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Be sure to stop by my author page from time to time

In the meantime, while you're here, pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee or a cuppa tea, have a piece of pie and always feel free to speak your mind, and your heart, here at Meanderings and Muses.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

planning the next vacation

I have always been one who enjoys having something really special in the future to look forward to.


A birthday.

The beach.

A trip.

Having a big trip to look forward to, to read about, to plan, is just about my favorite thing in the world.

We've had some gloomy weather here lately which prompted me to want something fun to look forward to.  So, here's the gist of an on-going conversation Donald and I had over the course of several days.

Me:  I love being retired.

Donald:  Me too.

Me:  So.  Next year?  Want to take another trip?

Donald:  Let's do it.

Me:  Where to?

Donald:  Where were you thinking?

Me:  Italy?

Donald:  Suits me.

Me:  I'd love to go back to Greece.

Donald:  Suits me.

Me:  Never been to Spain.

Donald:  You know, I really didn't see as much of The Netherlands as I wanted.  When are those tulip gardens open?

Me:  I'll check.

  - - - - -

A few days later . . .

Me:  Keukenhof Gardens will be open from the 21st of March 2019 until the 19th of May.

Donald:  I've seen a show about that.  Looks awesome.

Me:  So, want to go back to Amsterdam?

Donald:  Sure.  I like it, but I feel like we just didn't see all we could have.

Me:  Okay, I'll check flights.  You know May is our anniversary.  33 years.

Donald:  Check it out.

- - - - -

a day or two later . . .

Me:  So.  Here's what I've found for flights.  You know.  That train trip we took from Paris to Amsterdam was pretty darn reasonable.  Want to go back to Paris?

Donald:  Now I KNOW I didn't see all I wanted to see in Paris.  Plus.  You know.  We have a job there that we didn't finish.

Me:  Photographing the carousels.

Donald:  That's right.  Can you get us an extension on our project?

Me:  I'll find out.

- - - -

The next day,

Me:  Mike says yes to the extension!  Yay!  Want to go back to Paris and get this job done?

Donald:  Let's do it.

Me:  It is our anniversary . . .

Donald:  33 years.

Me:  And there is still a LOT of things in Paris I still want to see.  Paris is not finished with me.

Donald:  I can't believe that (tongue in cheek).  And I can't believe you haven't seen every inch of Paris by now.  What's left?

Me:  Monet's Musee L'Orangerie, Chagall's ceiling at the Opera Garnier, we didn't get to the big flea market, Gallery Lafayette, the covered passages - like Vivienne.  I haven't seen Giverny in the spring . . .

Donald:  Guess we better go back to Paris.  Can we afford it?  Better find us some decent airfare.

Me:  I'll check.

- - - -

Me:  Here's what I've found for flights.

Donald:  Not as good as the last time.

Me:  No.

Donald:  What do you think?

Me:  What do you think?

Donald:  Let's think about it.

- - - - -

The next day.

Me:  So. Paris and Amsterdam?

Donald:  Paris is still "business," right?

Me:  Still need more pictures of the carousels we didn't get.  For the book.  So, yes.  Business.  Business AND pleasure.

Donald:  Let's think about it.

- - - - -

Me:  What do you think?

Donald:  About the trip?

Me:  Yeah.

Donald:  What the hell.  Let's do it.

Me.  Yay!  But we'll go some place different next year.

Donald:  We'll see.

Me:  Life is short.

Donald:  That it is . . .

Monday, November 12, 2018

Hip hop hooray!

i have been remiss in sharing news about my "hip healing gig" as a friend refers to it. 

The hip is coming along. 

Better every day, but it was a slow start.

 There was more damage than originally thought, and I have a very impressive 6" incision scar.

 Still a ways to go, but SO much better than I even imagined just 2 weeks ago. And yes, I am doing my PT exercises as directed.

I am not quite up to dancing on tables yet, but getting there. 

