Monday, April 30, 2012

ALMOND JAM TARTLETS – MIRLITONS aux amandes et confiture

IN BETWEEN


College applications sent. Apartment Promise signed. Articles written and submitted. Those interminable two weeks between le premier et le deuxième tours. Now we are in between, in that god-awful place of limbo, a purgatory of waiting. And as one season wanes and the next not quite sure that it is ready to arrive and assert itself, outside our windows seem some netherworld of uncertainty, a lingering pause, as well. Anticipation in gray. Fingers drum on tabletops or nervously flick from button to button on the remote control or the pages of a magazine; feet pace back and forth across carpets; others stand forlornly at the window, arms crossed, eyes glazed over, staring out into gloomy nothingness until the next ray of sunshine sharply awakens them from their in between stupor.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

CLASSIC AMERICAN DOUBLE-RICH CHOCOLATE LAYER CAKE

TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY 


From French to American. Films, tv series, books, news programs, politics and elections, board games, music and family vacations, a cultural back and forth like a ping pong game, the never-ending lazy tick tick tick of the small white ball flicking rhythmically back and forth across the table. Or the thunk thunk thunk of a tennis ball out in the scorching sun before we stop to catch our breath, pearls of sweat collecting on our brow.

Friday, April 20, 2012

VANILLA CUSTARD BERRY TART

BLEU BLANC & ROUGE RED WHITE & BLUE


I have no consistency, except in politics;
and that probably arises from my indifference to the subject altogether.
- Lord Byron


The excitement mounts! An electric current zips through the apartment as the date approaches. We sit, night after night, glued to the television set, listening, observing, trading viewpoints and arguing opinions. The four of us gather every evening at 8 sharp for the news, following each candidate’s every word, every step. We compare the campaigns waging on both side of the Atlantic, the stream of candidates, from their policies to their faux pas, dissecting their political histories, analyzing their records, arguing their strengths, their weaknesses and whether or not we each consider their program, well, realistic.

Monday, April 16, 2012

CLASSIC FRENCH BEEF AND CARROTS à la mode

BOEUF À LA MODE* AUX CAROTTES FOR THE CHANGES IN OUR LIVES


The call came Friday afternoon as things were winding down for the day, heading towards dinnertime, melting into the weekend. We had truly put it as far out of our minds as it was humanly possible to forget something one loves, missing something one has never possessed as we did. I was in the bedroom, French doors flung open to the cool breeze, sunshine washing over me, making the bed, smoothing down crisp, fresh sheets when I heard the telephone ring. JP answered as he usually does now that the phone is his work tool. My heart jumped when I heard the lilting cheer sweep through his words, normally so businesslike and efficient, heard him mention “my wife and I just spoke about it yesterday”! My heart skipped a beat as I listened to his cheerful half of a conversation, pulling me into his enthusiasm. There was only one thing he could be talking about, one person with whom he could be having this particular conversation.

Friday, April 13, 2012

IACP CONFERENCE NYC

HOW I PREPARED FOR & SUCCEEDED AT IACP NYC

How can I describe the perfect conference? A revelation? An inspiration? An epiphany? Grand words, highfalutin ideas for just a conference. But how does one, how do I, describe the sensation of having arrived in New York on a Tuesday feeling like a blogger and leaving one short week later assuming the full force of being a writer? Yes, I know, I am already a writer, you argue. But sometimes we each need some kind of concrete affirmation of our own belief in ourselves, a mise en oeuvre, the validation of our own self-regard. Am I a writer because I feel a writer in every bone of my body? Because sitting at a computer or with a pencil in my hand in front of a blank sheet of paper is exhilarating? Because I revel in the flow of words from my mind and coursing out of my fingertips as they clatter across the keyboard, words that I then shape and mold into a story, infusing sentences with emotions, paragraphs with sentiments, pages with meaning? Or is one a writer only when one is recognized as a writer by the movers and shakers in the professional milieu? Can one simple conference be responsible for this transformation?


Bits and pieces of an extraordinary conference,
interspersed with hints on how to prepare for IACP San Francisco:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

2 DAYS IN NEW YORK

BEFORE IACP

I arrive at JFK exhausted yet somehow invigorated. I am back in New York where I am greeted by brilliant sunshine and a cool breeze whipping my hair. “Wake up!” the city seems to be crying, “There is so much to do! No rest for the weary, no time to waste! Excitement awaits!” Dragging my heavy bags behind me I slide through the large glass panes and out into a bustling, noisy, galvanizing city. The taxi glides along roads that I know so well; sights, neighborhoods stream by that I have seen dozens of times. Yet I am headed into a New York that is completely new to me, one seen through my eyes as a writer and not as a sister or mother. I left New York three years ago in tears having hugged my brother goodbye for the last time. I left New York three years ago feeling lost and empty, helpless in the face of a tragedy that would haunt me every single day since. I now had to pull myself together and move ahead, gather my forces and become someone that I longed to be, confident and strong, able to move around the City That Never Sleeps on my own. I had to quickly replace this overpowering feeling of loneliness and self doubt with one of enthusiasm and determination. A forty-minute cab ride and the transformation is complete: cool self-reliance steps out of that yellow cab and into a new world.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

APRIL IN PARIS – MONTHLY MINGLE GOES TO FRANCE!


Every time I look down on this timeless town
whether blue or gray be her skies.
Whether loud be her cheers or soft be her tears,
more and more do I realize:

I love Paris in the springtime.
I love Paris in the fall.
I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles,
I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles.
- Cole Porter


Wind-tossed skies, leaves skitter across sidewalks and vast stretches of abandoned parks; colourful buds peep up boldly from the winter-kissed ground and droop from trees anxious to dress for the new season. Chairs and tables for two seem to sprout from sidewalks at the now numerous cafés which have miraculously appeared as from nowhere, rebirth after hibernation, faded green metal or rustic wood, clutters of coffee cups amid dustings of crumbs like so many harbingers of spring.

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