July 31, 2015

Why knot?

July 31, 2015 {202/365} Knot

"When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
July 30, 2015

What more?

July 30, 2015 {211/365} "What more?"

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in 
--what more could he ask? 
A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.” 

« Un petit jardin pour se promener, et l’immensité pour rêver. À ses pieds ce qu’on peut cultiver et cueillir ; sur sa tête ce qu’on peut étudier et méditer ; quelques fleurs sur la terre et toutes les étoiles dans le ciel. » ~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

July 29, 2015

Dressing Downton

July 29, 2015 {210/365} Dressing Downton

"Fashions fade. Style is eternal." ~ Yves Saint Laurent

I spent a lovely morning visiting the Dressing Downton exhibit at the beautiful Paine Art Center and Gardens in Oshkosh. As a big fan of the PBS series, Downton Abbey, I could easily picture the scenes that featured these impeccable costumes. No photography was allowed, but you can take a virtual tour at dressingdownton.com.

July 28, 2015


July 28, 2015 {209/365} Papillon

« Le papillon est une fleur qui vole, la fleur un papillon fixé. » 
~ Ponce Denis Écouchard Lebrun

[The butterfly is a flying flower,
The flower a tethered butterfly.]

July 27, 2015

Queen Anne's Lace

July 27, 2015 {208/365} 

Queen Anne's Lace, summer's regal blossom with
 her crowned head high above the denizens of the meadow
or bent low in benevolent acknowledgement of her kingdom.

July 26, 2015

Bee Attitude

 July 26, 2015 {207/365} Bee-atitude

“The bee is more honored than other animals, 
not because she labors, but because she labors for others.”
~ Saint John Chrysostom

July 25, 2015

Cherry Tree

July 25, 2015 {206/365} Cherry Tree

"Trees are your best antiques." ~ Alexander Smith

It's cherry season in Door County and the bows of the trees are heavy with tart, crimson fruit. Yet somehow the fruit of this tree tastes sweeter because it grows on property that's been in the Larson family for over 100 years! 
July 24, 2015


July 24, 2015 {205/365} Pampered
“There comes a time in every woman's life when the 
only thing that helps is a glass of champagne.” ~ Bette Davis
[Especially when it comes with a mani-pedi!]

July 23, 2015

Roses are red...

July 23, 2015 {204/365} Roses are red...
These beautiful flowers were an anniversary gift from Eric. So was the camera that captured these photos. I've really enjoyed my Project 365 for the past two and a half years and have learned so much about lighting, composition, angles, and editing. Yet, as pleased as I've been with most of my pictures, iPhotography is quite limiting. These are the first photos taken with my new Sony a5000. In the coming weeks, I will be attending a digital photography course to become more knowledgeable about my new camera and to practice techniques that will further improve my skills. Thank you to Eric for seeing my potential and for encouraging me to continue learning and creating!

July 22, 2015

10 years

July 22, 2015 {203/365} Ten
"A lot of love can happen in ten years." ~ Jim Carrey

Ten years ago today, we walk though those red doors...
July 21, 2015


July 21, 2015 {202/265} Woods

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach..." ~ Henry David Thoreau

[Besides, Piper loves it!]
July 20, 2015


July 20, 2015 {201/365} Blossoming Soul

"Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature."
~ Gerard de Nerval
July 19, 2015

Sunday Funday

July 19, 2015 {200/365} Cocktails & Art
Strawberry Basil Sangria at Harbor House & 

July 18, 2015


July 18, 2015 {199/365} Belladonna

As much as I am committed to life-long learning, I sometimes struggle to balance beliefs that "knowledge is power" while "ignorance is bliss".  

For example, years ago, I didn't know that these pretty purple flowers and their equally lovely crimson berries are actually very poisonous. This new knowledge now helps me keep Piper safe when we walk in the woods. 

Yet, there is certain innocent ignorance that is enchanting, like beloved childhood myths who leave presents on Christmas Eve or money under pillows in exchange baby teeth or believing that Christopher Plumber actually sang "Edelweiss" in The Sound of Music. Another of my long-held, innocent beliefs was shattered today as I read Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee's "sequel" to To Kill a Mockingbird. 

