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Quality Time

What a weekend! Heck…what a week!!! It all started last Sunday when my Grandfather had a stroke. He had been in a nursing home for the past few months after a heart attack in November. Well, on Tuesday afternoon he passed away. The family was with him and it was an easy passing. He was 93 years old. Rest in peace Grandpa, you will be missed. My father and stepmother came up from Virginia for the viewing and funeral. Since my dad moved to Virgina I don’t get to see him very often. So even an event as sad as this, is reason to celebrate seeing my Papa. The viewing was on Thursday with the funeral and service on Friday. After the service my Dad headed up to my house for what he thought would be a restful weekend. Little did he know what I had in store for him…

As you may know, I am in the process of moving in with my boyfriend. Since we are older and have been living on our own for quite some time we have quite a few possessions (aka tons and tons of CRAP!) My boyfriend had not used the the second stall of his garage for an actual car in years and years, so there was quite an accumulation of “other” things (crap). While my stepmom and I began the daunting task of sorting through all that stuff, My BF began the task of putting up a fence around his heavily wooded and uneven property for my dog…I’m a package deal: Me, 1 dog, 3 cats. We set my dad to work on building a temporary platform for our beloved grill. A task I think he secretly enjoyed since he likes to build things and Loves power tools. So, for two days we swept, hammered, cursed, organized, sawed, dug, vacuumed and cursed some more.

By the end of the weekend we had completely cleaned up the garage, built a fence for the dog and now have a really nice platform for the grill. What a super productive weekend! I am very sorry that my Grandpa is gone, but I am also very happy that I got to see my Dad and spend some quality time with him. I mean, whats more quality than helping your kids right?

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I hate moving…

I have set the second week in June as the drop dead date for being out of my house. I have scheduled my vacation and my Mom is on standby to come and help me get the house ready to go on the market. What that means is, over the next 7 weeks I am going to be SUPER busy packing and moving. Yes, the glass studio is moving too. The new studio will be bigger and better. However, my studio time will be very limited over the next several weeks 🙁 I hope you can all bare with me while I go through this transition. If I can manage to get through it with my sanity intact there will beads-o-plenty on the other side!

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Muses

I have decided to do a set of goddesses based on the 9 muses of Greek mythology:

  • Calliope (the ‘beautiful of speech’): chief of the muses and muse of epic or heroic poetry
  • Clio (the ‘glorious one’): muse of history
  • Erato (the ‘amorous one’): muse of love or erotic poetry, lyrics, and marriage songs
  • Euterpe (the ‘well-pleasing’): muse of music and lyric poetry
  • Melpomene (the ‘chanting one’): muse of tragedy
  • Polyhymnia or Polymnia (the ‘[singer] of many hymns’): muse of sacred song, oratory, lyric, singing and rhetoric
  • Terpsichore (the ‘[one who] delights in dance’): muse of choral song and dance
  • Thalia (the ‘blossoming one’): muse of comedy and bucolic poetry
  • Urania (the ‘celestial one’): muse of astronomy

I am posting the first one out on Etsy today. She is Thalia: Muse of comedy and bucolic poetry. I think she came out really nice. Her body is a DEEP purple color and she has multi colored hair.

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Coolest Thing Ever!

I just have to blog about this real quick and then I am off to make some beads. I’m kinda getting into this blog thing…scary.

I saw these when we were in Italy but I guess they have them everywhere since I just found tons of them on Amazon. PURSES HANGERS! Some of you may be thinking “Duh, those are so last season” but I am always a few seasons behind so bear with me. If you haven’t heard of them…these little gadgets hang on the edge of a table with a little hook hanging down that you suspend your purse from. No more kicking your purse under the table on the dirty, nasty, wet and gross bar room floor. No more piles of purses on top of the table to spill drinks on! What a Concept!

Check out Amazon they have a whole bunch. I saw them in a restaurant in Milano and I made Stefano take me shopping all over the place to find them. He asked a very nice lady in a SUPER expensive purse shop where to find them and she gave me a free one! Its so good to have a man that speaks Italian.

OK, Off to make beads!

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Home sweet …Achoo!

Its good to be home. I had a great time in Italy and really enjoyed my glass classes but theres just no place like home. I especially missed my cats, my shower, and my own bed! I missed my feather pillows to be exact. Its hard to travel with your own pillows, I need to get one of those space age vacuum bags they sell on TV infomercials.

Anywho, since getting home I have developed a wicked cold. I have been sneezing and blowing my nose for days now, and frankly I’ve about had it. I must have picked something up in the airport or on the plane. I am super happy I got it on the way home and not on the way there, but this still sucks. After two weeks on vacation I feel bad taking sick days so I have been coming in to work…and then leaving early to go home and lie down. Plus I have not felt like lighting up my torch, which is way more distressing than leaving work early.

I will be heading to Chicago this weekend to pick up the Maxie dog who has been staying with my parents while we were in Italy. I think my parents will be more than happy to see him go. Max is a really good boy but he has a little “gas” problem. Yes, my dog stinks.

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Opera at Teatro Alla Scala (Theater of the Stairway..to Heaven?)