I have tossed my cane aside, for the most part. (Anyone here old enough to remember when Oral Roberts had a TV show?  He would smack people in the head <hard!> And tell "HEAL!" < loudly!> And once crippled folk would throw their crutches into the air and literally dance and run off the stage back to their much overcome loved ones). It hasn't been quite so dramatic here.

Thank you all for all for the good wishes!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The beginning of change

Lifting my coffee cup in a silent and grateful toast to the beginning of change. 

Here's to the newly elected 100+ women members of Congress. 

Latino, African American, Muslim, Native American, LGBTQ, Somali American, Palestinian American. 

And a dismissive little wave at hateful bitch, Kim Davis. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out - you were, and still are, a disgrace.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

You have a voice - USE it!

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. ~PLATO

Friday, October 26, 2018

R.I.P. Tony Hoagland

“The speechless marvels of nature, and the serious conversation of friends—these are two of the sweetest things in life.”
— Tony Hoagland, interview in the Kenyon Review.

By Tony Hoagland
She goes out to hang the windchime
in her nightie and her work boots.
It’s six-thirty in the morning
and she’s standing on the plastic ice chest
tiptoe to reach the crossbeam of the porch,
windchime in her left hand,
hammer in her right, the nail
gripped tight between her teeth
but nothing happens next because
she’s trying to figure out
how to switch #1 with #3.
She must have been standing in the kitchen,
coffee in her hand, asleep,
when she heard it—the wind blowing
through the sound the windchime
wasn’t making
because it wasn’t there.
No one, including me, especially anymore believes
till death do us part,
but I can see what I would miss in leaving—
the way her ankles go into the work boots
as she stands upon the ice chest;
the problem scrunched into her forehead;
the little kissable mouth
with the nail in it.

Reasons to Survive November
November like a train wreck–
as if a locomotive made of cold
had hurtled out of Canada
and crashed into a million trees,
flaming the leaves, setting the woods on fire.
The sky is a thick, cold gauze–
but there’s a soup special at the Waffle House downtown,
and the Jack Parsons show is up at the museum,
full of luminous red barns.
–Or maybe I’ll visit beautiful Donna,
the kickboxing queen from Santa Fe,
and roll around in her foldout bed.
I know there are some people out there
who think I am supposed to end up
in a room by myself
with a gun and a bottle full of hate,
a locked door and my slack mouth open
like a disconnected phone.
But I hate those people back
from the core of my donkey soul
and the hatred makes me strong
and my survival is their failure,
and my happiness would kill them
so I shove joy like a knife
into my own heart over and over
and I force myself toward pleasure,
and I love this November life
where I run like a train
deeper and deeper
into the land of my enemies.
–Tony Hoagland

November 19, 1953  -  October 23, 2018

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Some Days by Philip Terman

Some days you have to turn off the news
and listen to the bird or truck
or the neighbor screaming out her life.
You have to close all the books and open
all the windows so that whatever swirls
inside can leave and whatever flutters
against the glass can enter. Some days
you have to unplug the phone and step
out to the porch and rock all afternoon
and allow the sun to tell you what to do.
The whole day has to lie ahead of you
like railroad tracks that drift off into gravel.
Some days you have to walk down the wooden
staircase through the evening fog to the river,
where the peach roses are closing,
sit on the grassy bank and wait for the two geese.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Lesa sent me flowers

aren't they beautiful?

Annabelle admired them

and then tried to eat them

Saturday, October 20, 2018

My Paris Reading List


This list keeps growing, there's no way every single book about Paris will ever be included.

For that reason, here are a few suggestions for your further reading pleasure, 

a list of mysteries set in France can be found at the wonderful Stop, You're Killing Me webpage

Wikipedia has an entire list of novels set in Paris -

Here's a BEST OF list from The Guardian   -

Another list (fiction and non-fiction) set in or relating to Paris can be found here

Buzzfeed has a list of 40 books they believe will make you want to visit France  -

I have always been fascinated by the Paris of the 1920's.  Here's a list for you if that's something that interests you also -

You get the idea.  

