Thursday, August 28, 2008
  The Great Debate

I am temporarily getting off the subject of Italy to get your input in this on going Sarcasfamily debate.

Sarcasdad and I grew up within blocks of each other. Went to the same high school, same church, had pretty much the same friends. Similar experiences have given us similar opinions on many subjects. There has been one point of contention since day one. A point that neither is willing to compromise on. Even after 38 years of being together we still cannot agree. Which is the superior chocolate sandwich cookie. Hydrox or Oreo.

I am hands down an Oreo fan all the way. Sarcasdad, well he is firmly entrenched in the Hydrox camp. We worked out many issue as newlyeds, like whether the peanut butter belonged in the fridge or the cabinet, and ,butter or margarine. But on the cookie issue, we had to agree to disagree. We were a two cookie family.

When the girls were born we were both careful not to try and influence their preference. Hydrox and Oeo were equally available at our house. The girls all came to the same conclusion on their own. It was Oreos. Definately Oreos. Eventually, Hydrox cookies went the way of dinosaurs and eight tracks, and disappeared from our reality. The girls and I took this a proof that we had backed the right cookie.

I was at work the other day and spied a package of 100th anniversary limited edition Hydrox cookies. I had to buy them for Sarcasdad.

After dinner on Wednesday, Sarcasdad told the CP he had a special desert and brought out the Hydrox. SIL was happy. Apparently he is a Hydrox man as well. In fact , I was starting to wonder if this issue came down to gender. The CP seemed pleased as well. "Oreos" he said. The men corrected him. "Hydrox" they insisted.

The CP would not be swayed. Having never even heard of a Hydrox, he clearly thought his father and grandfather were mistaken. Rolling his eyes at them he chose to take his cookies up to enjoy. He invited me along. Once we were settled in the back bedroom with Spiderman on the tv, the CP did what all kids do with chocolate sandwich cookies. He took off the top and licked off the icing. "See" he said. "Oreos"

Where do you stand? Oreo or Hydrox. ?

And since I taking a poll, can you tel me. ITouch or IPhone ? I'm trying to decide.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008
  When in Rome- The Saints & Sinners Tour

As hard as it was to leave the beautiful villa with the breath taking vistas , Sarcasdad, myself, Sarcassis , SIL and the CP packed up and headed off to Rome. There was one last teeth-rattling, butt- bumping van ride down the mountain , and to the Terontola-Cortona train station.
Our plan was to get the 4:30 train to Roma Termini. We would have Sunday evening, and all day Monday to explore the city. On Tuesday it would be an early morning trip to the airport to come home.
That was the plan. The train operators had other plans. First the train was late. Then later. Then cancelled. Then other trains were cancelled. We tried to get information at the ticket counter but all they could tell us was there was a final train at 6:30, and so far, it hadn't been cancelled.
It was a good thing The Captain, Shirley and Peaches, who were remaining at the villa decided to wait with us at the train station. We piled back into the van and drove to a little internet cafe to pass the time . We got some coffee and checked our email, one at a time, on their one and only computer.
There was a little girl at the cafe, and the CP was curious about her. He tried talking to her but there was a bit of a language barrier. "What is she saying Mom Mom?" he asked desperately. I wasn't much help. I did find out that she was 4 years old and that she had a backpack just like I did. Other than that she was really more interested in painting her nails than playing with the CP. Undaunted by her aloofness, the CP took my camera and snapped her picture. That got her attention and a tentative friendship was formed.
We went back to the train station, crossing fingers and toes that our train would come. It did , and we bid goodbye to The Captain & Shirley and Peaches and set off for Rome. While en route we found out that our earlier train had been cancelled do to a work slowdown by railroad employees. Two hours later we arrived at our stop.
Instead of getting in to Rome by 7pm it was more like 9pm. We were hot, tired and hungry. We had a lot of luggage to tote as well as a sleepy CP. We had been assured that the distance to the B&B was walkable, which it was if a) you knew where you were going, b) you weren't hot, tired and overloaded and c)it wasn't too dark to read street signs. By a lucky coincidence, we asked a woman for directions to our B&B and she was staying there as well. She was kind enough to walk with us to the door, mostly because I think we had no common language between us that she could have given us directions.
Once we were settled we asked the desk clerk to recommend a place for dinner, and about tours of the city since it had been suggested that it would be worth the Euros to have a guide. She gave us brochures and sent us to a nearby restaurant . It was 10pm and it had been too many hours since any of us had eaten.
We were greeted by a lovely man at the restaurant and we were seated outside. As hard as the last few hours had been, it was still pretty cool to be having dinner in Rome on a nice summer evening. A fuss was made over the CP by our greeter. In an effort to make the sleepy boy smile he ran in and came back with a plate of potato chips "for the bambino". It had the desired effect. We all had a wonderful meal. Each dish was outstanding. When we left we were wished a lovely time in Rome. "Ciao" the greeter said to all the adults, and to the "bambino" he said"have a good life".
Over dinner we had discussed the tour options. We decided to take advantage of a two tour package, with lunch included in between. In the morning we would tour the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. In the afternoon, the Capitol, the Forum, the Colosseum & St. Peter's in Chains. Or as Sarcasdad dubbed it, the Saints and the Sinners Tour. The hotel clerk agreed to book them for us. Complimentary breakfast started at 7:30, and the bus would stop for us at 8am so we left a wake up call for 6:30 and went to bed.
Did I mention that our trip coincided with the World Cup Soccer Championship? Did I mention that the B&B was right next to a bar.? About 2am there were people cheering and chanting in the street. Followed by trash pickup. Six thirty came early.
I was in the shower when Sarcasdad banged on the door. "The bus will be here at 7am" he said. Seven AM! You can imagine the insanity that ensued. I felt bad for the kids having to rush a sleepy three year old out of bed and into clothes, with no breakfast. Thankfully the bus was a bit late. We looked in vain down nearby streets for anything open to get the CP some juice but we came up empty. Sarcassis and I found out where the hotel dining room was located. It wasn't open but we went in and helped ourselves to what was there. Some dry cereal, some wafers and some fruit flavoed drink. Of course the bus came while we were on our scavenger hunt so we didn't make any friends by holding them up, Plus we were less than put together. Everyone else on the bus looked like they had more than a half hour to get ready. And so our tour began.

