Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Classics - A Little Moody

Since last week was all Mozart-y and fun, this week I'm bringing you one of my favorite Beethoven pieces - the Symphony No. 7 in A Major Allegretto. It's starts out wonderfully moody, has a bright bridge and concludes with the same melancholy theme as in the beginning. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Is that even a word? Randomness? Spell-check says YES! Score!

I took today off in order to service my car. My lovely Paolo. I love him so. When I called to schedule the maintenance the service rep indicated that it would take several hours and I prepared myself with a book and a cup of coffee. One hour later the service rep came to tell me that everything had been taken care of as he had had two technicians work on my car in order to complete the service in double time.

Ok, great! Except that it was 9:30am and my guilty conscious was telling me that I really ought to go to the office. Ha ha, you silly guilty conscious you. Why would I go in when I've already taken the time off?

What to do, what to do.

Naturally I came home. I petered around my home and decided to look up a show I had seen advertised that is coming on in the fall - Flash Forward. It looked interesting to me based entirely upon the hot cast. Am I shallow? Why yes, I am.

Turns out this show is going to be on ABC and I promptly went to their website to view the trailer. While there, I remembered that I had not seen the last couple of episodes of LOST. I KNOW! How could I be so negligent?!? I have no excuse except that I'm lazy but everyone knows that already.

I downloaded the player and began to watch. HOLY HAND GRENADES! How freaking awesome is this show? I am more in love with it than ever. Jacob? Juliette? H-bombs? Locke dead but not dead? Who's ready for next season? I am! I am!!

And now I'm getting ready to go see a matinee of Wolverine because I love me some X-men and Hugh Jackman in particular. Also - there will be other hot men without shirts and Lord Knows I need some more hot-men-without-shirts.

So that's my random Thursday. Tomorrow I'm going to close on my house. That's right - it's sold! As long as nothing super-crazy comes my way I think I'm ready to go. Maybe I'll buy myself a bottle of champagne to celebrate. Whoo Hoo!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lazy Memorial Day

Normally I would use a three-day weekend to go see the parents, but we just finished an extended stay and besides, Muffin's dad wanted to get her for his monthly visit. That left me high and dry with tons of housework nothing to do. Boo.

A close friend from college days invited me to drive down and see her on Sunday so I pounced on that suggestion, packed my overnight bag and drove to my hometown for a stealth visit. That is, a visit that none of my family knows about. Because if they knew, I'd be visiting them instead of my friend.

We had a great visit and I received first hand experience on raising two little girls under 5. CRAZY! I don't know how you parents of two (or more) do it. I'd be completed exhausted. Possibly even more cranky than I already am. They are sweet little girls but boy can they keep a body busy!

Since her husband was around to wrangle the little ones my friend and I got our drink on. We stayed up late and shot baskets into her brand new basketball goal. What a blast! I swear I got better the more I drank. I swear!

Yesterday, she wasn't feeling too good and I could see that it was shaping up to be another busy day with two little girls and the last thing they needed was another person to entertain - so I gathered my things and said my goodbyes. Then I drove 2 1/2 hours back home and sat on the couch to watch the entire fourth season of ANTM.

That was my Memorial day. Laid back, ANTM and Pizza Bites. Hope your holiday was just as relaxing!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Classics - Mozart Sonata in D Major

Here is a piece I recently heard on a DVD I borrowed from my younger sister. Hope you recognize it Lil Sis! :)

It's a piano sonata for two pianos by Mozart. That guy was a freaking genius. Enjoy!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Man Whore

So, I realize that my descriptions of our trip to Rome have been somewhat lackluster to date and I would hate to give the impression that we didn't have a good time! Therefore, in the spirit of full disclosure I'm going to relate the man whore experience:

It was our last night in Rome. Deb and I, having finally cleaned ourselves and dressed in cute clothes, decided to have a true Roman Dinner. With lots of wine. Lots and lots and lots of wine. We went to a lovely restaurant at the top of the Spanish Steps and enjoyed two full courses as well as two bottles of wine. It was SO fantastic.

Afterwards, we decided to try and find our way to Trevi Fountain without the aid of a map. Though I kinda-sorta knew the general direction we needed to be heading I was by no means sure of the exact location. And we were pretty drunk to boot.

So, after a few fumbling attempts at asking directions, I convinced Deb to stop at a deserted bar for a glass of vino bianco and some schmoozing. I ended up drinking both of our glasses and learned that Trevi Fountain was somewhere close by. We stumbled on and (after many wrong turns) found ourselves at the famed fountain. Apparently we had turned up when the street sweepers were doing their job so while we thought we were totally alone - we actually weren't. There was a bunch of people waiting for the street sweepers to do their thing but we blithely ignored them and dipped our feet in the fountain. Then we scampered.

