Thursday, June 30, 2016

Italy 1-Fatigue, walking on basalt, why I cried and have no favorite thing to tell you about

Ciao!

Just a phone pic, as are all of these- I have yet to crack open the camera. I really love flying on planes and seeing the clouds from above.


Ok, I will stop with the Italian now- but what a gorgeous language that is.  I could listen to it all day.

Well, it seems I really didn't have the time, energy, internet connections or data to post anything from my trip, except a little on FaceBook.  I am quite grateful that I had unlimited texting there, as my data plan ran out I think on Tuesday or Wednesday.  But that is fine, I was good with that, since my lovely sister went ahead and checked me into the restaurants and such that I wanted to remember the names of.

Fatigue
Oh my, they say jet lag is a bitch, and oh it is.  When we arrived in Italy, at whatever time it was in the morning, we were too excited and then aghast (that is coming up here) to be tired.  Did I sleep on the plane?- I don't think so.  If I did,  it was lightly and poorly.  That whole first overseas flight was quite traumatic at the start, but that is a subject for another post.  And when we did get to Milano, our luggage did not come with us.....  So, yeah, fortunately after goofing around with that and having to travel to first Verona and then the Venice area- there was not much time for jet lag..... or for the rest of the trip for that matter.  HOWEVAH, the return jet lag is WAY worse.  First of all, we had a 2:30 wake up call on Tuesday morning- the a.m. sort of 2:30- and of course we had stayed up way late finishing our packing and rearranging (this happened almost nightly) and our alarm I think went off at 2:15.  I then proceeded to stay awake for 25 hours.  That is right boys and girls, I did not even doze off for more than a few moments on that delightful airbus seated between my sister (finally) and a nice Nigerian man who was very worried about people following the rules on the airplane- again another story.  So I barely made it to 8 pm at my sisters house, we both went to bed  (neither Rose nor I are particularly early bedtime people) and I slept hard and long.  10 hours is highly unusual for me.

Yesterday, I drank about a gallon of coffee (seriously, I need that Italian coffee again) and drove myself home.  I did very well, I really didn't get sleepy and I managed to stay up until 9:30 last night. The MA made fun of me because I wasn't in my robe like usual by 8, but I was and still am pretty disoriented.  I did manage to go see him at the office when I got home, and had unpacked the car,  and head to the farmers market to get myself some amazing veggies from Jake of Shady Knoll Farm fame.  You guys, I have had virtually no packaged food of any sort since I left, aside from the granola bars that I always had in my back pack for the trips to the new cities as we drove.  I just can't with it.  Even my fantastic coffee here didn't taste that good..... lol, my first crack at making the coffee was a fiasco as it over flowed inside, as I didn't have the thing put together correctly....  I told you I was zombie-esque.  But I digress, and added today's stuff into yesterday's paragraph - so if you are an English teacher (ahemadam) forgive me or pretend you didn't notice. Anyway, food here seems somehow inferior.

Today, everything is an effort.  Things don't really make sense and I seriously thought I would be recovered today.  I thought yesterday was my "bad" day.  Nope!  See above statement about said coffee pot.  I knew I needed to go get some food, as there was virtually nothing in the house.  But as I walked around the grocery store, I just did my best to try to not get lost.  I found the closest thing to Italian pasta and fresh mozzarella I could, plus a few things for the meat eaters amongst us and got the heck out of there.  The closest adjective I can come up with is disoriented.  I tried to put things away, and I walked in circles around the house and couldn't figure out what to do with anything. So that is done for now.  I have a table full of gorgeous Michigan peaches that need to be dealt with and they are going to have to sit another day too.  Attempts at baking are not recommended at this time.   So I am trying to do little things, and then sit down and rest.  I have read and played a few WWF games (ALL MY WWF GAMES DISAPPEARED!!!!  Apparently there is a time limit or something! Harrumph) and attempted some tasks that are proving to be too taxing.


Walking on basalt
Anyway, I have walked, every day except airplane travel day, a minimum of 5 miles, but the standing that took place during those miles made for some tired tootsies at the end of the day.  Don't tell the rest of the people on the tour, but I could have walked a lot more. Though my eyes were tired at the end of the day, I could have kept walking.  Except the day when I got blisters on my heels, that day I could not.  I did find a cute pair of sandals, though, so my heels weren't out and out bleeding, so that is good.  The other little glitch that happened during walking- more specifically during standing (the standing is what kills you) happened on a very HOT Saturday in Roma.

We were standing at the Colosseum , waiting for our amazing tour leader, Daniela, to get our tickets (he was so awesome- such a sweetie, and a very good grasp of the English language)  and we were standing on basalt pavers in the 96 degree heat and it did an interesting thing...  it burned- not sunburn, but like a heat rash sort of burn on my lower legs, right above the ankle to mid calf.  Fortunately, it was not particularly painful, or even itchy, it was just weird.  Red and blotchy, and at least 6 people of varying ages (the fair of skin is who had the issue) and I and one other woman probably had it the worst.  It was obnoxious and I had to wear long leggings the next few days to keep it covered.  **massive eyerolls**   I still had 2 cute skirts to wear.... sigh.  Anyway, we did a little research and turns out that they see this a lot at Disney, where you stand in the hot sun in line a long time.  Great.  Basically, standing on the black basalt allowed the skin to be burned by the radiant heat off the rock under our feet.  Fortunately, that was the hottest day, and it wasn't as hot for our last 2 days in Rome.  I still have a little red left, and it is managing to itch today, so what a lovely reminder of that very long day!

Why I cried

No justice is done here- I hope my DSLR pictures are better- a lot of tough lighting conditions and not a lot of time to fuss with the camera
I had 3 or 4 moments during this trip that were gasping, take-my-breath-away moments after which- no surprise here- I fought back my tears.  I had anticipated some of the art work having this effect, but there were a few times, I did not.  The very first time was in Venice- at Doge's Palace.  I was not expecting this at all.  We walked into the first of the highly ornate, gilded rooms  with beautiful Renaissance, Mannerist and Baroque art works on the wall and I gasped.  It was jaw droopingly gorgeous.  My eyes still well up when I think back to that moment and realized that I was in ITALY and seeing some of the landmarks and artwork that I had read about not only in the past few months but also when I was in college.  Up until that time, it didn't seem real.  Venice was a quirky town, and I really loved it- I was soaking in the sun, listening earlier to the guide who gave us a tour, but it didn't seem real.  Suddenly it felt real- I felt connected and it made a mark on my soul.  And here I am, reclining with my laptop, reliving that feeling and seeing that room in my mind and crying yet again. 2 days later I was in Florence, and doing a museum tour- the Uffizi gallery in the morning and the Accademie in the afternoon- and I was about to have my mind blown again.


