The journey of a thousand miles begins with...the perfect pair of shoes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Warwick, England

Indy and I are in England!!!! Yay! We flew in yesterday and after much traveling, arrived in the absolutely adorable town of Warwick, which is pronounced WORR-ick. We are here to visit Warwick Castle, first begun by William the Conqueror in 1068. The flight from Germany was packed, but for 5 Euro, each way, how much can we complain? Well, Indy sure can, but I was just happy to fly so cheaply. Once we landed, we took a train to London, used the excellent Underground system to get to another train station and took another train out to Warwick. It was a lovely trip, with loads of lovely English countryside to look at. Once we arrived in Warwick, the incredibly sweet proprietress of Park Cottage, our excellent B&B, picked us up at the train station so we didn't have to walk through the drizzle.   The photos below are of the hotel, which was built in the 1400's and contains the original beams and floor boards.  Our room is on the second floor and has the 3 small windows at the front you can see in the photo below.  Isn't it darling?

This is our room!  It's called the Georgiana.  All the rooms are named after Countesses of Warwick. There's a single bed for Indy on the other side of the room.  The floor (remember original) slants seriously and I had to load up on the pillows last night because my head was lower than my feet!

These are photos from their website, but I'll have more when we get back home.  I've taken tons of photos, but I forgot the cable to connect the camera to my computer.  Darn it.  Okay, Indy is chomping at the bits to go to the Castle, so I'm off.  I'll see you all, with LOADS of photos when we get back.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cruise: Day 5 The Eternal City

More from our summer cruise! This is Day 5 of our fantabulous Disney Mediterranean Cruise. We ported in Civitavecchia, Italy and took a train to Rome. The little town of Civitavecchia was really cute and I wish we'd had time to explore it, but Rome called.
The train ride took about an hour and we passed through some beautiful countryside and talked about what we'd be seeing when we got to the Eternal City. Indy was super excited because we would be going to the Colosseum. The day before, after we left Naples, I attended a lecture on board about Rome and found out that the Colosseum is actually named Amphitheatrum Flavium and used to have a colossal statue nearby. People used to meet by the Colossus or at the Colosseum (amphitheater near the Colossus). When the statue fell, the name stuck and somehow we now know it at the Colosseum. And now you know.  Sort of.

Indy was overwhelmed when we emerged from the subway station and directly in front of us the Colosseum. It was teeming with people who looked like ants around a giant hill. The day was warm and sunny and perfect for exploring this beautiful ruin.

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After the Colosseum, we walked just up the road to the Forum and the Paletine Hill. The Forum is the said to be the original Rome and the Paletine Hill the part controlled by Romulus, the first king of Rome. This is where the oldest and most important buildings from ancient Rome were located. Indy loved all the fallen columns and rocks and especially the fact that it is a working archeological site. There were no archeologists on the job that day, but we could see where they were working and he wanted so badly to pull his brushes and trowel out of his pack and get to work.

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After a long day of exploring, we took the train back to Cicitavecchia and back to the ship.  We were sooooo happy to be on board because we were exhausted!  Indy had a great time and can't wait to go back to Rome.

You can see more photos from our cruise by clicking the names of the ports: MaltaTunisia, Naples.   More entries will come soon.  I have 3 more ports and the story of the last day.  Good stuff, my lovelies, good stuff.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

RTT: Why I didn't marry a magician


*Last week we were watching the season finale of America's Got Talent (I still can't believe Prince Poppycock didn't win!  Boo!  Boo, I say!) and James Bond heard them say David Copperfield would be on the last show. Here's our conversation:

JB: Did they say David Copperfield?
Me: Yes.
JB: Really? David Copperfield?  THE David Copperfield.
Me: Yes. Why? Are you a fan?
JB:  Are you kidding? He's the reason I didn't go into magic!
Me:  Wait, what?  He's....the reason you didn't go into magic?
JB:  Yeah, you can't compete with him.  He floated across the Grand Canyon!  Did you see that?
Me:  Yes.
JB:  He made a plane just disappear!  On an empty tarmac!
Me:  So before that, you were going to go into magic?
JB:  Well, it was my fall back.
Me:  You were going to be a dentist, but magic was your fall back?
JB:  Yeah, neither of those really worked out did they?  I blame the magic on David Copperfield though.  You just can't compete with that.  I'm not sure why I didn't become a dentist, but the magic is definitely  because of David Copperfield.
Me:  I think he was suppose to inspire you.
JB:  He did!  He inspired me not to go into magic.  I knew I couldn't compete.
Me: {facepalm}

*I've been having the craziest dreams lately.  Last night I dreamed I worked at a cattle ranch (wait, let that sink, working at a cattle ranch).  I went into the local bar and drank 3-4 beers (I only like the first sip of an ice cold beer and only from a bottle, so this was weird too), and I woke up, having to pee like crazy.  How unfair is that?

