Finally, a tiny splash of color!

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Yesterday when we drove into our driveway, I stopped the car immediately, right at my left, I saw the colors of blue and purple peeking out from the side bed and I got all excited! At last, my own tiny splashes of spring just for me in my garden, hooray!

As soon as the car was in the garage, I didn’t even go inside to say hello to our son or to Jack, I dug into my bag, grabbed my cellphone and took pictures. I had to get pictures so that today I would be able to share my happiness with you. It is such a wonderful gift, the ability to derive such happiness over the appearance of tiny bursts of living color, I am very grateful that I still get excited and giddy that my plants come back season after season and that it doesn’t get old. I think that one of the saddest things that could ever befall a person is either cynicism or becoming blaze. I hope that both my enthusiasm and optimism never diminish, no matter what occurs. I know that I can fall into depression quite easily if I am not mindful. I do work at seeing the glass half full, focusing on deep breathing, remembering that this too shall pass and not forgetting that if it isn’t working out, then it not yet the end. That is an awful lot of stuff to be mindful of, but it does really work. And watching very funny shows helps quite a bit as well; better to laugh than to cry, although crying is good for the soul, when needed.

Happy Spring to everyone!

Springtime in Boston

As I sit in the Au Bon Pain down near Dry Dock Avenue in Boston waiting for my husband while he is a meeting, I have the most adorable picture of a young boy happily running home with a beautiful baguette somewhere in Paris during the early 1950′s.

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That picture brings to mind some very pleasant memories of when my sister and I were in France for entire summers throughout our childhood with our grandparents and everyone else at the family home; the difference is that we didn’t have to run home with the baguettes, the baguettes came to us via special delivery. Every late morning the boulangerie truck would pull up alongside the wide dining room window and the boulangere would pass through a long brown bag filled with at least three baguettes, a crown of bread, a whole wheat baguette and two croissants for the dogs; Prince and Whinney, this was something that took place every day for years. Those were some good times; the table would be set for at least twelve and the soup would come out, then there would be two salads such as a beet and sliced white onion salad and a sliced tomato and white onion salad with a pate as well, this would be followed by a roast pheasant or some other meat and if it were friday it would be fish and some type of vegetables, that would be followed by a green salad, cheese and then fruit. We needed the two hour lunch to eat and then to digest, there was a reason for the two hour lunch, not because of laziness, but because of digestion and nutrition and the civilized way to live at least in my opinion. Yes, those were definitely the days, I miss them.

But back to springtime in Boston, all around Boston, there are beautiful plantings along the streets, the parks and the large urns that adorn the entrances of buildings throughout Boston. The gardener in me is screaming to get out into the dirt and plant something, but alas it is still way too soon for my neck of the woods, the only thing that I can do is take a picture and share it with my friends.

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Daily prompt: Looking out my back door

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Look out your back window or door — describe what you see, as if you were trying to convey the scene to someone from another country or planet.

Well I have to inform you first of all that I am not following the instructions to the letter. I’m sitting in a Starbucks on Cambridge Street reading and as of now, writing while I wait for my husband to be done with his meetings. If I were to be able to look out of the back door, I would be gazing uphill onto Beacon Hill territory, the posh section of Boston with beautiful brownstones aligned up and down its cobbled stone streets. A rarefied atmosphere due to its quiet residential feel, one of my favorite areas to take a stroll in when I am in Boston.

As I look out of the storefront window, the Wyndham hotel is right across the street and an Au Bon Pain Cafe & Bakery takes up a size-able chunk of its lobby, there isn’t much pedestrian traffic and not too much vehicular traffic either for that matter. It seems to be a nice quiet day here in the city of Boston.

I am not too far from the North Station or the North End, my husband’s meeting is taking place at Canal Street right across from the North Station, the same place where TD Gardens is located, we got to see The Who perform there with our children a few years back, an excellent night.

The sky is terrifically grey, earlier this morning when I drove in, the grey covered all of Boston like a grey flannel blanket, I thought that it was actually quite beautiful. Tomorrow if we stay overnight promises to be a much sunnier day, although a tad chillier, but still managing to stay in the 50′s which is such a delightful change of pace than what we have been living with for so long.

So all of my fellow bloggers what is your view looking like from your front window or back door?

