Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Today's the Day!

Well, it's finally here. The day we've been waiting for all these months. Everything is pretty much ready. I just have to shave and shower and grab some food. George and Barb are driving us to the airport. This monrning, of course, Kaiser developed a pronounced limp in one of his front paws. He's had this before and he usually gets it at the absolute worst possible time. We will probably have to run him over to the vet's this afternoon and get some anti-inflammatories for him. Jasper is off to the kennel and he'll be staying at home with Brad's neice, so it should be a relaxing time for him to recuperate. I just wish that this could have waited until we returned, but this is how it usually goes, I guess. Nothing is perfect.

In any case, I will miss both readers and we'll start posting again around June 12 with lots of photos of Italia!


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Just 2 More Sleeps!

It's a beautiful Sunday here. Sunny and warm. Getting more and more stuff done. Brad planted out window boxes today and I transplanted my rosemary plant. It was completely root-bound. I'm glad I did it before we left. We're going out to dinner at our fave restaurant when my sister gets back from visiting with mom.

This time next week this is where we'll be! Our own private villa in the middle of Tuscany. Just the 6 of us! And the 2 maids, of course. And hopefully a hunky gardener, too!

OMG... I can't wait. I SOOO need this vacation!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Skinny Saturday 13

Phew! Getting a lot done these days, but still a lot left to do. My sister is staying with us for a few days and the 3 of us had dinner with Shaun and Mary last night at our Greek spot. My sister and I ran errands for mom this morning and got her stocked up on her favourite items. We both went down this afternoon and my sis spent the afternoon with her and will return here for supper. They finally had my mending ready at the cleaners so I picked that up today too. Tomorrow I have to go out and buy socks and maybe a new pair of jeans. Then I have to mow the lawn. (With our reel mower - Ha. I saw our neighbour behind our place today mowing his lawn with a reel mower for he first time! Perhaps we have started a trend. His old gas mower was one of the worst in the 'hood. Really loud and sickly sounding... It has been dying for a while I think, so hopefully he'll stick with his new reel mower!) It would be funny if he switched to a reel mower and we bought a gas-powered one! Not likely to happen on our side anyway...

Brad still hasn't bought his Euros yet! I've been at him to do so for a couple of weeks now. We have to have cash for our apartment in Rome when we arrive. He's not overly concerned and says that even if worst comes to worst, there'll be a banking machine at the airport where he can get money. Famous last words, I say. I believe in the Boy Scouts Motto: Be Prepared!

Mais en fin de compte, tout va se regler. Voilà les Bô mecs de samedi:

(Oh, and me - I didn't quite make my goal of being at 160 lb before we leave. As of today, I am at 168... Enh... close enough. I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I guess I wasn't quite as motivated as I was before we went to Mexico, when I went down to 155 lb. I'll lose it when we get back. Today, though, I passed the 1400 km mark on the bike since January 1!)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Robins and Tulips

Brad took these lovely shots in our back yard yesterday. A pair of robins built a nest in our fence and their lovey doveyness has paid off. A little baby robin peeks out of the nest. The tulips are from our back garden as well.

Back to cleaning!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Too Many Things

OMG! So much left to do before we leave for Italy! A big housecleaning for one thing! Brad's neice won't want to house sit a pig sty! And my sister is coming for a few days to visit mom - She'll be with mom most of the day, but will stay with us tomorrow and Saturday nights. More cleaning. Plus I have to pick up mended clothes that were supposed to be ready, but of course they weren't. Several washes of clothes. Mow the lawn. Get stuff for mom - cranberrey juice, apples, oranges, large-print library books, and many, many bottles of prune nectar! More cleaning. Packing. Buying incidental stuff - small packs of kleenex & and travel-size mouthwash, Pepto Bismol, Immodium, cold medication - oh yeah, did I mention that Bradley has just come down with a nasty cold?? Argh... I shouldn't even be touching this keyboard!

A pronto amici!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

The trailer:

Origin of Love

Another song from Hedwig and the Angry Inch. If you haven't seen this film, go rent it - today. That means you Georges! :-)

Sugar Daddy

Aus Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Whadda a great flick! Rent it for sure if you haven't seen it already!

Poochy Pooches

Time for a dog post! Here are our two boys in a few photos I snapped over the weekend. First up is Jasper (aka Pa-dog, which is short for Jas-pa-dog). This is one of his favourite perches in the house - sitting on the stairs between our first and second floors. He loves to look out the window, and from this vantage point, he can look out the window beside him, through the window in the front door, and out the living room windows. He sits there by the hour.

