Sunday, July 31, 2022

Sunday Stealing on five

Hodgepodge on Wednesday was five on five and now Sunday Stealing is on five! Joining up with Bev and friends for Sunday Stealing!

Stolen from Friday 5

1) What one event from your lifetime would you change if you could, and why? One side of me would like to remove all of the bad things that have happened in my life but I do realize that I am who I am because of all of those things. The experiences in our lives shape us. There is one event from my childhood which I would probably remove.

2) If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be and how old would your younger self be when they got it? Do you think your younger self would listen? I wrote a letter to my younger self not too long ago. You can read it here.

3) Would you be any good on Survivor? I would be horrible. My husband thinks he would be excellent. He might. I would have a very difficult time eating some of the things the contestants find themselves eating! I would also have a hard time in those places where the bugs bite the people continuously.

4) What's a safety rule that's very important to you? The one that popped into my head is from my days at AT&T – put the handle down on the paper cutter! There are far more important rules – pay attention to your surroundings and be aware. Always look both ways before crossing the street.

5) What would you like to say to people in the future? I hope we haven’t messed up our world too much. I hope there is still beauty surrounding you.

6) What's your favorite dish to bring to a summer cookout? I love to take a good black bean and corn salad or Alabama Caviar or devilled eggs.

7) How much time have you spent outdoors this week? I’ve spent as little time outside as possible. It has been blazing hot. We moved from our hotel into a rental apartment on Tuesday so we were loading and unloading. I took a very short walk in the pre-dawn hours on Wednesday morning. Yesterday, even though we were inside . . .we might as well have been outside. The air went out in the apartment not even 48 hours after moving in. The building manager had two portable air conditioners delivered last night.

8) Where do you set your thermostat? At night in the summer, I prefer about 72 degrees. Yesterday, it was 88 in the apartment! Today it has been around 75 degrees.

9) How did you learn to swim? I’m not a strong swimmer. I didn’t learn to swim as a kid. When I was around 20 or so, my sister (8 years older) and I took swim lessons at the YMCA after work. We were both quite comical. Mark is a strong swimmer but I was always the one to take the kids to the pool. I put them in private swim lessons at 3 and they were like fish. They could swim better at 3 thank I could at 31 as their mom.

10) How do you avoid overheating? Yesterday, I actually spread a beach towel on the hardwood floor and laid on top of it trying to cool off! I took 2 showers yesterday. We’ve been drinking lots of water.

11). What are you going to do this weekend? Last night our son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and a friend came over to help Mark move our bikes into the apartment. They all went downstairs to one of the restaurants under us. I was waiting on the locksmith. This morning, I went to WW (Weight Watchers) and then a friend picked me up and we went for pedicures. It was divine. My final exam is tomorrow so I’ve been making flash cards and studying. We will go to church in the morning and then visit with family over lunch. I will then head home and take my final exam. I’m writing on Saturday night and the fire was 3 weeks ago tonight and we spent the last two Saturday nights in a hotel so to be honest, I’m happy as a clam to be sitting here in this little apartment.

12) What’s your favorite way to spend time? I love to spend time with friends and family. I love to read. I love to cook. I really enjoy riding my stationary recumbent bike.

13) What’s the most useless thing you own that you would never get rid of? Great question – I’m not sure. Over the last three weeks, material things have lost a lot of value in my head.

14) Have you started planning your next vacation? We play to go back to Israel in February which is a working/fun trip for me. I would love to go to the beach for a long weekend this fall. I mentioned that to Mark yesterday.

15) Are you very active, or do you prefer to just relax in your free time or is it one and the same to you? We are normally fairly active – an hour or so of exercise every day. This morning I rode the stationary bike for 18 minutes and felt quite accomplished! It will come back.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Five on Five Hodgepodge

 Happy Wednesday!

1. According to author Gary Chapman there are five long languages - words of affirmatin, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts. Which one is yours?

We did this as a staff last year. My main one has always been words of affirmation. My least favorite is physical touch. Gifts show up as one of mine BUT it is my love language to others.

