Sunday, February 27, 2011

Meanwhile, in Brussels...

Nerding out at Bar du Matin.

With B, of course.

 I love your mom??

 Just ducky.

Pretty colors.

Another doorknob for ya, Ant!

Beautiful building off Ave Lepoutre.

More of that lovely building.

I went with B to feed Celia's darling kitties today.  She lives in the most incredible building.  Check out the stairway.  Looking up...

 And down...

C has two kitties called Sammy and Flipje.

Look how cute they are!  And they have the same feeder as Cochino, same color, too.

Yummy times.

They are lucky enough to have an incredible view of Brussels.

I mean...

pretty good....


 And here are some other random things I spotted on the way to Sammy and Flipje's...

And here's one of me n' Chi for good measure.
Chi kinda sorta has glo-bot eyes here.  Don't mess.

Last Week's Events

Last week was swell!  The weather was a smidge warmer and work wasn't too crazy, so I was able to wander around the Marais and find some new things.

First, geeky chic-y in the elevator.

Loving these bug broaches and necklaces.

This is the courtyard of my work building.  As I walked by one day last week, I saw two kitties roaming around.  As you can imagine, this gave me quite a frisson!  I ran out to ask/tell the primarily French-speaking receptionist about this, and we ended up in a confused conversation, culminating in me writing down "Les Chats" on a piece of paper only to find out she didn't share my verve.  But still, I think she was happy I was happy.  We got off to a weird start, but now we're buddies.  She is learning English and I am always looking to practice my French, so we get on well with our broken languages.

This, friends, is where John Galliano lives.  This is looking out of the window by my desk.  It's no joke! I heard that he's often spotted around in the neighborhood, usually in a pretty tweaky state.  I will increase my surveillance in light of the recent news.  Maybe I will catch him crying in the courtyard or something?  You will be the first to know.

Of course, I am smitten with the koala-print tank at Paul and Joe Sister.  I really like their stuff, but I wish they didn't make it all in China.  Boo.  Still a cute animal print is a cute animal print;  I can look the other way.

I walk by this entryway every day, but I was struck by its majesty the other day.  Also, check out the ghost rushing by.  More on ghosts in a future post...

And here are some windows for you....

Nothing too exciting, but I was just struck by the fact that you couldn't throw a stone through a window without hitting some damn lace.  Especially chunky chemical lace.  I do think the lace short is pretty cute, despite the yucky bunching.

 Look at these chocolates from Georges Larnicol.  (There are better pictures at the link.  Amazing stuff.)  Apparently, the guy is also known for building a chocolate boat.  I don't think I could trust myself to stay afloat on such a boat.... fatty likes her chocolate!  That boat would be in my mouth!

One of the biggest things I love about working in Paris (and the fact that my work is centrally located) is the inspiration I can attain over, say, lunch.  All of the following were taken last Friday when I decided to go the other way down Rue Barbette and stumbled upon all sorts of new things.

Like the Swedish Cultural Center, which is right at the end of my work-street.  I bet Melora could get me in...

Or this African furniture store, which has a sister store selling smaller items, like the swirly recycled rubber bracelets from Mali I won't take off.

And then I found a store entirely dedicated to finger puppets.  It wasn't open, but I'm pretty sure the Pusateri girls need these on their fingers so I'd better sort it out!

And what about this quiche with the giant rounds of cheese on top???  Could I take a piece along in my chocolate boat?

And then I found this confiserie, which is dangerously close to the office.

And you know I like animal handles.

And pretty green doors.

There must be 30+ art galleries in the small blocks near my office.  This is one.

And this is a sculptor's workshop, shot through the fuzzy glass.

Well-worn doors always get me.

As do pigeons napping near nice ornamentation.

Kinda blurs, but loving this Hermes cuff.  (Yes, I am still on my lunch hour.... wandering around... not bad, right?)

And I finally snapped pictures of the Lost Marc'h fragrance store on Vielle du Temple, which has one of my favorite window displays.... obviously.  I bet their perfumes smell pretty good, too.

Museum Night Fever Got Me All Hot Under the Collar

B and I headed out (in the rain, of course) to Museum Night Fever in Brussels last night.  It's a great event wherein a number of museums are open late (some until 3 am) and a wristband entitles you to access them and partake in the special events each has planned for the night.  There are also shuttles running to take you to the museums all over the city.  If you ask me, this is an event that should be put on in, say, May or June when the weather is more reliable and warmer, but that's just me.

