Monday, December 31, 2007

Continuing Travels in Croatia

Rain and thunder,and with opened umbrellas we stepped out into the early hours of "traveling day".
As we made our way to the bus stop and looking forward to the 5 hour bus tour back up the coast, we hoped that we had given ourselves enough time to arrive before boarding.
We arrived in Split and found our way across from the bus station to the Ferry line, Jarolina, to secure two tickets passage for the 2 hour ferry ride to the island of Vis.

When the ferry arrived we gathered around in the crowd of Croatians reading themselves to board with their purchases from the mainland. There were pieces of furniture to floral arrangements.
When the signal was given, after,of course, the passengers who were as eager to disembark to Terra fir ma, we all clambered aboard for the 2 hour ferry to the island of Vis.
Upon arriving, we boarded a bus for the 20 minute ride to Komiza on the other side of the island.

Our friends here in our town, have relatives who live 6 months in Komiza and 6 months in our town here in the U.S.! They put us in contact with them and they helped us to settle in an apartment with a beautiful partial view of the bay port.
We walked the waterfront and quickly acclimated to the town and dropped our bags at the apartment, and joined Tonko and Desanka for Pizza dinner at one of the outdoor restaurants along the beautiful waterfront,boats bobbing in the tide.
We were invited to meet them at "Speed Cafe" in the morning just a few feet from their front door for a Cappuccino. We eagerly accepted, and the next morning sat among the villagers and took in all the beauty of the surrounding area and people going about their business.

We made our way up the hill to the church overlooking the bay for a beautiful view and found a tour guide who was glad to set up a tour of the island for the next day.

Off to the beach for a swim to discover it was top-optional for the women, German OLDER women had no problem with this! I did not participate as I did not want to distract the men, being one of the "smaller,younger"women!!
No worries, you couldn't tell the men from the women when they were laying down... Scary!
Swam in the azure blue water which was described as "silk" and floated along with the current, up and down ,a gentle rocking,wonderful!!

After, we walked up the embankment for another beautiful view of the village.
My friend's father was born here in Komiza, and she has a painting of this beautiful village from this vantage point. I often looked at this magnificent painting in wonder, gazing at the red tilled roofs and the church and clock tower as sentinels protecting this ancient village! Now I was viewing it with my own eyes. How wonderful to have a dream come true! But the best part of the day came at sunset as we were privileged to a most magnificent one! It went on forever and each minute the hues became more jeweled! What a day!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My Little Sugar Plum

The Stockings Were Hung By The Chimney With Care

Years ago my mother made our family cross stitched stockings.
My mother had a way with a needle and could sit for hours on end doing this work of art. It truly is a work of art, as you can see by the pictures of these stockings.
The entire family has one including the Grand Children and the spouses.
As my Grand Children are born, I have decided to gift them with their very own stocking bearing their name and hand cross stitched.
My Mother has past and I now have a very dear friend who is equally gifted and that has taken on the task of many hours of stitching for this blessing to my Grandchildren.
I just finished sewing this stocking for Tegan and thought I would share the beautiful work of art that my friend Becky Foster stitched. Thank you Becky for lovingly stitching something these children will always hold dear in remembrance of the Christmas holidays!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Christmas is here!
There are only a few weeks left until the end of the year!
Every year I try to buy the kids I know a Gingerbread House to decorate. This year I was able to sit alongside my three year old Grandson, Ethan,and have the fun and privilege of helping him and watching him decorate "his own" Gingerbread House.
He did a wonderful job decorating it. At one point he looked at me and said,"These are the best treats I've ever had!" as he squeezed his hands together in delight!!
That is what it is all about!
From this year onward, we will be decorating a Gingerbread House every Christmas!
I hear that today he told his momma that he was gonna eat that house, and he meant right now!
I guess he is kinda feeling like Hansel and Gretel when they spied that gingerbread house out in the forest.

