Sending my love and hugs from Paris!
Plans for our own celebration this year are a little different, but definitely more meaningful to us. Dr. B had a special request for dinner.
No, we aren't making reservations at some fancy-shmancy 4-star restaurant. We're not taking a cruise on a Bateau Mouche down the Seine. There won't be any 5-course picnics beneath the Eiffel Tower.
He wanted Sloppy Joes at home.
Our care package from the best sister-in-law in the world included a package of McCormick/Schilling Sloppy Joe seasoning, which is our favorite, and Dr. B said he'd rather have BBQ's and corn chips for dinner than the finest steak money could buy.
Isn't he just the cutest?
For his valentine surprise (which he kind of already knows about) I sought out a new experience. I took the 27 bus into the 6th arrondissement, and walked to the San Francisco Book Shop at 17Rue de Monsieur le Prince. It's a second-hand book store that only stocks books en Englais. During the time I was in there, at least 3 people came in asking for French books. The clerk, a young American guy (with limited French) struggled to figure out what they were really asking for before informing them that no, they didn't have any books in French. And no, they don't have any French translations of books that used to be in English. An English woman came in looking for a certain book, and asked if it would be stocked "back here where all the used books are." He answered, "They're all used books. This is a used book shop." I think he gets tired of saying that all day!
Many of you have probably heard of the famous Shakespeare and Co., the well-known Parisian English book store right next to the Seine. I've been there a few times, but honestly haven't been impressed with their selection. I did buy a book there once, a brand new one (because they stock some new things, too, but at full price) and from the attitude of the clerk, my guess was that most people buy books there just to say they bought it there. They have a stamp they will stamp the book with, if you want. The SF book shop was quite different. The shelves were loaded double-deep with books, and there were stacks waist-high all over the floor. It was organized about as best as it could be, for a tiny little shop with books stacked to the ceiling. There were books of every type you could think of (including cook books, pulp fiction, children's books, sheet music, DVD's and bandes-désinées (comics). Jazz was playing over the clerk's Macintosh (KPLU from the Public section of iTunes Radio), and the door kept jingling with new people entering the shop. It is obviously a popular place, though not well-known outside of Paris.
I was able to find three books for Dr. B for Valentine's Day, in a matter of just a few minutes. Their selection was very good, and the prices were very reasonable. The clerk made a recommendation, and then asked me to let him know what I thought of it after I'd read it. He is apparently quite used to people becoming regulars, once they've found it.
I'm glad I found it. And I plan to become one of those regulars.