August 21, 2014

Oh...yeah. We're back from Italy, btw!!!

....minds BLOWN by the journey of a lifetime.  But we've been home awhile now.  Time slips by so quickly...and I have lots on my plate.  While I've been dying to sit down and blog about our just hasn't happened.  We've been busy wrapping up our summer that has brought some welcome changes!  FINALLY, I've found the healthy, respectful and growth oriented work environment that I had been trying to manifest for 2 years.  I've moved my massage practice to a wonderful clinic of talented therapists and a chiropractor(who is also a dad at Willa's school).   After being so stagnant in a place where I just didn't fit or have much respect for my profession, I am thrilled to be in a clinic that is so supportive and encouraging!   They are providing me with continuing education in Neuromuscular Therapy and other modalities that will greatly enhance and expand my skillset.    I've been pretty busy catching up on the classes and info that I missed and I'm loving it!  My brain is on fire!
 I'm painting again as well.  I hauled all my supplies out of the house and down to the garage and cleaned out a portion to house a wee "studio".  When it's been nice out, I've worked on some pieces in the driveway.  Still not sure what I'll do when the snow flies....but for now it feels good to have my muse poke her head in once and awhile.
I think another reason that I've not taken the time to sit down and blog our trip is that....I just haven't been able to find the words.  I over-use the word,"mindblowing".  Other words just don't do what I feel inside justice.  "Life changing" "paradigm shifting" "awe-inspiring" "staggering" "humbling"....close but not quite there.  New words need to be invented for what this trip gave me...for what my soul was saying in each moment, with each new experience...
 I have been enjoying writing Trip Advisor reviews of places we experienced in Italy.  If interested IMHO:
Something to get my juices flowing.....our trip in a tiny nutshell....
We watched the morning mist rise on an etheric blue lake bells heralding the day
I drove on impossibly narrow roads on hairpin turns in the Alps
We watched the sun set over bucolic hills of the Val de Funes as the cows were called home
We flew arms outstretched through trees and over San Vigglio... tethered to a wire
We stood in awe of the Forcella Pana....the stuff only dreams are made of 
We ate fresh fruit of the gods bought from an old man's stand on the side of the road on Lake Garda
We slept in an ancient farmhouse on the top of the  medieval town of Padenghe
We swam with  children and swans in the deliciously cold waters of Lake Como
We watched an astounding thunder and lightening storm from a deck high above the lake
We ran through the vineyards and visited hill-top castles in the Langhe valley
We experienced the quiet majesty of Milan's Duomo cathedral...and the melodious onslaught that is a Pearl Jam concert
Our bodies where pummeled and rolled by the powerful waves of the Mediterranean
We climbed in the terraced mountain vineyards high above that sapphire blue sea
We found treasures offered up on it's beaches
We touched walls built before Christ in Tuscany
We whispered in the halls of Saint Francis's monestary
We wound our way through the labyrinth of Venice and were rowed on its streets of water
We ate the most incredible food
Drank fabulous wine
We had great visits with Dylan
and we met wonderful people that make us want to live a better better people...

The Forcella Pana

With the summer coming to a close, school starting for Willa tomorrow, and easing into a more solid routine...I know I will find the time to sit and write of our travels at more length.  Before those small details start to drift that I can always remember.
BUT!!! Not until after the 29th.  Cuz Miles and I are headed to NEW ORLEANS first!!!!!!!!  The Big Easy, baby!  MO BETTA!!!!!!  Whoo-hoooooooo!

June 5, 2014

Shit has gotten real! Boots are on the ground in Italy!

