Monday, October 29, 2007

Do you like my avatar??? Her name is Gemma

Of course she is in Paris while I am here in Cleveland. She has the requisite scarf that must be worn when in France. Granny glasses just like those worn by Meg Ryan in French Kiss (I do have a pair of those). And she wouldn't be complete without her constant companion....Manic Monkey...whose job is to throw a banana peel in her way every so often just to shake things up.

Friday, October 26, 2007


I was thinking about Paris...something I do alot of....trying to remember the name of this little restaurant we stopped into after spending the day at the Louvre. I did a web search and found it....FERDI. Apparently it has been getting some press lately. Travel and Leisure magazine says that Penelope Cruz has declared that Ferdi serves "the best cheeseburger in she ever eats a cheeseburger...or worst yet she probably does and has the metabolism of a humming bird. The IHT had a nice reveiw. We just happened upon it and they had a table available, but a cheeseburger was the last thing I wanted. I had the empenadas. They were wonderful. Lou had them bring some homemade hot sauce to the table. I watched how fast his brow broke out in a sweat and decided not to try it. It is at 32 Rue du Mont-Thabor in the 1st.
My picture of the week....Gendarmes sur cheval....hopefully that translates into Police on Horseback. Feel free to correct my attempt at French if this isn't correct.

I love horses....I love men....and I really love men in knee high boots....mounted police are a dream come true. I know...I'm a piglet...that's what Lou would call me. He puts up with my little ogling good looking men. But to be fair...I look at beautiful women too.

I never mentioned the men in Paris. For the most part I didn't noticed any difference in basic looks than American men. I mean they didn't stand out as being more or less handsome than the men I'm used to seeing. But one day walking down the street I nearly peed myself. I looked up and thought it was Clive Owen walking towards me....only better looking. I think I herniated a disc...I snapped my neck so fast as he walked by. I don't think I have ever seen anyone that good looking in person.....except for Lou of course. Then one evening on the Avenue George V up near the Champs Elysees I saw a man crossing the street that reminded me of Cary Grant. Very handsome and distinguished.

Enjoy the weekend. I will be making jewelry all weekend getting ready for my next show.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Manic Monkey Week

I can't believe it has been a week since I last posted. What a busy week. Last Friday and Saturday I had a show on the east side of Cleveland.... which sucked. I did big business last year, but this year they brought in another jewelry artist with work extremely similar to mine and put her 2 doors down. The way the traffic flowed...they hit her before me....I sold 25% of what I sold last year. I expect a number of jewelry artists at shows....that's just the way it is...everyone makes jewelry these days. But I haven't been at a show before when they have juried in somone whose work is so similar. That's what happens when the show promoters are more intersted in selling booth space then trying to have balance. Not sure I will go back next year. I'll have to see how the rest of the shows go this year.

Sunday Jennifer and I did a resin demo for our PMC guild. I"ll post some pics of the resin jewelry later tonight. That was fun. I love talking about making jewelry and this group is such a great group of women. After the guild meeting (Lou refers to it as a coven since we convert something the consistency of clay to fine silver) I went to my step-son's house warming. Jason and Maggie are such a great couple. We took them out to Santa Fe with us last year and had a lot of fun. Pic of them below.

Monday I worked at home so we could get a new furnace and central air installed. I've gone my whole life living in houses without central air. Now I have it and I can't use it until next summer. I can't wait for it to get hot........hahahahahaha.....cause I will be stayin' cool in my house.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Robert...pic of the week

We saw this on the side of a building on the Rue de Rivoli as we walked toward the Louvre from Boulevard de Sebastopol. I thought it was interesting. On closer inspection, there is a small crucifix hung in between "Robert" and the garland of bottles. When I blow up the picutre it looks like a large, very dirty stuffed the Pink Panther almost...blind-folded and it has a make-shift penis. I assume the building is going to go through some type of construction (sign to the left). Is this some type of statement from one of the tenents??? Or is it just modern art??? Or both???

The Year of Annoyances

So last Thursday I came home to a slightly chilly house. Thought I would turn the furnace on to take the chill furnace. No heat. Not a big deal this time of year since we have been having wonderful weather. But something we need to act on quickly since it will be turning cold. We didn't even bother to fix it. I figured the furnace was about 25 years old. After talking to the heating guy...he estimates that our furnace is ~40 years old and has a few contraptions on it that are illegal. So....thousands of dollars later....we have a new furnace (or will have on Monday) and something I have never had in a home.....central air conditioning. I know I can't use it until next summer but it will be such a pleasure to have central air the hot and muggy summers that we have. Plus it will increase the resale value of the house to have it.

