November 30, 2014

November in Pictures

“November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.” 
~ Clyde Watson


November 30, 2014 Photo (334/365): "Sunday Bloody Sunday"

Milwaukee is famous/notorious for it's over-the-top Bloody Marys (like this one at Sobelmans at Marquette): pickled veggies, shrimp, cheese, bacon, sliders -- you name it, you can find it in a cocktail somewhere -- and don't forget the beer chasers. Regular articles and blogs are devoted to the search for the perfect Bloody:

Yet I really prefer just a couple of olives.
November 29, 2014


November 29, 2014 Photo (333/365): "Ornaments"

“True ornament is not a matter of prettifying externals. 
It is organic with the structure it adorns."
~ Frank Lloyd Wright

Mother Nature, the master stylist, 
has begun her holiday decorating.
November 28, 2014

French Friday: Trocadero

November 28, 2014 (332/365): "Trocadero"

Traditional French bistro fare (galettes, croque monsieur, soupe à l'oignon gratinée, assiettes de fromage, charcuterie, steak frites, moules frites), regional wines (Bordeaux, Languedoc-Roussilon, Beaujolais), 1664, an authentic Tabac sign... it's almost like being there -- perfect for date night!

November 27, 2014


November 27, 2014 Photo (331/365): "Thankful"

"For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today and everyday, may we be truly grateful
 for our endless blessings. Happy Thanksgiving!
November 26, 2014


November 26, 2014 Photo (330/365): "Wild Goose Chase"

It's cold and snowy, but I would miss the holidays 
in Wisconsin if I flew south for the winter... 
Although a vacation in the sun couldn't hurt!
November 25, 2014


November 25, 2014 Photo (329/365): "Title Belt"

In 2012, I was the very first recipient of the PHS Title Belt.  Today, I am honored to receive it again:

SuperBowl/Title-Belt Salute Of The Week: Melinda Larson-Horne (from Abby Bartz). "Melinda earns the title belt this week for all the work that she does for the high school, middle school, and the district that goes unnoticed. Her job requires the work of probably 3 or more people at any other business, but she makes her job seem effortless. Melinda is constantly learning new things that she not only shares with the students and staff in the Pewaukee School District, but so many others outside our campus. Her talents are endless. We are so blessed to have a person like Melinda who is passionate about helping others. Congratulations Melinda!"

Thank you to my wonderful colleagues! I, too, am blessed!
November 24, 2014


November 24, 2014 Photo (328/365): "White"

Suddenly, this afternoon, winter arrived and the world turned white.
November 23, 2014


November 23, 2014 Photo (327/365): "Lunchbox"

Yesterday, we had some time to kill before meeting friends for dinner in downtown Waukesha, so we decided to browse in a large antique shop on Main Street. Amid the bric-a-brac and array of one man's trash a.k.a. one man's treasure, I spotted this gem: a genuine Hardy Boys lunchbox circa 1977! The ten-year-old girl in me squealed with delight! I actually carried my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to school everyday in a lunchbox just like this. Sometimes, I even had Campbell's chicken noodle soup in the matching thermos.  

You see, Shaun Cassidy/Joe Hardy was my very first crush. I was glued to the TV set on Saturday nights, subjecting my parents to every episode of the Hardy Boys Mysteries. In those pre-VCR days, if on the rare occasion we weren't home at 7:00 PM, I would set up my cassette player and an 120-minute TDK tape to record the audio of the show. If I couldn't see Shaun, I could at least hear his voice. And, if I were especially lucky, there would be an episode that featured Shaun singing one of his pop hits like "Da Doo Ron Ron" or "That's Rock 'N' Roll". My dad called him "The Whippersnapper,"  but I was so enamored of his feathered blond hair, puppy dog eyes, and dreamy voice. 

I went to the library every week, and worked my way through all 58 books in the original Hardy Boys SeriesI clipped every picture and article I could find in Tiger Beat magazine and saved them in my Shaun Cassidy scrapbook. In the summer of 1978, my mom took me to Alpine Valley to see Shaun in concert where, like thousands of other pre-teen girls, I cried and screamed with delight. That Christmas, Shaun appeared on our doorstep in the form of life-sized cardboard cut-out. Several years later, Cardboard Shaun was the only boy to live in Cobeen Hall at Marquette where the girls on my floor spoiled him with creative outfits and daily kisses. OK, full disclosure: Cardboard Shaun now resides in our basement among the off-season boat gear and Christmas decorations! He has a few new wrinkles, but then, so do I.

Over thirty years later, I haven't forgotten my "first love." A few years ago during the final season of the Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah featured Shaun Cassidy on her teen heartthrobs episode. Apparently, I'm not alone in my nostalgic crush!

As for that lunchbox, I saved myself $45 and just took a few pictures!
November 22, 2014


November 22, 2104 Photo (336/365): "Typewriter"

Tonight, I'm at a loss, struggling for inspiration and eloquence. Hemingway famously stated: "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." Papa may have been able to bleed his brilliant words onto countless pages that passed through a typewriter just like this one. Yet, this evening, as my fingers pause over the keys of my Macbook Air, my heart may ache, but it doesn't bleed. There are no words....
November 21, 2014


 November 21, 2014 Photo (325/365): "Frosted"

"Frost is the greatest artist in our clime - he paints in nature and describes in rime.' ~ Thomas Hood

A masterpiece on my windshield.

