Wish I was there . .
My passport is ready and I can be packed in minutes.

31 October 2008

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

HAPPY ALL HALLOW'S EVE!

29 October 2008

A Saturday Wedding at Piazza del Duomo












Piazza del Duomo
The gigantic central square in front of Milan cathedral has always been a reference point for Milan's town planners. It was a meeting point for important roads before and during the Roman period. In the 4th century, it was a religious centre with the construction of the Basilica of Santa Tecla, and the Baptistry of San Giovanni alle Fonti (both demolished in the mid-14th century and their foundations can be seen below the space in front of the cathedral). Since 1386, the cathedral has been the religious and cultural centre of the city. Symmetrical porticoes line the longer sides (with the Arengario pavilions built in 1939 and the Royal Palace on the south side and Galleria on the north side). In the centre stands the equestrian statue of Vittorio Emanuele II by Ercole Rosa (1878) which was covered until a few years ago by flashing advertising signs.
-Yahoo Travel

23 October 2008

My Vacation is So Over

First, Happy Belated Anniversary PH!

Yes, yesterday was my ninth anniversary. If nine years ago, I was told me that (1) I would still be living in Florida and (2) that I quit practicing law to be a SAHM, I would have filed the appropriate motion to have you committed to a mental health facility. This so was not the plan back then. What is they say about the best laid plans?

So how does one spend her ninth anniversary? In the movies, I think (notice "think" because it's been a year since I have been to the movies) dinner, candles, flowers, and a romantic evening would all be included. Right?

5:50 AM Day of Anniversary
Awakened by 4 year old boy wanting to know if it is time to dress for his first field trip. Assure him that the bus is not leaving for many hours still and beg him to return to bed.

6:15 AM
Drag self into shower. Still sick with nasty cold/allergy. Step out of shower to find both kids sitting there babbling about anniversary present Daddy left on table and how Daddy promised they could pick two out of the present for their room.

6:22 AM
Pulled by children into living room, dressed only in a towel and admire beautiful bouquet of flowers for 1.7 seconds before children begin to dismantle flowers as Daddy has promised them two flowers for their room.

6:23-7:30 AM
Find jars for kids flowers, make breakfast, make school lunches for them and me (chaperoning the field trip), put school bag together, find check book for book fair, get kids dressed, get me dressed, paint on spackle to cover sick glow on face, kiss hubby as he returns from morning swim, and load children into car, drive to school

8:06 - 9:00 AM
Promise whiny daughter that we will try to be earlier next Wednesday so she can run the track with her classmates, yank overexcited four year old on to sidewalk as another mother driving a BWM, dressed in a white tennis outfit, and talking on her cell phone speeds through the school parking lot, drop kids at classrooms, attend book fair and purchase books for teachers and kids, run to car and pull behind bus that is being loaded with 50+ very excited four year old students.

9:01 AM - 1:30 PM
-Follow bus to "pumpkin patch" (ie church lawn with pumpkins on crates), bus decides to show kids the post office and all eighteen car following bus must make a u-turn behind the bus to see post office;
-Arrive at pumpkin patch and am immediately assigned group of kids who need a bathroom NOW, walk half a mile past "pumpkin patch" into the bowels of the the church to find restroom, restroom LOCKED, walk back half mile with children holding tight to their genitalia to find women in the pumpkin patch who has key, race back into bowels of the church with groaning children to unlock bathroom - ONE STALL, think non -church like thoughts as children jump up and down in line waiting their turn, leave bathroom door open in sign of protest;
-Spend next hour assisting children in making craft - apple with worms from a paper plate, spider on web on a paper plate, autumn leaf on a paper plate, decide that someone in church mistakenly ordered too many paper plates for the last Baked Bean Supper;
-Children then allowed to pick one pumpkin from an area of small pumpkin, somehow my kid finds the only large pumpkin on the crate and insists on carrying this gourd that weighs more than him;
-Attempt class pictures in the hay, lots of whiny by certain parents and kids, started matching parents and kids by the pitch of the whining;
-Put kids back on bus and followed it to a park. Begin to hyperventilate as (1) park is in the center of downtown, (2) there is NO FENCE between the park and traffic, and (3) bald man in green shirt is sitting in park with no apparent connection to any child there, just staring at the kids;
-Have picnic, after picnic children run and play like wild animals on swings, slides, climbing wall, etc, bald man still watching, replay in my head the statistics of sex offenders in this county - number is very high, try to keep track of my kid as well as kids I have been assigned;
-Another bus of heathens arrives at the park - third graders who are giant compared to our pre-school group, concern grows as there are nearly 90 kids on playground and I can not immediately find one of my charges, big kids are mean and play rough, kids being pushed off climbing wall and off stairs of the slide, one of my charges is kicked in head and she sits with the ice pack from my lunch above her eye, one kid falls off the climbing wall on to my kid below(thankfully mine is flexible), after numerous minor injuries, one big kids falls and it appears she make have broken a bone, finally, teachers of big kids get off the bench and gather round injured child, bald man in green shirt still present
-Preschool teachers decide to go back to school early (thank you!) but have to locate bus driver who has locked the bus and wandered off;
-Finds bus driver; load kids back onto bus, count twice to make sure we have them all, follow bus back to school, bus makes another u-turn to see the fire department;

