Sunday, September 18, 2011

Almost ready and off tomorrow!

 I have been so busy.  So busy I have had no time to write and no time to read any blogs in days.  I have missed my blog friends words and photos but tasks must be done.  

Such as banking, bills, wash and ironing.  Some cleaning too.

I haven't packed.  I thought I would have a trial run earlier this week and nada did not happen.  Today will be packing day!  Oh today is busy!

My mom's birthday is tomorrow but we are going to visit her today.  I put together a DVD of her younger years and got it burned and ready to bring over.  I wanted to bake cupcakes for her and the caregivers but I forgot to buy flour.  I can't believe I was totally out of flour!   That just doesn't happen here in my pantry.  So instead of banana cupcakes with cream cheese frosting I am letting my Love pick some out this morning for me.  This is not a big failure to not have homemade.   I am accepting this hard as it is for me.  Let go Ellen......

So we will pay a visit, bring a little vase of flowers and the DVD and then back home to work, work, work!   Not to forget charging cameras one last time.  Getting all the papers in order to put in my bag.   

I was so nervous yesterday with excitement.   Surprised myself by sleeping soundly as I was fearing I wouldn't be able to sleep.  Tonight  I may have to take some Calm Forte to make sure I get a good night's rest. to enchanting Venice first....then Cinque Terre ~ Vernazza.....then to Lucca....a side trip to Barga a wee little town....and last to my beloved Florence.   

See you all in October.....Ciao!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

While I'm away....

I've been cleaning house today.  The house will be uncleaned for two and half weeks while I'm away.....which had me thinking what my two men will be up to during this time.  Last night we were talking about meals since I am the chief cook and bottle washer.  R. and my Love jokingly said they would go out every night since I would be eating out every night.  I mentioned I could make some tasty casseroles for them and neither was keen on that.  Secretly I was relieved.  I wasn't excited about cooking and freezing recipes I have never made before since I don't make casseroles.  My Love said not to worry that they would take care of meals.

I thought of how many school mornings a school lunch that hadn't been made would have to hurriedly be put together or money passed to buy lunch.  R. isn't wild about the cafeteria food this year.  Last year I finally gave in and gave him money once a week so he could buy the rice bowls they did with Chinese food, till they changed white rice for brown rice which he was not happy about.  15 year old's don't like someone trying to fool them with a change like brown rice for white.  R. is a creature of habit as well, so this really didn't go over for him.

How many times will the cats be not fed?  I feed them their meals.  I feed Stewie in the morning and R. feeds him at night.  My Love will have to take on that task that he normally doesn't do.  Of course the cats will let him know if a meal has been missed.  Especially a dinner meal, where if they haven't been fed then during the night they will start walking all over you, disturbing your sleep.  Then they will sniff your face or touch your face with their paw.  I know this because even I have forgotten when I thought I had fed them.  They won't give up till they are fed.

Which brings me to the litter box since our cats are indoor only.  I also do that.  Now one or two days is gross but it does happen.  Anymore than that and there will be two very angry cats who may not want to use the litter box.  Not to mention that the box will be a disaster and cleaning will require a Hazmat mask.  Which leads me to a mistake I made yesterday.....

I had cleaned the kitty litter box and double bagged the stuff that they do.  I missed a couple of days and it was rather full (I know...I forgot...).  I brought it out to to take to our outside garbage which at our house is a long way from where the kitty box is.  I set it on the floor intending to take it when I left the house but unfortunately I forgot to get it.  There was one hour's time between when I left and when my Love came home.  What he walked into was less than pleasant.  Now I don't understand why some dogs love kitty poop but we have had dogs that do.  Just to get to the kitty box I had to make it a snug "kitty only" space under our laundry room sink space.  Here I left this bag right out for Stewie and what a time he had.  My Love walked into find kitty litter, clumped pee and kitty poo up and down the hall, in the kitchen and well wherever he could drag the bag that he so cleverly tore open.  Of course he had to clean up and then vacuum the floors.  I really felt bad about leaving the bag that way...I did!

So back to my leaving next week and our home, sweet, home.  I hope that maybe once the kitchen floor will get cleaned, along with the counters and then the bathrooms.  I also know that this more than likely won't happen.   Two bachelor's for those 16 freshly changed sheets or clean towels either.  I won't be here so I won't see it til I come home!

