Thursday, February 2, 2012

when the cat’s away

Naud traveled back to Seattle on business, last month.  On the day of his Saturday departure, I rose early and squeezed in a morning run to get me through the weekend.  It was a good one.

sunrise tuileries trees louvre waking up with the sun on my morning run

Annabelle and I walked with Naud to the train station and said our tearful goodbyes.  It wasn’t so much that he would be away for a week as it was a matter of timing.  We’d only arrived in December and already, he was jetting off to the very place we’d come from.  It would have been easier if he were traveling to Antwerp or even Sausalito.  Seattle was just too close to home.

seeing daddy off at sunrise

Missing Naud was inevitable.  What I hadn’t anticipated was feeling so terribly out of sorts without our third Musketeer.   When Annabelle lost it on the train platform, I admit I brushed away an errant tear or two.  I do love that man.   

We emerged from the station a somber duo and ambled aimlessly along the Seine.  I was in search of a distraction at an hour when commerce is virtually nonexistent.  A cafe was our best bet and I knew just the spot.  On the way, Annabelle begged to stop in Notre Dame and see the crèche.  For once there was no line, so in we went.  

DSC_6775 the wise men brought gold, myrrh and…? 

“They have Frankenstein in there,” Annabelle declared.  I assumed she was confusing characters and asked if she meant the Hunchback of Notre Dame.  “No,” she insisted, “Frankenstein.  You know, gold, Frankenstein and myrrh.”  Aha.  Frankincense.  They do have that.

Inside, diffused morning sunlight streamed through majestic stained glass windows, bathing the interior in ethereal light.  The effect was calming and did much to soothe our downtrodden spirits.

notre dame bathed in morning light

When we emerged from the cathedral, Annabelle (apparently on a roll) looked about and authoritatively remarked, “This area is a real ‘dumping pot’.”  She was referring to the mix of languages and cultures found outside Notre Dame which made up a melting pot.  ‘Dumping’ worked but in a considerably less charmed sort of way….

After a cozy brunch at Le Loire dans la Théière, one of our favorite places in the Marais (the 4th arrondissement), we headed home by way of the Jewish quarter, where I picked up the best spinach piroshky and Challah I’ve ever tasted at Sasha Finkelsztajn.

Annabelle hadn’t perked up much, which meant it was probably time for another carousel ride.

DSC_6782 practically smiling again

The thrill was short-lived, as is often the case with carousels.  Annabelle’s attention was soon diverted and her sugar reflex went into overdrive at the first whiff of spun sugar wafting from a nearby cotton candy (Barbe à Papa) stand.  I was in a generous mood and was easily persuaded.

DSC_6786 when papa is away, barbe à papa is a fine consolation

We could have stopped at carousel rides and cotton candy, but good things usually come in threes, so we went ice skating to round out the score.  The skating rink is adjacent to the carousel and we were already there.  Annabelle had been begging to go for weeks and it was the perfect day for it.  Despite my lack of enthusiasm about lacing up and wobbling around on the ice, I made up my mind to be a good sport.

faking like we know what we’re doing 

Onlookers smirked as I circled the rink with one hand glued to the side railing.  Initially, Annabelle was skating ahead of me, but I eventually let go and found my skating legs.  Ice skating is equal parts invigorating and exhausting.  I tend to forget how much fun it is until about half an hour in.

DSC_6798 long shadows, little skaters and a whole lotta leg

It was a grand time when all was said and done, and we made our way home with rosy cheeks and healthy appetites.  After dinner, we snuggled up and watched, ‘Little Women’, which was apropos considering the girls’ father is also away from home.  I may or may not have cried a little. 

It was going to be a long week.