Monday, March 30, 2009
We will be departing Rome early today as we make our way to Montecatini. On the way we will visit Assisi (St. Francis Basilica) and Siena, then continue to Montecatini (40km from Florence, spa town with many hotels). We will stay overnight in Montecatini.
Day 5, Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Today we will go on an all-day excursion to Florence including a visit to the Uffizi Museum (I am dying to see Botticelli's Birth of Venus) and Sta. Croce Church (Michelangelo's and Galileo's tombs). We will stay overnight in Montacatini.
Day 6, Wednesday, April 1, 2009
This morning we will depart from Montecatini and continue to Venice. We will stop for a morning visit of Pisa with its leaning tower and wonderful cathedral. We will also make an afternoon stop in Padua to see the famous church of St. Anthony. We stay overnight in Jesolo.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Today we arrive in Rome. Our first stop will be the hotel to freshen up, we will then start our tour with a walk around the city center. We will stay overnight in Rome.
We will spend all day sightseeing, and will be visiting sights such as the Vatican Museums and Forum Romanum. We will stay overnight in Rome.
Day 3, Sunday, March 29, 2009
Today, we will take a morning excursion to the Via Appia Antica including one of the early Christian Catacombs and the church Domine Quo Vadis (with Jesus' footprint). The afternoon will be spent on an excursion to Tivoli including Villa Adriana (Hadrian's summer residence) or Villa d'Este (Renaissance palace with gardens). We will stay overnight in Rome.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Look at all that polka-dotty goodness. And that soap...mmmm... smells so nice! Now, I'm still not sure what I did to deserve such a sweet parcel from Sharon. Maybe there's a catch to this... I'm so suspicious. Sharon said she would reveal all on her blog, but I'm impatient to know. Hmmmm.
And my luck didn't stop there. I won a giveaway at heylucy and Marné sent me a package:
Just look at that cute little bird on the envelope. Then I opened it up and found inside this beautifully decorated box containing three sweet little mushrooms.
Monday, March 23, 2009
I'm starting to sound like an old lady with my constant weather updates.
I'm doing my weekly Loser Monday update, even though I don't want to share anything this time. I've got nothing. Nope, nothing worth sharing. I think I will have to go back to Weight Watchers when I return from my trip. I just can't seem to do this on my own. When I started this Diet Challenge in January, I fully expected to be down 15 lbs by the end of March. Three months, five lbs a month. It was an achievable goal. Right now, I still have 13 lbs to go. So, my grand total loss after nearly three months is 2 lbs. Yeah yeah, I know two down is better than two up, but it's frustrating. You hear me, right?
I look in the mirror and I do not like what I see. I try on clothes and nothing seems to fit comfortably. I'm tired and I lack motivation. It's kind of a viscious cycle. I know if I could lose the weight I'd have more energy, which would motivate me to lose more or at least keep it off. FATigue indeed!
Believe me, I'm not looking for your sympathy. I don't even want a pep talk. I want the PEP not the talk. Enough talk! I'll make you (and me) a promise. When I get back home from my trip, I will attend a WW meeting and I will continue to blog about my progress every Monday as part of General Geranium's Diet Challenge 2009. But, don't forget - I won't be around for the next two Mondays. Please don't delete me, Sharon. I'm coming back, honest. I'll just be gallivanting around Europe for a couple of weeks and keeping my fingers crossed that I won't weigh even more when I get back.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
OC: Eclectic. A combination of everything I like is on my walls. My floor is not so much the result of a "style" but of laziness. I keep the other end of the room clear for painting.
NSPJ: What accomplishments are you the most proud of so far?
OC: My paintings. I love the way they've turned out. I currently have a painting on display at the University Extension Art Gallery. We went to a reception there this afternoon.
(Interviewer's note: This is the painting that is on display at the Art Gallery. It is called "Do not go gently" and is a mixed media piece. In this photo, the painting is displayed in the main office at school.)
NSPJ: Will you share with us your future plans?
OC: I plan to move to Victoria, BC and get a degree in Fine Arts with a major in Writing (perhaps screen writing) and minors in Painting and Women's Studies.
NSPJ: Are you excited to be featured on my blog today?
OC: Oh yes! It's the thrill of my life!
(Okay, she did say that sarcastically... but still...)
So there you have it folks, my offspring, my daughter, my pride and joy. And she was sooo proud to be featured as my special guest. Thanks for joining us for this Sunday edition of Not-So-Plain Jane. 'Night.
Friday, March 20, 2009
A good nap is a beautiful thing.
I can't seem to keep my eyes open in the evenings lately. I got home from work tonight, read the newspaper and promptly fell asleep sitting upright in the chair. I drifted in and out of a very uncomfortable sleep for almost two hours. It was terrible. When I finally woke up, I was groggy and disoriented. Why, I ask myself, did I not just go up and have a real lay-down on the bed? I think I was in denial and didn't want to admit I needed a nap. I had far too much to do tonight to waste time on sleep: I needed to go to the gym (didn't happen), pick out something to wear for the wedding tomorrow (haven't done that yet either), and clean the house because there isn't time tomorrow. Nothing is done and I'm ready for bed.
