London, Paris, Amsterdam: Places and Moments

London, Paris, Amsterdam: Places and Moments

My husband, two kids, and I spent a month in Europe this past summer visiting London, Paris, and Amsterdam. Each city has its own unique flavor and vibe. The only characteristics common to our stays in each place were the friendliness we encountered and the sandwiches we ate for lunch. Cheese, ham, bread, mustard, in some combination. Every day, almost.…

My Back-to-School Whoo-hoo Is Gone

My Back-to-School Whoo-hoo Is Gone

Last Tuesday both my kids went back to school after summer vacation. Every year, this event is much anticipated, something I’m excited about. I’ll finally get my time back. I can write more, do more projects, generally “get stuff done.” In the days and hours leading up to this magical moment, I feel the promise of sweet relief. That is,…

Exiting the Beaten Path: Thoughts on Maya Frost’s “The New Global Student”

Exiting the Beaten Path: Thoughts on Maya Frost’s “The New Global Student”

Do you remember taking the SAT? How did you feel about the test, either before or after? Were you confident? Anxious? Scared to death? Do you remember what you did, if anything, to prepare for it? Honestly, I can’t recall the day I and my fellow high-school juniors herded into a cafeteria (or was it a classroom?) armed with number…

Giant Leap Travel: A Month in Europe versus a Typical Summer Vacation

Giant Leap Travel: A Month in Europe versus a Typical Summer Vacation

In my recent post about my family’s first house-sitting experience, I revealed that our second sit would take place in London. Yes, in case you haven’t heard, for two weeks this summer we will be caring for two dogs, two cats, and a turtle who live very near Kate and William. We’re quite excited about the opportunity to see London…

One Year in, Is Blogging Still Worthwhile?

One Year in, Is Blogging Still Worthwhile?

It comes as a surprise to me, but I’ve been blogging now for a whole year. Because I’m a reflection junkie, I’m taking this opportunity to sort through my experiences and assess the ups and downs of this project, My Ideal World. Has blogging been worth the effort of creating the page, dealing with technical snags, and wracking my brains…

Outside-the-Box Travel: A (Relatively) Normal Suburban Family Goes House-Sitting

Outside-the-Box Travel: A (Relatively) Normal Suburban Family Goes House-Sitting

Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to. – Alan Keightley My husband, two kids, and I recently house-sat for the first time.  As a typical, middle-class family living a typical American lifestyle, this makes us kind of unusual. I’ll explain why we did…

Nicaragua: A Post for 1,000 Voices for Compassion

Nicaragua: A Post for 1,000 Voices for Compassion

I went to Nicaragua in February of 2013. A friend I knew through volunteer work, Brooks, invited me to accompany him and several others to visit schools, medical facilities, and other nonprofits. Brooks was a retired minister who had been traveling to Nicaragua regularly since its civil wars in the 1980s. Over the years, he had forged relationships with Nicaraguans…

2014 Annual Review: The Promise of Lowered Expectations

2014 Annual Review: The Promise of Lowered Expectations

In the second half of 2013, I made the first of what I call a Goals Document. Sexy title, right? As that year came to a close, I reviewed and updated the document for 2014, and over the past few weeks I’ve been revising it again as the calendar has turned once more. In my post “Goals Are Boring,” I…

Date Night at the Bookstore: Choosing Between Practical and Possible

Date Night at the Bookstore: Choosing Between Practical and Possible

Freedom to think and dream. To seek, without interruption, answers to the questions or blueprints for the ideas that have seeped into my mind during rare moments of quiet, those entry points for change. Or an opportunity to let my mind wander around the simple stuff. Discover a new cookbook, track down a laugh, or gaze at photos of tempting…

Oh, No! Everything’s Great!

Oh, No! Everything’s Great!

Break out your virtual #2 pencils—I have a little quiz for you. No worries; it’s only one question, multiple-choice. Why was I convinced last weekend that something very bad was going to happen in my life? a. I’ve broken some twenty-odd chain letters during my time on Earth, starting around the age of eight. b. My fortune-teller, fortune cookie, and…