April Fools an Hour and Some Odd Minutes Early

French Word(s) of the Day: imbéciles d’avril (awm-bay-seal dav-real)- April Fools

April Fools Day is not my thing.  I’m not good at thinking up pranks that aren’t illegal.  And if they were legal, I’m afraid to do them to someone for fear of retaliation.  I’m like the French: I surrender quickly.

But today shall be different.  I’m celebrating April Fools!  (Like an hour early.  Unless you’re actually in Paris right now, then I’m right on time!)

I’m going to probably be dragging out this Paris trip for the next year, but you don’t want me recounting my days.  All I do on a daily basis is work and watch episodes of Parks and Recreation.  Trust me, it’s better this way.

Sam showed us a taxidermist in Paris, only he wasn’t your typical “here’s your dead cat in his favorite position” type of guy.  Oh no.  He was an ARTIST.

If by artist I mean someone who takes the carcass of one dead animal and attaches it to another dead animal.

Oh yeah, he went there (if you please excuse the fact that these were obviously taken by an amateur who can’t deal with glass windows):

Winged Monkey Tortoise squirrel

Because of the winged monkey, I’m guessing he’s a Wizard of Oz fan.  I don’t know what the tortoise-shelled chipmunk looking longingly at a beetle would make him, but I’m going to go with “eccentric.”

These can be yours for over 100 euro!  I know, they’re a steal.  What?  You’re not interested?!

Ah what fools these mortals be.

Posted in Art, Paris | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Love the Louvre

French Word of the Day: fatigue (fah-tea-gay)- tired

I hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day.  I spent mine filing my taxes. (I can hear you all swooning at how romantic that is.)  It was true romance between Uncle Sam and me.  I wanted to leave him, but he told me that I couldn’t because he needed me [to give him even more money].

Valentine’s Day posts have become my grand tradition, mainly because “sparkly love hearts” is the most common term used to find this blog.  I even had someone search that term in Arabic.

For all you sparkly lovers out there, here you go:

sparly love heart

For my follow French enthusiasts, it’s Louvre time.

These Roman bros are just as excited as you are.  Check out the fist pumps:

Roman Bros

We’d had a late night before the Louvre, so we were not as awake as the above gentlemen.  We were channeling this statue:

Naked Statue

The people next to it are incredibly unimpressed.

Really, people just weren’t that interested in the art that day.

Check out the Mona Lisa.  Or don't.

I mean, that’s the Mona Lisa, and only about 5 people are paying attention to her.

I hope you all enjoy her huge wall.  It’s a such a big wall for such a small painting.  She also gets her own security guards.  She is truly the Beyonce of paintings.

But what about the other side of the wall, you ask?  You’ve always secretly wondered what was on the other side of that ridiculously large wall.  Well, I’m here to show you!

Titien "Portrait D'Homme"

Look how depressed Titien’s L’Homme au Gant looks (translation: Man with a Glove. Painters are super creative with names).  He knows nobody’s here to see him.  They’re all about Mona.  He’s so sad that he can’t even put on both of his gloves.  I mean, he doesn’t get security guards or a bullet-proof glass case.  What does a guy have to do to get some credit around here, anyway?

The Winged Victory was out for renovations, but we did get some Venus de Milo action.

Venus de Milo

The man behind me pushed me while I was taking this and then cut in front of me, so you will have to resort to Google to get a better view.

Don’t worry; karma got him in the form of a group of school children.

Sam and I managed to get everyone lost in the museum.  To be fair, many of the staircases are closed off for no apparent reason.  On the maps of the Louvre, it looks like there are stairs up ahead, but it generally turns out to be a wall that says “Do not enter.”  The museum’s cartographer is playing a cruel, cruel trick on all of the tourists.  Or developing the world’s best maze.

It took us 45 minutes to find an exit.  That’s potentially a problem if there’s ever a fire.  Not they ever have to worry about that; it’s not like paintings are flammable or anything.

But enough about fire hazards; this is a Valentine’s Day post.  I’m ending it with some lovers.

