Tag Archives: Friends

Para mi primo exiliado en Chile

My cousin Marc has always been a source of admiration for me, not because of his incredible intellect, not because of his formidable talent as a photographer, but because, in his twenties, he had the courage to look outside the box and he chose an unusual life path.

A law degree and two subsequent specializations, one from a Dutch university and one from a British university, had virtually guaranteed him a highly successful career in the legal spheres, but to my recollection, he never used any of his degrees after university.

In the 60s, my sister Odile, cousins Barbara, Marc and Gerard

After returning from Great-Britain, Marc embarked on a six-month trip to China (in the early eighties when it was still untouched by Western influence), then flew to Chile. He never looked back. He lived for photography. Abstract, crazy beautiful photography.

In Santiago, he rented a room with a single window and, for years, he photographed objects and human shapes in this square of light. Not a trace of luxury. Not even a fridge. Only art.

Gerard, Marc and Barbara.

Now, in all honesty, had I been made to wear lederhosen in my childhood, I may have exiled myself to Chile as well. Rather sooner than later. After copious therapy.

Marc makes rare sporadic appearances in Belgium. The last time I saw him was years ago. Having recently reconnected with his brother Gerard (the barbecue warrior), I wish I had the opportunity to hang out with Marc too.

Last May, we threw a surprise party for my mom’s 75th birthday, and I, of course, documented the event and designed an album for her. So Marc, this one is for you. That’s what we look like now (I understand you may have felt the need to put an ocean between your family and yourself, but, see, the past always catches up with you…)

That’s the cover. It’s my mom riding the dinosaur. She has a good sense of humor. I think. I hope. She has not seen the album yet. I might get disowned.

My brother, Chris with an h, and sister, Odile with none, whisked my mother away to the movies and I hid in the rhododendrons (with the bees) until the coast was clear. I let the caterer in and the guests began to arrive.

My mom is blind as a bat (like me.) It took her a while to realize who the 25 strange people in the driveway were.

My mom had no idea I was in Belgium! When she saw me among family and friends, she thought I was a person who resembled me a lot!

My sister Odile (the Quintessential Cat Lady) and my aunt Nanou. Not fighting. Yet. I cannot begin to tell you how long it took me to figure out how to seat people, a matter of vital importance in my highly volatile family.

Gerard and Marcel, a family friend since the fifties. These two put together have a caustic sense of humor which reminds me of the barbs exchanged during our bi-weekly family lunches back in the seventies and eighties.

Odile’s son, Nicolas, and his girlfriend. My nephew (nefiou) is quite the entertainer.

Parenthesis: nefiou after having worked in the yard. As stated, quite the entertainer… I digress. Back to the party:

Feisty Marie-Helene, one of my mom’s best friend. Sharp as a tack.

The two compadres.

The catering company, Art’aste, did a great job.

Gerard, my cousin Valerie (who used to dismember her Barbie dolls) and Antoine (nefiou Sr.)

Gerard’s wife Nancy and Olivier, the husband of the Dismemberor. Sill in one piece. A miracle.

My crazy photographer brother (and his new Nikon D3) and the Dismemberor eying the camera suspiciously.

Marcel’s wife, Natha, having a “come to Jesus” with Nanou (I had seated them at different tables for dinner but all bets were off after dessert) – in the corner, one of my mom’s sculptures. I love her art. I liked the way she paints but I LOVE the way she sculpts. Every time I’m in Brussels, I steal all her sculptures and put them in my room. They are all mine.

Nancy, the Dismemberor, Gerard and another of my mom’s sculptures. Mine.

Between my brother and me, guests got photographed under every imaginable angle.

My brother sucks but I love to photograph him

The two waiters. My brother and I thought they were a pretty hilarious pair so at the end of the evening we kidnap them to the photo studio and played a little. They got in trouble with the caterer for disappearing on him. Chris and I felt like kids caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

The back cover. The album is on its way to Belgium. 30 pages of memories. Happy memories I hope. They’d better be happy considering the sweat, the blood, the ANGST it took to organize the whole affair! I’m just extremely relieved everyone survived and no one got sued.

Hey Matt You Slacker! Gotcha!

Leave an innocent comment on my blog and next thing you know… You are the story. So here is to you, Matt, just because… Ever since I added you to my blogroll, you haven’t produced a single post. You let me down. I don’t like to be let down.

Hotel Halloween
Hotel Halloween

The Shining
The Shining
Family portrait with Rosemary\'s baby
Family portrait with Rosemary’s baby

HanniMatt Lecter doll

Hannimatt Lecter Doll

Matt the Dragon Slayer, I think
Matt the Dragon Slayer, I think

Now Matt, I understand you would like to dedicate your time and grey matter to higher intellect endeavors, but come on, nothing could ever be as much fun as blogging! Whom will you taunt with your usual obnoxiousness?

One last one… For the road.

Now THESE look like tracksuits!
Now THESE look like tracksuits!

Sorry Allison! Before enrolling your help, I should have stipulated you were fair game too.

Paris, Une Autre Nuit

Some folks are day people, some are night people, some, like the Spaniards, seem to never sleep. I belong to the first category: up at dawn with the beautiful morning light, hooking up the caffeine IV drip.

Unlike me, my friend Raphaelle embodies and embraces the whole concept of night person, which is why before meeting for dinner in Paris, I had “subtly” specified I needed to make it an early night.