Then there is a freshly bathed Kaiser (aka Rumpus or just plain Rump - am I the ONLY one who has nicknames for his pets??) having a drink and lounging on the living room floor. (My sister calls him Kaiser Bun or Kaiser Sosay.) It's hard to believe we've had Kaiser for 11 years! We brought him home from the SPCA after we moved into our second house. He and Samson got along so well. They were truly brothers, though Sam was always first among equals - a position that Kaiser now occupies. The title allows one to get up on the futon in the den and on the sofa in the sun porch (but not, incidentally, on the big wide chair in the living room. Ahem, so why is there always blond dog hair on there??). Pecking order counts, whether chickens or dogs!

We will miss these fellows enormously while we are away!

Myriad Harbour

Cool song from The New Pornographers. This one goes out to Fernando in Mexico City. Though we have yet to meet, I do know that he has big black hair! Fernando married our good friend Maurice a few months ago in Halifax. (The non-chalance of writing that, eh.) Maurice is now living in Montréal and Fernando is in Mexico City, but before you know it they will be reunited in Canada! Besitos para los dos!


A new film by director Fernando Meirelles (Constant Gardener). It opened the Cannes Festival last week:

Royal Wedding

It's a day off for many Canadians as we celebrate Victoria Day (Yay!). It's cool and showery here today, which figures, since Brad gave Kaiser a bath yesterday (when it was sunny and warm). So of course he got wet and dirty on our walk this morning. It simply wouldn't do for him to stay clean for 2 days in a row! Oh well, whadda ya gonna do?

Given the royal overtones to this Canadian holiday, here are a few pics and a video from the Royal wedding held this past weekend in London. The Queen's eldest grandson, Peter Phillips, married Canadian Autumn Kelly.

Princess Beatrice obviously inherited her grandmother's fine fashion sense!

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Skinny Saturday 12

It's kind of cool and mostly overcast here today with showers forecast for later on. I had the bed made by 8:30 this morning and took Kaiser for our weekend walk. I take him a bit farther on Saturday and Sunday than I do through the week. It tires him out. Though he still sometimes acts as if he were 2, he's actually more than 11 years old and he is slowing down a bit. Brad's neice will stay with him here at the house while we are in Italy. Jasper, who is only 3 or so, will go to the kennel. He likes it there as he gets to run and play with the other dogs.

Our friend Paul is away for a couple of weeks (Vegas and L.A.), so I went over to his place today to bring in his mail and water his plants. All is well on the home front, Paulie, if you are reading this. Except for ... Well, it seems there was a racoon in his shed. Apparently the neighbours spotted it's paws near the top of the door as it was trying to claw and chew its way out. They came over and broke the door of the shed (it's an old rickity thing) so the animal could get out. It must have been trapped in there for almost a week! Poor thing. He's lucky someone saw him trying to escape! In any case, it won't be a big job to reattach the door once they are home.

Went to the bank and picked up 80 pounds Sterling and another 100 euros, so I am all set for cash now for the trip. I think everything is all set, actually. We have the train betwen Rome and Florence reserved (it's a long weekend in Italy, so we thought it best to reserve our tickets in advance), the cars are reserved, Brad's bike is reserved, passports photocopied, cash in hand, some restaurants picked out, etc. Let me know if I am forgetting anything!

Here's da boyz (and a couple of gals too for them so inclined!)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Luxury Real Estate

Here's another stunning property in Stockholm. It's priced at 7.7 million Kroner. That's $1.3 million Canadian (slightly more in USD today). Tonight's Super7 Jackpot is $25 million!

Happy Friday!

A long weekend looms here in Canada. Monday is Victoria Day, the official start of the summer season. Thankfully, the snow is all gone! ;-)

Here are a couple of good ones from Overheard in New York:

"Man Of Steel, Heels Of Helium"?
Conductor, over intercom: Conductor in the fifth car -are you top or bottom?
[well-built conductor walks through car to intercom to respond]
Gay commuter, upon seeing him: Oooh, I hope he's a bottom.

--NJ Transit

Overheard by: MrStench
via Overheard in New York, May 16, 2008

As the Warning Label Explains
Bartender to DJ: This is the kind of music gay guys listen to when they get drunk and accidentally fuck their girlfriends.
DJ, over music: What?
Bartender: This is the kind of music gay guys listen to when they get drunk and accidentally fuck their girlfriends!