Today was our 7th annual Christmas Party for the Rag Doll Construction Company.
We meet every second Wednesday of the month.
We are a group of 6 ladies who enjoy learning about and making cloth dolls.
Whenever we gather we enjoy our time together.So I post a few pictures of our party as well as our Christmas projects.
Gotta go!! I just spotted Santa running away with a tin full of cookies!!!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Thoughts On Croatia While Traveling Down The Road

I wish I had a box of Crayola Crayons, so that I could capture the true colors of the sun reflecting upon the water; the light hitting the white buildings with the orange tiled roofs.

Each bend in the road reveals tiny hamlets of town and beach. Part turquoise against the Adriatic blue. The water invites you to dive in and float along the shoreline letting the current bob you along.

In the old port of Dubrovnik last night,I watched the boats moored there rise and fall in syncronization to the push and pull of the tide.

The sun has decided to brighten the view and our spirits after two days of bleakness.
It makes the blue of the sea vivid .
In Croatia, a soft blue has been added to the palate of dusty colors of the homes. This color is absent in Italy. Perhaps the blue has been added to pay homage to the beautiful shades of the sea which clings to the coast and inspires the fishermen who earn their living from it.

Last night as we sat at our table on the patio for dinner by the edge of the port, I thought of perhaps another night, one with a warmer,balmier breeze. A more romantic night in this foreign place. A place where so many were speaking so many different languages, enjoying the same evening.
The full moon broke through the clouds and sprinkled it's romantic beams, showing it's lovely face for those who were looking. Then, as quickly as it had appeared, that same "Bella Luna", who showed herself to us one night in the Piazza San Marco, retreated behind the fast moving clouds of the gathering storm, leaving only it's "moon glow" ribbon of light along the bottom of the clouds.
The Old Port and full moon beckon us to return and enjoy what it offers. Perhaps we will some other time.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Before this vacation was planned, Steve found an article about A town called Dubrovnik in a country called Croatia. He had a strong desire to go and check this country out.
The article in the travel section of the newspaper promised that we would not be disappointed and it was a "must see"!
Not knowing much about this country, except that it was part of Yugoslavia at one time, and that there was the very violent war between the Serbs and the Croats, and the great devastation of Bosnia-Hertzegovia, where gorgeous Sarajevo was destroyed,we got a tour book and allotted nine days for exploration.
It was nearly not enough time to see what needed to be seen.
Travel is mostly by bus or car as railway is not fully established there. You can also take boat and Ferry, if the ferry is running. At the end of the season the boats don't run as often.

We took an overnight ferry from Ancona, Italy to Split, Croatia arriving at about 7:00 am.
We quickly crossed the road at the port to the bus terminal and bought a ticket to Dubrovnik, a five hour bus ride south.
We arrived in the rain and it followed us down the coast. Even though the clouds covered the sky, the water was incredible!
We found our way to the Old Town where we had secured reservations for two days, entered the archway of the old town and were met with this beautiful water cistern/ fountain where the people still use the water. A beautiful wide marble street stretched before us and others making their way into the heart of the town.
The Old Town is surrounded by a fortress wall it is protected as it sits on the water with waves crashing against the stones protecting it.
One of the great features is that for a small price you can climb to the top of the wall and walk around the town with an excellent "bird's eye view". The view was spectacular and the rooftops being orange tile gave you that "Fairy Tale" feeling. Dubrovnik is definately a "must see" place!

The Land of Rimini, Italian Resort Fun in the Sun

On to Rimini, an Adriatic Resort town, for a few days relaxation and a quick visit to a country within a country! San Marino.

Rimini is a nice place to be. Wide avenues lined with trees, most homes Villas, beach homes for the summer.
A nice harbor for sail boats, as well as wide sandy beaches with cute bath houses owned by hotels. Bath houses with walkways to the ocean, so one won't burn one's toes in the scorching Italian sun. Spaces alloted with umbrellas and tables matching the bath houses, each color coded to show which Hotel and area of the beach you belong to.
The season was over, but I got such a kick out of the bath houses, I took a grouping of bath house pictures.
We spoke to an English couple who were on holiday and swam every day. The woman described the sea as like silk.

