Friday, April 29, 2016


Hello from Paris
Here are a few of my many photos of Paris
We have seen so many things, but my favorite thing was being reunited with our French exchange student Marina. Pictured here with her other host family Robin and Ed. We had not seen Marina in sixteen years. I can't even explain the huge spot in my heart this beautiful young lady will always hold.....Janey

Friday, April 22, 2016

My Marina

No Marina is not actually one of my daughters
Then again, I guess she is. You see back in 1999 when our youngest, Katy headed off to The University of Wisconsin, Marina filled our empty nest. Tom was very involved with Rotary at the time, and Marina was our Rotary Exchange student from Limoges, France. Marina spoke beautiful English, so well that she even had a sense of humor in English. I feel sure most exchange students would have preferred to have been in a home with other kids their age, but Marina didn't seem to mind. All I can say, is that it was a win win situation.So, why am I telling you this?

WELL, because Marina is meeting us in Paris on Thursday, and we will be reunited after sixteen years!
I will be signing off for a few days....stay tuned I may have a thing or two to show you in Paris. Janey

Photo Credit: Polly Hooper

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ladies To The Rescue

I have been suffering from vacation anticipation (previous blogs), so I will come back down to earth.
That is exactly what this medical helicopter did, as we were driving past the hospital yesterday.
We hung around long enough to watch  the crew get out, and I was surprised (and a bit proud), to see that they were all women, including the pilot.
She sat that thing down with expert ease over the little fence, and onto the middle of the pad.
Speaking of fences

Have a look at other Good Fences : HERE

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Chef

No, I am not a chef....but I enjoy pretending to be one,
especially on my favorite type of vacation. Here, I am in a house we rented in Bargemon in the south of France, which is a delightful little village. I enjoyed shopping the small markets, and cooking dinner at night. You know, playing like I was a local,
and here I am in Sovicille, Italy ( Tuscany). We actually rented a castle with seven other couples.. I was the only one who wanted to cook...and I did so a couple of nights. Notice the tile...can you tell the kitchen hadn't been renovated since the 1960's.

My idea of the perfect vacation is renting a house or an apartment (oh heck a castle will do), sightseeing all day, have a nice lunch out, come "home" and prepare a simple dinner, write in my journal (or blog!), plan the next day's itinerary, and then turn in early with a good book (whew). I have lost count of all of the places where we have done this...and I don't want to bore you with that list, after all there is nothing worse than being held captive looking at someones old vacation pictures.
What is your dream vacation? Would you rather be pampered  at a five star resort and shop, or maybe lie on a beach and do nothing?. There is certainly no right or wrong vacation.....but I guess, we would not be good traveling companions!
If my idea sounds like I ever have an apartment for you!
You can play like you are Hadley Hemingway!

Not meant as an Advertisement

 Yep, this one bedroom flat, complete with a petite kitchen is one floor below where Hadley and her ever so famous husband Ernst Hemingway lived on Cardinal Lemoine in the 5e in Paris. It was a working class neighborhood back then, not only was there was no hot water, but you had to share a bath down the hall. Don't worry it has been brought up to date. Reports are that Hadley was very happy here...that is until Ernest met...Pauline.....

You can see the rest of the apartment :  Here 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Could It Be?

On the same trip( see yesterday's post), back in 1990 we took the train up to Belgium to Brugge, my favorite little town, and then renting a car we drove to The Netherlands.
This shot was in Amsterdam (or was it Brugge). The reason I have a funny look in my I was freezing, even though it was March. So, why am I posting this picture? Because at first when I saw it, I thought for a moment that the couple behind me could be Marianne and S.C. who both write blogs from Amsterdam. Surely not. Marianne you don't have any old ( like 26 yr. old), white boots do you?

Monday, April 18, 2016

No Wonder

I am not trying to start an International debate here.....but have you ever noticed when you go into a rather nice French Restaurant in Paris for example, they usher you to the basement? I have read that restaurants of a certain Michelin rating do not want to be labeled as a tourist restaurant. :(
We usually  dine at small bistros, sidewalk cafes and pizza (joints), on vacation, and save the last night for what we call a fancy dinner.

