Thursday, July 05, 2007

Other Developments

I'll make this one short & sweet. I've moved. No longer am I enjoying the hustle and bustle of the Castro, instead, I'm in a loft in the South of Market. The move had to be at the end of the quarter while my company was getting assimilated into the Borg of a not-to-be-named computer giant. The last couple weeks have been totally draining, but my head is getting back above water - hence the time and energy for a quick blog or two.

I can see the Bay Bridge from my bed. There are exposed brick walls. We have two floors and two parking spots. Greg's got his grill out front. We have an electric stove, but that doesn't matter too much. Yesterday we cooked the most amazing 4th of July meal I've ever had. It started with slow-cooked chili (6 hours in the crock pot), then we moved on to the main course of marinated, grilled tri-tip, twice baked cauliflower & Texas Braised Cabbage. So good!! We're doing Atkins hence the twice baked cauliflower.

It feels like a dream.

Long, Lost Blog

I realize it has been a while since I have posted. I did fly Virgin off to Europe in late May. I'll never do that again. Virgin seems to be the airline that specializes in pass the buck. Now, I know that we all have lowered expectations, but they go beyond the call of inactivity. I filled out a comment card after my flight to Europe in a broken chair and attempted to give it to the woman who was checking me in at Heathrow only to be told that I had to mail it in. She couldn't take it.

My advice:

On top of that, they never gave me the refund they told me they were going to give. And they won't let me change the ticket into my name, even though I purchased it so that I could use it. Just unbelievable. I have a lot of four letter words for them.

Beyond that, things are going great. The trip was fantastic. England and a visit to my girlfriend there was delightful. Bristol is a fun and beautiful city. I rate it highly and hope to go back again some day.

After a weekend in Bristol, I flew down to Milan. Rented a car - and oh my! Hertz isn't the same in Italy. But I got an acceleration-challenged tiny car. It did great taking me up to Lake Como, which was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. For years I have heard about the lakes and finally I took the time to visit. I stayed in a villa from the 1700's and got myself a room that looked out on to the water and the mountains that spring up from there. I saw the Alps, for the first time.

It was hard to pick a hotel, as I kept wanting to keep driving around more. I stopped in one of the larger towns and choose this gorgeous hotel. The rest of the afternoon I passed at the pool sunning myself. It might seem odd to doze next to a pool when there is a beautiful lake across the street, but there was no beach at the lake. So I opted for a cushioned lounge chair instead of a dock.

My little brother gave me a gift certificate for a few downloadable books for my birthday. I got 3 set up on my iPod for the trip. One was a mystery about the shroud of turin, another a history of the bubonic plague (I had been wanting to read it for ages) and the final was a business book (how to do more in less time). The book about the black death had captured my interest first.

The next morning I set off to do a lap around the lake. I drove up to the top and then back south, the whole while listening to how the black death impacted Europe. So strange to be listening to such terrible things while enjoying stunning scenery. I had lunch in Bellagio, which was only so-so as the town was clearly based on tourism and I didn't have any resources to escape the mundane.

After the journey around the lake, I made it down to Florence and spent the rest of the week with my Italian family. How I have missed them. My Italian Mamma and I cooked each day. I got the recipe for Rabbit Stew, which I have always loved. I think it was because one morning, after a particularly long and alcohol infested night I woke up hung yet smelling something delightful. I stumbled out to the kitchen and she served me up the most amazing stew over soft polenta. My stomach wouldn't let me have much and I think I have spent years trying to make up for not being able to enjoy it that morning.

We also had a review session of "Roast-Beef". Going to the grocery store with her, I learned the secret - she uses a fillet roast. After I got back to the states, I had to make one for Greg... the meat cost $45. I did get it at Mollie Stones, but still. It did taste almost as good. I'll have to try it again - once Greg and I go off financial lock-down.

As always, the trip was too short. I choose to fly home so that I would arrive early Saturday afternoon. Greg met me at the airport and had a lovely "re-entry weekend" planned. Instead of taking me home, we spent the night in a hotel. One with room-service and an extra comfy bed. The next day we went to see a baseball game, I had really wanted to get to one. I love spending a sunny afternoon at the ball park. Barry didn't hit a home run for me, but Greg did by making me dinner. Monday (it was over Memorial Day Weekend), he had tickets for Pirates of the Carribean. Having such a thoughtful welcome home weekend really made it all better.

On a bummer note - my camera broke the 2nd day and I had a disposable, but the photos didn't turn out. So no pictures. Sad.