There’s something about Paris and the Luxembourg Gardens that simply make me happy.  As soon as I arrive in Paris, I run over to the Gardens and just walk around until I find my favorite spots to sit and take in all the beauty.
I just spent several days in Paris and though it had some difficult moments for me — many reminders of being there when we were a family — and this time I was alone, I found ways to enjoy most of my time there.
It was definitely one of those AND experiences.  I love Paris, it makes me so happy to be there — AND I wish I was in love or that my daughter, Zoe, had been able to come with me.  It’s not a great place to be alone.  I still managed to enjoy myself and take some long, beautiful walks all over the city and see friends and eat lots of good food.
I also went up to Sweden for a job.  That was amazing!  Right up near the Arctic Circle to a city called Lulea.  It was a fantastic trip that came as a complete surprise.
As the character of the mother in my play says, “Life surprises.”  I am grateful for most of the surprises that show up in my life.  And learning how to really be in the moment, helps so much.  (I’m still working on that).

Lulea, Sweden.  July 2014

I am sitting in an apartment in Paris, looking out at the Seine, on the I’le de la Cite (minus the accent marks).  I am still trying to take in my good luck.  A few years ago, I felt that though I was grateful for many things, trips to Paris and soon Sweden, and recently London and Dublin, San Francisco and LA, and finding work that I love, and working with people I genuinely like and respect, and having my daughter close by, and living in SoHo again surrounded by wonderful neighbors, and slowly starting to date again — I couldn’t have imagined any of that was possible.  And yet….

I want to take these few moments before I leave this beautiful apartment in search of the perfect baguette and a long walk in the Luxembourg Gardens to give thanks…to take a deep breath and take all of this in.

I woke up this morning and looked out at the Place Dauphine, the beautiful little park that I can see from the bedroom.  The first thing I saw was two dogs playing together in the park — one of them was a beagle.  You don’t see too many beagles in Paris.  I am always thrilled when I see a beagle because I think of my beloved Lucy and Lola and I give thanks for them for saving me in the most difficult times.  When my mother was dying, when my family was falling apart, when I was in the middle of the horrible terrible divorce — Lucy and Lola were there, giving me unconditional love every single day.  I miss them more than words can ever express. And I thank them for over 13 years of so much love and laughter.

I know that the world is always in crisis — bad news happened yesterday in Israel with the killing of three young men.  And in the U.S. with the ridiculous Supreme Court ruling about birth control. But I do still believe that so much good happens every single day and we forget that in the overwhelming evidence of evil and stupidity.

So let’s take a minute and think of all that we can be grateful for and then get back to the work of changing the world.

I woke up early this morning and couldn’t fall back to sleep.  Zoe, my daughter, is visiting until tomorrow night and it has been a pleasure to have her here.  I finally really understand how my own mother felt whenever I came to visit from Los Angeles for a few weeks and then left.  It’s difficult to be so far away.

My dear friend Joe went through ten hours of surgery last Thursday at Sloan Kettering to save his leg and the surgery, though extremely difficult, went well.  I think he’s going to be fine and hopefully he will be out of the pain he’s been in since he underwent radiation for his cancer. 

I looked back on this blog to early June 2009, when I was in the thick of the horrible year of divorce and death and it reminded me to be grateful for where I am today.  Life is truly challenging.  Last night on “Mad Men” one of the characters committed suicide and the show is so well written, it was very sad and very moving.  I am grateful that there are some fantastic shows on television that have wonderful writing.  I am grateful that I went dancing on Saturday night at the JCC and had some fun.  I am grateful that I had a magical week in Paris, with Bella and her sister, Meret.  I am grateful that the producers of my play are going to look at a theater today and that they’ve started building a website.  I am extremely grateful for my loftmate, Abigail, and for the time I’ve had with my wonderful daughter, Zoe, and our beloved dog, Lucy. 

My friend, Bella, and I went back to Paris together for the first time in over seven years.  We used to go occasionally and stay at her building on the Isle de la Cite, which she shares with her fraternal twin, Meret.

We started going when our kids were young, in 1996.  And over the years, I’ve gone with Bella, my ex husband and with my daughter.  But for the last five or six years the building, which was built in the 16th Century was in such bad shape, that it needed a gut renovation.

It’s hard to believe it’s the same building.  I loved it before, but now it’s incredibly beautiful.  I’ll write more soon about it, but the whole week was so great for me – not as great for Bella, she was working so hard with trying to get things for the apartments and shopping, as well as taking things out of storage.  I tried to help too, but there was just too much to do.

I am so grateful that I had a week in my favorite city.  Will write more soon and add some photos.  It was such a gift, I can’t believe that I was so lucky.  (My purse was stolen while I was there, so it wasn’t all perfect, but I still enjoyed the trip.)

This weekend, my daughter, Zoe, is coming to NYC to stay at the loft and take care of Lucy, while I go to Paris for a week.  I feel a bit anxious, since part of me wants to be here with Zoe and Lucy and the other part of me wants to go to Paris.  I’m going with my dear friend, Bella, and I know it will be lovely to get away.  I went from one job to another, from a court case, to a training, and then a new office, so one week in Europe in the spring sounds delightful.

I need to breathe.  Zoe and Lucy will be fine and even though Lucy is so old now, she is doing pretty well.  Abigail is going away too, so Zoe gets to have the loft to herself, which I’m sure she will enjoy. And when I come back from Paris, I will have plenty of time to see Zoe.  She’ll be here another nine days.

After so many years of being a caregiver, it’s hard to imagine taking a week to just wander around my favorite city, walking through beautiful parks, along the Seine, going to museums, eating good food, doing everything I love.  I don’t have to worry about my mother anymore.  It’s still hard to get used to the freedom.

There have been no trips to Europe since that difficult one to Spain three years ago when my ex and I came back and separated.  That was, actually, a great trip.  I’ll update from Paris and see if I can relax and enjoy myself.  Maybe I’ll find some swing dancing!