Monday, September 29, 2008

Boxes of Memories

I have never scrapbooked. I just put everything that should go into scrapbooks into boxes. Lots and lots of boxes. I have two of them here with me and the memories go back to my last year or so of college, roughly 8-9 years worth of cards, letters, random pictures that never made it to photo albums, movie stubs, concert tickets, and playbills from various plays and musical I've attended. I have several more boxes of similar content with items dating back to my childhood at my parents' house that my mom would like me to take possession of  :) but so far I've avoided.

I recently decided to do a scrapbook for Les' and my wedding. This is what prompted me to dig through these memory boxes to see what I could find from our wedding. While I was searching I came across a couple of things that I thought I would share here. The first one is an email forward I received from a friend back in 2001. It was good enough to print off and put in my memory box! It still cracks me up so I thought I would post it here and then send another piece of paper to the recycle bin. (I'm so torn between hoarding stuff and hating clutter!)

Expressions for Women on High Stress Days:
  1. You - Off my planet.
  2. Not the brightest crayon in the box now, are we?
  3. Well, this day was a total waste of make-up.
  4. Errors have been made. Others will be blamed.
  5. I'm not crazy, I've just been in a very bad mood for 30 years.
  6. Allow me to introduce myselves.
  7. Sarcasm is just one more service we offer.
  8. Whatever kind of look you were going for, you missed.
  9. I'm just working here until a good fast-food job turns up.
  10. I'm trying to imagine you with a personality
  11. Stress is when you wake up screaming and you realize you weren't asleep.
  12. I can't remember if I'm the good twin or the evil one.
  13. How many times do I have to flush before you go away?
  14. You say I'm a bitch like it's a bad thing.
  15. Chaos, panic and disorder - my work here is done.
  16. Earth is full. Go home.
  17. Is it time for your medication or mine?
  18. How do I set a laser printer to stun?
  19. I'm not tense, just terribly, terribly alert.
Hopefully these made you smile and laugh a bit.  I have another story to share but it is a bit longer and needs to be retyped.  I'll save that for another day.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A different view of Rome

As part of my birthday celebration Les & I spent the weekend in Rome. Since this was my third trip to Rome I wanted to get out of the main touristy areas and explore different parts of the city.  We stayed in Trastevere, an awesome neighborhood on the west side of the Tiber River. My mom and I briefly explored this neighborhood on our last trip and I fell in love with the area.  We found a reasonably priced B&B in the area and were able to walk everywhere.

Our first day in Rome it rained...and rained and rained.  It wasn't too cold so we were still out walking around but I was bummed because I coudln't use my new camera lens in the rain.  I didn't want to damage my baby!

Day two I spent the morning on my own.  Les had a masonic event to attend so my camera and I wandered the streets of Trastevere.

Church of St. Cecilia

Inside the Church of St. Cecilia

I saw a lot of interesting graffiti on my walks...

Mosaic Tile on the floor of The Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere

My wanderings led me to the botanical gardens - Orto Botanico, near the Villa Farnesina.  It was incredibly peaceful and beautiful.

Doesn't the statue look surprised to see a lizard on its forehead?

I loved the colors of the ducks...

While I was wandering the botanical gardens Les called and let me know that he was finished for the morning and to meet him back at the hotel for lunch.  The rest of the day was a whirlwind of lunch, much walking, primping for what was supposed to be a formal evening, and then attending an event that wasn't formal (business dress at most) and outdoors on a lawn, which my stiletto-clad feet weren't happy with.  Still, it turned out to be a fun evening - good food, good wine, and even better company.

Sunday morning Les & I set out to explore Gianicolo Hill and the Jewish Ghetto.

Piazzale Garibaldi

More Lovers' Locks on Ponte Sisto

Turtle Fountain in the Jewish Ghetto - Turtles might be by Bernini

Another view of the Turtle Fountain

Layers and Textures of Rome in the Portico d'Ottavia

More ruins in the Portico d'Ottavia

A closeup of the previous picture...just playing with the awesome zoom on my lens!!

Monday morning we checkout out of our B&B (luckily they were willing to hold on to our suitcase for us for the day - we had the last flight out) and we set off toward the Spanish Steps to get in the requisite bit of touristy sights and do a bit of shopping.

Trastevere Colors

Piazza Navona

Fountains in Piazza Navona...and a resident Pigeon

And those are the highlights from our trip. This vacation - short as it was, probably ranks among the best vacations Les & I have taken together.  We had such a great time.  I think it helped that for the most part we were away from the mobs of tourists.  I was actually able to practice my Italian!!  On my first two trips to Rome I was frustrated because the locals would hear my faltering attempts at their language and just start speaking Engligh to me.  This time, they actually spoke Italian back to me!! I'd like to think that my Italian is better (maybe a bit) but I think it was mostly because we were staying outside of the snooty tourist area.  I loved it!  I enjoyed Rome on my first two visits, but on my third I fell head over feet in love with the Eternal City.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thoughts on turning 30

Last week I turned the big 3-0.  In the weeks leading up to my birthday I flipped out a little...not too bad though.  Mostly I just went on a spending spree to comfort myself as I moved out of my 20's and into my 30's.  I think the comfort shopping worked because the day of my birthday I was at peace with no longer being in my 20's .  What could I do about it anyway?  I want to age gracefully.  I know that I will never be as young again as I am right now, this instant.  I better enjoy it, right?

My birthday turned out to be wonderful.  Very low-key and relaxing.  I got to open my presents first thing in the morning, pretty much right after I woke up, and I got all sorts of good stuff. The best present was my new camera lens!!! Les bought me the Sigma 18-200 OS lens and it is AWESOME!!  Here is a picture I took of Pumpkin while I was sitting on the sofa playing with my new toy.

