Tuesday, June 30, 2009

mystery pigeon

When I was sitting by the fountain this morning, I saw this odd pigeon with a sign on both of his wings that said "AL J." He seemed fine and the tags seemed expertly affixed, and he was just hanging out with the other pigeons like he was normal. I'm puzzled and have been trying to figure out what his deal is on the internet, but racing and homing pigeons both just have rings around their legs, so I'm just not sure. Eric thinks it's some kind of a joke, that some people put those on him to make people like me wonder, but I don't know. It seems like an awfully time-consuming thing to do for a joke.

amusement park

There was an amusement park set up at one end of the Tuileries that Eric says will be there all summer. They had a big slide and a log flume and lots of food stands and things for children. There was nothing going on this early but it was open to walk through. Here is another statue of some animals attacking another animal.

early morning with the ducks

This morning I left home with Eric when he went to work and had plans to walk to a park I've never been to on the east side of Paris, but I missed one of the streets I needed and ended up taking my usual route down towards the river. I ended up in the Tuileries gardens next to the Louvre, where I sat by a fountain and watched five baby ducks and their parents for awhile. There weren't many people there yet so it was really nice and I had my pick of the chairs around the water. I also gave directions to some tourists to the ticket line for the Louvre, half in French and half in English. I felt good about that. The statue is "Diane a la Biche."

Saturday, June 27, 2009

samedi part 2

Montmartre street, my new favorite drink: part lemonade, part beer, super cheap, better than Natty Boh. Some street art, artistic bars on windows, the inside of a little church we ventured into in Montmartre.

samedi part 1

We took the Metro down close to the Louvre today and had a walk back home. Here you will see a statue with a bird on its head, an old shopping arcade, us, me in front of a fountain I liked, and me eating. I think my feet are even bigger if that's possible.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

some photos from my walks

We have had some really great weather lately, and a couple days ago I took a walk down to Notre Dame and listened to a Rick Steves podcast I have about it. I watched tourists get tricked into giving money to panhandlers and felt a little bad for them because I can always see it coming now.

Monday, June 22, 2009

some things from this weekend

Here is one of the pizzas Eric made from our homemade pizza night we had on Friday. Also, me in front of the Louvre (which I still haven't actually been into, I admit). And a cute one of Eric with a little Eiffel Tower in the background. And last, a cool sculpture/fountain in St. Germain that looks like the ground is opening up. Voila!

when bird friends attack...

So, Eric likes to keep our kitchen window wide open when we're home. The bottom photo shows you what I'm talking about. There are no screens in windows here, so this leaves us open to various pests, usually of the insect nature, and usually this is just a fly or two, or once there were 2 moths that attached themselves to the curtain on a windy day and Eric had to get rid of them. No mosquitos, nothing that is really too offensive in any way.
Well, last night I was going into the kitchen to make dinner, and darned if a pigeon wasn't sitting right on top of the washing machine. It's in the 1st picture, with the color mats on top. Of course I didn't get a photo of the bird himself. There was no food there or anything, just a bottle of wine, and as far as I could tell, the thing had just been sitting there quietly for I don't know how long. So of course I screamed and it flew out immediately. Thank god it knew which way to go and didn't freak out and fly into me or further into the apartment. Eric thinks it's because I'm getting too friendly with them, but I'm not sure if it was one of the ones that I watch all the time or not.

Friday, June 19, 2009

some pleasing sights

These are, in order:
-a goat cheese van
-a large temporary bunny sculpture sponsored by a famous department store, Printemps
-wonderful squirrel coasters from Carly!
-sign for a squash club near our house
-some street art
-a sign at a florist inside Gare de l'Est utilizing Munchichi
-a sign at a park in Troyes that is not friendly to dogs, I think...?

my bird friends

I have had a few charming experiences with birds since coming here, all close to our apartment. The first was seeing what Eric said was a magpie hopping along on the sidewalk one of the first days I was here. It's the first photo and it's a bit grainy; I didn't want to get too close and scare him. I don't usually notice birds who are walking on the sidewalk because that's pretty normal, but he just had so much personality and had a really long tail and interesting markings, and I don't think I had ever seen one before. Also my friend Carly is very fond of them. Then there are hirondelles, cute little black birds that chase each other around inside the walls of our courtyard at twilight, swooping and screaming at each other, apparently especially when it's going to rain soon. Eric says that they return from Africa when summer is nearing. "Hirondelle" is their French name, and I looked it up in the french/english dictionary and they are actually swallows. I don't have a photo because they're too quick. Lastly, my favorite is these last 2 photos. In the middle one here, if you look at it closely, you can see the second bird in a nest over to the right. These are two birds that made a nest together and I was able to watch them pretty closely from outside our kitchen window. I was enchanted because they worked together, then the one that I guess is the girl sits in the nest and the other one stands there like you see, keeping a lookout I guess. And sometimes he leaves, and she'll call him after awhile and he'll return after a few minutes. Sometimes they're both gone, sometimes for a long time, and I worry, but they've always returned so far. I can't tell if there are babies yet; I don't think so because she leaves pretty often too. Anyway, I was researching them online because I thought it was so cute how they stay together, and I wanted them to be something interesting, like, for awhile I had them pegged as "mourning doves," except that the geography wasn't really right for them, then Eric said, "aren't they just pigeons?" And I didn't want to think that but, well, yes, they are. But they are WOOD pigeons to be precise, I found, and they are known for being monogamous, etc, etc, and they are awfully nice when you see them doing the things that I see, so it's okay if they're just pigeons.

triumphant grocery store experience!

After a few bad experiences at our local grocery store, including one in which the cashier (who I have been careful never to go to again) chastised me for not understanding when she asked for exact change, I just got back from a really nice visit today. I stood in line for a lady who I vaguely recalled having been semi-pleasant in the past, and she greeted me with, "bonjour, ma belle," which was just lovely. Then, when a spice that I wanted to buy wouldn't ring up, she asked me if I knew how much it was, and I understood and didn't panic and (I think) successfully responded with "2.88," followed by, "I think?" all in French of course. And she understood, and rung it up. Then I gave her exact change for everything, which they are crazy about here, and she was so nice and I am so relieved and happy! I get really stressed out about shopping sometimes here because people can be surly when they think you're slow and stupid, but I am making a bit of progress and it feels great! I am happy that today is Friday because Eric gets off work a few hours earlier today, and we have a nice weekend planned with a party to go to tomorrow night and a day of a bit of fun shopping tomorrow earlier. We are also going to attempt to make homemade pizzas tonight. I got interesting toppings like chorizo and pear and goat cheese and I think it will be nice. Voila! Also, here are 2 random photos: one of my new favorite kitchen utensil which makes a food processor completely unnecessary as far as I'm concerned, and one from a walk I took down to the Seine a few days ago.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

pastries and sushi and mutton oh my!

...and my new favorite potato chip ever, roasted chicken and thyme flavor! the little girl is the famous Ernestine, our friends Margot and Colas' daughter. they visited a few weekends ago.