Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More of Jenny & Gordon's Magical Adventure

Are you ready for more Paris photos? This is truly the most magical city ever; if you aren't already planning a trip, real or imagined, I can only wonder why not?

These first few photos are from our cruise down the Seine which passes all the highlights beginning with Gordon's favorite, the Notre Dame.

Our cruise was timed to span daylight to dark to take advantage of the most spectacular views. And all the more romantic.

No doubt I was told the name of this spectacular statue, but there are literally hundreds of spectacular statues all over the city -- on top of buildings, beside buildings, and like this one which flanks St. Alexander Bridge. I refer to it as "The Pretty Bridge, i.e."Gordon, did you get a picture of the Pretty Bridge? Are you sure? Are we too far away? We aren't too close are we? I really want a picture of the pretty bridge."

"Are you sure you got it? I don't think you got it -- try again."

"But that was with a flash... are you sure you got it?" I don't think he got it... but it's such an exquisite bridge, white draped with gold garland flanked with pillars, dotted with statuary. Even if he'd gotten it, a picture could never be quite the same.

The Paris convention Center, taken here on the ground on the way to the cruise is a dazzling building with an enormous glass roof. You can see part of the roof behind the horse statues a couple of pictures up. The roof is so predominant that it became my landmark of choice, as in, "No, Sweetie, we haven't crossed the bridge yet... follow there's the glass dome -- that's where we're headed."

The most famous landmark of all, the Eiffel Tower, was glowing a rich otherworldly, jaw-dropping blue after dark.

One place you could not see the glass dome (or the Eiffel Tower) was from the St. Ouen Puces (flea market). Located in the gritty underbelly of Paris, it felt like we'd taken the Metro to a world apart. The area surrounding the flea market was run down and dirty, yet you walk down the street to vendor stalls that feature pricely bronze and marble statues, crystal chandeliers, antique furniture. Exquisite things are settled next to junk, trash is piled beside treasures.

Most items were far far too expensive to contemplate... and frankly many of them were just too big. There was one ceramic rabbit soup tourrine that called to me... In the end I opted to not fret over a china bunny for the rest of the trip.

I did pick up a few pieces of lace -- nothing very remarkable about it other than the lady who owned the stall seemed kind... and desperate.

This inventive fellow seranaded the lunch crowd. He played Frank Sinatra tunes before passing his leather purse in lieu of a hat.

More inventive still is this guy who has made a strolling grill right there in his shopping cart. Nestled inside the cart is a charcoal stove. A wire wrack is suspended over the cart -- on that wire wrack are a dozen or so ears of corn cooking away. This is especially for the American tourists -- Europeans don't much fancy corn... it's mostly reserved as pig food.

This shot was irresistable -- after several days in Paris, after the flea market and just before we were to leave, it seemed wise to run a couple of loads of laundry. It looks like most American laudromats -- rather than putting coins in the machine of your choice, the coins are deposited in a single repository (there on the left) and you push the number of the machine you want to run.

And here we are in the courtyard of our hotel dining on bits of fruit and cheese, meats and wines, breads and crackers and a pastry or two gathered fron shops and markets for our dinner. This is how we ended most of our days in Paris. (Much as I don't look happy in this picture, fact is, I really really was -- the Chinese tourist who snapped this shot happened to get me at a bad moment. Oops.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jenny & Gordon's Magical Adventure

Finally! My sincerest apologies for having been so late with this post -- my excuse is that I am just now crawling out from the weight of nearly 500 photos. I promise PROMISE to not darken your door with all of them -- but rather I will share a select few. Come to Paris with me...

This is our hotel room which I found on http://www.paris35.com/. It was cute and clean and just a stone's throw from the Eiffel Tower.

See, off in the distance, over my head and a bit to the left you can just make out the image of the Eiffel Tower. That's me, hanging out the window of our hotel room.
At night it is spectacular, don't you think?

I can't say what my favorite part of the trip was... but the museums are up there near the top. The D'Orsay Museum was spectacular in the broad range of art it featured in such a small space (compared to the Louvre, the D'Orsay is miniscule.) Among the many statues and paintings and examples of important mid-century furniture styles and the requisite paintings of the Assenscion of Christ, there were dozens and dozens of impressionist paintings. There was Renoir and Gaugin and Rhodin and Monet and Toulouse-Letrec and Van Gogh. I felt I'd been dropped into the best art text and left there to wallow around in it.

