Gratitude: A Years Journey

Month 3-

May 27, 2017: Memorial Day weekend and a beautiful walk at Point Lobos. Each time I go there I’m amazed and delighted by the spectacular scenery. Today we had a lesson on the native birds from the enthusiastic docents, and was grateful for their knowledge and encouragement. We saw gorgeous hawks circling overhead. And many, many cormorants who seem to have their own community system whereby each must sit a full wings-spread distance away from the other. Great fun to see the harbor seals who have taken up residence in China Cove, especially a couple of babies playing just off the shore. The water is so clear that you can easily watch their graceful antics. Bright sunshine, crystal clear water, stunning landscape, impressive wildlife, and fresh late morning air. Gratitude for nature and the health to walk among it.

May 27, 2017: Point Lobos

May 28, 2017: Woke up this gray Sunday morning and watched the last two episodes of Billions season 2. Wow, what a fantastic show. Excellent writing and acting, I’ve always been a huge fan of Paul Giamotti and he is brilliant in this. The ending was great and especially love the music they used at the close, a song called Homecoming by Josh Ritter. Feeling grateful for top notch TV, music and the luxury of lounging in bed watching it on a Sunday morning. The afternoon included some wine tasting, and always grateful for a little extra fruit of the vine at a local wine tasting room. Followed by my boyfriend’s famous cheese plate and chocolate. Reminds me of the pick two question…wine, cheese, chocolate, if you could only keep one, which would it be? That’s easy for me, it’d be wine…but deep Gratitude for all three!

May 28, 2017: Chocolate Petals

May 29, 2017: Gratitude to be sharing our backyard with the cutest family of rabbits. They come out each evening around 7pm and nibble their way across the yard. I’m not sure what they are eating, but it is fun to watch them with the big ears and tiny white cotton tails. Looking at the symbolism of rabbits, …..And finally got around to packing for my trip to France today. Got it done pretty quickly and feeling grateful for the packing advice from my boyfriend…and for having that more or less behind me. Now one busy day ahead and then off to roam around the beautiful country French countryside for three weeks.

May 29, 2017: Backyard bunnies

May 30, 2017: Signed a lease for a new home to start late June, and feeling grateful for the various places I’ve been fortunate to call home the past couple of years. Since selling my home of many years, I’ve moved at least once per year. While that has it’s hassle factor, it also gives me the chance to experience a variety of different locations and houses, and keeps me from having to push my commitment phobia on home buying at the moment. The lease signing got me thinking about the place we currently call home and it’s many pros and cons. On balance it’s brought us mainly joy and I’ve been grateful to have been able to share it with new friends and communities. Home was the theme today and to cap it off, my beautiful partner made me a delicious and healthy home-cooked dinner. It was a lovely send-off for my upcoming trip. Compliments and gratitude to the cook!

May 30, 2017: Home Sweet Home

May 31, 2017: Time to head to Paris in solidarity with my brothers and sisters in France and around the world and in protest of our President and current administration. I’m grateful for the common sense to understand that climate change is real, isolationism is foolish, sad and backwards, and that we are all one and deeply linked whether we like it or not. I am not grateful in any way for what this President is doing to our country and the world and I a saddened for my friends who cannot see the impact. (Note:This is the first time in 2+ months that I have mentioned what I cannot be grateful for). Nevertheless, I am off on my next great adventure and Gratitude for that! I love air travel, and Air France provided a beautiful experience flying from SFO to CDG. Wonderful food, excellent and plentiful champagne and wines, comfortable seating, warm service, a decent sleep and nearly on time arrival. Air travel at it’s finest, always something to be grateful for!

May 31, 2017: SFO Runway

June 1, 2017: Lovely to be back in Paris. I’ve been here twice before (not counting a few stopovers at CDG). The first time was in 1978 on a family trip with my parents and sisters. Then again about 15 years ago with my two kids, then 9 and 12. As I saw spots we’d visited on that trip, had pangs of nostalgia for the company of those little one’s. Like my son remarking that the attic of Notre Dame cathedral didn’t look anything like in the Disney movie! Or lounging, nearly passed out, in the Georges Pompideau as we tried to fight off jet-lag. Today I’m here on my own and surprised at home comfortable and familiar it feels. If only I spoke French! A beautiful city, happy to be back. Oh, and happy anniversary to me dear parents. I truly hope you are enjoying a celebration together again, xoxo.