So so crowded, hard to get shots without heads. Oh wait that is me!  HAHA  jk

I was on a mission in that Uffizi gallery to find Botticelli.  His gallery was being renovated, so we had to find the temporary home for the "Birth of Venus" and it took a while.  I almost sank to my knees seeing that painting, finally.  It is so beautiful.  A little side story, several years ago when our paper mill belonged to a larger company, I was asked to recreate some art works using the different papers that the mill produced.  Me, not know any better, thought it would be an interesting thing to do.  I don't remember what other ones I did, but I know I reproduced that painting using paper- a collage.  it took a LONG time to do it, and I have no idea where that ever went.  The mill has been sold several times since then, so who knows. I know that painting intimately, every bit of it, and again I tried so hard not to out and out sob.  You don't see the luminescence of the gold in her hair, nor do you see the detail, the shading the skill of this artist.  I could have stared at it for an hour.  I have this picture of me and it, but I was a sweaty mess who was trying not to cry.





And then there was David.  I had seen David a couple times- outside.  You know, some reproductions, and saw another one when we left Florence the next day.  But nothing can compare to the David who is installed towering above us all at the Accademie.  It turns out to be a very small museum, but between David and those glorious slave sculptures by Michelangelo, really, what else do they need?  Ah David- you took my breath away.  The Sistine chapel was pretty cool too, but with some guy insisting on "SILENCE" over the intercom over and over, the spell was not as strong.  I will say the colors there are incredible!  And the guide was outstanding- I learned a lot about the paintings.  Wow was that a crowded place.  So much to say, but have to save that for a different post.

I definitely had a tear or two as we last drove out of Roma to our Hotel Meridian out on a hill a 40 minute drive from the heart of Rome- or an hour or more if there is traffic- as I knew it was my final day in that glorious country.  What an amazing adventure it was....

Oh wait, spending 2 weeks with my sister was my favorite thing!

Favorite things
So many people have asked me what my favorite part was, and I can honestly say it was all my favorite.  The cities were so different, there was so much to it. Great food,  and the art, the gelato, the architecture that is SO old, it just goes on and on.  I could possibly figure out what a favorite thing was in each section of the day, but not my favorite of the trip.  I have no favorite, it was all my favorite. As soon as I start identifying favorite things, then I will think of another place in another city, or those charming gardens along the freeway, or the laughter we shared with our fellow travelers during dinner each night, or the joking we did with Daniela and his "10 minute" walks that always were more like 20... It was indeed a trip of a lifetime.  Don't get me wrong, it was far from perfect.  There were several odd glitches and annoyances, but we came through fine and nothing devastating happened.

So I better wrap up this first Italy post and rest some more.  My eyes are so heavy, I might need to nap again.  More to come!  I think in a similar fashion to my Denver trip, I am going to somehow organize these posts perhaps by subject rather than day.  I just don't know yet.  I am incoherent.

Until later- Ciao ciao and all the joy to you.

Friday, June 17, 2016

And away we will soon go!

Wow you guys! This is amazing. I'm sitting - hopefully out of the way- on the previously mentioned screen porch drinking a little coffee and supervising Lucky the dog, hoping he doesn't start barking. The little darling. Lol.  So the adventure is about to begin- the real party is about to start. I can hardly believe this!!

It doesn't seem like that long ago that I installed my count down app (and I have a mini trip later in the summer counting down too) let alone signed up to go in the first place. Instead of 400 some days- I have 4 hours. 

I feel so fortunate to be here only 30 minutes from the airport. I actually slept a decent amount and feel pretty good! I keep forgetting that this first part only gets me to New York- like that wouldn't be a great place to visit again- and the next leg doesn't begin until late afternoon. 

I have plenty of things with me and room in my luggage to bring some things back- so this should all be good. I know that I have some people following my flight number, which is a cool thing too. Good weather is forecast for everywhere today! And all the rain that was in the forecast over in Italy has pretty much dissipated other than one day- Monday!  It was hard to pack for a warm place when it has been a cool June here so far. 

Anyway, I'm not going to go on and on as I want to preserve battery on the phone and I'm not knowing what else to mention.  I am not sure if I'll have wifi regularly or not, so whether a post gets written again before 6/28 I just can't say! Thanks to all the people who have listened to me yak about this trip. All of you all who have read this and can't wait for pictures (lol- oh the pressure), my hubs and family who have watched me slowly wind myself up into a frenzy, my good friends in town who hopefully didn't roll their collective eyes at me, my sister who hasn't put me in a choke hold quite yet, and my amazing friends who text me daily and keep me grounded. I'm so lucky to have you. So so lucky. 

So until I write again in a few or more days- Buongiorno and arrivederci!!
And have a joyful June. Xo

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Let's spend the final wait with the Seester!!

I really don't think I could think of a better way to spend this day!! Rose and I will use the better part of the morning doing some shopping and then we are getting pampered for a little while and finally spend the evening editing our packing list   

Sounds like a good plan, right? 

I thought so too. 

I don't have a lot to say at this moment. I spent an hour waking up on this lovely screen porch and now we are about to commence with some errands! 

I'm feeling good but nervous/twitchy and seriously ready to get going. Again. One more sleep and then we will be off! 

I can hardly believe it!!

I may write more later. :)

Have a joyful day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Lets get this party started! 2 days!

I am not feeling very wordy this morning- as I am really overwhelmed with the things I need to do today.  Fortunately the list really isn't super long, as my new method of doing all things on said list as soon as possible after adding them to the list has worked wonders.  Don't ANY of you (yeah I am talking to you!) think that this is a permanent change or anything- that sort of thing probably won't stick with me.  Because disorganized chaos is part of my charm.  hehehe

Disorganized,  charming chaos- I am a dish of flowers!
Anyway, (forgive my Captain Obvious moments here) I can not believe I am down to the number 2 on my countdown app and amazingly enough that will change to a 1 here in about 4 hours!  The range of emotions I have felt- just in the last 10 minutes even- has been astounding.  So when I find myself way, way out there, I bring myself back to the present and attempt to let sanity rule.  Having a lot of battles between the logical and emotional side right now.

It is time for me to finish up my packing- at least as far as I can here- and straighten up the house a little.  That will serve to make sure I have not forgotten anything. I am having moments of "do I have enough money" which is always something my brain goes to right away.  I am hoping for enough appropriate clothing, that I will be able to find the right pair of walking sandals today, that I will not hit bad weather (I don't think I will), that I will sleep at least a few moments on that plane....

