Friday, May 17, 2013

in the garden . . .

Oh, the excitement just reading about the party at

Castles Crowns and Cottages -France Simply Irresistible.

France - Simply Irresistible - isn't it just!

I knew exactly what I would share.

. . . . . . . . . . .

I'm big on lists - To Dos, I Want, Favorite Books, etc.

One of my favorite, incomplete, lists is my TOP 10 DAYS.

There are days, and then there are DAYS.

I don't include the obviously special "big ticket" days.

I focus on days that were out of the ordinary that happened for no special reason

Such as:

 horseback riding in the rain forest of Costa Rica - monkeys eating from my hands

sitting on the top of a pyramid at Chichen Itza - scared to death to climb back down

moving into our own beach house - 30 years in the planning stage

kayaking in Summerland - the dolphins jumping so close to our boats that we could hear them 'talking'

My #1 day was not with Steve and it happened with little thought or planning.

July 15, 1999.

I was in Paris with my daughter, my sister and my niece.

Below is the story I wrote and submitted to Victoria Magazine - it was rejected.

It was really written as a gift to my sister who gave us the gift of Europe -

 she did not reject my story.

. . . in the garden . . .

We all have special days in our lives - graduation, marriage, the birth of our children.  But most special are those stolen moments which happen unexpectedly that we savor forever.

My sister and I were taking our daughters on their "Grand Tour" of Europe. Marcia, who is  a frequent business traveler, had indulged us through seven countries viewing museums and monuments she had visited on numerous occasions.  She wanted to do something new to her. When we arrived in France, she suggested a trip to Giverny - Monet's house and gardens. The girls were quite unenthusiastic about relinquishing a minute of shopping time in Paris. We decided that it would be their loss. 1200 francs apiece and metro passes satisfied the girls for a day. We, on the other hand, grabbed our rail passes and packed our art supplies for a day of leisure in the French countryside.

A relatively quick train ride - compared to the 22 hour ride from Oslo to our relatives' homes in Northern Norway - brought us to the quaint French village of Vernon. We strolled about admiring the houses and flowers and picked up the requisite loaf of French bread for sustenance.

Bicycles were a tempting offer, but due to limited time, we opted for a taxi ride to Giverny. We were unprepared for the bus loads of school children and tour groups that rivaled the crowds at the Louvre. Undaunted, we lined up for the wait. Marcia got out her sketch pad and I my journal to pass the time.

Once inside the gardens, we were stunned by the beauty, a new color and scent greeting us at every turn.   Each new view was breathtaking. We located a stone bench with a view of the house peeking through the pinks, purples, oranges and reds.  As a dabbler, I merely sketched the abundant array  of flowers in each direction.  Marcia took out her water colors and began to paint Monet's home. 

Light sprinkles and the sense that we were hoarding the bench sent us off to see the lily pond.  We located a new bench with a charming view of the water lilies and a bridge tucked behind a weeping willow tree.

Marcia was engrossed in her artistic endeavors. I spent more time admiring my surroundings and people watching than actually sketching.  Her efforts came to the notice of most people who passed. Some simply smiled, others were intrigued with her work.  Many stopped to chat.  We met a family from Toronto who winters near us in California, a London couple who gave Marcia their son's address since he was job hunting in her field, and a Blackpool couple over to see the tall ships in Normandy. My favorite was the little French girl so in awe of Marcia's art that she lost track of time and her family. She yelled, "Mama" and ran away, but soon returned with her mother.  

Our feelings about the day were summed up by a precious little English boy holding his mother's hand.  As he passed by, he looked at his surroundings and spoke quietly, "we are so lucky to see this."

July 15, 1999 has been added to my "List of Days".  

No bells and whistles, no ceremony - I was simply sitting in a garden, with my sister.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I'm (figuratively) on the road, bound for France, with many others at


  1. Oh, so lovely! I wish I had gone to Giverny when I was in France...

  2. Oh I've never been in Giverny. I should visit it, it's not so far after all. I live in Belgium.


  3. I loved Monet's garden and have visited several times. Hint - it used to be that it got quiet around lunchtime (we had it almost to ourselves) but maybe that is no longer tha case. Thanks for the memories!