June 1, 2017: Paris from the air and on the Seine

June 2, 2017: Started today with a walking tour of Paris. I’ve done walking tours in other cities and consistently find it to be a very entertaining way to get oriented to a city or district. It also has something to do with the fact that my daughter refuses to get on a hop-on/hop-off bus tour, and I can’t say that I disagree. So with or without her, I opt for the walking tours whenever available and am always grateful for them. This one was called Hemingway’s Paris and focused on the Latin Quarter near to where I am staying. Our tour guide Chris, a delightful English gentleman, was a literal treasure trove of knowledge about the history of the area and Hemingway’s time living there. Much better than just walking around reading a guide book, and the chance to meet some fellow travelers. The tour was so good that I’ll do one in the Marais tomorrow. Lunch followed sitting in an outside cafe on a picturesque flower filled square. And honestly one of the best burgers I’ve ever eaten, paired suitably with a glass of Ruinart champagne :) A stroll that took me unexpectedly to the Luxembourg Gardens, magnificent…a concert at St Chappelle cathedral, a little more rose and champagne…more walking (Apple says I did over 8 miles today!). Overall a beautiful day and I was especially grateful to have the time to wander leisurely and sit quietly in parks and cafes while absorbing Paris.

June 2, 2017: St. Stephens Church, Pantheon and Midnight in paris steps

June 3, 2017: Feeling very grateful for the French, their amazing aesthetic, food, wine, and good sense to elect a progressive, sane individual as their President. I totally get their dis-interest in talking to me in English, and gratitude for all of those who kindly relent and support my poor linguistic skills. Found some outstanding chocolate, the best gluten free bread yet, a rainy and very fun boat ride on the Seine, and some good laughs with my sister on a late night walk to the Louvre Pyramid at midnight rounded out another beautiful day in Paris. I’m also very grateful for the non-smoking laws in most states in the US including NY and CA. While there is no smoking indoors in France, everyone is smoking in the outdoor cafes and terraces. The exposure to second-hand smoke is tough, but headed to the countryside soon to clear out my lungs and they will be thankful for the fresh air!

June 3, 2017: The Marais, Paris

June 4, 2017: Arrived in Giverny today, and it’s a trip deep into the path of beauty. Arrived at La Reserve, our home for the next six days, and it’s a little slice of heaven. A classic French country manor, relatively new and made almost entirely from reclaimed materials. Warm, homey, lovely, graceful, quiet…gratitude for the blessing of being able to inhabit this space for a few days. Valerie and Francois are our hosts, and an absolutely delightful couple. Tonight they made us a home cooked French meal consisting of a vegetable and goat cheese terrine, chicken provencal with roasted potatoes, and apple tart ala mode. And of course plenty of great French wine. I am so grateful to be here in the French countryside where I feel very much at home, for the experience in Monet’s Gardens that lies ahead, and to be sharing it with my sister. A long overdue sista’s trip…and even if we’ve had our share of sibling issues, gratitude for the love, learning and life my two have shared with me.

June 4, 2017: La Reserve, Giverny

June 5, 2017: Ancestry and family history was a theme today. It started with visits to two very gracious homes and gardens in the family of the Mallet’s of Varengeville-sur-Mer. The history of the family included ancestry that had invented Toile and had the second largest factory in France in the 1800’s as well as many artists and noteworthy garden designers. That evening my sister and I were lamenting we had not asked enough questions of our parents when we could, and so had little in the way of good stories to tell of our family history. Of course, the fact that our last name is Pear, and our mother’s maiden name was Citron, regardless of Ellis Island intervention, was interesting in and of itself. Coincidence or cosmic destiny? And it occurred to me that maybe we are the generation to insure that our future one’s have rich history to retell! While talking with one of the many lovely women that I am traveling with, the topic of ancestry and it’s link to religion came up. And made me think of my new moon wombans circles. As part of the ritual, we invoke our ancestry and express gratitude for the endless string of generations before us that led to that very moment in which we are participating. Stop and think for a brief moment about all they did so that we might be here. I have no doubt that many of their lives were not as comfortable or privileged as mine. So I, Stacey Lynn Pear, daughter of Adrienne Citron Pear, granddaughter of Eva Ponansky Citron and Laura Hollander Pear, express heartfelt thanks to them and all the generations of women (and men), who cam before them.

