Paris, tu es ma petite luciole.

So today I’ll finally get to Paris, though I feel somewhat guilty, knowing I owe a few paragraphs to both Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina, and Yerevan, Armenia.  It’s only fair to address the cities in order, especially since I never thought I’d be doing business in Sarajevo or Yerevan, or that one of them made it in my top five (Sarajevo).  And so we’re going to work on covering Paris, and then sometime this weekend we’ll do a country recap, then my official TOP FIVE FAVORITE CITIES OF THE WORLD tally and then we’ll move on to how my wedding became a goddamned monster and what I’m going to do to fix it (create a lottery).  Let’s get started.

Paris, my new 8th grade crush.  It’s like in 6th grade I never knew you existed, but all of a sudden in 8th grade, wow, there you were and I was so wrong for never noticing you.  You are pretty and shy and well traveled and intelligent and I was wrong, Paris.  You are not cliché or annoying or overrated or classless.  You are none of those things.  You are a new favorite discovery of mine, and though you have flaws, I’d like to ask you to go steady with me, because I plan on coming back to see you a few more times this year. 

Paris, my little firefly of a city.  I heart you.  I love your food and your people and their accents that seem to dance like little butterflies fluttering in my ears, in comparison to another, harsh, throaty, evil language I know.

And now most importantly, here are some of the foods we took the time to try.  I did miss out on some, but I was also busy walking, trying out the wine, picture taking, and napping, and so I will have to try the rest next time.   France really has the most amazing food I’ve ever had, and I’d support going back just for a trip full of eating–anything, really, to escape the schnitzels. 

French Onion Soup:  The real deal.  Carmelized.  Gooey. Sweet, salty, thick.

Crispy, warm goat cheese with honey:  To die for.  Sweet, crunchy, salty, creamy, fresh.

Foie Gras:  I don’t care how expensive this is.  I guess I had some sort of idea in my head that led me to believe it’s like that pate you put on crackers on Christmas Eve at your Meme’s house or something.  That stuff is surprisingly good, in a eat it once a year and don’t look at it or smell it type way.  Foie Gras, though? I cannot believe they are somewhat the same thing.  If you compare it to say strawberries and strawberry jam, meaning ground up strawberries, the two are pretty similar.  This was not.  This was a whole lot of yuck.  Expensive yuck accompanied by tasteless and sharp pieces of toast.  Dry, gamey, rustic, dirt, cat food, yuck.  Iron Chef, you are a liar, sir.  The only actual interesting part about foie gras is how it comes to be, which is amazing.  See funny picture to visualize.

Escargot:  Well done, Paris!  Any other escargot I’ve ever tried has been nothing but a rubbery mess soaked in vats of garlic butter with no shells to be found.  However, these plump snails were in their shells, allowing me to pull them out of the lady’s sweat they cooked in and taste them as they should be–slightly buttery, light and maybe with some sort of pesto?  I’m not sure what that green is.  Covered in lady’s sweat…or at least Chris told me that’s what their juices are called, or at least he says the Iron Chef said that.  Apparently we put a lot of trust in the Iron Chef.  I wonder if that’s healthy.

Fish and shellfish casserole:  This is actually like a really delicious fish bisque (not chowder) inside a pot pie crust.  Imagine my delight when that came out.

Crème brûlée:  I thought this was Italian, but apparently everyone else in the world thinks it’s French and so we had it for dessert one night.  It was amazing.  It was sweet and it crackled when I pounced on it with a spoon and parts of it tasted sweet and smokey, like a slightly burnt campfire marshmallow, which is a surprisingly delightful taste.

Now I should at least go over what I thought was the biggest disappointment: Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris.  I really thought it would be something out of the ordinary, but really it was just any old church.  The cathedral in Strasbourg is fifty times better, at least.  Chris didn’t think my, “That’s 20 minutes of my life I can’t get back” comment was necessary as we left Notre Dame, but I was serious.  Waste of time.  Not only was is boring, but the amount of gypsies outside asking, “Do you speak English?”, was outrageous, especially since I didn’t bother with more than, “No.” Which means yes, I do, because I understood you and I said no and I clearly look American.  So please take your change cup and your aggressive children and go attack someone with a fanny pack. 

And now Musee De Louvre.  God, I really loved this place.  We only had a few hours to spend, and I really thought we could probably breeze through it, and I was wrong.  We made it through 2 floors, 100,000 anteaters, too many amazing paintings and displays of jaw dropping creativity and we had to go.  Next time I go back, I plan on spending a full day there.  It’s well worth the 9euro.

And so, because I’m off to my First Annual Stuttgart Onesie Party, I’ll have to end this.  Yes, that’s right.  A Onesie party, meaning wearing pjs with footsies or whatever they are, while drinking with friends.  No, we’re not bored or even that weird.  Just another day in the Stu.

