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Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Subject:Chez la fleuriste, by Jacques Prévert
Time:10:20 pm.
Un homme entre chez la fleuriste
et choisit des fleurs
la fleuriste enveloppe les fleurs
l'homme met la main à sa poche
pour chercher l'argent
l'argent pour payer les fleurs
mais il met en même temps
la main sur son coeur
et il tombe

En même temps qu'il tombe
l'argent roule à terre
et puis les fleurs tombent
en même temps que l'homme
en même temps que l'argent
et la fleuriste reste là
avec l'argent qui roule
avec les fleurs qui s'abîment
avec l'homme qui meurt
évidemment tout cela est triste
et il faut qu'elle fasse quelque chose
la fleuriste
mais elle ne sait pas comment s'y
elle ne sait pas par quel bout

Il y a tant de choses à faire
avec cet homme qui meurt
ces fleurs qui s'abîment
et cet argent
cet argent qui roule
qui n'arrête pas de rouler.
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Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Subject:déjà vu all over again
Time:7:41 pm.




I came to France anyway, because my little freakout of "Maybe I shouldn't go" was met with "But what could you change if you stayed?" Which is true. And so I came to France.

And nothing changed.


I really don't want to talk about it.


In totally unrelated (except, well, related) news, my grandmother sent me three birthday cards. One says: "SIXTEEN." Another: "You're 4!" Another: "#1 Baby Girl." Add up the years and you get my age. Hallmark doesn't acknowledge 21-year-olds. I think they expect that we will only want a keg in celebration. Frankly, I could go for a hug.
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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Time:9:10 am.
I will say, though, that all those millions are worth something, because the language of Obama's speeches is usually way better than that of Hillary's. If someone would make her stop saying "You know," I'd be happy, too.
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Time:8:51 am.
I woke up unwillingly at 6 AM this morning, because Ana and her friend were in Ana's room playing with all those little horse figurines and making them go clop-clop-clop across the floor and making them neigh. I went back to sleep at 7:30, when Ana and Co. had noisily clomped out the door and into the elevator. And I promptly dreamt that I woke up and I checked the Pennsylvania primary results and I saw that Barack's spending spree had paid off and that Hillary was being seriously counseled to drop out. And I was sad. And then Mommo asked me how I felt about the whole thing and I realized I was dreaming.

And then I woke up for real and Hillary trounced him.

Maybe I am a bad Democrat because I support the woman who is allegedly shredding the party. And honestly, come November I will not care (much) whose name is marked in blue on all those state-by-state returns, so long as it is someone who ensures that more of the states will be blue. But I'm rooting for Hillary, and I will squabble with my father about it (some French ladies eavesdropped on us in a café the other day) and joke with Matt about it and so hoorah for Hillary. Good job winning Pennsylvania. Good luck in Indiana.
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Saturday, April 19th, 2008

Time:6:12 pm.
"Merely to give, to spend, even to vote, is not to do, and there is so much that needs to be done — without further delay."

Usually I don't enjoy "green issues" of magazines--um, thanks, Vogue, for telling me about this thousand-dollar bamboo shirtdress--but I am only a few articles into the Times' stab at the genre and it is doing pretty well. Granted, I've only read Domains (my favorite column!), which was wonderful because it interviews Bill Nye, and this editorial, but so far, so good.


Apparently it is seventy and sunny at home. It is fifty and cloudy here. I'd like a recount, please.


I feel a little academically guilty because I am not going to submit a thesis proposal next week. I am going to submit in the fall, after I have had a chance to think more about my subject and go to an English-speaking library, for goodness' sakes. That is okay, right?
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Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Subject:smithies are hoarders
Time:7:42 am.
Yesterday I got a scarf–-purple, like Carla Bruni. I was unabashedly inspired by her.

Yesterday I got an A+ on my Shakespeare paper--well, 19/20, which is the Sorbonne equivalent.

Yesterday I got a job--at Yale University Press, with a woman who said "hurrah!" when I said yes.

Yesterday I got a room--205 in Dawes. Come visit.

I think I am doing okay on the accumulation front, don't you?
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Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Time:2:16 pm.
I have seen the same couple making out three times within the last three days: in front of St. Germain des Près, in the little garden square by the Sorbonne, and in the St. Michel metro station. Yeesh.


