Thursday, April 28, 2011







We did not use the cowboy hat, though.  Lucy gave me Mr. Party for my birthday, and I thought perhaps he would be more appropriate for this occasion.

Oh. Yeah. He looks ready.

You can bet that Brenna was ready. This girl was born ready.
When I asked her if she would help me pick a name for one of my bloggy friends to win a prize, she said, "OOHH! That's my favorite!!"

And so, the prize goes to.........
"Can you read it, Brenna?" 
"Spell it for me?"
Guess I was in a hurry when I wrote out the names.
How about...


Ha ha ha!! This tickles me so much. Hope it tickles you as well, Miss Debbie!
Please hop over to Debbie's blog.
You will not be disappointed. Debbie has a fabulous way with words and several times each week, I wait anxiously to read what wise, kind, funny words she has written.

woooo hooooo!!
Congratulations, Debbie!


Monday, April 25, 2011


Today was another day off from school. Which is one of the reasons this SURPISE! post is a little late.
As I was sitting in the kitchen this morning, waiting for the coffee to brew, I wondered what on earth I would do to entertain my sweet child besides more videos.
Then my angels of mercy called. "Want to go get coffee and a pedicure?"
Like a drowning man on a sinking ship, I went running for the life vest.
"Get dressed, get dressed!!! C'mon, B!! Eat! Get dressed!!"
And so the day began, getting sweeter as it went.
After a venti decaf at Starbucks, we had our toes and our nails done. (My toes, B's nails...she's not too keen on having her toes done.)

Then the two of us picked up the dog, Brenna's bike and some lunch and headed for the park. Continuing the sweetness, we further celebrated the sunshine by heating up the jacuzzi a bit and pretended it was summer. We sat by the edge blowing bubbles and eating Easter candy.

Now, I'm enjoying the afternoon breeze, Brenna is enjoying the movie, "Daddy Day Care" and I'm ready to show you today's SURPRISE!

For so thoughtfully following my journey to Italy, and indulging me in extending my trip, I'm 

A set of photos that I have edited and had made into note cards.

A little piece of Venice,

A little piece of Florence,

And a sweet treat!!!
I would have loved to have been able to send you a Bombolino, but these seemed to pack a bit better in the suitcase. Plus, there's chocolate involved...

So, leave a comment on this post and on Thursday, Brenna and I will pick a name from the trusty cowboy hat.
SURPRISE! Number two:
My sister, Carol picked her favorite comment from all the Italy posts, and that award is bestowed with great glee to Miss Pam Q.!!!!!!
It's become somewhat "everyday" to say ala Pam, "The moral of the story is, all's well that ends with a Bombolino."
(Her comment can be found here.)
Well said, my friend, well said.
 Pam gets a sweet treat and a set of cards as well.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

What's Up?

Hi, all!
I was hoping to have the last post about Italy up before now, but the "surprise" is not here yet. Since I don't think it would be much fun to post about the surprise and not have pictures of it, I will wait until it arrives.
Got your anticipation meter going?
I have had a couple of days that I was able to work on some projects that were half way finished...


I am so happy to have completed these...

It took forever to find the right  mica sheets to put on the front, but I found it at 

And added a little bit of bling...

Something new for my soldering!

In the mean time, we need to tell the mailman to hurry!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ahhh, Venice.

Or, should I title this post "The Continuing Adventures of Lucy and Dufus".

(Click here for theme music.)

No, wait. 
I'm thinking this theme music is better.
With this picture.

That's it. See us coming out of the mist?
Huh. No, really. We were all that in Venice.
Yeah. That's it. That's how I remember it, now.
What down comforter?

We were up all night!!

Starting with the "blue hour"...

O.k., not really.
In fact, here is Lauren's photo for the night:

Carol was trying all the manual settings on her camera and by this point, Lauren took my camera, set it on the bride over the canal, (to steady it) hit the shutter and said, "BAM. Picture taken." Then she took it and whirled it around and said, "There. Night time motion." "Let's go."
What happened to youth?

Anyway, let's look at gondolas:

And Saint Mark's Cathedral.
(For some fascinating information on this Cathedral, click here.)
This was the Mod Squad's last day in Venice. Lucy kept wanting to see some church made up of blue and white tile. Did I mention Lucy just turned sixty and kicked Dufus's butt walking all over Venice?

Lauren and Dufus said, "oohh-kay."
And away they began to tromp.
Then Lucy stopped in front of St. Mark's Cathedral and said, "But we really shouldn't miss this. Should we just see this church? Or march onward toward who knows where to find the blue and white church?"
"I don't care" says Dufus, always the trooper. (?)
"Well," said Lucy, "This IS pretty amazing, and I'm not sure where the blue and white church is....."
"I don't care" said Dufus, who's feet were throbbing, even though she had spent the day before under a down comforter. 

They stayed and visited St. Mark's.
Which was way cool.

These are the bronze replicas of the original horses.

The original horses in the Cathedral's museum:

Then they hot-footed it over to the bell tower for a 10 story view of Venice.
Way cool.

I have to say, I flipped a little bit. Take a look:

All of this is built on a framework that is submerged into a hundred submerged islands in the midst of a lagoon.

