Maine, Travel

Moving On

It’s always a little sad for a Foodie Adventure to end as it is a wonderful week with great people and the best ever hosts, Michael and Mary Jo, who work so hard to make it a perfect experience. End it must though, and everyone moves on.

Since we were in Europe, the hubby and I decided to maximize our trip by taking a Danube cruise, long on our bucket list. The timing worked out pretty well, but we had a few days before the ship’s departure. Finding it to be a short trip from Rome to Croatia, we went to Dubrovnik.

With its lovely coastal views, it is a lovely place.

It’s hard to believe that just over 20 years ago much of Dubrovnik was in ruins thanks to intensive bombing by the Serbs.

Today most of the city has been restored and is a major tourist destination.

With its charming Old Town, filled with interesting sights and shops, it is easy to see why.

Nowhere have I ever seen so many eateries as there are in such a compact space.

Because of its proximity to the sea, seafood is on every menu.

In some ways Dubrovnik reminds me of Maine because so much of its economy depends on the tourist trade which is about a five month season. That means people work very hard during that time in order to earn enough money to survive the winter.

From Dubrovnik we ventured on to Budapest, a vibrant city filled with beautiful architecture.

While there is much to do there, what we like best about Budapest is spending time with one of our former exchange students and her family. What made this meeting very special was meeting Lulu, the newest family member named in my honor. Talk about turning to mush, this little one completely stole my heart!

Part of spending time with Lulu’s parents means we get to experience their life which includes weekends on Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe where so much of the activity centers around the water.

After an all too short visit, it was time for us to say good by and board our ship to begin a Danube River cruise that would take us from Budapest to Prague. Wow, this is a lot of stimulation in a short period, but each part of the adventure holds something new.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

musings

Musings

Morning. First one up. Quiet. Gray skies over the hills.

A good day to stay inside. A pajama day.

Time with a daughter. Sharing laughter remembering funny things.

Tears. Saying I’m sorry.

It’s not always easy to be a mom or a daughter. In The Nix is a line reading “The things you love the most will one day hurt you the most.” Sad that loving can be a painful part of relationships.

Important to remember love is patient and kind and keeps no records.

Life….not always perfect. Accepting imperfection a challenge.

Thoughts on a day becoming brighter as sun begins to move clouds away. Maybe a metaphor for love being stronger than pain.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Holidays, Tablescapes

The Accidental Table

“So,” said the daughter, “do you think it’s time for me to inherit the Spode Christmas dishes?” She may have thought she was joking, but her message came just in time for me to pack them up and take them to Tennessee where we were going to be celebrating Christmas. The hubby thought I was nuts, and the daughter was totally surprised when the bag was unpacked and out came the dishes. Hey, there’s nothing like spontaneity!

The task of setting the table for Christmas dinner was given to me and was a bit of a challenge as it wasn’t immediately obvious to me what could be used as accessories. A trip or two around the house provided a few things with which to work. There was a red and white plaid blanket from the back of a chair that could be folded to serve as a table runner and from another era came a couple of teddy bears. So began the making of a table. Outside was a still healthy rosemary bush, and a few sprigs came in handy not only to fill some space but to add a pleasant fragrance to the table.

Now, keep in mind this daughter is very much a fan of French country decor, so it was inevitable that the table have those touches. Scallop edged placemats are the new backdrop for the Spode dishes and with several teenagers joining us for dinner, it made perfect sense for them to be paper.

Stems are the ever popular bee embellished ones,

and the napkins are French traditional white with red stripes woven in. To dress them up a bit, a sprig of rosemary was tied with red and white twine. Thank goodness for that rosemary bush!

Considering this is a table that was not supposed to happen, it turned out OK. The Christmas tree dishes are fine in their new environment, and it tickles me that the daughter wanted them though she might not have been expecting them quite so soon! Now all that is left is to enjoy the meal that will soon be shared with family. That’s the gift of Christmas.

I hope you have had a most wonderful day.

Holidays, musings

Holding Thanksgiving Dear

Thanksgiving

I stopped by Pier One yesterday hoping to pick up some little something for the Thanksgiving table or for a treat for the kids.  To my amazement, there wasn’t a thing in the store relating to Thanksgiving.  It was totally about Christmas.

