Notre Dame

French Word(s) of the Day: Notre Dame (no-trah dawm)- our Lady


I discovered tonight just how many pictures I’ve taken over the years of Notre Dame.  It’s just so photogenic.


(It’s not this tilted, I’m just bad at straight angles.)

I was so incredibly sad to see the fire engulfing Notre Dame on the news.  That cathedral was one of my first glimpses into Paris.  I won’t lie that a major part of this was because Disney had just made a movie about a certain cathedral and the hunchback who manned the towers.


I’ve only been up the towers once.  I was ten, and there were spiral staircases.  It was terrifying (as all cathedral towers and spiral staircases are), and no one has ever convinced me to go up it again.

But the cathedral was magnificent.  Even as a child, I knew it was something special.

When I went again as an adult,  I came armed with more historical knowledge and appreciation for the architecture.  It looked big, but also somehow smaller.

One of my foyers during my time spent living in Paris was by Notre Dame.  I went past it everyday on my way to school.  I used to love when I was going in the morning and there weren’t really any tourists yet.  That was when I felt like it was mine and mine alone.  Looking at it, how could anyone feel anything but lucky?

It became a good meeting spot.  Everyone knew where it was, and it was in the middle of some of the best places to go out.  The Seine was right there, and we could easily go down by the river to casually drink with our friends.


The Eiffel Tower is an iconic, but I’ve always preferred Notre Dame.  Stone is solid.  Stone contains hidden depths.  Stone is art.

Tonight, we mourn the loss of centuries of artistic development in an icon and all that it stands for.


But also, I really, really hope they find a way to save my favorite sassy knight.


Prayers for Notre Dame. ❤


Valentine’s Five Years Later

Word of the Day: bonheur (bawn-er)- happiness

It’s been 5 years since I posted a Valentine’s Day post- the same amount of time I’ve known my husband. Coincidence? Probably not!

My first post as a married woman is on Valentine’s Day, which is absolutely obnoxious and cliché, I know.  But I’m not going to write about romantic love today.  After watching You on Netflix (which I assume was made because someone decided dating wasn’t terrifying enough), I think anything about romantic love is not the Valentine’s post that 2019 demands.

2019 needs happiness and joy and…

…Sparkly hearts!



Let everyone you love know it today!

Paris Toute Seule

French Word of the Day: toute seule (toot soul)- all by myself (but not like the Celine Dion song)

I went to Paris almost exactly a year ago (and I’ve been working on this post almost as long).  These were a lot easier to write when I was a student with hours of free time.  This “real job” thing is no joke!

My Paris femme, Jenna, was studying there for her dissertation, and I wanted the chance to go and reminisce about all my old haunts without having to go to every single tourist destination.


Obviously, my other goal was to have as many pain au chocolat as possible.  Which I did.


And what trip to France is complete without a proper crepe?




I still managed to take photos of the classic places…


…But I was more interested in my old neighborhoods.  I spent most of my days wandering around them all and winning all the Fitbit step challenges.


And some wonderful friends.


I even got to see some family 🙂


All in all, a wonderful trip!  And I wanted to go back before I’d even gotten on the plane.

À bientôt Paris!

Many Thanks

French Word of the Day: inattendu (awn-ah-tawn-doo)- unexpected

When I wrote my last post, I wasn’t expecting anyone to actually read it.  I thought maybe two people would see it and that they’d both be related to me.  I’ve been overwhelmed by the positive comments, conversations, calls, texts, and emails.  They’ve meant a lot, so thank you to everyone who read it!

You made my heart go like this:

IMG_0428 (2)
That’s “soaring” in case the imagery is unclear.


Now I have a LOT of half written posts that need to be completed, so I hope everyone’s ready to revisit trips I took three years ago.

To be continued…

28e Anniversaire et 10th Anniversary

French Word of the Day: Le futur (luh foo-tour)- the future

I wasn’t sure that I was going to write this one, but I thought it was a good one to note.

10 years ago today, I had just returned home after a stint in the ICU.  At the time, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I had been in and out of doctors’ offices for the past 8 months, and now here on my 18th birthday I had evidence of my own mortality.  I had been prepared to think I was going to live and be young forever for at LEAST 10 more birthdays.

For that last hospital visit, the nurses worked very hard to get me out for my birthday.  (Nurses are seriously the best.)  While I appreciated them, I was pretty bummed on my birthday.  It was a Saturday and coincidentally also one of our high school dances.  I didn’t end up going to the dance.  My best friend Christine came over and hung out with me all night, but I was pretty bad company.  I was sitting and thinking about all the things I hadn’t done yet: learned French, lived alone, been in (romantic) love, gone to college, or even graduated high school…

I began wondering if I would ever be healthy enough to be normal. Time seemed to have stopped and put everything on pause.

But then something happened.  Time restarted.  I began to feel better.

It was everything.

I knew I couldn’t spoil things this time, so I decided I was going to push myself.  I finished all the course work I had missed and graduated high school.  I went to college.  I got a role in every single theatre production they had that year.  I got a lead role the next year.  I wrote a play and saw it performed.  I went to Ireland on a research project.  I traveled.  I went to France completely alone and not knowing a word of French.  I learned French.  I fell in love.  I graduated college in the top 10 of my class with honors and 2 majors.  I learned guitar (well, 3 songs).  I got my heart broken.  I got an internship.  I got another internship.  I searched for a job.  I got a job.  I tried online dating.  I stopped online dating.  I begged for a job I wasn’t qualified for.  I got it.  I did well enough that I got another promotion after that.  I fell in love again.  I got invited to participate in several friends’ and my twin sister’s weddings.  I got to see some of them become parents for the first time…

I remember thinking, “I made it!” when I was sitting at my college graduation, and I’m probably one of very few people who gets excited when I see a wrinkle or a grey hair.

There have been health scares in between those moments and I’ve been sick enough to need chemo, but nothing was ever as bad as that first time because I know now what I didn’t know then- that things get better.

It’s given me the courage to put myself out there, and for that, I’m grateful for lupus.  Looking back on the last ten years, there’s very little I would change.

I look forward to the next ten.

Here’s to aging!

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.