Monday, 16 December 2013

Music for your Monday

Greetings, all. I trust la mundi has been well? Here's a piece I'm listening to while studying for finals.

                                  Like Pachabel, the ground repeats over, and over, and over...

Henry Purcell: A Curtain Tune on a Ground


Endearingly, not oboxiously.

Play on, Purcell, play on.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Reading List

Salve, everybody!

I'm taking a study break and thought I'd do an update of what I'm reading as of late. (And no, sorry, I am not including textbooks. No way.)

Anna Karenina
No. 1: Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy

Alright, alright; the main plot of this Russian masterpiece is about an affair, and though I will in no way justify it, I will say that the Russian writers knew how to get inside someone's head and expose thought processes. (However...if anyone asks, Crime and Punishment, by Russian Fyodor Dostoevsy is on my optimum quod lectum est list, that is, the best that has been read. By me of course. It surpasses all.) But I digress: Anna Karenina is a piece of art in the literature world, and I am glad to be able to drink it in.

On the Shoulders of Hobbits

No. 2: On the Shoulders of Hobbits, by Louis Markos

One of my prizes (as in free books) from the amazingly enriching Desiring God 2013 National Conference is On the Shoulders of Hobbits, a very appropriate expository book at this time, especially with The Hobbit being serialized for us. 
   I picked this book because I adore Lewis and Tolkien and appreciate the "compare and contrast" formulas. Markos explains how both Tolkien and Lewis used the imagined to portray reality and the extremes of good versus evil.

Erasing Hell

No. 4, Erasing Hell, by Francis Chan

This is last, but certainly not least.I have been very sobered by this 
since a classmate blatantly stated they did not believe in hell. Calling themselves a christian, they stated that God couldn't be "all good and loving if he sent people to hell."

So I delved.

In this book, Chan discusses many angles and biblical answers, but the one I found to be the most beneficial is that since God IS perfect (which both parties agree on), have we ever stopped to realize that his plans, judgments, and decisions are completely unlike ours? Higher than ours? Above ours? His ways are not our ways! If that is taken into consideration and we take God out of the box we've put him into, we may start to understand that Holiness and justice God so readily calls His own is further beyond ours than we will know

No. 4 The Proteus Effect, by Ann B. Parson

This book focuses on stem cell research, how people research stem cells, and what the benefits of stem cells are. Proteus, a mythical Greek god, was one who could change his shape or form to meet his own purpose. The analogy to stem cells is that these cells are so young that they can keep dividing (ever new, ever young) into practically any organ in the body. It's "groundbreaking." It's fascinating. But is it right?

Though not a textbook, I found it in the genetic research shelf of the library, and as the human genome and what people are actually doing with it interests me, I decided to carefully read this book. So far it's not as horrific as Clockwork Orange (which I couldn't finish for abundance of obscenity), but I have a feeling it is going to be an immense eye opener for me, especially since I am going into the medical field.

I hope you're all staying warm and reading your own good books!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Minneapolis Culture: Tea Tasting

Greetings! Thus far, my weekend off has consisted of much busy work. Yesterday I worked in our church kitchen for the women's Christmas Tea/Luncheon, which was quite rapidly paced. However, working with other believers is always enriching; I don't feel belittled, I'm always doing my best, and doing it to the fullest.

With temperature below zero, we drove around Minneapolis. I spotted one of these signs and thought "What? A tea warehouse?!" Entitled Mrs. Kelly's Tea, it is a shop specializing in a bevy of tea varieties. 

Seriously: On a day with freezing temperatures, what better for the Dutch than a sampling of much tea??

After some quick dishes and a call, my lovely cousin came to explore the tea house with us.

And oh what a delightful surprise we found; teas upon teas upon teas. So taste away we did. 

I tried a Ginger Peach (pleasant); a "Russian Smoky" (drinkable but reeked of tobacco), and a cherry almond. I have yet to taste my assorted remaining samples. It's like a little piece of random excitement. Outings like those are such fun, the spontaneous, the unplanned, the adventurous. Maybe to say you've done it, maybe to just have fun, or perhaps to enjoy a certain something with a certain someone. Because to me, God's given us a life to live to the fullest, and outings like these with people we love can be likened to embellishments to our scrapbooks.

Well enough of my mused sentimentalism. Blessings on your Sunday!

