21 December 2008


"Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering - because you can't take it all in at once."

Audrey Hepburn.




Especially these past few days..... whether you're enjoying the holiday rush..or avoiding it! x c


19 December 2008

dwell in possibility...
e m i l y d i c k i n s o n


((another one by emily dickinson, as promised, for anne at city sage ;))

18 December 2008

a saucy moment



So I woke up, glanced at my daily list of blogs I enjoy and my eyes fell on this: "Ne pas savoir à quelle sauce on va être mangé" on Chocolat & Zuccini, the latest in Clotilde’s series on edible idiomatic expressions in the French language. I clicked on it immediately as I knew that this was an expression for me at this very minute in my little, uncertain life, and I thought it was an amusing way to look at my situation, a new and perhaps even delicious perspective.

For those of you that up to this point have no idea what those words means, Clotilde explains it’s “Literally translated as, ‘not knowing what sauce one is going to be eaten with,’ it means that one's prospects are uncertain, not very good, and entirely outside of one's control.”

Let’s just say that in my current situation in life, I simply don’t even know what sauce I’m going to be eaten with. Right now my sauce is definitely a sweet and sour one, or sweet and salty one, and I’m wondering if things will get sweeter, or spicier...((or richer ;))) or perhaps at this point I might be struggling to have any sauce at all!!

She also says it can be used in less drastic situations ((than my life, ha, kidding)) like a first time going to the acupuncturist as she uses in this example, "C'était la première fois que j'allais chez l'acupuncteur, alors je ne savais pas à quelle sauce j'allais être mangé." And I really do find it relevant to our present circumstances, don’t you? Very pertinent.

So I read that and smiled to myself ((before even having my coffee)), because let’s face it, I’m not even sure what recipe to choose these days to begin to make that sauce, or where my spoon is, or if there’s gonna be any bread to dip in the sauce....so I really appreciated this tasteful way of stating what is already an obvious uncertainty at this point in my life, and in many of our lives I’d imagine... donc, merci Clotilde.

"’Je me demande à quelle sauce je vais être mangé’
(I wonder what sauce I'm going to be eaten with).”

Hope it's a good one. Maybe I'll know after I have my coffee.......

A plus tard x c


((Photo by Angie Cao, found it on Tea For Joy’s Typewriter Tuesday))

17 December 2008

oooohhh x(s)-mas tree.......

my mom just brought me a delightful surprise, this tiny ‘European-style Christmas tree’ from, none other than Trader Joe’s!! It’s small, almost lime green in color, soft and flexible, and glittery ((i do believe it didn’t grow that way..!)) Funny, in all the years I lived in Europe I never saw a tree quite like this, but quand même I think it’s perfect and I’m curious find out more about this sweet little variety of Christmas tree.

((photo shoot to follow...once I get back from tutoring a writing session))

golden reflections



the other day I saw these photos on two different design blogs that I enjoy, and I can’t get the images out of my mind, I just love them and decided to share.

i found them on Anne’s blog The City Sage, which has daily photos and images that are bright, inspiring, exciting...and words that sparkle ((especially lately)) as much as the images. It’s a fun blog to stop by..and linger... ((sometimes even twice a day)) and Anne has been such a great assistance and support for me as I figure out this blog world.....



also check out Under a Paper Moon...the other delightful design blog where this photo caught my eye... initially it was the name of the blog that got my attention..but wow the blog is fun and what creative talents!

and now I’m off to decorate my staircase...I’m not kidding, but it won’t look as good as this...


((photos by CHRIS EVERARD ))

"to live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else."

e m i l y d i c k i n s o n


((This painting is by Hippolyte Romain, a French artist who has an amazing and vibrant collection of great scenes like this one here. I discovered him on Carla Loves Photography, and then went straight to his site, really fun stuff.))

15 December 2008

foufou

about 30 minutes ago my little Poupou ((my dog Poulet)) was running around the house like mad, literally like a chicken with his head cut off. ((Poulet means chicken in French.)) he was kind enough to pose for these shots here, and then proceeded to run laps around the house. by the time I got these pics loaded on my computer he was fast asleep, snoring loudly, partially hanging off the bed.







it’s been raining these past few days in California, and very cold...which explains why he’s clothed ((and perhaps why he’s crazy, though it’s not really new behavior.)) he has quite the wardrobe from his chilly days growing up in Paris, shopping sprees chez Mon Bon Chien, and daily café outings



((and the occasional bar scene at night just hanging out with the best of us))





this raincoat is very handy, actually keeps him dry and is cheap entertainment when the hood goes over his face and he can’t see where he’s going, he starts darting about in all directions.....

but for now he’s snoring, dreaming of Soph Soph, walks to Mon Bon Chien, and the good ol’ days when someone left the cookie case open and he could walk right in and help himself out..... seriously if you are in Paris, even if you don’t have a dog ((or cat)) stop by this shop, it’s delightful and cheerful and I imagine all decorated for the holidays...

12 rue Mademoiselle in the 15th
Métro Commerce

tell Harriet I sent you....
((and try the peanut butter truffle...yes, technically it’s for the dogs, but tastes like Reese’s to the rest of us ;)))


Bonne nuit
x c & pou



((just in case you didn't get enough of this pic the first time..))

“A person who is looking for something doesn’t travel very fast.”

e.b. w h i t e

"The only way of knowing a person is to love them without hope."

Walter Benjamin

14 December 2008

“The day we left I had hashbrowns..."



The first time I went to France I was 11.
I went with a very special woman who is like an aunt to me. When I see the clothes I wore on this trip ((in that picture below that you really can’t miss)), it’s a wonder they ever let me back into the country, and straight into the stylish capital nonetheless.... well anyway, what can I say really, I was 11.





And in case the outfit didn’t give it away ((yes that's one extra large t-shirt over spandex shorts, the baseball cap and double socks are self explanatory)), I invite you to read a lovely excerpt from my travel journal. The travel journal that ((at the time)) I felt had been cruelly forced upon me by my mother “Dearest Chantal, may this first trip to Europe be the beginning of a lifetime of worldwide adventures...” she had the nerve to write on the inside cover ;) and this cruel and unusual punishment of a daily journal entry was strictly reinforced by my aunt. Oui, moi, the writer, refused to write. I did write, but when you read the eloquent first few pages that I’ve copied here, the refusal part will become screamingly evident. Did I mention I was 11? That too, will be alarmingly clear.

