Best Race Ever! (10k in Lisbon, Portugal)

Olá Readers! Boas festas!

I am blogging to you as I come down off my runner’s high, having just run the El Corte Inglés São Silvestre de Lisboa. I really don’t know where to start – this was a 10k race with over 10,000 runners through the center of Lisbon, which is all decked out for the holidays. It was one of the best run races ever – well organized, amazing swag, high-quality race shirt, chillaxed people, fantastic route, real bottles of water at the water stations, fancy finisher medals and even pretty printable certificates of your results! And, all for the amazing price of 10/12 euros (for comparison, US races of this caliber run 45$+). (It was also the easiest international race I’ve run – no EKG and health certificates like Italy, no local sponsor and finger prints like Japan – true stories). It was soooooo much fun, I wish I could truly share the experience…but these photos from my Luddite 89$ phone (and one from the official website) will have to suffice – we start with me after packet pickup the day before, continue on to the race start and past some of the sights – and end with the yummiest post-race meal ever!

Portugal is super cool by the way, so stay tuned!

Five Reasons to Boycott Valentine’s Day

Ciao Readers!  Happy belated New Year to you and Birthday to me!

So, I think I am making reposting this – my most “liked” post ever – a yearly tradition. Enjoy!

Originally posted in February of 2016:

So, today I go off on a tangent (i.e. mini-rant); one of my only posts not about travel or food. I figure, I have this grand public forum, why not totally abuse it?  If you don’t know this about me, I HATE (yes H-A-T-E) Valentine’s Day and have since I was a teenager.  I honestly think it is the worst, most sadistic/masochistic, commercialised abomination ever.  I hope you’ll agree and join my 3-decades long boycott.  Here’s why…. (in no specific order and somewhat redundant)….

  1. No one ends up satisfied.  Seriously, how many people are out there right now building up their expectations for Valentine’s Day and how many people are fretting about the expectations put on them? What percentage of people on February 15 think “YAY, let’s do that again!” v. “Whew, thank goodness that’s over!” or “Boy, am I disappointed!”?
  2. It makes kids feel bad.  Do you remember counting the valentines cards you got in elementary school?  How about the carnations you got in jr. high or high school?  I remember the “popular” girls would all have tons – it took a couple of years to realize they were buying them for each other – they weren’t more loved than us other kids, they just had more spare lunch money and a marketing plan.
  3. It makes adults feel lonely.  If you don’t have that “special someone” to spend Valentine’s Day with you end up feeling left out, sad, lonely, etc. It seems like a day that’s specifically meant to make you feel bad (crappy premise for a holiday, no?!). As I am old and un-hip, I am not 100% certain how this works, but I am guessing this societally-induced feeling leads to alot of poor [tinder?] [grindr?] decisions at about 11:30 p.m.
  4. Big Hallmark owns you.  Seriously, do you need Hallmark to tell you when to express your love, appreciate the people around you, buy your wife flowers, call your mom, and so on?  Okay, maybe you do, but you could revolt and just pick any other day of the year.
  5. The candy is 50% cheaper the next day.  Seriously, same delicious chocolate, half the price.  ‘Nuff said.

Since this post does not readily lend itself to photos, but I’ve learned that photos are de rigueur, I am about to randomly pick some that I think would make good anti-Valentine’s day cards….

 

 

Five Reasons to Boycott Valentine’s Day

Ciao Readers!
Just in time for Valentine’s Day I thought I’d reblog this past post about boycotting it (most “liked” post I’ve written, hmmm….). And as a tickler for a more warm-and-fuzzy post to come…notice the somewhat (okay, very) grumpy picture of me with the stuffed panda in Japan…it will be pivotal to an upcoming blog (“This Time the Pandas were ALIVE!”). Happy V-Day!

New Mexico to Italy

Ciao Readers!

So, today I go off on a tangent (i.e. mini-rant); one of my only posts not about travel or food. I figure, I have this grand public forum, why not totally abuse it?  If you don’t know this about me, I HATE (yes H-A-T-E) Valentine’s Day and have since I was a teenager.  I honestly think it is the worst, most sadistic/masochistic, commercialised abomination ever.  I hope you’ll agree and join my 3-decades long boycott.  Here’s why…. (in no specific order and somewhat redundant)….

  1. No one ends up satisfied.  Seriously, how many people are out there right now building up their expectations for Valentine’s Day and how many people are fretting about the expectations put on them? What percentage of people on February 15 think “YAY, let’s do that again!” v. “Whew, thank goodness that’s over!” or “Boy, am I disappointed!”?
  2. It makes kids feel bad.  Do…

View original post 244 more words

Five Reasons to Boycott Valentine’s Day

Ciao Readers!

So, today I go off on a tangent (i.e. mini-rant); one of my only posts not about travel or food. I figure, I have this grand public forum, why not totally abuse it?  If you don’t know this about me, I HATE (yes H-A-T-E) Valentine’s Day and have since I was a teenager.  I honestly think it is the worst, most sadistic/masochistic, commercialised abomination ever.  I hope you’ll agree and join my 3-decades long boycott.  Here’s why…. (in no specific order and somewhat redundant)….

