Sunday, May 31, 2009

In Rome

Day 1 is Rome. My sister and I arrived at 11. We found our hotel (which was a little complicated) and were settled in by 2. At that point, we went out exploring. We're staying at Hotel Vatican Holiday tonight. It's (not surprisingly) close to the Vatican. We were originally intending to go to the Vatican museums, but you need a lot of time to do that and it was getting late. Instead, we stopped for lunch, then went to St. Peter's Basillica.

If you haven't been there, it's hard to understand how big the place is. The church is tiny compared to the square. The church, however, is ridiculously huge.

We got there around 2:30, and the line stretched about half way around the square. It moved quickly, though, and we got in about 20 minutes later.

The first thing we did was visit the tombs of the popes. You can also see the columns from the original basillica many hundreds of years ago.

The tombs weren't that interesting - they were too crowded, and Pope John Paul II's tomb was a bit of a spectacle (as in people were hovering around that one in particular). Generally, if you feel like you don't get jostled by enough strangers in your day to day life, I would recommend the tombs on a Sunday.

After that, we went in to the Basillica itself.

Have I mentioned that's is huge? Beautiful, but huge and lacking seating.

Anyway, we finished going through it around 3:30, and decided to stay for mass at 4.

Eventually, we figured out where mass was - it was in an area behind the main altar. You couldn't see it from behind the barricades (which were there, presumably, to keep people from wandering through the service), but it was the size of a normal large church.

Mass was in Italian. I didn't follow the sermon, but I gathered that it was Pentecost, and there was a lot of talk about the Holy Spirit (which is more than I remember when mass is in English sometimes).
We're resting in our hotel room now, but need to leave soon to meet up with our cousin.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

See you in a couple of weeks

I'm off on vacation later today. I'm bringing my laptop, but I'm not sure how often I'll be able to update. I expect to have internet access on occasion, but pictures will have to wait until I get home, I suspect.

The garden is planted, my bags are packed, and I'm checked in. Since I'm an elite aeroplan member this year, I have the option of bringing 3 bags. Since I have to carry my bags, I'm bringing one (although I will probably have 2 on the way back - dirty laundry expands, in my experience). I also can have heavier bags, which means I don't have to worry about how heavy my suitcase is. That's kind of cool.

Look for the pictures when I get back in mid-June. In the meantime, I will try to keep my twitter feed updated.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What's that smell?

There's a church near my house that advertises that they sell compose on the morning of a couple of Saturdays in May.

Every year I forget.

Except - this year I remembered. Today I bought compost from the church near my house. It's not the pre-packaged odourless stuff - they package it in garbage bags, and there is definitely an odor.

Anyway, I'm now ready to plant the garden as soon as they finish the work on the windows.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The work continues

In fact, theyre almost done.

They dug the third hole, installed all of the window wells, and filled them in. They've got some clean-up left, but they are mostly done.

The windows from yesterday's pictures:

And the window that hadn't been started yesterday:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

High & dry

A while ago, I mentioned that my basement was leaking. It hasn't gotten any worse - it only leaked twice when we had heavy rain coupled with melting snow - but twice was two too many times.

I got a couple of estimates a while ago, and today the work started.

The work consists of digging down by three windows, filling any cracks, making sure the weeping tile is doing its job, putting a waterproof membrane on the outside, filling in gravel & sand (for drainage), and installing window wells. There is probably more to it, but that's the bits I remember.

Step 1 (today) consisted of digging holes by two of the three windows. Here are some pictures.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Look at me, updating twice in one week!

Last night was our advancement for Sparks. This is the night when the girls who are old enough officially move off to Brownies.

It wasn't the most organized of events - it's the end of the year and the leaders are all mentally done - but it went well nonetheless.

One of the mothers has mentioned how good the program has been for her daughter, because she's shy. (I have not seen this shyness - which is probably because she joined with a friend and thus she's always been comfortable.)

It's amazing to see how much all of these girls have matured over the last year. They were so ready to move up to Brownies and have more adventures. It's really cool.

Monday, May 18, 2009


It's the Victoria Day weekend in Canada, which is traditionally the weekend when gardeners plant their gardens.

I usually have a garden, but I haven't planted it yet, because I'm having some work done outside this week, and the garden will get in the way. Hopefully after the work is done, the basement will no longer leak.

Anyway, back to the garden.

Since I've had the garden, tomatos grow well. Cucumbers are fine, corn is OK (I know it's ready when the racoons eat it). However, that's about it.

This year, I tested the PH level of the soil. I bought a tester and followed the instructions. Basically, it consists of putting some dirt in the tester, adding the contents of a capsule, then adding water, shaking, and waiting a minute. The tester contains a sheet that lists what each colour means. My soil is slightly acidic, but nothing drastic.

I guess I still don't know what the problem is.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Hey there!

It turns out that I haven't dropped off the face of the earth.

Work has been crazy for the last couple of weeks, and when I get home I don't feel like turning on the computer, so here we are.

Last night I went to see the play Scotland Road. It was enjoyable, but confusing. Afterwards, the director and cast came out and talked with the audience members who remained to explain what their interpretation of the play was. It definitely helped explain what was going on.

Today I got a pedicure. The woman applying my nail polish took 15 minutes to finish it up, which meant I only had 10 minutes for it to dry before I had to leave. As a result, I left wearing "shoes" made of fun foam. I'm sure it was funny to watch me trying to walk.