Thursday, August 25, 2016

This is painful for me to write. I went to Maine for my cousin’s wedding. I took my daughter and my friend and we spent a week in Maine. First Acadia National Park & the cute town of Bar Harbor. Then two nights in foodie heaven in Portland. And finally, to the beach, Wells/Kennebunkport. I have no photos to share! I am pretty terrible at this travel blogging thing. We actually did lots of things that were blog worthy and worth capturing. We drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain and took in the breathtaking views of Frenchman Bay. We ate fried doughnuts at Duckfat. I ate goat cheese Chambord ice cream in Kennebunkport. Ok so I could go on but the whole trip revolved around food with the exception of the wedding in Wells, which was also beautiful.

So after being gone a week, as soon as I got home and put my daughter to bed, I rushed downstairs to see my cats. Now, my husband hates my cats. He did feed them while I was gone but by no means did he cuddle them or hang out with them. So imagine my horror when I pet my cat and she feels a little scabby. And then later on I saw a black bug but then it was gone. And then I saw another. And then I’m freaking out because my poor cats are suffering a flea infestation that I just spread around our house. The only thing worse I can imagine is bed bugs. I can’t even begin to tell you how stressful the last week has been but I think the fleas are finally under control and I can try to start putting the house back together. But suffice it to say, I am itchy, ALL THE TIME ITCHY. My cats were indoor only for 8 years and I never treated them for fleas, honestly never knew I had to. And when we moved to this house, cat #3 took to darting outside whenever he could. So I won’t make that mistake again. Frontline for all 3 of them now.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Dollhouse

Back before my daughter was even conceived, we put an offer on a house. It was the cutest little house, no lie it was a dollhouse. It was a short sale and unoccupied. I used to visit it and sit in the backyard and dream of the renovations I would do. The patio we would install and the vegetables we would plant. I’d draw floor plans and try to figure out how to arrange my furniture in the tiny rooms. I even took my parents there to see it. I dragged another friend there with promises that we would stop for ice cream on the way back.
A photo posted by Julie Sal (@saltyjules) on

The realtor told me it could take a while. 3 months even. Months passed and I became pregnant with my daughter. I imagined walking her around the neighborhood in the stroller and to the grocery store or down by the river. I saw her older, riding her bike to the neighborhood pool or to the library. I would say after 6 months of waiting, I started getting a little antsy. We were keeping an eye out and looking at other properties but none that we liked as much as this one.

We were living in a small one bedroom efficiency that I loved too but we were ready to move. Besides just wanting more space, we really wanted to be able to grill outside. We spent every weekend that summer at parks grilling and fishing and lazing around, reading books in the hamaca.

We were under contract on this house for 10 months when I threw in the towel. I desperately wanted to move before the baby was born. My pregnancy nesting instinct was in overdrive and I was practically hyperventilating that we hadn’t moved yet. I started looking at houses at the top of our budget and dragged my husband to see this perfectly boring, ranch house in your typical suburban neighborhood where all the houses are one of three similar styles. It was outdated, original 1960s kitchen and baths, but move in ready—everything worked and it was clean. “Let’s just get it,” I said.  It was in a nice neighborhood, with a great elementary school, walkable to absolutely nothing. My husband was not convinced. “There’s no place to put my lancha,” he said. You do realize, I told him, we don’t own a boat. And when we get your lancha we can figure out where to put it then. Besides we did have a canoe that was hanging out at some random person’s house that we never used cause it was not readily accessible.

I am fairly sure that he reluctantly agreed to moving to this house but for the first couple of months he did complain a ton. In any event, we moved just weeks before our baby was born and the only room that we managed to renovate was the nursery.

