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Life with Jody--former Soldier (medically retired), writer (in training), and lots more
This blog tied for 3rd Place in the June 2016 "The Bard's Hall Contest

This is a non-specific blog about me and my life, the things I do, the problems I cause, and the trouble I manage to escape. Topics that may be covered include but are in no way limited to food, animals (especially farm animals), war, the military, photography, North Carolina, medical problems and medical care, religion, writing, and examples of extreme laziness.
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August 15, 2016 at 11:13pm
August 15, 2016 at 11:13pm
Howdy Everyone!

The Austrian flag is red and white so I'll write my response to the prompt in red.

August 15th--Salzburg, Austria

Historical Costume Walking Tour
Salzburg in the year 1765: The historical costume walking tour leads you through the Salzburg of Mozart with its varied aspects of music, dance, culinary art and entertainment at the Archbishop's court.

This was a LOT more fun than I'd expected! I didn't realize the tour guides were going to be in costumes! I thought we were just going to talk about what they wore back then while looking at costumes on manikins. This was AWESOME! Elisabeth and Philipp were a total BLAST! They are also total GENIUSES! She speaks English, German, and Italian! He speaks English, German, French, and Spanish! The best part was Philipp's Arnold Schwartzenegger impression...what was basically just him speaking in English with a deeper voice. HAHAHAHA!!! I'd like to add that not only was the tour fun, but Philipp wasn't too hard on the eyes. I kept jabbing SB Musing and looking over at Sally every time he would say something particularly endearing. I'm sure Elisabeth was just as hot, but you'd have to ask Fivesixer or Andy~~getting back to WDC about that. lol

Eisenstadt Woman-Power in Eisenstadt
Pursue the paths of the well-known women of Eisenstadt. In the Jewish district, you’ll hear the exciting story of Franziska Wolf and Ottilie Laschober. In the Haydn house, you’ll enjoy listening to anecdotes about Mrs. Haydn and her social circle. You'll also get an insight into the power of the noble ladies at Esterházy Palace.

In the Haydn house, I got to spend some time with Prosperous Snow and Winnie. What a neat pair of ladies. They are as sweet as they are smart! I'm glad I hung out with them some on this part of the trip. I learned a lot from them both about a wide variety of things! It was great! It made this part of the trip all the more special!

Dinner is at 6pm at Mini

Dinner was lovely. I don't even know what I ordered. lol I saw someone else's food being brought and said I wanted that. Luckily, it tasted as good as it looked. I was feeling pretty adventurous, so I didn't even ask what it was. It looked and smelled delicious and it didn't disappoint. I got to enjoy a leisurely dinner in an very elegant place with PandaPaws;VETTECH Class of '20, Carly, and Fran 🏅🇬🇧🇬🇧🏅. It was a load of fun! I haven't laughed that much in quite some time! I'm glad there wasn't really any place to sit by the time I got in the restaurant. I would have missed one of my most enjoyable times since arriving with this group. (No offense to my other travel companions!!!)

Salzburg after Dark
Get to know the secrets of Salzburg after Dark. On this guided walk you will hear chilling stories that took place hundreds of years ago and find out why we only get scared in the dark.

Scare us too!

This was one of my favorite parts of the last few days, but I like learning about real ghost stories...mind you, I don't want to EXPERIENCE one, but I like to listen and learn. lol Moody Blue: Needs an Upgrade, LostGhost: Seeking & Learning, and Finn O'Flaherty hung out with me during this part of the trip. It was funny because ONE of us started getting scared...but I won't say WHICH of us. lol But it was QUITE funny! Hahahaha! Anyway, it was really interesting learning about various stories from Salzburg, especially the part about the witch trials. Huh. I didn't know that had happened elsewhere too. Obviously there were differences, but still, very interesting.
August 14, 2016 at 9:09pm
August 14, 2016 at 9:09pm

So, today we're in Austria. The Austrian flag is red and white...hmmm...well, I can't type in white, so I'll just use red and BLACK. lol Red was the color I typed in last time, so I'll keep that. Black will be the prompt's color. I hope that's not too confusing when I go on to write about other things after this 30-Day Blogging Challenge entry...

August 14th--Vienna, Austria

http://www.altstadt.at/en One of Austria's famous Design Hotels.

Vienna is the capital of Austria, lies in the country’s east on the Danube River. Its artistic and intellectual legacy was shaped by residents including Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud. The city is also known for its Imperial palaces, including Schönbrunn, the Habsburgs’ summer residence. In the MuseumsQuartier district, historic and contemporary buildings display works by Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt and other artists.

Well, that was a very long train ride, but worth it. Intrestingly, Kittiara tried to get us to sing a Dutch song about 100 little fishes and them getting eaten by sharks one at a time. Not a bad song, but it was too early for singing. lol I should have put in my ear plugs and gone to bed rather than continuing to have fun with my roommates from our last place last night.


Vienna Love and Desire in Vienna
Stories about love and desire in Vienna are a universally intriguing and almost inexhaustible topic. Viennese have partaken in the pleasures of the flesh for centuries. The so-called “Hübschlerinnen” (prostitutes) of the Middle Ages and the courtesans of the famous Graben street of the baroque era were part of the Viennese way of life and love. This entertaining tour will give you insight into life inside those private dining rooms, and you will hear anecdotes about flirtatious encounters, but also about true love at the royal court.


What?!? No tour of the Vienna Sausage Factory?!? This place sucks! Hahaha Kidding. We are getting closer to my roots--Germany and Switzerland! *Smile* I'm excited!

