February 28, 2010

Coughy Runny Sneezy ... Enough!

{via}

I have been battling this stupid common cold for two weeks. Actually, since today is Sunday, it's been about sixteen days. Sixteen days of coughing, sneezing, runny nose, sleepless nights, voicelessness,and feeling like you have a bag of cotton balls stuffed in your brain - all excellent symptoms to have when your job involves you using your voice at a high volume for seven hours a day, with the very creations that got you sick in the first place (toddlers are such dirty little walking balls of germs! I wish I could spray them down with Lysol at the beginning of every class).

And with the sheer amount of tissues I've been going through, I really feel like I should have one of these toilet paper dispensers attached to my head. Sexy? Not at all. Never having to scramble for a tissue when you're about to sneeze all over your lap top? Priceless.

February 26, 2010

I Have Some Blanks to Fill

Get ready for another round of Fill-In The Blank Friday! Yay! Can you believe it's Friday again already! Yay!

1.  When I'm nervous I  usually can't stop talking, make a lot of stupid comments, and repeatedly use expressions that I never normally use (like "super") making me look like an idiot and making me feel even more nervous.

2.  My favorite item in my closet is   my pair of thrifted Delman patent leather Mary Janes.

3.   Doing something crafty, like sewing, while watching bank-to-back episodes of my favorite sitcoms  is my favorite thing to do when I need to relax.

4.  My favorite childhood memory is   playing with my dozens of Italian cousins at our beach house in Italy in July (a recurring memory, since we went every July!)

5.  Something you may not know about me is  that I speak four languages, well, three and and half :) English, Italian, French, and Spanish (the "half", which is why I'm here in Spain: to make it a whole!)

6.  A true friend   will pick up the conversation with you exactly where you left off, even after months or years of not seeing each other, making it seem like not a day has gone by.

7.  Something I hope people think of when they think of me is  that I'm a positive, funny, and kind person. If they think I'm smart too, that doesn't hurt either :)

 ***

In case you wanted an update on my bureaucratic hell situation, today I went back to the Comisaria, to ask for the number the bank told me I needed, and the Comisaria lady got mad and yelled at me and told me the bank was stupid, and gave me an application for said number, which I can pick up in 25 days, even though she told me I didn't need it because if the bank was going to be a stickler for this number, they could make do with the application. I haul ass to the bank, which closes soon and is on the other side of town, and there they tell me the application isn't enough, and I'm going to have to wait the 25 days. I am seriously considering eliminating the banks server and computerized system so when they're forced to go back to writing everything down on paper, they'll finally be able to just give me an account. Ugh! So frustrating!

But at least today I had a half day, and so I'm at home at 3:15 pm and I can relax a bit to vent my bank annoyance. Hopefully Ill be hearing back from some friends about a potential dinner party that I might cook for tonight (and hopefully I can bake something!)

Have a great weekend everyone!


February 25, 2010

Delectable Sitting-On-A-Cloud Lemon Mousse


I was sitting at my computer, banging away at my last post (a bitter rant about bureaucracy in general) when I hear a knock at my bedroom door.

Damn, I think. It's my roommate here to chastise me for leaving a single dirty plate in the sink again.

I get up, begrudgingly shuffle to the door, and open it.

It is indeed my roommate, but she's smiling and holding something delicious looking.

It's a glass filled with a light, fluffy, cloud-in-heaven looking mousse of the palest yellow.

Te gustas el leche? She asks me. (Do you like milk?) Mi mama` ha hecho un postre, crema de leche con limon. ¿Quieres? (My mom made a dessert, milk mousse with lemon. Would you like some?)

Now at first "milk mousse with lemon" didn't really inspire me to wolf down a whole glass of the stuff. Especially since we've been taught since birth that milk and lemon go together about as well as navy and black.

But she was standing there looking so cheerful, offering me a yummy-looking home-made dessert, and most importantly, she wasn't yelling at me for leaving dishes in the sink.

I was sold.

Oh man. I'm sorry I considered for even a second to not try it. It was light, fluffy, meringue-y, sweet, but not cloying, lemony, but not overpoweringly so - a perfect mousse.

Apparently her mother - whose chocolate cake is delicious as well - has a special, very very simple recipe.

