Friday, December 31, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake

These are just some tidbits to get you by until I arrive home to my over 500 photos which need edited. Click click click eat click drink click. It's all I do. But I'm loving it.

Today we went to le Chateau de Versailles via the RER C - a suburban, double-decked train out of the city to the residence of Marie Antoinette.

The castle was stunning, grandiose, marvelous, awespiring. Basically, it was tres grand and covered with gold for the sun king, himself.

Tonight, we will be ringing in the New Year in Paris, and in style. Bonne Annee to you & yours - I'm starting mine off with nine other girls & ladies, champagne drinks and a three course dinner. Oh, and you can't forget the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower.

Jealous yet?

Tomorrow starts a new year and Project 365.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Project 365

A post completely irrelevant to the world of Paris, France, tourist attractions and my blog for the past few days. Today I decided that as part of my New Years resolution, I'm starting a 365 project.

For those of you who haven't heard about the project, a guy named Jacob Stone set out to take one photo a day for the entire year of 2002. Now, it's my turn.

There's no set theme, no set rules. One photo a day - that simple. I've become so close with my camera that I either have it or my point and shoot with me at all times, even in the grocery store (as you've read).

The goal is to take an interesting or memorable moment and immortalize it in film. Meet someone new? Try a new food? Saw a funny advertisement on a billboard? Took off to France? Got a haircut? It's an interesting way to view your life, to savor the moments, to remember.

At the end of the whole thing, I'm going to print and assemble the photos into an album of the year. I will also upload the photos online to another new blog which will be solely reserved for the project - each day containing a photo and a brief glimpse into why it was taken.

[I have yet to do anything to the blog so it won't be very interesting today but check back on the first.]

Ultimately I hope that this project will help improve my camera skills and allow me to enjoy the little things more. I hope you enjoy my journey through 2011 in film.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Veax le Vicomte

Au jourd'hui, we went to le Veax le Vicomte - a small chateau an hour from the city. I don't have beacoup de temps (much time) to write tonight so once again this post will be mostly photos. Je suis desole. Forgive me? Tomorrow should be an early night but what's interesting to understand here is that..

no one, NO ONE, is in a hurry,
especially your server.

Dinner (one course, that is) takes approximately two to three hours and your server never asks how your food is. Ice doesn't exist - and they don't give you water. Quite strange but a nice change of pace from les Etats-Unis (the US) where everything is rushrusheatfasthurryweneedyourtable. It's relaxing.

Todays Adventures:

This morning we visisted les Galleries de Lafayette & Printemps - the largest department stores around. The window displays are fabulous but of course I didn't have a memory card for my camera. And you aren't allowed to take photos in the mall which includes designers like Coach, Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Tiffany, Petit Bateau, etc - needless to say, I bought nothing.

For lunch, we stopped at a petit cafe where we ordered pasta & a salad to go. Salad Nicoise, miam! And I even had a Coke.. something which is typically outrageous here. Over 3 dollars at restaurants for a bottle containing less than your average can. C'est bizarre.

The afternoon was a trip to Veax le Vicomte:

Followed by a trip to the Champs Elysees and l'Arc de Triomphe - the streets were SO busy, much like New York's Rockafeller Center or Times Square (but prettier):

And for dinner - Victoria Station. Pizza, Pasta, Foods Jen Can't Eat - so Salad again! But it was delicious and covered in tuna, anchovies, tomatoes, eggs and more. Delicious.

- Monet museum
- Lunch?
- Gourmet Shops for l'huile de truffes & le vin
- Dinner as a Group
- the Tour Eiffel <3

C'est le fin.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Babybel and Plastic Cups

To be quite honest, I'm quite tired and my English isn't quite working - so for tonight, tu as les photos seulement. [Only pictures tonight, loves.]

Au Revoir!

Monday, December 27, 2010

From Paris With Love

"Faire attention: Nous sommes arrivees en Paris a l'aeroport de Charles de Gaulle"

Approximately seven hours and twenty minutes after our departure from Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, DC - we were there.. there being a city over 3,000 miles from home.

After hassles of undressing in the airport, stripping off our shoes, unloading all electronics, having our passports checked, checked and rechecked, we were cleared for our flight which was due to leave at 9:50 pm.

So with tickets and passports in hand, we anxiously waited for our boarding call.

In the meantime we ventured up and down the terminal, laughing at the shopping choices and munching on Chipotle and Five Guys. A week without American fast food.

The best part of my ticket? The gluten free meal and window seat it entailed. Over all, for a seven hour flight, the experience wasn't bad. I dined on hand made gluten free rolls & madeleines, watching "Going the Distance" and flipped through Post Secret - managing to catch a few hours of sleep, too.

