Tuesday, February 28
We woke up kinda late, but considering we both were up in the middle of the night working, we were allowed. After putting a couple hours into work, we decided since it was a beautiful day, to get some exercise. So, we set out and thought we would walk by the river since we hadn't been able to do that for a while, as the water has been so high. We didn't make it too far -- the water was still high in some areas, and mud, mud, mud. So, we turned around, climbed the stairs and took the walk on the street side. It felt great! After sitting all day yesterday, working half the night, we both needed a good stretch. At one of the traffic lights, while waiting for our turn to cross and watiching the "less than patient drivers, I was reminded of a joke I heard the other day: Question: What does FIAT stand for? Answer: Frenzied Italian At Traffic-lights. It doesn't matter if they're walking or driving - patience is not one of the Italian virtues when it comes to being a driver or a pedestrian.
We had a delightful dinner with Larry Gray at a restaurant here in Trastevere, which for this area, is out of the norm. The name of it is Glass. The menu is quite eclectic and the decor is very sleek -- both the menu and the decor are a prominent departure from most restaurants here. My food was very good and both Larry and John seemed to enjoy theirs as well.
Larry is taking John and me to the Police Station tomorrow to finalize the last step in our being 100% legal in Italy. Now that we have our visas from the Italian Consulate, we have to get our Permesso di Soggiorno’ (Certificate of Permission to Stay). Since Larry speaks fluent Italian, he has offered to be our interpreter. We're very appreciative of his help. Thankfully, once we have that, when we apply next February for an extension on our visas, it will be a very simple process (at least according to the Consulate offices in Houston).
Monday, February 27
Wow -- another month has flown by. I want to put the brakes on so that our time here doesn't go so fast.
Today was rainy, so we worked all day on worldatlas.com. While John is redrawing maps and updating descriptions, I am making some subtle changes to the pages and researching tourism information. Very time consuming for both of us. Our goal is to complete Asia prior to our good friends, Jim and Lee, arriving from Galveston in another month. We are very excited about their vist. We have traveled together a couple times and have had so much fun, so we know this visit will be as good, if not better, than our previous times together.
I was quite surprised that I could not find any Shrove Tuesday/Fat Tuesday celebrations in Rome, as in earlier times, this was the place to be for the carnival, with huge celebrations. The Rome Carnival played a major role in the development of dance, theater and music.
However, our friend, Larry Gray, called and asked us to join him for dinner tomorrow, so that will be a fun evening.
Since we completely missed Mardi Gras this year (first time in at least 12 years), I am already researching Carnivale in Venice, 2007. We are so going! It will more than likely be our last "party" in Italy for a while as sometime late spring, we will have to return to the states for a bit prior to our next big adventure.
Since the weather was inclement, we stayed home for dinner. John fixed dinner for us -- broiled salmon, peas and potatoes. It's one of our favorite meals and since he's the master of salmon cooking, I certainly don't argue with him when he says he will fix dinner! Since he hasn't been feeling too well, I offered to clean up the kitchen. He doesn't begin to make the kind of mess that I do, so it's a pretty easy clean job.
We went to bed fairly early as I haven't been sleeping well and John was tired from his flu bug. Well, again, insominia paid a visit. So, I got up, read for about 15 minutes and then decided to work. John woke about 1:30am and worked in his office for a while. Finally about 3am, we went back to bed to get some sleep.
Sunday, February 26
John still didn't feel on "top of the world" today, so we took it easy this morning. Since Rico, our housekeeper, comes in the afternoon, we generally try to leave and give him the space to get his job done.
The weather today was absolutely beautiful, so we opted to stroll our usual route - Campo di' Fiori and on to Piazza Navona and then back to our neighborhood. We picked up the London Daily Telegraph and went to our local wine bar for an afternoon R & R.
As we were wandering about today, in the Piazzas, we saw confetti everywhere, young children in costumes and of course, the thing all of us despise - silly string! We found out that the children of Rome, during the last few days before Lent, attend functions in fancy dress or costumes and celebrate Mardi Gras.
