Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Travel With Me Tuesday: Yes, Me Too

Yes, I'll miss you too but sometimes a vacation is what is needed. I'm having a solo trip out west in the land of green chiles, Rocky Mountains, and desert landscapes inhabited by unmet friends.

Be ready for lots of photos in early September!

Monday, August 24, 2015

AAM Monday: Project Life Week 33

It was one of those quiet weeks, so there is only one page. I do have an idea of a matching page I will do of my granddaughters (mainly) at the beach the same week. It's just no done now.  We'll see how that goes.

Week 34 - That was filled with Week in the Life which is not done though I was diligent about jotting notes in a passport sized book every day. I have work to do on that and may just transcribe the journaling while on my vacation. That will give me some computer time that does not require a net connection.  I'm open to what happens with this.

So...week 33 (I am giving myself some Jin Shin Jyutsu in the selfie. It's not one of those OMG let it end moments. Just in case you thought I was thinking that!)

I must say, I really liked getting back to some red again. I'd been on a green kick for a while - must have been the overabundance of rampant green growth in most everyone's yard round here. Plants grew but with lower temperatures we got lots of leaves, but little else. Oh well, CA would be glad to see it.  I am also loving that freebie instagram card from Cathy Zielske. I fell for the Collect app some time ago but those sized cards were a little off for these templates so when Cathy made this one, it was a godsend. Here it is.   Get it!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

TBT: 1968 and He's Flying to London

As I will be away on this little boy's birthday, so I'll put it up now.

In July 1968, he was just about one month shy of a year. He had already been on an airplane flying from Texas to Maryland at 6 weeks. Now he was going with his parents across the pond. He would be there 7 years, with many airplane flights under his belt by 7 and many many more to come.

Dulles airport was quite the place then with a lovely restaurant and note the Saarinen chairs in the Saarinen designed terminal. Flying was so much more comfortable then and it was an 'occasion' rather than the tedious cattle car ordeal we now have.  The next day we would start our life in England and my little Texan would soon be a proper little Brit.

Happy Birthday to my eldest with love from yomama.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Travel With Me Tuesday:Budapest Walk

Our rive cruise ended in Budapest and I found that after seeing so many little towns and cities, that I really didn't have the energy of enthusiasm to really explore Budapest as I'd hoped.  On our prior trip in 2008 the city still had the heaviness of a Soviet Block country. Buildings were drab and dirty and Budapest was no Prague by an means.  On this visit, 4 years later there was a lot of vibrancy in the people, especially the younger ones, many buildings has been sandblasted but there was more schlock present, a 'westernization' of the worst kind. Prices were higher and some were willing to talk about the local corruption that had replaced communism. It was a sad reminder of what could have been... Who knows, countries take time to evolve and where there's life there's hope.

However we did have an afternoon & evening that we enjoyed a lot.  Our first priority was lunch after we had been dropped back at our hotel. We were ready for walking and just looking around before we had an afternoon trip.

No tea for me this time but a nice looking teahouse.

A metro station we remembered from our earlier trip with the original tile work still in place and below some info on getting tickets.

While we didn't take the metro we walked under the Oktogon intersection to cross the street. Nice Christmas lights already up.

Aha! I spotted what I wanted to see. A food market, albeit small, it was a market. I wondered what would be available in winter. Hopefully not just potatoes and onions!

No, there was color in the market. Of course in a land where paprika chiles are a national heritage.

The grandma here had almost sold out which was good for her as she could get on home early.

Plums for homemade brandy as well as cracked and ready walnut. I could imagine Christmas desserts.

Just enough for a pot of soup. I love how the Europeans have long sold this kind of 'just enough' quantities.

No time for this museum but another trip, another year perhaps. Perhaps...

But finally Dick spotted a tiny place to eat. Really small and with a limited 'buffet' but just enough for two people who had eaten more than their share during this cruise.

A bowl of sturdy soup, a pickle & sauerkraut of course and some fried things. I was never really sure what we'd had but it was basic and good and we had time for just a siting down break which is always nice.

Then it was time to get back to our hotel for our afternoon trip out of town. We had a busy schedule on these three extra days.

Monday, August 17, 2015

AAM Monday: Project Life Update

This afternoon, I will actually be doing week 33 which just ended but this week I am still thinking of doing a modified Week in the Life for week 34. Hey, a week is a week, right?

Back to the prior weeks, 31 and 32. It really starts to hit me around this time that the year is on the downward slope. My son and family take their August vacation at the beach though I only had to do one night of dogsitting. There are college 'men' for that job now. I've already walked into a cobweb or two outside (horrible horrible...) but have yet to see that distinctive change of light. I hope I notice it to record this year. I'm still making sun tea though it takes a bit longer.

Summer is still summer but I'm ready for it to end. I don't like being hot and I'm kind of tired of white t-shirts.  But for the most part we've had a relatively mild summer. Sadly, the lack of ripe tomatoes or any tomatoes is the result. I can't have it both ways but I always hope I can!

