Monday, April 30, 2012

When in Rome: Day 1 - A few more sights on our way back to the hotel

Via del Corso, Monumento a Vittorio Emmanuele II, Foro Traiano, a picturesque side street, and Dick in front of our hotel.

When in Rome: Day 1 - Fontana di Trevi and The Spanish Steps

When in Rome: Day 1 - Gellato!!

Dick's colleague, Cheng, recommended his favorite gelato spot in Rome: Della Palma, near the Pantheon.

It didn't disappoint! We stepped inside, and we're immediately in awe of the counter display. So beautiful! Although difficult to choose from so many flavors, I had mint with chocolate, while Dick had mango. Yum!

When in Rome: Day 1 - The Pantheon

Unbelievably beautiful. The Pantheon was built in 120 AD. The columns in the entrance are 40-foot, single piece granite. The dome is an impressive 142 feet wide and high.

Within the Pantheon is also the final resting place if the great renaissance artist, Rafael.

When in Rome: Day 1 - Out and About

Our first full day in Rime was just Fantastic! We walked around the city for about 7 hours, stopping for lunch and gelato. :)

We're staying in the Ancient Rome area - near the Colloseum and Roman Forum. We're planning to see both of those tomorrow, weather permitting, but today was the day for the long city walk. We went to Campe de Flori, Piazza Novona, The Pantheon, Fontona Di Trevi and the Spanish Steps.

Here are some photos of our walk, including the produce market in Campo de Flori, and the fountains in Piazza Novona.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Up in the Air and layover in Frankfurt

We've arrived in Frankfurt. We have a short layover here before catching our flight to Rome.

The flight was fantastic. 10+ hours was very smooth and seemingly quick. We both got some decent sleep as well.

One of the very cool features in the inboard entertainment system was the 3 camera angles of the outside of the plane. One angle was from the nose of the plane looking directly forward, the next was down by the wheels looking directly below, and the last was on the tail looking forward and showing the entire plane. Super cool during take-off and landing.

I've attached a couple of photos from camera 3 - the first shows the runway in SF as we're about to take off, and another as we flew over the Golden Gate Bridge.

I took one more photo of the ginormous plane after we landed.

While inside the Frankfurt airport, I took a photo of one of the many Smoking Booths. They are tiny, and you can smell them from several feet away.

The last photo shows the hot dog bar in the Lufthansa Business Lounge. I just thought it was picture worth

Yay for free WiFi at the airport!! Next stop: Rome! :)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Home Away from Home (for the next 10+ Hours, anyway)

Let the vacation begin!!

We've just boarded our flight - Lufthansa Airlines, Airbus A380 to Frankfurt. The largest commercial jet in the World!

It is über-nice and spacious!! The seats will lie down to nearly flat, and we have tons of legroom. We also have two cavernous compartments next to the windows to store our smaller stuff. The photo below shows a blanket, a pillow, our electronics adapters bag and my water bottle. That's just one side, and there's plenty of room still.

I always think that vacations begin once you board the plane. It looks like it's going to be a great flight!!

Here we GO!!

Pack-It Cubes!!

Dick's colleague, Cheng, knew that Dick and I are getting ready to leave on our trip to Italy. He surprised us yesterday by buying us these "Pack-It Cubes" for our trip! He and his wife travel often, and they love these handy packing bags. So thoughtful!!

We packed last night, and the cubes worked great! He bought us each a set of two small, and two large cubes. Black for Dick, red for me. It makes it very easy to pack, and differentiate whose clothing is whose. It also makes for much easier organization.

Thank you, Cheng, for the very thoughtful gift! We really appreciate it, and look forward to traveling with our new packing cubes! :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

"Rome" if you want to....

...Roam around the World!


Dick and I are leaving tomorrow to Italy! We're both getting very excited. We've been planning this trip for a while, and have been wanting to go together for years.

We'll be going to Rome, Florence and Venice.

Dick has never been to Italy before. I've been to Florence and Venice, but never to Rome. (that was over 15 years ago, and, as I like to say, with the wrong person!)

