Paris’ Village on a Hill

Farmguy and Farmgirl standing in front of Le mur des je t’aime or the I Love You Wall in Montmartre Paris, France   A while ago, Farmguy and I spent several days in Paris.  We decided to include a walking tour of Montmartre, or the “neighborhood on the hill,” which is in the 18th Arrondissement.  Our first stop was the I Love You Wall, a love-themed 40 square meters (430 sq ft) wall in the Jehan Rictus garden square.  The wall was created in 2000 by calligraphist Fédéric Baron and mural artist Claire Kito and is composed of 612 tiles of enameled lava, on which the phrase “I love you” is featured 311 times in 250 languages.  The red splashes on the wall symbolize parts of a broken heart. A few of the must sees in the area include the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur, the vineyards, and the Montmartre museum.  However, it’s also worth the time to explore the charming streets and quaint village atmosphere that Montmartre offers. The 18th is a delightful mixture of lovely old houses and a place to discover farmers’ markets, small art galleries, and bistros.  In the area of Rue Poulet toward Sacré Cœur, away from the tourists and busyness, you’ll see the quintessential Paris referred to as “the village.”  It was home to many families as well as intellectuals and artists (Claude Monet, Amedeo Modigliani, Camille Pissarro, Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas, August Renoir, Henri […]

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Still Looking Up….

       UNDERSTANDING                   GOODWILL   PEACEFULNESS            COMPASSION                           UNITY   FORGIVENESS                  FAIRNESS                       HUMANITY  FAITH          EMPATHY                                GOODNESS                 PATIENCE            FRIENDSHIP                  BROTHERHOOD PERSEVERANCE                 EQUALITY    COMMON SENSE                   HISTORY                DIALOGUE JUSTICE                         HARMONY              CITIZENSHIP               DILIGENCE COMMUNICATION                    GRACE  RESPECT                          LOVE     TRUST  COURAGE         KINDNESS          DECENCY    TOLERANCE  

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You’ve Got This

  For those of you who follow this blog, you may remember a post titled, Above and Beyond:  An Everyday Hero.  A couple of years ago, a major water pipe in our home broke, and a very kind and determined person rescued us. We thought he was just our plumber, but he turned out to be much more.  He was our hero…answering an emergency call late on a snowy, Saturday night, problem-solving a difficult situation, and working undeterred until, once again, we had water. During this dire situation, our plumber, Mike Walker dug five gallons of dirt out of a tiny access hole, and then, climbed into this small, dirty space. He ignored his own safety, well-being, and comfort to repair our out-of-reach pipe, but also to preserve the hardwood floors in our 200-year-old family home. He did all of this, unselfishly, to save us from a significant amount of stress, inconvenience, and heartbreak–a true hero. Since that night, I’ve been thinking a lot about this concept of  “everyday heroes.”  And, here’s the thing:  Heroism lies within all of us.  Each of us has the power to make our lives and the lives of others better.  Sometimes we may feel that life is always trying to “start something” by throwing a challenge or a truly dark situation at us.  However, it doesn’t matter if the problem is “too high to get over, too low to get under, and we’re stuck […]

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Force of Nature

  A few weeks ago, I decided to coax cuttings of a flowering cherry tree into an early performance in order to speed up spring. Persuading plants to flower out of season is known as forcing.  You can either trim branches from your yard or buy them from a florist.  There are a number of flowering trees and shrubs that you can choose for your trimmings.  I have a flowering cherry tree in my front yard.  So, that’s what I used. However, flowering dogwood, redbud, flowering dogwood, saucer magnolia, flowering quince, or forsythia work well, too. Here are a few tips to keep in mind: 1.  Prune on a mild, late-winter day.  Branches are more pliable when temperatures are above freezing.  Most spring bloomers form flower buds on the previous season’s growth. 2.  Look for crowded branches that are no more than 1/2 inch in diameter, with numerous round, plump flower buds.  Thinning is okay. 3.  Place branches in fairly hot tap water, and recut at an angle.  Next, place in a bucket of water with floral preservative.  Store in a cool, dimly lit area like a porch or garage to ease the transition indoors. 4.  When buds begin to swell, bring branches indoors.  Set arrangements in a bright area away from direct sunlight and heating vents.  Change water daily. 5.  Celebrate spring early!  After all, you just fooled Mother Nature.    

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Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth

     I think someone once said that life is supposed to be challenging. Well, yes, the statement is true enough.  But, somehow, many of us believe that things should go smoothly a good part of the time.  Most of us work towards this end, and we count on it.  Then, when life goes awry, we’re upset, angry, and disappointed.  We dread challenges and vexation.  I’ll be the first to admit that I work very hard to keep my life on course. I’m an “all your ducks in a row” kinda girl.  I follow the rules, keep my word, and act decently–treating others as I would like to be treated.  I basically over-analyze most situations, teasing out the pros and cons before making a decision.  However, despite my good intentions and best efforts, challenging stuff still happens.      Maybe, if we modified our view of challenging circumstances as a normal part of life, we wouldn’t be so surprised and upset when they occurred.  Also, what if we stopped interpreting the stuff that happens as positive or negative.  It’s happening, let’s try to accept it, and move through it.  You know, let’s stop judging the stuff.  Of course, this is easier said than done.  On the surface, some stuff looks pretty negative–even devastating at times. Which brings me to a quote by Elizabeth Gilbert that I absolutely love:  “Ruin is a gift.  Ruin is the road to transformation.” What if the […]

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