Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Awesome Layout!

When I saw this layout in the gallery I had to contact her and see if I could get a copy. She not only sent me a copy of her layout, but a copy of all of the photos they took on their honeymoon as well so I could do my own layouts also!! Isn't this an awesome photo?? I will have to get busy and see if I can't do some layouts of this great sea turtle her dear husband so wonderfully got photos of. This was in open water and he used (I think she said) an underwater camera. So we can give all the credit for the wonderful pictures used in her (elenasworld) layout and the ones to follow to M. Franklin. She said she was too scared to actually get to close but her husband was very brave and got close to get some great ones. They were taken in Maui in October of 2002. Considering this is Turtles Rainbow... I think we need to continue to have photos of different turtles!!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Wake Up Call

Logged into Gotta Pixel this morning, checked the moderators area. Bam! One of our mods is in the hospital, had a heart attack yesterday some time. Her daughter left the message for us so we would know why she was not around today. Her mother, who she is care giver to, is due to go in for some surgery tomorrow. Yes, she has been tired, and yes, she has had more stress. But a heart attack? She is "around" my age. I noticed that friends on line were posting prayers, get well wishes. I also noted that my "on line friends" I chat with, all stopping in to say hi. First question? How are you? Then we talk about our friend, Mary Lynn.

Are the rest of my friends doing what I am doing? Thinking about everyone they have lost, from what, at what age. Realizing time is flying by. We are all complaining about being tired. Too much to do, not enough time. How do we put our lives back into some order...for me personally, how do I find the time to do what I want to do, along with what I must do, and still have time for giving to friends, family. What are my priorities? How do they fit with my goals? The thought that is never far from my consciousness "How is Mary Lynn doing?" Concentrate, think, plan. But!?! Time is racing. My thoughts race also. The wake up call has come. Do I answer?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Thread in a Weaving

If this photo looks a bit "snowy" to you, it is because it was actually snowing quite hard when I took the picture this morning. This is looking out our living room window, across the street to the nursery school (on the left) and junior high where you can see the lights on, more on the right. This was around 9:30 a.m. this morning. Michel was disappointed because it stopped and all melted. He was hoping to get what the rest of Europe has been getting. No such luck. I was happy it did not stay though.
We were supposed to loose our power this morning, so I turned the computers off and ironed. All morning. Got it all done, well, until I do more laundry that is. Feels nice to be caught up with ironing, and not too far behind in laundry. While I was ironing I was thinking about how each person comes into our life for a reason. We may not learn what we are to learn right away, but our lives have changed. I like to think of each person as a thread. Our lives are weavings. Each person who we have come into contact with is a different color thread, and it is added to the fabric we call our life. If you have ever done any weaving, or worked with fibers, you would know that each time you add a different color to what you are working with, you end up with a totally different weaving than you had before. I think we are changed by each person, whether we realize it or not. Even if those people have left our lives, and the thread is pulled, or stops, it leaves a remnant of what it was, or the thread ends, but even that changes the "cloth" once again. The same person comes and goes throughout our entire life, that color comes and goes. Ever wonder what your weaving would look like? You could try doing a quick sample. Use colored pencils. Take a different color for each family member and close friends going up and down. Then start across with more friends, partners, people who you know have made a huge impact in your life. Then think about all of those people who you "think" only passed through quickly, but the contact was made. You gained or gave something, maybe both. By now you should have run out of colors of pencils, or crayons, even if you used the huge multi-pack. Our weavings should be magnificent, full of color, texture, design. And whether or not we realize it, we are also. How much do you touch those around you and change the weave they call their lives. For the better? Some day we may know. Some person may call us up and say, "I just wanted to say Thank you... for touching my life. I have never forgotten when you..." or you may have someone who touched you. Did you ever tell them? Maybe it is time to start looking! It is never too late to realize that people who are in our lives make a difference, and those whose lives we go into, we touch. Be gentle, be nice. Leave a thread that someone will remember with pleasure. And keep an eye on your weaving!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Staying Positive

I received this photo from my daughter from Christmas. It is a great photo and I just had to do a layout of it. The only problem is my daughter is not in it. That would have been so wonderful to have her in it also. Even my brother is waving and looking happy and relaxed. Normally when a camera comes out he grabs his pose. No smile, and same stance... or he is frowning. (I am sure because I am not around to pick on, just kidding he would say after). (smiling) Maybe I will try and add her to it, make another layout. Then when I am down or depressed, I can see all of their smiling faces looking at me saying hi.

Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to stay positive? Have you ever noticed how many negative people there are around? I wonder how many people truly have no idea how what they say affect other people. I am normally quite outspoken, and often find all of the problems with a situation. I know this because I have been trying to refocus... look at the good side of things. I know I am not alone in this. Another friend is fighting the same issues, negativity, getting punched down from all sides without her deserving it. Days like yesterday I just wanted to step back and say OK, I am done. Done trying to be positive, done trying to be correct in all I say and do and still get either no help or shot down. Then a ray of sun would come out in the form of one person saying or doing something so nice, helpful, kind. And I think...that is what I am needing. An angel in the form of a person saying something just when I needed it. It is so much easier to find the negative popping up in your face, but to focus on that maybe just one small thing... and staying positive. It is hard. It makes me rethink about what I am saying, and an old saying comes to mind that my grandmother always said. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. (Laughing out loud) What a quiet world it would suddenly become if we all remembered and followed this!! So think at least twice about what you are going to say before saying it. The person on the receiving end may be crushed by some little thing you are saying, just because it is the straw that broke the camel's back (another of those "grandma" sayings). Try to be positive, kind... and if that is not what is going to come out of your mouth... don't say anything at all.

PS. Speaking of being positive, I added another blog link that I go and visit. The Life of Mrs. Miles. She is always good to read and helps me refocus also!!


I thought I would share with you an older photo of the men on my moms side of the family... older ones that is! The one on the left, that was my great grandpa Guy. Next to him was his son Paul, my grandfather and surrogate father for most of my growing up years. The little guy on the shoulder is my uncle Elwyn. He just passed away this last year, the last of the 4 to go. The shoulder he is on is great uncle John. He was guys brother. Obviously he was in the service at that time. This was early 1900's. Love those boots and pants, all tucked in neatly. Life was hard then. I am not sure they were aware of it as we are now looking back. You know, no modern machines to make life easier... maybe not easier but more of a family connection. Families stayed closer to each other, saw each other, family and friends helped each other out more. We used to have Sunday family dinners every week. It was a more restful day. The stores were all closed of course. As soon as we were home from sunday school and church we would all change our clothes and relax. I remember smelling the smells of dinner cooking, watching my grandfather set in "his" chair and read the sunday paper. I was allowed the funnies after he was done with them. Trying to keep my little brother from annoying me as was his habit of doing. (smiling) He still tries to do that as well! I would quite often go with my grandfather to his mom's and stepfathers house (one set of my great grandparents) to make sure they were all ok, see if they wanted to come for dinner. Usually they were just getting ready to set down to their sunday meal as well, that grandma had cooked, on the wood stove. Grandma did finally get an electric stove, but only used it for canning on hot days in the fall. Couldn't trust it as well as her wood one she used to say. (Laughing) Bet we would not say that today! Well, I have rambled off the initial subject of the photo it seems. Now I am in France, and what is left of my close family is in Michigan. Cousins are spread out all over the USA. Things may be easier now, but I am not sure all is for the better.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

An empty corner

Well the month is over. Yesterday afternoon the tree came down. I don't know which is more work, hours to put up, hours to take down and put away. We can now see out those windows, (even if they need a good cleaning) and hubby can get to his plants. But how empty that corner looks! Bit sad really. Now I can get to my boxes, files in the corner, wall paper book, which I use the papers for decorating boxes I make, either inside or outside. I can get to my sewing machine stored down on the side of the couch. Start working on crafts again for this fall when we do our craft fairs. Yes, I can get to all of those things, but I miss the tree. I do like the extra space I now have. We need every bit of extra space we can get for our apartment is very small. 47 square meters (hubby says 49). A tree which takes up at least 1 meter square takes up space!! We are also both 'pack rats' so to speak. We both love art and crafts, creating, and of course there are always those "things" that you know someday you will use. He paints using watercolor, he used to do pastels, now he is into designing digital items I can use in scrapbooking and trying out all of the different tutorials. I sew, frame, build boxes and books (cartonnage) , counted cross stitch, tole painting, bead work and digital scrapbook. So we need our stuff. People who don't create just come to our apartment and see lots of stuff. Those who create come and look and say ohhh you have such a great supply of items! (Laughing) It is all in the perspective of the person. Ok, we have 1 meter back of space and I can see all of the positives for taking the tree down. But I miss the tree.