*I also dreamed there was a portal to another world under the bed in our guest room and for some reason Jackie Chan had to go through the portal.

*We went to a big Viking Fest this weekend.  We had just finished learning about Vikings last week, so it was perfect timing. I'll have more about this later this week, including photos.

*Why are goth kids so fascinated with going to period fairs and fests?  If they actually dressed in all black and had random things pierced 500-1000 years ago they'd probably have been burned at the stake.  I'm just saying.

*This sicks still has me down peeps.  I've got no more random. I have sadness though.  For you.  You are clearly missing out.

*Why doesn't my microwave have this button?

Hit the weird button to read the other randoms. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

More flea market goodness!!!

You guys know by now how much I love a good flea market, right? Of course you do! I had wanted to go back to Metz, France this past weekend for their big flea market, but Indy had a soccer game, so I had to put in the mom duty. A few weeks ago we had another glorious Saturday here in Heidelberg and James Bond, Indy and I went to the local flea market (they hold them once or twice a month). We slept in quite late, so by the time we got there, many of the vendors were packing up. This is great though, because you can score super deals. They'd rather make some money than pack it all up and take it home.  I found a guy with a few pieces of my favorite pattern.  He sold me 2 cups and saucers and 2 salad plates for 3 Euro:

We came across a lady with a van FULL of transferware.  Heaven!  She had been a collector for years and was now selling if off.  She had beautiful stuff.  Beautiful and expensive.  She had entire sets of Villeroy and Boch dinnerware, complete with all the serving pieces.  I wanted them, but 105 pieces costs a whole lot of Euro, and she wasn't willing to break up the sets.  She had already started packing them up, but let me peek around inside her van and I found a set that I loved!  She let me pull it out and I knew I had to have it.  I love green plates and these were beautiful.  It had 6 plates, 6 bowls (2 different, but patterns), a serving platter, 2 serving bowls, sugar, creamer and 1 small plate.

She wanted 40 Euro for the whole set, but we didn't have that much and wouldn't have paid it anyway.  I had 20 Euros and some change, and she said, that would be fine!  Huzzah!  Then, she threw in a coffee pot, sugar and creamer for free! 

For 23 Euro and some change, we came home with this:

I have to say, I'm not a big fan of the coffee pot, sugar and creamer, but James Bond likes it, and it was free, so who am I to gripe?  I did look it up on Replacements, Ltd, and it's pretty expensive.  I feel bad that she just threw it in, being that it's worth so much, but I certainly couldn't turn it down.

I can't WAIT for the next flea market!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

RTT: Old Rock Stars and Killer Shrimp


*Last week I was sort of watching The View (actually I was surfing the web, it was just on in the background) and one of their guests was Jerry Lee Lewis, who they introduced as a legendary rock star. Indy had been READING a book and looked up when they introduced him.
Indy: Isn't that guy a little old to be a rock star?
Me: He's a very famous musician and a pioneer of rock and roll.
Indy: What a pioneer?
[explanation of pioneer]
Indy: Well, he's still old.
After the interview, JLL played a couple of songs, including Great Balls of Fire. Indy's eyes got HUGE when he saw him playing the piano.
Indy: Wow! For a really old guy he sure can play the piano. I guess he could be a rock star.
Sigh.  Ah, youth.

*The ugliest shoes ever.  I could add a few to the list, but can't argue with any of them.

*OMG, John Mayer is quitting Twitter!  What ever shall we do without his pithy 140 character Tweets?!?  I would say alert the presses, but sadly, it was one of the top stories on Yahoo News.  Really?

*It's chilly here.  Yay!

*Killer Shrimp!!!!

*I got to watch the Oprah season premier today (we get it a day behind).  I'm going to miss her.  I don't like all the shows (mostly the celebrity boo hoo shows), but I watch it most days and I'm really going to be sad when it's over.  I do hope we get the Nate Burkus Show though.  I loves me some Nate Burkus. 

*Why hasn't Oprah taken me on a trip?  I'd like to go to Australia.  With John Travolta.  Especially if he dances.

*Soft German pretzels are one of the single greatest things in the world.  Seriously.

*I'm slowly decorating for fall.  I love fall!!!  It's so pretty.  And chilly.  I may have mentioned that earlier.  Huzzah!  Don't you love fall colors?

*I bought some shoes a few weeks ago (are you surprised?) that I need to show you.  Not today though.  I'm such a tease.