Finding our way to the fountain is one thing. Finding our way back to the hotel? A tad more challenging. We ran into a very friendly young man who immediately attached himself to Deb and started telling us about his Myspace page and all the lovely American ladies he has pictures of on it. Alarm bells started to go off in my drunken mind. Myspace + pictures = something bad.

I tried to dodge the little guy by ducking us into the nearest bar but, thanks to our bad luck, they were closing. On the way out we found him waiting for us. Smiling. **shudder** We explained that we were going back to our hotel at the Spanish Steps and he offered to show us how to get back as he hugged and groped us along the way.

Deb was very good natured about it. She explained that her boyfriend would not care for his "friendly" treatment and I stepped up and said that MY fictional boyfriend was a wrestler and would take. him. down. He was cheerfully unimpressed. I think he was convinced that he could con us into either taking him back to the hotel or at least shacking up with him somewhere else. Ah, the Italian confidence.

Even though hostility was virtually dripping off of me, he continued to drape himself over us and blabber on about his "Young American Lady Friends" on his Myspace page and actually took a picture of us with his cell phone. Finally we made it back to the hotel and our little friend asked if he could come up with us. We naturally turned him down flat but he persisted. At that point Deb and I basically had to flee within the hotel and hope that the porter would take care of the rubbish.

I vocalized my concern once inside the hotel - "I THINK THAT A MAN WHORE IS TRYING TO FOLLOW US!!!" Then, Deb and I shared a drunken giggle and retired to our room where we attemped to pack and finish up a bottle of wine before going to bed. Deb said to me, "I wouldn't be surprised if that dude was curled up outside the hotel waiting for us in the morning." He was so persistant.

The next day Deb was hung over and I was still drunk. Neither of us saw the little man whore lying in wait for us but that's not to say he wasn't there. We both enjoyed a good laugh and I made up a little ditty called "Man Whore" that pretty much put the icing on the cake. Well, my cake anyway.

I admit that I would have been very receptive to an Italian Romeo but confess that the little dude that wanted to put me on his Myspace page wasn't exactly what I had in mind. Still, who knows! He could have been a lot of fun. Maybe a little disease-ridden, but fun. Perhaps next time I'll keep an open mind. Or maybe I'll invest in a can of mace. :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Post Vacation Let Down

It's almost as bad as the post-Christmas let-down that I used to experience. You know, you get all worked up and excited and then - BAM - it's over and you're left with a couple of new toys and some sweaters from those family members that have no clue what to buy kids.

Coming back to work was absolutely gut-wrenching. I had clammy hands and stomach cramps on the drive in. I imagined that my Outlook Inbox would be overflowing and tons of fires to put out. Also, I was secretly afraid that my uniform might not fit after two weeks of drinking and having fun.

While the inbox was pretty full, my department succeeded in running itself fairly well without me. That should have made me feel better but I managed to feel sorry for myself because I now had proof that I was superfluous. I can take any smile and turn it into a frown. It's a gift. But hey! The uniform fit!

I promised myself to work very hard on my job applications and taking care of a few things that have fallen to the wayside like Vet visits for my mentally-challenged cats, a check-up for my faithful car Paulo and some home repairs that the city says I need to do. Also, my house could use a good cleaning/dusting after having been away for two weeks.

Now it's Thursday and the only thing I've managed to do is make an appointment for my car and sit on my ass. I'm chalking it up to post-vacation-let-down. Muffin is going to her Dad's this weekend and I'm afraid I'm going to sit on my ass some more. Maybe I'll get motivated next week. Or maybe pigs will fly out of my butt.

In the meantime, here are a few pictures taken by my traveling companion Deb. I'm still sorting through all of mine (over 400!) and trying to figure out what each piece of ancient something-or-other is so I can label them correctly. I promise Deb! I'll wrap it up this weekend!!

Pre-luggage delivery look with St. Peter's in the background:

Post-luggage delivery with the Coliseum in the background.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lost Luggage aka Bitch Fest 2009

I mentioned in my previous post that there was a problem concerning our luggage. More specifically - it was "lost" on Thursday and not returned to us until almost 10pm on Saturday. Do you know what that means? That means that dumb ole me had no clothes, no hairbrush, no anything-remotely-useful except my camera and a couple of guide books. For three days.

Here's what happened - and if you aren't interested in a timeline of events that culminates with me crying in the shower then I suggest you come back tomorrow. Fair warning! :)

OK! Thursday, my friend and I were set to fly out at 1:20pm to make a connection at JFK and arrive in Roma at 8:30am Friday morning. We boarded our plane from RDU on time and once we are all snug when the Captain comes on over the speakers to tell us that there is a "ground lock" at JFK and that he would have an update for us at 2pm. Then they unload us all and we are left to wait. Deb and I thought that we would still be in good shape to meet our connecting flight at JFK so we weren't too concerned.

