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Archive for May, 2007

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So June is soon upon us and it bring’s a new season for another culinary adventure “Hell’s Kitchen” with Chef Gordon Ramsey….dasterdly! He is a the culinary equivalent of American Idol’s Simon Cowell….oh gastly! I can’t wait to view this year’s opening night show. Monday June 4th is the season premier. We will be standing by……with our kitchen knives…..sharpened! Then we will will miss the next two episodes, as we will be experiencing our own culinary adventures in Italia. Only eight more days!

I’m not so sure I could make it on reality TV. Although I would like to appear on CBS’s “Big Brother”, “Amazing Race”, or Survivor…I think I could survive on an island in the South Pacific. I challenge them to bring Survivor to the extreme Northeast in the winter…hehehehe….not! I may fare better with the discipline and attitude adjustments of Chef Gordon Ramsey. Maybe in another life……I’ll just have to keep working away my meager life! 😉

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Well this is the view from last night’s fishing excursion. This mountain is within 18 miles from where I live. An area known for some of the best wildlife views, fishing, hunting and hiking in the Northeast. But it is my home! I love this view. I even took photos of a moose which walked right up to us fishing last night! I will upload the photos tomorrow. I caught over twenty fish and let most of them go. The blackflies are out in full force now, so we retreated home just before dusk. All in all I had a great visit with my older brother, afterall we used to be fishing buddies and and childhood partners in crime…hehehehe.

So we are down to ten days before departure to Italy. We plan to meet up with some new friends Cyndi and Danilo while we are in Italy.

I have been corresponding with Cyndi for several months via emails and blogs. She is from Indiana, not far from where Don used to live.  We will return to Rimini or Ravenna and meet up for lunch and sightseeing with her and her husband.  I am looking forward to meeting them in person.  Only 9 more sleeps til Italy!  Ciao for now  🙂

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Gone Fishin’

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I’m headed out of work early to go fishing! Finally…..don’t worry I always throw them back!

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Well, Memorial Day 2007 is now a memory….not even a good one. If anything could go wrong this weekend it did. Friday night was fine…after work I went to purchase my fishing license…I had plans to do some brook fishing this weekend…it didn’t happen though. On Saturday afternoon we found out that my elderly Uncle Larry had fallen the night before and broke his hip and laid on the floor all night until the mailman found him on Saturday morning. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital for observation to see if they would be able to operate to repair his hip. Well at 95 years old and lots of medical complications they decided yesterday morning to take him into the OR and do the repair. Two hours later he came through with flying colors….well as flying as they can be at 95! I drove my mom to the hospital and we were there in the ICU unit when he woke up from his sedation…he was given a spinal for the surgery. So far so good no complications yet. I will keep him in my prayers. So needless to say NO fishin’ this weekend.

Our travel to Italy will soon be upon us….in 11 days to be exact. My anticipation has now peaked…..just you think it couldn’t get any higher did you? Last night I started going through my prepacking list to make sure I had everything….I’m close to be set with supplies for our travels. Since we are not having our travel guests with us, I’ve had to make a few changes to our itinerary. Don and I will meet in Boston and then fly to Milan and then to Florence together, then take a cab to our hotel in Florence. Since we have had so many problems with our Alitalia reservations we plan to be at the ticket counter when they open in Boston. I’m dreading this….but I’ll keep an open mind and stay positive! 🙂

We getting so excited….only 10 more sleeps before our trip! I did have a chance to purchase yet …another pair of shoes for my journey….on the clearance rack at The Grasshopper Shop. A pair of Clark’s Privos only mine are tomato red! Good for maneuvering the cobblestone streets of Italy!

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Well our official countdown has now begun….15 more days to romantic Italy and our next European adventure. Every night I hav cravings my favorite pasta…..carbonara, bolognese, pomodoro, vongole…etc….you get the picture? Don and I have already chosen were we are having our first evening’s meal in Florence. Osteria Il Gatto e La Volpe, near the Bargello. I will have insalata caprese and pasta carbonara. Don will probably without doubt, have his usual pizza salami piccante and tagliatella con bolognese!!! Yummy…of course I’ll have to sneek a mezzzo litre of bianco de casa di vino. And then will stop for a gelato on the back to our hotel in the Oltarano district.

We are staying at the same hotel we stayed at during last year’s visit to Florence. Our concierge Massimo gave us excellent service and great information when we needed it, besides I’ve never seen anyone hail a cab so quickly in Florence. We usually only get a cab ride from and back to the airport. We will once again this year chose to purchase a bus transport pass, where we can quickly get back and forth from where we have to park the car during our rental. The bus is also a quick way to get to the train station Santa Maria Novella on the other side of the city.