A bright corner of happy memories

I think one of the things I love about the holiday season besides the wonderful feeling of love in the air is the lights and the tree. Every year I think, ohhh what a job to put it up, move this and that, some of our stuff goes into the "cave" (cellar room that comes with our apt.), our love seat goes and visits a neighbor for the holidays, unpacking all those fragile things, arranging the lights... but I do it, with hubby's help on untangling the lights. After we are always both so glad we took the time to bother. The little hand- made angel at the top looking down at all of the other angels, items and us. Each year my wonderful husband says, this is the best looking tree yet! Laughing I say "thank you sweetie, but you say that every year!" He laughs and says but it is!! It rests in that same corner every year, for about 1 month from start to finish. At night we turn on the lights, and watch it twinkle, and say aren't those lights pretty?! When there are strong winds I watch the items gently sway on the tree. (We live in a very tall building and have lots of wind here!!) Each ornament was either hand picked when we were some place special, hand made by myself, my daughter or my grand daughter. Some were bought at craft fairs here in France, but were also hand made. We will look and say, oh remember when we were there? Remember this trip? This fair? The tree of blinking lights, bits of cloth, plastic, metal and glass becomes a corner full of memories shared and a months worth of days and evenings worth of enjoyment.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A new day dawning

I set here watching the sun rise and planes descend and rise from Charles de Gaulle airport. Oh, I can't see the airport, only the planes in the sky leaving their white trails behind them as they rise and descend. I can tell a lot about the weather outside from my vantage point at my computer. I see two or three smoke stacks with their smoke going gently off to the left, hmmmm there is a breeze. Sun is shining but I can feel the cold radiating from the window. A nice morning at least! No rain today I believe, the sky was not red when the sun came up. The sky is a clear blue except for the planes. A beautiful day to get out and visit our marché downstairs. This is a view of it taken this fall from my neighbors apartment. Her side overlooks the "Place" at Place des Fetes where we live. You can tell it was October, the trees are just starting to make a bit of change and there are lots of them. You can only see a part of our marché it wraps all around the parc at the Place near the top of the photo, and it also continues past the bottom of the photo and around the front and off to the side of our building. It is a big one and it is here 3 times a week. Shopping out your door. Fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, fish and poultry, cheese, clothing, shoes, household items. Not much they don't sell actually. I used to go for all 3 days, not I go only when I actually need something, as I get tired of trying to get through and around the masses of people there talking and shopping, pulling their little carts, pushing babies, with their dogs on leashes, all walking at a different pace. Of course in the middle of all of this is the metro station at both sides of the parc, and the parc itself. (Laughing) If you think I am misspelling words, you are probably seeing them spelled the french way. I tend to mix things that way now after 8 years. In my speech also. Frangleigh we who live here call it. But, today we do need to get to the marché! Off I go!

Saturday, January 13, 2007


The last 2 days have been a bit trying. End of the week, 2 crops, and having to come face to face with unforgiving and quite nasty people. It seems that as soon as Christmas is over, people become nasty. Why is that? The thought that they have to be good to get a present from Santa is still in the back of their mind somewhere? Tempers are short all around. I see it on sites, I see it in the metro, on the bus, in the stores. Not sure why... no money left from too much spending for the holidays? Having to go back to work? Winter setting in? Not enough sun light? Lingering sickness? Many have been sick all over the world. I hear the same stories from people in different countries, all sick with the same virus.

I have an interest in digital scrapbooking and am involved with different sites. I became involved for several reasons. I enjoy meeting new people, learning new things, being creative and it not involving spending lots of money. I have met so many wonderful people, who give and give without asking for something back. Kind people, with problems, people who need an ear to listen. They need to know there are those out there who care. Oh yes, there are also those who demand respect, obedience and would drain you dry if they had the chance. I was reminded these last 2 days that I need not let my focus stay on the last type of person. It needs to on my God, on my faith, and for me to continue to do what I know is right. Listen if someone needs to talk, give moral support, let my scrapbooking also be a way of sharing my faith. If people cannot accept the truth of situations, I will know I tried and their blindness is not on my shoulders.

I added a new link in the blog section. Hummie's blog called Life Analyzed. If you have a minute check it out. I just finished listening to the song "as the deer" that brought back so many memories of singing in the choir, my faith and my need to focus. She is another who is looking at her focus, her needs. I think this time of year, with New Year's Eve resolutions all around us it also forces us to look at what we want. A new year, a hope renewed that this will be a good year, without sickness, poverty, death of a loved one. A year where people will listen if I need an ear, will give me moral support and lift me up when I am down. If we can do that for each other it will indeed be a good year. A good way for the refocusing to begin.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

The visit of my belle mere (Mother-in-law)

