Happy New Year !

January 1, 2016

Happy New Year to you, Bonne et Heureuse Année, Buon Anno.DSC01323

May the mosaic of your days flow smoothly and nicely as these colorful marble patterns on the beautiful floor of Santa Anastasia Church (XIIIth century) in Verona, Italy. All different and bringing joys, sometimes challenges but always hope.

chair 2

I think there is one thing that I could wish to everyone, in every language and in every country of the world and that is   P E A C E,  as written on this armchair.

PEACE  to you and yours and many other people here and there.

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Hello dear readers and friends,

Just sending you my best wishes for the New Year  and letting you know of a new photography assignment for all those who would like to participate. This mosaic shows you the thoughts that immediately came to mind as I looked around my wintery landscape.

Scott Thomas’ first photography assignment this year is about Winter. His question is :

“What does Winter mean to you ?

You will find alll information about this new challenge on Scott Thomas’ blog here :

http://viewsinfinitum.com/2013/01/09/assignment-23-winter/

Deadline for this assignment is January 23rd, 2013.

My contribution will come soooon !

Thanksgiving

November 22, 2012

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all, here and there, who are celebrating and sharing !

Thanksgiving
The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest all is gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.

Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway —
Thanksgiving comes again!
Old Rhyme.

Wishing you a beautiful day !

Peace, Love, Good Health and Joy.

Isabelle

White and more

March 11, 2012

Hello Dear you all,

As I just wrote in my previous post, it felt so good to find your warm thoughts and messages  as I came back home. Thank you so much for your visits, encouraging comments and good wishes, it really meant a lot to me. I feel much better and slowly but surely all my energy will come back.  As I left home, snow was falling heavily behind this window you know well by now.

Today there is still some snow around but the sun is brighter on nature green patches. I like to think that Spring is not far and that all sorts of colours will spread over our  Winter landscape.

Colours are everywhere though  even in hospitals where white used to be the norm. I tried to catch a few of them to share with you.All day long the light changes and brings out colourful details on a wardrobe or on a bouquet of flowers. Behind the curtain the evening lights look like stars and I loved to look at the houses nearby in the  soft early morning shades. Then there is this bright small lamp, companion of some sleepless nights.The lamp and the book. An interesting story and one I enjoyed reading. The story – based on true facts – takes place during  WWII when some American pilots had their planes shot down by the ennemy. Many of them died. Some  men parachuted over French Occupied territory and were lucky to be saved by members of the French Résistance (partisans). Dangerous days, weeks and months awaited all those involved in the rescue of the Allied soldiers, including the pilots themselves, of course. This book kept me awake for many hours until a nurse would check on me and say : “Now you must sleep !” But then during the day, she would ask me : “How is the story going on ?” 😉

There were quite a lot of emails waiting for me on my PC. One of them was from Scott Thomas at Views Infinitum.

The good news was that a new photography challenge has been assigned by Scott Thomas.  The subject is one I look forward to working on : Abstract Photography.

Maybe you would like to participate too ?  Please do. Deadline is March 21st, 2012.  All details are explained here :

http://viewsinfinitum.com/2012/03/07/assignment-18-abstract-photography/

A little “thank you gift” for  your thoughtfulness for me :Pour toi, for you, a choco heart !

Happy Easter

April 24, 2011

Wishing you all a Happy  Easter weekend, sunny Spring days !

Easter and eggs seem to be closely related.

Earlier on, the egg was a symbol of the earth because of its shape. Also associated with the beginning of life, it has been a symbol of fertility, rebirth and the cycle of life.

For Christians in Europe, eggs became a symbol of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus. In the past, Christians gave up eggs for Lent (the 40 days before Easter when it’s customary to give up different types of food). But even though people didn’t eat them, the hens kept laying them! So people would hard boil and decorate them. This would help preserve them longer and serve as part of the holiday festivities.

At the Jewish Passover holiday (in Spring) the egg is placed on the Seder plate and is a symbol of sacrifice and loss. For some though  it also symbolizes the full cycle of life, and therefore hope and rebirth.

