August 30, 2012

Meet, Greet and Drop

I attended my oldest boys' "Meet the Teacher" tonight. I went from class to class, combining their schedules since my husband couldn't attend due to work.

My eldest boy is carrying almost all AP classes with all men. It's been interesting, not having one female teacher. I like them. A lot.

I loved his English teacher. A grizzly older man who knows his poetry, his literature and his stuff, the class is going to be a crap ton of work, but my son is going to learn a lot, whether he passes the AP test or not. (He got a 4 on the first year.)

His AP Stats class appears it's going to be an enormous amount of work, mainly because his teacher has NEVER taught it and is doing the lessons as he teaches the class, studying but weeks ahead of the students. The guy is brilliant (I know of him from a previous life... took me awhile to piece it together), but how he conveys the information is another.

Concerned enough was I, this teacher also teaches my son's Honors Physics class, that I texted my son as I left and said, "You're dropping Physics..."

And it's not that I don't think he can handle all the AP classes and Honors Physics, but in every single AP class I sat in, it was a lot of higher level work and when I realized he may have to teach himself Physics, I thought, 'Why?'

Every teacher was very honest that pulling all nighters or writing a paper the night before wasn't going to cut it. My son gets that.

But I just kept thinking, he has so much going on this year, between his Eagle Scout project, college Apps, grades being so important this semester, and everything else, that it was just too much.

I told him to drop it and to take it at the Junior College. I think it has the potential to be his favorite science class ever, but looking at what he's got going on this year, I don't think he's going to enjoy it. And I don't think the teacher can convey the information on his level like he deserves.

So he's taking Marine Science instead and I think he feels relieved.

The thing is... this is the first year I have loved every one of their teachers. This has never happened before. Usually they have one that I roll my eyes.

But not this year. So I'm hopeful... and college apps start going out this weekend. This time next year... I'll have two sons at home.

That is going to be very weird.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:22 PM | Comments (11)

August 27, 2012

Eye See Isaac

The big thing now is that every kid wants to be a meteorologist or every parent wants their kid to be one, because you can be way way wrong and not get fired.

As one kid put it, "If you get the weather right, you have a job. If you get the weather wrong, you have a job."

And it's not that they were wrong per se, because we did get the Tropical Storm they predicted, but they were wrong in the fact that nobody knew we were going to get 50 year record highs of rain.

How wrong were the weather folks? So wrong that they advised the school districts to keep the schools in session. Which wasn't a problem, until we got hit full on with a crap load of rain and lightening... for hours... and hours... and hours... and by 1AM someone made the command decision to close the schools.

1AM. When we're all sleeping. And planning to get up and get our kids to school because that's what they all told us before we went to bed... when the decision was made.

I had already made my own decision at Midnight. At midnight my husband and I were awakened with our room lit up like a dang Christmas tree. We got out of bed and did our normal, "Hurricane walk". It's what we do... we roam the house, looking out the windows, checking the corners of the house for leaks, checking ceilings and windows.

My husband looked at me and said, "Did you see this coming?" It had been so downplayed we were stunned by the vast torrential downpour. I mean, it was a 'you can't see outside' downpour. I went onto one of the local news station's websites and it said we were getting 175 bolts of lightning a minute.

I said to my husband, "He's only been driving for 18 months. I have no clue what shape the roads are going to be in after this and what kind of debris we're talking about. I'm driving them in..."

We were out of bed getting ready for work when the phone rang at 6AM saying the schools were closed. We were one of the lucky ones. Some folks didn't get that call until they were already at the bus stops.

We live in FL. We're used to bad weather. Parents showed up to school. I personally was going to check the news sites anyways because when we woke up, it was still nasty out and I couldn't believe they were going to put the buses out in it.

Whatever. It was a mess.

Our roads are flooded. A road has collapsed. (I do not live in the community I linked. I am high and dry... I planned it that way 17 years ago.) And what it boils down to is we got 13 inches of rain in 24 hours and our infrastructure is struggling.

We didn't expect it. Nobody did.

And so to the people in the line of this storm, take warning. Get your supplies and don't underestimate it. It may not bring you a scary wind, but it will bring you more rain than you have seen in your life. We hit a 50 year high.

