Tuesday, June 25, 2013

An Amazing Afternoon

After saying Bonjour to the Eiffel Tower, I headed to the Arc de Triomphe.  Along the way, I stumbled upon this street!

Writer, poet and politician.  He wrote the Hunchback of Notre Dame, among other great literature, like Les Miserables.


Ahh, the Arc!

 
I also discovered my luggage, which I can't afford in this lifetime.  The piece that has an envelope type design was the coolest!  If the buckle was unfastened, it expanded quite a bit.  I was in love!!!  However, it was SO expensive, the least expensive thing was a key chain.  It would set you back 70 euro.  That's over $80.00 - for a key chain!



Walking down the Champs Elysees, I met this blushing Frenchman.  Every time I said a word, he'd just blush.  I promise, I wasn't saying anything "blush worthy" but it was so cute, nonetheless.  I just wanted to take him home with me, he was so adorable. 



Once I said, au revoir to the handsome, blushing Frenchman, I met my friend from Switzerland and we headed to my favorite part of Paris...Montmartre!!!  We went on Sandeman's walking tour, which began outside the famous Moulin Rouge.  Moulin means windmill and Rouge, as you probably know, means red.  The red windmill.  I didn't go inside.  Firstly, I really have no desire and secondly, it's ridiculously expensive...something like 100 euro.  A picture works for me!


Walking up to the highest part of Paris, we passed so many lovely streets:




Cafe 2 Moulins - cafe of two windmills: this is a significant place.  It's where the film Amelie was written and filmed.


This was one of my favorite stories.  It looks like graffiti, but it's much more.  The painting on the right is a self portrait of a famous Parisian artist, Mystic.  She no longer looks like that, as she's aged about 50 years, but her story is awesome!  She was young and in love.  The story goes like this:  her boyfriend, seemingly out of nowhere, breaks up with her.  She's devastated.  Not only does he break her heart, but tops it off by ending with, "I never want to see your face again."  After she picks up her crushed heart and dusts it off, she thinks, "you never want to see my face again, huh."  She made a stencil of her face and painted it outside all of his favorite hangouts.  So, he'd see her face where ever he went.  Rock on, sister...rock...on! 

Standby...more of the walking tour to come!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Wonderful Paris...Once Again

It's been three years since my last trip to Paris though it feels like decades.  This trip, I was determined to pack even lighter than my last trip.  Initially, I packed a weekender bag, but it allowed little in the way of souvenirs and it may not have been durable enough to withstand being checked luggage.  So, I settled on this duffel - the weekender was packed inside so that I could use it as a carry on for the return trip.  See, I use my noggin for something more than just looking pretty. :-)

 

The downside of carrying a duffel or tote bag is that if you're traveling with someone who's using rolling luggage, you will wait for them a great deal.  At curbs, at stairs, etc.  While you wait, it will feel like your shoulders will fall off.  All in all though, it wasn't too bad.  Lesson learned, however.

The first day I was in Paris, it was a sunny warm day.  So, I went to the Eiffel Tower.  I took so many photos of the tower; one of the most well known sights in Paris.  Here is my approach to the Tower on that first day:

 


 

 

 
 
Not bad for the first afternoon.  Fear not, my pretties, there's much more to come...the first day and beyond!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

So, I Was Just Riding Along...

When I came to this:


Had I been on my cross bike, it wouldn't have been end of the trail, by any means!  This was my first ever ride in my new hometown.  It's about 40 miles of paved trail - the Pinellas Trail.  It's quite fun...the trail meanders though several quaint, cool towns.  However, it's not really designed for a speedy 60-100 miles.  It's better for a leisurely ride.


This is a view from the SPBC's (St. Pete Bike Club) start.  That's Tampa Bay in the background.  How cool is that?  There's something about a cool morning and the smell of salt in the air.  It's a nice way to wake up and spin out some miles.

Sunday Funday

I finally made it to the beach!  With the exception of the past few days, we've been having unseasonably warm weather - so I've been told.  It was overcast by the time we made it to the beach, but no matter.  It was a good time. 


 
 
After adequate lounging time, we made our way to Hurricane Restaurant to take in the view from above.




The view was pretty amazing.  As the sun descended beyond the horizon, I notice a dorsal fin...then another, then another.  EEEEEEKKKK.  After a longer look, we all noticed that the dorsal fins were rounding in and out of the water.  Dolphins.  Not sharks.  Whew!  There were about 5 that we saw, coming toward the shore to feed. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Discovering My New Neighborhood and Fringing My Jeans

I grew up in a "big small town."  When it was founded, it was small; the river was the heartbeat of the city, so city mapping didn't extend too far from the riverfront.  However, it grew, but the layout of the roads really didn't accommodate the growth very well.  What do I mean?  Well, the layout is pretty "jacked up."  Streets dead end and pick up several blocks away.  It makes absolutely NO sense, but it was what I knew.
 
Fast forward to two months ago.  I'm walking downtown in my new city and stumble upon 3rd & 3rd.  Yep, that's right.  What's even more confusing is that there are four of them!  There's a 3rd Ave. N, 3rd Ave. S., 3rd St. N., and 3rd St. S.  Thank goodness for gps.  However, my gps navigator (I named her Roberta, 'cuz she sounds like a robot) seems to like to mess with me.  I'll just be driving along on the route that she suggests, then out of the blue, she'll say, in a demanding tone, "make u-turn and turn right onto 22nd Ave N."  I'll scream at her..."but I AM on 22nd Ave. N."  Then, I remember that I'm yelling at my phone, like a crazy person and just proceed.  But I digress.  Now, that I know that streets run north & south, I'm able to find my way around town.
 
