Wednesday, December 30, 2009

10-Minute Solution

I think it is appropriate that I am finally getting around to posting, and it's 10:10. Why is that significant you ask? Because I have decided that I will adopt a new way of self-care, ten minutes at a time. You know, sort of like the 10-Minute Solution that is in every magazine in the world in the month of January.

There are three things that I would like to regularly incorporate into my life: disciplined writing, regular exercise, and time for meditation.

You may remember a few weeks ago, I posted about writing in ten-minute intervals. Yesterday, I thought, Why not adopt the ten-minute interval for everything you want to do?

I've read and heard that exercise done three times a day for ten minutes is as good as one thirty minute session. And I know I can meditate for ten minutes without getting squirmy (I've actually done as many as forty minutes), so that should be manageable too.

Who can't spare ten minutes three or four times a day? I spend that much time checking Facebook, reading blogs and horoscopes, playing solitaire, daydreaming on and off all day. I figure too that once I start writing/walking/meditating for ten minutes, it'll be so enjoyable that I'll want to do it a little longer.

I'll keep you posted, but my plan is to start on New Years Day. And since I made that other change in my life four years ago, I won't be hungover. Nice feeling. Really.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I miss you...

I really miss you. I promise a post tomorrow. Isn't Christmas crazy? And aren't you excited about the blue moon? Next one: 2028. I think we better party!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Writers Around the Table

Last night a friend and I hosted a Winter Solstice Reading Night. My friend made all the desserts and I got the tables ready. My part was the easiest as she made coconut cake, tropical fruitcake, sweet potato cake, chocolate cake, and two different kinds of cookies (did I remember everything?).

The table was set and the fire was laid. All that was missing was the friends. There's something very exciting about a waiting room, the anticipation of the evening a palpable presence.

Everyone arrived within a few minutes of each other, and bringing our happiness at being together, our excitement about reading our work to each other, and the inevitable sugar buzz from all those goodies, we sat down at the table.

After reading our wonderful words, we discussed publishing and news media and the future of both. We shared our favorite books of the year, a very diverse list ranging from the Anne of Green Gables to the Twilight series to Dickens.

For me, it was the beginning of the celebration of the holidays, a time to sit and listen and be simply present. We decided to meet again soon. It was definitely about sharing as writers, but I also think it had a lot to do with the desserts!

Friday, December 18, 2009

J A Konrath Gets Me

Last night I worked in the darkroom on the two photographs above. It was the best night of class because I actually was able to bring out things in the photographs that were too bright, print one photo correctly right from the start, and ask very few questions in the process. Hooked!

On another note, I follow a blog by writer J A Konrath. And ninety-nine percent of what he says gets me here {pointing to her gut} because he is so right on about what holds us new writers back from ever going anywhere.

So if you're like me, but want to change all that, go here and read his 2010 resolutions for writers. Copy it and tape it wherever you keep your writing utensils. Refer to it often. It's the truth, and it hurts, but it is inspiring too.

I'm trying to work myself out of a major funk (did you notice I've spared you the posts for a few days). Tonight I'm sitting by the fire, computer in my lap, kitties on the rug, pretending that I don't have a million things to do - most of which are pleasurable but the list is long - and taking it easy. I should probably take the advice that has been fairly consistent from my DailyOm horoscope and meditate on that spot where J A Konrath gets to me, or my heart center at least.

It's Friday, it's snowing, my family is all heading my way. I'm going to effect an attitude adjustment tonight. Catch you on the other side.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Up and Down

This is what my brain looks like lately. Christmas, work, everything up and down and all around in my poor little head.

Down: Business is a drain; time is at a premium; I'm easily irritated by things and am taking twice as long to get over them. I don't know what to get my kids for Christmas and I just read an article about how lazy it is to give them money. There are a couple of people I'd like to tell to get lost. It's cold. And foggy and rainy too. I can't stop gritting my teeth.

Up: I've had all my yearly check-ups and except for cholesterol (bad is bad) and low Vitamin D, I'm in good shape. My doctor is working with me so that I don't have to take prescription drugs. She's been listening! I have some beautiful photographs to put in cards for Christmas presents. My friend's memorial service was an amazing tribute and very moving. I have my classes, a couple of gatherings with friends at my house, time with family, and some fun lunches to look forward to.