The whole point of this story was, buying this house made me feel like my dreams of being a traveler and travel blogger were pretty much dead. Eight months later, it seems ridiculous now because there is nothing holding me back from writing and owning a home does not mean you cannot travel. We closed on this house on a Friday and promptly began moving our things over. Monday morning I got an email from our realtor that the bank had approved our offer on the dollhouse. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Access Denied

“Every great trip should begin with a series of minor catastrophes.”
            --Christine Gilbert,

Well if that ain’t the truth. Last night my baby projectile vomited all over me, not once but twice.  This morning I was making breakfast, put my bagel in the toaster and ran to the living room for something and came back and heard water boiling. Did I hit the switch on the kettle? No, that’s the sound of my bagel in flames. On a whim I decided that I must take a trip abroad before baby #2 is born. I have a streak of leaving the country at least once every year since 2002 and I didn’t want to break it. That’s a completely logical reason for taking a 10 month old to Italy when you’re 7 months pregnant. I saw a sale fare to Milan back in May and impulse purchased a trip to Italy.

Tickets booked, I dragged my husband down to the post office the following Saturday morning to apply for my daughter’s passport. Waited 4 hours but finally we submitted her application, showed our IDs, and paid the fees. I listed our expected date of travel as August because we are traveling to Maine this month and if I had her passport then perhaps we could swing into Canada? Who knows. But clearly that is not happening as I received a letter back from the State Department, not quite denying her passport but close.

Her father is not a US citizen and basically his ID was not sufficient to apply for a passport. So now they want 5 forms of ID from this list they sent us. I sent in 5 things and hopefully they are sufficient. In the meantime, I am applying for other passports for her but imagine if we didn’t have that option? Without a passport you are essentially on house arrest in your own country. And if you’re wondering what ID we used that wasn’t sufficient, we both showed our driver’s licenses. 


Write, Travel, Relax, Laugh
1.    Pay off student loan
2.    Save money
3.    Finish house projects
4.    Get fired spectacularly
5.    Live abroad
a.   Study languages
b.   Take pictures
c.    Build a house
For years now, I have been telling my friends that I want to build myself a tiny house. I have a shed in the backyard of my house that has electricity and I wanted to renovate it into a tiny house I could live in and rent out the main house. My friends thought I was nuts and then, tiny houses became a thing.
For me it was always about security, that I would always have someplace to go, someplace to land. That I could go off and travel and if I ran out of money then I could always come back to my tiny house. Even better, would be if I could have one tiny house in Mexico and one in Spain. And Maybe another in Canada. Dreams. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Family History

This weekend started with me researching baby name spellings online. I'm not pregnant or anything but I can't be the only one with boy and girl names picked out since forever. I've had this girl name in mind for a long time and it's of Russian origin and therefore originally written in Cyrillic. So transliteration  can often result different spelling variations of names from language to language. I have been given a somewhat hard time about this name from the few people I've shared it with; no one will be able to pronounce it, she will have to always explain it, etc. Well I first heard it when there was a girl in my 4th grade class named it and none of us, nor the teacher had any problems saying her name correctly, so I'm not really worried about it. In any event, after researching it I found out it is a name used in Lithuania and it just so happens that my grandmother is Lithuanian and I immediately felt like this was the spelling I was meant to use. The only problem with the spelling is it uses a diacritic to signal the way it's pronounced which means it will forever be mispronounced in the US and diacritic marks aren't printed on official documents in the US so I don't know.

All of this led to me reading wikipedia articles about Lithuania, Lithuanian people, Lithuanian language and Baltic languages and I thought maybe I should learn Lithuanian.  That itself is nothing new as I'm fairly sure I've wanted to learn every language out there at one time. But then I was driving home on the beltway and I was driving behind a car whose license plate read VILNIUS. Coincidence???? Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania. I got home and was googling Lithuania some more when I decided to google my grandmother's maiden name, which led me to her obituary.

My grandmother died while I was living in Spain and I honestly don't think it really hit me that she is gone until this evening. That I can't ask her why her parents immigrated to the US (a better life I'm sure, but still). I can't ask her, did her parents meet here or in Lithuania? How old were they? Did they keep in touch with their family in Lithuania? Who else came here besides them? Did she grow up with a huge extended family in Massachusetts or just her parents and siblings? Did her parents speak Lithuanian at home? I remember her teaching me Lithuanian phrases, specifically something to the effect of "shut up cabbage face" and I repeated it to my dad who was none too happy. I can hear her voice in my mind and I'm scared it will slip away. And so I'm struggling to get all my thought's down on this digital paper here, so I can remember later how she made me ramen noodles after school with shrimp, and how she was such a giving, thoughtful person. My parents separated when I was young and later my younger sister was born. Her father died when she was an infant and she never met my mother's parents. She shares a birthday with my grandmother and my grandmother would visit us and she would always remember my sister, she would send her cards on her birthday with little checks in them just like she did me and my brother. My grandmother was an extraordinary person. Tonight I miss her so much. 

