Building a simply grand, quietly slow life, with a sprinkle of adventure.
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I want to share one of my favorite go-to recipes with you today. Simple yet full of flavor, a Creamy Christmas Stew.
Why a hot stew in summer?
Well... I have a pantry FULL of produce. A farewell dinner for thirty in our home resulted in a few pounds of potatoes and other vegetables waiting to be eaten. A day later, we cleaned up, and I drove to DC for a professional commitment. A busy week.
Hello lovely friends,
Time is passing quickly. Summer has been filled with social events, dinners, and travel. During our downtime, we hike, research, and plan for October. Just a few people have been privy to the research and planning phase of our Everest Adventure (which started last fall) - and this weekend marks the seven week countdown!
50 days until my Dad arrives, 54 days until we leave. We have a lot to do.
July is starting with a bang. It's hot!
Since moving from Minnesota, I have become a winter gal, but years ago I preferred summer to the arctic freeze.
I have fond memories of my childhood summers. Playing in shadows for hours, meadow picnics by Nine Mile Creek, climbing trees, and enjoying homemade ice cream on a blanket in the evening. Days at Bush Lake, night games, and my dad with his telescope positioned just right, waiting for darkness to fall.
Over Memorial Day Weekend I announced a Summer Reading Series, reading and discussing one book a month.
Friend and blogger, Amelia Bartlett, selected our June book. Published in 2015, I know most of you have read it already. If I'm honest, the subject kept me away, but I'm pleased I read it. Having traveled throughout France, and countries impacted by the Holocaust, I was able to imagine the landscape and villages. Written with elegance and care, I believe most approve of how the sensitive topics were documented.
I used to describe life as 'crazy busy.' Waking up at 5:30AM, lights out around midnight. Packing 30 hours into 24. A happy, healthy family with dreams, a home, and good support network. Loads of clean laundry waiting to be folded and put away.
In 2002 we moved from Minneapolis to a tiny suburban town in Nebraska, now annexed into Omaha. We built a full life within five miles of our home. I remember our friends commenting on our decision, often perplexed. Moving from Minneapolis to Omaha gifted us with two hours a day, on the day we moved. It was enough time back that we talked about it, learning to embrace evenings.
I live in a hilly area, perfect for a weeknight power walk (with ten pounds in my backpack). A few days ago I was walking up a half mile hill when I passed Annie's house. Exchanging pleasantries, she asked why I was wearing a backpack and wondered why I wasn't running. Her reaction to my explanation was priceless. I can't tell you how many people want to know why I want to hike Everest.
It's in these moments when it's clear I'm preparing to do something few have on their bucket list. I need to come up with a clever response!
Summer reading season has arrived, and I'm ready! This summer I plan to read books by authors I have recently discovered, along with a mix of fiction, YA and will fit in a classic. Is this a good time to sneak in a confession? I started reading The Secret Garden months ago... I will finish it. Much like Anne of Green Gables, I'm sure The Secret Garden is wonderful, but I struggle to read some YA classics. Still, I have never read it and will finish!
Are you interested to read with me?
Last month I was talking to friend and lifestyle blogger, Amelia, and asked if she might be interested in reading a book together. She immediately said yes.
Over the weekend I found myself standing in my local bookstore searching for a new cookbook. One might conclude that I have an addiction since I can't stop reading and buying them. I'm not worried, there are worse habits.
Modern day publications include personal stories, are filled with knowledge passed from author to reader, stunning photography, and let's not forget... recipes. I'm happy to report I found a new book to add to my collection, IN THE KITCHEN.
Let me just say it...
We are going to hike up to Everest Base Camp in October!
After months of research and email exchanges, we finalized our reservation while traveling a few month ago. Buying our airfare in January: NYC to Istanbul to Kathmandu. We confirmed our trek reservation with One World Trekking in March.
I know some of you are asking WHY are we doing this?!
Once upon a time, a much younger me challenged myself to read a book a month. I was finishing up college, and missed reading for pleasure.
I remember buying a small spiral bound notebook, and recording the books I read over the years. Eventually the notebook found a permanent home, in a drawer, by a favorite reading chair.
Then the internet arrived and someone created GoodReads (thank you, thank you)
Malmo is our last stop before starting our journey home. Overwhelmed with experiences and joy from reconnecting with family, if I can be honest... we are exhausted.
I am in a new city before 9 AM, with hours to explore while Bill has a day of meetings. I haven't found Kardemmome seeds yet so this is first on my list. You can buy the spice ground in the U.S., but most of the flavor is gone. I remember my Grandmother baking with Kardemmome pods bought in Sweden (they resemble the vanilla bean), opening the pods to gather seeds for baking.
After I find a market and buy a year's worth of the spice, I will explore and see as much as I can in about four hours time.