Note: I did not have my camera, and this resulted in no original photos. Therefore...all links below each photo give credit to those original photos. Thank you!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Brûléed Bourbon-Maple Pumpkin Pie

Hello everyone! As a send off for the weekend, I'll share a recipe I made this week.

Here's the link:  Brûléed Bourbon-Maple Pumpkin Pie

Since I worked Thanksgiving, I did not have time to craft this masterpiece, so I made it midweek. On 'hump day,' to be precise. Using a recipe from Bon Appetit, some bourbon from Thanksgiving, and lots of natural maple syrup and cream (not to mention a propane torch), I brought first brûléed pie.

//apologies for la terrible photos...\\

After crimping the crust, I placed rice weights inside to keep the crust from bubbling. Only then did I brush the crust with egg (to give it extra shine, ya know).

This is probably the richest pie I have made. I mean, I literally kept adding stuff to it. Stuff like an entire cup of heavy cream. To me, you whip that and put it on top of the pie, not in the pie. Right? Oh no. 

The last thing I did was to brûlée the pie. I do not have my own kitchen torch, so I used our propane torch. Happily, I didn't burn the pie. And oh, was it ever so wonderful.

With whipped cream on top.

lovely winter weekend wishes!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

From Minnesota Public Radio: Link

Elizabeth Berridge and Tom Hulce as
Constanze and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
in "Amadeus" (1984) (Warner Bros.) 

I came across this article written by Nasir Sakandar, a writer/journalist and Co-Editor in Chief of Dislocate, a Minnesota journal of writing and art.

Music for Living: Why Your Dating Life Needs Classical Music

In a world of pop music, I (albeit cling) listen to great amounts of classical. When I tuned in this morning, I found this article next to the pod cast, and it caught my eye. I thought it funny, but also so very true. Classical music is a river running deep.

Note: as a Christian, I believe dating relationships are for one reason alone, being to glorify God in searching for someone with which to advance His kingdom. Putting aside the cryptic words, dating is a job. You enter into a relationship, a gift from God, to pursue marriage. Personally, if there's not thought about marriage at all, then well...what are you on, a joy ride? It'd be interesting to have a Christian twist on this article, because classical music doesn't just give me a base passion, but a passionate appreciation for the creativity God blessed mankind with.

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond ALL MEASURE
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His Treasure.

Next time you listen to a passionate piece of classical, don't forget about how deep God's love is. Making a wretch His treasure?! Words cannot describe it

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Home School Conversations: Plagiarism

Sister: "But I feel really bad! It's like I'm plagiarizing you.

Me: "Um, you can't really plagiarize my mouth..."

Sister: "Well, yeah, because your mouth isn't published."

Lovin' the helping with writing papers.

Plagiarism: Just don't do it.
Be original.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Growing Pains

limbs aching to attain an art
heart bursting for love of exertion
admiration for HIM who blessed 
that which disciplines
no limitations 
direction, and yet, freedom
the lights, the rush, the frantic

where it was, and doing then.
design apparent, proven clear
the strain was good and meant success
now means nothing
or does it?
abstract; an art; a life, a love.

seemingly once lost and not regained
there was no thief, for it was me who lost you
so afraid you were so much better than (i)

the arts are lost
and all for what - monetary gain
means nothing to a heart fed by the art 
the diet shan't change as the creature may perish
for lack of expression

is the expression, the passion
the drive
exertion proves past fulfilling
longing for knowledge of direction
gnawing at the heart.

for it is now judged, and sadly
not for its art 
it must weather on
instead judged for productivity
the harsh productivity of rush and change
though there are no lights

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Home-School Conversations: Sell Sister Wendy?!

Note: Sister Wendy is an art expert who has written multiple art books, and...somehow, we ended up with one.

Mom to daughter: How's your art paper going?

Daughter: Well!

Mom: How well? 

Daughter: Very well. (cue smile)

Mom: Do you need Sister Wendy?

Daughter: NO....

Mom: Alright. I guess I'll sell her at the book sale, then.

Me: Sell Sister Wendy at the book sale!?

Daughter: 'dies' laughing.

The end.

Another typical conversation carried by yours truly; us. 

