Tag Archives: paris

F is for Feet, Fine Friends of Wanderers

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Detail from the Plaza de Dali in Madrid. 

Walking. It’s a great way to travel, even though we don’t often think of our feet as a legitimate means to cover lots of territory. One of the things I love, love, love about Paris (and, there are plenty of things…) is the fact it is such a walkable city. Every day while I was there over the past couple of weeks I walked – miles and miles and miles.

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I passed this piece of sculpture while cutting through the Tuileries in Paris … I could have stayed underground, I suppose, but it wouldn’t have been nearly so much fun.  

Yes, I generally started out on the Metro, hopping on at the local station and heading somewhere close to my destination. But once turned loose in a neighbourhood, as often as not I would start roaming, knowing that at any point when exhaustion overtook me (and my feet) I wouldn’t be far from a Metro station and could always drop down below the streets and head for home.

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This piece of sculpture in Santiago de Compostela in Spain honours the work the feet do when it comes to transporting pilgrims across Spain. My feet felt every step of the 120 or so kilometers we walked in October as we travelled from Sarria to Santiago. (Want to see some photos of the journey I took with my father and daughter? Come follow us on Instagram: @thelastlegbook) 

I might not have thought to honour my feet with a whole post if it weren’t for the fact that they are starting to grumble and complain (you know, squeaky wheel gets the grease and all…). I am developing arthritis in various joints, but the one that causes me the most grief is my right big toe. It sounds ridiculous (big toes are somehow unfailingly undignified), but my goodness, I sure appreciate all the years of uncomplaining service I’ve had from my tootsies.

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Rodin had a thing about feet… well, I guess he had a thing about bodies and getting their various bits to look right… This display is in the Rodin Museum. 

 

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Detail from one of the sculptures in the sculpture garden at the Rodin Museum in Paris. 

Next week I have an appointment to see my sports medicine doctor who will be repeating a treatment he did about 18 months ago – injecting a soothing dose of cortisone into the problematic joint space. I was dubious last time, but after feeling the relief that followed the first injection, I am sold. I’d been told that I’d need to repeat as often as every 4-6 months, but I’ve managed to hike a lot of miles over the past 18 months before feeling the need to go back.

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Not that long ago I was lucky enough to find myself on a beach in the Caymen Islands… the first thing I did was to free my feet from the confines of my sandals. There is nothing like the feeling of warm sand beneath bare feet… There is something positively soul (sole?)-rejuvenating in the act of connecting directly with the earth, the ocean, the beach… Cramming my feet into heavy winter boots is just not the same… 

And on that note, I now need to load my computer back into my backpack and walk home. I’ve been out and about running (well, walking) errands here in Canmore, making good use of Shank’s Pony. The sun is blazing out there, reflecting off the snow. It’s cold and crisp but still suggestive of spring and I’m happy to be moving. We had a crazily long trip back from Paris – almost 24 hours of being trapped in too-small airplane seats or trying to get comfortable in airport waiting areas so it feels good to be breathing unfiltered air and able to get up and go when I feel the need.

Until tomorrow when we meet again over the letter G…

 

 

 

C is for Community (#atozchallenge2018)

 

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Carmine’s downstairs… the pizza joint in the ‘hood

 

It wasn’t that long ago that I wrote a post over on my author blog about this year being all about community. It is, after all, the year in which my book Better Together: Creating Community in an Uncertain World came out so the subject has been on my mind. But it struck me, during this past week or so in France, that creating and maintaining connections has never been easier. Yesterday I was lucky enough to share a lovely lunch with writers I met during last year’s visit. The plans were formulated while I was in Canada, the host was in Paris and one of the attendees was in Menorca. Others who couldn’t attend touched bases, someone new to me joined the group – new connections were forged while others were strengthened.

Though this type of thing is passé for young ‘uns it still strikes me as slightly miraculous that a quick bit of typing and the goodwill of friends makes it possible to enjoy a chat over cheese as we swap stories in Paris before scattering again.

What is also interesting in this new, fluid, international world is that it was in an apartment near the Bois de Vincennes (location of said lunch and gathering of friends) that I first heard of the Canadian mezzo soprano Marie-Nicole Lemieux from a choral music enthusiast (and our gracious host) Anne. Granted, Marie-Nicole Lemieux is from Quebec and sometimes I think Canada is really bizarre in the way in which we in the west remain too often are ignorant of the talented musicians, singers, and writers who do amazing work in Quebec… Anyway, for your musical edification, here is Ms Lemieux singing L’amour est un oiseau rebelle from the Opera Carmen…

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Today was my last day in Paris where it has been a delight to plug in to the local community for a short time. In the morning (way too early) we begin the long journey back to Canmore and my lovely community there. Which, as it turns out, is more accurately described as a series of overlapping communities – the mad band of climbers who help keep me fit, challenged and engaged with endless problems to solve on rock, in the gym, and less often, on ice. I’m just beginning to dive into the theatre community, which has been a fantastic way to engage with a whole new circle of friends and explore another dimension of my creative life.

