Before I go to far down that path, I've been enjoying the last week in my hometown, Bedford, Pennsylvania. I realized early on in the visit that this is where I'll eventually settle down. All that European travel and South Carolina schooling is going to be fun, but sitting here at my parents' kitchen table in their amazing old house is the best. October is my favorite time of year here...just check out the morning temperature. It's sweatshirt and slippers to start out the day with a cup of coffee but it easily moves into short sleeves and sandals once the sun comes out and lights up the autumn trees.
I have some cutie nephews that spent the weekend with us while awaiting the birth of their little sister. My first niece, Isabelle, joined the family on Saturday afternoon, the day before her biggest brother turned eight! I don't have kids of my own so it is always a shock how loud and sticky they can be. We walked a couple of blocks and enjoyed the Fall Foliage Festival downtown and then spent the afternoon carving jack-o-lanterns. They did a great job getting the pumpkin gunk out and saving the seeds for Grammy to roast as a snack.
Since I'm going to spend all winter here at home, I brought the cats up from South Carolina with me last month. I was worried that they'd be out of sorts for a while, but they love the big huge house and race up and down the hallway. I should say a couple of them do, Brando, the big white one, has taken up various sleeping positions in the living room or in the sun in the kitchen. This is Grammy's chair and they are happy campers. They take after their mom since our family loves to nap.
I captured one of Brando's many sleepy moments in my art journal:
There won't be many naps in the coming weeks for me, though, since I'll be hitting the ground running in Germany (hopefully!) tomorrow! I made these plans months ago to celebrate my retirement and I can't believe the day is actually here. If all goes the way I hope it will, I'll be taking advantage of military space-available travel and landing at Ramstein Air Base in the morning to visit with friends for a few days before I head over to Paris! I haven't been to France before, even though over 25 years ago I speculated in my senior high yearbook that I would study French and then go to France. Better late than never, I suppose. I'm hoping some of that French I worked on so many years ago comes back!
While looking for the perfect trip, I found an artist retreat in Paris with Jane Davenport.
I'd heard of her through some of my mixed media art buds and her classes/books came highly recommended. So, I'll be joining a small group of ladies for a week of inspiration, drawing, painting, touring, and fun. After that, I figured that since I'm already going to be in Europe, I might as well make the most of it, so then I'll be meeting a dear childhood friend in Venice for a little cruise around the Mediterranean! Neither of us have been on a cruise or been to Greece, so it's the perfect trip!
After being in the peace of home and autumn, this trip is going to be a whirlwind and I'm ready!