Paris: Looking Up, Part One

Posted on January 16, 2015 at 8:04 pm | 2 Comments


A little chapel in the Cluny Museum, built at the height of the Gothic era, early 1500s.

Ceilings of the Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles. I spent most of my time in Paris piecing together its architectural history. Unfortunately a lot of the surviving mansions are now government institutions and are not open to the public, but if an architectural gem was open, the rooms were rarely in their original state. Historical interiors had either been stripped bare by the revolutions or heavily embellished during the Second Empire. By the way, I am no fan of that era’s design.

After three weeks of effort, I did manage to find, visit, and photograph some wonderful buildings. Usually if a room retained any of its original décor, it would be the ceiling. And the ceilings were amazing! All but one photo of this blog post were taken in the Louvre. I was only interested in its structural and décor history. Plus there was the newly renovated 18th-century Decorative Arts Galleries that had recently reopened. It took me a whole day to see the new galleries and another whole day to discover the building’s architectural history.

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Merry Christmas!

Posted on December 24, 2014 at 3:44 pm | No Comments


Please take time to appreciate the small things, especially if they have some sprinkled sparkles.

Paris: The Small and Exquisite Moments

Posted on December 17, 2014 at 7:34 pm | No Comments


Detail of an unusual objet d’art in the ‪Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris‬

This is the first of a series of posts covering my trip to Paris, France. It’s been two months since I’ve returned, but I needed time to adjust being back. You see, after a month of wandering and living in an historical and cultural paradise, returning to my humdrum existence here in Dallas has been less than happy. I think now that enough time has passed, posting about my Parisian adventures will not trigger another case of the blues.

As you’re looking at the following images, keep in mind that most of these objects were inside glass displays and were all shot with my iPhone. I did take a camera with me and alternated between the two devices, but after one week of switching back and forth, I decided enough was enough. Besides, shooting with the iPhone was the only immediate way to upload images to my Instagram account.

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Holiday Attire

Posted on December 6, 2014 at 6:46 pm | No Comments


I realize that this photo is kind of dark, but shooting this in the early evening was the only way I could ensure that the lighted garlands would be noticeable.

The Bell house has finally dressed up for the holidays. Only those who drive less than twenty miles an hour down my street have a chance of noticing this display. With tough competition in this neighborhood, my three overdressed fir trees will have a hard time impressing folks. Once the Christmas season has passed and the ornaments have been removed, my firs will continue to dress up my front porch until late spring next year.

The Lay of the Land

Posted on November 22, 2014 at 4:33 pm | No Comments


Click this image for a larger version. The pink-lined shape indicates the topographical placement of my acreage outside of Saint Jo, Texas.

Topography maps are fascinating and incredibly beautiful. To get a better understanding of the terrain on my soon-to-be-purchased piece of paradise, I turned to my old friend Google to hunt out topography maps. The map I chose for this post, which includes my acreage, is especially beautiful because of the etched valleys spreading south from the Red River creating what looks like green crazy fingers or maybe upside down Christmas trees.

With this topography map and using InDesign, I then layered it with two other image files, the site survey and Google’s aerial view, in order to know exactly where my property lies and verify what I already suspected, the entire 8.36 acres lies on the north slope of a large bluff. Sometimes this hill and the larger one to the east are referred to as Tyler Bluff, but more often, the larger east hill is the only one labeled as such. At least one edge of my acreage lies at the base of the hill where an access road has been created.

Click the link below for the entire topography map of this area.

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My New Piece of Heaven

Posted on November 16, 2014 at 5:10 pm | 3 Comments


Around the perimeter, there are open pockets of grass. Whereas the interior is thick with vegetation.

Located just outside of Saint Jo, Texas in what’s referred to as the North Texas Hill Country, lies 8.36 acres of paradise. The closing isn’t until November 25, but I’ve been calling this place “mine” for the past two weeks. Saint Jo lies in Montague County, but this acreage is in Cooke County. This area may not be fashionable for those looking for a country retreat, but that’s what makes it so perfect for me—an unspoiled weekend getaway. Plus, on a good day without road construction, it only takes 1.5 hours to drive there.

I caught this bug while visiting a good friend’s place up there. She owns 34 acres and is currently turning it into a retreat for school and church groups. She knows all the different contractors that would be required to install fencing, sink a water well, install a septic tank, and build a house. In other words, she’s done all the hard work for me.

In the next post, I’ll go into further detail about the location and terrain. And a third post will be needed to explain my ideas for a tiny house. So stay tuned. In the meantime, click the link below for more photos taken during my walk around this property.

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