(Sorry there's no before picture. I ate the whole thing in about twelve seconds flat. But it made for a lovely empty glass picture)


Delectable Sitting-On-A-Cloud Lemon Mousse
By Katy's Mom

Ingredients:
1 can evaporated milk
Sugar to taste (I'm guessing 4-6 tbsp, but I have no idea)
Juice of one lemon

Freeze the can of evaporated milk - apparently this is critical for the moussing action to take place. Empty frozen evaporated milk into metal mixing bowl, add sugar, and whip on high until stiff peaks form. Turn mixer to low and mix in the juice of one lemon. Add more sugar to taste.* Eat entire bowl with mixing spoon.**

And we don't even have an electric mixer in the house. Katy's mom (whose name I was told, promptly forgot, and am too embarrassed to ask again) made it with a whisk. By hand. She whipped that mousse so hard the whisk broke. For serious. That is what I call culinary commitment.


* Keep in mind that this recipe was explained to me in very fast accented Spanish, so I'm only writing what I understood her to be saying. I'm pretty sure it's right, but still, I take no responsibility for any culinary mishaps that may arise while attempting this recipe.

** That last part I added. : )

Another Day in Bureaucratic Limbo: The Mind-Numbingly Frustrating Sequel

Or, more accurately, trequel, since the original day in bureaucratic limbo was actually the second horrible Italian bureaucratic experience I had. Read about the original one in the p.s.

(I know trequel not a real word because I invented it right now. It means third sequel, if you hadn't figured that out already. :)

Remember this wonderful day? Well unfortunately, a similar situation seems to have presented itself.

I was slowly getting over my bank hate, when I was faced with the arduous task of opening a bank account here in Spain. I thought that being an EU passport holder it wouldn't be so difficult.
Man was I in for a surprise.

I won't bore you with the long drawn out version, but essentially I had to go to the police station to get a document saying that I wasn't a resident of Spain -  which both my passport and Italian national ID card clearly state, but whatever - and bring this document back to the bank to open my account. The problem is that both the police station and the bank are only open until 2 pm (although banks are also open on thursday afternoons from 5-7, thank god), and I work until 4. So logistically it's pretty much impossible for me to be go to either of those place without taking a day off, which I did, on Monday, to get everything I needed. This afternoon I went to the bank to finally open my account (since I need to be paid tomorrow), and apparently the people at the police station forgot to put an essential number on my document, so I couldn't open my account, I won't get paid tomorrow, and I have to take off another half day to go back to the police station, and in my broken Spanish explain to them that they stupidly forgot an essential part of the document I requested, while asking them to do me the favor of giving me this important number.

In short, I probably won't get paid tomorrow, the Bank is an asshole for wanting all this ridiculously unnecessary information, and, as usual, the people working at police stations are all incompetent fools.

I swear I could dedicate a whole blog just to the ridiculousness that is Western European Bureaucracy.


p.s. Want to hear all about the first time I really started hating banks?  It all started back in the fall of 2007. Let's take a little stroll down memory lane, shall we?

A  Facebook Note, November 22, 2007


A word to the wise: if you live in north america and think your bank sucks monkey butt, i advise that you reconsider. this is a little story i like to call the monday julia had to pick up her scooter at the crack of dawn before crossing the city to get to work but couldn't because the banking system is so archaic they're probably still writing numbers on the ground with sticks.

a little background information... italian banks are prehistoric. seriously, the cavemen who run these dumps have the brain capacity of a paperclip and the resources of a rock. when i opened my account, they wouldnt give me a regular debit card because they said they needed to develop a "3 month rapport with the client" first, so they give me this stupid "friends" card which i can only use to withdraw at my bank's atms... as though with a regular debit card i could perpetrate some incredible bank busting scheme! plus, you can only deposit checks with a teller and they take a week to clear!! but thats beside the point...

anyway... so i have to go to the bank and then the mechanic, and of course, i live between the two, so i have to walk in one direction to the bank and then the other to the mechanic (which turns out to be moot in the end). so i go to the atm to take out money to pay the mechanic (because obviously he's a shady italian mechanic that only takes cash) and the atm says no withdrawal available. weird. but then the other atm does the same thing. you'd think i could go across the street to the other bank and try theirs. wrong. with my stupid "friends" card, i can't use other atms. so i go in the bank, wait in line for a freaking teller for 30 minutes, like its the 1950s and atms dont even exist yet, and the idiot finally tells me that of course there's not cash in the atms, because they load in the cash on friday and over the weekends people take it all... obviously reloading the atms with cash at the beginning of the work week is too broad a concept for them to wrap their minds around. so i give him my "friends" card and ask to make a withdrawal directly from the bank, but he says i need all of my account numbers, which, surprise surprise, i don't happen to be carrying in my back pocket. so he says no dice, and i leave the bank having lost 30 minutes of my life and with no money. so, to sum up, they wont give me a regular ATM card, because we don't have a "rapport" yet, and they'll only give me one i can use only at their ATMs. but they don't put money in their ATMs, and since i cant use the card to withdraw money from a teller, or any other bank, they have all my money and i cant get to it until some jackass realizes it just might be time to put cash in the stupid cash machines...
not to mention the fact that the teller was straight out of Saturday night fever, complete with the purple polyester unbuttoned shirt, chest hair, a medallion, and a bad curly comb-over...
...needless to say i didn't make it to the mechanic and was forced to endure one and a half hours of the city's excuse for public transit (but thats another story for another day)...