  4. Oh you lucky girls. I need to put this on my bucket list. Beautiful pictures.

  5. Oh that was a BEAUTIFUL post!!!!!! Thanks for sharing that.

  6. That would be on my list as well! What a wonderful story and what gorgeous pictures! Your sister is awesome for treating all of you to such an outstanding trip! To share Monet's garden with your loved one must be magical! In time I hope to get away with my mom and sisters...I know that when that time comes it will make my list!

  7. Oh, how beautiful! I can definitely see why this made your top 10 days! All the other events on your top 10 list sound amazing as well. I am a list maker too and a trip to Europe is definitely on my Bucket List! My daughter's dream is to go to Prague and I hope and pray someday I can take her! Thanks so much for sharing the gorgeous photos...:)I enjoyed the virtual vacation!

    Blessings, Vicky
    Life On Willie Mae Lane


    It is so good to see your post up today! I came earlier, but thought you were in the process of getting up your post. It has been SO FUN to hop from all the blogs to see from the humorous, the romantic, you name it, IT'S OUT THERE! AND....this is just charming. The quiet countryside, the gardens who whisper special messages to sweet little English boys (isn't that darling of him to say?) and the memories you have. I visited all the blogs that have been ready, and there is so much to see. Thank you for this colorful retreat to my favorite spot on the globe.

    HAVE FUN!!!!!! Anita

  9. Hi Carol, What a wonderful post. Romantic Homes missed the boat not using it. It is so much fun and makes such precious memories when you spend time with a sister. I have three - one passed away a few years ago - and we have always taken the time to spend quality time with each other. I will never regret it. So, to think you had that memorable time with your sister is something I know you will always remember.

    Pretty photos too!


  10. Looks like so much fun! I LOVE your story and photos for Victoria. Their loss! I believe I sent a story or two over the years as well....only to never hear back. What a special trip, with lovely memories to last a lifetime.

  11. Carol,
    I always love your colorful posts and appreciate them very much, as color is a big part of my life. How charming is this French Countryside, and the flowers are so vibrant and pretty.


  12. How delightful! I'm so glad you shared your story...your DAY with us! I love the journal you kept. I have always wanted to make a travel journal. Sweet hugs! Enjoy your weekend!

  13. Beautiful pics....loved the story too! I'm so glad you decided to share it with all of us :o)
    Have a great weekend!!!

  14. What a fabulous trip and opportunity you had with your daughter and sister. Wonderful memories and I love how you've related it with the gorgeous pictures.
    Mary Alice

  15. a nice memory. I have zero desire to travel overseas. My special memory was givng my Mom who loved all things Disney a 24 karet gold trip to Disneyland with our whole familly for her 80th Birthday. We had moments sitting on a bench enjoying the dixieland music with a cuppa where she turned to me and said, I love you and this is one of the happiest times of my life. She told me that every day of that trip and each day watching her happy was more precious then the last. She was dead less then 3 years later and after caring for her during her death, we talked often of that trip and what it meant to her. not a day goes by I do not think about those moments. It was grand , precious and full of love from the person I admired most in the world.

  16. Superbe voyage ...
    Merci d'être passée chez moi

  17. I love that...list of days. Gorgeous photos and a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing with us.

  18. This was a lovely story and I'm glad I got to read it.And I can see myself riding on horseback though the rainforest...LOL.Such lovey pictures you have.
    It has been a pleasure,
    Marie Antionette

  19. Welcome in France...nice to see you to do this together...Anita is such a good friend to all of us...enjoy the weekend love

  20. Carol,
    This is one of the places in France I long to visit and this is such a lovely recollection of your visit here. Thank for you taking us along I can't understand why they rejected your article at all!
    Sarah x

  21. Oh Carol!!! HI THERE! I just noticed that you left me a comment, but on my OLDER POST! So nice that you came by and your kind words about my "writing" mean a lot to me. No, I am not much of a photographer and my home, though very lovely, just doesn't seem to translate to much through the lens. However, I just may surprise everyone on the next post....MAYBE!

