Thursday, May 31, 2007

The cleaning tree

Let me introduce you to a Bottlebrush tree, of the weeping variety. Doesn't the name make sense to you? And no, I haven't used it to clean my wine bottles yet ;-)

Originally from Australia, it does very well in our hot and moist environment and we have quite a few of them around my neighborhood. They bloom almost all year round and the leaves are very aromatic. They attract a variety of birds, notably, hummingbirds.

Plus, they make me smile. You too?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The umbrellas of Naples

No, these are not the famous umbrellas of Cherbourg, but in fact, they belong to my favorite home design store, J. Semmler International Collections, on 5th Ave South in Naples.

But since they made me think of Les Parapluies de Cherbourg and the divine Catherine Deneuve, here's a trailer to the French musical. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Quiz Tuesday part 25

Today's quiz can only work under the honor system - you promise not to Google and I promise not to giggle at your answers ;-)
Hint: the inspiration for the quiz came from this photo of the snowy egret and his reflection...

Today's question is: from which famous novel comes the following quote:

"Hence it came about that I concealed my pleasures; and that when I reached years of reflection, and began to look round me, and take stock of my progress and position in the world, I stood already committed to a profound duplicity of life."

UPDATE: Time for another hint, another quote:

"All human beings... are commingled out of good and evil."

Monday, May 28, 2007

Back to the (Naples) beach...

This post is dedicated to Kate, who misses Mazatlan and demands asks that I fill the void in her heart with more beach photos. But I hope you'll enjoy it as well.

Deep blue skies, turquoise water, white sand, rainbow-colored sailboats, hard, tanned bodies...Please let me know if I left anything out ;-)

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Downtown Old Naples, in front of the Opus building, which is the headquarters of a land development company.

Do you recognize the yellow car? Yes, it's the British Mini Cooper, and when I lived in Paris, I would see them around every corner. They seemed to fit in nicely with the French Renault and Peugeot but had an extra "cuteness" factor to them (and you know how important that is ;-)

So can you blame me for wanting to "adopt" one and bring it home with me (to the US)? I even went as far as to build my own model . But then the reality set in - do I really want to be intimidated and pushed around by the jumbo SUV's on the Tamiami Trail (main throughfare in Naples)?

So, no, this isn't my Mini, but I wish it was...especially now, with the gas prices soaring!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Surveyor

Anhinga in the Everglades

"There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before."

- Robert Lynd

Friday, May 25, 2007

Sail into the weekend...

The start of the Memorial Day weekend on the Naples Pier.

Some will be fishing, some will be boating, some will be relaxing on the beach.

But the pelicans will remain ever vigilant - any fish you fail to reel in, is their gain :-)

Thursday, May 24, 2007


"Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty, never grows old."
- Franz Kafka

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bag lady

Old Naples, right off 3rd Street and it looks like another art gallery,right?

Actually, it's the famous boutique of Sonja Benson and her chic handbags. If that's your cup of tea, peruse to your heart's content.

I'll be waiting for you outside, by the fountain, coaching the goldfish to smile for the camera ;-)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Quiz Tuesday part 24

Well, after 4 days of lying belly up, we've taken a walk along the coast that brought us smack into Ft. Myers Beach, about 30 miles north of Naples (I know it's a hefty walk, but just humor me ;-). If you enlarge the photo you will see the bridge to Sanibel Island in the distance, but I digress...

Today's question is: what are those sunbathers gawking and pointing at?

Update: Dolphin sighting! Unfortunately, you just have to take my word for it - he was too fast for my old Kodak. With a little imagination, you can almost ;-) see him here.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Life's a beach (4)

Friday I showed you the Naples Beach north of the Pier. It is mainly family-oriented, rather quiet and sedate, with the emphasis on rest and relaxation.

South of the Pier is a different world - young, hip, active and hot (feel free to enlarge the photo ;-). Sail boat rentals, beer tents, music DJ, ball tournaments...

So I'm conducting this social experiment in order to get to know you better - on which side of the Pier will you spread your towel?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Life's a beach (3)

"Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice"
Robert Frost Ice and Fire

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Life's a beach (2)

We are now on the historic Naples Pier - a favorite location of fishermen. It features a concession stand and bait shop, and fishing from the pier does not require a fishing license. The place is teeming with colorful characters...

For some reason, "The Old Man and the Sea" by Hemingway comes to mind:
"Fish, I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends".

Friday, May 18, 2007

Life's a beach (1)

I hope you've been working out lately and tightening up those abs...We are going to the beach today (and for the next few days) and I don't want you to embarrass me ;-)

With fine white sand on the shore of the deep blue Gulf of Mexico, this is the Municipal Naples Beach and Fishing Pier (photos to come).