This feels so weird.  It's been so long since I last posted anything, and there has been tons to post about!  Alaska spring, training for the half marathon, end of the school year field trips, festivities, and performances, bike rides, finally finding a new job(!!!!!), and much else.  But amoung it all, writing about it just wasn't top priority.  
Flash forward....and WE ARE HERE!!!!  A 

long haul flight to Frankfurt, a quickie to Venice and we were greeted at the airport by our Dylan.  It's so wonderful to be with her again!  7 months is too dn long...
So far we have had a our first amazing meal with killer bottle of wine, 

woken to to loveliest birdsong out our open window, 

met some really friendly travelin' Canadians, shopped for essentials on base, I ate a whole pizza and then worked a tad of it off lifting weights with my kick-ass daughter, 

drove our stick shift on some pretty hairy roads to wind up in our current spot on Lake Barcisat the base of the Dolomites.  The jet lag isn't as bad as I thought, but there none the less.  So far I'm a little scashad but embracing the adventure!  Italy is rich and aged and fertile.... And the mountains......BREATHING it into my soul.
Today Dylan is driving us to Lignano beach for a day in the hot sun and cold water...I feel a nap looming....  Tonight, steaks on the barbie, local wine, and a walk along the lake.

March 29, 2014

"...nor tattoo any marks on you" Leviticus 19:28

Leviticus...SO strict!  NO fun!  What EV.

After getting my nose pierced in 2012, I realized how many years I'd wasted, sans body mod, due to fear of the unknown.  I'd wanted to pierce my nose and get at tattoo since my early 20's, but the years slipped on by with just an occasional question asked about the ins and outs pain, healing, cost, etc. Putting it off and putting it off....

Finally, thanks to the Google Gods and the YouTube, I got me edumacated on all things nose piercing, gathered up my balls and made an appointment.  MANY years of wussiness extinguished with the one quick pinch to my nostril.  I loved my nose piercing!  Eventually I got my tragus pierced and love that, too! (Long healing time, though).  Then it was time for a tat.  I've designed many tats for myself over the years ....this being the first (circa '93):

Thank GAWD time - and fear- faded my attraction to this pretentious tribal....thingy...I came up with.  At some point I added an earth there in the middle with a Susan Seddon Boulet wolf head floating around the top.  Shit.   My visual amalgam of wolf-love and saving the earth, punctuated with a trendy something-that-meant-nothing to me graphic.  I still really dig wolves and our planet....  Just not permanently displayed on the back of my calf.

Over the years I've thought that if I where to get a tattoo, it should have to be a symbol of something that defines "me" and/or is FOREVER dear to my heart and soul.  And something that would never loose it's visual appeal.  Now, we can't really predict what designs might loose their appeal over time- I just imagine all the "awesome" designs I can up with in the past....but something permanent on THIS body had to rise above hearts and unicorns and serpents.... I needed symbols and archetypes that have remained a part of me over the years....AND it needed to be created by ME. 
When I think of FOREVER, I think of love, and my children, and my husband...
So, for my first tat I incorporated my kids names into an infinity symbol.

Got this one inked out in the valley (Palmer, Alaska)by an artist who had done some gorgeous intricate lettering on a client of mine.  She copied my design to the T.  A little too perfect because she included all the little imperfections that I was hoping she'd "clean up".  Like that thin line in the middle.  I plan on going back for touch ups soon.

For my second tat, I went out and bought a calligraphy pen and drew my very simple "Miles" tattoo.  This one for my husband...with the bonus double meaning-I love running after all.  I've run many miles and there will be many more to come.  And none enjoyed more than the ones I run with my sweet man.  
Still a bit scabby here
I'd held on to that peace of paper for almost a year!  Since it would be going on my foot, I had the hardest time figuring out WHEN would be a good time to get it done.  Since I would have to go barefoot as much as possible for a week or 2, let alone not run, ski or work out.  It never seemed the right time!  I finally said NOW last week and headed in to Eagle River Tattoo.  A shop run by the Yarians,  parents of one of Dylan's former grade school classmates.  What a cool place!  Very welcoming and open, which I really appreciate.  Friendly folks all.  The place is clean with a very classy arty d├ęcor.  Retro tat compilations framed on the walls along with a collection of cool masks   Matt, the eldest Yarian, did a GREAT job on my tat.  Quick, precise, and with interesting conversation revolving around the possible seceding of Venice and the Veneto from Italy.  This tat hurt like a nagging bitch in a couple spots.  At one point I had to stop talking so I could grit my teeth and say "Oowwwwwww.......".  But it was over so fast.  No biggie.  Shit, I gave birth to a 10 pounder, what am I complaining about?

Miles has never been into tats but he was very touched when I surprised him with it.  I'm so happy that it brings him happiness and pride whenever he looks at it!  Forever......