In China, red eggs are given out at the one month birthday of a new baby. It’s customary to hold a Red Egg and Ginger Party at this time. Once again, the source seems to be the egg’s role as a symbol of fertility and the beginning of life.

The egg is a wonderful symbol of birth, renewal and rebirth. This is something wonderful to consider as Springtime has arrived in the Northern hemisphere, where the Earth is coming back to life !

Thank you to “Mama Lisa” on http://www.mamalisa.com/blog/ for sharing such great information and much more on  her wonderful blog.

Here is a poem about Easter eggs that I enjoyed reading in this blog : http://www.tastearts.com/egg-poem-easter-eggs-by-addison-erwin-sheldon/  I hope you will too 🙂

A REMINISCENCE
Seems to me like yesterday:—
Walkin’ down the beaten path,
Where the autumn aftermath
Glistened with the April wet,
Tryin’ to look green and yet
Kind of limp and lonesome lay.

Gettin’ long toward Easter time;
Days the city folks calls Lent,—
Little that we cared or spent
What they called it, prose or rhyme,
More than twenty years ago,—
Me and my old playmate Joe;
Back in dear old Yucatan
Township, where Root River ran.

What we cared fur was the wood
Filled with flowing maple sap,
And the bluff above the gap
Where the Mississippi’s flood,—
Floating many a steamboat craft,
Many a Chippewa forest raft,—
Met our boyish gaze and curled
Round the bend into the world.

Then the mill-pond and the dam;—
Spearing red horse in the race;
And below our swimming-place
Was a cave where Turkey Sam
Shot and killed a hungry bear—
Oftentimes we’d go and peer
In about the rocks and stones
Looking for dead Injuns’ bones
While our hearts felt awful queer.

But about them Easter eggs—
We had fixed it—Joe and I,—
Talked it over on the sly,
Makin’ tops and mumble-pegs;
Playin’ marble and high spy;—
Next time Easter day come round
We would know where eggs was found;
Many a jocund, boyish boast,
‘Bout the eggs we’d have to roast
Over in the poplar grove
Just this side of Knox’s cove—
Then there’d be a big surprise:—
When we’d from our hidden store
Bring our Easter eggs galore
How the folks would bug their eyes!

I remember ‘long in March,
Mild and early was the spring.
Say, how them old hens did sing!
How the folks for eggs would search.
Mother couldn’t understand—
Fed ‘em table scraps and meat —
Combs was red and slick and neat,
Cackle, and they’d kick the sand
Through their feathers with their feet.

Joe and I — we understood, —
Playin’ ’round the old barnyard,
Watched them old hens weasel hard
Tryin’ to hide away and brood;
Every secret cleft and nook, —
Underneath the horses’ stall,
High up on the smoke house wall,
Knowed ‘em better than a book; —
Out beside the pile o’ rails,
In the tool house by the nails, —
Where a hen could crawl or fly,
We went after, — Joe and I.

Then to make a hiding place,
In the corner of a stack,
Lay a weatherbeaten rack —
Crawled beneath it on our face
With a forked, crooked pole
Worked and twisted through the straw,
Roughest work I ever saw;
Made a long and narrow hole,
Then by twisting round and round,
Dug a nest close to the ground.

In it went our Easter eggs:
Many a time I hurt my back
Skoochin’ under that old rack,
Rusty nails would scratch my legs—
Still, as Easter time drew nigh,
Poked ‘em in there on the sly;—
One thing troubled us—old Nig
Our old Spanish topknot hen,
Disappeared, we couldn’t find,
Not a feather left behind
Just to show where she had been.

Last our Easter Sunday came—
Seems to me like yesterday,
In that old familiar path
With the autumn aftermath
Lying ’round like locks of hay:—
All the east was clouds of flame
Like that early Easter morn
When the Son, of woman born,
Rose and rolled the stone away.—
Bright and early did we creep
Underneath that beaten rack,
Scratched our legs and punched our back,
Reached in for them eggs, when “cheep,”
“Cheep, cheep, cheep” and “cluck, cluck, cluck”
And Joe says “Dog on our luck,
“Ef it haint that old black hen,
‘Ef she ain’t a’gone and ben
”Just a settin’ with her legs
“Straddled on our Easter eggs,
“An’ what’s more—it beats the dickens
“Half them Easter eggs is chickens.”

