Moveable feast, here I come


I really wanted to write about making Thanksgiving dinner this past Saturday.  This was unusual because the “official” Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S. is not until November 26th.  It was made even more unusual because I prepared the entire meal by myself.   Alone.  Yikes!

Unusual and, of course, amusing as only AGMA cooking adventures can be.

But I’m having a hard time.  I can’t seem to muster up any funny words. My heart continues to be heavy for the people of Paris.

Adventures with the undercooked turkey will have to wait.

Many, many words have been written since evil took flight against innocents in Paris last week.  People far more intelligent and gifted have eloquently written about the events of this real life, nightmarish Friday the 13th.  I can add no new insights or analysis.

My response is totally from the heart and gut.

I love Paris.  I really can’t explain why.  Or maybe I can try.

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit the City of Lights five times in my life.  Five times, I’ve been thoroughly enchanted.

One of my favorite movies is Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.  It totally captures the magical nature of this amazing city.  I really want to hang out with Zelda Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Cole Porter…  I want to be part of the great Moveable Feast that was/is Paris.

The last time I went to Paris, I sat on the steps that Owen Wilson sat on when he got picked up by the limo at midnight.  I waited for about an hour.  Nothing.  Crap.

But that’s what Paris does to you.  It makes you believe that anything is possible and totally captivates your heart.

Granted, some Parisians can be brusk to non-French speakers.  But I just flutter my eyelashes and say in my very broken French, “Parlez-vous anglais?”  And when they say “No”, I turn on the big Bambi doe eyes and say “Un petit peu?” at which point they shrug and say “A lee-ttle”.  They then proceed to speak in flawless English.  And become very friendly.

Gotta love Paris.

The people, the food, the history, the wine, the gardens, the beauty… a lifestyle of joy and the celebration of living.

The French have been allies of the U.S. since the beginning of the U.S.  They are our oldest friends as a nation and fought along side us in our bid for independence.  And many of our finest young men are laid to rest in French cemetaries in Normandy.  There is a deep, deep connection between us.  A blood bond if you will.

I mean, they gave us the freaking Statue of Liberty for Pete’s sake…  That’s like the best BFF gift ever.

So I mourn for Paris, and our French brothers and sisters as only family can mourn.  And based on our experience here in the U.S. with 9/11, I know that they will never quite be the same.

But they will endure.  And not only endure, but I have a feeling they will not let this evil fundamentally change their love and zest for life.  It may even deepen and get more intense.

Gotta love the French.

And I do.  So in less than three weeks, I’ll once again be in my mostest favoritest city in the world.

Paris – AGMA’s coming and she can’t wait!

Some of my friends and family think I’m out of my mind.  Perhaps, but I wouldn’t dream of changing my plans out of fear or concern for personal safety.  If I do that, the bad guys win.  In my own small way, I can’t, I won’t, let them win.  I think being a tourist in Paris right now is an act of defiance in the face of those who seek to destroy and who know nothing of joy and love and light.

Reality check…  Okay – so with terrorists still floating back and forth across boarders, I won’t deny that there is risk.  The experts say there will be more attacks.  But I think we risk even more if we cower in fear.

AGMA’s getting crusty in her old age.

So I’m getting ready to eat and drink in cafe’s, go to museums, do some running in the Tuileries, and visit the beautiful Christmas Markets.  And show my French “family” that this diminutive American AGMA has their back.

Viva la France!

Batsh*t one last time

…in 2015 that is.

I know, I know.  I said I’d post my last Tour de France post before Sunday.  I meant to say by Sunday.  By midnight on Sunday.  In my time zone.  So I’ve got like over three hours to spare.

Tada!  Here it is!

Still crickets…

But OMG – I now totally understand why people do those fantasy league thingys! American football, soccer, basketball, baseball; I could never understand why these fantasy leagues are so popular.

Until now.

