Saturday, November 23, 2013

LOST IN BACKROADS WOODS

Heaven forbid if I should ever try to drive around in these backroads woods again alone trying to pick up Christmas Ornament critters from the tree here by Raz Imports called 'Forest Friends' (First 2 photos posted here). After more than 6 hours lost with only 1 major named gas station, 5 counties, no signs, no map, dead cell phone battery, and closed questionable country stores like "Dee Dee's Last Stop" or "Jimbo's Jump In Quick"...I just blurted "Lord, there HAS to be SOMETHING of the world around here!" It doesn't even take me but 5 hours to get to New Orleans with several stops although it is from a major interstate so...I drove on through the woods what we now see was NOWHERE EVERYWHERE but SOMEWHERE :l

Jim was out of town worried when I called him at 7:30 pm after I had left at 1:00 in afternoon with only one stop for gas, a partial map of Okolona to Pontotoc (first time an unknown/unnamed gas went into my 12 yr. old Miata I babied and just has 72K miles on :/). He then laughed his butt off after I mentioned all the counties, little towns (no Walmarts or anything bigger than a Dollar Store or mom and pop gas station in an antiqued building for that matter). He wanted to see what I vehemently pursued in these quiet beautiful woods all lit up in the brilliant colors of fall so I sent him 2 pics in an email (doing a combination of the two but more earthy tones with slight pops of white, frost and ice that is relevant to our Southern winters that are only 'kissed' by snow like on the woodland mantle video here from Raz imports and their Woodland Tree video here but using the Foxes in place of the elves and more moss, vines, and bark).

Although I needed to 'Flee the Coop' after being stuck here for a month after we got back from Europe and I fell sick (minus the couple of hours I reported for Jury Duty), it was a bit much. I found myself crying 5 hours into the trip but laughing after talking with Jim later on last night. How can I get around easily in foreign countries but get lost in my neck of the woods? He says it wasn't 'Driving Miss Daisy' yesterday...it was "Miss Daisy Trying to Drive" :\

But he is excited about the tree and it saves us from unwrapping each breakable hand blown ornament and then packing each one up. I've always hated fake things like jewelry, plants, nails, etc. but found myself buying a fake tree this year to save us from getting a real one, watering it, fighting with lights, vacuuming needles, or taking vacation at Christmas to enjoy the ships d├ęcor instead of doing it ourselves :l I guess that's how it goes in your 50's and 60's but we really enjoy a quiet holiday here in our home with the dogs, a fire, a good meal and now...a tree that will reflect us and our fuzzy butted pet pals here in the woods :}  I told him I would put what I call "My Life" tree composed of Harleys, hounds, and children's toys I've collected for over 33 years up only when we had the time and felt like it. Even though I've collected the pieces before I met him...it does feel like our tree; a "Biker Toy Run Alongside  the Hounds" lol. Now we'll just have a 'Snap and Go' Forest Friends  Christmas (they also call it 'Woodland Tree') :)

So I am still busy renovating, combatting fleas (really got the infestation down), brushing out matts from last boarding, preparing for Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving weekend will be packing and decorating for Christmas. It was nice to get out for a drive in those beautiful woods for the first 4 to 5 hours though. It was soooo beautiful until I just got severely lost.

And hate I haven't gotten time to go through all of my Europe photos or time to talk about it yet but posting a few of the feathered fiends I found in Croatia! Can't wait to tell about that beautiful clean town (and easily navigable. All of them.  Especially with signs even though they were in a foreign languages and only spoke 2 :l). And although Jim loves the owl tree the most...I think he will like how I plan to combine the two and I do look forward to our trip out there tomorrow even though we are to take a bigger road up north a bit to get there (less trees :( ). I was blown away when he said it only take 1 hour and 15 minutes :l And WTH?!?? It looked so straight and simple on the online map. I didn't know the road would detour and take me south :l

Till then...a 'Shout Out' about Raz Imports and Trendy Tree (Awesome customer service who waited for me more than an hour after closing!!! I'm a lifer! :}). And a 'Shout At' to Sony. Yep. Sold me a receiver for the receiver-less TV that I went to buy. When I realized this and tried to cancel within 16 hours, I couldn't and now the TV is sold out :/  That's just DUMB so for once it great to know stupidity is not exclusive to Ms.! :D

A Happy Birthday to my girls and warm Thanksgiving to all. Maybe we need to get lost sometimes in order to be found again enabling us to, once more, appreciate the beauty around us, grateful for the good things that come our way, and love we feel for one another when we do come together :}


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

WHERE TO NOW?