MY TRIP TO FRANCE/SWISS
August 6 1991 - August 18 1991
age 11

“The day we left I had hashbrowns. When I went on the plane I found out that I HATE ((underlined)) them because the food is SICK ((underlined)) and they get to COLD ((you guessed it, underlined)) and they don’t have good radio stations or good movies the first movie was the hardways with Michael J. fox in it it was STUPID! ((underlined)) The second movie was King Ralph that I wanted to see but the head phones were fuzzy the whole time! (at least I got my money back) The food on the plane looked like liver in sticky dark blood. And I had that 2 times! (I did not eat it!) the 3rd plane I got lunch. It was cold cuts on a sweet roll DISCUSTING ((underlined)) The cheese was swiss and it had tiny hairs on it and the meet was dirty. Finally I got to the air port and went to the car rental place and the girl that helped us looked exactly like the French girl I know! She was verry pritty and even talked like her except she talked to us in english!....”

...aaaand one can only take so much of that at once, so... to be continued, I’m sure you’re anxious to hear the next installment. ((note I’ve always been a creative speller, I didn’t change a single letter, word, capital letter or punctuation mark))

I’m writing a travel guide, or series of travel guides to Paris. This will be the opening, my first true appreciation of all that France had to offer...lol. And even if the term lol existed at the time, I don’t recall thinking any of this was the least bit funny. Did I mention I was 11? And let’s turn the page, shall we..

ps does anyone know how to underline text on here??? ((obviously I don't...))
x c

13 December 2008

the day



And for those of you wondering, why yes, in fact today ((or the remaining 10 minutes of it)) is my name day, my fête, December 12 Saint Chantal. Well I mean, technically they call it St. Jeanne de Chantal...but it’s enough for me. Last year I was sitting on a crisp afternoon in Paris writing in the Tuileries, so content that I didn’t even realize how chilly it was. That is my favorite time of year to be in the gardens, it’s quiet and empty, you can be completely alone but not at all lonely, or even if the loneliness seeps in a bit, it somehow becomes more tolerable, gentler in this light, and there’s this stillness, this frosty lull in the air that envelops the trees..... and this year, well, I’m sitting at my computer writing, not quite the same but for a moment there I really was back in Paris. And for the evening, at least, I wasn’t alone, I had the pleasure of sitting in a warm café with a warm Algerian.



In other news, the word from Mon Bon Chien is that Sophie Marie is miraculously at home now, and enjoying every minute of love from Harriet. I’m working on some special international guest interviews I will be posting in the next few days, a few simple questions on this time of the year, just searching for a snapshot of what it looks like this season in the parts of the world where some of my dearest friends will celebrate the new year. And I do believe I hear the first sounds of steady rain falling out my window...

À demain.

12 December 2008

Sophie on t'aime

The gentle 13-year-old golden retriever with pink nail polish, Sophie Marie, the heart and soul of Mon Bon Chien, is in urgent care tonight.




From both sides of the world we are looking out for her, please keep Sophie and Harriet in your thoughts, come on Soph Soph, there are so many biscuits left to steal...





bisous
c & pou

11 December 2008

From the rooftops

Seated up at a high table in the corner of a café, waiting for the young Olivia, the (star)girl I meet with every week to work with on her writing ((we’re creating a blog writing from the rooftops (see my blog roll) that features her very own writing, thoughts, inspirations and updates from the It Book Stargirl that she’s reading.))

...and during such moments in between I’m, as always, trying to figure it all out; still hoping there’s a way..and perhaps a way will come, for
my personal stargirl said best...


I was asked to act when I couldn’t act. I was asked to sing Funny Face when I couldn’t sing, and dance with Fred Astaire when I couldn’t dance – and do all kinds of things I wasn’t prepared for. Then I tried like mad to cope with it.”


I’ll take it from Audrey, try like mad to cope with it, and keep my fingers crossed, there must be a way.
xx
c

ahhhhhh la laaaa!!!!




Been having trouble posting,
got a pile up here of posts for ya ;)
but I’ll ease into it......
why can't i post???

09 December 2008



I know they always say it, but quand même, all the world’s a stage. I used to love acting, until I finally realized I wasn’t very good at it, and I felt that I encountered personalities that so often overwhelmed me. I did like the feeling of becoming someone else, of living a different life for a while, of perhaps assuming more strength, less fear, of having a defined place and purpose, I was even told what to think, the words were written for me.

I’ve always written. I just never gave it much thought; it was so natural. But lately, it’s practically the only place where I feel welcome; I come to simultaneously lose myself and find myself. And it’s still like I’m on stage, I assume this voice that’s created somewhere between my head, my heart and my hands. And as I sit here, I’m overwhelmed, it falls from my finger tips before my very eyes, and again I feel I’m someone else though this time, the feelings are mine, they’re honest, or at least, what I sincerely want to believe are within my reach, so honest, in fact, that when I look back at what I’ve written it’s as though I’m reading the words, experiencing the sentiment, for the first time, still determining the character, learning through her perspective.

It’s also a distraction from this outside world that constantly seems to push me away despite honest attempt, genuine desire. It makes me wait. Holds things in front of me that I try to grasp; holds things in front of me that disappear. But this, writing, has remained, through it all, I’ve discovered in words a loyal companion, dependable and true, especially in these hours when I can’t sleep, and I can’t wake up; just when I feel like I’m living, when I take a breath and acknowledge what’s really in my heart, I look up, and find it’s gone, and yet in its absence, I feel it was here, and with my words, thankfully, I’ve marked its presence, clenched its memory, and grasped what I truly believed, was its potential.


08 December 2008

Need a good laugh: the official Carmel-by-the-Sea police log


This weekend I was back in the quaint town of Carmel-by-the-Sea where my family has owned a small cottage since I was a child. Carmel is a charming and peaceful place notorious for its Cypress trees, small-town community and constant flow of tourists, where Clint Eastwood was once mayor and still resides in the area, fairy-tale, cottage-like, multi-million-dollar homes that have neither addresses nor mailboxes and the trash collectors still go behind your house to collect your waste bins for you, where narrow, dark and bumpy little roads were paved far before SUVs became common place, tall pine trees grow all around, even in the middle of the roads, giving the area an almost forest-like feel that is scenically situated along white-sand beaches and the ocean, where all the shops close at 5:00 pm and the majority of the residents are senior citizens, providing for very early, dark and quiet nights and a complete absence of crime... it is, thus, rather amusing to browse the pages of police reports in the local weekly newspaper The Carmel Pine Cone. I would presume this is the reason most residents and non-residents take a Pine Cone off the kiosks, and I have loved reading these for as long as I can remember. I don’t know if it’s the mere nature of the ‘events’ listed in the police log, or an intentional tongue-in-cheek tone with which they are recounted ((not sure, do they have a sense of humor in Carmel?)), nonetheless, the police reports are worth checking out.





