The Magnificent Eiffel Tower

These are days you’ll remember.
Never before and never since, I promise, will the whole world be warm as this.
And as you feel it, you’ll know it’s true that you are blessed and lucky.
It’s true that you are touched by something that will grow and bloom in you.
—10,000 Maniacs

One day I’ll remember forever is my recent visit to the Eiffel Tower.  All my life I’ve seen images of this icon of Paris. To come face to face with this immense tower–oh, my. What a wonder!

It is gigantic. You  hear that it is 1,000 feet high and the statistic flits right out of your head. But when you stand dwarfed underneath it, you experience how tall that really is!

The design is complicated and intricate, far more than it appears from a distance. The metal is held together with more than 2 million rivets. These metal pieces, each so small, work together to hold up the massive structure. And it’s been standing since 1889.

The tower affords a 360-degree panorama of Paris.

Look at the Seine flowing along, with its tiny toy boats.

The tan U-shaped buildings make up the Louvre, once home to kings and queens.

Can you find the Arc de Triomphe?

You see from up here the jumbled layout of the streets of this amazing city.

The Eiffel Tower is currently three shades of brown. When presented to Paris to commemorate the French Revolution, the tower was painted red. As much as I love it today, I think a return to  red would make it really “pop” in the sky.

Did you know that a park spreads out from the Eiffel? Parisians loll on the lawn, picnic, stroll. I suspect this scenery never grows old, even for those who live here.

The magnificence, the history, the universal recognition of this symbol of the City of Light — being in its presence touches something in me. If you get the chance, hang out at this tower. Marvel at the design. Travel up in it and take in the vistas of Paris. I think you’ll find it to be a day you’ll always remember–and treasure.

Linking up with Texture Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, and Sweet Shot Tuesdays. Photo edited with Kim Klassen’s texture May. Also linking up with a song-inspired party, Song-ography, where the theme this week is “These Are the Days” by 10,000 Maniacs.

 

 

 

 

 

FInding a Place in Paris

Planning a trip to Paris? One of your first decisions may be what neighborhood to stay in as your home base. Twenty arrondissements spiral out from the island in the center of the sprawling city. After some study, I chose the 4th, also known as the Latin Quarter. And we felt at home there on arrival.

Here you’ll find the Sorbonne, a university system that dates back to the 1200s. The school today is spread over different campuses, but the stately buildings in the Latin Quarter house the heart of the school.

We stayed across the street in a tiny, clean hotel with a friendly desk staff.

Every time we ventured out, we were treated to views like this.

Around the corner from our hotel you’ll find the Place de la Sorbonne. This is a square flanked by sidewalk cafes out of storybook Paris. People living here walk their dogs, take their kids to school, and rush to work.

We enjoyed a breakfast of croissants and cafe au lait outside, watching the neighbors plunge into their day. In the evenings, we dined in the same restaurant while around us local friends met and students held animated discussions.

The Latin Quarter holds layers of history. For example, during World War II, resistance workers built barricades of furniture in these streets to defy the Nazis. But today, it is home to Parisians whose lives may be much like mine. And for a few magical days, we were a part of life here.

No matter where we ventured each day, when we walked around the corner of the Place de la Sorbonne in the evening, we knew we were “home.”

Linking up with Texture Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, and Sweet Shot Tuesdays. Photo edited with Kim Klassen’s texture kk-BB1.

 

 

Anticipation

Is anticipation part of the fun when you go on a trip? It is for me. The planning, research, finding helpful blogs, asking travelers for advice — I love every minute. We are heading to Europe soon. This weekend we worked on the details of our itinerary and practice-packed. I crunched numbers in our budget while my husband programmed the GPS.

I gathered everything I want to take and tried to fit it all in the 20-inch carry on.

I have (a bit of) room to spare. Amazing. Murphy decided to help by sitting on a packing cube filled with soft clothes.

Emily sat on the other packing cube. Maybe they are hinting to go along?

One item I’m taking is a last-minute addition. I read about this last week in my favorite travel blog, Travel Fashion Girl. Alex highly recommends compression socks for international flights. And I learned that these now come in colors and designs that make wearing them fun. Here’s what I chose. I love the bows.

Packing is hard work. Murphy took time out for a cat nap.

One item I’m taking with me is Flat Stanleys for each grandkid. The kids colored their own during our last visit. You may notice that Maddie loves horses and Hunter, Nico, and Tyler love orange.

We plan to take photos with the Flat Stanleys at the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum in Rome, and on the canals of Venice. Then we’ll share the photos with the kids so they can learn about some fascinating places.

We’ll soon journey thousands of miles from home. But we’ll take with us in our thoughts those we love. We’ll laugh about our cats helping us get ready. We’ll miss our family. We’ll look forward to seeing our friends when we return. Meanwhile, we will carry the cheery  figures of our grandkids. Our bags are full, and so are our hearts.

How about you? Do you love to plan getaways?

Linking up with Texture Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, and Sweet Shot Tuesdays. Photo edited with Kim Klassen’s texture kk-0411.

 

 

Dancing in the Summer Sun

A summer evening concert in the park on the island of Coronado. The Navy Show Band entertains with big band tunes. A cool breeze blows off the ocean that is just blocks away. People come with their camp chairs, blankets, and coolers of food. And they dance!

You see cartwheels and ballet.

All ages are welcome.

Even the tiniest tyke can lead the conga line.

The band plays the final number. The music winds ups as the sun sets.

