Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Things I've Noticed Recently...

Google Friend Still Works

I thought when Google Reader disappeared, Google Friend blog follow was part of that. For those of you who haven't noticed, when you follow as Google Friend you can still see the new blogs pop up in your dashboard and you can also follow others. I didn't discover this till way too late in my blogging life!

So, if you don't already follow me one way or another and you are interested in following The Marmelade Gypsy or my book blog, Chopsticks and String, you can still do so through GoogleFriend, bloglovin' or email (those links are on my sidebar).

Construction Makes Me Crazy

This isn't a new observation, but one that has popped up often here in Michigan! By the time they finish the highway change on my route to work, I will have retired! In Michigan we have two seasons -- Winter and Under Construction. Old joke; still works. (The cherries symbolize orange barrels.)

My Garden Doesn't Deserve the Name

I've always said I loved English gardens that look all akimbo -- a mass of colors, all seemingly unrelated (but I'm smart enough to know they are always planned.)
Mine is looking like that -- only not really. Everything is popping up and it's rather pretty -- and completely out of control. I can't keep it weeded well, I can't deadhead fast enough. Still -- it makes me smile when I come home.
At least most of the herbs are in pots where they can be controlled! Of course, one still has to water...

I am More Vain than I Like to Think

When I had the shingles, I couldn't get my hair colored. There are a lot of good reasons for this and if you ever have shingles on your head you will understand them all. Going gray for awhile didn't seem so bad.
But I realize that it's really getting to me -- and not in a good way. While the halo around my hairline is interesting, it doesn't necessarily make me feel good about myself. Therefore, a long last -- Voila!
(Note to Self: If you have a hair appointment and get head shingles again, make another for six weeks out when you cancel the original so you don't have to wait and extra four to get in!)

Lizzie Cosette Is Losing Her Inner Alley Cat

And that's OK. My girl is becoming sweeter by the day -- she's even tolerating holding a little longer when we practice (which hasn't been often lately because it's too bloody hot.) And when I'm having a bad day, all I have to do is look at her and I just smile.

Every Minute I Spend at the Lake is Lovely

Well, almost every minute. Nasty squirrel damage aside! We recently celebrated Rick's birthday at the cottage.
His mom added his name to the birthday cake we bought (he'll get a real one in a later celebration -- my famous carrot/pineapple/coconut cake. This had to do for now. And it was quite delicious!
I love the simple things at the lake -- Rick playing music...
...and his bread baking!
Warm days and cool  nights.
The weekend ended when I dropped them off at the family reunion at Torch Lake. Sigh. But I came back for merriment at the end of the week and I'll post about that soon!
Life is good.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Paris In July: Paris at Night

As I wrap up my Paris in July posts, it seems fitting to leave the City of Light when the light is the most remarkable -- in the twilight and evening.
My small camera can't do justice to the setting sun, when life quiets down just a little bit and seems all the more tranquil.
Well, not everywhere is it tranquil!
Take the metro to Montmartre and check out the activity by the Moulin Rouge.
I'm quite sure the show inside couldn't match the lights and people outside!
Hop on that Metro again...
...and head down toward the most famous sight in Paris!
When viewed from Champs des Mars in late April, the light falls in a perfect sunset position.
And then the lights begin to sparkle!
We'll dine at Verjus, a lovely restaurant on Rue du Richelieu, with a view of the Theatre Palais Royal right outside our window.
And then we'll walk home through quiet streets...
And then bright city lights.
We'll note a colorful art installation over a metro grate quite near the north side of the Louvre.
We'll stop in the courtyard of the Louvre where we admire the architecture...
...and the famous I.M. Pei pyramid.
And, we'll note the "little" Arc du Triomphe, with the sparkling Eiffel Tower behind it.
Perhaps it's time for a snack! We'll cross the Pont des Arts, where Rick and I left a love lock the day before...
...and we might stop at a cafe where jazz hangs in the air.
We'll cross back and walk along the Seine.
We'll admire sites on both sides of the river.
And, we'll wonder what the people are doing on the other side!  
We'll make a stop by Notre Dame at night.
The lights add a new dimension to this Parisian landmark.
In some ways, you can see the details so much more clearly.
And from a distance, note Tour St. Jacques.
And soon, we'll have a better view.
The Chatelet theatre is lit as brightly from the outside as in, as we cross the Seine again.
Boats amble down the river, the bateau mouches taking the evening dinner cruise.
As we near our destination behind the blue doors, we pass Hotel de Ville.
The feet are tired and it is time to call it a day. But oh, what a day!
Good night, Paris. And thanks to all the Paris in July posters who have taken me back to the City of Light.
You can find links at Thyme for Tea and Bookbath!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Paris In July: Le Road Trip

If you are expecting even one critical word about Vivian Swift's wonderful book "Le Road Trip: A Traveler's Journal of Love and France," stop reading and go somewhere else, because you won't get it.
In fact, I think I lack enough superlatives for this beautiful book with magical illustrations and a witty and informative text to really do it justice.
Vivian and her husband James did a month in France for their honeymoon. The book follows that journey and along the way highlights Vivian's travel guidelines, some favorite spots and some lovely observations on love and traveling together.
Best of all, every page is illustrated with her beautiful watercolors -- and I don't mean one per page -- that happens, but it's rare. We're talking lots of fabulous images.
Along the way you will discover delicious dinners, snacks, cafes and the terrific French bread...
...spots well known to those who travel to France (or long to)...
...and places that might not be on your itinerary -- yet.
You'll find delicious quotes...
...and terrific travel tips.
But most of all, you will simply swoon at a love story in words and pictures.

A late addition to this post: On Vivian's blog, she just posted how she puts her books together. It's fascinating -- check it out HERE.

(A note -- when I first got this book, Rick grabbed it before me. Later, when I had it at the lake, I found him reading and savoring it as well. It really crosses all the lines -- just so long as one loves France, art and love.)

This post is part of Paris in July. Please visit Tamara at Thyme for Tea or Karen at Bookbath for more links about the City of Light (and France, too).

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