And if you ever need a good laugh or a quick pick-me-up, you can peruse the police log online
((and other major weekly news headlines!))
www.carmelpinecone.com



“Here’s a look at the significant calls logged last week by the Carmel-by-the-Sea police...”

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Thursday, November 20
Ambulance dispatched to a residence on Serra Avenue for a person who had fallen. The person was unable to get up off the floor but had no complaint. Crew assisted and returned to quarters.

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Thursday, November 20
Resident on First Avenue reported threats she had received from her neighbor nearly four months ago.

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Friday, November 21
Fire engine responded to a possible water leak at Junipero and Fifth. The engine was canceled en route by CPD.

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Saturday, November 22
Subject reported the loss of money while on Carmel Beach. If located, please notify.

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Monday, November 24
Report of a verbal peace disturbance on Fifth Avenue.

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Tuesday, November 25
Fire engine dispatched to Monte Verde and 12th for a residential lockout. Assistance provided.

Carmel area: Wednesday, November 26
Resident in the 100 block of Highway 1 in the Carmel Highlands reported possible trespassing.

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Thanksgiving
Subject on Mission Street stated that someone took his keys out of his vehicle’s ignition while the car was parked, and took his laptop from his locked garage in a separate incident.

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Thanksgiving
Victim reported his wife had struck him in the face with a plate during a verbal argument. The 60-year-old female was taken into custody for spousal battery.

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Thanksgiving
Traffic collision on Scenic Road and Santa Lucia caused injuries. Police, fire and ambulance responded to a report of a vehicle vs. bicycle. The victim, a male in his 50s, was experiencing pain in his right big toe.

...and that’s the weekly crime report from Carmel-by-the-Sea. And no, I didn’t make any of this up...this is word-for-word what is written before me in this week's Pine Cone.

06 December 2008

The same season, different views, familiar photos...and laughter just around the corner



There’s a letter sitting here next to me on my freshly organized desk. The envelope is loaded with international postage ((getting higher and higher every letter I send)) and lovingly addressed to Mon Bon Chien 12 rue Mademoiselle 75015 Paris France. The address rolls off my pen instinctively, as it was my address ((a different number obviously though I did at times, as did Harriet the owner, consider living in the store!!)) for so many years. And it is distant, and familiar all at once. Deciding where to picture myself becomes murkier every day. The presence of those people I know will always be there, and those I hope will somehow manage to hold on with me.

It’s funny, here my last post talks of the ocean and has a photo of the Carmel beach, then this morning I opened my computer to a comment on this blog from Carla who writes ((and more importantly, posts her photographs)) on one of my favorite blogs Carla Loves Photography I found myself reading her latest post, on what I believe to be a very chilly morning in California ((though it’s supposed to be 20C today)) and before me on the screen, photos of familiar street scenes appear, the streets of Paris glowing for the holidays where even the briskness of the winter air is captured in the photographs. And these images feel more like home to me, they seem to embody my image of the holiday season, and I’m hit suddenly with the cold breeze and a warm note of nostalgia.



Not to mention I missed Carla’s Paris Tango book release party at WH Smith in Paris on Thursday.... I’m having trouble locating the book here, as it would be the perfect Christmas gift for friends and family, and apparently she has a chapter about Mon Bon Chien ((my favorite Parisian dog bakery)) and writes of a time when she was there and my dog Poulet was ((comme d’hab)) tirelessly trying to get at the biscuit counter to steal an MBC gateau...((that’s a trademark move))



Yesterday I awoke to comments from Harriet here on my blog. Without hesitation I see her sitting in her world famous Mon Bon Chien boutique; yes, I can see her there on the couch ((where I usually sit right next to her)) along with her dogs Sophie Marie and Diablo ((and my dog Poulet, when he’s there with me...)) one big party on the couch at Mon Bon Chien as the pleasant and warm scent of dog biscuits in the oven fills the air, and the intermittent buzz of the timer or chiming song of the telephone ring pause our laughter and conversation....

This store has a special place in my heart, opening exactly one week before I impulse-purchased my over-priced, under-fed, underage puppy Poulet from a horrible animalerie ‘shop’ on the Quai..... and as I knew nothing about dogs, and was never even particularly fond of them, was desperate for the guidance that Harriet gave both Poulet and me. However, I never expected that Poulet and I would forge life-long friendships through this small dog bakery in Paris ((the first in Europe I might add)) that happened to be located down the street from us..

Sometimes I feel as though I can walk out my door, turn the corner, and walk into the store. Sometimes I feel like Poulet and I will never make it back. But every time I find myself back there and step foot in the store, I feel happy, as though I never left at all. If you have the fortune of being in Paris during this holiday season, or any season, stop by 12 rue Mademoiselle, laugh with Harriet for me, pet Soph Soph, watch the devilish Diablo and pick up some dog biscuits for all the dogs on your shopping list. And if you can’t make it to Paris, as malheureusement Poulet and I won’t make it this season, you can order some gateaux online from her website http://www.mon-bon-chien-paris.com and watch the featured Animal Planet video ((with Poulet as the smaller of the two cavaliers running in the door and peering into to the glass cabinet)).




So add to holiday list: MBC biscuits and Carla Coulson’s books Paris Tango, Italian Joy and the one she photographed for Vicki Archer, My French Life.

((the photos are from Carla’s blog, the Mon Bon Chien site, and my camera. Poulet is the dog jumping for the biscuit, Sophie is, as ever, begging gracefully by his side))

05 December 2008

Current


I came across this in an old notebook from a year or two ago and in a way, felt like I was reading it for the first time..it seemed somehow still to touch something within my life, to describe with my words, what I can’t seem to find the way to say.


Perhaps the waves I’ve been making are stronger than I perceive, for I find the subsequent waves are often too rough for me to swim in safely; crash around me, stay a while, sweep me up take me away and when I look behind, I’m no longer able to find my way back, to catch my breath. Powerful waves sweep over me, throw me to shore and seemingly pull back to sea without me, swiftly searching for deeper, more familiar waters with no reflection, smoother currents, quiet strength.