*Oh, oh, another good thing about fall?  Fall TV!  I can't wait for the premiers of Bones, Castle, The Big Bang Theory, Chuck, and...something else that eludes me at the moment.  It's on the tip of my brain, but I can't think of it.

*I can't juggle.  Just thought you should know.

*James Bond can juggle.  It thrills Indy when he does it.  Indy can't juggle though, and wants to try, but I'm afraid of the carnage that will happen in my house if he does.

*My stupid router keeps dropping my internet and then reconnecting.  It's so annoying.

*Is it odd that I have an entire file folder in my photos dedicated to Johnny Depp and another to Edward Cullen?  Didn't think so.

*Remind me not to eat here:

Have a lovely and random Tuesday!  Hit the weird button up at the top ^ and join the party.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hurricane Frederic, 1979

 Actual satellite photo of Hurricane Frederick Sept. 1979

It's funny the things you remember from your childhood. When James Bond and I were both 6 (and unaware that our paths would cross in 1992) and living in the same area. My dad was stationed in Pascagoula, MS, but we lived about an hour away in Daphne, AL, where both my parents had grown up, in a "garage apartment" (a two car garage with an apartment over it) on the street where half my dad's family still lived (and do to this day). James Bond was living out on Hollinger's Island, AL, where his family still lives. Since my dad was in the Navy, he had to go to his duty station, in Pascagoula and my mom and I went to my uncles house down the road.
A few days before Frederick hit, I had been in the hospital due to a very bad asthma attack. I think I may have been in ICU, but can't quite recall. I was hospitalized several times for asthma (stupid non-working lungs!) but they all kind of run together. Anyway, I got out of the hospital just a few days before Frederick hit and one of my doctors orders was that I say in a/c because the humidity was bad for my lungs. Enter Frederick.
I remember very little about the actual storm, other than laying in sleeping bags with my cousins in the long interior hallway at my aunt and uncles (we were supposed to be sleeping) and watching the huge slim southern pine trees bend so far over that they touched the ground out one of the big windows in the living room. I remember the wind howling and the rain beating against those windows. I also remember Bob Grip, one of the local news reporters for Mobile (he's still on the air, I think) standing in downtown Mobile and watching his hair move up in sheets in the wind because he had sooooo much hairspray. And really, that's it. It was a terrible storm, but really, I can't recall much.
Here's something I do remember though, in all its vivid horror. After the storm was over there was just wreckage everywhere and absolutely no electricity. It was hot. So, bloody hot. And humid. It was hard to breathe, but I did not want to go back to the hospital. They have needles there and aren't afraid to use them. Fortunately while our house was fine, the no a/c nearly killed me.
The pastor at the church we attended at the time lived up in Spanish Fort and had a generator. They graciously offered to let me stay with them (and their precious a/c which banished the terrible humidity) until the electricity was back. My mom agreed and we somehow made our way up to their house, even though the roads were badly torn up and trees were all over the place. My mom dropped me off and said she'd come get me when things were back to normal. Or, you know, as normal as they can be after such a devastating storm.
Again, I have little recollection of the time after Frederick except for one thing: milk. I hate milk. Hate it with the heat of a thousand suns (unless it's in cereal or has chocolate in it). The pastor and his wife (whose names I can't recall) put a glass of milk at my plate every freaking night with dinner. I told them I didn't like milk, but "milk makes you grow strong healthy bones" so I needed to drink it. Ack! I stared at that milk every night, practically gagging at the thought of actually drinking it. I was not allowed up from the table until the milk was gone, and since I didn't want to drink it, this usually meant it was luke warm by the time I actually got around to choking it down. Sure, I suppose I could have drunk it right away, but I was 6, what did I know? Also, there was the lingering fear that if I finished it before I was done with my meal, they might pour me more! I dreaded dinner time. I pretended to be sick. I cried, I begged, I pleaded, but to no avail. I had to drink my milk.
I was with them for a week or so and all I can remember is that damn milk. A huge, crazy, damaging hurricane ripped through the gulf coast and at the time, was the costliest hurricane to every hit, and my memories all revolve around having to drink milk. Shudder. Isn't it funny the things you remember?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11

There are so many things I could say about this day, but all the words I could say can't sum it up my feelings as beautifully as the following quote from a Harry Potter book written more than a year before the attacks.

"We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are
divided...Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our
aims are identical and our hearts are open."

-Prof. Albus Dumbledore
JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
(p.723, Scholastic Press, New York, 2000)

Never Forget. God Bless America.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Naples and Pompeii

This is a recap of day 4 of our Disney Mediterranean Cruise. Click to read about day 1 and 2 (Malta) and day 3 (Tunisia).