All I really want is some lemonade and my housing number.
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Sunday, March 30th, 2008

Time:10:19 pm.
We are walking down the street, in the rain, with umbrellas.
Sam says, "I really want to buy some black boots."
Emily says, "I really want to buy these gray flats from Agnes B."
Caroline says, "I really want to buy a garter belt."
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Saturday, March 29th, 2008

Subject:i have a future
Time:9:49 am.
From questions for Merrill Perlman, the Times director of copy desks:
"We don't expect our editors to recite the rules of the nominative case or declination of nouns, but we do ask them to know and love the English language enough to protect it without smothering it, or being smothered by it."
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Monday, March 24th, 2008

Subject:gchat is why i'm not writing a paper
Time:4:15 pm.
Scott: I did some statistical analysis for fun
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Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Time:5:17 pm.
Virgule just upset an entire mug of steaming Russian Writers tea onto: my leg, my bed, my pile of notes, my shoes on the floor. The notes (and the rest) will all survive; my down comforter, notes, and shoes are spread across the balcony to dry. (My leg is not.) I should be glad he missed my laptop and my Complete Works.

Mostly, though, I have been reading and thinking about violence and brutality all day and I think I'm going a little bit nutty with it. I was okay musing on rape and destruction and cannibalism this morning when it was sunny and warm, but now we've got typical cloudy windy Paris and the light streaming into my little room is not so cheerful and really, the things going on in these plays are horrible and I would much rather be writing about, oh, unicorns than the way violence can dehumanize people to such point that language no longer has meaning. (Yes. That is what I am writing about. It is just a non-stop party at the Sorbonne, let me tell you.)

The other night I was talking to la famille on Skype and some banter was ensuing about school mascots. Gracie asked if Smith's had ever really been a virgin. I gave the stock tour guide answer and referenced the "Never the Virgins" t-shirts, then explained that the legend of the virgin mascot came of the legitimate unicorn mascot--in traditional mythology, unicorns can only be seen by virgins. My mother said, "And did you ever see one, Caroline?"

Dot dot dot.

I started talking about wallpaper instead and that seemed to do the trick.
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Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

Time:10:27 am.
A few weeks ago, a funny older gentleman and I were talking about American politics. He and his wife are both French, but his daughter lives in New York and he'd just spent his holiday vacation in California, so he had a better-than-average French grasp of the American political scene. He thought Barack Obama was interesting, he was amused by my dread of Mitt Romney, and he agreed with me that Hillary was basically the one for the job.
"One problem, though," he said. "If Hillary wins, then Bill will be the First Husband. And if Sarko marries Carla, then she'll be the First Lady. With Bill's reputation and Carla's reputation, what do you think will happen at the first State Dinner?"

I found this most amusing. But in light of yesterday, should we be worried?

(Kidding, kidding. I've already voted for Hillary. You should too. That's the end of my soapbox.)
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Friday, February 1st, 2008

Time:9:39 am.
PS. Just realized that my Smithie-ness was dictated at an early age: the two writers who made me want to read and write were Ann M. Martin and Madeleine L'Engle. Smithies.
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Subject:Smith-shaped excitement
Time:9:24 am.
+Helene's niece, Nicole, came to visit me at Smith last spring. I gave her and her parents a special tour and then we all went out to dinner. She just sent me an email: she got in!

+The Admissions Office is also sending out nice emails to Gold Key Guides, telling us about the super enormous number of apps they received this season. Good job, us.

+It's time to pick my Commencement speaker! Are there rules for this? Does it have to be a Smithie?
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Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Time:10:22 pm.
I am officially making my debut as a traductrice. I have already been paid a hundred euros for the work of the weekend: translating a pair of letters as evidence in a divorce case (all the American women I know who married French men ended up angrily–-but wealthily––divorced; it's all very Le Divorce, but, sadly, without the fancy accessories). I read the letters on the RER on the way to rehearsal this evening. They are sad, they are poorly written, they are angry, they are full of accusations and provocations and mangled syntax. Is it banal to say that, as cool as it is to get paid to translate, I hope I never, ever, ever have to go through a bitter, dreadful divorce? Yeesh.
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Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Time:9:51 pm.
Also, on the Chatelet Ligne 1 platform this afternoon, an Irish guy took a photo of me. He showed it to me and it was nice, and I talked for a minute with him and his Californian girlfriend (also a photographer), and I am kicking myself a little for not getting their contact info so they could send me the picture.

