June 30, 2013

The Sun Also Sets

June 30, 2013 Photo of the day: "The Sun Also Sets"
June 29, 2013

Sixteen years ago...

June 29, 2013 Photo of the day: "First Date"

This is silly and embarrassing, but I found my planner/journal from 1997. The printing is Catholic school uniform and the writing is immature, but here is what I wrote on June 29, 1997 after my first date with Eric.  Our intention was to go sailing up north, but there wasn't enough wind that day. So we had a picnic, skipped stones, waded, and climbed the observation tower in Peninsula State Park. It was a sweet, lovely day.

June 28, 2013

Summer Reading

June 28, 2013 Photo of the day: "The Sun Also Rises"

I have been working my way through the Pewaukee High School 13 for '13 Summer Reading List. So far, I've read Inferno, Divergent, Insurgent, The Fault in Our Stars, and The Art of Racing in the RainThe English major and Hemingway fan in me is excited to reread The Sun Also Rises. I haven't read this novel since graduate school, so it will be interesting to note whether my opinion changes twenty years later...

June 27, 2013

The Sun'll Come Out...

June 27, 2013 Photo of the day: "Sunny Day Daylilies"

It has been a rainy, gloomy, challenging week. 
Sometimes you have to look deep within yourself 
to find the warmth and the light...
or stroll through the garden 
to find a glimpse of a sunny hue.

June 26, 2013

Delicate tenacity

June 26, 2013 Photo of the day: "Delicate tenacity"

Years ago, I planted a small flat of violas that preceded to take over my garden. They were very pretty, but they were everywhere. Last summer when we enlarged the garden beds, moved perennials, and replaced the mulch, I tore out handfuls of violas that were in the way and gave bunches to neighbors in an attempt to restore some order. Unfortunately, the tiny blossoms seemed to have been permanently eradicated. We were disappointed when the ones we strategically placed, withered and died. They didn't return all summer, and this spring, I eagerly searched for the first violas to pop up through the snow...nothing...until now: a few tiny and delicate, but strong and tenacious blossoms endured last year's draught and brutal winter, to return even more beautiful than I even remembered.

June 25, 2013

Stormy Weather

June 25, 2013 Photo of the day: "Stormy Weather"

Last summer, I lamented the +100° weather and the lack of rain throughout the month of June and most of July. So far this summer has been the exact opposite. I've even heard people can this "Juneuary." Actually, I really prefer the cooler weather, and when it does get hot and humid, like yesterday, we get a summer storm. If I can be home with a book and a cup of tea in the afternoon or snug in my bed at night, I quite enjoy a thunderstorm. My garden is much happier too. Last summer, I spent a couple of hours early each morning (with a cup of coffee) and another hour or so at dusk (with a glass of wine) watering the plants and shrubs. So far this summer, Mother Nature has taken care of that for me! All that being said, we are taking a mini-break next week, and I'm hoping for sunny skies, pleasant temperatures, and fair winds! Surely, that's not too much to ask :)

June 24, 2013

Showered with Memories

June 24, 2013 Photo of the day: "Showered with Memories"

This sweet still-life is full of lovely memories. The glider was designed and built by Eric's Grandpa Small who passed away a few years ago. Last summer, Eric took the ailing bench apart and carefully restored each piece to maintain its integrity. Originally, we planned to paint it a creamy white to match the trim on our house. In end, we decided on a cool blue-green, reminiscent of its original color on the porch of his grandparents' house. The galvanized watering can was a centerpiece at my bridal shower given by Eric's mom eight years ago in Sturgeon Bay. Each summer, I fill it with flowers to remind me of that lovely June day when I first felt like a part of Eric's family.

June 23, 2013

Liebster Award


I have been nominated for the Liebster Award 

This award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers by other bloggers.  It’s a way to publicize & promote your blog,  gain more activity on your site, and acknowledge your fellow bloggers’ awesomeness, despite the lower numbers of readers. Merci beaucoup, Dana, for the honor!