So why is it the Year of Annoyances....this summer we had to replace the gas line from the street to the house and we were without gas for 8 days. Then we had part of a tree fall that took out the neighbors fence. And now this......AH...the joy of home ownership.

My Designs

I've been calling this website Gail Lannum Designs...but I realized I hadn't posted any. So I am in the process of loading some photos. They are on the right hand side of the blog. These are the ones that I had done by a professional this summer. It was worth the money. I have been showing them to some promotors and they are telling me to apply to their shows.

Speaking of shows....I have my first Holiday Show this Friday and Saturday in Aurora. This is also listed on the right hand side.

New name of the blog.....Gail's Tales....and Jewelry Designs.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Death Becomes Them

I lifted this picture from Girl in the City ....Karl Lagerfeld and Valentino. It reminds me of the Robert Zemeckis movie...Death Becomes Her. Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn drink an immortality potion but are warned to take care of their bodies since they don't have any regenerative powers. Meryl Streep breaks her neck in the movie and has to hide it...notice the similarity between Lagerfeld / high collar and Streep /neck rings??? I wonder if he would be able to hold up his head if his collar weren't supporting it??

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My name is Gail....and I'm a Francophile

I've become a Francophile...much to the horror of one of my brothers....the republican one. He still refers to his fries as Freedom if the renaming of fries would shame the French into following our idiot president into war. BTW bro....fries originated in Belgium.

I have been chronicalling the trip and working with the pictures.....I can't get Paris out of my head. I bought Hemingway's A Moveable Feast and on my list of movies to watch is Amelie, La Mome, and Paris, Je T'Aime. I just finished reading Suite Francaise and bought Nemirovsky's Fire in the Blood. It's an illness...I can't get enough of Paris. I thought I would stop reading the blogs from Paris when we got back from vacation...nope. I love reading them and seeing the pictures. Matt from Misplaced in the Midwest left me a comment that I would have to come back and stay longer....I know!!!

I already told Lou that I wanted to go back for a month. But that would mean I would be in Paris by myself for part of the time because he wouldn't be able to take that long off work. I probably could. My boss takes the entire month of August he probably wouldn't say much if I asked for a month. Lou doesn't mind me being there ...partially because he goes to Korea every other year for 2 weeks without me (it's a martial arts thing)...but he worries about me being there alone. Anyboy want to stay with me in Paris for a couple weeks???

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Thoughts on Paris

Shakespeare and Company ....we could have spend hours in this place. It's been around since 1951.

Would I go back? a heartbeat. In fact I already told Lou that we are going back next year. Six days was not enough to see all the things on my list and didn't give us the time to really relax. Still to see...Sainte Chapelle, Musee Rodin, Musee Picasso, the Pompidou Center,'s a long list....Marais district, Marche de la Porte de Vanves (another flea market), the Crazy Horse (Lou's choice...but it is the original), more time to window shop and cafe hop. In the spring of 2008, Continental is going to fly a non-stop from Cleveland to Paris!!!

The view out our hotel window

Are the French rude?....not at all. We did learn a few key French phrases so we could be functional in shops and restaurants. I think being polite is key. I like to think that you get what you give. We did have what I refer to as two rude moments. The first was in a cafe. We had just come up from the Metro after travelling all over the city. Lou wanted to stop for a beer and I was hot and needed a break. We sat down so that we both could face the street to people watch. There was an older gentleman and his wife sitting next to us. He was facing in towards the cafe... and me. I noticed that he was looking at us so I nodded and smiled at response. But that was no problem. But everytime I looked in his direction he was glaring at me. I wasn't talking loud....just drinking my Coca Light (what they call Diet Coke) and talking to Lou....but still he glared. Even as we got up to leave he was glaring. I should have flashed him a big smile and bid him "Au revoir"...but I let him be.

