Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pet Pride— Lindy loves to roll around on the ground

Oh, I'm such a happy puppy!

Photos by Kay Davies, April 30, 2011
I had to brush her off before letting her come into the house after this display of happy dogginess. As you can see, our lawn isn't quite green yet, and is still full of winter-kill bare patches. Out on our boulevard, however, the weeds are growing like, um, weeds!

Posted for Pet Pride, the pet-happy meme
hosted each week by Bozo and his family in Mumbai. Lindy says "Hi, Bozo!"
To see other pets from around the world, please click

Two ears cast shadows, two don't

Richard Schear photos   
Photos taken earlier this year, before the snow finally melted.

I suspect the rabbit on the left has seen Dick and Lindy before, and knows they're harmless.
The other rabbit is trying to make itself look very small, so they won't notice it is there.

Posted for  Shadow Shot Sunday, a meme that
has us chasing ephemeral shadowy things, like wild rabbits.
Hosted every week by Tracy at Hey Harriet!

To see other shadows as other cameras saw them, please click

Camera Critters in The Netherlands

These geese seem to be getting ready to go to church on a soft, surreal, misty morning.
"Okay, whose is whose? Which are my ducklings and which ones belong to the mallards?"
We hardly ever see a herd of herons in a field, so maybe they're having an election for Head Heron.

Photos by Richard Schear and Kay Davies   
Posted for Misty Dawn's Camera Critters meme.
To see other critters from other parts of the world, please click

Friday, April 29, 2011

Red Light reflections on a canal in Amsterdam

Photo by Richard Schear, Amsterdam, March, 2011

One of the the Amsterdam tours included in our rivers and canals cruise with Viking River Cruises was to the famous Red Light District. Dick and his camera went with the tour group while I stayed on board in order to rest after our trans-Atlantic flight. I do see some red lights here, and pink ones, too, as well as the reflective rims of Amsterdam's ubiquitous bicycles, but I chose this photo because of all the white swans who seem to reflect the light themselves!
Posted for Weekend Reflections, the reflective meme
hosted each week by James in Pennsylvania, soon to be James in California!
To see the wonderful reflections caught by bloggers around the world, please click

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Blurb #9 — Mystére

Mystére Optique en Marseille

The dark blue sunglasses lay on the dark blue beach towel with the bright red roses on it. One lens reflected four cupcakes, two chocolate and two caramel, melting in the summer sun. The other lens reflected fire, and the earthly remains of Mark Andrew Gaston, senior cancer consultant at Marseille's Bayview Clinic.
The lenses distorted the human remains just as they distorted the melting cupcakes, but did nothing to show who had brought the cupcakes any more than they showed who had brought the illustrious doctor there to be killed.
Longueuil Langlois, chief of detectives with the Sureté in Paris, was called down to Marseille to help the already overworked force in the Mediterranean seaport. His job was to show what the only witness, the reflecting sunglasses, could not show. His job was to solve the mystery.
Author Cor Irwin has another winner here. (150 words including title)
Each week, Lisa Ricard Claro, at Writing in the Buff, presents a photo that could be the cover of a book. Our challenge is to write, in 150 words or less, a blurb for the back cover of a "book" illustrated by this picture. Tough to do? Sometimes, but fun, too. See what others have written. Maybe you'd like to try.  Click here to find out: Book Blurb Friday

The ever-changing skies of Amsterdam

Our European holiday started with a 10-day cruise on the Viking Pride, above, left, on the rivers and canals of The Netherlands and Belgium. We started in Amsterdam, first landing in Schiphol Airport and taking a train from there to the port where our ship awaited us.

The sky was several different shades of blue, with clouds coming and going the whole time we were there. As you may have heard elsewhere, there's never a dull moment in Amsterdam!

Photos by Richard Schear and Kay Davies

Posted for
Skywatch Friday,
the meme for people like me, who have their heads in the clouds. Skywatch is hosted each week by a team of dedicated photographers with an eye on the sky.

To see what skies have attracted the cameras of people in other parts of the world, please click HERE!

P is, of course, for Paris, France

First, we have photographs of the "real Paris" places, the ones without which you would never believe we had actually been to Paris!
Photo by Kay Davies, March, 2011

Next, we have Notre Dame de Paris, which we saw on a day that started overcast before becoming a beautiful, sunny morning.

Then, of course, there is always the Eiffel Tower, which has already appeared in this blog a couple of times this month.

Photos by Richard Schear

The Louvre Museum has been synonymous with Paris for a long time. The "pyramid" in front of it is a popular but fairly recent addition: the new entrance to the museum, commissioned in 1984. I didn't, but Dick did have the energy to explore the Louvre. He also climbed the steps to the top of the Arc de Triomphe and to the second level of the Eiffel Tower (as far as the public is now allowed to climb).

The Venus de Milo, above, and the Mona Lisa, shown on the right with some of her adoring fans, are Paris's two most popular ladies. Millions have visited them, but research has apparently shown that the average person spends only 15 seconds viewing the Mona Lisa. How can that be?

Posted for
ABC Wednesday,
the alphabetical meme hosted by Mrs. Nesbitt's talented team of photographers and friends.
To see how others have used the letter P this week,
please click HERE!
In addition to the well-known images seen above, I thought I'd include some shots taken "out and about in Paris" — I'm glad Dick remembered to include the name in the photos of the Academie Nationale de Musique (below) also known as the Paris Opera.

Photos by Richard Schear
Wikipedia photo

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

C'est si bon — Paris again, for Thursday Theme Song

"The left bank, c'est si bon."
                           Dean Martin

Photos by Richard Schear, March, 2011
"The Eiffel Tower, c'est si bon."
                                           Dean Martin

I chose the Dean Martin version of the song C'est si Bon because I once had a record of it, and because, when Dino sings this song, he mentions my husband's favorite — the Eiffel Tower. He also mentions the left bank (of the River Seine), where we were fortunate enough to stay for five nights during our recent month-long European holiday.