 
 
 
 
The Dali museum is only about a mile away!  This was my favorite part of the Dali museum.  The art was cool, too.  There were a couple of pieces that I could stare at all day, but overall, it's not my style of art.  No doubt, he was a creative visionary, though!


View of the bay from the Dali Museum.
 
 
While visiting the Dali, I noticed that Marissa Tomei worked there.  Who knew?

 


Couldn't help taking this picture of what's going on.  Yes, those are fringed jeans...not cut off capris...FRINGED!  New fashion trend? 
 

I haven't yet made it to this museum, but can't wait!  Chihuly!  I love, love, love his stuff.  One day, I aspire to own a piece.  One of those gnarly chandeliers would be an amazing addition to my crib!

 


This is a place downtown.  I'm all for supporting women getting off the streets, but I don't know about this.  I kid...but I must find out the story behind the name.  I hear they have wonderful tea.  I have yet to try it out, but will give you a full report once I do.


 
At the famous, Jannis Landing, an ACDC cover band shook me all night long. 

 

Just a gorgeous scene near Beach Drive.  I can't believe it's winter!
 

Anybody know what kind of tree this is?  At first, I thought it was covered in Spanish Moss.  However, those tendrils aren't moss, they're root type growths...very odd, yet quite lovely. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Holiday Recap

Shortly after moving, I met up with one of my college friends, and sorority sisters.  We had dinner in my, soon to be new 'hood, in my new city.  Although, it was 70 degrees, it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the waterfront.  Warm temperatures didn't stop the locals from "ice skating."  Really, it was less like ice and more like particle board.  And...the skating was less like skating and more like tip toeing on ice skates.  No matter.  It was a testament to creative thinking, but mostly, it was hilarious to witness.
 
 


One of my sisters from another mister and me in "Santa's village" or whatever it was.

 
 
NYE, my friends and I found ourselves at this really cool jazz club.  An old guy...like 80yrs old...in a puffy starter jacket and sideways baseball cap was there and wouldn't let any girl dance alone.  He was a riot...wish I had a picture of him in action.  James Blount was there, too.  He took a break from entertaining us long enough for a picture.  I love the guy in the background who's trying to photo-bomb us.
 

 
 
OK...ok...his name was Matt (I think), but he looks like James Blount, no?

Monday, December 10, 2012

I Say Goodbye, But Also Hello!

Last week, I said goodbye to my hometown.  There were tears shed, but much support given to me on my new, exciting adventure.  There are so many things I'll miss about Memphis - my friends the obvious #1 on that list.  A few other gems include:  Stax Museum (one of the greatest places on earth), eclectic Midtown with it's wacky cool art, neighborhood cafes, bars, nightlife and diversity.
 
Midtown "Disco Wheel"
 
One of my last lunches included a sandwich and pasta salad from Fino's from the Hill.  I'll miss being able to walk around the corner for some delicious Italian fare from this deli!



When I left, my department gave me the Eiffel Tower as a going away gift.  They even set the clock to St. Petersburg's time.  Very thoughtful and touching.  Although, it confuses those who don't know how much I love Paris and the Tower.  "You're moving to Florida, right?"  "Not Paris?"  Yes, folks...not Paris...yet.  My friends just know me well!

As soon as the first of my belongings arrived, I promptly brought the Eiffel Tower to work, where it now resides on the corner of my desk.  Now, I have a constant reminder of the amazing co-workers I had the pleasure to work with in Memphis!


My first day of work in the new city, state & office:  What a wonderfully warm welcome!


Everyone has been extremely friendly...it's definitely a positive atmosphere.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Going Away, Part Deux

Another farewell shindig was at my favorite Irish Pub, "The Brass Door."  The lighting wasn't great for my crappy phone to take adequate photos, but you get the idea.  It was fun!


My friend since high school was in town and able to be there for my send off!

Seemus and me having a hearty laugh!

My friend, Mary was there and played "Danny Boy" for me on the piano that's located in the bar area.
 



Tom & Seemus having a face off!


Oh, Memphis, how I will miss you. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Going Away Party

Recently, my friends held a going away party for me.  I really couldn't have asked for a better send off.  I have such wonderful friends, I wish I could take all of them with me.  Alas, I can't, but have been given strict instructions to get a place big enough to accommodate 10-20 visitors at a time, because they're all visiting!! 

In true fashion we HAD to record that, even in the midst of all the fun, you don't want to mess with us.
Nice Jeremy simply can't be mean...he can't even make a mean face!


 A "Martie Partie" isn't complete without oreos!  They're wonderfully delicious!


The crew gave me the most thoughtful gifts.  Included was a photo album with personal notes from everyone scattered within.
AND OREOS!

OREOS!!  Birthday cake oreos are like unicorns.




Drinking champagne out of a "lucky" champagne flute!

One of the best toasts I ever heard, but can't remember any of it. :-(






The truth comes out...this is how everyone feels about my leaving.
Labels were made!  This one said, "Good Luck Martie."

This one said, "SARCO," which is an inside joke.  I can't tell you what it means.  You'll just have to ride with my friends in the Memphis Hightailers Bicycle Club to find out. :-)  The thought bubble says, "I don't know what I want, but I won't be happy until I get it!"  Can you relate?  I sure can.


With the exception of a few photos that were taken with my phone, the photos were captured by my friend, Matthew Magbee:  http://magbeephotography.com/