Monday, March 31, 2008

It's Recycling Day!

I wandered back through the early days of my bloggage, and this is what I found. I got the jewelry back from Ali eventually, and we no longer have an internet camera. Britney Spears' Overprotected is not on my computer any more. Tess is now eleven, and would still tell me to quit bugging her. And finally, I am a couple months from another big move, and thus am having the nightmares and angst and gut aches that are moving...

Zeke's internet camera...

For some reason I find this little camera lens creepy. It has a little door that you can slide across the lens, and I feel the need to close it when I am at the computer. It just seems like someone is watching me, even though A) it's not on and B) who would want to watch me reading and typing?


I want my London jewelry. I realize you are one of my favorite nieces, and you have excellent taste in jewelry,but it's mine... I knew I should have checked your mom's suitcase...

Listening to Britney through headphones

Creeped me out. I am at the computer, listening to music through the headphones so Mark can hear the TV, and Overprotected by Britney Spears came on. (Don't ask why that song is downloaded onto my computer. That's not the point.) There is a lot of whispering and bouncing from speaker to speaker, and it was kinda sorta creepy. Like mindcontrol stuff, know what I mean?
The next song is Girl All the Bad Guys Want by Bowling for Soup, and I really like it. Zach hates it. But it has lyrics like :'her CD changer's full of singers who are mad at their dad". What's to hate?
Also current favorite are the Black-Eyed Peas. Yeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeah

Someone on a blog reminded me of John Prine's "Your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"... always a good song to hear when you tire of excessive patriotism displayed by people with more truck than brains...

She's EIGHT!

But she says she still feels seven. And then says quit bugging her. So, even though Tess is now eight, she's still Tess. And she's excited about her new go-cart. I will take pictures of her riding it today and post them here, so you can see what I mean. Of course, she is also thrilled with her new Action Man, who is on roller blades and carrying a big wicked sword. He is wearing a helmet, but, really, how safety conscious can you be if you roller blade with an enormous sharp dangerous object?
Hold Baggage.

A bunch of stuff left today. It said there was a much nicer family down the block and was going to live with them from now on. Or a couple of Dutch guys came and put it in boxes and then in a smallish crate and drove off with it. Same guys who unloaded our stuff three years ago, actually. One of them went to school with the lady next door. The Netherlands really is a small country.

Dishes. Pillows and bedding. TV and computer. X-Box and 31 game discs. Legos. Toys. Golf clubs and roller blades. Tools, tape, flashlight. Folding camp chairs. Stuff.

I hate moving. I especially hate the last month of a move. I walk around feeling slightly nauseated and for some reason slightly hunched over. This last part could be imagination on my part, but still. I will also now be clutching a small bright red book so that I can write down those random thoughts of stuff I still gotta do. Probably not a pretty sight.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

weekly winners.

I just spent 7 days in Italy with my 18 year old son and his high school art club. Zach and I took almost 1900 photos...Here are some of our favorites, in no particular order...

Doge's Palace, Venice


Waiting in the rain to get into St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

Along the Arno River, Firenze (Florence, in English)

Gargoyle, the cathedral at Pisa

Il Duomo, Firenze

Detail from the paintings in the dome of the Cathedral (Il Duomo), Firenze

Detail of a lion carving on a wall, Firenze.

Weekly Winners is the fevered brainchild of Lotus. More winners can be found HERE!!!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

favorite photo friday on saturday...

Here are a couple of our favorite photos from our trip. Zach has turned out to be an awesome photographer. He has an amazing eye for detail and framing, and took some really terrific photos.

Courtyard with fountain, Palazzo Vecchio, Firenze. (Zach's photo)

Sunset, Firenze.

Gargoyle on the Cathedral, Pisa.

Rain in Rome.

Detail of fountain in Piazza Navona, Rome.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Zach and I above Firenze with Il Duomo -- the Cathedral -- in the background.

One of my favorite cities ever. We spent two days in Firenze (Florence, in English). I love this city. It is the birthplace of the Renaissance and home to Michelangelo's David and so many other amazing artworks...The photo above is a replica of David, in the Palazzo della Signoria where David originally stood. (The real David was moved to the Accademia Gallery in Florence.)

The Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Firenze. It overlooks the Piazza della Signoria with the replica of David and the gallery of statues in the Loggia dei Lanzi.

The Loggia dei Lanzi is the open building with the three arches to the left. The big white statue is the fountain with Neptune.

Giambologna, The Rape of the Sabine Women. This is one of the statues in the Loggia dei Lanzi.

The fountain with Neptune as the central figure.

The entry to the Palazzo Vecchio, flanked by Michelangelo's David replica, and Hercules and Cacus by Baccio Bandinelli. (Google is my friend...).

A couple of us went into the Palazzo Vecchio. More amazing art work and spaces. I cannot imagine how they built these enormous and intricate buildings, and how they painted these huge detailed murals on the ceilings and walls. Truly stunning.

Blogger is acting up, only allowing me to upload one or two photos at a more on Firenze later...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday 13...13 photos from Venice!

Monday, no Tuesday, no, crap. I have completely lost track of the days...Italy was exhausting as well as gorgeous and fabulous....must get my journal. BRB....

Got it. It's Tuesday, March 17. We take a water taxi across to the islands of Venezia. Or Venice, as we call it...It was foggy in the morning, and it was a damp and chilly ride.

During the day, we watched the pigeons and the people in Piazza San Marco, went up the bell tower -- it was horribly windy up there, and cold. We took a bunch of photos and went back down quickly, since we were freezing our asses off. We went on a gondola ride and got a totally awesome view of Venice from canal level.

Zach found out the hard way it is not a good idea to walk under light poles with pigeons sitting on them...and he does not believe being pooped on by a pigeon is good luck.

We went into the Doge's Palace, which is part museum and part palace and totally fascinating. I took a couple photos before they told us no photos were allowed. The Bridge of Sighs connects the prison to the Doge's Palace, and legend has it the Bridge is named for the sighs of sadness of the prisoners, for the quick last glimpse of freedom they got through the windows as they were led off to their cells. (Google image Bridge of Sighs for a better idea of what it looks like, as our one photo of it is not too great...)

Now! On to the photos!

This is the fulcrum the gondoliers use with the oar to control the gondolas.

A Venetian politia...Zach did not agree with me about how attractive this particular officer was...

Columns on a balcony on the Doge's Palace. They looked all straight and even in person...

Don't stand under the light pole...

A pigeon's eye view of Piazza San Marco.

The Piazza and Venice from the bell tower.

Reflections from the water on the underside of a bridge. (We were in a gondola at the time...)

The ground floor rooms of some buildings are no longer habitable because Venice is sinking.

We didn't get a good photo of the Bridge of Sighs...1875 photos, and this is the only one of the Bridge of Sighs.

St Mark's Basilica on the left and the Doge's Palace on the right.

Taken from the gondola.

From the water taxi.

St Mark's Basilica and other buildings off the Piazza.

Zach and I on the piazza.

The sun was setting as we left Venice.

I realize this is really the Thursday FIFTEEN...but I couldn't decide which two photos to cut. So you get extra value for your TT, and I once again prove I am not so good with the rules...

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sunday, March 16 In which Mass Transportation Figures Greatly

Derelict building.

We had to be at the school at 3:30 am. Unfortunately we were flying out of Phoenix instead of Tucson and thus had a two hour school bus ride to get to Sky Harbor two hours before our flight. I really wish they would hurry up on the "Beam me up, Scotty" technology...

School buses are very uncomfortable. There is no leg room at all. Add 17 kids and 12 adults and their suitcases and carry-ons, and boy are we having some fun now.

We flew to Atlanta, then had a layover of a couple hours before flying to Milan. you know the drill. Nothing interesting in flying. Not to Italy, anyway.

And because we were on a group tour, with a bunch of Canadians who arrived after us, the first day of Italy involved driving from Milan to Venice. Milano to Venezia.

Road signs.

It was interesting, because in addition to being the center of fashion, Milan is also industrial. So we saw an interesting mix of very modern factories and offices and very old factories and buildings, with a few of those horrible glass and metal uglies from the 60's and 70's.

Modern industrial. Milan.

Old industrial. Milan.