2. What are five foods you eat every day?

We were in Italy/Germany/Austria for 2 weeks in June and then we were home a few days when our house burned/I had surgery/we moved into Embassy Suites so our eating schedule and items we consume has been very different lately. Back in May, I ate Lewis Keto bread almost every day along with some Applegate Farms turkey. I usually had a piece of Kraft 2% cheese. I always have a diet pepsi (several). Lately, the only thing I've eaten with any regularity is little cups of chicken noodle soup along with low carb tortillas and peanut butter and honey. I've eaten a few bananas, too. I still can't drive and I have a huge grocery list right now.

3. Five places you'd love to visit:

Paris, the French Riveria, Ireland (again!), the coast of Italy (spent most of our time in Rome and Milan), Australia/New Zealand

4. Something you've done recently that deserved a "high five"?

We moved from the Embassy Suites to a rental apartment yesterday. We loaded everything at the hotel onto two carts, including the cat and cat litter box, and moved out. I carried our cat (he is big) up the flight of stairs into the apartment. We put everything we could into suitcases and they were in the back of the truck. Everything else went in the backseat area including the cat. Yesterday was just barely 2 weeks since surgery and I carried him plus unpacked a ton of suitcases and did multiple loads of laundry. I actually ENJOYED doing laundry since other people have had to do it for us.

5. Give us five 5-letter words that describe your July:

trips, sinus . . .ok this isn't going to work for me so I'm just going to give you 5 words to sum up July:

travel, housefire, surgery, Embassy Suites, apartment

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Mark is so excited to be out of the hotel (his nickname - the Suites) but he is very disappointed because we can't get internet until August 6 via AT&T. We stream TV so that means no TV. I worked for AT&T for 11 years (first career) and their customer service is deplorable now. I actually told the employee this very fact yesterday after I held for an hour and 48 minutes BEFORE I SPOKE TO A PERSON. I spent over an hour on the phone with them last week. The first technician appointment available is August 6. That is simply riduculous!

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Sunday Stealing

I've been unable to participate in the usual blog hops (memes) over the last couple of weeks so it feels good to answer these questions!

Welcome to Sunday Stealing where Bev steals the questions. This week, she stole the questions from Joyce’s Hodgepodge!!

1.      What's something you've recently accomplished solo? I’ve accomplished very little solo in the last 10 days. I had unexpected surgery on Tuesday, July 12 and I’ve done very little alone since then! Thursday night, during another crazy storm, I did make us both a peanut butter and honey roll up with a campbell’s cup of chicken noodle soup (prepared in our trusty hotel microwave). I actually felt like I accomplished something.

2.  What's one product you use that never ever fails? Folex carpet cleaner – love it!

3. Have you found your place in the world? Where is it? If you had asked me this question two months ago,  I probably would have said YES! The last couple of weeks have thrown me for such a loop that my place may be changing – who knows?

4.  Worst movie you ever saw? I don’t watch movies very often so I don’t even have a good answer for this one!

5. What's the last fun thing you did? We went to Europe for 14 days and did ALL sorts of fun stuff including taking crazy pictures at historic sites!!

6. What's your favorite Italian dish? Great question. Normally, we don’t eat a lot of Italian because Mark isn’t fond of it (yes, we just went to Italy). We had some great pizza in a little pizzeria where locals were eating and where the waitress and other employees didn’t speak English! We had a wonderful pasta dish on our first night in Italy. Even Mark liked it. It was a pesto pasta and the pasta was small and sort of cylinder shapes (almost like a small tight shell). I also use Pioneer Woman’s lasagna recipe and it is really good.

7. Have you ever been to France? Any desire to visit there, and if so what would site or city would you most want to see? I’ve never been to France and would love to go there some day. I would love to go to Paris!

8. Have you ever been to Disney, any of the parks at all? Are you a Disney superfan or something less than that? They're open right now so tell us, would you go if you had the time/money/a free trip? We went to Disney twice when our kids were growing up. We went in the summer before their 10th birthday in the fall. We also went while they were in 6th grade. We are not superfans. I would go back in a heartbeat. Mark has no desire to go. Maybe I’ll get to go with one of our granddaughters in the future.

