A Pound of Lavender

“It was our favorite part of the day, this in-between time, and it always seemed to last longer than it should--a magic and lavender space unpinned from the hours around it, between worlds.” - Paula McLain, The Paris Wife

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Have I mentioned that I received a pound of lavender for Christmas? I do love the color, fragrance, and taste of lavender, but I’m wondering what I will do with all of it. So far, I’ve filled decorative dishes with the dried buds to perfume the air in the living room and bedroom. I was thinking of filling some sachets for my drawers and closets. I already of lavender simple syrup for tea, lemonade, and cocktails. Any suggestions? Merci en avance!

Week 2 - Composition: Rule of Thirds - Motion

Take the picture! Take the Picture!” - Audrey Hepburn (aka Jo Stockton, Funny Face )

Nike of Samothrace  |  Winged Victory  ; Louvre Museum, Paris (Hellenistic circa 220-185 BC)  Week 2 - Use Rule of Thirds to show motion in your picture. #dogwood52 #dogwoodweek2 #2019dogwood52

Nike of Samothrace | Winged Victory ; Louvre Museum, Paris (Hellenistic circa 220-185 BC)

Week 2 - Use Rule of Thirds to show motion in your picture. #dogwood52 #dogwoodweek2 #2019dogwood52

Currently • January 2019

Many bloggers do a regular “Currently” series to share what they have been reading, watching, doing, thinking... Let’s try it!

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READING:

Just like last year, I pledged to read forty books in 2019. We’re less than two weeks in and I have already finished three: one that I think I’ve read before (The Piano Shop on the Left Bank — It wasn’t too memorable the second time around either), one that was more of a workbook and not terribly innovative (The Curated Closet), and one that was overhyped, predictable advice from a self-absorbed, preachy cheerleader (Girl, Wash Your Face).

I used to read one book at a time, but since rediscovering my public library and its digital collection, I put holds on several of the books on my To Read list and I never know when they will become available. Sometimes, like right now, I have to juggle several books at once — what a wonder problem to have! Here’s my current stack:

WATCHING:

  • We just finished season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime. The dialogue is so fast-paced and witty — just what you’d expect from Amy Sherman-Palladino, the creator of Gilmore Girls (which I confess is one of my guilty pleasures). The costumes and sets epitomize New York in the late 1950’s: Upper West Side apartments, gritty Greenwich Village clubs, department store make-up counters, full skirts, great hats and shoes and purses, and even a summer holiday in the Catskills (it’s Dirty Dancing redux and Midge is Baby)! I’ve loved Midge’s style since the first episode, but this season, my eye has been on Rose, especially in — *spoiler alert! — the Paris scenes! It’s been a long time since a show has captivated me like this one. I can’t wait for season 3.

  • While we wait for more Mrs. Maisel, Eric and I have been searching for another new(-to-us) series to binge. Last week, we finally landed on The Americans. This show is set in Washington DC in the 1980’s. Philip and Elisabeth Jennings are KGB spies masquerading as typical suburban parents/travel agents who just happen to live across the street from an FBI agent. We do seem to gravitate toward 20th Century period pieces, don’t we? Is it wrong to be a little nostalgic for the Cold War? Now before you get all political, I’m simply stating that spy dramas were so much more intriguing when we feared the Soviets. Let’s face it, James Bond movies really haven’t been the same since. I have to say that I could do without the gratuitous bedroom and torture scenes though.

  • OK, yes, I did watch the new Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, and, if you know me, that shouldn’t be a surprise. I read Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a couple of years ago. Rather than transforming my life, it was really more of a validation of what I already do. I am definitely not a sentimental saver. I do believe in a place for everything and everything in it’s place. I really love having a capsule wardrobe…BUT I’m not Zen enough to thank my unwanted clothes for their service and I know that not everything in my house truly “sparks joy.” Some things are just necessary. As with most books, I don’t think that the KonMari method translates well on screen. Marie, who relies heavily on a translator, is a cross between a pixie fairy godmother and a Stepford wife. The families on the show were also a set of archetypes — empty nesters, burned out millennials, a widow, newlyweds, etc., and some of their comments really bugged me: “When I’m mad at my husband, I go shopping. I like to hit him where it hurts — in the pocketbook.” and “It’s my fault that our apartment is a mess. I’m the mom. I should be able to do it all.” Eek! I think my life will be tidier without this show.

LISTENING TO:

  • After a month of Christmas music, we immediately turned to our old friend, Jimmy Buffett. Songs about summer, sailing, and boat drinks are the perfect antidote to a post-holiday malaise.

  • Movies have also influenced my music selection recently:

  • And when in doubt, it’s always cool jazz — George Winston’s Linus and Lucy or Vince Guaraldi Radio on Pandora.

  • I guess since I’m confessing all of my guilty pleasures in this post, I’ll admit that I loved listening to Shaun Cassidy on Pat Francis’ Rock Solid podcast. Is it weird that the 10-year-old girl in me swooned over the music of her childhood while the 51-year-old woman felt oddly proud of how intelligent, thoughtful, and authentic Shaun Cassidy has become? Anyhoo… I know I’m late to the party, but I think I’m finally getting into podcasts. Do you have any suggestions?

