Friday, December 17, 2010

A day of rest

It's been a busy week, starting with Claire and Aurelia's visit Friday to Monday and ending with Ken and Sandy from Monday to Friday. I took them to the airport before dawn this morning. OK, before dawn is not a big deal in winter, since dawn isn't until 8:30, but it sounds so early!

No complaints, though. It was a wonderful week. With Aurelia we mostly stayed home and went for walks in the neighborhood. Claire was out with her friends a lot, but Sunday afternoon was a family day. Louis and Gwen came here, as did Anne.
Monday morning I made a blanquette de veau (veal stew in white sauce) for lunch. I left home before lunch to pick up Ken and Sandy. I diligently checked the flight status before leaving and it was showing up with a 5-minute delay. There were no major traffic delays and I got to the airport about 10 minutes before the flight was due and spent a good deal of time finding a parking space. I got up to the welcome area for flight arrivals a little after the flight was due, but the flight was still not in. It was still expected at 12:30. At 1, it was still expected at 12:30! I went over to the information booth and asked if they had any better information and they told me it was now due just before 2:00! I remarked that their arrival board needed updating, since the plane had obviously not even taken off at the expected arrival time. Needless to day, Ken and Sandy did arrive and their baggage was the first off the plane, so we got home by 3:00. They had just enough time to say hello to Claire and meet Aurelia before Paul took those two to the airport for their flight while we had our lunch.
Jacques came over after work to say hello. After a weekend of cooking, I hadn't wanted to make another dinner. Plus, we had had a very late lunch, so I, for one, was not hungry. I had the perfect solution. Quenelles de brochet, which Wikipedia translates as pike quenelles, and I would translate quenelle as a big dumpling, in a fish soup. I didn't have to make anything. I bought the quenelles and the soup at the market from the fishmonger and she's the one who suggested cooking the quenelles in the soup and serving that way. It was a hit. Salad and then cheese and that was the meal. No work.
Tuesday we all went into Paris, but with different things to do. Paul left us to see his friends from work; I got off to go to Michel Cluzel to get some chocolat before going on to the library; and Ken and Sandy continued to the Grand Palais to try to see the Monet exhibit. Turns out the exhibit is by advance purchase only and is all sold out, so they saw the Bulgari exhibit instead. We went over to Jacques' for dinner, where we saw Julien and Gaetane and their children. It was Julien's birthday! Jean-Paul and Anne, other friends who know Ken and Sandy, came in for a before dinner drink. We miss Christine. Still, we had a good time, a good dinner and a good birthday celebration.
Jacques lent Paul his card for the Grand Palais, and we were able to take Ken and Sandy to the Monet exhibit that way. The exhibit was very crowded. Not at all like it was when I went with Rita. Paul and I left Ken and Sandy there because I had to get back for a dentist appointment and Paul had something else. We all met up later at Anne's with Louis and Gwen and went out for a family dinner nearby.
Yesterday, I went into Paris with Ken and Sandy and we went to the Marais. Had falafel for lunch on the Rue de Rosiers and then went to see what was on at the Museum of Jewish Art and History. They've rearranged the permanent exhibit since the last time I went there. It's better, less dense. I think we spent too much time in the permanent exhibit and didn't leave enough for the current exhibit of Felix Nussbaum. What a discovery! What a shame! By looking at the paintings you can see history unfolding -- from the seaside, happy scenes in the 1920s to the masks (like his friend, James Ensor) in the '30s and then premonitions of the concentration camps in the '40s. He died there only 40 years old. But we had to leave to meet Jacques at the Grand Palais for the France 1500 exhibit. For me, it was the second time and I was looking forward to seeing the Belle Ferronière again, but she'd been taken back to the Louvre! A pity. They could have at least put up a nice reproduction of it, but no. If you didn't see it before November 18, then you weren't going to get a glimpse. I felt sorry as I had encouraged the choice of that exhibit for that painting. The rest of the exhibit is still worth seeing. I was able to pay more attention to details this time. We had dinner at a pizzeria on the Champs Elysées and then met Paul at the Théatre des Champs Elysées, which is on Ave. Montaigne, near the Place d'Alma, not the Champs-Elysées, for a fantastic concert of Sibelius and Prokofiev, which I am listening to as I write the blog. It's available for listening for a month. Wish I could download it.

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