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Happy Halloween. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Pumpkin Patch...

I got lost on the way to the pumpkin patch in Paris this weekend and so much happened!

Bright and early, Saturday morning, my caregivers put Humpty Dumpty (me) together in a cute little outfit, brushed my hair into a nice little bun, plopped me in my wheelchair and tucked a petite cashmere hot water bottle underneath my cashmere lap blanket and rolled me out to the elevator where my husband was impatiently waiting for me. My husband hates putting me in the elevator because it is teeny tiny and he is gigantic and my wheelchair is obnoxious. I always laugh as he rolls his eyes at me every single time we are in the elevator because I know that he is still mad that I told him before we rented this apartment that the elevator was huge. It was a total lie but I really wanted this apartment. He signed the lease before he ever saw the apartment in person and the first day we moved in, he saw the size of the elevator and almost shot me in the face. The elevator is so small it will not fit a fat person with groceries, let alone two adults and a wheelchair. So after a lot of huffing and puffing and swearing at each other, we managed to descend the three floors to the lobby. And guess what! The French vanishing neighbors were there!

 I literally could not get my words out fast enough telling David in a rapidfire procession to ask them ( in French) every question I could think of… “Ask them where they have been. Ask them if they are feeling okay. Tell them I was worried about them. Ask them why they left for so long. Tell them I’m so happy they’re not dead.”

I finally got all the answers! Here’s the scoop… They leave Paris every year in the spring to go to their country house. And by country house, I mean their château in Provence. Lucky ducks. They spend all of spring and summer with their family there. They said they are feeling okay, just getting older and thanked me for all of my concern. They patted me on the head and on my hands and always say, “Bon courage.” And then the funniest thing happened… David accidentally ran over Madame Neighbor’s little old lady foot with my wheelchair! It took everything inside of me not to burst out laughing. It was so awful and so typical of my husband because he’s the worst wheelchair driver in France. We apologized profusely as they hobbled up the stairs and off we went like assholes into the beautiful autumn weather of Paris.

 Just outside of our apartment is always our neighborhood homeless gentleman. He is an artist and as polite as all get go. He always says to me, “ Que Dieu vous bénisse (God bless you).”

We took a new sidestreet and lo and behold, what do I see? The grand opening of a Japanese grocery store. It was jampacked with Japanese people filling their baskets as fast as they could, like there was going to be a tornado or a riot and they had better stock up. We fought our way through the aisles and discovered mecca. It was like a Japanese Gelson’s! Sesame oils, Japanese vinaigrette, fresh ahi tuna, miso paste, gyozas, fresh lemongrass, gourmet saki, frozen mochi desserts, an entire row of green tea, an entire row of different types of soy sauce, enokitake mushrooms… Pure heaven! We found that but still had not made it to the pumpkin patch.

 Continuing on, we ventured into our local Monoprix which is basically the French version of Target, but with the grocery store included. You can buy cashmere sweaters (which I did), chic pajamas (which I did), makeup, chocolates, laundry detergent, and everything for the American chili dinner we had decided to make in honor of the fall day. There is no such thing as orange cheddar cheese or sour cream in France so we had to substitute that with gourmet white cheddar and crème fraîche. Life doesn’t suck in Paris. We found all of that but still had not made it to the pumpkin patch.

Since the weather was so beautiful and I was so cozy, we decided to keep walking before we went to the pumpkin patch. And as luck would have it, the most delectable macaroon shop, Pierre Hermé was open on a weekend! I know this might be sacrilegious to say in Paris, but I hate macaroons. They are just not my thing so I head straight to the chocolate section. My husband knows how happy chocolates make me so he lets me choose any and every chocolate that I want… So I did. Chocolates with blackcurrant, chocolates with three different types of vanilla, chocolates with toasted sesame seeds, chocolates with green tea, chocolates with raspberry… Pure heaven. We found that but still have not made it to the pumpkin patch.

So here we are, the weekend is over, and I still do not have a freaking pumpkin. All I want is one pumpkin that I can carve with a loathing Parisian smirk on its face, put a beret on its head and a cigarette in its mouth because we are in France, for God’s sake. No such luck for me… but for you, I have compiled a rather chic collection of pumpkins for inspiration because I’m sure you have readily available, readily accessible pumpkins. I will have to wait until I move back to America to get a pumpkin, evidently, but take a look at these in the meantime…



If you would like some more inspiration, check out my Pinterest Halloween pumpkin board HERE.
*Something you don’t know about me? My daughter is the sweetest, kindest, most polite, demure young lady to everyone in the entire world…Except me. Here’s a sampling of some of the things my delightful daughter said to me this week: “Do you have to narrate your entire life to me?” “Do you ever run out of words to say?” “Your emails to me are excessive.” “Don’t wear hightops. You’re an adult.” “If you pass away, I don’t want all of your stuff. Just certain things.” “Can you get cosmetic surgery even though you have ALS because you need an eye lift.” “I don’t need your advice because I already know everything, but can I have two euros for the Metro and can you buy me a blender because I want to make smoothies.”

