How do you say?



We walked into town in the light rain trying to stay on the bike path as cars whipped by us spraying more water in our direction. My son and I were venturing into town for the first time since our arrival at our French Chateau. It felt like home to be together taking a walk, even though our talks happen typically in the car. It was nice for a change.

It was our down day after arriving the day before and going straight into Geneva for lunch with our family. We were excited to pick a cafe with an inside and outside setting. We chose an inside table near a window that we saw later slid open becoming a door.

A table for two and they have Coke! It is in a glass bottle and they have ice. We felt more at home until again the menu challenge and limited assistance. We got steak and fish somehow and just went with what our server suggested.  We had already refused the wine mistakingly brought to us not the man next to us, seated alone by the window.

The sliding window was now open and a little bird, a pretty bird, appeared to join the open seat close to my son. The man at the table gave it a piece of bread and out the door she went, ah that is what some pretty birds do. I then noticed a bird was waiting for her outside.

The filet came with sauce, my son powered through using the bread to wipe it off. “It’s fine, It’s good,” as he wiped it clean. He was just excited to have steak and food he somewhat recognized. My swordfish turned into a fish with bones deboned at a table brought over and set up next to us, quite a production.

It was delicious and I still have no idea what it was. The staff was very busy and we felt we had picked a local favorite, so we went with it. I used my son’s steak sauce to compliment my fish, so not chic.

When we returned with my nephew to eat there days later the hostess said as we approached, “Ah, the Americans, glad to see you.” I wanted to believe she meant it and felt excited to be known in our village. It was her next line, “How long are you staying,” that made me wonder if our nightly menu bewilderment was just too much to bare. We had my nephew this time and he spoke enough French and drank wine to help offset our Americana. We sat where the pretty bird had been and enjoyed a family meal in our French village as it was our home after five days.

We then made the trek up to the castle to watch the fireworks being it was Bastille Day not knowing our day of peace at The Red Cross Museum and The United Nations would be shattered. We enjoyed the fireworks and my nephew headed back to Geneva when the messages came asking if we were safe. My son was asleep and for one more night he was safe from fear.

I had a sleepless night and told my son what happened early that morning. We got dressed and walked to the village. The path to peace starts without living in fear and accepting one another. France was our home that week and forever in our hearts. Thank you to the village of Divonne and Chateau de Divonne for a trip of a lifetime. We promise to learn French by our next visit!


Let Freedom Ring


Let Freedom Ring

I have had an IUD in for almost two years and hated it from day one. Yes, it did its job and I appreciate that. I also have had the side effects too boring to recount bringing me to this exciting IUD removal day.

The decision had been made almost from the day I had it put in and like everything else there was never a good time. Being back from the castle and in travel season postpartum seemed appropriate and it was scheduled for this afternoon.

The thought of not having a foreign object in my body other than my pacemaker is my first level of happiness and second is getting back in shape. I am only an armchair medic and my opinion is it seems unnatural not for things to flow. I remember the clamp feeling after it went in and have not felt right since.

When I arrived to the new doctors office for the removal I was smiling from ear to ear and shared my excitement with the check in ladies up front. As I waited to be called in I watched the replay of Michael Phelps going for gold and it reassured me my decision was right.

My name was called and as the nurse brought me in to weigh me, ugh. It’s ok this is the last bad weigh in. She led me into my removal room and beyond the stirrups was a painting. It was a queen appointing a knight. I laughed and told the nurse I just got back from a castle and how funny my fiancé would find this.

When the doctor came in he asked, “What will you be using for birth control?” I said, “I think that sword says it all, snip, snip.” He went on to discuss those grown up issues as I was still laughing about the sword.

Headed to check out and the woman there enjoyed the sword story as we laughed. She is also getting married. She goes on to explain they are doing it on a cruise in two years leaving out of Texas headed to Jamaica. We discuss should she get married there before getting on the boat or after she gets back. I suggest after, when you travel there is a let down once it is over and people that could not be there would want to celebrate with them. She agreed and she booked my appointment a year from now to check in with each other on wedding plans.

I walked down the long hallway towards the door passing my nurse thanking her as we both chuckled, still about the sword comment. They were gearing up for an ice cream social later in the day which had everyone in a fun mood. Maybe I’ll be a topic of discussion, well I hope anyways.

It feels great to have my womanhood back and let nature flow as intended. A motivational CD my fiancé was playing in his car yesterday reminded me to live the life you want with actions not waiting for dreams to arrive. You create the life you want to live. My knight in his khakis, as opposed to chain metal, called me princess for some dreams I have as we listened. I refuted his comments with, “See I already do these things, that is how I got to a castle again.”