it seriously makes bank of america seem like some unbelievable prophecy about the amazing future of customer service... i miss RBC* :(


* For all you non-Cananadans**, RBC is Royal Bank of Canada

** Yes, I am aware that's not the proper adjective to describe someone from Cananada***

*** Fine. Canada. Canadian. You happy now?

February 23, 2010

Sweet Friends, Happy Things, Good Times

I got an award today! How sweet and delicious!


From Linden
@

The rules state that I have to link back to the awarder (check!), write ten things that make me happy (check!), and then award this to ten other bloggers whose blogs make me happy (check!).

Happy Things

1. Giving myself a manicure and not smudging it!

Totally not a real manicure, 
but I really wanted to show you my crazy green-fairy nail polish from Carneval! 

2. Spending a cozy weekend with the boy.


3. My beautiful new grey suede boots. A birthday present from Valerio.

They are slyly posing on my new pink yoga mat. 
Which is sitting rolled up in the corner until I teach myself a yoga pose.

4. My sudoku book, masquerading as an adorable cherry blossom and bird mini notebook. It makes me happy just to look at it! (a stocking stuffer from my mommy :)

Sneaky, eh?

5. Real cherry blossoms.

{via}

6. My three-year-old classes at school. So cute, so sweet, and so well-behaved. The four- and five-year-olds? Well, they're another story.

I'm not going to put pictures of these kids on the internet. 
But I think I can get away with showing the back of their heads in costume.
These are four of my boys dressed up at Gondoliers for Carneval. So cute.

7. Stationery shops. I could spend hours, literally, browsing around and choosing notebooks and agendas and letter paper and pens.

Anything Moleskine makes me so happy.
{via}

8. Grammar. Well, correct grammar. Ok, I know, I know, I'm a total dork. But something about correct English grammar, and explaining it to someone, just makes me happy. Bad grammar, on the other hand, has the opposite effect. In fact, expect an upcoming post about common interweb grammatical errors that really grind my gears.

9. Gazpacho. Perhaps a bizarre reason to love living in Spain, but even the crappy supermarket in-a-carton gazpacho is delicious. I could eat it every day (and I almost do!)

{via}

10. Sharp scissors. There's nothing like the feeling of cutting through fabric or paper with a brand new pair of sharp scissors. Unfortunately no photo can do justice to that delicious slicing noise!


Happy Blogs

Desiree @ Hitting My Stride 
Jennifer @ Jennifunique
Julia @ Kaleidoscope 

Because all of these ladies rock my world - from spit-out-your-drink laughs, to get-me-hard-up food photography, to beautiful crafts, to real life inspiration - stopping by their little corners of the interweb makes me happy every day. Go see what all the fuss is about about!


February 22, 2010

Weekly(ish) Photo Essay: Madrid With The Boy


 

(this is how kick-ass our weekend was)

So this weekend Valerio came to visit, and we had a marvelous time! We ate a lot of delicious (read: sinful) food, but we walked even more, so (hopefully) it canceled out. 

But, as you can see, this is a Weekly(ish) Photo Essay, so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves!

Saturday:

A ginormous brand new statue of Cristiano Ronaldo in - wait for it - Plaza Ronaldo.
They love this dude here.

Yes. That is a vinyl disc in the side of a building. 
Don't ask. I don't know why.

Hm...What to order, what to order...

 Valerio looking dapper, despite the white balance a wee bit off.

Sunday:

Our amazing lunch of fried calamari sandwiches with patatas alioli...
Although I'm not sure you got a good enough look at those sandwiches,

Before:

Yum.


During:



and After:

all gone! :(

 I am so strong!

