Wednesday, December 09, 2009


When I was hanging my exhibit at the Boston French Library with galerie directrice Noémie.

I had to get under the ladder MANY times to hold the tape straight, while Noémie placed the pictures. An anathema for me. I'm superstitious from childhood. I have my father to thank. I'd sooner walk into oncoming traffic than under a ladder.

Quite a few of you suggested I visit Le Pere Lachaise.
Are you kidding? My father insisted anytime we passed a cemetery, funeral or hearse we had to spit 3 times (figuratively of course).  I still do it.

A PBers sent me this photo of a black cat in Le Pere Lachaise cemetery!

If my dad saw a black cat crossing the road.

He would turn the car around. No questions asked.

Whenever the family went off on a trip.

We had to repeat this travel incantation before my father would start the car:
'We're off in a cloud of dust,
In fact we've already left'.

I never go to Paris or anywhere without saying this. Once I tried to explain to a French woman in Provence that we could not go to Cezanne's Mont Sainte Victoire without saying the travel incantation.
Nous allons depart au nuage de bla bla
En effect nous allons deja depart bla bla.

But there are inconsistencies.

Superstitious as I am, the night of the Boston opening, I broke a small cosmetic mirrors. What of that?

I lived on 13th street for years in the village without a hitch. And the 13th floor several times. Go figure. 
Are you superstitious? Do tell all!

Very superstitious,
Writing's on the wall,
Very superstitious,
Ladders bout' to fall,
Thirteen month old baby,
Broke the lookin' glass
Seven years of bad luck,
The good things in your past
When you believe in things
That you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain't the way



  1. Very good post Carol!
    I'm not superstitious but...I like to heard about superstition(s)and I respect them.
    We had a black cat for 9 years and he was a very sweet cat!
    And I really love Père Lachaise! Do you want to go there next time? We can repeat an hour before lots of incantations.

  2. Bill Ternay8:56 AM

    First of all, Carol.
    A big thank you for laying Stevie on me on this gray, rainy Philly morning. A bulb just blew, and with it, all the lights n my studio.
    I went to my basement and heard the sound of a waterfall; water rushing from a burst pipe. Curses!
    Bad luck all around? Or the bulb sending me a message (good thing)to
    find the real problem, in my basement? Not so sure about good or bad luck.
    But serendipity; that I believe in.
    Fun post, as always.

  3. what a wonDerfully fun posting!


    i do love this though--->
    Père Lachaise...
    must Always
    pop round to see Oscar Wilde.

    {{ i knocked 3 times on wood
    for your good*fortune
    before i left this message }}

  4. Oh how could I forget about knocking 3 times on wood!!!
    on head..

  5. Not suerstitious because of Spinoza, Schopenhauer, Nietszche and maybe because I'm frenshy !

    Misha A+++

  6. are you kidding?
    The french are NOT superstitious!
    Then try toasting with a glass of water?
    Who isn't superstitious?

  7. We're off in a cloud of dust,
    In fact we've already left.

    -> Nous partons dans un nuage de poussière, en fait, nous sommes déjà partis !


  8. What a cute post! I love your blog! I am superstitious as well and I would suppose I have my Irish roots to blame for that. We believe in everything, including leprechauns!
    A wonderful day to you,

  9. Beautifully illustrated, written, and quirky as ever! Thank you. No, I am not superstitious, but I sure love your posts, even checked out your father for the back story...!

  10. Hi Carol, I"m very superstitious. I can't talk about how well my kids are doing without knocking wood. I'll even use paper if wood isn't around because paper is made from wood. Since I wrote that I have to do it right now! Three times for three kids. Knock knock knock

  11. a little hit of the funk first thing can only be a good omen YAY stevie!

    i dont know if im truly superstitious,( even tho im irish too ) but i pay attention !

    great post!

