Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lobsters, Chalupas - Edible Babies!!!!!

Halloween pics!  Here they are:

Uncle Joe and Baby James

Little Lobster Baby!

Lobster baby and kid feet


How freakin cute is this???!!!

Yummmmm... got some melted butter?

the Chalupa!!! 

Chalupa leaving with half my candy.  What a cutie!

Little kids should be put in costume much more often than just Halloween. It's so adorable, and they really owe us...the least they can do is entertain!

I love fall!

During this morning's excursion to the grocery store to get a coffee cake for my expected guests, I couldn't help but take a few pictures of things that stood out to me.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

To blog, or not to blog

That IS the question I've pondered.  Now that I am back in the U.S., and therefore my life is not nearly as interesting as it was in Europe, I've been trying to decide if I should continue this blog.  On the one hand, many people have requested that I do (I'm truly flattered).  But on the other hand, it does seem a bit pretentious (and I've been told it would be "stuck up").

Joss and I discussed it at length tonight, and have concluded that in order for it to be acceptable to continue, there must be some benefit to both me and readers.  We then discussed the purpose of creating the blog in the first place, and concluded this:

In an effort to inspire myself to get out, see things, try things, have fun, live life, and celebrate as often as possible, I am going to aim to try/see/experience at least one new thing each week, and then blog about it.  I will surely throw in silly little stories too, as they happen, but basically my goal is to remember, practice, and spread the importance of living life now, enjoying what's important, doing things instead of wishing, and seeking new and interesting things in everyday life.  So, that's what I'm hoping to do, and hope that you might even be inspired to do something that you say you wish you could do. 

We then laughed about how stupid we were, and decided to go see the movie "The Hangover" at the $1 theatre.  It was freakin hilarious!!!!  James went too, and seemed to enjoy it; He's such a good baby.

If you continue to follow me, and have not already signed up to "follow" please do. It excites me to see my list grow. Pathetic, I know, but I take happy thoughts from any place I can get them. I'm still riding the wave of merriment left over from my Europe trip, and plan to for as long as I can, so forgive my geekiness.

Also, if you have any adventures to share, please do! You can post them in a "comment" here, or just email me your story and/or pics and I'll gladly post it for you.

Before I sign off for the night, a few random facts:

  • Tomorrow is Halloween.  James is going to be a lobster.  Joss and Dom were trying to decide on his costume and Joss argued "He has to be food!"  I love her; she's such a nut!

  • Tomorrow my Uncle Joe is coming to visit me from West Virginia.  He's super cool, and is bringing his dog, "Little Shit."

  • Next weekend Neil and Al will be coming up from Florida!  Yippeeeeee!  I can't wait to see them, and they are both so eager to see the baby.

  • My brother and I devised what we called "the evil plan" to get the family together for Thanksgiving, and it turns out Neil, Don, and Jeannie will all becoming up from Florida to join me and the kids at my house for wine, food, and loud Italian talk!  Everyone is welcome, so if you want to stop by, please do.  Seriously!  No, seriously... I'd love it!!!!!  5 Donlora Court, any time between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.  Official dinner will probably begin around 2, but we'll surely be pickin' all night.

  • The gals and I went to lunch early this week, and on the way there, spoted a blimp (no, not me, smartass...the kind in the sky).  Not super exciting, but something you don't see every day.

  • There are a few cute videos of James in his walker for the first time here and here.  I especially love the first one where he is petting the cat. 

Lastly, here is a pic of my posse (left to right, Vickie, Cat and Donner).  These three women are incredible, and I love each of them!

I'll have pics of the little lobster and my Uncle Joe tomorrow. 

Do something fun this weekend!  Dress up, go trick or treating, paint a picture, get a pet goldfish, try sushi (it's really quite good), spend the day watching all three "Back To The Future" movies... anything! (Except installing Google Chrome).

Peace out.

Monday, October 26, 2009

AC/DC In Greensboro!

I speak the truth, my friends... Angus Young, that dude with that voice, and the rest of them -- all right here in Greensboro.  They put on a good show!  My friend Todd took me.  Thanks Todd :)

And a few short videos:


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Great piece of wisdom for all my golf balls

A friend of mine sent me this recently (thanks Mark) and while you very well may have seen it before, it deserves attention.  I've seen it before and thought "yes, that's so true!!!" and then forgot about it.  I will now print it out and keep it visible, read it often, remember it, and live it - this is a great way to look at life!