A closed store. I wish it had been open. 
I would have loved to see what fancy things 
a store this pretty on the outside had on the inside.

I'm not sure what was going on here... we obviously weren't coordinating.

 But the place we were in, Gran Cafe de Madrid - near Puerta del Sol, was adorable.
The backs of the benches in the booths were vintage Spanish advertisements printed on wood,


for firemen:


and old-fashioned laundry detergent: 

 


Monday:

Not technically a museum. But full of jamon (prosciutto, aka cured ham)
Bocadillos de jamon (little ham sandwiches) and cañas (little glass of beer) for 1 euro each. 
lunch for 2 euro? yum for you and your wallet!

And not only is it that cheap, but they give you free samples along with your bocadillo and caña:


(I was also having fun with my macro setting)

***

Coming soon, Weekly(ish) Photo Essay: Buildings of Madrid. The architecture here is a-mazing. Everything is built in this luxurious, retro, 1920s art deco style - they're almost all either new buildings built in the old style, or the original 1920s buildings beautifully restored and maintained. So lovely. Stay tuned for a virtual walking tour of all of Madrid's prettiest places I wish I lived!


p.s.  I also got a blog award today! yay!

 

From the lovely Sam 
@

Thanks again, Sam!



February 20, 2010

Because I Know You Were Wondering...


1. I’ve come to realize that my chest-size. . . is not particularly impressive. But not underwhelming either.
2. I’ve come to realize that my job. . . is only a way to temporarily survive in my temporary city.  
3. I’ve come to realize that when I’m driving alone. . . I like to sing along to oldies.  
4. I’ve come to realize that I need. . . regular access to international cuisine.  
5. I’ve come to realize that I have lost. . . no time in making my life what I want it to be.  
6. I’ve come to realize that I hate it when. . . people make written grammatical errors. Proofread!  
7. I’ve come to realize that if I’m drunk. . . I can speak Spanish much more fluently.  
8. I’ve come to realize that money. . . is a good way to get some, but not all, of what you want in life.
9. I’ve come to realize that certain people. . . are a ginormous pain in the ass, but I love them anyway.  
10. I’ve come to realize that I’ll always. . . love coming home to my mom's kitchen.  
11. I’ve come to realize that my sibling. . . will forever be one of the most important people in my life.  
12. I’ve come to realize that my mom. . .  is very wise.  
13. I’ve come to realize that cell phones. . . are now just 1% phone and 99% fancy gadget.  
14. I’ve come to realize that when I woke up this morning. . . I overslept, and was late picking up Valerio at the airport! Oops!  
15. I’ve come to realize that last night before I went to sleep. . . I caught up with an old friend.  
16. I’ve come to realize that right now I am thinking. . .  about how lucky I am.  
17. I’ve come to realize that my dad. . . is probably the brainiest person I've ever met.
18. I’ve come to realize that when I get on Facebook. . . I'm more passive than active.  
19. I’ve come to realize that today. . . we walked 6.5 km looking for those elusive grey suede boots...that we finally found!  
20. I’ve come to realize that tonight. . . we are going to eat delicious paella and sangria!  
21. I’ve come to realize that tomorrow. . . will be a day to see parks and art.  
22. I’ve come to realize that I really want to. . . work hard on becoming fluent in Spanish.  
23. I’ve come to realize that some people are essential to my well-being.  
24. I’ve come to realize that life. . . is what happens when you stop planning for it.  
25. I’ve come to realize that this weekend. . . has gotten off to a great start.  
26. I’ve realized the best music to listen to when I am upset. . . is cool, relaxing jazz.  
27. I’ve come to realize that my friends. . . will always be important to me, no matter how far thet are, or how long it's been since we've talked.  
28. I’ve come to realize that this year. . . is a year for new things.  
29. I’ve come to realize that my ex(s). . . are happily living in my past.  
30. I’ve come to realize that maybe I should. . . start thinking about my finances like a grown up.
31. I’ve come to realize that I love. . . the color grey!
32. I’ve come to realize that I don’t understand. . . how some people live in the same place for their entire lives.  
33. I’ve come to realize my past. . . is what has made me who I am.  
34. I’ve come to realize that parties. . . are almost always less fun than you expect them to be. But the great ones usually surpass your expectations.  
35. I’ve come to realize that I’m totally terrified. . . of failing. 36. I’ve come to realize that my life. . . is exactly how I want it.
Borrowed from Rainy Saturday

February 19, 2010

Friday Again So Soon? Lovely!

