February 29, 2016

February in Pictures

"Late February days; and now, at last,
Might you have thought that winter's woe was past;
So fair the sky was, and so soft the air."
~ William Morris, "February: Bellerophon in Lycia," 
The Earthly Paradise: A Poem, 1870

Days of Wine and Roses

February 29, 2016 (060/366)

"They are not long, the days of wine and roses." ~ Ernest Dowson

Well maybe not, but they were long enough for me. For the past three years, I've challenged myself to capture the rosy hues of February's celebrations; yet, despite all the Valentine's Day displays and the lovely birthday gifts, it isn't easy finding color in the depths of our Wisconsin winters. Still, I've made it to the end of another February with a extra day this year, so I'll end the month the way it began: "Roses are red, but I'm missing the blue -- the green, the yellow, the purple too!" Here's hoping for a colorful spring!
February 28, 2016


February 28, 2016 (059/366)

"The more you praise and celebrate your life, 
the more there is in life to celebrate." ~ Oprah Winfrey

Thank you for the sweet wishes that made my day so special!
February 27, 2016


February 27, 2016 (058/366)

“What you are is God's gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.” ~ Hans Urs von Balthasar
February 26, 2016


 February 26, 2016 (057/366)

"Tension is who you think you should be.  
Relaxation is who you are."  ~ Chinese Proverb

(A mani-pedi and afternoon tea at the Pfister help put things in perspective!)
February 25, 2016

Des fleurs

February 25, 2016 (046/366)

« Il y a des fleurs partout pour qui veut bien les voir. » ~ Matisse
February 24, 2016


February 25, 2016 (055/366)

"A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy. 
When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people." ~ Edgar Degas 

The same could be said for books. This week, I read The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan. Set in Paris during la Belle Epoque, the novel commingles the stories of the real-life model for Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen and a notorious criminal trial of the same era. I enjoy historical fiction -- novels such as Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland (the story behind Renoir's Le déjeuner des canotiersand The Paris Wife by Paula McLean (recounting the life of Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley, in Paris in the 1920s). Yet this novel seemed go too far -- taking too many liberties, focusing more on the seedy side of the Belle Epoque, and trying to tie too many artistic, literary, and historical events. Perhaps Ms. Buchanan is emulating the naturalism of Zola's L'Assommoir, also featured in the book; or perhaps I just hoped for the softer focus of a Degas painting -- "a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy."

I would argue that the same could be said about a woman, but OK, I'll confess. Beneath my classic predominantly-black uniform, beats the heart of a "girlie girl." You may recognize the subtle signs -- feminine details, signature jewelry, and bows on my shoes (almost all of them!). Although I'd never wear a pink tutu, I secretly love this pretty, pale shade. Maybe I can channel my inner ballerina with a pair of pale pink ballet flats (with bows, of course!) or maybe I'll just keep projecting my girlie sensibilities on Miss Piper!
February 23, 2016

Thanks, Mom & Dad!

February 23, 2016 (054/366) - 48 years

“By choice, we have become a family, 
first in our hearts, and finally in breath and being."
~ Richard Fischer
February 22, 2016


February 22, 2016 (053/366)

"A picture is a poem without words." ~ Horace
February 21, 2016


February 21, 2016 (052/366)

"Just as one can compose colors, or forms, so one can compose motions." ~ Alexander Calder
February 20, 2016

False spring

February 20, 2016 (051/366)

“When spring came, even the false spring, 
there were no problems except where to be happiest."
~ Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
February 19, 2016


February 19, 2016 (050/366)

"Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them." ~ Jean Louise "Scout" Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird. 

RIP Nelle Harper Lee (April 28, 1926 - February 19, 2016)
February 18, 2016

Seeing double

February 18, 2016 (049/366)

"Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words." ~ Plautus

Google (and several Facebook friends) informed me that today is National Drink Wine Day, so cheers!  PS: I spy 2 wine glasses (and no, I haven't even had a sip yet)! Do you see them?
February 17, 2016

Spring Fever

February 17, 2016 (048/366)

"Spring stirs under silent snow."  ~ Terri Guillemets

Great bunches of pussy willows and tulips have replaced withered, red roses in the floral department this week. The sun is shining, the days are getting longer, and there are 50's in the forecast for the weekend. I think I've caught a touch of spring fever! 
February 16, 2016

Petite voiture rouge

February 16, 2016 (047/366)

I have a thing for these silly, little French cars,
especially the red ones...