There are many (MANY) lists out there of "best" books set in Paris.  Have fun finding them and coming up with your own.  

Do your research and find a hundred beezillion books to keep you happy until you finally get to The City of Lights.  But be prepared, 'cause once you go and return, you'll want more Paris books.  Once you're hooked on all things Paris (especially books) - you're hooked.  

In the meantime - 

Have Fun!

* * * * * 

The following started out as a list of books I would read over the years while dreaming of a trip to Paris.  It was started a very long time ago.

My "obsession" with Paris isn't anything new, it's just one of those dreams I've had for as long as I can remember.  

When I knew my dream really was finally coming true and a date was set to leave, I started looking for more and more "Paris Books."  I discovered an amazing number of newer novels, along with memoirs, guide books, architecture books, photo journals, etc etc etc

Being a lover of lists, I've continued adding to it.  

And it will grow.

And grow

and grow . . . 

The list contains fiction and non-fiction. Classics and women's lit, romance and mysteries - it's a total hodge-podge, which is exactly what I read.

If you love Paris, been there or not been there, think of this as a great place for you to start your Paris reading 😍  and discover more as your go along.  

This Little Black Book of Paris (from Peter Pauper Press, but can also be found in many indy bookstores).  I love it, and it has come in very handy (besides just being plain ol' fun).

prendre plaisir



The Ingredients of Love by Nicolas Barreau

One Evening in Paris by Nicolas Barreau

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

Madeline by  Ludwig Bemelmans

Death in Paris by Emilia Bernhard

AimĂ©e Leduc Series by Cara Black

LETTERS FROM PARIS by Juliet Blackwell

The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell


A FRENCH PIROUETTE by Jennifer Bohnet

The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen

Paris Still Life by Rosalind Brackenbury

The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

THE LIGHT OF PARIS by Eleanor Brown 



PARIS BY THE BOOK by Liam Callanan

The Little Paris Patisserie by Julie Caplin


The House by the Lake by Ella Carey 

From a Paris Balcony by Ella Carey

Paris, Rue des Martyrs, Adria J. Cimino

A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke

In the Merde for Love by Stephen Clarke

THE RACE TO PARIS by Meg Waite Clayton

A Paris Affair by Tatiana de Rosnay

The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay

The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosney

The French Girl by Lexie Elliott

IT'S NOT LOVE, IT'S JUST PARIS by Patricia Engel

THE DRESS THIEF by Natalie Meg Evans

A Gown of Thornes by Natalie Meg Evans

The Milliner's Secret by Natalie Meg Evans

PARIS ECHO by Sebastian Faulks


A PARIS APARTMENT by Michelle Gable

I'll See You in Paris by Michelle Gable

THE DESIGNER by Maurius Gabriel

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico

Hidden in Paris by Corine Gantz

The Mysterious Bakery on Rue de Paris by Evie Gaughan



The Bridal Chair by Gloria Goldreich

Paris Out of Hand by Karen Elizabeth Gordon

The Paris Secret by Lily Graham

Paris by Julian Green

THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah

Goodbye, Paris by Anstey Harris
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Claris by Megan Hess

A Week in Paris by Rachel Hore

The Paramour's Daughter by Wendy Hornsby (this is the 7th in the Maggie MacGowan series, but the first focusing on Paris.  For background, I recommend reading the previous books.  It's not necessary, but it's one of my favorites series)

Disturbing the Dark by Wendy Hornsby (the 10th in the Maggie MacGowan series - and she's back in France)

Number 7, Rue Jacob by Wendy Hornsby (the 11th in the Maggie MacGowan series)