Mayonnaise Jar & Two Beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him...When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.  He then asked the students if the jar was full.  They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar He shook the jar lightly.  The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.  He then asked the students again if the jar was full.  They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.  Of course, the sand filled up everything else.  He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.  The students laughed..

'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things--your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions--and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else--the small stuff.

'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.  The same goes for life.  If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you..

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children!!!!!!

Spend time with your parents!!!!!!

Visit with grandparents!!!!!!!

Take time to get medical checkups.

Take your spouse out to dinner.

Play another 18.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter.

Set your priorities..

The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented.  The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.  The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.'



You who are reading this, are my golf balls :)

Well, well, well...You can never tell

Have you ever been to the website Roadside America?  Check it out!  It has stupid/interesting things to visit all over the U.S.  For example, for my RI friends, it has the big bug on 95 in Providence, as well as the new (new to me anyway) Water Fires downtown. 

I've been to a few of these places when driving out to Vegas a few years back. The huge statue of Superman, for example... and right here in NC, Corner's Folly in K-ville (which was really cool by the way).  Anyway, last night I was thinking of where I can go next - what I can find that is interesting, and I've never seen, that won't take me thousands of dollars to visit. I decided I would go to the bookstore today and try to find a book by Roadside America.

I went to Barnes & Noble today, browsed the bargain books, which I always do first, and while struggeling to hold my armful of chosen gems (including "Leonardo DaVinci", which I have an interest in learning all about after seeing the Mona Lisa, and "The Chronoicle Of World History" which I have a new interest in (yes, friends who know me well... seriously!) since seeing the Coliseum), I turned the corner of the bargain book rack and found there, staring right at me, and obviously waiting for me.... "Amazing and Unusual USA."  The cover features what I at first thought was Cadiallac Ranch (which I don't remember the location of, but have seen on the way to Vegas) and later learned is yet another piece of roadside car art called Carhenge (you Stonehenge). 

Of course I bought the book, and already have a pile of new destinations that I need to see!!!  These will make great weekend adventures -- fast and cheap!  Among my list of must sees already are the World's Largest Ball of Twine, Lizzy Borden's house in MA (I did not know that happened right there in Fall River and that it is a BED AND BREAKFAST -- that's right, you can sleep there!), and I am especially excited about the Dr. Suess National Memorial Sculpture Garden, which is in Springfield MA.  Looks like I need to take a trip back home!  I had no idea that Massachusetts had such treasures as the Mapparium (Boston), Jordan's Furniture Store and Trapeze School (Reading, MA) (how random!  I love it!), the Museum of Bad Art (Dedham).  Also, Connecticut has a really cool looking castle in East Haddam!!! 

Don't tell me the U.S. ain't got no heart!  You just gotta poke around!

Of course, I will post my photos and stories of any of these places that I get to.   Feel free to add your own destination experiences here!!!!  I will even put your photos up for you. 

Oh, last time I rode out to Vegas, we made a stop at Roswell.  It was awesome!  Just so you know.  Still trying to get the memories of alien probes suppressed!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Last 3 blog entries that never got uploaded

Sunday – train from Firenze to Roma

I am going to Roma. I bought a larger rolling suitcase, put most of my stuff in it, and am rolling that while wearing the backpack. The solution works fine, and I will be able to manage my stuff until I go home this way, but will still probably see about mailing it home tomorrow. It is so easy to spend a lot of money without realizing it here, with the exchange rate being so crappy. The suitcase I bought was e32, which doesn’t sound bad, but equals about $48. Still not terrible, but had I thought about it a second longer, I would have opted to find a cute pink one that I would use again in the future.

I don’t understand why, but Florence depressed me. I did enjoy the shopping, but other than that, it was not a good vibe. I think Roma will be better. I cried in the train station, and a woman from Oregon or one of those other nobody-lives-there states gave me a hug. I was going to try to call Joss or Neil, but I could not figure out how to work the international payphones. Once I got my ticket to Roma, re-packed my bags, and sat for a few minutes, I felt better. I guess I am just homesick. I am now sitting on the train, which will be leaving Firenze in about 6 minutes. The trip to Roma is about an hour and a half. I already booked a hostel, and splurged for a private room. I got it for 2 nights for a total of e78. I may stay there 3 nights, and then head right to Venice on Wednesday, so that I will be there on Thursday for my flight home. The alternate plan is heading to Bologna before Venice. I am definitely glad that I did not book any trains or rooms ahead of time. Not having the freedom to go wherever, and whenever, definitely would have sucked.

