Thursday, July 31, 2014

Geese in the Parking Lot

This morning when I arrived at the office, I found these visitors in the parking lot.
Remember those goslings we'd had in the spring? I have no way of knowing if any of these geese were the same birds, all grown up, but I like to think maybe they were.

Speaking of which, have you seen that video on the Internet of the mother duck and her little ducklings crossing the busy highway? Even knowing they make it across safely (I promise, they do!) did not make this video easy to watch, it's so scary to see what almost happens to them!!

Like I said, it all ended well with those little ducks but phew, talk about suspenseful!  I really hope our neighbourhood goslings had a much safer passage than that and had a chance to grow up into adult geese and maybe even some of the ones I saw this morning.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Family Picnic 2014

My sister, my mom and I hosted our annual family picnic at our cottage this past weekend.  It's our turn every four years but I'm always surprised at how quickly the time passes in between.  It's most obvious when you see the little ones, realizing how much they've grown or that some of them weren't even there the last time around!
It was a bit sad to see some of the young'uns absorbed with their iPods (thankfully, they're still too young for cell phones) now and again
but at the same time, it was also super cute and kind of funny to see this little girl using her glittered up compact as if it was a camera!
There was no shortage of rough and tumble activity though.
Getting the camera set up for the group photo required some multi-generational consultation
while getting everyone lined up and in place was a bit more of a challenge!
It was a cloudy day for the most part but luckily, there was no rain and the kids spent lots of time in the water regardless.
Watching the geese float past provided a bit of excitement as well!
We set up tables on the lawn for dinner and enjoyed the potluck offerings everyone had brought.
We did have quite a heavy rain overnight but nevertheless, there was a red squirrel happily finding dropped potato chips and Cheesies in the grass the next morning!
Always wonderful to have a chance to get together with family every summer and enjoy each other's company.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Early Morning in Paris

On the morning I went on an all day excursion to Mont Saint Michel (more about that in a later post), I had to be at the meeting point by 6:45 a.m.  This was the earliest I had been up and about on the streets of Paris during this entire visit and it was quite a different experience.  The bustle and crowds of a typical summer's day in the City of Light had not yet come to pass, there was a gentle stillness everywhere around me as the day gently edged into being.

The early morning cast a warm glow on the Musée d'Orsay.
As I crossed the bridge over the river Seine, I was surprised to see large, tanker like boats making their way along the water.  I suspect they only travel this route during the night, when the many tour boats are docked.
The sun was just rising over the wing of the Louvre that houses the Decorative Arts Museum.
The ferris wheel was silent and unmoving but still beautiful.
The chairs in the Tuilieries Gardens were empty and the view past the obelisk in the Place de Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe in the far distance was unimpeded.
Remnants from revelries the night before were strewn about, providing breakfast for the crows.
The sun's light turned the buildings into gold.
It was definitely worth getting up early to see these sights!

Monday, July 28, 2014


After I was away for two weeks in Paris, I came home for about five nights and then packed up my little suitcase again and headed off to the cottage for the weekend. 

After all that, I think Matisse wants to make sure either I don't go anywhere for a while or she gets to go with me!
Wondering when I should tell her there's a long weekend coming up! ;)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Haiku My Heart Friday: Home from Paris

It's true what they say,
"Be it ever so humble,
there's no place like home."

I am quoting those famous words first written by John Howard Payne as lyrics for a song composed by Sir Henry Bishop (you can read all about it here).  I was pleasantly surprised to realize that his words fit the haiku requirements of 7 and 5 syllables for the 2nd and 3rd lines perfectly.  I was also interested to see that the first line of the song he wrote goes like this:  "Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam..."

For indeed, in recent weeks, I experienced many of the pleasures the city of Paris had to offer and visited opulent palaces such as the Louvre

and equally beautiful former train stations (Musee D'Orsay)
and the building that houses the Natural History Museum

I count myself extremely lucky to have the opportunity to travel as much as I do and to visit the wonderful places and meet the delightful people that I do but in the end, it's always good to come home.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Here's a picture of a machine they had installed in the supermarket a few doors down from where we stayed the first week in Paris.
It was a way for the store to keep track of customer satisfaction, one could just push a button to record whether they were "happy or not".  I thought the little faces were so cute.  Such a great idea, too bad stores here in Canada don't have this sort of system set up.

