Posts tagged ‘Travel’

Waiting for Miss Panino

Ciao Bloggisti!

Hope you’ve been having a good summer. I got back a week ago from our holidays in Liguria. Lots of swimming, walking and, of course, eating! We went to quite a few sagre (village fairs featuring local gastronomical specialities, live music, etc.) and stuffed ourselves silly. And I discovered a heavenly ice cream parlour in the town where we stayed. It had the most decadent, delicious chocolate ice cream I’ve ever had. The shop also specializes in real Sicilian granita but I was too smitten with their ice cream to try one. Definitely next time!

So now I’m back at my unusually quiet home, organizing the last few things in the house while the kids are still at seaside with their nonni. My mom arrived from Canada this morning, laden with so many goodies that getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight will take a lot longer than expected. But how can I resist Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chocolate-covered almonds, cheddar cheese, banana chips, jackfruit chips, fluorescent orange cheese puffs, Sweet Tarts and my beloved Ketchup chips? My mouth is watering at the very thought! But I guess it’s a good thing to be distracted since tomorrow is D-day.

Yep, I’m still lugging that panino around. I know I haven’t been keeping you up to speed with my pregnancy but I’m no Dooce. I worked full-time up until the end of my eighth month and went on holiday soon afterwards. In the evenings I was too, too tired to have the energy to turn the computer on so I spent most of my time watching 30 Rock or reading (books such as the Baby Whisperer, Kurt Cobain’s biography, The Help, The Scarlet Letter, etc.). And just between you and me, I couldn’t really sit down for long periods in front of my computer because, ahem, my keister would hurt like mad. Blame it on the belly. But the hubster recently got me a new laptop so I can write anywhere now.

Another book I’ve been reading lately is the Canadian Medical Association’s book of Mother and Baby Care. Since I’m almost at Week 40, let’s see what they have to tell me:

By this stage, you will feel very ungainly, and will be bumping into objects. (Yes and yes)

Your skin will feel stretched and taut across your abdomen and may be itchy (oh yeah!)

Your belly will be so large that you have difficulty getting comfortable in bed (ok, I get it – I’m a freakin’ whale!)

But seriously, since I know that in max. 10 days my girl will be making her appearance, I’m enjoying my last days with the bump. It may be a pain sometimes but it’s by far the easiest way to carry a little ‘un. And there’s no way to describe the sensation of a baby moving around inside of you. I will miss it. For now, she seems to be in no hurry to move out. My mom, who used to be a maternity nurse, checked my belly today and said the baby’s head still hasn’t engaged. But tomorrow there will be a full moon and anything could happen.

Since I’m not sure if I’ll be able to write more in the next few days, here’s a very overdue and brief overview of my pregnancy.

FIRST TRIMESTER

Found out the big news on Xmas day. Was more nauseous than in the previous pregnancies. So much so it was hard to hide my condition at work. Started cleaning up the house to make room for baby. She’s going to take over the old kitchen. Had a bad stomach flu, which always happens when I’m expecting. I was also DOG-TIRED, all the time! But I did have enough energy to go on a trip to Liguria, Nice and Piedmont, where Bellie had her first skiing lesson.

SECOND TRIMESTER

Felt much better. No more nausea and my energy levels (and my appetite) went up. Could start to feel baby kicking! And found out we were expecting a little girl!! The search for a name began. Started explaining to Diggy that he was going to be a big brother. Was not immediately impressed. Asked if he could punch and pinch her. Must keep an eye on him. Major cleaning and renovation work at home.

Went on a lovely Easter vacation to Tuscany and Rome. Hubby turned 40 and we threw a big party for the old guy. Started doing yoga and prenatal exercises at home. Bump started to show and I was at that awkward stage: I could barely fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes but I wasn’t big enough for maternity wear.

THIRD TRIMESTER

Felt really good during most of this trimester except for one thing: my swollen feet! But it’s normal with the heat and humidity of Milan. I would get massages and do reflexology but it was only when I was in Liguria that my feet miraculously recovered. We finished up renovations and prepared the baby’s room. I forgot how annoying it is to wash and hang onesies, tiny socks and bibs. Bellie went away to summer camp for the first time and we travelled to Carnia to visit the site.

The still nameless baby was kicking up a storm, which would provoke cramps and other fun things but nothing serious. I still had enough strength to do some major spring cleaning all over the house. Doctor confirmed that baby was going to be a big girl! It was really busy at work in this period but I managed to wrap everything up before starting mat leave at the end of July. Little bro came to visit. And finally… the panino and me went on holiday!