I wasn't so thrilled about the idea of a "Love and Desire" tour, since I'm not a romantic for the most part, but when they started talking about prostitutes and courtesans, I decided this tour wasn't so bad after all. lol

Central Cemetery
In 1874 Viennese citizen Jakob Zelzer was the first to be buried in the newly-opened Central Cemetery. Today this resting place with more than 3 million graves is the largest in Europe. Besides countless ordinary citizens, the cemetery has the largest number of celebrity graves. Musicians such as Beethoven, Schubert, Johann Strauss or Falco; actors such as Hans Moser, Theo Lingen or Curd Jürgens; painters, architects and sculptors and other luminaries are interred here next to Presidents of the Republic and mayors of the city.


I wasn't sure how I'd feel about going to a cemetery. I haven't been to one since I came back from Iraq. At first I stuck with the group and listened to the guide talk about famous people buried here. It was interested, but I kept being drawn to looking at the other graves. Those of the not so famous. I saw one that I'm sure was for a Soldier and then I got teary. I wandered away so the others wouldn't see and I found myself just looking and looking for the other Soldiers who were buried there. Each time I found one I thanked them for all they did to serve their country and especially thanks if they did anything in a joint effort with mine.

SB Musing noticed me off alone and came to check on me at one point. That was really sweet of her, but she sensed that I was okay and just wanted solitude, so after she knew I was okay, she left me alone. I felt like she kept checking on me, but that's okay. That's what friends do. I think it was obvious to everyone that I was having some trouble, but I felt like I was doing something good for them, those many long-forgotten who'd served their country so faithfully. No one came to visit their graves, well, perhaps friends or family if they'd not been deceased that long, but for most, they probably rarely, if ever, got a visitor. After 30 or 40 years, time passes and so do friends and family. In any event, whether anyone cared, living or dead, it made ME feel better and that's what I guess really matters.

Dinner is at 7:00pm at Die Metzgerei

Interestingly, Die Metzgerei means The Butcher's Shop. I guess their meat is fresh. lol I wasn't feeling meaty today, though. Oddly, I got pasta again. lol No idea what got into me. But it was good. It tasted a bit different from what we'd had in Italy, but I suppose everyone adds their own flavor according to their national tastes. Dinner was fine; dessert was great!

Tell us about the music you heard in the cemetery, did you let it carry you to a haunted place or did you decide to crank some of your own and rattle the dead.

I also wonder if those long-gone warriors knew or cared that they were in the company of what others considered greatness. I wonder if Mozart played for them. Did they hear music? All I heard was the far away sound of "Taps" on some unknown bugle

Anyway, when we got back, Sally asked if I wanted to hang out. I think she might have been a bit worried about me. I had a lot on my mind, but knew she would be a good distraction. I was right! Her and her cocktails! She's going to turn me into a lush! lol But she certainly knows what to order, I'll give her that! She's a great person and a wonderful friend!

Real Life

Today I decided I really wanted to pet some animals, so I walked down to Pet Smart for the first time. Turns out they don't have dogs. I'm not sure if that's all Pet Smarts or just this one, but THIS one doesn't have dogs. Also, the local shelter that provides the cats, is only there on Wednesday and Saturday, so I can only play with a cat then. Seriously? What if I really wanted to buy a cat TODAY? She said I could call the volunteer in. I'd feel guilty doing that. Then again, I certainly wouldn't buy a cat I've never played with. Whatever. I was kind of irritated, but mostly that I got all hot and sweaty and didn't get to play with any pets. Oh well...

Well, I think I found out why my bar stools were in the garage sale. If you're even slightly damp (like from summer sweat), the paint starts coming off. Now the one I'm sitting on, instead of being black with a little red peaking through is now mostly red on the seat. Hmmm...inconvenient.

Tomorrow the pest control guy is supposed to come and kill my 2 wasp nests. That will be good. I also need to ask the front office about my a/c. It's really loud (though I think that might be the location that makes it so echo-y) and seems to cycle harder and gentler then harder etc. while it's on. That doesn't seem normal.

I'll be out of the Army on Friday. I'm SO SUPER SAD! I thought about buying a pet on Friday to cheer me up and mark a difference in my life. As a civilian I can more easily have pets. But I was thinking of going to visit my ex-boyfriend who would then drive me to see my alpacas in New York (state). I can't get a pet, then board it a week or 2 later. That's just wrong...not to mention, expensive. lol

Well, I broke 100 merit badges today. That's cool. *Smile*

My team, the White Walkers, won Game of Thrones. That's cool too. *Smile*

I'm just not in a real celebratory mood, I guess. I keep trying to feign happiness on this virtual trip, but I find I'm kind of a party pooper--even virtually. *Laugh*

I did mosey down to Wal-Mart to get a new thumb drive so I can download pics. Maybe I'll figure out how to upload pictures and actually put pics on all my stories like other folks have. Probably not, but I can hope. I have no idea how I managed to upload that profile pic I have that says Warning: Newbie at Work. lol I did it SOMEHOW, but I can't figure out how to upload anything again. That Writing 101 doesn't always work for my brain. Sometimes I just can't understand it! Maybe I'm having an "lack of awareness" episode and just don't know. Huh...maybe. After all, the doc said I'm not aware of them.

Anyway, the bug guy comes "early," (whatever that means) so I need to get to bed.


August 13, 2016 at 3:01pm
August 13, 2016 at 3:01pm
Howdy again!

Well, just so you know, I'll be on this virtual tour of Europe all month. *Smile* I'm still going with the red and green theme in honor of the Italian flag. *Smile*

Grab those boys, we are off for a great day.
August 13th We'll be heading out at 8am today

Our day tour will take about 9 hours so be sure to dress comfortably, we're leaving right after we lock up our gear.