Here are the rules:
  • Acknowledge the blog that nominated you in a post.
  • Share 11 facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger (Dana) created
  • Nominate 11 bloggers who deserve recognition 
  • Post 11 new questions for them to answer
11 Facts About Me:
  1. I officially have 5 followers on my blog, but I know you're out there since I get about 1000 hits each week, and many have mentioned my photos and writing on Twitter, Facebook, and in person. Thank you to Catherine and Jenny who have left so many lovely comments right here on my blog!
  2. I went to Marquette University for nine years. No, I'm not slow. I stayed long enough to earn a B.A. in French & English, an M.A.T. in French, and an M.A. in English, but above all, I learned to always try to "Be The Difference."
  3. I take all of the photos on my blog with my iPhone. Sometimes, I take ten or twenty pictures of the same thing to get the shot I want, but it's worth it. It isn't about the camera, it's about the vision. I once read a story about a photographer having dinner at the home of a great chef. As the photographer shared his photos, several guests commented that he must have a really good camera. After supper, the guests complemented the chef on the excellent dinner. The photographer quipped, "That was a fabulous meal. You must have a really good oven!"
  4. I was adopted and still celebrate my "Gotcha Day" every year. I'm am so fortunate to have grown up with such caring, loving parents.
  5. I wear my grandmother's 1926 engagement ring on my right hand. She gave me the ring when I turned 13 and encouraged me to have the diamond made into a pendant or something more youthful. I am so glad that even at 13, I recognized the beauty in this classic art deco ring. 
  6. It has been well established that I am a big fan of the amazing creative, collaborative, and organizational potential of technology, but I still admire pretty paper, great pens, and lovely penmanship.
  7. Even though I love to travel and speak French, I am a very proud American daughter of a World War II veteran. Patriotic music makes me teary, and it is my privilege to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school each day.
  8. My feet are tiny (5.5 in the US, 35 in Europe). This is the perfect excuse to buy shoes whenever I find cute ones that fit ;)
  9. I have a life-sized cardboard cut-out of my first love, Shaun Cassidy, in my basement. I got him when I was 11. I say “hello” to him every time I go downstairs.
  10. I make amazing paper snowflakes. Ask my students! The trick is folding the paper correctly.
  11. My Project 365 has been challenging, therapeutic, and enlightening. It has forced me to slow down and pay attention, to be aware of the beauty that surrounds me every day!
My Answers to Dana's Questions:
  1. Why did you start blogging? I have always enjoyed writing and photography. In addition to being an excellent platform for creative expression, blogging has also lead me to discover "kindred spirits" (Anne of Green Gables) around the world, fellow bloggers who share my passion for travel, art, fashion, film, literature, sailing, gardening, and the French language and culture.
  2. If you could go anywhere in the world, right now, where would you go, and why? Paris is always a good idea and always the first place that comes to mind. I would stroll through my favorite neighborhoods and museums, shop in my favorite boutiques, sip coffee or wine in my favorite cafés, and enjoy the joie de vivre! If I could go anywhere that I've never been before, I would love to visit French Polynesia. 
  3. If you had the chance to travel back in time or into the future, which would you pick, and what would you want to see/find out? I would love to visit Paris in the 1920's, to discuss literature and drink wine with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, et al, fashion with Coco Chanel, art with Picasso...I totally agree with Gil in Midnight in Paris!
  4. Apple or PC? I'm definitely an Apple! I have a MacBook Pro, an iPad Mini, and an iPhone 5. I am an early adopter, and eagerly anticipate each Apple keynote and new release. We are issued PC laptops, but I often choose to take my Mac to work.
  5. How did we meet? I believe we met at WAFLT in 2011. I am happy to collaborate with you and an so excited to read about your adventures in France this fall!
  6. What is your guilty pleasure? Shoes, wine, Chanel lipgloss, and reruns of Sex in the City
  7. At my funeral, I want this song played: "Sweet Dreams, Melinda"?!
  8. What do you think of when you hear, “Wisconsin?” Great Lakes sailing, road trips, birch and maple trees, cherry and apple trees, violets, daisies, lady slippers, brutal winters, lovely springs, delightful summers, beautifully crisp autumns...home!
  9. What is your favorite season and why? One of the best things I learned from my dad was that each season brings its unique beauty, fun, and delicious flavors. I truly look forward to each changing season. That being said, summer has a distinct advantage for educators ;)
  10. I never, ever, want to do this again: I know it's unrealistic, but I never want to feel heartbroken again. Yet even as I write that, I know that the only way to not feel heartbroken is to not love at all, and that is never an option.
  11. What do you like most about yourself? Physically, I like my blue eyes and what I observe with them (although I wish they weren't so myopic). As for my personality, I like that I am generous with my time and talents.
I nominate these lovely blogs:
(Some may have +200 followers)

Catherine at La Mémoire Vive

Diane at Diane, A Broad
Edna at Expat Edna
Nichole at Obvious State
Lindsay at Lost in Cheeseland


What inspires you?
What frustrates you?
What's in your bag?
Home is:
Most beautiful sight:
Favorite sound:
Favorite scent:
Favorite book:
Favorite film:
Dream destination:
Best advice you've received:

Thanks again, Dana, 
and thanks to all these beautiful blogs and bloggers 
who inspire me everyday!


 June 23, 2013 Photo of the day: "Dragonfly"

This afternoon, as I strolled 
through hot, muggy garden 
before the storm 
that will roll through within the hour,
I noticed dozens of damselflies 
and two large dragonflies 
dancing from bough to bough

My Mom calls these tiny colorful damselflies "Green Bay flies." 
Aren't they lovely and delicate?

June 22, 2013

Fresh as a Daisy

June 22, 2013 Photo of the day: "Simply Charming"

"J'ai compris que toutes les fleurs 
qu'Il a créées sont belles, 
que l'éclat de la rose 
et la blancheur du lys 
n'enlèvent pas le parfum de la petite violette 
ou la simplicité ravissante de la pâquerette."

“All the flowers that He created are beautiful.
The splendor of the rose 
and the whitness of the lily 
do not rob the little violet of it’s scent 
nor the daisy of its simple charm. ”

~ Sainte Thérèse de Lisieux
(La Petite Fleur)

June 21, 2013

Raindrops on Roses

June 21, 2013 Photo of the day: "Raindrops on Roses"

If possible, my sea foam roses 
may be even more beautiful in the rain!

