Archive | May, 2011

They are four-inch-tall, rhinestone-studded confections. And they were probably a mistake.

They are also taupe.

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And yet, I regret nothing.

I found them in a boutique near Piazza Navona, as the rain fell on our last morning in Rome. I saw them in the window, and stopped abruptly. The way romantic leads do in Hollywood movies. I stopped, I stared. The rain fell.

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It is almost sunny today in Seattle. Given that this past spring has resembled (more or less) the climate one would find inside an old, wet sponge, I am thrilled. “Almost sunny” is good enough for me. So while I run around outside in a vain attempt to process Vitamin D, please enjoy the links of the The Week.

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Whoever said wisdom comes with age didn’t listen to the pearls of knowledge from these kids (my favorite: “If your sister hits you, don’t hit her back. They always catch the second person.”)

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Oh, god, I love this. A Lego homage to legendary painter and PBS mainstay Bob Ross. Sleep well, sweet prince.

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In the wake of a few miserable hotel stays, Rand has hit his limit. He has, apparently, had enough of toilets that don’t flush properly and continental breakfasts that look like the remnants of a cold-war-era kitchen after a particularly harsh winter.

“We’re going to start staying in nicer places,” he told me the other day. And I smile and nod, because I’ve heard this resolution before (usually after a particularly heinous experience overseas). And while I appreciate his gesture, I remind him that I don’t need to stay in fancy hotels. I don’t need prosciutto at breakfast, or a central location, or an expansive, pristine bathroom. I simply need a comfortable bed (I’m flexible on the size), a pitch-black room, and a reasonable amount of quiet.

Of course, if a hotel has all of those attributes, I’m not going to complain. Even if a night’s stay costs more than my first car (and considering that my first car was a 1976 Ford Pacer, there is often a good chance of that) and the nightly rates make my heart stop (just for a few seconds), I will say nothing, because if I am allowed to spend my days blogging and gallivanting around the planet, my husband is allowed to book us a crazy nice hotel once in a while (I am nothing if not reasonable). Which is precisely what he did in Rome.

We spent four nights at Hotel Raphael – a small, vine-covered boutique hotel just a few steps from Piazza Navona. The Raphael will not make any budget travel lists. It will not rank for “Good Deal Hotel Rome”, nor will it make the cut on any “Italy on $50 a day” articles. And that’s okay. Hotel Raphael realizes what it is not: it is not affordable. But it is so many other things (immaculately clean, quiet, with an obliging staff, an abundant breakfast, and a fantastic location) that you can almost disregard this. Almost.

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My husband is a lovely and trusting soul. He has this persistent and annoying belief that humans are good at heart, despite my greatest attempts to contrary. I can’t seem to quash his faith in people, nor eliminate that sparkle of hope that permanently shines in his eye. Behold:

Sparkle-tastic.

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That doesn’t mean I haven’t tried.

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I feel like Billy Pilgrim: I have come unstuck in time. A friend asked me where exactly I had been recently, because she had followed my antics through Rome, then there was something about Air France, then something about Boston, and she was utterly confused. Why I very much would like to claim that I stepped into the Project Accelerator and vanished, appearing in different cities and times across the globe, that would be woefully inaccurate (also, isn’t it lucky that Sam never leaped into the body of someone who didn’t speak English? Seriously.)

What is true is that I have been traveling too much for the blog to keep up. And I am struggling to get back on track. So I hope you’ll bear with me as I jump around in space and time. If it gets too confusing, might I suggest simply giving up on trying to figure out where I am, and sitting back to enjoy the ride, possibly with a cupcake.

It’s what I would do.

And now, chronologically digressive, but still (hopefully) entertaining – 10 pictures from our trip to Rome. Enjoy. (And for those of you who work in elementary schools, churches, or Victorian times, a warning: there is one porcelain penis in this post, immediately after the jump. It’s tiny, though.)

  1. The Tevere River at night.
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    It's nicer at night, because you can't see the accumulation of trash.

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For the last few years, I’ve resisted taking tennis shoes with me on trips. I figured there was no greater travel or fashion crime than wandering around a city in jeans, a button-down, and bright white tennis shoes, which, combined with my inherent neurosis, meant I was bound to be mistaken for Jerry Seinfeld. Simply, I could not let that happen happen.

I kick so much ass at Photoshop.

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The alternative has not been easy. As woeful as they are to look at, tennis shoes are damn comfortable. And considering that I spend hours upon hours walking in a new city (I’m regularly on my feet for 6 hours at a time, taking a quick break for lunch, or cupcakes, or to sit down on the subway on my way to more cupcakes), it’s been hard to find something that works without leaving my back and knees aching (it does not help that I have inherited my mother’s tendency to carry a purse the size of an Ewok with me.) I generally opt for converse (what they lack in arch support, they make up for in street cred), or ballet flats which have not been designed for heavy walking (the brand-new pair I brought with me to New York last are now the shoe-equivalent of a Lohan. Rough-living makes them look far older than they are).

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It’s been weeks since I’ve posted a Friday round-up, and for that I am sorry. I am sure that a good number of you have seen a substantial rise in your productivity going into the weekend, and that is simply a travesty. Friday’s should be spent wasting time on the internet, taking two hour long lunches, and leaving shamefully early from the office. I haven’t had a regular job in three years, and even I know that. I’ve let you down. I’ve let you get work done. That is inexcusable.

So I’m back (and, incidentally, also back home) with a round-up. May it occupy several long hours of your day, until it’s time to sneak out at 2pm.

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An old pal of mine sent me this video tribute to “The Greatest Movie Sandwiches” with a note that said, “I thought you’d enjoy this.” My friends, it seems, cannot distinguish me from Liz Lemon. Also, she was right: I remembered a good deal of those sammiches.

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Kinda shocked that Detroit didn’t make the list (bad dah-dum!) of Gadling’s 10 creepiest abandoned cities in the world (also, apparently “creepy” is apparently a euphemism for “awesome”. Kids these days).

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On our last trip back from Europe, we were unfortunate enough to discover the one thing that could make an Air France flight worse. And it is having to share a cabin with this guy:

Bastard.

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I’m referring to the one on the right, closest to the window. I realize that he doesn’t look that evil from this picture, but neither did that little kid from The Omen, and he was the son of Lucifer.

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