Sunday, January 31, 2010


Thought I'd finish with my Sunday report.  Jeremy went back to Madrid at noon and I grabbed the Metro to go to lunch at Christopher and Didier's apartment in LeVallois. Had an aperitif I had seen in the shops but never had had called Byrrh.  Sorta like a red sherry and very good.  Chris prepared a tasty lunch of roast chicken, small potatoes, etc.  We laughed, ate and had a warm, happy afternoon.  Typically French, lunch lasted 4 hours.  No need to go to dinner tonight.  Good night.


Yesterday was a busy day.  Exhausting!  Took my nephew Jeremy to the Pompidou Museum to see the wonderful exhibiton of French furniture design 1979-1999.  Admission was free.  There weren't many pieces but what was there was important.  I had Jeremy photograph a chair and a sofa.  Soon to be "adapted".  Then walked across the plaza to the Cafe' Beaubourg for lunch where we were to meet my good friend, Olivier.  Olivier was very charming with Jeremy (but who could not be).  While they walked back to my side of the river, I grabbed my 96 bus to hurry home where I was to meet Delphine and her husband Dominique, who were to photograph my piano for a possible purchase.  Getting the piano out of the apartment has been a perpetual crisis.  Olivier and Jeremy arrived and then Delphine.  Poor Dominique had to wait in the car while Delphine did the photo: being Saturday there were no parking places available. Finally!  Everyone left and I had what the English call, "A bit of a lie-down".  Shortly after Lionel came directly from the hotel and began to call restaurants for a booking.  Only 10:30 tables were available.  Paris is jumping on a Sat. night.  So we toddled up to the small, friendly, typically family French restaurant Le Mascotte on the rue Cherche Midi.  Our waitress spoke English and she explained she had lived in Malibu.  Perfect ending to a perfect day.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Seem to be running a day behind.  Was sort of a 'clean-up' day.  My good buddy Christopher and I went to the Luxembourg Jardin post office to send the required registered letter to Numericable for the cable/internet cutoff request and to arrange the forwarding of my mail ( not that there is much to forward).  Cost of forwarding was an astounding 55 euros.  I really wanted to say "just junk it", but Chris had gone to so much trouble of filling out in advance all of the required forms, that I went along with it.  After all, what are 55 euros in the scheme of life?  Then I took him to my neighborhood cafe' for a very good lunch of Cuisse de Canard (roasted duck leg) with heavenly mashed potatoes, and a good glass of red wine.  Rushed back to the apt. to cancel my 2 o'clock appointment with the real estate agent and the buyer.  Figured that I would leave all the stuff she wants: kitchen, et al anyway.  I mean, how much would I charge for dishes, silver and glasses.  Also, I thought she might see the apt. again and change her mind.  If she did she would lose her 5% down payment, but then again that is alot cheaper than the sale price...and I don't want to have to put the apt. on the market again.  What is done is done!

Went to Orly to pickup my nephew Jeremy who was coming in on Iberia from Madrid.  He is going to school there this semester.  We went to the very casual, always crowded restaurant; Chez Fernand.  An extremely convivial group of 4 guys were seated next to us and one informed me he loved America and especially the West Coast.  It was fun chatting with them, drinking a good Chinon wine and knowing they understood my French.  Then Jeremy, whose 21st birthday is today, and I headed back to the apt. where we drank Vielle Prune liqueur and talked until 2:30 AM.  Kids keep you up.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Didn't write anything yesterday. Posted documents to the shipping company, SEEGMULLER. Then met Christopher on the quai of a Metro stop to go directly to CENTRE CHOPIN. I decided rather than wait for their never coming telephone call, I would go to their store to arrange for the pickup of my piano. Jeremy, the sales rep could not have been more charming and helpful. Apparently, my contract for the sale was already in the computer and why it never got mailed to me - God only knows. Now I am waiting for a call from the company that is to pickup the piano. The name is: Service Poids Lourd. Does that not say it all? Service Heavy Pounds. It will be a nightmare getting the piano our of my 4th story window. When they brought it in in '99, I couldn't look. The piano was swinging over a busy street. Somehow they managed.