Goodbye, Paris by Anstey Harris

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo

The Ambassadors by Henry James


Enchantress of Paris by Marci Jefferson

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

Le Divorce by Diane Johnson

THE BONES OF PARIS by Laurie R. King 

The Red Notebook by Antoine Lauraine

P.S. FROM PARIS by Marc Levy

APRIL IN PARIS, 1921 by Tessa Lunney

French Short Stories 1 / Nouvelles Francaises 1: Parallel Text (Penguin Parallel Text) (French and English Edition) edited by Pamela Lyon

The Confectioner's Tale by Laura Madeleine

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Paris for One by JoJo Moyes  

Paris Spring by James Naughtie

A Garden Wall in Provence by Carrie Jane Knowles

Down and Out in Paris by George Orwell

Hugo Marston Series by Mark Pryor 


The Little Antique Shop Under the Eiffel Tower by Rebecca Raisin

Kiss Me in Paris by Catherine Rider

One Way Ticket to Paris by Emma Robinson
Paris: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


The Collector's Apprentice by B. A. Shapiro

THE MURALIST by B. A. Shapiro

PARIS, HE SAID by Christine Sneed

FRENCH LESSONS by Ellen Sussman 

The Paris Secret by Karen Swann



ELEGANCE by Kathleen Tessaro

Letter from Paris by TherésÚ

Eloise in Paris by Kay Thompson

The French Escape by Suzie Tullett




We'll Always Have Paris by Sue Watson

French for Girls by JP Wright


Paris Peasant by Louis Aragon & Simon Watson Taylor

Walking Paris Streets with Eugene Atget

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard

The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris by John Baxter

Montparnasse by John Baxter

Paris Brassai

A Paris All Your Own - Bestselling Women Writers on the City of Light edited by Eleanor Brown

Contributing authors include Paula McLain, Therese Anne Fowler, Melissa Shapiro, Jennifer Coburn, Maggie Shipstead, Lauren Willig, Cathy Kelly, Rachel Hore, Meg Waite Clayton, Ellen Sussman, M. J. Rose, Susan Vreeland , Megan Crane, Michelle Gable, J. Courtney Sullivan, Julie Powell, Jennifer Scott, AND our very own Cara Black. Edited by Eleanor Brown.

Shakespeare and Company by Sylvia Beach 

The Madeleine Project by Clara Beaudoux

My Paris Dream by Kate Betts

Five Hundred Buildings of Paris by Kathy Borrus and Jorg Brockmann

Paris to the Past: Traveling through French History by Train by Ina Caro

F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Paris Years by Paul Brody

Paris Sketchbook by Jason Brooks

Hidden Gardens of Paris: A Guide to the Parks, Squares, and Woodlands of the City of Light by Susan Cahill

Parisian Charm School: French Secrets for Cultivating Love, Joy, and That Certain je ne sais quoi by Jamie Cat Callan

The Piano Shop on the Left Bank: Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier by Thad Carhart

Pancakes in Paris by Craig Carlson

FlĂąneur: The Art of Wandering the Streets of Paris by Federico Castigliano

My Life in France by Julia Child

Permanent Parisians: An Illustrated Guide to the Cemeteries of Paris by Judi Culbertson & Tom Randall

100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go by Marcia DeSanctis

Old-Fashioned Corners of Paris by Christophe Destournelles

Forever Paris: 25 Walks in the Footsteps of Chanel, Hemingway, Picasso, and More by Christina Henry de Tessan

City Walks: Paris, Revised Edition: 50 Adventures on Foot City Walks by Christina Henry de Tessan

The Best of Doisneau: Paris by Robert Doisneau

Paris Pop-Up by Ehrhard Dominiq

A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light by David Downie

Paris, Paris: Journey Into the City of Light by David Downie and Allison Harris

UN, Deux, Trois: First French Poems Selected by Opal Dunn

FlĂąneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London by Lauren Elkin

The 500 Hidden Secrets of Paris by Marie Farman

The Little Book of Paris by Dominique Foufelle

Secret Paris by Jacque Garnce & Maude Ratton

Eugene Atget: Paris by Jean Claude Gautrad

Paris Mansions and Apartments 1893 by Pierre Gelis-Didot

Americans in Paris: A Literary Anthology by Adam Gopnik

Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik


City Trails - Paris by Helen Greathead

Shakespeare and Company: A History of the Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart edited by Krista Halverson

