Riding High Over the Nile Valley

Balloon

One of the best parts of the entire trip is something I almost missed out on….waking up at 4:00 am to ride in a hot air balloon over Luxor and the Nile Valley.  Was the wake up call painful?  You bet.  But was it worth it?  Abso-freaking-lutely!  If I could only repeat one thing about my time in Egypt, it would be the 45 minutes spent peacefully gliding along the lush Nile River in this hot air balloon.

p.s. I wrote this post and had it lined up to go out before the terrible tragedy in Luxor yesterday.  My heart goes out to the families of those who lost their lives.

Balloon-Fire

Up-and-away

Luxor

Desert

H-Temple

Yay-I'm-Flying

Nile-Valley

Life-in-Nile-Valley

Egyptian-House

Laundry

Nile-Town

Nile-Valley

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Egyptian-Nile-River

Balloon-Shadow

Cairo: Paris by the Nile

Camels-Giza

After just 3 months of working again, I’m craving another adventurous vacation.  But alas, there are bills to pay and a dog to support. Rather than leaving the country, I’m going to relive a trip of a lifetime by simply blogging about it.  As Anais Nin once said, “we write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect”.  And that’s exactly one of the many joys this blog has brought me.  Being able to relive joyful moments days, months and even years later.

In November 2010, I spent 2 weeks touring Egypt.  It was just weeks before the Arab Spring began and you could tell there was something stirring in the air in Cairo.  Despite the revolution that would take place in December, I found the Egyptian people to be incredibly friendly, peaceful, beautiful and elegant.  It’s as if every Egyptian man, woman and child has inherited the regal demeanor of the Pharaohs who are now entombed in the Valley of the Kings.

It was a childhood dream to visit the continent of Africa, cruise down the Nile and ride a camel out to the great Pyramids at Giza.  It exceeded all of my outrageously high expectations; and Africa has been calling me back ever since that trip.  Until I can hop on a plane, I’m going to revel in the memories of Egypt.  It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful countries I have ever had the pleasure to visit.

One of my favorite memories was simply hearing the Islamic Call to Prayer multiple times throughout the day.  Despite your religious beliefs, it’s impossible to deny the beauty of it.  I was raised Catholic, but I have nothing but admiration and respect for an entire nation that halts whatever they are doing at the sound to pay homage to their beliefs.  I occasionally listen to the Islamic Call to Prayer online and it always leaves me feeling peaceful and uplifted.

Light

Giza

Me

Giza

Sphinx

Cairo

Hookahs

Old-Cairo

Minaret

Parade

Old-Cairo

Let-there-be-light

It’s Friday and I’m so grateful for…

WSJ

1) Getting the newspaper delivered to my front door again every morning.  Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know I can read it online.  But it’s not the same.  There’s nothing like feeling the newspaper in my hands and carrying it to brunch on the weekends.

Spring

2) Waking up to birds chirping in this tree each morning. Every day there are more and more blossoms.  Spring is on the way!!

Orelia

3) Working from home with my favorite office buddy, Orelia.

Bend-Cookies

4) The most delicious cookies sent from a fantastic co-worker in Bend, Oregon.  Hooray for Bend Cookie Company!

Spring Cleaning

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I had the urge over the long weekend to de-clutter and make space for all the new and exciting things that 2013 has in store for me.  I cleaned out closets, got rid of boxes of old clothes, tossed expired canned goods and lined my kitchen cabinets with pretty paper.  It feels good having everything organized, labeled and in it’s proper place.  Cleaning has always given me a little bit of a high and made me feel more in control of my world.

The last item on my spring cleaning “to do” list is revamping my linen closet.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve stored my sheets and blankets in a cardboard box in my bedroom closet for more than 6 years now.  Enough!!  I’m on a mission to create the perfect linen closet. Here’s a few pictures I’ve collected from the Internet for inspiration.

It’s pretty clear that an antique armoire is calling my name.  I think it’s time for another trip to the Alameda Flea Market next month.

Linen-Armoire

Shabby-Chic-Linen-Storage

yellow-linen-closet-storage

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Cynthia-Chiffonier-from-Pottery-Barn

Motion Determines Emotion

St-Patricks-Larkspur

{St. Patrick’s Church in Larkspur: a great way to start Sunday with my BFF}

I was a little melancholy last week.  Settling back into the routine of working again, I had forgotten one of the key truths for me: motion determines emotion.  I only learned to vocalize this last year after reading Awaken the Giant Within.  In order to be truly happy, I have to get outside, feel the sun, soak up the fresh ocean air and get some exercise every single day.

So, I started making daily exercise and exploring different places a priority again.  A few long walks at Crissy Field, a 2 1/2 hour horseback ride in Pt. Reyes and a little field trip to Larkspur over the weekend has me feeling joyful and excited about the future again.  It’s truly the small things that make up happiness for me.

IMG_0803{Beautiful sunny day in Larkspur}

Donut-Alley

{A glazed donut definitely gave me a little happiness on Sunday…YUM!!}

Larkspur-Tavern

{The Tavern at Lark Creek: Enjoyed a delicious brunch here with my BFF}

Tavern-Lark-Creek

{Nothing like dining under a ceiling of redwood trees at The Tavern}

Mocha

{Mimosa + chorizo/mushroom/avocado scramble + mocha = bliss}

Happy Valentine’s Day

Red-Tulips

Today I’m celebrating all the love in my life: a family that loves and supports me, wonderful friends and of course, the love of my life….Orelia.  I’m working from home with Orelia and this lovely bouquet of tulips keeping me company this morning.  I can’t wait to head up to Point Reyes this afternoon for my Valentine’s date with a horse named Summer and one of the most gorgeous trail rides in the Bay Area.

Wishing everyone a day filled with love and joy.

Forward Motion

Boat-Slip

It’s been an interesting week.  I recently ran into a ghost from the past.  It’s left me looking back, questioning my actions and wondering if I made the right decisions.  Wondering if I am living the life I’m supposed to live.

I’m doing my best to remember one of my favorite quotes: all stress in life comes from resisting what is.  Today, I vow to accept things as they are, be grateful and keep taking small steps forward every single day.

(I took this photo at a friend’s home in Mill Valley over the weekend.  It makes me want to grab a kayak, row across the water and move forward.)