I've been so tired and unmotivated in the evenings lately; I haven't worked on a single project since last weekend, and I miss it. The OnlyChild has been sick all week; she's coughing and hacking and sniffling and sneezing. Poor girl. I'm not sick (knock on wood), but I feel dragged out. I wonder if it's due to this lingering winter weather. First day of Spring? Ha! Our temps are barely above freezing for a few hours a day and the snow is still covering every available surface.
I'm sooooo ready for some sunshine.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
All these cities in 10 days! Obviously, some of them are just quick tourist stops, which is just fine with me, as long as I get good pictures. I'm most excited about going to Paris because it's been #1 on my Places to Visit List since I was about 13 and, although I was born in southern England, I never crossed the Channel. Isn't that awful! My mother and I were planning to go for Spring Break when I was in grade 11, but my grandmother died the October or November before and Mum had to go back to England for the funeral, which sucked dry our travel fund. Then life just progressed at an incredible pace: university, marriage, child, more university, career in rapid succession.
Now I get to go... I'm fulfilling on my my life's goals. I definitely have plans to keep travelling, even if Mr. P isn't interested in accompanying me. It's cheaper to travel with friends anyway!
Monday, March 16, 2009
Up and down, up and down... Today down, but just by 0.5 lbs. So, I'm back to having 13.5 lbs to lose. I took a trip over to the Happy Weight Calculator and was not so happy when I left. It says I have 22.5 lbs to lose. I think I'll stick to the WW number, even if it is the top of my healthy weight range. I can reassess when (if) I ever reach that goal.
I'm off to see if I can do a loop-the-loop or walk the dog. Oh, hey, maybe I should walk the real dogs and burn off some calories.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Mr. P is downstairs watching television, a nasty habit if you ask me. TV and hockey games comprise the sum total of his hobbies right now. He used to be very active ~ a true "jock" ~ and was even, in his much younger days, scouted by two Ivy League schools in the U.S. because of his prowess on the ice. Unfortunately the scholarships they offered were too many thousands of dollars short of the required amount and his family could not afford to make up the difference, so he ended up going to university close to home and he met me. The rest, as they say, is history. Maybe.
Anyway, I digress. The point I'm making (or attempting to make) is that Mr. P will leave nothing of himself behind when his time comes to depart the earth. With the exception of a room full of sports memorabilia, there will be nothing left to say to the world, "I was here!" And I happen to think that's very sad.
You may be wondering where all this is coming from. Well, Friday night, we went to visit friends at their house. Mr. P works with the gentleman, who is in his early 60s. We very much enjoy their company, despite the age difference. When we got home that evening, the OnlyChild asked me what we had done at their house and I replied, "We sat around and talked, and I looked at Peter's stamp collection." And she laughed, "Stamps? Wow, he sounds like an interesting person." (sarcasm)
"No," I protested, "you don't understand. These aren't just stamps. They're history." Really, he has his stamps in albums, based on historical period and the album I was looking at was on the Treaty of Versailles era. He had put them all in context and annotated the layouts. It was kind of like a scrapbook, except with stamps instead of photos. I'm not interested in stamps or stamp collecting; but I am a history geek and this was a fascinating way to display the story. Plus, Peter is leaving behind a part of himself. His children, grandchildren, and so on will pore over these pages in the years to come and they will know who their dad/grandpa/great-grandpa was. He has created something that will last.
Mr. P has created collections of stuff he got from ebay and HMV (namely multiple seasons of NYPD Blue), but none that of will tell future generations anything about him, except that he liked to watch TV. Booooring.
Aren't our children lucky? They will pass down to their children the items we have created. There will be quilts and clothing, knitted scarves and sweaters, soft toys, scrapbooks, holiday decorations, and a generous stash of fabric. They will know, definitively, that their mother/grandmother/great-grandmother was a talented seamstress, and proficient knitter, a dedicated scrapbooker; a lover of red, pink, green, florals, stripes, polka dots; that she loved her family and created for them; that she wanted to be remembered after she was gone; that she believed in the power of the creative spirit. If they're really lucky, we also will pass on our talents!
And speaking of creating... It worked! My Let is Snow test block was a success and washed up well. There's only one place where it frayed a little, and I know just how to fix that.