I watched the waves in Carmel last week, a break from falling apart. I stared at an empty beach – the rough wind in my face bringing tears to my eyes too stubborn to blink – I stood up against the wind, letting it do to me as it pleased; I watched the waves. A man played with his dog, running on the sand. And in their company, I was alone. Standing on that cliff; I watched the waves. There’s a sparkling in the traces left by the waves every time they pull away from the shore. Each wave hastened back to the sea, as brief as it was certain to caress the shore again, leaving behind the sand that glittered still, subtly, in the sunlight.


Or perhaps it’s all an illusion. From this view I can’t look away from those traces left behind, though the waves have abandoned, the beauty of a fleeting image, so often tragic. Yet beyond image and illusion, beyond beauty and tragedy, the waves faithfully return.


The sudden breaking of waves on a quiet beach – though they are expected – are beautifully deceptive, dangerous and strong, tempting and invigorating, though often much larger than we’d ever considered.

As this wave had swept me away right before my eyes – and I hadn’t seen it coming. A sudden break knocked the wind out of me, the sand no longer glittered, the sunshine escaped my days. When I reach for it the sand slides through my fingers and refuses to let me hold on. And so I stand, as I do not know, to walk away or toward sparkling traces left here, before me, I stand on this cliff.

I watch the surf, those moments when the sunlight shines just right, the rough aggressive beauty in the waves and the gentle caress, the embrace that follows every storm. And as always, I’m lured into believing, that the ocean goes on forever beyond the horizon and much, much further than the eye can see, subtle twinkle, deep reflection, the illusion that it is always coming back.

03 December 2008

Let me not...

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

s h a k e s p e a r e
sonnet 118

01 December 2008

canim!


“You do not know how much they mean to me, my friends, and how, how rare and strange it is, to find in a life composed so much of odds and ends… to find a friend who has these qualities, who has, and gives those qualities upon which friendship lives. How much it means that I say this to you -without these friendships - life, what cauchemar!”

t. s. e l i o t

((canim new photos from Selma tesekkur ederim my seker lokum :))))

29 November 2008

i have measured out my life with coffee spoons...


"For I have known them all already, known them all— Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, I have measured out my life with coffee spoons; I know the voices dying with a dying fall Beneath the music from a farther room."


t. s. e l i o t


((new photos from selma tesekkur ederim my seker lokum :))))

28 November 2008

Here's to lots and lots of Thanksgiving leftovers!!!



An inevitable question from a non-American to an American is, “tell me about Thanksgiving, do you really eat a whole turkey, why do you celebrate this, is that all you do, just eat?” Ok, so that’s more than one question, but they all center around the notion of the Thanksgiving that has been portrayed in American movies, TV series etc...it’s something that they feel they know so much, yet so little about. Come to find out when you ask most Americans about Thanksgiving, they too, know so much, yet so very little (on the origins) but friends, family and food come to mind and have become the tradition, and when you think about it, that’s really a universal experience. Perhaps that explains why this year the majority of Thanksgiving greetings that I received and exchanged were between non-Americans. I have been a part of so many people’s ‘first Thanksgivings’ and though I don’t take credit for ever really making the proper feast ....that’s not to say we didn’t have a good time!

Here is a list of sorts, (and because I have a tendency to write a lot, it appears to have taken the shape of a ‘top 10’) of moments from Thanksgivings past, abroad, that are anything but traditional, but are just as meaningful for me and remind me of the people and experiences that truly make me thankful.

1. First Thanksgiving in Paris 2001, not sure what to do after arriving in France only three month earlier. Amie and I wonder the streets of our quartier in search of a way to celebrate.... after much tense discussion and heated debate (haha, seriously!) we ended up in a Chinese restaurant, because we resolved that at this point in the evening, anything family style could potentially resemble a Thanksgiving feast (work with us here). And we salvaged the night, celebrating Thanksgiving amongst oblivious French patrons in a Chinese restaurant somewhere near the corner of place du Mexique in the chic 16eme... and our first of many Thanksgivings abroad, I think we’d both agree was, well, different but deliciously shared.

2. Another year, after being immersed in a very eclectic group of international students (who were to become my dear friends) my roommate L and I (the two California girls at school) decided to show everyone a real Thanksgiving experience, and invited practically the entire school to our one-room appartement, on rue Letellier (our fanatical Greek landlord would have been more than horrified.) Two American friends were visiting at the time and thus the four of us proceeded to fill the table with alcohol, turkey cold cuts, two small poulet rôti (that gave the whole-bird, turkey ‘look’), some sort of red berries that were round but not cranberries, and cookies that were missing an ingredient and were flat and melted together but nonetheless consumed.

3. The details of the rue Letellier ‘real Thanksgiving’ escapades escape me at the moment ;) but I remember music and laughter and socializing with my amazing classmates whose life experiences, didn’t include, perhaps, Thanksgiving, but spanned the globe and brought the world before me. I remember standing in the corner of my bedroom trying to get away from the noise just enough to hear my family on the other end of the phone in California at their more functional, more traditional Thanksgiving feast. I remember someone teaching me how to write my name in Arabic on the back of a paper plate, and I remember getting notes from my French neighbors the day after, in French words of displeasure ....and as the years went by we improved our Thanksgiving festivities, not to say this party wasn’t fun, but until my mom finally came to make a proper feast, I felt I’d let my friends down, fearing they’d forever think that a Thanksgiving feast consisted of alcohol, turkey cold cuts and the excuse to have a party on a Thursday night!

4. In one of my speech classes, I prepared an informational speech on Thanksgiving, in attempt to answer the questions, satisfy the curiosity, and perhaps clear up any confusion we may have caused... and I admit, I even learned quite a lot on the origins of Thanksgiving.

5. A few weeks early, before another approaching Thanksgiving in Paris, my mom, always a cook, always an entertainer, smuggled a frozen turkey, cans of pumpkin, cranberries and countless other items in her suitcase, in the hopes of restoring her daughter’s reputation in international Thanksgiving festivities.

6. Thanksgiving family-style was a real success, and I even gave my Thanksgiving speech again, for those who had missed the debut performance of this brilliant presentation.