Bucket List recap

So.....totally failed on that blog regularly one.


ride my bike on the C & O canal path–I managed to walk on it but not bike

take a tour of dc monuments at night–fail, was waiting for bf's nephew to arrive but he never made it here

try white water rafting in WV–did not raft but we grilled on the side of the road by the Shenandoah river

eat ice cream at Miller Farm–honestly not sure how I managed to fail on this one but it's not too late, maybe tomorrow

Eat crabs–check!

go camping at Assateague Island–Assateague Island camping on the weekends fills up like a year in advance but I did sit on the beach one night and all around us   people were making little bonfires which I had no idea was allowed

visit Art Museums–not a one

take the canoe on the water–the canoe went out on the water but sadly I never got a chance to ride in it

buy sparklers for 4th of July–fail. I knew in advance that fireworks and the like aren't sold in my county, this was just poor planning on my part

go to a movie at a theater–been trying to do this one for the last 3 weekends and     something always comes up

take a girls trip–drove to Philly with my girl

make homemade ice cream–fail

eat a cheesesteak in Philadelphia–partial. When we went to Philly we went to D'Nics in the Reading Terminal Market and had their famous roasted pork sub sandwich which was AMAZING and totally worth the drive. Perhaps another trip is in order. Incidentally, that started out as a trip to READING, but luckily I looked up the D'Nics address before we left.

make churros–fail and I even have the churro maker and the dough mix which is why it even made it on the list in the first place

read 5 books–this one is so sad, why do I not have time to read?? I finished 2 and half books. The first was called This Love is Not for Cowards by Robert Andrew Powell. It was great, it feels like a memoir but it's about Juarez and their soccer team and the fall from major leagues to the minors. I loved it so much I read another book by him called Running Away which was a memoir of how he trained to run the Boston Marathon. It was also great, made me cry. The 3rd book which I haven't finished because I've been super busy is Flash Boys by Michael Lewis. And the 4th book I've had checked out and renewed and checked out and  renewed all summer is The Art of Political Murder which I haven't started. I don't even have a 5th book lined up.

take pictures, print and frame them–oh well, just add it to the fall bucket list

find a place to go stargazing–I was going to say never happened except that while camping at Point Lookout there was an incredibly clear night where you could see millions of stars in the sky.

take a road trip–drove to Philly, see above

learn how to grill–check!! I am no master griller but I now know how to start a fire and put the meat on the grill and turn it over. Basic I know

visit the Hirshhorn sculpture garden–fail, still want to go

find Einstein monument–CHECK!!

eat at a place that's been on Food Network–Check, went to D'Nics in Philadelphia and Taquería R&R which probably shouldn't count because I've been going there since before I knew it was on food network, it's not far from my house.

try to blog once a week–we know how that worked out

build a tiny house–still on the list. I am obsessed with tiny houses




Thursday, May 29, 2014

Summer Bucket List

I've seen these lists on other blogs and always thought they were cute so I thought I'd make myself a little summer to-do list. I also thought if I post it here it might make me a little more accountable for trying to do these things instead of wasting the summer away working. 

ride my bike on the C & O canal path
take a tour of dc monuments at night
try white water rafting in WV
eat ice cream at Miller Farm
Eat crabs
go camping at Assateague Island
visit Art Museums
take the canoe on the water
buy sparklers for 4th of July
go to a movie at a theater
take a girls trip
make homemade ice cream
eat a cheesesteak in Philadelphia
make churros
read 5 books
take pictures, print and frame them
find a place to go stargazing
take a road trip
learn how to grill
visit the Hirshhorn sculpture garden
find Einstein monument
eat at a place that's been on Food Network
try to blog once a week
build a tiny house