And this is the time that I am going to let it all go and just go with it.  I will make sure I have all my belongings with me and beyond the packing and all, I just need to relax into it.  What happens, happens.  If I sleep I do and if I don't, I have a book to read.  I will enjoy my trip.

So many people have offered so much advice and I really do appreciate it!  You are all so awesome.  I will be using my camera every day, but don't you all worry- it will not be up to my face every moment.  I will be absorbing all the things that will be happening and that I will be seeing, because that is how I roll.  I am such an in the moment person, for better or for worse.  If I am in charge of a situation I will always be thinking of the next thing, but in this case- I am not in charge.

I am looking forward to being in a country that does not have English as it's primary language.  To seeing things that are so much older than anything we have here- things that I learned about in Art History class that seemed so far away and unreachable.  I am looking forward to having such new experiences and ready to embrace the change that will come to my way of viewing things.  Every time I have an adventure that gives me such anticipation, I find that I look  at things in a different way.  That way isn't easy to describe or pinpoint, but it is a new way to experience life and finding some joy in it.  This trip for me is to continue living a larger life.  I began this quest for "more" with my Boundary Waters trip a few years ago, I dabbled in it  a bit when I went on my children's band and choir trips with them.... I definitely immersed myself during my Denver trip last year.  I am stretching my boundaries and seeing where the outskirts lie.  Living a bigger life has given me such joy, and it was beginning when I started this blog even.  Pushing at my boundaries, taking on a personal stance of bravery and doing things  that make me afraid- even if it is clinging to a tree in unusual places, in a location that is way too close to the edge of something.  I don't want to fall over, but inside me,  I want to get as close as I can.  And I am creeping ever closer- my comfort zone has ventured out a bit. I am READY!

So as I spend the morning in a whirlwind of activity, packing up my car, fussing over little things that I really should just leave alone, I will be trying to not imagine what will happen Friday.   I want to be surprised.  Lol.  I am actually so excited about seeing a different airport!  DON'T JUDGE ME!!!  HAHAHA  Actually- go ahead.  I really am not worried.  I am anxious to see what one of those big airplanes look like- want to see the clouds from the airplane again.  Try to sleep in an upright position! Land in a new place unlike one I have been in.  My wish is that every time I do these new things, my excitement and anticipation for them does not fade.  The waiting has been exquisite torture, and I love it!

I will most likely post another tomorrow from Minneapolis, but not sure about Friday!!  We shall see what happens.  Maybe I will do a selfie from the car on the way to the airport at 6 am.  Lol  You just never know.

Until tomorrow, have a super joyful and maybe just a little bit of an adventurous day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

3 days and tomorrow

Tomorrow I begin my journey by heading to my Seester-Rose's house!  My plan is to leave in the afternoon (early-ish) to get to the Radio Drive area of Woodbury, shop for a few last things during the rush hour, and then zip around the south side of the cities to her place after about 6.  That should work pretty well to accomplish what I need and not feel rushed to get out of the house in the morning!  I will be gone long enough, I thought I would hang out for one more lunch with the MA and get that last minute laundry and such done.

This marble sculpture is called the Laocoön- it is from ancient Greek times and is housed in the Vatican museum.   It was found in the early 1500's and was highly influential on the artists of the Renaissance. Imagine this being dug up by a farmer in a vineyard.  More can be read about this here  Just when I said I was not going to do any more reading!  HA
This cloudy weather of late is definitely a bummer.  I know its all good we are not in a drought and all, but I just heard that we have gotten 8-12 inches of rain in the last month..... not surprised by those numbers.  I really need to get a walk in today- I had a time falling asleep last night.  My brain is doing that thing where it just is firing off random pictures/songs/thoughts at high speed when I lay down..... obviously I did not get enough exhausting exercise in.

Last night I got caught up reading about long airplane flights, and have decided not to read about anything like that any more.  I really do not need to know.  I can just do it.  Same thing with reading about the art of Italy- I am done reading.  I have read quite a bit, I have my tour book if I need to read more about places in general, but I am ready to experience it all.  I have been in a state of anticipation for a year and a half and now I am ready to go!  All I have to do now is shove stuff into a suitcase and go!

I have plenty to keep me busy today, though. I'll make a cake for the MA, since well- cake- and tomorrow morning finish the laundry for myself, mostly.  I will go wish my friend Luann Happy Birthday, I will go for the afore mentioned walk....  I will lay out all my clothes for real, this time, and assemble a list of sorts that I might need to finish by the end of the day.  Though I will make that effort to do those things as I think of them.

Anyway, what I want to do is spend the day doing things that I want to do and relaxing, just a little bit.  I am trying not to rush away my days here before I leave, but it is so hard when the adventure is about to begin!  Have an incredibly joyful day!

Monday, June 13, 2016

F.O.U.R. D.A.Y.S.

My goodness, I am on the home stretch here!  Yesterday was a day of gardening and doing some things around the house and such.  Not a lot of excitement, but that is ok too.  Today I should get the last of my Amazon order and I will see what MORE I want to do around the house.
A little peace and tranquility in green- my hosts, gentian, lilies and a peek of a dark perennial geranium

I began gathering the bags and suitcases I plan to use to get to my dear Seester's house- and there, apparently, I will find a selection of luggage sizes that will appropriately fit my packing needs.  Mostly I need to leave room for additions to my luggage while over there.  I am thinking a hoodie or t-shirt might be coming home with me! Certainly we plan to ship some of the local consumable items home as a group.  And yes, we mean wine! Plus some olive oil/olives as well.

I am getting to the point, now, that I feel like I am somewhat prepped for this trip.  Both in terms of having all this stuff together and also in the being aware of some of the things that I am going to see.  I did a little looking and one of the things that is a must see during a walking tour of Rome is the Trevi Fountain.   AND I discovered that there are several "live cams" there.  I am a fan of the Bayfield Inn Live cam, I can be transported there and watch the ferry travel across and just feel generally at home, envious,  weepy, PIE!!,  relaxed when I tune in.

I am amazed when I look at the above number of 4!  I remember sharing with a few people the fact that I had loaded up a countdown app on my phone- maybe in January?- when there was about 140 days to the trip.  Heck I remember knowing that the tour was approximately 548 days away!  And it was decided that time would fly and then suddenly it would be only  a few days away and I would be freaking out.  Lol, oh some people are always right.

