Saturday, August 29, 2009

Off to Class

Night at St Pauls Cathedral

I have to run to my analog photography class but here's proof I still take photos in color and digitally. Side view of St. Paul's Cathedral at night, in London, England. Unfortunately I didn't have the time (and energy) to visit the interior. We were only there overnight on the way back from Paris and on the way to the airport.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A morning stroll in Paris

This was the morning of August 6. Not long ago but so long ago at the same time.
My son slept in--nothing like being 17 for being able to sleep--a lot! I went out for a walk with only my small, portable camera. It made walking easier and made me less conspicuous as a tourist. Most of the stores were still closed and some were closed for the entire month of August--a French holiday tradition. Parisians flee to more comfortable spots leaving Paris to the tourists.

Un Cafe Gourmand

I discovered for myself a lovely Cafe, La Cafeotheque. The shop is not entirely traditional in that it served many gourmet coffees but it still had a distinctly French touch.
Here is what I recorded in French: "Je commence avec un cafe creme a un tres bon petit cafe pres de la Seine, La Cafeotheque. Le cafe d'auhourd'hui vient de Brazil. On le donne avec un petit Madeleine et un tout petit verre et une carafe d'eau. On joue un peu de jazz. Ma chaise porte un coussin fait de sacs de cafe."
(I began with a coffee with milk at a very good little cafe near the Seine, La Cafeotheque. The coffee of the day comes from Brazil. It is served with a little Madeleine cake and a small glass and carafe of water. Jazz is playing and my chair has on it a cushion made of coffee sacks.) It was such a treat that I wished I could have stayed and read a novel for a few hours but I knew that I had to return to my son who eventually would awaken, bored and hungry.

La Cafeotheque

On the way back to the hotel, I window shopped. Browsing Parisian windows is almost as good as sipping Parisian coffee. I passed an antique music store, unfortunately closed for the season.

Music Store
Orphee (French for Orpheus, a shop specializing in antique musical instruments

The street I was on seemed to specialize in printing and paper goods. Unfortunately there was no time to shop and all the stores were closed anyway. Store closings save my family a lot of money!

G is for Gutenberg

Last of all, here I am:

Photographic Reflections

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Scraps and Memories

Back of Travel Journal

I kept a travel journal of sorts on my trip to Paris and London. I wish I could be one of those talented people who can line draw or watercolor their travel experiences but I'm stuck with words and interesting scraps of junk paper. Here are a couple of pages. It is still a work in progress which means basically that I will never get it finished.

Journal page with stickers

London, July 29 and 30

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Not blogging much and more

(Closed for Work)

I wish I could tell you why the impulse to blog just comes and goes. All I can say is that some days I just stare at my blog and nothing seems to be worth writing about.
I've been busier again. Younger son returned from a month long stay at summer camp with a cold and fever. We had a last summer trip to visit family planned and had to postpone it until we were sure the plague had run its course. My older son got a mild version of the illness but my husband and I have missed out on all the fun.
I admit to being disappointed about not going to see my family. I miss them and there is a new baby I haven't seen yet.

(Captifs, detail of sculpture by Martin van der Bogaert, in the Louvre)

--Deep breath--I wasn't sure if I could/should post this news since it isn't my story to tell but I will post an abbreviated version--a young family member was diagnosed with a rare pediatric cancer while we were in Europe. The poor baby has a tough road ahead of him--chemotherapy, radiation therapy, bone marrow transplantation, surgery and more--and even then his odds aren't the best. My heart is breaking for him and his parents. We were going to visit but we can't visit an immunosuppressed toddler while sick, obviously.
If I truly believed in the power of prayer, I'd be praying night and day for him. I don't mean I have no personal spirituality, since I do, but I don't think G-d dishes out miracles to those who pray the most. So I treat it in my usual way which is I think too much, and worry too much. Not likely to get a miracle that way either but at least I'm consistent.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Air France Runs on Time

Why Air France runs on time?

Me and My Camera

I thought I'd share a picture or two that prove I actually went to England and France and not just my camera. The first picture was taken by my husband near Buckingham Palace. I'm the not-so-young chick in the front row with the SALE bag.

American Tourist for Sale, Cheap

The second picture I took in a fun little Japanese fast food restaurant--sort of a combination of Sushi, snacks and frozen yogurt--all with a health food twist. We didn't really eat there--we had just eaten lunch a short while ago and were totally full but bought some wasabi peas and rice crackers as "rent" for use of the bathrooms. I really like how this picture turned out. It might be one of my favorite from the trip.

Family Portrait in Mirrored Room

Monday, August 17, 2009

Harvest of Time

John Nodes

I have a collection of clocks. Fortunately for my husband and family my clocks are stored virtually even though they are rarely digital. Actually my collection is of photos of clocks, usually outdoor clocks on buildings although occasionally otherwise. My current set on Flickr has 49 photos (with a few clocks duplicated) going back to one dated 1672.
I managed to pick up a number of clocks for my collection while in Europe. Here are three. Look closely at the time(s) in the second photo.