Also, I will likely be spending a weekend in Biarritz in February. Espadrilles, anyone?
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Time:9:15 pm.
Tonight at dinner Ana declared that I reminded her of the girls in Little House on the Prairie. High praise indeed! (I think it helped that I was wearing a long skirt.)

Then Josua and Fabienne and I watched the YouTube clip that I studied so intently last spring: Jimi Hendrix at the Montery Pop Festival, violating an amplifire and setting his guitar on fire. How cultured we are!
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Monday, January 28th, 2008

Subject:second semester starts domani
Time:11:11 pm.
The woman who stands next to me in PCS got engaged over the weekend, and she kept breaking into giggles during rehearsal. Cute.


Also this:

"Elle demande l'illusion, comme d'autres femmes demandent des bijoux."
–Anaïs Nin, Journal: 1931-1934
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Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Subject:and I said, "What's a crocus?"
Time:11:01 am.
I miss cocoa butter.
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Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Subject:which reminds me (non-sequiturs that aren't, really)
Time:6:28 pm.
If any of them were looking, an entire lecture hall full of Sorbonne students got a nice flash of lacy stocking tops when I got up to leave the exam. Silly Caroline sat in the middle of the front row, on general instinct because, Type A that I am, that's where I always sit. I hadn't considered the fact that I wouldn't be able to easily get out at the end; we were all seated at long, connected desktops, and I couldn't very well ask a bunch of frantic test-takers to let me out. So I hopped up on the desk and slid across. Next time I'm taking exams at the Sorbonne, I'll remember to wear something other than a short skirt.

Which reminds me: I dreamt last night that Theda and I had a conversation about lingerie.

Really, though, the moral of the story is that I took my exam at the Sorbonne, and it is done, and it was good. The first part, for our CM (big lecture course, taught in English by an Englishman), was required to be done in English. The second part, for our TD (small discussion groups, taught in French), could be in French or English. I didn't want to finish super early (we had two and a half hours) merely because I didn't know the process for leaving, and so I did the second part in French, both as a mental exercise and as a stalling measure. The whole thing went well and now I'm in one of my irritating Caroline-feels-academically-satisfied moods, which really just means that I was whistling Mozart on my way home.

Oh, and I saw Eglal and Janie Vanpée walking out of the Jardins de Luxembourg. Is Janie going to advise the Paris program next year? Is that why she's visiting, or is it just for kicks? That would be fun for her and fun for next year's JYA kids, if she were the next advisor, but if I want to ask her to advise my thesis (which I might), that would be not-so-fun for me. Of course I have a back-up, since I still haven't decided what language it'll be in, but I like Janie a whole lot and I'll be sad if she's not on campus. That said, I think I freaked them out a little with my gratuitous beaming and waving. They can thus be added to the list of those surprised by the above-mentioned mood.

Which reminds me, part deux:
No matter what night preceded it, she had never known a morning when she did not feel the rise of a quiet excitement that became a tightening energy in her body and a hunger for action in her mind–because this was the beginning of a day and it was a day of her life.

–Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, p. 515

I've been sporadically re-reading and I came across that passage this morning. That is pretty much how I feel every morning of my life, although usually my version just gets referred to as "prancing."

It is also how I've been feeling about the advent of spring. This whole only-one-exam-remaining-in-the-first-semester business means that in two weeks' time it will be the second semester, which means that it will be the spring semester, which means it will be spring. I am a springtime baby and all my love for New England and October and sweaters cannot end the fact that every year I start unbuttoning my coat when it gets above 40 degrees in January, and I stop wearing gloves, and I start thinking about sundresses as if by mere willpower (and wardrobe) I can hasten the change of seasons.

Yes, Grasshopper. Time for that dance party.
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LiveJournal for ta_petite_caro.

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