What's next?  I want to create something special for the back of my neck.  Dylan and I got these henna sun tattoos on our necks at the Jersey Shore a couple years ago and I LOVED mine!  

Symbols I feel represent me are:
The sun- healing and a source of life
The spiral-evolving, birthing, female energy, spiritual and physical journey
Various Celtic knots-my heritage, many of the a fore mentioned attributes
 The lotus-creation, enlightenment, health.  

I'd like to design a tat with a combination of 2 or 3 of these.....but it needs to be smallish and fairly simple.  We'll see what I come up with !

March 23, 2014

Just when you think you're Bad Ass...

...Just when you think you have your race strategy and technique down pat, you've trained on the course, you've run hill sprints on that looooooong bitch of a ramp leading up to the high school, you've monitored the melting on the streets and trail over the past week to gauge whether or not to run with spikes on......  Mother Nature spanks your ass with a dumping of the white stuff.  We woke up to 10 to12-ish inches of new powdered sugar snow.  This put me in a mood.  I got online right away to see if there were any updates as to whether or not the Shamrock Shuffle 5k was still going to take place and to commiserate with fellow disgruntled runners. Usually we're bright eyed and bushy tailed on race day morning....but all this snow?!?!  Fek.... And racetime SO early for just a quick 5k....whaaaaaaaa....poor tay tay.  Just traveling down the mountain and into town was gonna be a bitch.  Everyone was on the internets kvetching about what to do.  Close to 7am, the word came out that the roads were plowed and wouldn't it be a lovely day for a race!?  The accompanying photo of a clear street on the course sealed it.  We'd go for it.  Fueled up and dressed, spirits lightening, we headed out to slip into town, drop off the kiddo at our friends and running brethren, the Ruiz's house and carpool with them to the race.

Thankful that the temps where MUCH friendlier this year(17 degrees) as opposed to last year when it was only a very cruel 2, we dropped off our gear and jogged around the crowd decked out in all things green, Irish and leprechaun-y to warm up.  The start of the race went well enough despite the fact that I was slipping a bit, lots of kick-back, despite my spikes.

It WAS lovely...with the sun peaking in and out
I took full advantage of the downhill portion of the race through the residential area, more then making up for the lost "slip" time...U2's Beautiful Day booming through my ear buds...soul quickening...and when we hit the trail on Westchester LagooWHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?!?!?  They didn't plow the fucking trail?!!?  How the hell......    HARSH.  And trixy of those in charge of the race to FB post that misleading photo!  Adios, chance to beat the shit out of last year's race time like I'd planned!  The rest of the race was spent in a slow schlog through that deep snow praying that I wouldn't snap another ankle.  All grace and form lost as I stomped ox-like in the cattle line past the lagoon.  And The Ramp?  A breeze on account of how SLOW we were all going.
OMFG.  Mooooooooooooooo.
It was a hard race in a way I hadn't yet experienced or expected but still satisfying, after the finish line, ankles intact, with my new Shamrock Shuffle pint glass filled with IPA.   Just like any time I go outside to play, I NEVER regret it!
Miles crossing the finish

Trying to summon a smile of accomplishment on the finish line.  Hey, I beat those young dudes!!!!

We all met up and hung out inside the Bear Tooth theater while ribbons were handed out to top finishers-NOT me, lol!- and the raffle winner was awarded with her weight in beer.  Plans were made  -I frigging LOVE the Ruiz's-for replenishing our tired bodies that evening with tostadas and margaritas at our place.
They giant scale use to weigh out the beer against body weight!  Lean BACK, honey!!!!!
<3 td="">

While I came in 4 minutes SLOWER then last year, I placed pretty well for my gender and old age group!

Spring Breakers?!?! ...not so much.

