malinaldarose: (Default)
Aaaand in an odd coincidence, I just got email from the woman who led our tour group in Italy. I rather suspect that her email was hacked, since I haven't heard from her since I emailed her photos after the trip and she said she was just about to start another walking tour of Rome in the rain.
malinaldarose: (Default)
There is actually some sun out there. The forecast is calling for mid-50s and partly cloudy. (What's the difference between partly cloudy and partly sunny? Is it a glass half-full/half-empty thing?) I went for a walk this morning around the Big Block, which is about a mile. Gimpy Leg is letting me know about it, too.

I went out to dinner last evening with BFT. She and J1 have been starting to put together next summer's France trip. They're looking at adding an extra day in Paris, either before the tour begins or after it's over, because whatever we do in Paris during the tour is going to be rushed, kind of like our frantic run through Rome, in which we visited the Vatican and the Coliseum and Forum all before lunch, then did a walking tour in the afternoon that included the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, and Really Sore Feet before stumbling back to the hotel for dinner. Two years later, and it's all a blur, so I'm glad I got so many photographs.

I'm concerned about Gimpy Leg, though. I suppose I really need to go see a doctor, but ye gods and little fishhooks, do I hatehatehatehatehatehate having my lower legs and feet touched. I'd rather go to the dentist. I did all right on the Italy trip because I had been in PT right beforehand, and had heavy-duty NSAIDs . The same meds didn't really help in Montreal last summer, but I do think we did a lot more walking in Montreal because we walked almost everywhere; it's why we chose the hotel we did.

Ah, well. I'll figure it out, I guess. Or I won't, and I'll end up like poor Hazel, who missed a lot of the best stuff in Italy because she couldn't walk up and down the hills.


Apr. 15th, 2014 07:54 pm
malinaldarose: (Default)
A friend of mine at work has often told me how envious she is of my trip to Italy. She had a chance to go to Italy with her mother in 1999, but chose not to go -- partly, she tells me, because she didn't think she'd be able to put up with her sister in close quarters for a week. Her mother died a couple of years ago, and today, she brought in her mother's Italy photo album for me to look through. Her mother took the same sort of tour I did, and saw a lot of the same sights.

The really, really, really weird thing? When the tour I was on went to Florence, we diddy-bopped around Florence all day one day, then that evening went to a villa in the country -- a restaurant -- for dinner. There was live music, including a singer who wandered through the tables and managed to at least put an arm around just about every woman there, including me. (A few of the older women who actually knew how to dance got up and danced with him. There was a lot of wine that night. A lot of wine. I even had some.) Anyway, I have a photograph of this guy with one arm around me and the other around J1, singing.

Today in my friend's mother's photos, I found the same guy. Singing. It is recognizably the same man, even though there's a thirteen year gap between the photos.

In some ways, it's not a surprise at all: the villa probably makes a good chunk of their yearly income from tour groups. But in other ways...the fact that two women who didn't know each other from the same small New York town had photos of the same man -- out of all the men in Florence -- is an incredible coincidence.


Feb. 17th, 2014 12:12 pm
malinaldarose: (Default)
I am freezing my nuts off here. (I do not think that means what you think it means.) I can tell that it is actually plenty warm enough in my office, where I have spent nearly all of the morning (and it's 11:58 a.m. as I type this); the sun is shining and the furnace is on, and I think the wall furnace in the basement is also on, and that's just across the basement stairwell from where my feet are -- and there's a vent near my feet. But.... I went out a little while ago to take a few pictures, and I didn't wear gloves. And it is still quite cold out. Today's high is supposed to be 24°, but it was below zero when I first got up this morning, and it takes a while to warm up that much. So my hands and fingers and nose are all cold.

