Saturday, December 26, 2009

December 3, 2009

Do you think I am busy at work or just a disorganized mess?

December 2, 2009

Note to self.

Do not buy the box of clementines...

December 1, 2009

November 30, 2009

Our Yin and Yang cars.

November 29, 2009

The day started out with my transformation back to being a red-head. I love it.

That evening the Hubs and I attempted to put the lights up on the tree outside!
Look... I helped! LOL..

New LED lights.... I think it looks like an alien tree...

November 28, 2009

Went to see New Moon with two of my college roommates.

November 27, 2009

Black Friday, so I went shopping, for a gift for myself.

Don't I look great in Black?

After we finished our shopping, we hosted my God-Mother's surprise 50th birthday party. All of family on my mother's side was there.


The birthday girl:

November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving! We had the family at our house... given that we had so much cheese and pasta during our trip there was not an Italian dish to be had!

November 25, 2009

Getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, we had the fam at our house. We keep growing as a dog family. Here is my mom with all of the doggies. Aren't they cute.

November 24, 2009

Back to the grind.. my desk

November 23, 2009

Our last day, and we spent it at the airport, so here are some pics of us throwing our coins in the Trevi Fountain to ensure our return to Rome.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

November 22, 2009

Nothing quite like Italian Cappucino.

We started the day with a trip to the Pantheon, since it was closed during our walking tour. The dome is amazing, and I wonder if they will ever solve the mystery of how it was built and survived all of the earthquakes and such that destroyed Rome in the past. And of course, part of the novel Angels and Demons.

Then it was over to the Borghese Gallery:

Which houses a beautiful private collection that you cannot take pictures of, unless of course you are walking the outside gardens and the windows are open. So here are Bernini's Apollo and Daphane and the Rape of Persephone.

After the museum it was a tour of the gardens that ended with an overlook at the Piazza del Popolo, which was really pretty at night.

And to cap off the evening we went into the Santa Maria Del Popolo Church to see the Caravaggio of St. Peter's Crucifixion

and the Chigi Chapel (you know, Santi's tomb, the demon hole, the altar of Eart), thank you Angel's and Demon fans.

Monday, December 21, 2009

November 21, 2009

Got to sleep late again, which is seriously the best part of being on vacation. Well maybe not the best part, but it is a nice treat!

This afternoon we went on a walking tour, to see all of the spots in Rome that are considered important, but we hadn't seen yet.

Namely, The Spanish Steps:

And the Trevi Fountain (and yes we did throw our coins in to return to Rome):

We did do lots of walking including Bernini's House, Piazza del Popolo, Piazza Navona, Campo Del Fiori, the Jewish Ghetto, Teatro Marcello, Capitoline Hill, and lots of other sights. It was a nice way to see the city. We had a small group, and a tour guide who reminded me of a friend back home.

All in all a good day!

November 20, 2009

Today was all day Catholic Church and Vatican Day. I love old churches, so we spent the morning touring the four major basilicas of Rome: Santa Maria Maggiore, Saint John in Lateran, Saint Paul Outside the Wall, and Saint Peter's. All of the basilicas are simply breath taking, I have a ton of photos, shoot me an email if you want to see them all, but here are a few highlights for the morning tour.

The first of four Jubilee Doors, at Santa Maria Maggiore, that are only opened once every 25 years.

The Scala Sacra, a staircase brought back to Rome by St. Helen, believed to be the steps to Pontious Pilate's Palace that Jesus walked. you can only climb these stairs on your knees.

The Jubilee Door at St. John in Lateran. This Basilica is the Cathedral of Rome, and the Pope's true church.

The Jubilee Door at St. Paul Outside the Wall. Also in this church is the tomb of St. Paul. Very interesting.

And a few pictures inside my favorite church in the world, St. Peter's:

And yes we did touch the other Jubilee door at St. Peter's but for some reason we touched the inside with the cement closure and a cross, so it doesn't look much like a door.

The rest of the afternoon we spent at the Vatican Museum. It was actually interesting because we got to see an entirely different section of the collection.

Here is the Sistine Chapel from the outside. Looks like a fortress....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Love Songs

Over the past few weeks I have been listening to the radio and analyzing love songs. Love is complicated, if it weren't would there be sonnets, operas, plays, novels, and songs all focused on love? I am a firm believer that love is not black and white, it it multiple shades of gray, all of them beautiful in their own right.

But as I have been analyzing these songs, I realize that almost all love songs fall into three categories: "blissful" "bitter" or "pining".