7. The pumpkin pie was beyond words, surtout for those of us Americans who had not tasted it in years. Jeff went so far as to eat a piece that had fallen, off of the floor, because we weren’t about to waste one smidge of this taste of home.

8. This same year, on the official Thanksgiving day, W & J hosted a Thanksgiving, in a style that only W & J could fashion. Walter (Chinese, grew up in Brazil, moved to California, then to Paris...one word, amazing) and Jeff (American/French downloaded American TV shows for us and kept us up-to-date on 24, Simple Life etc..) had all of us over for one of their trademark, A-ma-zing parities. There is nothing like a W & J party..nothing. And we had another deliciously fun feast, more pumpkin pies, more whipped cream, on a Thanksgiving evening in Paris, on rue Chapon, where traditional flavors mingled with new traditions chez W & J.

9. Having two Thanksgivings in a row kind of made up for the lackluster festivities in the years to follow in Paris. Not that I didn’t have a wonderful Thanksgiving with my fellow American, Harriet, in her dog bakery/boutique Mon Bon Chien on our rue Mademoiselle, with hors d’œuvres as only Harriet could prepare and champagne (always on hand for impromptu parties in the store) and we had laughs, and a few extra special guests, then went out for pasta (yes, Harriet, oh the memories). More holiday celebrations in Mon Bon Chien would follow over the years, including the infamous Easter/Passover feast!

10. Being home the past two years, and yesterday, taking part once again in not one, but two consecutive Feasts with family, and the traditional Thanksgivings of my childhood, I discovered the delightful warmth of sitting amongst family, somehow finding a place around the same table, rounding up all the chairs in the house, squeezing food into every corner of the kitchen, sharing the same stories and often hearing them for the first time. When she was still with us, my great aunt used to invite everyone to her Thanksgiving, anyone that didn’t have a place to go, and you never knew who would show up each year, we were remembering that last night, and those Thanksgivings were fun and joyous and about spending a delicious moment in the company of others. I’m sure that was what fundamentally made an impression on me, and gave me the desire to share tradition and laughter with others all over the world. What is Thanksgiving all about, come over next year, I’ll show you.

I’m reminded that Thanksgiving has so many definitions. And trying to tell my friends, to answer their questions, becomes nearly impossible, because it’s ultimately an experience. In essence, it’s being together, sharing laughter and conversation, and making new memories while reliving the old. It’s something that should happen more than once a year, and that I found so often in Paris, we were always making an excuse to meet together and celebrate. It’s leftovers and turkey sandwiches in the following weeks, it’s sharing a taste and a story the day after Thanksgiving, and appreciating those around you, as I did, and will do, yesterday, today, and tomorrow... having a day-after Thanksgiving tonight prepared by my mom (this time no suitcase necessary, no smuggling required) with my family, packing tupperware to share new tastes of traditional stuffing and turkey with the Algerian, and with my favorite Mexican (if he can break away from the after-Thanksgiving retail craze) and appreciating those who are here and there but always in our stories this year, last year, and the next.

((the accompanying image, is a painting that I find a delicious compliment to this story, as was the artist/cartoonist/'the real Linus' Linus Maurer to my Thanksgiving yesterday. More stories about him to come very soon, you will love his work.))

26 November 2008

merci, takk, grazie, shukran, danke, obrigado, hvala, gracias, tack, çok tesekkür ederim, kiitos.......


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving......so many memories from makeshift Thanksgivings past in Paris.......... will write more later.

Ok, I will write more later, but while I’m on the subject (and while I delay getting in the shower and getting a start to my day) I can’t help but relive these infamous Thanksgivings and laugh, because the ‘Thanksgivings’ often involved alcohol and cold cuts. We did have real live Turkeys running around (ie my amazing Turkish friends haha canim!), as well as a smattering of languages (Sssanksgiving), crazy pictures, countless questions “what do you do on Sssanksgiving other than eat??” ((Uuh..chai pas..)), and more noise into the early hours of the morning than all of my former Thanksgivings put together...

I look at pictures, and it seemed so simple then, sharing a meal with friends. But the complexity of it hits me only now, I suppose I’m still digesting all of it, the lifelong connections we were forming over meals and conversation when we all stepped from our separate lives in our own countries, into tiny apartments in old buildings on small streets in Paris; where the warmth and friendship that we found inside was real enough to hold on to even as we walked away, that we were able to take with us on trains and planes, across oceans and deserts, that we shared in languages of our own while learning those of others.

And all in all, what I remember most today is a feeling of friendship and the buzzing of music, languages and laughter, of excitement and just being together. We were so incredibly lucky to have those cold cuts in each other’s company, literally from all corners of the earth, Turkey (wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it), Norway, Brazil, Ireland, Bosnia, Jamaica, Sweden, Austria, Colombia, England, India, Germany, Egypt, France (ya we let a few select frenchies in!), Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Canada, Finland (oh ya, and just a few, well-behaved Americans, lol)... stuffed like a turkey into 40-meters-squared apartments filled with warmth and laughter.

I would give anything to have a real Thanksgiving like that again. I'd even settle for a Sssanksgiving. Now we’ve all gone in a million different directions, but we can’t seem to forget one another.. and every Thanksgiving, I think of all of you, and I miss you and I smile at the pictures and memories (and yes laugh at stupid things I may have done..) and am sincerely thankful for all of you who touched my life, and continue to do so......and here’s to another Thanksgiving together again, one day soon........
Merci, takk, grazie, shukran, danke, obrigado, hvala, gracias, tack, çok tesekkür ederim, kiitos..

thanks guys x c

25 November 2008

edged with mist


I’ve been experiencing sometimes debilitating, chronic, nearly daily headaches for the past two years. Like for instance, in this moment, 4h30 in the morning and unable to sleep because the headache is so great. But if I lay in bed trying to sleep, the pain is all the more apparent. I need distraction. So I’m sitting in the dark, my computer screen is at its dimmest, and I have my big, dark Tom Ford sunglasses on... (so I look gooood, haha just kidding ) often writing takes some of my attention from the pounding in my head. Sometimes I’m able to just sleep...but tonight, I’m bored, restless. As always I walk around the house in my sunglasses, put a sweatshirt hood over my head, listen to my migraine play list, and take two Fioricet every five hours.

