Paris Opera House Grandeur 

The French Presidential Election has my mind in Paris again. I was reminded by the Captain over at Equinoxio that I never posted photos from the beautiful Palais Garnier (Paris Opera House for those of us non French speakers). When I was in Paris last year my friend and I took in the ballet at this magnificent baroque opera house. I am afraid the beautiful building outshined the performance hands down. The ballet was probably the most excruciating artistic experience of my life, not because it is a ballet, but because it was a terrible nightmare inducing ballet. But, the price of admission was worth it just to see the gilded architectural pomp and circumstance. 

On the evening of the ballet we walked up the stairs from the subway to view the sun setting on the beautiful exterior. A street musician was playing a piano like a champ entertaining the crowd. 

Inside the grand staircase greets visitors who may never see the artistry of the tiled floors only because they cannot lower their chins from all of the looking up. The lighting makes you feel like you are at a candlelight performance or in a Victorian BBC drama. The ceilings are a work of art by themselves. 

The Grand Foyer looks like it belongs to royalty. Hollywood, why haven’t you filmed a mini series in this room? Spectacular balls, dinner parties, dance parties, this room is mind blowing.  

The auditorium, while it reminds me of the Muppets, it is a place to see and be seen. The acoustics are superb while the views might be slightly impeded depending on your position in your box. But one thing is for sure, everyone no matter where they are seated, can look up and will have their breath taken away by the chandelier and the Marc Chagall ceiling.

In my own humble way I hope France remembers itself and how beautiful and magnificent it is in this important political moment. It must remain a part of the rest of Europe so it can continue sharing pieces of perfection like this architectural masterpiece. 

*My apologies for the simple photos. They were taken with my iPhone since the place is obviously too fancy for my good bulky cameras and we were too dolled up for the ballet to lug my equipment around. It’s hard to pry the camera out of my hands when I’m traveling! But I hope you will understand. 

To read more on my French travels click here! To read and view photos of the one and only Giverny click here!


San Francisco Museum of Modert Art – MOMA

San Francisco is home to a world class modern art museum called the MOMA. It recently underwent a multi-year facelift. I had been meaning to check it out and the opportunity finally presented itself recently.  The building is gorgeous boasting six levels of art with an outdoor living wall, oculus bridge, outdoor fresh air sculptures, and an outdoor terrace with art and a view. Highlights for me were the Thomas Saraceno’s Stillness in Motion: Cloud City, special Matisse collection, Diane Arbus photography portrait collection, and the British Sculptures. 

The museum has a really great app to keep people interested as they plan their trip and walk through the exhibits. It provides information on each floor and collection and even immersive walks. One can buy tickets ahead to save valuable time waiting in line. I recommend getting  there early as it can get pretty busy which can take away from the vibe. 

Rothko has been a favorite of mine since I was in high school and was dumb enough to think I could easily paint something this simple. Spoiler Alert: It’s harder than it looks.

What do you think this person is thinking?

I love this painting. And it made me smile to watch hoards of young people taking selfies in front of it. Yes, not great Museum behavior. But, it made me smile to watch lots of young kids enjoying the art one way or the other.

This piece reminded me of the white rock found at Newgrange in Ireland. It was arranged in a beautiful circular pattern on the ground. I loved it.

Probably my favorite exhibit was Thomas Saraceno’s Stillness in Motion: Cloud City.

Everything in this exhibit seemed floating on air if by magic

The use of mirrors was perfect and helped with the air of weightlessness and mystery

This young lady was sketching a Matisse and was doing a great job!

Special exhibit on now is Matisse/Diebenkorn

The museum is making an effort to interest young people. Near one of the cafes they have a machine where you can make your own selfie art. I couldn’t help myself.

Living wall

Simply gorgeous

For another silly post on the MOMA clickity clickity here

Looking for other fun and quirky stuff to do when visiting San Francisco check out my other posts here. 

Treasure Island Flea Market

The Bay Bridge stretches from the Oakland area to San Francisco. Halfway across the bridge it connects to Treasure Island, a man made Island meant to be a sea plane airport. Once the location of the Worlds Fair it is now trying to reinvent itself. One way is by a very popular flea market. 

Day drinking anyone?

I challenge you to show me a flea market with a better view!