June 5, 2017: Varengeville-sur-Mer

June 6, 2017: Monet’s Garden, bright and early this morning, the time had finally arrived to enter this magical world. Through the garage door at 7am, art supplies in tow, ready to draw, photograph, maybe paint, excitement level high, and into brilliance. An explosion of color. Like walking through an impressionist painting. It took a while to settle down and take it all in, the abundance of flowers, the hardy bees busy at their work, gardeners with wheelbarrows full of new annuals, the iconic pink and green house, the pond rich with lily pads and awe inspiring reflections of foliage and sky. Later that day after a peaceful walk in the delightful town of Giverny, we re-entered the gardens after they closed to the public. It was time to take out my paints and give it a try. The water lilies were calling to me, open now and bright pink and pale yellow, so I chose a quiet spot on some steps leading to the water. And lost myself for an hour or two creating my impression of the pond with lily pads. Gratitude for the opportunity to be in this place, to feel a part of it and to create something for it. My work was pretty good, a little bit of beginners luck and also that I was relaxed about the outcome. I will likely tighten up again, the fear will set in, and I’ll try to remind myself not to worry about the outcome and be grateful for the journey…that’s what it’s all about.

June 6, 2017: Monet’s Gardens, Giverny

June 7, 2017: More painting in the garden at Giverny this morning followed by a beautiful breakfast. I’m always grateful for breakfast which is my favorite meal. Our gracious host Valerie puts out quite a spread including yogurt, fresh fruits, cheeses, meats, eggs, incredible jams and honey, and even a sweet selection of GF breads and granola. Haven’t eaten so much cheese in years and wow est-ce delicieux. Also never realized that most French cheeses are of the smelly variety! Spent time in the nearby village of Vernon, lot’s of cool medieval architecture and the Collegiale Notre-Dave de Vernon with some of the most spectacular stained glass windows I’ve ever seen. Starting to feel gratitude for the art that churches have made available to us. I never liked to visit churches when traveling, but have developed and appreciation for the sights and sounds they provide. This one has a long bell ringing at noon and we were lucky enough to be there at exactly the right time. Deep and resonating, standing just outside on a narrow cobblestone street listening, you could feel them vibrating through you and it was moving. The granduer, emotional and sensory experience that religion taps into with sight, sound, feel, even smell has become very interesting to me. Starting to get it’s appeal, especially back in a drearier day. Then on to the artist Bonnard’s home, lovely, modest and with a beautiful view. It’s fun to feel like I am in art…a Bonnard, in Monet’s gardens, along the Normandy coast. It all feels very comfortable and I’m grateful for the experience and for these extraordinary artists who have given the world more than they ever knew in their lifetimes. Merci beaucoup.

June 7, 2017: Vernon, FR

June 8, 2017: Woke up feeling very tired, finally hit that burning both ends of the candle vacation wall. Slept in a bit and spent a little alone time. Took a long, vigorous walk through the wheat fields, watched the poppies blowing in the breeze, the clouds looking like a beautiful watercolor painting, and felt glorious peace and stillness. Walking is not only exercise for me, but a form of mediation which always brings brings me clarity and deep gratitude. Worries drift away and I’m filled with inner stillness and peace. Today, one of my favorite lyrics kept going through my head…”you can’t always get what you want, but if you try real hard, you get what you need”. I’d been feeling a twinge of guilt for separating from the group and itinerary for the morning, but my head was cleared and I am grateful for the little bit of self love that I gave to myself this morning.

June 8, 2017: Field of poppies, Giverny

June 9, 2017: Today was all about bees. From early morning in the gardens till early evening, I was mesmerized watching them busily go about their important work of pollination. Five or six at a time in a single flower, these seemed like the healthiest bees that I had ever seen. I learned that one in every three bites of food we take is dependent on bees, and remembered hearing that we have an issue with diminishing quantities of bees in the US. Gratitude to you busy, little creatures. Love to learn more about the Apis, of which there are 20,000 varieties and see how I can create a bee friendly garden of my own. The day concluded with an absolutely beautiful farewell dinner at La Reserve, home-cooked again by our gracious host Valery. Gazpacho with parmesan cracker, pork in a curry sauce and for me a lovely GF plum tart. Plus plenty of French champagne, wine of all flavors and calvados to cap it off. J’adore le francais.