From “Poems And Sketches Of Nebraska” By Addison Erwin Sheldon.


This is an addition to my reply to Linda,  http://shoreacres.wordpress.com

Linda, you may enjoy reading this post http://www.mamalisa.com/blog/the-ancient-ukrainian-tradition-of-pysanka/

about the painted Ukrainian eggs, since you like them so much.


“My Ántonia” is a favourite book of mine in the American litterature. It was written by Willa Cather. Its unforgettable story takes place in Nebraska. I can well imagine that the scenes  suggested in Addison Erwin Sheldon’s lovely poem “Reminiscence” could  have been part of W. Cather’s wonderful work.

Photo assignment

January 17, 2011

Do you think this picture is out of Season ?  In my part of the world, absolutely ! But “Food” is not.  It is a matter that concerns us all daily and everywhere.

I chose this summerly image of  vegetable gardens in a mountain village to tell you about a new photo assignment by Scott Thomas Photography  http://stphoto.wordpress.com/ at Views Infinitum.

All about it – with some very interesting information and advice  on Food Photography – is explained here :

http://stphoto.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/assignment-11-food-photography/

Have a look and join us before Midnight (your time), Wednesday, January 26th, 2011. Wish you much fun ! Et “Bon appétit” 😉

At a slow pace

January 6, 2011

Walking  in the garden a few days after Christmas.  I was enjoying a fresh and early morning sun as  I spotted a branch of blackberry, shaped like a heart. A wild and  stubborn bush,  not ready to give in to  Winter.  The persistent branch made me think of this past Summer bounty and of the delicious marmelade waiting on the kitchen table for the family breakfast.

Fleeting images of particular moments during the Holiday Season.  I realize that the grandfather who once was as tall as his grandsons looked now small and frail. Emotion. A moment of love shared between generations, smiles and looks of complicity that belong to the three of them only. A wonderful bond.

My activities will not resume until mid-January.  These days after Christmas are “in slow-motion”. Remembering  family celebrations, animated talk around the table, gifts being offered, a surprise for everyone. Each family member had decided to offer a gift to one person only chosen by drawing lots.   Each one  kept  the secret until Christmas Day. What an excitement as the time for sharing gifts came ! I was so happy that mine was meant for my Dad! I offered him a soft warm fleece jacket in his favourite colour, grey/blue. He loved it and is wearing it almost every day since  Christmas 🙂

Taking time to sit for more reading and leaving aside other activities that can wait a little.

Sidney Poitier’s spiritual autobiography is one the best I have read in a long time. “The Measure of a Man” is the story of his life from his birth on Cat Island in the Bahamas until his recognition as a great actor in  Hollywood. When he was about 12,  S. Poitier told his sister : “When I grow up, I want to go to Hollywood and become a cowboy “. He had just seen his first movie in Nassau, a cowboy one of course. In 1963, S. Poitier was the first black actor to win the Academy Award for best actor for his great performance in Lilies of the Field. He also received the Life Achievement Award for an outstanding career and humanitarian accomplishment.

Reading his memoirs is like having a worthwhile conversation with an older family member, his words are powerful, reflective, generous, humane and so moving. It makes you look closer at the foundations of your own life.

Looking forward to even more reading. Family and friends know me… and I  received several books:

The Amish Quilts,  1870-1930, showing many reproductions of quilts from private collections in Switzerland; there are also some  very interesting chapters about the origin and history of the Amish.

Matthieu Ricard, “Spiritual Paths”, a small anthology of some of the most beautiful Tibetan writings. To be read slowly too.

“Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time. I have already started reading it and can hardly stop…

“The Rothko Chapel” by Domique de Menil. With her husband, John, Dominique founded the inter-religious Chapel in Houston/Texas in 1971. The de Menil’s dream was for the Chapel to promote interfaith dialogue, human rights and the arts. I am so grateful for this gift,  a beautiful souvenir of a memorable visit of this Chapel some years ago.

From Barbara, my English quilting friend, I received the loveliest Desk Diary you can imagine !

More gratefulness. To Marie,  http://ancientcloth.wordpress.com/ my inspiring and creative friend; she  sews and expresses herself  beautifully in  her quilts. Marie sent me those colourful parcels.

See all I found when I opened the pretty wrapping papers!

Wonderful handmade gifts and special fabrics I look forward to sewing  in my quilts. Precious  presents from here and there. Thank you so very much, Marie ! All is  truly appreciated.  My thoughts are with you.

January will be a slow month  for me. As my friend Marah wrote on a beautiful card :  “Never let the urgent crowd out the important”.

This is the first of her 12 calendar cards. Each month I will share a different one with you. I wish you  a lovely start of this New Year. May it bring  Peace in your heart and mind.

A tulip as a symbol…

October 21, 2010

A large, very large city (15 mio inhabitants) spread over two continents, Europe and Asia, linked together by two bridges and whose symbol is the tulip. A city whose name varied over time  and  civilisations : Byzantium under the Greek settlers,  and Constantinople  as the new Eastern capital of the Roman Empire. Did you guess where I had the great pleasure of spending four short days recently ? Yes, right 🙂 In Istanbul, Turkey, just 3 1/2 hours away from Geneva (by plane). But what a change of scenery and way of life !

One of the bridges linking the Eastern shore of the Bosphorus to the Western part of Istanbul.

Describing and picturing all I saw in this  short time is not really easy. I took many photos of the main touristic  sites we visited. A morning cruise on the Bosphorus,   gardens and palaces visited during a rainstorm that looked and felt more like a deluge,   a Byzantine underground Cistern,  the famous  Bazars, the seagulls that were everywhere and as big as ducks,  ancient Ottoman quartiers and their wooden houses,  small sesame breads sold in the streets which never tasted as good as when eaten under the pouring rain, the bridges and their busy lanes (day and night) that we crossed by bus, and  so much more… There are a lot of blogs and sites about this prestigious historical city – named “European Capital of Culture for 2010” – that will inform you much better than I would about the incredible  and precious treasures of Istanbul. Personaly, I chose to share with you some images that may tell you how I felt about Istanbul,  its contrasts, the traces of its historical past and its ever-present beauty.

A mosaic in blue shades  like the magnificent  domes of the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet I mosque) and the Hagia Sophia Museum (formerly a Basilica, then a Mosque and now and museum.

The breathtaking shades of  Hagia Sophia’s stained glass windows, a soft inner light that no words can tell. I felt an  indescribable   feeling of  serenity (in spite of the crowd); I could well imagine the  fervour shared inside the same basilica/mosque  over the centuries by so many believers.

These are various patterns seen during the visits. The tulip (symbol of Istanbul) on a prayer carpet, an intricate mosaic in the Topkapi Palace and a rich embroidery sewed on a Sultan’s kaftan.

The magnificent Topkapi Palace and its gardens were visited under a heavy rain. The sky had darkened considerably but the area was not without any colours…

Deserted benches in a luxuriant vegetation.Group in blue…It was a great day for street vendors 🙂 We were offered blue plastic raincoats and umbrellas. ‘brellas,’ brellas ! was the rather joyous cry people heard all day long in the saturated streets. And of course,  we were only too happy to buy an umbrella on such a wet day !

When rain was just too much to put up with, the Grand Bazar and the Spice Bazar (also called Egyptian Bazar) would welcome you. A feast for the eyes and, in some shops,  a delight for your sense of smell.  Imagine carpets, shawls, embroidered boots,  jewels, spices, soaps, leather goods, glasses, ceramics, coffee,  those very special herbal teas and the sweet Turkish delights 🙂 Just anything you can think of.Walking in Istanbul’s ancient Ottoman areas is a totally different experience and well worth it.