But the days have been nicely lazy and I feel like I've enjoyed summer more than usual. I'm still a cold weather woman or at least fall but I'm enjoying the rest of the seasons more and more as I age. I guess that's wisdom.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Five on Friday: August 14, 2015

1. Are these cute or what? I got myself a new phone case. Can you guess which  pattern is ME???

2.A bit of a week to myself while dh was in CA for family events. He also met with my son for a dinner at the Fairmont Hotel Newport Beach. Chef Iain had to work ( :( ) but he fed Dick very well as always.

3. I caught up on some Project Life and some tv. Finally watching season  of "House of Cards". Damn it's a dark series. I'd forgotten how dark. I almost feel as if I should watch it in the daytime rather than just before bed. Such good evil...

4. Most all my trip to the SW is set and I just now have to think of what I'm going to take re clothes etc. It's also always a decision...MacBookPro or iPad. Usually the MBP wins out.

5. A shocker to me was the size of the Costco pork chops I took out of the freezer. I'm not wild about stuffed pork chops but these babies are definitely the thickness of two good sized chops.  I also have about 8 of them!

Hope your weekend will be enjoyable and fun. Make it that way!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

TBT: 1931 But Who Were They?

The photo is dated 1931 and it looks like it was taken near my grandparents' home in Hazleton PA. My maternal grandfather was a coal miner and the houses were owned by the mines.  The back of the photo says Metro and Mary Weston in pen and , in pencil and crossed out,  an address and name of an Edward O'Connor in Newark NJ. I can't tell whose handwriting it is but as my father was born in 1920 I'm leaning towards my mother though she would have only been 14. However, the writing does look more like my father's in later years. Perhaps the date was written years later?

What is most strange about the photo is that is had been damaged by someone putting a lot of pin holes in it. I do have one child who is prone to defacing photos but I have no clue of who did it or why or who this couple really is. However, there is Google.

It turns our that Metro was a star basketball player at Hazleton HS, the same school my parents attended and where my father was also a basketball player.  I also found this article but unfortunately, most of the Hazleton articles, including the obituary for Metro are by subscription only, not something I really want to pay for.

Some day I may take the time to Google more and see what I can find. But one question will remain. Who poked all the holes in the photo and why>

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Travel With Me Tuesday: A Full Day in Budapest

On this day, we had a tour of the State Opera House, pastry and coffee at Gundell Restaurant, free time and lunch on our own, and then a visit to the village of Szentendre.  A good day and I was glad all this was done in chilly weather not hot. Sightseeing is best done in not-hot weather but that's not the opinion of my husband. However, he knows to pack and dress sensibly after many trips. Layers, lad, layers.

Last week I left you at our arrival at the Opera House. While we are both somewhat philistine in regard to endless museums, having had enough of them in our younger adult days, he is still entranced by any opera house and wants to see it ALL.  Pas moi. I will give you a taste of our numerous photos.

No, it wasn't a crime scene, but to preserve the carpets and wooden floors we wore these booties. Not a bad idea and probably cheaper than endless washing and waxing.

A truly grand house, just the way one imagines an opera house to be. We were being led at the same time as a group of students. I wondered how interested they were but then on a school trip you need to take notes and be ready to report back in your classroom.

Our guide was quite pleasant and you'll note that she is dressed warmly and we mostly still had our coats on. No need for heat for touring.

This is the kind of decoration that I can take in very small doses. My husband loves over the top stuff.

We meet the students again, and we all meet Bela Bartok of course.

Finally we are ready to go and you'll note the paddle that she carries, not to spank, but to indicate we are an American group of English speakers. As if no one could tell ...

Back on our bus, we headed out to Gundell's, a place I was anxious to visit. The drive was beautiful and it was still mid morning on a Saturday so not a lot of people out yet.

Our guide, a young Hungarian who had grown up in Budapest, told us that his grandfather used to take him to this park below when he was young and when there was a political speech being given, grandpa took him away. Grandpa had little faith in Communism and remembered Hungary pre WWII. Our guide had an interesting family...

No ice skating for us though I used to skate as a small child and wonder if that contributed to my weak ankles.  Below, we arrive at Gundells.

 By now I realized my camera, my phone i.e., had a dead battery and so I had to rely on his photos.

Alas...the restaurant was not really open and only opened for us so it was rather strange sitting in an empty place with only our relatively small group. Kind of eerie...

However, the palacsinta (pancakes) were wonderful and had the place been full of others enjoying a coffee and dessert the occasion would have been different. I also remember this kind of pancake, crepe, from my childhood but many of our group seemed to feel it was rather odd. It was also still rather early and an afternoon visit would have been better I suspect. As for me, there is never a wrong time for chocolate.

Gorgeous table settings and I'm sure dinner here would be an very special experience. I wonder how long this place was out of reach for the majority of people in the city...

We were lucky to get this shot as the person we asked to take our photo was not at all used to an iPhone.

Finally I get a self portrait and show the tiled ladies' toilet area. I always love it when you have the solid wooden doors for each stall. Pure elegance.

Next week, you'll see our afternoon.

