You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘beauty’ tag.


I’m gonna start wearing a mask during Girl Scout Cookie Season. It’s the only way; I can’t stop eating those things so a mask just might do it! Why not? Many wear masks during the pollen season and right now it’s raining cookies out there. Not just at supermarkets, Wal-greens, Wal-marts or on any corner where people walk, but those cookie sellers are in my dreams as well.

I can’t sleep unless I’ve money in my pocket, like at least enough dough to buy four boxes of girl scout cookies that might pop up in a dream or two.

The women and girls started this mess and they better not stop. I know, we have four seasons but really, Girl Scout Cookie Season (GSCS) is the most important one. Chocolate Valentine’s Day Season is huge and so is Marshmallow Bunny Hop Season during Easter. And who can over look Halloween’s Reign of Candy Season but Girl Scout Cookie Season!?!? Now that, THAT is the mother of them all.

I really don’t like those cookies, I just can’t stop eating them. It’s not the cookies’ fault, it’s my mouth’s fault. The good news is that I know there has got to be a limit on how many GSC’S one man can eat. The bad news?—I’m gonna hit that limit.

Worse, I can’t think when I hear Girl Scout Cookies chirping.

Oddly, and this is the truth, the scale doesn’t say I’m gaining weight eating these GSC’S because, well, I

 

haven’t been on one in a month.

See? It says I weigh zero.

. The answer to the question is not to ask. We all know that.

Plus, shh, why wake up the scale? Give the scale a rest. It’s quite a step up onto that scale, too; I don’t want strain anything.

Listen, I’m not obsessing over these cookies but I do wonder how they might taste fried, over easy for breakfast, or scrambled. Of course, the Girl Scout Cookie hash browns potential comes to mind.

Back to the cookies of, OH My Gosh!, do you see how many choices there are to buy!!! It used to be, back in my day,  the only  choice I saw was thin mints since my face remained buried in those boxes for two weeks. Now, I’ve matured. I look over the collection of great choices and pick, Thin Mints…Plus those coconuty chocolate thingys called, Samoas…See? I now eat twice as many kinds as I did as a kid.

I could’ve retired five years ago if it weren’t for these babies.

 

I do not, and never have, swear, multitasked and eaten two different kinds of Girl Scout Cookies at the same time, not that I remember. Sure, maybe one cookie got in my pie hole before I’d swallowed the first, but technically this isn’t eating two GSC’S at the exact same time. Even if one cookie is well wedge against the right cheek as another is smashed in to the left cheek, that’s not like eating them both at the same time. Clearly, the tongue creates a dividing safe zone for discriminating tastes.

This may be her third box…

Here’s to the cookies of our lives!  So easy to download, right?

In truth, I didn’t eat one cookie today—-you know how this ends right? Like, I’ve eaten five that I counted. Some don’t count, clearly, if I’m too rushed to chew but just mash the thing in order to swallow it, that’s like not a cookie; whole different deal there.

Cheers… dang, I’ve completely lost my mask.

franquecookie.

 

 

Advertisements

(Click on the Pic for larger views)

When a person gets old they have seen so much, some good, some bad.

Schools used to have art class and supplies for students to use.

Remember when throwing crab apples at steel garage doors and then running away with your friends was like-super wrong?

Or…..

Kids would tie your sneaker laces together before gym class to mess with your head.

Leaving chewed gum on someone’s seat when they weren’t looking?—big time evil.

“Failing to signal” was actually a ticket a driver could get. Really; not kidding.

Appliances could last twenty years. (the lack thereof now is a hidden part of inflation…)

Generally, children were to be seen but not heard around grown-ups.

The sexiest thing printed: deodorant or clothing ads.

Hop-scotch, curb ball, ollie, ollie in come free, flag tag, red light, green light and hide-n’-seek were the games of the day.

NO one had a computer, and few had heard of them.

The street was loaded with friends after a school day.

We had time together to think of neat stuff to try.

 

The phone had an operator.

If dad or mom asked you to do something, you did it.

Many communities had milk truck deliveries, beer deliveries, bread and ice deliveries too. Even kid’s rides like Whip or a small merry-go-round that sat on the back of trucks came by, usually just before one of three ice cream trucks rang their bells.

America was good; I do remember the day a Black family was to buy a house in our community and there was a ‘meeting’ between owners about how to stop them. So, really?

America was free but attitudes weren’t. My grandma used to say her home state, Iowa, would have excellent weather if it weren’t for all the other states around it making bad weather. She wasn’t kidding.

Russia was evil.

Everything in the dime store came from Japan and most of it seemed to break before you left the store.

Penny candy and candy cigarettes.