At 2pm the Captain announces that we are still "ground locked" and he would have another update for us at 3pm. Deb and I exchange a look and decide to head for the counter to see what could be done. After standing in line for nearly an HOUR we get to the counter at the same time the Captain is coming back from the plane with another "update." No news - have to wait until 4pm for another update and oh-by-the-way the reason for the "ground lock" is thunderstorms. Great. Thanks, Mother Nature! Thanks for that! Yeah...

The lady at the ticket counter said she could re-route us through Cincinnati and Paris which would put us in Rome at 1:30pm. Ok, half a day lost - but at least we'll get there! Now, this is at 3pm. Our new flight leaves at 5:30pm. One would think that 2 1/2 hours would be plenty of time to move our luggage from one plane to another HOWEVER the incompetent lady at the counter kept mixing our baggage labels and descriptions up.

(Granted, we both had what is described as "black rollers" aka the 22" Black suitcase with rolly wheels that apparently every other traveler posesses. But STILL!)

Deb and I were repeatedly correcting her mistakes and she told us "Oh ladies (insert hand wave) they'll figure it out." And yet, they didn't. When we arrived in Rome there was no luggage. After waiting in another long-ass line the people at the lost luggage counter said that our luggage had flown to JFK. Fancy that. They told us we could expect it to arrive in Rome at 7:20am on Saturday.

Determined not to lose our cool (actually I'm pretty sure Deb wouldn't have lost her cool though she did mention a deep and abiding hatred of standing in lines after our experience) we were driven to our hotel and described our plight to the check-in lady. She assured us that everything would be taken care of. HA HA - we believed her, too! Silly us.

(Secretly I was certain that I was at fault for this disaster. Deb can tell you - I was absolutely OBSESSED about our luggage as soon as it was discovered that we would not make our original flight. I just KNEW something shitty was gonna happen. Though she did try and soothe me with sweet, sweet alcohol - it was to no avail. My worst nightmares came to pass.)

Now it was after 4pm. We were eight hours late with no luggage- so! - we went shopping. Deb had brought a dress and spare shirt in her carry-on but I had nothing. Neither of us had underpants or nightwear. The area around the Spanish Steps is known for high-end clothing and we were somewhat unwilling to "invest" in 30 euro panties or 60 euro nighties. Sadly, there was not a Target or Walmart to be found. Long story short (ish) we wound up at a department store that was still overpriced but hey - we got 3 euro undies and 17 euro nightgowns so we didn't feel as though we were too put out.

After that - it was time for wine. Oh boy, was it time for wine. The next day we awoke early for our tour of the Vatican and we both expected to find our luggage waiting for us when we returned. Nope! It was after 1pm and concierge said that the airline called and told him our luggage would be delivered "sometime that afternoon."

Alright, here is what was going through my mind: I firmly believed that meant our luggage would be delivered before 5pm. Because after 5pm it becomes "evening" and "evening" is different than "afternoon." In my book. But, since my book is in Americanese it is irrelevant.

So, we had lunch and some wine. Toured some churches. Took some pictures. Came back after 4pm and still no luggage. grr.

Freshened up, had dinner and some wine. Came back after 8pm and guess what? No luggage. double grr.

I was put out. I asked the concierge for a phone number so that I can make a call and find out what the fuck was going on. He told me that I should feel lucky because most people don't get their luggage for four or five days! I said "NO. I don't feel lucky." Not one tiny little bit. I stank, my clothes stank and my hair looked like I had used my own damn head to mop up engine oil for crying out loud! I want to look back at these pictures and see myself in cute little outfits! With cute hair! Dammit!!!!!

(For the record - it was at this point that I discovered how selfish and unreasonable I can be. Stupid American Tourist, indeed)

I think I must have looked as though I were about to create a scene because the concierge immediately offered to call the airline and check on the courier. I went back to my room and entered as he was calling to tell us that the luggage was picked up at 3pm and would be delivered in the next 12 or so hours. 12 OR SO HOURS?!?! I told the gentleman that this was seriously impeding my Rome experience and hung up. I couldn't think of anything cooler to say. I'm lame.

I tried to hold it together - I really did, but when I get mad and frustrated the tears just happen. So, I got in the shower and cried. Cried and cried and cried. Then, I used a hair clip to comb my hair out and put on a fluffy white robe. Ah, the first time I had felt clean in days. Deb and I were trying to decide what to do (I was leaning towards getting really really drunk) when the phone rang. It was going on 10pm and our luggage had arrived. The concierge delivered it himself because he "wanted to see the look on my face." Jackass.

