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Eclipse 2017: Heading to the Path of Totality

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the things you see on a road trip to the totality
Are you in the Path of Totality? Excited to see the eclipse? No matter where you are in the country, you'll see some part of the eclipse on Monday. Mark and I headed north from Los Angeles, hoping to see the whole dang thing. Which is why I totally forgot to write my weekly British Isles Friday post! Sorry fellow followers of Joy Weese Moll's Friday meme.

A couple of months ago, we thought it would be kind of awesome to get out to see the eclipse from somewhere along the Path of Totality. Idaho or Oregon, both about two long day's drives from L.A. It took about 60 seconds to learn most people had that idea months and even years ago. People are coming from all over the world to see the eclipse. Hotels, campsites have been booked for eons, what remains are prices jacked up to the clouds. 


We decided to leave early, drive through Oregon which is in the path, into Washington (which isn't) and go back into Oregon on Sunday or …

Dreaming of France: Love

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It's that time of the week when I usually share a French-themed post for Paulita's Dreaming of France meme. I didn't prepare a post in advance and the events in Charlottesville were so disturbing, I found it hard to do anything this weekend. 


In my opinion Robert E. Lee's statue could be allowed to stand BUT only if alongside the statue, there was a large granite monument detailing the racism and hatred it represents. I don't think we should be allowed to whitewash and forget our shameful history. That's more important than ever now that an American citizen has been killed by Nazis here on American soil. On that same granite memorial I'd propose a tribute to Heather Heyer who died standing up to hate. 

That being said, these two photos with the word love•• painted on the wall are two of my favorite shots from our recent trip. Both found in Paris, on brighter days. 

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Bridget Jones Diary. On location in London. #BriFri

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I just found British Isles Friday post which I shared over on Chapter1-Take1.com directly from London when my hubby and I visited in May. I'm not sure what happened, whether I lost my connection or just forgot to share it with my fellow Anglophiles following Joy Weese Moll's British Isles Friday meme. I'm making up for that now, adding some additional photos from Borough Market where Bridget Jones flat was actually above the Globe Tavern.



No matter how we felt about the sequels, we all fell in love with Bridget in Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones Diary. Most of us saw a bit of ourselves in her, whether it was the overeating, over-imbibing misfit or the plucky lost girl who refused to give up, her honesty about her own flaws and foibles helped us laugh at ourselves. Rene Zellweger with her brave British accent channeled Bridget’s flirty spirit.


Hidden under the arches of London Bridge at the Globe Tavern in Borough Market is the flat where Bridget lived. I'm not sure if thi…

Dreaming of France: Notre Dame

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When we were in Paris in early May—before the height of the season—my husband waited in the long line to see the inside of Notre Dame while I took pictures of a couple getting their wedding photos taken. 

It turned out the line looked longer than it was and after just a few minutes were able to go inside. It's no secret that Notre Dame is stunning and we both got our cameras out and started shooting before hunting down the passageway that led to the tower stairs. I'd climbed the tower stairs to the top on my last trip to Paris many many years earlier and while my husband isn't a huge fan of heights he agreed to do the climb with me. We went earlyish in the day so we weren't too wiped out from walking.

My recollection from the last time I'd been here—in 1989—was that there was a small arched entry near the back of the cathedral. We couldn't find it anywhere so we asked the woman manning the souvenir counter inside. What I didn't realize was that there was a wh…

Above Ground on the London Underground: Back to Piccadilly Circus

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One of the places I was most looking forward to seeing in London was Piccadilly Circus. I'd written about here for the Above Ground on the London Underground tour in 7 Things You Need to Know about Piccadilly Circus and touched on it in From the Ritz to Piccadilly Circus. I was excited to show the Circus to my husband, telling him we needed to save it for one of our nighttime activities. All those amazing advertising billboards had to be seen lit up at night.
Piccadilly Circus: The patchwork screens are being switched off and will be replaced with a mega screen in the Autu… https://t.co/NBdQZGvP2O — City A.M. (@CityAM) January 16, 2017





Little did I know that the lighted patchwork Piccadilly is famous for is undergoing a change. The existing patchwork was taken down this spring and will be replaced by one large screen. In the meantime, this temporary fix looked large but ordinary, paper adverts lit up from above, not from behind. 

Of course the Circus is still a major tourist attract…

Some Sunny Day

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Enid Maude Good (nee Hayden) 7/30/1925—4/22/2012
My parents both had birthdays this week. I suppose would have had is more grammatically correct. My mother would have been ninety if Alzheimer's hadn't taken its final toll in 2012. My dad might have made it to one hundred but for the liver disease that took him out over twenty years ago.

My mother was born in London; she was fourteen when World War II broke out. Accompanying her two younger brothers, she was one of the millions of British children the government sent to the English countryside to shield them from the blitz. Miserable, she returned home and went to work as a clippie on the iconic red double-decker buses. She loved running up and down those stairs, taking money, making change. Making it home before curfew, diving under the Morrison bed when the bomb sirens squealed. Dating Yank soldiers stationed in the UK. Later, working at a munitions factor, she had to wrap up her hair so it didn't get caught in the works…

Happy Birthday Daddy-o

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Happy Birthday Dad!

