Monday, March 31, 2008

Ends and beginings

There are lots of ends and begining in our lifes.

Right now, the month of flower theme in the Afterclass ends and tomorrow we'll begin to learn about birds.

This one was taken at the begining of march.

Yesterday I took my lasts flower pictures for the class in the small recess from rain in my garden.

I would not have seen it like this if I could not take an image from very near, the camera sees more than me.
Rain just stopped-15d
The rain soaked flowers had also more vivid colors as usual.
Rain just stopped-23d
I have lot less experience with birds, but I did take some swimming on Seine nearby last month and some pigeons in Paris.
Au bord de la Seine originales (85)Au bord de la Seine originales (79)
I am looking forward to learn more from Richard (Dicktay2000) who will conduct the class from Australie.

Internet is great and offer us so many possibilities off collaboration!

Sunday, March 30, 2008


What a wonderfull idea!

I was so happy to begin it, as soon as I heard it existed in London. Then, I went to the page and read: it exists also in Paris!


I was ready to begin. What books "release" first? I have hundreds waiting for another reader!

I decided on some good suspense from Tom Clancy that I could barely put down when I read them, yet do not feel like keeping. First, I have to say, the ergonomy of Bookcrossing site is pain, difficult to understand how to use it.

After I figured out, how to register a book to have the Number I have to put inside the cover, it took me an hour to register merely ten titles! Then, separately, I had to find the way to tell where I'll release them.


I'll not let them lie on a bench: it rains too much in Paris, too. Nor behind a statue, or any strange place I found others did use. Finally, I found! There was, the site said, a single café in Paris where there is a special shelf you can put the books or find others.
Around St. Eustache Paris 1e (40) Rue Saint Denis, in center of Paris. Yes, 1e arrondissement, OK, but rue Saint Denis reputed - what is called in english? red light street? - does not matter, it was the only one place. I go.

With luck, not much circulation Saturday morning, I arrived in half an hour to le Halles and found easy a paying parking place St. Eustache. Luck was not with me, all along: I arrived around number 79, the café was at the beginning of the street, the other end.

Did not cross many people, so early, it was 10 or around, only a group of nice bikers waiving their hands as seeing me taking pictures.
Around St. Eustache Paris 1e (3) . Around St. Eustache Paris 1e (13)
The only girls were the mannequins welcoming in people to a shop.

The bag begun to be heavier as I arrived to the café. Its name was supposed to be Petit Chatelet, but what is written on it is petit Chat and in very tiny letters the rest. The meaning of that, in French is something else, more in concordance with the street's bad fame. It is not a very inviting name and the tiny café did not seem very inviting either.

It was closed!

I lingered more, went nearer, no one inside!

What to do with my books?
Around St. Eustache Paris 1e (20) Tulips in the sun
All cafés nearby were closed, I had to go farther to find one open, and even there just to prepare it for later. And no, I cant leave the books there, the boy cleaning told me.

I had to go back, with my books growing more heavy every step.

Did not really matter, as a bit farther I found tulips, a merry-go-round, and nearer St. Eustache church tourists enjoying them selfs.

I asked one of them, after he had photographed his two kids on the face, look at it, one of the new art's I love, to take an image of me too.
In the ear... jk eustace detail v
As for now, after having lost 30 pounds in the lasts month, I could squeeze myself between the face and the hand of the statue.
Around St. Eustache Paris 1e (46) Around St. Eustache Paris 1e (10)
I paid 6 euros to the parking lot, then came home: it was almost noon. The ten books were still in my car, and I did not move them. Still hoping. There is a French song: if you are not successful the first time, try it a second time, if you do not succeed then, third time and so on.

For the moment, I was very disappointed and even more as I thought: if it is so difficult to go from a wonderful idea to its realization, then what would arrive about the idea of going to live in London that seemed also so wonderful for me?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

In the eyes of the beholder

Reading about the newspapers in London having published old bare pictures of the first Lady of France, I was revolted they did use the occasion of her visit to the Queen of United Kingdom to do so, but even more about the public perception.

Is a naked women indecent? Is a nude photo shocking?

Only if you try to make it look so, only if it is pornographic, which, most of the time it is not. A nude can be artistic. It is also a wonderful souvenir of old times.