I'm not a super neat freak.  When Annie was alive there was almost always Golden hair on the hardwood floors you could see.  A big dog seems to create more presence whether it's their hair or  drool and Annie did like to drag toys all over the house.  Stewie, being small and short haired hardly leaves any hair that can me seen except on light colored clothes.  He doesn't drag toys around either.  Then again if he isn't let out enough he will pee or poo in the house.  So I am hoping that the boys remember to let him out often.  He must not have the ability to hold his bladder because he always seems to need to go outside.  He is like clockwork when it comes to doing "his duty".  If you miss taking him out he will go poo inside.  Simple fact.  I've decided being a shelter pooch that he clearly had no housebreaking skills.  He wasn't neutered early so he did like to "mark" on the floor.  That  cropped up when our daughters brought their kitties home.  He got along with one but not the other two.  He has really improved from the time he came to live with us to the present.  Really good!  Still he does have times when he leaves those little "tootsie rolls" in the same location.  Oh Stewie....he will miss me.  I nurture and love that little pup.  I know my Love will give him lots of attention to help with my absence.

Lastly will be my plants.  Most of the indoors and my succulents only will need one watering a week and I am telling my Love to just water them once while I am gone unless it is really hot.  Plants can be replaced and this time of year the season is beginning to change.  They should do just fine.

The men will hold down the fort and they will do just fine too.  I will enjoy hearing what goes on while I was away.....

Monday, September 12, 2011

Water, water everywhere

Google Earth.....what a web site to visit.  So glad I did this morning.

I zoomed into Venice with my 3D setting on, swooped in close to see uploaded photos that travelers have posted (awesome photos!) and found that what I thought were little streets....well they are but lots of those little streets are small canals of water.

As I said before, E. and I will land at the Venice airport near 1:30 P.M. and I figure it will take maybe an hour to find our bus and get from the airport to the Piazza di Roma where the bus lets us off.  Our idea was to walk from there to our hotel which is just a block back from St. Mark's Basilica.  We figured we could use our map and cross some bridges but I also thought there would be a few main "roads" for walking on. 

Zoom....and I see lots of roads but lots of waterways too.  So many waterways that go this way and that, swirling around and under what looks like tiny bridges.  Like little veins that go who knows where or if one can even walk along the side of this building or not.  I now understand how one could get "lost" in Venice.

Oh E. and I think it will be fun to get lost...just not the day we arrive.  Or, at least I don't want to get lost with sleep deprivation.  Or God forbid, I need to use a loo.

{Did I tell you I am bringing a roll of toilet paper?  Yes, I find European toilet paper to be rather rough.  Very much like crepe paper.  Still will have to pay to use a toilet (1 euro = $1.36), but at least it will be my soft, cushiony toilet paper.}

E. and I talked yesterday about this subject of getting to our hotel.  She is quite confident that we will have no problem finding our way.   I am sighing in my head as she is young with good eyes to read the map if needed.  I think in my head that we are on an adventure and like all good adventures being cranky from sleep deprivation or needing to use a loo or being hungry never happens.  You live in the moment of what you are doing.  You laugh.  I may have to document our walk with my camera.  Facial expressions, large circle under the eyes (mine), and the view.....

I found this online about asking directions in Venice and thought it quite humorous....

If, by chance, you don't know "where you are going to get to where you want to go" you can also ask other passers-by, but first make sure that they, too, are not "foresti" (that is, people from other parts of the world): Venetians are used to giving tourists directions and are well aware of the problems facing those who get lost in this "serenissimo" labyrinth.

One more thing: the way some of the people react may be interpreted as bad manners but here are the explanations:
- if they stop to think before replying : they are only deciding which is not only the shortest but also the easiest way to explain;
- if they say "cross the bridge, turn right, then go straight on, then turn left, then ask again": it is not because they can't be bothered to go on, but the list of directions would be impossibly long and you wouldn't be able to remember it any way;
- if you ask a couple and when they reply they give you two different sets of directions that seem completely contradictory, they are not making fun of you, it just means that different streets take you to the same destination;
- if they "study" you before telling you how long it will take you to reach your destination, they are only trying to evaluate how quickly/slowly you walk: Venetians walk much faster than tourists!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Soon, so soon......

Countdown begins tomorrow.  10 days till departure.

I know that going on a trip may seem like no big deal but first of all I am going without my Love.  Not that I can't handle a plane trip over the big wide ocean for hours and hours packed in like a sardine.  Not that I can't handle carrying my bag / backpack.  Not that I can't handle money even if it is not American.  Not that I would forget or lose my Passport.  Not that I can't sleep without him at night in a strange room.   No, I think I will be just fine.

Of course I do have butterfly's fluttering away at times when I think about getting off the airplane at the Venice airport and E. and I having to find the bus that will take us to the main area that we can find our hotel.  After all I will be drunkenly sleepy at that point crossed with an adrenaline rush of WE ARE IN VENICE!   Just a little will pass.   Then I will be bursting with the intoxication of seeing a place I have longed to see, smell, hear and taste ever since my Love talked about when he went there in 1971.   I wanted to go on our honeymoon but the heat and crowds of summer didn't appeal to either of us so we went to Florence which I fell in love with.

