Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Eloisa James Writes from Paris

by Anna Sugden

I'm delighted to give everyone in the Lair a Christmas surprise - we have a special guest today. All the way from Paris (yes, the one in France, not the one in Texas!) is Lair favourite, my good friend, the awesome NYT best-selling author, Eloisa James.

As many of you know, Eloisa and her family are spending a year in Paris. Even I, an avid Paris-hater (and we won't mention the Parisians *g*), have been captivated by her daily tales of life in the French capital, which she has been posting on Facebook.

So, with great pleasure I hand you over to Eloisa who will share with you a special piece about her time in Paris.

Thank you Anna and Banditas. It's great to be back here.

My study looks out over a small, quiet street called Rue du Conservatoire. This morning the snow is coming down fast, slanting sideways and turning the gray slate roofs opposite the color of milk. Since I grew up on a farm in Minnesota, this makes me feel at home. I found myself thinking about peeling potatoes for a hearty soup.

That’s when I got a jolting sense of vertigo. After all, I grew up on a farm outside a town of 2,242 people, though my father was a poet and not a farmer. One year we had no money (poetry is not lucrative), so my mother took down the dining room curtains, which had sailing ships on them, and made my sister and me new dresses for the first day of school. My prom party was held in a gravel pit, and I earned the money to buy my prom dress by waitressing in DeToy’s Supper Club.

Paris is a long, long way from the polyester dirndl skirts worn by DeToy’s waitresses.

And yet it’s still me, sitting here, looking out at snow, which is falling in that directed, intense sort of way that happens in Minnesota and apparently in Paris as well.

Sometimes life turns a corner and you catch a glimpse of time passing, as if you were in double time, both a teenager in a farm town, and a woman in Paris. And the current you is one that the Midwestern teenager would never have envisioned -- at least, I wouldn’t have. Skipping anything that has to do with an unflattering mirror, what about you? What’s happened to make you sit up and think: Is this really me? Can this be happening?

What’s one thing that’s happened to you that you never would have envisioned when you were ten years old?

Three commenters will be sent frivolous Parisian souvenirs – pocket mirrors adorned with glittery Eiffel Towers, bringing with them a whiff of la vie Parisienne, not to mention snow. And please join Eloisa’s Facebook Fan Page (http://www.facebook.com/EloisaJamesFans) to follow her daily adventures in Paris.

Anna: And don't forget, we're still doing the 12 Bandita Days of Christmas! One of the three lucky commenters Eloisa chooses will also receive their special Bandita goody!


limecello said...

Hi Eloisa! :D

limecello said...

Loved this post! Erm... I've always been a pretty determined little girl :X so... while I have had "cooler" things happen - what I couldn't have imagined as a 10 yr old would be getting a research grant my senior year of undergrad, which provided me with the funds to go to Taiwan. And I wrote a thesis for political science, and another one for my BA in Chinese.

[Yes... I couldn't resist taking the GR - but really. I'm done. Must... sleep instead.] >.<

Susan Sey said...

Eloisa! Thanks so much for bringing a whiff of Paris to the lair! I'm sitting in Minnesota right now, anticipating 5-7 inches of snow tonight, & yes, I'm sure it'll be coming sideways just like you remember. :-)

As for something the adult me has done that would have surprised the teenaged me? Staying in the upper midwest, I think. I've always wanted to travel (anybody who grows up in suburban Detroit really, really wants to travel), but I married an Air Force brat who insists he's seen enough of the world & likes exactly where we are. And since I like him (kind of a lot) here I am. For good, apparently. But since the Twin Cities is an immeasureable step up from Detroit, I have no complaints.

Thanks again for coming by today! Enjoy Paris & do keep us posted on your adventures!

Susan Sey said...

Darn you, limecello! I thought I was going to get the bird today. Then I got all caught up writing an actual response to Eloisa's post instead of just nabbing him.

Sigh. It's probably for the best. He's a bad influence on me, & I already ate my body weight in caramel corn tonight. :-)

Anna Campbell said...

Sacre bleu, Lime, un poulet parisien pour vous!

Wow, Eloisa, what a really touching post. I enjoyed it even through my emerald-green envy! I actually had plans for Christmas in Paris but sadly they didn't eventuate and I've followed your posts about bread and wine and cheese and wandering les boulevardes with great interest. How wonderful that you get to spend a whole year there and really soak up the atmosphere.