I really think that I have enjoyed the anticipation of this trip as much and fully as possible.  Doing a little art research has made this particularly rich, and I feel pretty peaceful now.  I am just waiting for the mailman and my Amazon order!

I hope you are on your way to a spectacular week, everyone!  One that should be filled with some summer time joy!  It is my wish for you today.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

T minus 5 days to take off

I had sort of an off day yesterday--  I was strangely tired (gee- I wonder why) and right before I picked up my keys to run to the gym for a quick workout, I got dizzy.  Not cool, man.  Fortunately, I figured out that it was from a stuffy sinus and perhaps a bit of a sore neck, and I was able to eventually solve the problem with Ibuprofen and Sudafed.    I actually took a NAP, and that is with Sudafed in me and that stuff keeps me awake.  Those of you in the know understand how unusual this whole thing is.  But I went to bed and slept like a log for once, so I guess I needed to rest.


We also went to see the grandkiddos and their lovely mom and dad, plus exchange a few items back and forth.  Always nice to see them- little Ruthie was in fine form and has apparently gotten over her "stranger danger" phase, as I didn't provoke any crying or looks of distress.  We had a good old time playing and laughing and having fun together.  Little Greggy was his usual busy self, and is always so entertaining.  Greg and Sarah-Jane were looking a bit tired, they have a lot to do setting up their little farm and they use their days to the fullest.

So back to the preparations, such as they are at this point, I spent a good hour discussing life and packing with my Seester-Rose and then an additional almost that long discussing life and other things with my Mad-Missouri friend!  After which I took the nap, lol.  I have now shifted my focus to using all my veggies up in the refrigerator, finding little things that need dealing with in the house, pointing out to the MA what plants need supervising inside and out, and making a mental list of some things that I need to get at the grocery store to begin the almost 2 weeks that I will be out of the house. Not that he isn't a big boy and can take care of himself, mind you, but at least it will be a few days before he starts mooching off his children or eating at McDonalds.  LOL- kidding, that probably won't happen much at all.

Last night I decided to look into more travel locations- shocking, I know- and began by looking into the Sorrento/Capri region, but that is not a place to see "things" it seems like that is a place to look at the scenery.  Which is fine with me!  So I did a little search about Rome- and found the Roman Forum!  This is a place that is going to push all of my buttons.  Columns, antiquity, ruins......  ah yes. I can hardly believe that I am saying I will be seeing these let alone imagine being there.  SO FREAKING COOL.

One place I have not even looked at yet is Assisi. No idea what is happening there, but if it is on the tour, there must be some redeeming qualities. Right??  (LETS GO BACK TO FLORENCE!!) (shameless link to David again) HAHA.  Seriously though, I have been telling everyone that after I get my fix of Florence, the rest of it I am going to be a non-interfering art teacher (quit laughing) and go with the flow.  I actually love just going along and letting stuff happen, it really is fun to relinquish all control and go with it.  I find it quite easy to step out of my teacher and parent mode and become a different person all together.  Doesn't happen much, but I can play that role!

I have a couple things on my agenda today, so I suppose I should work on them sooner rather than later.  The day is supposed to begin nicely, with rain forecast for later.  Maybe would be a good morning to go and remove a few weeds from the flower garden before the MA decides that he should take it upon himself to rip off the tops and not invest the time to get the roots of said weeds out.  We shall see how this all goes!

Mostly, I have to keep my mind from running off into panic mode and keep making little lists that I can accomplish in a timely fashion.  And do the things on my list RIGHT AWAY instead of waiting for the last minute- not that I do things like that or anything......  hehehe.

So until tomorrow, or later, or whenever- Be a joy giver everyone

Saturday, June 11, 2016

6 days away now

As a strange calm falls over the Mad-Art teacher.....  yes, this is setting the stage for some uncharted territory, here.  My previous big adventures have found me reacting in a similar way: running around to different places shopping for necessities that are not usually part of my daily life,  spinning my wheels, moving things around and making lists and not actually accomplishing a whole lot, feeling anxious and nervous and not sleeping well/at all....  Well, I have already reached all of these pinnacles of self-induced hysteria- so now what?

So much beauty here on Madeline Island
There were 2 other time that caused my similar reactions: My boundary waters trip and my Denver trip.  You would think I would have done this for the band and choir excursions that I went on when the kids were in High School, but I did not.  Probably because I had a minimum of one other person to be concerned about, or more likely, these were not quite so far out of my comfort zone.

The Boundary Waters involved camping and things I hadn't done since I was a kid.  It also was something that I never EVER saw myself doing, in my wildest dreams.  At that time I was doing that cliché "discover myself" sort of thing after losing some weight and gaining my present fitness level.  Cliché or not, it was a life changing period of time: I discovered the real person inside me was not afraid of everything, and more importantly, it was discovering that I can do what I want in spite of being afraid.
Had the beach to ourselves 

Denver was flying for the first time and making sure I could navigate life without getting totally lost (and you can read that as on whatever sort of level you would like).  Flying is something I do like!  And getting lost is par for my course, so fortunately I will be with a lot of people and most importantly: that international calling plan.  Haha.  Hello, cute tour director, Daniele??  This is Debi.  Again.  Can you help me find my way back to the hotel?  Again.  Could happen!  We will not discuss whether or not wine was involved.

Anyway, both trips have found me similarly affected but this time I went through the whole thing a week in advance.  I think it was because school was keeping me from dealing with most of the things I wanted to do/buy/think about and once it was done- Bam!   Uncontrolled mental chaos and panic.
And pretrip freaking out, which I am super good at.
Rocks and trees

So here I am today, feeling like I pretty much have things under control!  It is the FIRST day since school has finished that I have NOT had plans for the day.  I have a few ideas for what I want to do today, but nothing is set in stone.  Sort of like my actual first day of summer vacation has finally arrived.  The things left on my list are few- one I have to get clear plastic bags for my carry on, not green tinted and set up my little kindle thingy and download some books.  And talk to my sister, who just finished school and is behind me in the whole whattheheckdoIneedandwheredoIbuyit point in preparations.  She has the luxury of living in an area that actually HAS these things and doesn't have to Prime everything.  But still, I know that feeling.

I was hoping to get out into my kayak sometime in the next couple days.  Today does not look likely, it is super humid here- foggy even, and the weather will be a bit unsettled again.  I am hoping for tomorrow!  It has been a couple weeks and I really want to get out there.  It might have to wait though.  Otherwise, I am going to lay out the clothes I am going to wear, finish up odds and ends here and there, and generally organize a few things.  And just enjoy a day of doing what I want.