San Marino was intriguing to me, as one is sometimes not familiar with geography until one opens an atlas and explores. I found a wonderful picture in my Eyewitness Travel Guide to Italy, page 354 and that was all I needed to decide that this was a place to explore!

Situated on a small mountain top with beautiful panoramic vistas.

We wait for the bus at the stop to take us there, being told that tickets will be sold on board and being one of the first to be in line to assure that we will be able to take this bus and not have to wait another hour for the next.. As the crowd gathered waiting, a woman on a moped pulled up driving on the sidewalk and taking her helmet off. While all this is happening, the woman who is first in line told her husband to go to the moped. I lost something in her speaking to him in Italian, and watched thinking that it was a friend coming to join them on the short trip that we were about to make. Meanwhile, the crowd shifted to this moped that had now become a makeshift ticket booth. The moped lady had flipped the seat open to reveal a cash box and tickets. We stood there and missed the opportunity to get into this ticket line, and now people were crowding all around her we were now LAST in line!

A young girl maneuvered herself so that she became first in line. The ticket lady put her in her place. We finally got our tickets and were situated in a nice seat on the bus after all.

The whole trip this young woman was geting up and talking to the driver, we could never really figure out what it is she is needing, we go about our touring and arrive at San Marino and explore the town.

It is quite simply splendid to the eye. I had greatly desired to spend the night there but the prices were prohibitive for us on our budget. I was so glad we had not booked here. Although a very beautiful setting, everywhere we went the streets were lined with duty-free tourist shops.
I was ready to return to Rimini on the next bus leaving after touring the town.
Back at the bus stop the crowds were trippled now because it was the end of the day.

Our bus pulled into the bus area and we spied the young woman, now licking a gelato .
We felt as if we would not make the bus and as it maneuvered to park, people started to run to be one of the first to board.
Steve motioned to follow the young lady, one who obviously knew the ropes and headed around the back of the bus as it was still trying to park itself. We made a run for it following close at her heels, the correct decision as we became two of about eight at the front of the line. As the bus driver opened the door there were people passing tickets overhead including us,stretching as far as they could, tickets literally in their fingertips, as we were all separated in the rush to get into the best possible position! We were like a flock of sheep pushing to get into the bus, one by one going through the gate. The young girl/woman had lead the way and we were happy that we had followed her and were now on the bus and assured a ride back.I could only wonder what the bus driver was thinking of all of us, Italians and tourists, as he looked on. Probably that soon the tourist season would soon be over!

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Yesterday morning it started to rain, and we were delighted!
The sound of the drops of rain hitting the roof was a wonderful sound. So wonderful that I opened the deck doors to fully enjoy and hear it more clearly!
The rain forecast was for about 1/4 inch of rain. This is most welcomed as we have been in a fire hazard alert for so long. Well, it rained steadily all day. We got 2.71 inches!
We are still below our normal average rainfall. I don't really know what that really means, because "It NEVER rains in California!"
There is supposed to be yet another storm arriving, and I am looking forward to a cozy afternoon!

What The Fire Left Behind

A few weeks ago Southern California was surrounded by a ring of fire.
We had two friends who lost their homes to the Fallbrook fire.

I went by a Mobile home park where two friends from church a live.
There were 250 units in this sweet park surrounded by ancient oak trees in a cute hamlet.
50 units were left standing these friends were spared their homes amongst this rubble.

Ho Ho Ho!!! Merry Christmas!!?

I had this great idea that I would buy these Santa hats and take a really really cute picture of my Grand Kids. It is really cute, but it was very stressful trying to get the shot!

We are working remodeling our spare room for guests this Holiday season and just happened to walk outside to view this!

How many people missed this?

God displays his beauty.

Another Beautiful Sunset in California

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Gelato anyone?