 

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Theatre selfie – Ally Lacentra playing a heroin addict, me as a grumpy old woman during Theatre Canmore’s recent 10-minute Play Festivus (can’t wait for next year!!)

 

Alas, it’s getting late and I have yet to pack, so that’s where I shall leave the letter C (there were actually a bunch of them sprinkled throughout the post… go count if you don’t believe me). More tomorrow as I wend my way back to my home in the mountains!

Ciao!

B is for Bordeaux, Beds (in art, in the flesh), Bourse (broken), Rue de Banque, my Blue Book, and a Bunch More (including a big brass band)! (#AtoZchallenge)

 

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Warning: This post fueled by Bordeaux and sardines (the latter not shown, though they were consumed from a bowl)

 

There’s nothing like a quest (and/or the promise of a freebie) to get a girl up and out of bed on a Sunday morning. As I mentioned in my post yesterday, the Musée d’Orsay was free today (as are many of the museums in Paris, Sunday falling as it does this year on the 1st day of the month… no joke!), and I was determined not to miss out!

 

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Musée d’Orsay – I promised myself I wouldn’t use this particular word even though it’s day today… but, I gotta’ say it – even before one starts roaming around, gawking at the abundance of stuff to be found here, the space itself is BEEEEE-autiful! Sorry. And, I promise – even though I saw a lot of beautiful things today, I won’t use the word again…

 

I didn’t wind up getting a super early start, which was a mistake. By the time I arrived at the museum the lineup was around the block and it took forever to get inside. The space is glorious – a former railway station – and, like all the great museums of the world, a tad overwhelming. Where to start?! My stomach answered that question for me (no, not the bathroom…) – lunch!

 

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My table was back near the big, see-through clock… sort of at 5 o’clock.

 

I was so hungry I had no option – so off I went waaaaay up to the 5th floor where I sat at a table beside a massive clock, mostly transparent so I had a pretty good view of Sacre Coeur across the way while I ate. And what a feast it was!

 

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This is what I didn’t eat… bread in a basket (yeah, being gluten free in Paris is a special kind of torture…) But the rest of the meal – ooh la la! Beans (green), breast (duck), baby greens, blue cheese… and walnuts (don’t start with B, but oh so good!).

 

Fortified and with a plan (while I enjoyed my meal I had a chance to study the museum app I’d downloaded in the loooooong line outside), I came up with a list of things to see that started with B. Arbitrary, yes, but when faced with a HUGE collection and very little time, one has to narrow the options down somehow. Here are some highlights.

 

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Babes in a Bateau (or, Boat – works either way). By Claude Monet – more commonly known as La Barque à Giverny

 

 

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Ballerinas by Edgar Degas (Le Foyer de la dande à l’Opéra de la rue Le Peletier)

 

 

 

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Oh I love this ballerina… Small Dancer: Aged 14  by Degas.

 

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beach scene by Gustave Courbet (La Falaise d’Etretat Aprés l’Orage)

 

 

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This pleasant scene in a bower… except you just know that because it’s by Gustave Courbet, that Bambi in the water has probably been startled by a horde of hunters…

 

 

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Baying, bloodthirsty hounds bring down a buck… also by Courbet. Brutal.

 

 

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Where the bourgeoisie go to play… the racetrack. Several paintings by Edgar Degas depicted scenes from the track.

 

 

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This barnyard scene was typical of the Barbizon School… (this one by Constant Troyon)

 

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There was LOTS of sculpture, including this bear by François Pompon.

 

 

 

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I was surprised how much I enjoyed the Art Nouveau furniture display… this bed was impressive… can’t imagine carrying it up six floors to my Paris walk-up, though.

 

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Speaking of beds, this is a great painting by Frédéric Bazille. This poor guy with the broken leg (in traction) is none other than Claude Monét. I’m not sure what the bucket and bowl are for… bedpan options? For catching drips in a leaky ceiling? Official title is L’Ambulance improvisée (1865).

 

 

 

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Then there was this blue vase. This is an unedited photo, btw – that thing positively glowed!