  12. huh... i was just thinking about a toast when my glass is empty... how i scramble to pour out of someone elses glass , a bit in mine, so i dont miss the toast !

    ok i guess i am

  13. Just want to say your recent photos make me want to run out and have breakfeast at Laduree.
    I havent been to Paris since spring, and you make me feel as if i have,

  14. Anonymous10:55 AM

    What a lovely venue for a show. I was in Boston just prior and was lamenting that I missed it!

    Also thank you for the daily inspiration. I have been playing with the idea of doing a French Patisserie style design collection and reading your posts during this process has been pure joy!

    Merci! ~ Catherine

  15. Jennifer M-S10:57 AM

    I soooo love the cat tetsubin. I have been trying to find something similar in the U.S. but no luck. I will have to add it to my Paris shopping list!

  16. No superstitions, but I like Stevie Wonder...ahem.
    xx, p

  17. I'm not particularly superstitious, but I've been known to knock on wood now and again. I do love the song.

  18. Regarding the translation of the incantation.
    I would posit

    "On est parti..."

  19. Excellent Carol!!!

    je suis superstitieuse....



  20. Carol -- I hadn't been to "Paris Breakfasts" in days and was starting to have withdrawals. Now I'm fine again. Thanks for this post! :-) Eclectic in all the right ways.
    À bientôt!

  21. Too funny. I'm not particularly superstitious, but I love your dad's travel incantation. I'll have to remember that one. Did he make it up? or is it from something? sweet.

  22. I love the tribute to your dad, your life makes me envious :)

  23. I am not but maybe I should be?! My mother always had my children hold their breath driving bye a cemetery. They still do to this day as well. Love this post Carol, such fun.


  24. I can’t pass a dropped penny without picking it up and making a wish. Then it must either be placed in one’s shoe or given away.

    “See a penny, pick it up” – I can’t remember the rest of the rhyme.

  25. How interesting about your dad.
    I still hate to step on cracks in the sidewalk.

  26. I never walk under ladders either. Or look at the full moon through a window.
    When I spill salt I always pick it up and toss it over my left shoulder, to cancel out the bad luck, I know it's crazy but I do it!
    "See a coin and pick it up, all the day you'll have good luck."

  27. Whoa, it's that plastic chickee again. Btw, I'm not so superstitious :)

  28. Anabel7:04 AM

    thanks especially for the piece about papa.
    I cracked up because many of these loony practices were passed on to me! I still say the same incantation before the plane starts, and I spit at the sight of a hearse for many years.

  29. Bonjour! Im Mohammed from Riyadh, KSA and I've been following your blog since looooooooong time just when it came to my ind finally now that I should write something back.. what you're doing is GREAT and AMAZING, keep it going!
    you really inspired me to visit Paris this holiday season "I've been to it several times before" with my newly married lovely wife! we, as Muslims, dont celebrate Christmas or the New Year but you pushed me to come to Paris along with the great movie " Something gotta give" !! REALLY!
    God bless you

  30. I was born on a Friday the 13th! So far so good! How can I possibly be superstitious with that introduction to this life?

  31. As for living on 13th in the village...some things are worth risking everything for!

  32. You are one brave woman, creating this beautiful post!

    I once had an assistant, a Neapolitan woman, she was so superstitious, she started screaming every time I got near the ladder that run along the bookshelves of my office. She had all sorts of rules, I also remember something about a bad eye, fortunately I forgot what that was all about!

    I feel quite lucky here in V., chimney sweeps are supposed to bring luck, and I encounter them regularly. Have you ever met any in Paris? There must be chimneys to sweep there too.

  33. We're off in a cloud of dust,
    In fact we've already left.

    Nous partons dans un nuage de poussier
    (Nous partons entouré par un nuage de possier) - this sounds better to me in French- "We are departing surrounded by a cloud of dust".
    En fait, nous sômmes déjà parti!

    We are leaving (departing) in a cloud of dust -
    In fact, we already left.

    I am not sure what the meaning is in English,
    I have never heard this expression before...
    Does it mean that we are leaving so fast that
    the dust engulfs us?
    and that because we left so quickly, we are already
    Oh well...


Love hearing from you