Thursday, June 1, 2023

So, Paris Happened

I celebrated my birthday last October with a last minute trip to Paris with Amy. A few pictures here sum up a little bit of the weekend--

The view from our dinner cruise boat on the Siene.

Just like Italy, gelato was had numerous times for no reason other than Gelato.

The same can be said for macaroons!

Two of my all-time favorites that I found at the Musée d'Orsay --- Petite danseuse de quatorze ans by Edgar Degas and Le Lit by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec... Along with hundreds of amazing impressionist and post-impressionist works.

We went to a show at the Moulin Rouge and dined outside afterward at a cafe until midnight. 
We make each other laugh so hard that I cry.

Cheers to the tower and all of the other parks where we sat and ate baguette, drank champagne or wine, and people watched, took photos, read, and talked. 
It is true that it is the city of love. There were people making out everywhere.

Until next summer, Paris. Raine can't wait to meet you!

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Four Weeks

Four weeks driving from work to the hospital.
Brisk walks on the icey pavement.
Steam in my glasses with my mask.
My father.
Covid and pneumonia. Another stupor.
A thin cloth gown that he leaves untied in the back.
He moves from bed to chair, chair to bed.
Squeaky shoe basketball games on the television.
White walls, white floors, white light.
The beating shrill of the bed alarm.
His memory is folded in upon itself--
like a paper plane lifted, 
then falling.
Remembering someone who wasn't there,
who didn't bring him lunch.
What day is it?

Saturday, July 23, 2022

15 Hours in Istanbul

We flew Turkish Airlines to Rome and TA has a generous tour option for those who have a long layover in Istanbul. The day we flew back to Chicago we had a 15 hour layover--3 pm to 6 a--and chose the free tour option (you can also choose free accomodations--but not both.) It happened to be a cruise on the Bosphorus Strait! 

Highlights included... A trip to the market prior to the cruise, where we sampled chocolates, baklava, and tea. Dan smelled spices and picked 'Ottoman' spice and Sumac to take home. (They were generous portions so he will be sharing them with anyone and everyone who is interested.) I got some fresh baklava pieces boxed up and Raine picked his favorite chocolates. Everything was vaccuum sealed for our flight. 
...The cruise absolutely blew us away. It started in the late afternoon so we were able to watch the sunset and enjoying the night lights. We were able to float along the European side and then the Asian side so Raine was pretty excited to have been "on 2 continents." :) There was ice cream for Raine on the boat and dinner was provided. We shared a beautiful moment as we listened to the call of prayer echoing among the walls of the city and over the water. After sunset, we enjoyed a gorgeous full moon. All evening Dan and I kept kissing and saying we loved each other. It was such a special moment that we had never even dreamt of, especially when he was diagnosed with stage IV cancer 8 years ago. We will always be so unbelievably grateful for this experience, and all the time we have been given.

...Our last night - about 10pm in Istanbul. We had celebratory shots and beers and talked about everything we did and what we would remember. My words and our pictures don't do it justice! However I do hope that it will all help Raine remember as he grows up...Watching him experience everything brought us so much joy!

Monday, July 18, 2022

The Herzing Three Do Italy! The Basic Overview


Tip toes in the Mediterranean! We spent our first night in Fiumicino
a 'suburb' with the airport and about 35 minutes to downtown Rome.

Raine's #1 favorite thing to see in Rome was the Trevi Fountain
We were expecting a little fountain like the one we met our tour guide* at (Turtle Fountain
in the small Piazza Mattei, so when we turned the corner and saw Trevi, we were in awe! It is huge!!!!

Other favorites were the Colosseum, St. Peter's Square / Vatican -The smallest country in the world! 
And the Keyhole of the Knights of Malta. (IYKYK.)

Lunch in hilltop town Pienza, near our villa. Side note: The small town road trip is very curvy and up and down hills. Be careful. I totally threw up in the car.

Tuscany treated us well. We stayed at a beautiful Villa in Chianciano Terme, southwest of Siena in the Val d'Orcia. The special occasion for our visit was the marriage vow renewal for our friends Amy and Ross Mulder. We were honored to be present for their beautiful and touching ceremony. The  family of the Stinson/Glick/Mulders made us feel very welcome and we enjoyed hanging out, playing games, going out to dinner, and swimming. Raine also had fun with Harvey and his cousin Alfie playing tennis and jumping on the trampoline.

We were also able to spend a day in Florence, which is the city I always dreamt of returning to and I was thrilled to find my old apartment and show Raine and Dan where I studied. The same pastry shop was still below the apartment so we chatted with the women and ate some sweets!

Raine's #1 fave in Florence was the stunning Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence Cathedral).
He was so impressed with how large the cathedral was that he had us time him running around the entire thing. (He clocked in at just under 3 minutes.)

We visited Florence's "town hall," Palazzo Vecchio, with a copy of Michelangelo's David in the Piazza della Signoria. That led us to Ponte Vecchio, a medieval bridge spanning the Arno, where I had wished upon a star that I would someday return with the love of my life....!

Our time in Italy was far too short ... Just 5 days. Raine became a true world traveler and the most enjoyment I had was watching him marvel at the cities and excitedly take pictures and videos. He also had a relaxing stay at the villa even though I forced him to participate in a cooking class! He actually did really well. He didn't last the entire 3 hours but he cooked the panna cotta that we all enjoyed for dessert!

*We had an amazing tour experience in Rome with Arvin, a guide with Turtle Tour Rome. I booked it easily through Viator and I can't recommend it enough. He was knowledgeable and fast, as well as interested in involving Raine and teaching him. He had great recommendations for restaurants, too!