Friday, 11 October 2013

Of Seven Blessings

DG Conference - All about C.S. Lewis and Christ's saving grace? Aslan and the Lamb of God? "Likenings" and "shadowlands"? It can't get better than that. Two weekends ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to serve at this National Conference. Working in the bookstore was amazing: I met attendees from the South (i.e. quite chatting young gentlemen...), Professors from London, couples from New York farms, and mounds of seminary students, all enthusiastic about this genre of a get-together; one where attendees sit in sessions to commune with their maker, and write, think, and be enriched.

Eating Out - On one of the nights of the conference, a group of us walked out to eat, and it was so wonderful; people that usually are humbugs decided to be goodbugs and come, which made it even better. I don't think they realized how they completed the equation. It reminded me how special it is when people are simply there. A full conversation is not always needed; it's enough to know that they are there.

Pumpkin(s!) - I harvested the first of twenty-one late last night:

It was quite dark out, and I stepped in all the mud available...but I found a ripe pumpkin, baked, gutted, and pureed it. The result? Up until 2:00am with pumpkin chocolate-chip muffins. (Then Bio Lab at 8:30 the next morning!)

Themes Explained - The hardest part of my classes thus far is the fact that the Profs think everyone is supposed to know everything before coming to class. Far from it! I'm here to learn about Osmolarity in tissue because I don't know about the importance of osmolarity in tissue! So, since I'm over the's a blessing they paused for a second to explain that osmolarity in tissue is important because from it, we can determine and assure an equilibrium between the solution inside and outside an organism. We don't want our organisms saturated, and neither do we want them dehydrated. (See? Not that hard to explain to me...)

Back Roads - Driving and walking country roads in Autumn is exquisite!The leaves have turned and with the absence of rain, the fallen leaves now crunch beneath my feet. Walking to work is always lovely, and the cool air is constantly refreshing.

Enjoying Work - When half my week is spent working, I better enjoy it; and I do. It is wonderful that I can look forward to going to work, serving the people there, and being an example of light to glorify my heavenly Father.

Apples - Our Golden Delicious are snappy and so delightful! It's wonderful to have our own apples that can be picked at will.

Blessings on your Autumn weekend!

Friday, 13 September 2013

Of Seven Blessings

This week is short and sweet. Thank my early exams...

Surprises - I had a lovely (I am sarcastic...) Friday. My hurt spirit was very much gladdened, however, when I arrived home from work to find my cousin cutting tomatoes in the kitchen. (Well that certainly put gauze on my wound.) And I am not sarcastic there: It was the best. I can't really say anything more except that you realize how much a person's pure presence means to you when you're unraveled.

School Planning - I get excited thinking about what is yet to come. The best, right? But that includes working up. Taking pre-requisites. Doing every little thing. As long as I don't forget where I get my energy, right? My help is in the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth!

Letters - One of our family friends' daughter wrote me a letter. It was short, it was sweet, and it was encouraging to receive a note from someone who looks up to me. It reminds me of what I used to be; a person looking up to a college student. Now I'm that college student, and I was officially encouraged by thoughtfulness. 

Savings - I needed a few new fall pieces for my wardrobe, and so I checked out a little shop. I discovered five select high-end pieces that will all match with one another or something I already own, and to my delight, some pieces were 50% off! I am very careful about what I buy now that I am working, which means that although it may not seem like a "big deal," I was very jubilant when I walked back to the car with five quality items costing under $20.00.

Discussing - Life plans. With my parents. I am so very blessed and thankful to have extraordinary parents who have such varied life experiences. We always have something to talk about! And their advice? Priceless. 

Homemade Peach & Plum Cobbler - Enough said. 

Rain - Since it has been dry, our once lush grass is slightly brittle and faded, and the greenery protrudes only from the spaces where we water intentionally to promote growth (the garden, the flowers around the lawn's trees, and the civilized ones around the mailbox). It's a tedious job, watering, and directly before one of us (usually my siblings or I) went to bestow life-giving liquid upon those beauteous Eukaryota-celled organisms, it drizzled. And dripped. And dropped. It rained, and  is still raining now. Not only does our thirsty ground get one of the gentlest, refreshing drinks, but we get to go to sleep to the sound of drip-drip drop. 

Friday, 6 September 2013

Of Seven Blessings

(Plus random France photo.)

Yes, it's that time again, where I am caught up in all things work and no play (which make me slightly dull) but I have a grand family who keeps me above water.