Happy First Day of Summer!

June 20, 2013

Photo Featured on Website

June 20, 2013 Photo of the day:
"Featured Photo"

This morning, I received an email from England's Travel Supermarket informing me that a photo I entered in last summer's Capture the Colour contest was chosen to be featured on the website's Interactive Travel Map. My "yellow" photo, E ♥ M love lock on the Pont des Arts in Paris, is featured in the photos of Europe. How cool!  Here are the five photos that I entered (blue, green, yellow, white, and red). Thanks again to Catherine at La Memoire Vive for encouraging me to enter!


June 19, 2013

Out of the Blue

June 19, 2013 Photo of the day: "Monona Terrace"

Today, along with two of my colleagues, I presented at the first annual Quality Educator Convention at the Monona Terrace in Madison, WI: Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) - Finding effective ways to leverage change and growth in student achievement. The Monona Terrace is a beautiful convention center, designed by my favorite architect, Wisconsin's own, Frank Lloyd Wright. The views of Lake Monona and the Wisconsin State Capitol building are stunning!

June 18, 2013

Dreaming of Paris

June 18, 2013 Photo of the day: "Dreaming of Paris"

This morning, I had breakfast at Le Rêve
(quiche Lorraine & café au lait).

I really miss Paris, 
but these mini macarons help, just a little...
June 17, 2013

Pretty Potentilla

June 17, 2013 Photo of the day: "Pretty Potentilla"
So lovely in its purity and simplicity!

June 16, 2013

Here's to Dad!

June 16, 2013 Photo of the day: "Here's to Dad!"

A toast to the dads, grandpas, and godfathers
who have taught us so much, 
and loved us even more!

Today (and everyday), I remember my dad.
He taught me to sail, waterski, and ice skate,
to cook lobster, to catch many fish,
to love Big Band and Swing music,
to appreciate the beauty and bounty of each season.
I love and miss him every day.

June 15, 2013

Let it Bee!

June 15, 2013 Photo of the day: "Let it Bee!"

A busy little bee was eagerly gathering nectar
from this unusual plant in my garden. 
I love the plant, but I can't remember what it is.

June 14, 2013

Congratulations PHS Class of 2013

June 14, 2013 Photo of the day:
"Congratulations Class of 2013"

June 13, 2013

School's Out for Summer

June 13, 2013 Photo of the day:
"School's Out for Summer

Here's to taking it breezy:
blue skies & smooth sailing!

June 12, 2013

Paris is a Gift

June 12, 2013 Photo of the day:
"Paris is a Gift"

June 11, 2013

Merci beaucoup!

June 11, 2013 Photo of the day:  "Meilleurs voeux!"

What a year it has been!
My final year teaching French in PHS 223

The year began with a great honor,

And it ended with accolades that I treasure even more:

from Hannah (Gigi)

from Lucy

from Abby

from Nicole & Steph

from Quinn

My students are incredibly generous!
They even raised $1000 for Doctors Without Borders.

Tomorrow is my final day with students.
So many smiles, so many hugs, so many tears...
J'adore mes élèves! Ils vont me manquer beaucoup!

June 10, 2013

Inspiration & Gratitude

June 10, 2013 Photo of the day:
"Réfléchir, Concevoir, Imaginer"




I've mentioned before that, although I am a big fan of the convenience and organizational potential of technology, I really do love handwritten notes, journals, quality paper, and pens that enhance one's uniquely beautiful penmanship. 

My colleague, Nan, is an inspiration! She has a passion for teaching literature that is unparalleled. This year, Nan was charged with creating a blended American Lit course as an alternative to traditional classroom seat time. She was self-deprecating about her proficiency with technology; therefore, it was my privilege to consult with her about how to leverage Moodle, Google Apps, YouTube, etc. to create an engaging experience for her students. Despite her apprehension, I truly believe that Nan has developed a new perspective on her content and delivery. 

This afternoon, when she dropped off the books that I will be teaching with her next year, she also delivered this amazingly personal gift of three linen journals that remind me to "Reflect, Conceive, and Imagine."  I am eager to fill them with ideas, quotes, words of wisdom, and gratitude. I am so grateful for the true gift of friendship and professional collaboration with amazing colleagues like Nan.

June 09, 2013

What a Wild Day!

June 9, 2013 Photo of the day:
"What a Wild Day!"

Today was a great almost-summer day,
spent with family and friends!

This afternoon, we celebrated the birthday 
and Notre Dame graduation of our friend, Caitlin.

"Congratulations Notre Dame Grad, Caitlin"

Bernie's Dugout

The Sausage Race: The Bratwurst won today...
So did the Brewers: 9-1!

After the game, we went to the Milwaukee County Zoo
with my sister-in-law, Heidi, and our nephews.

I'm not a cat person, but I especially enjoyed
"The Big Cats" today!

Alec did too!
(This photo is blurry, but so expressive!)

We ended our day with fro-yo at Yo Mama.

What a fun-filled Sunday in Milwaukee!