Time of Death 10:30 pm 06/15/2019

I don’t know if you remember, back in March of this year, we received the devastating news that Snuff had Hemangiosarcoma CANCER.  The vet performed surgery to remove her ruptured spleen, but the cancer had spread too far.  The vet said that we would lose her within the next few months.

While I am grateful that I had 3 more months with her, THEY WEREN’T ENOUGH.!!!!

Snuff took her last breath at 10:30 pm on Saturday.

As I looked at this “collection” of the snuff’s things this morning, thinking this is all I have left of her, I realized that I was wrong.  My heart is full of love for her, my brain full of memories.

So now Snuff is gone, but she will NEVER be forgotten!!!!!!!

So many road trips together

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“Helping” with the yard work

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So

Much

Personality

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snuff,

I hope you know that it goes without saying that I would hold onto your forever if I could.  Watching you these last few days, I know the time has come that I have to let you go.  I can’t watch you struggle to rise each time I leave the room.    I feel that you are only holding on to make sure that we are ok.  We aren’t.  It hurts like hell, but worrying about you being pain hurts more.

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Though you will no longer be by our sides, you will forever be in our hearts.

 

Rest in Peace MY GIRL

Just a frickin ray of sunshine

I was nominated by Kim, at I tripped over a Stone, for the Blogger Recognition Award and the sunshine blogger award.  If you haven’t already, you can and should find Kim here.  Kim is a woman that has faced many battles, yet still lives to tell about it.

I don’t normally participate in awards or nominations, so bear with me as I attempt to do my best.  Ok so the rules for the blogger recognition award are as follows:

AWARD RULES:

  • Thank the nominator, and publish a post on your blog about receiving the Blogger Recognition Award. Make sure to provide a link to the nominator’s blog in your post.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started. 
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Nominate 10-15 other bloggers for this award, and inform them of their nomination.

How my blog got started. If it wasn’t at 12 pm, I would have sworn that alcohol was a contributing factor.  If you would like to read about it, please click the link for my first post.

Two pieces of advice to new bloggers.  This one is so simple.

Step one, don’t listen to me.  and step two….SEE STEP one

Nominate 10- 15 other bloggers for this award.

Not today.

sunhine

Award Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so that others can find them.
  • Add the award logo to your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers for the award and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.

To answer Kim’s Questions:

Are you an early bird or a night owl?  This one depends on the day.  I accomplish more when I start early.  I think due to cooler temps and less distractions, but if I have a project I am working on that I wasn’t able to finish, I become a night owl.  OCD?

What is your personal favorite post on your own blog?  I don’t have one.  The one I am most proud of is the first one, because it was the scariest.

What time of day do you dread?  The part of the day that my body says it has physically had enough

Have you been on the vacation of your dreams?  I don’t think so.  I have taken several adventures, but I’m not done seeing and learning new things, so I guess not.

Name your dream car.  One that is paid for!  Alright smart ass answer the question…. I would have to say a Dodge Charger, no specific year, or color.

If I see a penny on the ground would I pick it up?  Nope!  Well unless it was on the floor I just finished washing or something like that.

If I could pick a book title to describe your life over the last 10 years what would it be?  Msgraceful…. NOT!

What song title best describes my life over the last 10 years?  Emotional Girl by Terri Clark.

Ever thought of going Vegan?... LOL

I have to know, do you have a landline?  Nope!  In fact I removed all of the old phone lines from my walls when I remodeled last year.

I really am no good at following directions, and I don’t want to put anyone on the spot so I am not going to nominate anyone.  I am, however, going to post several questions and hope that you will take a minute to answer in the comments below.