I guess we're about to see the Army Corps of Engineers put their money where their mouths are in NOLA.

And if it's going to hit as a Cat 2... Holy frickin' Crap.

I see dead people.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:43 PM | Comments (7)

August 26, 2012

Quilting Hell #1029348098

We were in the class (Ref my weather post as to my quilting hell on Saturday), it was near the end, and my girlfriend next to me said, "Oh my gosh. Neil Armstrong died..."

And from the back of the room someone said, "You know, they just took his seven titles away..."

I was speechless. I stopped sewing, looked to the back of the room and someone said finally, "That would be LANCE Armstrong. This is Neil. The astronaut..."

It was yet another reason I'll not be doing another seven hour quilting deal. I want to chalk it up to all that sewing turned her brain to mush... but I'm not sure.

I spent the next hour, blurry eyed, sewing, thinking, "She votes..."

Posted by Boudicca at 10:21 PM | Comments (7)

Weather

We're getting a bit of weather here. I hope the people of NOLA are taking this seriously. We're just getting a bunch of rain and a wee bit o wind.

This storm could be a Cat 2 and nail NOLA. So I hope they're remembering... don't mess with Mother Nature.

Meanwhile, my newest concern is realizing my 17 year old drives to school in the morning. I'm watching the radar and may actually take them instead. He's a good driver. I get people calling me all the time that they see him on the road. But he's only been driving for 18 months and I'm not feeling all that great about his driving with such nasty roads and potential bad weather.

So that's a new worry.

Bones is doing really well. So far he's very excited about all the singing and I forgot to post this, but he'll be singing with his group at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC in April. Details as they come available.

He is a bit overstretched right now as we have his new singing gig with the new group, school, and tons of math tutoring to get him up to speed. He's also preparing for his high school auditions.

I have not told him, nor will I, but only 12% of those who audition for the high school choral group get accepted. He is working on his sight reading now and we'll be picking a song for him soon. He's handling it all in stride, but he told me on Thursday that things are changing. They seem more intense and not as much fun.

So my goal is to figure out a way to take away the intensity. He needs to be relaxed to do well.

He has almost all male teachers so far and he seems to like them all. He ended up in an 'intensive reading' class which has us puzzled as he reads above grade level and comprehends. It turns out that nearly 30% of the 8th grade was put in this class. The goal is to up the FCAT scores. All those who scored a C or lower in Language Arts or a 2 or below on the FCAT ended up in this class, I gather.

If it teaches him how to take a test, I'm fine. Eventually he'll have to take the SAT. *shudder* But I would personally rather have him in PE and burn off some of his energy. I wrote the school telling them that and have heard nothing.

I'll be writing his teacher soon as well.

On a lighter note, I am evidently relearning the Periodic Table of Elements. I'm sure that's going to come in handy...

And I took a 7 hour quilting class yesterday. A girlfriend had said to me, "HEY! Bou! Do you want to take this mystery quilt class with me?" and I said, "Sure!" because I'll try just about anything once.

Never.A.Gain.

There were 20+ of us in that room and at one point someone walked in and said, 'Wow. Looks like a sweatshop..."

I didn't finish my quilt top, but will have it completed next week sometime. I'll post it. It's fine. I don't love it.

I think I'd have more positive feelings for it if I didn't remember the misery of hours 5-7. Blech.

I picked the right profession for me. Sweatshopping it would have made me a real bitch.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:05 PM | Comments (2)

August 22, 2012

Hmmm

It appears we are in for some weather this weekend.

You can see what I'm talking about by looking at my weather wonky sidebar tool.

We really don't need the rain. Really.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:39 PM | Comments (6)

August 21, 2012

Yo! Tony!

So were standing on top of the Colosseum in Rome, when my boys looked down and exclaimed, "LOOK! A car show!! Dad! A car show!" to which our tour guide (a woman) and I, both rolled our eyes. She laughed and said something about cars being universal.

Being so far away, the boys couldn't figure out exactly what they were, but being in Italy, surely they must be Lamborghinis or Ferraris... right?

Of course.

So soon we were hearing, "Dad! Dad! Dad! When we leave, can we swing by the car show?!"

And there was great excitement and the angels were singing and so it was so... after we finished our tour of one of most amazing archaelogical sites... we would tour the car show in the parking lot below.

