Thursday, January 17, 2019

Full Day in Venice - Max's European Adventure Day 2

Day 2 Saturday Venice full day


In the morning we headed off exploring, site seeing and wanting to take pictures and get gifts for home.

Max wanted to see the church for Saint Zachariah, father of Saint John the Baptist.
It was in a close by quiet square. No fee, very ornate and beautiful. The best surprise, Saint Athanasius’ remains were there.

There is so much art to take in and enjoy. It’s everywhere. They are so blessed.








We started walking to Saint Marks Square. It was a beautiful Saturday, people out everywhere. We stopped for photos at the Bridge of Sighs.
We marveled at the columns of the Doge Palace. Every capital in every column was different. We laughed at the all reproductions elsewhere in world (we’ll inTexas) use the same images, easier that way. Venice had an abundance of money from traders and artists to tell their stories in images and symbols on all. It’s just so cool!








Bridge of Sighs





We walked back to find the monestery we stayed last time we were there and all the great shops nearby. Max laughed at how short a distance we actually ventured last time. I was a pregnant mom with five kids then, 16 down to 4, of course I was going to take it easy. 

We picked a few shops to come back when opened later and picked up some Murano glass gifts for the girls.

We walked on. We stumbled on the back of a huge basilica and decided to go look inside. Many tour groups outside told the wonders but those poor tourists didn’t want to pay the 4 euros for an incredible treat.  The euros went to repairs anyway.

The church building began in the 1200’s, finished in 1300. It just boggles my mind the number of churches in Venice. Hey, let’s build another one right here.. and the size of this church, their vision that future generations would add on. And they did. They added side altars as big as small churches. 

Photos weren’t allowed, so we took our time. A Dominican priest followed us around but would not engage in conversation. He probably want to make sure we didn't sneak photos.

After that we took a right into what we thought was a museum but was a back entrance to a hospital with a maze that trapped us.
We were hungry and Max want to find his pizza place. 

The pizza! Small shop. The lady was making fresh dough, rolled out our pizza, shred four cheeses for our pizza. For the Brie she put thin slice all over. Yum! 
We bought two pizzas, and they thought we were Crazy- but it was lunch, dinner, breakfast and snack. So good deal.

After a nice rest of a little napping, we walked, all over. We found the store we wanted and bought some gifts for Craig and for Max’s future apartment. Max found a cool mask at the coolest mask store in Venice.

We had trouble repacking since we bought too much. So I carried the light weight fragile items in a large silver bag for many outings to come.

The pelican case was too heavy to begin with but we knew our fragile items would make it back safely.












Max’s European Adventure Day 1

Day 1 of Max's Grad School Graduation Trip


Max just finished his last final project for aerospace engineering grad school Wednesday. He received a job offer from Boeing and accepted it this week. We didn’t have concrete city to city plans or transport to places in Trieste or Zagreb.
We weren’t ready!
But then, time came to go.
Nick had his last final at noon, came home to get us to take to airport while Craig took the others to Waco for a basketball game.

As soon as we tried to drop our bag, yucky surprise awaiting us. The huge pelican bag weighed 62 pounds- apparently there was a 50 pound limit, $60 bag fee and a $400 overweight charge. I called Craig who reminded me I’m 1k, which should have helped, but did nothing but frustrate the United bag people. I checked out the airport store for another bag- crappy piece of dusty luggage for $400, while Max was busy rearranging and pulling things out. We got it down to an even 50 pounds with me throwing my extra pair of boots away and toting the 5 pound tripod off my already heavy backpack.
It was fine, we were off. Max save #1.

A little hiccup in security when Max forgot to pull out film in their small metal canisters and had to have bag searched.

We found a restaurant at the end of the terminal and treated ourselves to good bye margaritas and Moscow mules with nachos, then got to board first due to Craig’s status. Craig save#1.

Finally in our seats, across isle from each other, there is delay from mechanical problems.  Over an hour passes. We only have an hour connection time in Frankfort! 

Flight finally off, no problems. Good service. I had a Russian dude next to me, Max has his buddy next to him, we could have switched but we both like the isle seat. The seats were not aligned so we didn’t get to visit as much as I imagined. I watch Downsized. Weird movie went in weird directions and lost whatever point it was trying to make.
I didn’t sleep, just too excited about our week!

