24 December 2012

my christmas wish

Gifts under the tree by cocopuff1212
Gifts under the tree, a photo by cocopuff1212 on Flickr.

My most sincere wish, for everyone, for a peaceful Christmas filled with love and warmth. May you all find gifts under your trees, and more importantly, a gift in your hearts.

10 December 2012

counting days

Wanderlust. by cocopuff1212
Wanderlust., a photo by cocopuff1212 on Flickr.

Our Christmas tree is up, with gifts already wrapped and placed underneath it. It's dark outside, soup is simmering on the stove, and I'm listening to this version of one of my favorite Christmas songs.

26 November 2012


Good morning. by cocopuff1212
Good morning., a photo by cocopuff1212 on Flickr.

After a weekend with house full of people, sitting alone in the kitchen feels strange, and the quietness of this place is unsettling. My son was heartbroken to see his cousin leave, and I am wondering if I need to do something special to cheer him up.

Thanksgiving was early this year, and we have a full week before Advent starts. I am working through the piles of towels and sheets to wash, and between the loads, making trips to the garage to get our Christmas things out.

I know I am six days ahead, but I find myself saying, "O come, O come, Emmanuel."

18 November 2012

lingering upon...

A formerly empty wall by my desk, now perfectly prettied up with a lovely calendar for 2013 by the New York photographer Alice Gao.

During the month of November, she is donating 25% of the calendar sales toward Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. I've always admired her gorgeous photographs, so I'm very excited to have this little gallery set up, plus contribute my bit toward helping the hurricane victims. She is willing to ship to addresses outside of the U.S.

After I purchased this (in addition to this calendar I had already bought last month), Jenna Park of Sweet Fine Day put this in her shop, and now I want it, too. She is also donating a portion of the sales toward the hurricane relief efforts. This one is a bit more gender-neutral, so perhaps my husband could use it on his desk. I mean, he needs a calendar, right?

10 November 2012


A house is a shelter, first and foremost. It keeps us dry and keeps us warm. It would be nice if it isn't too small, great if it's prettily decorated. But its most important function is to shelter us from the elements. To keep us safe.

I am grateful for mine, and taking care of it is my way of saying "thank you". I can't imagine ever hiring a housekeeper.

18 October 2012


I lost the pendant I bought in February in Paris.

I was subconsciously aware during our dinner that the chain was caught in the scarf I was wearing, but it didn't really register. It wasn't until the scarf got twisted on my neck and I tried to adjust it that I realizeed the pendant top was gone. By then we were halfway home from the restaurant, walking on a dimly-lit street.

We looked around, on the sidewalk and in the grass surrounding it. A young couple pushing a stroller and a gentlemna with a dog stopped and helped us look. I walked back to the restaurant, looking down as I took every step, and even went inside to look and ask. No luck.

I have often thought about where lost things go. I wonder if there is a space in the universe where lost things congregate and share the stories of how they ended up there. Do they know that they're missed? Are they lost if we don't know that we've lost them?

I hope someone finds my pendant top, and cares enough to wear it or give it to someone who might enjoy it. Then it isn't really lost; it may be lost to me, but not to the world.

When we decided it was time to stop looking, the young mom who helped us look said, "Well, you just have to go back to Paris." If only it was so easy.

Paris is no longer a two-hour train ride away.

12 October 2012

01 October 2012


September zipped by while we were too busy unpacking and trying to settle. I don't even know what happend to July and August -- I don't think they existed for us this year.

We are, in any case, in our new home. Our own home, surrounded by our own furniture, our art, our books. We have new routines, new friends, new issues to tackle, new advendures to make.

Here are some of the things I am excited about:

1. My desk faces the window (for the first time ever!), and the view of the trees outside is just what I need. Writing now is more meditative than it has ever been.

2. Lots and lots of great Asian food. And I don't mean just the restaurants (although there are plenty). My next door neighbor is Korean, and he just brought over the first batch of the kimchi he made the other week. I had a big spoonful, not even with rice but just plain kimchi alone, and it was mmm, mmm, MMMMM. The only sad thing was that I didn't have any beer to go with it.

3. We have family, relatives, and old friends to look up. We've lived the nomads' lifestyle for several years, and while we met many interesting people and made many good friends, it is always a treat to reconnect with people with whom we share the earlier chapters of our history. I feel home now, rooted and comforted.

The morning air is chilly these days, and the leaves are starting to change colors. We've already gone apple picking, and are looking forward to visiting pumpkin patches and having freshly made apple cider. We'll do the hay rides and corn mazes, too.