"...and he could be intolerable, he could be impossible; but adorable to walk with on a morning like this." Mrs. Dalloway

My doctor says it’s been medically proven that thinking of happy moments and memories will help lessen the pain (of the headache, au moins) and so I search for instances where I’ve truly felt happy, warm, hopeful even, a thought, perhaps, with a strength that can take me away..and often you come to mind.. and for a breath or two, I find some level of peace within my grasp.

"...when we sit close we melt into each other with phrases... we are edged with mist." The Waves

As a consolation through this, I happened to discover that Virginia Woolf also suffered debilitating headaches. I sincerely believe her work is brilliant, genius down to the last word she wrote. Every sentence she crafted means something to me, each and every word, even out of context, brings me pleasure, inspiration, admiration; speaking to me, with eloquence and sentiment from another place and time, the very thoughts that clutter my mind; the precision with which her words casually flow off the page lulls me into another world, and gives me hope in the prospects of my continued pursuit of writing.

“...in a sunset mood of benignant reminiscence, which it would have been hard to disturb had there been need.” Night and Day

And in the end, she did fill her pockets with rocks and walk into the river to rid herself and her loved ones of the burden they all endured (she suffered from more than headaches). A meditated relief from the struggle. I’m looking to write a different ending for myself, but I suppose we must wait and see where life takes us. Until then I relish her words and with them I find my escape. Modestly I wish to one day, possess even one hundredth of her talent in expression, her agility and tenderness, her subtle ability to weave words into phrases that run together by accident and calculation, creating moments of elevated meaning and discovering the compliments and contradictions amongst which such words were destined to wander.

"...for they might be parted for hundreds of years, but suddenly it would come over her, if he were here with me now, what would he say? Some days, some sights bringing him back to her calmly, without the old bitterness; which perhaps was the reward of having cared for people; they came back in the middle of St. James park on a fine morning." Mrs. Dalloway

24 November 2008

je réfléchis


“The charm, which he had tried to disown, when under the effect of it, the beauty, the character, the aloofness, which he had been determined not to feel, now possessed him wholly; and when, as happened by the nature of things, he had exhausted his memory, he went on with his imagination.”

Virginia Woolf, Night and Day

23 November 2008

Honey in my coffee


Sitting in the car, he picks up the paper cup of cold coffee that’s been left in the cup holder all day long, and sips it, not registering any signs of displeasure in the taste (that I certainly don’t enjoy even watching him; yet I’ve grown accustomed to it) in fact he claims the coffee tastes better this way and I smile to myself in the endearing simplicity of such gestures that inexplicably hold me here. Like the need for that stale coffee, it can’t be helped. It’s the details, finding pleasure in the bitter sweet, and the moment after, that have in time, touched something within me. He takes a deep breath and sighs out loud, slight exhaustion coming over from a lack of solution to all of life’s problems; and with those strong coffee colored eyes he looks over at me, and in my eyes, his indulgent stare lingers, acknowledging unspoken words with indifference and sincerity and an air of resignation, with half-contented smiles, sympathetic, complicit, he then places the cup of coffee back in the cup holder, and starts the car.

22 November 2008

Songs of the past become present

Often, for me, music can document a certain moment in my life, take me to a place, rekindle a feeling, envelop me in a season or an entire period of my life.

I was sitting in my favorite café the other day (not the below-mentioned one on rue du Commerce, but my favorite family-owned café back here in California) and a Björk song was playing. When I came home I started playing all of my Björk songs over and over, and moments of my life that I hadn’t thought of for years came back to me in a matter of seconds.

Back seven years, to the student Foyer on blvd. St Michel, summer in Paris, sometime in my first two weeks after moving there, listening to Björk non-stop in our room, dark wooden furniture and a nice big window; past and present blur in the words of the songs that meant something to me in those days, and do, once again, slowly overwhelm and reminded me. Words that described for me the first step I’d take on the cobblestone streets of this new life. Speaking new words, feeling different passions, different fears, my heart beating to a foreign rhythm. She sings to me the preliminary touch of sentiment for the boy I’d never forget, a chance meeting at a corner café my second night in Paris that changed my life, (the very one who became my touchstone, my dwelling, for the next seven years of my life) the words speak to me now of fortune beyond currency and understanding beyond language, of possibility and fate, and of the pain that comes with loss and the steps (both forward and back) that follow, and the people who carried you through...and sang you another song, and helped you find your voice, to sing once more, as you never thought you would.

“It’s not up to you, oh it never really was...”

I hear myself struggling to get a sentence out in French, or to have a conversation on the phone, and worse, the bright turquoise Alcatel cell phone we all had, about the size of my shoe, and the vocab lessons we got from the voice on the mobicarte recharge recording, words I distinctly remember repeating after the voice over and over like disponible, valable and aucun, we’d actually try to repeat the phrases she said on the recording, “vous avez 70 F (soit 10,67 EURO) de crédit disponible.” I’d listen to Björk during métro rides to my classes, across the Seine, past the Eiffel Tower, sprinting for the RER B, and arriving inevitably late to class in the Foyer at St Michel. It’s a Paris that made me nostalgic for Paris, even the following 4 years I was still living there, because in these first few months, it was new, fresh, romantic, the Paris that opened my eyes and swept me away; it was only the beginning... and yes, a few Björk songs brought all of this back to me, and more.

“Unthinkable surprises, about to happen...but what they are...”

There was a definite Björk period in my life, started in senior year of university (University of California at Santa Barbara) I can literally see myself studying for finals with Amy listening over and over to a Björk CD on my Discman (remember those Discman things? I left mine in Paris with a boy who actually appreciated it for his long métro rides to boulot and foot...)

Yes the Björk period traveled with me into Paris, along with my friend Amy (or mon amie Amie as they understood her name in France), and we followed Björk all over Paris, trying to get into private, sold-out concerts, running to FNAC the day Vespertine came out, even though we already had a bootleg copy, just to have the European release, listening to it on my laptop while we studied (studying again, but this time in my chambre de bonne in Paris), standing in line with hundreds of others at the FNAC Champs Élysées very early on a cold morning to get two coveted tickets, and just minutes before approaching the ticket counter learning a new French vocab word...complet.

I did get a picture of the back of Björk walking up the stairs entering the small gothic chapel La Sainte-Chapelle for her intimate concert, and finally, on the day of her sold-out concert at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, in the posh neighborhood of avenue Montaigne, we bought two tickets, au noir, for an obscene amount of francs (I still to this day, have not done the conversion) and later that night, had the most amazing view worth every centime, front-row balcony, close to the stage, perfection.