Painting Flirtations

Proof that musicians have been kryptonite for women for all time.

But let’s go for some real love action here.  Cupid is the reason for the season (or a guy who got killed because he was helping people get married- same thing).  Here’s the master of love with his lady love:

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss

Love to everyone!

Posted in Art, Paris | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Bunch of Dead People

French Word(s) of the Day: pierre tombale (pee-air tum-ball)- tombstone

Strangely enough, we spent a lot of time in cemeteries checking out the gravestones.

People would flock to Oscar Wilde’s grave to kiss it (while wearing lipstick so it would show, of course). Apparently someone didn’t like that, because a plastic wall has been placed around it since the last time I was there.

Oscar Wilde

Not that it stopped anyone.  His wasn’t the only tombstone with a sign of fans.

We had no idea why everyone was placing Metro tickets on Proust’s grave.

Proust

Other people thought we knew where everyone was, so they would stop at whatever grave we stood by.  Jokes on them that not everyone we stopped by was famous!

Not that it mattered.  We had someone ask us who Chopin was.

Jim Morrison Chopin BalzacSerge Gainsbourg

Parisian gravestones also go for a bit more of an artsy look.  Here were my two favorites:

Man coming out of a graveCats

Ricardo loooooooooved his cats.

Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre Cemetary

The French get creative on their stones, but this tombstone intrigued us the most:

Fortune Teller

How does Christophe know?!?!?!

That’s the puzzle I leave you with today.

Posted in Art, Paris | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

More Monet

French Word(s) of the Day: juste nos quatre (juice-st no cat-rah)- just us four

Sam leads a tour through through Claude Monet’s home in Giverny.  We were in luck; the week we were in France was one of the last weeks that the garden was open.  It closed shortly after our visit for the winter.

I’ve discussed how much I love Monet.  Sam is also aware of this fact.  The last time I’d been at Giverny, there had been people all over the place and on all the bridges.  I was a little worried they were going to collapse.  I’d told him how sad I wasn’t that I hadn’t been able to take people-less pictures.

Sam’s tour gets in before the gardens open to the public.  He led his group to the house for their special tour (with another guide) and then snuck us into the gardens.  The four of us got to be there without anyone else for several minutes, and Sam said, “Happy birthday, Meghan!”

Happy birthday, indeed!

As today is my actual birthday, I think it’s the perfect time to share all my beautiful photos.

IMG_3965 IMG_3967 IMG_3968 IMG_3970 IMG_3972 IMG_3974 IMG_3975 IMG_3978 IMG_3980 IMG_3982 IMG_3984 IMG_3995 IMG_4002 IMG_4008 IMG_4009 IMG_4012 IMG_4013 IMG_4015 IMG_4016 IMG_4018 IMG_4019 IMG_4021 IMG_4025 IMG_4026 IMG_4028 IMG_4031 IMG_4038 IMG_4039

Posted in Paris, Visits | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Montmartre

French Word of the Day: Montmartre (mon-mar-truh)- the area of Paris with Sacre Coeur, Amelie and large amounts of sex shops

As you probably know, I went to Paris as a “you made it through chemo!” thing.  I get the same amount of joy from going there that a child gets from going to Disney World.  (Coincidentally, I also feel this way about Disney. See posts 1, 2 and 3. I found even more than that, but this entry is not about Disney.)

Joining me on my adventures were my twin sister Caitlin and my friend Grace.

When I started chemo, I set a picture of myself in Monmartre as the background on my phone.  It was to remind myself of what was to come.  When I finally got to Paris, I had Caitlin take a picture of me in the exact same spot.  It was a bit windier this time, and it looks as though someone has since taken a piece of the lamppost off:

Split image

Grace is the person who introduced me to French films (namely Amelie), and we’ve been planning our trip together ever since.

Grace and I in the cafe featured in one of our favorite films.  I don't want to discuss what my hair is doing.

Grace and I in the cafe featured in one of our favorite films. I don’t want to discuss what my hair is doing.

