free font of the month


Free font this month is Curly Q. It's a curly, swirly, girly kind of font. A delightful headline font for your next garden party or note to the kids from the tooth fairy. Use the download link on the right.

We were in London once for 2 weekends. This photo was the outside of my stepson Matt's apartment building in Nottinghill. It was fun to start London Doodles with photos from that trip. At least yearly I intend to add a city doodle or two to the series. I've done Paris and London... maybe a resort type location next. And of course NYC.

The Tate....

Just ran across this picture again and thought I'd share it. It was taken at the Tate Modern in London in May of this year. While I was initially disappointed that it is out of focus I've come to like it all the more because it is. Seems like a shot you should have from a modern art museum. This was my favorite exhibit. The exhibit was in a relatively small room as museum rooms go. The artist sent instructions to the Tate on how to execute this piece. First the whole room is painted black with chalkboard paint. Then each wall would have a graphic shape drawn on it with chalk. I am standing in front of the circle but there was a triangle and a square... With chalk the whole room had evenly spaced lines drawn vertically. Inside each shape the lines were drawn horizontally. On the wall they had the instructions that the museum worked from. It had a diagram and instructions that explained the size relationship between the shapes and the possible size of each wall. As a graphic artist and font designer I am really drawn to graphic shapes and it was truly amazing to be inside this piece of art. I think about it often. I am so pleased I got to see this. Walking into this room took my breathe away.

And I could not believe it but this museum is free. If I lived in London I would go there every week.

Such pretty food...

Well John is off to work and today I will unpack, do errands blah, blah, blah. All those boring re entry type of things.

But here are a couple last pictures. I was amazed by the pastries. The first 2 pictures are from Paris and the last one is a London bakery.

Turn off the lights before you leave

(John) Yes. London is about to go dark. We leave for the states tomorrow. After a series of connections we'll be back in Eau Claire around midnight Monday night. We've enjoyed our time with Matt here though in the last day or two Rae has finally started to feel the affects of 12 days of walking around. Time to rest when we get back. I went up in the London Eye yesterday. If you aren't familiar, the Eye is the huge ferris wheel like structure across the river from Parliment and Big Ben. A revolution takes a half hour and the "car" holds 10-15 people. It took me 45 minutes waiting in the que but I finally got on and it was a perfect day for it. Clear and sunny. Very fun for me. (Rae can't stand heights so she stayed in the park below.) OK. I'll let her add a few thoughts.

(Rae) Well this has been a truly perfect vacation. Unfortunately I am exhausted much like I felt post hysterectomy and it has only been 3 months... and I may have caught John's cold. But I can rest on the plane...

Keep an eye on the blog after we get home I'll post some pictures and captions then.

Good night.

John's musings

Train from london to Calais/Paris 15:06 27/5/07(I wrote these thoughts while on the train to Paris and waited til back at Matt's apartment to enter them so I wouldn't pay for the entry at the hotel. Hope it doesn't bore you to death.)

The English Countryside looks remarkably similar to that of Wisconsin or Iowa. The gentle, seductively rolling hillsides are quartered in farmland whose crops are just bursting green from the black earth. Deciduous and pine line the rail as we begin to pick up speed and every few minutes I am startled by the speed an proximity of trains passing in the other direction just inches from my window.

The houses are distinctly rural England however. Stone or brick bordered by either low stone walls or higher dense and neatly trimmed hedges. All tidy & squared. Yes, remarkably Wisconsin and Iowa-like with cows and horses dotting the landscape.

We are now traveling much faster than the cars on the highway just to my right. My guess is maybe 90-100mph. It's a gray, rainy day. Typical of London but it's quiet. The train is much more quiet than a plane. Very comfortable. It's only been a few days but I'm constantly reminded of how sheltered I am from the larger world having lived where I've lived. All around me, different skin tones, tongues, even clothing attest to not being "in Kansas" anymore. This is not bad. Not at all. Just an observation.

Just passed a small village with its neat brick houses. If it weren't for the aged brick, uniquely English construction the layout would remind you of our tract developments. Neatly arranged and all much the same style. And yet, in this town is what can be best described as a tent village. It appeared to be one large tented structure with many supports (40-50). The totally odd part was a McDonalds logo under one section facing the train. Not a billboard but probably the front entrance to the most unusual McDonald's I've seen.

I hope to see the English Channel though I suspect we will be underground before then... A tone and announcement we are about to enter the tunnel. Total darkness outside the train with only the slightest illusion of movement.

We're now about 15 minutes from France. A brief stop in Calais before going onto Paris.

We are now in France! Outside a large round-a-bout connects two narrow country roads. Power poles seem to extend in all directions. But again, this could be Wisconsin! Matt pointed out to me that you rarely see a pickup truck over here and the realisation of it is now like a picture coming into focus. No SUV's though station wagons abound... SAABs, Volvos, Porsche's.

