Friday Faves: May 17, 2013

I’ve been waiting for this particular Friday for a while now. It’s my last Friday in the office before going on maternity leave for the entire summer. I’ve been so checked out all week anyway, but it will be nice to have it “official.”

Being too uncomfortable to do much of anything at this point guarantees it will be a low-key weekend. That is, unless someone decides to make an early appearance… fingers crossed. And with that, happy Friday!

I regret letting The Office get out of my TV-watching rotation the last year or so. I’m not sure how or why it did. But last night’s retrospective was a nice little trip down memory lane. I’m not ashamed to admit maybe getting a little misty-eyed at parts. These memories will not cause that, though.

The first time I flew on a plane was the late 80s, long after the glory days of “stewardesses” and smoking in-flight. It’s come a long way, though, since the 13-stop, 20-hour flight from Oakland to Chicago.

Spring has finally arrived in Chicago, which means summer festival season is right around the corner. I’m really bummed to miss Maifest this year, which is always one of my faves. Brats, beer and oom-pah music? Yes, please.

For me, spring not only signals the nearing of summer festival season, but it’s also my queue to swap Lincoln Park After Dark for something light and pretty, like Essie’s Turquoise and Caicos or OPI’s Don’t Pretzel My Buttons.

It seems like there’s never a shortage of travel gadgets that you supposedly need, but this is a new one — RFID-blocking credit card and passport sleeves? I’d never even heard of these, but, having had our credit cards compromised multiple times (it’s really convenient when it happens in the midst of buying a home, by the way), I wonder if they’re worth it.

One of my friends pinned these adorable Scrabble cookies. The game is a favorite past-time of my husband’s and mine, and the cookies are lemon (one of my husband’s favorites). So adorable. I need to make these… someday…

Waiting

Guinness

Perhaps it’s a little odd to liken waiting for a baby’s arrival to waiting for Guinness to settle. One makes you wait nine months and the other… nine minutes? I don’t remember; it’s been too long since I’ve had one — a year, in fact.

It was a year ago when I was in Ireland, tossing back Guinness as if it was my drink of choice when, let’s be honest, I’m a wine girl. Not in Ireland, though. A year ago I started this blog on that trip. And here I am a year later, reminiscing longingly. And being in a very different place — waiting for a baby, not a beer (well, a beer after the baby, for sure).

As I recently mentioned, Ireland’s been on the brain lately. It was just such a very good trip in so many ways. We’ve traveled since then, plenty of times, and we’ve had fun trips, but none have quite measured up. I’m waiting for what our next Ireland will be — and when.

It’s weird to have spent the last several years of my life planning one trip to the next and now to have nothing in the works for the foreseeable future. Not “nothing,” just no travel. It will happen eventually, though, and until then, I’ll wait. For an impatient person, I’m doing an inordinate amount of waiting these days.

The little peanut who seemed to be hosting a rave in my womb at about 2 a.m. is doing a good job of making me wait; maybe she’s giving me my first exercise in patience. The poor thing isn’t even supposed to be here yet — not for another seven days, actually — but I’m already anxious. The waiting

Frankly, I don’t know if it’s the waiting so much as the not knowing. When is it going to happen? It’s pretty amazing what this whole process does to a person — to me, anyway. You get to this point, to the end, and you really must just wait. And you’re too uncomfortable to do much of anything else, so the waiting is all that more pronounced. I get home from work at night and because I’m too uncomfortable to even go for a walk anymore — or I’ll have to pee the second we get down the block despite having gone three times before leaving home  — I sit on the couch. No TV, no book (but sometimes Words With Friends), and I wait. Will it be tonight? If it’s going to be tonight shouldn’t I be feeling something by now?

 

Friday Faves: May 3, 2013

Once again, I have been embarrassingly neglectful of the blog. And once again, it wasn’t with intent. But with Christmas, a bun in the oven (which is causing me to spend any spare time napping) and buying a new house, the poor little blog once again slides to the bottom of the list.