  1.  How old are you?
  2. Do you remember how you found Msgracefulnot.com?  For the people I paid to follow me please skip this question.
  3. Why do you live where you live?  I mean country life or city life.  The state or country that you live in.  Do you have any plans to change that?
  4. Do you have any “dealbreakers”  or instant turn offs when meeting new people or friends?  Age, race, sexual preference, political affiliation etc, hold no weight on whether I will talk to someone or not, but I instantly either Challenge someone who is mean or “showboaty” or I instantly walk in the other direction.  I have no time or energy for know it alls or people that think they are better than someone else.
  5. Which word or phrase do you say the most on any given day?  For me, it is probably a tie between “Thank you” and “I’m sorry”
  6. Are there any words you refuse to say?  I do not have a place in my life for the words Hate or Cunt.
  7. Do you have a favorite pet or animal?  Do you have the pleasure of owning one? Why or why not?
  8. Do you have any addictions or compulsions?  If you are like me and have many, please choose just one to share.
  9. Give a man a fish, or teach him to fish?
  10. How do you take your coffee?

 

My Italian Adventure…Homeward Bound

Monday, May 27th (My last full day in Italy)

At 10:30 am, I turned the data on my phone back on. Before my trip, I had signed up for an $10 a day International plan that would allow me to use my phone as normal for a 24 hour period. I would only be charged if I turned data on or took my phone out of airplane mode. My flight was supposed to leave Milan at 10:30 on Tuesday, so this was perfect.

As soon as I turned on data, Thing One bombed me with pictures of the boys…..

Wow! I didn’t know I could be so homesick. Suddenly getting home was all I could think about. So I started to work on that.

I checked the standby list.

There were 40 seats available. Fingers Crossed!!!!

I purchased my bus ticket to the airport.

The airlines say you should be there 2 hours prior to departure for international travel. I could have purchased a bus ticket with an estimated arrival time of 8:30, but what if the bus was late again like it was when I arrived in Italy? Not taking any chances, I bought the ticket that required me to be at the bus station at 5:40 am even though my flight didn’t leave until 10:30. Ok whatever….

Did I mention I wanted to come home?

I also checked the airport’s website about where to go for wheelchair assistance. Central entrance of departures. Perfect! Tuesday should be a breeze….

………..LOL…………..

Tuesday May 28th

I woke up at 3:00 am. (again with the whole not able to sleep before traveling thing) We left for the bus station at 5:15. I arrived at the airport at 8:30. Yay smooth sailing this time?

When I walked in, I didn’t see any wheelchairs or handicap signs. I had to look for 20 minutes before I found an information desk.

“Parla inglese?”

“Si!”

“Can you tell me where to find a wheelchair please? I need some assistance.”

“Yes, go to area C 24”

I’m thinking, “I’m standing at B 5, C 24 is probably very far away…. are you sure?!?!?!

I still had 3 hours before my flight and could probably stop and rest several times, besides I was going home and could rest there. I started to head to C24. What else was I going to do?

I don’t think I am exaggerating to say that it took me almost an hour to get there. When I arrived at C24, (utterly exhausted, but with no additional broken bones) I received my standby pass and wheel chair assistance was called. When we got to the gate, I was so grateful that I had arrived early because there were maybe 20 seats total for the entire waiting area. AHH…It was very refreshing to hear people speaking English again.

We boarded the plane on time, and I was fortunate enough to have a seat in Economy Plus, which meant extra legroom!!!!!! The guy sitting next to me was very pleasant. I could hear the doors to the plane closing. The pilot came on the intercom and said they were doing final system checks and we should be on our way shortly…… I let out the breath that I didn’t know I was holding. I was going home!!!!!

Well MAYBE we were going home….

A half hour later, the pilot came back on the intercom to say that we were having some small mechanical issues but should be on our way soon. 1/2 hour after that, he said we would be leaving in about 1/2 more, but there would be no internet or electrical service on the plane…f or the entire 9 hours….hmmm ok 😦 Can we just get moving please?!?!?

OF COURSE this all happened after 10:30 so my plan expired.