Well, like I said: "It ain't easy here". I have to cancel my tv cable and internet with a company named NUMERICABLE. I went to one of their offices (don't even try to get through on the phone) and was told that a registered letter had to go to their main office (in some mysterious post box) with a document stating that I was moving out of the country. Only then....they will send me a letter telling me where the cable and internet boxes have to be sent. Also, it seems my contract runs until September. If I skip town on the payments the passport control will arrest me the next time I try to enter the country. This procedure of trying to leave town is like a Kafka play. Or is it Alice in Wonderland?

Monday, January 25, 2010


Now that the jet lag is subsiding, I am getting back to my old Parisien self. Pulled about 20 books off the shelf and took them over to San Francisco book shop for a donation. Have decided to donate unwanted clothing to Eglise St. Sulpice , which is just around the corner. That is the church in the DA VINCI CODE. Never realized I bought so much stuff at Emporio Armani. Had a great 10 euro lunch of curried chicken (Blanc de poulet au curry) at my favorite zinc countered cafe: Le Vieux Colombier. Then to the Notary for a final private meeting before the signing of the sale on February 9th. Stopped at Colette on the rue St. Honore' on the way....the most incredible store...packed with trendette shoppers. Last week and this are the weeks of the Men's Fashion openings and they all rush to Colette to see what is ahead of the curve. A more sober stop was the book store Gallieni. They have been on the rue Rivoli since 18 something or whatever. My French friend Catherine says it is "very nice". That says it all.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


For the past 2 1/2 years we have been looking for a weekend house in either Palm Springs or Rancho Mirage, CA. We wanted a house we would be excited about as a destination. Unfortunately, there are many faux Spanish places in the desert and our dream was to have a "modern" (what is laughingly referred to as Mid-Century - meaning 50's) place. Each time we saw a place we liked it was more often designed by Donald Wexler, who was among a few others, an important architect in that area. Unfortunately, those houses were beyond our budget and they are rare in Rancho Mirage. Matthew spotted it on the internet before it actually was in the listings and had been owned by a woman since '57. As the actress Bette Davis would say, "She died"! We bid and the heirs accepted. Googling Wexler, I discovered he was from my home town of Minneapolis. I wrote to him in Palm Springs and asked if either he or an associate would consider consulting with us on the restoration of the house. It had been untouched since '57. Surprisingly he called and invited us to lunch just this past week. He and his associate came to the house and Lance, his associate wunderkind, will work with us on the restoration. But! it also seems that Mr. Wexler, who is now 84, and I went to the same Grade school, Junior High and High school. It is Fate....Destiny....Bishert. It will be a stimulating creative project. So y'all come. (only bring you own liquor please)


Sundays in the winter in Paris are dismal. Dark, gray and wettish. Today is no exception. I have no plan other than to prepare for tomorrow's meeting with my Notary (like a lawyer). Had an omelet at my neighborhood cafe; Le Vieux Colombier, then wandered down to the Blvd Saint-Germain to checkout the news stand. Noticed CELINE was gone. Too bad cause I loved looking at their windows. The clothes were always beautifully designed. Rock and Roll is what EMPORIO ARMANI has become for menswear. However, it is a good marketing choice because too many of the Armani customers were buying at Emporio for a similar product to GIORGO ARMANI, the expensive store known for simple clothing in beautiful fabrics. No mistaking one for the other now.

Matthew called from Rancho Mirage. There is a tribute to the architect Donald Wexler with a WEXLER WEEKEND in Palm Springs. Tours of houses he designed, showing of a documentary on his design career, parties, etc. I think I should write about the Wexler experience. To explain what that is all about.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Just received a phone call from Christopher. He is helping me contact the various agencies requiring cancellation of contract before my vacating the apartment, electric, phone, insurance, etc. I say helping. He is doing it! Monday we will toddle up to the Blvd. Montparnasse to the office of the television cable company; NOOS. cannot do it by phone. That would be too simple. Only then will they tell me what I have to do with the cable box. Hmmmm.