Timeless or Untimely?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Playin' @ Art

Play @ Art

Altering--or adulterating?--an ad card. Just for fun. Because it's there. Or something.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Parisian Bicycle in Its Natural Habitat

Personally, I really like this photo. I didn't even notice that the windows were murals until I processed the picture. There is so much going on here!
Makes me miss Paris already.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Storefronts of London

Books for Cooks
Books for Cooks, 4 Blenheim Crescent, Notting Hill, London W11 1NN

I loved taking pictures of storefronts in London and Paris. I'm processing photos of London first so here is a sampling. I'd also like to connect you to a lovely photoblog by the name of London Shop Fronts I stumbled across a while ago featuring London storefronts.

172 Portobello Rd, London

While in Paris, I tried to explain the allure of little boutique type shops and restaurants to my 17 year old son. Since he doesn't particularly like fashion or shopping he had trouble understanding the loss we experience here in the US by having so much incorporated into chain stores and how corporate globalization (Starbucks and the Gap in Paris, no less) is making the world bleakly the same.
As for me, I'd happily browse nearly every store I passed in either city. Fortunately for my budget I didn't have the time and my travel companions didn't have the patience. At least there are still Chicago storefronts to photograph even though to my jaded eye there are fewer with the character I see abroad.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Catching up with photos of London


Shutterday's photo theme for the week is color. I enjoyed the colorfulness of this picture, both literal and metaphorical. It was taken on Portobello Road in London--here the shops are largely a bit funky and, dare I say it, colorful.
A bit farther down start the antique shops and, on weekends, the antique fair. This was our first outing in London. We were jet lagged and in search of breakfast--or was it lunch--we were too confused to know. We wound up stopping at a coffee shop that had wonderful scones and pastries. I ordered with a mixed berry crumble that was amazingly good.
We roamed about a bit--I took photos of architecture, we browsed a used bookstore and walked until dinner time arrived. We ate at a nice Italian place. The food was straight out of Tuscany--food is good in London as long as you don't eat English food. Then off to bed in our little flat. Not too bad for a first day's orientation to London.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Time to Go

Hell No

Hell no, I won't go--statue seen inside the Arc du Triomphe (Arch of Triumph)

Well, we're headed home after two weeks of adventure. I have mixed feelings. I'm tired and want to sleep in my own bed. But I know I'm returning to the scene of the crime, as it were. Back to work and real life and stress. The nice thing about travel is the worse thing that is likely to happen if you make a wrong decision is you'll miss a meal or a train. Real life is so much more complicated. Maybe I could lose my passport? Probably not a good choice.
I'm looking forward to reliable internet access so I can tell you about all my travels. I do think given all the problems I have with the wireless on this machine that it is time to buy a new laptop. This one is over 4 years old and is quite well traveled.

La Misere (Misery)--statue in the Jardin des Tuileries, by Jean-Baptiste Hugues
(I'm so depressed to leave)

La Misere

Well, off to London, Heathrow airport--one of the world's most unpleasant in my book. Then again I've never tried flying out of Delhi or Beijing. Maybe there is a more uncomfortable airport someplace.

Friday, August 07, 2009


Dear Friends,
My internet connection keeps failing on me. I'd send you all postcards but I don't have all your addresses and and spending too much time walking my feet off here. Truly my leg muscles are protesting the hours of walking on cobblestone streets.
Paris is lovely as ever and I'm finding I can still speak French quite well although my accent fails me at times. My son reports he feels illiterate and mute since he doesn't speak a word.
Today we hope to visit the Louvre (yesterday was the Gare d'Orsay) and attend a concert in a church (St. Chapelle) on Ile St Louis tonight. Oh la la!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Kew Gardens

We passed a wonderful day in the Kew Gardens yesterday. I took lots of pictures none of which I can post.
A funny thing happened on the way to the Kew. . . .
I chanced to notice that I had a hole in the seat of my pants, or as they say here, trousers. Fortunately they were black pants and I was wearing black underwear--I know TMI. Fortunately also even though it was Sunday we were standing less than a block from a real, American style mall. So I raced off to look for new pants(I'd only brought one pair assuming that it would be 20 degrees warmer here than it is). It is always hit and miss trying to find your size in an unfamiliar environment but after much ado I walked away with a pair of chic (if I may say so myself) Italian blue jeans. So far no one's complimented me. Guess it never pays to travel with men who take you for granted. LOL.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Running around

My legs are sore from all the walking we've been doing. Yesterday we were up early, off to Portobello road for the antique market, then to the Victoria and Albert Museum--what an amazing place--then to dinner and a play. Life is good.
Still no pics to post.