Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Spielberg Debbie at Work

I so wanted to have a fun video to post today but I just can't figure out how to do what I want to do! So it's time to walk to Starbucks and ponder possible solutions.

We are back "home" in Paris. Yesterday we spent the entire day traveling home on the trains but the great thing is we only walked a few blocks between our destinations.

We leave tomorrow for 10 days in San Francisco to process our French visas at the consulate there. The friends we did our Grand Canyon rafting trip with two summers ago live in the Bay area so a reunion is planned. I just can't believe how wonderfully hectic life is now!

We did get to see the Bernese Mountain Dog outside our Mainz hotel room before we left yesterday morning...indulge me and enjoy a shot of her. 


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Day in Mainz, Germany

My morning started out so great! I was making a quick video from the hotel room...

video

...as soon as I tuned off my camera I spotted a Bernese Mountain Dog. She was actually in the tail end of the video but I didn't notice her right then.


I was still in my bath robe or else I would have raced outside to pet her...probably just as well...I would have undoubtably terrified her owner. 

I found the Starbucks back at the train station...and then almost got lost trying to find my way back to the hotel. I definitely can use extra exercise after last night's meal so no biggie. I regrouped at the hotel and got a city walking map. Today there was a farmer's market in the shopping area by the Mainz Cathedral. There were several booths with Christmas greenery. Check out the mistletoe sprigs hanging from the top of the booth. I saw lots of people walking around with their mistletoe.


Tomorrow a Christmas market opens...of course we will be heading back to Paris so we are saving lots of money by leaving tomorrow. Near the Mainz Cathedral there are small, boutique type shops to visit.


Here's the lovely Mainz Cathedral...perhaps more about that later. I just found out we are supposed to do a tour of the church later today as part of my husband's business meeting.

I was in search of Christmas ornaments...something special from Germany. I just didn't find any...darn that market for not opening today! But I did find an unexpected surprise...check it out.

video

The doll kit came with me...


I just didn't want to regret passing it up. The instructions do come in English.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Can't Keep Up

Every day is such an adventure...before I know it I am starting a new day. Here's a little recap of the past few days. 

On Friday we went to the Paris IKEA...WOW! I've never been to an IKEA store before...I can't wait to go again. We left our apartment at 10 a.m. and spent about 45 minutes driving there. They had a huge cafeteria in the middle of the store with the best food...and so cheap! We spent plenty of money on miscellaneous stuff for the apartment. Our main task was to get some additional lighting for the sewing room. Here's our bounty of goodies...five huge bags! It was 2:30 p.m. when we finally got home.


I found some great Christmas decorations for the apartment...I'll share those photos when I get all the decorations displayed. I love these IKEA bags...yes we had to purchase them...but they will be awesome for trips to Costco back in Alaska.

Then on Saturday morning I saw real Christmas trees at the florist on my regular Starbucks' visit.


Wanna guess how much they cost? I think the priciest was $179 Euros...$232.00 US. We'll stick with our tiny tree.

And tonight I type this blog from Mainz, Germany,  a suburb of Frankfurt where my husband has a meeting tomorrow. We were successful in catching the train from Paris to Mannheim, Germany and then connecting to Mainz...though it was a little tricky...no signs in English at the Paris train station or the German train stations. I am so thankful to all the Europeans who speak English. 

It was dark and rainy when we arrived in Mainz. My husband has been here many times and he took me to a fabulous restaurant, Heiliggeist, which translates to "Holy Ghost." The restaurant was once a church. It is decorated for Christmas...so pretty. The food was incredibly wonderful and so inexpensive compared to Paris. My husband got the prize for picking the best meal, Roasted Wild Pig with Christmas-spicery, potato stuffed cabbage and baked pear. I helped him clean his plate.


I had Pork filet wrapped with bacon, peanut gnocchi and fried tomato.


The pork and fried tomatoes were great but the gnocchi sprinkled with crushed peanuts didn't do anything for me. I will have to do a lot of walking tomorrow...and of course my husband has another great restaurant to eat at tomorrow night. I think it is a good thing we don't live in Mainz...I would definitely be increasing the size of my waistline if I spent much time here.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Favorite American Foods

I was introduced to website where I can order American grocery food items and have them delivered to my apartment.  There isn't a lot of selection but it does have some of my favorite items...check it out at My American Market.

Here are a few of my favorite foods and their equivalent price in American dollars.


