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I’m taking a moment aside from my regularly scheduled blog to bring you this special Vive la France post.

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We’ll always — always always always — have Paris.

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I know that all of our hearts are in Paris this week…and my heart is with my special Paris friend, Carol Gillott of Paris Breakfasts. For those of you who might not know her story, Carol is an American illustrator who used to travel to Paris half a dozen times a year until 2013, when she decided to live her life to the fullest and picked up lock, stock, and paintbrushes and moved there.

Talk about living creatively without fear: Carol lives the artful life — art, food, fashion, travel, books…de luxe in thought, word, and deed.

Wherever she goes…

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…she makes her sketches…blogger-image-1348681512

… and she chronicles it all on her blog

…but especially in her monthly letters:

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I have been subscribing to Carol’s monthly sketch letters for over a year and I have saved every morsel from her monthly packets: the perfume samples, patisserie notes, grand chef calling cards, cafe mementos — all the ephemera extraordinaire that she tucked into each envelope. It’s a gift parcel from the world capital of elegant living every single month.

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I feel duty-bound to share with you all these delights. Whether it’s for you (because you deserve it!) or for those dearest Francophile friends into whose life you want to bring some authentic Paris joy — I can’t recommend any other gift more highly.

You can subscribe to monthly Sketch Letters,

! A PB SIDEBAR

 

or monthly Map Letters,

! A PB SIDEBAR MAPS H255 x V236

 

or BOTH by visiting Carol’s Easy Shop here.

Vive la Vie Parisienne!

And please stay tuned to this blog — my regularly scheduled post is just behind this one!

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My WiFi is not letting me upload photos for today’s post,

and these are my I.T. guys:

P1000627As soon as the site unfreezes

(my backup plan is to rely on global warming)

I will have a an amazing story to tell you,

another mountain made outta my molehill life.

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We left the house at 3:40 PM and got to the edge of the Long Island Sound at 4:10 — barely in time to watch the sun set on the shortest day of the year.

Nobody else was on the beach, maybe because of the wind chill that made it feel as if it were 17 degrees — but for me and Top Cat, that only means it’s perfect champagne-drinking weather. The bubbly stays nice and cold — even colder — after you pour it!

Top Cat, chillin’ with the champers.

Bring on the light!

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I was talking to my brother yesterday about a mutual acquaintance.

OK, I was enumerating to my brother some of the dire personality flaws of this mutual acquaintance.

My brother interrupted me and asked, “Is he really that bad? Because, you know, you can be very critical.”

Critical? Moi? I said, “I’m not critical! I just happen to be very observant!”

And, I should add, I’m just trying to be helpful.  In that same spirit of  assistance, I have a few recommendations for the betterment of the human race. Becausepeople, you have to stop annoying me, all of you, but youse in specific:

Readers. Stop being voracious. Because that’s what they all say and I’m dead tired of it. Be insatiable, be gluttonous, be the kind of reader who hates literary fiction as much as I do — and then go on book blogs and tell everyone how much you hated Atonement. Then you’ll be my friend forever.

Moody people. Stop being on an emotional roller coaster. When I first heard that term in 1980I thought, gee, that’s kind of clever: emotional roller coaster. Hits the metaphoric (or is it a simile?) nail on the head. But it’s been 20 years and every damn drama queen and her low of self esteem has been on the old loop-de-loop. Enough already.

Therapists who counsel hoarders. Stop asking if those pack rats are comfortable with the process at each step of the way. Just tell them that they are pigs and they have to clear that crap out whether they like it or not. We don’t wait until racists, kleptomaniacs, dipsomaniacs, or train spotters are comfortable with the demands that living as a productive member of  harmonious society are put upon them before we tell them to just cut it the hell out. Why should we molly coddle hoarders?

Asshole next door. Stop complaining that my cats make your dog bark. First of all, they aren’t my cats. They’re God’s. And second of all,  your dog is a Dalmatian. What did you expect?

Tightwads. Stop saying that your kids spend money like water. It only confuses me, as I have never seen anyone spend water — I  have no idea what that looks like: is it messy? Does it ruin cashmere? Or is it just wet? What is it? What is it?

(P.S. Please, somebody, but mostly the nit wits who say “spend money like water”, please tell me: what country in the world makes the H2O its legal tender?)

Ladies. Stop having sex with guys who wear a soul patch. If nobody would have sex with guys sporting that ridiculous little hairy patch under their bottom lip, those icky crumb-catchers would disappear overnight. I’m serious. I hate those things.

Actors. Stop turning to face the camera  while supposedly sitting in the driver’s seat of your car going 60 mph all the while never taking your eyes off your co-star riding shotgun over whose shoulder the scene is being shot. It’s unbelievable. It’s so fake it’s almost kabuki.

And while you’re at it, actors, especially TV actors, stop pretending to eat food in dinner scenes. I see you, fake chewing the forkfuls of food that the camera never catches you actually putting in your mouth. For god’s sake, risk a few calories for your audience’s sake; you can always puke it up later during your afternoon bulimia session.

Radio show hosts on NPR. Stop slurping your food or drink when you have a chef on, stop talking with your mouth full to show listeners that you are actually eating or drinking. Even if you were on TV, that would be disgusting. (and Scott Simon: Stop trying to speak French. Same reason.)

Melodramatic co-workers. Stop telling people that your arch enemy is tying to throw you under the bus. Because I am your arch enemy and I’d just as soon sprinkle some rat poison into the egg salad that I left in the staff refrigerator that I know you helped yourself to.

Graduates of self help programs. Stop telling people that you now feel good in your own skin. Because, unless you are that psychopath in Silence of the Lambs, no one feels good in anybody else’s skin except their own. For christ’s sake: do you even think before you speak??