The President was a good, moral man and the policeman your best friend.

Mom’s didn’t work.(Outside the home…)

Push lawn mowers made very little noise.

A paid lunch hour, “Working 9 to 5 …What a way to make a living?” as the song went cut a tough deal for the working man.

Alcoholic Drinks at lunch time was not so unusual for the daily workers.

TV was free, all 7 or so channels.

The radio blasted the top 40 hits but TV couldn’t show Elvis move his legs when he sang.

Do you remember when The twilight zone wasn’t real?

It was rude to not open the car door for your mom or your date.

It used to be going on a date might include for a guy getting to, ‘First base, second base, third base or even home after a long-term relationship.’ Or you could lie about any of it. Now? I’m thinking a date is  thought by some to be the entire ball park with photo ops.

NO one, nooo one, played music in a car that shook the stomachs of others riding in different cars.

I never heard of a kid getting shot in school, though we ducked under our desks as drills to protect us from possible nuclear attack.

Pot was about the worst drug imaginable. It made people sex-crazies zombies. (I think this might have started the whole pot craze).

Can you remember when you heard your first curse word? For me, it was about 7th grade.

Ads told us smoking made you a Marlborough Man. (BTW–the actor died of lung cancer…); 

Blondes really do have more fun;

and this-

Chock-full-of-nuts is the heavenly coffee, even a millionaire’s money can’t buy*; dandruff is worse than death and BO could make people pass out.

French kissing was a complete mystery.

The Thinker is a famous statue

 

 

But now we need one like this to be made….

Well, I could go on…sigh. Them’s were the days-maybe. Thing is, multitasking now-a-days is almost a given, a duty. I’m more of an Alan Watts (author) The Way of Zen (one of his books) kinda guy. Do one thing well, just one at a time and relax. Though I don’t mind listening to the birds sing as I hand turn over the garden–that’s nice.

Cheers from another time-

Franque23

*This jingle said this and back then it pissed off a real millionaire so badly that he did , in fact, buy the company…!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(Click the pic for a larger view)

It can be fun to see what people have done with snow over the decades…

Ski-cars?

so let’s take a look…..

Like way before I was a tie wearing sixth grader in Meadow Drive—(I’m the 6th from the right in the back row)

Way before our house on Long Island, N.Y. was often buried by nor’easter’s during the winter. Here’s a pic. of our home in Roslyn Heights. My room was second floor on the left.

Long before I built this snowman to my father’s delight and Mom gave me the carrot for the nose…

Gal’s used to,’shovel sled,’ as it was called. I think these gals were having fun! 

Here’s three actual Olympic champions sharing the limelight….about 1928–all three were medal winners-1st thru 3rd in figure skating.

Boys will be boys; girls will be girls- this group decided to dance in the snow in what was called ‘ underwear’ back then. 1926…so this photo is extremely risque …..

Here’s New York City in the 1920’s. (I’m guessing the man ‘breaking his neck’ thought one of the ladies was a ‘looker.’)

Whoops, here’s our lake house at Lake Bonaparte, New York, just in the foot hills of the Adirondacks. Thinking this was taken about three years ago. It went down to -25 this year up at the lake. Our camp is in the background.

It can snow a bunch up there- people have landed planes on the ice of Lake Bonaparte and often drive cars over it during the deep winter months.

Speaking of driving….all sorts of methods were developed in the past to glide cars over the snow.

And, at one time, Santa lived in the Adirondacks…People could go meet his reindeer!

Some Europeans are very used to the snow. Here they bask in the daylight warmth at a restaurant!!! I don’t imagine I’d visit unless I’d been served on ice.  Or, as a customer, “Please, may I have five gallons of hot tea, like now….”

Okay, this is interesting…These two gals were sisters and a successful dance/comedy routine in the flapper era…they worked under the name, The Dolly’s….hmmmm,, Hello, Dolly anyone?

Through rain, sleet and snow–they really meant it and still do.

I’m thinking this boy’s love for this doggie has nothing to do with the keg on the dog’s neck.

Do policemen always get it in the end? Nah, they’re just all havin’ fun.

Why am I thinking this isn’t the best way to test the ice? Unless I’m the guy on the far left…

Here’s the deal, people like to do just about anything in the snow. Making snow angels, snow balls as big as a car, snow ball fights are huge, sledding, sliding, rolling on the snow and making snow forts as I did as a kid-it’s all fun! People ski naked, run and jump into snow naked and have a ball(no pun intended) naked* in the snow.

Snow is truly a winter wonderland but for driving. I’ve never heard anyone say, “I love to drive in the snow…” Nope, not once.