    HAVING FUN? I am so happy to see you are getting comments from these LOVELY blogging friends. ALL of you are just the best. Thank you for making this link party a REAL party with such enthusiasm! MERCI! Anita

  22. A most beautiful story! Oh how I would love to go there!!!
    Thank you for sharing and being a part of Anita's party.
    ~ Violet

  23. A most beautiful story! Oh how I would love to go there!!!
    Thank you for sharing and being a part of Anita's party.
    ~ Violet

  24. Can you believe I've never been to Giverny, although I always wanted to go? Now I think I really need to go!

  25. Good morning Carol .
    Thank you for visiting me and leaf me such a kind comment on my blog.
    I participate in the Tour organised by Amazing Anita .
    And you are THE VERY FIRST BLOGGER I visit ......Your's is the last comment on my blog .
    I am over the moon .
    I have been spending hours of reading and .....writing down .....a lot you wrote here !
    I live in Holland so I am a dutch girl and english is a challenge for me to write in .
    I love this language and I am always learning .
    It's hard to express my self in another language ....finding the words .....
    Here I am Holland in a big city ( Rotterdam )
    participating in Anita's TOUR ....and meeting other bloggers .
    You are my first and oh oh oh ...
    The thing I love the most on your blog is YOU
    you are the artist holding the brush and painting with your words
    coming from a wonderful soul . So inspiring ........
    I cannot believe I am sitting here on my couch in my big city on this
    sundaymorning clicking some buttons on my laptop and
    I am with YOU on your europe tour in France with your sister .
    She is painting with her watercolors
    and you are with all your impressions you took in and tranformed into words .
    And here I am and I was there too .....through your eyes and your words .
    This may look like a few scentences to describe something
    VERY BIG .....because I never travel I am always at home
    in this city where I live . Where I started to live after I met the love of my life .
    I myself lived near by the sea by than and I loved that ...
    I followed him and came to live here .
    I became a mother of four and they all grew up here
    and they LOVE THE BIG CITY
    and I stayed .....even when my husband took of I stayed
    for my children and I had a wonderful job here .
    My dream is living by the sea !
    But would I be happy all alone by the sea
    and all of my children over here in Rotterdam ?
    I am blessed with an amazing granddaughter EVA who is almost 2 week !
    and being a grandmother has promoted my life to the TOP .
    So .....being overwhelmed by your ART AND SAND blogging
    has made my day .
    I will be a follower and I am so happy I have this chance to get to know your blogging and you !
    So thank you for writing me !
    I hope we can be blogging-friends

  26. Carol a wondrous experience in the gardens of Giverny, Thinking of Monet himself painting Right There!

    Come with me on my adventure in France.
    life, possibilities, grace
    a beautiful dream...

    Art by Karena

  27. I feel ashamed to say that I haven't been to France for over 20 years, and yet I live the closest !
    Your post is wonderful and the photos gorgeous, and at least your story can be read by others now.
    Also, what a lovely heartfelt comment from Francis. I think you should avoid Anonymous, because it's just a load of porky pies (lies) !

  28. Beautiful Memory and beautiful photography! Thanks for sharing that, it made my day! Cindy

  29. Hi Carol,

    Lovely to read your happy memories of your trip to France and how beautiful your photos of Giverny are.
    Thanks for sharing and visiting me.

    Happy week

  30. What a lovely story, Carol. I've told my girls this same piece of advice. Don't dwell on the school programs and events in your children's lives. Instead take photos of simple everyday life. Those are the moments you'll remember most.

    A tour of that garden would be heavenly!

  31. Carol, I enjoyed reading your story and completely agree that our lives are made up of little simple moments which arrive unexpectedly, but come to be the special ones. Thank you for these gorgeous photos of Monet's house and  gardens; one of the most delicate impressionists.

  32. I loved the pictures. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful place with us. Great story about your trip. Gardens are one of my favorite things.

  33. What a lovely memory from your trip! I am actually writing a post about Giverny on Tuesday and will link back to yours. Thanks for sharing your special day with us!!