 It is not lost on me that Gracie behaves this way towards me because she knows she can, she feels comfortable and I usually don’t do anything about it. But I decided there is something I can do about it… Gracie now has a boyfriend, so all bets are off because I know she would be mortified if I ever, ever said anything or did anything to embarrass her. Gracie and her boyfriend are coming over for dinner this week and I think I will start by showing her French boyfriend a picture of Gracie when she was four years old, dressed up as her life-size Barbie and I will conclude with the photo of her with her purple braces. And just in case that isn't working, next up will be the picture of Gracie when she cut all of her bangs off. Gracie doesn’t need therapy, she needs humiliation. I’m such a good mother.


  1. So perfect! I wish I could be a fly on the wall when you start 'Project Humiliation'.

    We have a pumpkin patch - complete with heirlooms - just a short ways away but we still have not bought our pumpkin/pumpkins.

  2. I knew that you would solve the mystery of the absent neighbors and that they would appreciate your concern. Your shopping trip sounded so interesting, as always, and you have posted some of the greatest pumpkins I have ever seen. You have a wicked sense of humor and I love it!

  3. What a fun day! Glad to know the neighbors are well too.

  4. I absolutely love reading your blog. I too am very curious and would have stalked the neighbours. My husband is British as equally as horrified with our American ways. Although I find your design likes to be very simplistic and European. Love, love, love your post on why you don't want a Birkin. :)

    I just call it direct and curious. BTW, I love hearing about the relationship with your daughter. I bet she adores you as equally as you adore her.

  5. I am so so happy about the neighbors! Note to self; it is bad bad bad to laugh at run over little lady foot, but i cant help it, so funny. Note to you Elenore please be gentle with Grace, i had i mother with all the humiliating photos, and sometimes when i open my mouth, my mothercomes out, hotrrible. Thanks allot for todays post, Lovely as Always. I have no need to be Anonymous, but its the one that works here for me. Rgrds Line

  6. Thank you for my morning not smile but laugh, I literally laughed out loud thinking of your husband running over your neighbors foot with the wheelchair! I can't wait to hear all about dinner with Gracie and the boyfriend, humiliation sounds about right :)

  7. I have a friend (male) who is terrified of mice, and over the years I've played numerous pranks on him involving mice - I'll definitely be sending the mouse pumpkin photo to him for Halloween.
    How did you learn the neighbors country house is a CHATEAU?? More details, please!

  8. What a delightful post about your day. I enjoyed accompanying you and yours on it.

  9. It is truly amazing what a flanneur in Paris will bring -- but no pumpkins.

    I agree about being gentle with Grace. Part of her anger with you, I suspect, is that you have ALS. Of course, not your fault, but she may be angry because you are not going to be with her for the long haul. I also agree that you are "safe". One of my proudest moments as a mother was when my daughter would say, "I hate you mom." I knew that she knew that I would not be angry -- she was angry, but she felt safe enough with me to express it. All good . . .

  10. Now, do you think ALL your READERS will know what GELSON"S IS???I DO!!!!
    How FABULOUS to have that close to home...........
    AS far as the vanishing neighbors and CSI PARIS............BRAVO!!!!You cracked the CASE in less then a week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Oh, GOSH......I brought that BIG box of MACAROONS!!!!!! I hope the CAREGIVERS like them??I too prefer chocolates just to CLEAR THE AIR!Plus, I was told there is a better spot then LAUDEREE ......and this MUST be IT!
    As for the daughter............OH< I can so RELATE!I was chatting with the youngest SON via the phone the other day saying when will you stop by don't you MISS ME??His response.......cut me to the CORE........"MOTHER what am I suppose to MISS?"I haven't exactly POPPED back from that!
    I hope you make it to the pumpkin patch............if NOT I can put your idea into ACTION as I bought two FRENCH BERETs while strolling the streets of PARIS!!!!!
    MY BLOG POST IS UP ON YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Here via La Contessa... Et ravie de faire votre connaissance ! Quelle belle journée, and I have always founds chocolate to have a greater pull than macaroons (mais j'avoue que j'ai passé des années en achetant les pralines en Belgique - quel délire).

    The pumpkin with the mice is a hoot! In fact all the pumpkins are adorable and creative, each in their own way.

    D. A.

  12. LAUGH OUT LOUD!!!! David! Ha! Ha! Ha! I know that when you write, it is with tongue firmly in cheek, but it makes your stories so much better to think David can't control your wheel chair, your caregivers don't care, and that Gracie is being a brat…we know none of it is true….mostly;) Thank you once again for the best laugh of the day!xob

  13. Learned wheelchair driving with my beloved mother-in-law who was riddled with breast cancer spread to bones. Pushing her into doctor's office almost dumped her OUT. Whirling and catching her into her seat, we connected eyes and burst out laughing.