All around: As long as I end each day with a sense of accomplishment, understand that it will all get done, and keep uppermost in my head that friends and family are the most important, I'll be okay.

Now for a more thoughtful post from a friend of mine.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Being with Friends

Tomorrow I'm taking an overnight trip to Oriental to be with friends. Normally, I would spend the whole weekend there, but because of obligations on Saturday I have to come back.

I used to spend every Thursday night with these women. When we first started getting together, we committed to a year of once-a-week meetings and used Cheryl Richardson's book, Life Makeovers, for our discussions. I fixed dinner and we sat around my dining room table or on my deck. I took Wednesdays off to shop and fix the food, and a lot of love went into the preparations.

After the first year, we did another self-help book, Get Out of Your Own Way, and dug a little deeper into our lives, learned a lot about each other even though we'd been friends for many years. After that book, we tried several others, but a few of the women weren't really interested in continuing in the self-help/exploring vein. They wanted a place to come, relax, have dinner, and be with friends.

About the time that this was happening, I quit drinking. Then a year later, I quit smoking. And I realized something: as much as I loved fixing dinner and being with my friends, I loved learning about things too. And I also realized that a good deal of my motivation for setting up the gatherings was so that I could drink.

Fairly abruptly, I quit hosting the weekly gatherings. I don't know how my friends feel about my doing it--no one has said--and we started getting together once a month at different houses. It's a relaxed atmosphere, no agenda, snacks or light dinners prepared by the hostess.

It worked out for all of us, I guess, and I've involved myself in photography classes and writing class and am keeping an eye out for people who might want to form a book discussion group. For now I'm content to be at home on most Thursday nights when my husband plays music, and enjoy the solitude and quiet, and once a month relax with my friends.

It's going to be different this year at the Oriental Spirit of Christmas gathering because one of the regulars won't be there. We're going to miss you, Peetro.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Looking for the Perfect Gift?

Hey, book lovers, listen up! Fresh from the Big Crafty in Asheville, North Carolina, The AyBeeCees has been posting new handmade books today. You won't find a better gift for the journaler, organizer, artist, and collector among your family and friends. Visit daily for the next few days if you don't see exactly what you want today, and they also special order.

I'm drooling....

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I caught the tail end of a story on the news tonight about a young boy who loved football. As a baby, he had a type of cancer that caused him to lose an eye, and now he was going to lose the other one. He wanted to see a football game, and the team embraced him, took him on the field, played ball with him. One of the players came to the hospital the day of his surgery. At that point, the boy finally broke down and cried. "I realized that that was the last time I was going to see anything," he said.

Puts a couple of bad days in perspective.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What Makes Me Feel Better

Around my computer at work, there are things that are supposed to cheer me up when I'm feeling blue, sayings that I use in cards, notes from family. Even when I'm having a bad day I can look at those notes and feel better.

The first thing I see is my screen. It's a picture I took of my new cat watching "cat TV" but beyond that it is a nice photograph with a reflective feel to it.

There are two notes from family members. One is from my sister, a heart-shaped note that she attached to a fake check for a million dollars. It says, "Love you, miss you, see you soon! Bip." This note reminds me that I am loved by my dad and siblings. The second note was stuck to my desk by my daughter when she worked with me last year. It says, "Love you ever so much, ma." I think of my children when I read this, glad they that are employed, have comfortable places to live, and that they love me, their dad, and each other.

Then there are the quotes I use for cards. For birthdays, the following poem:

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature.
Beautiful old people are works of art.

For sympathy cards, this quote by Kahlil Gibran is one of my favorites:

I have passed a mountain peak and my soul is soaring in the firmament of complete and unbound freedom. I am in comfort. I am in peace.

There are a few spiritual quotes:

God has left us love notes scattered extravagantly across creation.

I entrust the good desires of my heart to God's loving care, and I know that with God all things are possible.

Positive and negative impulses exist within us all. Those of us who shine brightest are not those who have no darker side, but those who are fully aware of their negativity, who keep their darkness in check by increasing their light.

There are a few frivolous things too. A fortune from a Chinese fortune cookie reads, "You are appreciated by your company." The lyrics from a Madonna song, "And the money kept rolling in from every side." Two arrows from tax returns that say, "Sign here."