Visit Verona, the setting of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ on this day trip from Venice. Soak up the city’s history, architecture and culture as you check out castles, churches, frescoes, Gothic landmarks, charming piazzas and Verona’s renowned amphitheater. A knowledgeable local guide will bring the city to life on this small-group tour limited to 15 people. Highlights Verona day trip from Venice See sights related to Romeo and Juliet, as well as other historical landmarks Skip the line at the ancient Roman amphitheater Pass by the Verona Duomo and the famed Juliet balcony Walk along the river past Casa di Romeo Learn about the city as you walk along its streets with an in-the-know guide Small-group tour limited to 15 people provides a more personalized experience

Read more about Romeo and Juliets Verona Day Trip from Venice - Venice | Viator at: https://www.viator.com/tours/Venice/Romeo-and-Juliets-Verona-Day-Trip-from-Venic...

This was interesting. I had no idea how high Juliet's balcony really was. Huh. I guess they tend to make it lower in on stage for convenience. lol I bet knowing people would be touring all this Romeo and Juliet stuff centuries past Shakespeare's day would have totally blown his mind! Hahaha

Dinner is at Ristorante Enoteca Cangrande

I got to eat lunch with Andy~~getting back to WDC. It was great getting to spend a bit more time with him. Shhh...don't tell anyone, but I have to admit, though I suppose Fivesixer has a nice butt, I'm just not a butt babe. I'm more of a chest chick and believe me, Andy~~getting back to WDC has an AWESOME chest with great abs and biceps to boot! I noticed it on our first day I was with everyone at the beach. But I was just too shy to try to talk with him. I finally got up the nerve and we had a great time. Would it be wrong to try and hang out with him next time we're at the beach??? Hahaha In case anyone is interested, Finn O'Flaherty has quite the package, too. I don't mean "package." Well, maybe, but my eyes are too polite to slide down that far. I just mean he's very well proportioned. *Wink*

Regarding the restaurant. It was very quaint and the staff were lovely. I tried the horse meat. I gotta say, it didn't really taste like chicken. lol

I know it's tempting but please don't feed the pigeons when we are walking past St. Marks.


Who knew it was illegal to feed pigeons in Venice? Interesting... Anyway, I got to spend more time with SB Musing, Sally, and WakeUpAndLive‍‍~2020. I also hung out with some folks I don't really know such as Carol St. Ann, BlueMoon, and Apondia. What a great time with some great folks! I'm so glad I got to spend some quality time with everyone!

I know it's a long day but please have all your stuff packed this evening, we're leaving very early.
We've got a 5 hour train hour ride, but it's a beautiful scenic ride to Vienna. We've got bag lunches so we can begin our day once we leave our stuff at the hotel.

While I'm not looking forward to the 5 hour train ride, I am looking forward to seeing Vienna. I just have to pack my stuff and hope a random pillow fight doesn't break out. The Army gave me a "No Combatives Profile," meaning I'm not allowed to do combatives and I think pillow fights fall into that. lol I'm pretty damaged,so... Anyway, maybe we'll end up with pillow FORTS! Those can be fun! lol Either way, wish me luck!

As for that other thing you might call a REAL life, oddly, once I'm done writing my fantasy life blog, I no longer feel motivated to write my real one. lol Is it because my real life isn't nearly as interesting or because I'm just lazy? Perhaps it's a combination of the two. lol


Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.
- Gene Fowler
August 12, 2016 at 8:04pm
August 12, 2016 at 8:04pm

We continue on our virtual tour of Europe and in the spirit of Italy, I continue to write my blog in green (prompt) and red (me) to represent the Italian flag.

Virtual Day in Venice

August 12th Venice


We have 5 apartments so we'll be split into groups of 5 or 6 per room during our stay in this crazy city.

I'm grateful that we have air conditioning again. A disturbing number of places here don't have a/c unless you're in a real hotel or something. Even a lot of the places we tour don't always have a/c. Oh well, we have it for now! *Bigsmile*

We have a two hour tour scheduled this morning and you have the afternoon to explore on your own after lunch. we need to hook up for our dinner date.


We went to St. Mark's Basilica and Doges Palace this morning. That was some of the most beautiful architecture I've seen in a very long time. WOW! Then we went to a glass blowing shop. That was SUPER COOL! I've never been someplace where they let US blow the glass. Awesome! (I think in the U.S. they're afraid of someone getting hurt and suing them.) Anyway, Fivesixer did a lovely vase. Sally actually tried her hand at making swirls in the glass. I was impressed! I was nervous for my turn, but the guy helping us made sure everyone left with something they could enjoy. I suppose it's just good business. lol Anyway, that was SUPER COOL and I REALLY appreciate Sally taking pictures of me!

I also got to enjoy more time with Fran 🏅🇬🇧🇬🇧🏅 and Jellyfish along with Sally when we went roaming around downtown and through the square. It's interesting to see just subtle differences between Italy and America, like how they can take their dogs so many more places than we can or the differences in their much more fashionable dress. *Smile*

However, after a while, I have to admit, I was exhausted. I'm too old for all this running around and I had to head back to the apartments for a little nap. I'd only planned to sleeping for an hour, but it dragged into nearly 2 1/2. I REALLY needed the sleep. I just hope I can sleep tonight. But I felt a lot better and was ready for that gondola ride and dinner!

Dinner is at 7:30 this evening, the wait is going so worth it on this Gondola and Serenade and dinner experience.