It worked for Michael Phelps when his swim cap broke he took action to stay focused on his dream and I will continue to do the same no mater the obstacles. it is ok to want more and dream big if you are willing to put the effort in to make it happen. Congratulations to all our athletes in the Olympics or in our own lives for the daily struggles we all face while heading towards our goals for ourselves and those we love.

Let freedom ring of your dreams today and everyday while working your own plan of action. It does not have to be a castle or ripping foreign objects out of your body, but you get the picture.

Postcards on the Fridge



Postcards on the fridge

When our travel is behind us it becomes post cards and fridge magnets. It use to be a gentle reminder each time we go by it that we have traveled. I usually am filled with joyous memories, however now with social media it is harder. People are still at those very same places we just were or new ones and the minute I see a post my mind starts planning the next adventure.

Yes. that is a good thing, I guess depending on how you look at it. My view today is day three of my son’s broken wrist and weeks ahead of him to come. Football that gave him a concussion last year now has broken a bone. The human we created has been damaged. It is ok when it happens to us as parents, but so much harder to watch our kids go through it. I think that is the reason. We know this body of theirs has a long road. God willing, ahead of them. It needs to be taken care of.

That is my struggle this Sunday morning. How do you encourage the high school dream and chapters to be written when all you want to do is cover him with bubble wrap. It was my walk to the fridge after seeing post about Geneva and Paris on social media this morning that made me smile. I looked up and saw the new postcards from our recent trip placed among years of adventures. It is going to be ok.

You can only plan and pray not control outcomes. We have been blessed and for that I am grateful. The first magnet placed was the square yellow “Dream Big” the day a decade ago this house became our new chapter. When I look at all that has filled it up I am reassured it will all be ok. We’ve been over, we’ve been under and we will get through it together.

Time to make the injured waffles and gear up for CBS Sunday Morning. Thanks for reading and sharing our journey while making your own. Happy Sunday!

Wedding Bells


Wedding Bells

Back from our big trip, closing out travel season as summer still rages on.  I have noticed this summer more. Last summer I was recovering from the stroke and preparing for my classes.  I would now be starting to plan for my classes. Sadly. that is not happening this summer.  It was my belabored decision based on my health and a hard reality to face.

My plate is full and that is ok.  Two households and two kids with a busy fiancé who is engaged to a recovering writer.  That is what my official title has become as I continue to learn social media cliff diving.  It is annoying to him and I get it.  I was never that way and now I am one of those people taking pictures and tied to their phone.

My argument to him is that I am working on building a following to land a book deal.  I have self-published and published academically.  That is not enough in today’s market.  I am enjoying learning the ropes and connecting with authors who are working their marketing magic.  The upside of social media is that you have a window into their writing and marketing world.

My love for observing and passion for lead generation suits me in this endeavor.  Persistence is my middle name, well really it is Marie as any Italian Catholic Girl.  For me, I have connected with writers who have book deals.  I grew up as many children do with no examples of creative, working people. Now beyond television, there is a way to explore other career options.

I worked on a college campus in Career Services and observed folks going back to school or being the first one in their family to do so.  It encouraged me to go back and get my masters degree.  I became a college instructor while I was a career counselor.  We talked as faculty about writing books.  Many of us were writing or had written.

The social media I feared and shied away from has now become that writer’s campus I missed.  Facebook has become my water cooler.  Twitter is my email inbox and Instagram my bulletin board.  My fiancé is my “work husband” and my emotional affair with social media is my “side guy.”  The grass is not greener, but it is an endless horizon that is leading me closer to my publishing deal.

Today, we parked in front of the vintage storefront I love. He went across the street for a meeting and I took pictures of beautiful dresses in the window.  I decided I had time to go in.  I, of course, wanted a dress. They only had xxsmalls.  The owner said, “women were smaller then.”  She looked at me and said,  “I have something for you.”  She led me to the jewelry.  I already have something borrowed and something blue from my Irish Grandmother GiGi.

The shopkeeper thought more about it and showed me a beautiful pink long chiffon nightgown.  I said, “That would have been perfect for the castle.”  “A castle?” she replied.  “Yes,” I said, “I just got back from France.”  She thought more, “Ok, I’ve got it.”  We ended up with a  1940’s wedding cake topper, a dark haired groom in a tux with his bride in a white dress, winner, winner.  I hear wedding bells.