When you think of a country you haven’t visited or spent much time in, your view is kind of one-dimensional, featuring mostly the big sights, tourist destinations, and maybe the big food exports. Or at least this is what I’ve noticed for myself.
When I thought of France, I thought of Paris. And I thought of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, maybe macaroons. And if I had a spare minute, maybe music and the fragrance industry in Grasse. And Vincent Van Gogh’s mental deterioration in the south of the country.
But when you get beyond that, like when you live somewhere (or even when you make an effort to go off the beaten path on holiday) you get a much deeper idea of a place.
Here are a few fun sightings that always make me smile:
- Kids on scooters, usually going to or from school. Especially if said kids seem to be trying to run you down. (I’m convinced at this point that this is how I’m going to go).
- People carrying baguettes on the street. People carrying baguettes anywhere. One baguette, two baguette, more baguette. Sometimes you’ll see the very disheartening sight of a baguette that has accidentally been dropped and left to languish.
- People carrying straw market bags. So many people carry them, even in the winter. You can even see elderly men carrying around baskets that remind me of nothing so much as Easter Egg hunts. Sometimes they have baguettes in said baskets.
- Huge lines in front of boulangeries and patisseries.
- The general populace pulling market hampers/carriages/trollies. Especially on market Sundays.
- Advertisements for books. Like you know how you see subway ads and street ads for films and perfume? Same here, but you also see them for tea and books.
As this is my last full day in Boston and also a blizzard day (16-18″!), and as I have no books left from the library (I had to go back and cancel my extra holds yesterday 😥 ) this list isn’t going to go through any alterations before the actual end of the break tomorrow around 7 pm (at which point I will be at the airport) (unless I finish The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur SUPER QUICKLY), I can get away with posting this a bit prematurely.
I have packed my bags and read my last book.
- The Secret Lives of Color, Kassia St. Clair: An excellent and really interesting book about the histories of various culturally significant colors (like Mountbatten Pink, Lead White, Cerulean, et al.) featuring odd and various anecdotes from the past. Each color discussed gets a few pages. Very far from dry, perfect for increasing your store of random information for use at parties and family gatherings, and a very aesthetically pleasing book.
- Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult, Bruce Handy: I’m a huge children’s lit reader. Possibly more so than I was as a child (and that’s saying something). Watching the author discuss and examine childhood favorites (Goodnight Moon, Peter Rabbit, Green Eggs and Ham) through an adult lens, with an attention to various social/cultural movements, is so fascinating. It doesn’t hurt that the author is really witty. I think I audibly chuckled a few times.
- The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down, Hyemin Sunim: Part of what inspired my very crunchy and zen resolution list (the other part being that I’m just a crunchy and zen person) (well, I try to be zen). Beautiful illustrations and lots of crunchy and chewy food for thought. So glad I stumbled on this in Shakespeare and Co. (And so glad BPL carries it!)
Contrary to my usual preferences, if was a very nonfiction-heavy vacation. But I feel edified, improved, and most importantly full of odd anecdotes to share.
Happy New Year’s (Eve) depending on where you are!
This is the last selection of links for the year of 2017, and it’s a blessedly short one.
Do you have New Year’s plans? It’s been bitterly cold here in Boston and will continue to be so tonight, so my evening looks like a cuddly warm stay at home affair. If I manage to stay up past 9:30. Jet lag. It’s still real.
Happy Christmas Eve Eve! I arrived home yesterday afternoon and am super jet lagged and being treated to a very New England ice storm.
It’s excellent. We’re going to see The Last Jedi tonight and I think my excitement will be such that I will stay awake. I’ve heard lots of interesting things about it but have so far avoided any spoilers.
I have a healthy (and scented!) collection of links this week!
The year-end photo compendiums are coming in, here are two favorites…
On the fashion front:
And the more miscellaneous:
What do you think about before you sleep? Are you out as soon as your head hits the pillow, or do you stay in some kind of in between state for a few minutes (or an hour or so?)
When I was little I would daydream (night dream?) about what my life would be like if I were a student at Hogwarts. The stories I imagined were linked and episodic, and played out in my mind over the course of about two years of bedtimes.
Apparently this might be maladaptive daydreaming, a symptom of multiple mental disorders.
Whatever, as the Mad Hatter said “We’re all mad here.”
So with that in mind, some nice things to think about as you drift off to dream land:
- Insert yourself as a character into your favorite fictional or fantasy world.
- A flood in a LUSH store
- All the amazing things you could do if you were tiny (like 2 cm tall tiny). Spelunking in a Swiss cheese, anyone?
There’s a lot to say right now, the main thing being that, because of a random five-day weekend (!) I was in Milan until a few hours ago. So all blog posts were postponed (haha, let’s just pretend I’ve been keeping up with a regular posting schedule). Also it looks like a yogurt in my fridge has gone missing.
So there will be future posts about Milan, but for now I have links crowding my bookshelf section, and it is my plan to dump those on you, as is my weekend ritual.
I woke up too early for no reason so here’s a links post, on time for once!
- I’ve started following French Vogue online and I’m really enjoying their “Sunday with…” series. Credit to the Jeanne Damas one for introducing me to this song.
- Love this Classic Film Club idea. I’ve seen most of the film noir on the list, but this selection of Japanese film noir is completely new to me and really peaking my interest! Where to start?
- The Marrying Mr. Darcy board game. Because it is a truth universally acknowledged, etc…
Truly I have mixed feelings, but I’m curious.
- The trailer for “A Quiet Place“. Spooky. I like.
- The structural inequality within the comedy industry. “The solution is putting people in positions of power who are not male, not straight, not cisgender, not white. This is not taking something away unfairly — it is restoring opportunities that have been historically withheld.”
- You’ve heard of latte art, but how about smoothie art?
- My chosen candidate for the 2020 presidential election.
- My nihilistic sense of humor strikes again, but this time with cats. Super relatable.
- The pajama trend has been taken to its only logical conclusion and we can all go home now.
- The subtle misogyny of male incompetence. I’m surrounded by idiots.
- In at least 34 cases, unusually long Postal Service delays resulted in rejections of DACA applications.
- Choosing a different sperm donor is choosing a different child and a different future. What surprised this couple about their experience.
- I’m sorry, Blake Shelton isn’t even Gwen Stefani’s sexiest husband.
- Karen Brit Chick (who you completely should follow, I’m in love with her) on her favorite vintage shops in NYC. Saving this for my next trip.
- Deadpool mixed with Bob Ross. What’s not to love?
- Honestly it is not Teen Vogue’s time. It’s more relevant now than ever and I wish it had been in my time the politically active and interesting publication that it has been for the past year or so.
Sorry for using up all of your free NYT articles!