Posts Tagged ‘steve’


Saturday, August 5th, 2017

Defined as:type of fairy in Irish folk lore, depicted as bearded men who like mischief/ spend time making and mending shoes and have a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If captured by humans, they often grant three wishes in exchange for their freedom.          

I’m on the look out!

20 Years Older

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Took the Eurostar today from Brussels to London.

It was 18 years ago that Steve, Robbie, and I took it to Paris from London.

It still is amazing to spend 22 minutes of the 2 hour train trip under the English Chanel. It is actually 3 tunnels: 2 for trains and 1 small one for repair vehicles.

Lots of security (thank heavens) and so much easier than an airport. $70 apiece because we bought the tickets 4 months ago. The closer to the travel date, the more expensive the ticket. So we are winding down with a final 5 days in London.

Wow, never saw soooo many people here on Oxford Street, which is around the corner from our Victory Services Hotel for military folk.



Friday, October 31st, 2014

DSC02484Today is All Saints Day and in Italy it is a big occasion. The day has been observed in the Catholic church since the first century and it has been a national holiday since 1949. Nov 1 sees families visiting churches and grave sites and the flower of choice is the mum.

We have driven by a couple cemeteries and florists have set up temporary stands to sell bouquets and potted plants of mums. The churches are filled with mums like we fill our churches with poinsettias at Christmas. It’s a big day!

Now tomorrow is All Souls Day. Whereas Protestants believe that all Christians are saints upon the acceptance of Christ, the Catholics believe it’s just for the dead. People in Italy, clean off the grave sites, frequently eat a meal at the cemetery or set a place setting for them at home. Some regions in Italy leave food and water out for the deceased to quench themselves and this is the time the dead have a yearly window to communicate with the living.

In a couple regions of Italy, the dead bring candy to the children as a way to stay linked with the younger generations.

I like that people take time to remember those who have passed away. Steve and I lit a candle last night at the cathedral and took time to remember and reflect our grandparents and parents.

But for me, Nov. 2 is about living cause it’s my BIRTHDAY!

Tower of Terror

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 is awesome! Everyplace I reserve is a uniquely different experience.

We have returned to Florence to see the Pitti Palace and Bobboli Gardens and shop at the San Lorenzo Market (a girl can’t have too many scarves).

But we wanted a quiet place out of town yet on the bus route.

We are currently residing in an ancient tower! Circa 1120 a.d. and right on the Arno River. It was for defense and was inhabited by guards or Medici soldiers. It has been incorporated into a B & B and we lucked out with the Tower Room.

DSC02958We squeeze up an enclosed circular staircase and use our skeleton key to let ourselves into the all stone lookout. The Arno rushing by sounds like Niagra Falls. The bathroom is several steps down on a different level.

Yes, middle ages improved with indoor plumbing.

And what do you say to Steve at bed time? Night,Night,Knight!!!

Driving in Italy

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014


Hats off to Steve who usually keeps us on the road and fends off the adversarial, oncoming, out of their f-minds Italian driving maniacs. Did I make that clear?…lol)

We’ve amassed hundreds of dollars in tolls, killed millions of bugs while driving through farm land, and felt every one of the kazillion potholes those tolls are supposed to pay for. But today took the cake: three cars who all had the same idea simultaneously, let’s pass the truck ahead! Three cars abreast on a two lane jockeying to get by the large transport. Our jaws dropped open in disbelief, but they narrowly made it after seeing who would then be the leader of the pack.

Italians “take” the road.

If you hesitate or even think about being polite and letting some one cut in, BAM! it’s done and they sneak in between you and the narrowest space.

Steve has been keeping his cool while I strangle the handle and clutch at my seat belt and cease breathing. My only thrill is counting all the men who just pull over to the side of the road and let nature call. I’m still trying for a photo so you can have a visual!

We pray every day for God’s angels to protect us and the car, and indeed they have been working overtime!

On the Heel

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

When you think of the sights of Italy your mind probably does not wander to Gollipoli. Martinofranco, or even Lecce. These are the towns of the heel of Italy.

Steve got a chance to dip his toes in the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas at the same time because this is where they meet. Water as blue as could be and a warm Indian summer day.

This is where Italy and much of Europe goes to vacation, but on this October day, most is closed up and will reopen in May.

We had a lovely seafood lunch with the regional fizzy wine at the one seaside restaurant we could find and called it a good day.

warning:southern italian drivers drive like it’s a pinball game


Nettuno, Italy

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

We have sadly said good bye to Wally and Pam and “ciao” to Carol as Steve and I head to the Puglia region of Italy (think achillies heel area of the ‘boot’).