Blissful is all those songs about how wonderful love is, how it is so right and perfect. Those songs are great, and I love them. They remind me of my now.

Bitter is all those songs about how horrible love is and how it has scarred someone for life. These songs are an important because hey, we've all been there.

Pining is the collection of songs about how great it used to be, and now the singer can't live because they need the other person back. Um, yeah been there too.

I guess you could say I was boy crazy from an early age. I have memories of my first crush in kindergarten. I can tell you his name and give you a brief description of what he looked like. Sadly, he moved away in first grade, to the horror of my young heart. I think in those early years of grammar and middle school, I would equate my "style" to the Lady Gaga song "Paparazzi". The key line of course being, "I'm your biggest fan, I'll follow you until you love me." I guess I was probably a bit of a stalker, which is actually really funny when I think back on it now.

Luck for me (and the poor few I tortured in school), I outgrew the stalker style. I would say that as I went through high school and college, love was in two categories: those relationships that were serious and the "Oops, I Did It Again" (thank you Britney Spears).

The more serious of my relationships from this time are still very vivid memories. How do you forget the loves of your life? Do you ever stop loving them? I don't think so, I just think it changes over time. There weren't many, and all are still a part of my life in some way or another, for which I feel very fortunate. Each of these relationships taught me something and helped make me the woman I am today. Sometimes I wonder, if I knew then, what I know now, would that change things? Maybe, but I do believe that people are put into your life at certain times and places and for certain reasons, all to teach you something along the way. I can only hope in some small way, I had a positive impact on these guys and they learned something they took into their future relationships.

Lucky for me, it turned out that the true love of my life was someone I had known for a really long time. There is a saying that "Love is friendship set on fire" and that really is true for me. It never ceases to amaze me how lucky I am to have my best friend turned love of my life.

But this is a blog about the soundtrack of my life, and the point of the this post was to share the "My History With Love" playlist. A mix of blissful, bitter and pining representing exactly what the title says, my history with love.

Paparazzi...Lady Gaga - I described this one above, a pining song with a lyric that completely reminds me of my younger self.

Oops! I Did It Again.... Britney Spears - I am not really sure what category I would put this into, maybe reverse pining? But the joke is this is my theme song from college, because on a few occasions the guys my roommates brought home, wound up pursuing me.

I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)... The Proclaimers - This was the first song that someone told me, was how they felt about me. This was in 1993. Which makes me think of another song by Taylor Swift, Fifteen, with the lyric "'Cause when you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you, You're gonna believe them"

Hey Jealousy... Gin Blossoms - Click the link, you'll see what this reminds me of.

You Belong with Me... Taylor Swift - A pining theme song if ever I heard one. And definitely my pining theme song from high school. Read more about it by clicking the link.

My Heart Can't Tell You No... Rod Stewart - Again with the pining. Anyone sense a pattern here? Here is the chorus to this song, "When the one you love's in love with someone else, Don't you know it's torture, I mean it's a living hell, No matter how I try to convince myself this time I won't lose control One look in your blue eyes And suddenly my heart can't tell you no" This song has some very specific memories attached, and while I never was with anyone with blue eyes, you get the idea.

I Can't Make You Love Me... Bonnie Raitt - I feel like this is a cross between bitter and pining, this song has been knonw to bring me to tears.

Linger... The Cranberries - Pining... yup, this song really does remind me of my first love. Read the "You Belong With Me Post"'ll understand.

Someday... Mariah Carey - Ah yes, the bitter. The "fine break up with me now, but you know you are gonna want me back" anthem. This one started it and there are a few others further down on the list. These songs really did help me get through certain months of my high school/college years.

If... Janet Jackson - Pining with a twist. This one tells you all the things that could be happening if you were together. Key Lyrics..."If I was your girl...Oh the things I'll do to you"

The Hardest Thing... 98 Degrees - Ever have to turn down what you want because you have a love at home? A pining song about taking the high road.

I Love You Always Forever.... Donna Lewis - Blissful... speaks for itself. LOL

Goodbye to You... Patty Smyth & Scandal - Another "fine break up with me now, but you know you are gonna want me back" anthem. This was my feel good song of the summer of 1998. Whenever I was depressed over that break-up, plugged this in and felt so much better!

You Make Me Wanna...Usher - Not as clean cut as the 98 Degree song above, but really about having one love, but wanting someone else. Only in this one, the wanting wins out.

I Do (Cherish You)...98 Degrees - Blissful. A song you have heard a hundred times at weddings.

