HUMP DAY SPARKS: ARMCHAIR TRAVELING

These granddaughters of mine, Fiona and Aubrey, now almost twenty-one, had a wonderful time in the snow at Big Bear…back in 2004.

This blog was created with the two of them as the centerpiece…all things snow.  And happy days as a family.

Now my themes are all about sparks of any kind, like bubbly, and wine, and anything that reminds me of happiness.  And I have settled into my Armchair Traveling role:

 

 

Sharing bright new experiences, like Aubrey’s semester in Prague.  Check out some of her special perspectives so far:

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Another fabulous view:

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Love this view, too:

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I love this perspective:

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And now for a peek into a neighboring country, Hungary:  Parliament….

Back in my office, the Armchair Traveler enjoys a morning of blogging and reading…and breakfast:

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Enjoy your special moments!  What is your perspective today?

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY! THE MANY FACES OF FIONA…

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Happy birthday, Fiona!  She is a young woman who defines her own unique path…and has been doing so from the beginning.  Let’s look back at her early moments: the newborn…

 

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Then, at around eighteen months, the curly-haired tot clutched her toys, with cousin Aubrey in pursuit…at a family gathering.

 

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A few years ago, Fiona and her “twin cousin” Aubrey (their birthdays are only days apart), were the featured header for this blog…back when it was called Snow Impressions and Connections.

Here they were, at seven years of age, at the snowy cabin owned by Aubrey’s father.

 

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Some pictures of the two of them, growing up:

 

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Fiona has enjoyed showcasing various looks over the years:

 

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She went through a “hat” phase after shaving her head….

 

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And here is one of my favorites:

 

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We can definitely conclude that Fiona is creative and pursuing her own unique identity in life.

As she celebrates her twentieth birthday, we wish for many more years of fun and experimentation…and finding who she is along the way.

I am linking this post to West Metro Mommy Reads, for Saturday Snapshots.

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TUESDAY SPARKS: “THIS MUST BE THE PLACE”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s featured book is one I downloaded in July, and I plan to start reading it tonight.  This Must Be the Place, by Maggie O’Farrell, is a book I’ve been eagerly anticipating, as I’ve enjoyed several books by the author.  An irresistible love story, an unforgettable family. Best-selling author Maggie O’Farrell captures an extraordinary marriage with insight and laugh-out-loud humor in what Richard Russo calls “her breakout book.” Perfect for readers of Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

 

 

 

 

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Intro:  (The Strangest Feeling in My Legs – Daniel – Donegal, 2010)

There is a man.

He’s standing on the back step, rolling a cigarette.  The day is typically unstable, the garden lush and shining, the branches weighty with still-falling rain.

There is a man and the man is me.

I am at the back door, tobacco tin in hand, and I am watching something in the trees, a figure, standing at the perimeter of the garden, where the aspens crowd in at the fence.  Another man.

He’s carrying a pair of binoculars and a camera.

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Teaser:  They are waiting, Lucas and Maeve, on a strip of gravel outside the thing like a cattle shed that serves as an airport in this part of the world.  He has a rucksack at his feet, a hat with earflaps pulled down low on his head; Maeve is huddled inside her waterproof.  (45%).

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Blurb:  Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life. A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn, and a wife, Claudette, who is a reclusive ex–film star given to pulling a gun on anyone who ventures up their driveway. Claudette was once the most glamorous and infamous woman in cinema before she staged her own disappearance and retreated to blissful seclusion in an Irish farmhouse. 

But the life Daniel and Claudette have so carefully constructed is about to be disrupted by an unexpected discovery about a woman Daniel lost touch with twenty years ago. This revelation will send him off-course, far away from wife, children, and home. Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back?
 