French Friday: Beaujolais Nouveau

Hier, le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé.  On the third Thursday of November each year, the French celebrate the release of the latest Beaujolais Nouveau vintage with fireworks, music, and festivals. Under French law, the wine is released at 12:01 a.m., just weeks after the grapes have been harvested. The Gamay grapes that compose the Beaujolais Nouveau are handpicked in the Beaujolais province of eastern France along the Saône river, just south of Burgundy. The varietal originated about a century ago as an inexpensive and festive drink to celebrate the end of the harvest season. The wine is easy drinkable due to carbonic maceration or whole-berry fermentation. This technique preserves the freshness of the fruit without extracting bitter tannins from the grape skins. The fruity, cherry-red wine is best served chilled and goes well with our American Thanksgiving menus. Although young wines are not my favorite, I do enjoy observing the tradition and comparing each year's vintage. According to the Business Insider, this year's Beaujolais Nouveau is "a rude wine -- very young and spirited."  Have you tasted it yet?
November 20, 2014


November 20, 2014 (324/365): "Happy 40th!"

« Quarante, c'est l'âge de la jeunesse... »
"Forty is the age of youth..." ~ Victor Hugo
Happy 40th Birthday to Eric!

November 19, 2014


 November 19, 2014 Photo (323/365): "Beemer"
Tomorrow is Eric's 40th birthday, but I got a present too!

November 18, 2014


November 18, 2014 Photo (322/365): "Winter Coat"

It's so cold already that even
the magnolia is wearing her winter coat!
November 17, 2014


November 17, 2014 Photo (321/365): "Midwest Summit"
"Never stop learning because life never stops teaching!"

Today was a great day of learning for me and the others who attended the Midwest Summit featuring Google for Education. Tickets for the Summit sold out in four hours back in September, and it's no wonder: So many Google rock stars are sharing their amazing ideas! I'm excited to see many of my GTA MTV cohort again, and I'm so honored to be a part of this formidable group! The day started with a very engaging keynote by Mark Garrison inviting educators to think about what they will Start, Stop, and Share to promote change and innovation personally and in our schools. Today, I shared ideas for building a Personal Learning Network (PLN) -- It's a PLN! and tomorrow I will engage educators in a 2-hour workshop to build Google Sites: Google Sites Make & Take. In between presentations, I'm learning so much about Google extensions, add-ons, formulas in Sheets... If you would like to learn along with us today and tomorrow, session resources are available here and follow #mwgs on Twitter. 
November 16, 2014


November 16, 2014 Photo (320/365): "Snowballs"

"Snow provokes responses that reach 
right back to childhood." - Andy Goldsworthy 
Looks like Queen Anne is ready for a snowball fight!

November 15, 2014


November 15, 2014 Photo (319/365): 
"Written in Snow" - Love letters from the boys!

"Auntie + Alec = ♥" (from Alec - 10)
♥ Chase - 8 
November 14, 2014


November 14, 2014 Photo (318/365): "Frost"

November arrived, cold as frozen iron, 
with hard frosts every morning and 
icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.” 
~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

French Friday (Flashback): Repetto

I've put quite a few miles in high heels this week, and since it's Friday, it's time to dress down -- soyez plus relax. So, in the interest of comfortable, fashionable footwear, today's French Friday feature is a flashback to one of my very first posts on this blog: A Tribute to Repetto.

Like most women, I'm addicted to shoes! Since I'm only 5'0" tall, I almost always wear heels. Yet once and a while, I feel like being more grounded. When I'm not perched precariously on pumps or wedges, my go-to flats are ballerinas.  Ballet-inspired slippers have existed since at least the 16th century. In medieval times, ballet flats were popular with both men and women. Heels became popular at the court of Versailles, but quickly went out of fashion when Marie Antoinette wore them as she walked to the guillotine. In her book, The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Should Own, Nina Garcia, Marie Claire editor and Project Runway judge, ranks ballet flats as #5! She affirms that they are chic and timeless, simple and elegant.

Although ballet flats are available in nearly every clothing and department store, my favorite ballerinas are the incomparable Repettos. Before she became an iconic film and fashion star, Brigitte Bardot was a trained ballerina. She always purchased her point shoes in a small shop at 22 rue de la Paix in Paris, just blocks from the Garnier Opera House, home of the Paris Ballet. When she was chosen to star in Roger Vadim's 1956 film, Et Dieu Créa la Femme, Bardot asked Rose Repetto to create a pair of ballet flats for her to wear in the film. She desired a slipper "qui dévoile la naissance des orteils" (to reveal her toe cleavage!). After ballet flats were worn by Bardot in And God Created Woman and by Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face (1957), ballerines became de rigeur.