9. Your favorite place to go when you want to be quiet as a church mouse? Would those who know you well describe you as more church mouse or perhaps more like mighty mouse? I love to go sit in our sanctuary at church when no one else is there and none of the lights are turned on but the outside sunshine peaks through the stained glass. It is so quiet and peaceful. I work in a church so maybe I’m a church mouse BUT I’m definitely not quiet as a church mouse. Up until 2 weeks ago, I think I was a mighty mouse.

10. Do you bake your own bread? Last time you had hot out-of-the-oven homemade bread? What's your favorite kind of bread? My favorite is Irish brown bread with butter (the real thing). I haven’t baked any kind of bread in years. We had some pretty amazing bread in Italy, too. Actually, yesterday we met our daughter and son-in-law at Cheesecake Factory and I had one tiny bite of their brown bread that has oats on it . . .It was delicious.

11. What's something you might say is 'the greatest thing since sliced bread'? Cell phones? I’m not sure. I can’t wait to read other’s answers.

12.  Share with us five little things you're grateful for today. Small blessings. One catch-they all must start with the letter T. I’m thankful for: Trinity friends; the amazing grace of God (the starts with t – right?); trees outside our hotel room windows; Theatre Appreciation class I have been taking this semester; Today – having been through a fire and unexpected surgery, I am very thankful for today.

13. Tell us where you were and something about what life was like when you were 20- 21.
I was a young divorced woman working for South Central Bell/AT&T. I lived in an apartment. I drank more back then. I dated a lot.

14. What's on the menu at your house this week? Considering we are still at a hotel until Tuesday (move in to the apartment day), I have no idea. We’ve eaten a lot of peanut butter roll ups on low carb tortillas. Mark loves breakfast so he has been downstairs to breakfast every day so he will do that for the next couple of days. We will eat with Mark’s family for Sunday lunch tomorrow so we will have something good then. We’ve eaten chick fil a several times. We were gifted a lot of restaurant gift cards and we’ve eaten at Paw Paw Patch once (a local meat and three). Last week, I was able to snag lunch at work 2 times – I’ll only be there on one of the days that Chef cooks this week.

15.Something you recently purchased where a coupon was involved? Do you regularly shop with coupons? I don’t remember the last time I used a coupon . . .I’m not a big coupon shopper. I used to cut them out of the Sunday paper . . . and then forget to use them.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Life Update

We are still in the hotel which Mark refers to as "the suites." He is going stir crazy so goes back and forth to the house several times a day and jumps at any opportunity to go out.

The good news is that we have found an apartment and insurance/leasor/we have signed the contract and we move in on Tuesday. A truck will show up with an entire house package - furniture for two bedrooms, kitchen, living room (hopefully bar stools), bathroom supplies, kitchen supplies, linens, and even a "cleaning" kit which includes a broom, mop, vaccuum cleaner, etc. The apartment is over a business in our neighborhood so Mark can walk down the alley every day and check on the house all he wants. The apartment is a "loft" (I guess) since you have to go upstairs and it is over a business. It is a 2/2 with a small courtyard and a one car detached garage. 

The disaster clean up people have been at our house this week and will continue next week tearing out sheetrock, removing things that might be able to still be used to have them cleaned and stored, etc. Mark has had one meeting with a local contractor and he will begin an estimate on repairs on August 4. After that, I guess we have to coordinate with the insurance people to see if they approve. We are going to try to do a couple of small "fun" projects that we had talked about doing like updating lighting over the kitchen island, adding some built ins to our bathroom/closet, etc. I got Mark to take a few before pictures yesterday of where the house is right now. 

It will be at least 4 months before ANYONE can begin any work on the house and they are predicting we will be out of the house at least 12 months. That 12 months was one of the biggest snags with the insurance company -- they only wanted to sign a 6 month lease but we were finally able (with the help of a friend who works there) get the 12 month lease.