Sunday, January 7, my "belle-mere" came for an overnight visit. She always looks elegant and this weekend was no exception. It was the first time we had seen her since July, before we left for Michigan on vacation, and she was happy to be able to spend some time with us. She took the train from Nemours to Paris which takes around 45 minutes. She said the trip was fine and she enjoyed our open air Marche (market) before coming up to the apartment. It was nice catching up on the rest of the family and hearing about the months between the times we saw her last. As this is the season for big, rich dinners we over-ate at both meals. The typical "special meals with guests and/or family are always an event. This day was no exception. The good dishes, special wine and champagne glasses and with it comes the knowledge that there will be several coures. Appetizers, first course which this time of year usually means foie gras de canard with a fresh baguette, after we had porc roti, endive, and homemade french fries. The french fries are my hubbys favorite and seems also his mom loves them as well. There was the cheese course and dessert with champagne and after coffee, freshly ground. I actually left out the salad course with the first meal, but we did manage to have it with a late dinner. As lunch started around 2:00 pm, it was not done until close to 5:30 pm. So when at 8:30 pm I decided we must eat at least a light dinner, I was really starting to feel as if it were not two separate meals, but one long one with a short break. We finished eating at 11:00 pm. Hubby and I both had work in the morning so by 1:00 am I was more than ready to go to bed. 6:30 am comes very early when you have a late evening. All in all, with the exception of the fact that my brain stopped translating the "French immersion" by the beginning of dinner, I felt the visit was a success.

Friday, January 5, 2007

A layout for my granddaughter Shaina

This was a layout I did for a challenge at Gotta Pixel. It is a scripture challenge. I am a moderator on the site so I try and be active in the challenges and forums. They are fun to do and I usually end up learning something in the process and at times stretching out of my comfort zone. This kit was for a designer at Deco Pages, Becky Casey, and the kit is called Country Love. It felt soft and comfy so I used it for the challenge.

Shaina was just a few hours old in the photo on the left. We did not know at that time that she had food allergies to things that her mom was eating and she was getting through the milk. Normally, after the babies eat, they are happy, content, and sleep. She would scream for hours. We were so happy when it was finally discovered what was causing her screaming and discomfort. I was not able to bond with her as much as I would have liked due to the fact she would only settle down with her mom those first few months, and after that, I ended up in Paris France! At least now that she is getting older we have gotten to know each other more and I do get to spend time with her in the summer when we are home on our vacation. The photo on the right was taken on the day she was baptized. I just love the baptismal dress she was wearing and the cute little head band.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The igloo and skating rink...

I did manage to get the photo just as they were turning the first set of lights on, shining on the igloo itself. Apparently that is where the skaters could go and change into skates, rent skates, warm up or have a comfortable place to wait for those who are out skating. At the bottom of the photo you can see the reflection off the wet ice where the skaters actually skate. Before we disappeared down into the metro I saw people out on the rink, starting to skate. Who cares if it is after midnight. It was now the early morning hours of New Years Eve; let the party continue!

Our last stop before the metro...

...was Hotel de Ville. This is the main city hall for all of Paris, even though each area has a small one. It was beautiful here. There is an ice skating rink set up, trees decorated, a second carousel, the fountains were all going. Sort of a fairyland castle. You can just see part of the ice skating rink on the bottom, but not the igloo, fountains or carousels. That should give you some indication of the size of the entire set up by looking at just the building, and, again, I was not able to get the entire building in the photo. By now it is after midnight and bus loads of people were still being dropped off. I was so lucky as they had turned off all of the huge extra lights for the rink so I am just snapping pictures like crazy. Just as we were getting ready to leave, those "football arena" lights came on all around the rink and I gave a quick little "thank you" that they had waited for me to be done taking pictures. (Laughing) Obviously who ever "they" were had no idea if we were done or not, but I can think that, right?

On the walk toward the metro...

...we passed by the Mairie (city hall) of the 4th arrondissement (district) and there they had a very nice lighted arrangement and center piece. I wanted to take a photo but of course could not get it all. There were an entire bank of lit trees on the left that I could not get. We are "thinking" that the steeple you see in the back ground may be from Notre Dame. It was a very windy evening, but the rain had stopped leaving everything wet and full of sparkles and reflections. One of those nights were it was beautiful to walk around and see the sights. People were out walking around and looking at the lights, talking and laughing, taking photos just like we were. Had I not looked at my watch I would never have known it was almost midnight.

Happy New Year!

I am only a day late in starting this blog and saying Happy New Year, but a day late is better than not at all. We had a very quiet new year's eve this year. Although on the 30th we did go out and have a wonderful dinner with friends, as we were celebrating a birthday. The big 50. A close friend came for a vacation and to celebrate her birthday in Paris with all of her friends from here and Germany. On the way home we snapped some photos as the Christmas lights were still lit!

This was after we left the restaurant and heading to a little "library bar" for a nice bottle of wine and sharing of stories. We must have talked, drank wine and laughed for 2 hours before realizing we had to leave if we wanted to catch the metro.