I love the whole Repetto experience and I make it a regular stop on my strolls through Paris. The lovely little shop on the rue de la Paix is a treasure reminiscent of my little girl's jewelry box with its tiny pirouetting ballerina. The shop window, lined with theatre lights, is always beautifully adorn with delicate tutus or piles of pink toe shoes. As soon as I step inside, I feel the music and almost wish I'd continued the ballet lessons I began as a child. But then, I as I mentioned, at a diminutive 5'0", my dream of being a ballerina would never have been realized. Still, I revel at the blush-colored tulle and the satin bodices of the tutus hanging near an entire wall of cubby holes filled with every size of pale pink point shoes. Sometimes I am lucky enough to see ballet dancers or little girls trying on new shoes or costumes.

Under the crystal chandeliers on low round tables are the shoes that every woman can wear. Each shade of Repetto ballet flats is displayed in circles of complimentary hues. I'm always tempted to choose a different color. I've considered the pale pink that might make me feel just a bit like those lovely ballerinas... but then I worry that they'd be too delicate to wear on the dusty Paris cobblestones. What about red? I love what red accents add to a neutral outfit. I'm partial to navy and gray, yet despite numerous visits and hours of browsing, I always seem to choose classic black.

Everything about a new pair of Repettos is enchanting, starting with the beautiful black box, lined in wispy pink tissue. What is it about the combination of pink and black that feels so French? Inside the cover is the story of Rose Repetto's lovely shop and shoes. The final lines are a promise: "Vous venez d'acquérir une paire de Repetto, objet de tous les soins, garante de souplesse et de confort. Un pas de deux avec Repetto pour une promesse unique de grâce et de légèreté." ("You've come to acquire a pair of Repettos, object of all cares, guarantee of suppleness and comfort. A "pas de deux" dance with Repetto for a unique promise of grace and lightness." Repettos are indeed weightless. The lambskin leather is so soft, and the grosgrain ribbon trim and tiny bow allows the wearer to customize the fit for optimal comfort. Logically, I know that when I'm wearing my Repettos, I'm less than statuesque. Yet, I stand a bit taller and walk a bit lighter, channeling my inner ballerina.

On a practical note, if you decide to invest in a pair of Repetto ballet flats, purchase a size larger than your regular shoe size. The do run a bit small. You can buy Repettos at Saks Fifth Avenue and even online, but if you ever have the opportunity to visit this magical shop at 22 rue de la Paix, Paris 75002, enjoy the enchanting experience!
November 13, 2014


November 13, 2014 Photo (317/365): "Canvas"

"This world is but a canvas to our imagination." ~ Henry David Thoreau

What have you created today?
November 12, 2014


November 12, 2014 Photo (316/365): "In the Weeds"

"God didn't do it all in one day. What makes me think I can?"  ~ Anonymous

These days, I'm feeling overwhelmed, stuck "in the weeds." I'm having a hard time freeing myself from professional and personal stress. I have to remember to breath, pray for clarity and strength, and have faith in my own abilities.
November 11, 2014


November 11, 2014 Photo: "Hero"

"This nation will remain the land of the free 
only so long as it is the home of the brave." ~ Elmer Davis

Today, I honor all of the brave men and women who have served our country, and I think about my dad. In fact, I think about him every day as I stand to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I am humbled by the courage it must have taken to enlist in the Navy when he was only seventeen years old, to leave his family and travel around the world to defend our freedom. For this, and so much more, he will always be my hero.

November 10, 2014


November 10, 2014 Photo (314/365): "Muted"

The season's palate has changed from marvelous, obvious October to somber, subtle November. Shades of brown, cream, faded greens, and grays whisper their quiet, almost muted beauty to those who will take the time to listen.
November 09, 2014


November 9, 2014 Photo (313/365): "Powdered"

November powdered her nose this morning,
and she suddenly looks much prettier.
November 08, 2014


November 8, 2014 Photo (312/365): "Petit chou"

Despite, all the pretty pink and white roses in this bouquet, my eye was immediately drawn to the uniquely beautiful cabbage in the center. I always thought that the French terms of endearment, mon petit chou ("my little cabbage") was so curious. Unlike "honey" and "sweetie" in English, a cabbage always struck me as far from sweet. Yet, this petit chou is really lovely.
November 07, 2014


November 7, 2014 Photo (311/365): "Candle"

"It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I'm having a hard time adjusting to the end of 
daylight savings time, but a pretty candle helps.

French Friday: L'Armistice

On Tuesday, November 11th, while Americans honor Veterans Day, the French will observe l'Armistice, the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I.  At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, French Marechal Ferdinand Foch and German Matthias Erzberger met in a railway carriage in the Compiègne Forest in Picardy  to sign the treaty to bring an end to the fighting that claimed nearly twenty million lives in four years.

Since Armistice Day was approved as a federal holiday in several Allied nations  in 1922, it has become  customary for citizens to observe a moment of respectful silence at 11:00 a.m. local time. In France, the solemn day is commemorated with special church services and military parades to war memorials around the country, most notably the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, where the tricolor French flag flies in honor of the fallen.

The body of an unidentified soldier from Verdun was buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on November 11, 1920. This fallen hero serves as a symbol of all those who died in World War I, and in more recent years, as a symbol for all French military personnel who have given their lives in service of their country. An eternal flame was lit on the tomb three years later and still burns today.