 

Of course, there was lots more… but I’ll try to be somewhat respectful of bandwidth and stop there, though that wasn’t the end of my day.

After the museum finally spit me out, it was back to the Metro to find the station known as Bourse on Line 3. That was a bit of a joke as that whole section of line is out of commission for the weekend. So, I walked from the d’Orsay to Rue de la Banque in search of one of the famous covered passages of Paris. I had bought a book on my first day here, a slim guide to said passages, and this one sounded cool (and was on a road beginning with B).

 

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Galerie Vivienne is gorgeous… I probably should have saved this for the letter V because I’m pretty sure nothing I’ll see on V-day will be as interesting. An L-shaped passe built between 1824 and 1826, it’s now home to small shops and cafés.

 

 

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One of the fabulous finds in Galerie Vivienne was this bookshop. Sadly, it was closed today – all the more reason to come back!

 

 

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Bonus! Bicycles!

 

I hadn’t actually intended to buy The Covered Passages of Paris. My intention was to pick up a copy of this little blue book

 

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Small enough to fit in a pocket, this guidebook is invaluable, well worth the five Euros I spent – and, blue!

 

I had a maroon-colored version that went missing on the last day of our trip here last year and I’ve missed it ever since. Sorry, Google maps are just not the same. Especially when your phone dies… Or when you are spatially dyslexic, as I am, and find it difficult to twirl the world around to match whatever orientation Google maps is spinning at you.

Back at the square beside the shuttered Bourse metro station, I stumbled upon a market selling all manner of random things including:

 

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… a bistro set and a birdcage… 

 

 

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…and this adorable baby buggy… 

 

At this point I could have gone home happy with my bulging bag of B booty (and, by this point, my feet were killing me), but as I approached Opera and the Metro station there, what did I hear but a Brass Band!! I kid you not…

 

 

After that, what was there to do but head home on Line 8, direction Balard…

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And that, folks, is all she wrote for B-day. 

For museum hounds, what’s your all-time fave museum? I know, it’s like picking a favourite child, but let me know what’s on your must-see list! you tomorrow!

I didn’t film it, but I was one of many people who walked over and dropped a few coins in the open trombone case on the pavement… I mean, musicians have to eat, too… I’m sure you would have done the same thing! While you are in a ‘support the arts’ kind of mood, consider becoming a patron to support the creation of these blog posts, photo essays, and short videos. In return, you’ll have my undying appreciation, but you’ll also get access to Patron-only content, advance peeks at works in progress, and more – all for as little as a buck a month! It’s easy – head on over to Patreon to have a look at how it all works.

A is for Abbesses, Amelie, Artists and More (#AtoZ2018)

Well, I thought A might be for Art but that was three days ago before I had spent some time on the Paris Metro. When we were here last year I thought it would be great to do a journey to all the stations which are, conveniently, listed in alphabetical order here. The first station on the list is Abbesses, a name which always seems to me to have too many double letters…

 

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This is the platform in Abbesses Metro station as depicted in Amelie. (That’s Amelie over on the left)

 

The deepest of all the stations (118 feet below street level), there are a lot of stairs to climb to get out of there. Reading a bit about it, I discovered it was used in the movie Amelie. Well, sort of… the set was made to look like Abbesses, but in fact, the filming was done at an abandoned platform at the Porte de Lilas station.

 

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Abbesses during my visit today… the actual, real Abbesses. 

 

This tidbit led me to try to remember the movie Amelie, which I thought I had seen. Thanks to the miracles of modern technology, I found it on iTunes and watched it in my BNB (closest Metro station to where I’m staying is Lourmel on Line 8, named after General Lourmel who was killed in the Crimean War).

 

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Between the tourists, the garbage can, the shipping container and construction zone, it’s pretty hard to get a decent shot of the exterior entrance to the Abbesses Metro station. So, here’s a cinema-style letter box crop in an effort to make the best of a difficult photographic situation…

 

Turns out either I haven’t seen the movie or my memory is way worse than I could have imagined. I think the former as there are so many odd moments and bizarre scenes that something would have rung a bell, even if dimly…

As a result of watching (and thoroughly enjoying) the movie (and because I love my Navigo pass and any excuse to ride the Metro, particularly if it means a trip to Montmartre – location of Abbesses station), off I went to have a quick peek before heading to the Rodin Museum for my daily… oh, there it is… Art fix!

 

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Do I share my ‘argh’ moment, or not? Ok, why not… I foolishly purchased my Rodin ticket twice! Once online in the wee hours of the morning and then again when I arrived at the museum. What can I say, I thought I was going to go to the Musée d’Orsay… which I am going to do tomorrow… And, since it’s the first Sunday in April, the d’Orsay will be free, so I won’t actually be out of pocket. Not really. But seriously, argh. 

