Tag Archives: Travel

Hogwarts & Homeslices

So while we were in the land of Sun and Fun we played tourist and went to Universal’s Island of Adventure. Me and my homeslices had a day of roller coasters and family bonding.  Let me overwhelm you with a photo tour.

First stop… Harry Potter land.  Girl Wonder and I love the Harry Potter. And Harry Potter came to life. Now we never actually saw the wizarding hero but who needs him when you have this:

An entrance flanked by dragons. Hogsmeade…. complete with crooked chimneys.  Like being transported in between the pages. Well, first you have to ignore the hundreds of other hot and sweaty people that were cruising through Hogsmeade too.

HoneyDukes candy store with windows that look like this

and when you go inside its floor to ceiling shelves with big old glass jars filled with candy and candied things.

Candied Apples. I tried to lick the glass. Don’t try that. They don’t like that

Every Flavour Jelly Beans? You can buy ’em at HoneyDukes. For the price of a small country. You may have to do like I did and repeat “This is fun. It’s good to splurge once in a while” over and over and then run real quick and buy ’em before you change your mind.

When they say Every Flavour. They mean it. Be careful.  We got back to the house and Girl Wonder was handing me weird coloured jelly beans saying “eat this” while hiding the jelly bean guide behind her back.  Silly mamma. I ‘et ’em.   Gnarly. There was a booger bean, a dirt bean, a jalepeno bean (which really was quite tasty) and a soap bean. My mother would have had it a lot easier if she had had a soap flavoured jelly bean when we were growing up. It would have saved her lots of wrestling matches with us and Irish Spring when she needed to wash our mouths out with soap.

My homeslices: My baby big brudder, my bee-u-tee-mus sis-in law and who else but the Girl Wonder. The T-dub gets his looks from his mamma.

This is the brudder up close.

He looks like he might eat you and spit out your bones. He might nibble on ya, maybe, if’n he’s hongry. But you can throw bacon at him and he’ll leave you alone.  He’s a giant scary looking softie. See…

He’s the bestest baby’s diddy … he sure does love that boy of his and his baby mamma. Which is good. She a good baby mamma.

Back on track… Universal…

And the best thing about Harry Potter world crammed with overheated persons from around the globe (drumroll please…………..) BUTTERBEER.

Its not beer. There may be butter. There may be butterscotch. There definitely was something creamy and frothy layered on top. And it was most definitely cold and slushie.  If you go to Universal in the middle of a heat wave in the middle of July…. buy a Butterbeer. Find a bench. Slurp. Buy another. Repeat. Slurp. Buy another. Repeat. Then go home. You’ll still feel happy and special. I am going to attempt to recreate this concoction.  So I can drink it in my pajamas.

We rode roller coasters that went straight up fast and came down fast. We rode roller coasters that twisted and turned and flung you upside down while leaving your stomach right side up or in your neighbors lap. We rode spinny cups.  We rode till we were green around the gills.  What’s said in excitement, or horrifying fear, on a roller coaster MUST stay on the roller coaster.

We rode water rides that left us soaked. Like from head to toe sopping wet can we please stop for a minute so I can peel my pants off my thighs cause the H2O is acting like superglue. My brother spent half the day in squeaky flip flops. I’m afraid we were all a little musty on the ride home and wouldn’t suggest riding in my sister in law’s car anytime soon cause I’m afraid it probably smells like wet dog. (So sorry T-dubs mamma).

And before we left the park I got me a tchotchke (otherwise known as land fill fodder or things I don’t need and that are likely to sit around and get dusty). Except I picked a most practical tchotchke.

There are actually whole other sections of the park besides Harry Potter. Namely a Dr. Seuss park. Which meant there were Dr. Seuss souvenirs.

Is it two mugs? Is it one mug? Hmmm… It’s one giant mug. With handy dandy handles in the perfect spot to perch your fingers in.  Yeah me.

A certain Girl Wonder slept the whole way home. She slept the slumber of  a child who has walked and coastered and suckered her mum into a giant stuffed Scooby dog.

Every day could use a little wizardy don’t you agree?


Franny B


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Shellac Attack

I recently had the privilege of enjoying a 3 hour flight delay on a trip to see da family.  3 hours trapped at the Nashville airport. Without a Cinnabon. Where have all the Cinnabons gone? Bring them back please and thank you.

