Monday, September 03, 2012

COUNTDOWN TO ITALY!

For a planner like me the last few weeks before any vacation are a mixture of excitement and worry.  I've done the research, asked the questions, sent the emails, made the reservations.....but have I forgotten anything?  I've made reservations at the places we'd be most likely to have to wait in line - the Vatican museums, The Borghese, the Uffizi and the Accademia.  Making these reservations also requires a cretain amount of confidence because you're locked into a specific time and day.  Sometimes it's nice to have the flexibility to save a museum for a rainy day, or even a really hot day, but when your time is limited you just have to make the best decision you can and go with it.  I decided not to make reservations for a walking tour in Florence just in case rain is forecast, but I have the phone number programmed into my Italian cell so I'm hoping a quick call a day or two before will be sufficient.  I'm still waiting on the folks at Perugina to confirm the chocolate class, but hopefully now that we're into September it will be back to business as usual soon. 

I have lists of restaurants and gelaterie galore - enough to give us a nice selection in several areas, but not so many that we'll be overwhelmed by choices.  Most of these recommendations came from various threads on the Slow Travel message board and should be up-to-date, fingers crossed.  I've tried not to cram too much stuff into our daily plans, giving us time for a coffee, a gelato, even some free time on our terrace in Rome!  You can be sure that not everything will go as planned - some things will take longer, others less time, but at least I have a good idea of what we'll do each day.  There's nothing worse than being on vacation and wondering what to do next - or arriving at a site only to find out it's their closing day. 

In another week or two I'll haul out the suitcases and begin piling up stuff to take.  I'll need to check for toiletries, make sure we each have all our vitaimins and prescriptions, throw in an extra pair of sunglasses, that sort of stuff.  I won't make any final decisions about the clothes I'm taking until the day before we leave, just because the weather has been so crazy, but layering will certainly be part of the plan. 

Both our passports are good for several more years, so no worries there.  Art's going to AAA this week to get his IDP (internation driving permit).  I need to do a final price check for the rental car, and make sure no flight times have changed.  I need to cancel the paper and stop the mail, and call the credit card companies.  I'm not sure what I'm forgetting, but in the end we'll be in Italy again, so it'll be fine.  At least that's what I'm telling myself!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN!

Yes, it's that time again - election time, and boy, can it be stressful!  In the past I've voted for Democrats, Republicans and occasionally even Independents.  There are very few times when I just pull the party lever, preferring to make my choices on a case by case basis.  Trying to figure out just what the candidates stand for, and who will live up to their promises is not an easy process, as I'm sure all of you know, but still, I try. 

In 2008 I voted for Barak Obama, and I will do so again in 2012.  Yes, I am disappointed that the economy hasn't recovered as quickly as everyone hoped, and yes, there are things that the President has done that I don't agree with.  There are also things he hasn't done that I wish he had.  Some of the things the President hoped to accomplish have been blocked by the Republicans in Congress - a group so determined to get him out of office that they've forgotten we put them in Washington to do a job - to pass bills, create new laws and make sure the country keeps running smoothly.  Remember when Paul Ryan tried to blame the President for America's credit rating being downgraded?  According to Standard & Poor's, the agency responsible for the downgrade, our credit rating was changed specifically because Republicans refused to increase revenues.

Anyway this post today was inspired by a very nasty, hate-filled email I received from an anonymous person.  I have no idea who this person is, or where he's reading my opinions.  Maybe he read my blog, maybe he's the friend of a friend on Facebook, maybe he's just a troll, but I responded to his email as politely as I could.  First I asked him who he was.  Simple, really.  He knows who I am, but apparently he was too embarrassed/cowardly to tell me his name.   His second email to me, much like the first told me how much he and all his friends "hated" Obama. It was sad, and even a little scary.  While I don't believe Romney would be a good President, I can't say I hate him.  Isn't that a very UNChristian thing to say? 

So let this be fair warning:  if you read my blog or if you see me on Facebook, you're going to be seeing a LOT of my opionions.  That's because it's MY blog, and MY Facebook page.  If you'd like to have a discussion, to refute my facts, or to challenge my talking points, then bring it on.  Let's discuss, dissect and get to the truth - regarding BOTH candidates.  If all you want to do is spew hatred and fear, then please do us both a favor and simply stop reading my posts.  There, wasn't that easy?