During our trip I have also allowed for a few down days for shopping and relaxing. I love to haggle with the vendors in San Lorenzo for purses and scarves, pottery as well. I drive don crazy as my eyes grow wide and my heart starts to pound few blocks away from San Lorenzo. I usually enter with an open mind and come out with a smile and several puchases. This year we have 2 grandsons to buy gifts for as well as my two great nieces. Last year I found Emma her first pair of Italian leather shoes…yellow! She finally out grew them, but when I gave them to her she refused to remove them. (She has a shoe fetish like her great auntie). So we will probably have to buy another suitcase on the street to bring home our purchases in. I’m also bringing a roll of bubble wrap this year, since we can no longer bring wine and olive oil back in our carryon’s we will have to check this luggage. I am now dreaming of Italy every night as I sleep….I swear it is the only thing that gets me through the day…..however, the nightmare continues when I dream of having to come back to the real world.

I’ve made my decision to start my Doctoral program this fall, at least another 6 years of school. I’m crazy, I know, but education is something that I can give myself as a gift. Beside if I can’t travel the world and get paid for it…then I should take advantage of more education…right? Ciao for now!

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My love for vintage music has taken me to France and Italy and back many times over. I have found that over the past 5 or 6 years I have truly enjoyed listening to the chansons of France. The great Josephine Baker, Edith Piaf, Maurice Chevalier have seduced me into a world that no longer exists today. Music has changed throughout history, but the true art of storytelling through lyrics is not often seen today. Even though last night I watched intensely as Jordin Sparks wooed the audience and stole the American Idol contest this year. Vintage music is indeed close to my heart.

I remember as a child taking my younger brother Mark to the movies at the town’s Opera House to watch the opening of Disney’s Aristocats….as we waited in anticipation that Saturday afternoon in 1970 for the opening of the movie, litcats.jpgtle did I know that Maurice Chevalier sand the title song.

Maurice Chevalier was a French born singer and actor who made his debut in Paris in the early 1900’s. His career did not end until the late 1960’s; however, he remains famous today as he was yesterday. He survived being shot in World War I and sang for the GI’s in World War II.

The beauty of his fascinating voice sends chills up my spine when I listen to his beautiful music. He sings songs about life and love, and musicals for movies as well. Some of my favorites include: I Was Lucky, La Choupetta, Valentine, Livin’ In The Sunlight, Lovin’ In The Moonlight, Moonlight Saving’s Time, and Paris, Stay The Same. I’ve loaded all my favorites on my Ipod to listen as I walk each evening. I will especially enjoy these favorites as well on our upcoming transatlantic flight in 16 days!

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Ok, so here’s the scoop, we were supposed to have some friends from Kentucky come with us on our next European adventure; however, it’s not going to happen.  Very bad news for them, because they have a very ill family member who has been given only about a month to live.  We are indeed very disappointed, but we have also decided it is the right thing for them to do. They should be given a full refund, because we all purchased travel insurance. My heart goes out to Marcia and Steve, as they have wanted to travel with us for several years now, but have not been able to get away.

Life is very disappointing sometimes. We have been so excited planning itineraries and travel routes, sights to see, shopping, wine tasting, EATING, more shopping…and enjoying the fruits of our labor. Don and I will be praying for our friends and we hope this death they will have to deal with, will soon be a memory. Death is never easy but for someone who has been suffering for years it can be a blessing…they need to be there to deal with their soon to be loss. We will make this trip like we planned, although I feel a bit of guilt for going without them.  Perhaps we will try again to bring them next year.

Don and I have had the opportunity to share lots of travel experiences with each other, but we have never enjoyed the opportunity to share our adventures with others!  We do enjoy our time alone together when we travel, but we were so excited at the propects of sharing our  travel memories….we will just have take extra care to create a perfect DVD to watch of our 2007 European Journey.

I have been anticipating the packing process for several weeks. What clothes to take and what to leave behind. We have learned over the years to pack lightly. I have limited my shoes to one pair of Merrell Sirens and a pair of Merrell sandals…..amazing huh? Shoes and purses are my downfall…..I actually don’t even bring a purse.  I use a travel type small messenger bag, and bring a small packable backpack for our day trips.  I also bring one carryon piece of luggage and one check piece as well. I always bring back with more than I left with, so I find the carryon piece a great way to bring my treasures home in. Don will bring his checked baggage with also a carryon that carries his breathing machine in it.  Can’t leave home without that! So the big question is….are we going to be screwed by Alitalia?  Which by the way, I have not heard back from them yet 😦

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