31 December 2008

what to do, what to do???

$19 airfare from nearby city to a soul sister's crib...holiday vacation from work & school...what would you do??

i know what we did...& this lovely morning on the lake, someone caught me a delicious bass...
happy new year, one & all!!!!!

29 December 2008

end of year meme...

thanks, michelle!! this sounds like a terrific way to say goodbye to a fabulous year before i embrace the new one. here goes...

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? take italian classes in italy!!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? yes i did & yes i will! (that is a whole other post!!)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? nope.

4. Did anyone close to you die? quite a few acquaintances, a friend from years back, a very favorite high school teacher, & a dear neighbor.

5. What countries did you visit? italy, haiti, jamaica, grand caymen, italy, italy again, & costa rica!

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? i am having trouble finding something i lacked in 2008...seriously.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? the week of the girlfriend gaggle...:-) a week with my best girlfriends needs no answer to "why"!!!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? getting laundry done between travel excursions.

9. What was your biggest failure? grumbling about little things that don't matter...things usually forgotten the very next hour, day, week.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? thank God, no.

11. What was the best thing you bought? plane tickets!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? D.'s patience with all my travel, most of which did not include him.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? anyone who was mean to children or animals & anyone who lied.

14. Where did most of your money go? plane tickets again!! (fuel for our autos came in a very close 2nd!)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? holding entire conversations in italian & actually understanding & being understood.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? leona lewis's bleeding love that was sung by every single person (y'all know who you are!!!!) at the top of their lungs in our suburban on the way to the beach at midnight to see noctiluca ...although after 6 months of text messages, the gaggle of girlfriends just *might* have a differing opinion about that one! & no, i cannot post the song you are thinking about L., J. & Mrs. T.!!!

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer? (a) happier all the time! (b) the very same (c) richer in love for sure!!!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? slept on the transatlantic flights!

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? slept while at my travel destinations.

20. How did you spend Christmas? Christmas eve Mass with the family, gift exchanging Christmas morn, a bit o' surfing at the beach, & way too much indulging in brunch, dinner & baked goodies followed by a power nap that seemed to stretch right into bedtime!

21. Did you fall in love in 2008? over & over again, every single day.

22. What was your favorite TV program? the office (US version, though i also enjoyed a BBC episode or two)...bears, beets, battlestar galactica for all you fans out there!

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? awww, don't be hatin'

24. What was the best book you read? quo vadis

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? how to download songs from iTunes onto my iPod!!

26. What did you want and get? at the risk of sounding like a broken record...travel!!!

27. What did you want and not get? not a thing...

28. What was your favorite film of this year? into the wild (though it came out in 2007, i did not see it until this year)

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? i turned 42 & the day involved fabulous company, an awesome meal, a great wine, coffee, & chocolate!!!

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? my year was immeasurably satisfying as it was...

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? whatever fits into my backpack & looks good at my destination!

32. What kept you sane? my soul sisters!!!

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? johnny depp (get in line girls!!!) with a bit of edwin on the side!

34. What political issue stirred you the most? piacere doesn't do politics online!

35. Who did you miss? the soul sisters & my parents

36. Who was the best new person you met? all my blog buddies (+ chef christopher) i was blessed to meet in person!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. let go & let God.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. "the moment i let go of it was the moment i got more than i could handle; the moment i jumped off of it was the moment i touched down." thank u by alanis morissette

that's all for me, folks! if you do this meme, please drop me a line so that i may enjoy your answers. ciao for now...

25 December 2008

joy to the world...

may you & yours have a very blessed Christmas...may the light of this day illumine your path, wherever it may lead...
image source: giotto's nativity (grazie!)

23 December 2008

a gift...

when you are working at your computer in the morning quiet & God taps you on the shoulder, *this* is why you must stop what you are doing, turn around & take delight...

