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Vacation in Paris

It seemed indulgent to leave in the middle of U.S. chaos, but a vacation was on the books. As I boarded my plane to Paris, news of separation of children from parents at the border was gaining steam. My television had been on for months (okay, three years). I didn’t want to unplug from the coverage, but I had to.

Somehow, I managed to leave this heavenly being. A gifted care-giver named Edgar took over Yossi Care.

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Here is what I did…

I landed in France, where there was a sane president, great pastries, and for me, a six-day escape.

On the other side of the pond (the freaking gigantic Atlantic), a train strike was discombobulating Paris routine. They have strikes every year. You can almost set your calendar by them: mail and train strike. Deals are struck. Everyone goes back to work.

Because of the strike I took a taxi. My driver spoke only French and he wanted to chat, so we gabbed away for two hours. Why so long? Everyone took their cars into Paris since train schedules were off. Just so you know, “Patrick” waved away my concerns about the U.S. and said that, eventually, the Orange Slob would be gone.

The second I reached our hotel room, I slept…for six hours. I kept trying to sleep throughout my stay. Jet lag is a thing, by the way. I only slept four hours at a stretch. My mistake was that first nap.

But we did have a pretty view outside our room…

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I read an engrossing book by Sarah Dunn.

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And I got to see this guy who was teaching a French class…

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We dined in awesome restaurants because it’s France. Here he is finishing my bowl of soup so that we don’t insult the chef. I was saving room for Green Tea Tiramisu (interesting).

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I ate delicious pastries…and lost six pounds. Don’t get too excited because I gained it back within a day of being home (and eating salads).

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I love to pore over makeup and other beauty supplies, so I went to Monoprix every day. Superficiality is relaxing and underrated–and deep, if you think about it.

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If I needed an American news fix, I turned on European CNN and saw the delightfully theatrical Richard Quest…whom I see often in New York.

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I walked all over and said Hey to pretty places.

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Then, boom, it was over.

Right at this moment last week, I was on a giant A380 airbus with my husband, coming home. Sam sat next to an Unpleasant Passenger. Because Sam has a knack for pacifying difficult people, he spent much of the ride cramped and chatting up UP, cajoling him when the flight attendants didn’t give him exactly what he wanted (extra Camembert cheese).

Midway through the flight, a man had collapsed and was lying down in the small passageway between the bathrooms. His feet were up and several people tended to him. Normally, passenger distress would send me into a panic (What if he dies? What if we all die? What should I do? Is this Executive Decision?). Not this time. He was getting help, seemed on the mend.

I thought of the sickness I’d seen and felt the last few years. Living with another person puts you up close and personal to how another human being manages from day to day. Plus, I had been around collapsing people and hospitals. The best thing I could do was sit in my seat and wish him well, letting trained people do their work. Oh, and vacation had officially ended.

We are back in the middle of our normal (not normal) days and I’m tuned in again. I’m grateful for the break, all while knowing that so many don’t get that precious time away from real life.

Here’s hoping you all get to unplug this summer.

 

 

 

 

 

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There Is No Shame in Asking for Help

Kate Spade’s suicide hit many of us hard on Tuesday, not only because it’s tragic that she left behind a family, but also because she had to have been in a very dark place. We don’t know what was going on in her life. Sadly, this news was eclipsed by our political crises. Pass me some ice cream!

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Kate Spade’s death tells me yet again* that there’s no shame in asking for help. For some, help doesn’t help. It’s become a cliché that creative people (who isn’t creative, btw) are prone to mental health issues and over-medicating. If you look at sheer numbers, no one is immune, which is why we need to reach out even more. Kindness should be a priority, along with asking if everything is okay, meaning it, and showing up when things fall apart.

As each day seems to deliver a new disaster, we can’t let those dark places take over. At the very least we can make peace with what is most frightening and try to move ahead little by little. In a couple days or a week, I may stop thinking of Kate Spade’s creativity cut short, what she must have suffered. There will be outrageous things in the news, small victories perhaps, then the next shocking death that didn’t have to happen.

There is no shame in asking for help. In the words of Hugh Grant in Love Actually, “Love is actually all around.”

Forgive the above platitudes about what is a very serious and complicated issue. I blame it on being face first in a pint of strawberry ice cream, new age-related heat sensitivity, and real sadness over the loss. And what else to say except: I’m heartbroken that this bubbly genius left us.

*RIP, Robin Williams, Avicii, Lee Thompson Young, Alexander McQueen, LWren Scott, David Foster Wallace, Chris Cornell, Gia Allemand, and a special friend from decades ago.