So I did what any bored female waitin’ on a plane would do – got my nails shellacked.

I tend to paint my nails from May thru September. That’s when my hands are in the dirt more than they’re in dishwater.  No matter how I soap up and scrub, the dirt is forever under my nails. Which is totally grody.  Hence the need for painting.  Except the nail polish doesn’t last but a day or so… it’s hard to keep that Cover Girl shine after a few days of pulling weeds.

So the shellac stuff is supposed to last at least 3 weeks AND be virtually indestructable. Just like that cool plate I had as a kid which didn’t break until the 976th time I bounced it off the kitchen floor.

I picked what I thought was a hip and chic grey. Turned out to be a grey till you tilt you hand to 45 degrees and then it’s a sparkly lavender. Hip and sparkly… that’s me.

Please ignore the wrinkly E.T. fingers.

The nail divas assured me that these puppies could dig all the way to China without a scratch.

I have no idea what the shellac actually is… although if I start getting angry and feel my shirt ripping to shreds and my skin turning a Grinch Green I’ll know it’s probably not good for me.  A small price to pay for non-grody nails.

They painted them like normal then put them in a mini tanning bed looking thing with UV lights. Then dabbed on a super secret goop with a cotton ball. Then BAM … they were dry.

I have no idea how this stuff actually comes off. It may require a blow torch, industrial sander and a gallon of gasoline.

So far so good though. One week in and they still look good as new.  Tomorrow begins the dirt diggin… curious to see how they look by Monday morning. They cost about  $35, which seemed a little pricey to a non-manicuring girl like me but if they really do last it’ll totally be worth it.

I’ll let ya know how it goes. Maybe you’ll want to go get your shellac on too.


Franny B


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A Piratess ( I made that word up) Looks at 40

In about 28 days I turn 40. Me… 40? To quote my favorite philosopher Jimmy Buffett:  “I passed out and I rallied and I spring a few leaks” but the ship is still sailing.

I remember being 15 and 20 was floating on the horizon bragging with hip and cool adult independence – Nobody can tell ME what to do when I’m 20. I remember being 20 and 30 seemed so slightly wise and mature. (I’m still waiting for the maturity to show up).  I remember hitting 30, with a tiny Girl Wonder in tow, and thinking 40 was old and grizzled and halfway to a rest home that smelled like pee and Clorox. And now it’s here. And my youth is flying out the window to land somewhere back in the 80’s with my purple leg warmers and jelly shoes but I’m tattooed, pierced and can still shake my groove thing.

I would totally still wear leg warmers. And a polo shirt with the collar flipped up.

So I’m celebrating 40 with my not so skinny hips and my wrinkly eyes and a little bit of inspiration from Joy the Baker. (If you’ve never visited her… stop now and go. She cooks with sugar. And likes frosted things).

I’m making a list of 40 things to do in my 40th year. And giving myself a year to make it happen.. cause while I have not matured I have mastered the art of procrastination.

Eat 1 big, fat slice of chocolate cake all by myself without sharing or counting calories

Make 2 new kinds of bread

Give away  3 cool things on Franny Bolsa

Visit 4 new states with the Girl Wonder

Deliver dinner to 5 local friends (I would totally be wiling to travel cross-country but am not sure if I could put a pan of lasagna in my carry on)

Give away 6 apple pies (Michael…. I’m saving one for your Mom)

buy 7 strangers coffee, tea, macchiatos, lattes, cherry limeades……

create luck for 8 people

Give away 9 hand made things

Have 10 friends over for dinner

try 11 new recipes from around the world

give away 12 of my favourite books,

take 13 long naps

write thank you notes to 14 people who have made a difference in my life

Read 15 new books… non fiction style

stop and enjoy 16 sunsets

leave a $17 tip

invite  18 friends to a “Regret Bonfire”… let all those regrets go up in smoke

take 19 hikes,

visit 20 local businesses,

Sit and dream with Girl Wonder about what her life will be like at 21

draw 22 pictures (that only need to be recognizable to me a la Le Petit Prince style)

listen to 23 new musicians

Take 24 photos of people I love

Send 25 boxes of cookies to people I like

purge 26 things from the house that I don’t use and give them a new home

volunteer 27 hours

try 28 new flavours of ice cream

make 29 things from my Nana’s recipe box (share said things or with all the other food related items on my list I will double my weight by 41)

paint 30 fingernails something fun and crazy

tell 31 strangers something I appreciate or admire about them

Donate 32 books to the local library

Send 33 postcards to friends old and new

make  at least 34 sumptuous cupcakes

do 35 push ups

learn 36 sentences in Spanish

tell Girl Wonder 37 unexpected reasons its fun to be a smart, sassy, single, independent woman

write down at least 38 blessings I have in my life

Pick up 37 pieces of litter to make the world a better place

run 40 miles in 40 days

You can count. You get the picture? Ideas, thoughts, witty suggestions? I’m open. Whatchu got? Help a sistah out…..