But still, snow fall can be magical. I could watch snow fall from my bedroom window as a kid in the street light located on the corner of our property on Long Island. Soft and whirling, silent but so real, the piles of snow upon the trees, yards, cars and street filled my eyes with delight. It all meant that tomorrow there would be no school, and in the morning I’d run out onto the unblemished lawns of blanketed snow to be the first to step across the pristine, smooth snow-fallen landscape. Those foot prints have remained in my heart forever though my red boots have long been cast aside.

There’s magic to life, and snow is part of the wonder.

Now, I’m more than forty years a Florida boy, but I’ve never forgotten snow. Never will.

Franque23

bye 

*you’ll have to google that yourself….

 

 


(Click the pic for a larger view.)

The Alachua County Library is a, “self-taxing,” library district. This means citizens in Alachua County pay a small amount of tax on a separate tax line each year that funds their library. It’s a simple self-funding plan that saves the State government from having to spend so much money to keep our local libraries open.

The downtown branch where I work is no small deal—during a recent year an average of three thousand people came to this single branch per day, and the building circulated over one million items .

The Alachua county library district has eleven libraries and two traveling book mobiles. Our planners and facilities department maintains a most effective way to keep costs of operation down throughout the district.

The use of solar power abounds in the district.

Recently, the largest down town branch put in place an AC that cools by using the cheapest electric night-time rates to cool ice that then AC’s the building during the day.

As much as this self-taxing district saves the state government and local citizens that use it, there’s trouble afoot in Tallahassee.

An agenda in Tallahassee right now is to make self-taxing library districts in Florida have citizens to vote every ten years on whether or not they want to maintain their library district. So what’s to worry about?!?!

Here’s the real deal on this—-an important point here is , BONDS! It seems maybe reasonable, maybe, to allow citizens to revisit their vote on having a self-taxing district where they live,  but why vote every ten years? The issue of a library expansion often involves raising a bond that will be paid out over MORE than ten years….so is a bond paid back over twenty years that’s given to an institution that may be dissolve by a citizen’s vote within that time frame secure?!?! No…..so the Ten Year time frame really would hamstring self-taxing districts from growing/expanding… 


The main point is our Florida Government as it is now seems to dislike self-taxing library districts? Why?  Some think it is because government can’t control these self-taxing districts by cutting or giving funding.  (More, why does it seem republican administrations show a lack of support for libraries in general? It comes to mind that Texas had the lowest state funding for  libraries when ex-president, Bush Jr., was governor!  Why?)

Any library is a beautiful thing.

People love libraries.

And the best news on this just broke!!! This agenda is OFF the table!

*UPDATE: THE PROPOSAL WAS WITHDRAWN FROM FURTHER CONSIDERATION!!*
Do you love our library? Help us stay in business!

Constitutional Revision Commission Proposal 69 will be discussed in Tallahassee today (1/25) to discuss the possible dissolution of special districts, including Alachua County Library District.

Contact the Finance & Taxation Commissioners below to tell them you support special taxing districts (which our library is funded by). Link with more info and a template letter at https://www.aclib.us/…/constitutional-revision-proposition-…

Fred Karlinsky (Chair)
Phone: (954) 951-3548
Email: Fred.Karlinsky@flcrc.gov
Tom Grady (Vice Chair)
Phone: (850) 270-1630
Email: Tom.Grady@flcrc.gov
Dr. Jose “Pepe” Armas
Email: Jose.Armas@flcrc.gov
Rep. Jeanette Nunez
Phone: (305) 227-7630
Email: Jeanette.Nunez@flcrc.gov
Sen. Darryl Rouson
Phone: (727) 822-6828
Email: Darryl.Rouson@flcrc.gov
Chris Smith
Email: Chris.Smith@flcrc.gov
Nicole Washington
Phone: (786) 309-6022
Email: Nicole.Washington@flcrc.gov

Power to the people; the people have won!!!!-for now.

Franque23

 

I recently did a bulletin board for thanksgiving that makes the point.

It’s time for us all to enjoy the bounty!


Jed’s still a child in my mind’s eye. We’re running across the bluff by Lake Bonaparte where our lake house stands today; his brother Johnny is still alive. Jed’s a skinny kid who knows more than me, taller,  wise with eyes clear enough to see through. We’re laughing for good reason—we don’t know any different.

The wild outside had nothing on our childhood dreams, hopes and expectations. The cool lake water tickled our toes and pleased our fancy. Our younger days passed so quickly, days never tethered but set free by a glistening lake so perennial and steadfast as the universe.

Jed, you’re forever my cousin.