I decided that it was time and past time to get some of my Italy photos framed. I am still reluctant to hang anything on my pretty, pretty green walls -- at least until I have trim (there will never be trim, so there's little point in dithering about it), but I had bought several tabletop frames and decided it was time to do something with them. And then the printer started acting flaky. I don't think the paper feed thingummy is working correctly, or maybe it just couldn't grip the photo paper. The printer is old.... I did finally get photos printed for those frames. There are other photos that I want to print larger; these were all 4x6es. I still have one collage frame that holds 8x10s; I'm going to print three views of Venice for that, even though the matching tabletop frames have shots of Ubiquity¹ in them. I would also like to do a couple of groups: doorways, lamps/lanterns, lions (lots of stone lions), and the courtyard at Verrazzano Castle which reminds me of some of the sets in Labyrinth. And maybe some landscapes; a few of my shots from the bus are decent enough. (Have I run out of wall space, yet?)

Of course, by the time I manage to get all of these done, I'll have shots of France to put up instead.
¹ Photo cards by a local artist that I bought at the Fancy Art Shop last summer.
malinaldarose: (Default)
One of the big things we did in Florence last August was go to the Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo's David, which is an amazing, amazing sculpture. Afterward, we cycled through the restrooms and museum gift shop (where we could see through a window the courtyard where stands the replica David painted as it likely was when the sculpture was originally commissioned. It looked like a ceramics class gone wrong. It was awful. But I digress.) where I purchased a totally touristy set of little magnets, including a couple of Botticelli paintings and a photograph of David. Since returning to work after the trip, these magnets have lived in my cubicle, mostly in a line down the edge of one side of the opening. In fact, someone actually put their hand on that edge the other day and knocked David onto the floor.

Yesterday, I went in to work and David was gone. All of the other magnets were right there, right in a column, right where I left them. Only David was missing. So now I'm left wondering if some prude realized I had what was essentially a photograph of a nekkid man hanging in my cube and took it down, or if the cleaners knocked it down and it fell into the trash (we think that may be what happened to a peculiar rooster magnet that was in With An Eye's cube, because it was attached to her filing cabinet, under her desk, right next to the trash, and is now missing). Now mind you, the magnet is no longer than my finger, so you'd have to be pretty up close and personal with it to even realize what it was.

I'm a lot miffed; since photography was not allowed at all in the Gallery, that was the only photo of David that I had, and I paid for it and brought it all the way home from Italy. So if someone took it into their wee heads to be offended and stole it, I'm really pissed. Unfortunately, when it comes right down to it, it's not something that I'm going to report, because it amounts to a 50 cent magnet, and I know that I would be the one considered a trouble-maker if I said anything about it.

I think, however, that I'm going to print out another photo of David and hang it right back where the magnet was, just to see what happens....
malinaldarose: (Default)
This afternoon, Sheila had an appointment with a vet tech (less expensive than a vet appointment) to have blood drawn and her nails clipped. A while back, I bought some steps so she would be able to get into and out of the van...she wouldn't go anywhere near them. She managed to get her front half into the van, but couldn't get her rear legs up, so I had to half-lift her in. Could've been worse, I suppose. She did get too excited about getting out when we got there and frog-dogged in the parking lot. Actually, it was less frog dog and more Bambi on ice. Poor thing.

Somewhere along the line, she had also picked up a tick -- on her eyebrow of all places! -- so that came off (nasty things) and I came home with a box of Advantix (plus two free doses, since I bought an entire box). So it was not as inexpensive an appointment as I had hoped and we have to go back next month when she will be due for shots. (If I had known when I made the appointment, I'd've combined 'em.)

Tonight is the last night of photography class. We're supposed to take two photos with us and be prepared to discuss them. I have been entirely too busy this last week to even consider it. Maybe I'll take along a couple of the shots I submitted to the National Geographic contest last fall.