Thank you for all the ideas and suggestions!  Lots of creative suggestions… some … ummmm very creative suggestions – which I’ve added to my list of things to do should I ever want to get arrested, fired or make my mother blush list.

The fun begins on August 9th…. Want cookies, a letter, a handmade thing, a book, got a new band I should check out…. ??? Send me an email at frannybolsa@gmail.com (put ” 40 for 40″ in the subject line)


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Beach Brain

A brief  4th of July jaunt to the beach to deliver the Girl Wonder to the folks for some Grandparent bonding and Oreo eating.  Nothing like beach time to put the world back to rights.

Beach time makes me want to load up what we can fit in the truck and live in a shanty by the sea. Shanty by the railroad tracks is bad. Shanty by the sea is a wander lust lifestyle which values the absence of shoes and wearing pants (of the jean or similar kind) optional.  Salt water is good for the soul.

Morning runs are better. Umm… make that….. morning runs actually occur.  Doughnuts have no calories because it’s a 30 minute round trip walk down the beach to fetch them from the  doughnut shop and you can eat one while in transit thus rendering all fat harmless. Clocks don’t matter. It’s either beach time, nap time or eating time.

Pubescent teenagers are rendered sweet and giggly when bathed in sun and surf.

Sand castles. Or Sand lumps if you aren’t wearing your beach goggles.

Sandy salty cheeks. Sand between the cheeks. Sand between the toes.

One can wear jaunty hats and feel svelte and secretly call yourself Gidget.

Alas, my shanty must wait. I have to shake off the beach brain…..back to the land where  I have to be somewhere by 8:00 tomorrow morning  and donuts have the power to expand the waistline.

Back on my beach free patch of dirt……. the season’s first tomatoes and a pile of onions.

Happy Fourth of July! Whether you have sand between your toes (or cheeks) or you’re grillin’ in the backyard… I hope you celebrated freedom… to roam, to eat, to squeeze those you love, to work to pay the bills or to dream of shanty living…….



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It’s 3 a.m. & I’m Moving To Coeur D’Alene

I’ve had the same dream for several weeks now.  It’s making me feel restless. Or maybe my restlessness is causing the dream

I’m standing in front of a big old porcelain sink piled with dishes looking out  a huge window. There’s a big hole in the knee of my jeans and my feet are bare. I know that if I looked at the bottom of my feet they’d be black from walking around in the yard without shoes. My eyes are closed. I’m standing there with the sun on my face making my cheeks all toasty.  It’s morning sun cause its not too hot. Just a warm breath.

The floor is dusty. Wide wooden boards.   Dirt carried in on happy feet. Probably from the boots tipped over by the back door. Big boots. Caked on mud. Old brown leather. Man boots. Cowboy man boots.

I can see the screened in porch with grey wooden steps that go out to the yard and know if I stand out there I can smell the compost in the garden and if inhale deeply enough I can smell the water in the wind.  I know there’s a garden with big fat tomatoes on wooden stakes. I know there’s a barn with horses waking up waiting to be fed. I know there’s a green canoe resting upside down on the side of barn, it’s bottom faded from the sun.I know there’s a black and white mutt sleeping on the steps who’ll only crack his eyes when the food hits his dish. I know there are chickens waking in a little blue hen-house eager for a day of scratching in the dirt.

My self that’s tucked in bed watching my dream wants my dream self to move around so can I can see more. See where I am. Take the grand tour of this strange house.  I want to peek behind the  blue flowered curtain that hides the cupboard underneath the sink. I want to snoop. But my dream self won’t budge. She knows she is home. She knows she has all day to get things done. Right now she just wants to sit quietly in the morning air.  She knows that soon she will have dishes to wash, mouths to feed, critters to tend. She doesn’t mind. She is content.