We land late in Frankfort and are told we can make the connecting flight, IF WE RUN.
So we ran all across from one end of the longest (?) Airports, caught up in customs since there was no signage and non European passports are no priority to sassy young German customs people, at least until second time through line.
We run! We run down the walking escalators, thirsty, in need of potty. 
We get to gate and it’s still boarding a couple other random stragglers but my ticket won’t work. Max’s doesn’t work. 
Apparently the airline received notice our luggage couldn’t make the flight, so they bumped us to the next one. Which makes sense and it good that we didn’t arrive in Venice without our luggage BUT at the time, I didn’t understand seeing others late and take my seats while I am left panting and muttering. The lady at terminal didn’t care for my confusion. 
Next flights terminal is back across 70 terminals. We have time. We rest, drink water, eat my m&ms.
We have a lovely spacious flight to Venice. Happy crew, nice refreshments, view of the Alps poking through the clouds. All Germany frustration is gone as we plan our evening. 

The airport in Venice is not on the main section of islands, and we will take a Vaporetto water taxi across. It’s probably an hour from landing, across the 1/4 mile to pier, waiting for taxi, slow ride across. Fortunately we were second stop and we enjoyed the sunset views and silhouettes of the Venice skyline.

We were late meeting our air b&b rep.
They charge 5 euros every hour- or half hour.m that you are late. Sweet lady was waiting for us as we pulled up, panting, trailing our luggage behind us going through the Venice alleys and bridges in the dark. Thank God for cell service to map us through dark mazes. Max win #2.

From the windows of the Vaporetto


Venice is basically below sea level, even with big floods this year due to strong storm surges. Ground floor is basically “-1” up a flight to 0 then “first floor” at the top. I ran up following Maria, who knew about as much English as I did Italian so we pointed and tried and got everything understood. I paid the late fee and our tourist tax and she was off. 

The apartment was charming Venice, large windows overlooking a canal. There was one bedroom, and a couch bed, kitchen and table. A little drafty, and the heat temp dial was missing. Private bath with cute pink facilities. 

We were very happy to be here! And since we were hungry, decided to go out and take some night pictures and find something to eat.

I didn’t realize or remember there were no top sheets anywhere we stayed. They use duvet covers and I hoped they were washed as often as we do our top sheets, but exhaustion always makes worries like that seem insignificant.

We bravely went down all alleys dark and curvy to take some cool images. We stumbled upon two eateries next to each other: pizza and a finer dining. We decided pizza could wait and I stopped to look at outdoor easel menu and a nice young man came out suggesting all kinds of good food. At the mention of crab with thin pasta, we were in the door. I’m an easy sell. 

Max had the gnocchi and I had thin noodles, a plate of veggies, bread, wine, a fabulous cheese cake with lemon for dessert. They brought us a shot of schnapps to warm us before we left and sweet cookies to send us off. Lots of locals, nice happy place. We had lots left over for breakfast. 

It was pretty cold, a little windy, not best for pictures, plus low light wasn’t working. We went back and slept.

Max’s cold seemed to get a little worse here. The drafty apartment with thin bed coverings probably didn’t help.



I love Shrines everywhere in all kinds of places throughout Europe. 


Out apartment window









Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Daybook, taking a look at life today

Outside my window... still so humid! The windows are fogged in morning.  We’ve had lots of rain on and off. Forecast late week shows a cool front... can’t wait! I can’t remember a fall that was still so green. We are still mowing the pastures.
Hummingbirds are still showing up and moving on. The interesting way that one claims a feeder and fiercely protects it, is fascinating. 

I am reading...1984 George Orwell’s 1949 political horror story. A novel so prophetic! Big Brother through a screen watching every move, thought police, dumbing down language, re writing history. Policing each other’s behavior with torture to take away free thought or memory. 

My book club finished ready and discussing Anne Bronte’s Tenant of Wildfell Hall. It is very good, although many times I disliked every character in the story. Human flaws were so well depicted.
But once over, and ruminated, I applaud the author for capturing real people, and making them come alive. I was not a fan of Helena, but I do respect her courage in her time so different fora mother than our time 
Amazon prime has a miniseries version, with some little and big


changes to storyline. I hope to get my book club over to watch and discuss.

Have you read either book?
I added some of Orwell’s painfully terrible quotes below. So much the same vein as Chesterton and Lewis... warnings for us now to pay attention, be alert. 

I am thinking... we Americans need to be a more  educated society and electorate. I heard that only 1 of 3 Americans could pass the citizenship test.want to check yourself?