A view from the top

The painting on the inside of the Duomo

Another view of the Santa Maria del Fiore

Tuscan marble of the church

View of the Duomo

View from Boboli Gardens


After being in the country for a week, it was a shock to arrive on the weekend to the throngs of tourists and citizens of Florence.

We felt like seasoned travelers as we walked away from the car rental shop with others in a panic as to where they would pick up their car or drop one off. An adult Autopia of sorts.
We arrived at Casa Rabatti and were enthusiastically greeted by Marcella who remembered us from our last visit. She gave us the big room and we settled in.

The tourists were think! Marcella told us that there were no rooms available in town ,and that she had to turn many away.

We made our way to the Ponte Vecchio and crossed the Arno to the Pitti Palace.
Having been in Florence a few times, I was looking for somewhere to go and something new to see. We had opted not to visit the Boboli Gardens in the past and so I thought that today would be a good time to view them. The gardens are part of the palace land and were probably a safe place for the aristocracy to get safely out into the fresh air and exercise.
Nothing is really said about the gardens in the tour books, and though one can wander around and have some beautiful views of the City there, the view and grounds of the Piazzale Michelangelo are about the same and free! You can spend time there also in a park like atmosphere.
I was dissappointed that the Boboli was not what I had imagined it to be... We have here in San Diego, a far better Balboa Park and it is free!
Boboli Gardens, save for being palace land was in need or manicuring, unlike the English Manor gardens I have visited.
I could not get lost emotionally there.

After a rest in the shade of one of the garden's trees we were off to challenge the 463 step climb of the Dumo as it is called of Gothic Santa Maria del Fiori cathedral.
The dome of this church is the FIRST dome to ever be constructed. All domes are modeled after Brunelleschi's.
Round and round and round we went as we climbed the steps to the top. Some of you will understand when I was praising having climbed upthe stairs up to the William Wallace memorial, and thanking God that I had walked and pushed the stroller with the grand kids up Edgehill three times a walk! It helped me to scale this monster and make it with confidence!! Part of the way up into the dome there is a walkway around the inside of the dome where you can view the frescoes closely. It is one of the largest paintings of the Renaissance, a huge Last Judgement by Vasari and Zucarri.
We were all out of breath when we stepped out on to the viewing deck not only from the climb but the view! It was breathtaking!!
The outside of the church is striking,covered with pink, green, and white Tuscan marble.
Every time we walked by this beauty,it called to be photographed!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Trick or Treat! My little Pumpkin & Tinkerbell

The Faster I Peddel the Behinder I Get

Well, here I am trying to get my life into some kind of order after a nice break away and I find myself buried under a pile of have to get dones and have to dos.

The fires a few weeks ago set me back as there is still a lot of clean up to accomplish.
Yesterday a friend helped me clean the screened in porch. It was covered with a thick blanket of ash and who knows what that had traveled through the air and deposited itself at Beverly Cottage.
Twenty years from now, we will probably come down with something for breathing in this crud.

It was so delightful to walk out to the porch and sit on the love seat and enjoy this bit of serenity after we had worked so hard!

The "Room of Creativity," is in quite a state and I shudder to open the door, yet I know that I must venture there and resume my work.

There never seems to be enough time.

I have been sorting through my digital pics of this recent trip, and thought that I would try something new with them by putting them into a book form.
The company was running a special and I wanted to compile a few pics for a friend. It took me several hours yesterday to figure how it is done, and then after several mishaps I finally was able to send the pics off to the company, but they kept re-loading!!! I finally closed the page and walked away.
This morning Itried once again, and after an hour of choosing pics and sending them. I was willing to wait and see, because I really thought this would be a great thank you to my friend. This time, can you believe it, the power went out and I lost the pics again!!!! The deadline is tomorrow, I don't have time to sit at the computer all day. Oh, well.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

View from the Hillside

Passignano Tiny back street

Exploring Tuscany

Suggestions from the Tour Book

When we were in Cortona, our plans were to drive and explore the countryside and hill towns.