Having worked for the Galveston Park Board during Mardi Gras, I laughed out loud when I saw confetti and silly string all over cobblestones at Campo di' Fiori, Piazza Navona, and in our own neighborhood at Piazza Santa Maria. What a huge mess! And, the best part was that no one seemed upset or was complaining. Everyone says Rome is dirty -- and yes, it is. But, Romans also know how to have a great time, all the time. I am now trying to find out what activities take place here on Fat Tuesday. If I find a party or parade for us to go to, we can then say we did attend Mardi Gras 2006!
There were so many people out and about today. And, it's not even tourist season. Now that we're "residents", we will probably complain vociferously during the high season about all the tourists - even though the majority of them will be from the states.
After a dinner at home of quattro formaggio sauce (four cheese) on tonnarelli pasta and hot bread, we watched a bit of CNN and headed for bed. We have a lot of work to get done in the next couple weeks.
Saturday, February 25
We have returned from the Winter Olympics in Turin. In spite of some drizzly rain, we had a fabulous time and are very happy we took advantage of the opportunity of living so close. More details on the Olympics here!
Upon arrival at home, we made a quick trip to the market so we would have some basic food necessities. We've been gone, realistically, for two full weeks, so the cupboards were like Old Mother Hubbard's -- bare!
Then, back home for a late lunch, download emails, unpack and just generally relax.
Around 8pm, Rome time, we turned our computers on to watch the Z Krewe procession as it was taking place at Mardi Gras Galveston. Galveston.com has a strategically placed web cam, so we were able to watch the procession as it proceeded down the Strand. Unfortunately, the weather in Galveston was not cooperative - a rather drizzly rain was falling. I always feel sorry for the Krewes when the weather is bad during Mardi Gras, as the members work all year in preparation for their parades and parties and rain or cold weather certainly has a negative impact on the fun and frivolity.
We are both still tired from our U.S. trip, plus John seems to have caught my flu bug of last week, and then the quick trip to the Olympics, so it was an early bedtime for us!
Wednesday, February 22
We arrived home yesterday. We were just a bit late arriving due to delays in Atlanta. We much prefer flying through Atlanta than Paris and will probably use Delta again. We both like the service and the planes better with Air France, but hate Charles de Gaulle Airport. We had a fabulous time in Texas and you'll find details on the wedding here!
After much research, we were able to obtain the tickets we wanted to the Olympics men's speed skating for Friday, so we are leaving tomorrow. With the Olympics being so close, we don't want to pass on the opportunity.
We had a chance to catch up with our friend, Larry Gray, and visited with him for a bit and then off to one of our nearby restaurants. We didn't go to the grocery store today as there wasn't any reason to buy a lot of food and then leave town again. So, that will be on my "to do" list for Saturday afternoon when we return.
Ciao for now! More journal entries on Saturday.
Sunday, February 12
Everyone was up by 5:30 to get ready to go. When the car service arrived, the poor driver just kind of shook his head. Three women traveling amounts to a LOT of luggage. But, they got it all loaded and off they went.
John and I did some work around the house and packed, as we leave in the morning for the states for a week for my son's wedding. So, Ciao for Now! Next entry --- February 22nd, after we come back home.
Saturday, February 11
John and I walked Kathleen over to Campo di' Fiori as that is where her cooking instructor told the class to meet. Every day but Sunday is an open air fruit, vegetables, fish and meat market. She was going to show them how to buy the products and then they were all going to her apartment/school to prepare a lunch. When Kathleen returned home mid-afternoon, she had lots to tell us. The food was excellent and she felt she did pick up quite a few tips. John and I are definitely going to attend one of her classes. Kathleen told us that one of the couples she met at class were taking their eighth cooking class.
When we got back, then Pat and Natalie and I went to the spice store as Pat wanted to get some olive oil and a few other items. From there to the grocery store as she wanted to get some of the breadsticks we've been having. Then, Natalie said she wanted to get a ravioli press like Pat had gotten. So, we headed out to the kitchen store. We found what we needed quickly, (and we were happy because they were on sale),so we stopped and had a gelato. Then, I remembered a couple things I wanted to pick up at the Jewish Ghetto, so we headed there.
In the store where we always shop in the Ghetto, Pat saw the same ravioli pans we had just bought and they were cheaper. Since we got ours on sale, we only paid one euro more. If they hadn't been on sale, we would have been really mad! I've decided that from now on when we need something, I'll start checking our stores in the Ghetto first. I know their cleaning supplies and paper products are less expensive than at the market.
