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


Alysa Salzberg's Links

OCTOBER 9, 2012 11:58AM

Kicked while I'm down...and pantless


As you can imagine, Irritable Bowel Syndrome makes a lot of things difficult, from food choices and eating in restaurants, to getting to and from work, or, in extreme cases, even getting up the courage to leave the house.   But there are also so many little things that become… Read full post »

OCTOBER 7, 2012 9:09AM

My last meal (Firechick's OC)

The "last meal" is the kind of thing most of us have probably thought about at one time or another, perhaps while watching some prison drama or cooking show – or while enjoying some bliss-inducing, excellent food.

The thing is, I personally find myself getting too caught up in theRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 30, 2012 8:35AM

New Acquisitions

The people lingering in the garish hallways of the Drouot auction house seem suddenly to move faster as the time arrives. Middle-aged men in plaid shirts and sagging khakis, old women falling into ruin, stand -- or, if they can, sit -- just outside the door of Salle 14.

I… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 25, 2012 5:28AM

Names and Faces


This weekend, I tried to end something that’s been nagging at me for a while.  A small worry, a lingering regret.  A few years ago, I bought a 1920's-era photograph from an old woman at a neighborhood-wide garage sale.  The woman told me that the person in the picture was… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 18, 2012 7:56AM

Tiger Moms


One day many years ago, my mother took my sister and me to the veterinary clinic where she was working.  Though she often let us visit her workplace (cats with tiny anesthesia masks on, kenneled dogs crazily barking, and the odor of benedyne pepper my childhood memories), this time was… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 13, 2012 9:39AM

Closet fatigue

Over the past few days, the boyfriend has single-handedly built a wall-to-wall sliding-door storage closet in our living room. Banned from the construction site because of my clumsiness (and rightly so; yesterday, for example, while carrying my computer, I somehow slipped on our non-slippery floor, cRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 9, 2012 5:02AM

The Fourteenth Lion



“You can insist all you like.  I won’t do it.”

“Claude, I really need you to be in this photograph.  It’s a way to promote the act – and if we don’t promote the act, we could risk losing our place here.”

“There are enoughRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 1, 2012 8:23AM

Could you be an illegal immigrant?


A response to Beth Mann’s post, “My Secret Republican Side”.


It’s hard to see completely clearly within yourself, but I know that most of the major decisions I’ve made in my life point to love being what motivates me.  Which made it sort of funnRead full post »

AUGUST 26, 2012 1:31PM

A photographic trip around Paris


Recently, I came across some pictures I've taken of various places around Paris over the past year or so.  Voulez-vous take a little photographic trip avec moi

If you do, let’s head down to the Metro, and check out a map to see how to get to where we’re headedRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 20, 2012 2:42PM

The un-air-conditioned nightmare




Our cat Ali tries his best to beat the heat.


 With some exceptions, including most office buildings, museums, and movie theaters, a majority of French interiors are sans air-conditioning.

When it comes to modern conveniences, the French often seem to be behindRead full post »

August 16 is the anniversary of the boyfriend and I first moving in together.  Somehow, I realized this morning, I’d attributed the date to my OS blogoversary, which is actually August 14.

I guess it’s not so surprising; in many ways, like our apartment, OS has become a home forRead full post »



As many of us know, there has been a sudden upswing in blatant anti-Semitism here on OS.  Generally when people make hateful remarks, especially on a site like this, where most members seem to be open-minded, tolerant people, to say the least, I try notRead full post »

Comments are now closed for this post.
Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 10, 2012 11:47AM

Are all lives equal?


Nearly two decades after their rough divorce, my parents still don’t exactly get along very well, to put it mildly.  One of my father’s constant criticisms of my mother is, “She likes animals more than people.”  Seeing that he was forced to live with at leastRead full post »


 When Lea Lane told me she was going to be in Paris in early August and wanted to get together, I was excited.  But I have to admit, once the initial excitement died down, I also felt a little nervous.  Lea, after all, is a world-traveller who seems to have done it… Read full post »

AUGUST 5, 2012 3:15PM

Rough to the touch


Dwarfed by soaring sequoias in Muir Woods 


Imagine the tree*

that I could touch

without fear

its rough



with insects,

my skin ready

for the feel

of its lines and mine


afterwardsRead full post »

JULY 30, 2012 8:24AM

The Word and the Wasp

There were several reasons why attending my boyfriend’s cousin Cyril’s* wedding wasn’t going to be easy.  There was the problem of getting there (like many French weddings, it was held in one of the future spouse’s native villages, far from any kind of publi… Read full post »
My first winter on OS, I posted about some of my new favorite things – that is, things I was into then, that weren’t necessarily long-time favorites and might or might not continue to be on my radar. I asked people to make a list of their own new favorites, and… Read full post »
JULY 19, 2012 12:06PM

A Culinary Quest in Siena

It’s strange the things you remember about a place.

I first visited Siena almost exactly twelve years ago from today.  While my tour group and I probably spent more than 24 hours there, my recollections of the city are fleeting – yet surprisingly… Read full post »
JULY 17, 2012 12:51PM

My home

My home 
Unbeknownst to anyone, dreams were all my mother understood.
Inside her, they were what nourished me.
My truest home
was where dreams were strongest:
books and movies, paper dolls and Barbie,
the thousand untold stories of hotel rooms.

In Paris,
that’s… Read full post »
JULY 15, 2012 7:28AM

A difficult love

villa view 
I spent last week in the countryside with my extended family, doing something as close to camping as it will ever get for us.

And it’s not really close to camping at all: vacationing in a rented Tuscan villa lost in the mountains about… Read full post »
JULY 6, 2012 12:16PM

Cat social calls

It's amazing to me and the boyfriend, but not everyone wants to have our cat Ali stay at their house.  Not even if he's looked at them like this:
And so, whenever we leave on vacation for more than a day or two (in which… Read full post »
In an early scene in the movie The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe, played by John Cusack (more on that later…) bets that at least one patron in a Baltimore tavern will know how to finish a line of his poetry.  The fact that the person who/… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
JUNE 29, 2012 1:36PM

Repost: The Hardest "Easy" Thing I've Had to Do


Yesterday, Poppi Iceland's Open Call about our immigration stories got me thinking.  As I looked for posts I'd written about my ancestors' immigration to the United States, and mine to France, I came upon one that still made me feel indignant.  When I got onto OS today andRead full post »

JUNE 27, 2012 7:45AM

Friends I’ve never met

“I pretend that we are the oldest and dearest friends, as opposed to what we actually are.” 
– Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan), “You’ve Got Mail”

Lena Dunham knows me.

We’ve never talked, and I’m pretty sure she doesn… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
JUNE 24, 2012 9:02AM

Fascinating memoirs by two people you may know

two books
Recently, I’ve read two excellent autobiographical essay collections.  And they happen to be by people you very well may know….

If you’ve been on OS for even a short while, you’ve most likely encountered Linda Seccaspina.  You kn… Read full post »