  34. Hello Carol~What a bright and cheerful blog you have here. I am so enjoying my tour on this link party and your story and images is lovely. I love this idea-those special days and memories-you captured it beautifully. I look forward to more. Thanks for you kind comments on Stylemindchic.
    Cheers, Heather

  35. Carol, how honored I am to be transported to Monet's garden with you and your sister!
    (Victoria's loss...our, (friends of Anita), Gain and Gift!
    I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this story!
    I am pleased to meet you and will be back for more visits to your lovely blog!

  36. A beautiful story to accompany a beautiful garden. What a wonderful memory to have and how wonderful that you should share it with us.
    Many Thanks

  37. What a lovely story! And the garden is just breathtaking. I hope I can see it someday. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing!! ~Angela~

  38. Oh I loved reading your story and the pics of the garden are stunning! Such a magical place! Thanks for visiting my ode to France post. I'm jut really enjoying everyone's posts!

  39. Such a beautiful story and the flowers and gardens are stunning. So happy to have found you!

  40. I am so behind on my comments! We had to attend three events on three days in a neighboring town last week-end and could not spend the week-end there! I am still bleary-eyed and it is Tuesday! Anyway, I so enjoyed your photos and the accompanying story. I cannot believe that it was rejected - shame on them! I have been to France several times, but I have not made it to Giverny, although, I have seen the paintings in Paris. Thank you for sharing this - we all could use a magical day like that (I would like one soon!).

  41. You were "simply sitting in a garden" but what a garden! The closest I came to these magnificent ponds and flowers was many visits to the oval display room in Paris of Monet's pond paintings. In the room I was surrounded on all sides by his pond and water lily paintings. I enjoyed your story.

  42. I love this whole story from beginning to end and just adore Monet, so you gave flowers to me today now too.

  43. Your lovely recollections
    were certainly Victoria's loss!

    I visited Monet's home with
    my hubby in 1996 and was
    touched by the experience
    much the way you describe
    so beautifully. I wonder if your
    daughter later regretted shopping
    over a visit to Mr. Monet's home?

    Loved this post : )

    xo Suzanne

  44. GORGEOUS gardens... I 'd so love to visit!

  45. What a lovely memory for you and your sister to share...creating art in Monet's better to honor Monet?

    I am dropping from Anita's FRANCE Simply Irresistible..There are so many wonderful posts that it is taking me days to view all of them.

    Thank you for coming by to visit my contribution to the FRANCE party.


  46. What a lovely tale! Thanks for visiting me, it gave me the chance to meet you! I'm your newest follower.

  47. I truly enjoyed the tour... Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful photos and memories.
    It is a pleasure to meet you Carol.

  48. Oh, what a dreamy tour, Carol. I have enjoyed it immensely this evening. How delightful for you and your sister to experience it together. Victoria Magazine missed out on a great story.
    Sorry it took me a while to get back to you but I am still working my way through the comments visiting with some of Anita's guests.
    Marcia (your blogging sister) ;)

  49. What a lovely post. Thanks for sharing this special day with us. You documented it all so well. :)

    Heidi @ hi-d's place

  50. What a fabulous recollection and what a memory to treasure. Isn't it strange which days stand out as a clear memory of happiness? Thank you for sharing yours.

  51. Carol, Hold the bus... If the children do not mind having a wee mouse on board, Bebe would love to come along. A wee history about Bebe... She is a tea mouse I created out of polymer clay and has hand applied fur.. She emerged about 3 years ago that loves to travel around the world... You can find Bebe's adventures in my older posts.. She has traveled all around Europe on her summer adventures.. I am so happy you enjoyed viewing her and your sweet note.
    Have a great time on the field trip.


  52. What a magical place. I read somewhere he was as proud of his house and garden as he was of his painting. The story was lovely -- I have thought of such a list of days in my life and it's always a great experience to pick out great moments... this would be one for sure. Lovely to find you thanks to Anita's party... sorry I came so late to it.

  53. I accept your story wholeheartedly! What a wonderful day. I always weep when I have to leave a place where I feel this way. Thanks for sharing this story. It inspires me to live more wholeheartedly!