Tropical Escapes

I know it’s that time of year when everyone’s talking about the holidays, but when it’s cold outside, it’s nice to think back on tropical escapes.

Me and the MR marked one thing off his bucket list with a fabulous trip to French Polynesia back in October. It was amazing—the snorkeling, the sea life, the blue, blue, blue of the water. I need to brush up on my high school French, but I’d go back in a heartbeat.

The MR splurged on over-the-water bungalows. One night as I fed the fish from our bedroom, a shark swam by.

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We had a day on the water with the awesome Captain Sam and swam with eagle rays, manta rays, stingrays, and black-tipped reef sharks. Yes, we did swim with sharks.

Then it was time for an awesome lunch in the water. The MR learned to crack open a coconut, and we both had a laugh over making coconut milk.

Our trip began on Mo’orea. Then we moved on to Bora Bora and La Taha’a. Each had their own charm. Along with lots of water time, we toured each of the islands visiting WWII guns on Bora Bora, and learning about black pearl cultivation and touring a vanilla farm. Did you know each of those vanilla beans is hand-pollinated and takes nine months to mature.

On one of our tours we visited a sarong workshop, and I helped model their wares. We ventured under the sea with old-time helmets and petted stingrays.

It’s a beautiful place filled with kind and friendly people. You’re greated with flowers when you arrive and shells when you leave. I could float above the coral and watch the fish all day then get ready for dinner and take in the sunset. Who knows? Maybe I’d even do a little hula dancing.

A tropical getaway is my kind of vacation.

What’s on your

What’s on your bucket list? Are you a snorkel, scuba or sit on the beach kind of person?

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Artful Reminders

When we’re traveling, I like to bring home reminders of our trips. Things that will make me smile as I remember our adventures.

Wandering the streets of Dubrovnik last September, our guide pointed out some vibrant artwork from a local painter. After the tour, we made our way back to check out the prints. They spoke to me of the beauty and chaos of this ancient port, and we were happy to bring one home.

 

A signed and numbered print deserves special framing, so I went to the local framing shop to get things all figured out. Who knew there were so many choices? How many mats? Beveled or not? What kind of glass? And now lets decide on the frame… I left feeling a little overwhelmed.

But when the call came a few weeks later and our picture was ready for pick up, I was quite pleased. Then came the tricky decision of where to hang it. We could move around some of our artwork or put it in a less seen area. We need to limit sun exposure, but we also want it to be somewhere people will see it. After all, this little picture is supposed to bring sweet memories of our travels with Baby Girl. What’s the point if it’s hidden away?

After talking it over endlessly with the MR, we finally decided on this corner between the fireplace and the computer area. When I came home from work the other day, I found the MR had hung it in just the right spot.

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Our last night in Dubrovnik, we stopped by one of the museums that had more painting by Romana Milutin Fabris on display. I do love the modern vibrancy.

Our print may be small, but it takes me away to lovely Croatia and good times.

IMG_5148What do you like to bring back from your travels? Where do you find your artwork?

I Was Gonna…

I remember when I was a kid and my dad called me to task, I would say, “I was gonna…” And then he would tell me, there’s no such thing. It’s either “yes” or “no”. You either did our you didn’t. Even now, my plans get away from me.

Last year, before we left for Australia, I visited Costco and saw this bag of daffodils. Wouldn’t it be great if the whole driveway was lined with beautiful yellow flowers? I had time to do it before we left. But then there was packing, and rain, and my busy schedule and the bag of bulbs sat in the garage.

I could always do it when we got back. And then somehow it was winter. It was cold, the ground was frozen, it was really too late to be planting them, wasn’t it? Spring came, flowers began to bloom, and with them the guilt of that silly bag still sitting in the garage. It was too late; they would die; the ground was too hard; I’d never plant them deep enough; it was the wrong time of year. As you can see, I had plenty of excuses.

So last week, while we waited for yet another contractor to stop by, I went outside with my hoe and in less than 15 minutes planted 90 daffodil bulbs. Some of the bulbs were rotten, some plain and simple won’t make it. I did not space them evenly along the whole length of the driveway, squirrels quite possible will dig them up. Is it perfect—no, but it’s enough.

And now as I pull my car into the garage, I am no longer greated by a picture of cheery, spring blossoms reminding me of my failings and all I was gonna do.

You can check out other daffodil musings in Planning Ahead or go back to the beginning with A Gift of Spring when it was really rough around here.

