Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bringing home the gold(s) . . . and my Kitten(s) plans!

I have really been enjoying watching the Olympics this past week! Here's a big shout out to the Women's Individual Gymnastics Gold and Silver winners for their outstanding performances. And what can you say about Michael Phelps record 8 gold medals in one Olympics! Great historical moment! How about USA's 4 Beach Volleyball Southern California Athletes who are making their way to the medal rounds! And did anyone see the men's 100 meter race. In a blink, the gold medalist from Jamaica was at the finish line. Awesome speed!

I remember when my friend and I decided to train and run in our first marathon. It took us 9 months of sacrificed evenings and weekends filled with hours and hours of running and cross training just to finish under 6 hours! By the way, here's a photo of me crossing the finish-line in my first marathon! I was smiling and had my hands up in the air as if I was an Olympic Champion! Sometimes a little bit of fantasy doesn't hurt! He he!

I can't even wrap my thoughts around the kind of dedication, passion, sacrifice and lifetime commitment that it takes for these gifted athletes (and their family) to train in order to become an Olympian and then to be able to compete with the best in the world in a setting like the Olympics. Just awesome!

Speaking of gold . . . (like the not so smooth segway)! I've been busy this weekend but have really done a lot on my Venice photos. While working on them this morning, I thought that I would take a few photos of some of the treasures I brought home:

What would a trip to Italy be without bringing home some Italian Wine (by the way if you're looking for a good way to bring home wine on a trip, you need to check out these wine skins, an idea I learned about on Slow Travel) . . . .

Santa Maria Novella products . . .

Burano Lace . . . .

I was fortunate to gaze upon some beautiful art on this trip and so it is only befitting that I bring a little bit of that home. I got this print from one of the local artists displaying their art near San Marco . . .
And don't forget "My Little Venice" . . .

I wonder what treasures I'll decide to bring home from Spain . . . maybe some Cava or Jerez! Thanks Maria for that great link! Or maybe I can get a miniature Alhambra or Flamenco Dancer . . . .

For a while now I've been thinking of getting a little kitten and after reading several blogs I am definitely inspired. Annie recommended a book called "Cats For
Dummies" which I found at B&N on Friday. I have been enjoying reading Annie's and Anne's posts about Maria, Lulu, Polly and Winston. I also enjoy looking at Leslie's cool photos on her blog. Their kittens and cats are all so adorable and so now I'm inspired. I've read several chapters of my Cats for Dummies book already and I am finding the information really helpful. This is a very big decision for me and a responsibility I don't take lightly, so I want to learn and read as much as I can. I'm very excited and can't wait. Thanks for the great book recommendation Annie!

81 Days and counting . . . .


  1. Regarding the Olympics, great US indoor volleyball match today. They play Italy, who I hear is really good, on Tuesday (4 am Hawaii time so will be taping that one). The women's marathon was exciting to watch and the men's 100 - wow is that guy fast! Too bad he didn't run hard all the way to the finish line though. I wonder what his record could have been if he really tried.

    I just love your Venice print. Lucky you to get to plan your trip. I think I am getting into my post trip funk big time now. It has been harder to even work on my photos to post, although with work starting and all my time watching the Olympics, I just haven't had time.

    Cats are wonderful pets. I grew up with cats and left my sweetie Makapuu with my ex-boyfriend when I moved back to Hawaii because I just could not put her in quarantine. I miss having a cat but it is too hot in my place when I go to work and don't want to put in AC just for a cat. Someday if I move and get a bigger place and stop traveling, I will get another cat. I am excited for you and can't wait to see your new little kitten when you take that leap.

  2. Hi Girasoli, that indoor volleyball game was great! It was scary when the other team won one of the sets, but the US came through with some clutch players. I will have to see if I can tape their next game too. Our number two beach volleyball women's team got eliminated yesterday by the number two team from china which is a bummer.

    If I had been more organized, I probably would have finished my Venice photos by now but I took so many photos and took very little notes (something I am determined to do better on my Spain trip). I've done several posts about my Venice trip but need to finish my traditional report that I do on every trip (or at least all three of them). I'm determined to finish everything today though.

    I totally understand your post trip funk! Good thing that post trip blues is temporary. It'll be interesting to find out where you'll be going to next.