Announcement: "Paris in about an hour." The French countryside is lush green with new crops. Every so often a "whoosh" - another train racing past. On a south-facing hillside, so many wood posts, assuming for grapevines(?), remind me of gravestones. A small village with pre-requisite church steeples rising above red-tiled roofs. !Whoosh! And another 50 car train passes in about 3 seconds. A (!Whoosh!) crucifix rises 6 feet (2 meters) above a carpet of green hiding the smallish cemetery. The fields of wheat(?) or hay(?) are marred only by the deep tire treads evenly spaced about every 15 meters.

PA Announcements now begin in French and are repeated in English...juxtaposed from the Western side of the channel. A snack from the train snack bar of Pringles and Kit Kats is all too American. We outpace gray, low-hanging clouds to Paris. !Whoosh!

Our first night in Paris: First: Get out of the train station. We have no idea! But a kindly French couple write directions for us so after some starts and stops we get on the right Metro (think subway) and head to the Trocadero district.

We've found that one invaluable tool is a compass. With all the twisting, intersecting streets, following a map with the compass is so helpful. So after a half hour metro ride we emerge from a train station DIRECTLY West across the river from the Eiffel Tower (or Tour Eiffel as it's referred to here). Although it's 9:30pm (21:30 here) it's still light out. We head down a street hoping our hotel is in this direction. We stop at a BP gas station and indeed are headed correctly. We buy a map there which also turns out to be incredible helpful. It's in a little book form and has lots of detail. All these things you discover, sometimes by accident.

We find our hotel and as we walk in a car alarm goes off directly across the street. This alarm goes on for one for 30 seconds...and repeats, and repeats...for over an hour. It is immediately below our 5th floor window and if it continues our 1st night in Paris will be a bit sleepless. And oh...we get to the room and it has no lights! We find a phone and call down to find that there is a device on the wall into which you insert the room key card and that turns the lights on! Who knew and might they tell you upon checkin in? Se le ve! I think we also discussed the "ascension" of elevator. It was BARELY large enough for the two of us and even so we had to face each other. Still fun!

The rest we've pretty much covered. Bread and cheese and wine and coffee! Coffee...that's another thing. You'd think the French would know how to deliver a full cup of coffee. No mon amie! But, hey, in as Parisians do I guess. When I did eventually find a Starbucks close to the hotel, I ordered the biggest coffee I could find and I don't even like Starbucks!

So now we're back in London. The weather throughout the trip has been predominantly rainy and cool but today it is nice so we're about to venture out.

Again...if you've read all of this you deserve a medal!


Still Day 9

And back in London and finally in Matt's apartment. But what an ordeal. We were getting cocky, we were so proud of the fact that we figured out how to take the bus (which was basically free because we each got a weekly bus/metro pass for 16 euros) across Paris avoiding the $72 cab ride.

But we got screwed up here in London trying to take the tube to Matt's. Who knew there were 2, yes 2 Paddington stations? We saw one (the wrong one) twice and never saw the one we needed. Plus randomly they just close parts of the tube. That happened too. We finally just got out of the tube and caught a bus. Then nothing looked familiar, so we caught a cab. And just ordered a pizza. It is 10:20PM and Matt is still at work.

Today we went to the Sacre Cour, that is the big, white church on the top of the hill. John hiked up to the very peak of the dome over 200 steps on a very narrow circular staircase. I sat in the sun on the steps and people watched and thought about how absolutely perfect this trip has been.

And now some ramblings from John... Tomorrow I'll post some pictures as I need Matt's help for that.

(John) I hadn't mentioned I caught a nasty cold the day we arrived in London. I seem to do this. I come down from the stresses of work and immediately get sick. I guess that means I should never take a vacation! So here we are back in London and my sore throat to stuffy head to runny nose to now, a hacking cough have all contributed to that special allure Rae loves in me so much! Quit complaining! I'm in London/Paris/London. Grin and bear it!

We have mentioned the churches. There is little to compare to the sheer majesty and beauty of them. I know they're "just" structures in one sense, but what structures to sing and worship in. It would be glorious to hear voices sing in any of the ones we visited.

Yeah. I climbed to the top of the tower at Sacre Cour. 264 narrow, worn, spiral steps. I must admit I was winded but took some marvelous photos from up there. But then again, those photos will look like the ones from on top of the Eiffel Tower and the ones from the top of the Arch de Triomphe...just another view. Still magnificent.

This was a trip to remember and we will post the photos...maybe tomorrow. I'll also post some of my "musings" from the chunnel trip describing the countryside in more colorful detail. I'll bet you can't wait for that!

Time to go get medicated. Bye from London!


Day 4, May 27, 2007

It is raining and John caught a cold. He slept 11 hours. So it is noon, we have done our laundry and are repacking for Paris. Matt is going to stay here and catch up on sleep. Next we get some lunch and head for I think Waterloo. Last night we went to the Tate Modern. It was great fun. Love modern art. It was rainy then too. We are hoping it will not be raining in Paris.

It is interesting how much more you notice rain when you don't have a car.

Must run, off to get some lunch.

There will be no pictures while we are in Paris. Now I am using Matt's computer. I have no idea how I will get online from there.