When I read Eat Pray Love, all I wanted to do was fly to Italy and eat my way through the country. I’ve talked about that for years, but reading someone else’s experience brought it all back.

When I watched the movie, all I wanted to do was travel to Bali. What the book did for Italy, I think the movie did for Bali. I could watch those scenes over and over just to soak in the unbelievable beauty. Watching the movie I was reminded of my Four Seasons Resorts directory of my meeting planner days. That lovely little spiral sat on my desk always open to the 18-suite resort in Bali.

Someday I want to take a vacation, go there and just be. Or maybe I’ll go here. . .

Care to join me???



This weekend was tiring. Late nights for the boys. An evening of baseball cages and dodgeball. A loooong Sunday morning meeting. But in between I played with art supplies and the boys huddled and watched movies. It was a good weekend.

Tomorrow Andy goes to India, so we have some easy-going dinner plans on the docket. I know Andy is secretly looking forward to 88 degree days. Even if he has to travel for days to enjoy it. I’d sit on a plane 24 hours for that right about now.

M Pizza Party at Enchanted Castle (reward for all Ben’s popcorn-selling efforts)

T Chicken Enchiladas (made with leftovers from last week’s lime chicken tacos)

W Leftovers (because I seriously need to clean out the fridge)

Th Kids go to Grandmas (no cooking)

Fri No school, kids are at Grandmas, I have a little surgery scheduled (no cooking)

Sat Mac and Cheese and Salad

Sun Minestrone (“restaurant soup”) and Bread


photo by Ben Blair

Sometimes I wish I were more adventurous. Take Gabriel Blair, for instance. Since she and her husband both work remotely, they can live wherever they like. So this year they decided to spend a year living in France. Mind you, they have SIX children!

As amazing as this sounds, just think of the rich experience those kids will have at such young ages, I will never be that person. I like home. I like having most of my friends and family at arm’s length when I need them. I would be intimidated by the language barrier factor. (Three days in Paris taught me years ago that my four years of high school French was not much more use than saving me from having to take a language in college.)

But I can’t help thinking what if. . . In the meantime, I will follow the Blair family adventures closely!


Here’s what’s on the menu. . .

M Baked Shells with Fontina and a salad

T Lime Chicken Tacos with tortilla chips

W Baked Shrimp in Tomato-Feta Sauce with Italian Bread

Th Chicken Gyros

F Make your own Pizza Night (then Cultural Fair at school)

S BBQ Beef Sandwiches with Apple Swiss Salad (Cub Scouts Lock in at the Swing)

S Creamy Vegetable Soup with Crackers

I’m working on a project. This is a long-term, involved project that does not necessarily have an end in sight. And I’m okay with that. I have started pulling old photos out of those horrible magnetic pages and thinking about the stories behind them. And I am writing them down.

This year I am determined to develop my writing and creating skills. I asked for art supplies for Christmas. I’m taking some classes. I’m focused.

One class I signed up for is Yesterday and Today. This online class is led by Ali Edwards, whose approach to storytelling I have long admired. The class centers around the creation (or start) of a scrapbook album telling the stories of the past. I am really enjoying the process and want to keep it going as I remember and learn more stories.

Last summer we attended a family reunion of descendants of my Great Grandpa Conrad. When we saw by a show of hands that only three people in the room have first-hand memories of Jeremiah Conrad, I was struck by all the stories at risk of being lost forever. Since then I have had a vague idea I want to start going through old pictures with my mom and writing down the stories. Then I saw this class and knew it was the nudge I needed. For now I am focusing on my childhood pictures and memories, but I see this as a warmup to digging deeper.

When Grandpa Conrad died, Mom and Auntie Jo spent weeks sorting through a giant barrel of old photographs. They did their best to preserve them, and they are fun to look at. But I want more. I want to know the personalities behind the faces. I want to know who was funny, who was serious, who loved to read and who always went barefoot. Just hearing a snippet of those stories from the cousins at the reunion whetted my appetite for more. We will gather again this summer at the tiny church in Windsor, and I plan to go with pen in hand. Because those storytellers won’t be around forever.

Both boys ended up in bed with us last night. That hasn’t happened in a long while. And in the meantime, they’ve grown.

First there was the middle of the night call from Ben–he had a nightmare. Andy went up to check on him, and next thing I know he’s climbing in alongside me. He and Licky, one of his favorite stuffed animals. I can’t tell you the last time Ben climbed into our bed. It was kind of fun.

Then minutes later the other one was standing next to me. The commotion woke him, and then he didn’t want to be alone upstairs. Fair enough. So we let them both squeeze into the middle, and I hugged the edge of the mattress. This morning I’m a little groggy and my muscles are aching, there’s a kink in my neck. But I just keep wondering how many more years we have before the boys are too big for this. And I like their snuggles.

I just wish we had a bigger bed.

Hiking at the Little Red Schoolhouse

We had a good weekend. Pinewood Derby.  A hike in the cold. Now back to a busy week. Here’s what’s for dinner. . .

M Ribollita (School board meeting tonight)

T Black Bean Enchiladas and Spanish Rice (Den Meeting tonight)

W Greek Chicken Pasta with Salad

Th Hot and Sour Soup with Spring Rolls

F Pizza Night

S Slow Cooker Pork and Beans with Apple Swiss Salad

S 5-Way Cincinnati-Style Chili