Monday, August 10, 2015

AAM Monday: Oh Those Shoulds

I read this on one of my favorite blogs, in the comments re the author's recent travel.

"I love seeing your yummy pages! In a future post, would you please talk about how you can spend three weeks in a place and not feel the need to go to museums and all the must-see sites? I know you don't like crowds, but do you ever feel like you're missing an important part of your trip? Thanks for sharing the ride!"

Oh those shoulds!  I think if I were to answer the dear commentor, I'd say that there comes a time in your life where you just go where you want to go. Period. Do you miss many things? Oh of course you do. But so what? For one thing, I know the original blogger is choosing to spend her time, and her money, on this kind of free form travel. She probably isn't buying many things that others feel are necessary to their lives...cable tv, good wine, a newer car, children. Along the way, our choices do tend to determine our other choices. Years at a steady job usually lead to a good number of vacation weeks and/or the ability to take a leave of absence. Does everyone have these options? probably not but I suspect they have other options that the original blogger does not have.

When my dh and I travel, we both enjoy taking public transportation. We could afford taxis but we get our bus passes or tube passes etc and enjoy the journey not just the destination. I'm one who would choose a bus rather than an underground but there are times I want it faster and so I'll go below.  I love art but not enough to spend what a lot of galleries charge. I'm spoiled. I live near Washington DC where the museums are free! A decade ago, we became members of the two museums in Baltimore which gave us reciprocal passes to many museums around the country. Now that the museums in Baltimore are also free, we feel we've seen the nationwide collections we wanted to see and are pretty much done with museums.

We both like to eat and that tends to be a big part of our travel. However, eating at the top name restaurants in cities hither and yon has had less an less appeal as the years have gone by. Himself in particular wants a full plate of food. He doesn't do well with artful smidgens. For me, I want good fresh food simply cooked and served. It isn't reverse snobbism that makes me avoid the 'restaurant du jour' and choose the eateries that seem to have a lot of local people. I read the lists of those top places but do I feel I need to hit them for some check off list created by someone who feels I should go there? Naw...

If you love museums, then go to them! If you can't visit Paris without going up the Eiffel Tower, then, sure, get yourself there! But after some point in life, and yes with some experience to know your own travel style, you can look at the list of must-see, must-do, must eat, and know which ones are for you and which aren't. My quiet introverted engineer loves Baroque frou frou and over the top opera (yes, that's a bit of my bias showing) while extroverted me likes clean design and instrumental music and hard rock. Often we split up and each make our own choice and are happier for it. Neither of us burdens the other with a 'you should like what I like' - anymore. 

When you travel and of course all of life is a journey, make the most of what you really like to do. Concentrating on someone else's shoulds is the best way I know of causing yourself stress and guilt.  Life is too short to live someone else's dream.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Five on Friday: August 7, 2015

1. I make calendars to fit in the white Ikea frames every month and with two other images, I have a narrow wall in the kitchen 'decorated'. This is the August 2015 calendar. Some man should be providing a year's worth of Alaskan halibut if things go well!

fish cluster - StudioDD_SummerFunClustersNo1 

2. Last Sunday saw two series finales - "Last Tango in Halifax" and "Poldark". The former has been one of my favorites especially as the socially divided Yorkshire takes me back.  The latter is a true period drama set in Cornwall, in the post US Revolutionary war years.

From the way LTIH ended, I thought that might be the final series but I read that filming for a 4th season is on the books.  "Poldark" is also scheduled for another go so come maybe January 2016, these two will be back after, of course, the very last season for "Downton Abbey". Life from across the pond.

3. I don't eat mayo because I made a pig of myself as a child and ate a whole jar... nuff said. I saw this item online and thought that's a sandwich for me! "No Mayo" Tuna Salad white albacore tuna, minced bermuda onions and celery, combined with a light lemon oregano vinaigrette. served on organic kalamata olive bread." Served at 40Carats the cafe inside NYC's Bloomingdales. 

4. If you like to travel, you'll like this blogpost about seeing the obvious with new eyes.

5. How easy and how good are these!  No guilt sweets I plan to make with my homemade yoghurt and fresh peaches.  To quote Ina, "How good is that!" 

click image for recipe

That's it folks.  Have a great weekend wherever you are and be sure to do something fun AND take a photo!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

TBT: Now When Was This??

Now after seeing my granddaughter dance about the other day, I thought of this photo of her mother. I don't know where or when it was but by the curtains, I'm thinking it might be in Bangkok, circa 1985-1986. I suspect my daughter might remember...the rest of the story!

Monday, August 3, 2015

AAM Monday: Project Life weeks 29 & 30

Week 29 with lots of attention to a badly neglected garden. Not all got done but then it had been quite a few weeks of hot hot weather and the garden sure looked it. Weeds everywhere. But the herbs flourish in that kind of neglect so that's mostly what you see here.

The weather improved and many things just seemed to get caught up. That's the balance of life.

And then a bit out of the norm to tell the story of the week and one morning's breakfast. It was a fun page to make!

Now just one week to get done...maybe today!

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