Well...I was to come on here and photos of my vacation and journal my discoveries only 2 days in the terminal with flight issues has me wanting to re-watch "The Terminal". Then picking up the dogs all matted I realized I forgot to tell them not to bathe them (or at least bring them bottles of laser lites silk and drape) so I hurriedly upload the 100 GB of photos from the memory cards to my computer, start unpacking and grooming the dogs when I get hit with the flu some 3 days of coming home but luckily...it was low grade and I remember getting my flu shot late last year because they were out every where. Must have been that extra mini vacation at the terminal :l

Bad enough I had an outbreak of impetigo I haven't seen in 5 years, a children's skin disease I've carried since I was a child that hits with extreme stress, but when finally opening my mail 2 weeks later and see I have jury duty in 2 days...it's flared before it had a chance to heal. You do what you have to do and I was just glad I wasn't in contempt :l  But 2 blocks away from the courthouse I am pulled over. Yep. Those tags I needed to get but not home or sick for about a month :(  And they cost me nothing because well...I had to sell the 16K Harley for 8K because they yard man quit without notice and the grass was 4 weeks high by the time we see he isn't coming :/  Which is why the fleas came, and probably snake too, along with the impetigo...like a domino effect or dog chasing his tail and getting nowhere.

What I do know is that you can only do so much and with any real decency, communication or a head's up on situations is critical in understanding and educating each other of where we are at in life. And if some people have to live with chronic pain...I can surely tolerate or live with chronic idiots. And being in Europe...I was one myself lol! I'd hear so many say how the Russians are arrogant, French are snooty, Italians are crazy, and then nothing when it came to the Americans. Of course I would have to interject "And the American's are stupid?!?" Always a laugh to follow and sometimes "Yes" I would then excitedly explain "That's because they kept us sheltered way over there on the other side of the hemisphere from all this good stuff!!!" :D Lol...what an amazing journey!

So the part of the trip I will tell about here for now while I play catch up with everything (and still have the tags to get now I found the paperwork, dog's to do,  Docs appointments, med's to pick up, still unpacking and have a Christmas Family vacation coming up, etc.) is the highlight and favorite part of our trip...Rome. Not so much for beauty like in Taormina or Capri, quaintness of Croatia or Cinque Terre, or romance like venice, but on how we did this magnificent city of Splendor steeped in history, culture, ect. Everyone who did a private driver asked for the info to ours because we got to stop when we wanted to, add or delete what we wanted to, stay as long whether it was 15 minutes at the coliseum, hour and a half at the Sistine chapel, 20 minutes at Trevi fountain, or the 15 minutes at the Harley Davidson shop. It was not pompous, stuffy,  or mundane but our flexible tour guide exhibited such a passion for his city and made us feel we were with a friend and not a dull guide on a redundant tour. We got more than we bargained for and sending extra via post his way :)

Wheretorome.com should offer a service of this type everywhere! You can even get a private photographer with that if you want. Everyone said they even paid the same or more so I can honestly say although my head was swimming, brain was full, eyes glazed crazily of what all just whirred by me....I did do Rome AND THEN SOME in a day! From his neighborhood where I got the best coffee
and Italian coffee pot like his, to the world champions in gelato, to areas in Rome tourists don't know about like the peephole and even a couple of different areas with views overlooking the entire city at different angles. He even had information about other places that were on our itinerary in his country (and was right about Taormina, Sicily!), beloved Sicilian wines, original limoncello brand, candies....all that (and a bit of the Angels and Demons tour where we could see all 4 posts from one specific intersection).

Not to forget that he wouldn't let us pay tourist prices for anything, showed us places locals go, and we still got to see Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, Vittorio Emanuele Monument, Spanish Steps, Circus Maximus, Garibaldi statue, Pantheon, hospital that is said you are a true roman if you are born there, I could go on. No wonder his nephew cried when he saw me. My eyes felt like they were bulging and about to explode like one of those cartoon characters from too much stuff packed in my head! :o Oh!!! And lunch at Dino's and Toni's just kept coming! I was out to spend 50 Euros for each of the 3 of us but all 3 of us got EVERYTHING for just 50 Euros!! 4 bowls of pasta, meat tray, appetizer tray of 4 kinds of goodies, 3 kinds of desserts, wine, bottled water, cokes, coffee's...I don't know what all they hit us with but it was AWESOME and family friendly just like the Italians do. Sit and pass food and share it all!

But if anyone thinks they can rent a car and drive that mess or see Rome in a day without someone like Andrea is either slap ass nuts or chronically stupid! We just got lucky through my 4 days of research and owe them sooooo much more! Jim didn't know the 30 euros was a tip for him and I had only handed him 10 so leather masks to him and his Roudy and overnight some American treats for the holidays it is! And no..we weren't on the scoot but a Mercedes sedan. We were in his neighborhood and traffic is sooo congested there most everyone has scoots or cycles there. The company does have mini vans for larger families too btw and most all of the inner city is zoned off from anyone who isn't a resident there and thinks they can rent a car without special paperwork (Noooooo. Not that bad 'paperwork' word again!).

Yep. We're home. And all our stupid stuff is still here lol but it's nice to think of him out there somewhere romancing his girl in his favorite spots, or even the next lucky clients to journey with him to...wherever!

Thanks to Andrea and Marco at "Where To Rome",  now we know:}
 
Buonanotte per ora, Roma!