a long voyage…home

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve churned out posts on hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul. In part it was because of issues to do with the care of my 3 cats, but I was also on the brink of not blogging altogether. As others can attest, and as I’ve mentioned previously, this past-time can be highly addictive. So I stepped away to regain balance and live life. Coincidentally, my husband and I were set to cruise the British Isles on Cunard Line‘s Queen Mary.

In the habit of organizing hearth and home before leaving for vacation meant that blogging would take a backseat to our trip preparations. And as addicted as I was to writing for hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul, it felt good to close the lid on my laptop and turn my back on blogging for however long I wanted. While on vacation my passionate photo-taking attested to the fact that I would return to share them on my blog. I must admit that returning to writing isn’t easy. Especially since I took to reading voraciously during the interim. I’m on my 4th biography since just before leaving for vacation.

So what did I like most about cruising the UK? Time away with my workaholic husband, dining nightly with 2 fabulous couples, one from Scotland and another from South Carolina, setting foot on the picturesque shores of France, England, Ireland and Scotland, and sailing a magnificent vessel like the opulent Queen Mary. Last but definitely not least, getting away from the “same old, same old” is like hitting the “refresh” button. However unlike other trips which rejuvenated me physically, this sojourn was more mentally engaging. I found myself observing people, up close and from a distance. I wondered about their lives, having admiration for some and curiosity about others.

It seems that as I age, people figure more prominently in my world view than places and things. And in my estimation everyone, regardless of their physical trappings, is just trying to get on with the business of living the best they can. I discovered that like my fellow travelers and people whose lands I visited, I too awake to the dawning of each new day optimistic about life and determined to make the most of it.

…traveling to other countries…meeting other people…i found my way…back home………hugmamma. 

  

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blogging, internet “magic”

SVG of Pennsylvania state seal

Image via Wikipedia

First blogging buddy Scriptor Obscura had asked me some time ago to author a post on her blog. Very flattered, I agreed, but it took me awhile to get my footing on WordPress. A month or so later, I’m now comfortable in my own blogging “skin” to say a few words on Scriptor Obscura’s blog. 

Please click on the following to read my original post, ” ‘small’  story, big impact”  for Scriptor Obscura’s blog. It’ll give you further insight into what I’m all about.

Another blogging buddy, My English Thoughts, has also posted the second half of the interview she did with me on her blog. My answers to the questions will give you more biographical info, including my take on life as a native Hawaiian. Clicking on the following will take you there.

http://myenglishthought.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/my-interview-1-welcome-to-hugmamma-part-2/“.

Downtown Seattle, Washington and the Bainbridg...

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We’d all love for you to experience the magic of the internet. Imagine 3 people living in France, Pennsylvania, and Washington State, coming together via a shared interest in  blogging. That we were able to reach out, complete strangers, and become better acquainted with one another, is no small feat. So when you visit both blogs, keep in mind that there was a good amount of wizardry that occurred behind the scenes to make it all happen.

for partaking of our combined efforts…we thank you…and send a trio of huge hugs…hugmamma.

“blog buddies,” getting it…finally

Figuring out how “blog buddies” works has been a bit of a mystery. But I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. It seems to be a matter of finding bloggers with whom I share common interests, and once found, trying to establish continuing dialogue. I’ve begun doing that with a couple of sites, by growing the conversation. It’s not easy keeping several conversations going at the same time. But it is fun, once you begin. I’m sure I’ll find the technical components that make it easier to check in with everyone, without having to click in all the time. Takes me a little bit, but I eventually manage. Good exercise for growing brain cells, and staving off Alzheimer’s.

The first blogger who taught me about being a blog buddy was Scriptor Obscura. A knowledgeable techy, she was the first to leave regular comments and “likes” on my posts. I was very touched when she asked to run some of them on her blog. She allowed me to decide which they should be, but I left the decision with her, emailing those she “liked.” Not all mind you, I didn’t want to overrun her site. As passionate as me about causes, Scriptor Obscura minces no words in her support of issues. A person less than half my age, I admire her conviction to promote compassion for those less fortunate.

Another blogger with whom I’ve begun a conversation is jeanne’s blog. I just learned that she and I share a love of antiques, hunting them down, owning, and cherishing great finds. Her blog’s photo header displays 2 adorable lhasa apsos or shitzus, not sure which. I had a shitzu, years ago, named Sushi. She was the sweetest, smallest dog. Loved her to pieces. Jeanne’s gardens are lovely, like an oasis. Mine will be, once the last dregs of winter pull up stakes and leave. She also shares recipes, which shows a love of cooking, another interest of mine. She’s gotten me started doing book reviews. And the lady has a compassionate spirit, as is demonstrated in inspirational messages she posts.

Image representing Etsy as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

The Daily Dabbler is another blog with whom I’ve begun another conversation. It’s centered around crafting, a shared interest of ours. Both dabblers in creating things, I think we both realize making a living at it is best left to the professionals, not amateurs like ourselves. Nonetheless it’s fun to check out the creative offerings on ETSY, where all manner of beautiful crafts are sold.