On the health front, I'm healing nicely from my sinus surgery. I saw the opthalmologist again this week and I had a post-op appointment with the surgeon. I see both again in 3 weeks. I still have double vision so I'm not driving. I think that has been the hardest part. I HATE asking for someone to drive me places or go buy something for me. A sweet friend drove me to the eye doc this week and Mark took me to the surgeon. Mark watched as the surgeon inserted a camera and a light and a vaccuum into my nose all the way into the farthest sinus cavities. They placed gel in the cavities during the surgery and he was cleaning some of that out. They deadened my nose with a spray of lidocaine (or something) but it was very painful. I had a grip on the arm of the chair and my face contorted in pain. He did tell us that the surgery involved removing some bone in my face to open up the sinus cavities. I was evidently in pretty serious shape. I'm hoping that if my vision doesn't correct on its own between now and next appointment, when he does another clean out . . .it will go ahead and clear then. The opthalmologist did show me how she could make temporary glasses for me that include a prism . . .to correct it! I'm still using the saline wash out system twice a day (I feel like I'm drowning) and I have to keep doing that. I started a second round of prednisone today. I still can't blow my nose . . . and I want to. Why is it that when we are told we CAN'T do something . . .we want to do it more?

My goal is to find one positive thing per day (if not more). Since we got back from Europe on July 3, I haven't slept past 3 a.m. and the fire/surgery/prednisone haven't helped. Last night, I slept (with a bathroom break) from 10:00 to 5:40. That was miraculous in and of itself.

People continue to amaze me. Friends are still doing our laundry (can't wait to do my own next week!). We've received unbelievable gifts from our Sunday School class and other church members. The kind of gifts that make you cry and you normally would never accept but when you realize they are given to you because people love you . . .you accept with grace. When I get discouraged, I get a text or card or phone call from someone who knows just the right thing to say. Friends have invited us to come and sit at their kitchen table so that we aren't sitting in our hotel room eating next to the cat litter box :-(. They've provided a bit of respite in a crazy journey. People have prayed so hard for us and we have felt it. We know that we are loved and have felt it.

I'm hopeful that over the tnext week, I might find time to continue blogging about our trip.

On the "college" class front, my professor has been so gracious. I have now typed a paper and turned in a project done with one eye. The project is not my best but I was using a "sort of new" program to me (Canva) and I couldn't manipulate my photos and text boxes the way I wanted. I'm not sure I gave her as much detail as she wanted so I'm sure she will take off points for that. I'm hoping for a lot of points for effort. She knows that I did homework and took quizzes even while in Europe and she knows I want to finish the class. The paper was a critique of The Passion Plan in Oberammergau. Writing about it was nice -- brought back great memories of the trip. I don't know if I'll end up with an A or not in the class but I have enjoyed it and I've learned new things.

On the work front, I stayed out the whole week after the fire/surgery. On Monday of this week, I went in for about an hour and a half. On Tuesday, I made it 3+ hours. I didn't work in the office on Wednesday because of surgeon post op appointment, etc. On Thursday, I made it 6+ hours and then I worked from the hotel yesterday morning. Hopefully, I can make it a full day this week. I'm feeling so much better and stronger but both my eyes - the patched one and the other one - get so tired after looking at a computer screen, etc. for hours. I will be off Tuesday for move in day. Definitely by Wednesday, I hope I can make it all day which is 8:30-4:00 (ish).

I had to cancel an appointment for allergy shots and for a visit to the dermatologist during the surgery week so I will have to reschedule those . . . and get a ride. I'm hoping that I can get a pedicure and a haircut/color in the next couple of weeks, too. Those things sound so normal (except needing a ride). 

That is where we are today! We are going to try to go to church and Sunday School tomorrow. We've never missed this many weeks except duing the covid shut-down. I miss being in worship. I will probably wear a mask tomorrow because covid numbers have risen and I don't need covid on top of these things.

One more quick thing -- the weekend we moved into the hotel was The World Games week here in Birmingham and there was a huge High School football something or other -- 7 on 7 -- here last weekend. Beginning mid week this last week, hordes of teenaged boy baseball players and their families arrived. Mark talked to a parent and they said 180 baseball teams are here in Hoover for these tournaments/games. Our hotel has been full of lots of families. Last night, there were two boys playing baseball (with a plastic "bat" and something soft for a ball) in the hallway. We've used our fan apps on our phones and we've put one on each side of the bed and it has covered up the noise for us. Two different nights, giggling boys ran down the hall and knocked on our door. I'm sure because we have the "do not disturb" sign up because of the cat.

This is life for us right now. How are things in your world?