Have a wonderful French Christmas, Eloisa! And thank you so much for being our guest on the Banditas today.

limecello said...

Right- further proof I should be sleeping not rooster nabbing... the Taiwan part is relevant because I did research there. For said thesis...es...theses? :P

chelleyreads said...

hi eloisa!! i've always wanted to visit france. how awesome is it that you're living there for a year :)

when i was ten all i cared about was cable TV and trying to watch as much cartoons (like angry beavers, doug, pepper ann, recess were among my faves) as i can without getting into trouble. no thoughts of going or graduating from college passed through my head--actually something i did that still boggles my mind is my joining a sorority while in college (and having the best time!). painfully shy, anti-social me actually got through pledging, was an active and now an alumni--craziness!!

happy holidays everyone :D

Jane said...

I would never have imagined that I would get to travel where I got to see and experience other cultures. I still have to see more of the world and try different things.

Helen said...

Congrats limecello have fun with him.

Hi Eloisa

I too have been following your posts on facebook loving them love hearing about your daughter at school and the homeless man and the weather.

I don't think that there is anything that has made me think that things could have changed for me or remained the same. I do know that as a young girl I always wanted to be married and have my own home and children and that dream has come true for me even though the bank still owns part of my home LOL and now I have grandchildren and all and love it.

Have a wonderful Chrissy and New Year Eloisa in Paris.
Thanks Anna for inviting Eloisa back today.
BTW I would love to see some snow it is so hot here in Australia at the moment.LOL.

Have Fun

Anastasia St. James said...

Big hello to the Banditas and to you Eloisa!

Your blog brought back memories, Eloisa, I grew up under communism and can relate to your childhood experiences. Luckily, life did take a few of those good turns for me too.

Here in Luxembourg the snow is being washed away as I write this. They did promise a white Christmas, though...

Joyeux Noël et Bonne Heureuse Année à Tous!!!

Blodeuedd said...

Hi Eloisa
Oh nothing really, my mind was pretty farflying, but then again even if I pictured me with a very academic job, I still never think about writing that MA which I did and is very proud of :)

Theresa N. said...

Staying put for the past 22 years, as a kid growing up my parents constantly moved. I attended 25 schools in 12 years of school and sometimes even though we stayed in the same school district we still changed houses.
Theresa N

Maureen said...

Hi Eloisa,
How exciting for you to be in Paris for a year. Well, for me, when I was ten years old my wish probably was to have a house with more than one bathroom and when we bought our house I made sure that wish came true.

Anna Sugden said...

Greetings from a snowy Cambridge - no sign of more of the white stuff to come, but it's so cold that what we have isn't melting. Will it remain for Christmas?!

Congrats Lime on securing that pesky bird. So you're taking him off to sleep with you, huh?! ;)

Anna Sugden said...

How cool that you were able to travel to such amazing places as part of your studies, Lime. Wow! A BA in Chinese! How did you go from that to law?

Anna Sugden said...

Fate has a funny way of giving us what we want ... but with a catch, Susan *g*.

We loved our brief visit to Minneapolis last summer - what a friendly city.

Anna Sugden said...

Very sad your plans didn't turn out, Anna. Selfishly, of course, because that would have meant you seeing us too!

Anna Sugden said...

I can so sympathise with your achievement of joining a sorority, Chelleyreads. I remember going to my first Romance Writers of America conference and being overwhelmed by all the famous names and faces. A few months later, I joined the New Jersey chapter and went to their conference. Despite my shyness, I met some great people and had a blast!

Anna Sugden said...

How cool that you got to travelm Jane, and there is still more on the cards for you!

Hope you're keeping warm in that snow and ice!

Anna Sugden said...

How lovely, Helen, that you achieved your dreams and are so happy with what you've done. Hopefully it won't be too long before your house is all yours!

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Anastasia! Wow! I think you're our first visitor from Luxemburg!

I can only imagine how it must have been growing up under communism. I'm glad that you've had some positive turns in your life.

Anna Sugden said...

Congrats on your MA, Blodeuedd. What an achievement.

I don't think our 10 year old minds would have worried too much about academic achievements - mine certainly wouldn't have.

Anna Sugden said...