Feel the romance of a classic Venetian experience with a serenaded gondola ride through Venice’s famed canals, capped off by dinner or lunch at a renowned local eatery. Settle into a traditional gondola boat for a 35-minute ride through the Grand Canal and some of the city’s smaller waterways, while onboard musicians provide a passionate soundtrack of Italian ballads. Savor an authentic Venetian meal at the top-rated Hostaria Ai Coristi Restaurant to conclude your enchanted evening or afternoon tour. Highlights 35-minute Venice gondola ride with serenade plus a meal Share a ride on the Grand Canal and glide down smaller canals Listen to a musician and a singer serenade you aboard one of eight gondolas in your flotilla Enjoy a two-course lunch or dinner at Hostaria Ai Coristi Restaurant

Read more about Venice Gondola Ride and Serenade with Dinner - Venice | Viator at: https://www.viator.com/tours/Venice/Venice-Gondola-Ride-and-Serenade-with-Dinner...

YIKES those gondolas were a lot more tippy than I expected. I'm not sure if it's just my poor memory or a simply lack of boating experience, but I sort of thought they'd have a flatter bottom than they did. Oh well, no one fell overboard and that's the main thing. lol Although, it wouldn't have been as bad as it would have been maybe 10 or 20 years ago. I'd heard previously that Venice smelled because of the water and water pollution. I guess they heard enough people complain that they decided to clean it up. It's quite nice now. *Smile*

I got to ride in the gondola with Sally, Kittiara, and Princess Megan Rose. That was great. I really enjoyed getting to actually talk with both Princess Megan Rose and Kittiara. I've seen them around, but haven't really engaged them in any real conversation until now. They are both really awesome people--like I expected any less. lol I was especially excited to build a bond for future contest hosting! I don't know what I'll want to host or when, but I'm sure it will happen and I want to know successful folks whose brains I can pick when the time comes. *Wink*

Afterward we ate and gondolaed (not sure that's supposed to be a verb, but whatever), we went back to the apartments. I got to share with Kittiara, Elycia Lee ☮ Very drowsy, SB Musing, WakeUpAndLive‍‍~2020, and SandraLynn. What a fun bunch of ladies! Though, shhh...but that SB Musing is an odd duck. She was like jumping on the beds and feeling them to see which was the best one when we first got here. Hmmm...so she leaves the leftovers to us. *Rolling* To me, a bed is a bed (mostly). Especially when I'm tried like I was this afternoon. But now that I've had a good nap (perhaps longer than I should have), I'm tired, but also willing to stay up and chat with my roommies. As one by one, folks started going to bed, we got quieter and quieter as not to disturb the others, until it was just SB Musing and me. I told her how much I admired her spunk and her sense of humor. She's a really neat lady and I'm glad I'm getting to know her better! However, she's a night owl and I'm getting tired, so off to bed with me...
August 11, 2016 at 8:21pm
August 11, 2016 at 8:21pm

Here's some more from my virtual tour of Europe

Italian Riviera

Again, the green is what the prompt was and the red is what I wrote. It's in honor of the Italian flag, which is red, white, and green. *Bigsmile* Not sure why all the names came up in green, but whatever. lol

August 11th

Quick grab your breakfast we're off for a full day adventure! Grab your swimsuits and good walking shoes.

Explore the Italian Riviera on this day trip to the beautiful Cinque Terre from Florence, with transport between each small town provided. Led by a local guide, discover each fishing village by coach, train and boat, from the beaches of Monterosso to the charming streets of Riomaggiore. Stop for a swim in the turquoise waters and upgrade to include a traditional Italian lunch. Soak up all the character of this UNESCO-listed region before heading back to Florence. Highlights Full-day trip to the Cinque Terre from Florence with transport Discover the UNESCO-listed Cinque Terre with your tour leader Travel between destinations by coach, train and boat Soak up the scenic views and distinct character of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Monterosso and Vernazza Enjoy a traditional lunch in quaint Monterosso, if option selected Stop off for a swim in the turquoise waters at one of the area’s beaches

Read more about Cinque Terre Day Trip with Transport from Florence - Florence | Viator at: https://www.viator.com/tours/Florence/Cinque-Terre-Day-Trip-with-Transport-from-...

What an interesting day! The fishing villages were cool, but I didn't care for the lunch so much...fish. *Rolling* I'm just not a fish person. They're fine to look at when they're all swimming around, but once they die, I want to have nothing to do with them anymore. *Wink*

The villages were neat to see, though. It certainly makes me glad I'm not an Italian fisherman! Their lives are HARD! Then again, there's the peaceful times on the ocean between all the hard work, so I'm sure that's nice. But it's certainly not the life for me!

I found the building colors in the villages to be really fascinating. It was like a rainbow had thrown up on their little corner of paradise. lol I'd never get used to how narrow some of those streets are. I might one day learn to ride a scooter, but I certainly wasn't going to ever drive there. lol

However, the HIGHLIGHT of the trip to the villages was the hottie that started talking to Elycia Lee ☮ Very drowsy and I. Mmmm-mm! Too bad his English wasn't better. I had a really hard time understanding him, but who cares? He spoke the international language of 'hot guy paying attention to us,' so it didn't matter what he said. *Wink*

Going to the beach later was good. We've gone to the beach a lot, though. I'm getting burned, even with sunscreen. lol I swear this is more beach time than I had my last year of living in HI! Hahaha The waters here were FABULOUS! I'm glad I invested in the cheap mask and snorkle; they were totally worth it to be able to get a closer look of the underwater sea life.

Dinner is up to you guys, if your hungry after all we've done today. I recommend the Panini Toscani or if you just want a lighter fare the Montecristo has the typical bar fare of meats and cheese platters.