And speaking of photos, one of my coworkers stopped me yesterday to ask where it was that I went on my vacation last summer. When I confirmed it was Italy (as she thought she remembered), she told me about the project that her daughter is working on for school, all about Italy. Well, strictly speaking, she is working on it for her daughter. And, really, it does seem like rather a hefty amount of work for an eight year old. Not only does she have to prepare a spoken presentation accompanied by a visual presentation, she has to know about Italian food, government, money, language, and various other aspects. I never had a project like that until I was in high school (this child is in third grade). Anyway, long story short, I gave her some of my pictures of Pisa and the Colo Colli Flavian Amphitheater, and a handful of the coins I brought home. Alas, most of the coins I had weren't minted in Italy, but in Greece, I think. The teeny-tiny penny was Italian (it had a picture of the Colo Colli Flavian Amphitheater on the back). The report back this morning was that she was pleased to get the pictures, but when she found out that they were taken by someone who was actually in Italy, OMG!, she was utterly delighted.

And, lo, my photographs are a success.
malinaldarose: (Default)
I changed my desktop last night from a doorway in Florence near the duomo (arigato) to a photo of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice (of which I have a lot of photos, probably because our hotel was nearish to it, and because, well, it's photogenic), taken from a gondola. The UPS guy who delivers uptown needed me to sign for a package yesterday, as he came in during the noon hour when the receptionist was at lunch, and he was admiring the few Italy photos I have in my cube. We had the "did you take these?" conversation. He's planning to go to Italy in a few years. I recommend it. BFT is already talking about going back in a couple of years to hit the places we didn't go, like Milan. And to return to Venice, of course.

At this point, I've given up on the friend who offered to help me out, so that now, if he contacts me about coming over this weekend, I'm going to be severely put out, because now my brain is not in a "go out to the garage and sort bits of wood to be nailed to walls" place. It's in more of a "sit on the couch reading or watching movies for 48 hours" sort of place, mostly because I went back to work and that's where my brain goes when I'm working.

And speaking of which, today is packing day. My uptown week is ending, so I will be back over in the main office next week...though I think I'm back uptown the week after because my vacation messed up the rotation schedule. I daren't leave anything uptown, though, in case I end up needing it next week. So sometime this morning, I have to choose a few things to keep with me this afternoon, and send the rest back to the main office. It's a pain in the ass. I have three cases on my desk that should be simple enough to get them all done this afternoon, so I will probably hang onto them. Should be. It never seems to work out that way, though, and whenever I think something is going to take me fifteen minutes, it inevitably takes me 45, like the late recert I had to do before I went to lunch yesterday. (And there's a whole rant in and of itself regarding personal responsibility and how someone else's slackitude should not constitute an emergency on my part...but how it always manages to, doesn't it.)

I am annoyed at my vet's office this morning. Actually, I was so pissed at them last night, that I was almost crying, but that's just me being frustrated. There is an online pharmacy from which I can get a two month supply of Sheila's Rimadyl for $5 more than my vet's office charges me for a one month supply. I'd be an idiot to not take advantage of it. So I ordered some. The company states that they'll contact my vet's office for the prescription and I can go my merry way...yay. Except that while the vet's office will happily (more or less) write the prescription, they will neither phone nor fax it to the pharmacy for me. (They told me that if I were dealing with a local pharmacy they could and would.) I actually have to drive out there to pick it up and then mail it to the company in Wisconsin to get the meds. Which...still saving money, here, but honestly, in order to make this work, I have to drive out there this morning before I go to work so that I can get the prescription in the mail today, and as it is, Sheila will still run out of meds before the new supply will reach me. This makes me very unhappy, but we're talking about $72 every other month as opposed to $67 monthly. I love my vet's office, and I love my dog, but Sheila is retired and has no insurance, and love doesn't mean never getting angry.

Blah. Blah, I say.

I need to bake cookies so that I can give some to the mailman because it's going to work out that all the books and calendars and things I ordered just after Christmas are going to arrive on the same day, and he will not just dump the packages. He'll actually put them inside my breezeway door. And carefully, too.

