Friday, February 29, 2008

Most awesome calendar ever

I saw this while browsing at Borders.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I love Christmas. I do not love being far from my husband during my favorite time of the year. That being said, Paris is not a bad place to be (smile).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Creating a Tradition

in which I must take at least one funny photo of a charcuterie during each of my visits to France.
I personally thought the name Porcus was just hilarious.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Boring is good

Yes, nothing of any true import has happened to me. I think this is a good thing. I'd rather not be having a ton of problems. While they can be interesting, they are not necessarily fun to deal with and believe me, I've had my share of "fun" in Paris. Like the time I left my entire money belt (passport, traveler's checks, all my money, plane tickets) on my hotel bed, or that time the front desk guy locked me into the hotel and wouldn't let me leave. Ah, good times. Like I said, Paris has been a place of pretty severe problems for me (of course, the first one was totally my fault).

On Monday, I went to the Richelieu branch to check in rather than to Tolbiac/Francois-Mitterand. I wimped out. I chose the smaller, less imposing building. Basically, I found the "Service d'Orientation des Lecteurs" after the front guard sent me to Manuscrits Orientaux. Ummm, I know that what I said sounded nothing like Orientaux. There was a big truck driving by and I think he just heard the first two-three syllables. Walked in and didn't see anyone so I walked to the back. A lady told me to go back and talk to someone else and then I'd speak with her. (This is actually what I understood. My French really went down the tubes over the last 2 years--quelle surprise!-and I'm only understanding about 1/3 of the words people say to me. At least I usually understand the most important words. But, even when I do understand, I question myself so much I go back to ask and make sure I really understood correctly. I think when I left 2 years ago, I was understanding about 75-80%.) Went and wandered around some more and finally the entretien lady was at her desk. I sat down gave her my pre-inscription, which I'm so glad I did because it made this process a piece of cake, also handed over my attestation from Stefanie, my passport, and my carte d'étudiante. Went to the other lady to go get my picture taken, et voila! I have my card.

Yesterday, Tuesday, I went back to Richelieu to the Music building because they have some Mercure Galant issues I want to look at. I wish I had a)brought my camera and b)they allowed pictures. That Mercure Galant! So, it was a pretty important journal that was on everything that was happening at court, in Paris, etc. and continued through the revolution and on as the Mercure de France. Anywho, they would actually include little pieces of music in foldout sections. Small madrigaux and the like. Very interesting, but not of direct import to my diss. Also, they have these hilarious debates on such things as "If a person loves an ugly person, but thinks they are beautiful, is the ugly person really beautiful?" I got some good stuff, some poems teasing Quinault and the like (not necessarily useful, but still funny) as well as mentions of 2 of the three operas. But, they only had certain months for each year I was looking at, so I'll just absolutely have to go to the music library at the Opéra. You know, housed in the actual opera building. Sigh, twist my arm or something.

After that little bit of fun, I went to another department at Richelieu--Estampes et Photographies. I'm looking for drawings/images of the set design/costumes for Act IV of Phaeton. Well, they have a book that is a complete reproduction of all Jean Berain's costumes etc. So I waited there for 45 minutes. And they came back and told me it wasn't there. It exists, and no one else had it, but it was not there. I think they just didn't want to tell me it was lost. By this point, I'd had no food in approximately 6 hours and I was getting pretty frustrated/sad/irritated. So, I had an okay day. Not bad, not great.

Today, off to Arsenal in the 4ème.

Katie's "Suggestion of the Day": I can read French fairly well, much to the confusion of everyone who hears me speak it. I suggest that everyone has an LED over their head which would scroll the text of what they were saying to me so I could understand everything and not seem like a complete idiot. While this would be cumbersome, I find this to be an excellent solution to my problem.

Monday, December 3, 2007


According to the weather reports, it is supposed to be precipitating every single day for at least the next 10 days.  I've actually seen the sun twice, though, to my surprise.  Once the day I arrived and this morning!  Here is the view from my window, up the street towards the Pont Neuf.  I had to lean out to take it.

I arrived on Saturday morning an hour early.  Normally this would be cause to celebrate, but since it added another hour to the time I had to wait until I could check in to my apartment I was not overly pleased.  My flights were fine.  The last one, from Dulles to Paris was great because I had upgraded to Economy Plus and while regular Economy was packed like a can of sardines, Econ Plus was only half full.  I had someone next to me, but the extra leg room added to the plethora of empty seats added a sense of spaciousness.  
I held of sleeping until my last flight in order to wait until it was really night-time in Paris. 

