Alysa Salzberg

Alysa Salzberg
Paris, France
December 31
Writer, copy editor, translator, travel planner. Head servant to my cat.
A reader, a writer, a fingernail biter, a cat person, a traveller, a cookie inhaler, an immigrant, a dreamer. …And now, self-employed! If you like my blog and if you're looking for sparkling writing, painstaking proofreading, nimble French-English translation, or personalized travel planning, feel free to check out


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Fireworks the colors of the French flag over the Pont de l'Alma (Alma Bridge), Paris. 

Every year since coming to live permanently in Paris, I’ve seen the Bastille Day fireworks from different places -- staring up from the crowded Champ de Mars, gazing at them from the Pont B… Read full post »

I’ve got a confession to make: Although I wish the boyfriend didn’t have to get a wisdom tooth removed in a couple of weeks, I sighed in momentary relief when I realized it meant we wouldn’t have to house one of his friends who’ll be passing through Paris that day.… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 25, 2013 9:25AM

Fun in the pet food aisle


I collect a lot of things.  But my newest collection is kind of odd.  And it delights me every day.

It all started a few months ago.  In our local grocery store, a bag of cat food caught my eye.  It wasn’t a flashy design or shiny wrapping, but… Read full post »

JUNE 21, 2013 6:12AM

Quick - post something!

Okay, so this morning I had some free time and got onto OS to catch up on some reading.  Usually, this is a fun thing to do.  But today, it was terrifying.  Jmac and anna1liese have posted about a strange and scary phenomenon going on here: Apparently, people's OS accoun… Read full post »

JUNE 17, 2013 10:05AM

Useful pain


Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you.

- Ovid 


“It’s not fair,” my brother complained half-jokingly one night on our trip to Italy.  “You’ll always spend less money than us!”  He wasn’t talking about my bud… Read full post »

JUNE 4, 2013 9:49AM

Whale Watching in Paris



One of the reasons I love living in Paris is that I can find just about anything I want here. But one thing I, a whale fanatic and would-be marine biologist, thought I couldn’t find was a way to see whales.

There are whale skeletons in the Muséum de… Read full post »

MAY 30, 2013 1:59AM

France's first gay marriage

Yesterday in Montpellier at 6pm (12pm EST), something amazing happened.

Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau became the first gay couple in France to marry.

It hasn't been easy.  Even now, a large percentage of France's population is still against gay marriage and adoption, which were officiallyRead full post »

MAY 21, 2013 11:29AM

An Update on OSer Ingrid Ricks

The last time OSer Ingrid Ricks posted something here, it was about Sharon Rosen, a woman going through a health struggle.  Ingrid herself is going through one: retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative eye disease she’s been battling for about a decade.  Last fall, she publRead full post »

MAY 15, 2013 3:29PM

Museum Musings


The statue was magical.  Staring at it, I forgot how ancient it was – it transcended time, it was a spirit, an elf, a monster.  


This striking ancient sculpture was just about the only memorable thing in what was supposed to be one of the greatest museums in… Read full post »

MAY 4, 2013 12:10PM

Open Call: Pet Talk

For most of us, our domestic animal pals are among the living beings we interact with on a daily basis.  Maybe it's the fact that it's been a quiet afternoon, with unusually little traffic outside. Maybe it's the fact that nobody's here but me and Ali - the boyfriend went to… Read full post »

APRIL 25, 2013 12:00PM

Becoming a ".com"

The internet started to be widely used when I was a teenager. I have fond memories of chat rooms and talking to friends on AOL instant messenger, and being so excited to find websites about things I was interested in just by typing something into the computer.  

One ofRead full post »

APRIL 21, 2013 2:04PM

Artful Covers

About a week ago, OSer and all-around-great-guy Cranky Cuss posted his answers to the New York Times Sunday Book Review’s By the Book author question-and-answer section.  I really enjoyed reading his views on reading and writing.   Two things in particular stood out forRead full post »

APRIL 15, 2013 11:19AM

American in Europe


I’ll admit it -- in addition to safe and wonderful travels, there was something else I was hoping for during my brother and his fiancée’s trip to Europe: that they’d fall in love with one of the cities we were visiting, and decide to stay.

One of the hardestRead full post »

For the past three weeks, I’ve been traveling with my brother and his fiancée in Italy, Amsterdam, and Brussels.  Late last week, we returned to Paris, where we did local sightseeing and a lot of bonding.  They left yesterday, and it’s been so strange to not have them herRead full post »

MARCH 18, 2013 8:04PM

My March Madness

I’m not a basketball fan, and this post isn’t about basketball.  Instead, it’s about the strange connection I have with a particular term in the basketball world: March Madness.

A few years ago, I told my friend Caddie I was sorry I hadn’t been in touch much lately. &nbsRead full post »

MARCH 10, 2013 8:00PM

Discovering the pomegranate

I saw a picture of a pomegranate in a book

and asked my mother

to bring one home.


sliced into that lovely skin the color of sunsets,

revealing not the soft flesh-like pulp I’d imagined,

but hard seeds

in liquid thatRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 3, 2013 5:04PM

The Leap

It took me a really long time to learn to walk.  That’s the way I’ve been about most big developments in life; I rarely just decide to do something on the spur of the moment. Instead, I hesitate, analyze, worry over what could go wrong.  Baby me probably didn’t want toRead full post »

FEBRUARY 23, 2013 6:55PM

I'm back...with some vomit to share....

It seems like the last time I posted here was ages ago, but it was actually this past Wednesday.  I think it's more about being out of touch with the rest of you guys. I love coming here and reading your posts and commenting and exchanging PM's, and I haven't been… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 20, 2013 2:08PM

Beguiled a seventh time



A lot of people say that February is a difficult month.  It's cold and dreary (at least if you're in the northern hemisphere), and there are no major holidays for a while.  Not to give short shrift to Groundhog Day, which I find delightful and which has provided me… Read full post »

Well, it's been a tough week and a half around here.  So tough that I've actually gotten kind of mean.  So tough, that I'm glad the boyfriend is off to a family reunion this weekend and I get some time to just curl up into myself and not have anyone to… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 7, 2013 12:37PM

The Craigslist paradox

I take a breath.  How am I going to write this email without seeming overly upset?

After a few minutes, I begin:

Hi guys, 

I just want to thank you all, on behalf of myself and my brother (and Hermes) for all your help in spreading the wordRead full post »

JANUARY 31, 2013 9:21AM

She comes to me

At times like this, she comes to me,

the woman I could have been.

Somehow I know her only big question

would be about loneliness. 

While I have so many,

like belongings in a cheap, messy bag

I know she wouldn’t have,

like longish hairs onRead full post »

JANUARY 20, 2013 3:47PM

Left behind


When my brother Jason* left for film school, the usual things stayed back home: knick-knacks, books, papers, and photos accumulated over eighteen years of life.  Action figures and the occasional stuffed animal sat staring out windows, watching the year change for the first time without mRead full post »

JANUARY 17, 2013 9:07AM

Anti-gay Paris?


“So, I guess you weren’t at the protest this weekend,” my mother says over the phone.  “I couldn’t believe it,” she goes on.  “One of the people I work with told me there was a big protest march against gay marriage in Paris, and I thought, PRead full post »

JANUARY 14, 2013 4:40PM

Traveling with my family

It seems inevitable: Before any trip I take -- usually a few weeks or a few months before -– I have a moment where I suddenly get a panicked feeling.  “How am I going to do this?” I ask myself. 

How am I going to do this?, I thought when IRead full post »