At least we were on a tour bus. Not a great tour bus, no toilet, and not a lot of leg room. But still, we were in Italy. And it was fun to watch the traffic. Italians are insane behind the wheel. Lanes are a suggestion. If three cars fit across two lanes, then three cars drive down those three lanes. Not the best introduction to Italy. We would have preferred a more interesting day, but that's what you get with the tours. Next time, I am not going on tour.


As we went along, vineyards appeared. At first it was just small ones, tucked into any spare corners around the industrial spaces. But industry gradually gave way to agriculture, and big vineyards.


I don't know if you can really tell from this next photo, but they have farmyards that are buildings on all four sides. The home, the barn, the sheds, the chicken coops, are all around a square courtyard.

We saw many buildings that had collapsing roofs and falling down walls. It was rather surprising how many derelict or semi-derelict buildings there were. The photo at the top of this post shows a good example of this.

Eventually we made it to the Venice airport, the tour guide collected the Canadians, and we went off to the hotel. On the mainland, not on the islands of Venice. A pretty damn crappy hotel, actually. Again, I really prefer not to travel by tour...

Zach and my friend Vickie and I walked down to the beach. We were in an area that is on the Mediterranean, a big tourist area in the summer. It was really danged cold on the beach.

Zach on the beach.
I love the ocean. I love being on the edge of a big sea. The water was green, that amazing sea green color. You can see it in the photo below.

Brrr. But awesome.

Eventually we were fed some horrible food (it really was a crap hotel.), had a brief meeting about how stuff would work on the tour, and wandered off to bed. Because the next morning was a 6 am wake-up call...

Tomorrow. Venezia. Wow.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I'm Ba-ack...

The sadistic bastards at EF Tours thought it would be fun to arrange it that we get the wake up call at 2:30 AM (that is not a typo. 2:30 A frickin' M) so we could leave the hotel on top of one of Rome's seven hills to NOT catch the flight at 6:45 am.

Did you catch that? 2:30 am to catch a flight that 18 out of the 29 of us were NOT booked on.

By the way, 2:30 am Monday in Roma is 6:30 PM Easter Sunday Arizona time. Remember that detail...

We drove through the dark not so foggy but very damp Roma night to get to the Airoporto Leonardo Da Vinci in time for our 6:45 am flight to Zurich. Funny thing, that. 18 of us were NOT in fact booked on the flight home. Somebody, either at United or EF Tours, mucked things up completely and we had no way home.

The United rep who works at the Airoporto Da Vinci wasn't there, as it was way too damn early and as a little bonus, a holiday. Some Easter Monday kinda holiday thing. How handy for us.

I have no photos. Just imagine 17 people looking really cranky and tired, buried in suitcases full of dirty clothes and Italia sweatshirts, slumped in completely and utterly comfortless airoporto chairs and on the hard hard cold floor, while our fearless leader...

went a little nuts on the phone with various clueless and slightly less than helpful people. He found the number of the head of operations for EF Tours and woke her up and informed her of our situation.

She wasn't exactly happy, but I believe Mike (our fearless leader) put the fear of God or somebody into her, because she got 4 or 5 people working to get us out of Rome.

The 11 who were on the original reservations left us, to fly to Zurich to Dulles to O'Hare to Phoenix. They didn't like to leave, and we didn't like to see them go. It was tough that at the end of the tour we had to be split up.

Eventually we got on a flight to JFK in New York. Fortunately for us, the people Mike had woken up had been busy and got us on a flight to Phoenix.

In the end, we got back to Tucson around 11 pm Monday night. Like 29 hours after that wake up call. And we beat the other 11 back by two hours or so.

Yup. We started the trip 6:30 pm Easter Sunday, and finished it at 11:30 pm Monday. 29 hours in cramped planes and crowded airports and to finish, a two hour school bus ride. Woot.

Now I am stupefied by the exhaustion and jet lag. I am going to take my daughter's lunch to school, since she forgot it, and then I am going to take a nap.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

leavin' on a jet plane...

Don't know when I'll be back again...(Okay, I do know when I'll be back again. We return late on the 24th of March, so I will try to back blogging by the 26th of March. With enormous piles of photos, hopefully.)

We leave in less than 12 hours. Zach and I are very excited. But not packed! So! Have a great Easter, don't eat too many jelly beans, and I'll see you on the flip side.

Kim created this most awesome blingage! Thanks, Kim! Don't forget me while I am gone!