hall of Mirrors was as amazing as I remembered. I usually like big and fancy, but this was a bit much even for me.

L-o-n-g hike through the gardens only to discover no place was really still serving lunch.

Walked to the Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette's village, the theatre, the gardens, and the Grand Trianon. While the Petit Trianon was a bit twee and the gardens extensive, the Grand Trianon was my absolute favorite.

Finally caught a late lunch. Then the crowded rain back.

Wanted to go to Le Coup Chou for a romantic dinner, but was afraid it would not be B's thing. Ate across the street at Le Petit Prince, which was chambering (and even a dog in a basket).

Dessert at Gustine's on the way back (B's first chocolate mousse in Paris - but not her last!)

---

Day 5:

Another late start due to the late night before.

Abandoned plans for the morning at the Louvre, and went to Les Arts Decora:

tifs instead. Enjoyed the Barbie show with Beatrix (Paul Mitchell was there! And his Barbie-like wife!). Gordoeus Art Deco rooms.

Met Giulia for lunch at L'Imperial Bistro on Rue de Rivoli. She was even more charming in person.

The Louvre (much calmer in the afternoon). No, did not see the Mona Lisa, too over-rated. A couple of hours in the Greeks, Egyptians, and Medieval rooms. Did see the Venus de Milo, and B got a good shot.

Pompidou Center, which turned out to be a great call. Fantastic kids exhibit with photos on buildings. Up the escalator for the great views. Enjoyed several pieces, mainly cubist pieces.

Another round of chocolate mousse at Gustine's (different location).

Went to l'Arc de Triomphe. Did not mean to ascend it (elevator broken) but ended up doing so anyway. Exhausting, but INCREDIBLE view. Beatrix witnessed her first pickpocketing attempt, which made quite an impression.

Kind of meh dinner in St. Michel.

---

Day 6:

Gardens de Luxembourg, to sail a boat in the pond. B's was Canada.

Picasso Museum (in the Marais). Glad to get there, because it closed early. Later learned it's been fairly controversial, but we found it lovely.

Flunch for lunch. Less good than I remembered. But, wine.

Back to Pompidou for longer at the kids exhibit.


Up to Montmatre to meet Giulia's family. Coffee and cake with her mom while the girls got to know each other.

Walked around, up to Sacre Couer, enjoyed general tourism.

Ate incredible dinner at a tropical French restaurant. Totally treated like VIPs. Late night Metro ride home (get the theme here?)

---

Day 7:

Catch up day. Finally tried the merengue at the patisserie. So unusual.

Musee de Cluny. Loved the tapestries.

Touristy but good moles frites for lunch.

Walked around and shopped and such in the Latin Quarter.

The Concergerie to see where Marie Antoinette was jailed.

Met Rosy for champagne and a light dinner and walking around.

Went home and packed.

Walked up to the cafe on St. Germain for one more round of mousse and wine. Then up to the river to see Notre Dame lit up.




Monday, June 20, 2016

Nurses' Strike

For anyone wondering why I am standing with the nurses during the current strike (the short version):
In Saint Paul, you are generally either a Regions family or a United family. We're United, and during the many times my mom was admitted there during her cancer, she had incredible nurses.
All the times but one.
In her last admission inDecember, 2016, I had gotten to her room a little late that morning because I was setting up a meeting with hospice staff. I figured I had missed the nurse's round and not had a chance to meet him. Mom and I talked for awhile, and both dozed off. When I woke up, I realized I had still not seen a nurse, and buzzed for someone. It took awhile, but her nurse on duty (a "traveler," so not that different than Allina's current "replacement staff") finally came in, took her vitals, and immediately called fro all the emergency staff (including the chaplain).
He had not "gotten around" to checking her room on the last 2 sets of rounds and in just that time, she had developed the pneumonia that killed her ten days later. He admitted he was not trained in cases like hers.
He was sent away immediately afterwards.
The rest of the nurses worked incredibly to make my mom's stay, and her eventual passing, as good as it could be.
But if they had had the support, if Allina had not been so understaffed and had to bring in travelers, if, if, if...she might have at least lived to know she had a granddaughter on the way.
Nurses are incredible people, and Allina has some of the best. They deserve fair working conditions. We, as patients, deserve not to be put in a position where they are not supported.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Eternal Happiness

This book was a slow read, at the beginning but in general a very rewarding one. By the end, I found myself reaching for it more and more often

I have heard the author (Rob Schmitz) a few times on Marketplace, and appreciate his tone. He realizes that, as a journalist, he impacts the situation he is in — but tries mainly to tell the story of those he interacts with. Thus, this book has very little about him and being an expat in China, and everything about a few people who live there, and their interwoven stories.

Having experienced that part of China (though Shanghai has changed by 1000% since I was last there), these were not new stories to me. But they were well-told, and engaging, and extraordinarily well-written.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review, but the opinions are all my own.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Paris Day 3

The quick summary of our time so far:

Arrived in Paris Sunday morning, late due to mechanical issues. Yay, trains on strike. Taxi to AirBnB.

