Travels in Paris

Walking to Paris in the Sunlight Afternoon

Thursday afternoon

Thursday afternoon. 19th arrondissement in Paris. A small cafe break at ‘Le Progress.’ Eight other patrons sit near me in the cafe. Small, circular tables rest in front of me. Stools stand closest to the street on the other side of the tables. Chairs with nice backing look out to the street on the opposite side of the table from the stools.

A pain-au-chocolat lies half eaten on a white plate on the table. I have a half-written journal entry in a brown notebook next to the breakfast repast.

Looking out from my table, I catch the sight of a solitary pigeon breaking from its clan as it makes its morning rounds to catch and gobble up away crumbs that have fallen to the ground between the tables. There’s a mess of crumbs under the table from my pain-au-chocolat.

“Jackpot,” says Mr. Pigeon.

“Bien sur,” I nod.

Overcast day today. Not quite sweater weather. It’s more like a long-sleeved shirt and blue jeans type of day. The thirty-foot tree in front of the cafe provides ample cover and shade, wanted or not. A metal grate with water holes lines and encircles the tree. People clump by with their shoes and sometimes hit the metal grate.

It’s 11:30 am and the cafe is starting to fill. The cafe has an awning of complete red that gives a nice glow from the sun. The yellow strands of gold slip out from the clouds and then bath the cafe terrace in a vibrant red hue. I enjoy the warm rays of the mid-morning light. I remain seated and continue writing this journal entry with the notebook on my table. I bite the last piece of my pain-au-chocolat.

Mr. Pigeon has gone. “I think I’ll get a gelato now,” I say to myself. I gather up my thing and leave a couple of euros worth of coins on the table.

“A demain,” I say to the waitress.

“Au revoir, monsieur.” she says back.


Cafe in Paris

Friday October 19, 2018

It’s raining. Light rain drizzles onto the pavement in front of the cafe. People huddle under their umbrellas. Cars move slower than usual. The cafe is nearly empty, all but for one guest -me.

The sidewalk is slick and glazed over with a thin layer of reflective water covering the concrete. The trees seem to be enjoying the moisture, their leaves a verdant green, their trunks black. The lights above me are still on from the night before. Their warm, yellow hue reflects off the water from the sidewalk.

It’s 7:35 am in Paris.

Workers are moving about. I decide to sit and enjoy a croissant for my morning breakfast. I sit alone at my table. The table is two foot across with a red, circular top. The cafe menu rests on top of the table. The chair I’m sitting on is a wicker chair. Comfy. I wonder how many Americans have sat in this very chair over the years. What if I’m the only one? I better make this count.

I open the morning newspaper at my table and read over yesterday’s news. I feel the newsprint as I glide my fingers over the paper. I skip the front page and head on over to the culture section. There’s a television series coming up about Picasso. I make a mental note to find that on the tv later.

8:30 am. A few more people now at the cafe. They are busy with themselves, preoccupied in their own world. It’s fun to watch others pass by on the sidewalk. I wonder where they are going. I wish I could be a fly and buzz about these Parisians and see how they live and interact with their world.

There’s a quiet hum now at the cafe. More people are arriving.

The day is getting going now. I think I’ll take a long walk along the Champs Elysee.

Homeschool Life – what to focus on and why

Here’s a brief overview of what we are focusing on currently for our homeschoolers. This is a basic outline of what we are studying and why we are studying it.

The principles of our educational philosophy: An Independent Mind.

Much of what I have read and seen in my own life leads me to one simple, but profound, conclusion. None of the education matters if your son or daughter cannot survive on their own. Got all those math tests passed? Great. Advanced AP classes finished? Awesome. Made the varsity team for football? Fantastic.

But can they live on their own? Can they do their own laundry without any help? Can they cook healthy meals for themselves on their own? Can they take care of themselves?! If the answer to this question is a shrug, then man, we gotta problem. 1/3rd of young people still live with their parents.

Why striving for independence is the only real objective. 

Mother Nature can be a cruel teacher. You see this all the time in the wild. A duckling leaves the group and then is quickly taken into the sky by a larger bird of prey. Swooped down and gotcha. Just like that, they’re gone. The world is full of predators and traps, even for humans. While you might be spending all of your time on advanced algebra tests, what about the larger test of life? Parents have a fetish for academics. They put their kids into so many schools and tests the bejeezus out of them and for what? Who is all this testing for again? For college? And what happens when they get to college, go through college, and then come right back home again?

10 things kids should be independent at before they leave the house:

  1. How to make money. (This is the highest on the list because without being able to make money from a job or from your own business, you’re eternally dependent on someone else. Making money is the only way to true independence.)
  2. How to follow through on tasks. (This is what leads to getting a good job. If you can’t manage yourself and your time and your tasks, you might get hired, but you’ll get fired soon enough.)
  3. How to budget, buy, prepare and store food. (This might seem like a no-brainer, but not many people teach it to their children. Once you have money, then you have to feed yourself. If you don’t know how to do that, you’re going to get unhealthy eating all the fast food you’ll have to buy.)
  4. Understand what a good relationship is and how to keep it. (Hell is other people. Heaven is other people. Understanding how toxic people operate is a critical skill for enjoying your life. Find good people and don’t let them go out of your life.)
  5. How to find shelter and pay for it. (Are you going to rent an apartment? What is a landlord looking to get from you besides a monthly check? Without thinking through this in advance, you may end up with the only place left, life on the street.)
  6. How to buy, maintain and keep a car. (A car is integral to life in America. Without it, you won’t be able to get to work, to maintain relationships as easily, and to be independent. You can do this without transportation, but it’s going to be very hard to do so.)
  7. How to learn what you don’t know. (The best skill in the new economy is going to be how to learn. Life is changing quickly. The old ways aren’t going to work. You can’t rely on the old way of doing things. Learning how to learn is going to be an essential skill.)
  8. How to buy, maintain, and care for your clothes. (Doing your own laundry is only one step. Presenting yourself to the outside world is important. Your clothes and their condition say a lot about you.)
  9. Don’t get lost in the world. (The world is a big place. People are going to pull you into many different directions based upon their own needs. Make sure you know how to maintain your own sense of self without getting your life sucked up into the needs of larger institutions.)
  10. How to enjoy life even when life is hard. (More teens and college-aged humans suffer from anxiety than ever before in history. Life sucks for them. More people are overdosing than ever before. People are looking for a way out of the life that has been handed to them. Learn how to manage and enjoy your own life on your own terms. It might just save your life!)
  11. Bonus skill – Understand the world you live in. (How did society get to where it is today? Where was society 100 years ago? 200 years ago? 2,000 years ago? Why are the mountains so high? Why does the earth spin around the sun? Why does the moon glow? Can you locate where you li

Without these life skills, what does it matter than you can solve for X? Not much. Help your child become independent first for the modern world. Academics are secondary. Homeschool is an awesome platform to help your children become independent in mind and in spirit.

A Few of My Favorite Things

Here are the things I’m currently studying.

  1. Geography.
  2. History
  3. Ancient Greek
  4. Boxing
  5. Jui-Jitsu

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