The drive was beautiful through back roads, past towered hill towns with the chiming of church bells ringing through the valley,calling you to come and climb their steep streets,wander the lanes and find something that has been waiting for you to see for thousands of years!

As we drove along the road the views of towns perched on mountain sides including ours in the distance was spectacular!
Olive trees shimmered and sparkled with the sun hitting the leaves and the wind making them dance as we passed each grove.
I had wished that I had a box of crayons to capture these exciting colors that were before my eyes. The lake that we traveled around took on different hues of seafoam green to aquamarine to almost a lime color. Very vibrant!

Usually we were never up and out early so we would enter these towns at around 11:30 and the town would be closing for siesta. Lunch is a long break from 12-about 4. Shops open again until about 7:30. Bars and restaurants are usually open during lunch and then close, the bars staying open. One can get a "snack" in these bars, pannini or a slice of pizza, but usually the town is deserted as if it were a ghost town save the lively conversation coming from the shuttered window above the street. Therefore my pictures usually are people barren. I actually like it that way, because the natural beauty shows forth. I can take a picture and then when I get it back and actually look at it again, there is so much more I discover, because I am caught up in the emotion I am feeling when I see the shot.

As we discussed the Cortona expierence, we decided that Camucia, at the bottom of the hill from Cortona is ideally the best place to have a home base if "One"were to want to spend a few months renting a place. There is a train station here and a car rental. It is ideally situated with train connections to all the major cities. Rome about 2 hours, Orvieto 1 hour, Florence 2 hours, Milan 4 hours. You could call this "home" and make day trips, rent an car and see Tuscany! Sienna, Assissi and Arezzo are all reachable by train or car.

One week here and it is time to say Ciao! One last cup of Capuchino sitting watching the townspeople and tourists mill about, and we are off to Florence.


An English Garden View Into A Tuscan Dream

Our Tuscan Cottage with Farm House

Friday, October 26, 2007

Smoke Ashes and Hope

For the past week we have been glued to the television set watching as San Diego was evacuated around us.
We invited several people to come to our home and wait out the evacuation as flames licked, crept and sometimes rolled toward their targets. At one point it seemed like we would be next as the smoke seemed so thick.

Luckily our guests were very blessed in that their homes were spared and they were allowed to return to them.

Others not so fortunate are now returning to see the state of their properties and to clean up the mess that the smoke ashes and wind delivered.

The fires are not all completely contained and some are still on the rampage, but at this moment the birds are singing and we have clear air to breathe.

Our Missionaries to Mexico owned a mobile home in the mobile park in Fallbrook in which 200 out of 250 homes were burned. He thought that they had lost their home but today he was allowed to go in and see. His was spared. We breathe a sigh of relief as we see this as a blessing for them. We will have to see what is next for them as there is complete rubble around their home.
Two other friends were not so lucky. They found that the fire has ravaged their property.
One couple was returning to San Diego as they were evacuating the area they lived in , and was never allowed to go and gather belongings.

This is the story of all who are living through this calamity. One home saved another gone.

I thank the quick work of the Fire Fighters and Law Enforcement and National Guard for their commitment to us in time of need and danger.

God bless those who have lost their homes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

San Diego's Burning!!!

Yesterday morning I was woken to a call at 6:00 telling me that some friends of ours were being evacuated.
From that point on we have been glued to the television watching the movement of the fires in the area.
The Fallbrook fire is spreading as I speak and they have evacuated Rim Rock above Lawerence Welk's where a friend of mine is evacuating to my home.

We are smoky here and the wind has picked up.

Yesterday I had 3 evacuees from San Marcos here but thankfully they were able to return home.

Steve is down in Bonita near the Chula Vista fire spreading near his father's home to evacuate him. It is actually smokier here that down there. It has caused us to think our plan and gather things to move to Carlsbad.

The mobile home park off of Mi9ssion has been hit as well as Pala Mesa Resort. Several friends
homes are in that area. The Daivs' home is in there as well as my Quilting teacher's home. All of Fallbrook has been evacuated.

