Yes I’m still alive and, yes, I’m once again a bad, bad, bad blogger because I haven’t pressed fingertips to keyboard in a very long time. It’s not that I haven’t been doing cool things, I have. I just would rather zombie out in front of the TV or on the Internet than let my writerly self show herself. It’s the same with reading. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to read, but eh I’d rather just sit and stare without the thinking part. That’s not entirely true because I promise you I have (in my head) written several blog posts (lol and created several storyline scenarios, most of which I’m better off not sharing), but for whatever reason I couldn’t muster the energy to bring them to life.
I think that pretty much sums up 2021 for me. It’s not bad, and it’s certainly not NOT living, but it’s been a going-through-the-motions kind of year. Get out and play a bit, but don’t bother processing because some other shit will come around and you’ll then have to process that too. Or something like that. Seeee, I can’t even process my right thought for this paragraph. So, yeah, 2021 be gone with you. You suck empty vaccine vials. And, yes, I’ve seen the memes, so I’m not putting any false hopes into 2022 either. I’m not going to risk blowing it.
And that’s that on my funk. Above all else (despite that I, along with much of mankind, am in one or more of the phases of Covid grief: someone is bound to be doing a study/paper on it) I am still a lover of life, and I do soooooo embrace the good that comes my way. So, here’s a list of the cool shit I’ve done since I last popped in and didn’t take the time to share:
- We LOVED Malta; had an absolute wonderful time. I’m just going to dump all the pretty pics into one slide show, which is a shame because it truly deserved a blog post. I even sat on the rooftop terrace of our hotel room and wrote some of it, but let’s just start a new verb: I 2021ed it.
- Dusseldorf with friends was also a lot of fun.
- A week after Malta, we rented an old farmhouse in Epernay and had a great time with friends. My sister was supposed to visit, but lol she 2021ed it.
- We did a few more Ardennes weekends with friends; always a great time that includes hikes and taverns — and fireplaces!
- We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner where friends feasted in our cramped living room.
- We toured Christmas markets in Durbuy, Luxembourg, Colmar and Strasbourg — magical despite Covid restrictions. We were going to do Germany too, but we 2021ed it (too many cancelations and rule changes). Oh and the Mons Christmas market (really it’s just another excuse to drink beer) is still going. The one in Brussels was 2021ed.
Above is the Malta photo dump to give you a break from my list of what I didn’t really write about. Malta is a magical place that, for us, was an affordable, much-needed break from our dark-skies reality.
- Okay back to the list: Joe and I rented an old cottage/cabin/hut for hippie hobbits? in the Alsace region of France. The dwelling was an experience in the middle of a tiny ancient village. I’m amazed we didn’t scrape the sides of our Rav 4 in some of its alleyways (and we live in Europe, so we’re used to tiny, but these ‘streets’ shrink while you’re driving on them). I sooooooo loved it here and want to go back to visit more, especially when one can go wine tasting in the surrounding vineyards. My prized possession from here, however, is my pair of Beauty and The Beast candelabra bought at a little antique store. Oh wait, and I also bought a beautiful Alsatian clay roaster from a potter in another tiny village (but I 2021ed taking a pic of it). Basically if you’re an artist who’ll take the time to chat with me despite our language barrier, I’ll buy your stuff.
A very small taste of Luxembourg, Mons and Alsace. My phone still can’t take pics outside of Whatsapp. Random alert: OMG the home we stayed in had a hot tub encased by a plastic igloo with a hanging disco ball, flanked by a massive Buddha. I shit you not. Anyway, I dropped my phone in the hot tub (trying to do a champagne, Whatsapp selfie — with a phone that doesn’t work right, so yeah I’m not bright) AND can you believe the bits of it that work are STILL working. Soooo below pic is all I have of that. A 2022 goal is for me to break down and buy a new phone! And, yeah, I have a real camera that I’ve totally not even bothered to upload pics from — I’m THAT lazy.
- On Christmas day, two of our friends came over for dinner, and we had a lovely time. No matter where I am in life, my home is always lit and warm for Christmas, which will stay that way through much of January. I need the lights, people. Same folk and maybe a few more will join us on New Years.
- I’ve put some of my funk to use and re-worked my resume. I’m not leaving the organization I work for, but it’s time I invested in moving toward something new. I’ve talked about this for a while now, but I’ve finally invested some time in pimping myself out, and that in it’s own way makes me feel good about myself (productive maybe?). So, we shall see where that goes. And, for the record, I do actually enjoy my current job, but it’s nice to invest in oneself and take stock in all that I have managed to do in my work world (so yay me).
- Oh my goodness we’ve binged so much television this past week. All great stuff, but going back to work on Monday is going to be a harsh reality without subtitles and soundtracks.
And, I think that’s all I can handle putting on the list. I’m sure there’s more — like all the other cool moments with friends or the video chats with my kids (oh how I miss them) — but this feels like a good spot to sign off until the next time I decide to share our bits. I wish you all love and warmth and laughs, lots and lots of laughs! Bonne Annee!