But the simplest quote is the one that touches me most, and with this one I'll end my circular route around my computer screen.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pushing on

Today I got a phone bill at the office that was twice our normal bill. It seems that last month, when I called to make sure we were on the most cost-efficient plan, the person who "helped" me decided to add internet service to our account. My theory is that she gets some kind of bonus for selling things, and doesn't care one iota that I had to spend a good hour getting it taken off. And to complain about it? I just don't have the time.

I'm beginning to walk around with blinders on to what's happening around me. Thirty thousand more of our young men and women to Afghanistan. Banks taking my money and paying it out to their executives. Credit card companies increasing their fees before deadlines that have now been extended. The right wingers' contention that global warming isn't real. Unemployment, homelessness, agencies without funds. I'm sick of looking. I can't begin to think of how to overcome my complete inability to feel in control of my world.

Today was, to tell you the truth, another bitch of a day. And like last night, I had something planned after work. I thought several times of skipping it; it was an ornament-making class at Gallery Shibui and I just felt too tired to go. I didn't know where the studio was and it was dark, so I told myself that I wasn't going to mess around trying to find it. I like to throw obstacles in my way like that. In spite of myself, I found the studio.

What a wonderful class. Alice Southwick is a creative, talented teacher, and there were only two other people in the class so we got extra attention. At the end of the class, I was tired, but very happy that I went. Here is what we made:

I'm hopeful that tomorrow is going to be a better day. Fingers, toes and eyes crossed.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gotta B**ch

I hate to end the posting drought with a gripe-fest, but I must. Today was horrible. Here's why:

1. It was supposed to be my day off. I had to work.

2. It has rained all day. Cold rain during the morning, steamy rain tonight. I've had to go in and out many times, and had to walk a few blocks in it to meet some people for lunch.

3. Today is my mother-in-law's birthday. When I went to the store to buy her some tiramisu, the bakery lady smashed the top of one piece putting them in the container. When I asked her to get me another one, she didn't even attempt to hide her irritation. So I gave her a good taste of my irritation, letting her know that if it was too much trouble I'd be glad to forgo my purchase.

4. When I went to my mother-in-law's to visit, an old acquaintance of hers called and wanted to catch up on both her news and our news--about twenty minutes worth--and the entire time we're talking my MIL is waving and shaking her head and mouthing, "I don't want to talk to her." Duh. Neither did I.

5. One cat threw up on my dining room rug and the other peed in the entrance hall.

6. Three words: banks, clients, and churches. Don't get me started.

7. I'm feeling decidedly un-prosperous right now. And this just isn't like me.

I came home from work tonight thinking I might skip my darkroom photography class. I went anyway. And although I spent all night on one photograph, I feel very happy with it. And so, to end this decidedly crappy day, here is my first ever posted black and white photograph.

I thank you all for listening.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Getting Ready

The other day I read a blog post from a woman with four children. They were traveling and she had packed all she and the children needed for the trip. Her husband needed only to get his little ditty bag ready and load everything in the car. However, when they got to their destination, he asked, "Honey, did we pack my lotion?" Needless to say the rest of the post should have been unprintable, but she managed to finish the story without curse words.

I know what she means. Wednesday night we gave a party for my husband's minister, celebrating his twenty years at the church. I cleaned the house, bought the food, hid 500 items of clutter, prepared the food, set out the food, went to church, and came home to light candles and turn on the music (a playlist I had carefully prepared sometime during the day) and await the company.

Five minutes after everyone had gotten here, my husband loudly asked why the music was so soft. And what was that playing? I ignored him. Why were we playing the music on my small IPod player and not through the speakers, he went on. The music was playing through the speakers, so I continued to ignore him.

On the dining room table, there were ham biscuits, fruit and vegetables that I had cut up, cheeses, desserts. Around the kitchen there were containers of nuts and sesame sticks. There was one dish of chips and salsa. As soon as the chips and salsa were gone, my husband loudly asked if we had any more salsa.

My point is this: There was no we to anything that had gone into the preparation for the party.