Mind you, I had gotten up at 3:30 am PST to get ready for my flight and landed in Paris at 8:45 pm PST.  So, I finally fell asleep on my last flight to be awakened after only an hour by the very loud burser yelling last call for duty free goods.  This scared the crap out of my sleeping self and left me awake for the rest of the flight.  Grrr.

I waited for a very long 6 hours and took the train into central Paris to my apartment.  I'm very glad I'm staying in the same place as last time, even though it's tiny, because I already know the neighborhood and I didn't have to wander around figuring out where to go.  Yay!  I got in the apartment and realized the circuit breaker had been turned off, so got everything going and was getting ready to take a shower.  Then I realized that I had also just turned on the water heater.  Went grocery shopping and got my French SIM card instead.  I came home and skyped with M before finally taking a 2 hours nap around 3:30 pm.  At that point, I had been awake for 27 hours with only 1 hour of sleep.  I tried to take a picture of the spectacular bags/black circles under my eyes, but no picture could do them justice.

Saturday night into Sunday morning, I slept for 13 hours.  Granted, I did wake up for a while at 2 am because there was something that sounded like a huge street party outside my window.  I looked out and the entire block was filled with a traffic jam.  It was noisy like when I was here two years ago for the Fête de la musique.  I still don't know what was going on.

Other than that, I went on a walk Sunday afternoon to Notre Dame and the Louvre.  On my way between the two, I stayed on the Right Bank and walked along the Quay looking over the Seine.  At one point, I was pretty much by myself when I heard someone walking behind me.  I turned my head to look at the person (with peripheral vision) and it was a guy coming up rather quickly.  Just after I turned my head, he stopped and started looking across the street.  Shortly thereafter, he was gone.  Weird.  At first I was all, I averted someone trying to steal something (he would have been in for an unpleasant surprise because I only had my umbrella and my keys), but I'm not so sure of that now.  Who knows?  (Note: I was planning on going to the Musée de l'Orangerie, which had been closed for 7 years, and that has been when I've visited Paris lo these many times, so I've never been.  But, waking up at 11:30 am and then slowly moving around, plus the heavy rain and winds made that plan go down the drain.)

Anywho, today is the day when I go to the Bib Nat and have my interview.  I'm tired and feeling a bit woozy, but am okay otherwise.  We'll see how it goes.
Yep, my time here is just filled with excitement.  People reading this are going to wonder why the hell they did.  :)  More boring stories another time!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Off to Paris

It's my turn to make a European research trip and I'm leaving tomorrow at 6 am.  I suppose in the interests of keeping this blog somewhat active that I shall go ahead and blog over the next 3 weeks about the travails and wonders of my time in Paris.  

Most everyone knows this, but I've had a particularly interesting 10 days since my laptop hard drive completely died and I was stupid enough to lose the chapter (the last of the body chapters!) that I had just finished drafting.  I still had a lot of work to do on it, but the bones were there.  Then there were no bones and I've spent my days (other than the 4 that I took off for Thanksgiving, dammit) madly trying to write it all down again.  I'm almost there.

My trip will not be all work and no play as my mom is going to be there for a week and we are going to the Marché Noël in Strasbourg for a couple days the first weekend of Advent.  It's going to be crowded and full of all the Christmas kitsch I could ever want.  The invited "country" guest this year is Quebec.  Last year it was Romania.  This kind of irritates me because I just went to Quebec and heard all these things about how 2008 is their 400th anniversary.  And the tourism minister of Quebec will be there!  You know, so he or she can help you plan your trip for next year.  Yay.  It is also weird because, as much as some people wish it so,  Quebec is not technically a country.  But, who are we to question?

I will need lots of luck on Monday when I attempt to access the administrative nightmare of the Bibliothèque Nationale, where I have to have an interview with a librarian about why I should be able to do research there.  I will be jet-lagged and having to speak in French--what fun!  It's not so much the speaking that's the major problem, it's the understanding the clipped Parisian accent.

I arrive on Saturday very early in the morning, when it is supposed to be raining, and have to kill 5 hours before I can check into my apartment at noon.  This too shall be interesting as I'll be schlepping my bags around and trying to buy a SIM card for my cell phone, while praying that the hundreds of euros in my pocket which will pay for the remainder of my rent will stay there until I can get to the 6ème.

Pray for me.

Thursday, October 4, 2007