Road trip

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Today my husband needed to tour a few facilities in Connecticut so we went off; as I drove through various parts of Connecticut, listening to my husband on the phone and when he wasn’t on the phone, he was on his computer, he works all of the time, I couldn’t help but think of my friend Tilly from
http://www.thelaughinghousewife.wordpress.com fame because our destination was Avon right outside of Manchester. Connecticut does have several cool names for towns and cities; Windsor, Avon, New London, Oxford, Manchester and Greenwich. Can you tell that most of the original setters must have been homesick or at least that is my theory. I mentioned to my husband that seeing the sign for Manchester made me think of Tilly and he said that our Manchester wasn’t as nice as the one in England. I agreed, I have never been to Manchester overseas, but I would bet a lot of cookies that it must be nicer than Connecticut’s version. In defense to Manchester Connecticut, I have a serious bias towards Europe; I have a weakness for all things historic and that’s why I imagine in my head that Manchester, Oxford and Greenwich, all these places that I have never seen, to be such special places, I imagine cobble lined streets, buildings with centuries and centuries of meaning and stories. My weakness, I know.

When I see places in this country, I see a new slate; despite being settled since the 1600′s, this country still has a new feeling when compared to walking down the streets of say Paris or Rome or London.

So that was my day and my day of driving led me to these thoughts and my thoughts became this post.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie review

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My husband, our son and I went to see Captain America today; we LOVED it. I have the snippet of the theme song “When Captain America throws his mighty shield!” playing in my head in a loop, just a little annoying. It had everything; suspense, intrigue, massive action scenes, courage, humor and intense loyalty amidst all of the confusion and intrigue. Chris Evans plays Captain America perfectly; I don’t think that you can get a better portrayal than his. I really believe his sincerity and his solid moral compass and obviously he and his qualities are at the heart of the movie.

It was real nice to see Robert Redford in a huge movie; he makes acting look so effortless, you kind of stop thinking of Robert Redford the actor or even Robert Redford the person and I found myself thinking who was this character that Robert Redford was playing. That probably sounds like gibberish, but I get distracted when I see certain icons o the big screen.

I would say that the big takeaway for me during the entire movie was that we are still asking ourselves the same question; how much freedom are we still willing to surrender just to be safe. Moreover how much of the chaos that we see going on in the world is organic or is it orchestrated to serve others in the final analysis. The subtle messages about fear, subjugation, power and control, I think were well conveyed throughout the movie and I found Captain America to be not only the perfect defender of our liberties and freedoms, but the perfect catalyst for questions and doubt. We need to ask questions of authority and massive security. We should not allow ourselves to be led to complacency, our democracy depends on it. Enough of me getting all preachy, I really recommend the movie for all. It was great!

Having said all that, I love my Captain America as he throws his mighty shield!

The comforting aroma of meat and potatoes

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I wish that technology would advance to the point where we can share aromas as well as visuals in our blogs. My kitchen smells really nice right now, just like Sunday dinner. I made roast beef and a gratin of potatoes for our son for the week so that he has something nourishing to eat. I can do the tough love and not cook anything, but the only person being punished by this is myself, fretting about our son’s diet. And to be honest about it, everyone knows by now that I love cooking anyway so why not just do it. It isn’t as if I am depriving our son of exploring his inner chef, he has made it very loud and clear, he hasn’t any inclination to cook now or anytime in the future.

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Roast beef is good hot or cold, I made a little jus from the drippings so he can do with that as he pleases and the gratin is easily heated up in the microwave. I can guarantee that Jack will be sitting right next to our son as he eats, begging for something, anything and if our son decides not to share, I bet that Jack will be sniffing the floor all around where our son sat; praying for the tiniest sliver of food that might have escaped from the plate or our son’s mouth. He really is a miniature Hoover vacuum masquerading as a dog, dedicated to inhaling all things edible wherever they may be; on the floor, in the cushions on the seats of chairs; it’s his mission to find it and eat it.

Jack the musical dog

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Our son has been itching to show me how Jack responds to his music for weeks now and I finally got the chance to see it in person today and is it adorable! Normally Jack only jowls when my husband gets him going by howling himself, that is how Jack gets started, he loves chiming in with his papa. Our son doesn’t start the howling by howling, he starts it with the piano and Jack seems to enjoy regaling us with his “Aria”. What impressed me is the “range” Jack has and how he tried to stay in tune with the piano. lol.

Jack is so cute, whether he is begging, howling or sitting anywhere he can on top of me, I know that I am completely biased, but he is the cutest little Jack ever. I love my little Jack.