OMG Theresa - no wonder you want to stay put. Even the thought os that much moving is enough to give me the heeby-jeebies! I swore that we would never move again, when we arrived home from NJ last summer.

Anna Sugden said...

I can totally get that, Maureen. As someone who's lived in places with outisde toilets and chamber pots, indoor plumbing is a big must! More than one bathroom - pure luxury!

Anna Sugden said...

I'm not sure I remember what I dreamed of when I was 10. We'd just moved from the UK to the US, so life was kind of crazy and different in a very exciting way. I'd lived in countries like Iran and Afghanistan, but never in somewhere like northern Virginia!

My dreams and aspirations changed over the years - some came to be and others turned into nightmares.

But, wherever life has taken me, and whatever I've lived through to get here, I'm in a wonderful place right now. And, maybe 2010 will finally bring that sale!

p226 said...

Lots of stuff I've done I probably would have easily imagined at 10 years old. Though, the question is phrased as "happened to you." This implies something beyond your control.

Honestly, it took me a little while to come up with an answer. I would have to say my crash at Summit Point Raceway. As a ten year old, I probably could've envisioned myself road-racing motorcycles. Yeah, I could've seen the knee planted on the asphalt at 110mph. Easily. But the thing a ten year old never imagines is the crash.

And no, there wasn't that "moment." As the scenery alternated between ground and sky at an unimaginably fast rate while I tumbled off the track into the run-off area, I didn't think, "hmm... never saw this happening as a kid." But in retrospect, yeah. That's the kind of thing that's just not on a kid's radar. The racing? Sure. The crashing? Not so much. Pushing a mostly destroyed motorcycle across the paddock? Nope. Never saw that happening.

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gigi said...

HI Eloisa,
I really admire you. Living a year in Paris.
I know what you mean about glimpsing time passing by. As I inch closer to 50 and my daughters graduate from college I really can sense time passing by more quickly than I ever thought possible when I was a kid.

Anna Sugden said...

I don't think that's just kids, P226. There are many professional athletes who seem to think they're invincible too - witness the number of motorcycle accidents (*cough* Ben Rothlisberger *cough*)

Then again, that's one of the joys of childhood - being able to dream without the fear of crashing ... or pushing that damaged bike through the mud! Any plans to make it over to the TT's?

Season's greetings to you and Mrs P226!

Deb said...

As a ten-year-old, I don't think I really was thinking too much about my future. I was content with life, even though I now realize my parents, children during WWII, worked hard to make our family life that way.
I lived in town, but my parents bought farm land and built a house on it, so I became a country girl (not a farm girl) when I was 12.
I can't really think of anything, to be honest. Hmm, I sound kind of boring, don't I?

Deb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna Sugden said...

Gigi - there must be some clever mathematical formula for the rate at which time flying accelerates as we get older! I swear it was only a few weeks ago we were complaining of a heat wave and a few weeks before that was last Christmas!

Yet, when you're a kid, the time leading up to Christmas, or a birthday, seems to take forever!

Anna Sugden said...

Not boring at all, Deb. Could you have imagined being where you are now and having done what you've done?

I know I loved the idea of being a Laura Ingalls Wilder ... teacher, writer, happily married etc (don't think I though too much abotu the frontier life!) Who'd have thought that I'd do all of that and more?!

Gillian Layne said...

I never would have thought romance reading and writing would have gifted me with friends from all over the world.

Merry Christmas to you all, and thanks to Eloisa for sharing her Paris with us. :)

Gannon Carr said...

Hi, Eloisa! I have enjoyed living vicariously through you and your adventures in Paris. Your posts are so vivid and lovely, I feel as if I'm there.

There are so many things I've done that I never would have imagined in my ten-year-old world. Marrying a naval officer and living overseas twice (Bahrain and Italy) tops the list. So many wonderful experiences that I treasure. I also never would have imagined starting a blog--The Romance Dish--with three wonderful ladies. Huge thanks to our Bandita friends for advice and guidance. We are having a ball!

We still have over a foot of snow on the ground here in the mountains of NC. Looks like we'll be getting freezing rain for Christmas. That will be fun. ;)

Congrats, lime!

TerriOsburn said...

Hello, Eloisa! I've so enjoyed following your Paris adventures so thanks for taking the time to help us live vicariously through you. :)

I've attended two RWA National conferences now, and every time I think, "I can't believe I'm here." I don't think I'll ever stop having that reaction. Now, if I could manage publication AND buy my own house, there will be nothing left to do but sit back, enjoy life, and wait for some grand babies to spoil. :)

MsHellion said...