Raphaelle

Raphaelle whom you might remember from my previous post “Paris, une Nuit” lives across from the abominable Pot on Plaza Pompidou. Walking in her neighborhood, you would think Paris is a village. Unavoidably, you run into people she knows. I even run into people I have met before. How silly is THAT?

Le Soir Peeps

These men work at Le Soir, the nightclub where a woman bit me. After the usual ritual of “Salut, mwoa, mwoa, Tu vas bien? Ouais et toi, tu vas bien? Ouais”, we leave the guys and head to the restaurant. I happily snap away. As usual. I am an obsessive shooter. I’m probably a huge pain to be around.

Goth creature

Put this woman on the streets of Dallas and I shriek in horror: “OMG, a Goth! From which eighties time warp did she crawl?” In Paris, I regard this fine Beaubourg creature as creative and stylish. Une demoiselle tres chic! Surroundings count. That’s vachement silly.

Rapha and I enjoy a fabulous Italian dinner. Her neighbor JR (who is called JR because his real name is Jean-Raphael, and two Raphael(le) are confusing in the same building) was supposed to join us, BUT (and that’s when I realize I have completely lost control of my EARLY evening) he will actually meet up with us later for a drink. As you can well imagine, it all goes downhill from there.

Le Troisieme Lieu

Rapha takes me rue Quincampois to “Le Troisieme Lieu, La Cantine des Ginettes Armees”, literally The Mess Hall of the Armed Chicks.” Despite the rather aggressive appellation, the bar/restaurant/nightclub turns out to be a hoot and a half and no girl tries to bite me – which is a refreshing change. JR joins us but no sign of Catherine, his girlfriend, who is eating pasta “but will arrive shortly.” It is 12:45 am.

Poor sod

Since my friends are smokers – and the ban on cigarettes in Parisian restaurants just took effect to their utmost chagrin and outrage – we end up spending more time on the sidewalk than in the club. The guy pictured above flanked by Rapha and her pal was literally kidnapped from the street and made to pose with them… which he happily obliged, even expressing a little too much pleasure for comfort. We had to shoo him away!

A man and his dog

Two minutes later, same place, a man and his dog. The cigarette ban is probably going to lead to a whole lot of outdoor socialization. The movement would be called Bonding by Bitching.

Catherine

It’s 1:30 am. Miss Catherine has finally finished her noodles. She is seen here in her best imitation of a Parisian hooker and misses the mark completely, if you ask me.

Bicycle Man

Bicycle Man! Out of nowhere, this hooded fellow appears and starts demonstrating his daring cycling dexterity. He later hints casually that he may very well have stolen the Velib bike from the City of Paris. While not advocating theft in the least, I feel that the machine could not have ended up in the hands of a more bicycle-loving felon.

It’s LATE. I absolutely must go back to the hotel but somehow I am dragged to Rapha’s apartment for a last night cap.

Negra Bouch Beat

At this point of the night, the degree of intellect shown by any of us in conversation is close to nil. While we cruise the net looking for our lost childhood, Rapha comes out with the startling revelation that she never goes to the hair salon and proceed to demonstrate how she cuts a piece of her hair every morning with the help of office scissors.

Home Cut

The method seems inflation-proof. I would have never known.

The remains

Delirium Tremens no doubt. JR is fascinated by the curly black lock. Just when you thought we couldn’t possibly attain another level of silliness…

The mustache

We manage! I’m not sure whether it looks more like a mustache or hair growing out of his nose. JR is a goofy man.

It is 3:30 am when Rapha decides to treat us to a defile of the latest Paul Smith fashion.

Defile

Oh but wait, you have to see it in color to get the full effect.

Color defile

It’s 4 am. My early evening turned out to be a lovely very late night kind of soiree. Sometimes, you just cannot win.

Le depart

Au Revoir!

Hanging out with crazy French people makes me feel incredibly normal.

Mon six word memoir… or epitaph?

The problem with blogs is that you never know with whom you are dealing. You think your new blogpals are really nice. You exchange a few innocent comments. Then suddenly, wham, you are memed. Just like that.

My memor was Matt who got fired but they forgot to tell him. I take the poor thing under my precious little wing and all I get is friggin’ homework. So I’m tagged. Here are the rules of the game:

So many rules, so few words:

  • Write your own six word memoir.
  • Post it to your blog including a visual illustration if you would like.
  • Link to the person who tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogsphere
  • Tag 5 more blogs with links
  • Don’t forget to leave a comment in the tagged blogs with an invitation to play

Here is my homework:

Shooting the stars

Now the memee becomes the memor. Here are my chosen victims (should they accept the challenge…):

  • Artist Extraordinaire Pat because she does not have enough projects going on,
  • Monsieur Turkish Prawn traveler fabuloso for his super high silliness quotient,
  • Painter Bonnie Luria my favorite Croatian on the whole earth and whom I knew before knowing her,
  • Traveler Epicurienne because she has a Monsieur therefore good taste and has promised to adopt me,
  • English Rose Nezza because she needs a visual project and shames me into mowing my lawn once in a while.

Voila. Don’t hate me. See it as an expression of your profound moi.

Glutton for Punishment

My friend Mike either assumes his past really well OR he belongs to that group of folks who thrive on self-inflicted pain. Either way, if you dig up pictures of yourself in the seventies, dressed like a clown, and duly mulleted, you should consider not sharing this information with your friends. A twisted mind like mine might just swipe the photograph and distribute business card-sized refrigerator magnets to all your buddies.

Mike Daniel, a business card

How could I possibly resist?