Paris Photographed (Details)

Ubiquitous ironwork and flowers = quintessential Paris in the springtime.

I'm obsessed with fantastic doors.

Intricate knobs are just a bonus.

No, it's not French, but Caprese salad is every vegetarian's best friend when traveling abroad.

Cute little mustard pot.

Possibly the worst-made crepes ever. After the guy manning the cart ruined the first two, I wanted to grab the wooden stick out of his hand and show him how to properly spread the batter on the griddle. I'm convinced this is what made me slightly ill the next day.

A cup of notoriously expensive cafe au lait. (Four and half euros, to be exact, I believe).

Parisian cafe by night.

I'm all for fanciful brioche, but La Tour Eiffel reduced to a baguette? Hmm.

Top of a picturesque carousel.

And the actual carousel.

Soap, as seen in my hotel room.

Paris Photographed (Streets)

As seen on the stroll to the top of Montmartre.

The famous Cafe Poulbot.

This street runs right into a marvelous park.

The iron work and flowers turned out to be a tell tale sign of what was ahead.

Just some shops with aesthetic that caught my fancy.

Plats du jour? Vin du moment? So absolutely symmetrical. Love it!

Presenting, Rue Foucault (as in Michel Foucault, the philosopher often associated with the relativism of truth) and a picture of the actual Rue Foucault - an appropriately postmodern street that literally goes nowhere! Ha! My sense of humor is downright nerdy at times . . .

A picture of a cafe where I dined, and motorcyclists staring quizzically at this photographer, who paced back an forth across the street multiple times, trying to decide if I should eat there . . . and then, if I should take a photo . . .

To Market, To Market

Behold, the salads Kasey and I took to the Broadway Market Committee for judgement; our chance at being given a booth at the Broadway Farmer's Market (where we would potentially sell these salads and more).

Our inspiration was cupcakes, the look of cupcakes, but healthy and fresh and without any of the guilt.

We came up with three salads to demonstrate our culinary skills: a Greek salad (in the red flower cup), an antioxidant salad (green flower cup) with blueberries and almonds and spinach and salmon in a pomegranate-acai vinaigrette, and a Latin salad (yellow flower cup) with mangoes, red beans, corn, avocados, and red onion in a lemon vinaigrette.

The judges waxed poetic. Said our presentation was perfectly on-target.

In a week, we shall see where we stand (i.e. if we have a stand).

Sorry, even though the dressings and recipes are all our own . . . beg though you may, we won't be giving them out any time soon.

Paris Photographed (Parks)

I munched on a pastry on one of these benches. The warm weather and lovely shade beckoned me to do so.

Scenes from Jardin des Tuileries.

I sat in a cafe near here, overlooking the tulip blooms and enjoying a crepes with nutella and a cafe au lait.

Fenced-in herb garden park near the top of Montmarte.

The way plenty of Parisians chose to spend their mid-week afternoon.

Kids and ponies: it doesn't get more photogenic than that . . . especially when the kids are puzzled as to why you've taken any interest in them.

Paris Photographed I

I think this was the only time I will ever be able to justify eating a buttery croissants aux amandes (essentially, flaky pastry with creamy almond filling and chunks of chocolate) for breakfast.

I was fresh off the Eurostar, it was my first visit to France, my birthday was the next day, and I had just climbed a hill to the top of butte Montmarte, the highest point in Paris (as made apparent by the view seen below). I doubt the stars will ever align in such a way again.

Details of the Sacre Coeur (the reason so many people are milling about at butte Monmarte's summit).

Gargoyle (look closely).

The Basilica's entry.

I couldn't have directed these people, sitting on the lawn in front of the Basilica, to dress or situate themselves more perfectly.

Post-descent (I came up the back way). Finally, the wide-shot of the Basilica Sacre Couer I know you've been dying to see.

Cliches Reflected

Despite being a relatively well-traveled individual, till this past week, I'd never been to Paris. There was a laundry list of reasons why not. Parisians are rude. I don't know anyone there. It hardly seemed exotic enough. I don't speak a stitch of French. It's a cliche of a trip.

But it was exactly the cliche of Paris that drew me there this week. It was my birthday on Wednesday, and for once, I wanted to really do something to commemorate the day of my birth (the celebration of which, in the past, I'd always deemed a bit banal and self-indulgent). I liked the idea of marking the occasion with a journey to Paris: the city of the great love affair.

It was the very fact that you are supposed to go there for the first time with someone spectacular that made it an appealing place for me to go all on my own. The stroll along the Seine, the bridges, that iron tower, the notorious springtime: I wanted it all to myself. Wanted my first taste of the romance floating through the pink fuzzy air to be something savored without sharing. Wanted this symbolic sojourn, a poetic sign of devotion, to remain forever untainted, left perpetually pristine because I will always be my preferred company.

And in case you're wondering, going there by myself didn't alter the romance; didn't diminish the way it permeated the rose-colored atmosphere. Paris is indeed a beautiful fairytale of a city that evokes amour. In the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, I felt like I was in love. Wandering amongst the flowering parks and the sculptural architecture and the genteel people, who were extremely courteous, not remotely rude, I was positively giddy. I found Paris to be marvelous, not cliche.

And since the delight I experienced in making this discovery was all mine, that only made it even less so.

Own the Guru

Anne Spice's 'Fortune Poem'

weightless soul
wholeness requires intelligence's thought

information, the international disease, brought thoughts, thoughts
fed mental schemes

own the guru

The poem above was written using only words that were pointed to at random in a magazine. Usually when we compose 'arbitrary poetry' (our crowd is quite partial to this parlor game) we just call out words that come to mind and go from there (David Bowie supposedly used this technique to pen his lyrics).

But on the particular evening this was written, Kasey and I were aiming to create "fortune poems" - so we thought the use of a magazine would make the outcome more fate-reliant.

I quite liked mine. And since yesterday was my birthday, I thought the posting of a poem that perhaps reflects my future would be appropriate. The picture was taken in a Paris hotel, during the first waking moments of my new age.