Saturday, July 28, 2007

They call this art?

I call it goofing around. By Picasso, I grant you, but goofing around nevertheless. The Picasso Museum in Paris received its collection in lieu of estate taxes. I think Picasso got one over on the Republic. While there are some very beautiful pieces of art in the museum, which is housed in one of the grander mansions in Arrondissemont 4 in Paris. How so? By giving them a lot of his studies and experiments in form and composition, rather than final pieces. Please don't get me wrong - I think it is all fascinating. But, the studies are interesting not as art per se, but as windows into the evolution of master works. And, I wish the interpretive material (which, at the Picasso Museum, was in English) called this what it is - formative work rather than summative.

C'est la vie!

Monday, July 23, 2007


Product names here in Paris are a stitch. BMG and I have discovered cheap crackers called "Snacky," and ready to eat pudding called "Flanby." Oh, and who could forget the chocolate/banana breakfast cereal called Banania with the picture of Little Black Sambo on the box. ("Is this legal? Is this legal?" I cried to BMG as I chased him around the supermarche tonight.)

We head to Brussels tomorrow. I'll investigate the grocery stores there to learn if they are similarly laugh inducing.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sky diving!

While wandering between the New Hampshire and Massachusetts border, en route to a wedding last weekend, BMG and I found a sky diving center. We saw the prop plane take off, and were just about ready to leave because we both got bored waiting for the jumpers to emerge from the sky, when the jumpers emerged from the sky. They first looked like two or three large birds, and as their colorful parachutes slowly opened up and the sky became filled with 20 or so floating rainbows zipping and twirling their way to the ground, they looked thrilling and beautiful. It made me want to sky dive. And it made me glad that we had extra time on our hands to take a few moments to watch, and wait and be amazed.

(By the way, the Grandview Flea Market in Derry may be the worst flea market ever. UNLESS you are in the market for a faux designer handbag. Then it is the best.)

Breast cancer paraphenalia

License plates too. Oy!


I was 38 miles into my 46 mile bike ride today, feeling exhausted and jubilant that I was going to meet my goal of cycling 45 miles before heading to France. I had increased my average speed per hour, and was in the home stretch. Then. POP! My rear wheel had a blow out. Luckily, I had just picked up a new tube at REI, along with a new tire pump. With a little phone coaching from BMG, I started to change the tire. I took the new tube out of my Camelbak. And I realized it was a Schrader valve, not a Presta valve. It was useless to me.

Now, I'm stranded in Middleton, about 7 miles from my car. Ergh. Second bout of luckiness ensued. I had my travel club card with me. And, I pay an extra $10/month for bike roadside assistance. So, I called. (The company, by the way, is Better World Travel and they ROCK!) And, they arranged for a tow. Of me and my bike.

When Doug and his girlfriend, Dina, found me they started laughing their butts off. They were expecting a motorcycle, not a pedal bike. Doug must have called every one of his friends to tell them what he was doing. He kept saying "A pedal bike. I've never heard of anyone towing a pedal bike." As we drove through the suburbs I regaled Doug and Dina with stories about my having been caught in a bike sting operation set up to keep bicyclists from blowing through red lights in Cambridge, and my experience having my bike towed for being parked illegally. Yes, I had to go to a bike tow lot and pay a fine before my bike was released to me. (Who knew Cambridge had a 24-hour bike parking rule?) They giggled and shook their heads.

When I got back to my car, conveniently parked at REI, I returned $25 worth of bike equipment in a self-satisfied snit. Grabbed an Iced Venti Decaf Nonfat Vanilla Latte at the closest Starbucks, and made it home.


I still haven't biked 45 miles. But I know I can. When I get back from Paris, I'll do another 45 mile ride (once BMG helps me put my bike together again). I'll then pump it up to 50-54 miles (a 10-20% distance increase) and am certain I'll be ready to do 100 with the Narranganset Bay Wheelmen on September 9th. Hooray!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Almost 45

I did 36.5 miles on my bike today. I'm slow, but working on my muscle endurance right now, rather than speed. I'm registered for the Flattest Century of the East ride on September 9th. My goal is to get to 45 miles by the time I leave for France in one week. I'm almost there, and believe I can do it.


About 1/2 way through my ride today, I realized the Tour de France started today. It was fun to be speeding along imagining I was one of the racers.

Gift registries

BMG and I are heading to a wedding today. The bride is a friend of his and the groom is someone we have both talked politely with at parties. Last night, even though BMG insisted that he would take care of the gift, I grilled him long enough to find out the bride's last name and where she is registered so I could peek at the gift list.