Now I like Christmas as much as anyone, but does it have to start so early?  Decorations are up all over and already Christmas music is playing on Sirius and a local radio station.  I remember a time when none of that happened until after today.  Does that mean I’m old or is this early welcome a fairly new phenomenon with Thanksgiving being an almost forgotten day wedged between Halloween and Christmas?

Whatever, I’m holding on to Thanksgiving.  I like it because it’s relatively stress free and a day that the hubby and I so enjoy.  Most years our family gathers at our house which is a gift as this is the only holiday we lay claim to.  For years everyone has chosen a special thing to bring which makes the preparation oh so easy for me.  We always stuff ourselves, but that doesn’t keep us from looking forward to leftovers the next day.

As important as turkey and all the trimmings are, what is really special about this day is what each of us has for which to be thankful.  Even when life isn’t perfect, there’s good in each day be it sunshine or rain, laughter or tears.  I try every day to be thankful, but today my heart is even more full because my small family is in one place.  That doesn’t happen very often.

In addition to the obvious gifts, I am also thankful for each of you, known and unknown, who take the time to read my words and from time to time offer an appreciative or encouraging comment.  Enjoy your day to the fullest and join me in holding Thanksgiving dear.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

musings

Over and Done!

Christmas is over and done, and I have to confess to that being a relief.  In the days leading up to the holiday, I have to fight off being blue.

FamilyIt makes me sad that our small family,  which now includes sons-in-law and grandchildren, is rarely all together during the holiday season.

9780740784323_p0_v1_s192x300I miss reading The Night Before Christmas to kids

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand leaving cookies and milk for Santa.

I experience sadness remembering the people who are part of Christmases past and wish that I weren’t the only member of my original family still here.

But enough of that.   Today is a new day and with it the blues disappear.

HoustonI will enjoy time in Houston while awaiting the return to Maine

Roque Island, Mainewhere there is boating, exploring islands and spending time with family and friends.

lobsterWithout question I will eat more lobster!

Most of all, I plan to live each day to the fullest, to be grateful for what good health allows me to do, and to give lots of hugs!  That should get me through the months until next Christmas when I’ll probably again feel a little blue.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Travel

Family Perfect

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Trying to find an adventure to share with a daughter’s family which has three little boys 4, 5 and 6 is something of a challenge. After thinking and thinking and thinking some more, a Disney cruise provided just the right answer.

IMG_5529From start to finish, it was perfect for the entire family.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe boys were a little worried about being away from home on Christmas, but they need not have feared.  The Disney Wonder was fully decked out for the season.

Special treats were plentiful

IMG_5543and Santa was right there on the ship listening to all good little boys and girls.

Favorite Disney characters greeted children at every turn,

IMG_5590and there were activities from swimming to dancing on the deck to movies to kids’ clubs to spa….well, you name it, there was something for guests of all ages.

IMG_5578 (1)And, if some quiet time was desired, there were places for that, too.

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If you can believe it, the crew even found a way for an exciting fireworks display over the open sea!

IMG_5520Aboard ship no detail was overlooked.  Accommodations were comfortable, food offerings satisfied every appetite, meal times were well organized and the crew  friendly and ready to meet every passenger’s need.  I guess it should come as no surprise that Disney knows how to entertain and do it right!

IMG_5588All in all, the cruise was a perfect way to spend time with family and the four days from Galveston to Cozumel was just long enough to keep the boys entertained.  I’m thinking it was also an adventure to be remembered.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Holiday Decor, Holidays, Table Settings, Tablescapes

Ready!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe table is ready

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand how I look forward to having family gather round.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThanksgiving is the only holiday the hubby and I still host as daughters have taken over the rest and create their own traditions.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere not much changes from year to year.  Dishes are the same

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand for years dryer hose pumpkins have been arranged one way or another for a centerpiece.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis time some of the pumpkins are in a box that belonged to my much loved mother-in-law.  In spirit she is always with us

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAas is my mother whose flatware is at my place.  Why I kept only one place setting is totally beyond me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMost years there is a little something new just because!

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There’s still shopping to do and preparations to be made, but readying the table  and reminiscing about all that it means is one of my favorite parts of the day that is to come.

Have you things on your table that are special to you?

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Centerpiece Wednesday

Tablescape Thursday