21 December 2008

comfort & joy...

first the comfort...
these words keep floating through my thoughts today~~ they are the words i chose for one of the readings for both my parents' funeral Masses. i know i have posted them several times on the blog before this, & today as i remember josiah, they remain a true solace:
"the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall thouch them. they seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us utter destruction. but they are in peace...as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself. in the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble... those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with in him in love; because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect." (Wisdom 3:1-3, 6-9)
& the joy...
words~~ electronically & hand written...across many miles, even oceans...words that tie us, that bind our hearts...i re-read them & i feel such a joy & a peace...
hands working together...D.'s parents arrived friday night, escaping the great cold & snow of the northeast! their first order of business~~ a flurry of activity in my kitchen, filling our home (& refrigerator) to overflowing with good eats, enabling D. & i to engage in some serious Christmas preparation catch-up! we spent the day driving (ever-so-slowly) from place to place singing carols in the car & chatting with all kinds of friendly folks in the same Christmas-prep boat as us. we finally made it to the UPS store, arms ladened with treasures to send far & wide with some time to spare. oh, what a delight to arrive home to find a delicious meal, compliments of my dear in-laws, & the lights strung on our tree, compliments of our sweet babies...today, it's baking, baking & more baking!! tonight, we decorate our tree & follow with some relaxing & games by Christmas lights & candles. in spite of how i love to travel, there's no place like the comfort of home & the joy of family!

20 December 2008

a heavy heart...

late last night josiah went Home.
please keep this dear family in your prayers over these very sad days.
his dad posted this beautiful reminder on josiah's carepage...
"I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning … to the end.
He noted that first came the date of her birth and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
or that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own, the cars … the house … the cash.
What matters is how we live and love … and how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real …
And always try to understand the way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives … like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile …
Remembering that this special dash might only last a little while."
The Dash by Linda Ellis
may all of you cherish every moment with those you love...
Requiem Æternam
Réquiem ætérnam dona eis,
Dómine,et lux perpétua lúceat eis.
Requiéscant in pace.

17 December 2008

a plea for prayers...

...for a dear family & a dear boy...many of you know that i have requested prayers for josiah from time to time & he has been in my sidebar under the "light a candle" request since january. in last night's carepages entry his momma let us know that josiah's treatment for his cancer has not worked & he will go into hospice care on monday. please keep josiah, his momma, his dad, & his siblings in your hearts over the coming weeks...thank you all so much.

16 December 2008

crossing off items on his list...

well, costa rica was good to Little Man (& his momma & sister too!). not only did he cross off the "to see" items on his list from last week, he was even able to check off his add-on's! what else did he want to experience?

4. toucans

5. & swimming in the pacific

but first, back to the original list...

#1. sloths were a very big deal on this journey. we saw 3 of them, all in the wild & both the 2 toed & 3 toed varieties, one quite close up!this guy lived up to his name as he literally creeped across that wire, making for a wonderful photo shoot & some dangerous traffic conditions on a curvy mountain road...#2. howler monkeys...would you believe we had more howler monkey action in the roma zoo last july than in the costa rican rainforest? but we did see (but sadly, did not hear!) one lonely guy in all his glory in manuel antonio national park...#3. a volcano...poas to be precise...after a walk through an enchanted cloud forest, we saw...

more clouds!

but for one very fleeting moment we could see the crater. you will have to take my word for it~ this is a view into the volcano...in spite of the dense cloud cover there is nothing quite like standing at the edge of something that immense with the wind howling & clouds rushing over you. eruptions?...no, thank you very much! (but our guide did park with the car facing the entrance for fast escapes...)