You Had Me From Hello... Kenny Chesney - Another Blissful. This one is specifically tied to the instant I met this particular love. It involved me crying, and the wiping away of my tears.

Back At One... Brian McKnight - Blissful, but played to me in an unusual way after a fight while trying to make up, via my pager. I know pager technology is old, but it was sort of like voicemail, someone would leave a message in 30 seconds or less and you would get "beeped", then dial in to a phone number , enter an access code and get your messages. The system forced you to listen to the newest message first, so I got to listen to this song backwards, in 30 second clips.

It's Gonna Be Me...N*Sync - Another "fine break up with me now, but you know you are gonna want me back" anthem. I love the chorus, "Every little thing I do, Never seems enough for you, You don't wanna lose it again, But I'm not like them, Baby, when you finally, Get to love somebody, Guess what, it's gonna be me"

Satisfy You... Puff Daddy - This song is from one of my "Oops!" moments. I was in a relationship with a love of my life, and my "Ooops!" wanted me to end that to be with him. He gave me this song. Key Lyric "He don't understand you like I do, No he'll never make love to you like I do, So give it to me, Cause I can show you 'bout a real love, And I can promise anything that I do, Is just to satisfy you"

I Can't Be Your Friend...Rushlow - I guess I classify this as pining, but read the link, the poor Hubs of mine, he literally had to put it all on the line for me to come out of denial and figure it out.

Complicated... Carolyn Dawn Johnson - This is just a classic chick confusion song, put it into the pining category. The "I want but I can't because I make things more difficult than they have to be" song. Yeah, this one is also about the Hubs and I.

Let Me Love You... Tim McGraw - Blissful/Pining - Sexy. All rolled into one.

Forever From Here... Brad Little - Blissful. Our wedding song. Little known, rarely heard. Perfectly the Hubs and I.

So I leave you with this final thought, a tag line to a movie I just saw a preview for but couldn't tell you title of, "The Greatest Love Story Ever Told Is Your Own". That is so true.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

November 19, 2009

So we slept late, which was great! On tap for today was our wine tasting tour, so we took a short bus ride half an hour outside the city to the Frascati region and the Pallavicini Estate. The scenery was just amazing.

We of course toured the wine cellar, and got to see the giant barrels, and learned all about wine making (add that to my knoweldge from Napa....)

Finally we tasted 3 types of wine: Frascati, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvigon, along with olive oil that is made at the estate.

Yeah for Italian wine! I only came home with two bottles of the Frascati (a light, crisp white) and two bottles of olive oil. It was all my suitcase could hold!

November 18, 2009

Had to get up super early this morning, because we wanted a good seat/spot to see the Pope at the Papal Audience. The audience was held inside in the audience hall, which was nice because it meant we got to sit down, and there wasn't any real pushing or shoving. It also meant I didn't have to be as worried about pick pockets in St. Peter's Square.

Here we are awaiting Pope Benedict XVI:

I have to say, I love the Pope's red shoes.

The Papal Audience was sort of interesting. They did everything in 6 languages, which made it sort of long, and supposedly at some point the Pope blessed any religious articles that we brought with us (although I really have no idea when this happened), I got to hear the Pope speak about art enhancing the religious experience, and we said the Our Father in Latin. All in all not too bad, and glad I had that experience.

After the Papal Audience, we decided to go into St. Peter's, mostly because I wanted my mom and sister to be able to spend some time in there rather than rushing around during our tour that was scheduled for Friday. On the way we passed the Swiss Guard...

I love their uniforms.

Inside St. Peter's is probably my favorite piece of religious art, Michelangelo's La Pieta. I could stare for hours.

Of course St. Peter's is gorgeous and every inch is amazing beyond belief, but I'll save some of those pictures for tour day. What I did find cool, was the body of Pope John XXIII. Which is on display, because it is believed he may be incorruptable, and as such not decompose, and be on the path to canonization (sainthood). His body has only been in this case since 2000, when he was beatified. Prior to that he was buried in the Vatican grottoes since 1963.

Before we took a break for lunch, I had to mail a postcard home from the Vatican post-office given that is its own country.

After lunch, it was over to the Vatican Museum, because even though we had a tour planned, you need much more time than a few hours. Here are some of my favorite paintings of angels.

Here is the security guard, Roberto, trying really hard to pick up my sister. It was quite funny.

But Roberto was not a complete waste of time, he did open up the ropes to one of the balconies so that we could get this picture:

After a long day, I love how St. Peter's looks at night.