Looking Forward to New Adventures

This will be a short one this evening. My husband and I are embarking on an adventure soon and I realized how lucky we are. I saw a commercial and a married couple was bickering about how to plan a vacation. They clearly had different agendas and concepts of what fun was. It made me wonder if people get married and really have that little in common. I’m not one to judge and no one wants to read sappy blogs, but I’m going to go ahead and be sappy anyway. I’m married to my best friend. We have so many things we enjoy together; bad days become adventures and in the end, we have good memories, stories and pictures to remind us of our journeys.

I’m just feeling lucky this evening, as we look forward to our next adventure coming up. I can’t wait to share it with you…and I promise it won’t be sappy. But do prepare yourself for a lot of pictures.  (I think I might even roll my eyes over this blog.)

 

Together

Take Care of Your Feet

Warning: This is a ridiculous lady rant about shoes. You’ve been warned. Paragraphs may imply awkwardness and whiney personality. It does not have “Whitney” writing as my spellcheck insists on telling you.

I spent almost four hours dodging fellow shoppers and navigating two shopping malls, traffic and a random shopping center after work tonight. Countless department stores, shoe stores, teen, sophisticated, hipster, skater, sport and anything-apparel type stores later, I found a decent pair of shoes. I didn’t have crazy criteria; somewhat stylish, comfortable, flat and with an ankle strap. I prefer non-man made material and I didn’t want to wear something resembling my grandmas cruise apparel from the early 90’s.

I learned a couple things tonight:

– All athletic shoe stores carry exactly the same brands, styles and colors. If you’ve been in one, you’ve seen them all.

– All retail employees ask how you are but they don’t listen to your reply. I learned you could respond with an array of ridiculous answers and they will still say, “great, if you need anything, let me know.” Well, salesperson, I can tell you right now that you are not the kind of person I can rely on, considering you think that my dog dying is great. (My dog didn’t die, but it still would not be great.)

– Old people know how to take care of their feet. Is it wisdom or refusal to cram their feet into awkward confining foot-shackles any longer? Either way, they have quite a selection to choose from. My younger feet even seemed old when I tried a couple on. Eek, glimpse into the future?

– Young people will pay for a flat piece of plastic, covered in cheep vinyl, with a piece of fibrous rope glued to it and be happy about it. My heels cringed thinking about wearing them for more than ten paces. And that’s coming from a kid who wore “jellies” in the 80’s.

– Lastly, I’m old. I’m not even 30 but as I shopped, I found myself in an undefined category. I saw professionals in gorgeous and costly shoes, twenty year olds with canvas wrapped loosely on their feet and old people with cushy leather clod-hoppers that have bulbous soles and unflattering bulky shapes.

I’m going on a trip where I will do a lot of walking, out of dozens of stores, I found one, just one part of sandals that were well made, comfortable and not from grandma’s or little cousin’s closet. Do I ask for too much? Is it too much to try to avoid blisters and pain but still care about appearance; is it too often one way or another? Such a silly argument, I know, but there I was thinking that I couldn’t be the only one that didn’t want to limp this summer with irritated and abused tootsies.

If only I could make Hush Puppies trendy for my generation. If you had a grandma who dressed up, you will know what I’m talking about.

Trust me…they do look cute on, I just don’t feel like being a foot model tonight.

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Smiling at Gladiolus

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Gardening is peaceful to me, as it probably is to anyone who gardens. Those who don’t find calmness and pride in it probably hire landscapers. I even find picking weeds makes me happy. Although I like to be intellectual, sometimes the mindless activity of pulling weeds stimulates my mind because it can drift along with the breeze; thoughts wonder unforced and unprovoked. I do some of my best thinking hunkered down along the flower beds with dirty fingernails. Gloves just done give me the ability to snag those tiny, tricky weeds.

Yesterday, amongst my other chores, I found myself gazing at the pride of my garden, the gladiolus. They stun me each summer with their beauty and each summer I smile as I pull into the driveway or as I pull away and see their bright colors on tall stems. For the time in between, I’m sure a dog walker or two can appreciate them, but otherwise they complete their short cycle of blooming beauty and whither during the high heat of July, generally ignored and unappreciated.