People who laugh at their own jokes. Stop it. And stop saying that certain actions are so pointless it’s like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. You are so damn boring it’s not even funny.

Feel free to add your own amendments to this Memo to the World.

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James Alexander Malloy, C Co., 175th Infantry, 29th Division.

This is the last photo ever taken of Pvt. Malloy; it is May 1944 and he is in Cornwall, England, finishing up his training with the 29th Division for the invasion of Europe. He will go in on Omaha Beach on D-Day + 1, in what is known as “the third wave”. He will fight in the hedgerows of Normandy towards the liberation of the German-occupied town of St. Lo (the hub where all the main roads from the deep-sea ports of Brittany and Normandy converge to form a highway straight to Paris) until June 16. On that day, when his regiment is engaged in fierce combat at a place called Hill 108, (known as Purple Heart Hill, for the capture of which the 175th will be awarded a Presidential Unit Citation), James Malloy will be killed by a German sniper with a shot to the heart. He will be interred along with 9, 387 other American servicemen in the Military Cemetery at Colleville-St. Laurent, the only Scottish soldier buried on that magnificently peaceful green bluff overlooking Omaha Beach.

I had gone to Omaha Beach to pay my respects to James Malloy at the request of his son, a Korea War vet who is in poor health (the son, Joseph Molloy, was 14 years old when his father died; he now lives on Long Island). Neither of us knew, at the time, that James Malloy was the only Scottish soldier buried in the American cemetery; in fact, Joseph knew very little about his father — not even his father’s birth date.

Once I began researching the life of James Malloy, I was able to find out rather a lot about his life and service. I tracked down the New York City orphanage where James was sent when he was five years old, I found the records of his discharge when he was sent back to his paternal grandparents in Scotland after six years at The Home, I found the old Army records that show how he waited for the Americans to enter the war before he joined the 29th Division in England, I tracked down his Army sergeant who remembered “Scottie” vividly, who also told me what he saw the day James Malloy was killed. I interviewed James’ best friend in the Division just two months before he died, a man who had never talked about the war to his own family and at whose funeral I spoke on behalf of the Molloy family to thank him for all he had done after the war to support the emigration of James Malloy’s widow and son to the US.

I wrote a brief summary of all this for the veterans’ association fo the 29th Division and it was published in their magazine last March (I have added a new “James Malloy Page” [above, see tabs] for those who are interested). I am now an associate member of The 29th Division Association and I’ve had the pleasure to meet many more WWII vets.

The 29th Division still has, to this day, strong connections to the people they liberated in Normandy. At every anniversary of D-Day, a contingent of 29ers goes to Omaha (sometimes in the company of US Presidents) and are joined by generations of French citizens who march in the streets of St. Lo, Vire, Vierville, and St. Laurent. One of those grateful French citizens comes all the way from the Breton peninsula to pay his respects, and two years ago he took his young family to Omaha to visit James Malloy’s grave:

James Malloy’s only son, Joseph Molloy, does not have children of his own. I used to worry that the memory of James Malloy, the only Scottish soldier buried on Omaha Beach, would disappear. But now that these French children have heard of him, and now that you, too, know his name, I hope that means that someone will be there for him in 2044, on the 100th anniversary of D-Day. And in 2144, 2244, 2344…

If you have a soldier you would like us to remember on Memorial Day, feel free to add his name in your Comments.

Have a happy weekend, everyone.

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Are We There Yet

Angus, the Airedale in the middle (above), lives on a 70-acre estate [old farmland with woods and a pond] in upstate New York. He has been waging a valiant battle to recover from injuries that he sustained three weeks ago, probably from a hunter’s high powered rifle — it took Angus three days to crawl home, wounded as he was. He has been undergoing treatment from the finest vets in the county and recuperating at home in the care and love of his beloved human companion and his “pack”, Malcom and Lily (above). Back in the vet’s office for follow-up care, while being administered routine anesthesia for more surgery, Angus’s heart, as big and as brave as it was, just gave out; he died yesterday afternoon.

We all who knew Angus and knew his fearless, hardy, adventuresome, and loving spirit, and all of us who had been in awe of his stout-heartedness and serenity during these past few weeks, all of us who were inspired and comforted by his determination to remain the leader and soul of his pack, are devasted.  He was a good dog. He was family.

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pumps

A squirrel loves a pumpkin.

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Baby pumpkins love a pumpkin.  [All photos were taken Nov. 11, a warmish day that was just right for walking around the neighborhood peeping at pumpkins.]

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Afternoon sunlight loves a pumpkin, or two, or four.

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Pumpkins waiting for the mailman love a pumpkin.

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Zombies love a pumpkin. Pumpkin innards remind them of human brains.

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Peek-a-Boo pumpkins love a pumpkin.

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The Hallelujah Chorus  loves a pumpkin. Somebody say Amen.

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And my neighbor who hasn’t fixed his garage yet from when lightning struck it last Summer loves a pumpkin, probably. Because EVERYBODY loves a pumpkin.

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fall one

November 1:  I’m excited about Fall, and ambitious. I’ll paint the most complicated leaves I can find.

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November 7:   Ooooooo.  The first REDS.  There’s a leaf from the Japanese maple in the front yard in there, which has just turned from dull maroon into brilliant vivid crimson.

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November 17:  Here’s how I learn all about BROWN, and when a single oak leaf turns into a complete Fall landscape.

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November 30:  All the trees are bare, and the leaves are scattered on the ground like bits of old wrapping paper, torn and worn, pushed by cold winds into the farthest corners of the yard. 

November.

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