I opted for dinner with SB Musing. Aside from her place sounding delicious, especially since I was STARVING, but also, I wanted to know how her afternoon went. I'm not sure I ever want to spend time alone with her in a museum or any other place with rules. I'm pretty sure with her behavior and my bad luck, we'd get kicked out...if we were lucky. *Laugh* Anyway, that restaurant she chose was delicious! Since I was so hungry, I got an appetizer and desert as well. Truth be told, I was sort of fully by the desert, but that chocolate whatever it was that I got (I can't remember the Italian word, but it doesn't matter, it was CHOCOLATE lol) was AMAZING! I definitely left feeling suck, but it was worth it! lol

When we got back to the hotel, Sally invited me to hang out with her and Jellyfish and have some cocktails. I was so tired and so stuffed, but I REALLY enjoy Sally's company and Jellyfish is someone I'd been meaning to get to know better, so it seemed like the perfect time. I meant to only have 1 drink and stay like maybe an hour. (Don't forget, in Italy, dinner is later than it usually is in the U.S.A.) But we were having so much fun, I totally lost track of time and forgot how tired I was. I'm pretty sure there were energy drinks in a couple of those "get me something fruity and delicious" drinks I had. lol I'm really going to regret this in the morning, but for tonight, I got to spend time with two wonderful ladies and get to know them better. I'm SO glad for that!

Sally, thank you SO much for inviting me on this trip! You're awesome! *Bigsmile*

We have to be on the train at 8 am, a two hour ride to Venice.

Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.
- Gene Fowler
August 10, 2016 at 6:14pm
August 10, 2016 at 6:14pm
Howdy All!

"Travel Blog"

Well, thanks to Sally constantly including me in her 30-Day Blogging Challenge, I finally fell to the peer pressure and decided to join in the fun! In the spirit of Italy, since their flag is green, white, and red, I decided to write part of my blog in red and part in green. Sorry for those of you who are red/green color blind. *Worry* I didn't pick their flag's colors... Anyway, the prompt is in green and what I said is in red.

August 10th Hello Italy


Welcome to Bassetto Guesthouse!

We are located in Certaldo, in the belly button of Tuscany, a beautiful region of vineyards, olive groves and medieval towns. This is the place where you will find a true taste of Tuscany and the 'bella vita' in an authentic XIVth century setting.

We are bringing Tuscany country living to the backpacking world. If you need a relaxing break from the busy cities, then we are the place for you. At Bassetto, you will be able to regather your thoughts while you relax next to our pool or swing the afternoon away in a hammock with a glass of wine in hand and then at night, you can take a walk through a garden while being surrounded by fireflies after you have had a dinner in our wine cellar.

Bassetto Guesthouse was formerly a convent of Benedictine monks that was always open to pilgrims passing through. In 1998, our family opened Bassetto Guesthouse again to travelers with the same notion of hospitality as the monks centuries ago. We wanted our guesthouse to be unique in terms of setting and location, a place you would want to return to and somewhere to relax from city life.

We accommodate everyone here, from the lovers on their honeymoon in our private rooms to the solo backpacker in our dorm style rooms. Our private rooms and dorms, are separated from each other across the yard, with their own both kitchens and common areas.

Explore through landscapes sculpted by sunflowers, rolling hills and farms either on foot, bicycle, and horse. Day trips by train are easy from Certaldo to go exploring the big cities to see the splendors of Florence, Siena, Pisa which are mostly an hour away.

We organise and run a number of activities from a fresh pasta cooking class with a local chef to day trips to San Gimignano and wine tour. When the weather is amazing, we can even take you out to Pisa for a day.

Bassetto Guesthouse will always make you feel like you won’t want to leave and with our friendly staff, always able to help we are the perfect place to be in Tuscany.

There is something for everyone here!

Well, Sally found me in Monaco and invited me to join the WdC group on their European tour. What an awesome surprise to see everyone and who wouldn't rather travel with friends?!? And boy am I glad I decided to join in! What a beautiful place we went to on my very first night with them! I, along with SB Musing and LostGhost: Seeking & Learning opted for the "dormatory-style" rooms to save some cash and I'm really glad we did! Their dorms only have 4 beds in there and no one else was there, so we really saved some money in a painless way! The only real drawback is that they are pretty narrow single beds, but for the money, you can't really complain! lol

We're going to take a fresh pasta making class this morning before we set off to see where Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile and Rossini are buried at the Basilica of Santa Croce and see the museum where Michelangelo's David resides

First we took a really cool pasta making class. I'd tried to make pasta once a long time ago. It didn't go so well. Plus, it wasn't this much fun! I think we might have been embarrassing Lyn as I saw her shoot some looks at Sally. Poor Sally was TRYING to politely keep us in line, but we were just having TOO MUCH FUN! Fran 🏅🇬🇧🇬🇧🏅 is a real hoot and Fivesixer and SB Musing just constantly play off each other's jokes. But I didn't help matters at all. I joined in just as much.

In hindsight, I feel a little bad. Perhaps we were a bit TOO rowdy. But, well, I'm sure they've had worse! Hahaha Plus, the instructor didn't seem bothered at all. He was really quite patient with us and seemed to be amused that we were having a great time, even if we weren't learning as much as he was teaching. lol He career is safe as long as he has students like us! *Rolling*

Next we went to see where a bunch of famous people are buried. I felt kind of awkward not knowing who a lot of them were, but Fivesixer was kind enough to tell me quietly without making me look stupid. What a gentleman! Then we went to a museum. I'm not really a huge museum person, but there were some really interesting pieces there and it was, how can I say this without sounding corny, an honor to see Michelangelo's David statue. WOW! And to think of how old that is! I bet he'd be SO PROUD to know people are STILL admiring his work!



after a light lunch we are going to the Boboli Gardens


We are going on late afternoon early evening horseback adventure, with our picnic baskets. We are going to see the city's beauty at sunset from an incredible advantage point.

