My feet are throbbing. My head hurts a little, too. And I’m so tired from lack of sleep that I really just want Tom to drop a blanket over me on the couch so I don’t have to walk to the bed. Tom is on the chair across from me and is on the verge of snoring because his exhaustion matches mine. But I am relishing in our weekend because it was so full. And not full in a busy way but full in a rich way. Let me fill you in.
Tom spend last week in Caen for work and rolled back into Paris around 3pm on Friday afternoon, just in time to meet Julian at the apartment after school. Elizabeth and I had a knitting date with three other sets of moms and daughters at a friends’ house. It was a great couple of hours to chat and work on projects. Elizabeth is working on a oatmeal-colored scarf and hat set. Two of us are debating projects but I’m going to make a decision before we meet this Friday. Promise.
When we arrived home, I knew a trip to the market and grocery store was in order because there was zippo in the apartment to eat beyond anything that would be in the snack category. So off we all went to fill our basket and rolling cart with good stuff to eat. In the meantime, Tom and I determined that spending a beautiful Friday night “in” was not what we were envisioning for the evening. So we all unloaded the food, gave Chili a pat on the head, and grabbed a long baguette on our way out the order. Munch, munch. The object of our adventure? Well, the Edward Hopper exhibition at the Grand Palais was ending this weekend and, due to the popularity, they decided to keep it open 24 hrs/day Friday, Saturday and Sunday, closing for good tonight (Sunday). So we strolled along the Seine, now with hot crêpes, on our way to the Grand Palais. The tv crews and crowds were not a good sign: the wait was four hours. So, we shrugged our shoulders and decided to go find our falafel in the Marais and spend some time in that area of town. Darn. Closed. Instead, we ended up in the Left Bank eating gyros which the kids gobbled up quickly. A late night without much accomplished but we all love the activity on the streets of Paris at night so it was great all the same. (Friday night (daytime would add 4 more) = approximately 3.5 miles walking)
Tom and I decided that if we really wanted to see the Hopper exhibition we were going to have to do it outside the normal hours. Now, when the alarm went off at 4:15 Saturday morning we were questioning our motives. But Tom got up to start his coffee and I was up shortly after. I have to say, it was quite fun being out so early, the city still alive but in a quiet way. We reached the Grand Palais around 5:20 to what felt like a secret club of people: die-hards waiting for the new Apple product or tickets to a One Direction concert. People streamed out of the exhibition (I wonder what time they went in?) while we wound through the queue for about 45 minutes before we went in, too. Of course the queueing couldn’t be complete without Mr. Starbucks with a coffee backpack serving everyone little cups of hot coffee, and Mr. Cookie following in his wake with baked goods. I don’t think they had that on Friday night! The exhibition was amazing. Who knew he had visited Paris on three different occasions and has a collection of work filled with Parisian scenes? We also giggled when we saw a piece (from another artist that played a role in Hopper’s life) from the Chazen at UW and another from the Milwaukee Art Museum. Yeah! (3 miles)
We rolled back home around 7:45 and were happy to see the kids had finished breakfast and Elizabeth was dressed for soccer. So she and I headed over to the field with Tom following a bit later to watch her play. A few sprinkles allowed Julian and Sarah a chance to CLEP out of going to the game. Homework for them. Match one complete and youngest daughter delivered back home, Tom and I set off for a Saturday morning market for me to purchase my first duck for dinner. We also picked up loaf of bread, some olives, one eggplant, two zucchinis and a almond/chocolate treat to share (shh…don’t tell the kids about that). Back home: lunch and before long Julian and Tom were off to make Julian’s 12:45 rendezvous for his soccer match. I followed about 15 minutes later to watch him play. We returned home for another quick turn-aournd as Elizabeth and Julian were off to a birthday party for a friend at 3:30. With just three of us left, we took our time on the way home, with Chili in tow, stopping for baguettes for dinner and popping into a papeterie so Sarah could look for new notebooks. While we walked we discussed a possible movie for the evening and decided this was our chance to indoctrinate her into the teenage movies of the 80’s. Movie of choice for the evening? Pretty in Pink. Ah, the Brat Pack. She did recognize Duckie (aka Jon Cryer) but Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy (swoon) and James Spader, no so much. Tom and I loved the guest appearance by Andrew Dice Clay. In the meantime, I modified my lasagna recipe to become vegetarian as I had mushrooms I knew would not last long. Tom and I returned to the party around 9pm to pick up Julian as Elizabeth was staying overnight. Day two, complete. Yawn. (6 more miles)