June 9, 2017: Bees in a Pink Poppy

June 10, 2017: Said adieu to Giverny, La Reserve and the beautiful, talented group of women whose company I had the pleasure to share this past week. Sad to leave and hoping to return soon, but very grateful for the extraordinary experience! Back to Paris to meet up with brother-in-law, Jeff and then a train ride to Provence. The TGV in Europe is fantastic, 689 kilometers (428 miles) in 2.5 hours, traveling at 175+ mph and a smooth and comfortable ride. Gratitude for the European train technology and hoping they can bring a little of that over to the US. Let’s spend our money on that instead of an inane border wall! The strongest sense of gratitude today is for family, our need for which is often over-looked and under-appreciated. Traveling with my sister has been a joy. We realized that this is the first time we’ve left the country together since we were in our early twenties. So comfortable in her company and the depth of shared history and experience really adds something unique to the experience. There is still no one else that can make me laugh so hysterically. We get ourselves to a state where we just look at each other and burst out laughing! Gratitude little sis for the company and love. And great fun to be traveling with my brother-in-law. We had a magical dinner in the courtyard of our hotel in a Mas (I believe that means an old country farm house). Tomato trio including the most amazing tomato macaron with mozzarella cream center, fillet mignon, cheese, strawberry sorbet, great red wine and plenty of laughs. La Famille est tres bien!

June 10, 2017: Giverny, FR

June 11, 2017: Abundant sunshine, warmth and the brilliant light and colors of Provence are something to be grateful for. Coming from the cool and often foggy client of Carmel, I’m loving the heat and the ability to wear true summer clothing. Sleeveless dresses, sandals, light linens, and very little of anything, even late at night while dining outside. And the famous colors of the area bring joy to the eye. Pale cream colored buildings with shutters, gates, and accents in many shades of pale and medium blue, washed out greens, earthy reds and cool shades of gray. My first Provencal market, Sunday at L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue, was a plethora of antiques, collectibles, clothing, linens, and foods. Blocks and blocks of browsing along the river yielded a very interesting plate, a skirt and two lacy scarves. Lunch along the river was a delightful vegetarian salad plate with a fruity rose. I was grateful for the kind proprietress who made room for us in the fresh air and kept me from ordering too much wine when my metric skills failed me. On to St. Paul de Mausole Monastery, where Vincent Van Gogh went to recover his sanity after cutting off part of his ear in a maniac depressive state. So interesting to see where he had lived and painted hundreds of his many paintings (over 2000 in a 10 year span). Feeling sadness for him, his illness, unhappy life and lack of recognition during his lifetime, and gratitude for the good fortune to have a relatively stable mind. His work has given so much pleasure, joy and income to so many since his death, and sad that he did not live to see it. I hope that VVG is watching from above and enjoying the acceptance and love of all of us!

June 11, 2017: L’Isle sur la Sorgue

June 12, 2017: Les Baux, what a beautiful gem of a town in Les Apilles. Built with limestone in medieval days, it’s still a vibrant, if ancient, little town. Mainly catering to tourists, but also groups of school children learning history by visiting it. What a different experience it must be to grow up among such history, the aging structures that serve as concrete reminders of our ancestors. It is peaceful and extraordinarily beautiful, and I am grateful for the reminder of the many modern conveniences that we take all too for-granted. The convenience of easy mobility, long-distance travel to see these wonderful places beyond our own, abundance of all things, healthcare, freedom of choice, and relative freedom from strife and attacking armies who arrive with cannons and ramming devices to break down our castle walls. A very busy day that ultimately brought us to the Bastide de Capelonge. A gorgeous refuge in the Luberon, complete with a luxurious pool to cool off from the 90 degree heat. A great hotel is one of my favorite pleasures, and this one has it all. Gratitude to Ed0uard Loubert for a lovely property, delicious food and a wonderful dining experience.

June 12, 2017: Bastide de Capelonge, Bonnieux

June 13, 2017: Woke up in my gorgeous little room with a view. Looking out over the landscape of Provence to the castle of Bonnieux in the distance, made me feel like a princess and brought joy to my heart from early morning. Got to see some beautiful fields of lavender and grateful for their calming scent and beautiful purple colors. And especially happy to spend a long and very quiet afternoon into evening by the pool. Writing, swimming, drawing, drinking rose, and good conversation. Taking in the gorgeous scenery, the warm breeze, delicate scents of rose, lavender and rosemary…an afternoon to make me feel gratitude for just about everything and a reminder never to lose sight of the simple and pure gift of life.