What a bonus to find not one but several pieces of sculpture by Rodin that featured artists!

 

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For the sake of today’s A-themed post I will pretend I am not in Paris where this is obviously a peintre. Sadly, I will be long gone before the letter arrives!

 

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This is not a great photo for various reasons (it’s not sharp, for one thing), but I include it here because of the scale. The hands really were massive… 

 

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Art students hard at work sketching Rodin busts… How they managed to concentrate with all the tourists peeking over their shoulders and obnoxiously taking photos, I don’t know… 

 

 

While I was in Montmartre, I took my time wandering back downhill to jump on the Metro at Blanche. On my way I stopped in to poke around in the Montmartre Cemetery. There I found the grave of Endre Rozsda, a Hungarian-French artist who died at the age of 85 in 1999. I found this self-portrait online:

 

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Endre Rozsda – born in Hungary in 1919 – this self-portrait dates from 1939

 

 

 

What’s your favourite movie set in Paris? The Red Balloon? Midnight in Paris? Let me know in the comments below… If I have time before I head home I might just go on another jaunt to a cool location captured on the silver screen. And, since we are also talking about A for Artists, who is your favourite artist who spent some time in Paris?

(Here’s a p.s. of sorts… the reason I may have been a little groggy at 2 am when I finally went to bed and bought that extra museum ticket is that I might have been slightly distracted by all the ads I was reading for Paris apartments. Ahh, dreaming. It’s always fun to fantasize about things like going shopping for a Paris apartment, though doing so right before bed resulted in some peculiar nightmares about buying an apartment and not having any money left for furniture.)

Nurture Your Inner Medici! 

Enjoy the blog? Consider becoming a patron to support the creation of these blog posts, photo essays, and short videos. In return, you’ll have my undying appreciation, but you’ll also get access to Patron-only content, advance peeks at works in progress, and more – all for as little as a buck a month! It’s easy – head on over to Patreon to have a look at how it all works. And, if enough (like a gazillion) of you all sign on, maybe that Paris apartment will be mine some day… and then you can come and visit and we can take photos of art together!! And then sit in a quaint café and talk about how we met right here at the end of a blog post about artists and Amelie and Abbesses and stuff…

 

Ah, Paris…

In the interest of sparing you the details, just let me say my ability to sleep on airplanes is greatly diminished these days. Are the planes really getting that much smaller? Or am I getting that much older and less bendy? Maybe a bit of both… What is not getting old, though, is arriving in Paris in the evening and heading out for a stroll around the block in order to see the tower sparkle!

At the top of each hour after dark, the tower twinkles as tour buses pull over and selfie stick-wielding tourists grin and snap photo after photo. I would have done the same except my selfie stick had not yet been unpacked, such was our haste to get out into the streets and take in the sights.

 

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Booksellers along the Seine… Just strolling by makes me happy!

 

Today has been a day of fighting jetlag, running errands (in the rain), and sticking close to home while trying to stay strong and not nap. I’ve also been making lists – both for work and for pleasure. On the work front, I was busy this morning (wide awake at 4am I eventually gave up on the going back to sleep project, and instead had a shower, breakfast and worked on the book about assisted dying). After reworking a rather cumbersome section that deals with definitions of suicide (surprisingly more complicated than one might think – while jumping from a tall building is pretty obviously suicide, if a very sick patient decides to stop eating and drinking, should that be called suicide? After all, the end result is the same…) I started working my way down the list of people I am planning to contact with questions relating to some aspect of the subject.

 

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As darkness falls at the BNB, I write… (and sketch in my notebook… one day maybe I’ll be brave enough to share those primitive efforts…)

 

Lists, Lists, and More Lists

With work out of the way, it was time to start making a list of what I’d like to try and see and do while I’m in town. I’m very much looking forward to a lunch with writing friends on the weekend and tomorrow am also hoping to meet up with a bookbinder/writer friend for coffee… I’d really like to get to the Rodin Museum this trip as well as pay a visit to the Musée d’Orsay. I’m not sure where the best place is to go to see portraits… I don’t think Paris has the equivalent of the National Portrait Gallery, though all the major museums will, of course, have some portraits in their collections. I’m particularly interested in self-portraits at the moment, in part because I’m intrigued by self-portraits, but also because of what’s been going on with Dad’s artwork ever since we did our Camino in the fall. Because I’ll be doing the AtoZ Blogging Challenge, I’ll save the details for one of the April posts…

Meanwhile, though, the list of possible museums to visit is long… As is the list of possible live performances I could take in. Comedy… musical… drama… And then there’s the English language cinema club… and the Shut Up and Write Group… and, and, and…

Because I have promised myself that I will continue to push ahead with this draft of the assisted dying book, I do need to allocate a certain number of hours a day to work, as well… All of which to say, a week in Paris is not enough!! Not nearly long enough…

Spindrift Near Banff

Being back here I am having one of those moments where I really wish I could clone myself. I love my home back in the mountains (I mean, what’s not to love?), but I really love this city, too…

Love Paris? 

