Thursday, December 31, 2009

Traveling Shoes are On! New Years in Verona

I'm still using up those miles! And so, I wanted to see Verona in the winter. So, here I am again. I had a wonderful welcome from my 'Italian family'.

Verona is decorated with a festival of lights, and I am about to go walk around to see it for the first time in the dark. It is New Year's Eve, and tonight I am going to a Russian Dance presentation, and then at midnight, I shall head over to the Roman arena you see here to watch the fireworks.

I've already strolled the fashion windows on one of the major fashion streets here, and so I shall be reporting back on that once I've had a chance to take a few photos.

I will also fill you in on my various other reasons for being here (beyond the culture, food, fashion, and photo opportunities... I should need more reason?).

More to come!!

Note: somehow ice skating and Roman arenas seem to be a mix I had not thought of.


Susanna (while in Italy)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas in Southern California

So, not to rub it in to all of you stuck in snow storms, but we had a beautiful day here in Southern California. Although it is not always possible, we did manage to eat our Xmas dinner outside on the patio.

I prepared the turkey on the rotisserie, and prepped all the other typical fixings.

You can see, by the status of Cassie the dog, the meal was very successful.

Oh dear... greater action was needed. So after dinner, my sons and I took the dogs out for a walk.

Here is Cassie... my baby, wearing her Xmas bandanna.

Here you can see the views in the area.

Happy Holidays: Meet my Holiday Tree/Bush

Happy holidays to all.

It is Christmas today, and a time for family, food, and festivity. It is also a time to reflect and honor the meaning of the day.

Here you see my holiday tree/bush. Now, for those who know me, you know there is a story. You see, I am in Year 5 of the non-traditional Christmas tree. Yes, I have yet to have a 'standard' tree in the past five years. I've had an upside down tree, a fan-bush tree, a tree full of wire 'boinnnngggs', etc. You get the idea.

So, each year, it has been a bit of a challenge to come up with something new. This year, I was aided by a strong wind storm.

My original idea was to go up to the mountains and find a dead branch of interest. Then, I would paint it, and let it be the base of my tree. Somehow, I never made it up to the mountains, but the wind storm we had a couple of weeks ago provided 'just the branch'.

I was driving to the college early one morning, and started noticing all the branches on the side of the road. Then, I saw one that just called to me. It had lots of long slender leaves, some red berries, and even some fuzzy little red flowers. I have no idea what kind of tree it was.

So... on with the brakes. I had to eye it up for size, and then look at Eros my SUV, to see if it would fit. Hmm.. most likely not.. but I decided to give it a try. Let's just say, that the car was full of leaves, branches, etc., and it sounded like a wind storm, all the way to the college and back.

Once home, I positioned my branch in an old Victorian-looking metal stand I have, and then placed actual green cuttings around the base of the stand (as I love the smell of greenery).

On with the lights and decorations.

This has been my most unique tree thus far... and sets a new bar of craziness.

A couple more views.. one with friends and the cat.

Monday, December 21, 2009

One-of-a-Kind Show: Chicago, IL

My girlfriend Carol suggested I come to visit the first weekend of January, and take in the One-of-a-Kind show. Since I needed one more trip with United to achieve a certain status that will give me double miles next year, I decided it was a worthy cause, and booked a ticket.

I thought the show was strictly clothing, and I was prepared to leave credit card and check book at home. Well, it was much more than that. There were many, many different arts, crafts, and related items. The general rule is that the person in the booth has made or produced the goods.

Of course, Chicago itself is interesting, and a great city to visit. If it weren't for the wind!

Below look at a shot of the Esty booth, and some views of Chicago. I will be sharing some of the artists work (with their permission).

So far behind...

I can't believe it's been a month since I last posted. I guess that gives one the sense of what life is like the last month of the semester at Mesa College. It was a whirlwind of projects, grading and various.

I am now on break for a few weeks, and happy to have some time to prep for the holidays, sew, knit, and of course, travel.

In the next several entries, I shall catch up on some of the fun times of December, including a trip to the One-of-a-Kind show in Chicago (Wow! is all I can say), the adventures of my holiday Xmas tree this year, student projects at the end of the semester, etc. etc.

So, hopefully I can redeem my writing self.