I don't know. When I was 10, I truly believed I'd grow up and be a horse breeder and train horses all day.

Now I'm allergic to horses. And pretty much all 4 legged creatures. And I don't raise, breed, or even ride those delightful beasts--though if I do get an opportunity to pet one, I will, and will even bury my nose in its neck because I think horses have one of the best scents in the world--and then I'll spend the rest of the day sneezing my head off.

I also imagined myself married and with a brood of kids--and when I was 10 and weird, I imagined myself as a teacher. I have never been married (dating is a nightmare) and I don't have children (they are also a bit of a nightmare) and I refuse to teach (see the part about kids being a nightmare.) I grew up practically an only child, far away on a far from my friends--so the idea that I would be an adult and would spend so much time by myself willingly would have been far fetched to me.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Eloisa, welcome back to the Lair! Or should I say bonjour!

I've been very lucky to have lots of things happen to me that I didn't envision as a 10 year old. But the one thing that most changed for me was, as I'd planned to be a surgical nurse...even back then...I had no idea that witnessing my first baby being delivered would influence me to change course at the end of nursing school. AND I never would've imagined being the one actually CATCHING the baby on occassion....and I just have to say...THAT IS THE COOLEST THING IN THE WHOLE WORLD!!! uh...for me at least!

Deb said...

Hi, again, Anna S. I think I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I loved Little House, too! I thought about nursing once, but then realized I'd have to pass major math and science courses, so that thought flew out the window. I knew I always wanted to get married and have a family. I just didn't think I would be an older bride (35) and mom (36) and married to someone who had previously been married. I've got a good life and know I'm supposed to be right here, where I am. :)

jo robertson said...

Hi, Eloisa, how delightful to have you in the Lair to share a bit of Paris with us. As a Paris-resident wannabe, I applaud you!

Perhaps I've romanticized Paris, the whole expatriots and such of the early twenties, but I'm determined to visit some day. The closest I've gotten is Berlin and Rome, so I figure I'm inching my way westward.

I've wanted to be a writer since I was 13, wanted to be a teacher since the age of 14, but what I never figured I'd be was a mother!

And here I ended up with seven of them, blessings all of them, but such an odd turn of destiny.

You probably don't want to repeat what's on your facebook, but can you tell us briefly why you've "expatriot-ed" your family to Paris?

Christie Kelley said...

Eloisa, I've been following your Facebook entries about being in Paris and I love them!

The one thing that happend to me that I never would have envisioned is being able to walk into a book store and buy a book with my name on it. Seeing a book with my name on it still brings a big smile to my face.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Hi Eloisa, I have been following your posts too. I never imagined at 10 years old that I would be sitting in my dining room conversing with authors or anyone else for that matter. The big shocker other than the technology is the fact that I am middle management and have 14 people under me, uh, we are talking about the kid that would find a corner and put her nose in a book rather than talk to people. The same person that was in a school play and doubled over in pain before they managed to get her on stage. No, it wasn't appendicitis, I just had a nervous stomach and couldn't take the stress of people looking at me. Now I lead meetings and balance millions of dollars daily (we didn't even have a checking account until I was graduated from high school). Who woulda thunk it?

Kate Carlisle said...

Eloisa, welcome back to the Lair! I've been enjoying your Paris diary. What a wonderful experience for you and your family. The pictures are so pretty, but I can't believe it's snowing so hard over there! Bet you can't, either. ;-)

Well, I certainly never believed I'd be a working writer. I hoped and dreamed, but believed it? When I was ten? Nope! And I've traveled more than I ever thought I would. I suppose I'm luckier than I ever thought I would be. :-)

Happy holidays -- and stay warm!

Lime, voulez vous coucher avec poulet?

traveler said...

Thanks for this lovely and special post today. Your emotional and expressive post was so perfect. I could never imagine being amother of productive and charming young sons. Time flies and our lives just seem to become more complex and involved. Your are indeed fortunate to have this yeara in Paris. Enjoy and best wishes.

Virginia said...

Great post Eloisa! When I was ten we where lucky to have three TV channels that your picked up from and antenna. I can remember my brother walking around in the yard with the antenna trying to get something in on the TV So I never dreamed there would be this many channels to watch that we have today!

