Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Finally, Some Good News

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a publishing company asking permission to use one of my photographs in a book about Ohio State fans. The picture will be the front picture for a chapter about OSU's female fans. In exchange, I will receive two copies of the book when it is published in September. I have even been sent the chapter along with my photograph in it.

Of course, I agreed. For a long time I have been wanting to get serious about my photography. Hopefully this is the kick in the pants I need. I'm provide more information once the book is published. I should also note, Dave did a ton of work on this picture to make it look the way it did. I simply took four self portraits.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Italy, Switzerland, and How We Wound Up in Brooklyn

June 9

Find the pictures here.

The only television channel we could get in English while in Italy was CNN. And we watched it like it was going out of style….because it was in English. From watching CNN we learned that President Bush was going to be in Rome while we were in Rome. At the train station we began to learn what exactly that meant. We became concerned when we saw that two trains were already delayed for Rome, one of them over 2 hours. But our train was connecting through Rome and was only delayed 10 minutes. The fun really began in Rome.

The train station is attached to a mall and attached to the mall are the subway portals. We went into one subway entry and it was closed. Then we found another one and it too was closed. We started to put two and two together. We went outside and there were hundreds of police officers all in full riot gear. Our hotel was a mile and thought it really wasn’t that far (stupid marathons), so we decided to walk. This walk would have been very nice if we weren’t carrying 30 pounds on our backs, a ripped back full of souvenirs, and it wasn’t 85 degrees outside. We walked passed the Coliseum and the other ruins, but we were not happy campers. After what seemed like forever and countless outbursts and arguments, we found our hotel. And what a beautiful hotel it was.

Once checked in we HAD to take showers after our baths in our own sweat and rested a little. Then we walked around a little and before found a restaurant for dinner. We saw a beautiful park which had views all the way to the Vatican, and a rose garden. Both areas were being used and were excellent places for wedding pictures. For dinner I had lasagna and a steak and Dave had spicy pasta and a bean/ham concoction. We split a bottle of Pinot Grigio. As I have said before, the pace of dinner is quite slow in Italy, more like a feast than a meal. We saw two American families get up and leave because they were not patient enough for the service. Their loss. The dinner was fantastic.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Take a Deep Breath

People start blogs for a variety of reasons, mostly to express their lives through writing. There’s a certain anonymity to keeping a blog, yet people seem to know you and “real” people—friends and family—tend to use your blog to keep up with what’s happening in your life.

The things I write are so superficial. It’s almost as if I’ve been asked about my day and I’m giving the Cliff Notes answer. There are things going on in my personal life that I just can’t talk about on my blog. It’s frustrating. I need to get things off my chest. I need advise. I need a change of pace. I need out.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Italy, Switzerland, and How We Wound Up in Brooklyn

June 8

See the pictures here. (I'm still uploading pictures. Give me a break! There's 550 of them!)

Today we boarded a train and journeyed to Lucca. Lucca is a fortified city with a giant wall still surrounding the town. The wall used to be used for protection, but now it is a park. Mostly we went to the town to eat and do some shopping. Lunch was at Bica di Sant’Antonio, where I had meat ravioli and pork chop with potatoes. Dave had cheese ravioli with zucchini and guinea fowl. We split a vanilla frozen yogurt with berries for dessert. In Lucca I bought two beautiful pashminas—one for my sister and one for myself. They were 100% cashmere and only 10 euros a piece. We did some more shopping once we got back to Florence. I bought myself a beautiful leather purse and Dave bought his grandmother some leather gloves. In the evening we bought some gelato and made our way up to the park to watch the sun set over Florence--a beautiful last night in Florence. Tomorrow we leave for Rome.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Welcome Home

Welcome home Gordon Gee. We're so glad you've decided to return.

Gordon Gee was the sole reason I decided to go to Ohio State. I had signed my papers to go to the University of Kentucky and was about to drop them in the mail, when my mom asked me to take one more look at Ohio State. I went and while I was there I heard Gordon Gee give a speech. By the end I was in tears and knew I HAD to go to OSU. The next day I sent my acceptance to Ohio State. It was the best decision I ever made.

Oh yeah, it's Thursday. Who or what influenced you to make the schooling choices you did?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What's Been Going On?

Is anyone else having problems with Blogger that you can't put a title on your posts? Is it just me?

