Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What I learned on my vacation

ManO and I like to travel, in part, because we know the world is a lot bigger than our little neck of the woods, we love learning and trying new things. So every time we go on vacation I take a bit of time to reflect on what I've learned from our adventures. Indulge me.

1) Books make everything taste better. Who knew there was a restaurant/book store in Atlanta's airport? Cafe Intermezzo, great place to spend a long layover.   

ManO at Cafe Intermezzo where I stared at the books, I mean, into his eyes.
  2) Unexpected ingredient combinations rock.  We always try to go to one stellar restaurant to counteract all the places with prepared food. With my allergies, the fresher the better and good restaurants know fresh.  But when we went to Biga on the Bank, set along a quieter side of the San Antonio Riverwalk, I didn't expect one of their appetizers I chose as my entree (that is how you dine stellar and not break the bank, the money bank, that is.)  Homemade hummus, giant Texas shrimp, lamb sausage, and olive tampenade, plus a few spices I am still figuring out. I would have never thought of hummus as a base. And yes, I'll be trying this at home.

3) I  have a calling as an artist encourager.  ManO and I collect art on our trips the way some people collect tee-shirts or coffee mugs. But I didn't realize my choices were being guided until this last trip. On our trip to Paris, I bought a painting from a woman in the artists' square at Montmarte. I speak French so we chatted a while about her inspiration for the little autumn river scene. As we left, I saw several other artists gather around her and hug her. "You've finally sold a painting!"

When we were in Wyoming, after visiting Yellowstone, we found the local artist's co-op (you don't have to break the bank to tap into the art scene either).  I told ManO I was obsessed with buying a painting to reflect our time in the park. A buffalo, a dead tree, and mountains. I had to have a painting with those elements. Who buys art that way? Me apparently.  We turned into the back gallery and there it was. A lovely framed watercolor of, you guessed it, a buffalo, a dead tree and mountains. I was thrilled. We took it up front. The cashier (another artist, because that is how co-ops work) said, "Oh, I am so glad you bought her painting. She broke her back and has been really down. This will perk her right up."

Now, in San Antonio, we found a local co-op in La Vallita, a group of galleries right on the Riverwalk. We went in there three times and I spied a painting of a quiet turn in the Riverwalk. But I didn't get it. The next day, by the time I realized that painting was haunting me, we didn't have time to get it and get to the airport.  ManO knew I was miserable and I called the gallery when I was home. It was a cooperative effort for them to email me a picture of the correct painting, contact the artist. What did the cashier say when I thanked her and the guy taking the picture for their efforts? "Oh, I know she will be so happy. She hasn't sold anything in a month."

Now you are free to wonder about my ability to pick paintings. But I don't. Especially when the artist, an elderly woman who lives outside of San Antonio, called to let me know she had mailed the painting. She was so thrilled I was excited about her work.  I got the message from her but I've also gotten the message that I don't exactly pick my own paintings. 

A sweet little painting of a quiet Riverwalk turn.
 
  So, what about you? What do you learn on your summer vacations? Have you had any epiphanies, brought home recipes, or just content yourself with a new favorite coffee mug?                  

18 comments:

  1. Julie speaks French! Another amazing factoid about you! Thank you for this great post and for showing me, yet again, how important art can be. I'm going to get on board one of these days!

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    1. I am just going to have to come down and hang your pictures for you!

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    2. Sadly, that may be the solution. First, you'll have to tear yourself away from the magnetic gaze of Man O....

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  2. Oooh...we're art supporting kindred spirits. I love buying local art that speaks to me. I don't care what the rest of the world thinks! How exciting that you have been such an encourager to artists.

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    1. Yay! It's all about how WE feel about it, right?

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  3. I love that you collect art! That's cool, Julie, I've seen it on facebook and it makes me smile!

    I collect dust, and muddy shoes, but it's almost the same!!!!!

    You know, that beautiful painting/picture/glassware from each place is a wonderful way of surrounding yourself with beautiful memories.... What a great idea!

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    1. I collect those things too. I just don't put them on the wall. :-)

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  4. Julie, what a beautiful post! I LOVE your painting! And that you're supporting (and thus encouraging) local artists. Wow. Doesn't God work in amazing ways?

    La Vallita is where my hubby and daughter went to shop. They loved it. Bought several things.

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    1. Thanks. It makes me smile. I didn't get to meet your hubby and daughter?????? There is always next time! And I will be down for M and M!

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  5. Sounds like you two had a lovely time together.

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  6. We did and its great to know we can survive 100 degree heat.

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  7. nice! I found out the couple I buy antique/vintage quilts from also do art - at least the husband does- He paints watercolors and I bought a few from him last year. I even asked him to do one of the church I went to when I was a littl girl - I knew he'd 'enhance' it and it's beautiful. I need to get 6 frames for the stuff I bought from him but I know where 3 are going to hang for sure - downstairs bathroom LOL - they're scenes from Galveston -t he souvenrir shops on the seawall and I want them in the bathroom. yes I'm weird but why not have something cute in the bathroom?
    Susanna

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  8. That painting totally captures the Riverwalk! Your story gave me warm fuzzies.

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    1. Nikki, I hesitated because it was so GREEN and quiet looking but once I went on other parts I realized everywhere wasn't as bustling as our hotel section.

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  9. I always learn something when I travel. Even when it's not a research trip. Oh, wait. They're all research trips, because you never know what might find its way into a story.

    Love your idea of collecting art. Though I'm bummed that you didn't show us a pic of your painting from Yellowstone.

    When we go to Ouray, it's all about the t-shirts. We each have quite a collection. Most of mine are workout shirts. Though this year I got a long-sleeved one. It likely won't make it to the gym, but will keep warm whenever our weather dips below 60. :)

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    1. I'll post it on Facebook for you Mindy! And I know how those tee shirt collections are!

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  10. It looks like you had a wonderful trip to San Antonio. I love that town! Been there many times.

    Although the River Walk isn't quite as romantic when you have young children with you. Fun, yes, but the romance is played down when you're trying to keep your offspring from going swimming :)

    You have a great way to remember your trips! Collecting art is a fabulous idea!

    I gave up the idea of collecting anything that needs to be displayed years ago. When I buy something to hang on the wall, I have the perfect spot in mind. But what happens when we move? The walls all change!

    For years I bought refrigerator magnets. Inexpensive, and I could always display my favorites in the room where I spend most of my time.

    Now I usually buy clothing. A sweatshirt, sweater, t-shirt - it doesn't matter. But every time I where it, it brings back fond memories. :)

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    1. I love magnets too, Jan. We have our share of Hawaiian shirts from all ManO work and our vacations there. The Hawaiian quilts are WAY out of our price range but some day one is going on our bed!

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