    What diabolical decorator would place terrazzo at a doorway leading to cobblestones in a doctor's building?

    Looking forward to the weekend, will read you backwards.

    Found you via the best, La Contessa.

    Garden & Be Well, XOTara

  14. Hi came over from Elizabeth, La Contessa who is a URL and IRL friend.
    Love this post - My kind of parenting style.
    kids have no filter when it comes to their Mums. Cy said to me the other day: please don't smile, your neckbones are too scary.
    My eldest just says; You're crazy, everyone thinks so. I can name 20 people who think you're crazy. He then drifts out because he's terminally lazy and could not be bothered thinking up 20 names.

  15. You are hilarious. I wish Gracie thought so too.

  16. Leslie in Portland, OregonOctober 14, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    I hope you get to the pumpkin patch anyway, Ellie. Your stories about what happened on the way are wonderful! I'm a fairly new subscriber, relishing the fullness of your blog and trying to resist the urge to forgo my work in order to explore your archives.

  17. Hello Ellie,
    Have come to say hello via my pen pal La Contessa.
    Your blog is just beautiful.
    Thank you

  18. OMG you are truly delightful, love your post xxx

  19. Ah ha! You were right about the chateau, or is it in someone just ran over my chatoe with a wheelchair :) * something about me? I love watching Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. This week she interviewed author Elizabeth Gilbert and at one point asked her, "What advice would you give your younger self?" Elizabeth replied, "There's absolutely no advice I could have given my younger self that I would have listened to when I was younger." :) Sound familiar? Don't tell Gracie, but all those "narrations" and "excessive emails" you're burdening her with are actually making her a better writer...just like her Mom! Ugh?

  20. Hi Hi, wonderful Contessa shared your blog and here I am! Oh, I love it so much! I just adore how you share so much from your heart, so authentic, so down to earth, and colorful~ and for me funny too! I love funny fun souls! I have read every month & learned much about wonderful other choices in parfum, love lemons too and my little lemon trees are a must! (i have had out of the blue panic attacks, at least I think that is what they are), and your wonderful heart keeping things in perspective out here. I live across the pond in Florida ! Being a October baby I just love your pumpkin shares of autumn. With love to you too Ellie, I'll visit often! And I too love design! What a wonderful conterie of women out here! xo

  21. Hi Ellie...I've popped across to introduce myself after reading about you via Elizabeth @ Vintage Hen House...and now I know you're a cashmere lover too ;)
    Daughters, eh? You can always rely on them to tell you the truth ;)
    Look forward to reading more of your posts..and by the way love the black pumpkin!

  22. Allez-hop! Delighted to have found you to HRH La Contessa and slightly jealous that she didn't take the TGV down to meet me. Am signing up and sending my Best to you from down Yee Olde Provence Way,

  23. Just discovered you through The Contessa.Just disovered her also. Now I need to go back and read all your posts. I'm already following you on Pinterest. Looking forward to more delights from you.

  24. Hi Ellie, I found you via La Contessa...she told me this past weekend how very much she enjoyed seeing you and now I understand why! I can't wait to read more of your blog, your writing style is so fab. Can't wait to hear how the picture show and tell goes.
    xo Mary Jo

  25. Omg you are hilarious!!!
    What a fabulous sense of humor....
    Just found you and look forward to having a daily dose of you in my life!!!
    Thank you :)

  26. Waving at you from hot and draughty California. Just stumbled in from Lost in Arles blog. I am so glad Heather told us about your blog. I have a daughter, too. She is 24 and we are the best of friends now but whilst she was growing up there were many days I wasn't so sure the both of us were going to survive. I love your descriptions of Paris...never been but I hope to someday.

  27. I love your blog. Your writing style and humor is wonderful and I am so glad that I found you. A chateau in Provence sounds great. Or is it a cat on your foot?

    In 2 weeks my husband and I return to our old - 300 years old, farm house in Provence, complete with tractor.
    And children are great. I don't know how old your daughter is but when my children were growing into being teens, I read this and found it to be comforting. When your children are little, they are like puppies, so very happy to be with you. Then they become adolescents and they turn into cats. They do what they want when they want. But eventually they grow out of that stage and once again become wonderful dogs who love and respect you.

  28. Haha! You ARE a good mother. More mothers should embarrass their children...teaches them character. That's my excuse, anyway. As for pumpkins in you have a few days where we could sit down and discuss this? It's a long story, but I live here, too, in France Profonde, and because I am a Halloween addict ( only the tasteful decorations, of course, especially jack-o-lanterns) I have managed to find a pumpkin for carving -the field type we're used to in the States- each year so far. The hunt is on this year, again. Anyway, thank you for your beautiful and completely correct taste in Halloween decor and I look forward to continuing to read your blog. Heather sent me.

  29. Thanks for sharing, that was interesting!