I was kind of excited to see my very first opera. Well…as excited as you can get about opera. If you have to see an opera, I guess seeing it in the Teatro alla Scala, the most famous opera house in all the world (or so I am told), is the way to go. Although, I probably wouldn’t have found a production at Bobs Old Time Opera House any more boring.The production was a collection of Giacomo Puccini: Il Tabarro (The Cloak) – Suor Angelica (Nun Angelica) – Gianni Schicchi. I actually knew one of the songs from Gianni Schicchi (Skee-Key). It is quite popular with music box makers throughout the world. I can’t Google the name of the piece at the moment since Google is only giving me results in Italian…go figure.
One thing about Opera…it doesn’t move very fast…since the actors are singing everything, it takes a mind numbing amount of time to say one line of dialogue. I knew this thanks to the state-of-the-art translators built into the back every seat. Without those, I would have thought an awful lot more was going on than what actually was. I still can’t decide if they were a blessing or a curse. I will say that the sets were really cool and quite elaborate. At least I had something entertaining to look at.

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Arrivederci Murano!

Well my classes are over and we are back home in Milano. I had a great time in Murano and learned a lot.

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There was quite a cultural mix in our classes. There were folks from Australia, Sweden, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland just to name a few. Most folks had been there since the beginning and they had quite a little family going. I felt like that weird cousin from Iowa that no one has seen in years but has to be nice to 😉 There were Minor torches set up for everyone and it was a treat to be working with tanked oxygen again. I have one oxygen concentrator at home, and don’t get me wrong I love it, but it just doesn’t have the UMPF that you get from tanked oxygen. I was cooking the crap out of everything at first. Thanks to Quinton for bringing a veritable Vegas buffet of glass to choose from. I didn’t even get to use most of the colors I picked out. So I placed a huge glass order to make up for it!

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Making use of some of Sarah’s techniques I was able to make some pretty cool beads. I probably won’t sell ‘em cuz they are near and dear to my heart but I will make some cool ones using the techniques that I learned as soon as I get home.

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Driving in Milano…HOLY @#$%!

All I can say is HOLY @#$%! From now on whenever anyone in the states complains about how people drive, I will laugh in their face!!! I was introduced to Italian driving for the first time last year, I am not a greenhorn here, I was prepared…right? I have never been so wrong in my entire life. As we approached the city of Milano the highway became more and more crowded. Cars were zipping in and out of the thin lanes without warning at 85 Mph…typical behavior… I was calm as a cucumber. Stefano is a very safe and observant driver…I always feel safe when he’s driving…well I used to. When we left the relative safety of the highway and started down the city streets, that’s when the fun REALLY began. Cars the size of gnats were zipping everywhere. In Italy everyone has the right of way simultaneously. Two lane roads spontaneously became three, stop signs were merely a street decoration and parking spaces miraculously appeared and disappeared without warning.

The rules of the road: If no one hits you…you obviously have the right of way…FLOOR IT!!! Never back down, never surrender! He who hesitates does 37 laps in the traffic circle.

There were motorcycles, mopeds and obviously mentally unstable people on bicycles playing chicken in traffic and yelling at you if had the audacity not to see them in your blind spot. I could swear I saw the grim reeper grinning from the back seat several times.

By the time we got to the restaurant my stomach was in knots, my blood pressure was so high my eyeballs were bulging and I don’t think I have ever wanted to guzzle a bottle of vodka so bad in my life. When I complained about the driving conditions to our dinner companions they laughed and shrugged and said “This is nothing…you should drive in Rome.” We are planning a trip to Rome next year and the only mode of public transportation I plan on taking is the train…or perhaps a donkey…but you are NOT getting me in a car!

Well tomorrow we are off to Venice for my big glass adventure! I’m very excited and I can’t wait to blog all about it!

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The leaning tower of where?

The world famous, super spectacular leaning tower of Pisa was just a short drive south from 5 Terre so we figured we would drive down to see the tower and have lunch on our way home. The weather was not on our side, it was raining and cold, which I think set the mood for the day. When we arrived in Pisa the GPS was confused and did not have the exact location of the tower…The Leaning Tower of Pisa! So we had to rely on the street signs of Pisa to guide us to our destination. You would think that one of the most famous landmarks on the planet would have some pretty clear signs pointing to it…if you thought that, like I did, you would be wrong. There are huge white signs every two feet pointing you to this hotel or that hotel. Then every 3 blocks there was a tiny brown sign that pointed the way to Piazza del Miracoli (Miracle Square) it didn’t even say Leaning Tower of Pisa. So needless to say we drove around for a little while. While “driving around for a little while” is a nuisance in the states its downright life threatening in Italy. After about 45 minutes of near death experiences we grabbed the first parking space we saw and resigned ourselves to walking. All I can say is that the city planners of Pisa where smoking something! BUT we finally found it! The most famous tower on the planet. I must say, I was not impressed. Besides being cold and wet from walking in the rain for an hour there were Americans everywhere…I felt like I was back home. The beautiful square was lined with shady vendors selling every possible cheesy souvenir you can think of, and everyone and there brother was doing the “Look I’m holding up the tower” pose…

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All joking aside it really was quite cool to see the tower with my own eyes and snap a few pictures. I must say though that when it comes to Italy I prefer the “road less traveled by” I like the small towns and the little shops. I like the “real” Italy, not the cheesy tourist version. Maybe I’m spoiled…yes I’m sure of it.

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