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    Cutting the Cord

    September 18th, 2008 by mary

    You know how people say that over time couples start to become each other? Well, that gets exponentially more magnified when you’re together 24/7 and are usually the only other person to intereact with. So suffice it to say that we have grown accustom to one another. But how will we get along with other people? Well, as we were headed back to the States on separate planes we would soon find out. Steve was going to do the family circuit through Wisconsin and Oregon. I was going directly to sunny California. So we’ll find out if the cord between us is of the bungee or umbilical variety.

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    Going Green

    September 18th, 2008 by mary

    No, we’re not wearing hemp clothes or starting our own organic farm. We went to Ireland and if I had to describe the island nation in one word that’d be it: Green. We only had a few days in the Dublin area on our way back to the States from Paris but it was easy to find the common theme. The countryside is all shades of grass. There are scary leprechauns standing on corners accosting tourists. On the street green is the perennial black. And don’t even pretend you can walk out of the Irish souvenir megastore without a bagful of shamrock paraphernalia.

    Oh yeah, and then there was Guinness. Can’t forget this highlight, Ireland won’t let you. It’s everywhere and it’s flowing freely. Going to where it all began and still brewing strong was neato. Sipping the free pint at the 360 bar overlooking Dublin made it all go down smoothly.

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    I’m Not Good with Goodbyes

    September 18th, 2008 by mary

    I know 3 months is a short time to call a place home but Paris was just that; more so than anywhere else we’d been in our crazy adventure. Of course in the last weeks we had copious amounts of the foods we’ve come to love. Ah, chiboust I will miss you so. And what will our friendly waiter at O’Jilou think when he notices the Americans aren’t coming by to butcher his native language anymore? How will I ever get by without my gelato fix at Amorino? It seems cruel to separate me from Fauchon so soon. Sure the departure was largely self imposed but it was time to move on and bring the travel to a close. At least we were leaving on our terms. Next time we go to Paris it would be to live there.

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    Tour de France

    July 10th, 2008 by steve

    Springtime in Paris may bring flowers, but summer brings the Tour. This year there are 21 stages and almost 2,200 miles. We caught Stage 4 and a moment of  Stage 5 as the race passed near the Loire Valley. The first day we saw an individual time trial, which was fun since there’s something to watch for 6 hours as the 178 riders are sent out one at a time to beat the clock on an 18 mile circuit around the town of Cholet. The start, finish and pits area were all within a few blocks of each other, so we got to see a little bit of everything including the riders slumping over their bikes after they cross the finish.

    The next day was a more usual road course between two towns. We picked a spot on the side of a country road and waited for the pack to come cruising through. The anticipation built as the helicopters, team vehicles, press motorcycles and police cruised past us in a seemingly endless parade. Then out of nowhere, the peloton appeared, and swept by us in a 20 second gust of wind. And that was it. We got in the car and drove to Leonardo Davinci’s house in Amboise for lunch.

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    Bamboo is in this season

    July 4th, 2008 by steve

    Remember you saw it here first, the next rage in green transportation: the Bamboo bike.

    I’m not sold on the wicker seat, though…

    Posted in paris | No Comments »

    Morocco Photos Posted

    July 1st, 2008 by steve

    After only three weeks of hoping they would get done by themselves, we finally sat down the other night and picked photos from our trip with mom and John to show you. Enjoy!
    spain and morocco photo album

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    The happiest place in France

    June 25th, 2008 by steve

    After almost a week of waiting out the overcast skies, we finally made it to Euro Disney last week. And oddly enough, it’s a lot like Disneyland. Except all the lands are moved around and it’s just ‘Main Street’, not ‘Main Street USA’. I expected to find some interesting localizations, but there really weren’t any. Although there is no Matterhorn!

    Space Mountain here has a few new twists and is by far the best ride. My next favorites were the tea cups and the Buzz Lightyear kiddie ride. Good stuff.

    Posted in paris | 1 Comment »

    Music in the Streets

    June 22nd, 2008 by steve

    Along with a few other cities in Europe, Paris celebrates the summer solstice every year with a music festival. Paris packs the streets with dozens of free concerts on street corners, courtyards and in the street all over town. Our neighborhood had a band playing ever couple of blocks, sometimes close enough to be in competition. Not a fair fight when it’s an amplified rock band versus the acoustic gay choir, but such is life. Even Notre Dame chimed in with a choir and organ concert playing to a packed house.

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    Lost in the Translation

    June 18th, 2008 by mary

    We’ve become fans of the ballet and opera so when we get a chance to score some cheap tickets we take advantage of it. Our latest slice of culture was the final performance of Les Capulets et les Montaigus at the Opera Bastille in Paris. In the early 1800s Bellini wrote this translation of the famed Shakespearan tale Romeo and Juliet. So basically it’s the Italian version of a British romantic tragedy, sung in Italian, with French supertitles, and to add to the confusion Romeo was played in the classic tradition by a woman. We may not have understood everything that was said but it was actually quite good. And it feels less silly to yell ‘Bravo!’ and ‘Encore!’ when you’re in France.

    Posted in art, paris | No Comments »

    We qualify for the French Open

    June 17th, 2008 by steve

    We forgot our tennis raquets, so we couldn’t play.  We lost the ticket lottery, so we couldn’t see the finals in person. Instead, we watched some of the qualifying rounds. The Roland Garros tennis park in Paris has 20 or so courts and there were 30-some matches to watch during the day.

    I’ve never really watched tennis, but it’s actually good fun in person. The personalities make up for any lull in play. Our favorite was a Spanish player who grunted “WWWAAAAAAHHHhhhhhhh“(click to listen) with every hit and “Ole!” for his good points.


    Other stereotypes were rampant. The prissy European player who asked for permission to use the restroom in thAmerican Angste middle of play and then disappeared for 15 minutes – in a new outfit! He lost to the patient and affable Argentinan, Schwank.

    The American women are great entertainment. They’re so big and so mean. I wouldn’t want to meat any of them on a dark street. And we didn’t even see the Williams sisters.  But the only smashed racquet we saw belonged to a charming American.

    The big deal about this tournament is that it’s on clay, not hard court like we’re all used to. The clay is very solid, but ‘sandy’ on top, so there is a lot of sliding around. That makes it a very difficult surface for many people to play on. Federer has been the #1 player in the world for like 6 years now, but Nadal has beat him in the French Open 4 years in a row now. It’s all about the surface.

    Some had real trouble with it. This guy went down about 10 minutes into his match – and didn’t get up. Such a violent sport…


    Of the players we watched, there were only a couple that made it very far in the tournament. Schwank looked like the best player to us, and he made it to the 3rd round of finals (the Federer-Nadal final match was the 7th round). In the womens, Suarez-Navarro made it to the quarter finals (5th round).

    In the end, the true joy of tennis is watching the terrified ball boys and girls scream across the court to pickup balls and thee address the players with toy soldier-like salutes. 

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