Down we eventually traipsed as the boys quickly made their way... only to find... it was a Fiat car show.

There was a noticeable sigh.

We did not stay...
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Posted by Boudicca at 09:15 PM | Comments (3)

August 20, 2012

10 Year Storms

I don't blog politics and I'm not going to point fingers at one party in this post. But this is hitting home to me and some of you may not realize... it WILL hit home to you.

Sequestration is coming. It is real. It is bad. It is big. Do some research.

Come January, there is a good probability I will lose my job. I'm working as close to full time as I can to prepare that I'll have no money coming in come 1 January and I don't qualify for unemployment since I'm part time.

Some people think it is being exaggerated. I think people aren't talking about it enough.

National Defense is going to be decimated. I want you to think a bit harder about what's going on in the world. What happens if... let's say Greece falls in and the great US isn't there to be a stand over there... what happens next?

Countries falling apart economically leads to war. Other countries will move in. Don't think for a minute the Turks wouldn't love to have them back.

Far fetched... perhaps, but we need to realize that it is more than just what we see in our faces that we need to be concerned about.

Sequestration. You need to research. It's more complex than just some anonymous blogger losing her job. It is going to effect everyone... one way or another. Only half of the cuts are in National Defense.

This is the big talk at work. I've written all my representatives, both sides of the aisle. They BOTH need to compromise.

If they don't, this country is in for bigger trouble than only those around in the 1920s can imagine...

Posted by Boudicca at 08:35 PM | Comments (15)

August 19, 2012

The Many Faces of Bones

School starts tomorrow and I'm stressed. Each boy is carrying a heavy load and I know that the tutoring will come to me. It's going to be a busy busy year and ... yeah.

I told my oldest I've not had Physics or College Stats in 28 years. If he expects me to help, he has to bring home his book every night so the light might come back on.

My second son, his schedule is the most manageable for me. It's all a pre-Calc type curriculum I can handle.

Bones... is Bones. He did NOT get put in remedial math. We are so blessed. He has math tutoring three times a week though, on top of always doing his math homework. This is going to be the year of math.

He had a book to read this summer called, Touching Spirit Bear. It's a book about a kid who gets in bad trouble and is sentenced to an island. While on the island, he gets into a fight with a bear.

The book is a bit deeper than that, but from Bones' perspective, until he finished it, that's about it. He spent a better part of the book, completely appalled.

"Mom", he said, "He got mauled by this bear and has spent about 50 pages now unconscious or eating bugs."

A few hours later, "Mom. Just when I thought it couldn't get worse. The author... he keeps thinking of these horrible things. I mean, Mom, this kid's arm and hip are broken, he's lying there nearly dead and if that's not awful enough, he squishes a mouse that runs across his hand and eats it. This is just... terrible."

I've been getting this run down for two days. Tonight as he was going to bed he said, "OK, you know... as weird as this book was... I think I want to read the second book. It was pretty good."

I don't know if I should be looking forward to that rundown or not.

Meanwhile, I teased him unmercifully. (Remember this post, about throwing a sandwich at a bear?)

Me: So he got in a fight with a bear huh?

Bones: Yup.

Me: Did he stab him in the neck with a knife?

Bones: No...

Me: Run away like a little girl?

Bones: uhhhh... no...

Me: hmm. How about... Did he throw a sandwich at him?

Bones: OH! I get it. You're never going to let me live that down are you?

Mr. T: No. Never.

Heh.

This is Bones in Italy with his favorite blue bottle. We had to buy water for every dinner and our 2nd night, it came in this big plastic blue bottle. He carried it with us for the remainder of our time in Italy, filling it when he could.

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Here he is King of the Gondola. Note the Hard Rock Cafe in the background. That was the lunch of choice since they had ice...

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He's starting to fill out and look like a man. These next couple years are the formative ones. I can tell by the neck and shoulders that he's starting to move from boy to man...

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Because he is quiet and shy, when we bought him luggage, he insisted on lime green.

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And lastly, this is a kid completely comfortable with himself. He repeatedly would do things that would embarrass us and he'd say things like, "Look, relax. We're never going to see these people again. That's my attitude. If I'm not going to see them, why should I care?"

I'm not sure yet if that's a good attitude or not.