Oh wait, that was the start of my last tardy blog post, three months ago. Not much has changed since then, save for the fact that the bun in the oven isn’t causing me to nap quite as much (but I still get my fair share), though I do find most spare moments dedicated to something or other baby-related (like Diane von Vurstenberg’s new collection at GapKids from which I had to carefully select just a few pieces) . And the new house has been bought, moved into and more or less settled.

In my present rotund state, I simply haven’t done much travel, nor do I foresee any in my near (or far) future. And it makes me a little sad. And I guess that’s my excuse for neglecting the little blog this time around. That said, I think I have a different kind of big adventure ahead of me, and that’s exciting, too.

Today’s Friday Faves, then, is going to be dedicated to my favorite travel memories over the last few years. I know there will be more to come… someday… with a new little adventurer in tow.

Gougane Barra, Ireland

I could easily make a list of favorite travel memories just from our trip to Ireland last May. But if I had to pick my favorite thing about the trip, it would probably be the afternoon we spent picnicking in Gougane Barra, a small community — if you can even call it that — on the western edge of County Cork. It was Kalyana’s pick and I’ll admit to being skeptical; it seemed like it was going to be such a far drive from Cork proper. And it was. But it was so unbelievably peaceful and so unbelievably beautiful. Worth every single scary winding road it took to get there.

Gougane Barra

New Delhi, India

Sadly, we didn’t have much time in New Delhi when we visited India for New Year’s Eve in 2011 — just a day and a half. So we crammed in as much as we could without running ourselves ragged. We had a tour guide and a driver, thank goodness, and the guide highly recommended Gandhi Smriti, the home where Gandhi spent the last year of his life. There’s a path outlining his last footsteps. Moving, to say the very least.

Gandhi's last steps

Amboise, France

Part II of our honeymoon in 2010 was to France. We spent a few nights in Amboise before going to Paris for New Year’s Eve. We stayed at an adorable hotel right along the Loire river, Le Manoir Les Minimes. The least pleasant part of the trip was arriving in Amboise super early in the morning, blindingly tired and being unable to check into our room until the official check-in time. But the best part was casually strolling around Amboise, touring Château d’Amboise and having leisurely dinners with local wine.

Le Manoir Les Minimes

Paris, France

We nearly didn’t get to Paris after Amboise. Perhaps a wee bit of an exaggeration. But there was some sort of train debacle going on and the train we were supposed to take was canceled. I can’t remember what caused us to piece this together at the train station seeing as how neither Kalyana nor I speak a word of French, but somehow we figured it out and hopped on another train in order to make it to the City of Light in time to ring in 2011. It was by no means a raucous New Year’s Eve for us, intentionally. We picnicked in our room at Hotel Odeon before heading out to watch the fireworks over the Eiffel Tower (which did not happen) and drink champagne in the streets with the rest of the revelers. That picnic — in addition to being delicious (champagne, bread and cheese — what else does a girl need?) — was such a stretch from the first New Year’s Eve I spent in Paris, but in a good way.

Paris, France

Napa, California

We called this cute little cottage home for a handful of days in 2011 when we celebrated our first anniversary in wine country. Best memory of the entire trip? Our very first tasting at Moshin.

Napa, California

Wanderlust Wednesday: Castlemartyr, Ireland

I’ve been thinking about Ireland a lot lately. I think it’s a combination of things. First, we went there about a year ago and it was one of the best trips ever. Second, my little cousin is getting ready to go next month, as is my hairdresser, and I’m wildly jealous because it was such an amazing trip. And while I’m happy that they both get to go, I wish I were going again.

Dinner al fresco at Castlemartyr

 

Just look at that inviting picture and tell me it isn’t appealing. This was the last night of our stay at the plush Castlemartyr Resort, and we enjoyed a super casual dinner al fresco on our private patio. There were horse pastures across the road. Peaceful perfection.