Once we step foot onto the streets, walkways of Venice E. and I will begin our adventure.  Yes, I bought a map, not that I can read it with the small print, but E. has perfect vision and I will follow her.  Lead on E., lead on....  How can I describe the joy of this trip!  How I only wish this could be a trip with all three of my daughters.  I could travel with each on their own and gather a different experience, a time that would open and deepen our relationships.  Someday...and someday R. will be with us too.  I know he would have loved to go but it just wasn't the time, not this trip.

E. and I on this journey to places not known till we go to our last stop, Florence,  before we fly home.  There we will go to the familiar sites, to climb to the top of the Duomo and I will feel faint and anxiety will riddle my soul as I look up at Heaven and Hell of the Last Judgement painted by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari.  On our honeymoon when my Love and I climbed the vast and what felt like endless stairs, when we came to the opening that looked out at the perimeter of the dome at the top, my stomach dropped.  I had never been so high up and on a walk area so narrow,  that hugged half way around the dome.  Those years when there was only a rail that kept visitors from plunging over.  Yes!  I shakily tried to take photos up and of down to the floor and through it all breath.  When we went back in 2001 I fretted all the way up with my family, fearing yet excited to see it all once again.  I worried about making sure someone was holding R.'s little hand as he was all of 5 years old.  Thankfully or not they had added a plexiglass screen that seemed to be about 7 ft tall.  No falling stomach still felt weak and my heart raced.  I could hardly handle this but I did and shared this experience with joy to be with this family I love so much at a place that I felt such a mystery to be drawn to.  The age, the history, the views.  Oh the we walked outside after a short steep climb up the last stairs between the walls of the dome.  Spread before us Florence.

No plexiglass in 1977
Looking down from the with my fear of heights!

Venice...yes, Venice.  Unknown except by other people's  photos and videos.  I can't imagine seeing this without my Love but I am beyond thrilled to be going even if we won't be together.  I know he understands.  I know he will be thinking of all we are seeing and doing.  He is with me, I will see for both of us.

One thing that I know to be true, you can't put off life.  You can't forever put off tomorrow and dreams.  If you do you will have only "I wish I had...." till you are blue in the face.  I don't have tile on the backside behind my what.  I don't have a new what.   I don't need it all.   I don't ask for it all.  I don't expect all.   Travel?   What does travel mean to the soul?  For me it makes me feel alive.  I know that this gift of this trip would not have happened except because of this last year.  A gift I will treasure for all the days of my life.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What to do when you have a couple of hours at the Frankfurt Airport

I was just noticing that E. and I will have a 2 hour layover at the Frankfurt Airport.  What to do, what to do.

Well wouldn't you know, they have a brochure that gives just that information.  How nice, how informative!

We can shop at a Levi's Store, wow, American clothes in Germany.

Oh good, they have The Body Shop where I can buy my lotion that I can't bring in my carry on bag. 

We can go to a Hooter's...Hooter's in Germany?  Of all American eateries why Hooter's?  They describe it as "Hooter's makes you happy!". 

How about Quicker's?  It's a food store for when you are in a hurry.  Really?  What a clever name.

tegut...City  I don't get the name but they sell organic fruit and vegies, baked good and they have a drugstore as well as carrying beauty products.  I could go here for my lotion.  Even has a an airport?  I hope it's not what I am thinking...bring a few filets to go?  Ribs?  No how about the makings for Wiener Schnitzel!

For heartburn I could go to three German sausage eateries.  E. would so appreciate my burbing on our flight to Venice.  No guess not.  So no to Erster Wiener, Hermann's and Hermann's Mobil.

Ahhh but they have a illy Cafe!    I could get some much need caffeine. Oh wait!  They have a Starbucks!!!!  Bingo I know just what I will have.....Grande latte w/nonfat milk German....Grande latte mit nonfat milch bitte!

How about an Airport Sightseeing Tour?  Yes they have that! They have 9 tours to choose from.

Close enough to touch: Airport Sightseeing Tours
This is where it's all happening and you have a front-row seat. Succumb to the fascination of flying and the wonder of seeing the big birds right up close. Our new tour round the airport includes a visit to the building site of the future Northwest runway.

There is the Cafe de luxe-Tour where you get to go to the cozy Marche restaurant and have coffee and homemade cake. 
The Fire Department-Tour where the highlight is to visit the fire department to find out how the airport's firefighters work!  
Children's Birthday Tour can eat at the cozy Marche restaurant or McDonald's!  Watch the planes take off and land and take a tour...sounds fun!

We could get a massage or our hair done.  Mine will look frightful at this point too.  All flat with electricity from the back of the seat on the plane.  Remember when they use to put those nice little covers on the back of the headrest?  I always assumed they changed them every flight.  Now I don't want to think about the possibility of head lice...aaaahhhhggggg!!!

They have two casinos!  What fun!  Blow our money before we get to Italy!!  No, think not.