Truth: the lake bunk house rocked with laughter. Sleeping bags kept us warm on cots as nights made of stars crept overhead. Jed had then and always a special knack that makes me belly laugh. I’d roll inside bent over after hearing his pensive hilarious words so dryly spoken without a wasted syllable. Recently, there was this moment:

“Oh, being a tax collector has it’s tough moments.”—I could see the painful far away look in Jed’s eyes— “Catching people cheating on taxes, fining them more than they can afford to pay and then working them through payment negotiations; it’s all tough. But that’s not the most fun I’ve had working-other things come up, too.” It’s belly laugh roll on the grass time for me.

We stood together, grown men on the bluff as the setting sun dazzled rolling lake waves. The wind seemed at our back; Beer Island, High Rocks, Birch Island and Round Island so distant punctuated every day we’d spent in the spot as children.

A few years later we visited the lake again…

“I’m not sure about going to the castle.” Jed puffed on his cigar as he looked my way.

“Why? It’s our family’s castle; we should go to Germany.”

“We’re so different now— I don’t know how that would work.”

“Ah, that’s all just politics; this is blood; it will be good.” (Jed told me eight years ago that he had a ‘special’ circular file where he put all my blogs*, especially the political ones…)

“Well,” puff on cigar again, “let me think about it.”

I thought Jed would come.

He belongs.

As it turned, Jed never did make the trip to Europe this past September. Opportunity, so often a doubled edged sword, has struck its blow. No, Jed was only there in spirit with me just as it is for every cousin of mine. To me, the bonds of family never break but boil in the blood and remain as resilient as images of  Lake Bonaparte appear in my head. Some cousins long dead 11 or 13 years ago, and even Johnny now 55 years gone, still linger in my heart.

Long ago, Grandma Franque smiled at our young, prancing feet at the lake in a way I can only appreciate some 60 years later. She saw what Jed and the rest of us had then; family. I feel that now.

Goodbye, Jed, my lakeside cousin.

It’s impossible to weigh a heavy heart-

Franque23

 

  • *.i.e. trash can

Yep– the loyal Republicans who have clamored for decades about States Rights verses a strong central Government of rampant legislation now approve the concealed weapon permit from one state to another no matter how any state’s populace has voted on the issue. Wow…

How’s about all the taxes ‘righties’ have clamored against for sooo long but now their guys in Congress are all ‘feel good’ about double taxation! Yes, that’s right…er it’s wrong, but whatever,…Thing is if you limit the deductions of ANY state paid states or local taxes than people’s earnings that paid those taxes will once again be taxed as income–a second time, get it? So Republicans now promote double taxation! Let’s all stand up and cheer…right? Or, should we all take a knee?

We all need to take a walk in my ancestor’s garden and talk things over….

Trump’s team of slurred meaning slips up to the idea that Trump’s Mar A Lago estate in Palm County is the so-called, “Southern White House.”  But that’s “Not true,” say every sense of reality. Trump owns this semi-palace and he has Doubled the fees paid by public users since his election!!! Gee–wait, what? Is Trump profiting from his Office?!??! Er, duh!

“Hello! Hello! Trump’s privately profiting off his office–that’s illegal…”

A zillion meme’s and posted notes have expressed despair at the over-all doings of this current administration-cutting the knees out from under the needy, undermining our healthcare system and stashing billions of tax cuts for the rich into his next run for office.  And then we have this administration increasing taxes on anyone not extremely wealthy via a misnomer-ed ‘tax cut’ that will really be a tax increase as years pass for anyone not in the top 1% of tax payers.

But I felt this reader, (okay-my wife) said a few things very well in this….

“It is a dilemma. I know that I generally do tend to think that people who don’t see things my way are wrong. But there is so much history to prove that the GOP solutions have never worked, and have been destructive, and have led to the economic disparity and shrinking of the middle class, I find it so hard to respect people who don’t look at the history,or science, or have some agenda that I find offensive. Especially where bigotry and exclusion come into play. I prefer the motto “Humanity matters”. It is hard to disagree and still maintain some semblance of a relationship. But that leads to further polarization. Arguing doesn’t work, because minds are fixed. There is a belief that Trump will turn the economy around for everyone by bringing business back.If so, I hate the cost, and have a secret hope that businesses have learned the lessons of lawsuits when their lack of regulation led to illness and death. Everyone should re-visit Erin Brockovich. Things were not working for too many, especially in the rust belt, and there is a division between the needs of urban and rural voters. Maybe the world will move ahead in energy and conservation of resources without the GOP and US government. But I sure hate that about 30% of my income goes to taxes that ultimately do not provide me with a better quality of life, but a worse one,”

My way-smart wife….

Well, like it or not, the entire American work force is about to be , “Trickled down” upon…get towels.