 I ran across this picture looking at old travel albums. It was taken in 1990 on my second trip to Paris. No wonder they put us in the basement. Look at that sweater! What was I thinking?! Let's see, there are racing flags, wreckers and taxi's on it. My wardrobe selections thankfully have gotten a little bit more conservative over the years.I have noticed that the French women are usually in basic black.
This was breakfast, by the way, and yes that really is me. My hair instead of turning grey....amazingly turned blond ;)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Do You Swim?

You know, I took it for granted that all adults knew how to swim. So, I was surprised when a friend told me  that she didn't. She said she grew up in a very small town, and there was no swimming pool.
Stealing a blog idea from my friend Marianne over at, who posted the pool where she learned to swim. I decided to show you the pool where I learned to swim. My town was only around 30,000 inhabitants, but we had this wonderful municipal pool.

As adults, we teased our Mother, who always had a job outside the home, that she signed us up for every free event that went on in the summertime;and swimming lessons was on that list. We also lost count of the Bible Schools we attended....which all served the same watery Kool- Aid and sugar cookies, but that's another story.

Anyway, this pool looked enormous when I was small..and I guess it would today, but it is no longer there. For some reason is was filled in. There is probably a newer one somewhere else in town, but surely it couldn't be this grand. I know the picture is old and fuzzy...but there was what they called the beach on the far side. A huge sand pit where you could build a castle...but in order to get back in the pool, you had to pass through a shower to get the sand off.

It is a wonder that my sisters and I don't have skin cancer ....since spent hours upon hours in this pool in the days before sunscreen.
Tell me, do you swim, and where did you learn?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

It's All About France and a little bit of Spain

Hi there, sorry, I have been busy. We are getting ready for our trip to France, and I seem to be meeting myself coming and going. Wonder where that saying came from?
Today, I had a dear friend over for lunch. One of the twenty two that are going on vacation with us. My sister Polly told me about these Macarons (frozen) from Trader Joe's, which is a great little grocery store that we have here in the U.S.
They are $4.99 a box for 12. A lot better than the $1.89 each I paid at a fancy bakery in town, and I can report they are delicious. You notice a couple are missing. Tom and I had to try them before my guest arrived to make sure they weren't poison. :)
Where's Ernie?

Well. They made it! Above is the Pilgrims Passport that they must have stamped along the way. The way being The Camino Santiago or The Way of Saint James.
Their group in front of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral.
Looks like from the scaffolding it is being refurbished.
Erie reports that he walked the 100km at 15 to 20 miles a day.....and it was VERY tiring.
They were going to attend Mass and then head home to Texas.
Good job Ernie and you too Margaret (who walked several miles a day herself).
I will miss your posts.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Unexpected Guest

I was thinking that Tom and I would not be able to see little three year old Hannah before we head to the mountains for the summer, but we got call asking if she was delivered to Ft. Worth, could we keep her over night on Saturday?
So we spent the morning at a favorite neighborhood park.....despite the cloudy cool weather
Tillery Park in Ft. Worth is an amazing (free) adventure land for any kid. Back in 2007 there was a fund raising effort to improve the parks play area. They more than exceeded their goals.
They have so many fun areas, even a new climbing wall
Looking over the fence (painted by children), to the south you can see the Presbyterian church in the Park Hill neighborhood.. Can anyone spy the city swimming pool in the trees?
There are even some chimes where you can make music.
I am thinking Tom enjoyed himself as well..
Now if I could only spend a day with our little Abigail from North Carolina :(

Did the Weather improve for Ernie and Margaret hiking the Camino?
 The report is that it is still cloudy and cold but no rain, sleet and wind that they had the day before.
As I explained on a previous post. Margaret joins Ernie daily, for several miles,
 and then rides in the tour van to the next stopping point. I have no idea if this is a grave or a mile marker. The post at the left is a Camino directional sign.
Ernie reports that they have been eating well, and wonders if they will need to atone for their sin of committing gluttony, once they reach the cathedral. I think that is the Spanish dish Paella?
They report that they will reach their destination in two days!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

What Are They Doing?