Anna Sugden said...

Gillian - I'm with you! Who'd have know that a post-9/11 immigration SNAFU would lead to all this!

Anna Sugden said...

I just heard from Eloisa that she's having trouble posting onto the blog - hopefully, we'll get that sorted and she'll be with us shortly!

Anna Sugden said...

I think our experiences at 10 don't really set us up for the wonderful things that can happen to us in the future, Gannon - wlthough perhaps these days children have a broader perspective *g*. Even so, who could imagine the things you've done, like living abroad in those locations!

Congrats on The Romance Dish - you gals certainly do a fabulous job over there!

Anna Sugden said...

Eloisa is still having trouble getting on, but she sent this to me to post:

HI everybody! The lair is popping today - I loved reading all your entries. For me, Jo takes the cake, never thinking of being a mother and ending up with SEVEN! You go, girl!

So many great stories here: Suzanne catching that baby (thank goodness it didn't drop on the floor) and Christie seeing her name on her book and Dianna balancing millions of dollars. Very cool!

As for why I'm in Paris for a year -- I'm a professor (writing being my "extra" job), and my university gave me a sabbatical. So my husband and I thought, why not go abroad for it? We're loving it. The kids are fighting hard to keep their heads above water (school here is TOUGH), so I hand out a lot of sympathy hugs. But overall, we're having a wonderful time. hugs, Eloisa

Anna Sugden said...

Let's hope we can both manage publication in 2010, Terri!

I think I'll hold off on the grandbabies for a year or two, though *g*.

Anna Sugden said...

Just goes to show, MsHellion, that you just can't predict what life holds for us. But, you don't sound like you worry too much about it ... in fact, you always sound like you're happy with your life.

That's a shame about the horses allergy, though. How horrid to be allergic to something you love.

Anna Sugden said...

Suz, I'm glad you qualified your comment about catching the baby - LOL.

It's funny how some things are so much more than you could ever expect - while other things don't live up to expectations.

Anna Sugden said...

I'm so glad you've got a good life and are happy where you are, even if it didn't happen quite as you might have envisaged, Deb.

Donna MacMeans said...

Yesterday Mexico, today Paris - I feel so international (smile).

Eloisa - your picture looks just as I imagined from the first paragraph of An Affaire before Christmas. Lovely.

When I was ten, I envisioned little else beyond being a wife and mother (and looking just like Barbie with little Barbie children), except that I also thought I would be a famous artist, i.e. painter. I wanted to produce something that would be passed down from generation to generation, I guess to prove that I existed. I certainly never considered that I would one day participate in booksignings! First, I never thought I could write a full book. Second, I never - in my wildest imagination - thought anyone beyond my mother would buy said book. So I'm living a dream.

Of course, I wouldn't mind living that dream in Paris.

Anna Sugden said...

I could be a grinch and say you have definitely over-romanticised Paris, Jo - but, I'll be good, as it's Christmas, and keep quiet *VBG*.

Wow - talk about life being full of surprises - seven of them!

Anna Sugden said...

I hope to have that joy, one day, Christie - I must say I get enormous pleasure from seeing my friends' names on books!

Anna Sugden said...

The leaps in technology are a shocker, Dianna - something we'd talk about often when I was a teacher and trying to explain to my seven year olds how things were when I was their age (and no, Queen Victoria wasn't on the throne when I was young!)

How cool that the shy girl became the boss lady!! Go you!!

Anna Sugden said...

Snork, Kate! Love your little French PS.

Anna Sugden said...

Traveler, it sounds like your sons are lucky to have you as their mum!

Anna Sugden said...

LOL Virginia - we had only three channels until I was in my 20's! 4 & 5 only came on-stream in the 80's. I remember the aerial issues! I also remember my grandmother being the first to have a colour TV and the whole family turning up to watch a show.

Anna Sugden said...

Ah Donna - I can relate to that dream of being Barbie! Being olive-skinned with a funny foreign name in the north of England was not easy, when I was little. I used to pray to become a blonde with blue eyes, and asked if I could be renamed Elizabeth!

Of course, when I grew up, I relished being different!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Anna said:Suz, I'm glad you qualified your comment about catching the baby - LOL....