Björk songs carried me through the first six months of my new life in Paris, but were somehow lost en route to and from late night/early morning dancing and socializing and music on the radio, when watching the sun rise on the Champs Elysées became a common occurrence and not just the place where we’d waited in line one cold morning for Björk tickets.

“I wake up and the day feels, broken..I tilt my hat, I’m trying to get an angle”

As far as I’m concerned hearing songs from another time is almost as good as a photo album, in terms of bringing back images. But then again, as I sit here with my photo album now on my lap, I realize that in my mind, my outfits look slightly better than they really, as captured forever on film, did at the time.

“Coincidence makes sense, only with you...”

Yes, I hear the songs that meant something to me then, and somehow always will, that sang to me of a world I’d yet to know, and words I sing now, in the same language sounding distant, and familiar, that remind me of what is possible, and will with certainty, mean something different to me, once more, when I sing them again, tomorrow.

“If you leave it alone, it might just happen...anyway.”

17 November 2008

Bonjour mademoiselle



Many of the most memorable parts of my first year in Paris (2001) were spent on rue du Commerce in the 15th. When I saw the above photo from Carla Coulson’s new book Paris Tango, I immediately felt as if I was walking past my corner café on rue du Commerce, 22 years old and loving every moment (yes, the honeymoon phase, with my rose colored glasses I couldn’t see the future struggles and frustrations intermingled with the bread, cheese and views of the Eiffel Tower...still blind to the bureaucratic intricacies that are as French as champagne... mais non, those stories were for a later date).

Nearly every day we’d meet in the café, where my dear friend K and I had befriended the French waiters. We only understood (in our broken French) the name of one of them, Pascal. Pascal called me la princesse and was amused by the fact that I was always smiling (or at least, I think that’s what he said...my French wasn’t so good, but I smiled my way through it..apparemment). They’d wave at us as they scurried about with their trays of drinks, and from across the street they’d call out "bonjour mademoiselles" as we passed the café on the way to the métro.

On the eve of our devastating departure from Paris (I did, in fact, move back to the very same corner of Paris eight months later) we made chocolate chip cookies for the waiters (my secret weapon in Paris -- my cookies á l’américaine) and sat with them to have a final drink in our café. When I did move back the following year, the wait staff had changed, but I still heard the echoes of Pascal and the other friendly waiter and found myself looking over across the street, always expecting to see one of them rushing out the door with a tray and a charming wink and a nod, bonjour mademoiselle.

In the making


I met the photographer Carla Coulson twice (I think) briefly, in my friend Harriet’s dog bakery Mon Bon Chien on my beloved rue Mademoiselle (more on her boutique later). One day as my dog Poulet and I were sitting around the shop, comme d’hab, I noticed a gorgeous book sitting on Harriet’s counter. I opened it and proceeded to sit on the couch in the store for at least an hour, engrossed in not only the story of the book, but the stunning photos on every page, full of life, emotion, capturing real people and small often unnoticed moments. The book was Carla’s Italian Joy, and I fell completely in love with it. This was before the Eat, Love, Pray era, and the book told a similar story, of a woman looking for something more, for passion and life and her awakening in discovering it. She uncovered meaning in her life and a new art of capturing it. The book is a visual invitation through her lens of discovery. I guess it’s obvious how taken I was with the book, and I was delighted to chat with Carla a bit, because that book of hers was the epitome of what I’d envisioned doing myself one day, with words. A few years later, I follow her blog: http://carlalovesphotography.blogspot.com/ and her work, and she has just published a new book called Paris Tango. I’ve included a few images from that book that Carla posted on her blog. Yes there is more than one Carla in France these days! And my book...on va dire, is in the making...

Photo by Carla Coulson

on writing..from Breakfast at Tiffany’s

“1956?

That's right.

This is kind of a ratty question, but what have you written lately?

Lately, I've been working on a novel.

Lately, since 1956?

A novel takes a long time. I want it exactly right.

Do you write every day?

Sure.

Today?

Sure.

It's a beautiful typewriter.


Of course. It writes nothing but sensitive, intensely felt, promising prose.

There's no ribbon in it.

There isn't?

No.

Oh...”

from Breakfast at Tiffany’s... this part always makes me smile. Guess I better go write...
bonne nuit/good morning x

12 November 2008

So an american & an algerian walk into an asian bagel shop..

Today the Algerian and I went to a bagel shop, (one thing I can hold over all my friends in Paris..easy access to bagels, though I’m not even in the habit of eating them anymore..) and straight after four hours of reading ESL (English as a second language)-approved books and practicing vocab with me, he asked the young Asian girl behind the counter, “what’s in that egg sandwich?”

“Egg, cheese, and chai” she responded.

Rather surprised, he asked, “chai? like, tea?”

She smiled all-knowingly shaking her head, “noooooo, chai..chai..it’s like onion” then she giggled about his mistake and smiled at me, as if we shared a secret.

“Oh,” I paused, chive.”

“Ya” she giggled again and said it slowly, still trying to teach him this new word, “ch-ai, it’s onion. Some people say scallion.”

He looked at me still confused and said, “j’ai compris chai.”

“Ya, moi aussi,” I smiled, non-verbally reassuring him that I’d heard what he’d heard.

“It’s chive, chi-vuh I couldn’t help but smile, saying it to him slowly and perhaps mocking her previously exaggerated repetition of “chai” for him.

Chi-vvvvve. It’s fine I said shaking my head to him “just get it, it’s good.”

Still very confident in her knowledge of onions, she began to prepare his egg, cheese and chai bagel.

“This is a ‘salami’ situation,” I told him, and we both laughed at the ever-present, often oblivious contention between foreign egos competing in accented English.

He worked in a café two years ago just after moving to the States. The owner of the café was a Korean woman -- I’m still not sure how they managed to communicate.

One day, she asked him to make her a cappuccino “and put it in a salami.”

I never even witnessed this, I’ve just relived it ever since, with countless reenactments done on my behalf.

And he tells it: “and I asked her, a salami? and she tells me, ‘a cappuccino in a salami, yes’ so I stare at her, I know what this is, salami, but I didn’t know how it goes with cappuccino, so she gets very mad that I don’t understand, and walks over and grabbed a mug holding it in my face like, I can’t believe you don’t know this, ‘a salami’ she showed it to me like I’m stupid, ‘sa-la-mi and I was like, oh, you mean, ceramic?”