    BTW, Makapuu is such a cute name! Too bad you had to leave him/her with your ex. I share the same concerns that you have. I worry about getting a little kitten and leaving her at home while I'm away long hours at work. When I travel I'm pretty sure I can find someone to come in and check on her but I would still worry.It's not like having a child but it's still huge to be responsible for something else besides me. But I'm studying about what's all involved and am gaining more confidence on my decision. I think the joy of having a kitten(s)is outweighing my concerns over leaving her at home alone or the added responsibility.

    Thanks again for your comments and have a great week!

  3. Wonderful post! I love seeing all your Venice treasures. That print of Santa Maria della Salute is SO beautiful! And I love SM Novella products; I bought a bunch of them in Florence on my first trip to Italy. And thanks for the tip on the wine skins; I brought one bottle home last December but just wrapped it in my dirty clothes - I'm glad to know about a better way.

    Hey, running a marathan and finishing it is a BIG accomplishment so I don't blame you for celebrating!

    And I'm so happy that you got the book. It's really helped me a lot - I had a lot to learn since I'd only had dogs for 20 years and LuLu was my first cat.

    Cats are so much easier than dogs and less expensive too. They don't eat as much and the vet bills aren't as high. I know that you will be a great mom to your kitten(s)!

    One idea - if you decide you don't want to get two kittens, I wonder if you could adopt a mom cat and one of her kittens? That way they would have company. I've never had two kittens at the same time but my friend Donna always adopts two at a time and she says that two is just as easy as one.

    Thanks for the great post and have a good week!

  4. Oh, and I forgot to ask you about the Burano lace - those are beautiful! Are they table cloths?

  5. Hi Annie, thanks for your comments. It's funny that I can't handle my wine but I like collecting them. I still have 3 bottles from my 2005 trip that I purchased in Cinque Terre. The wine skins are great. They are flat and very light to carry on the way over. And what I really like is that it really locks the winebottle in and secures it in case there may be a breakage. I still like to cushion my clothes around and in between the breakables like my wine bottles just to be sure.

    After my first marathon experience, I really learned that I could actually do anything I set my mind to and succeed at it. And I have applied that philosophy to my abiity to travel solo. :)

    I love that print too. I really like buying prints from local artists in all the places I visit. And I acutally enjoy talking to the artists too and learning more about them. It just makes me appreciate my print souvenirs more knowing who painted them. It's another tradition I enjoy doing on my trips.

    Those SMN products are fantastic and I'm glad I was able to bring some home. They made great gifts too.

    To answer your question on the Burano lace you see. The lighter shade one is a full dining table cloth. So pretty. The patterns are so beautifully done. Simple but very elegant and classy. I put a darker cloth underneath it which makes the design stand out more. The other one is a table runner. I got it for the table behind my couch. I bought a third table cloth for my sister but forgot to take a photo of it, before I gave it to her as a Christmas gift. I had the hardest time choosing them. The poor sales lady was so patient. She must have took out about 10 different desgins and put it on their table for me to look at. I couldn't decide between two of them so I ended up treating myself and buying both! I will probably only put them out when I have guests over! :)

    Thanks for your great suggestions and recommendations on my decision to get a new kitten. That book has been very helpful. I like the idea of your friend. When I also see how Lulu and Maria and Winston and Polly all get along, that does seems like a great idea.

    It will be a fun process for me and I can't wait. Maybe a great Christmas gift to myself.:)

    Glad you enjoyed this post. Thanks again for your comments. Have a great week!

  6. First of all, what a fantastic photo of your first marathon. That is a really major accomplishment. I ran a half-marathon several years ago, and even training for that was grueling. You must be really proud of completing so long a race.

    I love your Venice souvenirs, that print is wonderful. These make such great souvenirs because every time you look at it, you'll remember when and where you were when you bought it! I'm still hoarding my SMN products, waiting for the time when I can smell them and enjoy them properly. And I love the wine skin idea!

    Lucky you, pondering a cat adoption. I really like cats, but have severe allergies, so I can visit cats but not live with them for very long. They are such characters! I think you'll have so much fun....

  7. Hi Sandra, thanks for your comments. Congratulations to you as well on training and running your half marathon race. That's a very big accomplishment too. I think training and running in any road race is very grueling. I remember the first 10K that I did. I was third from the last but I finished. The physical and mental conditioning is so demanding on any road race. But in the end, the experience of being able to reach such a demanding goal is so rewarding.