Of course one can't go to Paris and not spend an afternoon at the Louvre. Never will I have a command of my words well enough to describe the spectacle of the Louvre. I am dwarfed in it's presence. I can not comprehend it's scope or it's structure. We ventured through only one floor of one wing. If I had a month in Paris it would not be enough to thoroughly explore all the galleries within.
I found just the outside friezes pretty awestriking.

Although Gordon was approproately impressed with all the art surrounding us in the museums and off the bridges and plopped onto street corners, he is really a cathedral sort of tourist. In the shadow of Norte Dame he just seems to breathe better, his color heightens. He beams. He probably would have been happier with this picture had I not hacked off the tops of the church spires... but to be fair, it's a pretty darn big church.
If it's all the same to everyone, I'll just go shopping. I must be a bred in the bone junk shopper. We saw Printemps in Paris and Herrod's in London -- but I really only enjoyed looking at and contemplated buying the junk. These little vendors are called "bookenists" -- in decades past they have been set up to sell rare and antique books... apparently the market for rare book has dried up of late. Although a few hold-outs remain, most of the vendors now sell souvenirs and second-rate art to junk-minded tourists.

The art and architecture aside, Paris might be singularly known for it's peculiar grip on driving skills. I really can't describe it other than to guess that collective population of France dreams of entering the Grande Prix. Here in the mass tangle on the Champs Elysees, facing the Arc de Triomphe, I'll stick to the safety of the bus.
And so, after all the art and architecture, the shopping and traffic hopping, the only sensible thing to do is seek a nice eclair...
Or a real dinner at an outdoor cafe with a good glass of wine.

And so, thank you for coming along. If you care to join me again in a few days there will be more bits of Paris before we take the train to Germany. Till then, Au Revoir.

Monday, September 22, 2008

All My Bags are Packed

Clearly I am not quite right -- clearly. As evidenced in what I do just before a longish trip. Most people trouble themselves to stop the mail, run a load of wash, leave a key with a neighbor -- typical pedestrian acts. What I do, however, is tile the backsplash.

In my defense it badly needed doing. I do wicked wanton things to my counter and backsplash area. (I'm not sure what you might be thinking, but lets come back to reality and clear up a few things -- what I am talking about is dying fabric, which splatters badly and makes a mess on the wall behind the sink.)

I just couldn't stand the notion of coming home to that splattered backsplash wall one more time, so something had to be done. And as I always say, there's no job worth doing that can't benefit from the use of power tools. Like this wet saw -- rented from Home Depot. Hooray!

It turned out nicely, I think. That whole area now feels like a real home, finished and ready for living. This is what I want to come home to.

Ahhhhh, and it goes so nicely with my pots.

All righty -- NOW I'm ready to go to the airport.

Au Revoir

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Another Ordinary Nana Day

Oh, am I the luckiest Nana, or what? Look who spent the day with me? My Baby Kai is the dearest, easiest, most enchanting grandchild... if I do say so myself. And I do.

He really is quite easy. This was a last-minute babysit, as his parents suddenly took notice of their anniversary and all. So I was going to quick like a bunny clean the leaves and little berries out of the sandbox (it has a slatted lid, yet little things sneak in) but Kai seemed happy as all get out with a bucket and pea gravel. And who can blame him. He sat there in the gravel and filled the whole bucket. It's a painstaking task when, with great concentration, one drops in the rocks only a dozen of so at a time.

Once the bucket was full there was artwork to attend to... I think he's in his blue phase, with an assymetrical overtone.

After so much concetrated effort the artful little rock-n-roller was famished. He seems to enjoys Nana's signature brand of grilled cheese on those tiny little party breads.

And what about that "high chair"? In this position it's more of a low chair. It comes in two pieces -- the other piece being a table. It configures into a regular high chair, a junior chair, a low height as seen here and by removing the tray it can be drawn up to it's table for some surface work, like coloring or doing long division. this was Adrian's high chair, refurbished by me.

We had a real good time -- I hope you enjoyed visiting with us too.

The Happy Nana

Monday, September 8, 2008

I Love Paris When It Sizzles...

Never in my adult life have I taken a vacation for no reason other than "I wanna GO!" Till now. The Boyfriend and I are going to Paris!!!! See, I have my planner all tricked out. Hiding under that orderly cover is just another ugly composition book. Making the cover made my planner that much extra special. It would make a nice journal, though I am not the journaling sort. My composition book, all spiffed up, is being used for planning our trip to London, Paris and Germany.

We have our Eurail pass and our museum pass. We've reserved our hotels and we've sketched out an itinerary.