I don't like to read reviews of books or films before I see them; I would rather formulate my own opinion without outside influences. So I won't give anything away here either expect that, despite the controversy surrounding the "suspicious" timing of the book's publication and the unpopular depiction of its beloved characters, the fact remains that Harper Lee did indeed write this version of the Finch family. It's a book about personal convictions and conscience that we all must reconcile for ourselves. For thus the Lord said to me: "Go, set a watchman; let him announce what he sees." (Isaiah 21:6)
July 17, 2015


July 17, 2015 {198/365} Hot

"Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines" ~ Shakespeare
July 16, 2015

Coup de foudre

July 16, 2015 {197/365} le coup de foudre

I love this French expression!
 It literally means a bolt of lightning, 
but figuratively, it means "love at first sight." 
Vive la langue de l'amour! 

[The inspiration for this little vocabulary lesson is brought to you by my iPhone 6. #nofilter]
July 15, 2015

Naturally curly

July 15, 2015 {196/365} Naturally curly

"May your life be like a wildflower growing freely 
in the beauty and joy of each day." ~ Native American Proverb

[This beauty has naturally curly "hair"]
July 14, 2015


July 14, 2015 {195/365} Celebrating

There's a lot to celebrate today. First, Joyeuse Fête nationale to all of my French and francophile friends! What better way to toast the day than with une coupe de Champagne (especially one with a tricolor reflection)?!

And speaking of tricolor, our little beagle is on the mend! Miss Piper been through so much this past week (as have Maman et Papa), but the treatment worked like a charm and she seems to already be in remission. Thanks again for all of your best wishes for the three of us!  Bisous 

Finally, I have one more francophile reason to celebrate: I will be teaching a blended French 4/5 course in the fall and have been working hard on a simulated year in Paris website (check it out: Une année à Paris). It's still a work in progress, but I'm excited to be «Madame» again!
July 13, 2015


July 13, 2015 {194/365} Lavande

This week, in honor of La Fête Nationale/Bastille Day, I'm celebrating la vie française chez moi. Today, we're au jardin. Every year, I try to grow lavender. I love the fragrance, the color, the taste -- it's a Proustian sensory memory that immediately transports me to the south of France. But let's face it, the weather in Wisconsin doesn't compare to the climate en Provence. I'll never have enough blossoms to make soap or a sachet or lavender ice cream, but if I'm lucky, I can pick sprig or two to brighten a stormy day or a glass of lemonade. 
July 12, 2015


July 12, 2015 {193/365} Bastille Days

In the 1920s, Gertrude Stein famously stated, "America is my country. Paris is my hometown." How nice when the two combine!  I love that Milwaukee is the City of Festivals, celebrating the cultural diversity that makes up the fabric of this town. My favorite celebration is Bastille Days for obvious reasons. Although I long to return to Paris, its great to enjoy live music, the international marketplace, cooking and wine demos, French and Cajun cuisine, and of course the Eiffel Tower (albeit a 43-foot replica -- barely 4% the size of the one -- with an MSOE sign) right here at home. Vive la France à Milwaukee!

July 11, 2015

Pop of color

July 11, 2015 {192/365} Pop of color

« Cette magnifique richesse de coloration qui anime la nature »
["the magnificent richness of color that animates nature"] ~ Cézanne 

July 10, 2015

French Friday: Tissu provençal

July 10, 2015 {191/365} Tissu provençal

« L'amour est un tissu qui ne se fane jamais...» 
“Love is a fabric which never fades, no matter how often it is washed in the water of adversity.” 
July 09, 2015

6 months old

July 9, 2015 {190/365} 6 months old

Miss Piper is six months old and 17.5 pounds today! She is such a sweet, pretty, little puppy, and we love her so much! She loves her family, being outside, peanut butter, her many toys, playing with Roxie and Lucky, and snuggling. She is very smart, social, and sassy!

This past month has been rough for our little girl. In June she had dental surgery to extract 4 retained canines and two more stubborn baby teeth (in this regard, she takes after Mommy). While she was under, she also had her laparoscopic spay. After her operations, we thought our trips to the vet were over for a while, but this week, Miss Piper hasn't been herself.  Over the past three days, she has endured a night in the emergency room, IV fluids and pain meds, and a spinal tap. We are so thankful that they have almost certainly ruled out meningitis, but she may still be facing further x-rays and blood work to try to determine why she hasn't been feeling well. We are doing everything we can to help her get better, but through it all she keeps wagging her tail and giving everyone kisses. Piper has been the cause of a lot of worry and a lot of expense lately, but she has brought so much joy and love into our lives. We love you, Miss Piper! Happy Half Birthday!
July 08, 2015

Love & Gratitude

July 8, 2015 {189/365} With love...

