Thursday, January 17, 2013

From the Heart

After 3 years of writing on this little blog of mine I feel as though I've nearly run out of things to say.  I'm not sure if it's because I've not been able to take many pictures of late due to the weather, or because I've been sick, or because things have simply run their course...but I feel as though most days I'm searching for something meaningful to post.

Three years ago when I started writing Low Tide High Style I was full of ideas, bursting at the seams with things I wanted to share, but the well is running quite low at the moment.  I know we all go through these phases, but this feeling that I'm sorely lacking for things to say, thoughts to share, and even images to post has been nagging at me for a long while now.  There are only so many pics of Paris you can parlay into a blog post before people start falling asleep at their keyboards.

I haven't lost my desire to create, my passion for taking pictures, or my need to share, but for now I think I will likely be doing that mostly on Pinterest.  When the mood does strike me and I feel I have something worth saying, I can always come back here and blather on and on about the very mundane things I often write about, but for now I think it's time to keep quiet and create.

I will still be visiting other people's blogs, stalking pin boards,  and getting my mojo back through exercise and meditation.  Maybe after a bit I will be full of ideas once again, and bursting with things I can't keep to myself, and I feel like that will be much better for everyone to wait until I'm there again.  A week, a month, a year?...only time will tell.

But for now, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you all for 3 amazing years...and who knows what the future will hold! 

xoxo Kat

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pont Neuf

These images are of the oldest standing bridge in Paris, also known as Pont Neuf.   Here is what Wikipedia has to say about it...

"As early as 1550, Henry II was asked to build a bridge here because the existing Pont Notre-Dame was overloaded, but the expense was too much at the time.[1]

In 1577,[1] the decision to build the bridge was made by King Henry III who laid its first stone in 1578, during which year the foundations of four piers and one abutment were completed.[1] A major design change was made in 1579 requiring the widening of the bridge to allow houses to be built (though they never were) made the piers on the long arm longer. These piers were built over the next nine years.[1] After a long delay beginning in 1588, due in part to the Wars of Religion, construction was resumed in 1599.[1] The bridge was completed under the reign of Henry IV, who inaugurated it in 1607.
Like most bridges of its time, The Pont Neuf is constructed as a series of many short arch bridges, following Roman precedents. It was the first stone bridge in Paris not to support houses in addition to a thoroughfare, and was also fitted with pavements protecting pedestrians from mud and horses; pedestrians could also step aside into its bastions to let a bulky carriage pass. The decision not to include houses on the bridge can be traced back directly to Henry IV, who decided against their inclusion on the grounds that houses would impede a clear view of the Louvre, which he extended substantially during his reign.[3]

The bridge had heavy traffic from the beginning;[1] it was for a long time the widest bridge in Paris. The bridge has undergone much repair and renovation work, including rebuilding of seven spans in the long arm and lowering of the roadway by changing the arches from an almost semi-circular to elliptical form (1848–1855), lowering of sidewalks and faces of the piers, spandrels, cornices and replacing crumbled corbels as closely to the originals as possible.[1] In 1885, one of the piers of the short arm was undermined, removing the two adjacent arches, requiring them to be rebuilt and all the foundations strengthened.[1]

A major restoration of the Pont Neuf was begun in 1994 and was completed in 2007, the year of its 400th anniversary."

And here it is illuminated at night with the Eiffel Tower peeking out below one of its many arches.  Can you imagine how many people have crossed this bridge over that span of time, and how many proposals, fights, hugs, and kisses have occurred on it?!  

It's mind boggling really when you think about it, and I'm just happy to have walked on it, floated underneath it, and been able to capture it through my lens!

Monday, January 14, 2013

In Search of Springtime

Rain, rain, go away is my mantra today.  My neighbor even called to lodge a complaint about the overcast and ugly weather we've been having for days now.  My only outings have been to take the dogs out, and after doing laundry, dishes, and surfing Pinterest, I'm experiencing some serious cabin fever.

In a phone conversation with Mr. Tide today, where I was lamenting all of this dreary weather, he suggested that we never live in Seattle.  Not that I'm sure Seattle isn't a beautiful part of our country, but for me, I think it would consume me.  The lush dampness and beautiful grey would leave me wanting sunshine and days when your feet stick to the asphalt!  Of course I've never been there, but he has and thinks it would be best if we cross it off of our future places to live list, penciling in St. John, USVI instead.

Although I adore a lack of color at times, my alter ego often craves it.   So I was instantly drawn to this little Lipton tea tin I found at a Paris flea market.  I love the artwork, the beautiful scrollwork, and most of all the color!