We checked out the Museum of Musical Instruments, which despite having some ornate pianos and organs on display, is pretty lackluster.  The best part is the old building it is housed in and the fact that there is restaurant on the top floor that affords incredible views of the city.  But the actual installations/displays are pretty meh.  I say don't bother unless you wanna have a fabu brunch one weekend.... hey, let me know when's good for you.

We also went to the Wiels Gallery, which is housed in a beautifully renovated old brewhouse, and is a lovely space.  The main exhibition was video installations by David Claerbout that had me rapt.  I wanted to curl up on the newly carpeted floor (mmm.... yummy new carpet smell...) and watch them all night.  But instead we moved on.

After a failed attempt at getting into the Musee d'Art Fantastique, where we were promised a bar with vampire-themed treats, we headed to the Royal Museum of the Army instead, as we were told there would be a fashion-show and bar there.  (We were thirsty!)

What a show the military museum put on!  We enjoyed a glass of champagne and a hot dog (great combo) while watching military-inspired fashions come down the runway and giggling about washing down our hot dogs with champagne.  Some pieces were better than others, but in general it was lots of fun.  Afterwards, about 10 women dressed as majorettes came out and put on a hipster baton-twirling show accompanied by a marching band of sorts playing vintagey gypsy-type music.  Smiles abounded!   It was genius!  The choreography was so lighthearted... and the girls were adorable with red ruffled bloomers on under their unis.  I wish I had some pictures.  I did get this one of B and "Napoleon", though...

We wandered around the museum afterwards, taking in the permanent displays of uniforms (though there was far too much Nazi stuff on display for me) and weaponry and medals.  Then we ended up walking through the timeline of WWII.  And that's when I got ranty.

Before I go further, a few comments.  I love my country, I do.  I like being an American and am proud to be so.  Yes, I am living in Europe right now and jumped at the chance to leave the United States, but it's not because I don't like it there.  I have always wanted to experience living abroad so as to immerse myself in another culture, just like I've always loved to travel and try new foods and see new things and, well, you know, be me.  I am not thrilled at the state of my country currently, especially at the number of loud-mouthed idiots that are running around making idiot statements and getting other idiots all riled up about ridiculous things (e.g., fear-mongering), but I am American and I am proud to admit it whenever anyone asks me where I'm from.  (I am also proud when French or Belgian people tell me I don't have an accent.  Hey, thanks!)

I have not supported or even understood the wars the US has been involved in during my adult lifetime.  These have not been the wars I learned about in my Western Civ or American History classes in high school.  These have not been the wars where the entire country stood together, fighting a clear "evil."  I have a profound respect for the grandfathers and the uncles and the other relatives (we all have some) who fought for us in the great wars, where lines were clearly drawn and the whole WORLD was involved.  (Not at all like the "World" series.)

So as I strolled through the WWII timeline-style exhibit, I felt my blood start to boil as there was nary a mention of the US troops until I found a little corner about D-Day.  What, what, WHAT???  I know that it's important to see history from another perspective, but if some poor benighted Belgian were to have the museum's exhibit as his/her only information source of the war, he/she would think that the US had its feet propped up, enjoying the "theater of war" from a distance until a few yanks decided to drop in for some sun n' fun in Normandy.  Oh, was I mad!  And then, the lack of emphasis on D-Day, which as far as I understood, was a huge contributor to the eventual German surrender by soon allowing the Allies to take France.  But the Belgians didn't really mention that.

I think I am an open-minded person and I certainly don't think America is the center of the world, but I was outraged by the glaring omission of my country's efforts during the war.  I told Byron, there's NO WAY I would ever let my dad set foot in that museum!  I know what he says is true, but I wouldn't hear the end of it.  So we will steer clear of the military museum when my parents visit in May, I assure you.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Stuff on Walls

Gettin' that scratch at the entrance to the Albert Metro in Brussels.

Frown, it's time to fix those lightbulbs.

Another case of "it's funny, no?"



My legs and that guy.

 Across from the Picasso Museum.

Militant communists get plaque, too.


Now pull the cord, I dare you!

Kitty postage.

Me likey.

This is the courtyard of the school across the street from my work.  (Have I mentioned that a few doors down from this middle school is an old folks' home?  My street is like a life sandwich.  One minute the kids are out, shouting and cavorting, the next an ambulance is pulled up for one of the olds.)  I love, love, love the "Etiquettes" signage, don't you?

SF Guide map, Dirty Harry styleee in the Marais.  Actually, except for the Brussels thing, it's all in the Marais.  Next weekend B and I are gonna left bank it some, too, I swear....