Friday, July 28, 2006

More Wildflowers

I call this photo "Tuscany in My Garden": the blues, yellows, and the gorgeous sunflower right smack dab in the middle--like the leaning Tower of Pisa--make me want to jump on an airplane right now and head for Italy!

This has been a great summer for flowers and discovering a new passion--gardening. My neighbor still hangs her head over the fence and says, "I don't believe those came from a packet of seeds!" But soon the landscape will be covered with snow and a different kind of beauty will erupt. Until then I'll take my flowers! (Oh, did I mention I use Miracle Grow!).

Let me hear about your passionate gardening tips; I'm still new at this!

Living Life Passionately,


Friday, July 21, 2006

Savoring Joy!

These are my "wildflowers" that greet me each morning! How can I find such joy in a $1.00 packet of seeds that continually paint the landscape of my backyard with a myraid of colors?

For the last ten years I have practiced the "art" of savoring the present moment--countless positive experiences: awe at a brilliant sunset, luxuriating in a Jacuzzi, smelling the earth after a summer's rain, basking in the laughter of children playing, and watching my "garden" grow! How is it possible? I have to admit--extroverts, optimists and "Sanguine" types--like myself--have a much easier time than others (it comes naturally to us). But we can all learn to enhance our ability to enjoy our everyday lives more fully and to "live" in the present moment. But unfortunately most of us are just too busy to notice; the "white" noise of life distracts us from living passionately.

Next time you pass by a field of wildflowers: stop and take a mental photograph. Consciously make note of the features you want to remember later! I have several "mental" photographs I pull out often (even before I was interested in photography). Although it's nice to have a "tangible" picture; it's not necessary. One such mental photograph is of Dardinel's Lake in the Sierra's (backpacking in California--the year 1974). We made cheesecake in the glacial snow and watched the chipmunks eat it (not our idea, but theirs!). The glacier was mirrored in the lake and created an upside portrait--forever etched in my memory. I will never lose that photograph. I savor the joy of it often!

Living Life Passionately,


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Passionate about Montreal!

No visit to Montreal would be complete without a visit to the Basilica of Notre Dame. This magnificent castle in the sky can be seen from almost any location in the city. And if you're planning a wedding, it can be rented for a mere $10,000 a day (ask Celine Dion).

The basilica inside is breathtaking (pictures cannot do it justice!), and at night a sound and light show: "And then there was Light," which highlights all the features and heritage of this artistic masterpiece. Don't forget the flower vendors across the street with a cascading fountain of every conceivable variety and color.

Mark Twain said, "This is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn't throw a brick without breaking a church window. Yet I was told you are going to build one more . . ." It can't be argued that this is a city of churches, but if I had to pick just one to visit: Notre Dame would be it!

I'm passionate about stained-glass windows and the ones inside the basilica won't dissapoint you. Be prepared to wait in line and spend a couple of hours (we're glad we did!). Afterwards wander the sidestreets for some dining "al fresco" at one of the charming cafes.


Living Life Passionately,


Paris without the Jet Lag!

The best way to see Montreal is via a carriage ride through "Vieux Montreal," and ask for "Slim" (aka Mark). He's had the likes of DiNiro, DiCaprio, Madonna and Oko Yono in his carriage. Instead of looking at the great architecture of this picturesque city, I found myself enthralled by the tales of Slim's celebrity adventures! The clip-clop of the horse-drawn carriage on the cobblestone streets with the bells of Notre Dame echoing throughout the city--with an occasional passer-by shouting "Bonjour,"--I felt as if I were in "Paris" without the jet lag!

Did you realize more "European" films are filmed here than in LA? Why? Because it costs less to take an entire film crew to Montreal than to close off one street in LA for an hour! There are no highwires in Old Montreal, and gas street lanterns give the feel of Europe at a fraction of the cost. Such films as "The Score"; "Ghostbusters"; "The Avaiator," and get this--the steps of "Law and Order" have been filmed here. Can you tell I was soaking in the entire flavor and history of this rare and unique gem of a city!

Don't miss Place Jacques-Cartier on the slope to the waterfront. Here you will find flower markets, cafes, and Place Royale - the city's oldest public square which dates back to 1657. Side streets are filled with artistans at work with something for everyone with prices to fit any budget.

This is absolutely a photographer's paradise! I caught this window while sipping cafe au lait with a "real" croissant (located along Place Jacques-Cartier). Montreal is charming by day and enchanting by night! You will want to return--like me--to taste more of this decidedly French city on the North American Continent.

Now I'm passionate about "all things" French, and managed to pick up enough words to make me really dangerous! However, you're safe with: bonjour, bonsoir, and merci!

Living Life Passionately!


More on my trip tomorrow! Until then "Auvoir"!

Monday, July 10, 2006

"Oh, Canada!"

If you missed me this week, I've been blogging on God Allows U-Turns. Visit to catch up on "Living the Passionate Life!"

Tomorrow, very early, we leave for Canada: Montreal and Quebec City! I've made my new passionate to-do list and I'm checking it twice!! Be prepared for a photo journal when I return. I've got lots of superb reading to take along with me (hubby is driving this time).

Thanks for all who sent me their passionate stories this week via e-mail. I'll respond when I return.

Living Passionately,


Monday, July 03, 2006


This picture was taken in 1997 when I first discovered my passion for photography: a moment caught in time. That time, that place, that person will never be the same again. But this photo is forever engraved in my mind! At any moment of the day I can close my eyes and see the snow capped alps of Switzerland, the palm trees, and the sapphire of lakes--Lake Como. Walking through the streets with buildings flag-bedecked, geraniums rustling from every window, bougainvillea veiling the staircases--I knew heaven had to be close by! As I walked into the gardens of Villa Serbelloni, once designed to cradle dukes and duchesses in high luxury, is now the haven for the discreetly wealthy. I, of course, am not! But for one moment in time, I was transported to a time and place that serves as a reminder of what "heaven on earth" looks like. Is it any wonder that the composer Verdi chose to compose "La Traviata" in Cadenabbia across from Bellagio--what a magnificent view he had!

You can see why my love for Italy and the Italian language lends itself to "Living Life Passionately!"

Ci vediamo domani! Ciao tutti!


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Guest Blogger

The week of July 3-9, I will be a guest blogger on Allison Bottke's U-Turns website. Allison is the the creator of the U-Turn series and in March, the book was released, volume 5 of the series: God Allows U-Turns for Women: The Chocies We Make Change the Story of Our Life. "Living the Passionate Life!" is my contribution to the book, and I hope you will join me next week. An added bonus, each time you make a comment to one of the posts, your name will be added to a drawing at the end of each month. Hope to hear from you next week.

Living Life Passionately,