And she still looks at me like I’m crazy, like finally you understand English, ‘yes that’s what I told you, a salami.’”


...Just a hunch, but I’m thinking my recent decision to tutor in English and writing (to all students, btw, not just the international crowd) was a clever one. I’m sensing some English courses and tutoring sessions are needed (though, perhaps not admittedly so!) somewhere out there in, as our governor Arnold so proudly refers to his state, Cal-eeifor-neei-a.

But anyway, stories like this just make me laugh, and reminisce, as I’ve been the brunt of them countless times through my linguistic struggles in France, dealing with inadequate r’s.... But, whether you prefer cappuccino or chai, these words and moments keeps life interesting...and keep us chuckling in every language.

09 November 2008

accidental moments become perfection


I love juxtaposition. Juxtaposition, contradiction, accidental moments become perfection. Traces of lives, shattered views, details, that, together, say more about the world than one view could ever convey. Thoughts, memories, photos from friends and words in any language, voices of the past and those from the very present, mingle with languages, cultures, music and glimpses of the world we subtly discover are woven throughout today. When certain things appear with others the resulting message, the context that is created by such arrangement, can be perfect, or shocking, or extraordinarily not what was expected but exactly what was desired. So many instances in life find us walking too fast, failing to stop and look at the things we never thought of mixing together, but when we look again, and realize the message that their union has created, something in the world seems more complete.

The beautiful scenic pictures on here called ‘Selma’s pictures’ are images I fell completely in love with when my Turkish friend Selma sent me pictures from her trip to Cappadocia. Selma and I like to trade stories from our current locations (Istanbul and California) and the mundane for me, is exciting for her, and likewise, her daily routine in Istanbul, has become one of the highest priorities on my dying-to-do list.

I guess I could make an excuse for not writing the past few days, but every time I came to this page to do so, I wasn’t sure how to follow these words spoken by Barack Obama the other night. “And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world — our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared.” This one phrase, more than anything, spoke to me, as I truly believe and have lived it, our destiny is shared. The people I have met from all corners of the world, whom I have the fortune of calling my friends, have touched something deep within me, sparked a curiosity, and changed how I see the world, and what I plan to do while I’m here. And the picture of Selma, standing free above the breathtaking views of the ancient land of Cappadocia, complimented Obama's eloquent words, from another corner in the world, and somehow made it all seem more possible.

The richness that can be discovered from all corners of the world, when the mundane mingles with the extraordinary...

Consequently, the photo here is of a bridge that I came across (but didn't cross) after taking a wrong turn with my Norwegian and Irish/Basque friends high up in the mountains of Rjukan Norway.

Come to think of it, I’ve yet to tell Selma about my blog!

((canim Selmacim baby cok optum, you know I love your photos!))

05 November 2008

At this defining moment



"And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world — our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared..."

President-Elect Barack Obama
4 Nov 2008

04 November 2008

Walking past the American Dream


Four long years ago it was election night 2004 in Paris. I had fedexed my absentee ballot and was walking around Opéra with my Norwegian friend and my Egyptian friend. As we passed the American Dream Bar, a line out the door and audibly packed with people and big screen election play-by-play, I declined my Egyptian friend’s repeated requests to enter the madness. The closest I’d ever come to setting foot in that nightmare of a place, was the tacky radio ads where a female voice spoke French in a hideously exaggerated American accent, boasting nightly shows and drink specials.

Fascinated with the notion of a (at least somewhat) functioning democracy, perhaps she had lured me to Opéra under false pretenses, intent on bringing me to the American Dream – Bar, I might add. For complete immersion in my culture, I mean she was always up for new experiences.. she couldn’t vote, but she sure could watch, in a bar where she couldn’t drink, but again could watch and enjoy a coca light in the boisterous American Dream. But I said pass, and we kept walking down the side street rue Daunou, that particular commotion avoided, yet not quite sure if this evening would end in hope or disgrace.

The election was on in full force, even the basic channels had it, which was all I had. Broadcasting live from the States, the election craze couldn’t really be escaped, and even if I turned the télé off (which of course I didn’t) I had my friends (the non Americans) texting me all night, did u vote? what will happen? (as if I had some inside scoop), alors, impatiente? as the night got later and later, and the situation darker and darker.

And thus in the late hours of election night in Paris, things were just getting underway at home, and I fell asleep to voices on the TV, boasting in French, of the American dream, and hours later awoke, to the American nightmare, and the text messages started again, but this time they wanted answers.

Though politically it’s been a long four years, I can still feel that night, the incessant ringing of my phone, the anxious air about the streets, the desire for something more, something better, and the presence of those friends who, today, sit further from me, but just as close, still in Paris, back in Cairo, Oslo... but always with me quand meme. It’s nice to have certain dates that serve as markers for comparison, that trigger memories and moments, snapshots of evenings, that bring you back, show you where you are today, and push you to be what you thought you’d already be by now.

((no I never took a picture of it, but found a photo on travelstripes.com))

on joking...from Hemingway



“They say the seeds of what we will do are in all of us, but it always seemed to me that in those who make jokes in life, the seeds are covered with better soil.”

Hemingway a moveable feast

here's my card (obsession)


In order to support my writing habit, I’m urgently attempting to take on a smörgåsbord of small jobs (i.e. holiday gift wrapper/decorator, writing tutor for children, writing and editing assistance for dissertations, theses, collage essays etc...) In the hopes of actually getting some business, I started googleing around for ideas and websites to make some quick business cards that could possibly summarize this smattering of potential employment offerings. Not only did I find some very cool business cards (that I'll get in a heartbeat once my extra jobs make me some extra money) ..I also found sites where you can design your own business cards. And thus, an instant new obsession and the resulting reality of how the rest of my day was spent.

In addition, I discovered I was using one of those sites where you can actually sell the products you have designed. And I immediately added this to my recent lineup of extra jobs. I guess in the end this sounds like an ad, however it’s merely a fascination with the endless merchandising (and business card) options of today. Here is a link for one of the cards I very much enjoyed designing, but I plan on adding many more to this collection! http://www.zazzle.com/inotherwords_c*

Also check out this link for other innovative business card ideas (that I’m sure I can’t afford..yet) http://creativebits.org/cool_business_card_designs. The picture here is of a business card by a divorce lawyer ..very clever ..I won’t be needing one like it, but quand meme it’s quite clever.