On Mr. Tide's way home from work the other night I emailed him a grocery list that looked like this...

Flowers get the idea!!!

Thankfully he got my "subtle" hints and brought me not one, but 3 beautiful bouquets of tulips, dutch iris, and a mixed bouquet with carnations, roses, and mums.

I feel like Marie Antoinette with all of the flowers in my house right now, and I love the hint of springtime they bring.  I hope you are finding ways to cope with the cold and dreary days if you are like me and long for warmer weather and a bit of color!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Paris Grey

I absolutely loved the comments on my last post...each one was so special, so thank you to those of you who left such wonderful and insightful thoughts!

Today has been a little weird around here.  We've been blanketed in fog all day long, which is very unusual for us.  Having fog isn't unusual, but having it last through the night and all throughout the day is not what we normally experience.

I went out about an hour ago to snap some pictures, because the fog gives everything an ethereal look.  And although I worry about everyone in my family driving in this soup (they are all on the road in one direction or another, hours from home today), it really is beautiful.

I'm beginning to wonder if we didn't bring a little Parisian weather home with us, since as you can see by the picture above, we had lots of foggy and grey days while we were there.

As I look out my window right now the conditions have actually deteriorated since I snapped these pics not long ago.  And I've lightened them a bit because they were very dark, but I haven't turned them into black and white or desaturated them at really is that grey out there.

It would be the perfect backdrop for a movie, or for an artist looking to capture a monochromatic look.  And my friend Dan would be delighted with it all, calling it "good Scottish weather."  He loved nothing more than a cold rainy, grey day with fog and a bit of melancholy music to go along with it.


Since I took the shot above, I can't even see down to the water, but I can hear the Canada Geese squawking and splashing as they land.   I wonder if they love or hate the fog?  It certainly gets them talking, and I'm guessing it's how they communicate where they are and when to land or take off, since visual clues are at a minimum right now.

A world in shades of grey, just waiting for springtime and blue skies...and I'm waiting right along with Mother Nature.

The real reason I took my camera out into the mist was to try and capture these two who were quietly chatting with one another.

As they often do whenever we try to get even remotely close, they took off for less threatening waters.

Normally they just paddle away, but these two seem to be new this year and aren't too sure about the crazy lady with the camera so they took flight.

We haven't had many swans this year, and they only showed up a few weeks ago.  I've only seen these two and then a family of 4 with two older cygnets.  The family of 4 seems to have moved on, and these two have come to take their place.

Usually by this time of year we have over 20 calling the creek and their river home for the winter, and it makes me sad to think that maybe our seasonal visitors won't be with us as much as in years past.

They also seem to have grown more wary of humans as they are truly wild.  I was using my 400mm for these shots, so I was not close to them by any stretch, but they must have felt threatened.

I hope I haven't scared them off, and that they will return....maybe on a day that has a little less Paris grey in it perhaps?

What's the weather like in your neck of the woods?

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Well it appears that things are starting to settle out a little with blogger and my email.  After not being able to comment on other peoples' blogs, and having emails lost in cyberspace (yet again!), I seem to be back on track.

It's a bit unnerving to have story assignments and images lost without a trace, but thank goodness for understanding people and email forwarding so that you can show that you really DID try to send things on time.

To all of you who have been so kind to comment and send me emails without a reply, I want to say thank you, and I'm sorry my messages back were often never received.

After a bit, I just kind of gave up and turned my attention to other things, like trying to bring a little life back into my house after putting away all of the holiday decor.

This year cleaning up after Christmas was pretty easy, and I wasn't really tired of looking at anything since we had only put most of it out on the 21st of December...including our tree.  I also used a lot of natural elements this year, like big magnolia branches, cypress, and pine, so clean up was a bit of a breeze really, but I am glad everything is safely tucked away for another year.

I used to dread putting away Christmas and that "empty" house feeling that came with the lack of decor, but now I find it invigorating.  I feel as though my family room has doubled in size now that the big huge tree is gone, and a sofa table that used to be in there will now reside in our son's old bedroom since I'm liking the pared down look of it being gone.

The one thing I do miss though are all of the greens.  Having something living, even if it was going to die eventually made me feel like nature was alive and well, and I like that.  So I started to force some hyacinth bulbs in an attempt to remind myself that before I know it spring will be upon us.

Because my kitchen window sill only gets light for a few hours each morning, I have placed the blubs on a silver serving tray so that I can move them around the house to take advantage of the light in other rooms throughout the day.

They looked a little lonely on the tray by themselves, so I added some of the many postcards I picked up at various flea markets while in Paris last month.  I intentionally selected the floral ones for their pretty pictures and punch of color.