I'm so excited I could scream. My idea of a swell time is to be neither scheduled down to the last milisecond of the day, but to not fly entirely by the seat of my pants. Toward this end I have studied up on our destinations to the best of my patience anfd focus level, so we get to see and do what for us is the most important things to see and do... Then, worked into these plans, is a little wiggle room. I'm a big fan of wiggle room.

The grand plan is to fly into London, stay one night, have quick peek about, take the chunnel from London to Paris. We'll be in Paris for five days. For me the big drawing card are the flea markets. Every European city has art and fabulous food... but they don't all have flea markets. I can't wait.

After Paris we are taking the train to Germany. The Boyfriend has been to Germany a number of times and I lived there for three years when I was in the Air Force. We're taking a Rhine River cruise, we're staying in castles. There will be wine and festivals and... and shopping for baby clothes. Oh, and eating. There will be loads and loads of eating.

Our Departure Date is 23 September -- two weeks!!!! Every couple of days till I leave I'll bring about various aspects of our plans. For now, au revoir!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A New Attitude

More than you can know, I HATED this counter... which is funny because upon first viewing this house it is the counter that called to me. I spied it through a window before ever setting foot into the house when and the first thought that popped into my head was, "It's blue -- they knew I was coming.

And like a bad boyfriend, ever after it was hard to work with. It never looked clean and certainly never looked stylish. Never once did I walk past or set something upon it and heave that satisfied sigh. Instead I grumbled, rolled my eyes and grimmaced. Till finaly... finally... I'd had enough. "Begone ugly counter--I'm done."

The sink was the worst: shallow, clumsy, not even a little bit sexy.

And so I ripped that man -- I mean counter right outta my house.

It was a mess for a while -- the heart of my home spilled out, tossed around...

But really soon there was a new counter. (The counter installer is Steve who is brilliant for not only showing up on time with the correct product, but he laughs at my jokes.I've promised to fix up Steve with my best single girlfriends. He didn't laugh at that... wonder why?)

But now the old cat dish looks a little dowdy, though doesn't my new counter look dazzling. It isn't granite -- in this 100-year-old house, in this down-at-the-heels neighborhood granite would be like tying a silk ribbon on a junkyard dog. Which isn't to say the old dog couldn't delight in some sprucing up a bit. I just love this new counter -- it makes me heave that certain sigh.
I'm thinking this shimmery cat dish is just the jewelry required.

And check out the sink! Even Bailey approves. Let me tell you, this is the sink to end all sinks. From this angle you can't tell, but it's huge HUGE. I could bathe my grandson AND the Little White Dog in here simultaneously. It's wide and it's deep and it is NOT stainless steel. Hoo-HAW.
However, as with many projects I have learned, there is a glitch to the finishing. The backsplash can't go up just yet(it's waiting in the wings) because of a freak of plumbing. There's a plumber coming soon. Then there will be walls to paint and all those curtains to rethink.
There may be no rest for the wicked -- but she gets a pretty slick counter and sink for her digs all the same!

Friday, August 15, 2008


Where, oh where, has Jenny been? Trust me -- you would not have wanted to come along. I've been cleaning out closets, dismantling messes and rooting through the art room. Eek! And OH MY!

I am more of an autumn cleaner than a spring cleaner and of late there has been that "bite" in the air... the kids go back to school earlier and earlier and autumn is sure to follow. So I have begun. And it occurs to me that this house isn't big enough for me and all my nonsense. Oh My Heaven -- when you are a premiere bargain shopper it can sometimes be hard to pass up a really good deal... but if in the end it all gets bagged up and hauled off to thrift... where was the bargain?
And why, oh why, is it way more fun to buy stuff than it is to bag it up and haul it out. I don't get that same little thrill when I am randomly grabbing stuff up and shoving it in a black plastic trash bag as when the clerk at the store placed it in a shopping bag.

So now, when I am out shopping and a great, fabulous, spectacular bargain leaps upon me, I am prepared with a brand new shopping mantra: "Oh, Look, someone is going to be thrilled to find this deal... I will leave it for someone who will love it."

To be fair I have held onto quite a few things for a very long time. See those sweet Teddy bears -- I've had them for some 15 years. When you're as old as me stuff has had time to accumulate. Now it is time for stuff to disappear.

Bye-bye Teddy Bears. Bye-bye stuff.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Baileykins and the Fishies

From the beginning Bailey has loved the fishies -- like they are best friends or something. She liked to watch them in the tank.

She likes to chat with them pond-side.

And oh my, what's this?

Fishy babies?

"Hello Fishies!!!" Bailey would especially like her some Fishy Babies!