What do you take?

Please pray for us all. Love to you all.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Home Again, Home Again.... Tuscan Dreams Come True Part 1

We are home a week and finally catching up with our life.
The saying "It's good to be home" is so true after 24 hours of travel to get back.

We had a marvelous time, saw many beautiful and wondrous sights and met great people!

La Faina: Cortona, Tuscany

This is the name of my "little dream cottage" in Cortona where we stayed.
We arrived safely to our destination.( It always surprises me that we can follow directions in a totally foreign land and find our destination!!)

La Faina is situated on the hillside and there are 4 acres of terraces of mostly olive trees.
After setteling in we went for a walk up through the olive grove toward town. La Fiana produces it's own olive oil yearly. The trees are hand picked and cold pressed with no additives and are harvested in October. I was hoping to get a bottle to bring back, but Douglas our host forgot to bring it down to the cottage.We used his oil through the week and it was delicious!

When getting directions to walk to town I found out that the cottage was actually near to Bramasole, the home of Francis Mayes, who wrote Under the Tuscan Sun. We walked by the villa on the way home from town.
It is truly stunning and I was happy to see it from outside the gate.

Later that evening I read a book that Douglas' wife had compiled when they first bought the property. She is no longer living, but she left a wonderful handwritten book for visitors to read about the area and the property.
Jenny, Douglas' wife had met the Mayes while visiting the cottage and farmhouse when they were purchasing it from an American writer, Anne Corneilisen.
The Mayes were staying in the same cottage we were now staying in while Bramasole was being negotiated. Under the Tuscan Sun is dedicated to her.
The Mayes had thought of buying La Faina but had their hearts set on buying a Villa.
That's as close as I got to meeting them.

The cottage has a beautiful English garden and a patio where we sat out and ate dinner by candle light. The trellis above was covered with a vine with tiny white flowers that would sprinkle down and cover the table so that it was completely white like a dusting of powdered sugar, the bees humming busily gathering pollen to take back to their hives.
It was a wonderful spot to take in the spectacular view of the valley and relax.
We spent the week in town exploring and driving the countryside.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

One Week and Counting

In one week we will be embarking on our trip.
Today we called Croatia and spoke to a friend's cousin that lives in the same town as we do part of the year.
He gave us information that we thought might be the case in traveling around the country.
We will contact them when we arrive to settle plans to visit the island of Vis.
We ordered a DVD of Rick Steves on Croatia. It is going to be a beautiful trip. I can see that we will have to do a return trip to take in more of the sights and Countries in the surrounding area, because we definitely do not have enough time to see it all.
It is time to focus on packing and getting the various items together that we will be needing.
Tomorrow, I am going to get my hair cut short for the trip.
I am not worried about this, but I think that all who see me will be shocked because I have been letting my hair grow out!
With this horrible heat spell I cannot stand it any longer and know that it will be extremely easier to manage while abroad.
Ciao for now!

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Travel planning takes up a vast part of your life as you sit at the computer.
The great thing is that you have the world at your fingertips and receive answers(usually) within 24 hours.

We have the trip planned up to Croatia. We will arrive in Split by car ferry,overnight accommodations, at 6:00 a.m. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, (yea,right), and ready to take on the country!

The plan hasn't been cemented, we might just go with the flow and see where the breezes take us. We know that we definately want to spend several days in Dubrovinic, as it is a living fairy tale, as Rick Steves puts it!

We have a friend who's Aunt and Uncle summer on an island off of Split, and I am waiting to hear if we hear from them. They happen to live in the same town as we do and it would be so fantastic to see the island with them, as their family originated from this island.

The problem is that the ferrys do not run as you might wish them to as it is going off season, and we don't know the typical run of the boats.
Trying to plan when we travel to another place here is quite "iffy", so maybe we will just wait and see when we arrive.