June 13, 2017: Morning view in Bonnieux
June 13, 2017: Gordes

June 14, 2017: Off to Marseilles to pick up Sam and explore the Mediterranean coast. So good to see her come sauntering out of the terminal, and so grateful to have her as my daughter. She has a calm, chill, easy-going demeanor that I admire and cherish! Went to Cassis which is a delightful seaside town, the Hamptons of Provence, for lunch. Fresh, simply grilled fish with excellent aubergine and then off to Aix en Provence for a couple of nights. Aix is described as the left bank of Provence, and it is a slightly scruffy, artsy city where Cezanne lived for much of his life. Very, very hot here and we’re told that it’s July weather in June. I think by the time I get home to Carmel I’ll be grateful for the cooler temperatures and maybe even the fog.

June 14, 2017: Cassis

June 15, 2017: Market day in Aix, and I’ve never met a market that I didn’t like. Bought a shirt and some linen napkins. The napkins are similar to the one’s used at Bastide de Capelonge and I’m thinking it will be fun to use them at home. Wandered into a cool little shop called Pastisserie owned by a sweet young couple making Artisanal pastis. I had never tasted it before, and they were generous in their tasting offerings. Bought a bottle to bring home and Sam had the good thought to ask them for dinner recommendations. They sent us to Mitch, a restaurant very tiny in size and very large on service. My brother-in-law asked for a vodka with grapefruit juice and lime. They had neither the juice or the lime, but offered to make it anyway. We saw Mitch, the owner head out to the market half a block away and discreetly attempt to bring the goods back into the restaurant without being noticed. We did notice and were very grateful for his care and the amazing service that he provides. We can see why, as he told us, everyone in Aix knows Mitch.

June 15, 2017: Aix en Provence

June 16, 2017: Today was extraordinary. Sam had arranged for a couple of winery tours through the distributors that import the wines from the region. We rented a car, and drove way out of our usual box into a world of beauty, history and depth. I was so struck by the pervading sense of rootedness and dedication to family and craft. We met a ninth generation winemaker whose family had been making the same type of wine, on the same grounds,for over 250 years and are a pinnacle of Provencal wines. This young man was raised among the vines, studied viniculture extensively, and has now returned to Bandol to continue the family tradition. He is keen on both delivering the next great vintage of their wine tradition, while expressing his own creativity and experimenting with new twists on his art and craft. After a leisurely visit to the coastal town of Bandol for salads and glace, we moved on to Pradet and the second visit. Again, over 200 years of grape growing and winemaking by generation after generation. It was interesting that where the vineyard passed from father to daughter, the daughters husband would become the winemaker, though it is clear that the enterprise is as much a way of life as a business. Neither of these wineries is open to the public, and such gratitude to Sam for planning this wonderful excursion off the grid, the importers for arranging and the families of Pradeaux and Clos Cibonne for opening their homes and their worlds to us. At the end, the new generation winemaker, Olivier, offered us each a bottle of their beautiful rose as un cadeau (a gift), and I will cherish it with much gratitude. Wishing both wine families many more years of fruitfulness and joy among their vines.

June 16, 2017: Chateau Pradeaux, Bandol
June 16, 2017: Beach, Bandol

June 17, 2017: A delightful, if super hot, day in Cagnes sur Mer. A medieval town on a hill, beautiful and one of so many dotted throughout the landscape of Provence. This one has a castle at the top, gorgeous old buildings covered with jasmine, bougainvillea, ivy, passion flowers and other colorful flowering climbers. Spent the morning on a leisurely stroll through the village, with Sam, Lisa, Jeff and my niece Jackie who joined us from Berlin last night. Great fun to all be together and watch our traveling troupe grow as one-by-one family members joined us. Lunch was a fabulous aubergine parmesan, gratitude for the chef who concocted this delicious GF version. Then a visit to Renoir’s home, where he lived and painted for the latter part of his life on an olive farm. Learned that he had terrible arthritis, but continued to paint through his pain with brushes tied to his hands. Grateful for his passion, perseverance, and the beautiful works that he left us. It struck me that Sam would be a perfect Renoir model. Our guide talked about the quality of skin that the artist preferred in his models, pure white and reflective of the colors of light, I could see her in his paintings. Gratitude for my beauty who reflects light from within and without.