I noticed the other day some workmen out in front of our house
For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what they were doing?
Looked like they are drilling a hole to I went out to ask.
Seems they were installing this. No, it is not a stop sign. It is a warning that there is a newly installed stop sign at the corner down the way. Come on guys, does it have to be right in front of my house? You see the city has an easement at the front of your property, and I guess I have no say. I asked them if I could decorate it with lights at Christmas. Did get a laugh out of them.
See, there is the stop sign. They even put orange flags on it, so you can't miss it. Maybe when it is no longer "new" they will remove the warning sign in front of my house. What ya think?
Which reminds me of the little town that we live in in the mountains in the summer. We use to have a stop sign at the bottom of our hill. One day it was missing. Tom inquired at the city office to see if it had been stolen. Seems they needed one somewhere else, and couldn't afford they took ours. We really really do live in a small town in the summer :)

How are Ernie and Margaret on their Camino walk across northern Spain?

Well, the rain and cold in the forecast  turned out to be true. They reported that it was not a fun hike.

The only bright spot was their lodging for the night. The Rectoral de Lestedo was originally a rectory (priest's house) . Ernie and Margaret sat in the glass sun room with their feet propped up drinking a glass of local wine and listening to music from Bob Dylan

White Flowers

Remember the Pyracantha that we had planted to trail on our boring wall?

Well, in the Fall and Winter it had red berries on it, and now it is blooming with white flowers.

Checking in with Ernie's Camino walk in Spain
The only thing I received today was that the weather was forecasting cold and rain, but the start of the hike looked like this. Sarria to Portmarin 20 km

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Lake

I am still posting pictures from my trip to the Dallas Arboretum on Tuesday.
This spot had a plaque saying it was the Poetry Garden. With the benches around and the privacy walls it seemed more like a Meditation Garden to me. I liked it, whatever the name
The shady walk across this bridge was inviting. By the way the parking lot was very full, but notice you don't feel crowed once it the park. It is enormous.
One more plant. Not sure of it's proper name, but these snowball trees were in full bloom in the park. Oh, and you can see the lake in the distance.
White Rock Creek was damned up in 1911 to form this lake on Dallas's east side and became it's playground. There is also a large park on one side of the lake with picnic tables and miles of walking and jogging trails. There is even a spooky story of a ghost. The Lady of White Rock Lake.
See that large white house across the lake?
Zooming in closer might help. This 10,000 square foot estate, on the lakeside, was home to the famous H.L. Hunt. You can read more about him : HERE. One thing that I never knew is that the character J.R Ewing on the television series Dallas, back in the 70's (?), was loosely based on H.L.

meanwhile back to the hills of Spain

Ernie, who I have been following on his Camino journey, reports his best day yet. Trekking from Sarria to Potomarin.
I especially liked this shot he took..

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Back to the Garden

You will find many different types of ponds in the Arboretum in Dallas, and the whole park borders White Rock Lake.
At the present time, all of the Azaleas are in bloom. I am very familiar with these, having moved here from Houston where they flourish, sometimes all year.
It was no real surprise to find Monet striking a pose.
Maybe he was in awe of these Japanese trees
which we thought made a nice backdrop.

Meanwhile back to the Camino
After a restful sleep in the mountain town of Villafranco del Bierzo, Spain. The group was transported to today's starting point O Cebreiro, and found out that their destination, Treacastela was 20 kilometers away. The first three km were moderately level, so Margaret walked along. After that Ernie continued on alone (with other group members) . Margaret opting to meet them down (up) the road. Ernie negotiated snow, inclines, muddy trails and dropping temperatures.
but he had an unexpected guide. This German Shepard appeared out of nowhere, and stayed with him the entire day.
He seemed to know the way, and beckoned Ernie to follow.
to be continued