I finished Solstice Wood by Patricia A. McKillip last evening, and am moving on to Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay (since my copy of Go Ask Malice has not yet arrived). I still have four McKillip books here that I haven't read or re-read, but it's time to change gears a bit. So that's two books for the year already. I'd like to do better than last year (heck, I'd like to hit 100 this year), but we'll see. I'll probably find something that, while good, doesn't inspire me to spend my entire evening reading, and then I'll lose headway....
malinaldarose: (Default)
So, it's Saturday. My vacation is officially over and we're just on the weekend now. I haven't accomplished everything I wanted to, but I do still have today and tomorrow. Yesterday, I just couldn't seem to force my body to get up and clean, so I left it. Ye Olde Bodde is used to working on Saturdays, though, so I should make more progress today. I would like to get the tree out tomorrow and get it put up...much to the kitties' delight, I am sure. Maybe Merlin will be so delighted that he'll stop jumping on the dining room table....

I did get the rest of my pictures into albums yesterday, so that's done. I'm planning to take all three albums to work on Monday, because people have said that they want to see my pics. All of my pics. Okey-dokey, then! I am also planning to take down the ones in my "gallery" (i. e., on my filing cabinet and the outside of my cube) and put up some new ones, probably not of Italy).

I woke up early this morning from dreams in which I was trying to get somewhere -- to work, I think -- but there had been a disaster of some sort, and I couldn't drive, and I was trying to get up a hill, but I had to crawl on my belly, and pull myself along on the sandbags that were lying along the road.... Basically, it was a variation on the running dream, where no matter what sort of effort you put in, you can't get anywhere. Which is really how I feel about life in general, I guess. It's also, on some level, an anxiety dream about what is going to be waiting on my desk after a week off....

At the moment, I am waiting for the defrosters to do their work on my windshield. I hadn't counted on the redesign of the body shape of the Caravan meaning that I wouldn't be able to reach the middle of the windshield with the scraper, but...well, I can't. So I have to actually defrost the windshield if I want to get somewhere. Which does mean that the interior will be nice and toasty when I get in....

Groceries this morning, then probably staying in for the rest of the I am wont to do....
malinaldarose: (Default)
It was snowing this morning when I left to get groceries. I really, really, really do not approve. It wasn't serious about it, nor did it stick for more than an hour, but jeez. It was also dark. But then, I suppose I need to get used to that, as it's going to be dark in the mornings (and evenings) for a long time to come.

*sigh* I don't even have the words to express how very angry some of my redneck friends are making me right now. Despite the fact that some of them are very well-educated, they're appallingly stupid.

I have spent a good chunk of the day cleaning out the closet in my office. Who would have thought that you could fit that much crap into such a tiny space? After four hours, I had finished the lower section, but didn't get to the shelf above the pole. That would require a step ladder, anyway, and my feet hurt, so it'll have to wait. I have two boxes of stuff for a future garage sale.

Next up, I'm going to have to tackle my clothes closet, though. I went upstairs to find a shoe box to use downstairs and found three pairs of shoes that I had forgotten about. Now, I actually hadn't forgotten about the one pair, but when I went looking for them, I couldn't find them, so I had myself convinced that I'd only been thinking about buying them and hadn't actually brought them home. Nope. I bought 'em. I can't believe I missed 'em when I was searching for them a couple of weeks back.

Yesterday's trip was good. BFT and I both loaded up shopping baskets at Pier 1; mine was mostly candles and candle holders, while hers was little gifts for her coworkers. We both bought frames for Italy pictures.

There is a Michaels in the same plaza, so we went in there and ended up in the frame section chatting with a guy who told us that he'd been to Italy four times, that he was a photographer (he was looking at the same frames that BFT ended up buying), and that he hadn't yet managed to hang any of his own photographs even though he'd prepared a whole wall for them. So we were doing good, he told us, to be hanging photos from a trip in August. Heh.

We had lunch at the Olive Garden, but since it was a weekday, we could get soup, salad, and breadsticks (which is exorbitantly expensive on a weekend). And dessert, of course.