Montmartre is one of my favorite areas in Paris.  I’ve been there many times.  We met up with our friend Sam, who gives tours there regularly.  It was like he was hanging out with friends only he had to work at the same time.  And we didn’t pay him.  So really, not a great time for Sam.  He was a good sport, though!

Sam telling us about a place where someone famous and dead used to live.

Sam telling us about a place where someone famous and dead used to live.

It rained off and on, but it was still much warmer than Chicago!

Feerie IMG_3750IMG_3749wine sccarousel cafe des 2 moulins

Many of these photos were stolen from Caitlin.  She was by far the most avid photographer of the day!  (As evidenced by the fact that she took about 2,000 more photos than I did and that her phone usually died by the middle of the day.)

Posted in Paris, Vacation | Tagged , | 2 Comments

The Same Thing

French Word(s) of the Day: la même chose (lah mehme shows)- the same thing

I appreciate everyone who told me that my improved health was much more exciting than Paris. I respectfully disagree, but I appreciated the sentiment all the same.

In a sweeping new development, my new medicine was making me sick to my stomach.  (I know, none of my medicines EVER make me sick.)  They changed it to another medicine that is supposed to be the same thing, but with a different name and a different formula.  To me, this means that it’s not the same drug, but I’m not a doctor.  Maybe the word “same” works differently in medical school than it does in the dictionary.

I still got sick from this medicine.  That stayed the same.

A month after I began the new medication, I took blood tests.  The doctor called me on January 1st to let me know that my liver levels were now abnormal, to which I replied, “Well, Happy New Year to you, too!”

I pointed out that my liver was fine before this new medication and recommended that they switch me back over to the other medication. “Oh no, we’re just going to lower your dose by a little bit and see how that works.  You should stay away from alcohol and Tylenol for over a month, at least.”

Um, what?  Didn’t we just go through this?!  I think my adult life will be spent not being allowed to indulge in alcohol.  I should have taken better advantage of my teen years!

I’m going to call this now: my liver levels will still be abnormal in a month and the doctor is going to change it back to the other medication.  Mainly because- I don’t know- they’re not the same thing.

She got me too late for New Year’s Eve, though!  I got to drink!  I may have overindulged a little, but my liver is currently still functioning.

I hope you all indulged for New Year’s too, because we all made it through 2013 :)

I rang in 2014 in style!  (The Nutella ring was a gift.)

I rang in 2014 in style! (The Nutella ring was a gift.  Sorry, I have no idea where she got it– maybe Heaven?)

I actually made friends on New Year’s, so take THAT doctor who called a day too late to stop my alcohol consumption.

I promise that 2014 will be the year that I post my Paris pictures.  Or maybe I’ll just drag this thing out for a few years.  Paris 2013 coming to you in November of 2017!

Posted in Lupus | Tagged , | 3 Comments

November, Where Art Thou?

French Word of the Day: disparu (diss-par-ew)- gone, disappeared

For those of you who think the title should be “Wherefore art thou” like the line from Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, you’re incorrect.  Wherefore means why.  It’s a common misconception that I’m breaking you all of now.  Juliet isn’t calling out to Romeo, she’s asking the universe why he’s a Montague, son of her foresworn enemy.

And now, we speak French.

I have no idea where time has gone.  I was leaving for Paris, and then all of the sudden it was the week before Thanksgiving.  I still haven’t put up 8 million posts detailing every millisecond of my trip!

It was quite the trip.  I plan on stretching out blogging about it on here from now until Christmas.  (At my current rate of posting, that equals about one entry.)

I took so many pictures that my phone has been yelling at me.  “Yo Meghan, when you gonna take these things off?  You don’t have any more space in the cloud.”

Why do clouds run out of space?  I thought it was impossible to fill them.

But Paris comes later.  To tide you over:

Eiffel Tower from the Metro

I went to my doctor today, and she let me know that my kidney/ lupus levels are pretty much in the normal person range.  I’m pretty excited.  For today, that will trump Paris.

But just for today.

Posted in Lupus, Paris | Tagged , , | 2 Comments