We all stand like this on the ferry- enthralled and absorbed 
Speaking of that, I did sit and edit some Madeline Island photos last night while watching a Netflix show- Person of Interest.  Well that is a good series!  And I didn't get much editing done as you don't just listen to that particular program.  You have to give it some attention!


Anyway, I suppose I should be getting on with my morning here.  Whatever that morning brings will be fine.  As long as I can find some joy in the mix!  And you need to as well!  :)

Last night's sunset
*no art in Italy today as I got myself lost in reliving the Boundary Waters.  

Friday, June 10, 2016

And we are down to a week! Wow!!!!

So, how many more surprised/excited exclamative phrases can I use during this process?  None of them now seem to be good enough.  The Wow in the title above definitely is not the effect that I would like to capture- as it relates to how I feel.  So you all just roll with it, and extrapolate.  :)

Poppies!

Discussions with people who have traveled to Italy, and those who have not, and those who are going to, have filled my days lately, and it certainly adds to the excitement I have been feeling.  The anticipation is part of the experience of enjoyment, and I hope that these same people are going to be willing to be involved in debriefing as well.  I have been super busy the last 4 days, doing lots of things here and there, and doing a bit of wheel spinning as well- but all along the way I have been yakking about this trip.  I am trying so hard to stop or wait to start, so I can be a good conversationalist and do my share of listening.  I don't know how well that has been working out. But I am really trying!

I thought yesterday, that today I could spend the whole day here- finally.  But no, I made plans for part of the morning. This is fine, it is with a good friend who I have not seen for a long time and we seriously need to catch up.  She is a bit busy, and I feel the need to be at home, so I don't plan to be gone a long time from my house.  Just the thought of leaving - AGAIN- is making me twitchy, but I will relax and enjoy myself.

Speaking of enjoying, I sucked down an Italian Margarita last night faster than you can say Ciao!  That particular libation is made with amaretto instead of triple sec, then tequila and in this case margarita mix.  I did NOT have a second one, or I'd be waking up across town at Paula's house instead of in my own little bed.  The three of us female-type adult Italy travelers (I wish the Mad-Seester Rose could have come) had a nice little Italian supper, along with the afore mentioned drinks, and discussed at length some of the issues we felt needed to be hashed over.  Specifically- the trip as it pertains to Florence (HA- In Firenze it is all about me!!), packing/buying and running through things that the students might need to know and writing them all down. We also discussed what books to put on our devices so we have something to read on the plane.

I am trying now to not make plans to do anything, beyond a manicure, until I actually leave.  I FINISHED- sort of- shopping for stuff.  I am over this.  It seems unlikely, but I am done shopping for everything.  I can't order anything else online and expect it to be here by Wednesday.  Other than the walking sandals I will find on Wednesday or Thursday, I don't PLAN to buy anything else.... but we know how that goes!

It was nice to have that lovely evening with my fellow travelers, as it gave me a little picture of what will be happening on the tour.  Besides the two museums I REALLY need to see, I am going to be a go with the flow girl.  No laughing now, but it is true.  I am also hoping to not be hopelessly lost- and to combat that, I did get my international travel  data plan for my phone, because we all know that I need that.  There are definitely plusses to this, as I get to text as much as I like (to a couple mad-friends -probably in the middle of the night or somethings, since we will be 8 hours ahead) and I will have a little data to  use if not in wifi.  Do not expect a blow by blow Facebook and Instagram flood, though, as I do not plan to post more than a maximum of once a day.  Probably less than that.

I have virtually every single thing crossed off my list, other than the actual packing process.  WHEW!  and week to go.

So what am I thinking about today as far as art in Italy?  The three of us put our heads together over a map of Firenze last night, and we were looking for the trifecta of fabulous- that would be the Accademia  museum, the Uffizi museum and the winery (HAHA) called Antinori, and I noted the number of Piazzas that were there.  MANY!  And where there are piazzas, there is outdoor art.  Well, what could be better??  Other than the actual David statue??  I know, right?  An outdoor museum is what it is.

Today, I have to do some photo editing, as I have a pile of pictures from Bayfield and Madeline Island  that have not been dealt with at all. This needs to change!! But first I need to piddle around and straighten up my house a bit and walk through my gardens and maybe do a little weeding...  I found a poppy bloomed yesterday and also a few other flowers.  I am leaving my point and shoot  camera here, and will give the MA instructions on how to use it.  He can take photos of things that I might miss. We shall see how this goes, lol.

Anyway, I better sign off for now and see what I can get myself into.  And what joy I can find.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

8 days yet

I am existing in an interesting world right now.  I am trying not to hurry along my summer, and am indeed wallowing in the land of- what day is it??- which is always such a good feeling.  The end of school requires a suspension of time, and I am happy to be in that suspension.  However, I have a appointment this morning and I just had to write a business type letter (long story) and so now I have to zip through this post, as I have to leave for a footsie appt. in Minocqua in a few.  One of my feet had been acting up, is a bit better, but thought I could check it out before I go on a nice long trip.  YAY
My last trip into school- I think

So, quickly, last night we had our final pre-trip meeting and I am even more excited!  We got our itinerary, including the hotels, which I promptly googled when I got home.  I also did that mini-presentation for the students and I guess the adults, and it seemed to be well perceived.  The kids didn't boo and hiss, and no one gave me the rolling eye death look....  so, all was good.  I think.  So EXCITING NEWS- I know exactly when I get to see the David, I know we are going to see the Uffizi gallery, and as long as I get to see in Firenze (Florence) all the things that I need to see, well, life is super good. I will happily go anywhere people want to go, as long as it isn't anything like a mall...... or a fast food restaurant....
And in my free time.....

I got some errands done yesterday, and I am feeling slightly more calm. slightly.  But you can bet that I will be doing a lot more research in the coming few days.

After this appointment today, which following I will get to have lunch with the MA, I will be sticking close to home.  And spending a little time with the accountant who has not seen me much the last week. And I want to clean up another flower bed and get in some more walks and a bike ride and such things as this.   And find all the joy I can in these next few days!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Ohmyohmyohmyohmy

Jumbled head
Racing thoughts
so many lists--

make presentation
get glasses checked
go to bank
call cc company
talk to phone provider
get horse feed
weed flower gardens
donations to thrift shop
check how to preserve shiitake mushrooms
set up little kindle
download books
order a backpack and lock and neck pillow
get a few more little things from somewhere! 
pack
sleep
don't forget your passport
don't forget ANYTHING
get a windbreaker
find your swimsuit
find some walking sandals
calm ones self soon....