“O’Farrell’s prose manages to be both intimate and expansive and keenly perceptive in its insights about the complexities of marriage.  Beautiful and bittersweet, THIS MUST BE THE PLACE will make O’Farrell’s longtime fans swoon while prompting new readers to wonder why they’ve only just discovered her.”
–BookPage

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I am excited at the journey ahead, as it’s been a while since I read this author.  But I remember loving her work.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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SATURDAY SPARKS: MY FAMILY & MY NEST

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, an opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

It has been a few weeks since my last post, so today will be a potpourri of images from the summer.

First, let’s look at some shots of grandchildren, starting with my eldest grandson, Alec, who will be in his senior year at UC-Berkeley in the fall:

 

 

Alec in June 2016

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Take a peek at a recent shot of Fiona (age 19):

 

 

Fiona in July

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Noah (13), enjoying fireworks on July 4th:

 

 

Noah, 4th of July 2016

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A cupboard with some old favorite print books…and some knick-knacks:

 

 

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A close-up of the books; do you see any titles you’ve read?

 

 

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A tablescape with dolls and other trinkets:

 

 

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Some changes on my sofa table:

 

 

 

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A new hall tree arrangement:

 

 

June 15 changes - 2

 

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Morning coffee….

 

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What did your week look like?  Are you sharing your summer in photos?

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SATURDAY SPARKS: SPOTLIGHTING INTERIOR & EXTERIOR MOMENTS

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

Spring brings wonderful days to family, and here are some special moments.  First, my niece Amy and her eldest son Luc are enjoying the hammock under the big trees.

 

 

April - Amy & Luc - Hammock time

 

 

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Luc and his dog are also hanging out under the trees…

 

 

Luc in April - a boy and his dog

 

 

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Enjoying our northern beaches near Crescent City are my son and DIL’s dog Augie, playing with a seal….

 

 

4-16 - In Crescent City - Augie & the Seal

 

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Fiona has a new job, and here she is enjoying some relaxation after a work day.

 

 

fiona - may 2016

 

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I switched some things around in my bedroom, so I could watch Netflix via my laptop/TV hook-up…this table with lamp, books, and dolls once lived across the room, below:

 

 

may 4 - sheets

 

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Here’s the TV/laptop set-up, ready to be connected via the HDMI cable….I think I’ll spend some time watching this weekend, since my bedroom feels really cozy now.

 

 

laptopTV plan

 

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Today I got my first Mother’s Day gifts…delivered: the bear, the box of edible goodies, and a balloon:

 

 

Happy Mother's Day 2016

 

 

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I received an edible treat:  delicious chocolate covered strawberries….I am trying not to eat too many too quickly….

 

 

 

mother's day chocolates

 

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For the fun of it, I posed the Madeleine Hatter doll with my Mary Engelbreit cottage:

 

 

 

Magical images

 

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That was my week….what did yours look like?  Happy Mother’s Day to all who have children, grown or small.

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SNOW SPARKS: THE EYES, ETC.

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

I wasn’t sure I would participate today, as I’ve joined in the Dewey’s Readathon…but I’m on a break, so here goes, with some photos of family, etc.

Here’s a shot of my niece Amy…her eye, actually.  Artistic, right?

 

 

Amy's eye

 

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And now for Fiona’s eye:

 

 

Fiona - Eye - april

 

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And, back a year or so ago, a weird Fiona eye:

 

 

fiona - more creativity

 

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Here is Fiona again, not as weird…a few years ago….

 

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So, the eyes have it today.  What are you sharing?  Oh, and just a little reminder of my Readathon today, coffee and books:

 

 

april 23 break 3

 

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What are you sharing?  What does your day look like?

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SATURDAY SPARKS: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMY!

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

Friday, the 23rd, was my niece Amy’s birthday.  October brings us a bounty of family birthdays.  Here are some shots of the birthday girl.