That said, let's get back to the blog post I mentioned earlier. My husband once said that men don't wear "outfits" and this was hilarious to me at the time. But when we were going on a trip, the fact that girls and women wear outfits was my biggest advantage. I could tell my daughters, "Three outfits," and they could pack their entire wardrobe for the trip. I didn't care if the outfit components matched as long as there were socks, underwear, shoes, shirts, and pants for every day of the trip. I could add, "One dressy outfit" to the instructions and they could execute that part too. Young as they were, they understood the concept of packing in outfits.

I guess I'm rambling here, set off by the inability of the husband in the blog post to perform a task that even my young daughters could do--that is get himself packed and ready for the trip--and the fact that he asked if his wife had brought the thing he had forgotten. Even my daughters would have said, "Mommy, I forgot my toothbrush," or their Sunday shoes or whatever they didn't pack.

I will say that I felt avenged at the party Wednesday night when my husband changed the music to a playlist that was entitled, "Dance Party" and he thought he was getting the Rolling Stones and other rock musicians. It was disco music, and I laughed out loud when I heard the Village People do the intro to "YMCA" - my husband HATES disco music.

Irony: The daily reading today says, "Everything that irritates us about someone else should lead us to an understanding of ourselves." Carl Jung

Monday, November 23, 2009


For the past several days (maybe weeks--I just noticed it a few days ago) The News and Observer has been running the following ad:

"This Thanksgiving, we are proud to be offering the largest paper of the year filled with holiday sales inserts from all your favorite retailers. In addition, this paper will include a special Decade of Champions section honoring the great success of North Carolina sports teams over the last 10 years. Due to the increased size and value of this edition, the newsstand price will be raised to $2.00 for individual copies of the Thanksgiving paper. Daily subscribers will be charged at their current Sunday rate."

Excuse me? You're filling my paper, not with news or articles of importance to my life, but with advertising? Advertising that you get paid for, and that I pull out immediately to put in the recycling bin that has to be hauled to the curb? You're charging me more for this without my permission? And you're acting like it's some special little gift you're giving your subscribers???

You've got to be kidding.

I have continued to subscribe to my local paper because I believe in the printed news. Even though the paper has gotten thinner and thinner, and the real news rarer and rarer, I have continued to pay the price I paid for the paper of old. But, Mr. Orage Quarles, this is the last straw. I will not pay for you to bulk up my paper with crap and charge me extra for it.

As a first step I'm cancelling the Thursday Thanksgiving special advertising edition. And I'm going to give myself a few more days to think about it. But the way I see it now, the Sunday New York Times has as much news as my local paper puts out all week, and I'm tired of being hoodwinked into paying for something that is really, in the end, a pile of recycling.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Come out of the closet

These are the reasons I hate to clean out my closet:

1. I know there are alot of clothes that I'm not going to wear.
2. Some of the clothes were expensive and I feel guilty about not wearing them.
3. I keep thinking that if I hang on to something, I'll like it better.
4. I really need to try each item of clothing on to see if it fits. This is very time-consuming.
5. Not only do I need to try it on, I need to find a top/bottom/shoes to go with it.
6. Some of the clothes are too small and this is depressing.
7. I have this fear that if things get really bad, I may need them. (Maybe there's been just too much talk about Armageddon for my taste!)

I admitted something to myself and to my husband today. I can wear a piece of clothing many times and feel as though it is flattering/I look good in it. But if I wear it one time and don't think I look good in it, I probably won't wear it again.

Another reason that I will wear something, like it, then turn on it is if I see a photograph of myself in it. There was this jacket that I absolutely adored. When I tried it on in the store, I thought it was perfect. I wore it every other day for a month. Then I saw a photograph of my writing group with me in that jacket. I've never worn it again.

My husband cleaned out his closet today. He gave away shoes and clothes without a second thought. He set aside four cotton shirts that he wants to wash in hot water to see if they'll shrink. He didn't try on one thing to see if he'd outgrown it or if it still looks good on him; he assumes that he hasn't and it does.

When it's time to clean out my closet, I wish I had his attitude.

Here is what my sister said about my closet: "Saw the closet: looks like Hurry-cane Katrina blew through Chico's and the shoe levees broke."

Yes indeed, laughing we endure.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fred Chappell

We are fortunate to have so many wonderful writers in North Carolina. And one of my very favorites is Fred Chappell.