Well, the horseback riding and picnic and sunset views were fabulous! But I have to say, my hips are STILL hurting. Darn Army messing them up. I would have taken something for the pain ahead of time, but didn't think about it. By the time I realized my mistake, it was too late. It's okay. The ride back wasn't nearly as painful as it was scary. lol Funny how thinking of chupacabra jumping out of the darkness and eating me and the horse really quells the pain. *Rolling* I didn't like being the last of us, but at least I had the other guide behind me, so I felt like it gave me and Sparky (my horse) a fighting chance! Hahaha

Sleep well my friends we have another busy day ahead of us.

Done with my "travel blog," now on to real life...

I've been working on my "A Very British Challenge." I have to do 5, yes 5 product reviews. That seems like a bit much to me. PLUS I have to do some for "The Challenge" as well. What's the deal with product reviews? Personally, I hate them...mostly because I don't read that much and I don't really watch movies that much since my minor TBI. Oh well, I'm already 2 months into both. I can suffer through the rest of these two, then be free! lol

Regarding my product reviews, I opted for movies. I had to google the best British movies (because I want to watch GOOD ones lol), but then I have to cross-reference what's available with Netflix. Turns out not a lot are...at least that I want to see. lol I'm going to end up having to rent some on Amazon, I guess. *Pthb* Oh well. I saw "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," which is obviously a spy movie, and "We Need to Talk About Kevin," which is about Kevin, a teen who commits mass murder. I thought the first one was based on a true story. Turns out neither was. *Pthb* Whatever. Anyway, both were kind of slow, but the spy movie more than the mass murder movie, but for a mass murder movie, I have to say, it was slower than expected. But if you like imagery in your movies, "We Need to Talk About Kevin" is FULL OF IT! Like the color red is EVERYWHERE! There's more, but that's the biggest one.

Tonight I'm thinking of watching "Slumdog Millionaire" and maybe something else if I think I can tolerate 2 movies tonight. Nah...I think tonight is a 1 movie night. Sad, really. I used to be able to watch 4-5 movies in a day, but now I just can't focus that long. I don't even really enjoy 1 movie like I used to and I generally have to pause or just go and do something else while for a few minutes it's playing. And to think, I used to WORK at the movies. lol

August 9, 2016 at 12:58pm
August 9, 2016 at 12:58pm
Howdy Folks!

I hope everyone is well. I'm SURE you ALL have missed my blog. (Don't bother saying you haven't, because I won't believe you! lol) Well, part of the problem is just forgetfulness. Part of the problem is that, honestly, without G.o.T., I haven't had that much to blog about. lol And partly, is laziness or "I'll get to it in a bit"-ness.

3 Prompts

So, to spice things up, I've decided that today I'm going to post 3 story prompt ideas that I like. One is made up by me, to be honest. (Try to guess which one! First person to get right get 1000 GPs!)

Prompt 1--Write something using the homophones Hire, Higher, Flower, Flour, Pour, Pore, and Poor.

Prompt 2--Write something using the quote "That's humans for you. Cut off a limb and it will live, but leave it without oxygen for five minutes and it's done for."

Prompt 3--Write something about a wolf that is struck with a curse. Every full moon, it turns into a human for one night.

I found 2 of these on Pinterest, so no cheating. But after you decide which one I wrote (or after you decide not to enter the contest), I encourage you to hop on Pinterest and check things out. There's SOOOO MUCH ON THERE! There are ideas for stories, lists of hair colors, themes for romance novels, lists of words to use instead of "said," and TONS MORE! Check it out!

WdC Contests

I have to say, I'm disappointed in the contests on WdC. Not that I don't like them, but I thought there were more. lol A number of them are defunct or almost defunct. I wish folks would at least remove those that have been abandoned. Oh well... Folks probably wish I'd rewrite my stories after they review them. Well, I wish that too, actually, but sometimes we just can't have what we want. Hahahaha!

ANYWAY, I made a list of all the contests on WdC with the intent of joining each one at least once. *Bigsmile* I like to set weird goals for myself and this is one of them. lol I even went on "I Write in August-September-October and read every contest entered from page 19 on forward. I'm not sure if there were 20 pages, but my tablet didn't seem to think so. Anyway, I found quite a few "invalid item" contests and several who appear to have become defunct. I only found 1 contest that I think is still active. (It's a Halloween one, so I don't yet know for sure.) I was disappointed.

I thought there were probably hundreds of other contests lurking that I was unaware of. Apparently not? I'm going to check all of the entries for "I Write Romantic in Winter but I don't hold out a lot of hope for a bunch of new stuff. The only other things are contests that you have to be a part of their secret society to enter. There were a number of those. But for all I know, they may well be abandoned too. *Pthb*

I DO think there's still another one, though. I can't seem to find it in my list, of course, I can't remember the name, either, so that doesn't help. It was a weekly contest, I think, run by a male, I think, who was fairly new...like maybe less than a year old. If I recall, his page actually said something like FAQs "Aren't you a newbie?" "I'm glad you asked. Yes, I am. But just because I don't write well doesn't mean I don't know good writing when I read it." Or something like that. lol Does this contest sound familiar to anyone? 1000 GPs to whomever can ID this contest for me! *Smile*