Spring Break was a particularly mellow one this year.  We agreed to rein in any extra spending in favor of saving it for our trip to Italy.  I really missed our usual snow shoeing excursion up Bear Pass in the blazing spring sun.  The drippy grey weather did NOT lend itself to much outdoor fun.  And outdoor fun is what's FREE in our world right now....
I did take Willa out for a promised blueberry french toast breakfast at our favorite cafe to start the week off.  On my work days she came in with me and had fun hanging out.  But mostly the week was spent relaxing at home, finalizing trip stuff-getting all that info plugged into apps on my phone, reading, and puttering while Willa got in some good hard imaginary play time.
We did cram a lot into our last weekend before school started, though.  A fast but hardcore 5k run in 10 inches of new snow-uuuuugghh, dinner at our house with friends who ran the race, too, a nice family skate ski the next morning, and celebrating Miles's birthday.

Breaky at the Middle Way Cafe
We've switched to all-grain beer brewing....
....and it's a LOT of work!!!  But when the sample from the first gravity reading tastes great, you know that beer is gonna be PHENOMENAL!!!!!
Beautiful handmade mash paddle Miles's friend made

Snuggle time with kid and cat

Witness the FITNESS, yo!!!  I'm thrilled that Willa can join us for short runs now! Plus, her fitness fashion is to die from for!!!

She's horse-crazy.  Doing some leather-working on a saddle she made for one of her Breyer horses.

I love when Miles comes home from work early to run with me! 
Shopping day.  Having a little hot cocoa and a cookie at Jitters

She got to pick out a special outfit for Italy

Deep into world-building

BAM!  And then the snow hits.  Saturday's Shamrock shuffle race.  

Tostadas and margaritas with good friends!
And an uproariously funny game of Cards Against Humanity!  ALWAYS is!
Miles's birthday!  Willa gave him the raku trout- the 5th to finish off his collection.
There won't be many more days of this this season!  Taking it all in while we can!

Love to play with my hunny!

Extremely tall peanut-butter-cup cake that Willa and I made

The Birthday Boy chose homemade mac-n-cheese and filet mignone for his b'day dinner.

Oh, hi, sun.  Thanks for making an appearance on the last afternoon of Spring Break.  

March 7, 2014

Ah! Serendipity....

Today we have synchronicty at it's highest!!!! When Dylan first told me she was being stationed in Aviano, Italy, I summoned the Google gods to see where on the green Earth it was...and the very first image that popped up was THIS one, the image above!  I was blown away. This image has remained the epitome of Northern Italy in my mind. Fast forward to the last couple days of searching hi and low for accommodations in the Dolomites.  This is the only place I've had trouble finding us a place to stay.  The place is BOOKED!  Surprising for early least for hikers who may be greeted with snowed-in trails this year.  Anything still available was either WAY out of our price range or would only accommodate 2 people MAX in a wee teeny room.  Somehow,  I came upon an apartment in the Val Di Funes. Not only is it highly rated and dirt cheap (for Italy) but it's in the same town this photo was taken in! Santa Maddalena. Mary Magdalene..... A woman who's story very much intrigues me!
In this valley surrounded by mountains....It's ours for 4 days! 

Seeking and finding the Feminine Devine in Italy! I'm ecstatic!!!!

I've finished booking ALL of our accommodations now.  I can't believe the fabulous places that have fallen into our laps!  12 lodgings in all, each quite different from the rest.  A stone cottage right on a lake outside Aviano, an apartment in an Austrian inspired gasthaus in the mountains, a restored 1800's farmhouse/B&B on an organic vineyard in the hills overlooking Lake Garda, a Lilliputian  studio apartment-beds are in the kitchen!-in a medieval town on Lake Como, another farm-stay on a vineyard in the hills of Peimonte, a boutique hotel room in a block of restored medieval buildings, a B&B situated outside the ancient Etruscan walls of Cortona, Tuscany, a flat in a 1400's convent-turned-apartment building in the heart of Milan, an apartment with terraced view above the Riviera in the Cinque Terre...all ending with a quiet rooftop flat overlooking the Scala del Bovolo, just a walk to San Marco Square in Venice.  I wanted each place to be indicative of the area we are staying in as well as offer the food, wine and products of the region or village itself. 

And the activities!  What a hodge-podge of cool shit I have planned!  ......But I think I'll keep the rest to myself until we get back!

Here's a visual of the places where we'll be hangin' our hats!

February 25, 2014

V Day!

*GAAAHH!!  I never posted this!  better late then never....