In the kitchen... I have fallen in love with the ease of our instapot. Max made flank steak with onions last night. Yum. We use it a few times a week.
Ceci’s baking has stopped for now since fair is over.

Around the farm... guineas and peacock babies are almost big enough to move to large pen. We have three hatchlings who are healthy and feisty and fun to see.  
The guineas flop and fly around out of their brooder, one escaped while Euly was trying I give them water. Albert chased it under Craig’s shed. Late the next day Euly went to check on the chickens, and found the light colored guinea baby up on a fence post near the roosting spot of the adult guineas.

In our homeschool....4-H County Fair week was a school break due to so much volunteer time needed at the fairgrounds. 
Ceci is working as a mom’s helper for her cousin’s baby this week. Lucky girl. The baby is sweet, healthy and very easy going.
Euly has the PSAT on Wednesday and her drivers test on Friday. Still very busy.

I am creating....support for our wildlife plan. The county comes to inspect our progress this November  

I am planning.... a few trips. Molly is moving to Phoenix temporarily for job training. I hope to go see her to help her get settled Or to visit another weekend when she’s a little lonely. I’ve never been to Arizona, anything I should see?

I also plan to visit family in Tennessee, to bring the girls to meet family they’ve never met. Unfortunately the date keeps needing to be changed for school conflicts. I would love to see the fall colors and introduce the girls to Tennessee beauty. 

Max and I are planning a graduation trip starting in Venice. Much planning needs to happen. 

I am watching...random things.
My sister told me about The Last Movie Star starring Burt Reynolds. It was cringingly painful to watch beautiful Ariel Winter in such a ridiculously scanty outfit the entire movie. But by the end I was a fan of her acting and Lil, her character. 

I am thankful for...all of God’s blessing and graces! 

I am praying... for the young man who lost his life in Austin and his family. For Molly’s  job change, Max’s job search, many personal intentions. 

I am Going...to celebrate October fest at a German restaurant as the next in our friends’ double date night series of dinners from around the world. 
We started with Italian, Mexican, Turkish, Ethiopian, Asian in Chinatown, and now authentic German. 

I am Hearing...rain drops on roof as a storm keeps me in the car while Euly’s in basketball practice.

Looking forward to...celebrating my mother’s 80th birthday on Thursday. She does not want a party, we’ll have a quiet lunch and visit to celebrate. 

Help for perimenopause...?
So that’s the state I’m in and I was in need to a change, by natural means, to an end to what I called forever period (so sorry for the TMI): 

George Orwell’s 1984, some quotes that left an impressions on me:

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

“Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”

“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. 

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”

Friday, October 5, 2018

7 Quick Takes on a Friday

Seven quick takes on a Friday

I haven’t blogged once in 2018. I miss it. The blogger app messed up on my phone and I’ve never recovered. I’m looking into moving away from blogger, any suggestions are appreciated!

1. 
We’ve had a bad week but as life is, mixed with good things. Euly was hit in face with an elbow at practice, badly injuring her nose, leaving soreness and black eyes. Good news: she got her letterman jacket the same night as a nice salve.
2. 
A dog attacked our chickens and we thought more damage was actually done to our flock. We thought the rooster was killed. Good news: Emo (the rooster) is still alive and well, doing the best job a rooster has even done for us. 
Three new chick babies were hatched by a broody hen and we claimed them to their own brooder, where they are happily growing.
3.
Ceci entered three cakes and two paintings and many items for sale at the fair, she didn’t place, but good news, her cousins came the fair/rodeo/carnival for one of the best nights we’ve had in a while. 


4. 
I don’t like what some are defining women to be in 2018.
Some grotesquely alter their bodies to attract men’s sexual attention.
Then shame men when they respond to that bait.
And even lie about men who do not give their attention. 
Come on, women, we are better than this. 
The answer?
Return to feminine dignity to receive what you are looking for: respect and love.

5. 
One of my New Years resolutions for 2018 was to travel more. I had not idea how that would unfold and it’s been fun so far and with only three months left, I have three major trips planned. I’m excited, despite by my great discomfort for flying.

6. 
Even with her black eyes Euly presented a state of 4-H speech in front of our county government commissioners along with her other ambassadors. She did great!


7. 

As I get older so much of my life, prayer life, mental occupation is with my older kids. Mothering does get harder as the needs are changes, but then the rewards of seeing them succeed in their adult life and decisions is more than rewarding. It seems to open another chamber in my heart.