HUMP DAY SPARKS: MORE PRAGUE PHOTOS, ETC.

When my daughter and son-in-law went to Europe for their honeymoon, they visited with my eldest son Craig and his wife Gabi, and Craig captured some photos of them against the beautiful Prague backdrop.

I love how he sometimes likes to use black and white for dramatic effect, and I applaud what he captured here (below).

 

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Equally effective:  the bright blue skies and the spires of the fabulous architecture nicely frame the newlywed couple.

 

 

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In this shot, Prague is laid out behind them in a fabulous view.

 

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These buildings behind them are familiar to me because of other photos Craig has in his collection.  I think their familiarity makes them even more perfect as a backdrop.

 

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And then, check out the “adoring, honeymoon look”….

 

 

One of my early Prague photos from Craig…

 

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Back here at home, my ever-changing bookstack…books brought from the office to this “up next” stack…

 

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That’s my spotlight for this week.  What is yours?

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FAMILY & INTERIORS: 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.

Today I’m grabbing photos from the past, as well as current ones.  In the photo below, we see my granddaughter Fiona, center, with two of her five brothers:  Jake, left, and Kevin, right.

I think Fiona was about four in this one, which means Jake was nine and Kevin, almost eleven.  Funny how kids love making silly faces during photos.

 

Fiona, center, and two of her five brothers

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Here is the adult version of Fiona, off to college classes recently.

 

on the road - fiona in march

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Left, my other granddaughter, Aubrey, with a friend; also enjoying spreading her “college girl” wings…

 

Aubrey & friend- college girl down time

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Now for a glimpse of my interiors; below, my Peter Pan figurines.

 

Fairytale images

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Another view of my favorite bookshelf, the pub table, and a peek of the hall tree at the front door.  Notice the various Disney figurines, along with books, dolls, hats, etc.

 

bookshelf, pub table, hall tree-March

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On Monday, after running a few errands, I settled in for French Onion soup, a Pomegranate Martini, and Pippa, my Kindle….

 

soup and martini on Monday-2-29

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Fiona received her artistic twist from both branches of her family.  Below, check out one of her mom’s artistic expressions….

 

 

Sara's art (Fiona's mom)

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What did you capture today?  Come on by and share!

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FINDING STRENGTH IN OUR CONNECTIONS — A REVIEW

52471In this captivating sequel to Big Stone Gap, we rejoin Ave Maria Mulligan and her husband Jack MacChesney at a point in their marriage that could be the end for them. Three years ago, their son Joe died. And the loss, followed by the period of mourning, have taken their toll. Daughter Etta, who was a year older than Joe, seems to be the glue that cements them.

But the tests that prey on their bonds include many stressors, like the closing of the mining company where Jack worked for many years; the start-up of a new company, bringing temptation along with it; and the realization that they are each just going through the motions.

After many years of being the self-described town spinster, Ave’s independence could be the very blow that kills their union.

How does Ave’s and Etta’s trip to Italy for the summer cast a new light on everything? Was leaving Jack behind, at his request, be the final nail that kills the two of them? Or will the time apart remind them of their love and what needs to happen next?

Just as with the previous story of this beautiful part of Virginia, BIG CHERRY HOLLER invites the reader right into the setting. The author paints word pictures that show us the world as our characters see it. And the sense of community, both in Big Stone Gap, and later in Italy, makes us feel as if we’re right there with them. I know that I want to revisit these characters and these settings again. And while spending time with them here, we get to see them cast in a lovely and yet real portrait of lives going through struggles; lives that come out the other side with a sense of what it means to reinvent themselves. Five stars.

CREATIVE SPARKS: SATURDAY SNAPSHOTS — FAMILY & YULETIDE MOMENTS — DEC. 8

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Welcome to another creative opportunity to showcase photos, via our weekly Saturday Snapshot event, hosted by Alyce, At Home With Books.

Every week, I seem to share the same kinds of photos:  family, home, and more of the same.  I guess you can tell that these are important to me.  And as the kids grow, there are always new photos to share.

Here’s what’s happening in our world these days:

In the first photo, L. to R.:  Alec, Aaron, Brett, and Aubrey enjoying a game

Happiness is a Laker's Game

Happiness is a Laker’s Game

 

Or just mother/son time for no reason at all.

Heather and Noah

Heather and Noah

And as a nod to the season, a little bit of “decking the halls”

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Since red is a primary color in my abode, the Christmas touches blend right in.

Now…what are you sharing today?  I’m off to check it out!

CREATIVE SPARKS: SATURDAY SNAPSHOT — HEARTH & HOME — JUNE 9

Sparks are flying around the blogosphere again today, as we join in with Alyce, At Home With Books, to showcase our Saturday Snapshots.