 

 

That Silver (or Is It Gold) Lining

One of the hard things about winter is the shorter days. The sun doesn’t rise till after 7 am, and the sunset is at 4:30 pm today. When you’re craving light, those dark days seem to go on forever. But with the sun further to south, its rays hit just right in the afternoons bathing our great room in a golden glow.

Sure, you have to stop earlier to watch the sunset, but is that really a bad thing?

If you look hard enough, you can find beauty, hope, or promise in any situation. And while I miss the long afternoons and evenings on the deck with the MR, this time of year has its charms, too.

Wishing you the simple pleasures of the everyday.

Can You Repeat that, Please?

There’s just something about repetition that makes a statement.

I’ve read that in ancient Hebrew a word was used over and over and over again for emphasis—in English that sounds crazy. But in flowers, it’s quite divine.

While the MR, Baby Girl, and I were cruising through the beautiful waters off Croatia, our 20-something captain with a so-so grasp of English would pull up to a dock, dump us off, and say be back in an hour.

Since we usually had no idea where we were, we’d wander and buy some gelato. That’s how we stumbled across these.

While one pot would be lovely, two lines of them makes a statement.

We also passed by a little restaurant with bright blue chairs and tables. That punch of color added brightness and cheer. Don’t you just want to sit down and be part of the scene?

Along with picking up some decorating tips, we visited the Blue Cave.

Sailed into a submarine silo.

Enjoyed a lot of swimming, and watched a spectacular sunset.

We totally enjoyed our time exploring the coast of Croatia.

And now I’m thinking the front steps could use a little attention. Maybe pots filled with mums for fall color, or decorative kale and some pumpkins. We’ll have to wait and see what speaks to me.

Do you like lots of colors or one bold statement? Where do you get your inspiration?

Hold on a Minute

Me and the MR had these big plans. We met with a designer and a contractor. We looked at drawings and visited cabinet stores.

We thought everything was on track, but we didn’t want to worry about a big remodel before Sweet Miss’ wedding.

The wedding was in July. August came and went without a word, so the MR sent a few emails inquiring about our master bath and laundry room remodels.

We have a bathtub and a bunch of fixtures in the garage. Let’s get a move on.

Well the designer and her assistant came out. We tweaked the cabinet design and decided on some counter and backsplash options.

And then…bad news. The contractor backed out for personal reasons. The MR has interviewed a few, and we’re waiting for bids.

All in all, this is moving slower than I expected. Sweet Miss and the Fella got me a pretty scarf and a bath bomb for my birthday. It’s going to be awhile before I get to relax in my new tub.

We are making progress at a very slow rate. Here are some choices for the butler’s pantry in the old laundry room.

And then because I love the sunrises this time of year. Here’s one I’d like to share with you.

So guys, I haven’t been holding out on you; we’re just on hold for a bit. It’s just another one of those patience developing opportunities. You know how much I love those.

Any scheduling-shifting, remodel hiccups you want to share? We can commiserate together.

If you can’t remember what I’m talking about, take a look at Big Changes

Not That Kind of People

The first time the Fella had sandwiches at our house, he was disappointed. He searched the fridge; he looked in the pantry—no pickles.

We don’t put pickles on our sandwiches, relish on our burgers, or sauerkraut on our hot dogs. You might find olives in a taco dip or roasted with carrots and chicken, but they’re not really our thing either…until they are.

The MR goes and tries a few olives at the salad bar at work. Suddenly, fancy packages of olives are appearing in our refrigerator. The MR likes his snacks, and olives have become a regular treat.

Last month when we were visiting the Island of Hvar, we enjoyed wine tasting and then lunched at a restaurant overlooking an olive grove. A few days later we noticed olives growing next to our morning breakfast area.

All those olive trees got my guy to thinking. So no surprise, a tiny olive tree recently arrived at our house. While he was looking, a pomegranite tree also caught his eye. They don’t look like much, but who knows where we’ll end up?

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There’s a farm down the road that has lavender, goats, really big, shaggy, white dogs, wine, and olive trees. Maybe we’ll have some luck, too. While most olives are hardy down to 10-degrees F, we do have a problem with deer eating a lot of our plants, so for now, the olive tree is on the deck. Once it cools down a little more, we’ll be making room for it inside along with the rest of our edibles.

Me and the MR recently enjoyed the first tangerine off his tiny tree. We’d only been waiting since February. It was tasty, but we’d left it for a bit too long. Let’s hope for a few more next year.

At least we have room for all these experiments.

What the most unusual thing you’ve tried to grow? Are you pickle people? (We won’t hold it against you.)