I think I'm craving personal growth right now as well, and it's something that hit me while riding the metro the first day I ventured out on my own in France.

I've always been adventurous in some ways, never afraid to go places on my own, or worried that I will get lost.  I'm a people person in every sense of the word, so I know that I can always stop someone to ask for directions...and I have to say that both Parisians and non Parisians alike were more than helpful, they were kind beyond measure whenever I had a question.

But as I ventured down through the winding hallways of the metro I was suddenly a bit self conscious.  I worried that I didn't look quite metropolitan enough, or up to the standards of such a chic city.  It's my Achilles heel really, to worry about how I look, or how others will perceive me based on my looks, which is why you almost never see pictures of me on this blog.

Now don't think that it kept me from venturing far and wide, but that nagging little voice in the back of my head has always been there, and on that day it was chirping a little loudly.  Just as I was fidgeting and telling myself that I was lucky to be there and that I really should think of something WAY more important than if my shoes were up to snuff, an elderly man and his son got on the train.


They both clung to a pole in the middle of the somewhat crowded train car and I quickly realized that his son, who was close to my age, had some disabilities that likely prevented him from traveling and living on his own.

I began to think what daily life must be like in a city such as Paris for someone with disabilities.  There are stairs, crowds, swaying metro cars, confusing interchanges, and everything that comes with living in a major metropolitan city...and the thought of trying to navigate that, or worse yet the worry of being your child's only guide as you age must be terrifying.

Yet there they were, father and I assume son, riding along, smiling, chatting, and taking it all in stride.  Not worried if their scarves were fashionable, or if anyone was watching them, because for them, being stared at and judged is an every day occurrence.

That set the tone for the rest of my visit around Paris on my own.  I vowed right then and there to stop holding myself back from living life and instead to choose to grow as a person, and to drink up every single moment of being there.

I quit worrying if my images would be saleable, or if anyone would even like them.  That I would snap photos when the sun wasn't just right, or if I thought it would be too dark for them to turn out.  I just lived, and embraced the beauty around me, instead of focusing on my own beauty or lack thereof.  

I was changed that day, in a way that maybe someone else would have missed, and it has carried through to this very minute, and I truly hope it never goes away...this feeling of wanting to grow, learning to accept, and enjoying what really matters in life.  So when I say that I love France, and I gush about every morsel of food we ate, or wandering down narrow streets, and show way too many pictures that I took, please know that for me it is more than a city...for me it was a place where I grew a little and expanded more than my photo catalog!

Have you had a growth moment of your own...I would love to hear all about it!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Darn It

Well I was sorry to read that so many of you have been having issues with Blogger as well!  I had hoped to reply to your comments personally, but that doesn't appear as though it's going to happen.

I will try again tomorrow, but for now I'm still having problems, and I'm just not up for finding solutions today!

Yesterday, I felt well enough to accompany my son and Mr. Tide up the road to pick out a suit.  The suit is for our son, and although he's had suits in the past, at nearly 21 this was his first really "nice" suit as he will likely be able to wear it for a few years.

He tried on something they call an "extreme fit," what we would have called an athletic fit a few years ago, but a bit more slim cut than even that...think Daniel Craig as James Bond.  I almost wanted to cry when he tried it on as he looked so handsome!  Recently he's moved from wearing cowboy boots, jeans, and t-shirts, to becoming quite the style mavin with rugged sweaters, chinos, and crisp white button downs.

I knew this day would come, just as it did with our daughter, but darn it, I am not ready for all of my birdies to be flying the nest and making their way into the world so soon.  It seems like just yesterday I was taking him to get fitted for his first pair of shoes, and now here we are picking out suits so that he can begin interviewing for internships and eventually careers!

Where does the time go people?!  If any of you find a time machine I would love to go for a ride.  Not because I'm stuck in the past, but just so that I can enjoy those lost moments once more.

I remember well how my parents used to say, "enjoy every minute of their growing up, because in an instant they are grown and out on their own."  How right they were, and thankfully I listened and did enjoy each phase as best I could with life whizzing by.

Maybe that is why I'm drawn to places with history, old movies, or shows like Downton Abbey?!   There is real comfort in knowing that some things never change, like architecture, monuments, or a favorite street.  In cities like London and Paris there are streets and views that haven't changed for many years, and although I do embrace change, I like the continuity and thought that some things never change.