Up the coast to Pula and Rovinj for another beautiful town on the Adriatic and Pula for some Roman Ruins,(they have a Roman Amphitheater there), Rovinj for a taste of extreme romance, and we know that we all need this, a Venietian-style coastal town, then on to Trieste and Venice for a few more romantic days and nights before heading home.

I was thinking as I was putting printed material that I had found on various Italian accommodations etc., that I should make available these findings for people to cut the time of searching down for them, the cost of $3.00 per page printed and then they could investigate the places of interest and book on their own.

Last year I helped 3 people plan their Italian vacations.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Keeping busy watching grandchildren, planning surprise parties at church and planning a wonderful vacation take up most of the time these days.

I glance back to my blog sadly to see there is only one remark to my inspired writing and stroke of a miracle.


We now have two reservations in Italy. We are returning to Florence to the place we have stayed in the past. I am determined to go to the street fair where I found the greatest primitive oils from an artist who used masonite, cardboard and wood in which to paint these scenes of Tuscany for my remembrance. They are now formally framed with custom frames and gracing the walls in my hallway. I will take pictures of my paintings and retrace my steps to the Saturday outdoor market and see if I can locate the painter, possibly purchase another painting and find out about this person!
Venice is a bit harder to get into this time. It seems that the Venice Film Festival is going on when we are there. I haven't given up hope though.
I am waiting yet one more day to book a place there because we have yet to secure our plane tickets!!! Yikes!!! let's get this party started!!

We want to go to Croatia also, and this is like totally blind planning for me.
I want to just go and ,make plans as we mosey along, but then the planner part of me needs to know that we have a place on the ferry and a date and time.

Croatia is a beautiful place, yet I haven't seen or heard much about it.
Does anyone out there know anyone who has been there? Have any of you traveled there?

I will keep you posted on our further adventures as time progresses.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007


For the past year or so I have been searching for the best places where my imagination of a fantastic vacation in Italy would take us.
Steve has wanted to go to Croatia,so I have been trying to include this side trip in on the itinerary.

I may go about this completely the wrong way, but I search rentals and bookmark them checking their availability within our date frame. When I find a winner, I discuss my findings with the flight scheduler and there you have it!

I had bookmarked three great Tuscan dream places, and carefully watched as the calendar dates became filled. I tried to tell myself that it was going to be alright, there was still plenty of time, but as the days swiftly passed,and the calendar was beginning to fill, I told Steve that now was the time to act.

Getting the OK, I excitedly e-mailed my #1 choice,and with caution to the wind told them that one of my secret dreams has been to meet Francis and Ed Mayes and tour their garden and home,just in case they knew them personally. One never knows!!!(She is the writer who wrote Under the Tuscan Sun and many other great books about Italy , and I think that they now live there in Cortona at least part of the year if not year round.)

I promptly was informed that the dates were booked,so I moved on to see if the next week was booked, to make a long story short, there was no room in the inn for us. I checked out plan #2 and it was booked also.... Sadly I went to plan #3 , requesting dates and got no response. Usually I write and the next day or two I get a response, sometimes even the next morning, as it is evening there when we arise. This I find to be very timely for communication. When I get no response after a few days (1 week to be exact,) I have to guess that they are booked .

Bummed, I don't know where to turn , we were even entertaining the thought of a cruise to Alaska at the last minute, BUT I don't want to hurry that trip. I want to plan the best trip cruise and take the train into Denali National Park and make it wonderful, just in case we don't venture that way again.and I would love to see the Northern Lights.

Once again I go to choice#1 , to sigh and dream, thinking that maybe we should postpone the Italy trip until next spring. There before my eyes are two weeks in September open. Embarassed to be the pushy American, as we are sometimes thought of, I wince and write once again to my host to see if these dates are truly open, or is it a figment of my imagination!