I found the other day two nudes of me, one made by my husband at 27 just after my marriage, the second taken under the shower at twice that age, before we tied the knot with the other one. In the bathroom both, as I did not want it taken other then the "natural environment" for undressing.

What a wonderful memory it does make now, at 74!

And no, there is nothing "indecent" about them, even if I am not ready to publish them in my blogs or photo site and open them to unscrupulous use! But here they are two taken by my husbands, one at 27 the other at 54 years old - or should I say young?
Julie, by her husband 1960Voyage Avant Noces 55 ans
Yes, I do believe the interpretation is in the eye of the beholder, even more so the one showing it and writing about it. They are the indecent, not the one about whom the image was taken or the one who took it or the image itself.

Yesterday it rained all day in Paris, but by the evening the sun came out and illuminated wonderfully the water drops in my garden. I could not resist to take some pictures of the beauty seen!
Sun after rain (1)d1

Sun after rain (10)v
Souvenirs to cherish.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Yesterday, full day

Not only I took photos of the cherry buds and flowers in our yard (the tree is common to four between us) but went to a Weigh Watcher's meeting, helped Enrico de Rosa include the video I took at Portuguese folk festival in his blog, had a teeth plumbed before it begin to heart, then finished dining with my grand children and looking at Carla Sarkozy's visit to London.

I do not have TV home, by decision.

Very seldom I am interested to see what happens, and nowadays more and more one can look at important events videos on the Net.

Caressing my 7 year old grand-son and hearing "I am no more caressed each day", feeling him happy near me, was wonderful.

I also enjoyed a lot looking at the first lady of France, Carla Bruni Sarkozy and her graceful outfit and reverence to the queen. I heard one compared her to Jacky Kennedy. I thought more Grace Kelly, Grace of Monacco whose past was also taken out at the beginning.

But most of all, Carla made me remember Audrey Hepburn, that graceful actor I loved so much.

Yes, my day was full as it should be each day I still have left.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Paris with Chris, from London

Chris showed me Fulham, and I went with him first to the strange house at Avenue George V, then to Butte Montmartre.

It was time to visit the house Avenue George V, because the restoration was almost finished and its interesting décor almost demolished. Some still was there for us too see.

We took the bus and then we went up the Butte Montmartre(hill): he has spend his honeymoon there 20 years ago and I have lived there for more then 20 years. Each of us found there something different.

I found people, took portraits, and he found signs.
Butte Montmartre with Chris (15)Butte Montmartre with Chris (28)
- I understand why you liked it so much here, told me. Quiet and at the same time full of life just a little farther.
- Yes, I loved living here!
When the morning was almost finished, going to lunch, we passed an old books store.

- I avoid even to look at them, told me Chris, if not, I came out with a bunch of books. I have already no place with the one I have.
- Oh, I do understand so well, me either. I do not know what to do with them!
- We swatch them in London, give away. Can find others the same way. On Internet. But there are also places, cafés, where they accepted to have a shelf specially for it.
- Yes?
- You can just deposit your book there. You may also come and pick up and take home whichever you want from them.

Hearing that, you know what? I decided to go to London!

And not like our president just now for a short visit, but try to live there. Bringing my books, giving them away. Taking others. And who knows, meeting people loving to read as much as me, too.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hyacinth from Anaya's yard (then mine)

Thanks, Anaya, for the permission to blog this artfull image. All is done by her: she grows the flowers in her garden, then arrange them and shots - this is not all! After it, she works in Photoshop until it gives the result she desired.

I learn so much looking at other's pictures, hearing other's tales too. Imagining the care for the flowers, the art of arrangement. This was put in the windowshield and underexposed.

The tiny flowers I have also in my garden, but there they grow wild, I do not take care of them. Neverless, I took last week two shots of one of them. One to show how tiny they are, with the grass huge in comparaison, the other very near.
julie's garden (1)julie's garden (2)d
I do believe they are the same flowers. I just never thought of arranging them together and of course, do not have the artistic feeling to do so either.

Each of us has other talents. Mine is more of people portraits.

I am joyfull: today I meet Chris who showed me Fullham, perhaps I can show him partes of Paris he did not see yet.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nice suprise

I know, that tomorrow I will stroll in Paris with Chris met in London not so ago who took me with him to discover the Fulham par of London.

