Sunday, November 4, 2018


Velvet chair with an opinion
One of my favorite things to photograph while traveling is shop windows.  There's always something I haven't seen, or it's displayed or made differently than I'd find at home.

There are quite a few mask photos here, but then again, it's Venice.  Canals and masks, those are two of the givens.

Also other interesting goodies, but I'll let you see for yourself.  Photos are all captioned.
Mechanical horse in a bookshop

Bookshop dioramas - I love the violin!

Art supply store with real ground pigment

Glass flowers - gorgeous!

I thought the triple face was interesting

The shoes on the right, please

Spice store - as pretty as the ground pigments
The smell that came out the open door - amazing
The steampunk style masks were on sale
Lovely shop, famous for making masks for Eyes Wide Shut
and other films.

Thursday, November 1, 2018


Living room on the canal
So we took ourselves away for a few days almost two weeks ago.  It was planned a while back, and then I didn't exactly forget about it, but I did deliberately not think about it.

There's just been a lot going on, with work and fall craft shows and everything else, that a vacation felt somewhere between self-indulgent and an interruption.

Didn't we have enough to do?

Which sounds stupid, I know - who bitches about going on vacation?

I took myself for coffee in town a few days before we left and thought about it, and realized what my problem was.

We've been in the house since the beginning of March, but we're not done yet.  And that bothers the hell out of me.

Sitting area in the bedroom
It shouldn't, considering what else we've accomplished in that time - packing to move, cleaning and selling my house, cleaning, painting and selling Mario's house, and cleaning, painting and listing his rental property (which hasn't sold yet), but sometimes logic doesn't enter into it.

I live by my to do lists, and my list wasn't done.

So I didn't deserve to have a treat.

Except . . . what?

View from the windows
Of course we deserved a treat.  We'd cleaned, painted and sold two houses, bought a house, moved into it, and still managed to carry on our normal lives with only minimal disruption.

Craft shows haven't been particularly profitable this year, but (a) the weather's been awful, and a few outdoor shows have canceled, and (b) I think there's some cosmic ledger that says 'you've done well enough on real estate, slow down and let someone else make a few bucks on the craft shows.'

So I exhaled, got over myself, and we went to Venice.

We had a gorgeous Airbnb.  When I went there 18 years ago, by myself, I found a small, cheap hotel a few streets from the nearest canal.  This time, I wanted a canal view.  And I got one.

Big, comfy bed
The apartment was near Campo san Mauritzio, which was so hard to find that when we went out for the first time, I took pictures all the way, like breadcrumbs to track our way back.  It was an adorable little place, a tiny kitchen, a sunken living room with double doors right on the canal (with a glass balcony which kept the rising water from entering the apartment), a miniscule bathroom and a lovely big bed under a beamed ceiling.

The weather was unexpectedly warm - in the 70s for the first few days we were there - and we left the bedroom windows open when we went out.  Big mistake.  When we tried to go to sleep that night, all we could hear was the whine of mosquitoes.

If you look closely, you can see that
the water is above floor level.  Yikes!
I'm not much bothered by them, except for the noise, but Mario is bug bait and when he got up in the morning, his shoulders were covered in bites.

After that, we kept the windows shut except for when we wanted to lean out and look at the tiny, narrow canal outside, or smell the slightly stagnant, fishy scent (which I love, but then again, I love when we drive down the shore and the first smell you get is the funky back-bay smell).

It was nice having an apartment as a base.  Even if we don't use the kitchen much, or at all, other than the fridge, I like having the extra space and the privacy.  Once upon a time, I was the kind of traveler who used dirt cheap bed-and-breakfasts, the kind with the shared bathroom down the hall.

Age and a decent salary has its privileges.

And the fridge did get used, at least.  Bottles of prosecco and my new favorite, the bottled Bellini.  I've had Bellinis before, but I hadn't realized you could get them pre-mixed and in personal sizes.

Here's to champagne and peach juice for breakfast.  Yum!

The airport opens right onto the water
As far as the traveling itself, it was probably the easiest flights ever.  For the first leg, Philly to Dublin, we got in an hour early, and despite warnings, the ground crew wasn't ready so we had to wait for the plane to get attached to the gate.  And then we had to wait for someone to open a cafe, but it was all good.  Dublin to Venice went quickly.  The longest part was the line at the airport for the Alilaguna boat, which took groups of 50+ into the city, stopping along the Grand Canal to disgorge passengers and luggage into this magical city.