Brownie Mix - $7.12 in US dollars


Rotel Tomatoes...a staple in my cooking - $4.53 US dollars


Kraft Macaroni and Cheese - $3.88 US dollars


Rice a Roni...such an easy side dish to throw together - $6.86 US dollars

I did put a few of my favorite foods in our household goods shipment: 12 brownie mixes, 6 large jars of Jif Extra Chunky Peanut Butter, 6 dozen small cans of V8 juice, and a flat of Top Ramen Noodles. We are going to San Francisco in a week for our official French Visa processing...I think we will be bringing a few things back with us in our suitcases.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Paris Thanksgiving


This morning on my walk to Starbucks I noticed Christmas trees were out at all the florist shops I walked by...they weren't there two days ago. (The trees were no bigger than this...maybe the bigger ones come out later. I will see!) Luckily I found this beautiful tree at my nearest florist which is just a block from our apartment...it was heavy to carry home so I am glad the closest shop to me had the one I wanted. The copper pot was in the apartment holding another plant. The shop owner spoke English and she wished me a good Thanksgiving. 

Later today I will go into work with my husband and enjoy a catered Thanksgiving dinner. My husband was looking for a sports bar that might have some American football...doesn't really interest me but I suppose it is an opportunity to run into other Americans.

Speaking of talking with other Americans...I spoke with a gal at Starbucks this morning from California here for the week to attend a conference. I had not had my caffeine yet so I wasn't the most talkative but it was enjoyable to have a brief conversation. I would say about a quarter of the people at Starbucks are Americans. And yes...I took my latte to go and drank it while I walked home and browsed the florists.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pinch Me Moment

We were walking to a Vietnamese restaurant for dinner last night and caught the Eiffel Tower's flickering light show on the top of the hour. Don't see that in Alaska.  I feel pretty special sometimes!


On the top of the hour the Eiffel Tower lights flicker for 10 minutes...otherwise the outline is just lit up. The lights are turned off after the 1 a.m. light dance. Dinner was wonderful...a big bowl of soup with beef, broth and noodles. A definite "redo" spot.

This morning I tried my Starbucks latte the French way...it drove me crazy...I cannot sit and sip on my latte when I could be enjoying it on my walk!

Monday, November 19, 2012

My New World

Somehow the days go by so quickly. I have been trying to go for a daily walk that is about getting good exercise...along with some site seeing. Saturday I decided to walk to the Eiffel Tower. As I got closer I could see colorful objects at the base of the tower. I had stumbled onto the last two days of the "Buddy Bear Tour."

Here's a shot of the bear representing the US of A...not too hard to figure out which one it was. He is "Liberty."


The Canadian bear was much harder to figure out...I had to  look at the maps on their bases but it's missing on my picture because I went back today and the bears were starting to be removed.


He looks like he is pixilating. 
No info on the website about the artist's concept. If you want to check out other bears here's the link, Buddy Bears.
Here's the official press release.

UNITED BUDDY BEARS IN PARIS

12th October – 18th November 2012 Champ de Mars (Eiffel Tower)
To mark two occasions – 25 years of town twinning between Paris and Berlin and the “50th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty“ – the United Buddy Bears will be visiting the Champ de Mars for 5½ weeks. The exhibition in Paris underlines the good relationship between France and Germany and between the two cities Paris and Berlin.
The unique United Buddy Bears project features 140 bear sculptures representing as many countries recognised by the United Nations. Standing together hand in hand, the 2m tall bears promote tolerance and living together in peace.


Check out the bear in the middle....bet he's from Ireland.




I've been here just over a week. It's going well...I don't think I know anymore French yet but I have started watching French TV because the only English-speaking channels we get are news or business. Every now and then a movie will be on a local channel in English...very hit and miss. Saturday night is France's Dancing with the Stars. It's fun to watch...and I don't need to know the language to understand any of it.

Our apartment can be a little noisy at night...especially on weekends. Although we live right by an above ground subway and a main street for traffic that noise is not even noticeable. It's the shouting people do at the strangest times. The down side of city living.

The major upside is the convenience of everything. Saturday we went to the local market two blocks from our apartment. I was a little tired from the noisy night but can see if I really get my act together I can efficiently get most meals for the week covered in that shopping trip. We bought some Eggplant Casserole already prepared for our dinner that night...it was delicious and we plan to make that a weekly purchase. I promise I'll get a video made one of these days. I have to be there as soon as the market opens to video because it gets so crowded.

I have one major wish...I wish the Starbucks was closer to our apartment. It's an easy 15 minute walk but the French do not drink on the go...carrying my latte home is a dead give away I am an American. The French sit and sip slowly...enjoying their latte's completely. Hard for me to slow down sometimes...caffeine is supposed to get you going. I guess I should take my Kindle with me next time... 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cologne, Germany

My husband had a quick business trip to Cologne this week. We originally planned to ride the train but a strike prevented us from taking that option so instead we drove. (But first we road the subway to the main train station and then after asking questions found out the train was not operating...back on the subway to our parking garage near the apartment...an hour wasted!)

Our next obstacle was to figure out the directions to get to Germany and then our hotel in Cologne. Technology is a wonder thing! Our car has GPS...but of course it is in French. Good thing it is a Latin based language so I was able to fumble my way through the process of inputting the address for our destination. Five hours later we arrived just after dark. We had an incredible view of the Cologne Cathedral from our hotel room. (This is not my photo, snagged it off the internet, but it looked just like this.)