Life is different now, and it is taking some getting used to. I am not spending the time I used to spend with my family, an I have a different schedule. That's definitely different. I writing, but to people; one would think that a norm, and yes, I am used to it, but it is strange, at the same time. It is as if I am caught in an in-between phase and will be here, silently, awkwardly, for a length of time which I cannot see ending too soon. However. I still remain thankful, and especially for God's faithfulness.

Childhood Friends - At the end of my graduation commencement ceremony at the end of June (when the sixty wild children ran off the stage to show their excitement), I was greeted by a friend I'd not seen in years. we'd been fast friends and had written letters and such. We'd both grown up; I wasn't wearing shin-guards and soccer shorts, my long blonde hair in a scraggly ponytail, and she was even more perfect. Her strawberry blonde curls gave her presence volume, and she greeted me with a beaming smile I will never forget. She made sure I remembered her, and she asked if we could write while in college, and because I was altogether for that proposition, we were ecstatic after I agreed. God brings those people back into your life for a reason. Find out what it is and make the most of it.

Joy - Honestly, I never realized how much peace God gives in your time of need. Sometimes, people hurt you, and sometimes it is hard to understand why. But guess what. I do not need to know why, I just need to love back. And yes; it's hard. It's hard to sit there and listen to the language and difficult when you're only trying to help, but God gives peace beyond compare so that when they cause misery, He gives me even more power to love.

Influence - This is a bit work related.  In any work-place, there's always gossip. Who's doing this, why, who's always late, who's annoying...
So you stand out when you don't let any slanderous words leave your vocal chords, and people respect you. Why is this important? So that they may glorify our Father who is in heaven. If they see us living the life in the least of these things, that's what matters, and we influence others to become upstanding.

SAC - (Otherwise known as small acts of chivalry.) So. Yes, something that bothers me quite a bit is slang words. "Near-miss" words, and words that just aren't salt and light. Excuse the preachy Seven Blessings post, but I digress. In my...environment, per se, my age group thinks nothing of what pours from their mouth, so it's not only nice, but also comforting when you meet a person who has enough dignity, class, and respect to refrain from speaking whatever they will. It's a plus when they exhibit sacs: a guy at school held the big lab door for me, and it was just nice. Plain. and. Simple.

Spontaneous Plans - We're having a bonfire tomorrow night! If anything is that interesting I'll really try for a Saturday Shoot. I love when plans like these work, especially with old, close, and even new friends. Truthfully, though, I panned this event because I wanted to socialize with people I actually know, instead of saying yes to a strangers' "Whoa, it's really hot out today!!" There is nothing wrong with being friendly to all others, but for me, it's a mite exhausting to be around newness constantly.So, these plans with friends = spontaneity cubed.

Electronics - Welcome to the family, little phone. What's not to like about keeping in contact with others?

Drive - I am going to reveal a large part of myself to you: I am not partial to mathematics...and I am enrolled in a hefty class this semester. BUT! You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. It's not the psychological little engine that could while saying "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!", but rather an assurance. I know I can, but only because He's strengthened me.

Have a beautiful and blessed September weekend.

Thursday, 8 August 2013


Perhaps a cry from a reader to "update us soon" is enough to nudge me to write.

Over the past two weeks I have been working quite hard at an assisted living home (no names). 

Over the past two weeks, however, I have also gained quite an interest in a new British television show featured on PBS/Masterpiece Theatre, also known as Endeavor. Check. This. Out.

To say the least? He's quite amazing. A detective who loves poetry and solves mysteries dealing with murderers who prey on victims in the manner of famous opera deaths, witnesses teeming suspense, but possesses such dignity.  

Always looked down upon by his commanding officer, Mr. Morse quietly stays true to his love of solving such...killings. Sometimes the quiet people are the most passionate, and the acting in this new series is indeed exceptional. 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Of Seven Blessings

It's quite hot here in Minnesota! If you reside in moderate temperatures, blessings upon you for living the life you lead. As for me and this house, we ward off heat with an old AC unit in one area. Despite that, I've been showered with blessings.

Wireless - For those of you who have no idea, I am thankful for wireless internet. Very thankful. For the last two years our family has been living with a mere 4 Gigabytes of surfing data per month. And boy are you in trouble if you go over. The other day I brave the wires and initiated the system (which, I admit, is not that difficult).  Now, we have almost 62 times that data space for even less. I could go on, but it's a blessing enough.

