Sunday, July 5, 2020

Paris in July: These are a Few of My Favorite Paris Views!

If we've been lucky enough to visit Paris, we all have our favorite photos, right? These are a few of mine! This is a detail of the fabulous Chagall ceiling at the Opera Garnier.

And isn't its stage and proscenium impressive?

Of course, you can't be in Paris and not stop by the boulangerie! Baguette anyone?

And it would go all the better with a bottle of wine. Check out the selection at Le Bon Marche.

Or, perhaps you'd rather have champagne and olives at a cafe in Montmartre.

It will give you energy as you walk the area's hills.

And, if you can't make it, there's always the Montmartre cemetery!

Take in a classical concert or enjoy a stop for meditation at Sainte Chapelle.

Then enjoy a walk along the Seine.

Maybe even pick up a bloom or two at a market.

Or, stop by Musee d'Orsay and step back in time as you enjoy some beautiful art.

As night begins to fall, Paris shows its striking shapes and true colors. Deep pinks...

...Royal blue and gold...

...stark black and white...

...and inky blues reflecting the golden light of the city.

Sweet dreams!

This post is part of Paris in July, where bloggers share travel pieces, music, books, film, food and more -- all about Paris (and a little bit beyond!). For more links, visit Tamara's blog here!

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Postcards from the Lake: Happy July 4!

I'll say at the outset that the Fourth of July is my least favorite holiday. Even at the lake where it is cooler and there are diversions, it turns into the loudest noise-fest of the year with too many boats, too many loud parties and way too many home-grown fireworks, versus those nice organized ones.

This year more than any, I am longing for independence and revolution.
I did a little playing around in the sketch book before he arrived. Who knows -- maybe it will manifest into next year's Christmas card!

That said, we are safely isolated in the cottage, neighbors more than six feet away and two out of three really good neighbors, including the one two doors down that brought us gorgeous strawberries and took out the rest of the weeds on the beach with his tractor!

Rick arrived after a horrendous two-day bike ride from Lansing to the lake in 90-plus degree weather. I met him halfway with a picnic, after which he sprawled on the picnic bench at the campground to rest before pitching his tent.

It was tough saying goodbye and leaving him there, Covid hair and all (which to be honest, I really like and I hope he doesn't want it cut too much.)

I was very happy to see him wheel in on Friday night!

He was ready for snacks...

....and a good dinner!

While he took a nap I did a little reading and spotted this wonderful bird which Rick told me was a flicker.

There were two of them  at least. This one was high-up but so pretty. And very chatty.

Then came the fireworks. We were one of the few counties or areas to have them here in Mchigan because they shoot them off over the lake. The boats gathered early on and the lake parties started. (Fortunately the good neighbors on one side have a fun group but not obnoxious!)

They weren't bad this year but you know, after awhile they got boring.

I remember when they were the most exciting thing in the world. Now I think mostly about the cat quivering in the linen cabinet.  I wonder what the flickers thought of it.

Ah well. The third went out with a bang. Today is the fourth -- I suspect Lizzie will be back in the cupboard tonight.

Ah well. I'm a fortunate woman. I'm here at the lake. I can isolate easily. Rick made it safely. We have food in the fridge for two weeks. And hopefully most of the crazy people with their own fireworks will go home tomorrow afternoon, the lake will be calm and quiet again. There is much for which to be thankful.

Things are looking up!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Paris In July: "Les Parisiennes"

"Paris in July" has returned! This terrific blog event features posts from loads of bloggers related to food, movies, books, music, travel, photos, art -- you name it! Check Tamara's site HERE for links to other participants. I tend to read and watch a lot of WWII history. It seems to be a period in time that is repeating itself all too soon in many parts of the world, but notably the United States. While I have read wonderful novels on the resistance, I'm not so familiar with the "real deal." Enter "Les Parisiennes," a non-fiction tome by Anne Sebba, which is fascinating, well written and well worth your time.

The subtitle of the book is "How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died Under Nazi Occupation." And it delivers its promise.

"Les Parisiennes" follows women who were both resistantes and collaborators during the war, even some who tried to walk that center line -- not "really" collaborating but certainly not "resisting" the attentions of the German occupiers of Paris or what they might provide.

Although Sebba doesn't address it directly, it seems that an underlying theme is "what do you need to do to survive?" And, by extension, "What would you do in the situation."