Let's recap the last few days:
Copenhagen was a surprise destination, added to our itinerary when we realized we had a free day between profession commitments in Stockholm and Malmo. SO, we decided to explore Copenhagen.
We arrived after the sunset and a long travel day. I don't think I mentioned that we had car trouble requiring us to find a car service station. And we had to change rooms. After settling into our new room and talking to our son, we enjoyed a meal at the hotel.
After a good nights sleep, I was up and out walking before 7 AM. I had one day in the city and wasn't missing one minute!
We have been to Switzerland, Italy, and Stockholm. Now it's time for a road trip. Due to a tight travel schedule (this is a business trip for Bill), we are driving from Stockholm to Vastervik and then to Copenhagen. Spending the day seeing Sweden's countryside.
Why add several hours to our road trip, to see Vastervik? Today a summer village for recreation, it was a fishing village in the early 1900's. A Coastal town in the Archipelago that connects to the Baltic Sea. My family calls Vastervik home.
Packing up our car and getting settled for the two-hour drive, we will stop for lunch and explore in Vastervik. My cousin, Paulina, was born and raised here. She has given us a list of places that we hope to see.
After a week in Montreux, we are off to Stockholm. The second of five cities we visited in March.
Getting to the Airport
Seldom making it to post, let me share our hectic travel day. Transport to the airport took double the time. We always take the train, but someone coordinated a car for us - the driver ended up driving on the shoulder for about half of the trip. Weaving in and out of traffic. Later we learned this was all due to the Geneva Auto Show. We arrived at the airport 60 minutes before take off.
After passing through Customs, we are separated getting through Security. Flying on a partner airline that does not recognize 'travel companion,' Bill was through security in two minutes, waiting. It would take me at least an hour. Then I saw several passing the line due to flights boarding, and I followed them (it was worth a try, right?).
I get through security, we rush to the gate and.... my eyes suddenly well with tears. Not for the relief of making it through the last few hours but for seeing a sea of Swedes!
It's time for my annual spring travel to Vaud Switzerland.
I prefer to stay in Vevey, oh how I love this sweet village, but business had us staying one village to the west. Montreux is home to the Jazz Festival and was the host to Bill's week long conference. I will work and explore before we travel to Sweden for the weekend.
Do you remember last fall, when I has a Julie Andrews moment? The Alps are live... last fall I took the train to Rochers de Naye. Enjoyed lunch, visited a botanical garden built into the mountatin, and hiked a bit. This lovely place is just above Montreux, elevation 2000M. I enjoyed my time up there so much that I couldn't wait to visit. Delusions of snowshoeing quickly passed when 2.5 feet of fresh snow fell over night.
I have been listening to Kathrine Switzer interviews all week, which has me feeling nostalgic. This box represents my 2001 Boston Marathon. It lives on a shelf, in the hall closet. I don't think I have ever looked in it, but today feels like a good day to open this box of memories.
Monday's marathon marks the 50th anniversary of her running Boston Marathon as a registered runner. In the iconic photo below, the race director is trying to pull her off the course.
I'm back from another extended holiday in Switzerland, and boy did I have a wonderful time exploring new places.
Look closely at this photo - can you see the small lighthouse, with a bench, at the end of the pier? One morning I was sitting on the bench to watch the sunrise over the mountain top and was startled by a naked woman. She stood up to dress after taking a swim in the lake. I'm not sure who was surprised more, me or the lady swimmer. When I started walking back I passed the woman, in a sundress, sitting on a blanket, smoking, and talking with a friend.
Can we time travel back a few months, to April?
We traveled to London to run a marathon. I had just one must see on my list, touring The London Tower.
We planned our trip to arrive a week before the marathon, to adjust to the timezone, and allow time to explore the city.
Regents Park served as our home base. We took the red-eye from NYC to London. Bill had meetings within hours of our arrival so I grabbed my umbrella and walked every inch of Regents Park. The flowers were spectacular but expected since this is home to The Queen's Walk. It's absolutely divine.
Back in 2014 I left this comment on a photo posted to fb, just days after running NYC2014: For the first time ever I teared up at the end. The conditions were tough, I was so happy with my run, and knew this was my last 26.2... but seeing blind runners and a 89 year old on the course inspires me to never say never. I would love to run London.(click to read my NYC 26.2 recap).
Snow, I found snow! In December we traveled to Vevey, Switzerland for a three week work/holiday. I adore Vevey... the entire area actually. Vevey sits on Lake Geneva and looks at France. During the week I work from our hotel residence, leaving weekends to explore. Our friends often tell us that we experience more than those living in Switzerland.
Blame wanderlust... below a story told in photos. Today I'm sharing one of my favorite places with you.
