Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Red Surprises, Paris Style

I found yesterday's abrupt turnaround from long weekend to mid-week full-teaching-day intensity exhausting, and so I skipped my Pilates class and came home for some extra R&R. Got here and found my poor husband working in the rain to fix our septic pump. . . Not so relaxing, for either of us. . .

But he did fix it, and we kicked back for the evening, finishing off the first season of Treme on DVDs -- love that show!

And today, restored, I've managed to finish my Research Leave report, mark a stack of essays, and begin prepping the next assignment for my literature class, the last assignment I have to prepare this term (save the exams, which I don't have to get to for a few weeks).
I even managed a short run, and I turned the leftover Thanksgiving turkey into a big pot of soup for tonight's dinner.
And rustled up these photos of some delightful graffiti that we spotted in Paris' 20th arrondissement. If you click to enlarge these photos, you'll spot the artist's signature, Nemo, on the briefcase.

The 20th requires some commitment to get to -- it's not on the standard tourist path, but we were craving a break from the very elements that I love. One too many beautifully dressed woman, a soupçon too much hauteur, and, perhaps for Paul more than for me, too many windows to "lick" or drool over.

The 20th is much more "real," housing a broad mix of immigrants alongside the gentrifying artists and young people trying to catch a break on housing costs. Certainly, it can be rough around the edges, but we savoured its sights, sounds, and aromas one Saturday in April. We even struck up a lovely lunchtime conversation with an Algerian-Parisian and his Guatemalan wife (she acknowledged being such a rarity, as a Guatemalan in France, that she laughingly speculated to being one of 18!) who bought me a kir royal after I admired its pretty colour when their elderly Algerian friend drank his. And we had an expanse of time to chat, as our single waiter rushed to serve at least 40 of us seated on sidewalk tables, perhaps another 20 or so inside. Across the street, a market offering vegetables, meats, and a plethora of antique/vintage/rummage items beckoned . . . a lively din from the crowds was the perfect accompaniment to our meal.

Later, wandering the streets, how charming to spot these figures, especially the cats which appear to stroll the sidewalks.
And the red balloon, of course. Who would not be enraptured by a red balloon, pulling a figure in a paper boat. . .
It made me happy then, has me smiling again today . . . I hope it works for you as well. What else has brought you joy lately, even in tiny packages?


  1. I LOVE this post. That graffiti is so evocative. It really is Parisian. And I love the rough around the edges Paris...

  2. We had a plumbing disaster today and dinner was over cooked.
    Yet we are snug in our home and that red balloon looks like hope to me...if it was filled with helium I might just grab a ride!

  3. I had to Google Treme as I had not heard of it. My sister is a big fan of boxed sets we are currently wading through 2 seasons of modern family which of course my kids love. I think they empathise with the chaos of other lives!
    My sister also offered to take me to Paris and I must admit after seeing that film and these pictures I am now wondering if I made the right choice saying no and going to Madrid instead.

  4. What lovely and whimsical graffiti! So sorry Paul had to be fixing the pump in the rain, sounds like no fun, but better than the alternative, I suppose. Thanks for sharing these pictures; they lifted my spirits this morning.

  5. Joy has been delivered by the setting full moon on my way to work this week. Lovely. Yesterday the moon was the most amazing orange.

  6. Oh dear, we've been through fixing and replacing sump pumps in the rain (to avoid flooding), but a broken septic pump is a far more serious situation!

    The whimsical graffiti made me smile, and your description of the 20th reminds me of what we loved about Marseille.

  7. I like Treme too:).

    And if you can believe it, the suburban and occasionally precious town of Palo Alto, California, also has little not-dissimilar murals. It's amazing what a little moment to smile can do for one's day.

  8. Kristin: Isn't it cheering? And yes, so Parisian, imho.
    Hostess: Plumbing woes at your place as well? I hope they're all mended now.
    Alison: Treme's by the same writers as The Wire . . . do you know that?
    And . . . Madrid? When are you going there? We're hoping to get to Barcelona next trip.
    Pseu: Septic woes aren't good, obv., but they're better than having a car totalled -- hope you're shoulders aren't hurting too much.

  9. Susan: It's been a pain, but he thinks it's fixed now, knock on wood.
    We were only in Marseille for a day, 20+years ago, but yes, a really lively mix, earthy . . .
    Elizabeth: Wasn't last night's moon spectacular -- an orange "harvest" moon here, loved it!
    Lisa: I'm happy you've got cheering murals in your town -- smiles are good!


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