One of my 4 packages has made it home safely (the one mailed from Paris). Still worrying about the first one though, as it was mailed days before the others, and has my super cute doc martin shoes in it.

All is well again

I am in Roma. I like it here. Have not seen anything yet, other than the area near my room, but I like it. Right now I am sitting in the Laundromat. I got money from the ATM last night, got a nice room, and I feel better. I don’t know what about Florence depressed me, but I was not happy there. Other than the shopping, which was amazing, I didn’t like it.

After putting my clothes in the washer, I took a walk to find a grocery store. I love going to the grocery stores because it’s interesting, and cheap. I usually get a few drinks and snacks to have in my room. I got a bottle of milk and some cakey things for breakfast. It was yummy. And a bag of little biscotti to keep in the room, or for snacks on the train. Things are very cheap here at the grocery store. A huge bottle of olive oil is like 2-3euro. There are so many kinds of cookies and snacks that are cheap and look really good, and I’d like to bring a bunch home for everyone to try, but I cannot carry it all. Also, I don’t know what I am allowed to bring back into the USA. Hopefully they don’t have a limit on purses!!! If anyone happens to know, please email me and tell me. Also, wine is like 2-3 euro a bottle!!!! I am surprised there are not more winos. Oh, and if anyone knows how many bags you can bring on United Airlines, please email me and tell me that too. It is so rare I get internet, I have been forgetting to look these things up when I do get online. If you know, send it to Thanks.

Oh, and also during my walk to the supermarket, I found more street vendors, and picked up a Gucci bag for e10. I am a hard-core negotiator, and got a great price. I really need to stop spending money, and don’t need any more bags, but who can turn down a Gucci for 10 euro???? Seriously.

After doing my laundry, I will go back to my room and drop it off. I think I am going to stay here until Wednesday night when I will go to Venice. I like it here a lot, and my room is great. It is owned by the Morelli's and is small, and old, and on the 8th floor. It is very well kept up, newly painted, super clean, quiet – there are only 3 rooms there total, plus a kitchen and 2 bathrooms that are shared. I have not yet seen anyone else there. I went to bed at about 8 p.m. last night, and slept right through to about 9 this morning. I guess I was really beat.

My feet have taken a beating and will need a serious pedicure when I get home. I realize now that every morning, when I start walking, I get this pain in my back and ass, and it gets quite painful, but if I just keep walking, it eventually goes away. Of course the drugs really help too, but overall I am really surprised at how much I’ve been able to get around. I am swollen though. My rings that were on my right hand had to go back on my left (which is a bit smaller).
I am relieved by the thought of staying here for 3 days. Moving often is very stressful. I will probably just poke around the city today, and plan to see the Coliseum and other things tomorrow. I also need to find a post office to see if I can send some of this crap home. Hey, I found a chap stick while digging through my crap! Yay.

Off route

Wednesday, October 21, 2009, 1:06 p.m.

Well, I thought I was getting 0n the train to Venice… turns out I am Naples-bound. Which is quite far from Venice! I will be in Naples (Napoli) in just over an hour, and then have a few minutes to explain the situati0on, hope I don’t have to p-ay for another ticket, and get on the train to Venice. I will hopefully be in Venice by 10 p.m.

Had this not been the day before my flight home, I would have taken this as a good reason to look around Naples. If I do end up having to buy a ticket, maybe I will see if there is a way I can spend a few hours there. Not sure how often their trains leave. It is like 200 degrees in these trains, and there is no little air spout like you have on an airplane. I see all these people with winter coats and such on, and I don’t understand how they are not dying.

And.... even MORE pics

Me, looking like an arab, trying to keep dry in the rain.

What???  You call this a cup of coffee???

From the Matisse museum

I am not sure where this is

And here she is... The Pink Lady

Old Italian woman in Ventimiglia.  She didn't speak English at all.  She walked out of a building as I was walking by, and I knew by her tone and mannerism exactly what she was saying to me:  "Hey, come over here and give me your arm to help me down the stairs." 

Nice, France




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