So swim, work on your tan, play volleyball, read or snooze - this is the Paradise Coast and the living is easy...

Thursday, May 17, 2007


At one time, we shared our life with an Old English Sheepdog who, as much as she loved being around us, was uncomfortable and shy around strangers.

Whenever we had company, she tried to hide under the coffee table. The only problem was, that at 90 lbs (40 kg), the only thing that would fit under the table was her head. But somehow in her canine logic, she figured that if she can't see anyone, no one can see her...

I wonder if the egret thinks he's hidden?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

C'est la vie!

Turkey vulture feeding on rabbit

"Some days you feel on top of the world, some days you feel like roadkill."
Isabella ;-)

What kind of day are you having?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Quiz Tuesday part 23

What you are seeing, took place recently at Fort Myers Beach. I was watching it from the pier, together with a group of beachcombers and fishermen . Sorry I can not divulge any more details right now, but I know how clever you are - you'll figure it out :-).

Today's question is: can you describe what is taking place in this photo?

UPDATE: This scene is part of a dramatic rescue mission! Two seagulls got tangled up in the fishing line, with a hook stuck in one of their wings. They were sure to die...
This young man jumped in the water with some clippers to free them but it was not an easy task - the birds were wriggling, hissing, biting, getting entangled even worse...
Finally, after half an hour and another pair of helping hands, they were freed and brought onto the beach to recuperate. Obviously they were stressed and dazed and I hope they made out OK...

For more photos of the rescue, please click here.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Keep me posted!

Today the US postage stamp price is going up...again! A domestic letter will now cost 41 cents, letters to Europe 90 cents.

Honestly, I do not begrudge the Post Office this tiny 2 cent increase. I am very happy with the prompt and friendly service they provide, especially compared to the postal experiences I had in foreign countries!

I am just questioning the futility of it all. In the words of Postmaster General, John Potter himself: " Even with the higher prices, the agency expects a deficit this year as it struggles to compete in a swiftly changing communications market."

What's to become of "snail-mail"?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

My earliest memory of Mom was her scent. Whenever she leaned over to pick-me up, I was bathed in jasmine, her favorite perfume.

Today, my Mom lives on the other side of the world and we don't see each other often. But the heady evening scent of the jasmine vine, climbing up my courtyard wall, keeps her close to my heart...

For that special bond we share, this is dedicated to all the mothers and daughters out there:

Martina McBride - In My Daughter's Eyes (LIVE)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Les courses

The shoppes at Promenade

Doing what comes naturally on Saturdays - running errands ;-)
Let's see...farmer's market, library, post office, cleaners...You too?

Shall we meet up here for a respite and perhaps a glass of wine?

Friday, May 11, 2007


Al is uncharacteristically bashful today...Still, he wants me to convey his wishes for a great week-end!

See you later, alligator ;-)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Colonial Naples

Back to the Gallery Row, downtown Naples. I wrote about it in this post, but I will remind you that we have over 100 art galleries in our small town of 22,000 inhabitants! Pretty impressive, huh?

This photo also proves that our downtown architects know more than just one style - Mediterranean! And they listened to the town councilman who once eloquently proclaimed: "If I see one more building downtown, looking like a goddamn Italian wedding cake, I'll puke!"

And finally, is it me, or is the man in the photo sprouting a tail?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Spanish lace

I am fascinated by Spanish Moss. It gracefully hangs from the branches of the large Live Oak tree in our front yard. I never grow tired of its beauty and charm.

It is neither a moss nor a parasite; rather, it is a tropical, epiphytic herb (air plant) which grows on another plant upon which it depends for mechanical support but not for nutrients. It ranges from the Southeastern US to South America, growing wherever the climate is warm and humid.

To me, Spanish Moss is a lacy, romantic symbol of the South...

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Quiz Tuesday part 22

Yorkie and the greyhounds at the Promenade

Great minds think alike - with a friendly nod to Gerald, today's quiz is more of a brain stretcher: Please come up with your best caption to this photo!

Ok, I will start you off: "How did I end up in Brobdingnag?"

Monday, May 7, 2007

Play "Misty" for me...

Misty morning at Pelican Lake.

"Angels in the early morning
May be seen the dews among,
Stooping, plucking, smiling, flying:
Do the buds to them belong?

Angels when the sun is hottest
May be seen the sands among,
Stooping, plucking, sighing, flying;
Parched the flowers they bear along."
Emily Dickinson Angels in the early morning
I hate to say it, but...I told you so!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

DIY (Do It Yourself)

We continue our stroll thought the Coconut Point Mall. Next stop: Build-A-Bear Workshop. It's a place where you (the child) pick out a plush bear, record your own message, stuff it inside the bear with the rest of the filler, sew-it up, fluff it up, name it and finally take it home, along with his birth certificate. All for around $40.

