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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Toscana, duo

Another day, another walled town on top of a hill.
Montalcino is famous for several red wines; the finest (or at least the most expensive) is Brunello.

We took the opportunity to try a glass with lunch, but sadly, the current restrictions on liquids in carryon luggage meant it would be too much hassle to bring some home.

On our way home, we stopped in an even smaller walled town; San Giovanni D'Asso. An American Artist bought a parcel of land there and has created an artwork that is a garden.The only rules in the garden are no smoking, no camping, no fires.

Every so often, you will come across a sculpture, or some words carved into stone. Nothing is explained, and there are no directional signs. Discreet fences mark the edges of the garden...

...and when you emerge from Il Bosco, you are immediately faced with a traditional garden.
Next stop, Firenze!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008


After our 5 days in Rome, we rented a car and headed up to Tuscany. We rented an awesome villa (60 Euros a night!), and did day trips from there.The countryside was quite hilly - some rolling, some steeper.

We were very close to a walled city called Cortona. A few km from the city proper was a monastary called Le Celle

I thought Le Celle meant "The sky", but apparently it means "The Cells"

Either way, it was beautiful.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Somerset Update

We have decided to go ahead with the radioactive iodine therapy for Somerset.

It turns out that it's quite the undertaking - the biggest part of which is the fact that she will end up spending 9 days at the specialty clinic - 2 days before the procedure (when they are assessing her), and 7 days afterwards (to allow her to excrete the bulk of the radioactive iodine). While she's in there we can't visit her, and anything that is with her will be disposed of because it will be contaminated with radiation.

How come I have to go to jail when Greedo is the one who walks all over the kitchen counter while you aren't home?

I feel horrible about putting her through this, but it turns out that the dose of thyroid medication that she can tolerate isn't working for her. So at least this will solve the problem, and will mean we won't have to torture her put ointment in her ear any more.

In an attempt to make the whole ordeal a wee bit easier on her, I am crocheting her a mat:

Radioactive kitty mat

It's just row after row of single crochet using some of the leftover yarn that I used to knit Kitty Pi. I thought I'd try crochet since it's supposed to be faster - I actually quite like the fabric it makes. Of course, I'm not entirely clear as to what to do with the stitches at the end, hence the widening and narrowing of the rows. It is coming along very fast - I just started it yesterday. We take her in on November 10th, so I have plenty of time to make it a good size for her to curl up on.

For now, we are getting in all the quality time with her that we can:


Because for 30 days after she comes home, we are supposed to limit close contact with her, and wear gloves when we pet her. At least we won't have to keep Greedo away from her.

Italy and Rhinebeck photos this weekend. I promise!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

We now interrupt regular blog activity for an unpaid political announcement:

Today is election day, and I am proud to say that despite the fact that I left for work yesterday morning, I managed to make it to the polling station to cast my ballot this evening(thus missing an every 2nd Tuesday SnB - there are sacrifices involved in being a good citizen.)

Granted, the election campaign north of the US/Canada border hasn't had nearly the excitement (or number of Ravelry groups) as the one going on to the south. This is partly because the date an election occurs is a relatively short period of time from the official announcement that it's going to happen. And partly because we have several political parties vying for our attention and votes.

Of course, there are only 2 parties that have a real chance of becoming the next government. One is led by someone with the personality of a ball-peen hammer*, and the other one is led by someone with all the authority and statesmanship of a junior high yearbook editor. There are other parties, but it's pretty unlikely that any of them would get the most seats - depending on who you talk to, they provide another viewpoint and keep the 2 big parties in line, or, they serve to siphon undecided voters away from The Big Two.

In my electoral riding, the decision I had to make was to vote for someone representing one of the minor parties, or vote for the incumbent, who is so arrogant that he doesn't even have the name of his party on his election signs.

Power to the People.

*this may be an insult to ball-peen hammers


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Knowledge is Power

Somerset likes being a well informed consumer.

Hmmm - there's a 0.02% incidence of hair loss; maybe I can blame my shedding on the medication!


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bonus post!

I'm on call for the ICU today, and managed to get home at around 4:30. Since my last few weeks have involved staying super late every night, it's almost like having a mini vacation (granted, most vacations aren't at risk of ending suddenly when a pager goes off). So I feel bound to post more vacation photos.

Our second day in Rome, we noticed these signs on the road to the Coliseum. We assumed that the run must have been first thing in the morning, since it was pretty hot during the day.
But instead, it turned out that they ran the race at night. It turned out that the couple we were meeting for dinner had to wait a good 15-20 minutes for the pack to thin out so that they could cross the road.
Pine Cone Court at The Vatican. That globe is titled "Beauty" - the big stone pine cone came from a fountain built by one of Augustus Caesar's generals. You have to wonder if someone intended that Beauty should seem so out of place here.
So does this qualify as Holy Water?
Door to The Pantheon - probably one of the most impressive buildings we saw.


Yesterday The Gamber took Somerset to the vet.

Greedo thought it was safest to lay low, just in case.

Somerset hasn't regained much weight despite being on the thyroid medication for almost 2 months. This might be partly due to the fact we can only give her 1/4 the dose, or she starts puking. It's a topical medication that we put in her ear - she doesn't like it, but it's better than trying to give her a pill every day.

So the next option might be an iodine injection. Unfortunately, if we go down that route, she might need a daily dose of thyroid hormone. Which would likely be given as a pill...

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

That high pitched noise you hear?

That would be the doppler Italy recedes...

...New York approaches.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Build it and they will come*

As promised, more pictures:

This is part of what remains of the palace that Augustus Caesar built on top of the Palatine Hill.
Scrabble, anyone?

Yes, that's THE Senate. It's kind of sad that most, if not all of my knowledge of Roman history comes from having watched the HBO series (that Marc Anthony was dreamy...a cad, but dreamy)

Legend has it that if a liar puts his/her hand in the mouth of this thing, it will get bitten off. Our tour guide said it was probably a sewer hole cover at one point in time. Surprisingly, there was a long line of people waiting to stick their hand in the hole that nasty stuff travelled through.

Somehow, I imagine that these City employees don't find cobblestones very charming and quaint.

*So this weekend, The Gambler and I took a short trip to Ottawa - he fenced in a tournament, and I managed to catch up with some Ottawa Knitters.

Nancy, Leanne, and (blogless) Linda joined me for a fun afternoon of drinks and chat. We covered all of the big topics - Famous Internet Knitters, religion, ravelry, sex, brownies, and politics. I told them about my latest hobby - starting up Ravelry groups and then abandoning them setting them free. At one point, Leanne declared her love of grafting. Then she said the fateful words - "We should start a Grafters for Obama Group".

So I did. Yesterday evening I started it up (it was an excellent opportunity for me to avoid working on a talk I have to give in 2 weeks), and made the 4 of us charter members.

We are now up to 11 members; only 5 of us are in on the joke as far as I know. I don't know whether I should laugh or be scared...

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