    I hope that your recovery is going well for you. It would be so nice for you to be completely healed in time for your trip. I notice your countdown clock at 25 days. How exciting for you. I can't wait to read your blog.

    I agree that one of the special things about all the souvenirs is the memories that come alive just by looking at them. When I look at my beautiful print, I remember so many things like attending mass at the Maria Salute church, cruising down the grand canal, the colors of all the buildings in Venice, the colorful gondolas . . . It's great!

    I'm really excited about my adoption plans for a new kitten. I think it will be fun too!

    Thanks again for your comments. Have a great week and I'll keep my eye on your countdown clock!

  8. I can't believe I forgot to comment on your marathon finish! I remember grumbling in high school when I had to run a 440 (which I guess now would be a 400). I'm a walker and a hiker, not a runner and a biker. I just don't have the endurance for the pain I guess.

    Oh, and I agree about getting 2 kittens instead of one, especially if you will be gone at work during the day. There really is not much difference except for my to clean in the litter box.

  9. Hi Kathy,

    I've been trying to comment on your last post but every time I click on the comments page a blank page comes up and I never see the comments. It might very well be my Mac which I'm beginning to dislike a lot. Anyway, I'm writing this off line and hoping to get to the comments section of your blog.

    The marathon picture is fantastic. Congratulations on this big accomplishment! I greatly admire anyone who endures the rigorous training of any sport to reach a personal or team goal. You look like an Olympian to me and you deserve a medal for running your first marathon.

    I've heard of the wine skins but didn't think about getting any since we hardly ever bring wine from our travels. However, this time we may decide to bring something special from Spain. Thanks for the tip!

    I love looking at your lovely souvenirs. The 'Little Venice' reminded me of the post on Annie's blog about this collection which introduced me to your wonderful blog. I have a collection of miniature objects from around the world and I've been eyeing the mini bridge to add to my collection. It's on my shopping list for my next trip to Venice. Your Burano lace is gorgeous and so is the lovely Venetian print. You made excellent choices and I bet these are a constant reminder of the magic of Venice.

    In regards to cats: you have three resident experts on everything about cats in Annie, Anne and Leslie. It'll be exciting to read all about the lucky kitty (kitties) who will become your furkid(s). Did you start a list of possible names?

  10. Hi Girasoli, thanks for your comments. I also enjoy hiking a lot too. I've done some hikes around the Santa Monica Mountains, but the biggest one I've done was the Yosemite Half dome. And both my friend and I agree that hiking the dome was so much harder than running the marathon. It was so tough because it took us 12 hours and the terrain was so challenging especially that last part up the dome. But we had an awesome time and I would love to do more long hikes like that one. I think all sport activites are great if you enjoy doing it and find it personnally challenging, fun and exciting.

    I'm really beginning to think that getting 2 Kittens would be better also. I just think it would be so lonely for my little kitty by herself.

    Thanks again for your input and encouragement.

    Have a great week. Enjoy watching the rest of the Olypmics. Sadly, only less than a week left!

  11. Hi again Kathy!

    In my rush to get the comment posted I forgot two things:

    Did you see Anthony Bourdain's program last night? I thought it was very good. He showcased a few excellent restaurants that the average tourist will never visit and some high end Spanish cuisine but the first segment about the delicacies coming from a can is pure España. The wine drinking from that glass bottle was also wonderful. And the chocolate had me drooling. The scenery was beautiful and so green since the episode was about Northern Spain.

    Second thing I forgot: Have a great evening!

  12. Hi Maria, I was just reading your blog about Dean! We must have been on each others blog at the same time. :) Thanks for your comments about my first marathon. It was definitely one of those "life defining" moments for me, sort of like traveling solo to Europe. Awesome feeling.

    I'm glad you find the wine skins information helpful. I think that it will definitely keep that very special something from Spain nice and secure in your luggage.

    I love all my venice souvenirs. And it's so true. Everytime I see my beautiful print and little Venice collection, I am always reminded of the great time I had in Venice last year.

    I have definitely been inspired by Annie's, Anne's and Leslie's blogs. I love looking at all their photos and hearing about their stories. So much fun!

    I have been thinking about what names I could give my new kittens, but nothing that have really jumped out yet. I told Annie that maybe while in Spain I'll be inspired with a few recommendations by what I'm seeing. A Spanish name would be so cool!