Since this was the last night in Rome for the Texas Trio, they treated us to dinner. So, we went to Checco er Carettiere, which is very close to us in Trastevere. Our friend, Giacomo, has told us that it's considered to be one of the best restaurants in Rome. John and I love the contorni (fried artichokes). Everyone tried them. They were good. We had a great dinner and good conversation and lots and lots of laughs. Natalie kept us entertained with some great stories. After dinner we returned home so the Trio could get a good night's sleep as the car service arrives early in the morning.
Friday, February 10
Pat and Natalie walked over to the taxi stand and went to the Coliseum, the Forum and Piazza Venezia. Kathleen and I headed to the money exchange place by the Pantheon. It's only about a 10 minute walk, and it's the only exchange place I've found nearby that doesn't charge a commission. When we got back, we made a pot of espresso and then Kathleen headed out to do some exploring.
John and I went to Piazza Venezia to meet Pat and Natalie and take them to the Trevi Fountain. And, of course, they had another grand experience. There was some type of press conference at the Piazza with the Mayor of Rome, and wouldn't you know it -- they were on TV. They have certainly been having some fun.
After we all threw coins in the fountain (yes, I threw more in. I'm trying to make sure that I don't have to ever leave or at the very least, insuring my rapid return), John got everyone a gelato, as they hadn't tried it yet. Then we walked a few blocks and found a restaurant for a late lunch. Natalie, Pat and John had pizzas and I had some great vegetable soup.
Since Kathleen had her cooking school this evening, the four of us went to a restaurant here in Trastevere that we had tried once before. They have a couple menu options -- tonight they had two fixed menus, one with meat and one with fish, or of course, you can order entrees from the regular menu. Pat and John tried the fixed fish meal and Natalie ordered the meat. I ordered ravioli with a cheese sauce. The great thing about this restaurant is the attention given us by the chef/owner. Once the food selections are made, he suggests a couple of wines to compliment the food. And, the wines are not all that expensive. Everyone's food was delicious.
Kathleen had a wonderful time at the cooking school and said the food was different and very good. She met some people from the U.S. who work at the Embassy here and don't live far from us. So, we will look forward to perhaps meeting them one day soon. The cooking school is a Friday evening dinner and then tomorrow, they go food shopping and back to the school and prepare a lunch. John said we might try that one of these days. I think it would be a lot of fun.
Thursday, February 9
Pat, Natalie and Kathleen left early to head to the Vatican Museums.
John worked on the Vietnam website page and I worked on another data base for worldatlas.com. We finished around 12:30 and decided that since we had started around 5am, that we had already put in our day's work and we headed out the door.
Did I ever say that I am spoiled? Well, I am. John's whole focus was to find me a gold necklace to wear with my suit to the wedding. So, after perusing the goods at several stores by Campo di' Fiori, and trying two necklaces on in one of them, we headed (as usual) to the Piazza del Popolo and Spanish Steps area.
As we were peeking into store windows, John spotted the perfect item. So, a half hour later, we walked out of the store and he was the proud owner of a brand new watch! It's a Locman watch -- made right here in Italy on the Island of Elba. Locman watches was founded in 1986 by Marco Mantovani and Locman is well-known for their design and innovative watches. It's a very cool watch. Happy Valentine's Day, honey!
After finding the perfect item (for John), we then meandered back to the kitchen store, where we had bought a couple pasta dishes on our last trip. We decided we needed two more. And, we also found a ravioli maker Pat wanted.
So, with our purchases in hand, (but no necklace, yet), we started walking back home. I told John that I wanted to go back by the jewelry store where I had tried on the two necklaces. And, a short time later, I walked out wearing a beautiful new gold necklace. Happy Valentine's Day to me!
When we arrived home, the Trio was back from their visit to the museums. I asked them if they had found a good place to eat lunch, and the answer was an emphatic "NO". They said they had asked a couple of the guards at the museum if there were any good restaurants nearby. Obviously, the guards don't know a lot about cuisine. But, the Trio was very very wise. They said when they walked in, they had a sense it might not be so good, so they just ordered some cheese and some bread! And, even that wasn't very good. How can you screw up cheese? I'm glad I didn't go!