After enjoying last weekend with grandkids, I started thinking about the arrangement of my living room.  I wanted change.  And even though I’ve changed various pieces in the living room, dining room, etc., two large pieces seemed unchangeable.  I could only ever visualize the big sofa and love seat as they have been since I moved in five years ago.  Like this.

Love seat and sofa at right angles

 

But my granddaughter is very much an “outside the box” thinker, and while I’ve been known to do the same, I was stymied.  Stuck.

But then she said:  Put one of the pieces on the diagonal. 

And I realized that would work.   Plus, the fireplace is already at an angle.  So here’s what I came up with….

Sofa on the diagonal, facing loveseat

Another view

 

Facing the fireplace head-on

 

So as I sit back with my book and gaze around, I am satisfied.  For now.

And I have to laugh as I think about all that huffing and puffing and sweating in order to make the changes.  It was morning, fortunately, but was already heading toward a hot day.  But the best part?  Finding inspiration from an unexpected source.

After I washed away the toil of the morning, I went to lunch with a friend…and relaxed.

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Now I’m off to visit your blogs…and see what you’ve snapped this week.

 

A BIT OF ME (ME) — DREAM HOMES — OCT. 2

Today, our host at There’s A Book has asked us to stretch and dream a bit.

DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM HOME AND WHERE IT WOULD BE LOCATED.

Naturally, the stuff of dreams is fantasy.  So our minds can fly to the seas, the English countryside, or an island.

I have a couple of dream homes, just off the top of my head.  They’re not very realistic, but one is more so than the other.

First, here’s a country cottage in Kent.

Country Cottage in Kent

With this cottage, I would need caretakers, housekeepers, and lots of money for maintenance, but I guess if I’m dreaming, I’ll add those into my dream.

Then, in another part of my dream life, I’m thinking a little closer to home…an island off the State of Washington, near Seattle.  Bainbridge Island, and here’s a peek at a little cottage by the water.

Bainbridge Island Cottage

My mind is traipsing along, exploring the gardens, the sea, and enjoying the luxurious interiors.

And, of course, each of these dream homes would be filled with bookshelves and books!!

What would your dream home be like?  I hope you’ll stop by and share some of your fantasies.

CONNECTING TO “PLACE”

Meghan Daum’s memoir Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House leads the reader on a journey toward finding the perfect dwelling.  From apartments in NY brownstones to farmhouses in Nebraska, and westward to cottages in LA, the author describes her obsessive quest for the house that’s just out of reach.

Some people have hobbies like collecting, but Ms. Daum admits that searching for just the right neighborhood, redecorating each home so that she is finally authentically herself, became an unending task that finally reached the point of having to decide whether or not to live with her boyfriend, since that would mean adjusting her space to make room for him.

Her story felt very familiar to me.  I’ve done that same kind of quest, but not with the same diligence, perhaps.  But I’ve enjoyed open house “window shopping” and internet searches, hoping to finally find that dream home.  And I’ve also done constant redecorating in each home when it was impossible to actually move.  I’ve had that itch to rearrange things in order to make my life feel more my own.

This author’s story was full of honesty, humor, and insight as she describes finally reaching a place of “almost” contentment.

Thoroughly enjoyable, this is a story that I’m likely to reread, because I could relate to it.   I’m giving it five stars, and I hope I read something else by this author soon.

PHOTO TRADITIONS

My Kids on the Left - 1982; Grandkids on Right - 2009

As you can see from these pictures, photo sessions are a little bit like torture chambers for my kids (on the left) and grandkids on the right.   In the picture of my four that you see above and in the header, my kids were much younger—this photo was snapped in 1982.  The picture of the grandkids on the right is from 2009.

They all react in different ways, sometimes looking grumpy or stiff, and at other times, we get the goofy, horsing around kind of behavior.

In either case, these traditions are ones they like to get through quickly so they can move on.

Here are some other examples of the torturous moments in the photo traditions of my family.

Another Christmas Moment

Totally Goofing Around

FAMILY TRADITIONS

A Tradition Begins - 1979

Here we are, the little family unit that began a unique tradition.

In 1979, we accidentally started something when we had our photo snapped at the university campus on this particular sculpture.

Then, in regular increments, we took the photo again, over the years.

And now my grandkids have taken up the tradition, as seen here.

Fiona and Dominic - 2009

Another Photo Op - 2009

THE STORY BEHIND THE HEADER

Noah exploring

This photo, along with the one in the previous post, were taken several years ago, when my youngest grandson was a toddler.

At the time, we lived in the foothills, and Noah lived in my guesthouse with his parents.

Recently, I pulled these old photos from an album and made a collage of them for my header.  I created the collage at Picnik.