Tonight Fred read from his new book, Ancestors and Others, a collection of stories, at Quail Ridge Books. The story he read was set in the mountains of North Carolina, a fictionalized account of his childhood experiences of hunting on Christmas Day. It was funny, poignant, suspenseful, and as true to human nature as any story you'll read.

The book contains stories about the places and people of his childhood sprinkled with science fiction. There are three stories about Christmas. In trying to pin down a theme of the stories, his editor had him cut several of the originals. He said that in the end he hoped that by putting the Christmas stories in he had tied everything--traditional and speculative--together in a neat bow. He laughed.

We laughed too at his wonderful sense of humor as he answered questions and recounted something that happened when he and his wife Susan went to the Czech Republic earlier this year.

Fred was our Poet Laureate and he represents the finest North Carolina has to offer. If you ever have a chance to hear him read from his stories or poems, please make every effort to do so. He's a genius posing as a home-town boy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Searching For Some Feng Shui

Some of you regulars may remember last year when I cleaned out my closet. Well, guess what? This is how it looks today:

On the other hand this is what the linen closet in my bathroom looks like today:

A mouse died in the wall last week. Have you ever smelled a dead mouse?? You definitely do not want to sleep on sheets or dry off with towels that smell of eau de dead mouse. So, this is what my daughter's room looks like today:

There's some bad juju in the closets and bedrooms of my house right now.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Anticipation is intoxicating. I get a rush out of waiting for something, and it doesn't have to be anything life-altering. I used to look forward to Tuesdays when my children brought their weekly folders home. I look forward to the mail each day, hoping there will be a card or letter hiding among the fliers and bills.

I look forward to my day off, and to the weekends. I often read soon-to-be-published novels thanks to my book store friend, and savor the time between having read them and being able to recommend them to friends.

I look forward to seeing my family on holidays, to giving gifts, to eating good food at the table.

Anticipation of bad things, like doctor's appointments, funerals, surgery, has its own intoxication. But that's a topic for another day.

Tomorrow night I am reading a short story to my writing group. It's the first time I've read, and a couple of the people are new to me. I feel high about sharing my story, and a little anxious about how they will receive it. But deep in my gut is a fluttery feeling: anticipation.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Every now and then I find myself longing (yes, that's the word I want to use) for time at the coast. I am able to totally relax, leaving laundry, housework, dishes, animals, and grocery shopping behind. When I'm at home, I think of being by the water, lying around reading books, watching movies or old television shows, riding my bike with my camera around my neck, eating when I feel like it. Somehow I'm able to be lazy there in a way I cannot be at home.

My home is a refuge for me, don't get me wrong. But there's always something I could be doing or should be doing, and I'm a person who takes responsibility seriously. I always put it before play.

I'm trying to capture some of that relaxing spirit at home. I let the laundry pile up higher than I ever have, I scrounge around for something to eat rather than go to the grocery store, I delegate errands to my husband. I have been going to bed early and reading or watching the news channel.

I'm getting better at staring that old guilt monster in the eye and telling him to get lost. But locking him in a closet at home and driving away is still the best way I know to get rid of him.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fits and starts

Last week I informed my new writing group that I didn't have a writing discipline per se, that I let everything boil up in my head and then write in a rush. This runs contrary to everything I've ever read about being an accomplished writer, but it's just the way I've done things in the past.

Later something occurred to me: what good is the talent to write if you don't exercise it? So what if you have all the ingredients for a tasty dinner if you don't cook for a month?

Last night I put my meditation timer on my desk and set it to ten minutes. I wrote about something. When the timer went off, I turned the page and wrote about something else. I did this one more time, giving me a total of thirty minutes of free writing.

I started three stories. Good stories. I quit mid-line when the timer went off although I did not want to stop. I set up a folder called, "Fits and Starts" and put them all in there.

Today, I was telling my writing teacher my idea, and she said that many writers do what I said I do, let things boil up and then write in a rush. In fits and starts, she said. And I knew that although she was affirming my stated style of writing, I was on to something good with the new exercises.

Fits and starts. I like the idea of it.

Monday, November 9, 2009


One of the blogs I follow is the Raleigh Public Record. I think the reason I read it is to take my mind off the real crimes that are being perpetrated by the banks and credit card companies.