The second instance was in a restaurant...and we should have learned our lesson about restaurant bars in Amsterdam. It seems that in restaurants (at least Amsterdam and France), the bar is not for drinking. It is there for looks, paperwork, and for the waiters to pour drinks for their customers. So we went into a very nice restaurant and was told we should come back in 30 minutes and they would have a table for us. That was fine with me but Lou asked if we could sit at the bar....big faux pas. Of course the hostess said yes and asked what we wanted to drink...and then ignored us for 10 minutes. That's not the rude part. One waiter went back behind the bar and poured 4 glasses of wine. He then walked around to the front of the bar where Lou and I were sitting with our heads together talking quietly.... and reached in between us to pick up his glasses of wine and place them on his tray. That was RUDE. So I learned my lesson. Unless they invite you to sit at the bar for a few moments while they prepare your table....never ask if you can sit at the bar for a drink while you wait. We did have a similar experience in Amsterdam....they were flustered when we asked to sit at the bar and they had to clear away paperwork....but the owner made us drinks right away and without asking for it...prepared us an appetizer on the house. That man was the epitome of hospitality.

View down the Champs Elysees...taken in the middle of the street. The sky was amazing that day

Ironwork on the Eiffel Tower

Are all French women thin?....yes. At least thinner than the average American women. If you lined up 10 average French women and 10 average American women....the French would be thinner. I only saw one person I would have classified as morbidly obese. I see them every day in Cleveland.

View up through the pyramid at the Louvre

Do all French women wear scarfs? But I did see more than you see in the US and they know how to tie them so they look so chic. I have a few scarfs and have never been able to make them look good. I guess I expected all the women to be dressed to the hilt walking around on 4" heels with beautiful scarfs wrapped around them. I remember reading that you don't wear tennis shoes in I made a point of going out to get a pair of nice walking shoes. What I found is that they dress pretty much like us. Jeans and tennis shoes were everywhere. But that may be because we were close to the University and in areas where tourists frequent.

~2700BC Cycldic Figures...these are so old it is hard to fathom. I can grasp a couple hundered years ago....but 5000??

How was the food?.....everyone is asking about the food. We had great food. What I really like was the lack of fast food restaurants!! It was so nice to stop into a sidewalk cafe for the Croque Monsieur's (ham and cheese). Amy at C'est la me...provided us with restaurant recommendations. Le Coup Chou on rue de Lennau was so charming and was just a short walk from our hotel ....over by the Sorbonne it was hidden away up a side street. We had a table outside on this little street that went up a small hill. I didn't think that cars would use the one-lane street at night since the restaurant had tables on both sides. But both a cab and police car came through....but they did so very very slowly. At one point I thought the table next to us was going to get knocked over by the police came that close. But it was a beautiful night and the restaurant was great. Boullion Racine was a couple blocks down from our hotel. The interior is art nouveau...bevelled mirrors, painted opalines, stained glass, carved woodworks, marble was lovely. The manager/owner (don't know which) was very nice to us and the food was excellent. One other restaurant of note was the La Mediterranee. This was literally steps from the hotel door. It was also the place were we mistakenly sat at the bar. But once we had a table things were good. We both had bouillabaisse (Provencal fish soup). Lou said it was the best he has ever had. For dessert I had the poach pear which was by far the best dessert I have ever had. It was lying in the most wonderful chocolate sauce with a thick vanilla cream (or ice cream) on top. It was amazing.

An ancient asian bronze statue and the glyphs next to her....Cris...take a look at this....we can turn this into a tear-a-way for PMC.

Did I buy a lot of clothes?: No. They don't regularly carry my size. But I did get a purse...actually Lou bought it for me as a birthday present. A Francesca Biasia...a beautiful green leather. I have this thing for just started a few years ago. And I've managed to have Lou buy them all :)) Usually for an anniversary or birthday I pick one out and have him get it for me. He doesn't have to rack his brain about what to get me and it feeds my's win-win.

Odeon Theatre de l'Europe...this was right next door to our hotel

Memorable moments.....after being up for ~20 hours to get to Paris, the taxi taking us to the hotel went over a bridge on the Seine and we caught our first glimpse of Notre Dame......sitting at Bouillion Racine for dinner the second night and hearing Louis Armstrong sing La Vie en Rose in the background....seeing Botticelli's frescos in the Louvre.....standing under the Eiffel Tower

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Our time in Paris was too short

On Monday we went to the Louvre. It's mind numbing. You could spend an entire week there and still not see everything. The Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Winged Victory of Samothrace, DaVinci, Caravaggio, Botticelli, Ingres, Delacroix, Assyrian Bulls, Mesopotamian carvings, the Codex of Hammurabi.......mind numbing. We spent the entire day and we felt like we rushed through it.

