This will be my last Friday Five for a while, because it’s my last Friday before I leave for Paris. !!! C’est incroyable! Who knows what my posting schedule will be like once I get there; I’m not making any promises or commitments beyond writing (offline) every day, no excuses, walking down to the Seine (at least) every day, rain or shine, and subsisting on as much good, stinky cheese as is humanly possible. If I can’t pull a Friday Five together on the regular, you’ll forgive me, oui? I promise to make it up to you in as many photographs of Paris as you can stand.
Let’s get right to it. Here are my top five picks for this week:
1. Amazon’s “Smile” program:
I just found out about this program and I had to share it with you: every time you shop at Amazon (and who doesn’t shop at Amazon?), start at smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate .5% of every purchase you make to a charity of your choice. They give you a few popular options up front, like the Red Cross, Charity: Water, etc., but also the ability to search for a specific organization. I chose Programs Employing People, a local non-profit that helps adults with mental and physical handicaps with vocational skills and job training. It’s near and dear to my heart, and a cause that I support regularly anyway. .5% doesn’t sound like a lot, sure, but considering you don’t have to do anything other than start at a different url and shop as you normally would? Think about how much good you could do at the holidays!
2. This beautiful passage, from “Einstein’s Dreams” by Alan Lightman:
“In another house, a man sits alone at his table, laid out for two. Ten years ago, he sat here across from his father, was unable to say that he loved him, searched through the years of his childhood for some moment of closeness, remembered the evenings that silent man sat alone with his book, was unable to say that he loved him, was unable to say that he loved him. The table is set with two plates, two glasses, two forks, as on that last night. The man begins to eat, cannot eat, weeps uncontrollably. He never said that he loved him…The tragedy of this world is that no one is happy, whether stuck in a time of pain or of joy. The tragedy of this world is that everyone is alone.”
It stopped me in my tracks as I read it on the bus, and my only recourse was to put the book in my lap and stare out the window. Sometimes a book can strike you like that. (It helps that this book was my dad’s).
3. Speaking of books…
I’m on track to hit my goal of reading 30 books this year! I should finish “Einstein’s Dreams” this afternoon on the bus home, which will get me to 15 so far. I don’t know how much reading I’ll get done in Paris (though I am bringing a few books with me) so I wanted to front-load as much as I can. Who knows, maybe I’ll be reading French language books while I’m over there (ha!).
4. This adorable (if I do say so myself) photograph:
Taken in the hotel elevator on our trip to Paris (and Belgium) in 2012, only recently rediscovered. Please disregard our appearance (my hair! what?!), we had just arrived after flying all night to Brussels and taking a train to Gare du Nord. Oh, Jamal, what am I going to do without you for so long?! Sure, we’ve had plenty of practice, what with his four or five trips per year to India, but he swears it’s different because this time I’m the one leaving. He’s coming to visit me at the end of May, and I think I can keep myself occupied until then (hint: baguettes. oh, and writing!).
5. This Unreal, Luxurious Apartment in Paris:
A coworker happened to see the listing for this apartment near the Arc de Triomphe open on my computer and said, “So that’s where you’re staying in Paris, right?” We laughed. I said, “Who lives like this?” She paused, gave it some serious thought, and finally said, “Beyoncé.” For nearly $4.5 million dollars, this is certainly a Beyoncé-worthy abode. (That skylight!!)
What are you up to this weekend? My brother is having a birthday party tomorrow, and I’m having lunch with my best friend on Sunday. Make it a good one, kiddos!