This one today broke my heart.

Police arrested a 22-year-old woman for attempting to steal baby food from the Food Lion at 4510 Capital Blvd. at around 11 p.m.

I hope they let her go with nothing but the baby food. And maybe kept her name so they could send her some more.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

People Watching in Paris: Part II

I've been my husband's groupie all weekend and have just enough left in me to post the last of the vacation photos. Thanks for going with me on the trip.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

People Watching in Paris: Part I

I won't bore you with photos of the Louvres or Notre Dame or any of the other beautiful sites in Paris. You've seen those, as had I. This trip I was drawn to the out-of-the-ordinary sights and to the people that we encountered. Old, young, beautiful or interesting, homeless, lonely, contented, in love: I snapped and snapped. I will end my travel story with some of these people. The final photograph, although not as in focus as I would have liked, epitomizes the young Parisienne: thin, smoke pouring out of her mouth, dressed in black. "Paris" is the word written in hot pink sequins on the back of her shirt.

Enjoy, as I did.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Creating A Memory

I'm going to interrupt the travelogue tonight.

Last night I took my 87-year old dad to see the Broadway South performance of South Pacific. He had to make a seventy-five mile drive to get here, and for the first time in his life expressed some concern about making the drive. About a year ago, he got caught in a horrendous thunderstorm on his way home from the beach, and hasn't been back since. But he drives around town every day, to the office, to Rotary, to church, to deliver Mobile Meals (yep, he delivers Mobile Meals!). It made me sad to hear him talk of limitations; he's always been proud and independent.

I debated how to handle the night. I wanted it to be special. Times are bad, though, and he's always been a conservative spender. I imagined the phone conversations that would take place today if the evening felt too extravagant to him.

I decided to go for the best. We went to one of my favorite high-end restaurants. He ordered an appetizer and water; that was okay. And when we got to the theater, I realized that our seats were on the third row. Good, you might say, but the price was on the ticket stub, and I worried that he thought it was too much.

The musical was amazing. My father loves music; he had to have the latest in stereos and musical equipment. There was always something playing in the background at our house. I knew every word to every song of South Pacific even though I've only seen the musical maybe twice. And because he exposed us to so much of it, I recognize classical music but couldn't tell you who the composer is to save my life.

It's crazy to still care what your parents think about you and your lifestyle choices at fifty-seven years old. But I do. I really do. And as much as I thought I had planned something he would like, I waited for his email today so I would know what kind of time he had. He writes us all--children, grandchildren, cousins--every week day. He thinks it's a bunch of drivel, but we love it. Here's what he said about the night:

I just got back from...a very nice visit with the Potters and going to see a Broadway production of "South Pacific" at the Raleigh Civic center. The performance was excellent and you can take that from someone who has probably heard that music more than 99.9% of the people on this planet. It was the first vinyl record I owned and I believe my children are all familiar with the play from hearing that music daily for quite a while.

I didn't know it was the first vinyl record the owned. No wonder we listened to it over and over!

I had a great time with him. Whatever the cost, it was worth it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Museum, Doors and Windows

A few years ago, my daughter and I visited Ghost Ranch outside of Santa Fe. It was off-season and the ranch had a desolate, abandoned feel to it. When we stopped at the Musee de la Camargue, I got this same feeling. Here is what it says on the Internet about the museum:

"The museum occupies a former sheep farm in the heart of the Camargue. It traces the history of human activity in the Rhône delta from the geological origins of the region up to the present day.

"A large part of the permanent exhibition is devoted to the different aspects of life in a mas during the 19th century: agriculture, stock breeding, hunting, fishing and domestic life. But the economic activities that developed in the 20th century are also featured, notably the construction of hydraulic infrastructure, and the production of wine, rice and sea salt."

The land and buildings that made up the mas were very peaceful and picturesque.

This model of farmers at a table was intriguing to me - ghostlike - and it looked like aliens meet the Amish rather than a meeting of mas ranchers.

I understood on this trip why whole books have been published with photographs of European doors and windows. Here are some of my favorites:

And lastly, the gesture we noticed the most while in France:

Tomorrow I will share photographs of children from the trip. And then it will be back to my regular scheduled programs!