My French friend has shared so much of herself in my interviews with My English Thoughts. Besides our love of travel, though we’ve both not the kind of time or money to globe trot, we have the commonality of the theatre, where she works, and my daughter performs. I can understand the trials and tribulations she must endure in such a unique occupation, because of those my daughter herself has endured. But I’m sure they would both say that there’s also something magical about the stage, especially behind-the-scenes. What’s also captivating about Isa is her simplicity. She seems to “go with the flow,” dealing with life as it presents itself. At this stage in my life, taking life as it comes is less stressful. My friend from France has learned it at a young age. Kudos to her!

I’m getting to know other bloggers as well. Random Thoughts from Mid-Life speaks my language, although much better, I think. An excellent writer who expresses herself so clearly, with seeming understatement. By contrast, I think my words explode on the page. But we’re different people, with different messages. Learning from others is always good, great in fact. And I’ve a lot to learn.

Space Buddies

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Pet lovers such as those who blog at The (mis)Adventures of Sage, and Lifewith4cats remind me of my own four-legged family, and how much joy they bring their human family. Never underestimate the healing power of animals. They give so much of themselves, asking so little in return. And they get me up and exercising, even when I’d rather be lazy and blogging. A walk with Mocha, or running down the hallway with Sitka and Juneau, or crouching on all fours to stroke Sunkist, remind me that I too need to move about to keep my joints oiled. And how they make me laugh, watching some of their antics. ha, ha.

So I take my hat off to all who’ve nurtured their own communities of blog buddies. It’s an art form which when begun, takes thought and effort to maintain. But the rewards of connecting with like souls is immeasurable. I encourage you to visit these blogs mentioned above, and I’ll let you know of other blog buddies with whom I start a dialogue.

writing is fun…sharing with others enhances the enjoyment…hugmamma. 

“my english thoughts,” interview…part 2

Happily, My English Thoughts is back blogging. As I mentioned, she’s a busy young woman doing what she should be doing…living, making memories about which to write when she’s my age. I’m taking my own advice, to be sure, just at a whole different level of energy. But I’m delighted to bring you her answers to the questions that remained of our interview. I’m certain you’ll still find her captivating, a native of France, blogging in English.

What do you like to do to relax, or have fun?

That’s a good question actually, I love to listen music and going to some concert but since I’m working in a concert hall, I do listen a lot of music !One thing that I really like is watching TV Show ! I’m kind of addicted to TV Show ! My favourite ones are Criminal Minds, Lie To Me, Grey’s Anatomy, House Md and How I Met Your Mother. I do always watch them in Original version of course ! I think this is such a shame to watch them in French because we miss something, the voice is not same but mainly we’re loosing the accents, the expressions and translations are sometimes different too !

I love to go to the cinema with my friends or even alone ! I’ve been working in this industry as Assistant Camera / focus puller for almost 7 years, so watching a movie in a cinema is for me the best way to really enjoy them, best sound, best image on a big screen…


And of course, I do love to see my friends, having a coffee with them, talking about everything or even nothing, just sharing a good moment with them or if not, at least to can help them if they need to !

I like blogging too but I think there is a good balance to get between my real life and virtual one (blogging world). I need both of it of course but there is some time I will have more need to see my friends than blogging and vice versa ! 🙂

What are your favourite childhood memories?

When I was a child my parents had a sailboat, a small one but it was still great ! I loved when we used to sail in la mer méditerranée and to drop anchor along the smalls rocky beaches ! That was so fun to plunge head first into the sea from the boat ! I could dive and to watch the fish. I loved chase them !! Of course they were always winning !! ( they still are 😉 )

I loved too when we went to the Alps ! During the summer, we used to go in the Alps for hiking. I loved to breath this particular mountain fresh air, watching ground dog and other animals. We set up a big tents and enjoying to hiking during the day. I would love to go to hike now, but most of my friend are not like it… and it’s really not safe to go hiking alone… 

What’s one thing you wish you could do if it were possible?

Eiffel Tower, seen from the champ de Mars, Par...

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That’s a tough question ! There is so many things that I wish I could do but mostly I can do it… it’s more a question about money or time ! Like travelling all around the world… I need time and money to do that ! 🙂

I use to write down a to do list and as soon as I can, to realise one of this wish on my list ! Sometimes I write down little things like visiting Eiffel Tower, but it also can be about travelling / cooking / try a new sport…. So I think I do not have one thing that I wish to do but so many !…

Thank you so much for this interview !! I really enjoyed it. I’m checking your blog as much as I can ! 🙂 I love to keep in touch with you, this is one of the thing that I like about blogging, to could “meet” people like you all over the world !

Take care 🙂
Isa

…thank you very much…hugmamma.

bilingual, “something in common”

Great news! My good friend Becky (see “coffee with friends, so much more than” posted on 8/18/10), a southern woman with a French drawl, has connected with “My Enlglish Thoughts” on her blog. It’s like a friendship made in international heaven.