For dinner, we went to the restaurant where Kathleen and I had lunch yesterday. Everyone enjoyed their food and we were home and in bed at a decent hour.
Wednesday, February 8
John and I walked Pat and Natalie to the Vatican so they could attend the Wednesday morning session when the Pope makes his appearance. We came back home and then Kathleen and I took off to explore the neighborhood. I'm glad we did as we found a really nice cosmetics store and a kitchen store not too far from home. Very convenient.
Then, we crossed the river and went to the Pantheon. After leaving there, we went to Piazza Navona and I showed her the hotel where some of our friends will be staying in May. From there, we decided to take a different route and we found the most delightful street with interesting shops and restaurants. Leaving there, we walked back to Trastevere along the river.
It was lunch time, so we stopped at one of the local restaurants. Very good! In fact, for lunch they offered a fixed menu which included an appetizer, first course (pasta, followed by a second (meat) and then dessert. Kathleen ordered the meal and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Shortly after we arrived home, Pat and Natalie returned. Did they ever have a story to tell about their Vatican experience. First of all, the Pope doesn't do the outside appearances on Wednesdays during the winter. And, in order to participate in the audience, you are supposed to have your local priest send a letter requesting an audience with the Pope. Sometimes, it can take many weeks to get a response.
Well, Pat was able to secure two tickets (no wonder she's such a great Galveston city council woman) so that she and Natalie could be in the audience. But it gets even better. The tickets she received were red. There were blue tickets for seating in the very front. As they were trying one of the doors, a guard motioned for them to come down to where he was -- and he let them in. Guess what -- they were in front with the blue ticket holders. Pat was inches away from the Pope as he made his way down the aisle. Needless to say, they were very excited.
Mid-afternoon, Kathleen took off to get a massage at a place just a couple streets over from us. Pat needed to exchange some money and so she and I headed out to do that. Natalie wanted an espresso coffee pot, so she and John went to the kitchen store.
John fixed an early dinner for all of us and he also cleaned up! Broiled salmon, roasted potatoes and peas -- very good dinner.
After dinner, we had made plans for the Texas Trio to meet Larry Gray, our professor friend from Texas. So, we went around the corner to our local wine bar. We had a great visit and Larry came back home with us for a bit.
Tuesday, February 7
We were both at our computers by 5am this morning. I was working some more on the pages we are adding, proof reading them, making some changes. John was busy working on new maps. We then experimented with some variations of the new pages I was working on, and were very pleased with the results. So, John was able to get them on the site already.
Then, I started working on The Events Team website. Since we have several projects in the works, we need to have our website up and running. John showed me an easier way to make the pages look the same, with the flow that needs to be there. I sent a couple pages to my team partners, and have heard back from them that they like it so far. So, tomorrow, early, I'll work on a couple more pages. I would love to be able to have the site pretty viable by the time we leave Monday.
After lunch, (yes, I slaved over a hot stove again today) we ran some errands as there were a few things we needed for the house. On the way back, we got some more flowers. We got some beautiful daffodils. They really brighten the place up! Flowers stands are everywhere and the prices are very reasonable.
I had made a double batch of limoncello, so today was the day to bottle it. It's a good thing it was ready today, because we were OUT!
Well, a great time was had by the Texas Trio in Florence. And, today was definitely their lucky day. The Today Show was being shot in Florence as part of the coverage of the upcoming Olympics. They got to see Katie Couric, so that definitely made their day! And, they found some great places to shop and I think their families will be very happy when they see their gifts.
It was announced today that Villa d'Este is not going to close and the fountains will remain the main attraction of Tivoli (just outside of Rome). There had been talk that the funding was going to be cut, but the Minister for Cultural Heritage said the funds would remain. And, the director general for the cultural heritage of Lazio (Rome) said there will funds invested to restore part of the sanctuary of Hercules.
Villa d'Este was built on the ruins of a Roman villa. First it was a convent and then became the Governor's Palace. In the 1500's, it became the property of Austria and was not returned to the Italians until 1918. There are beautiful gardens and five hundred fountains.