Now we’re in the home stretch. I thought that with all the activity and travelling that went on over the last nine months, she’d make an early appearance. But it looks like she’s a late bloomer, just like her brother and sister before her. That’s ok. I don’t mind waiting a little bit longer.

Will keep you posted!

23 August 2010 at 10:51 pm 4 comments

Sorry, eh!

Ciao Bloggisti,

Yeah, it’s been a while. But I have a really good excuse. I’m working on a certain project which has temporarily diverted all my creativity into another worthy outlet. I can’t go into details right now but I’ll let you know soon enough ;).

But can I let something off my chest right now? WOOO HOOOO!!!! Here’s to my home and native land that did a SUPER job hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics!!

There were some weather issues, technical problems and tragedies. But Canada managed to overcome it all with characteristic hard work, spirit and sense of humour (did you see those inflatable beavers?). And we Owned the Gold, including the top spot in the hockey firmament! Because of Sid Crosby, Obama now owes Prime Minister Harper a case of beer. Hee hee! But our neighbours to the south did very well for themselves despite yesterday’s loss, earning 37 medals. The Russians, on the other hand, were still smarting from their less than stellar results when they bid Vancouver a “classy” farewell in this Pravda article: “Doesn’t it feel great to slam the door behind you as you walk out, stick up the middle finger using the palm of the left hand on the upper right forearm for extra leverage and blow a giant raspberry? That is exactly how it feels as Russia leaves Vancouver after disappointing Games with a question, was the Canadian ice hockey team on drugs?” Um, no, but perhaps the Editorial Staff of Pravda was.

But enough about them. What’s more tragic is the fact I missed my date with Clive Owen!! Well, I didn’t actually have a “date” date but he was in Milan over the weekend for Fashion Week and I had no idea till a few minutes ago when I read this! Does that man know how to wear a suit or what? And just look at those EYES! And where was I? Lying on the sofa watching the Canada vs. US hockey game in German. It was worth it in the end but “scheiße”!

What else is new in my corner of the world? It’s been a pretty busy year so far but we took a much-needed break over the Carnival period. We travelled to Liguria, the south of France and the mountains of Limone Piemonte where Bellie had her first skiing lessons. She was reluctant at first but was speeding down the slopes like a pro in no time. And here’s Diggy climbing his own personal Everest.

Limone Piemonte

So that’s what’s been going around here and in my mind. And what about you? I’d love to find out how your year has been so far and what you thought of the Olympics (or Clive Owen in a suit!).

Ciao ciao

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1 March 2010 at 10:50 pm 1 comment

Paris – May Day, May Day!

Thursday, May 1

Ah, how nice it is to wake up to the sound of sirens instead of screaming kids. No joke. Despite our late omelette dinner, I was ravenous. We made it just in time for breakfast. Nothing special but the croissants and pain au chocolat were good. I also enjoyed people watching. There was one curious couple, consisting of a homely-looking man in his 40s and a tall Asian woman dressed as if she were on her way to a photo shoot. Sky high, chocolate-coloured platform heels, flouncy back-baring mini-dress, sunglasses. We were in the Breakfast Room at the Holiday Inn Express, for goodness sake! Believe me, Karl Lagerfeld was not about to walk through that door. Anyway, she definitely looked odd, and more so after I got a better look at her. Very masculine features and a voice to match. Hmmm…

After breakfast, Mimmo and I rushed to get to the Musée d’Orsay at a decent hour, hopefully avoiding the hoards of tourists. We decided the RER would be the fastest way to go. We’re both pretty confident at using the Paris Métro and RER systems and easily found our way to the right platform. Or so we thought. When the nice customer service assistant at the Gare d’Austerlitz came up to us and asked if we yokels needed help finding the right train we immediately said “Non!”. Then in a split second of self-doubt I told her we were going to the museum. Thank god I did because the assistant kindly informed us that we were on the wrong platform. Yup, yokels indeed!

We finally made it to the Musée d’Orsay and were thrilled to find that there weren’t too many people around. In fact, there was hardly anyone. My spidey senses started to tingle. Then I realized that the doors and ticket kiosks were closed. Arrrggh!! The museum was fermé for the May 1st holiday! I knew that it was a national holiday but I was sure that in culture-friendly France, they’d keep museums open for tourists. Boy was I wrong! We walked to the nearby Louvre just to check and that was closed too. It was almost heartbreaking to see the people wandering aimlessly around the courtyard, not knowing where to go or what to do. Some tourists sat on nearby benches, hoping that the powers that be would change their minds. They wouldn’t.

So, the hubster and I decided to go for a romantic stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries.