Poultry - We acquired two different breeds; Barred Rock and Golden-Laced Wyandotes. Next come ducks. For now, I enjoy sticking my hand in the pen and watching the rapidly growing fuzz-balls rush to peck at my ring, only to find nothing tasty. They're adorable and will lay well.

Finishing Books - It leaves a sense of accomplishment. Even if the book wasn't that great, I am reminded of the greater things that I am to set my mind on. In that way, I am encouraged, even when a book does not meet my expectations of worthwhile.

Refreshed Bonds - A childhood friend approached me a month and a half ago and wanted to correspond by means we had years ago. I gave her my address, and I received a letter last week. I remember the last letter I found in the mail, but it has been quite some time, so I was quite delighted when I was handed the note. What better way to keep a relationship where one can't always schedule "dates" with another? What does it matter that letter-writing may be considered old fashioned? No matter; the point remains that I am blessed to be writing again, with a purpose.

Saying Yes - Maybe it's just because I am getting better at growing up...but I have found how it's so easy to just say "yes" to my parents when they ask me to do something. Even if the big "I" is in the middle of something seemingly important. I admit this was a struggle when battling (yes...battling)  PSEO classes, but it's not that difficult.

Success!! - I got the job! I applied to serve at a Nursing Home and had my orientation on Wednesday, from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. Long day, but I met some very interesting people. And that is an interesting in the best way.

Time with Mum - I don't spend enough one-on-one time with her, and last Wednesday, I was exceedingly blessed. I walked 1 1/2 miles to Caribou in the 95 degree weather, and when Mum met me and bought her smoothie, we just sat and talked. That simple. I like simple, and this was precious. 

Then we went shopping for scrubs.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Monday, 15 July 2013

A Title-less Poem: Its Tale

After indoctrinating myself with Relient K’s new album with “Don’t Blink” swirling around in my head, I am getting over soreness acquired from landscaping and roofing.  I admit it is fun to stand atop a roof, clad in tie-die and ratty shorts wielding a nail-gun that makes the gangster-looking people in the alley below observe with some trepidation, but my hands are stiff, and Debussy must, unfortunately, wait to be more discovered than it already has.

Meanwhile, I write, work, read, cook, and wait: Write poems, work with family, read Julie and Julia, O Pioneers!, and Sherlock, cook summer delicacies, and wait for my employers to finalize my schedule.

When we arrived home last Friday after our contracting escapades, having the family back together again was exquisite. The best activities we do together are a) working, and b) laughing; and in that order, too. Teasing is sometimes biased…but I digress. Our arrival had been late, and we wearily stumbled out of the extended 4x4 cab, into Mum’s arms, and up the stairs to bed.  I lay there, finishing up a chapter of Amos, and heard the best sound I had heard in a week: My parents laughing.

It made me smirk. I did not know what the goings on were (and upon asking, they don’t quite remember what it was they thought so funny), but the fact was that they were happy. We were home, together, and being the sometimes emotional-event-inspired goofball that I am, I got creative and wrote a poem. Not quite a sonnet, not quite metrical, but a poem all the same.

Working on the large, tin-roofed chicken coop the next morning before the clouds let loose their raindrops, I ran down the hill barefoot clasping a piece of paper and calling for Daddy to read it. He appeared from one end of the coop in his orange shirt and lopsided hat, and after making his way over, grasped the drafted poem scribbled on old school paper and began to read:

We are home again after much working.
Signature, joyful noise sounds from the hall;
Jubilee quite displayed through their laughing, 
Carrying itself; unable to fall.

Together again, at last we do find
Deep sleep for the brain; sweet rest for the mind.
The contracting conquered by bright fervor 
Gives satisfaction to those who serve her;

Though itchy arms and sun-burnt ears
Have witnessed noise and shingle shears; 
Though bodies wake early and so weary
And little eyes adapt when so bleary, 
The heart is happy, and content
  To complete a goal, to see the end.

 I this piece very much, as it encompasses the essence of what went on.  I muse a title will find its way here sooner rather than later.Until then, merci beaucoup for reading.

Friday, 12 July 2013

You Know You're Roofing When...

  • You go to sleep with hands shaped as if they are holding a utility knife, hammer, or nail gun
  • You can't tell if an itchy arm is irritated from sunburn or shingle dust (heh)
  • You start right before 8:00 am to avoid the sun
  • Everyone needs a break at 10:30, only an hour and a half after beginning
  • You not only acquire a "farmers tan," but also one at the wrist, where your gloves are worn
  • Your jokes involve tools. "RN" no longer stands for "Registered Nurse" but "Red Nail gun."
  • Everyone rests in the afternoon, when the temperature is at its hottest
  • You think of nothing but what it takes to get the job done

Yep. That and landscaping is what we've been up to.