PLANNING: Another trip to Paris in February! In 2017, I went alone and did just want I wanted for seven glorious days. In 2018, I shared the trip with a fellow movie-loving, book-devouring, francophile who reveled in my cinema and literary tours and immediately fell madly in love with the City of Light. This year, I’m traveling with Eric’s mom and her best friend who are both discovering Paris for the first time. It is such a fun challenge to plan for travelers with different interests while satisfying my own need to reconnect with the Paris that I know and love. I seriously think I might like to do more of this — customized tours for women, couples, art lovers, book lovers, movie lovers…pourquoi pas?!

Delafreeze

“Sculpture is an attempt to freeze a moment in time in three dimensions; to connect what already exists in reality to that which exists only in the imagination.” - Hipolito Rocha (Ice Sculptures - Delafreeze 2019)

Belfre
Snowman
Polar Bear
Mammoth
Penguins
snowflake
Ice

French Friday: Café chic

« La mode se démode, le style jamais. » - Coco Chanel

Le Bon Saint Pourçain, 10 rue Servadoni, 6th Arrondissement, Paris, Tel. (33) 01-42-01-78-24. Metro: Saint Sulpice or Mabillon.

Le Bon Saint Pourçain, 10 rue Servadoni, 6th Arrondissement, Paris, Tel. (33) 01-42-01-78-24. Metro: Saint Sulpice or Mabillon.

Those wooden chairs, that perfect shade of navy, the worn cobblestones, the handwritten menu, the romantic graffiti, the balconies and shutters, the Paris street signs - comme c’est chic!

ABC's of Life: 26 Ways to Live Our Lives More Deeply

I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions, but I was recently inspired by this post on the Art of Learning’s Facebook Page. This year, I want to focus on these 26 very simple words that have such great impact.

Letters (Atwater Park)
  • APPRECIATE: Just yesterday, a colleague gave me a gratitude journal as a thank you gift. Her thank you will help me to be even more thankful. I love the idea of consciously expressing appreciation for the little things (see Sunday’s post ).

  • BUILD SOMETHING: Late last year, I built this website. What can I build this year?

  • CONNECT: I do a pretty good job of staying connected with family, friends, and my PLN on social media, but how can I connect on a more personal level — handwritten notes, phone calls, time together…?

  • DO WHAT IS DIFFICULT: Difficult intellectual challenges fuel me — bring them on!

  • EXPLORE: I love Paris (OK, now you’re singing, aren’t you?), but maybe it’s time to discover someplace new.

  • FORGIVE: Forgiving isn’t a problem for me, but forgetting is hard. I need to work on forgetting.

  • GATHER: I want to find a way to balance time alone and time together.

  • HONOR: Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout: “On my honor, I will try: To serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law.”

  • IGNORE THE SKEPTICS: This is especially difficult when you are your own worst critic. I really need to work on this.

  • JUST BE — enough said!

  • KNOW YOU’RE LOVED: I only need to look into Piper’s eyes ♡

  • LISTEN: As a coach, I really practice “active listening.” I try to calm my thoughts, to truly hear what others have to say without thinking about my own next response. It’s so hard and so important! On a lighter note, I’d also like to start listening to more podcasts. Any suggestions?

  • MAKE: I’m not crafty (mostly because I don’t like clutter), yet I do love art. I choose to channel my own creativity into photography and writing.

  • NOURISH BODY AND SOUL: I need more water and sleep, more fresh air and healthy recipes. I need more time to think and reflect. I need to take more time for myself and to make more time for others.

  • OBSERVE: Six years of Project 365 have taught me to slow down and notice things. I may not take a picture everyday this year, but I will certainly capture 365 moments of beauty and wonder. William Blake said it best: “To see a world in a grain of sand and Heaven in a wild flower, to hold Infinity in the palm of your hand and Eternity in an hour.”

  • PLANT A SEED: Voltaire was right — « Il faut cultiver notre jardin. » Metaphorically, I hope that I cultivate new ideas, and I’m literally eager for my garden to bloom again.

  • QUESTION: My work is rooted in inquiry. Asking better questions leads to better solutions.

  • READ: Last year, I read 40 books. We’re only 10 days into 2019 and I’ve already read three — I’ve got this!

  • STRETCH: I need to stretch in the morning, get up and walk even more at work. I think that I might also like to try yoga.

  • TRY SOMETHING NEW: What else should I try this year?

  • UNPLUG: OK, for how long — an hour, a day, a weekend? I’m not sure I can commit to more than that.

  • VOTE: I always vote regardless of sometimes terrible options.

  • WONDER: Years ago when charged with choosing a word around which to focus my work, I chose wonder — “a feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar; to ask yourself questions or express a wish for more.” I still love this word!

  • XPRESS GRATITUDE: Gratitude is always a priority (see Appreciate).

  • YES TO ADVENTURE: As I get older, I become more and more cautious, but I hope to always be thrilled by travel and sailing as well as new experiences.

  • ZZZZZZ (GET ENOUGH SLEEP): I have never been a good sleeper, but I did get a pound of lavender for Christmas!

Love You 4ever!

This beautiful girl is 4 today. She’s sweet and sassy and we just love her! Happy Birthday, Piper Marie! Bisous!

Piper is 4

January Weather

“The shortest day has passed and whatever nastiness of weather we may look forward to in January, at least the days are getting longer.”  –  Vita Sackville-West

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Epiphany

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” - John Milton

Vines - St. Joan of Arc Chapel

Tonight, I am grateful for this weekend’s unseasonably warm weather, for some very successful bargain hunting, for precious time with family, for the squeaky clean, snoozy pup on my lap, and for continued inspiration.

January Thaw

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest…” - Ernest Hemingway

bouquet