Saturday, November 28, 2020

Christmas Shopping in France

Like many of you who are missing being able to travel this year, I've been doing a lot of "armchair" traveling.

Back in September I put together a list of blogs having to do with "all things Parisian."

Several of these bloggers have put together wonderful Christmas shopping lists for French items for gifting those on your Christmas list, or for yourself.

I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you.

Don't miss Landen Kerr's list of 32 Gifts for Francophiles (especially the Fantasy Gifts - ooh la la!).

How very cool to have a bench in Jardin des Tuileries engraved with your name!

Landen also has a fun piece about French Christmas Ornaments available on line.

David Lebovitz has a comprehensive gift guide bringing France right to your front door.  From food and wine of all sorts, on-line cooking classes, tools and dishes for your kitchen, home accessories (including some from antiques shops or brocantes, and the best French skin care products.

Lost in Cheeseland's French inspired gift guide includes books, foodie gifts, paper goods, and experiences.

French inspired Gifts from HiP Paris include books, soaps, Parisian watercolors, clothing, and gift boxes.

Rebecca Plotnick is a talented photographer who sells her prints at her Every Day Parisian blog, along with her shop at Etsy.  I have a few of her Paris prints and hope to have more to add to my Wall of Paris photos.  She also has a fun Francophile Gift Guide.  Do check it out!

Messy Nessy, the author of the must-have book, Don't Be a Tourist of Pari (along with her new Don't be a Tourist in New York City), gives us her own unique gift guide.

Paris for Dreamers shares her Ten Ways to Parisfy Your Life gift guide.   What do I have to have from this list?  Oh my.  A few Parisian miniatures from J. Carlton. 

Salut From Paris has a full Paris themed gift guide featuring 75 fun gifts including tea, candles, art, suggestions for books, wine, travel guides, etc etc etc

There are more Paris blogs included in my Armchair Travel piece.  Each have something special to offer, so do take a look when you have that wanderlust urge. 

And don't forget - if it's books you have in mind, there's always my Paris Reading List for you.  

AND - Donald and I think Carousels of Paris might make a nice Christmas gift also.  

Bon shopping!!!


Thursday, November 26, 2020

 Useful Knowledge

By Gertrude Stein

There ain’t no answer…
There never was an answer
There will never be an answer
That’s the answer

You are always the same age inside

One does not get better
But different and older
And that is always a pleasure

One must dare to be happy

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

 On this Thanksgiving Eve, I do give thanks.

I do feel grateful for oh so much.

But I can also feel angry.

It IS possible to have conflicting feelings.

It's a normal human reaction to so many things we're all living through right now.

In the past two days I've learned about an employee in a local restaurant who has died from COVID. Her place of employment was madly anti-mask.

I've learned about a relative of a friend who, at the age of 92, is hospitalized and alone with COVID. This after being diagnosed twice with, not COVID, but pneumonia, and then with COVID.
I've learned of a local merchant who is hospitalized and in his seventh week of COVID. We pray he'll make it.

Donald and I have just come back from a ride into town.

We picked up pizza (takeout).
We picked up groceries (curbside).

We picked up the mail from our post office box (after hours because the employees there - as sweet as they all are - refuse to wear masks).

We stopped by the ABC store where there's a sign on the door which says "No Mask, No Service." Pffffft. Sad then that there are so many people shopping for their holiday cheer who can't read.

We drove by one of the fitness centers, parking lot full, to see a woman huffing away on the treadmill with no mask.

Drove by one of the nail salons to see some people masked, some not.
I'm gonna tell you - I am SICK AND TIRED of people saying to me and to Donald "It's easier for you guys."


Why is it any easier for US to wear a mask than it is for anyone else?

Oh - I get it.

Because we're retired and don't have to go to work every day we don't need to worry about putting on a mask.


Here's the thing.

We worked hard for a whole lotta years to reach this age of retirement.

Retirement plans did not include staying at home all day every day to keep ourselves, and others, safe during a global pandemic.

But we're doing our share.
Doing what's right.
So yeah - I AM PISSED at those who aren't.

If some more people would do their fair share it would make it a whole lot easier for ALL of us.

I'd love to be sitting in a restaurant right now with my husband having a nice meal celebrating my birthday which is tomorrow. But we don't feel comfortable doing that.

I'd love to pop into our little Boone Mall to browse around and visit with some of the folks I know who work there - or at least did back before last March. That's how long it's been since I was there. But I don't feel comfortable doing that.

I'd love to go see Ellie Miller, give her a hug, catch up with how she is and get my hair cut and colored. But I don't feel comfortable doing that.

I'd love to visit Top Nails and have a manicure and a pedicure. But I don't feel comfortable doing that.

We would have loved our annual trip to the beach this year, but stayed home because it didn't feel comfortable.

Travel is something we're both missing. A lot.

And here we are. Thanksgiving Eve, and I'm weary.

But Michael Flynn is now free as a bird.
Pardoned by the person responsible for turning masks into a political joke instead of trying to keep people safe.

I am grateful as all fuck that donald trump will soon be out of the white house and I pray REALLY hard he'll be spending a long long time in prison where he deserves to be.

