And other pranks from McQueen central. The following are excerpts straight from the notebooks that I keep on my desk, carry around with me in my purse and write in like a religious monk. In no particular order of things – quoted, jotted, scribbled, and starred.

– “The dog borrowed your toothbrush.” Andrew says this to a daughter who habitually misplaces things. It’s late, she is mooning around, once again yelling “where is my…??”  He sighs. She persists. The dog shakes her head, like – not again, people.

– Zoe gives her Nana advice when arriving in Paris: “Avoid fanny packs and white shoes.” That was advice for the 90’s. Both are the rage now.

– Must find this (rare in Paris) taco place: Candelaria

– “Adequate pants.” She commented when I handed her a clean pair from the laundry. Are they picking up British English in school or is she just hilarious?

– Growing food on factory rooftops in cities: Brooklyn Gotham Greens, Chicago Farmed Here. People are so inventive and revolutionary in their work!

– Need to read this article, “Why I Taught Myself to Procrastinate.”

– Email from an Airbnb host after asking if we could bring our dog, “What exactly is this dog sort?” I look at my dog and ask her, “What exactly are you, dog sort?” snort

– The Languedoc. The Roussillon. Cannot find these on the map of France.

– Just got “The Discovery of France” from the library and should start reading because it might solve the above quandary as it seems to be – historical geography.

– Gotta go have lunch here: Septime, Soul Kitchen, Tuck Shop, Saravana Bhavan, Le Volent Basque, Bistrot Victoires, Laurent, A Noste, La Reparate… and on and on…

– Today, after the musee Monmartre, I went to Soul Kitchen (cross that one off!) and met 2 people: a Frenchman, who went to get a spoon for me because I’d only picked up a fork and knife for my soup. He loves Joan of Arc, quotes poetry, and was back in Paris after months in Germany touring with a theatre company. I’m afraid I disappointed him by my lack of interest in speaking French, but I did introduce him to Leonard Cohen; so I did my cultural duty. Then an American journalist newly arrived in Paris sat down beside us, and I tried to help her think of ways to meet some people. I feel totally lucky to have these Paris encounters.

– My family say I sound more Southern in Paris. Is this because I chat with more Americans now? Or is this some subliminal longing for grits and gravy?

– Another friend sitting in Le Dome evesdropping on a conversation at the table next to her texted me this: “Three extremely well spoken Englishmen and a Frenchman – Diplomatic/commercial discussions around the exploitation of Iran. Talking of governments, markets, confidentiality, and discreet clients.” Keep listening! Good stuff!

– “Naps are for squirts,” the daughter said when I suggested one.

– Contemplating the world upside down while having your ears scratched – daily life of our dog.

– Seville. The Cotswolds. Scotland. Wales. Sintra. Il de Re. Amalfi coast. Lake Como. Back to Honfleur. Japan. Delft. Mykonos. Places on our list. Andrew went to London last week and joined the Tate Modern. He loves going over to hear the accents. Ha.

– This is what Barack had for lunch with Hollande: Freneuse turnip soup with scallops cooked in floral steam. Free-range poultry from Licques. Stuffed celery preserve with truffles. Parsleyed cream spinach. Cheese course. Organic Reblochon from Mont Blanc region. Dessert – a traditional Paris Brest cake with stewed citrus fruit and a light praline cream. White wine – Meursault Ter Cru. I don’t know what half of it is.

– “3-D printed solar cells could provide 1.3 billion people with electricity.” Wild.

– Sentence in some book that stuck with me, “Do you remember how amusing life could be when we were together.”

– Kneipp hydrotherapy. Did I tell you about the Kneipp trail in Italy? I’d never heard of this kind of thing, but this is what you do – Go find one of these Kneipp trails. Take off your shoes. Walk thru the forest barefoot, thru a mountain river with wooden hand railings so you don’t fall, thru rock beds and other natural materials designed to massage your feet… you are now a more spiritual person!

– Did you know that you must audition to play music in the Metro? Each year the city holds Metro auditions and the winners get a spot in a tunnel!

– Last August when we returned from Italy, a letter was waiting: handwritten, beautifully composed, from one of my youngest daughter’s friend’s mother. She had taken the time to express how much she enjoyed reading my writing by writing a beautiful letter herself. There is great power in the things we make and do. (I intend to surprise her one day, by writing back!)

– There is a Professional School of Chocolate Arts.

– I invited a new friend, a 26 year old American financial analyst, to a party with me this past weekend and a few days later when I texted her to ask if she had fun, this was her answer: “The party was entirely married couples and divorced people. You tricked me!” Ha. It never occurred to me, but I guess this is who we hang out with…is that depressing!?!

– Our dogs full name: Skye Blue McQueen. Our old cats name: Rainbow Coffee Stroller McQueen. You see how challenging we are.

See you folks next week!