I hope you all get your Blogger, gmail, electronic woes figured out too.  I wonder what it must have been like to say..."my scroll isn't working, it keeps rolling up!"  I guess they probably complained about those sorts of things too.  And I think lots of change will be coming to Downton Abbey this season, for the only thing that truly never changes, is the fact that things are always changing.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Blogger and Other Things that Aren't Working for Me

So if you've been following my blog for any length of time than you already know that email and I are often at odds with one another.  It's a fact I've come to accept, but I've never been happy about it.  Aside from my email woes, I've never had too many problems with other electronic aspects of my life, except for an occasional glitch here or there...and the fact that I can never spell occasional correctly the first time!

Anyway, last night, after having dinner with our kids I was sitting on the couch watching a show when my phone alerted me to some voice-mails.  No biggie, I get voice-mail messages all the time, but when I listened to the 3 on my phone they were all wishing me a Happy Birthday.  Sounds good right...until you factor in the fact that my birthday was almost 5 weeks ago, and the messages were left for me in early December but were just now showing up!  Ugh!

Then today, I was looking at my blog and debating on putting up another bird pic post, when I noticed I had 9 comments on my last post.  I thought it must be a typo since I had only received a few email alerts that I had comments.  Lo and behold I've been missing comments left and right it seems because I'm not being notified by Blogger that they are coming in.  And better in its infinite wisdom has decided to throw a bunch of emails into my junk folder for no apparent reason.  Thank goodness I decided to see what else I'd been missing, there were tons of them in there that are NOT junk!

And, I've been pinning a bunch of images I took in France over on pinterest, but I'm not sure that people can see them because I normally get email alerts when people repin stuff.  So maybe Pinterest isn't working for me either?!

Who knows, but aside from the woodpecker above coming to the feeder more regularly, things seem to not be working out around here.  I think the lion above can relate...he looks a little cranky too!

If you want to see more of my France pictures, I'm adding more to Pinterest each day, in my board entitled Paris Perfection.  Feel free to click HERE to repin them or to follow along.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Weekend

Nothing much to say I'm afraid.  My days are filled with napping, sipping tea, writing, and an occasional walk outside, but not for long since it's too cold!  The sun was shining today though, so I felt compelled to at least get some fresh air and try to capture a few of the birds who are devouring the feed we've been putting out.  I think we may be contributing to avian obesity...they love this new bird seed we found at our local Giant Grocery store!

Wishing you each a very Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

More Paris, More Coughing, More Naps

I know you are growing weary of seeing pictures of Paris, but I'm still only part way through processing my copious amounts of images, and I just can't get enough of seeing the sites again.

Each time I work on one, I'm immediately transported back there, and during the holidays I found myself gushing about the French and everything pertaining to Paris or France in general.  I'm sure it was a little like someone with their first grandchild breaking out the brag book every time someone new...or old, stops by!

So I'm afraid you will either have to turn away, or bear with me as I work through my francophone'itis.  And the other reason I'm still showing pictures of Paris is the fact that I really haven't picked up my camera much since I've been back.

Along with francophone'itis, I'm also apparently sporting bronchitis, which I found out by visiting the doctor this morning.  So I haven't been doing much of anything except cough a lot since our company left and the holidays have come to a close!

Not doing much includes not returning emails, cleaning, and a whole host of other things I "should" be doing but just don't feel like doing.  The doctor assured me that a round of antibiotics and some days of real rest, where I'm not worrying about everything I'm not doing, is what I need to be back in fighting form again.

So for once I'm listening and I'm actually heading to take a nap as soon as I post this.  What a good girl I am...sometimes! ;-)

Though out of sequence, all of the pics in this post were taken on our last full day in Paris.  The weather was less than ideal, cold, windy, and at times very rainy, but we decided to do something we hardly ever tourist, and we opted for a Seine River cruise.

We were the first in line, only because we didn't feel like packing ourselves onto a very crowded boat we could have taken, and just hung out on the dock and waited for the next boat.  It was a wise choice in that we were not packed like sardines, but the down side was that about 5 minutes into our trip it began to rain...not spitting rain, but lots of the wet stuff.

Rain in and of itself isn't a bad thing, but expensive cameras and rain are not friends, so we moved from our prime upper deck seats to the glassed in bottom deck...also not a friend of cameras since glass distorts your images and makes it hard to focus.  So in the end we braved the cold and the rain and hung out by ourselves under the metal structure of the upper deck so that I could get a few shots.

I have to say that I'm glad we decided to take the cruise because the highlight for me was being able to photograph Paris and its many gorgeous bridges from a totally different perspective.  So if you are ever in Paris, be sure to take a cruise down the Seine...just check the weather forecast first! 

I hope everyone's new year is off to a good start!