Roofing! It is a bit more than slightly exhausting, and I have kindly refrained from displaying our hideous dirty selves across this page, so this photo symbolizes, or represents, that which we have risen early for. Too bad there's no nail gun (shots...) 

As this is all the post I can manage for now, au revoir!


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Landscaping (and Music)

Greeting from muggy and humid and breezy and cheerful Minnesota! I wasn't going to post today, but because of certain events, I wanted to do a random "share post" of what I've been up to. This means my Tuesday France recaps will be on hold for a spell, but that might make them all the more worth the while. Later.

During the past two days, I...
  • Dug and replanted Hosta cuttings
  • Was stung by a bee
  • Dug and Leveled a Boulevard
  • Read MORE Willa Cather
  • Dug up a dried, old rose bush (that bit me when I tried to pull it from the ground)
  • Trimmed Hedges so much fun!
  • Removed roots and mulched and laid gravel cover
  • Fell in Love (No, don't worry, I'm not that ridiculous, yet.t literally, of course. I adore my latest music library additions; Switchfoot's Oh! Gravity and Relient K's Collapsible Lung are great for Summer work (Switchfoot more so) and play, which would be Relient K all the way.
File:Collapsible Lung Album Artwork.jpg
until the morrow...

Friday, 5 July 2013

Of Seven Blessings

Downtime -  With Family at the Lake: Even if Rangers are grumpy, we can still enjoy the weather and water.

Extermination - Apologies for the quirky humor: I spent part of this week transforming a garden area, exterminating weeds and hedging our rose in the same area.  When the drive up our long driveway is completed, this little area makes one breathe easy as it sets the mood to calm organization...

Duet-Playing - My cousin and I spent part of the July Fourth evening playing Dvorak together. Duets are ever so much fun, and it's so great to be able to sit down and just play, laugh at timing mistakes, key changes, and skipped beats that we run after in the end.

Roses - We have four roses; one in the front garden area, and the other in front of one pasture. "Knock-Out" Roses they are: A bright, penetrating red, they're blooming in all their glory now and contrast so artistically against the grass. Yep. A blessing. ('Specially since we had to leave the other roses behind when we moved.)

Special Moments - They can't really be described, but the best way to do so is say that they are those moments when you are with the people God has blessed you with; the people who truly matter. You look into one another's eyes and know how good it is to just esse (Latin, be) with them. Family. Siblings. Cousins. Friends you want to keep forever.

Job Interview - (!!) I had a lovely Job interview Tuesday, at an Assisted Living Home. Everything went smoothly, and I will be starting in the next 1-2 weeks. It is a bit strange to have all of this come and go so quickly, but I'm thankful for what I have been given!

Major and Minor Prophets - I do not think they get read enough. I started reading through them, and I have now officially adopted them as my summer reading. Quite descriptive and seemingly "random" at times (i.e. where Amos talks of destruction and in the middle of the passage notes that people don't walk together unless they agree to do so), I have noticed the HUGE stress on how much God will bless

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

France: Mont-St-Michel, Day 3

Life is ever so exciting. I have a new job interview tomorrow and am finally coming 'round the end of a "bend in the road," as Anne of Green Gables would put it.

Mont-St-Michel from afar...
But I digress. Travelling to Mont-St-Michel was a four hour bus ride in which our tour guide interrupted many people's attempts to sleep. I just listened to her (partly because I was too tired to do anything else and partly because I wanted to force myself into France time as much as possible).

From the Bridge
...and the wind was rather blustery. I was very thankful for my short, light grey over coat which was worn for the entire day. Because I had fatigue hanging over me slightly, everything around me seemed surreal. 

Commissioned by St. Aubert, who built the oratory on Mont-Tombe in 708 A.D, Mont-St.Michel was not finished until around 1895.

From a lowly oratory to a Benedictine Monastery, Mont-St-Michel was positioned defensively. Over the centuries, it was besieged, assaulted, made into a political prison, and declared a national monument. If anything other than a mysterious and wonderful landmark, Mon-St-Michel is a picture of France and her development into what it is today. 
The Drawbridge

Doors! I shot a theme of doors for my trip, but here are two from the Mont. The teal is my favourite.

