Archive for September, 2017



This week has been two steps forward and one step back.  I can’t talk about it most of yet so instead I thought I would share what I learned in my travels abroad.

The best thing you can do in any new place is wander around, explore, and get lost.  Then find a cafe to hang out while you figure out where you are. That’s how one finds the best stuff and has the most unique experience.  The only exception to this is when one is trying to find one’s lodging after a long plane ride. Then you need clear directions and a map.  I learned this the hard way.  Don’t ask.  I will say that I discovered my Italian was better than I thought it was.

you can only get here by water.jpg

Venice is particularly good for getting lost because somehow you will end up at the Grand Canal or San Marco no matter what.

Free days are the best- the ones you didn’t plan anything for.  When you can just hang out. The great thing about travel is that you are free, for the duration, of all the things you deal with daily at home.  That’s why it’s relaxing.  Unless you are rushing from place to place to see everything.

Because not everything on the usual tourist agenda is worth seeing- especially if it’s not where your interests lie.  So don’t go to sites just because you think you are suppose to.  Pick and choose what you want to see and leave some free time.  I didn’t go to the Louvre because I knew it would take all day and I only had 2 in Paris.  I don’t regret that and it gives me a reason to go back.

Tourism keeps places like Venice and the historical part of Prague afloat.  If masses of people didn’t visit there every year (and spend money) Venice would have sunk into the lagoon years ago and only those with scuba gear would get to see it.  Unfortunately this also makes it crazy with people.  It also makes the locals grumpy and/or greedy.

Which is why Prague feels like Disneyland with some Las Vegas thrown in.  It doesn’t hurt that that it looks like a made up fairy tale place where medieval, Baroque, Art Nouveau, and Cubism co exist.  But then it also has paddle boats, oldey timey car rides, and shop after shop of souvenirs that pretend to be Czech. And many, many bachelor parties, all drunk, all the time, all weekend, every weekend, staggering thru the streets.  Which is why my best advice about Prague is that if you are there over a weekend, plan on doing something less touristy and stay off the Charles Bridge until Sunday evening.  I took a wrong turn on Saturday and was swept up in the crowd headed to the bridge with no possibility of going any other direction.

Which brings me to:

Lots of popular sites are free but if you want to see places like Notre Dame, Saint Mark’s Basilica, the Astronomical Clock, or the Doumo- go early, get in line before the doors open.

Try the food.  You don’t have to like it. You can find Italian or burgers almost everywhere if the local cuisine isn’t to your liking.  If you like a place, write the name down.  I had the best vegis pizza in Murano but the place doesn’t show up on Google maps and I didn’t pay attention to the name at the time. I was hungry and it was hot and they had shade, ok? Murano is woefully short on shade.

The really cool thing about Paris is that, in spite of the tourists, it’s a real city where people live and work and don’t care where you came from or if you’re going to spend money in their fabulous city.  And if all the tourists left tomorrow, everything would still be there.  All the more reason to pick a just few things you really want to see and spend more time exploring.

Travel makes you want more.  I could happily spend a month in Europe and I am absolutely going back to Paris and I’ve always wanted to go to Indonesia and I’m obsessively checking airfares and looking up places on Airbnb… and if you offered me chance to go almost anywhere, I’d take it.

Best things about Florence:

Santa Maria Novella- Botticelli to Bronzino, the entire history of Renaissance art is represented here and the parfumerie is an experience all to itself.

Shopping in small stores in Oltrarno

Watching fireworks from a bridge on the feast of St. John

Best food:  Lemon chicken and fried Squash blossoms at Tratoria al Tranvai.  Pear and ricotta ravioli at Zeb.

Best things about Venice:

Music- it’s everywhere and the concert I went to in Chiesa de la Pieta was top notch

Apertifs and dinning leisurely outside, preferably on a canal with a sunset view of the lagoon

Getting lost and finding cool stuff also dreaming about the Grand Canal for months after my visit.  Also the Biennale, Punta de la Dogana (modern art), San Mauricio (musical instruments museum), Burano

Best Food:  GamGam, Kosher food, Seafood at Paradiso Perduta, and pizza at that place in Murano I can’t remember. And risotto, gelato, lobster, polenta…

Best things about Prague:

Open air Street markets

Crazy architecture and absurdist art

Walking along the river

Best Food:  fried cheese sandwich at the Lobkowitz Palace cafe.  Bread, strudel, mini pizza from the market across from the Municipal house.

Best things about Paris:

Just about everything

Best food:  Pastry, pastry and more pastry and the french fries (of a completely different caliber than anything served in the US) at a place across from the Pompidou Center another one I can’t remember the name of.  I know I’d have more to add if I had spent more time there.








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When Jane suggested that it might be time to bring back blogging I agreed.  Because blogging made me write, a lot.  It gave me the courage to find the time to do NaNoWrimo.


Then it all just kinda died out… we didn’t need to blog; there was Facebook to keep everyone up to date.

I still wrote.  I started a not for NaNoWrimo novel and got about 8000 words into it as well as a couple of short stories that I submitted to contests.  I didn’t win.  I occasionally add to the stack of details that will (maybe) ultimately go into my revised 2010 NaNo novel.

Then work got crazy.  I moved. New work was just as crazy.  I leave my house at 8:30 am.  I get home by 8:30 pm on an average day and all I want to do is eat and veg.  I work most weekends during the semester.  I sometimes had ideas for my various writing projects and if there was a writing implement handy and I wrote them down.  One afternoon I even wrote a new and vastly superior outline for the 2010 book.  Then I lost the paper it was on while cleaning up the shop because it was on the backside of a list I no longer needed.

But… as soon as I began to blog again I wanted to write again- even though the thought of tackling either of the 2 novels in play seemed daunting.  I have now written a new outline (new? There’s no old outline, you never wrote one.) outline for my adventure/ fantasy/political thriller novel.  I haven’t lost it either.  It’s filed in the folder I keep for notes about my stories.  I am also attempting to finish a short story.  Yay for blogging!

Of course this is probably because until this coming week I haven’t been able to  move forward on my school projects but who knows…

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So I was ready to dive into the semester.  The shop was back in order after last week’s electrical chaos.   I have lists and plans.  My larder is stocked.  I am preparing myself for another round of long days and weekends lost.  Then…

Can you feel everything slowing down…? Mercury will go direct on Tuesday.  Meanwhile it feels like nothing can be done.

The shows I should be working on RIGHT NOW will not be cast until next week.  Can’t make/buy/choose costumes without knowing who is going to wear them and what size they are.  On hold.

A few of my work study kids have started work but most of them are still in a beginning of the year daze.  Storage reorganization proceeding s-l-o-w-l-y.  Space now in complete chaos, again, until further progress is made.

I lost my cell phone on Tuesday.  Not forever, found on Wednesday.

But the same day I came  home to this:


My shower door imploded.  Probably from the heat.  After months of unseasonable cool rainy  weather, Mother Nature said “Surprise! Just fooling, it’s August after all.” My bathroom is easily 120+ degrees mid day if the outside is over 85.

Gee it’s nice to be able to take a shower in hot weather.

The landlord has cleaned up the glass and replaced the doors with  a curtain rod and I’ll be able to take that shower as soon as I put up a curtain. Only it’s 95 outside already and hanging out in the bathroom seems like a bad idea.  So does going to the Farmer’s Market, cleaning, or expending any energy at all.

But you could go to the movies?  It’s cool there and it is a 3 day weekend and you can’t do anything else anyway…



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