Besides, the flight seems to go by quickly when you're traveling 631 mph through the -81 degree weather outside.

Soon enough - we were in Paris and we even had the Eiffel Tower to say "bienvenue."

We were welcomed to the city by our driver, yielding a sign declaring "Celestial Voyagers." We then loaded onto the van and ventured through the Parisian traffic toward our hotel on the Rue Montmartre. In this case "ventured through traffic" really translates to "watching enraged drivers esentially run one another off the road." I understand now why the metro is so popular.

Did you know that the metro covers so much track each day that if you lined up all its trips end to end, you could span the world 3 times in that one day?

But despite the traffic, we did make it to our hotel in great time - fitting in an afternoon scenic bus ride around the city through Parisvision. We won't tell you that an hour and a half bus ride with droning french music is "facile" after a sleepless fight - the tour did offer great souvenirs such as lime green headphones and all of the photos to come:

[Disclaimer: The following photos were taken from behind the tinted windows of a tour bus - my apologies]

Bon Nuit from France - it's 11:21 here in the City of Lights and time for some sleep.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Au Revoir

At 10:00 this evening, I catch my plane headed to Paris, France.

I may post from the airport (after all, we may be there a while - thank you Monsieur Hiver.. that's Mr. Winter for those of you who don't speak) but otherwise - look for the next few posts to be brought to you from the City of Lights.

Possible Parisian adventures include:
- Notre Dame
- Versailles
- le Moulin Rouge
- le Chien qui Fume
- le Tour Eiffel (bien sur)
- Des Si et Des Mets
- et plus!

Au Revoir.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Glue Sticks

This morning started with a gasp, "Sissy, are you going to come and watch me open my presents?" After rolling over and trying to grab a few more winks of sleep, I reluctantly rolled over and shuffled out of bed. Playing Santa means late nights and early mornings. Hours of wrapping gifts and minutes spent opening them.

"Glue Sticks...? Santa brought me glue sticks?"
Imagine a five-year-old's surprise when his first gift opened contains three jumbo sized disappearing purple glue sticks. Santa's a big spender this year.

But don't worry - he opened his Nintendo DS next.

[Note: We extend our appologies to all who are offended by the following photos of Aiden wearing blue-camo underwear as pajamas - he hates pants, I swear.]

Nothing beats the early morning "oohs" and "ahhs" and "OMG-how-did-santa-know-i-wanted-this's" of Christmas. The torn and thrown and crumpled paper. The bows that hardly stick long enough to flip the gifts over. The cold toes of a little boy who refused to put pants or socks on this morning because it wouldv'e delayed the opening of gifts.

You can see the excitement on Aiden's face as he opened the missle-launching helicopter he had been dreaming of - in camoflauge colors, too. But he was even more excited when his dad opened a matching helicopter in red.

"LOOK DAD. Look what I got!"

"Dad! Santa brought you one, too?! He must have known we wanted to battle!"

We're not quite sure where Santa gets stockings this big. We've yet to meet anyone with feet this size.

"What do you think this one is?"
"You'll have to open it"
"I hope this isn't a boosheekie"
"A what?"
"You know, a floating ball.."
"You mean a Fushigi..?"
"I asked Santa for one but then I found out they don't work - they really don't float at all."

Aiden is the infomercial-king. Last year it was Bendaroos which make magical masks. This year? Fushigi. Once a day, at least, I catch him rattling off a commercial, singing a jingle - getting it down word for word.

But you know, "if it ends in .99 - like three easy payments of 9.99 - well, it's a joke"

Five year old wisdom.

Later this afternoon I received a text message:
"Aiden said he can feel the reindeer saliva on the leftover carrots"

He spent all day collecting proof that Santa must be real. Who else could have eaten the cookies? And the carrots? Well, Santa wrote back - reindeer love carrots. But how did he get in with Sean sleeping on the couch? Don't we lock the doors? Well, we have no chimney.

"But sissy - this looks like your handwriting?"

After the present opening and evidence collecting, I donned my Christmas best for a Shook family Christmas. You can tell Ryan loves Christmas - look at that smile.

Who knew that centerpieces and wrapping paper could double as gifts for Mittens? That certainly wasn't the intent.

I hope that you enjoyed a delicious Christmas feast today to help you prepare to hibernate through the winter storm headed for the East Coast tomorrow. We certainly did.

"Do you think we could take some of that cake home, too?"
I hope that your Christmas was full of simple joys. The laughs of little ones. Hugs from Grandmas (wether they're your's or not). Cookies baked slightly too long. Bickering with your family. The lack of football on TV. The snow flurries that followed your drive to wherever home may be. The kittens who pull down every ornament on the tree which is wider than your big-screen TV. Family. Friends. Joy. & Love.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.