After our exciting day in Africa (can you believe I was in Africa???) we spent an awesome evening beginning with an amazing meal followed by a live stage show. Really, Disney knows how to treat people.

The next morning we docked in the port of Naples, Italy and saw Mount Vesuvius for the first time. We had scheduled a tour for the afternoon to Pompeii (Indy was practically bouncing up at down in anticipation), but spent the morning (after a yummy breakfast on board) in Naples. We loved Naples! It was insane! We planned to go to the Archeological museum where the frescos of Pompeii can be seen along with thousands of relics from the past. We were going to walk, but couldn’t figure it out. We eventually decided to take a cab rather than waste time. It wasn’t expensive and I’m glad we did it, because it was a crazy and exciting ride. Here are a few things we discovered in the cab: directions, one ways, speed limits and lane markings are all just suggestions in Naples; Vespas are EVERYWHERE, the noise and honking are almost overwhelming and pedestrians put their lives on the line every time they cross the street. It was crazy fun! We loved it!
At the museum, Indy was in heaven. We walked past hundred of ancient statues and artifacts and he had something to say about them all. Really. Every. Single. One. He had a theory about where it came from, or had seen it on a Discovery program or Indiana Jones movie. He talked almost constantly. Eventually he decided to get out his Indiana Jones style notebook that I got him for his 6th birthday and start drawing some of the things he was seeing. He takes this notebook almost everywhere and has drawn so many things in it. It has mummies, pyramids, flowers, leaves, gladiators, Chinese symbols, Viking shields, spiders, skulls, taped in ticket stubs…anything he can imagine that has to do with archeology in it. I found him one that has the elastic strap around it just like the ones in the IJ movies and he keeps it in his IJ sack with a sharpened pencil at all times. He drew stick figure versions of some of the statues, pots, amphora, jewelry and columns, all the while asking me how much longer before we went to Pompeii.

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After spending a good chunk of the morning in the museum we decided to walk back to the ship (because clearly the insanity that is Naples got to us). Along the way though we decided we were hungry and opted to get a real Neapolitan meal: pizza! Good grief was it good! I’ve had all kinds of pizza, in about 8 different countries, but I’ve never had pizza like this. We could see the chef in the back tossing the dough in the air and putting on the toppings before sliding it into a brick oven that was probably older than the US. James Bond ordered mushroom pizza, Indy ordered pepperoni and I ordered margherita which had fresh tomato slices, buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil leaves. It tasted like sunshine and rainbows. I’m not kidding. I wanted to weep when I was done. I was full, but sad that it was gone.

I'm going to eat it ALL!!!

My pizza
James Bond drinking the local brew

I told you I could eat it all!!!

When we got back to the ship, it was almost time for the tour, so we freshened up and went to meet the bus. Our tour guides name was Caesar (really) and our driver was Mario. I loved them both. They really did talk-a like-a thees-a! And Caesar called us all his little-a flowers. Awesome! The bus ride was about 45 minutes and Caesar told us all about the surrounding area and Mount Vesuvius. Caesar said “his people” had been there since before Vesuvius erupted in 79AD and his grandparents still farmed the land of his ancient ancestors on the other side of the mountain. Whether this is true or not, I have no idea, but it was his story and he told it well. He regaled us with stories of people who had lived and died at Pompeii and quoted bits of Pliny’s recollections of that fateful day.
Upon arrival we were first taken to a cameo factory at the base of Pompeii and got to watch a master artist carve a teeny tiny cameo from a conch shell, grab a quick snack and go to the restrooms before heading up to Pompeii. There was a short hike up the mountain and then the entrance gates were in front of us. We practically had to hold Indy back. He had his brush in one hand and his notebook in the other and was ready to go. Caesar was telling us stuff, but I couldn’t keep up because Indy kept pointing to things and going “Oh, wow! Oh, wow! Look at that! Look at that! Mom, we’re in Pompeii! This is so cool!” I couldn’t help but smile. The city itself was HUGE! I suppose I always thought of Pompeii as a tiny little village, but I was so wrong! It was a real city! A pretty big one at that. We followed Caesar to the forum, and then down several of the streets and into houses (some with their frescos intact on the walls and tiles laid perfectly on the floor). This was really unbelievable. Everywhere you looked there was something interesting to see. We went past a few bakeries, a brewery and even a “fast food” shop. We visited poor houses, moderate houses and houses of the wealthy (they knew how to live). It was interesting to see the difference in size and luxuries. One sign of wealth was having a columned garden or courtyard. Only the wealthy could afford a completely columned courtyard, but one of the moderate houses had a small courtyard with columns on 2 sides and faux painted columns (that were still visible) on the other two sides where there were walls butting up to other houses. The wealthy houses were massive, even by today’s standards, but even the poor houses weren’t too bad. They all had an open roofed, tiled courtyard just inside the door with a fountain in the floor, a main room beyond this and a garden in the back. The poor and moderate houses had a few rooms off the entry courtyard and/or the gardens, but the wealthy houses were a maze of rooms. One we went into had 17 rooms on the surviving first floor and there were stairs that led to what was once a second floor. The wealthy (and a few of the moderate) homes had their own kitchens, but the poor houses had none, so their food had to be prepared and one of the many nearby bakeries. Interesting. We also visited a public toilet. Wealthy and moderate homes had their own facilities, but poor houses generally had none and they had to use the public toilets. Ick. Pompeii was so amazing we’ve decided we much dedicate time one day to just go there for a few days. Caesar said it would take a minimum of 4 days to explore the whole city.

