Fundays!

Tribute Ten

Last week, Tom and I hosted some Very Special Guests.

IMG_1316

Yep. 

Carole and Dale.

Right here in Kalamazoo!

Carole isn't back home quite yet . . . so there is no Ten on Tuesday today.  But I decided to Ten on Tuesday anyway . . . in her honor.

A Tribute Ten . . . With Carole On Her Vacation:

1 - We laughed a LOT.  (Tom and Dale both know so many jokes.  So. Many.)

FullSizeRender 89

2 - We went Up North.

IMG_1241

3 - Where some of us fished.  While others of us sat around and talked and maybe knit a few rows here and there.

IMG_1320

4.  We swam.  Or, again, some of us swam.  While others of us worked on our tans.  (And sometimes chased duck families away.)

IMG_1303

5.  We played games.  Tom and I introduced Carole and Dale to Pass the Pigs -- and let's just say that . . . Carole ran the table.  (She even rolled the elusive Leaning Jowler!)

IMG_1247

6.  We visited the Lake Michigan beach.  And, yep.  It looks just like the ocean.  Without the salt.

FullSizeRender 88

7.  We did a pub crawl, Kalamazoo-style.  Someone was the Designated Driver.  (Guess who?)

IMG_1307

8.  We listened to live music.  

FullSizeRender 88 copy

9.  And more live music.

IMG_1318

10.  And generally had a great time wherever we went!

IMG_1314

So much fun!

Thanks for visiting Kalamazoo, Carole and Dale!

 

 

 


Still Standing

Tom and I drove to Grand Rapids last night for a concert.

IMG_0094

Elton John!

(As you can see, our seats were not terribly close.)  (But we were lucky to have seats.  This concert sold out in 15 minutes.)

It was just fabulous!  All of my favorites!  (Let's just say . . . I'll be humming Elton John tunes for weeks to come.)

Here's a shot of the crowd during Candle in the Wind.

IMG_0088

And then I got all into it and started waving my phone around with everyone else.  But I forgot I still had the camera on, and took this picture by mistake.

IMG_0090

The whole night was pretty awesome!

I'm tired this morning . . . but I'm Still Standing  (yeah, yeah, yeah . . . )

 


Bright Spot in the Snow

So.  It's been doing this . . . 

IMG_4217

All. Week. Long.

(Nothing like they got in Buffalo, mind you!  But still . . . lots of snow.)

IMG_4219

(I took the photos above on Tuesday.  It snowed for 2 more days.)

When winter makes such an early appearance, you really need to dig deep and find your own bright spots.  Here's mine:

IMG_4225

Lovely red Italian leather gloves, full of memories of sunny Rome.

Take THAT snow and ice!

 


Friday Fun Meets Postcards From Italy: Another Blog Mash-up: Going UP?

We're pretty spoiled here in the US when it comes to elevators.  Our buildings are new.  The elevators are spacious.  And fast.  And - there is really no mistaking where the elevators ARE . . . or how they work.

It's kind of standard.

In much of Europe?  Not so much!

European buildings are old.  Very old.  Often there are no elevators at all, and when you find an elevator, it is small.  Very small.  (Like . . .we're talking tiny!)  In fact, often, a typical European hotel elevator can fit two rather small sisters and two carry-on sized rolling bags.  And that is it.  

It's part of the charm of traveling in Europe!  (Even though my sister often has to swallow hard and close her eyes.  Because she's never been a fan of elevators to begin with!)

We stayed in a Quite Posh hotel in Florence.  While we usually stay in Very Nice Places when we travel, this particular hotel was incredibly comfortable and rather luxurious.  Like I've already mentioned, it was almost right next door to the Uffizi, steps away from the Ponte Vecchio, and our room had this view . . . 

IMG_4551
(Seriously. This photo was snapped out of my hotel window!)

The elevators, though?  Crazy-funny!

First, you know how, here in the US, you push the UP or DOWN button for the elevator . . . and then just wait until it makes its way to you?  Not at this hotel!  We pushed the UP button.  And waited.  And waited.  And waited.  We pushed it some more.  And waited.  And waited.  We figured it must be broken, so, in the end, we took the stairs.  Four flights.  With luggage.  

It happened again later.  We pushed the button.  We waited.  No elevator.  We took the stairs.

We figured there must be a trick to this particular elevator!  So we asked at the desk.  The slightly-smug-but-helpful-concierge just looked at us -- (stupid Americans. . . ) -- and suggested we use the "other elevator."

Other elevator?

Where?

Why, right there.  (Smug pointing to . . . the wall across from the desk.)

I've got to say . . . my sister and I nearly went into a hysterical laughing fit right in front of her.  Because this . . . 

IMG_4545

Look like an elevator to you???

We opened that secret and completely un-obvious door (that, truth be told, looked more like a hidden refrigerator door in a well-appointed kitchen) to reveal . . . 

  IMG_4509

another set of doors inside . . . 

which opened to reveal . . .

IMG_4507

a teeny, tiny, glass elevator!

All of those doors?  They make incredibly loud CLUNK noises as they close.  And the elevator was super teeny.  And glass.  (I felt sort of like we were in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. . . heading up and through the roof . . . )

Also.  No emergency phone in the elevator.  (I didn't point this out to my sister.  But I'm betting she noticed.)

As for pushing the button and not having it ever come?  Well.  It turns out that the elevators in this hotel only take one command at a time!  So you have to time it just right.  You can push the buttons all you want -- but if that elevator is already following another command, all of your button-pushing is completely in vain!  (The bartender explained it to us.)

Luckily, the bar was only one flight up from our room on the fourth floor -- and we could just hop up the stairs!  Totally worth the hopping, too.  Because here is the view from the bar's rooftop patio. . .

IMG_0185

IMG_0191

IMG_0187

Happy Friday!

 

 

 


Friday Fun Meets Postcards From Italy: A Blog Mash-up

Yesterday I wrote you a "postcard" from Florence, describing our first (overwhelming) moments in a beautiful, crowded city.  If you recall, we had a long (and interesting) walk from the train station to our hotel.  And then we visited a huge (and hilly) garden.

When we left the garden, we headed straight for one of the little street bars . . . not for wine (this time) . . . but for water!

IMG_4502

While we were sitting at our little table on the busy street, watching people go by and admiring the church across the street, my sister suddenly said . . . 

Look at that sign!!! 

IMG_4500

What sign?

THAT one!

IMG_4499

We were intrigued.

And stymied!

What could it mean?

Was it the Italian symbol for . . .

Flash flooding?

Water main breakage?

Baptisms here?

Help me! I'm drowning in a Sea of Despair?

We just could not imagine!  

(But we had an awfully fun time speculating.)

We continued to ponder the meaning of the sign until the next morning . . . when, on a walking tour of Florence, we ran into another unusual Florentine street sign.

IMG_4581

It turn out, there is a French artist who applies creative stickers to standard street signs around Florence, making them unique and . . . interesting!  (Read more about him here, and take a look at some of his creations while you're at it.)

Once you start noticing, the modified street signs are everywhere in Florence!

IMG_4582

Such fun!

IMG_4629

(But, in my view, it will be hard to top "Drowning in a Sea of Despair" for best street sign!)