Trust me, the adrenalin rush from catching your first baby...and probably the next dozen, is soooooooo cool. I've talked probably 10 nurses through their first nurse delivery over the past decade, and it's always the same. After the patient is recovered and off the unit the nurse is literally bouncing all over the place from excitement and adrenaline. Jennifer, the last nurse I helped, said, "That was so cool, let's do it again!" hehehe

Pat Cochran said...

I was a very shy and introverted
10 y/o who was close to home and
family. I never had any idea that
after marriage and children my life
would bring a whole new person into play! I began volunteering in the schools, in our parish and our community. My band booster work
ended in district level committee
memberships and nominations to the
district school board & a national
parent volunteer competition. At
my "retirement," I was recognized
by the school district. In our parish I found myself giving time and talent to most of ministries available. This also included nine years on the Parish Council with two years that I headed up the committee. In my community, I was involved in a variety of campaigns including our civic association.
Never, never in my 10 y/o mind
would I have ever imagined that
all this would happen to me!

Pat Cochran

Margay said...

What an interesting question. For me, some of the things I visualized happening (when I was young, about 12) have happened: I had two children, both girls - which is good because I had already picked out the names when I was 12 and I don't think boys would want to be called Leah or Marissa - I lived in a house I predicted that I would, and I developed Multiple Sclerosis. (Watching the Jerry Lewis Telethon one year, I heard them mention M. S. and I thought to myself, I'm going to get that one day. One day came about eight years ago.) So there really hasn't been anything surprising for me.

I guess the one thing that I can reflect upon and think, I can't believe...is the fact that my older daughter is in her first year of college. Even though I've prepared her for this her whole life by saying "when" not "if," it still takes my breath away that she is in college, studying nursing and maintaining a 3.75 average so far. So proud of her!

And so jealous of Eloisa! I've always wanted to live in (or at least visit) Paris. Maybe one day...


Anna Sugden said...

LOL I'll take your word for it, Suz, having never been at either end of a birthing!

Anna Sugden said...

Pat! My clutter twin!

I had a happy sigh reading your post - you gave the saying about the smallest acorns true meaning. I'm so pleased for your success and for your happiness at all you've achieved.

Anna Sugden said...

You know, Margay, there are some things I always knew too. I somehow knew in my heart I'd never have a baby. I also knew I'd get divorced. Both of which, sadly, came true.

But, I also believed I would find that one true love and, happily, I certainly did!

limecello said...

Heh. Sorry Susan :X Couldn't resist.

Anna C - yay! I'm certain a French chicken/GR is much better than a normal one. But shh don't tell him I said that ;)

Anna S - yah, Chinese... and PoliSci. The political science was the "feed" into law, I suppose :X Though the two made sense b/c my PoliSci thesis was on US/Taiwan/China relations

Kate - I only took 3 weeks of French in my life, so I think I'm getting it wrong. Lol my only reaction is O_o

Anna Campbell said...

Yeah, Anna, I'm so sorry I didn't make it too - and you keep taunting me with snow and Keith's baking and the possibility of a carols service in Cambridge ;-) You're a wicked, wicked woman, AS!

Lois said...

Sounds like a lot of fun to be living in a place like Paris, just for a little while. . . would love to go there for a visit sometime. :)

A question about age, hmm. Given that today is my birthday, meaning when I was 10 it was exactly 23 years ago today. . . guess I would be surprised how much things stayed the same. Some good, some, not bad, just eh. LOL But on a lighter side, when I was 10, I could only dream about being an astronaut and traveling to space. Now, I get to dream that I win a huge lottery so that way I can go without being an astronaut! :)


Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Lois, happy birthday! Hope you have a wonderful day!

limecello said...

Happy birthday, Lois!!!

Marie Force said...

Hello ladies of the Lair!
I see that Jo beat me to this one, but I never imagined I'd be a mother (Jo also had five more kids than I did). I never had that burning urge to procreate until my brother's daughter was born and I had occasion to put myself between her and a speeding car, realizing that hey, maybe I did get that latent mother gene after all. Today, I am the mom of Emily, 14, freshman class president and all around great kid, and Jake, 11, who is the sunshine of my life. Nothing else matters but their health, happiness and well-being. At 10, I would've predicted that I'd never say those words, but now I can't imagine my life without them.