We finally took off about another 1/2 hour after that. The flight itself was pretty boring, and there was not much turbulence. We “made up” 1/2 hour in the sky. We arrived in NJ at 2:40 pm. Catching my next flight was going to be close, boarding started at 3:25. Could we make it? The young woman pushing the wheelchair was willing to try. Have you ever heard the expression “Drive it like you stole it”? She had and she did! The lines for customs were incredibly long though.

I spent the time waiting, looking for the next flight. There was only one more scheduled to depart at 4:59. There MIGHT be enough time to make that one, but just in case, I began looking for a hotel near the airport. I barely remember going through customs, but I DO remember thinking it strange that I had to retrieve my checked bag, just to go around the corner and recheck it for my next flight. Maybe this has something to do with the ability to charge you with a crime for bringing something illegal into the country? You had to actually bring it in? I will google that later when I am feeling better… I am curious.

As it is, we did not make it to the gate on time. The girl that was navigating the wheelchair explained that she had to “dump me” there anyway, but I could have the agent call for another “helper” when I figured out my next step.

I still had time to make it on the last flight if I could figure out which gate it was actually departing from. (the monitors had changed the information 3x in 30 minutes) After the gate C88 stayed listed for more than 20 minutes I made my way there and found a charging station to plug in my completely drained phone.

At 5:00 I got a text from Thing ONE. “What is going on with your flight? Dad and I are trying to figure out who is picking you up from the airport, but the information keeps changing.” (Einstein had to work in the morning so he would be covering the pre 10pm landing flights, anything after that Thing One would handle unless it got too late, then it was a hotel for me)

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She had to repeat this to me 3x, since I didn’t even remember how I got to gate C88. I didn’t remember purchasing the $15.95 chicken salad sandwich that sat in my lap, or the two empty Starbucks coffee cups that sat at my feet. Had I been sleep walking? Is that even possible? I typed the basically the same thing to her 2x also (at least according to the screenshots on my phone)

I talked to the gate agent who assured me that I was in the right spot, and that I would absolutely positively get on this flight. (the flight had been delayed while they were waiting for crew members coming in from Miami.)

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Around 7:30, I texted back that the flight crew was here and they did all appear to be “Floridians”, so MAYBE the information I was hearing MIGHT be true? I used language that was a bit harsher, so I will not be sharing that screenshot…. My only excuse was that I was very tired :/

At 7:45, we boarded the plane. I was in the very last row, but I had the entire row to myself, so I “laid down” and tried to sleep.

Is it any wonder my phone battery is always dead? I mean even without dropping it in the toilet, I am a pretty rough on it.

Passengers were getting angry. Half saying they wanted off the plane, the other half arguing that we should hurry and beat the tornado. Me? I just wanted to sleep…ANYWHERE.

The pilot came back on and said something like “we are going to make a run for it.” The flight crew started rushing around re-locking things down. I tried to text Thing one again hoping she got the message… Im fly…. and we were gone in 5 minutes.

Since I am writing this, you all know that I survived my trip. Although, I had a wonderful time, I am not looking forward to traveling again at the moment.

My Italian Adventure pt 4 Big differences

In my first post about going to Italy, Italy or Bust, I stated that I have always wanted to spend some time experiencing the daily activities of someone living in Italy.  I wanted to see the country from a non tourist perspective.   I feel like I learned a lot while I was there, and I did see many differences, but now I have so many more questions.

First major difference- The language

20190531_155610Ok, I did know that it would be different, but I remembered from my trip 20 years ago,  most people spoke English as well as Italian. As long as you learned some basic phrases you would be ok.

This is SO NOT THE CASE when you are NOT in the tourist areas.  I found the phrases I used the most were Parla Inglese? (Do you speak English? ) and Me dispiace. (I’m sorry)  I probably also should how learned how to say I broke my foot and had surgery or something like that, because everyone tried to ask me about it.  (yay for a picture being worth a thousand words)  After the 100th time I was asked, I just showed the picture.