I had no intention of buying a gift. I just wanted to see what was on it.

Gift registries are delightfully voyeuristic. They give you a window into a person (or a couple's) unique style and desires. I once had a friend ask for a personal computer as part of her wedding registry. "Practical and a little boring," I remember thinking. (I bought them a silver plated ice cream scoop instead.) My cousin recently registered for a set of towels - two bath sheets and washcloths - that cost over $100. "Luxurious lifestyle or aspirations," says me. What would your wish list say about you?

I think I also like gift registries because they are a socially acceptable way to put your desires out there for your universe of loved ones to fulfill. I'm not the kind of gal who has Cinderella fantasies, but I do think about getting married and setting up a home with someone I love, and being able to ask for whatever I want in the process.

A friend who was married three years ago used an online service called My Registry as her wedding wish list. This service allows people to shop for anything they want online - and to compile a registry from myriad online vendors - a little LLBean, a little Crate and Barrel online, a little Target if that's the way you lean. If it can be sold online, it can be put into your online registry. As a veteran online shopper, I compiled one for myself. Check it out. You can learn a little about the lifestyle I desire. And, if you buy me a gift, I certainly won't turn it away!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Tour de France

BMG and I head to France in eleven days for our two-week sojourn in Paris to play, read, eat and watch the Tour de France. You can stay on top of our travels and the tour by reading BMG's blog. I'll post pictures and stories when we return!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Huckleberry Cutler

I've been thinking about getting a cat. I really want a dog, but I don't think I have the patience or lifestyle to own a dog. So, I've moved on to cats, kittens specifically. I've looked at breeder sites, and think that I'd get a Russian Blue, if I were inclined to get a purebred. And, if I got a blue cat, I'd name it Huckleberry Cutler. If I don't get a purebred, I think I want a fluffy grey cat.


BMG and I were looking at this weird website where people caption photos of their cats in odd positions or situations. It is pretty funny, and I think the gangster-speek afforded the cats is really odd.


Speaking of odd, have you ever seen dancing with cats, or variations thereof? There are actually people who take dance lessons. With their cats. And, I once had a roommate, and two kittens. The roommate would carry the kittens around the apartment by the nape of their neck. With the furry nape - IN HIS MOUTH. "Uhm, J, why do you have the kitten in your mouth?" I would ask. "This is how the kittens mother carried it around." "Hmmm," thought me, "You are NOT the kitten's mother."

Dream 5

BMG called this one a "helplessness" dream when I gave him the thumbnail sketch when he FINALLY got out of bed this morning at 10:30.

I was in a city somewhere - obviously at work (there were some office characters there), when, in a Space Balls-esque move, a giant black atomic thumb-shaped fighter planes appeared in the sky. They began dropping precision bombs onto the high rise buildings, and the structure in which I was having a meeting was evacuated. As I was running down the stairs, I could see fleets of white planes descending, like locusts, upon the city. Terrified, I fled the building, leaving my purse and my cell phone behind.

I now find myself apparently trapped on an industrial-looking platform with a river on three sides and a 30+ foot high cliff on the fourth. I am surrounded by chain link fence and there is a metal platform above me. For some reason I am with my sister, E. The idea, I think, was to hide here until the confrontation is over, thinking this remote and secluded spot was safe. I come to realize that this hiding place is actually the largest hydro power plant in the area. I quickly become fearful that, contrary to the notion that we are safe in this tucked away part of the world, we are actually in grave danger; because our dream enemies are likely to bomb power sources next. (I read the news, I know what the U.S. did in Iraq.) So, E and I start to scale the chain link fence on the cliff side of the enclosure, hoping at the top we can find certain ground. The platform and the top of the fence meet neatly, except in one spot. After considerable panic and attempts at problem-solving, E and I roll out and find ourselves in barren country, with the smouldering city on the horizon.

We begin to run to find some place where we can borrow a telephone. I know I need to call BMG, who is likely very worried about me. E and I come upon a YMCA and we go in an ask to use the phone. We're told we have to ask Shane, the program director. He is easy to find because he is a good looking Canadian with nice hair. While I'm trying to figure out what makes a Canadian look different from an American, I'm also panicked trying to remember BMG's phone number. (I won't be able to press "2" and get him on the line. I'll need to dial a real, 10-digit phone number.) So, we do find Shane and he does let us borrow a phone. As this happens, I remember BMG's phone number, and triumphantly dial, knowing I will be safe.


A helplessness dream about work, with comfort and confidence with family and safety with BMG. A good dream. And, BMG and I agree that "Atomic Thumb" would be a great name for a band.