“All of Paris is caressable, La ville caresse, la ville caressante, with its outer life all grace and wit, at heart a mystic lover, a philosopher, a man of taste.  In its ancient decor, it is always youthful because its source of life is inner, and always renewed. The past is so vivid that it fills the streets. It is full. the magic of its unity and harmony of colors and textures and styles. When there were contrasts, they were contrasts between medieval somberness and modern gaiety.  “



LAST NIGHT  AT LA POSADA,  the hotel across the street from where I live,  I cushioned myself  fireside to read the newspaper.  The circle of conversation across from me was loud enough to hear and so I listened.

” The rental rates of vacation rentals has skyrocketed. We have a vacation rental in Colorado and it is always occupied.  You know you can make a lot of money, it is very hard work.”  It has taken many years to listen objectively rather than critically. I’m not underlining the narrative as much as why would they discuss finance in the midst of terrorist mayhem.

I sat there for at least forty-five minutes and the conversation thread did not waver from personal income.   I’ve approached the subject of terrorism with friends and acquaintances since Friday the 13th. Only one couple who’ve just relocated here engaged. The gentleman was born in Belgium and he was eager to share his European opinions.

Over the last few days I’ve been watching Sky News. This is an international online station. The journalists report news, they do not debate, criticize, or condemn those they interview.  During the program the scenes in Paris, London, and around the world capture the public’s activity, conversations, triumphs and tragedy.  What this illustrates is that  conversation  in many US arenas must pass the political censorship exam.

I understand political discussions strike fiery bantering and this may cause a rouse and attract attention, and that is  unacceptable in respectful society. Not so in France!  For me, this truly illuminates the difference between our cultures.  They are educated in the art of conversation, and in love with expression.

When I lived in Malibu last summer, most of the guests of the owner were Parisians.  This artistic and  talented group talked without pause from dusk to dark, drank bottles of wine and smoked,  a mise- en- scene from the French salons of the thirties.   They raised their voices, shouted, laughed in unison, teased and taunted without restraint.  At the end of the evening cheeks are kissed, hands held, and appetites satisfied.

Discussion with the Queen of Conversation

Harriet Dautel Funk. San Diego Opera 2006









Fans of England and France united to sing a defiant rendition of the French national anthem at Wembley four days after the Paris attacks.

Prince William and David Cameron were among 71,223 people in the stadium as La Marseillaise rang out ahead of a minute’s silence to remember the 129 people who died.

England fans held aloft a mosaic of the French flag during the anthem.

Armed police stood guard at the stadium throughout the day after three suicide bombers attacked areas outside the Stade de France during the French national team’s last game on Friday.

It is the first time armed police have patrolled an English football match.



The oaks and  elm trees are almost naked;  butterscotch leaves are face down, like half eaten lollipops. Lurching in the east; a mass of thick charcoal clouds without any wind to push them towards us.  This outdoor stillness and the hum of my refrigerator are subtle signals of the approaching hand of winter. The silence is like a cooking pot cover that secures my spirit into acceptance.  Listening to classical piano concerto’s, blue grass on Saturday, the blues on Sunday and rock & roll on Friday. Musicians are my guests, as much as the wild birds that pluck  from my feeders.

Sometimes, solitude feels like a draft and no matter how many sweaters I  put on, the seclusion tugs at my bones. There are a lot of us soloists that reside in Santa Fe. We are not questioned or scolded for our behavior, we are left alone!  If I am drawn into an empty canvass of what seems my destiny, I draw the opposite silhouette.  I am the light against the dark.   The green light in my head  reminds me that I have my teeth, my long legs, and some passion for almost everything that God and man created.  I just can’t decide which passion to follow. Should I do a  museum, gallery, lecture, drive to Taos, go to a concert, dance at El Farol, take Flamenco lessons, engage strangers in conversation, watch old movies, read more of the stacks of books on my bedside table. Should I interview the straggly teenagers in the park or hit up the high rollers? Should I write, submit or edit:  clean the laundry room, make a thick chili stew, iron my clothes or pick up leaves. Living unstructured is a discipline that threads easily some days, and when it doesn’t, I have to control my passion for daydreaming.

My daydreams: to inhale ocean air, to bogey board, to hike, ride horses, go to Lincoln Center, the wine county, Prague, Sicily, and Russia. My passion to be around little children at Christmas and stare at their patent leather shoes, and to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast, to converse on philosophy, the arts, social trends, and the interior life.  My passion for impulsive trips on the road to Kentucky and Tennessee, anywhere I’ve never been; I will go.  The obstacle I place in front of me; I don’t want to travel alone. I’m plain afraid. I’m afraid to fly more than two hours, my sense of direction is worse than anyone I’ve ever met, and I pack too many clothes to carry, and end up with a raw neck and numb arm.

Once in Annecy, France, I walked for hours trying to find my hotel. I circled the squareOld part of Annecy (France)

twelve times. I’d not eaten a meal in several days because my coin satchel was half full . In a moment, I just fainted and swooped down to the ground. A Frenchman was kneeling beside me when I opened my eyes. We sat on a little iron bench, and he offered to take me to dinner.  He was so kind, he kept bringing food to my hotel because he said I didn’t know how to travel.

The train of clouds are still in the east; fluffy white cream and silvery puffs of pastry. They too cannot decide whether to cry; or remain strong and commanding.

Dating is one passion I never had.   Even when it was as organic as sharing a cup of coffee or taking a walk after dinner. Dating now is about business and getting connected. It’s selfish sex with a price. I hear men and women tell me these stories and my response  freezes.  ‘Oh yea, she wanted $250.00 for a few hours; without sex.’  For  a woman she is expected to be complete; with independence and like total clarity about who she is and what she wants. ‘He  told me I had too much baggage; who doesn’t over fifty?’  I think we are always in an  evolution of  personal understanding of our experiences.  You can’t put people into cross word puzzles and expect them to stay there.

Now, hours later the clouds cried, and their tears pranced in a slight wind. I curled into my favorite club chair and watched a 1937 screw-ball comedy, ” We’re Rich Again.”  Like my Dad used to say;’ You’re whole life can change overnight.’  My bed is warm. My friends are loyal. I allow myself to write everyday.