Now, I can continue with the quilt and there will be released into the world yet another item created by me!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
This morning was annual Vet Check Up Day for Abby and Derby. This is usually not a happily anticipated excursion; in fact, Mr. P and I try to cut deals with each other to make the other person do the dirty deed. Our sweet dogs are a handful, to say the least. This time we went together and had a couple of nice surprises. First of all, the vet we used to see, who only works part-time now, was there. She's wonderful and she absolutely loves Abby and Derby because she's a Jack Russell Terrier owner herself. Then she told us that the dogs did not need the usual variety of vaccinations because the ones they had last year are valid for three years, so they only needed the bordatella (kennel cough) for when they stay at the kennel. That saved us some dollars and the pups each a pinch! All in all, it was a pretty easy visit. Even Derby behaved himself (sort of).
I made a quick trip to the fabric store this afternoon for...
... a roll of emerald green cotton thread to do the applique on my March Seasons of the Heart BOM. I used two shamrock cut-outs on the block instead of one, just to add some dimension. I found this charm square of shamrocks and cute little ladybirds. As soon as I cut into it, I smacked myself on the forehead. Why didn't I use this in the Bunny Hill block instead? I've been doing all my baskets in A Tisket a Tasket in red and this would have been perfect. Plus, I wanted to have a touch of pink in all the Seasons of the Heart blocks; I don't think pink will look good with this fabric but it would have looked great with the pale green batik I used in the other block. Arrrggghhh. Oh well... I like this block anyway. It's simple, but cute.
I also picked up this zipper to make the back of the cushion cover with my Let it Snow test block. I put together the cushion cover, washed it, and it's now in the dryer. We'll see if all those fiddly little applique pieces stay put. If it's a success, I can go ahead and finish the quilt... finally.
Poor Bernice, though. While I was sewing she was doing some strange things with the stitches. I opened her up and found what looked like a mouse's nest of lint inside her. No wonder she was protesting. I cleaned her out and she hummed along nicely after that.
I found this on my adventure to the fabric store, too.
It's a peel and stick chalkboard. The OnlyChild was looking at these last time we were there, but I wasn't paying $23.00 for one (cheap old mum). Today they were on for 1/2 price and $11.49 I don't mind spending. I think it will be a nice little Easter gift, so she'll have to wait until then to get it. Hopefully she won't read my blog before then - she usually doesn't.
Happy Saturday, my friends. Tomorrow looks like a great day for sewing!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
This morning, after I ate my oatmeal, I signed the papers to sell the house. It's breaking my heart. I had plans and dreams for this house, including a fabulous studio/sewing room in the attic.
But the place is a bit of a money pit. It's on the other side of the country from where we live so we don't get there every summer and it costs far too much to travel when we do. It's unbelievably expensive to heat in the winter so we haven't been heating it, and the effects are starting to show in the lathe and plaster walls. Plus, in the past it's caused some, um, disagreements between us because Mr. P's family lives on the Island and he always wants to drive around to visit them while I prefer not to spend all my vacation days sitting in his mother's living room watching daytime TV. Last but not least, Mr. P, who used to be a school principal, recently switched jobs and now doesn't get his summers off (he is already regretting that) so the prospects of us spending another whole summer at the house are pretty dim.
Goodbye sweet house. Goodbye future dreams. Goodbye ocean breezes.
Sigh. I know there's an upside to this somewhere and I will discover it, but for now I'm pretty bummed out. So much so that I haven't even felt like sewing for the past few days. Gasp!
(no smiley face today)
Monday, March 09, 2009
Friday, March 06, 2009
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
So, here's the banana bread. I think "bread" is a misnomer. This is loaded with sugar and fat. I usually make 2 loaves - one for home and one for work. Look at all those chocolate chips. You know I won't be eating any of this - it's on the forbidden C list. That's okay. I prefer my bananas yellow with a touch of green, not mushy.
Ciao. (I'm practicing my Italian for the trip)
Monday, March 02, 2009
Inside some of us is a thin person struggling to get out, but they can usually be sedated with a few pieces of chocolate cake. ~Author Unknown
Nearly a week has passed since I last indulged in the sweet goodness of all those things listed above. I'm not really missing them... okay, just a little maybe. But I've been good. I've been very good. So why isn't the scale rewarding me? I was actually UP 0.5 lb this morning. Hmmmmph. Maybe I should go back to eating ice cream for dinner... No, I'll just keep on trying - as we used to say at WW, maybe it will show on the scale next week!
Some of you may have been wondering whatever happened to the Let it Snow quilt I was working on, with the pine tree blocks (or maybe you have lives and hadn't even given it a thought). Anyway, I had to put it away for a few days so I could work on costumes for Open House (including a shirt for a three-headed person, a hat that looks like a tire, and a shirt covered in medals - don't ask). Open House is tonight, so I finished all that work yesterday and, after, I put together a "test block" of one of the appliqued skiers.
I used fusible web and then a tiny little straight stitch to secure all those little pieces. I also used invisible thread and I'm not sure if I like it. It's not as, um, invisible as I'd hoped it would be. But, I don't want to have to change thread after about 10 stitches either. I'm going to put some borders on this, sew it up into a pillow cover and toss it in the wash to see if it holds up.