the shocking reality of moving to Europe

This is interesting. What makes it interesting is Josh’s articulate way of speaking while explaining to us the factors that made his move (with his wife) to Portugal so challenging. Josh is the Dad of Nathaniel whose video blogs (vlogs) I’ve been following for awhile as he travelled the world, asked a lot of existential questions and ended up settling in Paris. Nathaniel speaks and rationalizes just like his Dad, they’re strikingly similar. It was nice to finally meet his parents (his mom looks super cool and zen) who sold their home in Portland, Oregon to begin a new life, in their fifties, in Europe. What happened in the end, though, was not what they expected. I guess the universe had another plan for them.

“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey”


What happened next –


bye-bye, Liz Truss! And the perfect candidate to succeed her.

SO SO GLAD to see the back of that dreadful woman whose bright idea was to cut taxes for the super-rich and slash government aid for the poor.

More than one in five of the UK population (22%) live in poverty. Of these, 8.1 million are working-age adults, 4.3 million are children and 2.1 million are pensioners. Child poverty continues to rise. Almost one in three children in the UK are living in poverty (31%). Nearly half of children in lone parent families live in poverty, compared with one in four of those in couple families.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation


The result of her disastrous fiscal plan, hatched in secret with her finance minister, now fired, was the intervention of the BANK OF ENGLAND to calm the markets, the delivery of a stern message from the IMF (Int’l Monetary Fund in Washington), the pound plummeting to its lowest level ever against the dollar, and near mass hysteria of the British people who saw their monthly mortgage rates nearly double and feared the loss of their pensions. It was a trainwreck. After promising “growth, growth, growth”, the outcome of Truss’s failed experiment was good riddance, goodbye, and don’t slam the door on your way out.

As for me, I’m doubly happy because I await my box of Ladurée macarons tomorrow at the office. Monday, over lunch in the staff cafeteria with my colleagues, my boss and I were arguing about the current British government and the ineptitude of Liz Truss.

“She’ll be gone by the end of the week,” I said.

“No she won’t,” said my boss.

“Yes, she will.”

“No she won’t.”

We made a bet. If she’s gone by Friday end of day, I get a box of macarons. If not, he gets a box.

Today, Thursday at 2:30 pm, the news came in: Liz Truss had resigned. I clapped my hands in joy.

Here’s the purr-fect candidate for the new leader of the British Conservative Party and PM of the U.K. His name is Larry. Larry is the resident cat at number 10 Downing Street. See link below.

introducing Alex

Alex, a Frenchman, has a series of reviews on YouTube. Here he is eating a delicious-looking beef bourguignon in a Parisian bistro called Le Petit Célestin. I’ve learned two important things here: the next time I make a beef bourguignon (a wonderful winter dish), I’ll ask my butcher for “joue de boeuf” (beef cheeks) instead of the other cuts I’ve used in the past. It’s a lot more tender. And I’ll add a small amount of “porto” into the sauce. Sweet and red, port wine is produced in the Douro Valley of northern Portugal.

Bob Dylan plays Paris tonight

And his three shows are SOLD OUT! My office colleagues told me to go anyway coz there’ll certainly be ticket scalpers. He’s playing tonight, tomorrow night and Thursday night at the Grand Rex.

To be honest, I’ve been watching so many old clips of him during the past month, I think it would be a shock to see him live (alive?) today. Maybe I prefer to remember him as he was (see video below), singing one of my favorite songs.

Like a Rolling Stone – a brief backstory: rumor has it that Edie Sedgwick, muse to Andy Warhol, inspired the lyrics. Dylan didn’t like Warhol, and in the song he refers to Sedgwick as “Miss Lonely” while including some fanged, accusatory lines about Warhol and the way he mistreated her:

Ain’t it hard when you discover that
He really wasn’t where it’s at
After he took from you everything he could steal

After escaping home and heading to New York, Sedgwick ran into Warhol, who began to use her as his starlet. When her 15 minutes had come to an end, Warhol moved on.

Sedgwick and Dylan had a brief affair. Much later, she died of a drug overdose at the age of 28, just missing the “27 club” by one year.

gratin dauphinois, a perfect fall and winter dish

I’ve been making gratin dauphinois for decades, it’s one of my specialties. Rich and substantial, this is your true comfort food. The word “dauphinois” comes from a region in south-east France called Le Dauphiné. I wouldn’t make gratin dauphinois in the summer. For me, the first signs of autumn is when my mind begins to wander to the making of this dish.

For purists, no cheese is added. But most people like a sprinkling of grated gruyère or emmenthal, so we will add it. The big question is always: what to eat with it? Grilled sausage, pork roast, beef or any kind of meat. Or just on its own with a green salad or green beans on the side and a glass of wine.

So here you go, from me to you, a fab recipe for this fab dish.

A few notes: I replace the cream with natural yogurt (less calories.) Slice the potatoes thin. The first step is to parboil the potatoes, not cook them thoroughly, that happens in the oven at a fairly low heat. Go easy on the nutmeg, you want to taste no more than a faint soupçon (a hint). Don’t use any old potato. Depending on where you live, they have to be the right kind for this dish. If you wish, you can grease the baking dish with butter and a cut garlic clove before pouring in the potato mixture, but that’s optional. And lastly, if the top of the gratin seems to be cooking faster in the oven, cover the whole dish with foil then take it off later.


photos from Sunday’s protest to support Iranian women

It wasn’t a protest march, but rather a large assembly that took place on the Place de la République. At the center of the Place de la République is a bronze statue of Marianne, the personification of the French Republic. She holds aloft an olive branch in her right hand. Resting her left hand on a tablet engraved with the Droits de l’Homme (the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen), Marianne is surrounded by three statues personifying Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, the values of the French Republic. At the statue’s base is a lion that represents the people who express themselves through the ballot box.

The state of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran is abysmal. The Middle East and North Africa hold some of the worst records of freedom of expression in the world. Many countries in the region lack legal protection for human rights and the rule of law is undermined by gross corruption and ineptitude by the religious-political elite.

There are approximately 40,000 Iranian exiles living in France. Many of them were at the Paris protest today. Worldwide, the Iranian diaspora consists of around 4 million. The United States is the most popular destination for Iranians living abroad, Canada is next followed by Germany, the United Kingdom and Turkey.

According to data extrapolated from the U.S. Census Bureau, they are one of the most highly educated minority populations in the country.

To pressure the Tehran regime, the international community must listen to the voices of the Iranian diaspora and support them.

Sunday October 2nd – Paris protest movement to support the struggle of Iranian women





There’ll be crowds and riot police. I think it’s gonna rain too. I’ll be there with my camera. Unlike Iranian men and women, we won’t be murdered or imprisoned for our right to protest. We might be tear-gassed, though, if it gets out of control.

DOWN WITH ISLAMIC PATRIARCHY (and patriarchy in general)!



Rendezvous: Place de la République, 2 pm.

Every woman deserves to be free.