For anyone interested in my list of contests, here it is. "Contest and Challenge Checklist It's not clickable. Maybe I'll work on that one of these days. lol Actually, I'm REALLY GLAD I decided to list this. I thought it would still be on my drop down list, but it wasn't. However, I saw something on there twice. HUH? Turns out I'd saved my "Modern Pentathlon Acrostic twice! Only the other wasn't lined up for some reason. This one needs a bit of tweaking still, but at least it's not all on the left side and confusing to the reader. lol I chose this style because it's supposed to be harder. It didn't seem hard to me. Well, if I'd made it more poetic, it would have been, but it would have been harder even WITHOUT the acrostic if it was more poetic. lol I think the hardest ones are where the END letter spells out the word. Nope! I'm not there yet. lol

Well, I suppose that's enough nonsense for today. Adios, Folks! TTYL

July 31, 2016 at 4:52pm
July 31, 2016 at 4:52pm
Howdy All!

Final Game of Thrones finds...reconstructed after I lost my first list. NOOOOoooo....

SirWriteALot wrote a very funny story about two gladiators called "Invalid Item. It's a short dialogue only piece that's certainly worth a read.

Another excellent writer is Jeff with "The Times They Are A-Changin' about a Soldier who wonders about what will become of his life after the service. I TOTALLY felt for this one since I'm getting medically retired against my will. "WLTM IRL was a creative story about a vampire who uses online dating services to find victims.

Be sure to check out "Chernobyl Lonely Heart's Club by Sparky by Sparky. And at the bottom are some links...the first one is a video by a Ukrainian sand artist who depicts Chernobyl through her work. It's a must see! Then there's the touching love letter from someone at Iwo Jima in "The Sound Shell.

If you like history, you'll love "Witch Trials by spidey. She intersperses real quotes from people living through the Salem Witch Trials. COOL! She also has a link at the bottom to help us learn more.

If you think YOU have nothing to eat in the fridge, check out "What's for Supper? by BlueMoon! She writes about sharing a fridge with an apprenticing wizard. Yikes! lol

Squeekachu wrote an interesting story about a doctor/mentor teaching his student through dissection, back when that wasn't really allowed. Read "Invalid Item.

When I came across "Tears From the Sky I honestly didn't think I'd dig it as I thought the title sounded to typical. But this story by Stormy Lady certainly isn't typical. It's about a storm and a man falling in love. It's really neat.

If you like psychological reads, you'll love Sugaree-Serial_Writer's "Invalid Item! I don't want to spoil it, just read it. *Smile*

iluvhorses wrote a very powerful piece about her time working in a hospital for people with chronic illnesses. She worked in the ventilator unit. Please read "My time with the undead!

I don't normally put poems on here. Mainly, because I avoid reading them whenever I can. lol Not to mention, half the time I can't understand them! But "Invalid Item was a nice poem by Ekant about a man speaking to an angel. I'm sure most of us would like an opportunity like that!

Here's another poem I actually understood. Vanillafire wrote "Would-be Heros which contains some pretty rocking images. I was very impressed with the creativity!

I had more pieces that I was trying to share with you all, but my blog post I was working on accidentally got erased, so I'm just recreating it from what I'm pretty sure I enjoyed. lol Normally, I immediately write a blurb about the thing I just finished reading so I know I loved it and I know my statements about it are accurate. Oh well...you get what you get. lol

G.o.T. in General

Well, this month has been crazy. I stayed up more nights doing reviews than I ever thought I would (or should lol). Several times I was up past midnight. Seriously? Oh well, if it were just for me, I wouldn't have, but I had 9 other people counting on me!

For those of you who don't know, I'm with House White Walkers. Our home base is "The Witch's House for anyone who wants to join. Honestly, after G.o.T., I have no idea what will be going on in there, but Shsssh, It's Just Me! is pretty awesome, so I figured I'd plug her place. *Bigsmile*

Speaking of awesome, Shsssh, It's Just Me! is the leader of the White Walkers and will hopefully be leading us into victory...or at least 2nd place--not bad for a new team, many of whom have never even played G.o.T. before, including our fearless leader!

My team is wonderful...I'll introduce you!

drjim is one of our MVPs or VIPs or whatever! He does TONS of reviews and is always super encouraging! I can't believe he will do 50 reviews in a battle. WOW! I'm doing good with 20. lol He also won a couple of writing challenges, so he's not just a great reviewer, but a great writer as well!

Shaye was one of our lieutenants that we couldn't do without. And she won writing challenges as well. AND, she's just an all-around super sweet person...you know, for someone who is on a team of the undead. lol

Intuey and I have really bonded due to a lot of similarities in our circumstances...which are actually positive, but whatever, she's wonderful and I'm so glad she's on my team! Not to mention, she's a talented writer to, winning some of these crazy writing challenges.

Paul D is another lieutenant who volunteered to help out with the team. And he's ANOTHER talented writer. I think he was one of our most prolific winners, if I recall. Smell that? That's what talent smells like! lol Anyway, great job!

LostGhost: Seeking & Learning I believe won more competitions than anyone else! WOW! AND she helped organize those crazy lists for battles...amazing. I wouldn't want that job! lol On a side note, she speaks like 80453 languages. lol

SB Musing was our other Super Reviewer/MVP/VIP/Caffeine and Bacon Addict...not sure those last things have anything to do with the reviews, but just noting that our 2 power reviewers both love coffee and bacon...training tip for those of you planning to do G.o.T. next year! *Wink* This woman did 30 reviews in ONE DAY! Don't scoff at that bacon and coffee thing, folks!