#4. toucans...not in the wild on this trip, but we did see 2 different types at la paz waterfall gardens. one guy was quite open to photo ops...very much the ham even though we had interrupted his napping attempt!...#5. the pacific ocean...after a hike through manuel antonio's rainforest, we spent a most appreciated afternoon swimming in this secluded cove& sunning (napping) on the beach with a friend...a little exploring for good measure...& finally, a spectacular sunset...my list??...it really did parallel Little Man's quite nicely! throw in a hike in the rainforest along waterfalls...with guide who spoke italian quite nicely & i am one happy girl!
we returned last night with a heartful of wonderful memories & bags full of coffees...(yes, at one point we were surrounded by coffee...i wish i could post the smells!!), but the best thing we brought home from costa rica...Baby Girl!!!...~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
places we stayed on this trip...hotel mar y luna in quepos...room with 3 beds & a private bath (but cold showers!) that was a real budget friendly experience...
& hostel pangea in san jose...this was a really hip establishment with a rooftop restaurant, free internet & a pool (+ a hot shower one night!)...Baby Girl truly knows how to plan travel...she handled all our lodging, food & travel within costa rica, all on a sweet dime!

10 December 2008

a telling list...

Baby Girl wanted to know what her "baby" brother (aka Little Man) wanted to see when we get to costa rica. his list...

1. sloths
2. howler monkeys
3. a volcano

sounds like boyworld's ultimate science experience to me!

me? i'm just hoping to not confuse my italiano e spagnolo too much!

08 December 2008

home from rome

a week sure does fly by...in the blink of an eye it seems we are back on US soil, home since the wee hours of yesterday morning. what a trip we had! it was a glorious first week of Advent that left not a fraction of a second for blogging. we were too busy living every moment to its fullest! & being followed by rainbows every step of the way it seemed. first there was our "welcome rainbow" at the airport. a few days later there were rainbows at sunset the entire train ride from firenze to roma~ too many to recall (& me with dead camera batteries & the spares still waiting in roma). & another day, this time with a working camera, we saw this beauty from our taxi...when we last left you at the internet cafe, a whole day of roman roaming stretched out before us before the evening's Mass. Little Man & i did the logical things like enjoy an espresso...eat more gelato (come to momma, you sweet little thang!)...drool all over the bakery windows...inhale deeply of the smells of the season...stumble around undiscovered corners that spill beauty...& even occasionally take a rest...before attending the Solemn Pontifical Mass...sung by Cardinal Hoyos at Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri...one of our friends was a server for this Mass...& another who is also a "blog buddy" was an official photographer (see his 1 december post for more details). should you ever have a question about Catholic roma, jp is your guy!monday found us on a train for firenze...one of my very favorite parts of this trip was seeing all the Christmas festivity...& enjoying the early dusk & all the magical lights...there were open-air markets everywhere, filled with delights to charm the child in everyone!...our favorite meal on this trip (not counting gelato) was hands-down chef chris' homemade spaghetti...jp & chris graciously hosted us for a wonderful evening in santa marinella...the next morning came very early, as we made our way to citta' del vaticano for a papal audience. we arrived in a fog (not necessarily from the late night before!) for a wait that was well worth it...big props to whomever can guess what is missing from this photo...we were very blessed to be indoors & close to il Papa...(karina, this is for you) yes, those are the pope's shoes!...after the audience, it was on the train again, this time bound for pisa! now, everyone assumes pisa is all about the tower...but for us on this trip it was all about blog buddies & science too! we had the pleasure of seeing claudia again & meeting andrea for a tour of his gravitational wave experiment. Little Man was in his element. can you believe that none of us had our cameras?!? after a lovely day Little Man lived one of his life's goals...climbing the leaning tower of pisa! let me tell you, as you are climbing those steps, you know you are off balance! no matter, because the view from the top (at dusk no less) is so worth it!!...our last day in roma found us saying goodbye to friends over a wonderful dinner at our (second) favorite ristorante~ il gabriello, but not before making a last passaggio to some favorite places that included santa rita da cascia alle vergini which has the most beautiful grotto for prayer...& la basilica di sant' agostino with a stop at the altar of santa monica. we stumbled in drenched from a downpour just in time for Adoration, the rosary, Benediction & Mass!
now we are home, but the backpack still stands ready...it has been changed out for a change in latitude~ in the early morn thursday we depart for the more tropical climate of costa rica & some time with Baby Girl!!!