Monday, August 22, 2011

Over a Week Ago...

I cannot believe that it's already been over a week since I was in Paris! This entire past week blew right past me between resting up from the eventful weekend and preparing for Batman's 5th birthday and party. (I can't believe that he's 5!!!) I'd better finish blogging about Paris before everything gets too fuzzy!

After we finished seeing the interior of Notre Dame, we walked around to the back side of the cathedral and into Square Jean XXIII.

Notre Dame from the back & the Fountain of the Virgin in the Square

The Fountain of the Virgin in Square Jean XXIII
Do you see how cloudy it is in the background of that last picture?...yeah...Keep that in mind...

While we were resting in the square, we heard (cliché of clichés) accordion music!!! I just had to find the source of the music and get a picture! (There were street musicians everywhere...even in the metro stations! I loved it!)

Accordion player in the middle of Paris
After that, we picked up the bulk of our souvenirs.

My souvenirs for ME!!!
I was eying the umbrella, and it turned out I actually needed to get one, as it started to rain! (Remember those cloudy skies? Yeah, they opened up!) So we crossed back over the Seine and sought refuge in a cute café.

A Paris "beach" along the Seine!

Our view from the café...see the Eiffel Tower in the distance?!
After we had our lunch (I had a croque-monsieur, which I haven't had since French food day in high school, and the most amazing fruit tea!) and the rain had subsided, we walked down to the place that Misha was looking forward to the most....the Louvre!!!

Part of the Louvre

The view of the Louvre that is the most famous

(L to R:) The Louvre, the Eiffel Tower (in the distance), and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel
We walked from the Louvre, past the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and through the Jardin des Tuileries all the way down to Place de la Concorde where we found this:

The Luxor Obelisk in Place de la Concorde
And did you know that this square used to be called Place de la Révolution which was centered around a guillotine...the guillotine. The one that beheaded Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Danton and Robespierre! 

One of the two fountains on either side of the obelisk set against the Tower
The Instigator gave me grief for asking for spending money for souvenirs for myself. He thought that just going to Paris should have been enough for me...with as long as I wanted to go, not likely! LOL And true to (recent) form, I bought my obligatory thimble! Isn't it cool? It's got Notre Dame on one side and the Eiffel Tower on the other.

My growing thimble collection!

But our day wasn't over yet!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Second day in Paris!

So to all of my friends that ever told me a) Paris is a filthy city, b) Parisians hate Americans and are, as a result, outright rude to Americans, and/or c) it would not live up to my expectations (because of one of the two previous points, or even for some other reason entirely), I say "pooh, pooh" to you! I LOVED my time in Paris. I was not disappointed. Paris wasn't really any dirtier than any other city (on that scale) I've visited. And absolutely none of the Parisians were rude to me, at all! In fact, the only thing that got in my way of having the perfect time while there was the phone heist. That was it. Everything else was AMAZING!!!! (Well, okay, the bed wasn't too comfortable, and as a result I didn't sleep well, but that was because of my hotel selection, not because of it being Paris.)

We started Saturday off bright and early, and having learned our lesson about the benefits of the Metro system while in London (plus how long it took us to walk to and from the Eiffel Tower the night before! LOL), we went straight to the Metro. For anyone traveling in a large, European city with similar means of getting about, they often have a pass you can use to get around for a set number of days (or as we did in London, a card you could "recharge" with money to continue using the Underground). Misha and I got the 1-day pass (which covered an unlimited number of uses of the Metro system for the entire day, which included the Funicular in Montmarte!) and hopped on board. I am soooooooo grateful that we learned how the Tube in London functioned before going to Paris! It made getting around easier than I could ever express.

1-Day Metro pass for Paris (well worth the Euro!!!)

Our first stop was at Notre Dame. (And no, that is not pronounced the way Americans say it in reference to the University. ::shudder::)

Crossing the bridge to Île de la Cité

One of the doors on the cathedral

Gargoyles of Notre Dame

The West Front (main entrance) façade

Statue of Jeanne d'Arc in Notre Dame

We actually got to witness something while at Notre Dame that I doubt few can truthfully claim to have also seen. A wedding inside Notre Dame! Heck, how many people can say that they have been married there? Even fewer! LOL That would be an amazing experience, to be sure!

The High Altar with Nicolas Coustou's Pietà
 Upon further research, the official website for Notre Dame de Paris says that as they do not belong to a parish, they do not do weddings (or baptisms or funerals) there, but I don't know what else this could have been...hmmm....

The Rose Windows (yes, plural...there are 3 of them!) were absolutely breathtaking, and I absolutely love stained glass.

The West Rose Window and the Grand Organ

I lit a candle in memory of both deceased grandparents
 Entrance into the cathedral was free, as it is a church, but we did pay the fee to go into the Treasury. I think it was well worth it!