Gosh, you're looking as handsome as ever. I always did think you looked like a movie star and here you are in this sepia tint print as suave and debonair as David Niven. An officer and a gentleman, immortalized at age 26. Twenty six! Don't be offended if I say you looked older, that's the way it was back then. It's only these days, with fewer responsibilities on our shoulders, that we try to look like kids for as long as possible. 

You left home in England at seventeen, lived in Egypt, danced the night away in Alexandria and told us you tried 'hashish' in an Egyptian bath but didn't feel a thing. We didn't believe you, by the way, you know that right? By the time you enlisted to fight for England in World War II you spoke Arabic, French and Italian fluently. Imagine! A boy from Preston in the North of England teaching himself to speak Arabic. No wonder you served in the North African campaign. 

You'd be 102 today, if you'd lived…

Dreaming of France: Paris doors

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There's something about Paris. #ilovedoors#doors#doorsandwindows#doorsofinstagramhttps://t.co/Qz3uiQU1us — Chapter1-Take1 (@simcarter) July 24, 2017
I don't know why but even with the ugliness on the left side of the image, there really is something beautiful about French doors. Amateur photogs like me try and capture the feeling on our iPhones, posting our images on our Instagram feeds but there's a world of amazing photographers who really know how to put the magic of Parisian doors in a picture. Luckily for those of us who can't get to Paris as often as others, they share their stunning images online and in gorgeous books that have us drooling. 

One of my favorites


Doors of Paris: A Photo Essay
Photographer Rebecca Plotnick has some stunning doors on her blog.


Do you share my love of doors, especially French doors? 
There are instagram accounts devoted to nothing but doors. Just plug in #doors and see what comes up. While I'm equally obsessed with doors I'm not…

Baker Street Station—Sherlock Holmes was there

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Baker Street Station The main thing my husband wanted to see in London was London ... as Sherlock Holmes saw it. So our first move, like any fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creation was to take a double decker bus to Baker Street. As it turns out I read the map upside down or sideways or maybe it was backwards but we found ourselves in Putney at the bridge. Very much in the wrong direction. Over half an hour by car, which we didn't have. We wound up taking the tube back in the right direction which delivered us to the Baker Street Station. The station is one of the original stations opened when the Metropolitan Railway—the world's first underground railway—was built in 1863.  While we don't immediately think of Sherlock dashing out on the tube, he very well could have and in fact the rail, train etc is alluded to in several dozen Sherlock stories.

The Baker Street station is situated on the very block where Sherlock lived at 221B Baker Street. Or should I say the fict…

Dreaming of France: Evening in Paris

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When we were in Paris this past May we stayed in the Saint Germain des Pris at the weirdly named Welcome Hotel. Despite the generic moniker—which to my mind sounds like a youth hostel with cots, bathrooms in the hall and community rooms with pingpong tables and tvs—the hotel was charming, clean & comfortable. 

It was small but super affordable and in an fantastic location, just a couple of blocks from Les Deux Magots, Cafe Flore and Brasserie Lipp, the places Hemingway and all the other expatriot glitteratis hung out, along with artists like Picasso and intellectuals like Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Bouvoir and Camus. John Dos Passos, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein. All the folks we saw in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.

We could have taken the metro which was also just two blocks from our hotel but since we were a ten minute walk from the Seine, we decided to spend our first night taking a nice long walk along the river, all the way to the Eiffel Tower. It took about an h…

That Thing We Did: We’re ready for our close-up, Mr. Hanks

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My boy and me on the set of That Thing You Do with Tom Everett Scott, 1995





“What size?” the wardrobe assistant asked, rifling through a garment rack full of pointy white cotton bras and silky slips, a measuring tape hanging from her neck. I was suddenly acutely aware of the line of women behind me, waiting to pick up their own period-perfect brassieres for the filming of Tom Hank’s directorial debut, That Thing You Do. I briefly debated tying that tape tightly around the wardrobe woman’s neck.

“34?” It came out as barely a squeak. Even with the additional plumpness that comes with motherhood, my breasts would never be called knockers.

She gave me a quick glance, and without asking my cup size, handed me something white and institutional looking — they were all white and institutional looking—the kind of serviceable bra I would have worn myself when I was a teenager in the sixties. 

“I don’t want to wear someone else’s bra. Can’t we just wear our own stuff?” a young brunette behind me in l…

Happy Fourth of July! [Joyeux Jour de l'Indépendance???]

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It was May 27th. It wasn't Bastille Day—that French fete is coming up on July 14th. It wasn't the national Fete de Musique, that happens on June 21st. And it definitely wasn't the fourth of July. Still, for some reason, on May 27th, our last night in the small beach community of Saint Raphael, the town was putting on a feu d'artifices to rival any Independence Day celebration.



My hubby Mark and I had enjoyed one last day down on the sandy beach, taking a couple of quick dunks in the mediterranean and then strolled back along the promenade, looking once more for souvenirs from the south of France. 


We stopped at Spar, the small convenience store where we found ourselves shopping every day for sunscreen and shampoo, beach mats and beer. We picked up one more package of the sesame seed biscuits we'd grown incredibly fond of over the last few days for the road. My husband had his little chat with the pretty young blonde cashier who complimented him on his French. Really …