The therapeutic beauty of pizza dough

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Today while my husband is away in Canada on business, I am at home with Jack and our son, and what better way to enjoy my rare moments at home then by making pizza dough. Recently my go to dinner choice has been frittata, but it’s awfully hard to make frittata when you don’t have eggs and I was too tired to go food shopping, luckily I had all of the ingredients for pizza. I am never too tired to whip up pizza dough, all it takes is a measuring cup and my trusty Kitchen-Aid mixer and voila, pizza dough. This time, I did take the time to knead the dough towards the end by hand because I was getting annoyed with the dough hook, it kept getting embedded with the dough and only spinning it around instead of working and kneading the dough as it should for optimal gluten production. Kneading is relaxing, the dough feels elastic and smooth to the touch and the rhythm that you get into kneading is almost hypnotic,

So pizza is what’s for dinner tonight.

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Rethinking a post just published

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Last night as I was lying in bed drifting off to sleep, my mind was lazily thinking about what I had written about Greece and how I failed to convey how magical it was for me when I had visited, not once but twice. The second visit was with my sister and we landed on the Isle of Corfu and made our way up the mountain to the village of Pelikas to meet up with John, Bill and Greg, the Canadian trio. It was in that village that my sister and I discovered the small village restaurant manned by father, mother and young daughter and we ate like princesses every day at breakfast and dinner. The homemade breads, the slow roasted lamb, melting in our mouths, the dense and tangy Tsazikis sauce that we dipped our lamb and bread in and licked our fingers, it was paradise. But we wouldn’t have known that paradise if I hadn’t discovered Greece before with my summer school roommate and our friends we made during our school session at the University of London program.

I think that the island that made the most impact on my psyche was the tiny island of Hydra, it was farther away from Athens than the others, we took the hydrofoil called the Dolphin to get there and still it was quite a ways. The trip out there was gorgeous, blue sky’s and turquoise green waters and the view of Hydra coming up right in front of us was breathtaking:

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It was here that I fell in love with Greece, I had always had a profound love for its mythology and its stories had filled my head with images of rocky landscapes, clear crystal clear waters and blue, blue skies; the reality of Greece in person did not disappoint at all. Furthermore to have the chance to experience the daily life on one of the prettiest islands that I have ever seen, where we saw the people work so hard, and play just as hard, it was wonderful. The houses were proudly kept very clean and bright, the colors were so joyful all around, the streets were swept up, there were no cars to be seen, everything was transported by donkey and cart. At night is when I felt the real magnificence of where I was, my friends and I were lying on the smooth rocks right off the beach where we swam during the day and the night sky looked like a swath of black velvet adorned with thousands of bright diamonds, more than the eye could count, it was grand on a scale that I had never seen before, there was no pollution, no clouds to obstruct how tiny I was in relation to the universe. I’ll never forget that night time sky, I have searched for a replica and I have yet to find it.

I know that Greece has had its serious share of economic problems and they are far from out of the economic woods, but I seriously suggest to anyone who has the desire to visit, Greece is so worth the trip, it is beautiful and historic, our roots are there, it was the birthplace of democracy and antiquities. I am so thankful that I had not one, but two chances to go and visit such an amazing country and people.

Daily prompt: The happy wanderer

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What’s your travel style? Are you itinerary and schedule driven, needing to have every step mapped out in advance or are you content to arrive without a plan and let happenstance be your guide?

I do appreciate how the daily prompts seem to get their inspiration from song lyrics; these lyrics were actually featured during a good part of my travels with my sister and the various traveling companions we picked up from country to country. While we were in Rome with our Australian friends, they introduced us to the Canadian trio who were very galant gentlemen, later when we parted ways with the girls, we then met up with the boys in Greece. “The Wandered” was sung very often by the Canadians as we hung out in Corfu over twenty years ago. They sung it acoustically at dusk when we would sit outside in the village of Palakis enjoying life. Greece, back then, seemed to me to be the ideal place to sit and just enjoy being, living and appreciating the world around you.

My traveling style is pretty laid back, I like to travel lightly so I pack as minimalist as possible. I don’t know if I would call myself schedule or itinerary driven, but I do like to learn as much as I can before I leave so that I have a good idea of what I want to see and most importantly what I want to eat. That being said, I do like to fly by the seat of my pants and let my feet lead me to where I wind up, if that makes any sense.

I think that I would describe myself as someone who loves the journey as much as the destination, while long airline flights aren’t what they used to be, I don’t hate them because they are leading me towards an adventure and I love adventure.

I have been very fortunate in that I have had quite a fair share of traveling adventures both thanks to my parents for shipping my sister and I overseas to be taken care of by our extended family, but also because having been raised to travel, I made deliberate choices to travel to Europe every summer that I could before I got married and I was then fortunate enough to marry someone who loves to travel as much as I do. So my traveling adventures have turned into our traveling adventures and that has made it twice as nice and twice as adventurous.

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