--Lit Lounge

Overheard by: waiting for my drink
via Overheard in New York, May 15, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fango - Another Jovanotti

I posted the link to this vid quite a while ago (before I knew how to embed videos!), so I am posting this one again and dedicating it to our very good friend Marilyn who is Italian-American and lives in New Jersey not far from NYC. Marilyn, has a wonderful garden and several beautiful kitties. Manybig hugs bellina!

A Te

A music vid from Italian singer Lorenzo Jovanotti. He's playing in Bologna while we are in Italia, and I would LOVE to see him live, but it would be a real pain in the ass to get there and back to the villa (an hour away) afterwards. Perhaps next time...

Congratulations California!

The California Supreme Court has just struck down the state's ban on same sex marriage as unconstitutional. Gay men and lesbians can now marry legally in that state. Another blow to bigotry and another step along the path to equality!

From the Decision:

Furthermore, in contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights. We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples.

Rome Webcam

Just found this neat Rome webcam!

Webcam at Hotel Webcam - Rome, Italy

Stockholm on My Mind

Hi guys. I've been pretty derelict this week. Just lazy, I guess. Each day, our trip to Italy gets closer and we're making the final arrangements for that. Buying train tickets between Rome and Florence, confirming car rentals, photocopying passports, etc. I already have 400 euros, but will probably buy a few more along with some Pounds Sterling. We have to pay for our apartment in Rome (3 nights) in cash when we arrive, so we have to make sure we have euros available for that. We'll also be able to withdraw money as we need it from banking machines.

This time last year, Brad and I were preparing for a trip to Stockholm. Brad ran the marathon there on June 10. Thought I would share a few photos from that trip:

Stockholm harbour

Statue of God putting the stars in the sky

Harbour front

Locals catching some rays

The kitchen of the apartment we rented for the week

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ypa! (That's Hurray! in Russian)

Yes! I have a new opera convert! I managed to talk my 52 year-old sister in Edmonton into seeing an opera for the first time in her life - The rebroadcast of the Met's La Fille du Régiment today. And she LOVED it! (I find it hard to imagine how anyone wouldn't.) In any case, I am sure that my sister will now see many more operas; indeed, she called right after she got home, and said that she was dying to go to one live now. I think these Met broadcasts are the cat's pyjamas. A number of our friends have been introduced to opera this way, and they have - to a person - enjoyed the experience. Brad and I are thinking of going back to NYC next March to see Sonnambula (the Sleep Walker, appropriate in my case!) Coincidentially, it will also be featuring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Florez. Maybe we'll meet my sister there and make a week of it!

In honour of my new convert, I give you Diana Damrau singing the Queen of the Night aria from Mozart's The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte), which is, I think, my all-time favourite sporano aria:

Skinny Saturday 11

Holy Smoke. The weeks, they go by fast! Not much new to report this Saturday. We went down to see my mother today instead of tomorrow for Mother's Day. I figure a couple of my brothers might go to see her tomorrow, so she should have lots of company then. We took her her usual supplies: large-print library books, juices, apples, and oranges, all bran bars, etc., as well as a bouquet of flowers for Mothers Day. She had yet another fall this past week. This time she hurt her hand and one finger in particular. Her hand is all swollen and black and blue, but they don't think the finger is broken. Sigh... this is her second fall in less than a month. One of these days, she's going to break her hip or crack her skull... What can you do? Not much.

And when I went to pick up my perscription for the little blue pills that I take at night (I had called the refill in yesterday), the pharmacist told me that they couldn't do the refill because it was too early. "What?" I screamed (not really, but I did say it with a certain amount of frustration in my voice). Apparantly, when she wrote the last perscription, my doctor had indicated "one pill every 2 days, as needed" instead of what I have always had in the past, "one pill at bedtime, as needed." So the 35 pills I got were supposed to last me 70 freaking days, as opposed to the 35 I had assumed. (I hadn't even looked at the pill bottle.)... Grrr... Anyway, the pharmacist gave me 3 pills to tide me over, so to speak, until I can call my doctor and get her - HOPEFULLY - to change the prescription. I'm tempted to use this as an opportunity to get off these damn pills all together, and I may try to do that, but with Italy coming up in just a few weeks, I KNOW I will undoubtedly need them there, so it's a bit of a quandry. Fuck. People who don't have trouble sleeping have no idea of what they take for granted.

In any case, enough sighing and moaning. On to the boyz of Skinny Saturday!