Dreaming of Paris

I was daydreaming about Paris yesterday and dug out some photos taken by photographer Todd Mecklem  on our last trip. The food, the artful way they display their wares, and the beautiful old buildings are part of what I love about the city.

Todd Mecklem. Cider and galettes

Todd Mecklem. Cider and galettes


Todd Mecklem. Croque monsieur and goat cheese salad for lunch


Todd Mecklem. Patisserie


Todd Mecklem. Details on old building

Bikes in Paris

Bikes in Paris

Lenoir market

Todd Mecklem. Richard Lenoir market


Todd Mecklem. Cobbler’s shop (cordonnier)


Todd Mecklem. Our favorite local wine store Nicolas


Paris Through Different Eyes

©Todd Mecklem. Creepy puppets in a Paris shop window…a cat and–Obama??!?

I love Paris. My husband loves Paris. But what we focus on and “see” are really quite different. Here are some of my favorite Paris photographs by my sweetie, Todd Mecklem. He really has an uncanny knack for seeing what others don’t.

The rats at Julien Aurouze exterminators, Paris

©Todd Mecklem. The rats at Julien Aurouze exterminators

Sexy Orangina flower in Paris

©Todd Mecklem. Sexy Orangina flower in Paris

Sex and Sartre

©Todd Mecklem. Sex and Sartre

© Todd Mecklem. Gitanes

Manniquins in Saint-Denis

© Todd Mecklem. Mannequins in Saint-Denis

Quirky Photographs

My husband, Todd Mecklem, loves to take photographs and has his camera with him at all times. His eye for the unusual and the quirky in everyday life leads to some interesting shots. Here are some of my recent favorites. You can see more of his work on Flickr.

Morning sunlight reflected onto the Portland Building

Morning sunlight reflected onto the Portland Building. © 2012 Todd Mecklem

Downtown Portland convenience store advert

Downtown Portland convenience store advert © 2012 Todd Mecklem

Old sign in downtown Atlanta

Old sign in downtown Atlanta. © 2012 Todd Mecklem

Portlandia, Portland, Oregon

Portlandia, Portland, Oregon. © 2012 Todd Mecklem

Acid cat

Acid cat. © 2012 Todd Mecklem

Man with the bling, downtown Portland

Man with the bling, downtown Portland. © 2012 Todd Mecklem

New spectacles!

One of those annoying little things about aging is that one’s eyesight gets worse. I never had to wear glasses until my forties but these days, I can’t read a book or see the text on my computer screen without wearing my glasses. Luckily, I love accessories so it’s not too terrible to have to wear specs. I’d planned to buy red frames, or some with cool rhinestones but ended up buying something completely different.

The first part of the process was to find a new opthamologist. Last time I had my eyes checked, I went to an opthamology school, but having my eyes poked and prodded by a student was a tedious process. Before that, I’d seen a doctor at Golden Optical who was nice but his staff was terribly rude, condescending, impatient, and aggressive. Obviously I wasn’t going to spend one more dime there.

Luck was with me – I went to Uptown Eyecare and thoroughly recommend them. Dr. Zuzana Friberg is friendly, knowledgeable, and thoroughly explains everything. She has a model eyeball she uses a to illustrate how the eyeball works. The fun part was picking out new frames. They have a nice selection of brands, mostly European, local, and/or kind of funky. The prices were reasonable but not cheap. No Gucci or Francis Klein, not that I would pay that much for glasses.

For my everyday specs, I tried on numerous pairs but decided on these retro looking  cat’s-eye glasses with tortoiseshell on the upper half of the frame. They’re from Lafont, a Parisian company that’s been around for 80 years. I think they’re kind of librarianish, in a good way!

Sue in her new glasses

Photo © 2011 Todd Mecklem

I also got prescription sunglasses. These fun frames were on the sale shelf hidden in the back. I love the color and the design. They’re made in the U.S. but the brand is called ooh-la-la de Paris. Now I just need a sunny day to try them out.

Sue in her new sunglasses

Photo © 2011 Todd Mecklem

Portland’s Peculiarium

Todd Mecklem agreed to write a guest blog post about Portland’s newest tourist attraction. I promised zombies, and here they are! You might notice a recurring visitor in the photos – thanks for posing, Kyle!

Kyle at the Peculiarium, Portland, Oregon

©2011 Todd Mecklem. A visitor at the Peculiarium.

Smiling face at the Peculiarium, Portland, Oregon

© 2011 Todd Mecklem. A dreamy smile greets you.

In the ongoing struggle to Keep Portland Weird, a major victory has been won. A destination called the Peculiarium has opened on NW Thurman, near where 23rd (AKA “Trendy-third”) begins to surrender to the industrial area on its north end.

Kyle at the Peculiarium, Portland, Oregon

© 2011 Todd Mecklem. In the green room.

Part museum, part snack bar, part gift shop, part art gallery, the Peculiarium offers something for everyone who thinks that Pop Rocks and dried insects have their place in a balanced diet. Order a hot dog, odd pastries, or a bug-covered ice cream sundae! Pose for photos as the screaming victim of an alien autopsy! Puzzle over the mystery of a “rotary dial telephone” on display!

Kyle gets autopsied at the Peculiarium, Portland, Oregon

© 2011 Todd Mecklem. A visitor gets autopsied.

Head in a cage at the Peculiarium, Portland, Oregon

© 2011 Todd Mecklem. Despite all my rage I'm still just a head in a cage.

There’s no real danger here, unless someone knocks the life-size stuffed Sasquatch over on you. But with the Peculiarium filling the odd-shaped hole in the city of Portland left when the Velveteria velvet painting museum left town, this will quickly become one of the must-see attractions in the city. (Frankly it’s much more fun than that crowded, trendy doughnut shop downtown.)

And if you want to do some Halloween shopping, here’s the place to spend your hard-earned cash. We want this place to stay around for a long time.

The Peculiarium, 2234 NW Thurman St., Portland, Oregon. 503-227-3164. Hours: 10 AM-6 PM every day.

Riyadh’s Lebanese Restaurant

My husband, son, and I ate a great meal at Riyadh’s Lebanese Restaurant last weekend. The food was wonderful. We ordered a large mezze plate and a couple of chicken skewers. Everything was top notch. The pita bread was soft and warm, and there was plenty of it to dip into the smoky baba ganoush and garlicky hummus. The tabbouleh was more parsley than bulghur, which I like. The spinach pie was good, and the falafel was crunchy but not greasy. The chicken was nicely grilled. It was the perfect filling but healthful meal to fortify us for our adventures the rest of the day.

Riyadh’s is a family owned restaurant on lower Hawthorne. I’m always surprised it’s not more crowded but it’s nice there’s never a wait.

Lebanese feast at Riyadh's. Photo by Todd Mecklem

Awaiting our lunch! Photo by Todd Mecklem