Monday, February 25, 2008

La Dolce Vita!

My "Make it Happen" Trip of a Lifetime
February 16-23, 2008

This is my tour director, Annarita, and she was great! Every three words she said, "Alora (sort of like "okay" or "well" in English) and so that word became addicting. She ran the show but in every city we had incredible local tour guides.

VENICE (Venecia)

The Gondola ride , of course... I had the Opera singer & Accordion player in my gondola!

St. Mark's Basilica

People keep asking me if I tried the Italian Gelato. Here's my answer:
  • Day 1- Hazelnut (Mi Favorito!!)
  • Day 2- Mint Chocolate
  • Day 3- Carmel
  • Day 4- 1/2 Pistachio & 1/2 Nutella
  • Day 5- Coconut
  • Day 6- 1/2 Strawberry Fruit Sorbet & 1/2 Cocoa Chocolate

Tuscany was beautiful! We stopped for lunch at this Frattoria (Family Farm) where they specialize in making Wine and Olive Oil.

As you can see I had a lot of fun in Pisa!
FLORENCE (Firenze)

I am standing on the Ponte De Vecchio Bridge and this became one of my favorite places in all of Italy. I love bridges and this one had a great view of Florence and was covered in little shops. I think discovering unknown spots and places was on of my favorite things on the trip overall!

The Duomo. This HUGE Cathedral took 400 years to complete. You can walk up the 463 stairs of the bell tower for an excellent view of Florence.

This is the view of Florence with the Duomo in the background from Michelangelo's Square. There is a copy of "David" in the square. Later I got to see the original.


This was a quick stop along the way to Roma--the St. Francis Basilica.

ROME (Roma)

I love the Pantheon. There is this huge open circle in the middle of the Dome the allows the sun (or rain) to stream inside. Also if you want to wait 5 years, and you have 273 euros, then you can get married inside.

The Coliseum at night! This was around the corner from my hotel.

I made it to the Piazza De Spagna, The Spanish Steps, a dream come true! For those of you who have known me for a few years knows I have wanted to sit on the Spanish steps--they had become the symbol of my goal of getting to Italy! It felt so great to sit there and realize I had made one of my life goals come true!

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Here I go! I'm on my way to Italy today! I'm making one of dreams/goals come true! Pictures will be coming when I get back. Thank you if you were a part of making this happen for me!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Big Apple

I found myself with time to spare and decided to join my friend, Alice, in NYC for the a few days. Alice, who works for E & Y, was already there on business so it was perfect timing to hang out. It was great to just get away from everything and walk around NYC. During the days I was at my leisure and then at nights Alice and I played.

It was great to meet up with old friends, take in some entertainment, and overall just get away!


Wednesday night (I arrived earlier in the day courtesy of the Lucky Star (say the L like an R), bus. That night the lovely Sara Borg, now native New Yorker, took us down to a great part of Manhattan known as "Hell's Kitchen". This was my first time there but it seemed like a great place to find good food. I spotted a Lime (I love all things lime) and asked about this cute little place.

I can't even tell you how great the food was here! This is a must eat place if you are in NYC! The empanadas were fantastic and I had quite possibly the best quesadilla I have ever had! As good as the food was it was great to see, catch up, and spend a bit of time with Sarah!


I wasn't planning on going to see a show this time around but I just can't help it. I know I won't be living on the East much longer and I will kick myself for not taking advantage of seeing all the shows I could. So I need to see at least one show every time I'm in NYC. It just so happen that Marry Poppins was the show of choice. The tickets were affordable and I really wanted to see this great show. I loved this movie as a kid! So I got Alice & I tickets and we were off.

I have to admit that the first act wasn't what I was expecting but I moved to a way better seat for the second act and the show came to life for me. Among the highlights was Bert tap dancing on the walls and ceiling (and singing upside down) and Marry Poppins flying with her umbrella right in front of me ( I swear I could almost reach out and touch her). I just love musical theater!


The WTC Path Station is the temporary place to read about the events of 9/11/01. This is where you can read about updates on how the rebuilding is going, what it will look like, and so forth.

This is a part of what the Memorial Park will look like. The two fountains you can see above will be where the two towers fell and they are currently rebuilding the other buildings. There will be a very large museum and visitors center and also a new Port Authority and something to do with MTA. It looks like it will be absolutely beautiful!

This is at the site where the WTC towers crumbled. It explains briefly the time line of what and how things happened on that day. The pictures are vivid and powerful--I almost didn't take pictures-it felt like a hallowed place.

This is the Visitor Center on Liberty Street (oh the irony) for all things related to the tragedy of September 11, 2001. I stood outside for what seemed like forever debating on whether I should go inside or not. It was the same kind of debate I had with myself when I was asked if I wanted to go tour the Katrina wreckage sites in New Orleans. I don't about you but I get a little bothered by people trying to turn a penny by hashing out and through real people's tragedies. At the same time I'm just as curious as the next person (if not more since I was serving a full time mission during September 11 and didn't experience it like the rest of the world) to know how people are surviving and their sad stories.

In the end I decided not to go inside and opted to come back sometime once the memorial park is here and take some time to reflect. It was the same in New Orleans I opted out of the tour that would have taken me through people's actual yards and torn down houses and just went to a nearby art exhibit that showed pictures of the before and after pictures of Katrina.

I think just being in New Orleans when the Super Dome was reopened( to see how much the people there wanted to rebuild their lives), being at the Ground Zero site, and sensing a small part of the change that was wrought in those places was enough for me. In both situations my heart hurts still for those whose lives were caught up in the waves and wreckage of unplanned and unprepared for catastrophes.

Thank goodness that I believe in God that knows and sees all and can heal every heart and mend every sorrow!

Monday, February 11, 2008

On My Way

I'm on My Way! I'm finally going to make it happen! I'll be leaving for an 8 Day adventure to Italy on Saturday! I have wanted to do this for 5+ years now. I just never seemed to have the time, money, or find people to go with me. So I just decided to do it-make it happen! I will be with an English tour that stops in Venice, Florence, Rome, and a few other places along the way (Pisa).

As the song says, "Left my troubles all behind me..." That's what I'm going to do!

This is performed by Broadway Boys!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Rock the Vote

I just voted. I am very aware that the very short walk around the corner of my house to the nearby grade school where I cast my vote was anything but simple. True, it didn't take much for me, I registered to vote, I walked around the corner, I got a ballot, filled in my bubble, and walked away. It wasn't always that easy and it certainly wasn't always this way.

This year I decided that I would do something different as far as my awareness in politics. I decided that I would become much more aware of the issues, of what people were talking and debating about, but more importantly how I feel about certain topics. In the past I was more likely to just walk away from any political debate than argue my opinion. I think it was more because I didn't know my opinion than that I didn't like politics. And so with my Make it Happen motto in mind I decided I would change that. I would get involved, I would study the issues, and I would cast my vote!

I was amazed at what a sense of accomplishment this vote has become for me personally. As I was voting I couldn't help but be grateful for the Susan B. Anthony's of the world and for all the women who wouldn't give up their right to have a say in the world that surrounded them. I am very grateful for my right to vote and for the 19th Amendment!

And so in little ol' Watertown, MA I cast my vote for President, I raised my voice, I have become a part of the Democracy, the voice of the people, and I am forever indebted and grateful for all those who came before me that allowed me to have this opportunity!

Today I rocked the vote!