We head home with refreshed and happy hearts.

How about you? Where have you seen joy this season?

Linking up with Texture Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, and Sweet Shot Tuesdays. Photo edited with Kim Klassen’s texture Shine.

 

 

The Straggler

Do you have stragglers in your garden? I’ve noticed this one agapanthus bravely blooming out front. Most of these burst open in late May and finished a few weeks later. This one stands alone against a tree trunk, just as lovely as all those making up the bunches of purple a few months ago.

You see the same delicate design, the same rich color.

When I tromp down the walk each day, I feel like cheering on this garden straggler. It’s still opening, still decorating the yard. All alone, just being itself, better late than never.

A song by Colbie Caillat called “Try” talks about standing up on your own, being who you really are:

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to bend until you break
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing.

Why, should you care, what they think of you
When you’re all alone, by yourself, do you like you?
Do you like you?

Just think what a difference one person — and one bloom — can make in the world!

How about you? Do you ever feel like you’re late? Like you don’t measure up to others? Like you don’t fit in? I’ve been there. The last verse of “Try” may give you a little boost:

Let your hair down
Take a breath
Look into the mirror at yourself
Don’t you like you?
Cause I like you.

Here’s the song. Check it out and be inspired!

Linking up with Texture Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, and Sweet Shot Tuesdays. The first photo is edited with Kim Klassen’s texture Shine. Also linking up with the return of Song-ography, where the theme this week is “Try” by Colbie Caillat.

 

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Summer Days

Here’s a recipe for fun in the summertime: Theater under the stars on a warm evening, with a live orchestra, in a venerable outdoor theater atop a mountain, sharing the joy with family and friends. Just look at the view as we arrived. And the show is my favorite of all–Les Mis. This story of freedom and redemption would soon fill the skies with its poignant music.

An added treat this evening was running into people who had flown in from other states to visit here and come to the show. We held a spontaneous, fun reunion with lots of hugs and chatter.

Then we took our seats and the director welcomed us.

He told us he first saw Les Mis at the age of 9, when his parents took him to New York. He remembered the impact the story had on him. Victor Hugo’s character, Jean Valjean, is a picture of grace and kindness. Les Mis contains all the elements that move us — injustice, illness, child abuse, adoption, sacrifice, unrequited love, battle, rescue, and a wedding.

The lights dimmed, and we were swept along in this tale. And the funny scenes — they are hilarious indeed. It’s good to laugh.

The main characters sing out the theme at the close of the play — my favorite line:

To love another person is to see the face of God.

We will long treasure this summer evening of stars, story, and song.

How about you? What are you up to this summer?

Linking up with Texture Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, and Sweet Shot Tuesdays. Photos are edited with Kim Klassen’s texture kk-3003. Also linking up with the return of Song-ography, where the theme this week is “Hot Fun in the Summertime.”

 

 

A Happy Place

If you spend an afternoon at the dog beach in Coronado, you’ll see happiness wherever you look. Dogs and people run in every direction, busy and carefree.

Waves, sun, freedom. New friends. Oh, the joy!

I love mingling and meeting people and dogs here. This guy was ready for a photo shoot, and his owner was understandably proud of him.

And this lovely girl wanted to eat my camera. Her owner was puzzled by that (me too).

Mostly, we all were soaking in the delight of summertime at the ocean.

How about you? Where have you spent a happy afternoon this summer?

Linking up with Texture Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, and Sweet Shot Tuesdays. Photos are edited with Kim Klassen’s texture kk-0411.

 

 

 

 

Sharing Birthday Beauty

My coworkers surprised me with this bouquet for my birthday. The fragrance reached me before I rounded the corner to my desk. I love the beauty and elegance of the varied colors of roses. Want to take a closer look?

Fresh flowers add such cheer to life.

How about you? What’s blooming in your world this season?

Linking up with Texture Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, and Sweet Shot Tuesdays. Photos are edited with Kim Klassen’s texture kk-0312.

 

Desert Skies

The desert, when the sun comes up…I couldn’t tell where heaven stopped and the Earth began.                                                                                                          Tom Hanks

Where do you go to relax? To let go of your cares and clear your mind? One of my favorite places is the desert. We enjoyed a short trip there over the recent holiday. The sky put on a sunrise show for us.

The heat bakes all my worries right out. It was 108 outside, pleasant inside. Perfect for a leisurely breakfast and cafe au lait as we took in the changing shadows and light playing on the mountains.

The sunset once again lit up the sky with beauty.

How about you? Where do you find you can completely relax?

Linking up with Texture Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, and Sweet Shot Tuesdays. The last photo is edited with Kim Klassen’s texture Watermarked.

Finding a Home

Have you ever been to a dog show? We found a delightful one following the Fourth of July parade in the mountains. Like the Westminster dog show, handlers walked the dogs in a circle. Unlike the Westminster dogs, these were all mutts. Adorable, one and all. Some of them were looking for a home.

Here’s beautiful Tashi. She won best in show last year.

Within days she found her new home. Now her owner has her in special training. Tashi gazed up, alert for new commands

We enjoyed our time in the small town, where the mayor is a dog. We greeted Mayor Max and deputy mayors Mitzi and Mikey. The people here take their animals seriously.

While we found a dog show, dogs found new homes. On our way back to our car, we wandered through the shelter dog area. And found happy news.

It was the best day for Snoopy.

Linking up with Little Things Thursday and Friday Finds.

Little by Little

Kim Klassen dot Com

 

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