Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Living the Moment

Mid-life. Brush with cancer. Kids moving out of childhood. Lives taken too soon.
All possible reasons that ...

My life choices have taken on a brighter hue. I choose to experience all that I can grab from this life, right now.

Consequently, there has been a definitive shift in my decision making processes.

The antonyms for decision are deferment, deferral, delay, indecision, postponement. My approach is to avoid all and any of those opposites.

Here are some of my priorities and stuff in motion:

  • Spending interesting time with those I care about and who want to spend reciprocal time with me and/or my family
  • Going places and doing things I have never done before (especially with the boys)
  • Providing for my family but also thinking about professional opportunities previously not allowed into my consciousness
  • Spending a reasonable amount of money to make life a bit easier and more enjoyable for my family and me
  • Taking better care of myself mentally and physically (this one coming in slowly but in steady forward motion)
  • Seek knowledge ... always, always learning 
  • Love, cherish and enjoy Youngest Son, Oldest Son and Commuter Husband
On the future list is to focus in on the issues I care about in my community and seek ways to be an outspoken advocate. 

So I am too busy and overextended. My house is an unorganized mess. Occasionally a bill goes out late. I screw up on logistical details. I do still get frustrated when these kinds of mishaps happen. But I get over it.

To live a passionate life - where the colors are bold red and brilliant orange and sky blue and hot pink and serene green. Yes, please.
Moments - big & small - full of color. Turkish coffee in Istanbul with friends of the heart. June 2013.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Music

Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music.
          Ronald Reagan 

I like thinking of life this way. I had many moments of sweet music on my recent visit to London ...

Fancy Dress Party
My awesome Artistic Friend was in London this past weekend for her brother's 50th birthday party and it was a fancy dress party for Damsels, Deacons and Dons. And I got to go!!! Artistic friend and I had a truly wonderful time finding just the right costume at the thrift store and getting ready together like giggling college  girls. A first for me - gluing on false eye lashes - oh my.

My attempt at a selfie in my party finery!
Poor, poor misunderstood stepsisters of Cinderella?
A blurrr of aquaaaa and currrlsss ...
Artistic friend feeling the music with 18 year old nephew! We danced allot - nice to let go on occasion.

And the venue. And the costumes. So fabulous.

Which stepsister lost her slippers?
One final end of night (2:30am!) selfie in all that AQUA!
(Those shoes actually had platform heels when I arrived - they sorta disintegrated- seriously.)

I got to go to the London theater twice. I saw Billy Elliott and Noel Coward's Private Lives. LOVED Billy Elliott - I cried, I laughed and I cheered. Private Lives was a feel good British comedy - quite enjoyable. And a bit more low brow was the premiere of Wolverine outside my hotel - saw Hugh Jackman from afar and the cars arriving on the red carpet - Youngest Son and Oldest Son will be jealous.
Taken in the Tube. Go see this!!!
Our snack at Private Lives.
Artistic Friend and I had Pimm's before Private Lives started AND at intermission!
Red carpet leads up to the Wolverine Premier platform on the right at the Empire in Leister Square.
Art Museums
Another treat was going to the Tate Britain and the Wallace Collection with Artistic Friend - how great to see art with an artist! We saw three exhibits at Tate Britain: Caulfield, Hume and Lowry. The Wallace Collection was in the Wallace mansion and housed many valuables sent for safe keeping during the French Revolutionary War and whose owners lost their heads.
Lunch in the Wallace Collection garden area.
In addition to art, the Wallace Collection has an extensive armory - Oldest Son would be in heaven!
Traditional Sunday Roast
A lovely Sunday afternoon was spent having "roast" at a pub on the Thames with a transplanted American friend. A just right end to my trip.
Roast with Yorkshire Pudding and a pint of Extra Cold Guinness. Joy.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

14 Juillet on the Champs-Elysées

I spent this morning on the Champs-Elysées at the 14 Juillet 2013 (Bastille Day) Military Parade. And my weekend in Paris started Friday evening ...

