The Mom Who Drank Wine on the Champs Elysees

Ever since I saw Charade (1963) with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant, I wanted to sit on the Champs Elysees, drink wine in a quaint cafe and watch the world go by. In my mind it happened like that. In my mind I was dressed Hepburn-esq, in Givenchy head to toe, because that is all she ever wore since Givenchy designed her wardrobe for Sabrina in 1954. She always looked stunning. In my mind, so did I.

In reality I was chillaxing with the muppets at a pizza joint on the Champs Elysees. I hear you…ED, seriously? A PIZZA JOINT? French food is so freaking amazing and you eat pizza on the Champs Elysees. How disappointing! Agreed. It was disappointing if you look at it from that point of view. Let me explain…

As you know, our day started at Notre Dame, continued to the Louvre, then moved up the Seine to the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower was one of those “WOW” moments where you think about what you are seeing. It was the entrance to the worlds fair. Pablo Picasso looked out his window and could see it every day, the Nazi’s climbed to the top to fly their colours in a horrifying manner. The Eiffel Tower is an architectural marvel. It changed the way people built tall structures and bridges. It has stood in the same spot  since 1889. The iron lace work is beautiful. But it wasn’t the Champs Elysees.

We had seen more Paris tourist spots in one day then some people see in a week. By the time we walked halfway up the Champs Elysees, my feet were cranky. My shoulders were starting to get snarky with my neck and when my offspring are hungry they get crabby.  We were desperate for food. If anyone ever had muppets, you know how fussy they are when it comes to food.

Me: Look over there, a crepery!

Muppets: Ewww grosss!

Me:Look over there, a bistro!

Muppets: What’s Duck Comfit?

Me: Duck liver in fat.


Me: Look over there, a cute cafe!

Muppets: What’s Escargo?

Me: Snails in garlic butter.

Muppets: EEEEWWWWWW GROOOOOSSSS MOM NO WAY! Look its Pizza! I’m in!

Mom: eeww gross, FINE but I am drinking wine.

So, there is me drinking a glass of wine in an open air cafe/pizza joint, on the Champs Elysees, watching the world go by, imagining I am wearing Givenchy, pretending I had bags from all the shops we passed along the way Gucci, Prada, Channel,and Hermes.

After dinner, the muppets were satisfied and I got to walk father up the Champs Elysees and pass by Cartier. Everyone else was checking out The Arc de Triomphe and trying to figure out how the people crossed over to get to the top of the arch. There was me checking out Cartier and imagining I just bought myself a Laniers bracelet,  covered in diamonds. ($12600 if you must know).

Did I get to experience everything I had hoped I could? No, but I had the perfect back drop to my secret fantasy and I loved every minute. I am thrilled I was able to take the Muppets to the Champs Elysees!

And I drank wine…






If My Life was a Movie…

I had lunch today with one of my favorite “Lunch People”, Dr. Teeth. She is as groovy as the band leader but so has many other qualities that just make me want to quit my job and be her assistant and bask in her hilarity and adventurousness.

She entertained our troops today with a story about a Sudanese Interpreter.  Being a sheltered Canadian Girl, she wanted to know what it was like to visit Sudan. He told her many horrifying tales but all she could think of was “How wonderful are the Elephants?” His reply was “ELEPHANTS?!? THEY ARE CRAZY! They TRY to stomp on you! Stay AWAY from ELEPHANTS!” She sighed with romantic flare and suggested she take a solo trip to Sudan – because like me – the thought of a solo trip is to amazing to let the possibility slip away. He replied with ARE YOU CRAZY? Not a good idea to travel to Sudan by yourself – EVER.  Then her thoughts drifted to Nicaragua, possibly a solo trip…

I accused her of being a nut bar. The thought of needing 100 different shots and shooing away flying insects strong enough to steal your car is enough for me to say I’ll PASS, thanks! I suggested some place marvelous like New York City. That is the kind of trip you take solo. That didn’t seem to have enough excitement for her. She was just there for the New York Marathon and although she really enjoyed it, she needed more death defying adventure. I suspect her imagination is more like Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart in African Queen then Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