The environmental blood bath featured by this administration is a wretched thing to behold. Somewhere, somehow, this group of right-winged Christians in Washington have forgotten it’s our charge to care and nurture this God-given Earth…

Ireland’s earth

It’s been a great ninth year for this glob post; readers from sixty-four countries read this glob last year, a bit down from sixty-seven countries the previous year and I have to wonder: did a few countries get blown up or something? Hope not, but our ex-security head gives us a 3 in 10 chance of having a nuclear blow-out with North Korea. Who likes those odds? Not me.

Those are the odds?

I like Peace; love. How about you?

We are too perfectly normal.

Much more to come this year. I’ve an entire side of my family you don’t know much about and it’s a wonderful, American story. Plus, I’ve loads of pictures from 2017 yet to post on gardening fun and family cheer!  See you soon….

We can do this thing. We can get our country together again, strong, back on track and be World Leaders once again.

Cheers for 2018.

 

Franque23

 

 


There’s an ol’ saying: “It only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch!”

Sad, but true, a rotten stench lingers longer than the fresh scent of a rose. And the heated passion often present when anyone speaks about an ill-doing, a crime or some offense of any kind, slips through conversations easier than ‘That-a-boys’ do. Like it or not, it’s human nature to slow down to scan over a scene of an accident no matter how gross the view.

Stories about bad cops splash across newspaper headlines but what about the ‘good’ cops? Sometimes we hear or read about things a good cop does but no where near as often as we learn about the cops who went ‘south.’ (BTW—why is something said to have gone ,’South,’ when it’s gone bad? Why not gone, North?’ It’s freakin’ cold up north and nice down south…anyway)

Here’s a true story from my family about a great cop who help us all this very holiday season-this is a Christmas miracle story.

Set up: My daughter and family had gone to a large Florida water attraction for the day. Rings were left in the car so they wouldn’t be lost in the tumbling, sliding water. Unfortunately, the car was broken into that day and my daughter’s rings were stolen. Worse, two of these were family heir-loom diamond rings—not replaceable.

They filed a police report.

My daughter cried (after screaming to the moon…)

My wife cried when she heard the news.

All of us prayed for the rings to be found but what were the chances? Zip, zilch, not gonna happen, sorta like Alabama going blue, way in left forget-about-it field, a stiff upper lip deal and talk about how things don’t matter….that’s how it was.

Then, THEN, I get this note from my daughter tonight

Enjoy the weaving’s of a miracle for Christmas! ……

NOTE:

You guys! I shared with you the bad news, so now I have to tell you the good news — THEY FOUND THE RINGS! Feeling so blessed. We fasted, prayed and hoped. The officer told me that so many little things came together that made it possible to find them, and had just one of those things not happened, he would have never found the rings. I really feel like this is an answer to prayers. So thank you to all of you who prayed with us! I know my Gram is smiling down on us as we get a little piece of her back to our family. ❤

I (My daughter) called last night to speak to the officer on the case about the rings. I need to get a new ID and was told I need a copy of the police report to get it. As such, I called and reminded the officer of my case: the day they were stolen, how many rings, what type etc. He said later after we spoke, he was put on a burglary. They got the guy’s prints and were able to identify the criminal. He looked up the history on the guy and saw that he had pawned items on the same day I just mentioned to him my jewelry had been stolen. So, on a hunch, the officer went down to the listed pawn shop and asked specifically about items pawned that day and described the type of rings he was looking for. There are dozens of pawn shops in Orlando, and the officer said had he not known the right shop to go to and had the information on hand, he would have never recovered them. So it was me calling the day I did, him being the officer put on another case involving the same guy who stole my rings (dozens of officers could have been assigned that case and wouldn’t have put two and two together.) and him seeing the guy had pawned something on the same day as I just spoke with him earlier. He’s got a plethora of cases and mine wouldn’t always be in the forefront of his mind. So I am counting it a miracle and am so happy and thankful…”

This cop more than did his job; he cared. Everyday, in every way, we have Cops like this guy who work hard and go out of their way to help all of us. Everyday.  The next time you read about a cop gone, ‘south,’ remember this story and think about how many other police people are out on our streets in America doing the best they can for all of us! Everyday; every-way.

Good Cop case in point: My fishing buddy’s son, James Hager, was recently  working marine patrol in the Florida Keys  when, as his shift ended, he heard his radio flash that a boat may have capsized in the gulf…. He re-tooled his boat, put her in and headed out. He searched, looking, and saw a dot, one that got larger as he approached. Finally, he saw this. James made the national news; he saved these boys.

This is James looking back as the boys get on board…

Not many of us know we are risking our lives when we go to work-cops do.

