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Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

It was supposed to have been a surprise. It would have been my second surprise birthday party…fail (and actually the first one was planned by a friend but she was the only one who showed-we’re still best friends-the others decided they had other plans). It wasn’t due to me snooping or figuring it out because of my LP’s strange behavior – that’s a part of life. My LP had been scheming the whole thing on Facebook literally less than 2 meters away from me (I don’t have a FB account and we share an office). No, the culprit was a not-so-careful attendant who decided to make a home phone call the day before the party to inform me of her presence at the soirée. Boooo!

No matter. It was an amazing evening with delicious cakes and loads of friends. We even made s’mores in the living room.

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The streets of Paris are pretty quite on a Sunday morning – even around the Gare du Nord things are quiet. You may pass an occasional homeless man who’s still sleeping soundly in his sleeping bag, but even the cafes seem deserted.

This particular morning the clouds were creating beautiful patterns in the sky. It was cool and perfect.

The best way to spend the first morning of being 30 – walking the empty streets of Paris with my LP.

 

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Paris. I used to live there.

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Source: Wikipedia

Fresh beauty opens one’s eyes wherever it is really seen, but the very abundance and completeness of the common beauty that besets our steps prevents its being absorbed and appreciated. It is a good thing, therefore, to make short excursions now and then to the bottom of the sea among dulse and coral, or up among the clouds on mountain-tops, or in balloons, or even to creep like worms into dark holes and caverns underground, not only to learn something of what is going on in those out-of-the-way places, but to see better what the sun sees on our return to common every-day beauty.

-John Muir from In the Sierra Foot-hills

It  was in 2008 when I first read A Thousand-mile Walk to the Gulf‎. It’s a book that was put together posthumously in 1916, based on John Muir’s journals and writings from his 1,000-mile walk from Indiana to the Gulf of Mexico:

My plan was simply to push on in a general southward direction by the wildest, leafiest,  and least trodden way I could find, promising  the greatest extent of virgin forest.

His idea that walking at more than one mile per hour is going too fast as to miss the scenery is something speaks to me – I can sit for hours in a patch of grass watching the life, mostly hidden from our view, come out from out from its hiding place and buzz all around me. Muir’s writings and life, along with the life adventures of my good friend and artist John Raux and many others have inspired me to live thoughtfully and to escape from the concrete cell where most of us spend most of our waking hours.

In honor of John Muir – go outside, take an hour and walk a block. What do you see? Have you ever seen it before? Why not?

Read about John Muir at the Sierra Club’s website.

Read A Thousand-mile Walk to the Gulf online for free.

England Hadrian's wall Autumn 2009 529

…and thanks to Foodimentary for bringing Muir’s birthday to my attention.

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This weekend I was reminded how wonderful friends and family are…especially when they get together (with some coming from Berlin and Paris) to celebrate something. This weekend: Jim’s birthday.
On Friday night we hosted a dress-up-ish birthday party – Socialists and Socialites. I was dressed as Sylvia von Harden. Others came dressed as the flag of the USSR – with handmade aluminum and cardboard sickle and hammer. Jim was a French modern socialist in the vein of François Holland – corduroy jacket and all. There were gin and tonics for refreshment and we had Russian vodka and Cuban rum on hand for any socialists/communists that may have been thirsty.

Saturday we (Jim, Paul, me) explored Strasbourg. The weather was amazing – 24 degrees and sunny. We climbed the cathedral and found some 400 year old graffiti. We had lunch and a bottle of pinot blanc at the Épicerie. Visited the Musée des Beaux Arts and the Alsatian Museum. For dinner we grabbed a burger and crashed by 11 p.m. Good thing because…we “sprang” forward 1 hour!!!!!!

Sunday morning, we all (Jim, Paul, Nora, Alex, me) got up early for a hike in the Vosges. Our destination was the Mont Sainte Odile. We parked the car at Barr and then began the climb. Jim was initially worried we’d miss the “pilgrims’ lunch” at the monastery because of our pace. It turns out we were an hour ahead of schedule and made it with loads of time to spare. The food was amazing…here’s some of what we ate: turkey cordon bleu, bouchée de la reine, Loraine sausage, strawberry tarte, coffee, local white wine…the challenge after our gluttony was to get our bodies going again, but not before a short nap in the sunshine and a visit of the monastery.

On our way down the mountain – I won’t blame anyone (it was probably me) – we got lost…only about 5 km out of the way. So what did we do? Well, I ran to the correct village, picked up the car and drove to pick up the gang at the edge of the town. No harm done and we still dropped off the car on time.

It was one of the best (and most exhausting) weekends I’ve had in a while.

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