S  L  E  E  P

NOT an easy morning to be me.  I am driving myself crazy.  Fortunately taking the time to do this post has helped.  goodness.

9 days and counting and puddle jumping

One of the ferries in the evening light

A week from today I am leaving to go to my sister's house for final preparations for my trip and absolute, total convenience - I won't have to get up at 3am (or maybe earlier??) to get to school to get on a van to get to the airport on Friday like the rest of my travel companions.  And the twin cities is going to be a good place to pick up any last minute things that might be needed for this adventure.  Not that I am obsessing 24/7 or anything, oh no.


Meanwhile, I have to make up that little presentation for the students on the trip- because I said I would, not because I HAVE to.  It does help to have some vocab introduced in an architecture heavy area such as Italy!! Of course we would all be just fine if I didn't do anything at all, but might as well take advantage of the stuff I have been looking up all this time.

A recreation of last years selfie with friends
As you can tell by the photos, I did indeed get up to Bayfield yesterday.  I had a really nice time after I settled myself into it.  The first part of the trip I was restless and anxious.  I was absolutely enjoying the company and the conversation and the laughs that we always have together, not to mention some shopping and eating of super good food, and a really good walk.  But I am needing some time to myself, in my house, doing stuff alone and fortunately that will happen today, in between appointments and such.  When I have a lot on my mind, I withdraw a little and yesterday I had to do my best to stay with them.

Lovely day in Bayfield

We had a nice time eating breakfast at Coco's, standing on the dock in Bayfield, shopping around in town, stopping by the coffee shop and even getting a little private tour of a wonderful new business in town......  but what a relief to finally step out on to the ferry.  Well in my case and that of the Mad-Science teacher, crawled out the other door, as we could not get out ours....  lol parking issue on the ferry.  We drove over to the Town Park, and it was awesome. I finally relaxed, taking pictures, laying on the beach, dipping my feet in the COLD waters of Lake Superior....  it was great.


I have much better photos of this to come.  Some of the rock cliffs on Madeline Island

So, in the mid afternoon, we decided to go for a walk from the Big Bay Town Park to the Big Bay State park.  We knew it was a long walk, but that was ok, other than the fact we hadn't eaten since 9:30, but oh well.  It worked out fine in the end.  The weather was quite cool, but the sun was so nice and warm.  I apologize for the phone pictures, I did not get a chance to edit my other pictures yet.  SO we ended up walking 7 miles, and a bunch of it was through the muddy and in some cases, podlike, path of the state park.  Another thing to do today- wash my tennis shoes.
THIS was part of the path- obviously we were forced to go around.  We took the "short cut" back to the board walk path- maybe not our finest moment

So when we finished our walk, and puddle jumping, we got in the car and headed back to the docks..... and arrived there at 6:11 and the ferry had just left at 6......  so change all supper plans as we were on the island then until 7:30.  And there was a grand total of ONE place open to eat.  The tourist season there really does not get going until late June, so there was not a lot of people around- and consequently, not a lot of open businesses at 6. But we found one restaurant and it was a very good choice and with very good food- and seriously some of the best onion rings I ever shared with friends.  We INHALED that food- it had been a long time since breakfast.  We now have a list of things we must always take with us on these trips, which includes some sort of food, binoculars and bandaids.  Lol


It was nice to make it home just as the sun was going down- right around 9:10 or so.....  The weather had finally been nice, the drive home was good and I woke up this morning not one bit sore from the hike.  Of course I woke up a LOT, and it took a long time to settle down and go to sleep.  But that isn't too unusual for me anyway, oh how I envy people who can fall asleep most any time and anywhere....

Anyway, now I have to switch my brain over to this Italy thing and I am afraid when I do, I won't be able to sleep for other reasons...  I need to add some photo editing to my list today too, as looking at these iPhone pictures is making my eye twitch a little.  I have some goodies on the SD card I think.

I may be posting again today, depending on how wrapped up I get in things.

Until then, or tomorrow morning, have yourself a joyful day!


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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Bayfielding and scrambling- 10 days

Things are getting real on Omaha Road, people.  I am beginning to actually get some things together for my trip on a table in my hall way, yesterday, I began some shopping in earnest!  I am starting to feel a little out of sorts, what I really need is a day at home alone and that won't be happening for a while. I have't been able to kayak for 2 weeks, haven't taken many photos, just haven't done my usual Debi things, but at least I have school crossed off  my list.

In Minocqua at the Bearskin trail

Today, I have a trip with my dear friends to Bayfield...  It is not our ideal Bayfield weather, but we will still have a good time.  I will definitely be excited to get up to Coco's and Big Water Coffee and to Madeline Island.  Once I get on that ferry, I think my mind might finally relax and enjoy.  Being up there is like going to another dimension- it is easy to forget about anything that is happening 90 miles to the south.  I am excited to try out the camera in some of my familiar places, but really want to try shooting in a new place of some sort too.  We shall see what we find!!

It was a lot nicer out than these photos show
IN 10 DAYS I will begin my journey but actually in 8 days I will be leaving here to head to my sisters.  I am heading to her house sometime next Wednesday, so I can be there for a full day of prep before we have to head out on Friday.  The thinking is that I can sleep well the night before..... we shall see how that goes!  And we have our own personal chauffeur who will drop us off and pick us up!  #ftw!!

Because yesterday I spent virtually the whole day with the Mad-English teacher and then the evening also with the Mad-Science teacher, I did not get a chance to look at art again.  But I have another Michelangelo in mind- and seriously at this point I don't remember whether I have posted it or not, so besides the Michelangelo AND the Donatello Davids, these are the other pieces of sculpture I really want to see. We talked about this a LOT in Art History, in fact in a couple of the classes I took.  It shows the creative process of the artist and really is something that is of interest to me.

The Mad-English teacher and I made the best of the not particularly pretty weather yesterday and had breakfast at The Island Cafe in Minocqua and went on to shop a while in Rhinelander and eventually walk on a very nice hiking and biking trail near downtown Minocqua. Followed by supper with him and the Mad-Science teacher and it was a great day.

Anyway, I need to get ready for another adventure, so I better finish this off!  It is looking a bit cloudy out, I surely hope that it gets sunny later.  Lots of things to do, I need to stop constantly looking at what I have to do tomorrow and then tomorrow and then tomorrow and really enjoy the day I have in front of me.  It is how I had a fantastic summer last year that did not go fast at all and how I plan to spend this summer as well.  Because summer vacation is everything and believe me, teacher everywhere need to have a good one.  And so do you!  Find your joy in your Tuesday!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Officially school's out!!!!!! 11 days!!