Another pre-dawn alarm? Ah, yes. This time we slept in until 5:30 though. Tom and I were out the door a bit after 6 to put in a 16-mile run before we had to be at church. What a gorgeous morning! We followed the Seine way over to the East side out into the suburbs. I’m not sure if other cities feel the same way as I don’t have much big city experience. But in Paris, I feel safe in the city and not so much in the suburbs. I was glad to have a companion. It was quiet in the suburbs and not a comfortable quiet. I was glad when I had the ile de St. Louis back in my sight. The sunrise was beautiful and by the time we were back in the heart of things, there were many people out…lots of runners and lots of walkers with dogs. Sunday morning seems to be when we see the BIG dogs. During the week it’s just the little ones in the streets. Home again, Tom had his post-run peanut butter toast and banana, showered and set off to get Elizabeth. The rest of us got ready for church and, quick turn around again, set off for the Cathedral. (Here is my sidebar church story for the day: not only do we already love this church on a normal day but today Canon Hendrick gave the most amazing sermon on diversity, on every member of the body of Christ being equally important, on how even God felt it necessary to shake the foundation every once in awhile, on how we, as society and as churches, need to do a little (or a lot of) foundation shaking these days, and how, when we find our foundation is cracking a little to be happy because, in the words of Leonard Cohen, “that’s how the light gets in”. Okay, , so that might seem amazing enough. But then the choir sang, “I Waited for the Lord” which is the song Kathryn Twedt and I took to contest as a duet in high school so that made me smile. And THEN Tom leaned over and said, “There is Mark Walhberg”. Apparently sitting only 10 meters from us the entire service, he quietly slipped out right after communion. Oh, and THEN, there is always food, coffee and juice after church…madeleines, cookies, sometimes bread and cheese (the good stuff)…things like that. Unless we are celebrating something, which we were today because our interim priest and his wife are heading back to the States soon. In these instances we have champagne. And lots more food. It’s a tradition I believe worth bringing home. Side bar church story is over. On with our day.) Even after champagne and treats, we knew we needed lunch and had been holding onto coupons for Quick burger on the Champs-Elysees to use when we didn’t want to take a lot of time for lunch. It’s a French chain and I must say, it was bad and certainly not Quick. The remaining coupons are now in the trash. On the first Sunday of the month, most of the museums are free so we knew that was how we would fill our afternoon. I was the only one that had been to Musee D’Orsay so that was our goal today. Oh, the building is so beautiful. Such a great example of repurposing an older building. It looks like an old train station with big, beautiful clocks just like the ones in “Hugo” and is a star in it’s own right, even amidst so many beautiful pieces of artwork. We admired works by Van Gogh (you really can stare at The Starry Night for a long time and not get tired of looking at it), Degas (one of Sarah’s favorites), Rodin (Julian loves the sculptures more than the paintings, I think), Monet (Field of Poppies is Elizabeth’s favorite since she got the Scholastic book, “Katie and the Impressionists” the year after we visited the National Art Gallery in D.C.; Tom’s all-time favorite has always been Rue Montorgueil, 30th of June 1878), Camille Pissarro (someone we are just discovering but Elizabeth and I enjoyed his work that we saw today) and Renoir (I just love Girl with a Watering Can but can’t really pick a favorite). We started home around 4:30 and although we were just taking a normal walk home on a regular Sunday afternoon, it was a bit surreal to think that our walk took us past The Thinker in the gardens at Musee Rodin, in front of the Prime Minister’s home, through Les Invalides and Napolean’s tomb, down the Champ de Mars, under the Eiffel Tower and across the Seine. Hmm. (20.5 miles, plus 2 more for Tom who walked to get Elizabeth from the sleepover).
Sunday night usually means taco salads for us but I had to make my duck! I purchased magret du canard which is duck breast with the fat. It was quite simple to prepare, even for someone with only rental property non-stick pans (blecht) and a convection oven. I served it with pan-seared fingerling potatoes, peas, clementines and, yes, a favorite baguette. Caramel au buerre salé ice cream for dessert (come on…I think our mileage today deserved it). Our dessert was accompanied by an episode of Modern Family, to send us off to bed with smiles on our faces.
So, yes, we are tired. No, I don’t want the alarm to go off tomorrow. But when it does, I will get up and begin the next adventure.
Oh, for those of you keeping track of mileage…you don’t have to be too concerned about us gaining weight from all the bread we are eating. We’re doing all right 🙂