To all our dear, sweet friends,

We have an update on Miss Piper: She's home! Her spinal tap today revealed no conclusive signs of meningitis, but the neurologist will take a closer look tomorrow. Her fever is down, she's eating, and wants to play. So rather than keep her in the hospital over night, we elected to take her home. Tomorrow we will have her monitored for the day at our vet's office and get a second opinion, but for now, we wait. We're just so relieved that she's feeling better and with us for the night. Thank you for all your prayers and wishes - keep them coming, they're working! 

Love, Melinda, Eric, and Piper 
July 07, 2015


Please keep our sweet little Piper in your thoughts tonight. She has been sleeping a lot and hardly eating. Tonight she was shaky and didn't want to play, so we took her to the emergency vet. Her symptoms of lethargy, fever, shaking, decreased appetite, neck and jaw sensitivity all point to Steroid Responsive Meningitis (SRM), also know as Beagle Pain Syndrome.

She is receiving IV fluids and pain meds tonight and will undergo blood tests, a spinal tap, and possibly an MRI tomorrow to confirm the diagnosis. We are praying that she is diagnosed early and is responsive to the subsequent steroid treatment so that she can come home to us soon. We love her so much!

July 7, 2015 {188/365} Anchored in Hope

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul. A hope both sure and steadfast." Hebrews 6:19

July 06, 2015

Every little thing...

July 6, 2015 {187/365} 3 Little Birds

"Rise up this mornin',
Smile with the risin' sun,
Three little birds
Each by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin', 'This is my message to you: 
Don't worry 'bout a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right.'"

July 05, 2015


July 5, 2015 {186/365} Tiny
Prairie Cinquefoil

"Nature is impersonal, awe-inspiring, elegant, eternal. It's geometrically perfect. It's tiny and gigantic. You can travel far to be in a beautiful natural setting, or you can observe it in your backyard...." ~ Gretchen Rubin
July 04, 2015

From Sea to Shining Sea

July 4, 2015 {185/365}

"One flag, one land, one heart, one hand,
one nation evermore!" ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes


July 3, 2015 {184/365} Eagle

"Let it be borne on the flag under which we rally in every exigency, that we have one country, one constitution, one destiny." ~ Daniel Webster [One more photo from Philly: US Coast Guard Cutter - Eagle]
July 02, 2015

ISTE 2015

July 2, 2015 {183/365} Penn's Landing

"Education is all a matter of building bridges." ~ Ralph Ellison

This photo, taken from our hotel room at Penn's Landing, serves as an excellent metaphor for my learning at ISTE 2015
  • First, it is expansive, yet there are signals and markers to help navigate as we explore. The Philadelphia Convention Center is huge! We walked several miles each day traveling from session to session and exploring the expo halls. One of the presenters equated the conference to a buffet: You can't consume everything. It's best to sample, go back for more until your are full. I had a taste of the SAMR Model as it relates to blended learning. I sampled a smorgasbord of tech tools before focusing on specific tools for assessment. I was served with several ideas for engaging teachers in professional development while continuously focusing on my own learning. I even had fun manipulating images and creating art with my iPad. Without navigators like the ISTE mobile app and volunteers holding up "Ask Me" signs, I could have easily been lost in a sea of edtech and overwhelmed by information overload. 
  • At Penn's Landing, a solid foundation and good construction has allowed these old building to retain their integrity while evolving to suit contemporary tastes and requirements. So too, has education evolved. A strong pedagogic foundation, focusing on inquiry, critical thinking, and student engagement, allows learners to personalize their educational experiences with a variety of tech tools in alternative teaching and learning environments. 
  • The goal is not to teach technology, but rather to use online tools and devices to build the bridge between content standards and student engagement/achievement. The presenters and attendees at the ISTE Conference recognize that technology integration is not a destination. Technology provides a connection between traditional learning and the real world as well as among learners across the globe.
  • The boats in this harbor are safely moored for now, yet as John Shedd famously said at the turn of the 20th Century, "A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for." We must not become complacent in our learning. Even when we've worked hard to make it to our destination, we must continue to questions what more there is to learn. The tools will continue to evolve too, making further exploration more convenient, more enticing, and more challenging. After celebrating our accomplishments (and recovering from this conference), we must pull up our anchors and continue on our journey of life-long learning and discovery.
July 01, 2015

Homeward Bound

July 1, 2015 {182/365} PHL - MSP - MKE

"Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs."
~ Susan Sontag

I'm home after four days of laughter and learning. 
Tomorrow I'll reflect upon my experiences at #ISTE2015