I decided to cut some and enjoy them in the main area of the house and I can’t tell you how many times I stopped to smile at the arrangement as I walked by this weekend. For someone who loves nature so much, I’m not sure why I hadn’t started to bring the outside in a long time ago. Maybe I felt bad cutting the plants up, but they will certainly be enjoyed in here more. After all, bouquets aren’t grown in a vase, the flowers all grow in dirt somewhere.

I Dream of Black & White; They Dreamed in Radio

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Tonight we watched “Midnight In Paris”. The movie arrived via Netflix and I wasn’t expecting to really like it, particularly since it’s a Woody Allen film. Not that there’s anything wrong with his collection of work but people either really love or adamantly despise his movies. I think this was my first, and if they are all like this, I may be a fan.

I felt like I knew the main character, Gil, as if he and I were of the same mindset. He dreamed of another time, the golden age of Paris in the 1920’s. He felt the romanticism of history and like an old soul, felt a pull toward nostalgia. You know I feel that way; not about that particular period, but about feeling a connection to another time. It’s purely an unrealistic fascination because I don’t dream of the lack of vaccinations or the uninvented advancements that accompany the chores of today’s everyday life; but there is a sense of simplicity and an appreciation for things as they used to be. He is treated like he’s crazy for his dreamlike longing and I can relate to that with certain people. Maybe their souls aren’t quite as old or they just lack he part of our brain that wanders.

Gil literally takes a ride into his dream time period and mingles with the likes of Hemingway, Dali and Picasso. He experiences quick friendships with that era’s most prominent and important creative sorts. Along the way he meets a fascinating woman and as he falls for her, she reveals that she longs for the turn of the century, and how dull life is during her existence. He comes to understand that his longing is not new, but that romantics have always longed for what is gone and what will never be again. It is obvious and likely that this is the case, but for someone like me who dreams of days I will never experience in a realistic sense, it is slightly sad. Dreamers don’t accept reality fully, because what would we dream about? I don’t want to dream of paying my bills or mowing the lawn. I want to have fantasy because it ultimately doesn’t matter if I have the right vaccinations in my dreams, as long as I fill whatever void I have with stories and distant time periods.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

I haven’t poured my heart out about Ireland in a while. Over the course of a couple trips, my husband and I accumulated a nice collection of cardboard coasters from various pubs we shared a Guinness or two in. I made it a habit to write on each, what pub we were at, the city and the date, as well as nuances around us that we could remember and giggle at later. Well, I would giggle and he could belly laugh. Anyway, we found a full size Ireland poster and I’ve started to plot a small selection of the coasters according to region. I create many things, but this is one that really makes us reminisce and long for just another pint. It’ll be a highlight of our bar…whenever we create that.

Technological Contradictions

Have you ever wondered if technology really helps us develop better relationships?

I’m not saying I’d prefer to go back to the stone ages, but I like to think of modern advancements as supplements to a better life, not something that consumes our lives. Think about how many people you know who spend countless hours on Facebook or any other “socializing” interfaces. You see them posting how many points they scored in a game all day long and constantly nag you with notifications to join them. Sure, it’s a great way to “interact” with old high school friends, but too often I wonder if more fruitful relationships could be had with the core people in our lives if that same time was dedicated in visiting and really talking to the people who mean something.

As with everything, there are pros to using technology in relationships too. I Skype with my mom since we are thousands of miles apart. I get to see pictures of my nieces and nephews playing sports and read their highlights that their parents may not have figured important enough to call about. It really is a personal preference and I won’t judge anyone on how they chose to communicate, but I do fear for generations to come. Then again will they even know what they are missing? I got a birthday email from my grandmom this year instead of a card for the first time in my life. Will my children ever receive a card if her generation has already conformed to modern times?

One of my favorite things at antique shops are the old postcards. At first I felt like I was invading someone’s privacy by reading cute vacation messages from 1934, but then I started to romanticize the people who wrote and received these notes. I love that they are tangible. So much of what we write today is digital, lacks the penmanship and nuances that personal correspondence had. Who doesn’t love getting a written letter or non-digital birthday card? I realize postcards can be thrown out as quickly as text messages can be deleted, but to me it’s not the same; but who am I to judge as I write you from an iPad instead of handwriting you a letter. It’s a world of contradictions in my mind.