I confessed at lunch to wanting a solo trip to New York City. A Colleague was shocked and said it was much too dangerous. Too Dangerous? 8 Million people live there. 8 Million people don’t DIE there, they LIVE there. How bad could it be? It’s not like I would walk around in a shirt that says “I am carrying all my money in my pocket, please help yourself!” I wouldn’t ask for trouble by telling people I am a tourist. I live by the credo of planning. PLAN PLAN PLAN. Read maps, have an itinerary, get the public transit app for my ipod and ask questions BEFORE I go. I know New York City isn’t where Pollyanna Anne of Green Gables lives, I know how it is because I watch movies! I never watch the bad ones, I don’t enjoy them messing with my head. I know that Holly Golightly loved that town and it loved her. I know that after I eat my Breakfast at Tiffany’s I could go inside and they would treat me like a queen and sell me a $10 telephone dialer. I know that if it starts to snow I can go a lay in the middle of Rockefeller Center’s Skating Rink and John Cusak will throw a glove at me in a very Serendipitous fashion. I know if I was hungry and wanted to be as satisfied with my lunch as Sally was, I would go to Katz Deli and have what SHE had. I know that if I was looking for someone, all I need to do is talk nice to a cab driver and they would drive me all over the place looking for that person the same way Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra did in On the Town! If someone in New York ever asked me how do I know all these things, all I have to do is start singing in Central Park and parades of people would join in, offer me free stuff and lift me up over the Bow Bridge and throw flowers at me.

I know all this because my life is a movie.

Wait a minute, no it’s not… Sure I have a song for every occasion, but that does not mean I live in a musical. Sure I know a million people, Edmonton is a small city, but that does not mean I work with a cast of thousands. I just feel a bit delusional because Canada lost the Gold medal to Russia and I need a little fantasy moment to help me through the pain and agony of defeat.

If my life was a movie, Canada would have won and I would be going to New York City to celebrate because I would have been in Buffalo to watch the tournament. But it’s not. So I will go lick my wounds and start fresh tomorrow. Next year the Hockey Tournament is in Edmonton. I don’t need my life to be a movie because we’ll win next year.

I Don’t Want to Be a Cartoon Character Anymore!

I don’t want to be a cartoon character anymore. I know, you’re thinking “What the…?!?!?” It’s true. I was sitting at the spa getting a pedicure and perusing through the different colours of polish when this epiphany occurred to me. Typically, I will choose a bit of flash. I love colour! The brighter the better. Bright colour makes me feel happy. Normally when I am in a situation that requires me to choose a hue, I will pick sunshine yellow, electric lime ,atomic tangerine, or flamingo pink! Any of these colours sound familiar to you? They can be found in your crayola box. You don’t have a crayola box? My turn, What the… ?!?!?

I love the smell of fresh Crayolas. That is what colour smells like to me. For as long as I can remember, I always got a new box of crayons and a new colouring book in my Christmas Stocking. Santa, being the great guy he is, never forgot. I never had to ask him for them, they always showed up every December 25th, bright and early before breakfast . Cracking open that new box, seeing all those colours lined up in two rows. The tips perfectly flat and paper in pristine condition. Not a broken or cracked crayon amongst the group. Just ready for me to pull one out, ever so gently, and begin my new masterpiece. Never did I use those crayons on plain white paper. That was for pencils. No, my beloved crayons were meant for the brand spanking new colouring book. My colouring book was always in the theme of a cartoon that I loved. Bugs Bunny, Scoobie Doo, Josie and the Pussy Cats or of course Mickey Mouse and the Fab Five.

My dream at 6 was to be an artist. Not a Chuck Jones type, he was sheer genius and I loved everything he did. Including the uncredited work he did with Ward Kimball on Sleeping Beauty. I wanted to be a clean up artist or a cell painter. Obscure I know, but they were the ones that got to play with the colour. I would colour in the backgrounds of my colouring book so blank space was spared. I would force everyone in my family to admire it and tell me how fabulous it was. Then, very carefully I would turn the page and continue on the next picture. All in order, until it was full or my sister would scribble in it ruining that colouring book forever and I would not return to it.

My love for colour is not merely limited to crayons, my love for colour reaches into the depths of my closet! I own several bright hues of t-shirts too! My coats are brightly coloured, and so are my socks. I love polka dots and stripes, random patterns and geometrics too! So for me, to limit myself to a soft neutral feels strange and foreign. I look at my sister who, to me, seems very stylish as she dresses for work or out for an evening. Does she wear acid green or atomic tangerine? Um, no. Her closet is filled with colour, but in a way that says she is an adult and not 5. When I dress in monochromatic I don’t feel 5, I actually feel like an adult. That is very liberating!

Sitting at the pedicure station, I was flipping through the different colours of polish. For the first time in my life I said no to Paco the Pool Boy Blue, and Lola was a Show Girl Orange, and said hello to Chicago Champagne Toast. Even the name sounded sophisticated to me. It is the colour of champagne. The kind of colour that Audrey Hepburn might adorn her toes with. My toes for the first time in my life look pretty, like they belong to a grown up with taste. So long clown toes of yesterday! Hello new me! Well, almost new. I need to get myself a coat that doesn’t look like it belongs in a circus tent freak show, then I will be set to get off at my next stop. But I am bringing my crayon box and colouring book with me.

I am liking the tourist route.