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Lightning, Fire, Sickness, and More Oh My!

I will return to photos and stories from our wonderful 14 days in Europe but I need to write about what is going on now. I use this blog to keep up with life. 

As I mentioned, we flew home on Sunday, July 3. By Wednesday, July 6 I had developed a headache. I was worried it might be covid so I took a test -- negative.

I went on to work on Thursday - still had a headache but could manage. On Friday, the headache intensified so I took another covid test - negative. Through Friday night, the headache pain increased so we ended up a the freestanding ER near our home on Saturday morning early. They did a CT scan and said they could see old and new sinus infection. They pumped me full of fluids, tramadol, antibiotics and something else and sent me home and said, "You will need to see an ENT on Monday. You may need surgery to clear the infection."

We went home and were still dealing with jet lag so I did some laundry and napped. Mark headed to his mother's house late in the afternoon. It was his turn to spend the night -- especially since we had been gone 14 days. We made a plan for Sunday lunch at his mom's house and he made a plan to pick up Chinese take outs on the way for their dinner and Harvey and I curled up in my recliner.

I had received a birthday package while we were gone so I opened it and took a photo and sent it in a text to my niece with some comments.

It had begun to rain (I think) and so it was good cat snuggling weather until the loudest noise I have ever heard happened. Lightning struck our chimney right where I was sitting. Harvey ran to hide and I screamed. I wasn't sure exactly what had happened -- I just knew it was loud and bright. I started calling Mark at his mom's and I went outside to see what was going on. There were bricks from our very tall chimney scattered over the courtyard. I went back in and went upstairs and I could see a charred place on the chimney and I could smell "char." The neighbor on one side was cooking on his grill and the bricks from our chimney rained down into his courtyard -- up over the top of our house and down. Our neighbors from both sides were calling and I was trying to talk to Mark on the phone. All of a sudden, we realized there was smoke rolling out of the house. Jeff, our corner neighbor ran over. I found Harvey and handed him out the door to Jeff and I grabbed my purse and phone. I think I had on my raincoat. I was dialing 911 as were others. I told the fireman I hated to bother them because I wasn't sure I had an emergency and they said "Get every living thing out now." At this point, I do not think I realized we were going to have a fire. Remember -- I was sick.

Within second, flames were shooting out of the house and 5 firetrucks were at out house. Our local fire department should win every award imaginable. They were amazing. Neighbors, our son, and my boss and a few co-workers showed up. People wrapped me in towels. People took care of Harvey. Mark was finally able to get there. The storm had been raging and there were trees down and he had to go around.

Someone has a picture of the actual lightning strike. 

The fire was finally out and the firemen escorted us inside. We grabbed the cat litter box (that was on my mind!), cat food, cat water fountain, a few clothes, our passports, a checkbook, a random assortment of crap. We drove to Mark's mother's house. Oh - his cousin had "randomly" shown up and was able to stay there so that Mark could come home. His other brother was able to get there and stayed until 10 when we showed up. We had a horrible night. We both shed tears. The bed was uncomfortable and the power was off and we live in Alabama. Thank goodness the rain had dropped the temperature some.

Sunday found us dependant on friends. One friend came and stayed with Mark's mother so we could leave. Other friends and family met us at the house. More friends showed up with lunch. I continued to feel worse. Early that morning, I had gone online and found us a suite at an Embassy Suites near us. They allowed cats. I said that I needed to go to the hotel and lie down which I did. Later, Mark and I went to get the cat and our things.

our son wouldn't let me in to see
the two worst rooms on Saturday
night -- I'm glad I waited.

Monday morning arrived and Mark headed back to the house. I awakened with double vision which was weird. I felt horrible so I stayed in the hotel in the bed and slept most of the day. I was able to call and get an ENT appointment for Tuesday morning at 8:00.

Mark and I arrived at the doctor's office around 7:30. My eye was now swollen closed plus double vision. I don't think I have ever been as sick as I was on Tuesday. I couldn't sit up in the waiting room chairs. I would curl up like a child or lean my head sideways against the wall. Within moments of walking into the room, the first ENT stepped out and brought in an associate. Within a few more moments, they were calling the insurance company to approve another CT scan. After the scan, we were told to come back at 12:30. Dr. Chris Clark would be performing surgery on my sinuses. 