Midnight tomorrow night 2021 you will be 2021ed! Hallelujah!
It was so good having two of my kids here for the holidays. I sooooo miss living close to them. We had a wonderful Christmas, mostly through the eyes of Torin.
He’s one of us — already begging for beer.
I soooo miss that little wiggle worm! I have to wait at least 6 months before I can see him again.
Day after Christmas we packed up a rental van and drove to Normandy, where we stayed in a renovated farm house and Kelly got to pay homage to all (including his grandfather) who did not get to experience Normandy with the love and warmth we did.
Loved this swing (and playing with my little Mama) in the barn. This would be the perfect place to spend the summer.
They used airplane toggles for light switches. How clever!
This bathtub was perfect for Torin (sorry i didn’t get a good shot, but my daughter got a few). LOL I took a bath in it, and had to do yoga to get back out (I’ve never done yoga before — um a wet, naked me was not a good way to begin).
Joe’s and my bed in the attic room. I want the world to know that even under the influence of fermented French grapes, my fat ass and weak ankle can still climb the ladder to this comfy bed. Our first night I fell asleep to the wind howling because it could not budge those stone walls or the tightly fastened roof (Amen to that!).
Thanks to it being unseasonably warm, we ended up stripping down to tank tops just so we could enjoy our last night with a fire and Saving Private Ryan — a must see after visiting all the sites, just to remind us of how awful it all was. May we one day learn to resolve our conflicts without destroying our precious young and land.
Watching the sun rise from my bed in the attic room. How cool is that?!
Who doesn’t want to um, read in this room? Another perk: the floors are heated! OMG my tootsies love a warm bathroom floor.
And, here are some shots of the fam touring the shores and churches of Normandy.
We lit a candle for peace — oh may it shine brightly.
My little photographer taking all sorts of close ups. Torin is not amused.
My baby of the group — looks like he belongs here!
I love Torin’s facial expressions, especially in his carrier. He seems to love the mist on his face, but he’s always “so whatcha up to?”
Kelly with his mom.
Then we came back to Mons and brought in the New Year with fireworks on the Grand Place. This was the first year they threw a party on New Years, and it was fantastic. I do so love where I live. It just seems to get better and better, except for the fact that my kids aren’t here permanently.
It’s all good because my trick to not suffering Empty Nest Syndrome is travel, so on Jan 2 when my kids flew home, Joe and I boarded a plane to Venice, where we spent a lovely long weekend with his sister (since he’s retired, Joe got to spend a few days longer; I’m still jealous).
This is my favorite shot I took during that trip, and I took it from the balcony of Joe’s sister’s apartment.
These two shots are from the windows of our apartment.
It was so cool to sip coffee with that view (fingers crossed I didn’t blind any gondoliers with my no-bra jammies). We stayed in the San Paulo area, which is where Joe’s sister has been visiting for years (15 I think). It was so nice to have her as our guide because we got to feast and sip with the friends she’s made there over the years, and we now love it as much as she does. Thank you Linda for giving us another place to call home!
This shop was our guide to turn onto our street. And just in case you need more pics of Venice, here you go…
I could have sat and sipped here alllllllllllll day long.
Joe and Linda catching up our first night there. We now know the best time to visit St Marco square is at night, after Christmas. STILL magical!
But, can you ever get enough gondola shots?
These two dogs waited patiently outside while their owner bought bread. Going by the amount of people taking pics, I bet they’re international social media stars by now. Badger would love it here since dogs seem to be welcome and adored everywhere.
Gotta post a selfie of us standing on the dock right by our bedroom window.
We had such a wonderful time that we decided to join Linda for Christmas there next year. I’ll be sure to bring a big suitcase so that I can load up with more glasses and bowls and oh my the shopping! So many pretty things, but the best — besides the scenery — were the people (food and wine almost tie with them).
As for the new year: I no longer make resolutions. However, this year I made one, and that is to upload my photos to this blog as trips are happening. It takes a ridiculous amount of time to sort through them all and do it on a lazy Sunday (when I also have the pressure of having real work to do — ugh). It’s quicker uploading via my phone anyway. So, there you go: fingers crossed I’ll keep to it.
Before I say chow, here are a few links that might interest you (and no: I don’t get paid to share other people’s stuff. lol I don’t get paid for this blog at all).
First one is Badger’s take on my return (poor boy is getting old, which means less trips in 2020 without him): Badger Does Belgium
Second is a link to our cottage in Normandy. Know that it’s an hour from most sites, but it has a lovely beach nearby: Glatigny Farmhouse
Third is a Venetian walking food tour (by American guides) we haven’t taken yet, but we totally plan on bringing friends to Venice to do this (we’ve met the couple who do this and can’t imagine this being anything but fun): Venice Bites
And that’s it for now. I’m back in my real world and have a busy few weeks coming up. Are they ever anything but busy?