Thursday, 15 October 2009
Lots of resources over here, from the OECD page on climate change, to the OECD Observer magazine, for whom the SecGen has written that climate change is the biggest threat to economic recovery.
But what made the biggest impression on me lately was a lecture - no, an outer space tour - by Dr Loren Acton, an ex-astronaut and geo-physicist whose specialty is the science of solar flares. He was at the American Church as part of their series on the science/religion dichotomy, but most of his talk was about the wonder of space, enthralling us with slide after video after slide from the space shuttle.
One image of the earth from the shuttle was especially impressive, and Dr Acton said it was frightening to see how very thin the planet's atmosphere is (here are other examples), with almost the delicacy of a bubble. The space between the cloud cover and the edge of the atmosphere is hardly discernible. He followed up with powerful visuals of solar flares and an explanation of the physics of global warming. I bet if he'd passed a hat for money to fight climate change, we would have raised a ton.
So come along for the ride, post on the Blog Action Day and say your bit about climate change.
Sunday, 27 September 2009
There is even a circle of poussettes in audience around the organ grinder, parents pulling in to park their toddlers in front of him while he plays La Vie en Rose.
Tribeca's patio heaters are thankfully on so I take a table in the front row, wait for the sun to come around. Oops, here comes the rinse water down the gutter, swirling around our bags on the pavement. After warning the mom next to me, she/Isabelle and her daughter/Tiphaine start chatting, and we discover we both want to master Italian, wish we could afford to buy a big Paris apartment, and love the city but appreciate the country.
Ended up meeting her distinguished father, and then a handful of her friends who pulled up chairs to describe the Vie en Rose party they'd thrown last night in Versailles - which included a ride out in a pink stretch limo. Sounded like fun but nowhere near as enjoyable as sharing my own birthday fete with my special circle of friends. Yep, a year older, lots of exciting challenges, and I am grateful-issimmo to have such incredible friends along for the ride. Turn, turn, turn.
Sunday, 13 September 2009
So when a father and his son sat down at the next table and started nervously translating the menu out loud, it felt callous not to pull them into the comfort of the cafe chatter, even in English. And hey, I was charmed that they couldn't pick out my American accent. And they shared a good story about how once the head of Airbus unexpectedly gave them a personal tour around the Toulouse factory.
They left and I basked in the sun. Although summer is getting blown away by brisk gusts of chilly autumn air, the rays were still July-hot, and families were out for a stroll and a shop. Tribeca's sunny front-line tables were all claimed by 11h, and the terrace was full by noon. That's when I left, wound my bike through crowds, past the cheery organ-grinder and the competing soulful Peruvian pipes, and back to the ACP to train folks to be tour guides at the American Church, for next week's Journee du Patrimoine.
Yes, taking care of the tourists! Wish me good karma when I next hit the Eternal City.
Sunday, 6 September 2009
Sunny it was, too, bright, colourful - and after the summer calm, noisy! Vendors were clamouring, kids chattering, dogs barking and whining, the accordion-player in front of the fruit stand competing with the guitarist near the cheese shop. And lucky me, the rentrée brought friends to share breakfast this morning: Aldo back from Sardinia, pulling up on his bicycle, elegant even without his usual bow tie; Brendan recuperating from his urban holidays and touring China with son Sean; and Tara in for a week from London, looking graceful and healthy despite her feasting cruise around the Greek islands.
So what's up for the fresh new season? Let's see, besides fixing my kitchen, I aim to formalise my fitness business, get citizenship and buy an apartment, before Christmas. Ambitious? As Tribeca manager, La Chef, said, "it's great to be back in Paris, we're all full of joy and lightness after the holidays. I give it 15 days." Wait and see.
Sunday, 23 August 2009
Next morning to Perpignan and Mont-Louis, for a couple of days of hiking in the Pyrenees, beautiful fresh air, views across the mountains to Spain. The fruit - peaches and mirabelles incredibly sweet and juicy, why can't we get them like that in Paris?
Then back to work, classes, ACP, the Paris heatwave, and the end of summer in sight. Sigh. Did discover an excellent rosé wine this summer, note this down: Minuty. Cheers!
Sunday, 9 August 2009
Photos of the event here
Sunday, 2 August 2009
This time he ordered me a Calvados, informed me that France 24 is filming Patricia LaPlante’s weekly dinner tonight, gave me the news that Jim Haynes held on to his famous atelier apt in the 14th, and then we talked about how much someone should get paid if their productivity depends on the work of volunteers (e.g. heads of NGOs, charities, churches, community newspapers). Nice blast from the past, and the Calvados added its bit of warmth. Tchin!
Sunday, 26 July 2009
The office calls it home leave, sending me back to where my family lives in the Chicago suburbs. It was a lovely if strange two weeks with siblings and Mom, then back home to a water-damaged kitchen. Grateful that downstairs neighbour Catherine alerted me by email, and to friend Olivia for saving my wine glasses and dishes out of the sagging cupboards.
Now enjoying summer Sunday in the city, tourists galore, yet only Tribeca's front row of tables filled this morning while visitors crowded through rue Cler, dragging carry-ons, consulting guides.
We were entertained by a pretty 3-yr-old girl in pigtails and a pink sundress, insouciantly toting around a grinning wooden pig almost bigger than she was. Plenty of colour on this sunny day - I counted four brilliant purple sundresses, a blazing orange creation, and others in yellow, blue, green. The woman sitting behind me unfolded a portable bicycle, demonstrated it for half a dozen of us, then tucked it back behind her seat. Lots of velibs passed through, as well as one homeless guy whose bike hooked up to a possessions-filled rolling cart, his dog trotting alongside. What is the definition of homeless, anyway?
Leaving the cafe, I stocked up on fruit: sun-ripe tomatoes, sweet cantaloupes 3 for 5 euros, huge deep red cherries, juicy white peaches, golden apricots, yum. But that didn't stop me from testing out Amorino, the brand new Italian gelato parlor on rue Cler. Creamy cherry-vanilla ice cream slopping over the too-tiny cone, I managed not to waste a drop. Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.
Saturday, 9 May 2009
Sunday, 3 May 2009
Not that I mind the image - but where will it end? Better polish that longterm vision, would much rather emulate those still-elegant 80-year-olds in the neighbourhood rather than the grey-haired hippie mommas. Ah, oui - meme si au fond je sentirai toujours non-conformiste...
Monday, 13 April 2009
Friday, 3 April 2009
Prague is great, sunny, warm, what a beautiful city in April. And guess what, just tasted a lovely Czech muscat wine, peachy and fresh, yum. Yes, the beer is easy to drink, lots of mellow honey flavour and especially good for post-tourism fatigue. But I may bring home a bottle or two of wine after all...