Away from the crowds and the most visited sites, small wooden houses huddle together along  uneven streets where people live and work. Another vision of old Istanbul, its craftmen and shopkeepers, small stores and cafés where tourists are rare.

Fruits, veges  or other food are often sold in the streets. Tempting, delicious.

As the evening comes, a muezzin calls  for another prayer. The sky darkens before rain starts falling again. Will the remaining golden patches of sun between the clouds announce a sunny day in the morning ?

Yes, indeed ! The sky has cleared up and a sunrise over the Bosphorus was one of my favourite moments in Istanbul. Pastel shades over the straight for  boats  which are coming back slowly to the fishing market early morning. A view I never tired of.

Thank you for accompanying me for this short visit through  the ancient part of the city. I thought I would focus on the historical part of Istanbul although the modern area is quite another story and well worth seeing too.

Below are a few links of interest for those of you who would like knowing more about Istanbul.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Istanbul

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Bridges_in_Istanbul

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topkap%C4%B1_Palace

A breath of fresh air

July 6, 2010

Shopping in town on  hot days like we are having for the past week is something I rarely do. When I really have to, I always try to take time and visit the botanical garden. One of my favourite places in town.  At this Season the garden is a little paradise of shade and flowers. A real breath of fresh air, a haven of peace if you go there before midday. The arbour that looked so bare early this year is now covered with  pink wild roses. Nothing like natural shade can give you this wonderful feeling of coolness on a hot Summer day.

Even under the brilliant sun, the pond adds some freshness. How peaceful to look at  the water lilies  slightly undulating  in the water, it  quietens body and mind.

There is a particular place where I like to sit near a rosebush. Those tiny rosebuds  are an invitation and inspiration to any painter. And photographer… What I cannot share with you, unfortunately, is their  subtle, delicate scent.

As I sat on the bench enjoying this moment,  lost in my thoughts, I heard a prolonged “miaou”… Looking around I saw a black cat probably feeling a bit lonely and who was lying on the ground not far from me. He stayed there  quietly then followed me when I got up and walked further in the garden.

Young people had arrived near the pond. Some students were working together on a project.  The college of biology is close by and sometimes I see them sitting in the garden having lunch or reading. An extra-mural break…More people arrived and sat around the pond. These  girls were obviously very busy checking their  messages and totally oblivious of their surroundings. They were reading and commenting their sms for everyone to hear : “He writes beautifully, you know and he loves me so ! ”  🙂

Followed by my new friend, the cat,  I strolled all around the garden before driving back home. I  took a few pictures here and there, stopping to read the names of various trees, bushes and flowers, amazed at their origin. A world travel in miniature ! The tropical greenhouse looked inviting… but definitely too warm and humid in Summer. I will visit it on colder, duller days.  As I walked, I took a few photographs; you may recognize some arnica flowers, water lilies, fuchsias, wild roses, flax plants, edelweiss, irises. There were many more… We will leave those for a next visit ! Hope you enjoy this one 🙂

Where flowers bloom so does hope.
–  Lady Bird Johnson, Public Roads: Where Flowers Bloom

Each flower is a soul opening out to nature.
–   Gerald De Nerval

In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends.
–  Kozuko Okakura

? Spring, really ?

March 27, 2010

Today is a stormy day, rain and wind and cold temperatures again. 10°C less than these past days.  Such will be  our weekend according to the  weather forecast… No wonder if  some trees  have adopted the “question mark attitude” and ask themselves questions about the  real arrival of Spring !

Oh well, Happy Spring weekend to all anyway !

Spring (8 haiku)

spring breezes
blowing bubbles
puppy tails

spring breezes
whispering now
our secret

spring wind
sail boats in the fountain
my first kite

spring wind
Easter dresses
white flashes

spring wind
foul air
circus in town

spring wind
gazebo gone
April fool

spring wind
kite in the sky
pulling my hand

spring night
our last dance
song without end

Ben Gieske