For the first 50 years of my life, my perfectionist self mistakenly believed it was all about knowing more, getting it right, planning, attempting to prevent bad things from happening, and keeping all of my chicks in a row. It took me this long to discover that the JOURNEY is all that matters. This quote from Gilda Radner sums it all up:

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Paris, Je T'Aime

Earlier this summer,  my daughter, Annie, and I made a post-graduation trip to London and Paris.  I posted about our time in London already, but I need to post about the 2nd half of our vacation.  

Paris is an amazing city!  This was my daughter's first time there, but my second.  

Where London seemed to be a fine-tuned, past-paced machine where people walked briskly and with purpose,  Paris was a stark contrast to that.  Parisians seem to spend a lot of time enjoying life.  They lounge in parks, near fountains, on the quays next to the Seine, near the Eiffel Tower, and at many, many bars and cafes.  Ok, maybe some were tourists.  And maybe London is different because the weather is not as conducive to lounging outside. But there is a distinctly different feel between the two cities.

As I look back on our pictures from Paris,  I am struck by how pretty 
everything was.  

We stayed in a small apartment in the 6th arrondissement on Rue Bonaparte.  I LOVED this neighborhood more than any other I've seen in Paris.  Within a short walk, there were affordable restaurants, bakeries, bars, shops, and Luxembourg Gardens.  The streets were narrow and quaint and beautiful!

On our first day, while walking to Luxembourg Gardens,  we came upon this statue "Under the Hat" in front of the Hungarian Institute.  There is a twin statue in Hungary.  

Luxembourg Gardens is a huge park, and we enjoyed walking around its many sections. 

We sat by the fountains and watched Parisian children push sailboats around the fountain with long sticks (nothing motorized).  

We passed by the original model used to create the Statue of Liberty.
Then we sat and watched a group of men play Petanque - a French version
of Bocce Ball.

On our first evening,  we walked to Tuileries Gardens where we got our first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.

Then, as daylight waned, we watched the pyramids of the Louvre come alive with light. 

We briefly visited the Arch de Triomphe, 

and the Trocadero for this iconic view of the tower.

We climbed to the towers of Notre Dame.

Annie attracted a crowd as an artist in Montmartre "cut" out her silhouette
with paper and scissors.

Then she allowed another artist to do her "portrait".  He wanted $100 for it.
We refused.  He gave it to Annie anyway.  She put it in the nearest trash can!

Wherever we went,  we saw Asian couples in extravagant gowns and tuxedos having professional portraits taken.  It was rather odd.

One evening, we attended a wonderful concert of Carmin Burana 
at beautiful Saint-Chapelle.

The musicians played instruments from the Renaissance period which was a treat
for Annie.  She recently played the Crumhorn in a Renaissance Quartet at Eastman!

Another evening was spent at the Eiffel Tower. 

We took the elevator to the top level, then walked down from the second level.

Not wanting to leave, we lingered on the lawn for a picnic and a few games of Rummy 
in the shadow of the Iron Lady.

The Eiffel Tower (and all of Paris) is really at its finest at night.  One of our best
discoveries was an hour-long boat tour (Vedettes du Pont Neuf) on the Seine.  We booked the last ride of the night so we could relax and enjoy the "city of lights".

We traveled past Notre Dame, under many gorgeous bridges, and past many buildings and monuments.

The reflections of the lights in the water made everything doubly beautiful! 

The boat turned around at the Eiffel Tower, which takes your breath away at night!  For five minutes at the beginning of every hour after dark, the Eiffel Tower "sparkles" in addition to its regular lights.  We were fortunate to be able to see this light show too!

My favorite day in France was a day-trip from Paris to Giverny to visit the house and gardens of artist Claude Monet.  We took the train to Vernon, where we decided not to take the bus, but rented bikes to ride the remaining 6 kilometers to Giverny.
It was so much fun!

I am a gardener and a lover of flowers of all kinds, so this was a huge treat for me.

We also were able to go inside the house, which was a feast of color too.

On the way back, we lingered in Giverny amid its quaint beauty for a while longer.
 The poppies were growing wild on the roadside and each house that we passed was adorned with flowers of its own.

We grabbed an ice cream cone before returning our bikes and heading back to Paris.
It was such a fabulous day that I will never forget!

I am so thankful for the privilege to spend this unforgettable time with my daughter
during this summer between her graduation and the beginning her first job as a teacher of music!

"It's better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times." 
~Asian proverb

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

My Family Continues to Grow!

I have become a Grandma once again 
and again.

One of the first things my daughter, Annie, did after settling
into her new apartment was to make it a home
by adopting.

Her choice was between one adorable white kitten with huge paws,
or TWO brothers that had to be adopted together.

It wasn't her plan, but she went home with two adorable little boys!

It's a good thing she has lots of space in her apartment!

Meet Wells (Wells Fargo)

Charles (Charles Schwab).

I've been having a lot of fun taking pictures of my new grandsons!

They have already been visited by Aunt Kerry
and Uncle Adam!

If Aunt Kerry had only known, she wouldn't have appear so calm!

Charles and Wells play very well together. 

Forgive me for so many pictures!  
I'm just practicing for when I have a human grandchild
to photograph.

But that will be easy

because human babies can't move as fast as these guys!