Marta Danylyk, second from right, arrives for the funeral mass for her fiancée, Euless, Texas, Police Officer David Hofer, Monday, March 7, 2016, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Hofer was killed Tuesday, March 1 while responding to reports of shots fired in a park. Hofer was a 2008 graduate of New York University who served in the NYPD for five years before joining the Euless Police Department in 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

This is more than a Christmas miracle for my family. It is a wake up call; a certain reminder that the men in blue are working to help us have a better life.

Thanks to Good cops everywhere. Merry Christmas.

Franque23


(Click the pic for a larger view.)

To begin with, as an America, once you’ve been to Europe it’s easy to want to go back. There’s a breeze blowing in the minds of Europeans that escapes most Americans.

Almost all visits to Europe will start off, go through or lead to Paris. There’s the Louvre, the ever present Eiffel Tower, the Seine, the food, the wine, women’s underwear-art nouveau, Notre Dame and more.

The light of Paris is The Tower, the fancy pants the Louvre and Notre Dame the ‘rock’.

Notre Dame: a world of History to browse.

 

We entered Notre Dame just when a singing mass began…that gal’s voice was shipped from heaven.*

My thoughts drifted back to this historical shrine many times during our visit to Paris while my eyes fell upon the Eiffel Tower as often. This massive structure is taller than you think.

Here’s a shot of construction.

 

(May, 1888.)

The Tower looms over the city’s skyline and by night it beams lights for five minutes upon the hour to demonstrate Parisian’s will to survive any test.

Thanks to my wife for catching this unforgettable moment.

Napoleon’s Tomb was a shocker; a golden dome repeats the sun outside and inside floors of intricately cut marble boggle the mind. Napoleon’s tomb is no less astonishing to see and informative as well.**

These columns, everything, is different colored marble or gold gilt.

 

The marble floors are seamlessly joined as if they were interwoven threads of a Peruvian rug.  

And the inside ceiling dome is no less enthralling.

Paris is art to the heart. A never-ending display of what might be done if only mankind would.

Who wouldn’t want to live in a doll house? Streets are lined with bigly baskets of floral arrangements as though a wedding was taking place on each one.

If your hustle causes you to miss a statue you’re sure to catch the ones on the next corner. And about those fountains…there are one million of them, all enhanced, again by more statues.

The Eiffel Tower looms over your wanderings as they take you to the Louvre.  (Hot tip: First-go to Paris in September; second-go to the Louvre when it’s closed so your completely bummed like us…then, be nearby on the next night when it’s open and go! No one is there to speak of, and you can walk right up to the Lady.) The Mona Lisa is more than you will expect. I promise.

 The entrance to the Louvre is a grand, striking glass pyramid that provides the correct ambiance and protection its holdings deserve.

We meandered around and past ancient Roman and Greek statues, even those that predate the periods,  ones we could walk up to as though a conversation might ensue. Soon, we came to a wide stairway blessed by The  Winged Victory of Samothrace masterpiece.

The absence of people contrasted the magnitude of people who flock to this same spot everyday of the summer. I don’t know how a marble statue can appear to have flight, but this one does. I longed to see the missing head and arms–sigh.

Steps by works I can’t describe with any astute justice frame the route to the room where the Mona Lisa waits. Truly, I’d expected the work to be small, and that only an inquisitive adherence of my attention would bang against this canvass. Oh, how wrong…

We entered a room almost void of tourists and took our place centered before the Mona Lisa only three rows deep. I’d cleared to the front of the line within minutes and stood but fifteen feet from the herald painting. I stared at this painting and within one minute it felt as though I was communicating with the portrait. The brow was different from so many others I’d seen in paintings just prior in our walk-a-bout, a bit shaded upon the upper right from my view, a touch that gave a cerebral hue to the work. The background to each side held a stream to the left and a montage of floating sky and movement to the right. The smile, as so well drummed, had an inescapable ambivalence that lay open to so many interpretations.

It seemed I could talk with the Mona Lisa.

It caught me that my lips were moving with my silent thoughts and in a glance I saw the guard, a women in her younger years who sat by the painting, was watching me with some concern, or was it interest. I retreated back though those who waited to be first in the line but then stopped. I eagerly returned to the crowd and ventured off to the left side of the painting, the guard aware of my every foot step. I once again stood in front of the line but far off to the left of the painting. Mona Lisa’s eyes were staring at me  with the exact intensity I’d experienced while standing in front of the portrait!

Mona Lisa’s eyes remained on me from all viewing angles and this sighting etched my head forever.