I did not know until the last hour that one of my readers will come and visit me. She was an avid reader of all of my blogs, knows "all" about my life from my journal Retroblog, and all of my everyday life of last months.

Meeting her, speaking with her, learning from her was a very interesting experience!

Also a new look at what I do and why I do it.

Not only I came out of it with the impression that my time is not spend for nothing as she explained to me that my example gave her courage more then once, and she waits every day to see what is new and hopes I'll not stop bloging when I go on a travel like in London... but also I got a better understanding of the readers who never comment.

Your blog was the first I dared comment, she told me, and that was after having read me for month!

She works in a school and does not want her face published, so I have taken a picture of her without face, it's still a speaking one I think. Almost 50 years old, she looks at least 15 less.

Very courageous, and living far from Paris, she takes the train early each day to avoid rush hour, then walks from gare Saint Lazar to near gare Montparnasse: more then an hour: "for exercice".

I decided to try it ONCE and also to visit different stations in Paris and try to discover the life around them. A new goal for my Paris's visits.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Portugais folklore dances

Yesterday, we had in our city, where lots of people original from Portugal live, a beautiful folklore festival.

All afternoon! Beginning with accordion music, then four different cities troupes comes to dance, one after other, and finished with two comic singers who had a huge success.

I have never seen the festival hall so bounded!

It is very difficult to take images with bad illumination, so most of them are more impressions then photography. So I took them to my digital dark room and transformed them.
detail pair v f aquarelle
Also made a vidéo of the music and dances, a bit more clear those, you can find it Here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

At festival and expo, yesterday

ATMF stands for Association Travailleurs Magrebins en France, meaning workers from Morocco, Tunis, Alger in France.

They have a very nice and active women's association who invited me to show at their Women's day festivity the pictures I have taken last year's beginning, while in Morocco, of the women using traditional methods to make oil and cosmetic products from the seeds of Argon tree.

I found another photographer to take this of me.

Beside my images there were three beautiful Arabian writings, it seems they wrote ATMF and Women... anyway they look pretty.

There was as last time, someone whose mother in law (last time she was there) know how to make it and still does it, even in France, and they added to my photos, on the table, seeds, oil and beauty products too to explain better the method.
Les jeunes dehors (46)
There was a spectacle, at the beginning speaking of mothers who run away from their country as not to let their daughters cut, as there is usage in some parts, and also a beautifully dressed woman like a princess barbarian and another in traditional wedding clothing.
Petit et grande (15)Mariée berbere (42)
Children also happy to be in costumes, of course, usually here they are in blue jeans instead.

Everyone let me, this time, to be photographed. Last time I went and showed my photos, some did not want to. More and more photography enters in usage. Small and grown-ups stood or sit for me, also to show what they prepared for the festivity, that was also on the table.
Je l'ai fait (8)Expose  (9)
I was not the only non Arabian guest, a university professor having lived long years in Morocco and teaching about Women, came too. She is doing a study now together with the women from this Association.
Guest Teacher (20)
I was only sorry, my friend Gelzy, having written wonderful songs about women could not come, neither the association from Paris I have seen last year.

I did not wait for the meal, not wanting to taste cakes, but I could have at least drink thee - I was too exhausted yesterday. So many happened in such a short time!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Eurostar enters Gare de Nord

While I am waiting for my son's train to arrive from London, those from the last train to Paris are still wait in line for the taxis that arrive one after the other: but there is only one line, so it takes long.
Arrival Gare de Nord (1)
That is one of the reasons my son prefers I come to take him with my car. And yes, at 74 almost, I do drive well, even if I am not very queen to drive at night.
Arrival Gare de Nord (5)
As I arrived early, as usual, I have the time to buy some journals. Today, most big towns here change the Maire. In my town too. But that will be in tomorrows papers, or on the Web.
Arrival Gare de Nord (4)
Eurostar arrives: three minutes before the time! So it comes in slowly...
Arrival Gare de Nord
I have time to take a last picture of the advertisement. It sais:
Forget Watterloo, now the TGV Paris London arrives to Pankras!
"More central and faster tool!".

True, but it took long to finish the new line from the Channel to London and let the train go so fast in UK as in France! Only 2:15 now, from center to center!

We are so near to each other even as yet far away in some other ways.