The store's mission is: "To bring the Teddy Bear to life. An American icon, the Teddy Bear brings to mind warm thoughts about our childhood, about friendship, about trust and comfort, and also about love."

Call me jaded and dispassionate, but my childhood stuffed bear, Misiek, was just that. A stuffed animal. I have no recollection of how Misiek and I parted, but I assure you, if I saw him again, there would be no hysterical reunion. Mabe just a pat on his threadbare head ;-)

But hey, that's just me. How about you?

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Movie night

This is our new, hacienda-style movie theatre at the Coconut Point Mall. Sixteen screens with luxury extras and the prices to match...

For $20 you'll get the "Premier" experience, which includes a new, reclining love seat of 32 inches across (82 cm), along with free popcorn and sodas, valet parking and reserved seating. There is also talk of converting 2 auditoriums into bistros and serving full meals during the showings, thus giving a new meaning to the "dinner and a movie" concept ;-)

Spider-Man 3 opens this week-end - anyone fancy a movie and some chicken wings tonight?

Friday, May 4, 2007

A horse is a horse...

I passed this horse trailer on the highway. With its Kentucky license plates and the racing season just around the corner, it was no doubt headed for Churchill Downs.
The horse looked straight at me, as if to say: "can you believe this insanity? I was born to run - what am I doing in this bucket on wheels?" I talked back to him - sympathizing, comforting, reminding him that the Queen of England will be in the stands this year...
What? You don't believe we had this conversation? Well, let me remind you of Mr. Ed from the 1960's TV sitcom:

Happy trails, everyone!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Gone fishing

I saw this little girl fishing in my pond (it's actually the community pond, but I pretend it is mine ;-). Very patient...very still.

"There is certainly something in fishing that tends to produce a gentleness of spirit, a pure serenity of mind." --Washington Irving

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


We are on 3rd Street, downtown Naples, only about 200 feet from the beach, on the right.

I am telling you this for a reason. Hard as I try, I cannot find an explanation as to why do palm trees lean at 45-degree angle in the vicinity of the ocean?

There is nothing in the nature of a palm tree that makes it lean towards the water. Here are a couple of suggestions I found online:

1. The ground is lower towards the ocean, so the tree started leaning as the seed leaned when it germinated.
2. The prevailing winds bent the trunk.

I'm not totally convinced...So this time I turn to you, my learned visitors - do you have an explanation for this sloping phenomenon?

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Theme day - City Exchange

Bienvenue Chez Isabella, en Provence, mon coin préféré...

OK, it's a big, fat lie! This is actually an "estate home", in our community in Naples.

But admit it, for a while there I had you believing you were in the South of France, n'est-ce pas?
(Oh, yeah, I can see you nodding your head ;-)

Today is DP Theme Day and at least 75 other DP bloggers have participated. To view their contributions, please click on the following places:
Monte Carlo, Monaco - Singapore, Singapore - Tenerife, Spain - Rotterdam, Netherlands - Montréal (QC), Canada - Melbourne, Australia - Naples (FL), USA - Bastia, France - Hong Kong, China - Mazatlan, Mexico - Buenos Aeres, Argentina - Manila, Philippines - Arradon, France - Madison (WI), USA - Evry, France - Seoul, Korea - Shanghai, China - Bucaramanga (Santander), Colombia - Sequim (WA), USA - Singapore, Singapore - Budapest, Hungary - Baziège, France - Hamburg, Germany - Toruń, Poland - Nelson, New Zealand - Madison (WI), USA - Vantaa, Finland - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Mainz, Germany - Dubai, UAE - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Cork, Ireland - Stockholm, Sweden - Menton, France - Tel Aviv, Israel - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Kitakami, Japan - Stayton (OR), USA - Szentes, Hungary - Stavanger, Norway - Grenoble, France - Villigen, Switzerland - Paris, France - Hyde, UK - Moscow, Russia - Joplin (MO), USA - Jakarta, Indonesia - Greenville (SC), USA - Cape Town, South Africa - Asheville (NC), USA - Seattle (WA), USA - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Madrid, Spain - Auckland, New Zealand - Oulu, Finland - Lubbock (TX), USA - Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Baton Rouge (LA), USA - Sydney, Australia - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Vancouver, Canada - Seattle (WA), USA - Selma (AL), USA - Chandler (AZ), USA - Sharon (CT), USA - Manila, Philippines - Lyon, France - New York City (NY), USA - Los Angeles (CA), USA - Brookville (OH), USA - Hayle, UK - Wailea (HI), USA - Saarbrücken, Germany - San Diego (CA), USA