Thus the trip to Venice came to an end.
Oh, wait.
Getting back onto the train....
Well, you see, there are a number of water buses to take. Such as, 15. Or 51. Or....
It just so happens the water bus, otherwise known as Vaporeto (minus vaporeto police) they chose took for. ever.
Lucy anxiously asked, "Should we just get off and take a water taxi directly to the train station?"
Dufus asked the bus attendant how long she thought it would take them to get to the train station. "About 30 minutes." was the answer. Uhhhh....they only had about 35 minutes to get on board the train. "You could always hop off at the next stop and walk. That would be faster" said the nice bus attendant.
See this map?

On the lower right quadrant, you see S. MARCO. We started there. We had to follow the red line all the way up to the upper left quadrant in yellow marked TRAIN STATION. When the nice attendant suggested we could walk faster, we were about 5 stops away from the train station. With our luggage. Not one of us thought we could figure out the maze of streets and bridges to get us to the Train Station, so we stayed on the Vaporeto.
We made it to the station with 3 minutes to spare and realized we couldn't figure out which train was ours. Lauren bolted over to the information center and they directed us to the correct train, which we boarded and as soon as our bags came in after us, the train began to pull out.
Oh, yeah! The Mod Squad can hustle, baby!!


The next post will be the last one in our Tour of Italy. 
I can't tell you how much fun it has been to share this with all of you and to somewhat "extend" my trip!
Stay tuned for the last post, there will be a surprise at the end!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dufus and Lucy Take On Venice

Nothing much will stop Dufus and Lucy.
Especially in a foreign country.
Apples will not stop them.
Ham will not stop them.
Brie cheese will not stop them.
Even when the ham that is eaten is spoiled.
Even when that ham takes hold of poor Lucy's bowels and turns them inside out for 12 hours.
Nope. Not even then.
Because Dufus will help her clean it up, Lauren will go running to the front desk for antiseptic and be very, very brave. Lauren is very brave as she has grown up with a younger sister who just couldn't hold food down for most of her life and who spent a lot of years in the bathrooms of various restaurants, homes and places tossing her cookies. Not that Lauren ever got used to it. She just learned to run. Like she did for the antiseptic. Like she and Dufus did when they realized Lucy was not going to die.
 It was a really small hotel room.
And Lucy said it was o.k. to leave.
And they kinda, maybe, sorta had a really fun dinner and walked around Florence together at night. Then they checked on Lucy and realized it wasn't stopping, so they fled to the lounge of the hotel and ordered hot tea and read their books. To give Lucy some privacy. 
Privacy is good in these situations.
And Lucy was o.k., 'cause she had a bathroom trash can right next to her in the bathroom. AND next to the bed. So convenient.
Lucy, being the amazing traveler that she is, rallied the next morning, and decided they were to all go to Venice as planned. Not maybe as early as they had originally thought, but they would still sally forth to go see the canals and gondolas. Lauren once again left to go buy train tickets, and when she came back, all was well.

Off they went to Venice. Just a short, two hour train ride away from Florence! (In Southern California, you can travel two hours and still get no farther than Bakersfield. If, in a car, with traffic, you are lucky to maybe get to Los Angeles. Plus, we just don't do public transportation. Such a shame.)

But us girls? Well, we rock trains!!! (Not so much buses, but trains, yes.)

I love cameras, don't you?

When we arrived, I have to say, I was stunned.

Our hotel room was chock-full of old-world charm. I literally went running around like a loon, snapping pictures and telling myself it just would not be right to stuff everything I saw into my suitcase.
Like I told my friend, Pam Q., I don't think they have free wi-fi access in the "italian clink."

This is the view of the courtyard outside our window.

This is the view of the PALACE-turned apartments out the back window.

There are no cars, buses, bikes or vespas in Venice. None. You travel by foot or by boat.

It is stunningly quiet, yet bustling with activity.

We did not take a gondola ride. It's a bit cost prohibitive. Like 100 euro (each) for 50 minutes. And that's without a song from your gondolier.

And when one is only eating dry breadsticks for two days, it really wouldn't be fun to barf 100 euros worth of fun overboard.

But it is fun to buy tickets for a night of listening to Vivaldi's Four Seasons in a magnificent church, played on period instruments.
These are some of the statues in the church. Take a close look at this one's face.

That veil over her face is MARBLE. Dufus couldn't figure out how the artist carved the face and then added the veil of marble. Lucy told her it was all one piece. It's still hard for her to wrap her mind around that one.
Here is the background of the church:

Then, you know, just a bit more statuary:

Oh, man. There are a bazillion pictures to show you. It will just have to be split up into two posts.
Are you still game?

With buildings like this, I kept thinking I was really at Disneyland. We work so hard here to make things look old, and authentic. Ha. THIS is old and authentic!!

So, that sandwich that Lucy ate? With the ham?
Dufus had a bite. It didn't pull her bowels inside out, but she pretty much ate dry breadsticks for most of the two days. Plus, when she gets rather tired, her immune system pushes back and she feels like she is coming down with the flu. Dufus rallied for dinner and gelato, I'm proud to say.
But all she wanted to do was sleep. So, on Saturday, she cried uncle and gave Lauren her camera, and crawled under the down comforter for the afternoon.

Lucy kept asking her if she didn't like Venice.

Which Dufus did, very much.

But, man, that down comforter and pillow were hard to compete with.

Ooops. Back to reality.
Time to go pick up Miss Brenna.