As there is a direct metro from King's Cross Pankras to the Airport in London (and the Earl's Curt hotels) I'll try next time to fly - I have the impression that it is even cheaper, now with the low cost planes!

My son has his contract for three years now, he tells me his last impressions. It is always a big pleasure to discuss with him! We arrive soon home, his home, then I drive on to my place, not far away.

What will the future bring?

A week in London as video

London discovery week trip as video

Friday, March 21, 2008

Apple slices and yogurt

Apple slices and yogurt-3I begun to go to the Weight Watchers in September, every week once, as my legs were to tired to support my 95 kilos!

Now, at around 82, I can walk better, but it is still too much.

It was more easy to loose the first ten kilos (about 20 pounds) then it is now to continue, even if I learned to eat better. Not less but more equilibrated and, ok, with less fatty (butter) and less sugar (cakes).

That was my snack yesterday: if you slice the apple thin not only it looks more appetizing, MORE also but it's also, for my age and teeth easier to eat. I also discovered a new Sveltesse yaourt from Danone, with vanillia taste and 0% sugar, 0% fats added - so they tell on it at least. Yummi! It is excellent and sweet too. How, I do not want to know.

I hope, it is true and it does not "weight" more then the 1 point usual in my 21 points a day Weight Watcher allowance.

It is easy, it would be, if from time to time I did not revert to old habits: when tired or when upset to through myself on some food.

Fortunately, I do not have home other then "healthy" foods, no chocolates, no cookies, etc. but even bread sometimes I still eat too much! When will I be thin as I was as young girl?

Probably never.

Still, I hope to loose some more kilograms soooon!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Butte Montmartre: emotions

I spoke about my afterclass group on Flickr, every month we learn about some other photographic techic. You are welcome to participate!

We are now about 2000 but each month some others contribute more, depending on the theme. Now it is about flowers, next month is will be birds.

Ouside the door, my flowers (18)In May about emotions and how they can be expressed in photography. In June, about differences in cultures & countries.

This month is the 22nd class!

One can read all the old classes and discussions, but we do contribute only to the new classes - at least until the end of each month. Then each of us can add pictures to the old classes... AFTER CLASS, that is from where the name comes.

I was frustrated in the Masterclass, that after a theme finished, I could not show later what I learned from it.

Here are birds Before the class, I am sure by the end of next month I'll do a lot better.
London sunday (120)d
Afterclass is my main "job" that I have taken on voluntarly of course, after another similar class called Masterclass closed and I felt the need for it.

In 22 month we had different themes and at the same time I learned a lot from each, by actively participating also to them.

Come and have a look.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Last week: tuesday with Chris in Fulham

Here are all the photos I have taken, from Earl's Curt station to Thames, toward Fulham: it was a wonderfull afternoon!

Album created by Picassa (from Google) automatically from my "mardi avec Chris" folder.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I'll go, but when?

Lilac soonThe lilacs are in buds in my garden. Soon they'll open.

I decided not to hurry, let my son's family go first, then see and decide.

That does not mean I'll not go, but without stepping on their feet, without mixing with their lives and trying to decide for them.

After all, living a few more month near Paris is not so bad!

I'll still continue this blog, once I begun to follow up what will arrive.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Butte Montmartre avec Marco

Back to Paris again, I met Marco from Rome (and flicker photographer) and showed him the places I lived for 22 years and walked often.

Not only those for turists, with people looking and letting be taken a drawing of them, admiring Paris from the hill, but also the very quiet streets around it.

"The Real Montmartre" - told me Marco, who loves three cities the most: Rome where he was born and lives, Venice and Paris.

It rained from time to time and then the sun came out again, then Marco exclamed:
"In Rome when it rains, it rains - it does not stop now and again."

I heard in London the weather is rather like in Paris, rain, sun, rain, sun again. But mostly not sun here but covert sky - Paris is grey often.
Butte Montmartre avec Marco (62) f pastel
Butte Montmartre is wonderfull in all weather and I did like to live there, love to go back anytime I can.
Butte Montmartre avec Marco (20)v
It was cold yesterday and I was not enough dressed, but we walked up and down so I did not catch a cold.
For almost 30 years I have seen only men drawing around place de Tertre, only yesterday seeing this woman (and two others) have I realised it: something is new even on the Butte!