Girl with Dog:

 

 

Niece Amy - birthday girl with dog

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Here’s Amy’s eldest, Luc, enjoying coziness…and the dog:

 

 

Coziness - Amy's eldest with dog

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Amy’s birthday treat:

 

 

Amy's birthday treat

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Amy’s hubby Rick….with the dog:

 

 

Amy's hubby Ric & the dog

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And that was a Happy Birthday for my niece….what are the rest of you sharing?

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SATURDAY SPARKS: PHOTO MEMORIES

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

Today’s feature will include some more photos from the Berliners’ visit…and a surprise at the end.

The General Grant Tree is huge…and kind of famous.  Luckily, in August, when the Berliners’ visited, all was well in the park.  Just a few weeks later, there were ongoing “rough fires” that took days to control.

 

Sequoia Park in August - Berliners

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Here Gabi and Craig enjoyed hugging up against the General Sherman Tree.

 

Craig & Gabi with General Sherman

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I love this setting:  a redwood center surrounded by big trees.

 

More Sequoia

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Here’s my little surprise:  Fiona (Pheona on Facebook, LOL) loves to create cartoons of her and her boyfriend Tomas.  They are so cute and have a very similar and somewhat quirky sense of humor.

 

Tomas & Fiona playing...

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That’s it for today!  The Berliners are back in Berlin…getting ready to find a new place in Prague.  What are you sharing today?

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SATURDAY SPARKS: A SUMMER OF TRAVEL

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

It’s time for some photo sharing.  When my son and DIL were visiting, they spent some time in the surrounding areas here, like Sequoia National Park, before heading to Northern California and Oregon…and then to SF and the coast, before returning here to the Central Valley.

Here Gabi and Craig are showing off the size of the tree in Sequoia Park; can we say “tree huggers”?

 

Gabi & Craig - tree huggers

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Here is a shot in Ashland, Oregon, in Lithia Park:

 

Lithia Park in Ashland, August

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Gabi, getting ready to go up the Moro Rock Trail

 

Gabi - Moro Rock Trail

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More views of Moro Rock….

 

Morro Rock - 2

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More of the Rock….

 

Morro Rock in September

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After their journey, they returned to Fresno, where they sold the car they had purchased and used for the summer.   Below, celebrating the sale at The Elephant Bar.

 

Gabi and Craig - Elephant bar in Sept

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And here, Craig and Heather are enjoying some Mexican food at our neighborhood Mexican restaurant….Gabi chose to opt out of this dinner.

 

 

sept 12 - jolly bro and sis moment

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And then it was time to take the train from here to LA, where they visited my second son, attended a showing of Jimmy Kimmel Live, and flew back to Europe.

 

 

Craig and Gabi - train - sept

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A great time was had by all…and the almost three months they spent here just flew by.  Sigh.

Hopefully they will not wait so long to return again.

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What are you sharing today?  What stories do your photos tell?

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SUMMER IS WINDING DOWN — SATURDAY SNAPSHOTS

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

As summer winds down, we gather together to enjoy various activities.  My new DIL Gabi is exploring California with her husband, my eldest son.  After spending a month here, they drove up to Northern California, and here is a shot of Gabi at the Grass Valley Fair.  She loves the animals.  Next week, they’ll be heading down the coast.

 

 

August 2015 - Gabi at Grass Valley Fair

 

Here is my granddaughter Aubrey, enjoying time with her younger siblings, Silas and Sidney:

 

 

Aubrey with Silas & Sidney - august

 

My daughter Heather spent time on her birthday with her son Noah:

 

 

Heather's birthday lunch- 2015

 

And here is Noah on the first day of school (already!); he is in the seventh grade.

 

 

August 2015 - first day of 7th grade

 

While everyone else has been having fun, I’ve been rearranging furniture again!  I moved some cabinets around in my dining area; the only cabinets that are in their original position are the red corner hutch and the Baker’s rack.  I did the switcheroo in order to open up the space.  (Below)

 

 

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And my coffee table was pretty cluttered, so I rearranged a few things….

 

 

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That’s it for this week.  What are you spotlighting?

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