I also listened to two other versions of the song before choosing Dean Martin. In my opinion, Eartha Kitt's is the quintessential sound. This YouTube video is of the beautiful, wonderful Eartha performing onstage, and the only English words are "Cadillac" and "mink coat" etc., which she throws in at the end of an otherwise French song.

However, I also loved a recording my parents had, of Louis Armstrong performing C'est si Bon. YouTube gives the date as 1962, not long before I saw the great Louis in a live performance. I was a teenager, with a father and a brother who both played trumpet. Louis was a hero in our house.

As you can see, I haven't played around with the lyrics. I wasn't sure how to do that, but as I did go to Paris with my husband last month, I can say this about his photography, "C'est si bon!"

Posted for Thursday Theme Song,
the musical meme from the musical mind of Hootin' Anni. Thanks, Anni!
To see what songs others have in mind this week, please click  HERE!

Watery Wednesday: the ripple effect

Kay Davies photo, March 19, 2011

Just as these ducks in Hoorn, a beautiful old town in The Netherlands, send out ripples when they swim, so do memes expand due to the ripple effect. I follow many blogs and have often enjoyed Watery Wednesday, but I live in a desert part of the Canadian prairie, so I hadn't thought of joining this meme. However, my husband Dick and I have recently returned from a trip to The Netherlands, Belgium, France and Switzerland, bringing home dozens if not hundreds of "watery" photos. When I saw our friend Debbie's beautiful photo for this week, I knew I wanted to try.  This is my first contribution to Watery Wednesday, hosted by T. Bruce Photography, but I hope it isn't my last.
Posted for Watery Wednesday,
To see beautiful waterborne images posted by my blog friends and by others, please click

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

O is for Orsay — Musée d'Orsay

There is so much to see in Paris, we couldn't possibly see all of it in five nights and four days, not even all the things within an easy walk of our hotel in the 7th Arrondissement. One place I wanted to visit, but couldn't, is the Musée d'Orsay, which is now featuring a Manet exhibit. This special exhibition started four days after we left Paris, and runs until July 3. If you are within an easy commute of Paris, I would suggest it would be great to see this exhibit featuring "Manet, the Man who Invented Modern Art"!
And...did you know the Musée d'Orsay is housed in the former railroad station Gare d'Orsay?

                                                                                                                                                          Photos by Richard Schear

Posted for ABC Wednesday,
hosted this week by my very busy blogging friend, and now our personal friend, Gattina, who has just returned home to Belgium after a week with another blogging friend in the South of France.
To see how others around the world have dealt with the letter "O"

Monday, April 25, 2011

My busy world in three countries

Above, left, Amsterdam. Above, right, my blogging friend Mara with me in Amsterdam. The three of us went out for lunch together at a place Mara had selected, then we boarded a train together: Mara to head for the area near Schiphol Airport where she was to visit her cousin; and us to head for Brussels.

Here we are aboard the train from Amsterdam in The Netherlands to Brussels in Belgium, where Dick and I had a dinner engagement with our new friends Debbie (another blogger) and Stijn (her fiancé). We met them and had a wonderful time, and Debbie sent me some pictures, which I dutifully saved, but now I can't remember where I saved them (blogger's block, happens to us all at least once).

The next day (good thing we have lots of 'Canada' T-shirts), we were met by another blogging friend, Gattina (with me, below, right),  who took us for an exciting ride around Brussels, including a fascinating stop at the famous Atomium, which was "originally built for Expo '58, the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. Designed by André Waterkeyn, it stands 102-metres (335 ft) tall. It has nine steel spheres connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times." (Wikipedia)

Gattina dropped us off at our hotel near Brussels' central train station, after a super visit.
We took a train from there to the Midi station, to board another train from there to the Paris Gare du Nord. Simply put, the Gare du Nord is The Train Station from Hell.
While attempting to buy a ticket to the Gare des Invalides, my very tired husband was conned by one scam artist who pretended to buy the tickets for him, then hit him up for 24 Euros ($35 USD) in exchange for the worthless tickets.
When we tried to go through the turnstile with them, and couldn't, someone else let us through and tried to charge us an exorbitant price for the privilege. "A sadder man, but wiser now", Dick refused.
We somehow managed to get ourselves onto the correct train, then off it at the right station, and out an exit tunnel, with all our luggage intact, with all our remaining money accounted for, and our pride only somewhat bruised.
Imagine, then, our delight when we emerged into the rainy night, saw the clouds start to clear away, saw the rain stop, and were faced with the River Seine, golden statues, the blue and gold dome of l'Hôtel National des Invalides, where Napoleon is buried, and imagine our shock when we were turned away by the only taxi we could find. The driver told us to walk.
We walked, and we walked, and we walked. Dick, following the driving (there were none for walking) instructions on his GPS, was getting discouraged. I was exhausted and in pain. My feet no longer enjoy walking.
As night began to fall, a lovely young woman from Texas, working in Paris and out for an evening stroll, spotted us with our luggage and asked if we needed help. We told her where we were staying, and she offered to walk with us, as she lived not far away from our hotel in the 7th Arrondissement. Using a map app (that rhymes, doesn't it?) on her cellular phone, she walked us there. She also took a look at the lobby of our tiny hotel, decided we would be safe (with the police across the street), and wished us well. I think her name was Melissa. I think she was wonderful. We couldn't thank her enough.

Posted for My World Tuesday
brought to us every week by Wren, Sandy, Sylvia, Louise, Klaus and Fishing Guy. Thanks, team!
To see other worlds around the planet, please click