Then again, our biggest joke is the saying he uses with his brothers, "Listen, you know my philosophy. If it doesn't bother me... then it doesn't bother you..." They laugh. Mostly.

We were in Venice here and he'd just had some slushy icy drink the boys got all excited about (ice) and got cold. This is the wrap I wore through Italy. You can't just go into a Church. You have to have your arms and legs covered. I don't wear Daisy Duke's but some of my shorts come to mid thigh and they like knee length in the churches. So I'd wrap my legs in this like a skirt.

Or if I was wearing a long skirt with a shirt without sleeves, I'd wrap my shoulders.

Bones wore it in public to keep warm. Hey, he'll never see those people ever again...

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Posted by Boudicca at 09:10 PM | Comments (4)

Oddities

I have in laws that have family that live in Damascus. Obviously there is concern.

At dinner tonight... the most surreal statement was made.

Me: And how are they?

Inlaw: They are so blessed. They were able to leave Damascus as the fighting was in their neighborhood and go to their safe home in Beirut, Lebanon.

Me: Safe house? Beirut???

Posted by Boudicca at 08:19 PM | Comments (2)

August 15, 2012

Home

We are home. We got home on Monday night and spent yesterday going back to work, doing laundry and settling back in.

The trip was fantastic and quite a cultural experience for all of us, but in particular my kids. They absolutely loved most of it, hated none of it, and missed only a few things from home. Some observations:

- Ice. They don't use ice in Italy. By day 5, my eldest said, "I think I would do just about anything for a glass of water with... ICE in it." On Day 9, my kids convinced me that we should go to the Hard Rock Cafe Venice for lunch so they could get a glass of iced tea or ice water. I'm serious. They only wanted to eat there so they could get ice in a drink. Then they gorged on hamburgers.

- I banned all American food while we were there. We ate what the locals ate hence the freakish nature of my kids when they got a hamburger on Day 9. They acted like they hadn't eaten ... in... forever. Honestly, they'd have been good for another 9 days then. It was just something they missed.

- If we never saw another panini, it would be too soon. We are done with paninis.

- They don't eat turkey or chicken in their sandwiches. It is all cheese, ham or salami. Lettuce and tomato are included, but there are no condiments. We came home on Monday night and the boys had me go out to Publix and buy turkey. They were fantasizing about turkey sandwiches on the airplane. We went through a pound of turkey yesterday....

- Condiments... back to that. They don't use them. It's odd. But you get a huge appreciation for the meat and cheese when you don't use them. We stopped at a little town for lunch one day on our way to Florence and we ordered a proscuito and cheese sandwich. A piece of thinly sliced ham and a thick piece of a hard cheese like parmesan was laid on top. That was it... on a rustic roll. I threw away the top of the roll (too much bread) and ate it open faced and my taste buds were just overwhelmed with the flavor of the meat and cheese. It would have probably been fantastic with a good wine...

- Water is an odd thing. They don't serve it in a glass when you sit down to eat. You have to buy it. So every night at dinner we probably went through 3 or 4 liters of water. Water was probably close to 3 Euro a bottle, so tack 9 to 12 Euro on our dinner bill every night. (We all only drink water with dinner. We don't drink sodas and we'll have tea during the day.)

- Water... more on the odd... when you order it, whether in a plastic bottle from a food vendor or at a restaurant they will ask, "Gas or no gas?" Gas is sparkling water. So by Day 4 when we completely got it, we'd say, 'We'd like a bottle of water... no gas". They also call it Tap Water, something they must've picked up from Americans although it insinuates that they pulled it out of the tap for you in your bottle... they just mean flat water.

- Nutella. It appears to be a major food group. Bones informed me he never wants to eat Nutella ever again. In Rome, it was stuffed in croissants and used all over desserts. We walked into a local pizza shop, I mean local as in they looked at us like, 'what are Americans doing here?' and nobody spoke a lick of English. We'd been referred there by a restauranteur we'd met. It was fantastic. Anyway, on the back counter was a big jug of Nutella. I didn't know they sold it in Gallon jugs. It was that way at all the small food vendors. So the bonus is that this coming school year, Bones will never beg for a Nutella sandwich. He said he is permanently off it.

