Tuesday, November 25, 2014

In the Fog

 On Wednesday I posted a photo of this same spot on a beautiful, light-filled morning. This is what it looked like today when Lucie and I made our morning walk. The Chateau and the houses along the road were lost in the fog...a frequent occurrence when you live in a river valley.

The Chateau looks a little eerie looming out of the fog, doesn't it?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Morning Light

The Chateau
Cadrieu, France
After several days of clouds, fog, intermittent rain, and grey, damp skies, it was a pleasure to be greeted by a few twinkling stars and a sliver of moon I opened the shutters this morning. The light certainly made our walk more colorful as the sun peaked over the causse. I have to admit, though, this view as Lucie and I walk the last leg towards home is amazing even on cloudy mornings!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Lure of the Sea

Lacanau Ocean on the Atlantic coast of France
December 2013
I was born and raised in southern California. Some of my earliest memories are of spending time at the ocean with my family camping, splashing in the water, body surfing the waves, and hanging out with my dad while he surf fished. We never lived more than two hours away from a beach. I've always believed that landscapes seep into your subconscious and leave an indelible sense of place on your soul. The ocean is my place. I miss it, and sometimes I'm almost overwhelmed by the desire to see, feel, smell, taste and hear it. Today is one of those days!

Since the nearest ocean is four hours away, the best I can do this morning is wander through my photos and re-live some beach trips here in France. Last winter I spent Christmas on this almost deserted beach in Lacanau Ocean. The weather was fierce...gale force winds with intermittent rain. The waves crashed, the sand blew. It was glorious!
I've tried to scratch my beach itch with the Mediterranean. Beautiful as it is, it just doesn't do the trick. I need the ocean. Maybe it's time for a road trip? Interestingly, one of my very first blog posts at my previous blog, Musings from Red Bell Farm, was about the ocean.  You can read it here.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fascinating Face: Ray

Galway, Ireland

Today's post just goes to show you that you can find Fascinating Faces in the strangest places. This ray was on display in the Galway Aquarium. I visited him during one of my walks on the Prom. He made me chuckle...kind of goofy looking, isn't he?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Multiples: Velibs

Parisian velibs
One of my favorite photographers, Virginia Jones, is flying to Paris today for a few days of loving on the City of Light. She's excited that the weather forecast is for fog. Paris in the fog....I can hardly wait to see her photos on her blog, Paris Thru My Lens. So...a few velibs today to welcome Virginia back to the city she loves!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Remembrance Day 2014

The 11th day of the 11th month, and we gather at the village war memorial at 11:45 AM to offer homage to those who died for France in WWI, WWII and the Algerian War. Children lay a wreath, my friend Christiane who is the adjoint mayor offers a brief eulogy, and the names of the dead are read aloud by our mayor, Jacques Durand. After each name, we intone 'mort pour la France.' Two young children sing The Marseillaise, their little voices pure and sweet. And afterwards everyone gathers at the Mairie for a drink and a nibble. We have remembered the village war dead in this WWI centenary  year.

And thanks to two very interesting blog posts, I have remembered American war dead as well. By coincidence both blog authors are from Iowa where I used to live. The first by Joe Weeg offers a poignant look at Omaha Beach this day. Read "Do You Know Joseph Haymoff" here. Then ask yourself...what young men from your hometown might be lying there in the Omaha Beach cemetery.

Lori Erickson is a travel writer and ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church. Although she is based in Iowa City, her Spiritual Travels take her all over the world. Her post today, though, is about Iowa and an artist's project to honor its veterans. Read "Thanking Veterans, One Rock at a Time" here. As a former Iowa resident, let me explain a little about big rocks in Iowa....they are few and far between! The lack of rocks in the state is one thing that makes it a great farming state. Big rocks are quite special, then. When I lived in southern Iowa, we had neighbors who actually proudly moved their big rock to a prominent place by the lane to their house using it as a landscape feature.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Galway Church

St. Augustine's Church
I thought a church photo would be appropriate this Sunday morning. In looking through my photo archives, I found a folder with a hand-full of photos I took in St Augustine's Church. Located just off the pedestrian street in central Galway, I think this is probably a church that a lot of people overlook when they visit Galway. It's neither the big, relatively new Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed to Heaven nor is it the historic Anglican St. Nicholas Collegiate Church. It is, however, no less beautiful, full of lovely stained glass, wood, and white arched pillars. But the image below is what caught my attention...

This unusual metal three-dimensional crucifix is suspended from the ceiling by thin, almost invisible wires. Hanging in front of the colorful, stained glass arched window it adds a contemporary layer to the beauty of the church interior.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Cheery Shutters

I don't know why more people don't paint their shutters yellow. They look so cheery!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Midterm Elections

What do midterm elections, a literary festival deep in la france profonde and pumpkin soup have in common? Ah...an intriguing question, yes? Let's begin at the end...today is election day in the United States. Midterm election turn-out is usually a bit lackluster, but there are some very important races this year which may engender more interest among voters.

When I attended the Parisot Literary Festival last month, midterm elections in the States were certainly not on my mind. I was there to listen to several published authors discuss their books, perhaps be inspired by them, and certainly to purchase a few used/new books for my winter reading. Curiosity about a famous British television star brought me to Sunday morning's cooking demonstration.

Robin Ellis starred in the 70's TV series, Poldark and as I understand from my British friends, was quite a heartthrob! A bit older now (but no less attractive) Robin now lives in SW France where he enjoys semi-retirement and writes cookbooks. Diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic in 1999, Robin's books feature healthy and easy dishes suited for his diet and beneficial to anyone who wants to eat healthy. He chatted about acting and his careet while stirring up a yummy and quite easy pumpkin soup. And in this endeavor, he was assisted by his lovely wife, Meredith. Here's where we connect the dots...

Meredith Wheeler is a retired American writer/reporter for ABC News who met Robin while interviewing him for a piece. After the demonstration, I introduced myself to her as a fellow American...we are few and far between in this part of France. After 'hello' the first words out of her mouth were "Are you voting in the midterm elections?" For a moment I thought she meant in France, but as she went on, I realized she was talking about the US midterms. She is passionate about politics! Feeling a bit embarrassed that I wasn't even registered to vote since moving my official US residence to Nevada, I gladly took her card on which she jotted down website information that led me to join Democrats Abroad as well as to register to vote.

Which I just did by electronic absentee ballot!

And I'm making Robin's pumpkin soup for lunch.

See the connection now?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

All Souls' Day

Cadrieu cemetery
It's Sunday, November 2nd....All Souls' Day in France. All week people have been visiting our village cemetery placing flowers on the graves of family. It's been a weekend of remembering and honoring the dead. Lucie and I stopped by the cemetery early this morning on our walk to enjoy its beauty. Flowers *partout!
Chrysanthemums are the flowers of choice, and they on sale everywhere a week or two before All Saints/All Souls'. Huge pots of them for as little as €3,49 which means anyone can afford to decorate a grave. (In the States, these same pots would probably cost you $20-25.)
Some of the graves, though, don't need any flowers are all!
* partout-everywhere.