French Art Gallery Poster

Tylek & Tyleck Poster:a French Art Gallery Exhibition.

I have been to Paris quite a few times. I even have a favorite hotel, inexpensive (for Paris) and within walking distance of almost everything. It’s in an old house but wonder of wonders, it has an elevator. Very small and shakey, like riding in a wooden cigar box, but when your room is on the 5th floor and you’ve walked to the Louvre, Notre Dame AND the Eiffel Tower, much appreciated. Some of the rooms look out over a church and you can hear the bells. There is also a small coffee shop/bakery nearby where I invariably order pain au chocolat and sit, watching folks from the neighborhood pass. It’s not touristy and the pastry, made with bitter chocolate in the center, is not too sweet. What a way to begin the day!

I speak a modicum of French, evidently with a decent accent because whenever I get up the nerve to say something, a befuddling pour of words is thrown back at me. My French breaks down quickly, but nevermind, the bit I have mastered has saved me some of the experiences of non-speaking friends. One was denied coffee at the base of the Eiffel tower; it was rainy and chilly but the vendor pretended not to understand her request.

Once my husband went alone into the catacombs while I was visiting the Cluny museum, Medieval art not being his thing. Unable to read a single word, he walked and walked down the corridors of bones, meeting only two people, a non-English speaking father and a son. After a while he began to wonder if he was supposed to go back. When he finally found an exit, it dumped him onto an tiny alley. Bam. The door closed behind him — no retracing of footsteps — and he couldn’t ask directions. Luckily he found a main street and from there the Metro. I’d like to note that the Paris Metro is terrific. Just the Art Deco entrances alone are enough to make me a fan.

So, the poster. It was tacked on the front desk at my hotel. The exhibit was over the day I was to leave, so I polished my best French and asked if I could have it. Yes! I love the fairy tale feeling and the bold colors. Somehow I managed to get it home without much damage and now it festoons a door in my house.

A couple words about the artists. They are Czech, attended the National School of Fine Arts in Brno, and are married. I found this link – in French – if you want to know more. (Don’t ask me to translate!)

Stuffed Scooby Doo

Stuffed Scooby Doo.

This little doggy is about 3 feet tall and was won by my hubby, Brian, at Universal Park in Orlando. We were there for a conference and our group had the park all to ourselves, all rides free (although not all rides were running) and free tickets for the arcade games. We were at a ball toss – three balls. I went first and missed. Badly. Embarrassingly. Never played softball and it showed.

Brian did just as badly on his first two balls and the macho guys behind us in line were ragging on him. So…third ball right down the middle and voila, he was the proud owner of this overgrown stuffed toy.

After hauling it around the rest of the night, the question was how to get it home on the airplane. Maybe we could just donate it to some child. Ha, no way. He was keeping it. Could we ship it? Too expensive and where’d we get a box that big? In the end, Scooby Doo flew home in black trash bag, crammed into the overhead bins. He now lives in Hubby’s office and has been coveted by many a child visitor.

Even though it’s been around since 1969, I’ve never seen the cartoon, but recently I met and petted real Great Danes when a couple of sisters on our street got themselves a pair. The older dog’s head went up to my chest and although I’m on the short side, that’s one big dog. I’d like to note that they aren’t quite as cuddly in real life. An interesting fact about those Great Danes is that they are the first dogs the sisters had ever owned. Imagine starting with a giant!

Bananas!

This picture is from a Florida backyard: a fascinating flower with bananas growing above. The flower is about 9 inches long, far bigger than the actual fruit. The big red petals fall to the ground; I don’t know if the little yellow flowers will turn into bananas or not. This is my first banana sighting! They certainly don’t look like this in the supermarket!

The leaves on the plant are tall and dried out; in other words, it’s not much to look at. Since the bananas are still green, I can’t attest to their flavor. I read on-line that one should wait until they turn slightly yellow to pick them. Stay tuned; I’ll comment on this post when I actually eat one.

I got to wondering about where these little gems came from. Archeological studies in Papua New Guinea suggests that banana cultivation there goes back to at least 5000 BCE. The Muslims evidently caught on to bananas in the 900’s but Americans didn’t start eating them until the 1880’s. And if you think all bananas are yellow, think again. An article in the New Yorker describes fuzzy bananas with bubblegum pink skin, others with pulp the color of orange sherbet. There is a plant that produces bunches of a thousand fingers, each only an inch long.

Unlike many people, I don’t like banana and peanut butter; however I am fond of hot banana:

  • Peel a banana. (I once had a dog who ate anything, including banana skins.)
  • Put into a bowl with 2 chocolate chips.
  • Microwave for 2 minutes.
  • Mash the chocolate into the banana.

Enjoy your pudding, feeling virtuous that you’re getting a serving of fruit, but the taste of full-on chocolate.