EVERY FRENCHMAN HAS ONE by Olivia de Havilland

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Paris Is Always a Good Idea by Renee Herrington

Paris: Through a Fashion by Megan Hess

F. Scott Fitzgerald's Taste of France by Carol Hlker

La Vie en Rosé: A Very French Adventure Continues by Jamie Ivey

Paris in Love by Eloisa James

The Little Pleasures of Paris by Leslie Jonath & Lizzie Stewart 

A Day with Picasso by Billy Kluver

French Milk by Lucy Knisley

Karl Lagerfeld: Paris Photo by Karl Lagerfeld

My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz

L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Home in Paris by David Lebovitz

That's Paris: An Anthology of Life, Love and Sarcasm in the City of Light edited by Vicki Lesage

Man Ray's Montparnasse by Herbert R. Lottman

A PARIS YEAR by Janice MacLeod

PARIS LETTERS by Janice MacLeod

A Writer's Paris A Guided Journey for the Creative Soul by Eric Maisel

Pop-Up Paris (Lonely Planet Kids) by Andy Mansfield

BEMELMANS The Life and Art of Madeline's Creator by John Bemelmans Marciano

Paris: A Love Story by Kati Marton

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

Toujours Provence by Peter Mayle 

Encore Provence: New Adventures in the South of France by Peter Mayle

Provence by Peter Mayle

Provence from the Air by Peter Mayle

Provence A-Z by Peter Mayle

The Hotel on Place Vendome: Life, Death and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris by Tilar J. Mazzeo

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris bDavid McCullough

Paris: Panarama Pops by Sarah McMenemy


ROOFTOPS OF PARIS by Fabrice Moireau and Carl Norac

Quiet Corners of Paris Unexpected Hideaways, Secret Courtyards, Hidden Gardens by Jean-Christophe Napias

History of France by John Julius Norwich
Inspired by Paris: Why Borrowing from the French is Better than being French by Jordan Phillips

Paris: Beautiful Designs on the Street Cornery by PIE Books

American Expatriate Writing and the Paris Moment by Donald Pizer

FRANCE IS A FEAST: The Photographic Journey of Paul and Julia Child by Alex Prud'homme & Katie Pratt

Gail Albert Halaban: Paris Views by Gail Albert Halaban and Cathy RĂ©my

Remembrance of Things Paris: Sixty Years of Writing from Gourmet by Ruth Reichl

Spectacular Paris - Rizzoli Classics

Paris in Love by Nichole Robertson

Paris in Color by Nichole Robertson

The Paris Journal by Nichole Robertson and Evan Robertson

French Toast: An American in Paris Celebrates the Maddening Mysteries of the French by Harriet Welty Rochefort

How to Read Paris: A Crash Course in Parisian Architecture by Chris Rogers  

Paris by John Russell

Hats by Madame Paulette: Paris Milliner Extraordinaire by Annie Schneider


Impressions of Paris: An Artists's Sketchbook by Cat Seto

Paris Flea Market Style by Claudia Strasser

Paris in 500 photos 500 Photos by Maurice Subervie

Paris: An Architectural History An Architectural History by Anthony Sutcliffe


Living Well Is the Best Revenge by Calvin Tomkins

Almost French: Love and A New Life in Paris by Sarah Turnbull

Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story by Amanda Vaill

Seven Letters from Paris: A Memoir by Samantha VĂ©rant

Quiet Paris by Siobhan Wall

PARIS IN STRIDE, AN INSIDER'S WALKING GUIDE by Jessie Kanelos Weiner and Sarah Moroz

Atget: Postcards of a Lost Paris by Benjamin Weiss

Our Paris: Sketches from Memory by Edmund White

The Guide to the Architecture of Paris by Norval White