Eloisa, I enjoy your dispatches from Paris on FB. I'm wondering, though, how your kids really feel about a year away from home and friends (you may have already covered this before I joined your fan page so sorry if you are talked out on this subject). Are they holding up okay? I'm sure they will look back at it as a grand adventure, but it can be tough to leave home.

Marie Force said...

OH, and I meant to say, HAPPY HAPPY holidays to all the Banditas!!! You guys are the best!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Marie, a very happy Christmas right back at ya! And thanks for being such a great part of the lair!

Janga said...

I think the next best thing to visiting Paris is knowing someone who so generously shares her experiences there, Eloisa. I especially love your tweets. You say a great deal in 140 characters.

When I was ten, I thought I'd have a perfect life, Now I know no one does, and I'm blessed to have a life filled with people I love, work that matters, and more books than I'll be able to read if I reach 100.

Linda A. said...

Christmas in Paris...sigh! It's one of the places I'd love to visit when my ship comes in. As for something I could never have imagined as a child...becoming a teacher. I thought they had such boring lives. Little did I know.

catslady said...

My husband was born in Paris (air force brat lol) and I was thrilled to get to visit once. Personally, I love the French - they think for themselves lol. At ten I couldn't imagine that I'd marry at 18 and wait 15 years to have kids and that I'd be a gray haired lady married for over 40 years lol.

Anna Sugden said...

Hey guys, poor Eloisa can't get on at all (I blame the French, but then I would *g*). She's so sorry and asked me to post this:

Hi everybody!

I'm so sorry about my computer malfunction--I can't get my google
password to work. Anna is kind enough to post this though... I just wanted to say that my kids are surviving Paris pretty well. The good news is that they both made friends instantly. I think they would dislike Paris if it hadn't work out socially. They're in the Italian school (they're bilingual), and being the only Americans in the school gave them a little cachet, and so that worked out. The problem has
been that the schoolwork is fierce, and more difficult because writing in Italian is a lot harder than speaking it; well, try translating Latin into Italian!

I just want to add that I'm in awe of your fortitude, Margay. You
sound as if you're coping with that truly difficult disease with
cheerful grace. My sister-in-law has suffered from MS for about 15
years, so I do know something of it.

It's bedtime in France, everybody, but I'll stop in again tomorrow!
Cheers, Eloisa

Nancy said...

Eloisa, what a beautiful picture! It makes me want soup, and the sun is shining here.

Turning corners--I need to think about that some more. Probably the thing that would be most alien to my ten-year-old geek self would have been taking karate. I was uncoordinated, always growing, never sure where my body was in space. The only sport at which I was decent was softball, because I could hit the ball far enough (thanks to my dad) to make my poor foot speed irrelevant and could field and throw decently.

Yet even the karate wasn't totally outside the realm of the possible because that little girl loved Wonder Woman and Batgirl although girls of that era did not take karate or anything else involving hitting.

That's an interesting question. I'll have to give it more thought.

Limecello, congrats on the rooster!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Eloisa, I'm loving your postcards from Paris on FB. I've been fortunate enough to visit several times - to live there would be a dream come true!
When I was 10 I never dreamed I would be a published author. My ten-year-old self also planned to have 9 kids - but I'm very happy with the one I've got!

Stephanie J said...

The snow! I too, grew up in Minnesota (tho in a small suburb of the Twin Cities rather than on a farm) and I dearly miss the snow. In fact, I'd have to say that as a 10 year old I never would have envisioned a Christmas without snow. It was unthinkable! Then at the age of 15 I moved to Texas (not Paris, TX!) and I find myself longing for the white fluffy stuff. :)

I need to go join this FB page right now. I'm always amazed at the things I realize I'm not following.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Eloisa!

Great to have you back with us in the Lair today!

AH, Paris! I was prepared to NOT like The City of Light the first time I visited. All that bad press about the French in general and the Parisians in particular... how very WRONG I was. I LOVED the city and would LOVE to spend more time there. Not sure about an entire year, but definitely a few months. :-)

When I was 10 I wanted to travel and see the world, but I NEVER imagined some of the places I would eventually see, like Thailand, Turkey, and China for starters. I never imagined I'd be a travel junky, nor a cruise fanatic.

I wanted a horse ranch too, Hellion, but never got my wish. Now that I know how very much work they are, I'm just as glad that wish didn't happen. I still love horses, but mostly from afar. ;-)

who is still 'listing' from side-to-side (don't have my land legs back yet)

Louisa Cornell said...

