Monthly Archives: January 2013

Back to Work


I’m off to Texas for work and I’m noticing, as I go through security or board the shuttle bus, that my interactions with strangers are a little different: more eye contact, more enthusiasm in my “hello,” closer attention to the needs of others.

Is this a result of having just returned from a wonderful vacation or is this some of those Parisian manners rubbing off on me? When addressing others in French – regardless of their role – it is considered polite to add “Madame” or “Monsieur” to the beginning or end of your sentence. Throughout our nine days there, we had countless interactions where we greeted people, thanked them, and said our good-byes, all accompanied with the equivalent of “Ma’am” or “Sir.” While I would sound rather silly literally adopting French speech patterns in English – “Good day, sir! Thank you very much for taking my luggage! United Airlines, if it pleases you!” – I think the respectful tone has been integrated somewhat into my speech. Perhaps that’s the difference that I’m noticing.

I am also noticing a rejuvenated love for what I do for a living. I considered many careers prior to choosing education – interior design, journalism, ballet, marine biology – but ultimately decided that serving was what I wanted most to do. It is easy to forget that this is the driving force of choosing such a profession. We get resentful, frustrated, even dulled to the power of what we do. Yet after a week of being surrounded by the most stunning architecture, artwork, design, music, and food, I have the sensation of having been recharged or refilled, and thus, am able to return to work with contentment for my life and enthusiasm for my chosen profession.

May 2013 bring joy to you & yours!



“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain


My Moveable Feast

macaroons“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” – Hemingway

Christmas & New Year’s in Paris

VersaillesWe are at last back from what I believe is the most amazing vacation my husband and I have ever taken. Far too much for one post, I plan to capture highlights of our vacation under future themes of parks, history, food, architecture, etc.

There were moments on this trip when I actually got teary. Sublime moments I never want to forget:



One: A pre-dawn stroll in Versailles to Marie Antoinette’s hamlet, watching sheep graze, a Charles Shultz-looking sky break into periwinkle, rose, and peach, then realizing what time it was and sprinting back to the main Chateau for opening at daybreak.


Two: standing on the Rue Royale with other “low-key” revelers (the true partiers were on the Champs Élysées, pictured below during our earlier walk through the Christmas market), sipping a glass of champagne, surrounded by countless nationalities, ringing in the new year as the Eiffel Tower sparkled. Passersby in cars honked and yelled “Bonne Année!”


Three: Watching a string octet perform Pachelbel’s Canon, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Bach’s Ave Maria, and more in La Madeleine, a 400-year old church where Saint-Saëns once played the organ, where Chopin’s funeral was held, and (more grimly) where Louis XVI’s body was carried after his execution. The music and the surroundings brought chills. I could revisit that point in my life again and again and not tire of it.

I will post more later. For now, however, I am so happy to be back among sunshine, normal sunrise hours (8:45 is hard to get used to!), and a job and life that I love.