 

I didn’t feel the need to say that I also broke the screw…..shhhhh

Second difference- The power or electrical connections

In America, to the best of my knowledge our outlets look like this everywhere20190531_155734

you have two different types of connections that you can plug into the same outlet that look like this :

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or this 20190531_155746

But in Europe the outlets or plugs are round, like this:

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Talk about a square peg and a round hole.  (Yay I remembered this from last time and brought this adapter.)

The metric system-

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I grabbed a package of this rice something or other to have for one of the days I was alone. Looking quickly at the pictures told me to boil some water, add the package contents, and cook for 15 minutes… I think….. um…

How much is 600ml of water?!?!?!?!

This would not have been such a problem if I had wifi or turned on my International data plan, but I didn’t …..smh another long story.

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On the subject of food, I am pretty sure you will not find these two in a baby food aisle in America, well at least not a big chain store.

Nor will you find “real” pizza in Italy.

Ok, ok you can find pizza in Italy, just not what most American’s consider Pizza.

I have never ordered pizza while in another European country.  Does it more resemble Italian pizza or American Pizza?

 Let’s talk COFFEE-

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I knew that coffee could be made on the stove, but I have never actually seen anyone do it.    Is this the norm all over Europe?  I feel that most people in the states own a coffee maker or espresso maker that looks more like these…

 

Other Differences in the Kitchen

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It took me a very long time to do dishes the first night, not because they don’t have a dishwasher (I actually prefer to wash them by hand), but because of the limited amount of space that I had to stack and dry them. When I told Daniela this the next morning, she gave me a weird look and said, “well why didn’t you use the strainer?”  How would putting a strainer on top of a strainer area help?!?!?  Then she opened the cabinet to reveal the strainer she was talking about…..

Pretty creative use of space if you ask me

 

There is no bottom to the cabinet, so any water drains back into the sink.  I started to think about the homes I have lived in.  This would not be possible in any of them, because every single one of them has a window over the kitchen sink.  Is that an American thing?  Have you ever seen a system like this?

The size of the glasses amazes me too.  In America, I feel like everything is supersized. The glasses that come in most dinnerware sets hold at least 16 oz.  We carry thermos’s or huge water bottles.  Every home that I was in had glasses no bigger than the palm of my hand out for dinner.

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Pepper, Salt, Sugar and Coffee?

This is the standard pre-labeled set that you will find on most counters.  I don’t think I go through that much salt and pepper in a year.  For me the coffee one would have to be double the size, unless I used it for espresso and had a separate one for coffee.  I don’t need a sugar one, but I think most Americans do.  Not right or wrong, just different I think.

Toilet and Bidet

I have some very interesting bathroom stories from my previous visits to Europe, from having to literally squat over a hole in the ground or a pipe coming out of the ground with no seat to what I believe you find in most homes…the toilet bidet combo.

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This time I had to ask why….. “Why are Europeans so obsessed with using bidet’s?”

The response, ” well you do realize that most European’s do not shower everyday correct? Well this allows us to keep our dirtiest parts clean without needing to waste the water to shower”

Huh…well that’s pretty simple….Duh Grace.  Not only does that reasoning make sense to me, but maybe WE’RE doing it wrong?

The same way I personally feel that we are doing this wrong.

20190531_164555In most rural communities in America at least once a week, you see these cans sitting on the curb, well at least the big one.   GARBAGE.  The recycle cans are usually half the size unless you pay more for the duty to save your planet…smh

While at Daniela’s I had 6 different bags to choose from …paper, cardboard, hard plastic, soft plastic, glass and I don’t remember the rest, but I can tell you the actual garbage can was the smallest.  20190527_145925

Marble, Stone, and Concrete

They certainly don’t build things the way they used to.  (At least in America)

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With all the “cookie-cutter” type houses going up, heck now the itty bitty houses whatever they are called…you have to appreciate something that was built to last.  I don’t think even the million dollar homes in the states have marble stair cases, certainly not in a three story house.