 I spent most of the day getting ready to leave for Rome (more about Rome in the next post). That evening we had dinner with friends at a nearby agriturismo.  It was awesome!  The food was oh so delicious and the company was even better.  It was a small party but those who were able to make it are dear to me and I was so happy to have their company on my birthday.

We didn't get that many pictures that night at dinner...and because the room was on the dark side most of them turned out blurry, but at least you can get the idea of where we had dinner.  The food just kept on coming and it was soooo good!  Thanks to everyone who made my 30th birthday wonderful!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


My dad inspires me.  Why?  Because he just crossed a major accomplishment off of his bucket list. On Friday he returned home from completing a Four Corners Motorcycle Tour of the United States.  I can't even begin to imagine all of the amazing sights he saw.  He has talked about doing this tour for years - as long as I can remember, and he finally did it!  Wow!  I'm so proud of you, daddy!

If you want to see the highlights from his trip my mom was keeping a blog of his adventures as they were recapped over the phone each day.  More pictures and stories will continue to be added now that he is home. Check it out!  Its hilarious to read, and exciting. I really enjoyed following his adventure as it unfolded and look forward to hearing more stories now that he is home.

My Daddy - no clue where, but was taken at some point during his trip

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Family

I just found a very cool website -  It lets you search using your surname and shows a map with the frequency per million of the use of that surname around the globe.

For my married name:

And my maiden name:

I thought it was very interesting and decided to share. :)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Overall, a really good weekend

This weekend was a good one.  It started off with a girls night out.  We (my girlfriends & I) ran a few errands and then stopped at the hospital to check on a friend who was having a baby.  We lucked out, got to see her, and her precious new daughter!  I even got to hold her :) I think she might have been the newest baby I've ever held...only a few hour old.  So sweet!

After visiting for a bit we had to run to the theater, we were a few minutes late for our movie - Mamma Mia!

 It was awesome!  I could watch it over and over, and will definitely be adding it to my DVD collection when it comes out.  If you like musicals and love to laugh you'll love this movie!

After the movie we went out to dinner at a nearby restuarant called Medusa's.  They have awesome food.  We sat there until just after midnight, long after our food was gone just talking and laughing.  I hadn't laughed that hard in a long time!  My jaw hurt!  It was awesome!  I need more nights (days, etc.) like that.

Saturday was Sheena's baby shower.  I had a great time hanging out with more great women.  Lots of laughs with the games and watching the kids who were there do the silly things that kids do.  Here are a few of my favorite pics from the party:

Sheena's daughter - Her little smile makes me smile!  I also love how I caught the light in her eyes, even though her hair is in her face :)

"helping" mommy open gifts

A really cool framed scrapbook layout that someone gave as a gift

Still being helpful...or wait, did she think the stuffed bunny was for her? lol

Sunday was very laid back.  Les and I switched bathrooms, which was exciting for me, as silly as it sounds.  Since we've been in this house I've had the master bath and Les has used the hall bathroom.  The main reason was because he is up so early I didn't want to be woken up by the shower. The downside to this arrangement was that the hall bathroom has the bathtub.  Les doesn't fully appreciate a bathtub, at least not like most women would. Last week, for some reason, Les used my shower in the morning.  Twice.  It didn't wake me up either time!  We decided to switch so now I have the big bathroom and bathtub!  Woohoo! Bath here I come.

Sunday evening we decided to go to a movie on base.  We ran a few errands and then went to the theater.  Unfortunately I read the schedule wrong at home.  The movie we wanted to see was playing on Saturday...not Sunday.  I was so disappointed!  We ended up eating at Applebees for dinner (not my favorite, but it wasn't bad last night).

That was pretty much it for the weekend.  It was a good one (minus missing the movie on Sunday).

Monday, September 01, 2008

An Evening in Scoglitti

Last night we decided to go to Scoglitti, a small beach town in the Ragusa province, for an evening out.  One of Les' recent acquaintances owns a restaurant there so we decided to go check it out.  It took us a little over an hour to get there and the drive was beautiful.  One area we drove through even had a state park look about it, complete with picnic areas and towering trees.  We'll definitely be going back there as the weather cools an the bugs go away.  On the way to Scoglitti we stopped in a little town for a snack.  I think it was Acate.  We took a few moments to explore their main square before jumping back in the car for the rest of the trip.

The main entrance to the church in Acate.

We arrived in Scoglitti a short time later, found a really good parking spot les than a block away from the restaurant and then set out to explore the town.  There were quite a few people out and about but other than coffee bars and gelaterias not much was open.  We walked out by the sea and out on the seawall.  There was a hint of a breeze coming off of the water but it was still very warm.

Hot days in Sicily have a way of killing any diet that I may be trying to stick too.  The only way to cool down, short of jumping into the sea is to consume copious amounts of granite and gelato.  We didn't have our bathing suits with us so what other choice did we have??  My first treat was a small cup of Almond and Cinnamon gelato.  Sooooo good! Later on in the evening I had a Gelsi granite which is, as far as I can tell, mixed berries and citrus.  Very refreshing.

As the sun went down it finally started to cool off, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it was cool outside.  We discovered a flea market and admired the old and not so old items for sale.  Fun to look at but nothing I had to bring home.  We wandered around until we knew the restaurant was open, a little after 8pm.

The food and service was wonderful at Pizza in Piazza.  It probably helped that Les knew the owner.  Tony (the owner) and Les had a great time talking about Italian and American politics in between our food courses.  I found the conversation extremely interesting.  Usually I hear about Italian politics through the few news articles I find online in English.  Hearing about the issues from an Italian was intriguing.  We arrived for dinner before the Italians started pouring in and stayed until most everyone had gone home.  Full and exhausted we headed towards home.  It was so nice to get out for a bit!