It looks like something from a fantasy world.

Dinner was on the top of the list so we headed to a local German restaurant the bar tender at the hotel recommended...like a brew pub. The local beer is "Kolsch" which is carried from table to table in these handy servers...


It's a very mild tasting beer...freshly made.  We both loved our meals...very hearty meat with potatoes and a salad.

The next morning Bryan headed off to his meeting and I headed off to the cathedral...which Bryan said had a Starbucks right by it. He was right. After my latte I ducked into to the cathedral. It was foggy all day and very grey outside. The interior of the cathedral was sooooo dark. There was very little artificial light. It was enormous with beautiful large stained glass windows along both sides of the main sanctuary.  There were also many wonderful sculptures but because it was so dark inside I was frustrated. I had hoped to catch a tour but somehow missed it. I bought a guide book and will read up on it for our next trip to Cologne. Hopefully the weather will be better next time.

Here's a quick video standing outside the cathedral. It is directly next to the train station we were hoping to travel in and out of.

video

When I made the video I noticed a modern art museum between the train station and the cathedral, Museum Ludwig. I checked to see what the museum had on display before going in...some modern art does not interest me at all. They had a special exhibition of David Hockney. His work focuses on settings in nature and the play of light and color. I loved his work. But the most amazing part of his exhibit is what he does with an IPad. They had a room with IPads mounted on the wall showing works he had created on the IPads. A few were programmed to show the paintings as they progressed on the screen. It was unbelievable. As with all technology...it looks so effortless. The layering he did on the IPad with his coloring was just so amazing. He prints his work up to the size of a large wall. This was one of my favorites.


There were other great artists to see at the museum including some works by Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.  I missed two more museums in the same general area....hopefully I will get to see them next time we are in Cologne...sounds like we will go there a few more times over the coming years.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Parisian Housewife

I'm sharing my laundry experience...if it's on video maybe it will be a little more worthwhile to see.  I am trying to learn how to use my new notebook and the IMovie program. So much to learn.


Yesterday I went for a long walk. I will try to do that daily. It's good to get out. The weather reminds me too much of Seattle...grey and dreary...a little misty now and then. There are lots of treelined streets that are beautiful with fall colors. And of course if you are walking around Paris you are likely to run into an iconic location. If I can find the Eiffel Tower I can find my way to the apartment.

I did finish another cross stitch ornament, Boatswain Santa.


Tomorrow we ride the train to Cologne, Germany where my husband has a business meeting to attend.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Houston Quilt Show Recap

I did a horrible job of accounting for my trip to the Houston International Quilt Show.  I could have taken hundreds of photos but realized that would be silly so I stuck with just a few. First,  for Karen at Quilts Etc... here's a photo of a booth's quilt sample of Edyita Star's "Common Bride." 


Karen has started this quilt...she's very good at staying on task but I hope this finished beauty adds to her incentive to finish. Karen also mentioned I look out for an Australian designer's work.  I didn't find much from Australia there...it was very disappointing. 

I didn't get a photo but there was a special display of French quilts copied after early American quilts. I took the opportunity to introduce myself to two ladies who traveled with the exhibit. They gave me a website to check out and showed me on my Paris map where there is a gathering place for quilters...walking distance from our apartment. Very exciting.

I didn't meet up with as many people as I had hoped but I had a great time. It's a busy place and very crowded in the vendor section. Now for what you really want to know...what did I buy?

I splurged on two batik kits...both with a star motif.



I was completely entranced by a booth that had felt balls used in pincushion designs. I've got a lot of pincushions to make.


My mother-in-law met up with me for one day at the show and she bought me this sweet book.


I also bought EQ7 for my new laptop...it was $40 off the regular price at the show.


I started worrying about what I forgot to ship for my Paris sewing room so along the way I bought lots of notions. My favorite deal was Creative Grids rulers. If you bought three you got 15% off plus a little gift. The regular prices were much lower than quilt shops in Alaska so I feel like it was a major deal.


I will share a few photos of quilts in the show another day.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Saturday Market

We started our morning by tracking down a Starbucks which was about a 10 minute walk from our apartment. Once we were adequately "caffinated," we headed for a wonderful Saturday market less than five minutes from our apartment. You can buy almost anything at the market. We picked up a roasted chicken, roasted pork and some sausages for our next few meals. Of course we had to get several cheeses. Beautiful produce; lettuces, tomatoes, strawberries and papaya. Here is my new shopping cart full of our food for the coming week. Right behind me is the Eiffel Tower...it didn't show up in the photo but it is there.




Friday, November 9, 2012

Parisian Morning

Bonjour. My first wake up in our Paris apartment. 


I'm fumbling around the apartment. I have made my first attempt at laundry. I think I put the soap in the rinse compartment. Maybe I should google some French words.

Lots to share...no time yet.