Our friends live a few minutes away from the hospital and she had left a key just in case. We went to their house and I literally laid across their bed and slept while Mark rummaged and made himself a Peanut Butter sandwich. They both came home before we left for the hospital so we saw them. I meant to take a photo. Their screen porch was covered with racks of our clothing - airing out the smoke. Her laundry room was full of our clothes that were being washed. More people have washed my underwear this week than ever in my life.

The surgeon and his team added me onto the end of a very long day of surgery. When I came to in recovery, I was literally the last one there. They had locked the office of the surgery center and Mark was waiting somewhere else (I didn't know that). Another of our close friends who is a doctor at the hospital was waiting with Mark when they brought me down to the car.

We headed back to our home away from home -- Embassy Suites. I had hoped to awaken on Wednesday with restored vision but that was not to be. I won't show y'all the worst picture which is the morning after the surgery. I had to wear a "mustache bandage" which is like a tiny mask string and you literally hang gauze over the string. You cannot blow our nose so you just have to let it run.

I can't believe I'm sharing this but
THIS IS US this week.

Thursday, we were able to get an appointment with an opthamalogist (who I LOVED). Mark was meeting with fire people so our friends once again came to the rescue and drove me to the doctor and held my hand and filled out the paperwork. The doctor checked the eyeball, etc. She agrees with the surgeon that the vision should be restored. Some people get it back quickly. Others not so much. Guess which category I fall into?

Today -- Saturday, finds me at the hotel by myself. Our sweet baby granddaughter's 3rd birthday party was today and I sent Mark with our gift of a pink tricycle. I've kept myself busy. I've been learning to type wearing a patch on the bad eye.

I wish I could explain the eye situation to you. The way the opthamalogist makes sense. The left eye is just not moving at the same speed as the right eye (normal). They will eventually move like the two side wheels on a car -- but not today. I think I have seen small improvements yesterday and today. I was hoping for a dramatic TADA but God has been whispering "be still" all week. I'm not good at being still -- especially on steroids.

I can't type this without crying -- we have been surrounded by the people of God. I don't talk alot about my faith on here but if you read much about me, you kind of figure it out. People have been with us every step of the way. Everytime I hit a low spot, I get a text or an email. We've been showered with gift cards. We've been given the gift of time . . .which is the most precious. Our children have checked on us and helped us. Mark has carried it all this week while I've simply been sick - maybe the sickest I've ever been.

As of yesterday, our house has been released. We are actively trying to find a place to rent. Rental properties are unusual -- let me just say that. I always think everyone lives just like I do and this is a reality check. No, Lisa. Everyone does not live like you do. We have to find a contractor. This is minor, but my class is coming down to the final projects. If I were home with a color printer, my silhouette machine, and every color of paper imaginable, these projects would be so fun. My professor may give me an extension. She has been very gracious. It helps that she can see I did homework even in Europe and I have an A in the class. She knows I care. When I wrote her the email about all that has happened, I actually said, "if this were from a young student . . .you might not believe it." This is definitely better than the dog ate my homework.

So if you are a praying person -- we ask that you pray for my eyesight to be restored and for us to find a place to live and a contractor. If you are a "good vibes" person -- please send those our way, too.

I will say this -- time to be still has made me think about everything. I need to spend more time with family and friends. I need to make sure I'm doing the important things first. I need to be first in line to help when someone else needs help.

Bad things happen. Life is sometimes fun and easy and sometimes life is hard and bumpy. Most everyone has good things and bad things in their lives. We just keep on putting one foot in front of the other and we keep on doing the next right thing. Right?

Hopefully, my eyes will get stronger and I can resume my fun travel posts but for today, this is where you can find us.

p.s. I'm typing with a patch on one eye - please forgive all mistakes, typos, things that don't make sense, etc.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

2022 Italy/Germany/Austria Day 1

Way back in 2019, we booked and paid for a trip in June of 2020, "The Best of Italy." We all know what happened in 2020. Our world shut down. We had been in Israel during the first half of Februry and were home only a couple of weeks before the world began to close. We assumed it would be for just a couple of weeks but as the days wore on, we received notice that our trip was cancelled. It was rescheduled for June of 2022. 