- They don't drive in Italy. They slalom. I would stand on the street corners trying to make heads or tails of their driving methods. There was none. They may sit on the same side of the car as we do in America (left side) and so you assume they will drive on the right side. But they don't. They drive all over the road in complete chaos, making their own lanes, all merging into each other, like some psycho car ballet. Vespas, busses, cars (smart cars rule) all weaving in and out and going literally all over the road. I absolutely could not figure out the logistics of it all.

- Small cars and vespas rule. They have mini-vans that sit 8, which was very cool. But small cars and vespas are the norm. The cars are so small, they remind me of those little cars our kids play with where you pull them back and let them go and POOF, they run all over. Like toy cars.

- Their cars are all diesal driven... so they are all so quiet. I thought they were electric for awhile.

- All their cars are manual transmission. As America goes more and more automatic, Italy is dang close to 100% manual. I don't think we saw one automatic car and we looked. We'd go down the street and look in the windows. Small cars, expensive cars... all of them... manual. I hammered home the importance to my boys to learn how to drive a stick. (Ringo already knows and my next car will be a stick so my other boys will learn.)

- My husband said to me, "You know, I do believe the best way to get around Rome is by vespa. If we come back, we'll do it by vespa." I did a *blink* and then said, "Are you out of your frickin' mind?! No way in hell would I ride a vespa in Rome!" That would be a suicide pact for me. Holy crap. I can't even imagine getting myself into that dance of vehicles they do. I'd get myself killed. Good Lord.

- We saw a fight break out between two gondoliers. Holy crap. I was looking for the popcorn. We were in a gondolier traffic jam as a bunch of us were coming in from our tour and one guy was coming out and his gondola hit another guys gondola and suddenly there was yelling and cussing and hands thrown in the air like... something out of the movies. Italians were taking sides up on the bank, mostly with the guy who got hit. Everyone was yelling and the five of us sat there thinking, "Holy crap. People pay for this kind of entertainment..."

That's all for now...

Posted by Boudicca at 06:58 AM | Comments (10)

August 09, 2012

All Over the Road in Italy

So many thoughts...

We couldn't get into the Vatican catacombs that Erica had spoken of in the comments. You need about 2 mo advanced notice for tickets and I didn't know. So instead we went to the catacombs at the Immaculate Church. There is a church/chapel for the Capuchin Monks.

I'm not sure what to say. It is one of the most bizarre places I've ever been to. The crypts... they are open with the monks full on skeleton in their monk robes, positioned and someone took the time to take various bones and decorate the crypts.

I wasn't sure what to think. Ghoulish... some would say that, but that sounds like it was done with ill intent or something. Murder. Mayhem. Etcetera, etcetera.

Odd. Just... Odd. Google it. The boys were speechless. No, we did not take pictures. That seemed ghoulish...

Rome... is huge. You just stumble over ancient everywhere you go. Ancient and in some cases still utilized.

It's nearly too much. As our Vatican guide said to us when I was speaking of it, "Ahhh... You will love Florence. Florence is a cup of champagne. Rome is a liter of red wine..."

The Vatican was so amazing that we went back on our own for another 3 hours. We could have spent a week.

The Basilica... It left me speechless. I need to do research on all I saw... the significance of some of the statues. It was the Basilica that had me push my husband that we would go back to the Vatican after already having had a tour. The Sistine Chapel is amazing... but The Basilica... I'm still speechless.

The magnitude. The beauty. Understanding the history. All of it...

We have had some excellent food, having stumbled upon a local restauranteur who gave us a list of places to eat, including a purely local hole in the wall pizza place where you stand to eat your slice, the ladies didn't speak a lick of English and were completely startled to see us. They cut our pizza with scissors, something the boys have decided we will do for now on.

We will own pizza sheers.

Yesterday as we were at the Vatican, we stumbled across a couple pictures of David and Goliath. The following was the conversation at dinner:

Bones: David and Goliath...

Me: Yes, David... he slew the giant. Goliath.

Ringo: You remember that from the Bible story.

Bones: Oh yeah yeah, the one with the lima beans...

Me, T, Ringo, my husband, collectively: *blink*

Ringo: Lima beans.... ?

Bones: Yeah, they threw them in the ground and a big stalk formed. I don't remember when the beans turned into a stalk in that story...