    Thanks again for your comments Maria. Have a nice evening and hope the weather cools down for you in Arizona.

  13. Hi Maria, I enjoyed it very much and was really impressed that he considered that Spain (specifically Northern) was the best. I loved the wine bottle drinking scene. And that other guy didn't even mind missing when he was drinking. That seemed like fun. And that part where the guy made those strawberry shaped deserts, that was cool. The canned food was interesting. I also would have guessed that a canned food item wouldn't be as good as freshly served food, but Bourdain gave it high praise. And that place was packed with so many customers. I am so looking forward to enjoying some Spanish Cuisine on my trip. I keep reading that Spain is really high on Seafood, which is right up my alley so I think my dining experiences will be awesome.

    The scenery is gorgeous. I wish I could visit Northern Spain on this trip too. Next time for sure!

    Thanks again Maria and have a great day!

  14. Wow, a marathon - way to go YOU!!!

    I love your little Venice. My mom collects those. Last summer I brought her back a gelateria, but this year I am hoping to find a little Duomo to bring her from Florence. The print is gorgeous, too!

    Yay, kittens!! Yes get one, I say! (My Polly will soon be grown up and I'll need a fix of kitten photos from somewhere...)

  15. Hi Anne, thanks for your comments. Yes, I do love my print and little Venice. In Spain I may try to find a little Alhambra or maybe a little Cathedra from Sevilla. It's fun collecting these little reminders of where we visited.

    A little Duomo for your mom, how cool!

    And yes, I'm very excited about my decision which was definitely inspired by you, Annie and Leslie.

    Thanks again for your comments. Have a great day!

  16. Oh my gosh - I had to stop and wait a minute to write this comment as the huge flock of sulphur crested cockatoos flying overhead was so noisy!

    It's 7.26am and my cats went BACK to sleep a half hour ago. They will sleep all day, probably without moving, while I am at work.

    Cats sleep for most of the day. Like, almost all of the day - so you never need to worry about them while you are at work. They don't know/care that you have gone. :)

    Yes, they are more awake at weekends when you are there, but when the house is quiet, and it's daytime - they just fall into a stupor.

    If you are there and you wake them up - then yes, they will be awake, but honestly, if all is quiet... they will stay passed out for hours. :)

    - Leslie :) (and Pyewacket and Trixie and Tigger

  17. Hi Leslie, cool profile photo! Thanks so much for your comments. I have been concerned about being away at work all day and leaving them alone so it's good to hear about your experiences. Annie also said that cats are very independent and easy to care for which would be perfect for me. Everyone has been so great with their words of encouragements, I'm so much more confident of my decision now.

    Thanks again and have a nice evening . . . or maybe it is morning there now.

  18. Kathy, I have to tell you a funny story. Last night, I was in the office on the computer and I could hear the cats running around playing in the next room. Then I heard a loud Crash! I went out and saw that a little table with a plant on it had been knocked over. It was all fine, but the funny part was that both LuLu and Maria were sitting there frozen like statues, both looking SO guilty. I had to laugh at them!

    Leslie's right, cats DO sleep a lot but then they have their little wild and crazy spells!

  19. Kathy, I just had to post a comment and suggest you try to see the new Woody Allen movie, Vicky Cristina Barcelona. I saw it last night and loved it! It was much more complex than I expected, much like some of Allen's old movies. But best of all, it was gorgeous to look at! The scenery shot in Barcelona and in a town I'm not familiar with, something like Orvieto, was stunning. The music, incredible. A lot of scenes where the characters are having a quiet drink and listening to fantastic Spanish guitar players. I'm beginning to become seriously interested in seeing Spain!

  20. Hi Annie, I love that story! That must have been so funny to see both their guilty faces . . . how cute! I do think it will be so much fun. I like wild and I like crazy spells too! Makes life a little more interesting... :)

    Thanks so much for sharing that hilarious story. Definitely made my evening. Have a great weekend Annie!

  21. Hi Sandra, thanks for the feedback on Vicky Cristina Barcelona. I have been planning to see it too so it's great to know how much you loved it. I'm sure I will love it too, especially the scenery and music. Very cool! I can't wait.

    The more I've been reading about Spain the more I am getting excited about my trip. Maybe there a trip to Spain that awaits you in the near future! Don't you just love traveling!

    Thanks again for the movie review! Have a great weekend Sandra!


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.