So on June 20, we loaded our suitcases into my car, stopped at our friend's house, and headed to the Birmingham airport. Our friend took my car back to her driveway for the 14 days we would be gone.

Our group was split. Part of the group had flown out earlier and they were flying through Chicago and then on to Rome. Our group flew from Birmingham to Atlanta and then on to Rome.

traveling involves so much "hurry up and wait"

We were finally on the plane

If any of you have traveled with a group before, you know that your plane touches down, you grab your luggage, you meet up with your tour guide, you get on a bus, and you go see something . . .even though you haven't been to bed and there is a 7 hour time difference. They try hard to keep everyone awake until dinner time so you can adjust quickly. I never seem to have that much trouble adjusting when I arrive . . .but jet lag when I get home is very real.

Here we are with our neighbors - their flight
arrived before ours and they had to wait. We
actually look ok to have been traveling as many
hours as we had.

Our first stop was the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. We grabbed a sandwich in the little cafe - our first "Italian" food.

first stop - cafe and bathrooms

The bread on our trip was so good!

Everything was so big -- I took
a picture when this man walked
by simply so I could remember
the size!

The sarcophagus of the apostel in unpolished
marble, is in the place where the emperor Constantine had the first altar built.
The ancient apse of Constantine of the year 324 was at the west end of
the first basilica. The emperor Theodosius constructed a
larger basilica.

We walked around the Basilica which stands over the place where Emperor Canstantine built the first church over the grave of Paul, the Apostle.

We hopped back on the bus and headed to the Catacombs -- Catacombe San Callisto. Several people have asked about my favorite part of the trip. This was one of my favorite parts. A young monk was our tour guide. We couldn't take any photos but it was amazing to think of those early Christians having "church" underneath the ground . . .and to think of all those who had been buried there . . .all of those who have gone before us.

I found this photo of the catacombs online

After our tour, we headed to our hotel -- Cardinal Hotel St. Peter. Our dinner began with a first course of pasta. It was a huge serving. Mark, who doesn't like pasta, even liked the pasta. It was a pesto pasta. Wine was included with our dinners at the Cardinal Hotel.

Pesto Pasta

Baked Cream for dessert
We aren't wine drinkers but the
wine was good and we did drink some. Our tour guide said
they keep the best wines for themselves.

After dinner, Mark and I walked to the little town to see if I could grab a diet coke or two for the next day. Everything closes up early! There wasn't a single store open but we did see a little Pizzeria and popped in. They had Coke Zero and beer. The young man spoke English well and said he was originally from Bangladesh.

We headed back to the hotel and crashed!

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Wednesday Hodgepodge

 1. July 6th is National Fried Chicken Day...are you a fan? Do you make your own or have a favorite place to buy from? Do you own chickens? If not chicken what's your favorite fried food? I like chicken fingers or chicken schnitzel. I will eat a fried chicken breast but I definitely prefer boneless EVEN though I know the chicken with bones is juicier. I do not fry anything. I don't own chickens but our son and daughter-in-law have chickens so we get to enjoy fresh eggs! My favorite fried food is FRENCH FRIES. I think I could eat french fries three meals a day. Of course, I don't.

2.  What's something you're too chicken to try? Great question. I feel like I've been fairly adventurous lately!!

3. When did you last find yourself running around like a 'chicken with its head cut off'? I guess I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off right before we left on our trip. I was trying to finish up ALL THE THINGS.

4. Something you've done recently that makes you think 'I'm no spring chicken'? I have jet lag right now. When you are younger, you recover faster. I rarely feel "old" though!!

5. 'Winner winner chicken dinner'...tell us about something good that's happened in your life lately. We just got back on Sunday night from 14 days in Italy/Germany/Austria. I will probably do a recap blog post for each day . . .when I can think again!

6. Insert your own random thought here. So . . .we flew out of Munich on Sunday, July 3. I think we had to go through about 6 passport checks. We were searched (hands in my bra!). We were x-rayed. Oh my goodness - it was intense! I thought my husband was going to hug the total stranger lady with the southern accent in the Atlanta airport customs line!