I feel like I literally just posted last week's Fill-In The Blank Friday. It actually feels like I did it yesterday. But I guess I shouldn't complain when Fridays come around so fast it feels like they're smacking me in the face.

Here's to another round of Fill-In The Blank Friday, borrowed from Lauren's little neck of the woods.



1.  If I could  medal in an Olympic event it would be   downhill skiing. what a turn on!

2.  If I were stranded on a deserted island I'd take   a battery and solar powered GPS, my laptop (with one of those satellite phone internet keys), brother and my boyfriend (between the two of them, they could build whatever it took to get us off the island), and a copy of Gone With The Wind (nothing like feisty Scarlett and smoldery Rhett to keep me busy while the boys build stuff)  .

3.    Falling down on my face and breaking off my two front teeth   is my most irrational fear.

4.  I'd rather    listen to jazz   everyday,  than    listen to Top 40 music everyday.
(Ah, Lady Day)

5.  I am  finally getting into the groove of having a regular schedule which involves me waking up at 6:45 and having a 2 hours round-trip daily commute (it isn't as hard as I'd expected!)

6.  I should really be   working in my Spanish grammar book to brush up on all those important verbs I forget on a daily basis, making me look like a crazy hand-gesturing fool when I try to talk to people .

7.  One of my favorite things in all the world is   waking up, knowing that I don't have a care or responsibility in the world, and walking down to the beach to lie in the sun all day .
(I'm the middle one with the short little  legs, haha)

***

In other news, I'm extra excited because tomorrow morning bright and early, Valerio is flying in for a little weekend o' fun, aka, a festive amalgamation of the four most recent holidays we weren't able to spend together - Christmas, New Years, my birthday (totally a holiday in my life, thank you very much), and Valentine's Day. I can't wait to show him around my new city and have a lovely time together!

What are your fabulous plans for this weekend?


p.s. In other, much less exciting news, I just discovered that eating almost a third of a jar of peanut butter on a single granny smith apple is actually filling enough to be considered dinner.

p.p.s. Two lost followers in one days? Boo. #116 and #117, I miss you already!

February 18, 2010

Weekly(ish) Award Ceremony

Dammit. I am so bad at doing things punctually. Since I started this blog in September (five months ago, or about twenty weeks ago) I've done fewer than ten Weekly(ish) Photo Essays, and since I started this "Weekly" Blog Award a month ago, I should have already done four, but I've only done two (not including the one I'm about to award). So let's call this one "weekly(ish)" too and be done with all pretenses of punctuality.

I promise to give one out one every one to two weeks, depending on when I feel like it. Good enough? Ok.

On to the good stuff. Since I know you are all very impatient.


Of course, like every award, there is a question that goes along with it. But just one.

The world is your oyster, and you are looking for your pearl. What is it?

Happiness? The Meaning of Life? Riches? Adventure? Love? What is it you're looking for?
 
(grab the award, stick it on your blog, answer the question, 
and then pass on the award to one lucky blogger 
whose blog you think makes the blog world a little shinier!)  
 
And now, (imagine a drum roll, please), the third ever Weekly Pearl of the Blog World Award goes to 
 
Laura
@

I just found her blog, but it's hard for me to click away from a delicious-looking and well-photographed food blog, especially when it's full of delicious baked goods (I don't have an oven, remember? So I need to live vicariously through people who do, and take advantage of it!)

So everyone, flock over to Laura's and start craving some yummy food!
 

Cooking By Candlelight

Believe me. It is not as romantic as it sounds.

First of all, the only reason I've been forced to cook by candlelight is because the power in my entire building (which is approximately 48 apartments) has been out for over an hour* and the doorman/super is running around trying to figure out why. Now when the guy who's in charge of building maintenance can't figure out why there's no electricity in the building that gets me a little concerned. Secondly, I'm alone. One of my roommates is in Peru, and the other one is at work. So aside from having spent the whole day battling a child-induced cold so I could go to work and just get sick again tomorrow, I've also found myself alone in a black out. There's obviously nothing reasonably scary about this, but it still isn't my definition of fun. Third, the only candles I could find by the weak light of my cell phone were festive, colorful, scented candles, which I can't stand. Try cooking up some chicken - luckily we have a gas stove - by the cloying smell of Spiced Orange and Orchard Apple. Gross. Unfortunately, it was that, or sit in the dark without food and internet for who knows how long. And I was hungry.