Thumbs Up for Thumbs

Thumbs.  Most people have two.  Some people have funny toes that resemble thumbs.  Ok, not people, maybe those are monkeys.  Regardless, I should have learned after the zucchini slicing incident of August 2011, which ruined my soaring guitar career, that one can get injured in the kitchen.  (Please note, by soaring, I mean I completed my first eight lessons and learned my scales.  Ok, I sort of learned a scale.)  Still, life goes on, people have barbeques, things need to get done, guests arrive early and parts of my thumb can get cut off in a mandolin.  Ouch.  Don’t worry folks, I threw away that cucumber.

Besides the fact that anything involving water turned into a pre-planned event, it just hurt.  Those stupid finger cot things are great for showering and washing dishes (while avoiding the mandolin at all costs).  It is not fun however, when the highlight of your barbeque revolves around you having a tiny condom on your finger.  Ok, I’m lying, Continue reading

Double Your Dad’s

As a child of divorce and an optimist, I found myself always looking for a reason to be satisfied with my family arrangement. My situation is not exactly ideal. It is however, particularly easy now that I’m an adult with a family of my own; well the start of one anyway, by snagging a great husband and a humanistic pug.

I’ve got two dads. I’ve got my paternal “taught me how to ride a bike” dad and my “see, this is how you drill into concrete” step-dad. I’m lucky because they are both wonderful men who have devoted so much of their lives to me, and I to them. Even luckier, they get along. Step-dad has referenced real dad as his “husband-in-law”, which sounds a bit goofy, but we laugh.

 

The cool thing is that, since no one is identical, I find that I always have the right man to help guide me, no matter what the problem is. Both are handy, but in different trades. They are both wise, but from different backgrounds and perspectives. They both can make me laugh and sometimes roll my eyes, but they both have traits that I found to be absolutely required in the man I’d marry; amongst them, respectful, honest, smart, hardworking and loving. I now have three men in my life that mean the world to me daily. I soon look forward to four, as I watch my little brother mature into a man and learn from three elders that care for him as much as I do.

There’s no one in the world without flaws, but their goodness supersedes any negatives, usually. I know this is true because I got nearly weepy at each Father’s Day card I read at Hallmark. I felt so lucky to have people fit the cheesy sentiment, even if I felt entirely lame taking twenty minutes reading through each card option available. If the hardest part of divorce for me is to choose two cards for two dads, I think I won.

I’ll save the stories of skinned knees from my competitive father trying to beat a five year old on her bike for another day.  Who does that?

 

Creep at the Carnival

Last night I felt like a creep. I didn’t do anything wrong, mind you.

We are preparing to go on a trip soon. I like to call them adventures; we don’t have much planned out yet. But we bought new heavy duty backpacks and we’re feeling pretty ready to go. My husband wanted to try them out, so since we were going to the local Catholic School carnival, we’d get some walking in and this could be a good opportunity to try them out.

He loaded mine up with books and water bottles, which I thought was a bit excessive, considering it won’t be our main luggage, but used mostly for a large daypack.

We got some pretty strange looks when we show up childless, huge backpacks and taking pictures. I felt like a predator trying to take pictures of carnival rides and treats for sentimental and blog sake, while trying to avoid capturing the children belonging to the parents eerily watching us. Maybe we should have gone on a ride or two, or not acted as awkward as we appeared. Maybe we should’ve played another game besides the one where you use a big rifle to shoot out the paper star. Maybe we shouldn’t have run off with that stroller…

Just kidding.

We aren’t creepy generally, but we definitely appeared odd. Needless to say, I captured some decent shots and we determined that our backpacks are sufficient enough to join us.

Note to self: Next time bring friends with kids so we don’t feel so out of place; or at least don’t look like we’re surveying prospective kids to kidnap and take camping.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close

Close.

A close shot of the vegetables lying close to each other. I purchased these this morning, from the local farmer’s market.  The produce was grown close-by, by a group of close-knit farmers who run a community event each Saturday; Jersey fresh and organic.  This is as close as we can get to eating healthy and helping the local farm economy.

Close enough for you?

Weekly Photo Challenge