 

 

 

 

Automobiles

In America, 95% of our cars are automatic (not stick).  In Italy 95% are stick, not automatic.  I also noticed that there were no “pick up trucks” anywhere.  Because I live in a rural area, they are more common than cars.  I believe most people know at least one person that owns one.  I didn’t see one.  I did see one Chevy and one Ford but I didn’t pay attention to model.  Most cars were toyota, volkswagon, or fiat that I could tell.  And the parking? 

Laundry-

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Not at all an uncommon sight.

And for the rainy or colder days, there is always inside!!!!!

 

NO SCREENS

 

Can someone please tell me one place in America that you don’t need screens on your windows?  I couldn’t imagine not having screens in Illinois.  The entire time I was there, the only unwelcome guest I had was ONE FLY and because he had eaten so much pasta he was very easy to kill…..sorry bad joke…..  I wish I had thought to take a better picture :/

Do you know that smoking kills?

 

Same Brand…which one does a better job of telling you?  Sorry on the SIDE of my American pack it does have a surgeon generals warning: Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide.

The entire time I was there, I had a love/hate relationship with the bells on this church.  I did not mind the 12 bell tolls at noon and midnight, I thought it was “cute” that on the 1/2 hour there were two softer chimes.  What I didn’t like was one being so damn close to them, and two the 4 hour ringing of them on Sunday for a first communion.

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I forget that little children have big ears.  Daniela’s son overheard me telling her about about the masses that had turned out, and the horrible sounds of the bells  for HOURS.  He asked Daniela, “Why doesn’t Grace go to church momma?”  Her response was, “Remember, Grace is an American, and the best part about that is that she has the right to make her own choices”.

Did I mention I really learned alot on this trip?

From city to city, or rural areas to city living, or crossing state lines in America you will find many differences in the way things are done if you pay attention.  The things I mention in this post are things I have not seen anywhere in America….. yet…..

Have you traveled to another country?  What were your struggles?  Did you learn anything that you could be doing better?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Italian Adventure part 3

As you know, nothing about my trip (adventure) so far had gone as planned.  Arriving in Italy was no exception.  Well I did arrive, AND both of my bags arrived, so there is that.  I had a little over an hour before I would need to catch a bus Daniela’s hometown., so I headed for the caffe, and successfully ordered a tall black american coffee.  Not perfect but, I said “caffè americano senza crema o zucchero”,  what I received was a small cappucino…. I would like to say that coffee is coffee, but I would be lying.  I drank what was given to me and after 20 minutes went back to the line and just asked for 3 shots of espresso in English.  The girl responded, “are you sure?”…. Yes I was sure.  and this time I got what I asked for.  YAY!

I went outside to catch my bus and fortunately did so without issue.  Within 20 mins of our departure, I had to laugh when I saw this…..silly parking

I have never seen cars parked facing opposite directions on the same side of the street other than in Europe.  Is this an all over Europe thing?

I arrived in Bergamo without issue, other than being a 1/2 hour late.  After the hugs, kisses etc though I knew my First order of business a nap for a couple of hours!… Ok well after making it into the house….lol

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Daniela thought it might be easier for me to come DOWN the stairs, rather than try to climb UP them, so they parked at the top to drop me off. (I am sure there is a youtube video out there somewhere of the nutty American climbing down the steps with a boot on.)  YES everyone came out to watch and for some reason, EVERYONE also seemed to know I was an American without me even opening my mouth…Maybe it was the white socks?

A couple hour nap was just what I needed to get on track.  I went to bed at a normal time that night and was good as new the next morning!  That is until I dropped my damn phone in the toilet….smh

The views from my room and the balcony over the next week…..

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Tomorrow I will share some of the very big differences that I observed in Italian Culture versus American.  If you have a moment please check back because I would really like to discuss some of the things I saw.  Are the differences Italian vs. American?  Are they young  versus old?  Is this city versus country etc?