Well, you ask...Mer, what's up with the running? You haven't talked about the running?

That's because there really hasn't been much running. I didn't run at all while we were on vacation and for the past two weeks I've been sick. Scary sick. It started two weeks ago with intense, sharp chest pains that had no rhyme or reason. Then I started getting some shortness of breathe. At times I thought about going to the hospital, but I didn't want to go to the hospital and everyday I just hoped the pain would go away. Finally I called the doctor last week. And they gave me a fright. They took my blood pressure, my pulse, they did an EKG, a chest X-ray, and took my pulse/ox. The doctors (3 doctors) told me it could be a pulmonary embolism--a blood clot in my lungs. A CT scan was scheduled.

Yesterday was my CT scan. It was scary. I had had one before when I had all kinds of headaches, but this one was more intense. I was hooked up to the IV, took the first scan, and then the radiation came. I had never felt so hot. I was sweating. And the whole time I had to hold my breath for the scans. Because of the potential severity of a PE, I was required to wait for my results pending admittance into the hospital. And the IV had to stay in place. For 45 minutes I waited for an answer and finally my doctor called me. It was not a blood clot. My lungs/chest we inflamed, probably because of the air quality and my asthma. I've been instructed to take Motrin.

I went back to running yesterday. I did 3 miles on the treadmill and took a weight lifting class. I took breaks when I needed it and drank lots of water. And, I am trying to stay diligent on my asthma medicine. I'm glad to be well.

Monday, July 09, 2007

June 7

This was one of my favorite days of our trip. It was the day of our wine tour.

We started the day early meeting up with Rebecca Christopherson, our guide, and Rebecca and Kyle from San Francisco, California at the National Library in Florence. Rebecca drove us to Siena where we picked up Stephan and Lydia from Mississippi. From there we drop to Montalcino; a little town in Tuscany, two hours south of Florence.

Our tasting was done at the San Polino vineyards and winery. This particular vineyard is organic and is currently working with the University of Florence to find new ways to control pests. Katia Fabro along with her husband Luigi own the vineyard and winery. Katia taught us all about organic farming and biodynamics, which is like organic but with more astrology. San Polino vineyards are only about 6 acres and they bottle about 10,000 bottles per year.

We tasted two wines, both D.O.C.G. reds. I enjoyed both. We also ate bread with olive oil. San Polino also has its own olive oil and it was exceptional; the best I have ever had. We were so impressed by the wine and olive oil that we bought two bottles of wine and a small container of olive oil to take home. And at the time, we had no idea how we would get them home.

Our next stop was lunch and it was at someone’s house. This gentleman made olive oil by cold press and also offered cooking lessons in his home. We were told we were to be having a light lunch. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. Our lunch turned out to be four courses. The first course was bread, bruchetta, zucchini, eggplant, and garlic. Then it was pasta and a meat with spinach. Finally for dessert we had cherries that had been soaked in wine for a year. Then we got a lesson about cold press olive oil. Did you know that not all extra virgin olive oils are extra virgin? In fact, most are not. But, all cold press olive oils are extra virgin. So the next time you go to the grocery store make sure you are buying cold press olive oil.

After lunch we went into the town of Montalcino to tour around for a half an hour. Dave and I took lots of pictures there. We thought about ice cream; we thought about more wine, but in the end decided to just take pictures. Finally it was two hours back to Florence.

We were still stuffed from lunch so we had some gelato for dinner and shopped around the Ponte de Vecchio. Finally we made our way up to a park and watched the sun set over Florence.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Transformer at the Transformers

A little side story....Sorry about the postings about vacation. I've been really busy with home and work and life. I promise I will get the entire vacation documented.

The other night I went out with my friends for dinner. I thought it was only going to be 4-6 of us and that they were going to see Transformers, while I was planning on only having dinner with them. Transformers didn't interest me. As it turns out it was a party of 11 and all of them had babysitters, and I was the only one not going to see the movie. They convinced me and I joined them at the movie theatre.

We were 45 minutes into the movie when it cut off and the house lights immediately came up. That was weird?! Why would the house lights come up immediately. Then it got hot and we realized the lights were emergency lights and not actually being run by electricity. Funny enough a transformer blew in the parking lot and the electricity was out in the entire mall area. Our tickets were refunded with a free movie pass.

Was it the Autobots or the Decepticons?