June 17, 2017: Ladies in Hats, Renoir’s home, Cagnes-sur-Mer

June 18, 2017: Father’s Day today and thinking of my Dad. He was such a funny, out-going, spirited and open-hearted guy, in many ways I feel that I didn’t really get to know him as an adult, and wish I’d spent more time with him after leaving home. But who ever thought he’d go so soon, though ironically people often commented that he was so youthful that they couldn’t imagine him getting. So sorry that he had to leave us way too early, but grateful for his spirit, love and the many gifts that he instilled in me. Visited the Maeght Foundation in St. Paul de Vence today and it reminded me of visits to art museums and the Barne’s Foundation with my dad. He was very curious and loved an excursion, and I guess you could say he was the first to take me touring. On the few family trips that I can remember, we’d arrive to a hotel, in Niagara Falls for example, my mother would be worn out from traveling with us three kids and would head to take a bath. At the time I thought that’s what adult women do when they get to a cool place! My father would take us out to see the local sights, boat rides under the falls, cable cars over the falls, learning about barrel riders trying to cross the falls. He was a lot of fun to travel with, as was my mother many years later when we were grown and she was over the bath thing. This evening Sam and I had a beautiful dinner under a tree in St. Paul de Vence, another ancient and beautiful hillside town where we arrived today. While dining, we had the happy coincidence to run into my friend Liz who had led the painting workshop in Monet’s Garden, and her two friends Melany and Duncan. Feeling much gratitude for Liz’s brilliance, inspiring friends in my life, the deep bond with Sam and opportunity to share wonderful travel experiences with her, my parents, life…joie de vivre!

June 18, 2017: Foundation Maeght, St. Paul de Vence

June 19, 2017: Our plan for today was to sleep in, then spend as much of the day as possible over a pastis or wine in a shady cafe. And that’s pretty much how it went down. An excellent sleep in our Air BnB owned by Florence and Jean Louis. It was a lovely and quiet space at the top of a winding staircase over their galerie des artistes. Good, long sleep and then buckwheat crepes at a tiny shop around the corner. A little shopping and suddenly we were heading into La Colombe D’or, a famous hotel and restaurant which was the haunt of many artists over the years including Picasso, Braque, Leger and Calder. The night before we were told there was no chance to get a table that evening or the next. But as we walked by at lunchtime today, we thought we’d stop in for a drink in the tiny, art filled bar. And by happy accident, we spent the next three hours lazing in the bar and then over lunch in their fabulous garden and finally a relaxed stroll through the building to see the art offered up over the years as payment for lodging by the artists who shared our love of the ethos of this magical place. Feeling good karma everywhere and grateful for it. The beautiful vibes continued with dinner in the garden of a Michelin starred chefs home. A family affair, cooked with heart and soul, and one of the most interesting meals I’ve ever had, including herbs and vegetables picked from the garden surrounding us. An intoxicating experience in so many ways, what a day to remember.

June 19, 2017: Pastis with Picasso, La Colombe D’or, St. Paul de Vence
June 19, 2017: Cuisine, Vence

June 20, 2017: Traveling back to Paris today, to give Sam a glimpse of the city she had only been to once before at the age of 12. Many things today to complain about…the stress of air travel, sitting on the runway for 45 minutes while they fixed the jetway, nearly 100 degrees in Paris, and air-conditioning not working in our room (fun getting showering and dressing while the technician took our room half apart). What got us through it all and made it a beautiful and fun day? Laughter! And there was so much to laugh about, especially the sweat literally dripping off of us through a wonderful dinner at Au Passage in the 11th. I was sliding off the seat, and experiencing hot flashes with each new glass of wine. Never quite experience anything like it and grateful for every minute. Always see the humor, never stop laughing, be curious, cherish the moment.