When we were here last year I tried to come up with a list of reasons why I like this place so much… If you missed that post, here’s a link… 

Edith Piaf Alert

In case you are curious, the soundtrack in the background here this evening (actually the evening of my second full day here… I’m already way behind on ye olde blogge…) is an Edith Piaf playlist courtesy of Spotify. I have to make do with this as all tickets seem to be sold out for the Edith Piaf show I had wanted to see… Le sigh. Not sighing at the playlist, I hasten to add… at the dirth of tickets.

Patreon

…and, in case you feel like supporting an artist… head on over to Patreon. If what I am up to doesn’t interest you, there are lots of other filmmakers, artists, writers, and other creatives to check out!


patreon-logo

Enjoy the blog? Consider becoming a patron to support the creation of these blog posts, photo essays, and short videos. In return, you’ll have my undying appreciation, but you’ll also get access to Patron-only content, advance peeks at works in progress, and more – all for as little as a buck a month! It’s easy – head on over to Patreon to have a look at how it all works.

Theme Reveal: Transitions, Travel and Transformation

This will be my fourth year attempting to blog every day for the month of April as part of the AtoZ Blogging Challenge (details here, if you want to learn more about how the challenge works and who else is participating). Each year I’ve bogged down somewhere in the Q, R, S, T region of the alphabet. I could consider these past efforts to be abject failures (I mean, the rest of the alphabet is just as worthy of posts, no?). But I’m a glass half full kinda gal, so I’m choosing to look at the 50+ posts I have managed to write as part of this annual challenge to be posts that I wouldn’t have written otherwise.

This year I’m keeping my theme pretty general because, hey, there’s lots going on and I can’t quite predict which of several potentially interesting developments will become the major focus for the month ahead. I know some people pre-write a bunch of posts and then release them over the course of the month. Other people come up with a list and then write and post as the days come and go. I’m going to try and write pretty much every day and tie the topic of the post to something that’s reasonably current.

 

Frog legs... a lot of work (many bones) for a small amount of meat...

Frog legs in the Latin Quarter… a lot of work (I had no idea how many little bones there are in each leg…) for very little return. And, yes, sort of tastes like chicken. 

 

Given that I’m heading for Paris on Monday, at least some posts will fit neatly into the travel category. Transitions and transformation are related, but subtly different but will allow me to write about works in progress (there are several at the moment), progress on the job search, what’s going on with my efforts to become more involved with theatre, TV, and film, setting (and reaching?) climbing goals, and maybe even a bit about my ongoing quest to be healthier (so I can live longer and have half a hope of getting a few more of the outstanding items on my To-Do list done). Art, photography, friendships, family, yoga, and a change of seasons will all likely get some love during April.

 

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Working on my crow pose… a contender for C-Crow, B-Balance, Y-Yoga, F-Frustration

 

There won’t be a list in advance – this will be a seat-of-my-pants month, but as always, it will be fun to take (and share) snapshots of what’s going on. Equally fun (and inspiring and stimulating and intriguing) will be reading what other participants will be sharing.

This year, each day I’ll also post a link to another participant who has caught my eye. Today’s pick: The More Than Words blog – theme this year TRAVEL.

Climb aboard and enjoy the ride!

Curious about topics from previous years? Here are a few links to posts from the past.

From the Climbing Year:

M is for Munter, Mountains and More…

F is for Fancy Footwork, Flights, and Fortitude…

From the Writing Year:

Ordinary Day at the Office

From the AtoZ Farming Year (when I actually made it to the letter Z)

Catching Some Z’s

From the Farming Year (a slightly different 30-Day challenge back when I had my farm)

The Pros and Cons of Farm Life

Over on the writing blog… what’s keeping me busy these days…

After three months of being a writer in Paris (oh, it was fun to just write that phrase!), I am back in the Rocky Mountains with a list of To-Do lists! [Click on the link below for the rest of the post…]

via Pushing Forward on All Fronts — Nikki Tate – Author