In the book we meet women of incomparable bravery, those who would deliver explosives hidden under their shirts or beneath their baby in the pram; women who hid Allied soldiers and Jewish families; others who passed notes, messages and weapons. We also meet those sympathetic to the Vichy government, "friends" who sold out others.

The women in France weren't just the French. Sebba also looks at the women of the OSE, Britain's group of women who parachuted into the country, both for the purposes of spying and for assisting in the resistance.

Stories, many first person, tell of the round-ups from apartments and homes, the looting and confiscation of not only art but household goods from the Jewish homes, and the struggles for food during the occupation. They are harrowing but powerful, to see such tragedy -- and in some cases, survival.

The book follows a number of the political prisoners to Ravensbruck, the women's concentration camp where dreadful medical experiments were done on many of the prisoners. The chapters related to the camp are quite graphic -- and they should be. We must not forget.

 "Les Parisiennes" isn't your typical "summer reading." No carefree walks along the Seine, no picnics in the Tuileries. Yes, there is fashion (in fact, a good section of the book focuses on the Parisian fashion industry before and after the war). But by and large you won't turn the last page feeling cheery.

But you may well finish this well done book feeling hope -- that there were women who made a difference. And chances are, there will be women (and men) in the future who would do the same.

We must never forget them.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Postcards from the Lake: The Quackles, the Internet, A Neurotic Cat and a Drop Dead Sky

Life at the lake is never without its surprises, its frustrations or its beauties.

I thought I might have critter withdrawal once I got here, but meet the Quackles -- a family of seven (I think) that finds the beach rather nice.

On this day, they were bobbing around in unusually windy conditions, sitting atop the water and rolling with the waves.

My lake is a relatively small inland lake and waves like this aren't the norm.

Of course, some had to come to shore to see what they could find. They're still relatively small, smaller than my ditch family, the Duckles.

It's fun seeing them there!

Lizzie is not interested. Being the neurotic girl she is, no matter how warm, you'll often find her here. Trust me -- I know how to make a bed better than this! She burrowed straight to the center! (Every now and then I check to make sure she is still alive.)

I'm making progress on my puzzle called Gotham Bookstore Cats. Gee, bet you can't guess why I chose this one! Actually, it was the theatre books that drew me in. I've read a lot of those! (Actually, I'm quite a bit further than this!)

Our beach is terribly weedy. This is an annual occurrence, I think created in large part by those who use chemicals on their lake lawns. There should be a law. It's discouraged but that holds no weight. My cousin and I were saying we don't remember it being that bad when we were young. There were weeds but it was more sand than green. Not anymore. My good neighbor got a rototiller and worked the weeds loose.

It looks so much better. I will be able to rake or easily pull them up now. Still, even this is a miracle by comparison.

We're still enjoying some beautiful sunsets. 

It seems as though every evening offers something different. Sometimes I think the sky is kind of "flat" and when the sun goes down, I'll be disappointed.

I haven't been yet.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Postcards from the Lake: Home Alone, Sort of.

So, Rick had a lot of work to do at home before he could justify being up here for a couple of weeks, so I popped up almost on my own. Ms. Lizzie is here with me, and she's always good for conversation!

The weather, lovely. So far, at least. The sunsets? Spectacular.

Oh, when the oranges turn to the pinks, my heart just melts!

I got gas on the way up. The last time I bought gas was February 11 (the last day I had my hair done, too.) It was $2.69 a gallon. I bought it on June 24 for $1.97. I've saved a fortune on fuel with Covid.

In fact, I saved enough to commit to having internet installed at the lake. I have been using my nice neighbor's but thought I should get my own. The tech came today to install it and checked it on his phone and left. I didn't think to check my computer to make sure it was working on that. So, later when I did -- nope. After way too long on hold, I tried the online chat with the neighbor's signal. And then that pooped out on me. I gave up. I'll try again tomorrow.

The highlight of my day was a visit by my cousin's son Jeff and his lovely love of life, Lauren. I'd not met Lauren and oh, she's such a gem. I'm glad, because Jeff deserves only the best!

I've been plugging along on my jigsaw puzzle. All the books in the photo are theatre books and I thought it would be fun. It is. But harder than it looks. And the table's not quite the right height so I can't obsess on it! If I do, I won't be able to walk for a week!

Cats and theatre books -- I will love this puzzle! Speaking of cats....

...time to dine. Again.

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