At the moment, I'm feeling pretty happy with my cable provider, Rogers.  I noticed earlier this week that my digital cable box wasn't working but I was so sick, I just didn't have the energy to phone them up to discuss it.  I finally called tonight and was told by the very nice man I spoke to that the cable box had probably just died of old age (I'd had it longer than most, apparently) and I could either make an appointment for a technician to come over to replace it or take it myself to the local outlet and get a replacement. So I jumped in my car, headed over to their store only a few blocks away, got a new unit from another very nice man in under five minutes and headed home again. Lucky for me, it was super easy to install the new box, which was identical to the old one, and bing, bang, boom, I have cable again.

Only problem is, the new remote that came with it seems to have a loose piece of something inside so it rattles when I pick it up. It works, so presumably it's not anything important rolling around in there but still, I'll probably have to take it back and exchange it.  I'll do that next week.

Which means I'll have to give them a rating using the light green, slightly smiling button second from the left rather than the darker green very happy face but hey, happy is happy.  Right now, it's all good!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Leo and Pipo Paris

Leo and Pipo are the names of two graffiti artists whose work can be found in various locations all over Paris.  They use vintage photographs so of course I love seeing what they put up.  I've only seen their work a handful of times and on this past trip, I only found one but it was on the first day, so it seemed like a good omen.

It was on the back of a metal sign, located a few blocks away from the Gare de Lyon train station, near the canal.
It was a row of old-fashioned gentlemen:
Here's a close-up:
There was other graffiti nearby of a more traditional style.
Personally, I prefer the vintage photographs to the spray painted lettering but that's just me.  You can read more about them here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Home Again

I thought the little Eiffel Tower I brought home to add to my collection of tchotchkes that I keep on my desk at work would be enough of a souvenir from my trip to Paris.
But apparently I also brought home some germs so I'm dealing with a very runny nose and sore throat as well as a little bit of jet lag. Hopefully I just need one or two more early nights until I'm feeling back to normal! 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Farewell Paris!!

It has been a wonderful whirlwind two weeks but today I am headed home. I'm not looking forward to carrying my suitcases back downstairs but going down is always easier than going up - thank you, gravity!

Yes, there is an elevator in this building but you have to go up 16 steps to get to it and down eight steps when you reach your floor. 
Still, it's better than lugging a suitcase all the way up three flights. 

The elevator cab itself is only about three feet square so I can only transport one suitcase at a time. 
Yes, this is life in Europe. I shall miss it but I will also be glad to go home. Especially because there will be cats to cuddle - can't wait to see my fur babies!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Shop Named Deyrolle

Jane Davenport told me about this shop last week and luckily for me, it's only a few blocks away from the apartment I'm renting. I stopped in there today and boy, am I ever glad I did. 
The front window had some prime examples of some of the taxidermy treats inside. 
The first floor seemed more like an upscale gardening shop but up the stairs I went (desperately wanting to know what was behind the little door in the wall).
My, oh my! What wonders await on the second level! There are signs saying "no photos" and staff sitting working at desks in several of the rooms but I did sneak a couple of pictures. This is just a small sample of all the bugs and butterflies and birds and wild animals of every description - not quite as many as the Museum of Natural History but still impressive!

The price for the black bear? A mere 10,000 euros or roughly $15,000. I saw a little songbird I might have been able to afford, only 150 euros (approx $225) but I was worried my cats might decide it was a treat for them!

Well worth stopping in to see this menagerie next time you are in Paris!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ile St-Louis

Spent this afternoon in Paris wandering about the area around Notre Dame with Pam and Susan today, mostly on the little island behind it known as Ile St-Louis.
Checked out an art store (surprisingly, none of us bought anything)
And the book sellers in the classic dark green booths along the Seine, where we found a few vintage magazines to take home. 
Not everyone likes the locks on the bridges
We did a little souvenir shopping and had a delicious apple tart with Bertiilion ice cream in the late afternoon, sitting in a cafe overlooking a busy street corner. 
I'm having an early night tonight, heading out of the city on a major excursion quite early tomorrow morning.