I would be out on that deck taking a selfie of me in the warm sunshine, gloating over the first day of official summer vacation, but I would be a little cold out there today.  And there is no actual sunshine right now.  Perhaps a peep of sun, but nothing celebratory, let me tell you.  However, one way or another- I will be having a moment of fun, as the Mad-English teacher is on his way up.  Mother Nature is not cooperating with our Bayfield trip, but it looks like finally tomorrow will be working.

This was the cloud bank headed my way yesterday!  I beat it home though I was a mile away

Wednesday is sort of my cut off date for goofing off, as after that I have some appointments and stuff in the works, and I have to do some serious organizing so I can go on a shopping trip if I need to.

Done done done

ANYWAY,  I am DONE with my 2015-16 school year including ordering supplies for my 2016-17 school year.  I don't have to go back except to water my tree next week and then after that I guess it is a. on its own and b. hopefully my janitor friends will water it once a week.  That was a big relief yesterday, when I finally finished.  I did most of it at school in the morning, but I packed it in at 11:30 after 3 hours and came home.  I finished it during one of the many rain events yesterday- which was good, as I could sit and think about what I was missing.

So as near as I can figure, I should be seeing the Michelangelo "David" 2 weeks from today or tomorrow....  Epic stuff people!!!  AND a few days after that we will be stopping by Pompeii- which I can't even speak about.  Wow.  SO cool.

Last night it took me a long time to calm my brain down and stop thinking thinking thinking about all this stuff.  I have a feeling this is going to be my normal for a while.  So I should get going and begin my day, I have some things!  :)

Have yourself a joyful day!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

12 days!! WHAT???

I was rousing myself from the sleep of the dead after a marathon art room cleaning session....  when I heard the little riff of my text messaging.  I almost always get in a nice chat session with my dear Mad-Missouri friend in the morning.  It is sort of how we ground ourselves for the day.  After virtually mainlining an extra strong  ( which I have since watered down a little for the delicate-of-tongue who lives in the house) cup of coffee (YAY FOR BIGWATER COFFEE) and a nice long chat with her- which may be on going still- and some messaging with the Mad-English teacher who is making his way north soon, I am ready to write this!
A finished elementary art room- I have two more of those in the high school

I cleaned my art rooms yesterday, and I am still exhausted.  When I say cleaned, I do not mean washed anything in any way.  I mean put away and pick up and store and throw away stuff.  Lots and lots of stuff.  I have 3 rooms and while the kids did help me and did an admirable job, I had lots to do!  So I spent most of yesterday's rainy, icky weather inside the school.  Fortunately, the Mad-Science teacher was in there too and we kept each other moving and then made sure we were out of there by mid-afternoon.

So, then I started doing stuff at home, and then I found myself playing word with friends, as I was a worn out little puppy.

Last night I didn't accomplish a whole bunch, and I did not even pick up a book or look at a website.  So I am skipping the art connection today.  My mind is on my orders and how when I finish them I will be free, so that needs to happen before I can relax and enjoy the next steps.

So I am sort of freaking out a little, as some of you have guessed.  ;)  I have a big ole list that I have begun and it is going onto the second page. so, for the mind clutter to begin to have a focus, I have to put this other thing behind me.  So that is going to happen.  Like Meow!!

So, have a happy Sunday!  I am counting on the weather getting sunny later so I can get outside and get in some walking- you know- Italy-training!  YES!!!  And that will be a joy.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

13 days- mind clutter abounds

Instead of my usual end of school euphoria, I am feeling like nothing is over yet.  My synapses are firing like crazy, and that led to not the most restful sleep and waking at 5 am thinking I had to go to work today....  **massive eyeroll**  If it was not raining  for the millionth time in the last 3 weeks, I would be on my way to BAYFIELD right now.  GRRRRR.  That particular trip helps me put a period onto the end of the school year sentence....  oh well.  I will go in and finish my rooms up today, use the rainy day in a useful way.

And this, boys and girls,  is what it looks like when it is not raining 

So we had some excitement in our town yesterday, and while rumors circulated wildly,  (some of the younger peeps around are sure that this only happens up here- LMAO- oh you guys will understand someday- things are exactly the same everywhere) there were a couple guys who were in some way involved in a drug bust- and wow that story has swung back and forth a few times- ran off into the woods behind the McDonalds.  One was caught by the police dogs (I bet that was not fun) and the other gave himself up after spending the day in the mosquito infested, rainy, wet glory that are the swamps of northern Wisconsin.  AND they were from Florida, so I bet he got a little cold too.  The effect of all of this is that our town was in a soft lock down for the morning, the kids at school were having a heart FAILURE over the thought of having to stay in the building even a minute longer than they had to, and it generally gave everyone a vague sense of unease.  As stupid as this sounds, (and we all know that I just don't care how stupid any of my ramblings sound) I was a little creeped out by the whole thing when I went to get the mail after the MA got home.  And then I find out way later the second guy was caught/gave up down the road from here - probably a half mile.....  All this mostly took place about 1.5 miles away.  BUT our law enforcement did a great job and seriously they are such good people.  So, a big thanks to them.

Any who, last night I did a little relaxing- perhaps had a yummy glass of adult liquid refreshment as we watched some goofy movie (crocodile dundee?? I really didn't watch much) and I read up on a bunch of Italy stuff (shocking, I know).  I am going to make up a little tiny presentation for the students on Wednesday when we have our final pre-italy meeting, so I have been searching for a good image to use  to introduce some of the architectural features that a guide may discuss  Architecture is not my gig, except I do enjoy a good Greek Doric column or a variation thereof, but I am giving it my best efforts.  I had to find myself a highlighter last night, as I can hardly not highlight the parts I find important in each section- oh that higher education stuff is always bubbling under the surface.  I believe we may not be seeing a whole lot of Gothic architecture, so I don't have to discuss flying buttresses or anything (I LOVE THAT STUFF THO) but there are lots of Renaissance things to review and some ancient-- so some basics will be fine. Post and lintel, arches, columns, domes, blah blah blah.  I'm going for the "whet your interests" sort of effect, instead of the "eyes rolling into the back of your head with drool forming on the corner of your mouth" effect.  hehe

So I was thinking about what I was going to link for my art feature of Italy for today- I can't help but think about all those equestrian statues.  I just loved learning about them back when I was in my dark sleepy art history class that was God Forbid at 9 in the am usually. What the hell were those professors thinking??  I had 2- 3 Tabs lined up in front of me on some days, depending on the night before- just to stay awake.  Wow, that is a blast from the past!  First- omg- Tab- ew. That was some nasty junk- ugh.  And second- well, I don't drink soda anymore, so that gives me sort of a moment too.... Anyway, as cliché as it may seem, even back there I was all about the horses!