Needless to say, this little episode has made me realize just how much we take for granted. And that people from the 1800s (and before) were very creative in coming up with ways to be entertained. The only thing I'll be able to do after my laptop runs out of batteries is read or write (on paper, obviously). I have no supplies to do anything creative 19th century style, like knit, or embroider, or play the piano while my sisters sing in harmony (fine, so what if my idea of 19th century living is straight out of a Jane Austen novel?). And everything that my contemporary culture deems entertaining runs on electricity. No movies, music, internet, games, or social networking for me. I don't even have twitter on my phone.

 (I look like this when I write by candlelight)
{via}

(By the way, it's like my computer knows there's a problem, and is actively trying to find a solution. Last time I checked the battery life, I had 2:57 left. Ten minutes later, I had 3:01. And now I have 3:31 left. Even after working on it for fifteen minutes! Yay for my little acer aspire one!)

Anyhoo. Being without electricity is pretty boring. I'm probably going to go brush my teeth soon (at least we have running water, and a gas heater - so genius - so we have hot water too!) and just get in bed and read by stupid candlelight. I guess this should help me to better appreciate the simple things...or something. 



p.s. Oh man! (Imagine me being really whiny while saying that). I just remembered that without power the stupid fridge doesn't work. And I bought milk and yogurt and ice cream yesterday. That's going to be fun for me to deal with tomorrow morning, if the power doesn't come back on like now

*Obviously I posted this when I woke up after I got power again, this morning at 7:30 am, while I wrote the actual post around 10:00 pm last night. I didn't magically post this without internet :)

February 17, 2010

The Hidden Dangers of Children

Children should come with warning labels.

Something along the lines of:

Age: Three
I Like To: Run Around, Scream, Cough and Sneeze, Pull Down My Pants in the Middle of the Classroom
I Do Not Like To: Pay Attention, Sit Still, Listen, Wash My Hands, Cover My Mouth When I Cough and Sneeze
I Carry: Snot (always), Germs and Assorted Viruses (often), Lice (sometimes)

So that you can keep your distance and not get infected by these little buggers. Unfortunately, when you've chosen a career - however temporary - working with these germy little buggers - however cute they are - you've set yourself up for quite a few sick days in bed.

My first day of work was a week ago. One week ago today. I got in exactly five days of work before taking my first sick day. According to my co-workers, this is totally normal. And I shouldn't think this first bout of cold/influenza/baby cooties will immunize me for the rest of the year. No. Kids are amazing because they carry a host of constantly changing germy viruses, to keep you sick all year round. And it's not just your average two-day cold. I've been coughing, congested, and voiceless since Friday, more or less, and today is Wednesday. And I know I won't be back to 100% by tomorrow either, but I also know I'll be back at work anyway, since I don't want to miss too much too soon.

Well, enough bitterness about little children. They are, after all, very adorable. Yesterday my class of five-year-olds started chanting my name and cheering when I came into the classroom. And the two-year-olds all threw themselves at my legs for a giant group hug. They definitely know how to make you want to give them all little hugs, even if it means compromising your health.

I'm fairly certain that germs have figured out that kids are the perfect carriers.

Anyhoo. Back to my fest of chicken soup, mint tea, and orange juice. yay!

February 14, 2010

I Suppose A "Happy Valentine's Day" Is In Order

In just my first three days teaching those snotty, albeit adorable, little germ balls I call my students have managed to get me sick (now I understand why all the teachers carry around little bottles of hand sanitizer), and I sort of exacerbated the situation by not only singing and screaming all day Friday (cause of the sore throat) but also by going out for a little bit of tame Carneval fun with some friends last night in what turned out to be -5 C degrees weather (cause of the cold).

Anyhoo. Happy Valentine's Day, I suppose. Today I'm feeling decidedly un-festive. I probably would have made a slight effort, if Valerio had been here today, but he's not coming for another week, so I'm going to just putt-off Valentine's day until next weekend, and not worry about having done absolutely zero of anything for it this year.

Although I hate feeling like the Grinch - even for commercial, sort of invented holidays like Valentine's Day - so I thought I would post a teensy bit of sappy appreciation for this holiday:

A Picture Ode to My Bambolo
(Some Annoyingly Cloying Kissy Photos of Us Being Cutesy)

(Santa Marinella)

(Piazza Navona)

(Colosseo)

(Sagra Castagne Riofreddo)

(Art Cafe, Roma)

T'amo un sacco, bambolo mio! Buon San Valentino!