V for velocity  virus vistaster VALENTINE'S DAY!!!  Yeah!  Let's start with Valentine's Day.  We decided to go easy this year, no big dinner out and no prezzies, since we'd rather save the money for fun over in Italy!  Plus, we rigged our trip so that we're there in wine country for our 12th wedding anniversary!  Romantic enough, yes?!  And an important milestone anniversary.  What better place to celebrate this beautiful thing we have...that impossibly continues to grow more deep with each passing year?  So, we opted to stay home for a family evening with Willa and get a nice pizza delivered.  And of course we got each other prezzies.  Miles sent a lovely bouquet of roses to my work and gave me a pair of unique copper earrings.  I splurged on a sensational bottle of Barbaresco...the female to Barolo's male.  Grapes from the Peimonte region in Italy.  The most gorgeous wine to ever cross my lips.  The pizza came in handy since we had no heat or hot water.

Let's back-track a day.  Thursday night, Willa and I get home from school.  I head straight to the bathroom with a full bladder.  The toilet seat was FREEZING.  Wait a sec....I still have my down coat on.  It's CHILLY in here....  Uh, oh.  Sure enough, I give the baseboards a feel, check the thermometer.  Ooo!  58 degrees!  I give Miles a heads up and call Karl with a K, our handy handyman.  Our boiler set up is in our crawl space/basement and only accessed though a trap door in the floor of our CLOSET(eye roll).  I get in there to remove the door and turn the light on for Karl's arrival.  Oh, My Fucking GOD.  There is a WATERFALL cascading from our Quietside heater.  There is a foot of water in the crawl space.  Things.....are floating everywhere.  I frantically call back Karl to let him know things are REALLY SNAFU and hurry up!!!!  Willa is in tears thinking the water is going to flood the WHOLE upstairs as well and is frightened when I put on my Xtra-tuffs to get down there and salvage what I can.  Fast forward a few hours, Karl has come and gone, the water shut off and now draining, a part will be ordered, wood stove is blazing, several space-heaters are set up around the house to keep things warm enough to not have pipes freeze and plants die, and Miles and I are hauling up nasty wet trash from the crawl space.  I tell myself it's just junk, a lot of it was going to be given to the Salvation Army anyway, too bad it got ruined.  All our important beloved stuff is upstairs anyway....  Then Miles upends a plastic bin that had tipped over and took on water.  It contained most of my photo albums. Pictures from my childhood up until about age 30....most of which I had taken.....DESTROYED.  Out of hundreds I saved maybe 40-50.  A decent cross-section of years.....but, MAN, it was still a blow.  And what.a.mess.  This vistaster was not taken well by all.

Our little family pizza and wine snuggle fest in our chilly house eased the pain on Valentines day.

Beauty in destruction?
The next morning we escaped headed into Eagle River early to drop Willa off at the Ski bus that would take her and a ton of other very happy kids to Alyeska for the day to have a downhill ski lesson.  Miles and I followed in the car.  We had beautiful clear weather for our day of skiing.  As soon as I got off the lift onto the slope, I killed it! I skied the BEST I have skied in my LIFE!  I think it's from all the skate skiing I've been doing...they seem to compliment each other.  I even took on a great deal of speed that I usually would have been freaked out about. I seem to have entered a "less fear" zone when it comes to velocity!  Willa enjoyed her morning lesson and skied with us for the rest of the day.

 And here we are on Sunday.  Still no heat or hot h2o.  Hoping our part will be delivered and installed  tomorrow.  Continuing to haul up trash and organize all that didn't get wet in the basement.  This has actually been a project on our to do NOW list for quite awhile. The basement has long been a catch-all and storage of all things What Should We Do With THIS?  I'm thinking if we are brutal in our choices, we can cut this shit down by 75%.  It would be a breath of fresh air.
We took a break to make the chocolate dipped strawberries we had promised Willa we could have for Valentines day.  Can't wait until they have cooled and solidified!
And as I have been sitting here, I've begun to feel a "pressure" slowly build in my chest.  That itchy solid feeling that usually signifies a chest cold coming on.
Yay for viruses?  That's all I need.  But the strawberries....that will make it all GOOD.  Right?

Continuing with my All Things Italy as well! ;)
Brings me joy.