Archive for the 'up up and away' Category


December 31, 2011

This time of year sweeps us away on many adventures …

… exploring the wilderness …

… discovering mystical creatures …

… and taming ancient dragons.

(My niece is so fun.)


when home tugs in competing directions

October 26, 2011

The other Home beckons, as it does when I return to visit the place I grew up calling home (granted, in a fancy new house, though thankfully at least on the same street). Most conniving of that which beckons me is this darling critter I have the pleasure of calling my niece.

Maybe it’s her avant-garde artistry.

Or her impeccable sense of fashion.

Or perhaps the face she makes when doing her very best sea lion impression.

Whatever the reason, it’s a strong summons that’s hard to resist.

Edward Sharpe sweetly reminds us that “home is wherever I’m with you.” But what if there are several yous and you’re all in different places? Muddies the sentiment up a bit. Although it’s rather nice, having more than one feeling of home, whether in people or places. For me at least, better being tugged in many directions than none at all.

the dying art of the photo album

October 14, 2011

I miss the photo album. I don’t count the jazzed-up, bound and glossy masterpiece coffee table books that make up the contemporary view of a photo album or book. I mean photos printed from film negatives glued or taped on to sheets of spiral- or otherwise delicately bound cardstock, whose dense pages grow thick and frail and sit stacked among more of the ilk, depicting no particular event but rather everyday life, people, and that which matters on such an inherent level as to warrant a photograph in spite of the cost of the camera, film, and processing. That treasure chest I found in my family’s villa contained just such captivating relics.

… a quiet chore …

… familiar yet faraway faces …

… a parent ages away from being so (wasn’t my dad precious?) …

… a war happening in their very backyard …

… an era of style that my grandmother so elegantly exemplified …

… and even earlier relations posing from a distant past.

Here’s a goal to strive for in the coming months: an old-fashioned photo album—not of events, but just faces. Faces I find important enough to include in this book of that which matters to me. Maybe even go so far as to print a collection in black-and-white (or might that be too Hipstamatic?). Either way, I might have to make this happen.

1936 vintage

October 12, 2011

During our recent frolic through Central Europe, the Hungarian leg of the tour allowed us pleasures available only to those who have the good fortune of knowing a local. I was fortunate enough to one-up even that: family. My living relatives span many generations, and many homes—the majority of which remain in Budapest, where I was born. One of said homes is a family inheritance, built in 1936 and having survived all that followed in subsequent years. It’s filled with antiques and treasures that breathe their age: the villa has that fragrance of equal parts must and freshness, because life has never left this summer house for long. This is where we stayed for five delightful days.

The entrance…

… the foyer, containing a trunk with buried treasure …

… the living room, with much of the furniture and decor untouched for decades (besides a good dusting) …

… a lamp draped in upholstery (I love it) …

… the kitchen (facing the front yard) …

… the upstairs nook leading to a few rooms …

… and the patio, which has hosted many a family reunion, and faces a downward sloping backyard and a stunning view.

Funny how a place you visit only once every few years can feel so very inviting.


October 3, 2011

Pardon me, I’ve been away from my desk.

Though my body returned a few weeks ago, my mind is still floating somewhere along the Danube.

More to come as I settle back into settling back.

business travel essentials

July 8, 2011

After one or two conventions, you start to pick up on those little things that survival necessitates.

Clockwise, from top left:

Emergen-C. Every day. Twice a day. Because standing inside a convention center with 10,000 people and recycled air for three days straight, 10+ hours each day does not a healthy environment make.

Obligatory vessel of work and play, connectivity and disconnect. Yes, you can access work email. You can also access silly blogs, friends, family and the ubiquitous brain drain the internet warrants. Because this is what you need after being around 10,000 people for 10 hours straight (see above).

Spare key to that lovely hotel room. Nothing makes business travel more fun than having the fella tag along and reap some of those bennies (and rub your feet at the end of the day).

Fresh fruit. No, really. How often do you get fresh fruit when you’re away from home? Besides the afterthought presence of underripe oranges and overripe apples at bodegas and employee lunches, your body will see few (if any) of those vitamins on which we fruit lovers thrive.

Of course, this is just the current short list. More survival tips to come (and to learn).

B&B chic

July 6, 2011

While I would never adorn even a closet of mine with gaudy floral wallpaper, there’s just something about bed-and-breakfasts that necessitate such a quaint kitsch factor. The West Dover Inn, where we stayed for our weekend escape to Vermont, nailed that look with its explosion of floral patterns and country clutter in pretty much ever room (take a look for yourself at the guest rooms on the site). On top of the aesthetic bonus, the innkeepers were exceptionally friendly, helpful, and charming.

So let’s break down the art of B&B chic with a few simple rules:

1. Essential decor: antique radios, sepia globe, sepia anything, and colonial art. Bonus points for toile dishware, delicately chipped.

2. A credenza packed with board games old and new, pieces missing or scattered about, provides kitschy good fun. As does, of course, a partially complete jigsaw puzzle. (The innkeeper’s son was quick to declare puzzle assembly using an image of the final product indisputable cheating. I could not agree more.)

3. Serious props to innkeepers who provide handmade puzzles of maps with an X that marks the spot of the town’s best swimming holes.

4. Edible coziness: cheese, crackers, homemade preserves that, though unidentifiable, taste so good your guests eat it anyway, and a bottle of wine.

5. Additional antique radios set angled atop decorative doilies alongside a floral lantern-style table lamp perfectly offset floral wallpaper, floral sheets, floral pillowcases …

6. You can never, ever have enough charming floral (and literary) accoutrements.

a very on off-season

June 26, 2011

There’s something to say about off-season travel. Though named for their summer skin, the Green Mountains are utterly desolate in mid-June compared with the winter months. More nature for us!

The highlights of last weekend, in a few nutshells:

We did a little hiking, and B rode his very first ski lift (a perfect precursor to teaching him to ski this coming winter) …

The innkeepers even packed us a picnic lunch!

… a little wading …

… quite a bit of lounging and drinking …

… some very good eating …

roast duck ::drool::

… a little antique perusing (because what’s a trip to a rural town without it?) …

why didn't i buy this?

… and the views, the views …

Here’s hoping this escape will hold me over until the annual trip abroad come September. Next up: a busy, busy July.

… right after some birthday festivities this week!