What do you see when you close your eyes? 

I guess it is a product of watching lots of foreign films or films shot in foreign locations and some actual visits to certain places overseas.  Sometimes I can see a place as clear as day and I can imagine myself waking in the morning in the  bright sunlight, living in a concrete house with a gallery/porch/veranda.  I am usually just observing or tending to vegetables on my small patch of land and there are trellises everywhere.  There is never anyone else in view but I know people are around.
Did I also mention that it is always warm and  I usually end my vision with a look at the sea.
Happy Daydreaming!!!

Family Travel in Winter

What is the limit to a stay-cation? The definition says staying at home in ones country or staying at home and seeing what one’s environment has to offer.  I think staying in ones state counts.  That is what our family just did.  We (8) took a less than 3 hour trip up north to a not so remote place but when you look outside of the back window, all you can see is trees (well a forest ).  Sometimes you see deer and when you walk around you see foot prints that are not yours.  As long as they are not larger than yours, right.


Here are the notes on this stay-cation:

-long winding road, when the hec will we arrive

-we arrived before dark because no lights, few houses, hmmmmm (real fear)

-long driveway, already cars parked there, must be owners

-fresh powder on the ground, had to clear the walkway and add salt

-heating stove as soon as you walk in, hmmmm, must be some serious cold

-large windows to see all or nothing

-heat that comes and goes, never as hot as I would like it in my second floor room

-crazy bathroom apparatus, cold showers

-light switches everywhere, stuff I don’t even know I am turning on and off

-food everywhere, so much food we cancelled our eat out reservations (celebrate family with food when you want it)

-coffee, tea, sangria, red wine flowing

-scrabble battle between the generations

–uno for the virgins, but they give us a good run

-fibbage and drawful for the tech gamers in us, across the generations, hours of fun

-long range photographs, watch the idiots running in the snow, me included

-run over by the sled, wipe outs with sled, who’s turn to pull uphill, is the slide frozen

-mom and daughter on see-saw, got off before we brought it down (250lbs)

-frozen stream

-blankets on the bed, spooning to keep warm

-multiple layers, winter packing, way too much clothes



We all enjoyed our time together.  Now that we have reflected we look ahead to the next trip.

Food and Family!!!


Summers end in Portugal

Hmmm what can I say about this last trip–oh yes, so much.
Without getting into specific details, I spent time with 3 families, traveled 8 deep, dealt with a sick toddler and even got lost. GPS is only great if you can find service. (No hot spot, and public WiFi is shaky)

I must also say that I felt both more and less like a native. At times I was walking around like I knew the place. At other times I really needed gps. I had been around some places enough times to know the lay of the land. I even visited the library only to be led to another building so my toddler could use a kid toilet when what I needed was a bathroom with a changing table. Language Barrier!

A crazy experience was trying to find dinner out and realizing that the place selected, I had visited in Spain and it was a real live stand up, grab your cafe and tapas and then bounce place — with the extra loudness of a beer garden.

Along the water close to the intercity train station/Expo area my friend to a place with fun life size instruments like a bell tower, wind chimes or organ pipes, piano tiles, a xylophone albeit no sticks, and a stone that you could yell into.

While walking to San George Castle close to downtown, I took the road less traveled and then on the way back took another road, got lost and was actually starting to panic. Yes, for the first time in my adult /with kid life I felt a little panic as my phone was not set up for international calling (was but I would pay dearly), I guess as a super last resort. My toddler was sleepy, hungry and in hindsight, on her way to sickness. I could not believe that I could not get this. How could I not find a train station! I had my toddler and we needed food, water and rest. I mean we had food but water and rest was lacking. So what followed was three days of fever and tiredness. In the end I realized that I was exactly where I needed to be 1 hour before I started on my journey to find another route. At leat the castle had nice views of Lisbon. How is that for crazy experience number 2!

A feeling of calm hit me while on vacation as I was hanging out the laundry. Picture it–it is about 9 am in the morning, summer, in a breezy 4th floor walkup with large palatial windows, obstructed view so only a few neighbors can see you, quiet, and its just you, the laundry and the clothes line. Your only goal at the moment is to make sure you do not drop any laundry 4 stories down — especially the swim suit that you want to use again tomorrow at the beach. Other than that, it is a nice, calming, solitary activity. On random days we would see clothes on the ac one floor down, or on the line two and three stories down.

Wild crazy experience number 3, is going shopping at the very last minute. You know when you go with no list, and come out with more bags than you can hold. Yeah, so that was us, and list minute also meant, 30 minutes before the store was closing. So when we were ready to go, we realized that we needed a shopping cart (all locked by know) and the main entrance doors were closed so we were like pacman in the basement trying to find our way to the car. Then we just dropped the bags by the door, and went to retrieve the car, around the corner. My friend said that it was fine and no one would bother it. We pulled up, retrieved the bags and left. When we got home, we got the cavalry to come out (remember we rolled 8 deep, 6 on this particular day) and help take bags. I felt like I was in college with my partner in crime.

My friend let me know of the guys she calls -Parking Pirates. I laughed when I heard it and still do to this day. Simply they are the homeless, poor or vagrants who try to pick up pocket change by directing you to a parking spot, that usually, you already know exists. They may hound you and make you feel uncomfortable and therefore force you to give up the change. Yes. They are everywhere.

Hmm, I only needed my own place to stay and I would have melted into the landscape.

Lovely Lisbon!

Home cooking..

What did I learn this holiday season!

Always have brownie ingredients in the kitchen.  Have a few different bottles of alcohol.  Cook easy dishes.  Make dishes you like and one or two to accommodate the different eaters and the rest s whatever makes


Thanksgiving is about to become rather interesting. My grandmother said that her cooking time had passed basically. It was a somber moment when I realized that she was a little less vibrant than she used to be.  Life goes on is all I could think.

So moving onto the nerve building moment – I was in slight agony realizing that I might have to contribute to next year’s cooking.  It’s not that I lack cooking skills.  Its that I would have to cook familiar dishes but not ones I cook at home. My cousin made the joke that I had a year to learn.


Hmm the holidays.