Next- It was Tuesday and the Pope wasn't in.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008
  Put A Cork In It

We do almost all of our financial and home based shopping transactions online. As a result, it is really not worth getting up off the sofa to see what the mailman has deposited in the mailbox lately. Yesterday among the credit card offers and political advertisements was a copy of Wine Enthusiast. This was directly targeted to us as evidenced by the address which was Sarcasdad, or current resident.I browsed past the pages of the world's most break resistant stemware and the display of Fine Wine Furniture. I admit that there was some wistful languishing over the custom designed and installed wine cellars. But as Sarcasdad pointed out, if we did that we wouldn't be able to afford any wine to put in it. Finally, towards he back of the catalog, page 40, I found what I was looking for. Creative solutions for wine corks.
For some reason, Sarcasdad saves all the corks. There is a bowl on the sideboard where he deposits them upon uncorking a bottle. When it fills to overflowing I dump it out, and he starts over again. It is amazing how quickly we can fill it up.
I think that once I used them to play a game with the CP. Other than that they just become landfill, and I feel a little guilty about that.
So what are my choices in the Wine Enthusiast? I can use them to make a Wine Cork Board, a Wine Cork Serving Board or a Wine Cork Trivet. And if, you can't supply your own corks for the project, you can purchase 50 for $14.95 from the catalogue. Although I fail to see how a Wine Enthusiast would be lacking corks.
Anyway, if you are on my Christmas list, state your preference. If a lot of people want cork boards, we have to get drinking.

Sunday, August 10, 2008
  Making Lemonade

Sarcasdad and I had a wonderful time in San Diego. We enjoyed the weather, played the tourist, and lounged by the pool. We spent time with family and met new friends. And yet, my favorite story of my trip to San Diego has nothing to do with any of that.

It's about a homeless person.

The homeless population is a presence in San Diego's tourist areas, just as it is in Philadelphia. (And in Rome and Florence as well I recall). But in San Diego they sleep on grassy walkways by the water instead of over steam grates on concrete. A better climate to be sure, but still homeless.
Sarcasdad and I visited Balboa Park . Just to give you an idea of the immensity of the area, it is 1200 acres and houses, in just a part of it, the acclaimed San Diego Zoo. There are 15 museums, several gardens, fountains, an art village and a public gymnasium. The Park has a free transportation system. A tram follows a specific route and you can get on and off at designated stops. The tram drivers double as tour guides and keep up a running patter about the sites you are passing by and information about the area.Sarcasdad and I were the only riders on a tram when it stopped to pick up a a rider waiting on a bench. By his appearance, we judged him to be one of the city's homeless population. He boarded the tram with a polite nod to the driver, whom he greeted by name. She returned the greeting. He sat and the tram got under way.

"Eleanor", said the homeless man, are there any concerts in the park tonight?"
"Yes", replied Eleanor, there is a banjo concert at the bandshell and an organ recital at the Organ Pavilion."
"Thank you Eleanor"
" You are most welcome"

Our fellow passenger alighted at the next stop.I could not help but think that here is a man who makes the best of his circumstances .

*For the very few of you who visit both here ,and Sarcasmoscorner, I realize it is the same post, almost word for word. I never do that, but this one seemed to fit in both places.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

This is for Carmi's Thematic Photography series. This sign caught my eye as Sarcasdad and I strolled the Gaslamp District in San Diego. It just made me smile. I assume it is a surfing reference, but who knows?

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