June 20, 2017: Saint Paul de Vence

June 21, 2017: Well, after three glorious, rich and inspiring (if HOT) weeks in France, it’s time to head home. I’m incredibly grateful to have the time and resources to have been able to make this trip. Grateful for all the people that I shared the experience with, my sister Lisa, dear friend Lizzie, the entire group of beautiful women in our painting group at Giverny, my brother-in-law Jeff, niece Jackie and of course my extraordinary daugher Sam. Sad to be leaving it all behind, but truly enriched and bringing so much back with me (physically and spiritually!). Of course the travels home are never that much fun. My two flights delightful and timely, but the stress and aggravation of the process made it a long and exhausting 22 hour journey. I really enjoyed seeing some beautiful sights of the earth from high up above, ice floating in the Atlantic, amazing almost paintbox like colors of the Great Salt Lake, deep green lakes in the Rockies, and the now turned golden hills of the Bay area as we approached San Jose. Grateful to finally be home and able to lay my body down in a comfy and quiet bed. Until the next time beautiful France, I will miss all your wonderfulness.

June 21, 2017: Salt Lake City from the air

June 22, 2017: Oh the spacey joys of jet lag. A little too tired to write much today. But must say that I am feeling much gratitude for a decent nights sleep, piles of clean laundry and my bodies stamina and ability to bounce back pretty damn quickly! A lovely evening catching up with my friend Lori and enjoying a foggy evening watching the sheep from the deck of the Mission Ranch. Home sweet home!

June 22, 2017: Mission Ranch, Carmel

June 23, 2017: Still pretty foggy, and with a continuing sense of gratitude both for the amazing journey that I was so very fortunate to be able to experience in France, and for the comfort and joy of being home. Today the joys of home were deepened with Franz’s return form Socal and so wonderful to see him after three and a half weeks. So true what they say about absence making the heart grow fonder. Wouldn’t want to be apart for so long too often, and grateful that we have the strength of relationship to love each other and also feel comfortable being apart. And that I have a mate who supports my wanderlust! Also had my first meeting with my CASA kids today and was so impressed by them. Grateful to be able to contribute to such a wonderful organization and these kids who deserve all the love and support they can get.

June 23, 2017: Memories of Monet, Giverny

June 24, 2017: Stopped in to see the house where we’ll be moving to in a few days. It’s very nice, spacious, clean, relatively modern, nice gardens and a beautiful horizon view of the ocean on a clear day. Feeling grateful for the time we spent in our current place, which despite some not insignificant issues, was a pleasant place to spend the past nine months. And even more gratitude to have an appealing place to move into, I’d even say it’s an upgrade. We’ve ultimately been lucky on the rental front for Carmel, and I’m hoping this is our last move before we can find a permanent place to call home. Also got me thinking about Monet’s beautiful, funky and fun home in Giverny. Pink and green exterior, yellow and blue interiors, and more flowers than you could ever imagine. They say home is where the heart is and that’s especially true when you pour your heart into it’s creation and curation. A beautiful day all around, some good Mexican food for dinner, and early to bed as the jet lag has me dragging by 10pm.

June 24, 2017: Chez Monet, Giverny

June 25, 2017: Today was an absolutely glorious day. I’d say it was a top 10 California day! From early morning to late evening, bright blue skies and not a cloud in them. Warm enough to wear summery clothes, and grateful to feel the the soft caress of a warm, gentle breeze. A typical Sunday, house-hunting followed by wine at Folktale, one of our favorite winery hangouts. This afternoon we went for a glass each, hoping to avoid the blotto state that we usually feel after a full tasting flight. We enjoyed talking with two stranger couples who sat across from us, one after the other, and sharing stories of Georgia, Carmel, Florida, Syracuse, scuba diving and other random experiences we had in common. I enjoy helping tourists plan their time in Carmel wisely and was grateful to be able to share suggestions with these two lovely couples. Tourism, adventure, culinary delights, beyond the comfort zone, beauty…and still dreaming of Giverny and water lilies!

June 25, 2017: Monet’s Water Garden, Giverny

June 26, 2017: Slowly getting back into my normal routine and had a great walk this morning. While walking I was thinking about how much I want to create a beautiful garden for all, especially bees, to enjoy. Maybe that will be a personal garden, and maybe it will mean contributing to an existing public garden. Nature is the true path of beauty and the salve for our souls. It should probably be mandatory that each person give back to mother nature in some way. We can at least honor her! Gratitude to you pacha mama, thank you for your healing, nurturing, nourishing gifts. And tonight, so enjoyed a simple dinner with friends after a long day of packing. Beautiful conversation and company!

June 26, 2017: Carmel Mission gardens