'yak, 'yak, 'yak

Well, yesterday seemed the perfect day to finally get the 'yaks in the water.  Although the coolish wind blew steadily, being out on the water and finally getting to paddle the "green boat" felt really good.  I forgot that I didn't get to paddle last summer 'cuz I spent a good portion of it attending physical rehab sessions for a torn tendon in my left rotat[...]

The Mystery Plant

While visiting Rocamadour in the Tarn (SW France) in late May, I happened upon the wildflower in the picture that I cannot identify.  I hope someone can help me.  I thought maybe it was a bindweed, but the leaves are not the type for bindweed.  I thought maybe in the petunia or morning glory family, but again, the leaves are different.  I'm stumped.  I'v[...]

The Great Spangled Fritillary

Huh?  What, you ask, is a great spangled fritillary?  Well, it's a gorgeous butterfly--one of many spotted today while participating in the annual North American butterfly count at Independence Oaks Park.  What a perfect day for a walk in the park with a bunch of people cavorting through the tall grasses and wildflowers of the prairie brandishing butterfly n[...]

"Yardening" at Windemere Gardens

When we got home from our month-long sojourn in Europe, the view of Windemere Gardens lacked a lot.  Although the "yarden" hadn't become overpopulated with maple tree seedlings, many well-known (but nameless to me) weeds showed up to bid us welcome.  Several hostas looked well past their prime, and the area where the new electric meter was installed on the s[...]

Ozzie's visit to the vet

Yesterday, Oz visited the vet for his annual check up.  We walked to the office where he got his check up and a distemper shot.  All went well except the doctor told us he gained four lbs.  I don't believe that--maybe two, but certainly not four.  Anyway, we walked home.  On the way, Oz met Rufus and they had a nice run together down the street and in the [...]

Home again, home again, jiggity jig.

I could live in Paris--if I could afford it, that is.  At any rate, the visit rocked.  Our hotel on the Boulevard Port-Royal (a busy, noisy, tree-lined artery with an intersection that involved five busy streets), was well located and not touristy. We spent Saturday with Anne-Marie at her place in Massy.  I wish the visit could have been longer and that we [...]

The French Connection, Part 2 - Paris.

This place feels like home.  We haven't been here for about 11 years and it seems my feet know exactly where to go.  Not much has changed that I can see - oh, sure, new construction, etc., but the cafe society is pretty much still the same.  You can sit over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and the waiters don't try to kick you out.  Oh, yeah.  Prices have[...]

The French Connection - Part 1 - Tarn, France.

After another plane delay of about three hours, we finally arrived in Toulouse where Roger & Vee came to pick us up.  The plan was for us to take the bus from the airport and then the train to Carmaux where they would collect us.  So much for that plan! Roger and Vee are more than gracious hosts.  They gave us the grand tour of  several medieval towns: [...]

Views from Spain, part 4. Madrid

We spent three days in Madrid.  Got in on Saturday afternoon - the day of the European Union football (soccer) finals.  The hotel we were able to get for Saturday night looked like a dungeon and was on a street that left a lot to be desired.  Lots of working girls on the corner and some rather shady looking characters on the street corners.  Nevertheless, we[...]

Views from Spain, Part 3. The end of the road.

The last day on the via felt like the worst.  The morning started out pretty cool.  The walking was easy.  As the morning wore on into afternoon, walking became much more difficult.  Our blisters were getting more and more sore.  The temperatures were rising; the asphalt was getting hotter, and the uphill seemed steeper.  We trudged on.  We stopped for somet[...]