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Posts from the ‘Mostly photos’ Category

a letter to friends

graveside-1I come out of this season while away knowing a few things for sure:

Final goodbyes are the most painful sort

They become no less so with repetition

Four feels too many

Little girls – and little boys – mend hearts

Sky and earth make good medicine

 so do rainy streets

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Dear friends,

I never dreamed that I would be away from this space for so long. For us, this has been a season to remember. Maybe it has been for you too.

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Best Food Blog 2012 contest…

 No strangers to beauty…

If you follow my blog, you undoubtedly follow others. And if you frequent (or are a part of) this expanding world of food-writing and recipe-sharing, you’re no stranger to some jaw-droppingly beautiful food photography either. As a member of this community, I’m in some pretty wonderful (and at times very humbling) company. It was a real honor then to learn I’d been nominated for Best Food Blog 2012 in the Food Photography category. (The contest is sponsored annually by FriendsEAT.com…an online social community for foodies.)

Contest winners aren’t evaluated and selected by a panel of judges. This is a contest judged  by a jury of readers and followers like you. And there’re only a handful of days in which to vote. If it would please you to vote for Spree, it would please me no end! And if (by chance!) you wanted to pass the word around to family or friends and ask them to have a look… JOY!

You can vote here.  **

**  (Please see exactly HOW to register your vote at the bottom of this post.)

Voting concludes the end of this week on FRIDAY, December 14! And only one vote per person per category.

The gallery below samples some of my work over the past year-and-a-half of blogging… to scroll through the photos, click any image and use the right and left arrows that appear at the sides…

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a trip in ruins

One short kilometer from the town of Saint-Remy where we were staying, on our way to visit a famous Roman ruin, we passed this.

Guinea Pig did a swift and highly illegal maneuver with our rental car and came to a skidding gravel-spraying stop. We climbed out to explore. As it turns out, what we’d come across was the Mausoleum to the Julii – erected around 40 B.C.E. – one of the best-preserved mausoleums of the Roman world. We’d heard about the ancient ruins of Glanum and figured we must have arrived. We expected there to be more to the fabled site than this, but we didn’t see it, so we took our time examining closely what we could see. It was still early morning, hardly a soul up or out.

My camera was still pressed to my cheek when Guinea (whose attention span can be a bit short at times – more truthfully, mine a bit long) wandered across the street, wag-jerked his head, lifted his paw and waved. He’d found something.

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the dream…Saint-Remy de Provence

The Guinea Pig and I took a fast train south, from Paris to Provence. It was our first time in southern France and we  weren’t sure that we’d made the right choice on where to land…that is, until we arrived. Then we knew.  Saint-Rémy was just our speed.

Situated in the heart of the Alpilles,  Saint-Rémy is built on one of the oldest archeological sites in all of Europe. (The next travel post – I’ll share some amazing ruins virtually “next door” – inhabited by the Romans between the 6th century BCE and 3rd century AD.) The current town of St. Rémy is encircled by remnants of its original 14th century walls. Some of the buildings’ facades date to the Renaissance.

This town was the birthplace of the famous astrologer and physician Nostradamus.

(More recently, Van Gogh spent years here…but more about that in a moment.)

Nostradamus

Saint-Rémy is filled with Renaissance facades, residences, convents and chapels. Its winding streets are cobbled and water drains down the center.

The sun shines hard here and the mistral winds blow fiercely when they do.

Pick a color, and then pastel it…or silk it…these are the colors Saint-Rémy wears.

Windows bear shutters

and frequently wear flowers.

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Because the Guinea and I tend to eat our three squares no matter where we are, we’ve developed a nose for the aromas of good food rising from the stove and wafting out the windows. We found some of our favorite here…

‘Twas so good in fact, we found it twice…

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We experienced a couple highlights during our stay in Saint-Rémy, apart from the food. One, the Roman ruins of Glanum I’ll share next time;

the other, so moving, was the Cloître Saint-Paul, and with it, the Asylum where Vincent Van Gogh was confined for a time. (1889-90)

Some of his most famous paintings were done during his stay here. (Among the many,  Starry Night and Self-Portrait.) When you walk the beautiful hushed grounds here, you’ll see where he set his easel and pulled out his brushes to paint. And you’ll see the magic that was Vincent’s mind.

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Paris day & night

Who am I to talk and what am I to say of

Paris

that hasn’t already been said (or sung), many times over and many times better?

Honestly, I’m not feigning humility here.