Monday, February 6
We haven't heard from the "Texas Trio" who took off for Florence yesterday, so we are assuming everything is okay with them. They have all three traveled a lot internationally, so this is no big deal for them.
Did not sleep well at all last night. Probably excited about the upcoming wedding (or maybe it's just that I'm getting older). In less than two weeks, Eric and Haley will be married. I am the luckiest mother-in-law that I know. Angel, Chad's wife, is truly an angel and now Haley is joining us. So, I feel very blessed. I couldn't have picked out better partners for my sons.
John and I worked on a new data base today for worldatlas.com. Since I was so tired from not sleeping, I was quite grouchy. And, of course, we both are convinced that individually we're the smartest person in the world, and so, our occasional conflicts are easy to understand. Math has never been my forte' but we worked on the layout for a long time, trying various formulas, and we managed to get the data completely entered for the first page. Once the logos and ads are placed and we take a look at it, the other pages will quickly come together. Hopefully, we'll have them up before we leave next week. It's a pretty significant addition to the website and I'm really enjoying learning a new skill - even if I am tired and cranky.
On Wednesday, the Texas Trio will have the opportunity to meet a fellow Texan -- Larry Gray, the professor at John Cabot University. This will be especially great for Natalie, as she is interested in furthering her education and is curious about studying abroad.
It's been really windy here today and that was a blessing. I washed a couple loads of towels this morning and they dried very quickly. Hope it's kind of windy again tomorrow and I'll do all the sheets!
We worked from about 6am till 4ish and then off to the grocery store. I did not buy a lot of food in advance of our friends' arrival, as I wasn't sure what their plans were going to be. So, when I looked in the refrigerator this afternoon while fixing lunch, I decided if we didn't go to the store, then it was either soup like we had for lunch, or yogurt! We went to the store. Arrabbiata pasta, bread, mozzarella with tomatoes was the choice of the day.
The Winter Olympics start February 10th in Turin in northern Italy. The excitement is definitely building. The torch has been making its rather arduous journey these past couple of months. (And thanks to John I got my picture taken with one of the athletes then they visited Roma -- very exciting!) Anyway, the torch was lit on November 27th in Ancient Olympia in Greece. It traveled Greece for 10 days and then came to Roma. When the opening ceremonies begin on the 10th, the torch will have been in Italy for 64 days and will have covered 6,835 miles. Pretty cool!
In my on-going quest to learn more about the most fabulous place I have ever lived in my life (and I've lived in over 20 places thus far in my life), I learned that Rome was the first city to reach a population of 1 million people in 133 B.C. (That was a LONG time ago). London, England was the second to reach a million in 1810 and New York, USA made it in 1875. It sure took everyone else a long time to catch up!
Sunday, February 5
We got up fairly early this morning, as we wanted to eat breakfast and head out to Porta Portese, a huge flea market about a mile from us. So, after a breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, juice, clementines and strawberries, we set out. We took the tram so that we could save some time. Well, Porta Portese has a LOT of stuff. Some good. Some junk. John was very happy to find a crescent wrench (I think it's a guy thing) and I happily found some leather buttons for a coat that I want to redo. (it's a girl thing) Pat found some great artwork. We headed for home, on the tram, as the three ladies were going to head for Florence.
We fixed a pot of espresso as they were packing up. I walked them over to the taxi stand and off they went to the station to catch the train to Florence. They are going to Siena tomorrow, then back to Florence. They'll spend most of Tuesday visiting the museums, Ponte Vecchio area and the duomo and then come back to Rome that evening. It's only an hour and a half train ride, so is very manageable and enjoyable.
It turned out to be a very pretty afternoon, so John and I took off on one of our walks around Rome. We ended up over by the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo. Most of the stores are closed on Sundays, but it's so much fun just to walk down the narrow streets, window shop and see all the performers on the street. John got some really great pictures of some of the performers. We stopped in Tad's, now one of our favorite spots in that area of town, and had lunch. Good food. Even better desserts!