AirBnB very cute but way way way smaller than expected. Also damp due to recent floods.

Walked around, found a lovely patisserie, had lunch. So good. Beatrix was dying to try a macaron — and hated it.

Shakespeare and Company bookstore — true pilgrimage.

Went back and rested a little (heLLOOOO, jet lag).

Notre Dame.

Seine boat ride in the pouring rain. Great introduction, actually.

Prix fixe dinner in what Beatrix called a very fancy dinner and was actually kind of a touristy place. Still, 10 euro dinner — mussels, omelet, creme caramel.

A little more exploring, back, and to bed.

Day 2:

HeLLOOO, more jet lag.

Walked to first patisserie for breakfast but closed. Walked back to another one and FINALLY got coffee (and chocolate croissant). Much more human.

Saint Chapelle.  Amazing.

Also, got a Paris museum pass. Brightest idea so far.

Walked to the Orangerie. It's far. Stopped several times in the Tuleries to watch dogs, goats, and Swedes (Euro16  here).

Bought B a beret and some Eiffel Tower keychains.

Monet's water lilies. Sublime. (also got to skip the line - museum pass turns out to be a fast pass, but for culture. Win).

Angelina's for hot chocolate. OMG.

Quick rest, Marais walking tour. An area I had never visited before, and full of secrets.

Crepes with cider for dinner (Beatrix buttered pasta). Also delicious gelato.

Eiffel Tower. Not crowded, but ridiculously expensive, so Patrick and Beatrix went up and I waited in the cold (and proceeded to get sick). Beatrix blew bubbles off the top of the tower — magic. Light show at 11pm on the tower — lit up with American flag in honor of Orlando and I cried. Closed Metro stations and drunk football fans quickly brought me back to my senses. LATE night.

-----

Day 3:

Slept in (did I mention late night).

Delicious patisserie open for coffee and chocolate croissants. Then a market.

Now master of the Metro, we headed to Invalides and the Rodin Museum. Perfect.

Then the Orsay. Incredible work, exhausting amount of people. Beatrix kind of lost it, and I don't know that I blame her.

Headed back to the apartment. Indoor picnic with wine and cheese and bread. Much better than it sounds.

Headed back out to experience Galleries Lafayette an other stores. Do you think the US is ready for MC Hammer pants the way they are here?

L'Opera is (still) beautiful.

Harry's Bar. Big (strong) French 75.

Mere gelato on Ile St. Louis.

Night salvaged.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Art Girl

Beatrix has 3 pieces in the downtown Saint Paul Art Walk. They are over in the Riverfront Development Corporation window, which is on 6th Street next to Heime's Habadashery (between Wabasha and Saint Peter).

They have actually been up almost a month, and are featured as part of the Art Walk in this week's International Children's Festival.

Here she is looking at the pieces on the day that the Ordway held the "opening" for the event. It's also a day that her Norwegian dance group danced in the Festival of Nations (thus the bunad), and she had a circus performance!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Well, "Hate" is a Little Strong, But...

I got this book because I thought it might be a lot like Heads in Beds, which I really enjoyed. Not so much....

Honestly, by page 4 I hated the authors. By page 6 I found them so annoying that I couldn't even hate them. By page 12 I had thrown the book across the room.

I get it. You want to be in theatre, but The Man demands a day job of you (because you can't make it on stage). So you are a concierge, and hate the people who ask you to do things for them, because that apparently makes you better than them.

Oh, and did I mention that no one tips you enough?

Ok, we get it. But we don't care.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for my review. 

Because someone had to.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Milestone Birthdays

I have two friends who had milestone birthdays recently, and man, did they do them right!

This is my (mostly online) friend Serina, who just turned 40. She decided she wanted to kick off her birthday week for the cake smash to end all cake smashes:


That photo has totally gone viral and it's so awesome!

What I love about this is it's so Serina. Hanging out with a few friends, a little irreverent, a kind of wicked sense of humor, and a lot of fun. Exactly how you should celebrate your birthday!

(She actually had a whole birthday week, with 40 presents and a great night out on the town)

Based on that, I think I did 40 wrong. But maybe there's hope for 50.

Last night, the incredible Lisa Channer celebrated "50 times around the sun" (so Montessori!). She also had cake, and cheap wine. But she celebrated by filling the Southern Theater with scores of friends and collaborators, artists and technicians and writers, and just plain people from all over her life. People were invited to pick a year and create a one-minute piece inspired by that year — with dance, a reading, videos, performance art, whatever inspired them (and, since it was commissioned work, they all got $1 at the end!). The passage of time, from infant to teen to young adult to now, as all the more poignant when represented by someone else.

It was truly fantastic (even if each piece lasted well longer than a minute). Patrick and I were still discussing almost every piece, in detail, today. Lisa kept saying "This is the best idea I've ever had!" While I doubt that, because Lisa has a lot of good ideas, it was  pretty amazing night.

I turn 49 this August. I have a little time to plan.