I ventured into a street shop selling wine: “I’ve no idea about wine, but I want a red that isn’t’ too expensive, and I’m only here for three nights.” The shop owner showed me a 5 dollar bottle of wine that turned out to be excellent, even by my world-traveled sister’s standards. So get a hunk of cheese, crackers, wine and grapes for breakfast while there-it’s great fun.

We stayed in an Airbnb centrally located within the city. The back featured a two level outside porch surrounded by plantings and fresh air, the perfect place for us to enjoy along with my sister, my wife’s cousin, Anne Claude, her husband Noah, and my brother-in-law and his wife.

Ahhh, Parie…..La Ville des lumieres…

Go to Paris; chomp on a baguette. See the Mona Lisa and, if you’re like me, Life may never exactly seem the same after you do. How odd, the force of art and love!

Franque23

*Thanks to my wife for most of the pictures.

** I’d no idea how important Napoleon had been to the development of almost every aspect of  the Paris we now know. The street lay outs, the government, the law, and so much more is attributed to the work of this man done over a span of a few short years. So, the magnificent tomb makes perfect sense.


(Of course, click on the pic for a larger view.)

I’d be cutting zzz’s right now instead of writing this glob if hair-head Shadow paws hadn’t decided my two-hour nap as planned was too long. But no, one hour pushed hocker I’ve-been-eating-grass face over the edge and illegally onto my bed. This found me clutching three pillows to my face as four paws  clomped all over my body. This criminal activity happens every morning and once my eyes open I see this:

Ol’ tail-cut-like-a-knife butt-head doing the two socks are stuffed in my face shuffle.

Morning, afternoon, evening, heck anytime at all finds Shadow with one sock in his face( only my socks are allowed-he knows.) He holds it there to protect us from his happy snapping jaws. But two socks in those jaws means we’re about to have extra fun throwing the ball or, as in the case of the picture above, that he’s been secretly foraging for treats in the laundry room….

This is Shadow under his mother—he’s that little black smidgen of a puppy on the right. Surprise! He’s eating!!(Shadow as pup, some weeks after this shot, was found inside the dog food bag.)

Shadow’s an all around I’m-here-for-you-pet-me great dog; he knows all the rules by heart and only breaks them as necessary: “there’s a squirrel on the feeder so I gotta bark and stretch way up high on the window,” is one of Shadow’s favorite moments of freedom from the rules.

Shadow is watching his “TV”…and for a ‘hint’ of a squirrel.

Of course, there’s more. That neighbor in our doorway has no idea how many times we’ve said, “No jumping…” because Shadow is not technically jumping with his paws on the new victim, but only springing up three feet high in every direction as if he were on a Pogo stick.

“I wasn’t really jumping.”

“Consider that I can fly before passing judgement.”

“Really.”

It’s amazing that Shadow never begs, not technically. He has unearthly powers of knowing when we have finished eating and it’s time to come over to us; that’s nice. No, Shadow does remain away from us while we eat but for one glitch in his near perfect manners. We about need to mop the floor after we eat anything Shadow loves-“I’ll stay in place with my jaws droolin’ like a turned on faucet as you eat; no problem.”

“Promise.”

Dogs live in a contagious zone of happiness unless they are abused, sick or hurt. To be clear, dog abusers-whether they can play football of not- should be hung-up to dry for several weeks while random passer’s by get to whop the criminals with sticks. The only question is how long?

  “About twelve years.”

When you get down to it, dogs know right from wrong better than most people.

Toby toes knew not to open a present until he got the green light.

Sometimes dogs just can’t help themselves when it comes to smelly garbage cans, open refrigerators, a left cookie, a neat stuffed pillow to rip apart or other tantalizing components to life. Dogs will even try to steer their companion dog away from trouble, but often to no avail.

 

 

Right from the get-go they know right from wrong.

“Well, that might have been a bad idea…..”

“Okay, it was a bad idea….”

But who can say…

 

If shadow does make a mistake, chasing a squirrel that looks like our mailman’s truck,  he might try to ‘offset’ his slippin’ paws with humor…

and see if he can’t dig himself out…

Relentless Digging….puppy’s new American Native name.

In the end, it’s all about a dog’s tail.

You’re about to feed me, right?

The tail wagging give-away speaks volumes to those who care to listen. Seize  the day! It’s time to play! Thank goodness you’re up; it’s time to pee! How can you sit there on a day like this? These are the question that face dog owners everyday, question too hard to brush aside. If you try to ignore a dog’s truth then the ears get involved, the cocked head turns as an exclamation point and the, “I’ll sit and shake,” comes into play.

Dog is God spelled backward but in essence they are both about goodness. Go snuggle that here’s-my-tummy-to-rub  doggie face of yours…These are the great times.

A dog is Man’s best friend, and maybe teacher, too.