I hope that it is a non-smoking airport.  Ten years ago it wasn't.  It was stiflingly inside where we waited of our flight and long lines we had to go through for Customs.  We may not have that much time after all.  I was really wanting to get that Starbucks.

I also wish this is what kind of seats we were sitting on on our flight to Frankfurt.....looks divine.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Do you facebook?

For the past two years I have enjoyed facebook.  I go on multiple times a day, have added and deleted "friends", have found friends from my childhood, connected with family close in relationship and those more distant.  I found my half brother and then my half sister through facebook and was delighted for this online ability to do that so easily.  I have "liked" musical groups, restaurants, books, clothing stores, you can find just about anything and "like" them.

I am having some grumbles with this though.  What did I do before facebook?  I use to email friends with long letters and shared photos through my Kodak site where I upload photos.  I use to write hand written letters, and to talk on the phone more.  I use to take better care of my gardening.  I use to read outside on the deck in my wicker rocking chair with a glass of ice tea in the summer and in the winter read under a down throw.  I use to play more.  Facebook filled the void when R. seemed to not want to play games or do things with me, good ole' mom.  It just filled too much of me though. 

In two years there have been many pleasures I use to do that have been sadly neglected.  What I found that has been truly mislead though is myself.  I really believed as I "added" friends to my profile, that I was going to have this amazing vast network of friends that I would call and email to.  Those nearby friends I connected back with, we have gone out to lunch or coffee.  Others are clearly not so "addicted" as I am (I said it...addicted) and appear to have a life since they aren't on all the time.  Once a weeker's, or monthly?  How can they do that?

What I believed was something that can't be done.  That virtual world of facebook is just that.  Virtual...somewhere else.  I don't think I understood the purpose or the point of facebook.  I just did it...a lot.   I feel more lonely now than I did before.  Do I really want my friendships to be via a screen photo?  I think not.  I need something in friendships more tangible.  I realize that many friends and family live far away but calling gives me a voice, a sound of laughter, ups and downs.  That screen can't do it unless I video chat / skype.  I wanted a way to make friends and build up the friendships I had, to be more personal.  It didn't happen quite that way.  I let myself down in doing this.  Facebook is just facebook.

What I need to do is go back and do it the good old fashion way.  Meet and greet, call, write, join.  I need to get into something where I will meet folks who like to do what I like to do.  I need to get out of the house and not sitting in front of my big Mac screen hoping for BFF's to happen.  I need to cultivate friendships so I can have those girlfriends who hopefully want a good old fashion girlfriend friendship too.  I want to go and shop with a friend.  I miss having someone to go do this with since my daughters are all gone.  I had built in shoppers and now I don't.  I don't have a mom to go do lunch and go shop.  How I envy a mother and daughter doing this.  Doesn't matter the age, young with little ones or those with an elderly parent, or those in between.  I am lonely and I have no one to blame but myself.  That hasn't been easy for me to think or say.

I'm decided to check facebook once a week and then just for if I am contacted.  Then I will play it by ear.  Maybe leave it alone.  I don't know yet what I ultimately will do.  I just know I have to step away on the time-waster it has become.

Signing off facebook....over and out.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Can't sleep.  It's happened off and on since Annie died.

Some nights I lay in bed, like waiting up for a teenager who is out and hasn't come home.  Waiting, waiting.  I check the clock, the minutes tick by.  She isn't coming home.

Changes of her being gone that I am missing.  I can always find my slippers and shoes.  Each paired up where I have left them the night before.  It use to be I had to look in her bed to find one.  Just one.  She never took both.  They would be tucked under her head or sometimes her nose would be almost inside the foot part, breathing in my scent.

I don't hear her shake her collar as she scratched.  Sometimes I would scold her to stop scratching in the night when she had an allergy flare up.  Sometimes it would be so irritating that I would put her cone on and remove her collar.

I miss her puppy dreams, with her legs moving in rhythmic motion as she made puppy yelps.  I liked to watch her having her dreams, wondering what she dreamt.

I don't need to lower the lid of the toilet at night.  Annie loved to drink from the toilet, but at night it was "if it's yellow, let it mellow", flushing the toilet at night is loud.  She never left water on the seat, never drooled.  Seems odd as at her water bowl she was so sloppy.  Many a night if I peed she would come in to say hello, and I would give her a love.  Happy dog with her flag waving tail.  Then she would walk out and sigh as she lay in her bed.  A deep sigh that I thought was contentment.

Annie was content.  She knew she was loved.  She had her doggy buddy and her kitty buddies.  She had her human family.  Outside was chickens and her chicken poop candy.  It's true.  She loved to pick up any chicken poop.

Another night, wide awake.  I'll fall back into slumber next to my Love.  The ache is gone, just the loneliness for her remains. 


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