Grateful. Weary. Sad. Angry.
I'm a veritable human hodge-podge of emotion just hoping for a little normal in my life.

Happy Birthday, Annabelle!

Annabelle turns 4 today

Friday, November 20, 2020

Sick to death of stupid selfish people


I'm getting pretty damned tired of doing the right thing when so many people refuse to.

If you can't (or just won't) stay home, WEAR A MASK!

It's not a political statement, it's just stupidity and pure selfishness not to.

If you're counting on God to keep you safe, try to remember God helps those who help themselves.

Also how 'bout that Love Thy Neighbor thing.  Can we have some of that?

I want life to go back to normal.  You maskless wonders are fucking it up for everybody.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Dreams do come true

Today is the day I finally got to see the new version of Carousels of Paris and hold it in my hands. 

THIS is the book I dreamed of. 

THIS is the book I wish everyone who has  already bought the book in its earlier version could have. 

 I am SO proud of this book I can't stop the tears.

Dreams do come true.  Even if, sometimes, they take a little detour.

Don't give up!

Friday, November 13, 2020

November Newsletter


Hello Everyone!

I hope you are all healthy and happy during this stressful time, and doing things to keep your spirits up.  We're sending good thoughts out to all of you.

We are excited to announce, in time for Christmas (and don’t we love giving, AND receiving, books for Christmas!) a new version of Carousels of Paris.

This version is basically the same, with a few small changes, but is printed on heavier, higher quality paper.

It’s beautiful.

It replaces the first version; at a slightly higher price, but it’s worth it.

You will still, for awhile, be able to purchase the original version published by A&K Publishers. The new version is being published by House of Annabelle, so watch for the change in publisher when you order your book for that special Christmas gift.

We may not be able to travel to Paris right now, but we can enjoy an imaginary visit with the help of Carousels of Paris.

Also, we may have added some new things to our webpage since you were last here, so please stop by, make yourself at home and browse around.

At Etcetera we’re adding photos and there’s a link to my Paris reading list which I have revised, cleaned up and update often,.

There are links to past newsletters and a short story. I’ll be adding short stories here over time.

You’re able to access my blog, Meanderings and Muses, from here where I blog about everything from books to poetry to politics to photography. From art I love to things I don’t love. Travel and things I’m doing while staying safe at home.

This is also the place to sign up for my very occasional newsletter. They’ll be very infrequent now that Carousels of Paris has been out for awhile, but it’s how I announce the random giveaways. And we never know when that might happen.

There’s also a contact page in case you want to send me a note. Always happy to hear from you!

Enjoy and thanks for dropping by! I hope everyone is staying happy and healthy.

(Annabelle says "Hey!")

To those of you who have bought the book already, Thank You! 

I hope you're enjoying it, and we appreciate, more than you know, your support.

It has been, truly, a project of love and one Donald and I will forever have fun memories of doing, and being able to do together. 

It means a lot to us to be able to share it with you.

We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Kaye and Don


Kaye Wilkinson Barley

P.O. Box 1274, Boone
NC 28607 United States

You received this email because you signed up on my website or have given me permission.



Monday, November 9, 2020

Just in time for Christmas


We love giving (AND receiving) books for Christmas.

And just in time for the holidays, there's a new version of Carousels of Paris.

This version is basically the same, with a few small changes, but is printed on heavier, higher quality paper.  


It's beautiful.

And it's available here.

It will, eventually, be replacing the first version; at a slightly higher price, but it's worth it.

We may not be able to travel to Paris right now, but we can enjoy an imaginary visit with the help of Carousels of Paris.  


Sunday, November 8, 2020

It's a new day

 I wrote this about 10:30 last night -  

 These past few days have had us all tossed out of our normal schedules, I think.  Donald and I have lived on pizza for dinner every night until tonight when it was finally all gone.  Dinner time was whenever we got hungry, usually more than just once.  Breakfast was strange in that it might happen at 8 or 9 or 11 because we stayed up most of the night watching election returns.  And breakfast was apple pie (with ice cream).  Until this morning when the pie was all gone.  So today I had to cook.  Cheeseburgers.  Again, eating  in front of the TV watching returns, watching Biden & Harris being declared the winning ticket, dancing in the street, crying, and drinking champagne.  I have spent more time in front of the TV these past few days (What day IS this?!) than I have these past four years. Time for a return to normal.  For our country, and for me.  So I have turned off the upstairs TV, shooed Donald and Annabelle  downstairs, and I'm going to curl up in our bed with a dozen fluffy pillows and, thanks to NetGalley, Michael Koryta's newest book, "Never Far Away ." With champagne ( until it too is all gone). It will be a moderate to slow transition back to normal here in Meat Camp as long as there's champagne.  G'nite all.  Life is about to become good again.

And now, several hours later, after a good night's sleep, I believe even more strongly that life is, indeed, about to become good again.

Trump and his corrupt band of flunkies can whine all they want.

They can file one meaningless lawsuit after another.

It doesn't matter.

They are all insignificant at this point and democracy will prevail.

And good people will continue dancing in the streets.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Here's to Our President-Elect, Joe Biden