There's a Lands End store by the mall, which is a happy thing, as they have more sizes than the Lands End sections at Sears. I do like Lands End clothes. And I came away with a bunch.

We also checked out the mall, as BFT had some shopping she wanted to do there, but it turned out that the store she was looking for wasn't there. The only downside is that there is no bookstore there; the bookstore was a Borders and it's closed, of course. We had a moment of silence for it, because when BFT was in college, I would pick her up and we'd drive on into Rochester and go shopping there. It had been there a loooong time.

The drive wasn't too bad. It was mostly wet, with occasional drizzle and occasional sleet (ugh!).

Still, it was a nice birthday. And now I have to steel myself to go to my grandmother's house in the next few days to pick up a present from her. Maybe she'll have the television turned off....
malinaldarose: (italy)
For those who care about such things, all of my Italy pictures are now online (I only posted a fraction):

Please don't stampede over there and crash my uncle's server....

Now to start thinking about what I want to submit to National Geographic.
malinaldarose: (italy)
Most of my photos from Orvieto are of the duomo (arigato), which was really quite gorgeous.

The front, which had to be taken with Cellino (my little camera) because I couldn't get back far enough to take a photo of the whole facade with Marcello (my big camera, whose name used to be Marcel, until we went to Italy).


Image heavy )
malinaldarose: (italy)
Orvieto was our last stop on our way back to Rome. Basically, we goggled at the duomo, had lunch, and boarded the bus back to Rome. Orvieto was also at the top of a hill, but unlike Siena and San Gimignano and Assisi, it was pretty flat once you got there. But getting there involved escalators, a funicular, and a shuttle bus....

The wall from below:


Pictures, of course )
malinaldarose: (italy)
To make things easier, we didn't start our guided tour of Assisi at our hotel, which was right outside the Basilica di San Francesco (St. Francis), because it would have meant traveling up, up, up the steep street to Santa Chiara. Instead, we started at Santa Chiara and walked downhill toward San Francesco.

Which meant that we passed through the Piazza del Comune and in front of the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, a church which had formerly been a temple to Minerva:


Image Heavy )
malinaldarose: (italy)
Our last overnight before heading back to Rome was in Assisi. Like Siena and San Gimignano, Assisi was steep. But the view was great.

The gate through which we entered:


Image Heavy )
malinaldarose: (italy)
And the mosaic behind the altar, covering the whole front ceiling and half-dome and parts of the walls:


image heavy )
malinaldarose: (italy)
In addition to the mosaics and the portraits, there were also several free-standing tombs (they looked like steamer trunks) standing around the walls, as well as a magnificent chapel (and probably tomb) with some gorgeous knotwork.


image heavy )
malinaldarose: (italy)
After we left Venice, our next stop was Ravenna, where we visited the Church of St. Apollinaire in Classe, which is, I think, actually outside of Ravenna proper. It was really just a short visit, long enough to take some pictures and visit the gift shop. The church has a gorgeous mosaic behind the altar, as well as some darned nice fresco portraits.

image heavy )
malinaldarose: (italy)
Actually, this isn't Venice, per se, but the island of Burano, which is famous for lace-making. We had lunch there (seafood, of course, with little tiny Cthulus in one of the dishes -- gross. Fortunately, there was also chicken), then shopping and sight-seeing.

The belltower at Pisa is not the only tower that is, strictly speaking, not perpendicular.

Image heavy through here )
malinaldarose: (italy)
I took a few pictures in the glass factory, but they didn't turn out all that well, and I'm not going to bother uploading them here.

After the glass factory, we went briefly back to the hotel, then gathered for the lagoon cruise to the island of Burano. It was a very hot, very hazy day, and most of my pictures showed the haze. As a consequence, the lagoon pictures are over-processed, and most of them look like color-tinted postcards. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Extremely image-heavy )

And I'll have to go Burano next.


Oct. 1st, 2012 01:20 pm
malinaldarose: (italy)
What? No, no one here has been to Italy. What are you talking about?



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