It was so romantic that we ran into Jean-Marie Le Pen and his crew. Well, not really but there was a Front National rally on a street just off the park. Le Pen was blathering about something but I was too bored to listen so we watched a mime perform instead. Well, not really but I’m sure that would have been waaay more interesting.

Now I don’t know if it was a coincidence but right after watching that rally the clouds turned an awful shade of grey. With a storm fast approaching and both museums and shops closed, what were a couple of stranded tourists to do? Well, we headed to the wonderful world of the Bateaux Mouches, the excursion boats that travel along the Seine. Yes, it’s a bit cheesy considering we weren’t first-timers to Paris but the romantic in me always appreciates the sights AND it was a covered boat. Let the storm clouds come!

Mimmo wasn’t as impressed as I was with the tour and fell asleep half-way through. I was sitting beside a yappy dog who tried to eat my hat. After we got off the boat I took some quick snaps of the Alma Tunnel, you know, the one where Princess Diana had her accident. I couldn’t help myself. I was a big Royal Family buff when I was a kid. Anyway, I felt strangely emotional standing there.

The hubster was exhausted after all that excitement and wanted to go back to the hotel for a nap. Nap?!? I was worried. When that man naps you need a choir of Yoko Onos screaming in his ear to get him up again. We had reservations for Chez Michel that evening. Would we ever be able to make it on time?????

Tune in to the next post to find out…….

12 May 2008 at 8:28 pm 7 comments

Paris – Day One

Reverie…

 

I can still see my feet walking down the Rue de Lancry, about to discover the bridges, bars and leafy walkways of the Canal St. Martin. I can still smell that distinctive odour of boiled rice emanating from the labyrinthine Métro corridors. The other smells are best left forgotten. The sound of exuberant schoolchildren playing soccer on a dirt pitch bounces off the remnants of a 12th century fortress bordering the field. Even under ominous storm clouds, the Seine is magnificent, proudly reflecting the city’s glory in its leaden waters.

 

 

Sorry for that unbearably poetic rant. Feel free to vomit now. But I just can’t help it. Every single time I visit, Paris does something to me. It turns this sarcastic bitter old broad into a mushy pâté. I’m feeling more than a little nostalgic this week. I had a wonderful weekend and while my body is back home, my spirit is still wandering around the arrondissments. Ok, now I sound like a freaky French ghost. What I meant to say was that my on-again off-again love affair with the City of Light is back on with a vengeance. Oh oui!!

 

But let’s start with the facts:

We arrived late Wednesday night at Charles De Gaulle airport and when we finally managed to get a train ticket (not easy if you don’t have a French credit card), we took the RER down to the city. It may not be glam but it is by far the fastest and cheapest way to get to Paris from the airport.  By the time we dragged our sorry suitcases and selves to our hotel in Place d’Italie, it was past midnight. But I didn’t want to miss one minute of eating Parisian food so I forced my exhausted hubster to take me to the nearest café (a place called O’ Jules). Despite the late hour, there were quite a few people having dinner, including a table full of boisterous Spaniards. Mimmo and I both had omelettes: mine with potatoes, his with ham and cheese.  Not the best I’ve ever had but more than satisfying after our tiring journey. And get this, our waiter was actually pleasant to us. He even smiled once in a while. Un miracle

So with our stomachs full, we made our way back to the hotel, dodging the occasional stream of pee or pan-handling drunk. One of them wanted to get a lift in a taxi and was flatly refused. Monsieur le Drunk couldn’t understand why: “Mais pourquoi tu ne me veux pas? Pourquoi!?!”  Despite those episodes, I was so happy to be back in Paris. I went to bed with visions of tiny sugar plum Sarkozys and Carla Brunis dancing in my head.

8 May 2008 at 5:20 pm 4 comments

Paris, tu me manques

Salut bloggisti!

 

Got back the other day from our long weekend in Paris. Except for a few minor hitches, It was soooo nice! The sights, the food, the smell of rancid clochard pee in the Metro.  Sigh! It’s hard to come back to reality. I’m snowed under with work, kids stuff, dirty dishes and laundry so I don’t have much time to blog today. Sorry! But I have lots to tell you about the trip. We went to some pretty amazing restaurants (and one unexpected favourite), ran into some quirky characters, visited my old haunts and discovered new neighbourhoods. And get this, we even met NICE French people. Oh mon dieu! 

 

courtesy of www.freefoto.com 

 

But keep checking the blog for new Paris posts and pictures. So much to tell, so little time. And I promise, I will tell. And of course there will be restaurant reviews. To whet your appetite, my good friends Brenda and Donna have kindly accepted to share their thoughts on a Parisian restaurant they tried recently. Bon appétit!

 

 

6 May 2008 at 5:20 pm 7 comments


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