The Mont's Small Cemetery
It is almost impossible to get lost on the Mont. The stairs go up to the abbey, and once you have gone through the cloisters, you will find yourself going back down. That was only one wonderful part. Think about it; being able to enjoy your surroundings without worrying where you will end up and how you will get back to your starting point.  

This little cemetery was very quaint. Orange is one of my favorite colors and I thought that the orange was a perfect front against a cemetery background, as most flowers in France had not decided to grace the world with their presence...

The Abbey walls both up and down. A fellow photographer and I stuck together and adored the delicate ferns reaching out from the craggy rocks. I had wanted to update my camera before the trip, but instead, I made due with my present equipment and decided to just have fun. Design is an amazing aspect, and architecture is such a fun subject to take, even though I am a little bit obsessed with symmetry and contrast.

With the funny tree in the top left-hand corner, this shot (overlooking the English Channel) made me think it belonged somewhere in South America, not France.

The End! An Iron Railing End
The Abbey's Gorgeous Chapel
One of the best parts of Europe is its grand edifices. Everywhere we went we would see a church, and each one holds stories and characters we (sadly) did not have time to spend getting to know.  Thankfully we had a leisurely time, and I was able to simply sit and admire the tranquility as well as do my photo business.

Another door and the posing cat: This cat seemed to think (or know) for that matter, that he was in a perfect location for being photographed. Yes, it clogged up the traffic on the stairway, but it was humorous looking.

We reached the top (right) after ambling through the cloisters (left). The view was wonderful, but pictures would never do it justice. The entire floor was composed of massive stones engraved with the "signatures" or symbols of each carpenter who had worked on them. It made the entire lookout much more personable, as there was an engraving I could see; I didn't know who had written it, but someone from centuries ago had, someone who was proud of his work.


Dark Purple Irises in the Cloister

Pre-Salted Sheep
"Pre-Salted sheep!?" Yep. The water from the English Channel rushes up with the dangerous tides and waters the grass on the pastures on the border. Consuming pre-salted grass gives the sheep a delicious and tender texture. There is no other way to describe it. It is a delicacy in France and something one can buy on the Mont, but I found some in the Latin quarter of Paris and had a lovely meal of it. (Apologies to my vegetarian friends...)

All that is left to say is "See? Isn't it interesting?" There is no other place like it. After stopping to take these, it was time for the ride to Paris. I had created a play-list of new songs that would remind me of certain events in Paris, and I listened to that while I wrote about the day. My friends and I were getting ready to see Paris after riding around in enclosed entities in order to travel places, and we were quite interested when we saw the tip of the Eiffel Tower peek over the edge of random trees after passing Charles de Gaulle.

When we arrived in Paris, when brought our bags up to the respective floors at the Ideal Hotel and refreshed ourselves before going out to dinner.

Smoked Salmon
...was amazing. I ordered in French and also had a glass of excellent Alsace (though almost all wine in France is delectable) and was delighted when the waiter brought my meal on a cutting board platter. I had not had much all day on account of the "strange new time schedule."  We had a wonderful time making conversation about the day, and then we discovered that it was time for rest.

Paris Orleans (photo from site)

The Google/"I'm Feeling Lucky" Room (as it was dubbed)
Hotel Design completely. We also had a little deck/porch overlooking the street. We were next to a metro station, which was convenient though a mite noisy at times, but peaceful for the most part. The pillows were a bit hysterical, however. My friend had the Blogger pillow originally and I the Facebook, but we switched since I write and do not have a book of Face. 

(Oh my, now I am missing this room...Well!)

Thanks for reading, and make sure to check back for another France post. 
The next one's Versailles!

Monday, 1 July 2013

MIA Visit


I am in the middle of light remodeling and other such house projects, so to keep you busy...

Here's some old files from a Thursday Night at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. These Thursday nights are technically parties at the MIA in which many patrons and art-inclined people gather for more than just a visit. Anyway. It goes so far as adding streamers 'round the Doryphorous. Unfortunately, these shots were taken with an older camera and were not able to be cropped, but c'est la vie. Enjoy!

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts -
The awesome back entrance nobody's allowed to enter through

Doryphorous - One of four; the remaining four are in Italy. Props to the MIA!

Crouching Lion - Greece