La Gioconda. She is kept behind glass with 2 different barriers to keep people at a distance. The white spot on the side of her nose is someone else's flash. There were at least 100 people trying to see her and numerous people taking their pictures in front off her...."this is me and the Mona Lisa". Same thing was happening at the Venus de girl was even doing a sluty pose in front of her.

I can't remember what this was or when it was from but it reminded me of Ollie from Kukla, Fran, and Ollie....who I once referred to as Kublai Khan and Ollie. To this day Lou still makes fun of me for that mistake. One is a puppet and the other was the grandson of Genghis Khan....easily confused.

This is the ceiling of one of the salons. The Louvre began as a fortress and became a royal residence in 1364. Imagine going to bed looking at ceilings like this....who needs mirrors?

Took this picture of Lou (and some other lady). This is a capital (support) for one of the porticos in the palace of Darius I in ancient Persia. It was massive. Lou loves this type of stuff.

Tuesday...our last day in Paris and we hadn't seen the Eiffel Tower yet. Today we had so much to see that we decided to really use the Metro...alot. We started by walking up the Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe. The Champs-Elysees reminded me of Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Very upscale stores and hotels, a Virgin Megastore...which actually was great because we were able to sample French CDs. We came home with a couple of contemporary female singers and and Edith Piaf CD. Then there was the McCafe. The one thing I enjoyed in Paris was the lack of American fast food restaurants...but I did see a few McDonalds and a Kentucky Fried Chicken but did not eat at them.

And yes...."this is me in front of the Arc de Triomphe".

The picture below was taken to the side of the Arc. The way the clouds were surrounding the looked like it was floating in the sky.

One of the last things that we went to see was the Eiffel Tower. This was another giddy moment in the trip. To actually be standing in front of the Eiffel Tower....the symbol of Paris to most people. It was much larger than Lou thought it would is 1063 ft high.

The ironwork is amazing. Built in 1889 it was suppose to be a temporary exhibit. For my jewlery design has 2.5 million rivets holding it together. I love rivets. Every 7 years they paint it with 60 tons of paint.

This is a great image to play with in Photoshop. Invert the colors and apply a few other techniques and Voila (we had a waiter say that to use when he brought our Voila).

Or how about a little....hippy, hippy shake from the Eiffel Tower.

Back later with a few random pictures and some final thoughts on Paris.

Monday, October 1, 2007

More on Paris

On Sunday we hopped the Metro...loved the Metro for its ease of use....and travelled north to St-Ouen to the Marche aux Puces . It was a nice change of pace from museums and it definetely was a change of sceneary. To get to the have to walk through a gauntlet of men selling knock-off belts and purses. The big thing that day was Dolce and Gabanna belts. But once we got under the overpass we found the market. It is a network of streets and alleyways with stores and covered stalls. I wanted to find items that might be used in jewelry....particularly I was looking for things to embed in resin. I found an old French art book at one stall for 5 Euros. I was rather proud of myself that I was able to ask "how much" in French and understood the sellers answer. Lou stumbled on a stamp seller, so I bought a large packet of old stamps...mostly European. They are going to be great as pendants.

Lou in the background talking to a vendor about netsukes (miniature Japanese ivory carvings). Most of the alleys were like this.

What flea market is complete without a stuffed weazel.

And beads....there were tons of beads at this one stall. But most of them were plastic so I didn't stop to buy any. They made a nice picture in their boxes. I would have loved to spend the entire day there looking in the various stalls...but Lou has a short attention span.... and we had planned to go to Montmartre to see Sacre-Coeur.

This was our view as we looked up from the cafe where we had lunch. It doesn't get much better than this. It was beautiful and the sky was so blue that day. As picturesque as it was, I preferred St-Pierre de Montmartre for its stained glass. St-Pierre is just around the corner from Sacre-Coeur and is the oldest church in Paris, founded in 1133. The windows were destroyed in WWII by a stray bomb and replaced in the 20th century.

Montmartre sits on top a hill overlooking Paris. It has a country village charm. This is one of two reamining windmills in Montemartre.

Below is the house I am going to buy when I win the Mega Lottery. I am giong to run away to Paris and design jewelry. You are all invited to come and stay with me.

We made sure we strolled past the Moulin Rouge. Actually the neighborhood is really dicey. Sex shops all over the place. Reminded me of Amsterdam's red light district.

More to come...the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and Arc de Triomphe....