While in Africa we mingled with a group of people traveling through Tanzania, celebrating 'Tom'. A mix of professional and personal friends/family on a African safari for his 70th birthday. This is how we got the idea for Bill's 50th birthday boondoggle.
You may be asking yourself, 'how do they choose just twelve people'.... it started with a list of men playing a significant role in Bill's daily life. Brothers, friendships spanning 25+ years, the men we rely on to help us, guide us, challenge us. And their wives.
Where to host such an event?
After considering several US locations we shifted our search to a vacation destination. Reserving Fowl Cay A YEAR in advance.
This is the third, and final stop of our 16 day holiday. While this is business travel for the World Traveler, I join him a few times a year and we find time for mini holidays.
We drove from Budapest to Vienna, via the autobahn. A quick trip, just a few hour drive.
Vienna, Budapest, and Montreux in one holiday - these are three different places! Vienna is pristine. I immediately noticed that you only find grass in parks. We discussed that in ye old days the rain must have bathed the city. Today this can happen with power spray.
With about three days to explore, we selected a hotel in a walking distance of many sights. This is a city I would like to visit again. Planned similar to Paris, Vienna has 23 districts. Mozart, Beethoven, Freud, and Marie Antoinette are just a few people that call Vienna home.
Please add Budapest to your must travel / bucket list today. I may not find the right words to express the feeling of this beautiful city but know it's historically somber with fantastic energy and style.
This is my first time visiting an eastern European country; this old town has been beautifully cared for, and I'm happy to report... it's a walking city.
Blessed with a week to explore while the World Traveler and his colleagues were hosting a conference, I had time to learn and walked miles every day. I had to be out, on the streets, absorbing.
How did a trip to Bangkok land us in Budapest? The World Traveler had an speaking engagement/hosting responsibilities at an industry conference that was relocated for political unrest (safety of the guests and their travel companions).
So... with just a few weeks notice, I started researching Budapest. This is three country trip is a business trip for the World Traveler and a working vacation for me (working lightly to keep up with projects since I'm traveling for three weeks). Before Budapest comes a week in Switzerland. While I adore Vevey, we stayed in Montreux this visit. I was determined to explore Montreux... the markets, shoppes, and winding roads.
This is Part IV of our Asian Extravaganza.
Hangzhou is 800 miles south of Beijing, a five hour trip via the Bullet Train.We arrived after the sunset, settling in for just one night. The photo above was my first view of this city. I remember looking out our hotel window and thinking the fog rolling over a winter morning was lovely.... then quickly realized pollution was following me.
When I travel with Bill for work we tend to plan a weekend getaway. This time our getaway had us spending over ten hours in a train, but it was worth every minute.
The Country Manager didn't know I was traveling with Bill and when he realized I explored Shanghai alone... he coordinated hostess for us the rest of the trip. This was so nice. I was able to walk in Shanghai but Beijing and the other cities required travel/coordination to sightsee.
We packed in a lot over the next 36 hours!
You might think China is at the top of my must see list but... the pollution scares me enough for it to remain lower on my travel list. The World Traveler spends a lot of time in Asia and when he asked me to join him for a three-week visit I jumped at the opportunity!
We have many stories behind our Shanghai photos, most not captured on film. Bill did get to morph into Jason Bourne in a thrilling Shanghai hour; it was quite an experience!
Today I'm excited to tell you about a recent trip to Singapore, part one of a 16-day adventure in China. We traveled from NYC to Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, and Ningbo.
First Stop: Singapore
- Our flight path to Singapore brought us over the north pole, over Russia, China, and landing in Hong Kong, where we missed our connecting flight by a few minutes. A few hours later we flew on a local airline to Singapore...
- Singapore is a young country, turning 50 this year. It reminded me a bit of George Jetson's world.
A cultural melting pot which makes for an exciting visit.
Hello friends, Grab something to drink, get comfy and enjoy... this is a long post. If you aren't interested in the details, just skip to the bottom to see how I did.
There are three strategies for most runners on marathon day: to race, to run, to survive. Looking back on my experience, I was prepared, felt great, I was ready to run. I have one experience of surviving so I know how rough marathon day can be. I ran the 2014 NYC marahon, as planned.
I left the hotel at 7am, walked two blocks, bought a ticket, and jumped on the next train. Following the crowd off the train, we walked just two minutes to the Staten Island Ferry.
Bonjour les amis,
Last fall my husband, and I traveled to Hamburg, Germany before heading to Switzerland for a few weeks. Why Hamburg? A good friend of our calls Hamburg home and wanted a big celebration for her birthday. We were close and excited to be part of her big day.
Getting away to Bern, Switzerland:We like to explore Switzerland on the weekends. Bern was a must-see for us. Friday afternoon we took a two-hour train north to the capital city, dropped off our overnight bag at the hotel and rented bikes to explore.