And that is the tale of our luggage. We got all spiffed up, went to a wine bar and had a nice evening. The next day we toured Old Rome and the Pantheon. Loads of fun and shopping. Oh yeah, and sunburns. The Saturday trip to the Vatican was awesome too - my looking like an old french whore (SNL reference? anyone?) didn't diminish our fun at all. Deb sailed through the ordeal with flying colors and asked me the all important question "Now what did we learn from this experience?"

I'll tell you: We learned to pack an entire freaking outfit + underpants + nightwear in your carry-on as well as whatever grooming accessories you can get away with. That's what we learned. And I pass that valuable lesson on to all of you.

For the record - if I had had any inkling as to the long, fucked up delivery methods of Italian couriers I would have paid a taxi to go and fetch my luggage myself. Also, if the concierge was doing his job I believe I would have received my luggage earlier. I'm not trying to be a snob - I'm just saying that "service" means different things in different countries.

Oh yeah - and here I am at the Pantheon. In a fresh shirt. Looking kind of pregnant. Or maybe that's just my Italian food baby. Ah, the magic of clean laundry...

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm Ba-ack!

That's right. It's been forever and a day but I finally surfaced from an extended family visit as well as a trip to Rome. All in all, things are pretty much the same except that I have a nasty sunburn that has decided to get all blistery and shit. Stupid fucking sunburn.

(Actually - stupid fucking me. Because sunscreen was available and I blithely ignored it. STUPID!)

Anyway! The trip to Rome was pretty fantastic. There was a slight hitch involving my luggage which I choose to gloss over for the moment in lieu of the fact that I was in ROME! And you know what? If you're gonna suffer - it may as well be in Rome! *wink*

(let's not go into the scathing airline + hotel review I intend to file. Concierge = incompetent fool. In my book anyway.)

In closing - here is a picture of me at the Coliseum. Because - DAMN! I was at the freaking Coliseum!! Can't wait to catch up with every one's blogs! Have a great week!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday Classics - Boccherini's Minuet

Here is a fun little string piece by Luigi Boccherini - the Classical Minuet. Mr. Boccherini was a cellist and contemporary of Joseph Hayden. Can you just imagine the ladies and gentlemen dancing? Ah, courtly love...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

GAH! My computer is broken and I'm Out Of Town!

So, my computer has a glitch. Not a very serious one - unless you call not being able to access your email accounts serious. Which, I guess I do. Hmmm. I suppose that it is, after all, a pretty fucking serious glitch. I mean - WTF? I can go to my bank site, the all-important Webkinz site, the Papa John's site - but I can't go to hotmail, gmail, or google! It's bizarre.

This started over a week ago and since then I have been out of town visiting my family and trying to stay classy. I'm leaving for Rome tomorrow, Thursday. Therefore, if you stumble upon this post Thursday morning I say to you "Buon Giorno!"

I have been blessed to receive some AWE-SUMMM bloggy bling from Samsmama and Harmony! THANK YOU! Seriously - thank you so much!! I can't wait to get back and start blogging about how awesome I am. Sometimes, a gal needs a reminder - know what I mean? :)

In the meantime, please forgive my lack of presence and know that I'm thinking about you all and looking forward to wasting an entire day at work catching up. HA HA!!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Crafty Tuesday Is BACK!

I made this scarf for a friend's birthday.

She seemed pretty happy with it.

In fact, while she was opening her gift she said "oh, you didn't have to get me anything" (don't we all say that) and I replied "actually, I didn't "get" you something I..."


**insert excited movements accompanied by flamboyant flinging of scarves**

She was very enthused. I was surprised, gratified - and humble.

I made something as a gift and the gift-receiver was excited and grateful! It has to be one of the best feelings I've ever experienced. Thanks Stacey N.! I made it for you - but you made me feel like the gift-receiver.

Giving is the new Getting. In my book, anyway.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday Classics - Carnegie Hall Edition

My district high school orchestra had the distinct honor to be invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in 1990. Of course by "distinct honor" they meant "if you can afford it - you can come."

So, my high school orchestra conductor decided that we would go. There were two high schools in our school district. We practiced together every Tuesday evening and we had many fundraisers to help raise the money for our entire district high school orchestra to attend Carnegie Hall in the late spring.

I participated in nearly 100% of those fundraisers. I come from a family of four children and with four kids come four pleas for funds - especially when we are all involved with something associated with the arts. My two sisters are talented thespians, my brother and I are more musical but I also participated in debate. Which makes me a big fat dork - I own that.

So, while my siblings were selling band fruit (you know - the oranges and tangerines sold around the holidays) I sold Christmas evergreens door-to-door, participated in Strolling Strings (a performance group hired by organizations in need of musical entertainment) and sold candy at school. My experience in NYC was nothing short of magical.

Here is the piece we played. The fourth movement of Dvorak's 8th Symphony. It still brings tears to my eyes. Enjoy!