The quest for my own personal library….

So every person that lives and dies to write, the type of person say that has a favorite pencil or pen brand (The Ticonderoga and the Pilot G-2 10), the kind of person whose dream is a library of their very own, filled with books and oak and the soft natural paper that makes for ink rolling words together like paint drops…Every person that knows that dream well will understand my excitement today. 

I FOUND THE DESK!  Perhaps not THE desk, as I can’t afford THE desk, but I found my FOR NOW desk, and I’m buying it this week from some woman in Germany that lives in my town.  Point is, I finally found the centerpiece for the office I’ve been meaning to create since I got here.  It’s number 16 of “Things to do while I’m 30” and I’m so excited at the thought that I might actually do this item!

Since coming here, especially during my Lady of Leisure era, I thought long and hard about my space I needed to create so that I could be creative, I could get some writing done and I could do it in silence, or at the very least, engulfed by music that fit each mood, maybe with a glass of wine nearby, with all of my favorite books within sight.  And I think it might happen. 

You can’t create a writer’s nook without the centerpiece, the desk.  I knew there was no sense in even trying.  I need a desk.  I need something that has pencils and pens, an abundance of them, in little cups, where my little fingers can reach them with ease.  I need my laptop to have a corner on this desk and I need to be able to see my pencil sharpener nearby.  I need my top ten books stacked neatly in one corner and maybe a framed picture and I need a plant.  I also need a stapler even though I won’t staple anything, and pictures hung on the walls, a rug under my feet so I can run my toes back and forth over it when I’m frustrated.  I need a chair that tilts back so I can lean and stick a pencil in my mouth and ponder about why the hell I can’t come up with adjectives that are colorful or phrases that are powerful or why characters never come out on paper as vividly as they live in my head.  I need that. 

I also need a chez lounge in the corner, maybe near by drink station, so I can pour myself a glass of pino and lay back like I’m on a shrink’s couch, counseling myself about why it’ll be ok that I suck as a writer on any particular day of the week.  And I need a trash can, because I tend to write things on paper, not type, and I want it to be filled with bad ideas that no one should ever be subjected to read aloud or have swimming in their head.  I might need a trash can bigger than my desk. 

But anyway, I saw this desk, this little gem on a poster tacked to the “for sale” wall at the grocery store and I knew it might be the one.  I held out on getting an IKEA number, and I mean no harm in saying this, but no real writer writes shit on an IKEA desk.  I mean you, can, sure.  But do you want to?  Never.  Writing is meant to be done on solid wood, something with four legs, something that’s sturdy and supportive and has a purpose.  Fuck, really, is it possible to write words that are supposed to mean something to people you’ve never met on something that moonlights as “ALVE “or “MIKAEL”???  No, you can’t.  I mean, of course you can.  I write on planes and buses and while lying on my stomach in the grass, at happy hours on napkins and on old business cards while bored in work meetings.  But I need a desk.  A desk means accomplishment, or at least the road to.  So, the desk featured above is a close match, except with straight legs, and darker wood.

And so I need a chair.  A comfy, spin myself around, lean back with my feet up, ass not falling asleep, deep cushioned, sucks you in chair. 

That, and I need to clean the room I’m making into my office.  Here are two “before” pictures.  Both will clearly point out my lack of personal organizing skills, my laziness, and the fact that we don’t throw things out or unpack when we move, we just stack and toss in piles.  And so I have my weekend project!  I’m going to clean the shit out, maybe paint, but the walls are weird so I’m not sure.  I need to go to IKEA and get a rug, position the desk, hang some pics, sharpen the pencils, set up the laptop, set up my journal collection, my favorite books and the dog bed, for Moxie, of course.  Then I’ll hang a sign on the door–something like, “Pulitzer or Bust”, toss some pillows in the corner (for napping, clearly) and step back and see where the project stands. 

I really cannot wait.  Of all the projects I take on that never get finished–mostly that stupid scarf I started two years ago that’s still half done—I really am so excited to start, work on and COMPLETE this one!

So yay for weekend projects.   That being said, I’m slightly annoyed about the fact that this has nothing to do with the Paris update I promised, but oh well.  Sometimes I let the excitement get in the way. 

Now, back to watching Project Runway Australia with Chris.  It’s one of his favorite shows and yes, he even says things like, That’s so fashion forward, Heath, in a very lispy, very entertaining voice that I’m not always sure is a joke.  Ahahahha, true story and I love it. 

Make it work, gang.  Make it work.

Mixed bag of thoughts

So, it’s been a really long time since I’ve written and it’s almost embarrassing how lazy I am.  I could never be a writer.  That would actually involve sitting down to write, something I’m clearly not capable of.   So, in the spirit of lent, maybe I should give up laziness.  Oh wait, lent was last week, when I meant to post this.  Ugh.