Franque23.

 

See ya…

 

 


London is where bustle got put into hustle.

Let’s start with the Crown Jewels( so easy to fancy) but, then again, don’t let the elevator doors hit you on the way to see them. Yes, it’s hard to imagine those jewels on anyone’s head but my own!( I claimed to be , Gerald the Great, as a kid, like two years ago.)

This is worth a few pounds that are  upgraded by 20% more in American dollars.

The crowns at Buckingham dazzle the eye. You pass a row of crowns thirty feet long as you stand on a conveyor belt. I went back three times.

Is it a perfect fit?

Trust me,,, you can’t imagine the size of this diamond and more. It is a minted life for sure.

The barney ace diamonds set between emeralds and ruby’s, crown after crown, but about those elevator doors.

No automatic door is going to retreat if you’re too slow shufflin’ in for the ride in London. There’s no safety bumper mechanics working in England; it’s either get in the elevator, stay out or get chopped in half by the closing door. Really, I saw my brother-in-law(a six-foot four guy) get body slammed by a closing elevator door so from then on it was run for your lives into the booth.  Tell ya, if you survive the weird wrong way traffic while crossing the streets as a pedestrian then the elevators are waiting to pounce.

About those elevator booths, they have phone booths too!

But this post isn’t only about London jewels, the everyday rain, the brown tones of London or the old tradition that stands so firm it has a grip on every angle of the city.

On the bright side of the rain, the daily washing brought rainbows.

No, I’m not even gonna blather on about staying in Chelsea,  a quaint part of London offering everything you could want via location, low, cute building structures, convenient nearby shopping in local markets, wine, cheese, bakeries and more. And why mention the Airbnb we stayed in with the naked woman crucified upon a cross that hung over the master bedroom, or the  avant-garde plaster naked torso of a woman hanging by the only flight(s) of stairs or the Queen’s hologram portrait with eyes that followed you as you passed by. It would be stupid, the eclectic array of art in this walk up flat worked in an imaginative why to keep your mind wandering as you ate breakfast to start the new day or sipped wine at  night to end it.

 

RANDOM PHOTO alert

Here’s John and Robert Kennedy flippin’ thru law books with Marilyn Monroe. What else did they end up having in common?!?!?

This whole mess with Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedy’s may be a load of cobbler-not sure anyone knows and I suspect it will be a donkey’s ear before anyone does..

London is a peddle to the metal. Unless, of course, you’re buried at Westminster Abbey. Then things slow down.

West Minister Abby is waiting to amaze you.

I’ve got to say, the cast of humanity buried in Westminster Abbey is a ton to take in: you could spend more than a life time researching the history of those buried in West Minister Abby, some in magnificent tombs while others are beneath your feet as you walk.

The most splendid experience is to the see the ceiling, Mary, Queen of Scots, beholds from her resting place. You can’t imagine the beauty of this architecture.  The burial room for Mary seems to scream, Queen Elizabeth 1, how could you? (She was  imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth 1 for twenty odd years before being decapitated for plotting against the queens life.)*

Mary, Queen of Scots has a beautiful view.

The ceiling speaks volumes about her rank with the society. Take a closer look:

Even closer…..

But this sordid part of history isn’t the first or last we’d come upon during our London visit. Who  could forget the Shakespearean-type guide telling us how Anne Boleyn had her head cut off at the Tower of London-that was all the rage back then- and how she  kept praying with her lips moving as her executioner held her head in the air for all those gathered to see. There was no TV back then so public executions got excellent ratings, still it wouldn’t be my cuppa tea.

In the end, London has its place. Kensington Palace is a bit dark even with the special celebration of Princess Diana taking place while we visited; Buckingham palace was certainly more,’Royal’. Big Ben was silent for our visit but the under current of London’s history still rings a bell even without its chime.

You can’t help but notice you’re standing in London, England, the very seat of power that once ruled so much of the world-America, too. The pavement here feels like accomplishment under the soles of you feet. And even today, the city seems to hum, We Have to Hurry.

One more thing, I’m from just outside the Big Apple, New York- I had the subway down pat when I was in high school. I knew the rush of New York City streets like the back of my hand and I’m telling you: Londoner’s will make the train. On guard; on time.

Here’s to knees up then in London. Cheerio.

Franque23

 

*Not to throw a spanner in the works,, but Mary’s first husband died a few days after her marriage, the next was found either strangled or buried-not sure- after several years of unhappy marriage…Then Queen Elizabeth thought Mary, Queen of Scots, might be plotting against her?-go figure Mate.

 

 

 

 

Top Clicks

  • None

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

February 2018
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728  

Categories

Advertisements