Went over to the very interesting San Francisco Book Store to see if they are still buying books. I have filled a trolley of books I don't want to ship. With sad eyes the owner informed me that "things were a bit tough now" and they were not buying any at the present time. Passing a female beggar on the street I was thinking "Honey, you ain't the only one". Meanwhile, the streets are filled with wild-eyed shoppers desperately loading up on the last dregs of the waning days of "SOLDE" (sale).

Had dinner to night with a good friend, Lionel. We went to a casual, chic, well designed and good food restaurant; PINXO. Each dish has three small portions meant to share with your dinner partner. I don't care to try other persons food but am perfectly OK about them trying my choices. We didn't share. Like two gourmands we ate all of our own food. I ordered a wine from the south of France. Perfect! If ever anyone is in Paris, try this restaurant. It was my second time and I have dreamed about it since the first. Happily going to bed. As Julia would say, "Bonne Nuit!

Friday, January 22, 2010


Yesterday evening, after rushing to the Hotel de l'Abbaye to sign more documents for that stupid lender in San Francisco, I meandered among the throngs of people,down the rue de Buci, to the apartment of a fascinating American acquaintance, Blake. His art filled apartment is on a beautiful quai. The view of the Seine with the lights of the Louvre on the other bank is Paris at its best. Dinner was to be prepared by an American ex-pat. The invitation was for around 7:30PM, but typically French, the guests didn't begin to arrive until well after 8:00. God forbid someone should be the first to arrive. There were 10 of us seated at 2 round tables. On my right was a conceptual artist who's career is climbing, and my left a young art consultant. Conversation was stimulating. The Boeuf Bourgignon delicious, lots of good red wine and an apple pie dessert. The evening ended at past midnight. Upon arriving in the apartment, there again was an email requesting I go to the hotel the first thing in the morning and sign some more damned documents to be sent to LA. Not the greatest way to get a good night's rest. In fact I awakened at 5:45; unable to go back to sleep. Thank God my dinner tonight was cancelled. Laurent flew off to Rome and forgot all about it. Always a surprise at every turn.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


At about 11PM last night I received a message from Matthew that the lending company for the house we are buying in Rancho Mirage, needed additional information. We are supposedly closing escrow on Friday the 22nd. This company has been nothing but a f...k up. James, the brokerage lender, supposedly sent a fax to a nearby hotel with pages for me to sign and return. This morning at 9:30 I went to the hotel and the pages had not been received. This is probably the worst bit of business I have ever encountered. As it was, I had to sign 101 pages! As they say in Hollywood: "Soon to be a Major Motion Picture".

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Arrived in Paris to finalize the sale of my apartment. I have had the apartment for 11 years - living a dream to spend more time in this incredible city and to study French piano music with a French teacher. Now I find that I am spending less time here for a variety of reasons. One: My partner Matthew. Two: I find the "charm" of the restaurants, museums, concerts, et al, have lost a bit of interest. Three: Paris is just too damned expensive. Four: The quartier of Saint Germain has changed so much. Plus! I'm not walking like I used to and after coming to Paris for 50 years! It has finally become common-place. I intend to come back and live as I did previously. Stay in a hotel or rent and apartment for a short period and go go go - see friends, do the hot restaurants and rediscover the city.

Today I began the move. The shipping company rep came to take notes, a good friend, Christopher, arranged with all of the agencies to turn off whatever needs to be turned off and I threw away countless files filled with every imaginable travel bit about Paris and Europe. Files dating back to 2000. I even played my piano before the restricted time of 10AM. Specially since I just found out there are only two apartments occupied by owners and the rest by renters. Moving won't be easy but then again, nothing here is easy.