This year, AGMA decided to participate in the NBC Fantasy Cycling Challenge and is now O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D!   Notches up the enjoyment of watching like 100%.  I didn’t know that was even possible…   You “hire” 15 riders but get a total salary “budget” so you can’t just pick all the awesome riders.  Crap.  Now I’m angsting every night about my 9 rider “starting” line up.  It’s so much fun!

So I’m finding even more ways to love my beloved TdF.  Even more ways to be batsh*t crazy about it.  Lucky you.

Here’s my final post from last year.  I can here an audible sigh of relief from some of you.  Okay, most of you.

Thank you all for indulging AGMA this week!  I mean, if you can’t share your passion with your friends, who can you share it with?  Ya’ll are the best!

Batsh*t Crazy Part III (originally published 7/26/14)


I don’t want to whine, but it’s lonely being a Tour de France fan.

Most people don’t understand why the hell you watch it. And they sure don’t want to hear about what happened on yesterday’s action packed stage that you are bursting to share with somebody. Anybody. Hello….

You end up talking to the barista at Starbucks or the checkout person at Target. They’re at work; they can’t walk away from you. Captive audiences. Maybe I should go to some cycling shops to “browse”. When one of the employees asks if they can help me, I can say, “How about the stage of the Tour yesterday? Crazy, right?”

Not just crazy. It’s batsh*t crazy.

So, the great thing about my trip to France last year was that I was surrounded by people with the same obsession. They know who the riders are and what teams they’re on. And what a GC rider and a peloton is. And, most important, they know that the English language television announcers of the Tour are like rock stars!

Yeah – rock stars.

Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin are the Tour announcers who broadcast to all English speaking countries. Bob Roll, or “Bobke”, is a former American professional cyclist who augments – along with a couple of other guys – the broadcast for American audiences. All 37 of us.  R-O-C-K S-T-A-R-S.

I had my picture taken with all three. Now just let that it sink in.

It happened this way children… On that first fateful day of my TdF experience last year – Stage 17 in Chorges, France – remember, just when I though things could not get any better? They did. Both are long stories – blah, blah, blah. But I got to meet Bobke and Paul. This is a big deal and the 36 other people in the US who are cycling fans understand this.

These guys, along with all of the other media type folks and broadcast vans from all over the world, are behind an impenetrable fortress of chain link fencing at each stage finish. No credentials = no access. Without access, it’s hard to stalk…eh…talk to you’re favorite “rock star” announcers.

Honestly, it was dumb luck. It was being in the right place at the right time. Twice. It was being bold enough to holler “Hello!” Asking if they’d mind getting their picture taken with you. Granted, the pictures are with them on one side of the chain link fence and me on the other, but I’m getting the “shoulder touch” from both.

R-O-C-K S-T-A-R-S.

Our group went on to watch three other stages in the French Alps. I couldn’t even get close to the media area for me to try to stalk…eh…find Phil Liggett, the missing link in my triumvirate of cycling broadcast gods.

Then, quite unexpectedly, in Paris, the amazing city of lights, magic happened. Ah Paris!

Stage 21 of the 100th edition of the Tour de France. The cyclists were going to be coming into Paris at dusk. It was 90 degrees F at 9AM.

To kill time, I decided to walk down the entire Champs Elysees from the Arch d’Triumph to the Place de la Concorde. Wanted to “soak” up the TdF experience. It was hot, humid and crowded. I was soaking it up alright…

Almost at the end of my walk, by the media trucks and busses, BEFORE of the chain link fence was erected, I spied HIM. It was Phil out in the open – no credentials needed. He was a sitting duck! I walked up to him and babbled like a tweener meeting Davy Jones at a 1968 Monkees concert. Some nice bystander took a picture of us. Got the “shoulder touch” again. Yeah – that’s right. I needed a cigarette. I don’t smoke.

The fence eventually went up, the cyclists arrived, the Arch d’Triumph lit up, the awards given and it was over. It would have been a serious let down if I hadn’t stayed in Paris 10 more days… Ah Paris!

The 2014 Tour de France ends tomorrow. I’ve been watching it on TV. I’m in Atlanta.

Pass the Prozac please.