I don’t know Paris well at all.

I only know that a corner of my heart belongs to her.

After leaving Berlin, we were to fly to Paris. We’d been to France once before – sort of a flukey thing – only 3 or 4 days – and all of it in Paris. Though our trip this time would be focused in Provence and Burgundy, how could we possibly fly over the city we first saw (and fell in love with) one lovely April? She had just a bit more color then, and a bit more sparkle (but in all fairness, so did I.)

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I’ll keep my words to a minimum here. (you doubt!) For this post, there will be mostly photos … with a few words, like herbs, tossed in for flavor…

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Our key to the city…

We arrived to our tiny (teeny!) room in the same hotel we stayed our first visit.We had to shoe-horn ourselves in, but it was so well-situated we couldn’t pass it up. Directly across the street, the lovely little church Sainte Germaine de Auxerrois. Kitty-corner from us, the Louvre, and only a few blocks away, the river Seine.

Out our open window, the church – just to the left, the Louvre

Ste. Germaine de Auxerrois – just after a wedding

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I lost my pants in Berlin.

Though that may sound as though there’s an exciting story to follow (and don’t I wish there were), there isn’t.

I failed to re-pack them and when I called the hotel, they were gone. I’d packed light for this trip. (Lighter than I’ve ever packed before.)  Priorities for me: everything for 3 weeks in one medium bag, with a little empty room to bring a few things back for family, and  (naturally) my camera gear. The pants I brought were pretty new and pretty wonderful. My evening dress-up pants.  I was pretty attached and pretty despondent when someone else decided she liked them too.

My Guinea Pig is a man you can always count on in a crisis. While my eyes were swelling with tears, he was already online, locating what would become my favorite place to shop for clothes, ever. If you ever get a chance, do meet agnes b. 

We’re walkers, my husband and I. When we travel our feet take us just about everywhere we go. And Paris is a wonderful city to see on foot!

walking past a culinary school,

imagining  for a moment, me in that window tenderly sprinkling cinnamon…

past fountains, statues, monuments – everywhere

walking along the river Seine…

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on the farm

Growing up, our grandfather (Big Papa) had a farm. Quite a large farm. It nearly encompassed the entire world for me as a kid…that and the woods behind our own house back in town. Most of the time Big Papa had a caretaker who looked after the farm property which was acres and acres of horse pasture, huge barns with hay lofts, tall silos filled with the sweet smell of fermenting hay, leather-scented tack rooms where saddles and horse blankets were hung, a milking barn that smelled like cottage cheese and cream, all kinds of old farm equipment, an old-time fire engine, a gas pump. You get the picture. There were woods there too, and sand banks where we’d play for hours on end. There were Shetland ponies and two big beautiful Pintos. A milking herd of sweet-faced Jerseys. A Brahma bull, just because he was fiercely fantastic. There were pea-brained guinea hens forever running from us, though they had no reason to. There were attics filled with beds and bunks, chenille bedspreads, old dressers and vanities with dusty mirrors. Old women’s clothes, men’s work boots. Old baby buggies. Indian blankets. The farm was a child’s paradise.

I was blessed to grow up free to roam. I explored for endless hours the woods out back, built forts with the guys. I believed there was a gang who roamed those woods. “The Dick and John Gang.” Mean as all get-out we were told, but we never met up with them. (I’m not sure anyone ever did.) I climbed water towers. I’d frequently ride my bike down to an old abandoned saw mill and investigate. I rode my horse, alone, and  fast  along sandy trails! (I was taught that I’d gone a step too far when I woke in the middle of the night with the express purpose of  driving my dad’s car down onto the beach nearby. The lights were on in the farm house when I returned. There was to be no sneaking back to bed. I think I was 12.)

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Seems to me that we’re each formed in good part by the experiences we had as children, the games we played,  the woods or yards or streets we roamed. There’s no question, the farm runs in my veins.

About three miles down the road from we live now is an old family farm. The city next to ours bought it from the Luscher family and it’s been turned into acres and acres of gardens for the community to share. This time of year the gardens are populated by brooms wearing clothes. You’ll see. I went there yesterday to breathe and wander. I thought I’d share a few photos of my time there.

Click on any one of the photos below to enlarge it, or by using the arrows you can flip through them all if you like.(Click on the little x in the left-hand corner to return to the post.) I hope you’ll enjoy a few minutes of peace in the gardens where the bees buzz and people quietly turn over the dirt and tend their tomatoes.

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