EUREKA!!! Someone has just canceled due to illness.( I am so sorry that they have cancelled, but this is my dream! )WE ARE IN!!!!
One week in Cortona, in a stone cottage among the cypress and olive groves with a sweet little veranda to drink our morning coffee and eat breakfast or a wonderful home made Tuscan dinner! The hosts are English and will suggest wonderful places to wander about in the Tuscan hills and towns. We can play Italian House and pretend that we live there and relax among the olive groves in splendor! Bellisimo!

The trip is taking form and I am blessed beyond belief that I get to go stay in my Tuscan Dream.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

What an Awesome Gift God has Given Grandparents

This week I have resumed watching my darling grandchildren while their mother has returned to work.
I think that the transition went well. Tuesday, Tegan spent the day with us and we enjoyed her company.I got to play and feed her and spend quality time getting to know her and her schedule
and interact with her trying to get her to react to what I was saying to her,watching her try to roll over, which she actually did for her mommie the next day!

Yesterday Ethan came for a visit and enjoyed the activities around the yard, interacted with the neighbor kids and even took a nap on the futon instead of the pack and play which he has now outgrown, but the great thing is that he STAYED on the futon and did not get up!
I used the baby monitor to listen in while he was settling in and had to laugh as he played "Here comes the creepy mouse "and tickled one of his stuffed friends. He even recited " Motor Boat, motor boat, go so slow...." How fun to listen in on a his conversation with his best friends, Panda,
Dragon Franz and Piggy.
He was a happy boy to be back for a visit for the day, and we loved having him!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"Everyone needs a Grandma"

That was the comment made by Ethan my grandson today to his mother.
He is 2 1/2!! Where does he come up with these phrases?
It's nice to know that he needs us, and will be needing us even more at the end of the month when his mommy goes back to work.

Nana and I have decided to gently step into the second phase of "sitting" by splitting the two up for the first month to see how "Miss Tegan's schedule is". Actually, I know for myself that I will need to break myself back into the 8-5 day routine.

So, out of the rafters come the baby seat and the infant part of the pack and play, replacement of batteries so said items will vibrate,swing and lights will synchronize to the music, and I sure as heck don't remember how to put the pack and play back to an infant bed after these 2 1/2 years!!

Who will sleep where? This must be carefully planned out so there is a plan.
The bottles arrived today and Ethan has a new booster seat at the table for the "Big Boy" that he is now that he has a little sister.

Ethan has now started to call me and ask where I am when the answering machine answers.Today he caught me on my cell and said," Grammie, I just woke up from my nap,can I come over now?" How can a Grandma say no to that request?
Yes, I'd say, "Everyone needs a Grandma",and I am sure blessed to have two grandchildren in my quiver.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Today, I stole away to another romantic travel spot~ England.

Ever since I saw the preview of the upcoming movie about the life and writings of Miss Beatrix Potter, I have waited with eager anticipation the release of this charmer.
It stars Renee Zellwiger and Ewan McGregor.
It did not receive great reviews, and the critics referred it to the Bridgette Jones Diary movies of Miss Zellwiger, which I feel is quite unfair!

My heart beat with excitement as I viewed the interaction of the characters including her creation of the sweet animals,that took life in her dear little books, and the beautiful countryside of the Lake District.

I am ready to be taken away to the open aired rooms of beauty, with the cool air blowing my hair, snuggled with a shawl wrapped tightly around me, the lake glistening as it captures the sun's rays beating down upon this Eden.

Wanderlust has captured me, and with each beat of my heart the longing becomes stronger~

Those dear little books I still desire to hold in my now grown up hand, the stories are so endearing, they call to be read over and over.

At one point in the movie Beatrix reaches into her paint brush collection to select the right brush. The sound of the wooden handles clicking together and the opening of the paint box showing the smear of the paint dried on the edge of the color tray; the swish of the paint swirled in the clear water revealing a blue tinge to the water as she cleans the brush, I find utterly romantic ~I ask my artist friend if this too moves her and it does.

I am now going to venture back into these dear tales and enjoy the splendid drawings and delightful personalities these characters reveal, now knowing the background life of this wonderful woman.
I"ve always wanted to meet a hedgehog~