This is where we are, this is our life, here and now.

What a lucky bunch of scarecrows we are.

26 June 2012

last call

No.8 rue Godefroy, 6eme. by cocopuff1212
No.8 rue Godefroy, 6eme., a photo by cocopuff1212 on Flickr.

We have visitors until Friday morning and we move to a hotel Sunday afternoon. The movers are coming on Monday. In the meantime, my son has two birthday parties to attend over the weekend.

I'm not sure how busy I will be during the next nine days, but I'm pretty sure I won't be spending much time on my laptop, so I decided to go ahead and post something quick in case this becomes my last update from Lyon, France. It probably will.

I took this photo this morning while walking toward Parc de la Tête d'Or. The building, No.8 rue Godefroy, 6eme arrond., has always stirred my imagination.

It's a rather grand building, standing all on its own on a tiny block with no neighbors. There is a big gate separating its courtyard from the street, and on the northern side, there is another small garden area, gated and fenced off from public.

All I can see of the inside is the ceilling lights on the second floor, and from the look of them, I know that the space is currently being used as a business office.

I fancy this building to be a mansion that once belonged to a very wealthy family but had to be sold off due to unfortunate circumstances. The harsh fluorescent lights I see through the windows are like cheap, ugly lipstick on an elegant lady -- they're incongruent, they don't belong with this beautiful building, and they make me sad.

I wonder who built, owned, and lived in this building. I wonder what happened to them. I wonder how many servants they had, what food they ate, what they wore. I wonder how many babies were born here, and how many deaths had to be mourned.

I am, of course, romanticizing. Now, if I was fluent in French, I could go to the Archives de municipales de Lyon and try to find out the history behind the building.

Alas, my French is too limited for that kind of project. It's too ambitious an endeavor anyway, because I have only nine days left in Lyon.

20 June 2012

luisenpark -- mannheim, germany

Some photos from Luisenpark in Mannheim.

We walked around...


Sat in the chairs that are available everywhere in the park...


Played giant chess...


Watched the birds, and watched someone taking photos of the birds...

Walked around some more...

And got a piggy-back ride.

We had lunch at one of the restaurants in the park, and sadly had to leave around 2 p.m. as we had a long drive back home.

Otherwise, we would have stayed all day. What a beautiful, fun park.

18 June 2012

memories to take home with me

I went to Les Puces du Canal for the last time yesterday.

I wasn't looking to buy anything -- my niece was visiting for the weekend and wanted to go to the fea market; I thought it would give me an opportunity to say good-bye to the lovely people I've bought some wonderful things from during the last three years.

I used my very limited French to explain that I was returning to the U.S. permanently, and that I was grateful for the opportunity I had to get to know them. I wanted to tell them that I would take care of the things I purchased from them, but my French failed me there.

I don't think it mattered. They seem genuinely touched that I would come and say hello for the last time. They all wished me luck with the move and with my new life back in the States (I'm pretty sure that's what they said).

Until yesterday, I'd been a little worried that some of my fragile Puces finds wouldn't survive the transatlantic voyage. I thought I'd be heartbroken if something broke in transit. But I realized yesterday that what I treasure about these things are not the things themselves but the memories and stories that come with them -- memories and stories of these wonderful people and the absolutely delightful place that is Les Puces du Canal. Even if something broke, I'd still have the memories to carry and stories to tell.

And there's no price tags on memories and stories. That makes this painted box, for which I paid only 5€, a truly remarkable bargain of the century.

11 June 2012

castle in the sky

 This is where we were this past weekend.

We drove six hours to see the schloß, then to stop in Mannheim on the way home. A quick report to follow -- hopefully soon.

31 May 2012


Little is a sweet, actually-not-so-little cupcake shop that also serves lunch.

I had a plate of tasty crab & asparagus tarte salè (served with baby greens) and a bottle of Badoit, a cupcake for dessert of course (apple caramel), and a generous cup of coffee (brewed with a Nespresso machine!).

All of that was 9.80€. Pas mal.

30 rue des remparts d’Ainay 69002 LYON

I discovered Little through this wonderful blog. Thank you for the information, Argone!

28 May 2012

a week in london, in 25 photos

London. What can I say?

I love the city.

I did not want to leave. I've been to many wonderful places during our three years in Europe, but no other city made me feel that way before. It's been more than a month since we were there, and I still think about it often.

London has my heart.

I shall be back. Yes, one day.