We're staying at hotels that all claim to have WiFi in the rooms, so I'm hoping to be able to post photos and blogs while we're there.

In case you're wondering, our Gay Boyfriend will be staying at our home, and taking care of our kitty. It's nice to be able to go away knowing that your home is in good hands. :) (Thanks, Bro!)

We take off in the early afternoon tomorrow.

Guess I'd better start packing! :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In the garden...

The calla lilies and the white trumpet flowers greet each other. :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy 86th Birthday, Grandma!!

Today, my Maternal Grandma turned 86! I hope that I look and feel as good as she does when I'm her age! We had a nice day today. She told me a couple of weeks ago that she no longer celebrates birthdays after she turned 80. I told her that I would visit her today, to spend the day with her for no particular reason. :) So, for my Grandma's "non-Birthday" my parents and I treated her to a yummy dim sum lunch, opened "non-birthday" presents and cards at the house, then took her shopping. :) Happy Birthday, Grandma! I loved spending the day with you!
Grandma showing me one of the hats that she recently knitted

Mom, Toby Cat and Grandma

Grandma opening her non-Birthday gift

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Scenes from my walk this morning...

Some fun photos from this morning's walk around the neighborhood....

Pretty dark purple tulips in bloom in a lovely front yard

this stuffed giraffe has been peering over from the top of a deck all winter long. his neck is starting to droop from all the rains

Christopher joined me on my walk today. We checked out the new children's playground in Dolores Park. Here he is showing our new little friend how to play the xylophone!

A cute dog in the driver's seat. His owner had just gotten out of the car to take a picture.

this Holiday decoration seems to stay out all year long. At least they update the year on the Baby New Year!

The Little Fire Hydrant That Could

Yesterday was the 106th anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. Each year, the city has various ceremonies to honor the memory of the victims and the few remaining survivors.

Another annual ceremony is the painting of the fire hydrant on the corner of 20th and Church Street. The heroic fire hydrant at 20th and Church Streets is known for saving the the Mission District from the great fire that followed the earthquake, and it is honored with a ceremonial wreath-laying and a fresh coat of gold paint. (although, it looks like yesterday it was accidentally sprayed with silver paint before that mistake was corrected!)

The fire hydrant sits on a corner across Dolores Park, which I walk through almost every day. I thought I'd take a photo of it this morning of the freshly painted gold hydrant with its ceremonial wreath. :)

The heroic fire hydrant that saved the Mission District with its ceremonial wreath

The plaque by the hydrant explaining its significance in saving part of San Francisco from the fires

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Breaking in New Walking Shoes

It's that time of the year again - time to break in the new walking shoes!

For the last two years, I have had two pairs of shoes which I alternate between during the walking season. Last year, I trained well over 300 miles before the actual event, which was 60 miles. I have no idea how many additional miles I've put on them since September. I probably average about 10 miles a week or so from my regular weekday walks.

I've read a few reports that say walking/running shoes should be replaced every 350-550 miles. I've certainly put at least that much into each of my shoes from last year.

Since I started seriously walking two years ago, I have bought one pair of the same shoe each year - the Ecco Biom Walking Shoe. I've been a fan of Ecco for several years, and these walking shoes have worked out really well for me this year. I spoke with a store rep once and he informed me that these shoes were intended to last up to 1200 miles. I know that I haven't walked that many miles in either pair that I've owned, but certainly more than 600. With that in mind, once I've retired my shoes, I have noticed that the shoe itself (body/construction) is still in good shape. It's just that I have worn down the soles of the shoes so that they no longer have good traction.

So the bad news is that the ECCO Biom Walking Shoes for Women line has changed since I ordered last year. They still have the line, but they have new styles/colors. That's to be expected, but I was so happy with my last two pair.

The good news is that they are still available on, so I bought two pair (as back-up for the future). Extra special bonus: They were on sale 29% off!! ($55!) That's super exciting!

Old pair on left, new pair on right

Comparing the soles of the old and the new

The Third Annual WGI SF Party!!