1:43 - 5:00 PM
At school, pick up older child and take both home for a nap as gymnastic class is tonight, just sit down when Cable Guy shows up;
Why is Cable Guy at my door?
Cable Guy says I have no cable, internet or phone, I check - no cable, internet or phone,
Is Cable Guy psychic?
Call Hubby about problem, Hubby had called Cable Guy and forget to tell me, Cable Guy not psychic and I get no nap;
Anniversary dinner not made because I have to deal with Cable Guy, make kids pancakes before gymnastics;

5:00-6:30 PM
Gymnastics and Hubby calls in take out

7:00 PM
Showers, stories, and bed for kids. Headache, runny nose, and take out for me and Hubby.

Tomorrow: Mother in law and her evil yipping dog arrive for the weekend.

My party is SO OVER.

21 October 2008

What Goes Up . . .

I haven't written about the job search lately because there isn't much to say. When we started last January, we thought in a year we would have something, but that does not appear likely. What is there to say - we doubt if there will be a move anytime soon; the advanced degrees we self financed and the last ten years of a local practice have not made us marketable in a global world; we have thrown around the idea of staying but neither of us wants to admit that a move is impossible (and the thought of another ten years here leaves me breathless); we have also tossed around the idea of widening our search in the U.S. outside of the state of Maine but that requires additional exams and costs and we don't want to move just to move (does that make sense?).


Besides how dare I complain when so many are losing their jobs, homes, and future. While we may see a change in salary, we are so very fortunate compared to many others. So for now, we'll keep throwing up applications and resumes, hoping that even in this economy, somehow something will eventually filter its way down.

After taking the chairlift out of Merano, my mother and I decided to walk back down to city center. While looking at these pictures of our walk, I try to remind myself that my time in Florida is a journey, and while the walk isn't over yet, I can still take pleasure in the view. Sappy and contrite, I know, but if it get me through the day with a better attitude then I'll take it. Enjoy the walk.





20 October 2008

Ride Up







Merano is connected with the village of Tirol by a chair lift that rises up over the vineyards. The ride gives you a bird's eye view of the vineyards and the surrounding mountains.

17 October 2008

Vacation with My Mother

When planning this trip to Austria and Italy, my mother said she wanted to visit an alpine area while she still had the ability to walk around and enjoy it. I should have surmised from that statement that age is creeping up on my parents, but instead we divided the planning; she took Italy and I took Austria. My parents are just my parents - I don't think of them as senior citizens as did the lady at the entrance to Castello Principesco who asked my mother if she qualified for a discount (she did!). Subconsciously, I must have noted the change as I booked all the hotels and made all the reservations and emailed my mother a list of places to see in Merano, Italy. I guess I just thought she was too busy to put all of the information together, even though in the past she has been the planner of all vacations with my father and with her friends.

At some point, I began to recognize that even when I offered to share the load, my mother was more content to allow me to handle the driving, map planning, and daily choices. I was the one asking her if she was tired, or if she needed a break. On the day we hiked, she thought to offer to carry the pack once, but seeing her struggle to lift the half-filled navy backpack, I took it and settled it easily on my back. I listened with concern as her face reddened with exertion and her breath came quickly as we walked uphill. Somewhere -maybe before or maybe during this trip -the roles had changed. A step out of our daily routines allowed me to see it. No words of celebration needed to mark this transition.

Castello Principesco (or Landesf├╝rstliche Burg) is located in the center of Merano, Italy. The castle was completely rebuilt around 1470 and Tyrolean rulers used the castle as their residence when staying in Merano.

And how did they use this door?


Much more inviting.

Castello Principesco is a somber, rustic fortress which looks exactly as it would have 500 years ago. It was here that Ferdinand I of Austria brought his court here to wait out an epidemic raging in Austria.


Enough of the dark and damp, let's explore the streets of Merano.


The Daily Grind


But what a view!

Look Up!

Walking (and Shopping!) Streets

***All information on Castello Principesco was from http://www.initaly.com/regions/taa/merano.htm or was from information at the Castle.