My plan for the day is to finish my rooms and then see what happens.  I could be at school all day depending on how involved I get in this.  But it is all good.  I am actually really looking forward to reading my Michelangelo book this afternoon.  And I will start laying all my stuff out for the trip!!  Woo HOO  Talk about a joy!!!

Friday, June 3, 2016

School's out baby!! AND 2 WEEKS!!!

WHAT?? 2 weeks??????  SERIOUSLY??  I am blown away this morning.  That seems silly since I have been doing a count down now for what?  2 weeks I guess.  But I know it is Friday and when I went to figure the weeks instead of days- well, that is amazing.  The one pressing thing on my list is the need to go shopping for a few items of clothing now- and shoes.  
Little spider I saw on a daisy during my walk last night

AND I found this awesome book- which is really good and has a great narrative style of writing.  Someone reminded me, yesterday, of the amazing works of Michelangelo that I will be seeing, and this will be a highlight of my trip.  I studied so much Renaissance art when I was in college and did so many papers or essay questions about it, that I am in awe that I get to see it in person.


woo hoo!

Anyway, I am also THRILLED TO SAY IT IS THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!  The turtle races yesterday had some uneven results.  I think most of the kids had fun, but indeed I had a cryer, and a bad sport, and they were questioning my judgment as to who won or lost....  and even negotiating over the treat they got.  **eyeroll**  So yeah, this is why I haven't done this in 5 years and why I won't again for a while.  I believe I will have to come in on Saturday and finish up the elem. art room, as I have to do grades today after the kids leave at noon.


Almost clean- but a set back yesterday after turtle races... lol

I have to zip off here, I am needing to get myself ready for this last day!  While it is sad to see the end of one year, I will indeed see them - or at least most of them- next year again, and there will be a new round of joy.  
Rock on people!!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Wide Awake and counting down- 1.5 days (and 15, too)

I've had the ceiling fan running at night lately, since the weather has decided it could be warm for a while and guess what!  I woke up at  4:20 (about my least favorite time to wake up- if I fell back to sleep I wouldn't wake up until well past 5;30 and that just wouldn't be cool) and was FREEZING!!

My mind started racing when I decided I couldn't let myself fall asleep completely again- thinking about all the things that I need to do today, that apparently the other admin wants to do an observation of me today- on my last day of teaching??  whatevs.  I have a lot of my elementary classroom packed away, and will make massive strides to that end in my high school today.  I am not sure what I will get finished in my  5th and 4th grades as they suddenly are a week behind the other classes.....  turtle races may or may not happen.

I was really happy to get a good walk in last night- almost 5 miles.  Apparently we will be walking between 5 and 10 miles every day in Italy, which is perfect if you ask me, and I want to get some consistent miles in to prepare.  I hope the Mad-Seester Rose is too!!

I ordered the last of my non-clothing stuff for this trip last night- unless I decide I need a neck pillow- geez this goes on for days.  But will all be TOTALLY worth it when we get where we are going and see what we are going to see!!

So today I will be finishing up with all of my elementary students and the rest of my high school kids as well, though I will see the big kids for a few minutes tomorrow morning.  I have no picture today, but I do have my link to art in Italy.  One week from last night we have our final meeting before Italy and two weeks from last night, I will be leaving to head to my sisters for some pre-trip excitement.

But first, I have some other things to attend to and that will be a joy- but a little sad.  Endings can be that way, but the beginnings are not that far away.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Off to the (turtle) races and 16 daysI


Getting ready for the go!
It was the last Tuesday of school yesterday, and I was dreading it a bit.  I have some quite raucous 5th and 4th graders and they do try my patience some days.  It is the number of children that are in my particular classes- I deal with a class and a half- ugh- sigh-grimace- and there are a number of factors in that whole dynamic.  Anyway, I wanted to do something that would keep them busy and truly occupied for a few days at this crucial time of the year, when all Mad-Art teachers earn their names.  So- turtle races.  I hadn't done these in 5 years, as it loses a lot of fun if the kids know what you are going to do.  I like to spring things on them occasionally and this is one of those times.

HOLD IT HIGH AND TIGHT!!
Simply put- they trace a turtle shape on tagboard, cut it out, and decorate it.  Then on race day I attach  2 thick yarns to 2 table legs, slap some tape on them to keep the yarn in place, and the kids pair up and race.  Oh- right before they race I punch a hole in the neck area, they string it on the yarn and do all sorts of contortions while staying behind a line to coax the turtle down the yarn....  and no one better be sticking a pencil into the hole to make it bigger or you are DQed and no starburst for you!!!  Yes that is right, we sort of have brackets, where they go on to the next round, and the LOSER gets a starburst candy.  And yes people - there are tears when some of them lose.....  You just can't win sometimes.  So as things go on they all end up with a candy since they all lose, except for the ultimate winner who got a bigger package of starburst.  The candy serves to keep them busy and out of the way.  Of course there are claims of cheating and all, but I just keep those turtle rolling.  Lol.
Wiggling it towards the end

I am not sure if the next groups on Thursday will have time to do it, since they have not made the turtles yet, but maybe.  I had people sticking their head in the door to see what was going on, and they never do find the courage to come in.  This sort of thing is not for the feint of heart, y'all!

Anyway, last night I had a mini-moment.  Naturally this happened when I was going to bed.  I looked at the Universal adaptor system I picked up from REI for my trip and had a moment of - holy crap do I have everything I need for this???  I started rolling through stuff in my brain and as I shut off the light decided I really need to finish my school stuff before I start obsessing over packing for my trip.  But OHHHHH that is right there at the edge of my mind.

A week from today I am going to have a mini- as in tiny, small, little - slideshow for the people going on the trip about a little of the art that we will be seeing, with an emphasis on the architecture types.  Mini because no one wants me to start lecturing on the whole history of art and also because I have no desire to turn this into a class... I just want to enjoy the trip and the students will have a little background knowledge that they can use to enhance their experience.

Anyway, on to the first day of finals!  I have had my high school kids working on final projects, and actually most of them were working right up until today.  A few are going to store unfinished oil paintings until next year.  That works out just fine, I am glad they have been busy. Cleaning begins today!!

End of the year wrap up is a bitter sweet thing, but it is what it is.  And through out we can find a way to spread some joy.