T: You mean... Jack and the beanstalk?

Bones:

Ringo: Completely different stories. There were no beans in David and Goliath...

And I should be cataloging these stories as this is just one of many. We have come to the conclusion that Bones is completely geographically ignorant. He is that person on the street that Jay Leno stops and asks a question like, "Who is the VP" and they reply something like, "Joe DiMaggio".

He is that person that you cringe when they answer and you think, "NO! They did NOT just say that!"

For instance, if there were no ocean, I could nearly walk to Haiti just as fast as I could get to my parent's house. It is just 150 miles more to Port au Prince. We have many many Haitian immigrants in West Palm.

We realized the other day, that Bones thought that Haiti was in Africa. Obviously it is because they are black and everyone in the US now calls black people African Americans, so in Bones mind, if you are black, you are from Africa, and since we have black Haitians in West Palm, Haiti must be in Africa.

But my two older boys and I were nearly speechless.

There have been little bombs of wisdom dropped on us all week. It has been enlightening traveling with him...

As for the Bidet, the last hotel had one, with the towel, a little opening in the wall with plastic bags that said, 'for lady' and some liquid soap in small packets.

All of this was lost on my boys except the bidet.

I have absolutely no intention of explaining to them exactly what one is. I personally think they are extraordinarily civil, the bidets, not my boys, and I wish I had one.

But there are certain things my boys, not having sisters I guess, just don't completely get yet when it comes to women although they know things occur. And I'm just not going to get into it with them. If I had a daughter? Yes. Definitely. There is no shame. But my boys? No. Their father can handle it. I just won't.

So Bones is still calling it the butt washer and T is full on in agreement and Ringo says nothing which leads me to believe he gets it all.

We have had to have separate rooms since European rooms do not hold five. I walked into their room today (we are now in Florence) and Bones has a special bar of soap in his hand. It is the bidet soap that I noticed when I set my items in the bathroom. It sits on a soap dish next to the bidet, next to the special bidet towels.

I walk in and Bones is demonstrating with this bar of soap... "And look at this. It came with it's very own butt washing soap. So you sit down, grab this soap, scrub your butt (he is demonstrating washing his butt) and then the water just washes it off. Everyone has really clean butts..."

And T replied, "Wow... really?"

It is the Gospel according to Bones.

Everyone in Italy has really clean butts.

Posted by Boudicca at 11:25 AM | Comments (7)

August 05, 2012

Rome... Days 1 and 2

We arrived in Rome yesterday morning. The Rome airport was nothing like I expected. It was... smaller. It's also not like other big city airports I've been in. It has a very... functional, minimalist, run down feel. It served its purpose, but it reminded me of the time when I got off a plane in Newark, my first visit to NJ, to meet my husband's extended family, and I thought, "Oh, Dear God, please do not let New Jersey be like this..."

Fortunately, it was not and nor is Rome like it's airport either. So the saying, Don't judge a book by it's cover, should have an addendum that states and don't judge a city by its airport.

A driver picked us up and took us to our hotel. Our travel agency had arranged everything. We do believe we received the only driver in Rome who didn't speak any English.

I think he may have been one of the sweetest old men I'd ever met. Cheery and non-flappable, we whistled our way through Rome to our hotel, as conversation was limited due to the language barrier. He teased my kids, had an amazing whistle... like yodeling, hard to describe, and did all the big hit movie songs. He drove probably 5 mph and I think we got passed by everyone including bicyclists, but we got here safe and he was kind.

It was a good introduction to Rome.

There are a couple things happening on this trip. We have been given a great gift as a family to get along (mostly) and enjoying the same things and each other's company (usually). So this trip has given us a great bonding opportunity, an ability to grow close before my eldest leaves for college next year. When kids get to high school, you become splintered.

We are fortunate.

Yesterday I found frustrating, I was beat, I wanted a bath, and I hadn't had a decent meal in over 24 hours. But last night, as we'd finally checked in, bathed, napped, ate and then started to walk and tour, it was far better.

And although people speak English everywhere, all the buildings are written in Latin. If Italian is written, I can muddle through at a 1st grade level. Between my years of French and my sons' Catholic HS English teacher who pushed understanding the Latin roots of their vocabulary, and since I helped them study, if the Italian is written, I can get a feel for it.