Becky has studied French for years, having traveled to that country for pleasure many times. During one of her more recent visits to the countryside, she spent a month living among the natives. That’s the only way to explore another culture, immersing oneself into its daily offerings. Needless to say Becky speaks the language fluently, even attending a luncheon at which she and her fellow students cooked the entire meal while conversing throughout in French. I think I’d have had indigestion, and eaten very little, a good thing for weight loss.

Obviously Becky and “My English Thoughts” will contribute to one another’s increased understanding of two, very different cultures. Especially as I indicated, my friend Becky has a “genteel,” southern perspective about life in America. And I love her for it.

hugs for 2 friends…who are now friends…hugmamma.

postaday2011 challenge: interview

WordPress.com recently suggested a topic challenge, to interview someone, possibly another blogger. The suggestion to “bust out our journalism skills” was intimidating at first, but after further thought I decided to go for it. I reached out to “My English Thoughts,” another wordpress.com blogger. The site’s author intrigued me because while she’s French, she blogs in English. I congratulate her for not letting a foreign language get in the way of free expression. She writes fluidly, without regard for “political correctness.” Good for her! I hope you enjoy meeting my new internet friend, and that you’ll welcome her into your homes, as you have welcomed me.

Why did you decide to blog?

Well that’s a very good question ! I’ve started to blog in October 2009 in French. At time I wanted to interact with other bloggers and share a little piece of my life, my feelings, but it happened that the French blog community is not exactly the same than the English one, so quickly I’ve understand that if I wanted to be read, I had to publish short and kinda unpersonel and superficial. After almost an year, I couldn’t recognize myself in my blog so I didn’t write anymore.

Then one day, I’ve discovered WordPress and the Post a day / Post a week challenge ! I’ve decide to go for it but this time, I will write my blog in English ! First because there is no much French using WordPress, but mainly because I love English and I want to improve it in writing as much as I can.
 

It appears to me that writing in English is so much easier for me than writing in French, no taboo, no censure because members of my family are reading it… Plus the English / Worldwide community is much more fun, welcoming and interesting than the French for what I know. They do really care about what you want to say and not about to be fun / short / superficial….

Have you traveled outside of France? If so, where have you been, and is there a favorite place you’d recommend my readers and I visit, both in France and elsewhere.

I love travelling !! Unfortunately, I can’t travelling a lot because of the money but I’m trying to at least. 🙂

I’ve been in Italy, Firence in Toscana (Florence), Venezia (Venise), and of course to the border line with France ( My Hometown is Nice, French Riviera, so I guess it is normal… ). I’ve been to Geneva in Swiss, Czech Republic twice ( Prague, in Bohemia, Brno, Czech Prachatice, Lednice, Hluboka… actually I’ve travelling all around this country ), London of course too, Namur in Belgium and that’s about it for foreign country.

I would love to visit the Highlands in Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Viet Nam, Japan, Canada, USA and South America… In fact, there is so many country that I would love to visit !

In France, I’ve been to the south west, south east of course, Normandie, in the French Alps and “Pays de la Loire“. I have to admit I do not know much my own country !

I strongly recommend Prague, Toscana ( both wonderful country ), I fall in Love too with London for the architecture and the mood in the city.

In France, I would recommand you to visit Montmartre in Paris, it’s so lovely and charming ! South East too, there is so many beautiful landscape, the sea is just lovely in the summer time, Pays de la Loire because of the wonderful Castles and the Bretagne ( Britain ), because of the landscape and some wonderful city as Mont St Michel ! French Alps are delightful too !!

 When Americans visit Paris, are there tips you can offer which would make us more acceptable to the French who deal with tourists? I”d heard that Parisians might not be so friendly towards non-French speaking persons.

Don’t worry about Parisians!  Some of them are not welcoming or easy to speak with even with French people !! They are stressed, always on the rush or anything. That’s not an excuse I know, and sometimes it’s even difficult for me too !

But seriously, if you’re visiting France, you will meet too wonderful people. Try to learn few words in French, just like “Bonjour”, “Merci”, “Comment ça va?”… you know the small little basics. There is a community very welcoming with foreigners called ” Couch surfing community “. We use to meet every monday night in a pub !! There is lot of French people but some of my friends are also Mexicans, Argentinians, Lebanese, Australians, English… There is a website where you can contact them and sometimes, they can meet you to have a drink or walk around the city with you to make you discovering some places !

I’m sorry I can’t answer to the following question right now, I have to rush to my job now. 🙂  I will very soon, I don’t know if I could tonight or tomorrow but I will have some time off Saturday for sure !

It’s really a great pleasure to do that, and kinda of unexpected too ! 🙂 I will wrote an post about it as soon as I can and if you could answered too to the same questions, It would be so lovely !! 🙂 a Kind of Double Interview ! So my readers could get to know you too as well.

Hugs
Isabelle

charming…simply charming…hugmamma.