  1. No one ends up satisfied.  Seriously, how many people are out there right now building up their expectations for Valentine’s Day and how many people are fretting about the expectations put on them? What percentage of people on February 15 think “YAY, let’s do that again!” v. “Whew, thank goodness that’s over!” or “Boy, am I disappointed!”?
  2. It makes kids feel bad.  Do you remember counting the valentines cards you got in elementary school?  How about the carnations you got in jr. high or high school?  I remember the “popular” girls would all have tons – it took a couple of years to realize they were buying them for each other – they weren’t more loved than us other kids, they just had more spare lunch money and a marketing plan.
  3. It makes adults feel lonely.  If you don’t have that “special someone” to spend Valentine’s Day with you end up feeling left out, sad, lonely, etc. It seems like a day that’s specifically meant to make you feel bad (crappy premise for a holiday, no?!). As I am old and un-hip, I am not 100% certain how this works, but I am guessing this societally-induced feeling leads to alot of poor [tinder?] [grindr?] decisions at about 11:30 p.m.
  4. Big Hallmark owns you.  Seriously, do you need Hallmark to tell you when to express your love, appreciate the people around you, buy your wife flowers, call your mom, and so on?  Okay, maybe you do, but you could revolt and just pick any other day of the year.
  5. The candy is 50% cheaper the next day.  Seriously, same delicious chocolate, half the price.  ‘Nuff said.

Since this post does not readily lend itself to photos, but I’ve learned that photos are de rigueur, I am about to randomly pick some that I think would make good anti-Valentine’s day cards….

Being a Brit in New Mexico

Ciao Readers!
Our niece from England recently visited, and here is her “guest blog” – enjoy!

Seriously, MORE Festivals?!?! (yes, but this time there’s cheddar!)

It’s hard to believe this is the second holiday season since we returned from Florence. Now that the newness of being home has worn off a bit, the rose-colored remembrance phase has set in. Florence truly was a wonderful place to be during the holidays – the lights, the festivals, the food…. This blog post reminds me of that unique mix of excitement for Florence and longing for home that is still palpable as I read it. Happy Holidays to all!!!

New Mexico to Italy

Ciao Readers!

Okay, if you’re tired of hearing about all of the festivals here, this is not the post for you.  Then again, if you’re a festival junkie like me, read on…

It’s almost hard for me to believe how many festivals there are here in Florence.  I think I’ve just decided that festivals are a part of everyday life – like little food markets, the passeggiata and cappuccinos (and, “purtroppo,” the post office).  Seriously, I can’t remember a weekend in the past several months where there wasn’t at least one festival or festival-like happening.  And now that it’s the holiday season…well, you can do the math!

This past week marked the start of the German Christmas Market which runs for about 3 weeks in Piazza Santa Croce (recall this is where the European Food Festival was held).  It’s a little like that festival (complete with wurst), but with more…

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“Lo Hobbit” (or “going to the movies in Italy”)

Ciao Readers!

Today I am going to give you a peak into the local theater here in Florence – the Odeon.  While not entirely dissimilar, going to the movies in Italy is a bit different than going to the movies in the States.  First off, the theater here is located in a palace that was built in 1462 (Palazzo Strozzino) – a far cry from a theater in a shopping mall, to say the least!  The inside of the palace was renovated into a theater in 1922 and decked out in the art nouveau style.  (My pics weren’t coming out good inside, so the nice photo is taken from their website).  You can take a virtual tour of the Odeon here (if you do, check out the ceiling).

On Mondays, Tuesdays and (some) Thursdays, the Odeon has its “Original Sound” program, where the films are shown in their original language (whatever that may be), with Italian subtitles.   A few weeks ago The Hobbit was here for only a couple of days, so we went to the movies on a Monday night (we are such party animals here!).  Well, there was one big difference we noticed immediately (after noticing the amazing building we were in) – no fresh popcorn!  I have to admit, my heart sank a bit as a bucket of movie-theater popcorn is an indulgence I learned from Steve, and one to which I have grown accustomed.  We settled for a bag of popcorn from the snack counter (pictured).  On the other hand, had we wanted (we did not) a lovely glass of red wine to bring into the theater, that of course was available.

Another interesting thing was the not quite complete “originality” of the language.  For those of you who have not seen it, in The Hobbit both Elvish and Orkish (is that a word?) are spoken.  Since most of us don’t speak those made-up languages, subtitles are provided.  However, as with the rest of the movie, those subtitles were also in Italian, not English (as the subtitles are in the original movie), requiring me to do my best to translate out-loud for Steve (not that Orks have anything very intelligent to say).  I thought it was an interesting glitch in the “original sound” idea.

One very cool thing about this movie-going experience was that the movie started right away at the time scheduled – no previews and no ads (yay!).  (I actually have no idea if this is because it was in English and all the ads/previews would be in Italian, or this is the way all movies here are – if anyone knows, please post a comment).  Other than that, the movie-going experience was fairly similar.  The prices were about the same (a far cry from the 36,000 yen we unwittingly paid in Japan to see a second-run matinee!), and it was seat-yourself (also unlike Japan where you get assigned seats).  The only other surprise was that, unlike the 2 other movies we had seen in other theaters in Italy, there was no intermission.  We enjoyed the movie and were treated to a caught-just-in-time bus-ride back home.  Thanks for coming along!

odeon

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