Knit Blue.

Congrats to my big sister on the opening of her Etsy shop! She's been knitting for years and has finally taken the plunge to sell her creations! Check out her knits, they're adorable.

Chunky Knit Cowl Collar
My sister, the model. (We should call her Waffle and say she's from Belgium)

I mean, come on. I don't even care if it's spring, I want that bow kerchief. Check out her Etsy shop for more custom knits!

Also, just because I can, here is her cat, Siah. What a little weirdo, but she's precious.

Congrats, Em, I'm so proud of you!!!



Crouching Woman [in progress]

I've drawn Crouching Woman before (here), but this time I wanted to try it a little closer to the colors in my photo from the Rodin museum. I tried to document each step as I went. Looking at a photo of a drawing helps me see it as a whole since I spend enough time staring at it with pastels in my hand...it's hard to really see it after a while.

Rough sketch

My paper is white, I swear

I suppose this is similar to under painting--this way there isn't white paper showing through anywhere

Highlights and shadows

I started getting a little left-brained--I had to step back and take a break.

 And finally...

I still think the black and white is my favorite version, but I'm happy with how this one turned out. I liked using the teals and browns, although I was way less patient with the face/hands/feet this time. Mais, c'est la vie. It doesn't have to hang in a museum, and I enjoyed the process, so I'm content.

Maybe one of these days I'll expand my subject matter to something other than pictures from the Rodin museum...


Mont Saint Michel Part Deux

Okay here we go. Apart from the main church, I don't remember what all the rooms are. Most of the tour involved just wandering around and listening to recordings at each room. So for the most part, we were on our own to go where we wanted at our own pace. The group of students stuck together, so I just went through the abbey by myself, obviously taking pictures of everything.

Love those arches

Michael slaying the dragon

Hey there's the top again

I wish I had more pictures of the rest of the town, but walking down those steep hills/cobblestones was difficult enough in the rain, I was just focused on not falling or getting an eye poked out by an umbrella.

Mont Saint Michel is one of the most-visited sites in France, after Paris of course, so there were people everywhere, but it wasn't horribly overwhelming. After leaving the abbey, I walked down the main road and stopped in a couple shops to get out of the rain and buy some postcards, then made my way back to the bus.

This day is right up there with my days in Paris. And I just found out that one of the Tour de France stages is ending at Mont St. Michel this summer - I'm curious to see how that goes...



Mont Saint Michel Part 1

Who's ready for a history lesson? This place was one of my favorite spots ever, and I absolutely love the story behind it, so I'm going to make you love it too.

Behold, Le Mont Saint Michel.

That's not a great picture, but it's the only one I have of the whole thing. And that's actually the whole thing. Mont St. Michel is a tiny island in the middle of a bay off the coast of Normandy. Population: 44. At super-high tide, the road to the island is almost completely covered by water. But since they built the road up so much, the tides have gotten messed up, so there's actually a project underway to build out some bridges under that road to allow the water to flow under it and back to normal. Phew.

And of course it was raining the day we went. It made walking up and down steep hills and stairs a little more dangerous. I live on the edge.

The very top

So, according to legend (aka Director Steve and the Mont St. Michel website) the location of the island is the place where Satan landed when the Archangel Michael threw him out of heaven and down to earth. Then, in the year 708, Michael appeared to Aubert, bishop of Avranches, in a dream and told him to build a church on that spot to commemorate his victory over Satan. The bishop ignored the command so Michael appeared a several more times repeating his request. Then in the last dream, Michael touched the bishop's head and the bishop woke up with a headache in that exact spot (or a burn, the legend is a little fuzzy).

At the top of the island, looking out toward the bay, very low tide
So in 709, a church was built on the island. In 966, Benedictine monks moved in and turned it into a monastery. The church and monastery expanded over the centuries, then it was turned into a prison during the French Revolution.

In 1966, on the one thousandth anniversary of monastic presence on the island, an order of Jerusalem monks moved into the monastery, and have been there ever since.

