GalleryFarewell, summer

Yesterday we interrupted our regularly scheduled programming to spend the last day of summer with Mama Bear. We headed to two of our favorite places on Cape Cod: the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and Marconi Beach. In addition to these excursions in the great outdoors, there were equal doses of steamers with drawn butter and antiques. View Gallery »

Shrimp and scallop stew with turmeric sticky rice

Right now meals are a trial. Regardless of the weather around us, we eat soups and stews and broth. Our freezer is chock full of yoghurt containers filled with different stocks labeled with the date and their contents. Three meals a day we assemble our soup, seasoned simply with salt, pepper, ginger, turmeric, cumin and/or herbs; we ladle our soup around a little iceberg of sticky rice and top it with a few chunks of some cousin of a squash.

Yet it's a diet of sorts, an invalid one, but still a diet. It's nutritive and filling and always warm. I know the ins and outs, and the repetition and possible variation. My tummy knows what to expect and plans accordingly. On most days, I enjoy. When you're sick, you don't think about food the same way; you don't read up on magazines or look ... View Post »

GalleryThe Bones

I'm going to let you in on a little secret: my parents are building a house on Cape Cod. I've never seen one constructed before, but every day we spend here I'm transfixed by the activity that surrounds us, and the fruits of this immense labor. Especially the stage of framing right now; it may not have windows or doors, shingles or floorboards, but the bones are there. You can stand in the sand and run your eye along these elegant forms made out of wood and joined together with mortise and tenon like they were always intended to be just so. It lives. View Gallery »

GalleryThe Vacation, Part Three: Provence and the Rhône

I can still remember coming in to Avignon during the final two days of the Festival d'Avignon, a month-long showcase of modern art, theatre and music. On paper a festival in an old Provençal city sounds intriguing. Yet when we drove into the city on Saturday night, we were underwhelmed by the generic festival glaze that coated the city. It was as though the cultural world had turned out its pockets of lint and change and bits of debris and with it all manner of musical and carnival fray clattered onto the cobblestone. View Gallery »

GalleryThe Secret Garden

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Father: A rock ban.
Little boy: A whot?
Father: A rock band-d iza grup zat plays toge-ther.
Little boy: Ah, ah, yes, I know.

— Overheard in the Parc des Buttes Chaumont
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GalleryLa Fête des Tuileries

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GalleryTo my love, thank you for the Mystery Ride

You might have heard of mystery rides, or maybe you have a similar tradition in your family. Well, this past Saturday, August 23, 2014, we woke up at 6:15am. Matt rolled out of bed first. When he came back to give me my morning tonic, I could hear the water starting to steam and boil in the background. "Are you making cooooffffffeeeee?", I intoned. "No", he said, and I couldn't tell if he was playing coy or not. He went to tend to the water, and I could hear something hard bouncing lightly on the bottom, elevated by the stream of bubbles. Eggs! He came back a third time and took the phone out of my hand, plugging it in next to the bed. "Are we going somewhere?", I murmured. "No...", came the reply. And then moments later, "Are you ready to go on a mystery ride?" "Oooooooo." I climbed out of bed eagerly and padded into the kitchen. Ten brown eggs were bouncing happily in the pot. A ten-egg mystery ride! View Gallery »

Cinéma en Plein Air

While vacations can sometimes feel like the maximum amount of fun packed into the shortest amount of time, traveling is not all flowers and cupcakes. Growth and challenge are commonplace, but that doesn't mean you're always going to like it. Sure, you'll learn something from getting ripped off or a bout of diarrhea, which can make for an interesting anecdote of this culture or that cuisine, but I, for one, don't seek out challenges like these. I'm more in favor of learning new languages, making conversation (and enventually, friends), and trying out new experiences. I'd prefer to leave the street meat and too-good-to-be-true deals to those out there who actually enjoy them. Still, pain and frustration do comprise the bulk of many good experiences. 

We're in Paris for a couple of months, but we're also going through the intro of the GAPS diet to rehabilitate from this year's ailments. For those unfamiliar, I'll spare you. But basically, we're in France and we can't eat raw milk cheese, anything with gluten (or any other grain, for that matter), pastries, wine, vinegar, charcuterie, raw fruit or tomatoes. Not because of strict adherence, but let's just say, these foods do not agree with us. For now. Are we masochists? I guess we're just confident there's more to France than bread, wine and cheese. View Post »

GalleryBelleville Open-Air Market

If you're ever in Paris on Tuesday or Friday morning, the multiethnic Belleville market is worth a visit. The prices are quite cheap, but the real reason to go is to "take a cultural bath," as our French teacher Isabelle says. The market runs almost a kilometer south down the mid-strip of Boulevard Belleville to the Ménilmontant stop. I've walked in its wake a few times on a Wednesday or Saturday, strolling under the neatly rolled awnings that remind me of hundreds of toriis, and avoiding bits of rotted cabbage and fruit in my path. But until this Tuesday our schedules had not aligned.

By the time we arrived it was getting on 11:30am and the place was flooded. To give you a frame of reference, Paris produce markets usually setup by 8-9am, really get going by 11am and wind down around 1-2pm. I'd already read a few enthusiastic posts online by local bloggers, encouraging people to experience this colorful produce market. Because in the throes of so many people, that's all you can really do. The general recommendation was to start at the beginning and let the energy pull you forward like a tidal wave (or a raging river), getting a bit jostled and bruised along the way, but hopefully not splayed out on all fours by the end — and hopefully with your fruit still intact! View Gallery »