Part of the scene of Death of Sainte Geneviève in the Treasury of Notre Dame

Stained glass in the Treasury of Notre Dame

A beautiful crown of sorts in the Notre Dame Treasury (I'm guessing for ceremonial purposes)

Base of a display in the Notre Dame Treasury
We could have also chosen to pay to go up to the tower and gotten some amazing views of the city, but in hindsight, I'm glad that we didn't, otherwise we'd have fallen over later in the day! LOL Had I realized we could have gone into the crypt, however, I likely would have tried to! (There is an episode of Smallville with Lana Lang in Paris doing an art project involving a certain Countess Margaret Isobel Thoreaux....)

And that was just the beginning of the day!


Paris!!! (Day 1 photos)

I truly meant to have posted about Paris sooner than I did, and intended to have completed it all by now...but this week has really gotten away from me! And time is only going to speed up even more! (There is so much coming up, very quickly!) So here are some of my photos from Friday night in Paris (Arc de Triomphe and Tour d'Eiffel!)

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

Some random, gorgeous building we saw on the way to the Eiffel Tower

Peek-a-boo, Tour d'Eiffel!

Some of the detail on the base level of the Tower

The Eiffel Tower all lit up at night

"Le Champ de Mars" (The cafe we had dinner at) 

The view from our window in the hotel

Thursday, August 18, 2011


As I've said before, going to Paris has been my dream for nearly 20 years. This past weekend, thanks to Misha, I GOT TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We originally were going to take a little "mom-cation" over to the Bavaria region of Germany and visit Wollmeise (the Holy Grail of yarn shops). Unfortunately, the lodging we were planning to use was booked solid, so Misha had the idea to instead go to Paris!!! (I like the way she thinks!) Being as how every time I've tried to go before it's fallen though, I decided to not breathe a word of it to anyone. I didn't want to jinx it! It wasn't until I checked in on Facebook and posted a picture to go with it that I let anyone aside from my husband and traveling partner where I was going! (I was even convinced that the world was going to end on Friday, before I got to see the Parisian skyline...thankfully, that belief was errant!)

The first thing we did after checking in to the hotel was take a walk to see the Eiffel Tower (and we passed and saw the Arc de Triomphe on the way down).

It was amazing!!! When I turned around the corner and saw the Tower from the other side of the Seine, I started crying. In fact, I'm tearing up right now even thinking about it. It was everything I wanted, everything I expected. After we took a few pictures and saw the tower light up, we headed to a cafe off the Champs de Mars and had dinner (which, unfortunately, led to the worst part of the entire weekend...).

After dinner and some wine (very good wine!), we tried (and failed) to locate the police department to file a report about my phone. Instead, we walked down to the Statue of Liberty that's in Paris and took some photos before heading back to the hotel and turning in for the night.


The Phone Fiasco

You may remember my post a little while back about being thoroughly spoiled by my husband.Remeber the only thing in that post that I actually really wanted and the only thing I actually asked for? The iPhone? Yeah...

When I get nice things, even more so things that I actually want or really like, I tend to get attached. Pretty fast, actually. And I hold on tight. Like the necklace that my husband gifted to me for our 4th wedding anniversary that I loved and wore all the time. the chain broke, and I lost the pendant. I was sooooo upset about it. I cried for at least a week. With my iPhone, I hardly let it out of my sight for the first 1 or 2 months. It took even more time than that, however, to convince myself that smartphones were common enough that it wasn't as big a deal as I was making it out to be and that every person I saw wasn't wanting to steal it. I finally came to that conclusion about a week ago.

 While Misha and I were at the cafe in Paris, I had it sitting on the table. (We sat outside, with the chairs up against the cafe windows and the tables sat against the chairs, easy enough to move to use.) While I've traveled a bit while being in Europe, it didn't truly prepare me in the ways of pickpocketing that are prevalent in Paris.

Venice has people all over that (illegally) try to sell stuff to tourists, and it has that in common with Paris. (They are actually quite annoying...and very persistent!) As we were waiting for our dinner, some kids came up doing that very thing, and I shooed them off with a few "Non, merci"s. Then a second group of kids came up, and one of them invaded "my bubble" of space and actually set one of the maps he was trying to sell on my table. I picked up my things sitting in front of me and moved them and shooed them away in the same fashion.

Twenty minutes later, I reached for my phone....but it wasn't there. The kid had set his map on top of my phone and picked it up with his map when he walked away. The sneaky, slick, little snot.

While there were police nearby, there was unfortunately nothing they could do. With not having noticed it right away, the kid could have made it to anywhere by then.

It's been....different...without my phone. I feel more disconnected, and am realizing just how much I depended on it. It's actually a bit pathetic...I've taken to carrying my laptop around the house. It's not as convenient as my phone, and doesn't have all of the apps and information on it that my phone does, but for now it suffices.  

Thankfully, I had removed all my pictures off of the phone prior to the trip (minus the ones of the boys "graduating" their summer reading program, but those were uploaded onto Facebook prior to "the heist," as were the first photos of Misha and myself in front of the Eiffel Tower), and I was able to check in at the Eiffel Tower before it happened. I do keep having moments in my day-to-day routine that suddenly make me want to do a /headdesk with the thought that "that was on my phone, too..." Also a bonus, even though I didn't have my phone, Misha and I were able to finally contact The Instigator and get him to get a hold of the cell service carrier to get the phone shut off.