One thing that I am learning to tell people about when they are visiting (without being too graphic) is the use of public restrooms here. Each time you go into a bathroom (toilette) it's a new experience. Some places only have one stall, so it's unisex. Sometimes the flush is mounted on the wall as a big white plastic rectangle, sometimes it a small chrome pushbutton on the wall and every once in a while, it's a pull from a box mounted close to the ceiling. In other bathrooms, there are separate stalls for men and for women, but you share sinks. And, some faucets are the type that are sensory, so when you put your hands under the faucet, the water comes on. In others, there's a little handle you lift up, and in others, there's a foot pedal on the floor. The bathrooms I hate are the ones that don't have a toilet seat.
Of course, all through Europe, bidets are very popular, but not in public restrooms -- hotels and homes have them. We have two in our home. Now, being from the U.S., a bidet is not something that we were used to using. So, we have found them to be quite useful for other things: They're great small wash basins. They're just the right height to wash your feet. They're great for putting some ice in and chilling champagne or beer or wine, if you don't have room in the refrigerator. They would also be very useful for giving a baby a bath or a small dog.
Saturday, February 4
We got off to a bit of a late start today, but it doesn't matter because the "Texas Trio" is on vacation, so we don't have a set time schedule. We walked through Trastevere and then over to the spice store where they found olive oil and pastas they are going to go back and buy to take home. Then, on down the street, past the pasta store, where they make pasta fresh each day, past the fish market, the bakery (very tempting displays in the window), into the cheese store, then a tour of the grocery store where we buy most of our food. After so much food viewing, we were starving. We found a restaurant that had an appealing menu and in we went. I hadn't been there before, so it was a new experience for all of us. It was very good.
After lunch, Pat said she needed to exchange some american dollars for euros, so we set off in search of the place she had used a couple days before as they didn't charge a commission. I thought it was between Campo di' Fiori and Piazza Navona. Nope. So, we kept retracing our steps. It was near the Pantheon. So, after exchanging her money, we walked the few more steps to the Pantheon and sat down at one of the outdoor cafes for a beverage break.
As we started heading back home, we found a store that had some interesting art in the windows so we decided to go in and look around. They had some very nice posters and prints and all very reasonably priced.
We got home, had our afternoon aperitivo and then had to make the big decision of "where should we eat dinner?" We opted for a restaurant that is here in Trastevere and one that John and I have visited several times. The food is good, the prices are very reasonable, the service is great. We all enjoyed our dinner. And, then, it was even better as Kathleen treated all of us!
Friday, February 3
Today is Spanish Steps day and Piazza del Popolo. We take a taxi to Piazza del Popolo and then, I lead them down the street for three very important stops! The first one is Tad's. Tad's is a very unique store - there's a flower shop, clothing for men and women, furniture, household accessories, a beauty salon and a restaurant. But, the most important thing is the bathroom. Bathrooms are few and far between here, so when one is found in a store, it's best to remember its location. After leaving Tad's I showed them a great restaurant where small tables are placed in rooms between copies of statues and busts. There's also a coffee bar.
Pat and Kathleen both told me they really liked my hair and that they would like to get a haircut. So, our third stop was the shop I had been to on Wednesday. We were so lucky - they could take them both right then. So, once I knew they were settled, I bid them good-by and left for home. They were going to sightsee and I had some work to do.
John and I left around 2:15 and headed back to Piazza del Popolo to meet the Texas Trio (my nickname for them) and lead them back home, with stops along the way. I also wanted to get hose to wear with the outfit for the wedding and Suzette had told me where to find the right ones. So, finally, we found the store with the hose, Kathleen found a store that had great cheeses and meats, so she picked out several items to bring back home for an early evening aperitivo. As we were walking down Via Del Corso, we passed a clothing store that was having a great sale. Natalie found a beautiful coat on sale -- it was 75% off, so needless to say, she got a great deal.
We made a stop at the "kitchen" store, where we were able to find a couple things we needed and Pat found a gift for her mother-in-law. Then, bathroom break time, so we stopped at a pub on the way, rested for a bit, used the restroom and headed for home. When we got home, Pat realized she did not have her purse. John made a quick call to the pub, and sure enough, they found it. So, John quickly walked back to retrieve the purse. I told him I would go with him and he said "no, that's okay - I'll go, it'll be faster." So, I said, "well, you're sure going to look cute carrying a woman's purse back." So, he took a grocery bag with him to carry the purse back. All, I can say is, he must have really walked fast because he made it back in record time. He claims he's preparing for the senior olympics!