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When we were headed back to the bus, Caesar cracked me and Indy up. He started looked around and asked if he had all of his-a little-a flowers and then said, “I don’t-a care. I’m-a tired and we go-a now. If my little-a flowers are-a not-a here, they-a live in Pompeii. “ Fortunately we all made it back to the boat and had another fabulous meal followed by another great stage show. We slept like rocks that night, but looked forward to our next port: Civitavecchia, where we would hop a train to the Eternal City. Come back for that another day!

I'm linking this up with Amanda.

 Weekend Bloggy Reading

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

RTT: Just...stuff


*We had really strong winds for 2 days and it knocked out our interwebs and phone! Quelle horror!

*The Contessa turned 40 yesterday and we (her friends) managed to pull off a surprise party! We told her there would be a get together in our basement party room, so she was happy with that. At 5:30, another friend and I told her she had to come with us to Hugo's (a restaurant) to pick up some party trays and when we got there, all of our gal pals were waiting to surprise her. She had no idea. Her her hubby (T.O.M.) was in on it (they had family time earlier in the day) and on the way there, she made a comment about how he can't keep secrets. Oh, how we laughed.

*Who first thought to put chocolate in milk? Milk is icky, but add chocolate to it and pass me a big glass please.

*Coca-cola was originally green. Weird, huh?

*Schooling Indy is fun sometimes. Today we wrote secret messages in lemon juice and then held the paper over heat to make the words appear. He thought this was super cool. I am awesome.

*North America has a higher percentage of wilderness than Africa. North America has 38%, Africa only has 28%. Who'd have thought?

*I read somewhere that all polar bears are left handed. How would they know? It's not like they write, so, how is it determined. And really, ALL polar bears? There can't be ONE right handed polar bear? I don't buy it.

*Merideth Viera has really cute shoes on today (I'm watching the Today Show while I type).

*Because we watch the Today Show on AFN, we don't get local weather, so where the local weather should be, we get a map of the US and can hear everything they are saying "off camera." Sometimes it's pretty funny. Al frequently cracks me up.

*I'm worried about Al Roker. He's looking sick thin. I know he's been dieting and had gastric bypass, but he looks sick to me. Be okay Al!

*A guy I dated in high school sent a friend request to me on FaceBook. I told James Bond about it and asked if he thought it would be weird for me to accept. He asked if ex-bf was better looking than him. I told him no and he said "then you can be his friend." Good to know he has standards.

*Indy crawled in bed with me around 7:45 this morning and told me my bed was warm and comfortable. I remember when I was little I always loved crawling in my parents bed. I wonder what is is about your parents bed that makes it so much more comfortable and cozy than your own?

*Whenever I post something about my beloved Johny Depp (kisses), my hit counter goes up a lot.  Interesting.  I also get a lot of comments from other women saying how much they love him.  Back off.  He's mine.  I thought we had established this. 

*Finally, read carefully:

Hit the newly redesigned, but still disturbing, button at the top to read all the other random.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Could it be???

Hello my lovelies! How are you all today? Good? I hope so. You may have noticed that little Feedjit thing over <----there somewhere that tells you where all my visitors come from. I check it out every now and then. I like to see where my readers live. So, the other day I was scrolling through and ran across something that made my heart skip a beat. What was it you wonder? It was a visitor from a certain place. A place I long to go because a certain someone I adore lives there. What is this place? Well, it's Le Plan-de-la-Tour, France. You haven't heard of it? Where do you live, under a rock? Le Plan de-la-Tour is where my beloved Johnny Depp lives! He and that woman live on a vineyard near the town and make wine (we were truly meant to be!).  I'm thinking he's been missing me and just needed to check up on me.  Isn't that sweet?  I miss you too sweetums!  Call me.

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