Latin though, in it's purist Ancient form, carved into buildings is a different gig.

Last night we were in what they call a Piazza, it is a large gathering place, like a large plaza, and there were restaurants, performers, artists, and throngs of people of every nationality milling around and enjoying themselves.

But what is the historical significance? I could tell. I could tell that there was something historically important, but even with our books, you can't find it all.

You can walk through Rome and just pass this large building with a long row of Roman Numerals (Thank you Mrs. Patterson, my 4th grade Math teacher that taught us Roman Numerals) and a Pope's name across from a fountain with Neptune stabbing an Octopus.

What do you gather from that? Nothing. I just knew it was cool, but couldn't figure out when, why, and for whom this was all insignificant.

But that is the cool part of Rome. What I've described is the norm. You're walking along, and BOOM! big Roman building that you know was probably BC.

Today, we had invested in a private tour guide, an indulgence that was worth every penny. If we were to spend this kind of time saving for the trip of the lifetime, we want to get the most out of it we can. She was able to explain last night's building (an old palace) and the fountain. There are so many, it is difficult to find it all in our guidebook.

I feel certain we saw and heard things we'd not have heard and her being a thousand year generational Roman, added a very fun and wonderful flair.

Bones in Rome has been funny. It's all a bit too much or him. He's not really mature enough for it, but I know one day he'll appreciate it.

T said to me on the side yesterday, "You know Bones is going to use that butt washer. He's going to feel like he has too. And we're going to have water... all over our bathroom!"

Heh. We will see. I'm not saying a word...

Tonight we are going to Mass at a church quite a ways away, so we are taking public transportation! Two birds, one stone... Mass in Latin, in Rome, taking public transportation.

We toured a beautiful church we stumbled on today... St Ignatius. Odder still... the same name of the church my husband attends at home.

We spent an hour amazed... and I lit a candle for Lex. I prayed for peace for his family.

We are off for dinner!



Posted by Boudicca at 09:27 AM | Comments (8)

August 02, 2012

Ready

Newspaper stopped. Check
Hold on mail. Check
Packed. Check.
Checked in to airline. Check

I left work today with a short list for the boys. "Please wash my floors, do the laundry, clean off the back porch... and go to Publix to buy snacks for the trip."

I came in to a house that smelled crystal clean, laundry not folded, but ALL washed, and the back porch picked up.

But when you send three teenage boys to 'pick up snacks'... one should realize they will bring home the motherlode of snacks.

Protein bars, cookies, pop-tarts, the biggest dang box of Ritz peanut butter crackers, and more cookies.

I didn't give them a budget.

Lesson learned: It shall be phrased this way next time, "Please go to Publix and get snacks for the trip. You may each pick two, but you have to stay within the following budget..."

Apparently they will be eating their way to Italy.

Locusts. I live with Locusts.

I looked up the plane we are flying, an Airbus 330-300. I'm not thrilled it's Airbus, but what're ya going to do? I also read that the plane is inhumanely cramped in the cattle car coach. I didn't tell anyone. Why bother to stir them up? Besides, we're small people... so I figure it's all good.

Work has been crazy lately, so dang crazy. It is not a good time to take vacation, but it is what it is. I literally finished every thing on my to-do list the minute I HAD to leave.

I left work to a resounding, "Ciao, Bella!" from the guys from work. They're excited for me, but I think they're more excited at the potential for water cooler stories that will make them laugh.

I sent out a note to my team in the great white North, that read something like this:

"I'm off. It's all taken care of. There shouldn't be any questions, but call my boss if you need anything.

I'm Italy bound. We opted not to tell Bones about the bidet. We decided we'd wait until we got to the hotel, wait for him to ask what it is, and let his father explain. We'll watch. It's just really important he not think it's a water fountain...

Ciao, Bou"

I will have an ability to blog if I can. Time will be an issue, I suspect, as well as 'wifi-ability'.

I think what I'm looking forward to the most... is watching the world open up to my children. They have never been out of the United States before, let alone a place as historically relevant as Rome.

I'm looking forward to watching their faces and the comments.

I'm bringing a notebook to try to keep track. Let us hope... I remember.

Ciao.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:48 PM | Comments (11)