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

FEBRUARY 18, 2015 8:52AM

First Word

When my mother-in-law told us that my boyfriend said his first word, “Maman” (“Mama”), when he was four months old, I was a little surprised.  I mean, babies progress at their own rhythm, and I’ve often seen that some are in very different places than Julien. Once,… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 3, 2015 9:34AM

Bright blooms and a ghost


Indian Pipes


                                                 Look, I said, Indian pipes,

                    &nRead full post »



Strange things can happen when you blog.  So I wasn’t completely shocked when, about a week ago, I saw a dream of mine in the subject heading of an email from a stranger: “Brooklyn pizza in Paris.” 

The sender, it turned out, was the very man who, unb… Read full post »

JANUARY 25, 2015 7:20PM

Charlie, hate speech, and history


"L.H.O.O.Q." by Marcel Duchamp (image source


I don’t usually write about current events.  It’s just not my bag. But as we all continue to try to unravel the Charlie Hebdo killings and issues about free speech, religion, and the consequences of certain actions,… Read full post »

Comments are now closed for this post.
JANUARY 16, 2015 4:44PM

An American half-Jew in Paris

The past week and a half has been chaotic and full of fear, both in the news, and in real life, especially if you live in Paris.  After the horrendous massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices last Wednesday, people started asking me questions about how safe I felt here, or whyRead full post »

Comments are now closed for this post.
JANUARY 7, 2015 7:03PM

Final Portrait


On the evening of October 8, we were at a Japanese steakhouse in north Jersey for my brother and his fiancée’s joint bachelor/bachelorette party.  At one point, my sister got all of us siblings, plus our committed significant others, together for a selfie.  I knew right… Read full post »

DECEMBER 17, 2014 11:37AM

As I'm singing him to sleep


Her songs seem to go well with my surprisingly deep singing voice.  Maybe that’s what (usually) calms my son Julien and makes him drift off.  But it’s rarely fast. Like me, he fights sleep. And though I understand it, putting him to bed is arduous.  One of the many p… Read full post »

DECEMBER 11, 2014 11:48AM

Confessions of a ghostwriter

Although I'm fairly young (at least, that's what people tell me), I'm not particularly into the social media star scene.  I mean, of course I know Grumpy Cat and his ilk, and the boyfriend and I do ardently follow and laugh at French YouTube comics Norman* and Cyprien**, but besides that,… Read full post »
DECEMBER 5, 2014 6:15PM

A house in the country

                   In the bathroom of a house in the country
                   I wonder, What am I more afraid of:
                   the possibility… Read full post »
NOVEMBER 25, 2014 10:04AM

Perfect thigh tattoo

On a scooter with shorts and tights, despite the cold.  Your boots match the purse perched with seeming nonchalance between your feet.  Yet despite this good-girl color coordination, a tattoo is emblazoned on your thigh.  I see it through the opaque blackness, some elaborate, retro-typ… Read full post »

Hey guys,

Life has been busy, sad, hopeful, stressful, and just basically every other adjective that means I can’t find a chunk of time to get onto OS and read and comment.  Including “took-a-break-for-a-few-days-and-went-to-in-laws’-house-but-forgot-my-tablet”. Although… Read full post »

Hey guys,

I don't get a lot of time to check out OS these days, sadly, but over the past few days when I've had a stolen moment or two, I've certainly been doing so. A couple days ago, I noticed something weird: If I typed "Open Salon" (without quotes) intoRead full post »

OCTOBER 29, 2014 7:51PM

The tapestries that almost came to life


If anyone knew what I did this afternoon, I’d tell them this was the culprit:


(image source

A few days ago, I was perusing Paris Mômes, a free magazine for parents in Paris, hoping to find an activity group Julien and I could go to, when I… Read full post »

OCTOBER 23, 2014 6:13PM

A time of goodbyes

When I found out I was pregnant, I thought there would be only one goodbye I’d have to say: to myself.  I’d vowed a long time ago that I wouldn’t have children unless I absolutely, 100% wholeheartedly wanted to.  But things didn’t turn out that way.  Julien wasn… Read full post »

Two nights ago, Julien, the boyfriend, and I went to an OS meet-up in Manhattan.  It was a wonderful experience overall. But there were a few things about it that were disappointing, too.

First, the wonderful things:

1. It happened.  As a lot of you guys know, we got some… Read full post »



When you have a cat, you’re pretty likely to hear all sorts of horror stories about how they’ll be once your baby is born.  When they found out I was pregnant, some people just said to us, “You’re getting rid of Ali, right?”


"Wha?… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 17, 2014 5:54AM

On the news of your failing health

When I heard it I tried to keep my head above water.  But two traitorous tears flowed from my eyes anyway.

This morning, it’s like a Cubist painting: I’m seeing it from your perspective and mine.  I think of your coming death and how much I love you,&nbRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 7, 2014 10:57AM

An OSer's escape

Well, it's been a while, guys.  I've had a crazy two weeks, and things now are so calm....  Julien is away at his grandparents' for a few days, and I find myself with time on my hands, time to do things I've been meaning to do.  I wanted to start withRead full post »

AUGUST 28, 2014 9:25AM

At work

I wake up with ideas about how to approach articles I've got to write, assignments I've taken on.  They float, bobbing in my mind as I play with Julien, as I give him his second morning bottle, his bath.  When he's asleep - if he's asleep - I never know howRead full post »

AUGUST 19, 2014 11:27AM

I've lost that lovin' feeling...

I've lost that lovin' feeling...

...Not when it comes to the boyfriend or Julien or life in general, luckily.  But movies, man.  Blockbuster movies.  They're not my absolute favorite genre, but sometimes there is just nothing better than a popcorn flick.  I used to go and get sRead full post »
AUGUST 7, 2014 4:59PM

The secret to taking good pet photos

Visiting animal-related websites is a dangerous business.  On the one hand, you’re bound to discover fascinating, heartwarming, and funny articles and videos.  On the other, you’ll probably come across some soul-crushing reports of cruelty and neglect.  

Still, I was brows… Read full post »

JULY 31, 2014 12:02PM


A few days ago, I got an email from one of my friends.  Towards the end, she wrote: “Can I ask you a question – and you don’t have to answer – does being a mom ever get lonely?”

A lot of my friends have been weird about my becoming… Read full post »

JULY 22, 2014 11:54AM

A new mom's impossible(?) wish list


 (image source)

A few weeks back, I started reading to Julien.  One of his favorite authors is Dr. Seuss.  Well, at least as far as the illustrations go, because although his grandparents say he's a baby genius, and I find myself totally agreeing with them, at four months… Read full post »

JULY 19, 2014 7:25PM

Sword stuff - for Gerald

A few days ago, I posted a piece about my search for real Revolution-era guillotines in French museums. OSer and all-around good guy Gerald Andersen commented that the post made him think about an old sword he'd bought at an auction as a preteen.  He commented that he was inspired to s… Read full post »

Inspired by a question that I couldn't stop asking, I started working on this article a few years ago.  When I finished, I had my answer (mostly), but I couldn't find a home for it.  In honor of the July 14th (Bastille Day) weekend, I'm posting it here.
Read full post »