My new favorite hangs in our kitchen:

February 15, 2016


February 15, 2016 (046/366)

"The best cure for insomnia is Monday morning." ~ Anoymous
My little Valentine is exhausted this morning!

February 14, 2016


February 14, 2016 (045/366)

"All you need is love, 
but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."
~ Charles M. Schulz
February 13, 2016


February 13, 2016 (044/366)

« Aimer c'est savoir dire je t'aime sans parler. » ~ Victor Hugo

February 12, 2016

Love Story

February 12, 2016 (043/366)

"There are many little ways to enlarge your world. 
Love of books is the best of all." ~ Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
February 11, 2016


February 11, 2016 (042/366)

 « L'appréciation est une chose merveilleuse: 
Il fait ce qui est excellent dans d'autres 
appartiennent à nous aussi. » ~ Voltaire

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well." I am so fortunate to work with caring, inspiring, and dedicated colleagues. Their creativity, collaboration, trust, and appreciation is truly a gift. Merci, Nan, pour ce gentil cadeau!
February 10, 2016

For the greater glory

February 10, 2016 (041/366)

"Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam." ~ St. Ignatius of Loyola

Each time I return to Marquette, I instantly feel a familiar sense of faith and inspiration. St. Joan of Arc chapel was my sanctuary for nine years -- a warm, quiet place to put away my books and concerns and end each day in grateful reflection. It has been twenty-two years since I graduated (for the third time!), yet even now, whenever I feel frustrated, I try to remember that the greatest lesson I learned here was to work hard to make a difference, to "Be the Difference," not for myself, but for the greater glory. 

February 09, 2016


February 9, 2016 (040/366) 

“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!” ~ Mae West
What better day than Mardi gras to indulge in something decadent?

February 08, 2016


February 8, 2016 (039/366)

“On every thorn, delightful wisdom grows” ~ Edward Young

I could grumble about Monday mornings, about slippery roads, and falling temperatures, or I could delight in the beauty of these brilliant rose hips against the freshly fallen snow.
February 07, 2016


February 7, 2016 (038/366)
"Great love affairs start with Champagne..." ~ Honoré de Balzac

[With Miss Piper, it was love at first sight!]

February 06, 2016


February 6, 2016 (37/366)

This weekend, I'm taking time to stop and smell the roses...
February 05, 2016

Purse your lips

February 5, 2016 (036/366)

“Fashion is instant language." - Miuccia Prada
February 04, 2016


February 4, 2016 (035/366)

"Colors are the smiles of Nature." ~ Leigh Hunt
(Today's she's wearing bright red lipstick!)
February 03, 2016

Puppy Love

February 3, 2016 (034/366) Kisses

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs ” ~ Johnny Depp

[Piper's such a love bug! XOXO]
February 02, 2016

Oh crêpe!

February 2, 2016 (033/366)
« A la Chandeleur, l'hiver se passe ou prend vigueur. »

One of the best things about teaching French again is the opportunity to share cultural activities with my students. In France, the month of February begins with La Chandeleur, 40 days after Christmas. This religious celebration recalls the Presentation of Jesus to the Temple (Luke 2:22-40), but its origins date back to a pagan ritual of lighting candles to purify the new year.  The Church adapted the tradition into a blessing of candles to protect and sanctify the homes of believers. Since February is the the start of the growing season, seeds are also blessed and planted. Finally, having almost made it through the winter, the tradition is to celebrate prosperity and renewal by indulging in crêpes.

In keeping with tradition, my students held a gold coin in one hand, made wishes, and flipped a crêpe with the other. Most were skillful enough to catch the crêpe in the pan, so their wishes are bound to come true before this year's harvest. Flipping crêpes was fun, but of course the best part was eating them! The girls brought classic toppings including berries, chocolate, Nutella, powdered sugar, and whipped cream, but some also added an American touch with peanut butter! We all agreed that this tradition is much more fun than wondering if the groundhog will see his shadow.
February 01, 2016

Roses are red...

February 1, 2016 (032/366)

"Bright reds - scarlet, pillar-box red, crimson or cherry... 
There is certainly a red for everyone." ~ Christian Dior

It has become my February tradition to focus on rosy hues, on hearts and flowers and beautiful tokens of affection that brighten these winter days and make this month short and sweet. Enjoy the loveliness of the next 29 days.