Now I just have to make it until it can be replaced....

Sunday, August 7, 2011


The days are ticking down very quickly until I'm in the States again and preparing for my BFF's wedding! I'm so excited!!! However, my weight loss has come to pretty much a complete stop.

As in, hitting a brick wall, stop.

A little while back, I'd thought about trying the Couch-to-5K program. It can't get much easier than a program targeted to couch potatoes and getting them to running the distance of a short marathon, right? So I bought the iPhone app. And it sat on my iPhone, completely unused for something like 2-3 months (at least).

Friday, when I went to go to the gym, I had forgotten that it was a base-wide "down day" (basically it means a day off of work). It might have had something to do with the fact that The Instigator still had to go to his class. lol But the point is, on down days, the gym closes at 8 o'clock instead of 10. Thankfully, the track is located outdoors. And what a perfect time to start my C25K!

It wasn't too bad, honestly, but I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't feel that way if I hadn't already been going to the gym regularly before that day!!!

Unfortunately, I forgot to stretch out after I ran, and Saturday I woke up soooooooooooo stiff and sore! Despite my stretching throughout the day, all day Saturday and Sunday, I was still sore when I woke up this morning. I was wondering if I was going to be able to run at all tonight! (The program has you run 3 times a week, and it changes weekly, gradually taking you from more walking than running to running the entire distance.) Somehow, though, I managed. I ran when the voice in my ear telling me to run, and was very grateful when it told me to walk! I started over again from day 1 so that my week time frame for the program  coincides with and actual week. lol So tonight was week 1, day 1 for the second time. I am really hoping that this helps me lose the stubborn inches that aren't going away and makes me hate what I see in the mirror.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

One down, one to go!

I'm not sure what it was, but yesterday I got hit with a dose of crafting adrenaline! I sat and finished the first in a pair of mittens (which I had previously halfway completed, but realized it was too small, so I ripped it out, then re-knit it with a size larger needle that made it monstrous and frogged that, and re-did it with the original size but with much looser tension), and I really wanted to start the second one, but I made myself finish the Super Secret crochet project first, instead. So Super Secret Project one is COMPLETE!!!

Now I can start on Super Secret Project two, as one is finished! I feel very good about the fact that I got the first one done well before my deadline and can do the second one without rushing myself. :D I can also finish the second mitten, now, and then move along to the hooded scarf. I think that when I finish the mittens and second secret project, though, I might allow myself to cast on for the WestKnits Mystery KAL (Knit-A-Long). :) I like Mystery KALs!

I'd best get back to my housecleaning (it's laundry so I can get back to my knitting! Have a great weekend!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Quite Possibly Mad

I'm talking crazy-mad, not angry-mad (although that applies today, as well).

I've got 2 super-secret projects that I'm working on, that has a fast-approaching deadline. (To be honest, though, the second one is really not top priority right's one of those "if I get to it, it'd be awesome, but I'm not going to stress over it" situations.) I've got a pair of gloves and a hooded scarf that a friend is paying me to make....and I still went and joined a mystery KAL! Silly, silly me! (And this isn't even counting the baby stuff for two different babies that I haven't yet finished and a blanket for charity that I've not yet completed...) Even worse than that...I really want to work on all of them! I'm excited about them all, and can't knit fast enough. I would say that this is one of those instances where I need multiple pairs of hands so I could knit on all of them at once! LOL

As to the angry-mad aspect of things....the older child (who shall from henceforth be known as Superman or Bizarro, as situation dictates...and the younger one will be Batman/Owlman.) is being the villain lately. Last week, he deliberately got into air freshener and water and made a mess of my bathroom not once, not twice, but THREE times! (Twice with air freshener, once with water.) And he just did it again this morning. With the air freshener. And this is not something that is in his reach. He is deliberately climbing like a monkey (thanks oh, so much, Instigator, for teaching him that..../end sarcasm) to get to it with the evident goal of emptying the entire can. I have had to air out my house multiple times. I'm getting headaches from this. And yet, he continues to do it. I have tried every approach I can think of with him over punishment and forgiveness of this. But he continues to push that button, and I am about to lose it with him. In fact, I did lose it a little. He is confined to his Fortress of Solitude (bedroom) for the entire day this time. I can't even be in the same room as him without getting angry again. What is so hard about not getting into things he knows are off-limits?! WHY does he keep doing this?! He is six years old. There is no reason for this!!! It's not that he's not getting positive attention when he behaves, because he does. A lot of it. I do not understand this.

School cannot start back up soon enough.

But I really should get back to cleaning Headquarters for this collection of superheroes/super-villains. It's one of this Super Mommy's least favorite things to do, as the little ones tend to make messes of epic proportions, but someone's got to do it....and then that someone needs to get back to crafting!