Speaking of lent.  I was asked again this weekend what I gave up for lent, which reminded me that I never posted this.  dammit.

So we’ll make this post a reminder: I don’t do lent and I don’t know why people always ask me what I’m giving up, like all of a sudden this year I’m a good little Catholic.  I don’t even feel like I have to do lent.  My parents didn’t take the time to get me communionized and therefore, I don’t eat the Jesus wafer ever, avoid it in fact, because it’s so dry and disgusting and thin that it’s like I can taste the crackling skin of Jesus himself and no thanks. Not interested.  That and the grape juice or wine does not taste like anything but blood, which is the church’s fault for advertising it as the blood of Christ so ugh, no.  Disgusting.  Anyway, no communion to me means I’m really not that Catholic at all and therefore practicing lent is like a Jehovah throwing a birthday party, or close enough.

Besides, I will always find a way to give up something stupid for 40 days.  Like chips.  God forbid I give up chips and crackers or snacks as a whole category.  No.  I would give up BBQ chips, the flavor I would never buy in the first place.  Or Doritos, because I could just eat Cheetos or Lays for a month or so.  It’s like the year my sister gave up the juice Twister in college for lent.  I guess she had a real addiction to that Twister and so just one juice went, not all juices.  It would be like me giving up Fanta, the new love of my life, and it’s just not going to happen.

Another thing I’m not giving up, but people love to suggest it.  Swearing. Two words. Fuck no.

Also not going to happen is giving up alcohol, something that just doesn’t make sense to me.  While it would be the best thing to give up and most certainly the most difficult as the party here in Europe continues, I feel like I would be letting down my fellow Irishmen.  But this I don’t get.  I am 50% Irish and I can show you my liver to prove it.  But aren’t half of the people of Ireland Catholics, meaning 50% of the people should give up something difficult, which in Ireland would also be booze or at the very least, just Guinness?  Well if they’re all Catholic, giving up booze during lent, then how the hell was St. Patty’s Day put smack in the middle of March and lent?  That just does not make sense and so I feel that giving up booze during lent does not make any sense, especially if you can track 1% of your heritage to Ireland.  I bring this up primarily because a friend of mine gave up alcohol for lent last week and that was AFTER he had booked a trip to Dublin for St. Patty’s Day.  Weird.  Guess it’s one of those, I’m giving it up for lent EXCEPT on St. Patty’s Day…..which to me makes perfect sense, but to the church, or whoever is tracking going to hell based on breaking Lent promises, I’m sure that’s just not going to fly. 

And so, no, I will not be giving up anything for Lent this year again, surprise, surprise, unless I think of something really original now…something worth starting a week late.  I did remind Chris last week, though, when Lent began, so that if anyone who perhaps might be blood related to him and might go to church and might ask like they sometimes do, he can be prepared like a good Catholic boy would be. He should give up sinning.  At least that’d be an honest start.  😉

Now, there, I have covered Lent, which I meant to do last week and so I feel better.  I hope you all gave something up, are serious about it, are going to heaven, God loves you, yadda yadda. 

This week I’d like to cover the following, which I will start tonight:

The sting operation that now has to be set up in my house and why.  I think it will involve dental floss and metal cans and video taping and the like.

A regular update on “Things Moxie Hates”, which I will admit is a spin-off of the HILARIOUS page “Shit my Dad Says” which is some of the funniest stuff ever written, or said for that matter.  This week Moxie hates the following, which I can elaborate on.  1. People that luge.  I have her hating a particular luger on tape.  I will see if i can figure out how to post it.  2. African-Americans.  I am not sure where she got this racism from…certainly not me, but it’s really embarrassing when she loses it around anyone that doesn’t look quite like me.  And when I say not quite like me, I mean the opposite of milky, meaning people of color.  True story.  3.  Huge trucks going over 75 mph on the highway.  She hates them and tries to attack them every time.  So that’s what she hates this week.  The list gets better, I promise.

Mmm…what else?  I’m reading another Sedaris book this week–Me Talk Pretty One Day.  I have another list of favorite quotes and it’s sad I spend so much of my time thinking while reading each chapter, “I want to marry you, Mr. Sedaris.” when he has his Hugh and we both like penis.

Speaking of penis.   I saw a lot of it this weekend in Paris and I’m not referring to Chris’.  The Louvre houses thousands of them and I think it’s safe to say 90% of them were of the hoodie variety. (anteater, snuffleupagus, whatever you prefer to make it cute)  That’s more than I wanted to get into today, but we all know the topic of anteaters gets me really worked up.  More to follow.

Happy Monday, everyone.