What a lovely post, Eloisa! Thanks for bringing her all the way from Paris, Anna S! (And having been there I tend to have the same feelings you do about the French, Anna. They were never rude to me when I spoke French, but the minute I switched to English and they realized I was an American things got snotty really quickly!)

However, I do love the city and all of Eloisa's lovely posts from Paris. I'm so glad you're children are enjoying it. My brothers and I didn't want to move to England when we were children (me 9, Jim 6 and Brian 3) We resented leaving our friends and family behind, but our three years in a little English village are an experience we still treasure to this day and over 40 years later we still keep in touch with our friends there.

I've had a couple of those "is this really me" moments in my life. I had one on my wedding day as my father walked me down the aisle. I never thought I'd marry and I certainly never thought I'd be lucky enough to marry the wonderful man I married.

The first time I stood in the wings (actually I stood on a half-moon contraption that was lowered from the ceiling) and realized I was about to make my professional debut as an opera singer was definitely one of those moments. The entire evening was like that. When I finished Der Holle Rache and the audience broke into applause it scared me half to death. It was definitely one of those surreal moments. Amazing.

And then when I attended my first Golden Heart/Rita ceremony as a Golden Heart finalist I couldn't believe it was me! Then again that entire week was a series of moments like that. I met so many of the authors whose books have afforded me such comfort, entertainment and fun over the years. (Including you, Ms. Eloisa!) Meeting so many of my idols and partying with the Banditas the entire week was just a dream come true.

Now, my next surreal moment is yet to come. But trust me, when it happens I will definitely wonder "Is this really me, signing a contract to have my book published?" I'd really like to experience that one in the near future!

Joyeux Noel, Eloisa!

Nancy said...

Louisa, you have done some amazing things! If the opportunity ever arises, I would love to hear you sing.

Nancy said...

Hi, AC--Welcome home! You've also had some amazing travels. I love hearing about all your adventures.

Stephanie said...

What a beautiful, heartwarming post! I kind of had a moment like that today, but not nearly as poignant. I just realized I was finished with all of my English major requirements (it turns out one of the foreign language classes I took counts towards an English degree). I still have almost two years left, but being done with that is a good feeling--kind of sad too, because I will miss taking 4 English classes a term. Onto general university required classes, and more time to write and read romance!

Linda Henderson said...

I don't think I would have imagined being married and divorced twice. Or becoming disabled with RA. So if there is one thing I've learned from my RA, it's do everything you want now, because you never know when you might not be able to. Dream big, and live for the moment. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas in Paris.

PJ said...

Hi Eloisa! I've been enjoying your Paris posts so much. I relax in front of my computer with a steaming cup of coffee and lose myself in Paris through your eyes. What a lovely way to wake up. :)

As a ten year old in a small midwestern town I could never have imagined that I would one day stroll the streets of Paris and Rome or have friends in far flung corners of the world. We had five television channels with an antenna and rabbit ears. Cable TV and the internet weren't even on our science fiction radar!

M. said...

I love the Parisian snowy rooftop photo. I imagine the Christmas markets in public Parisian squares must be marvelous, and that street vendors sell roasted chestnuts and potato pancakes with applesauce (at least, that's what they sell to pedestrians in Switzerland).

Pam P said...

Wonderful sentiments,Eloisa. Interesting how you can travel so far to a very different place from where you grew up, yet still find something to remind you of home.

I don't remember thinking too much about the future at 10, just learning new things day by day.

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Anna Sugden said...

Sorry about the Google hiccup yesterday - just one of those things. I know Eloisa was so frustrated that she couldn't get here in person. She sent this message this morning for you all:

Hello everyone,

It's morning here in Paris, and I just finished reading all the comments that happened while I was sleeping. What a fascinating bunch of women inhabit the lair!

Please do stop by my Facebook page and hang out with the crowd there if you get a moment. I have packed up the deliciously glittery little mirrors, but honestly, I'm not going to mail them to my assistant in Indiana until after Christmas. None - but none -- of my presents have made it to the US, and I gave them 2 weeks! So the mirrors will be coming along in the New Year though
Anna will announce some winners shortly.

Thank you all for having me!
Hugs, Eloisa

Stay tuned for the prize winners post!