Clocks artistically made from old records


We are very close to Napa

A vendors pet was getting a lot of attention

The view isn’t too shabby

For another post on Treasure Island please clicky clicky here. For some interesting and off the wall posts on San Francisco please look here

Maidu Museum & Historic Site -Roseville,California

California spring has sprung and its only a matter of minutes before temperatures will top one hundred degrees. Little baby and I broke out of our fortress of solitude to visit the Maidu Indian Historic site only minutes from the house. The Southern Nisenan Maidu people lived on and visited the site until the Gold Rush people brought disease with them on their search for gold. 

The site boasts a lovely little museum and walk. Along the walk visitors can view well-worn petroglyphs and hundreds of grinding rocks/mortars used to mash local acorns. Native plants like soap root and rattlesnake grass still exist as well as visuals used primarily to educate groups of elementary school kids.

I’m very happy I finally visited this site whose mission is to protect the site and to share Native American culture. The fresh air was much needed. 

Proud California Poppies

They assure me there is a petroglyph on this Rick but it is too worn to see without close examination

Anyone feel like making acorn mush with me?

The aging “Lads of Ireland” (U2 in Dublin and the city that made them)

I make no apologies.  I am a die-hard U2 fan and will be until the day I die.  I recently saw them in concert in San Jose (California that is) and would jump at the idea of seeing them again and again.  I have tickets to see the thirtieth anniversary of the Joshua Tree album tour in May. I follow them on Facebook and Instragram and about anywhere else they let me follow them without a restraining order. Suffice it to say I was not one of the people angry about the band providing me with their new album for FREE on my iPhone.  I couldn’t have been more thrilled thank you very much.

When I first went to Dublin in 1999 U2, or “The Lads” as they are sometimes referred to in Ireland, were spoken of with a reverence generally associated with royalty or some Irish rebel historical figure.  Anything that could be associated with U2 or its members was a tourist attraction then.

The Liffey-side Clarence Hotel which is owned by members of the band and its “secret night club” were constantly strangled by tourists and cameras, fan girls sat outside of Bono’s house in Bray, the U2 graffiti wall outside of the band’s studio in the urban dockside area was covered in young people gooning out for the camera, and Slane Castle’s grounds were still humming with the memory of the band’s famous concert there in 1983.

These days the band and its fans are getting older myself included.  Their music is more introspective harkening back to a time of punk and family memory with a sense of sentimentality and sensitivity.  I am not sure today’s young people are as in to the band as they once were.  Some are instead enamored with Kardashians and ill-behaved Miley Cyruses.  Tourist bus stops that used to stop by the docks or the Clarence either don’t stop there anymore or no one hops off of the bus.  It makes me sad to think that the band is not as popular as it once was and their presence in the City that belongs to them is not as strong as it has been in the past.  But, at the same time perhaps this is just the next chapter in the art and lives of us all?


U2 Graffiti wall


U2 Graffiti wall


U2 Graffiti wall

Fore more Irish Musings please click here


First Day of Spring-California Poppy

Its raining here cats and dogs at bulldog travels.  So, I thought I would herald spring by sharing some photos of our famous California Poppy.  Our state flower “pops” up everywhere in early spring and is a joy to see from the side of the freeway or climbing up the entire side of a hill or mountain.  Does anyone else have a state or national flower that represents where they live like the California Poppy?

“All the spring may be hidden in the single bud, and the low ground nest of the lark may hold the joy that is to herald the feet of many rose-red dawns.”

-Oscar Wilde


Tuesday Photo Challenge – Spring – Dutch goes the Photo challenge

Capitol Reef, Utah

My brother is planning a trip to Utah and Colorado which got me daydreaming about Southern Utah again. 

Capitol Reef National Park is a great park not nearly as busy as Arches, Zion, BryceNatural Bridges and other nearby locations. It’s a vast and impressive park for hikers and desert lovers. 

State Route 23 through Fremont River Canyon was actually a road at one time! Sandstone walls are riddled with fossils, petroglyphs, and very old graffiti. If you look closely you will see sharp shooters who managed to spell their names in gunfire. 

It seems one could spend months and months exploring the lovely nature Utah has to offer in its parks. 

What’s your favorite park?