Carol’s request was to seek an American cemetery south of Rome where her Uncle Albert was supposedly buried. He was one of the many brave soldiers who came to Italy via Sicily and fought up the peninsula to recapture this land from the Germans in 1943 & 44. He was one of many, many casualties.

It was about this time that Mussolini was disenfranchised from Hitler and Italians in general didn’t want to fight anyone (and they actually changed sides).


There are (too) many fields of crosses where soldiers lay. Anywhere a U.S. soldier falls, our country knows and keeps track and honors them. There is not a blade of grass not manicured or a marker that isn’t gleaming here in Nettuno, or Florence, or Normandy or….

The dear people who watch over this particular facility knew just where to find Uncle Albert and we were escorted to the site and given Italian and American flags to place into the lawn at his grave.

It was a special and moving moment for us all, but for Carol it brought tears. She had told her family members she would find her mother’s lost older brother, but she cried because she couldn’t tell her mom. Mom passed away last week.


Hidden Venice

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

DSC02311 (300x400)Ever been to Disneyland on a holiday?  The crowds kinda take some of the fun out of it when you can’t do or see all you had hoped for because of just too many people.  That’s Venice! And don’t get me started about expensive! Gondola rides are now  more than $100 or sitting in St. Mark’s Square and ordering a glass of wine will set you back $19.

So allowing for 3 days in Venice, we settled for two and had a day in Padua instead. It’s a university town (60,000 students worth!) and it has rivers and canals and cobbled streets and market day and cheap pizza!

But Steve and I did turn a few hours in Venice into a treasure hunt and had a great time seeing things people would normally pass over. For example, among all the white pillars of the Doge’s Palace there are two pink ones. You’d miss it if you didn’t look for them. The Doge would stand there for all criminal sentencings as well as hangings. You can find the site where the scaffolding was erected because it’s across from the elaborate clock so the condemned man could see his last minute. St. Mark’s Basilica does not line up with the square, but if you seek it out, there is a medallion in the marble that is the perfect axis point to the church. We ran around the Square and the Rialto Bridge finding these sort of things in lieu of standing in lines.

So a little hide n’ seek, a dance in the middle in the square, and a gelato…we had a party Venice-style!

Parma As In Parmesian

Friday, September 12th, 2014

We are in Parma, Italy for Steve’s half marathon. But while we wait with anticipation for Sunday, we took a Cheese, Balsamic, and Prociutto Tour!

The 4 of us met our guide, Ricardo, at the first venue, which was a family-run operation of 5 people. They make about 10 rounds a day, but that consists of gallons and gallons of milk processed with rennet, thyme, and salt. Each wheel is valued at 3-4 hundred euros each! It’s hard work and nothing goes to waste as the cream makes butter to sell, and the whey is fed to pigs for prociutto. Each round is 90 pounds approximately, and is aged to perfection. The cows, feed, rennet…everything must come from this region to make this authentic Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese. And it’s all in the family, generations back to a nephew who had just come on board.

The balsamic was the same way with the minimum ageing of 12 years to a maximum of 30 years. That recipe is wine that evaporates down to a syrup in special casks. Tastes awesome, not the watery stuff you get in the grocery.

The prociutto ham was quite an education too. The ham is raw, from one of the hind legs of a 9 month old pig. Salted and hung, it dehydrates by a third and is tested multiple times for the correct curing. It too hangs around for 24 months.  

You have to have a lot of patience to eat Italian.



Hansel And Gretel Take On Salzburg

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Maria Von Trapp’s story lives on

Maria Von Trapp’s story lives on

Where were you and how old were you when you first saw The Sound of Music?

It was my 16th birthday on a very special date with a guy I had a huge crush on (Andy Andeck). We were at the Loma Theater was where all the big movies were shown in town and it would show for a year or more (Lawrence of Arabia, etc).

And don’t we know ALL the words to the music?

Heck, my wedding march was the one Maria had in the movie because it wasn’t ‘Here comes the Bride’. Well I guess that impressionable teen lives again in that today we got me a dirndl! (Steve already owns liederhosen). The women in Bavaria wear this native dress often, not as a costume but as everyday nice clothes, and men are in their deer skin pants just like any pair of shorts. It pains me to see Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer get old, but their story or rather Maria Von Trapp’s story lives on.