After a walk along the Seine and dinner in a sidewalk cafe with a slightly rude waitress, we boarded a tour boat at 10pm. Seeing dusk cover Paris was perfect.
Eiffel Tower. My view. Wowie.
The Seine River banks were FILLED with groups of people eating, drinking and enjoying the moment.
View of Notre Dame from the Seine River and the inside is spectacular as well.
After the one hour boat tour, we had desert on a Louve porch at Cafe Marly. Looking up and looking out at the architecture was surreal. I too was enjoying life - that thing the Parisians do so well.
Apple Tart at Cafe Marly.
Saturday brought four hours at the Louve with my rented educational headset. I covered the entire 2nd floor, saw Napoleon's Apartments on the 1st floor and then got really, really lost. I finally worked my way to the Grand Gallery to see the Mona Lisa. The Louve buildings are just as interesting as the contents. We then whiled away the afternoon with drink and food in the Louve gardens.

Degas - one of my favorite painters.
Robert Hubert's 1784 painting of the Louve's future Grand Gallerie.
My view of the Louve for most of Saturday afternoon ...
After the Louve, we took another walk beside the Seine River to the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. The underground tunnel entrance to the Arc de Triomphe is not so obvious ...
The Arc de Triomphe honors those who fought and died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. There is also the eternal flame for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.
This experience junkie was quite excited to find out I could attend the 14 Juillet 2013 (Bastille Day) Military Parade on the Champs-Elysées. I was there at 7am to secure a spot. To see France honor its soldiers with such a show of respect was impressive. Here are a few facts of what was included: 4,823 soldiers, 241 horses, 265 vehicles, 82 motorcycles and 58 aircraft & 35 helicopters with flypasts and the President of France, Francois Hollande! The variety of uniforms and hats was astounding ... only in France!

The event was well organized, the music was patriotic, the crowds were respectful and there was not a vendor in sight selling one single thing. Truly, a day of honor.
Opening flypast with the colors of the French Flag.
President Francois Hollande is in the Jeep with General Herve Charpentier.
Mounted Troops escort the President.

Motorized vehicles of all kinds.
White hats similar to US ...
Hats with red plumes!
Round light blue, red and white hats.
Silver hats with silver swords to match :)
See the boat collars on shirts and red fluffy balls on tops of hats?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Commuter Husband is Happy, Happy

The Grimsley Prius
The transportation cost of weekly commuting is not insignificant. Today we executed the best solution available for us. We bought a 2011 Prius Hybrid which gets 50 mpg. Commuter Husband has been driving the Houston/Dallas route in a 1999 Ford Explorer. The math is obvious.

Commuter Husband is a Happy Husband today.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Back Together Again

June 3rd was the last time all four members of our Commuter Family were together. Tonight, July 3rd, we are reunited. We sat around the dinner table playing Balderdash and eating Commuter Husband's homemade lentils and Youngest Son's Turkish Cacik.

The house is a mess, the boys are loud and clean laundry is piled up. The usual Commuter Family chaos.

And the cicadas are chirping, the grass is crisp and I can hear the shouts of laughter and delight:
Commuter Husband throws the football to Oldest Son and Youngest Son. Who caught it?
And the football launches!
The four of us are together until July 7th and then off to various places until we rejoin on August 4th ...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Friendship in Bodrum, Turkey

Youngest Son and American/Turkish Friend exploring the Mediterranean Sea shore at sunset. Love this image.
Youngest Son and I concluded our spectacular trip with our kind hearted Turkish Friends in Bodrum this past weekend. We could see the islands of Greece from Bodrum, Turkey. 

Love. Friendship. Laughter. Forever. Commuter Family & Turkish Family.

Our Turkish breakfast included cheeses, watermelon, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, toasted bread, jams, honey, eggs , tea and coffee. The soft white cheeses are my favorite.
We ate breakfast under the tall trees looking over the sea. Soft waves create the sound of peace.
After breakfast, Youngest Son tramples me at checkers - many times.  
Turkish Daughter building sand castles. 
Youngest Son, Turkish Daughter and American/Turkish Friend hold tight to the tube!
"Ball" is the universal language for boys the world over ...
Bodrum has many bays and we visited one with a fancy marina. Youngest Son, Turkish Daughter and American/Turkish Friend preparing to enter this very unique art gallery in an old building on the bay. 
Youngest Son recognizing squiggly lines in the paintings are really stick figures depicting the intended message.
In another Bodrum Bay with local artists - this one is firing glass figures.
Midnight Tea oozing with ambiance ...
Youngest Son jumps off the deck into the clear, cool water.
Youngest Son is sporting that European look! 
Generous Grandpa, Turkish Mother's Father, treats us to a feast of baked fresh fish and vegetables. 
Grandpa, Youngest Son (this is his plate) and American/Turkish Boy each savor the meat of the fish head. I took a pass on this body part.
We will be back ...