Okay, back to my visit. We took the full tour of the whole abbey, which started at the very top and worked back down. I didn't know where we actually were in the abbey the whole time we were walking around, but it was so interesting, I didn't really care.

That's a statue of Michael, way up there

We walked back inside through that door

One of my favorite things about the abbey (besides the architecture) was the slight green tint on the walls. The air is so damp, it looks all mossy ("I'm going to get some eucalyptus candles because they make my apartment smell mossy").

See the green?

This was the main church. I have a slight obsession with cathedral arches.

So at some point (I have no idea where this is in relation to the abbey as a whole), we ended up in this courtyard. I was all about these arches.

There are tiny windows in the wall on the right

Okay, since I have quite a few more pictures, we're going to take a brief intermission. Check back for part two.


Pegasus Bridge

So Pegasus Bridge was about a mile from the town I lived in. It crosses the Caen Canal between Merville and Benouville. The D-Day invasion (June 6, 1944) basically started with the capture of this bridge by the British 6th Airborne Division (I could keep going, but I won't).

I didn't know this until Steve (the director of the program) suggested we go to the Pegasus Bridge memorial, just around the corner from where the bridge stands today. The museum was small, but it had a ton of information, maps, and displays from WWII. Outside the museum was the actual Pegasus Bridge (the current bridge is a replica), a tank or two, parts of the gliders used in the landings, and a replica of a full glider.

The first photo below tells the story of the capture of Pegasus Bridge (renamed after the battle):

On D-Day minus one--June 5, 1944, it was the responsibility of the British 6th Airborne Division to establish a bridgehead across the Orne river and the Caen Canal, halfway between the City of Caen and the coast, and to protect the eastern flank of the seaborne landings from a German counter attack. Several parts of the operation had to succeed together to guarantee success, and there was only time to do it once. If the D-Day landings were to succeed, the establishment of these bridgeheads were vital.

At 2300 hours on the night of June 5, six gliders took off from England with a small force of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry and Royal Engineers, to seize the crossings over the Caen Canal and the River Orne. Just after 00:15, the gliders crash landed just 50 meters from the bridge over the canal, and the troops poured out and overwhelmed the Germans who were still asleep and taken by surprise.

It goes on to tell the whole story, but the Allies were relieved just in time and were able to secure the bridge.

It was strange to actually walk across the original bridge.

The current Pegasus Bridge is a replica of the original.

Turning to face the other direction is the location where the British 6th Airborne Division actually crash landed to capture the bridge.

I have tons more pictures from the museum, but I can't remember all the details from each one. All the stories I heard are blending together--it's been almost a year since I was there...crazy.



My dad has always been interested in World War II history,  so I decided that during this trip, I'd try to see as much as I could for him. I did my best to report back after each of my field trips, but this day was tough to put into words.

The organization I worked with does a big excursion day every summer where they take all the students to various WWII/D-Day sites in Normandy, but I was going to be in Paris the day they planned it, so one of the local church members volunteered to take a couple of us one Sunday.

We went to church, then drove to the American WWII cemetery, located right above Omaha Beach. First, we visited the museum on the site.

The location of this battle (Pegasus Bridge) was about a mile from where I was living.

Talk about powerful...

I don't remember exactly who these people were, but I loved the layout

Then we walked out toward the cemetery. Of course it was raining...

Omaha Beach

Map of the landing beaches: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword

The memorial had several parts. The statue below and the walls around it had maps and details from the D-Day invasion (Operation Neptune) and other operations. Those white walls in the background are part of the "Walls of the Missing," which I didn't know was back there until we had already left.

The Spirit of American Youth Rising From the Waves by Donald De Lue

There are 9,387 buried here; most were killed in the D-Day invasion and the operations that followed.

There's a chapel at the other end

Crosses and Stars of David

Their graves are the eternal symbol of their heroism and sacrifice for the common cause of humanity.

Looking up the coast toward Gold Beach

It was intense, to say the least, but one of my favorite days of the entire trip.

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence. [Ansel Adams]