And somehow my sleeping self knows that we’re in Idaho, somewhere near Coeur D’Alene. And I wake up feeling like I need to rent a u-haul right away and drive  the Girl Wonder and I straight to Coeur D’Alene.

While my mind is filled with gypsy travel wanderlust for the great northwest, here in Nashvegas:

Ms. Awesome found this lovely cake carrier and was kind enough to let it come home with me. It sits in the kitchen patiently awaiting a cake.

I made shortbread. I took a picture of it. Then we ate it. I love shortbread. Just set it in your mouth and it melts. Warm butter puddling on your tongue. A thin layer of chocolate so your teeth don’t fee left out.  Shortbread makes the house smell like home.  A lingering scent of vanilla baked goodness.  If love had a signature scent I think it would smell like shortbread.  Should you want to a treat make yourself some shortbread.  I’ve no idea where I got this recipe. It’s quick and easy though. Click on the link for a printable recipe (that is if I did the dang thing right).  Shortbread Lovin’

Spring is everywhere in the yard. Bird feeders getting fixed and ready for its summer guests

Flowers are parading around decked out in colour.

The garden is in and looking good.

There’s lettuce, cabbage (red and green), broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, onions, carrots and beets.

With the garden growing, Coeur D’Alene shall have to wait at least until the summer’s over.


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An Ordinary Spell

And the days roll on… long, loose, and hanging just around the hips. Not quite fitting . Not falling down. Busy, lazy, thriving, thirsting, a little off kilter. I think I love these stretches of time the best. Nothing bad. Nothing over the top fantabulous.  A mix of mild excitement, laying about, and spontaneous productiveness. Laundry. Dinner. Homework. Writing. Sewing. Dog walking. Grass cutting. General living that proves how strong we really are because we can survive an ordinary spell.

A work trip to D.C. with plenty of time to play. One of my favourite cities as it’s a city I explored as teenager. Every time I go back I awaken the 16 year old version of me. I felt all city like and urban chic. Riding the metro. Sipping coffee on the Mall. Giving Germans directions. Strolling city streets saying hello to strangers forcing them to practice a random act of smiling.  Walking just about everywhere.

A nice scenic spot for a picnic lunch

Another favourite. The Natural History Museum. Totally got sucked in

Happy to return home and set the toes free out back.  For a farm girl in ruby red slippers suffering mild brain trauma; Dorothy had it right: there is no place like home.  Some moments from the week.

Cooking dinner. A super simple tasty meal the other night. Grating fresh Parmesan to sprinkle over this:

There were peas in the freezer. I don’t like peas. Way too squishy for me. But there they were. Sitting. Taking up space. And there I was.. needing to cook dinner.  So in comes the great flag of peace. Bacon. Bacon fixes everything.  Fry up the bacon. Throw in frozen peas. Season with salt and pepper. Add some heavy cream. Throw in cooked pasta. Throw in a little pasta water. Toss in some fresh mint. And to seal the deal… cheese. Dinner is served. Dinner every now and then should have a date with dessert. And so ours did.

A sexy cobbler. Warm. With ice cream. Cobbler is the girl next door of dessert. Always there. Simple. Just makes things a little brighter.

And elsewhere amongst the detritus of daily living

A snugglie for the cutest baby in the world… my nephew. Just pop the boy-o in; wrap him up and Voila!  A baby pop tart.

And this for the week ahead

A pile of lovelies for another quilt.

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Channeling Mary Tyler Moore

This is where I get to lay my head. With a metro stop right outside the door

Here I sit in a swanky hotel room in D.C.  A line from the theme song from Mary Tyler Moore running through my head: “you’re gonna make it after all”.  I am a country girl at heart. Bare feet, biscuits and “mater sandwhiches are my staples.  I love the city though. I love this city. I took a stroll down Conneticut Ave today. And I felt full. The creative synapses were firing.  I have that tingly feeling that more good things are coming my way. Something about city air makes anything seem possible.  I used to live outside D.C. as a kid. I’d pack a bag for the day and ride the metro here.  Feeling so grown up. Visiting art musems. Eating a hot dog from a cart while sitting on a bench in the Mall. My favourite Aunt used to live here. I would end my day by hopping back on the metro and walking to her apartment. I felt so  Ms. Independant. Ms. The World is My Oyster. This city still makes me feel that way.


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