Thursday, November 5, 2009

leaving on a jet plane...


Here we are again, going back to France. That is the reason why I started this blog in the first place. This time, I'm going with my parents and am anxious to show them the France I love!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

For your viewing pleasure...

This year marks the 120th year anniversary for the Eiffel Tower. Originally built for the World's Fair in 1889, the tower has become a symbol of France. The tower has gotten controversial reviews and has undergone threats of tearing it down numerous times. Guy de Maupassant ate there frequently because it was the only place in Paris he could not see the unsightly monument.


At any rate, there is a new lighting display for the tower in honor of its anniversary.







Monday, October 19, 2009

LOVE/HATE

I need to ask myself this more often!



I have a love-hate relationship with the gym. I love the results but hate the process. To date, I've lost 40 pounds in over 2 years just from working out alone. Diet is another topic for another day and realistically, for another person to discuss.

I started my weight loss by living in France 2 years ago and managed to keep it off. A few months after my journey ended in France, I joined Curves, a women's gym. I felt comfortable there because there were women only of all shapes, sizes and ages. This was a nice way for me to get into the habit of working out after years of neglect. I then decided that Curves wasn't challenging anymore because you go from machine to machine every 10 seconds or so and do not have the opportunity to change the resistance. I had reached a plateau. Shortly thereafter, we joined the gym together and paid almost the same amount as Curves.

Fortunately, this gym is nationwide and a member can use any of the facilities anywhere. Its unlike me to beat down the door of a gym while on vacation. You'll instead find me poolside with a platter of the local pastries. Now you see my love/hate relationship with the gym in action (or inaction)!

Confession: I have not been to the gym in nearly 2 months. I have had some health issues that have prevented me from going (actual documented ones, not just my large rear could not defy the gravity that the couch so forcefully contains). The doctor has given me the green light to go back to the gym and do vigorous activity now. Damn him!!! Its a necessary evil and I've done well so far in my 1.7 yrs of having a membership I mustn't give up!


New, new, new

There has been a lot going on since I last published in April. I went to Haiti, Florida and Niagara Falls; got a new job; bought a new car; moved to a different city; new glasses; prepping for a trip to my homeland. Never a dull moment. I'm here to highlight my new car however. Always a fan of Honda Civics, I leased my 4th one. This one is a Civic LX-S with sporty interior and manual 5 speed transmission -- some of the guys in my life really love this part (i.e. my dad and brother-in-law-to-be).

After a couple of weeks of driving this car, the dealer called to see if we were getting acquainted with one another. He wanted to know specifically if I had named the car yet. The only name I could think of is "the shadow" because of its odd color. They call it "urban titanium." I have no idea what that means exactly but it looks brown in some lights and gray in another--like a shadow.
without further ado, introducing "the shadow"


Nous allons en France

chateau and gardens of Villandry


La cathédrale

The castle in Angers


So, in November, its back to my homeland for another trip filled with joy, laughter, wine and cheese. My host family has graciously offered to host me once again. This time, I'm going with my parents. My biological family meets my host family. Neither side is fluent in the other's native tongue--this should be interesting! I have my plane and TGV tickets and am ready to head out in early November for 9 days.
The highlight of the trip is going with my parents. This is my opportunity to shine. I plan to show them my love for all things French and that my language skills aren't too shabby either. Like going on a safari, they will be able to see me in my natural habitat. The land of the brie and home of the cave!

Marie-Laure and Marie-Edith sent me a proposed itinerary. We are so fortunate that Marie-Laure was able to take 2 days off to spend with us. They propose visiting the chateau of Villandry and its magnificent gardens, the Cointreau museum, the mushroom museum, eating in an underground cavern restaurant and visiting the chateau in Angers. There is plenty of time left in the itinerary for wines, cheeses, pastries, baguettes and any other delicacies that are viewed as every day in my homeland. I can almost smell the buttery goodness now.

English Tea

Dallywater's Tea Room

The Afternoon Tea Menu

I recently took a rode trip with longtime friend, Jodie. We have been friends since the 7th grade and later had classes together in high school and college. We were also roommates at one point in college, too. Despite all this togetherness, we are still friends. She approached me about going to Naples in the Fingerlakes to enjoy the fall foliage and a tea room. We both ordered the Afternoon Tea which was comprised of finger sandwiches, pastries and a pot of tea.

We had such a wonderful time! The food was very tasty and the tea was very flavorful. Who knew you could drink something other than wine in the Fingerlakes? That's a first for me.




Encore Peter from Provence

Its been a while since I've posted anything. I was beginning to wonder how long I would neglect this blog. Alas, I am back . . . with exciting news! One of my favorite authors, Peter Mayle, has a new book coming out tomorrow : The Vintage Caper. Its another work of fiction. In celebration of this new release, I'm reading an old release : Anything Considered. I am often presented with an author that is new to me and read all of their books and then am left on pins and needles for the next one. J.K. Rowling, Dan Brown and Peter Mayle have all been authors that do not have many books to choose from but are all wonderful reads. Incidentally, I'm reading Dan Brown's new book, too. I am making some effort to pace myself so I have things to read without repeating the "waiting for the new book" blues. Kudos to this new book -- I can't wait!



Monday, April 13, 2009

Home from Haiti



I just got back from Haiti and my mind is swimming! Once I get my thoughts all sorted out, I'll post news and notes about my trip.


Classic Makes a Comeback

Just when I thought all hope was lost for today's kids and their desire for anything battery powered, I have realized that a toyland classic has made its comeback manifested in current events. I am of course talking about Legos. Created in the 1930's out of wood, they were eventually made into a plastic substance.



Friday, April 3, 2009

Media Fast



I've been pondering doing a fast. Not a traditional fast from food but a fast from media -- my real addiction. I just can't bring myself to do it! That's another reason I enjoy traveling. I know that I am somewhere but more so in an undisclosed location that no one really knows where. There's something freeing about that.

Two summers ago when I started this blog, although I was keeping up with the blog, I wasn't attached to my computer on a regular basis. I would post once or twice a week. Phone calls were also limited to about once or twice a week. It was a relief being a lot less accessible to the world. Even the aftermath of coming home people slowly realized that I was home and the communication slowly picked up instead of an immediate rush of needs, wants and contacts.

Don't get me wrong, I love my friends and family! I also love meaningful communication that is few and far between that is less frequent. It would be more significant if I was contacted by someone with something really interesting once in awhile rather than on a daily basis about something miniscule like a grocery list or an interesting bumper sticker they saw.

My current life consists of the following as means of regular (and often pointless) communication:
  • text messages
  • picture messages
  • phone calls
  • 4 emails accounts
  • ichat
  • yahoo messenger
  • msn messenger
  • blogs
  • facebook
  • skype
In short, I've been inundated with media and communication lately. This week, while I'm in Haiti, I'll be in a remote village away from all the media and I'm looking forward to it. solitude...nature...God...man...privacy...seclusion...refreshing.

"Solitude is painful when one is young but delightful when one is more mature."
~Albert Einstein


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Humorous...

Photos like this just put a smile on my face. Its just humorous being at the right place at the right time. This guy probably has no idea how lovely his legs really are!





Saturday, March 28, 2009

Signs of Spring

A little flowering blossom in our yard!

We've had amazingly beautiful weather lately. March came in like a lamb and I've been wondering the whole time where the lion has been hiding out. Will it rear its ugly head soon? Surprisingly, we have been blessed with continual signs of spring: warm weather, snow melting and flowers appearing! I'm thinking the lion may not be welcome this March (let's say nothing of April, May or June!)