Pat and Kathleen decided they were not hungy for dinner, so stayed in and watched a movie while John and I headed out for dinner and a walk around the neighborhood. Then back home for a visit (till 1am). So much for "early to bed".
Thursday, February 2
Up early and off to the airport to greet our guests from Galveston - Patricia Bolton-Legg, her daughter, Natalie Robertson, and Kathleen Brennan. Pat and Kathleen and I are members of an organization in Galveston, and I've had the pleasure of knowing both of these great ladies for several years. Pat and her husband own a company in Galveston - Competitive Electric and Pat is on the Galveston City Council. Kathleen owns Pro Forma and we've had the pleasure of working together on a couple projects, with more coming up in the future. Natalie works for Galveston County and we've just gotten to know her.
John rode the tram with me to the train station, then he went back home and I boarded the train. I got to the airport plenty early, so had a coffee and just walked around a bit. Their flight was about a half hour late, but they made it and we hopped on the train to head back. Once we arrived at the Trastevere Station, I hailed a cab to take us the rest of the way. With the bags and the crowded trams, it's rather difficult to maneuver. John had gotten some fresh pastries and made a new pot of coffee, which was well received by our three new guests.
After unpacking and relaxing a bit, we decided that it would be good to take a walk around just to start seeing some of the sights and for them to stretch their legs after such a long flight. We crossed over the Ponte Sisto bridge, walked through the Campo di' Fiori with all the stalls of fresh produce and fruits. Then, on to Piazza Navona where we stopped at the cafe - La Dolce Vita, for a mid-afternoon aperitivo. It was an absolutely beautiful day, so we sat outside with hundreds of other people and enjoyed the break. Then, on to the Pantheon and a slow stroll back home.
We sat around and visited for a while and then walked around Trastevere for a bit before deciding where to eat an early dinner. The ladies have had no sleep, so an early dinner and off to bed is sounding very inviting. So, we went to the restaurant where our friend, Sam, works. He's so great to us and they'll fix us entrees that are not listed on the menu. So, we enjoyed our food and then it was back home, a limoncello and to bed!
Wednesday, February 1
When we came back from the states in December, my computer bag was bumped and fell over while waiting for baggage at the Rome Airport. Inside the bag was my Palm. When I turned it on the next day, it was all in German! Nothing I did would change it. I searched on-line and finally called Palm Tech Support. They said I would have to do a hard reset and would lose all my data. And, that was a bummer because we hadn't backed the data up to my new laptop. I tried the hard reset. It didn't work. So, I just let it go completely dead and then recharged it. John asked me what I was doing that for -- I should just get a new one when we go back to the U.S. in a couple weeks. So, he whacked it real hard on the back. It reset! He then was able to change the language back to English and downloaded the Palm back-up software and voila! I have a Palm again. I only lost a few months worth of data, so am feeling much happier! And, now I don't have to buy a new one. That makes up for the next paragraph:
Our friend, Suzette, made me an appointment at a great shop to get my hair done. Now, first I must explain that I have gone to the same person for my hair for seven years, so going somewhere new is met with quite a lot of trepidation. But, off we go --- John goes along. He didn't stay at the shop, but I think he went because he wanted to make sure I didn't chicken out. So, anyway, their English was as good as my Italian!! But, we communicated very well with gestures and pictures of hair. Two hours later, I walked out of the shop a brunette (my natural color years ago) and a great fun haircut. Everyone in the shop was so nice and friendly, plus I absolutely love the haircut, so I will go back to them as long as we live here. I didn't feel bad about spending the money since I don't have to buy a new Palm. Great work, not inexpensive. And, the very very best part is that I don't have to go back every few weeks and get my highlights touched up or redone! Hurray! Freedom!
While I was getting my hair done, John was out combing the streets between Piazza Del Popolo and the Spanish Steps. And, he spotted the perfect shoes to go with my outfit for the wedding. They fit, so I am outfitted! I'm not sure there are too many women that I know who have husbands who do for them what John does for me. Is it true love? Or, is it he has a new "unpaid" employee for work, or does he really enjoy the fact that I fix lunch and dinner? (Most of the time) Hmmmm... .We must ponder on that!
Ciao for now!
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