Inkslinger is my beloved mentor! She's also a valuable member of our team...and a winner of competitions. What would we do without her? Well, we might lose, who knows? Thanks for being here with me!

Antonia Ryder is our final member of our team. She also is multi-talented between winning and reviewing. And the tallies aren't all in yet, so who knows how many wins she'll end up with? I look forward to having time to read her items!

We have a GREAT team! Everyone is so nice and helps each other out and no one gets mad when someone else has life happen! They are just a wonderful bunch of people!

Well, that's the White Walkers. White Walkers, I'd like to introduce my readers and fans! I think everyone will get along. *Bigsmile*

Other Activities

Well, never one to let moss grow under my feet, I'm already diving into other activities. I'm trying to do "Invalid Item with my entry "Hook to Book, Round 3-Sheriff Sam Rabbit. That's just the blurb, though. I think next we have to write the first chapter. I'd better get to thinking...

I also saw "Invalid Item and wanted to enter someone. However, after G.o.T., finding a willing participant was a bit tricky. Finally, I got confused and accidentally IMed Jeff. Well, it turns out he was willing anyway, though we didn't know each other. So, yipee! I'm sponsoring someone! (Moderator's can't sponsor themselves in this.) *Smile*

I also joined "I Write in August-September-October. It SEEMS easy enough...I just enter 1 contest a week, post the contest and the entry and then review the entry just before mine. Simple? Well, there's the whole REMEMBERING to do that part...lol But SB Musing agreed to be my accountability partner, so hopefully that will help. *Smile* She's such a sweetheart!
July 28, 2016 at 12:43pm
July 28, 2016 at 12:43pm

I've got yet more G.o.T. discoveries for you, my lovely fans!

I discovered the talented Darleen🌙2020 and her entertaining story about a magical chocolate shop called, "Chocolate Miracles

For your intellectual side, lazymarionette has some really interesting essays on how language affects us with "Invalid Item and "Invalid Item.

Jim - Happy St. Patrick's Day! wrote a really funny newspaper style short story, "Santa Found Dead in North Pole Workshop

"Sam and the Summer that Wouldn't Quit is a really cute fable from Aesop.

I read a great story with a twist at the ending, "The Lab by Chris24.

Speaking of twists (which I LOVE), Atiqa Akbar wrote an interesting start to a novella (I'm assuming) with "BLOOD EYES, "BLOOD EYES , and "BLOOD EYES. It's a sort of Little Red Riding Hood meets Beauty and the Beast.

I really enjoy the sense of humor of Kerri J. Miller in her short story "Young Fame Revoked about a teen trying to become famous by winning a contest.

Here's a really lovely letter from Jeannie to the military in "To a Brave American Soldier:. As a Soldier, I REALLY appreciated this letter!

SueVN wrote an adorable story called "Invalid Item about two of Santa's reindeer getting sick and him replacing them with elves on bikes. lol

Raising Rabbits Workshop

So, I went to a rabbit raising seminar thing last weekend. It was interesting. I learned a lot! For example, I didn't know rabbits were such escape artists. Several people said they've had rabbits out of their cage or pen, but they had no idea how it happened. They also said if we try to free range our rabbits, to have a top on the pen because rabbits can climb. Really? I had no idea!

One of the most amusing points of the workshop was when they were talking about cleaning their cages. One person said she used a blow torch on the cages a couple of times a year to kill germs and burn off all the excess fur and other stuff that gets stuck on the cages. But then we were told, almost as an after thought, "But be sure you take the bunnies out of the cage first. That's very important." Hahahaha! Okay, if that's not amusing, maybe you had to be there, but we all laughed.

This workshop on how to raise rabbits was put on by the Livestock Conservancy. http://www.LivestockConservancy.org I love them! They are helping to conserve breeds of farm animals that are at risk for extinction. If you think about it, the chickens we eat today are all white because we created these chickens from other chicken breeds. I don't really have a problem with us creating a new breed to suit our current needs, but these aren't the chickens we ate 100 years ago, so it's naive to think these are the chickens we'll be eating in 100 years. So, in order to be able to create whatever chickens we will need next, we need to keep some of all the breeds. It makes sense to me.

FYI, the chickens we eat now are white specifically because it's hard to get all the tiny little feathers off the skin, so if they're white, it's a lot harder to see them. It turns out we eat a lot of chicken feathers if we regularly eat the skin. I KNEW there was a reason I didn't like to eat chicken skin! lol

One of my favorite things about the seminar was getting to see and handle all the rabbits. I thought I wanted to have American Chinchilla rabbits, but they are the rarest breed of rabbit in the U.S. today. I didn't want to kill off the last of something, but they seemed easier to take care of than many of the other breeds. I got to pet and hold one. It turns out they're not as super soft as I was expecting, but they still were soft compared to a dog. They were just more like a cat or maybe a little softer. Anyway, I talked to several people and they all agreed that 'Am Chins' as they call them, would be a good rabbit for me. *Bigsmile* https://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/americanchinchilla

I'll see if I can include a picture of me holding an American Chinchilla rabbit, but so far I haven't had good luck with including pictures, so we'll see...

Nope. For some reason, my brain and the WdC instructions on how to upload an image just aren't matching. I simply can't understand it. (For those of you who haven't read before, I have a minor traumatic brain injury from Iraq. I'm mostly functional, except for being able to drive, but it sometimes causes issues with comprehension and other things.)

G.o.T. Final Stretch!

I gotta say, I'm kind of glad we're in the final stretch of Game of Thrones. There are so many other things to do, but I either don't have time or I feel totally guilty doing them. I even feel bad about none of my writing challenges being 2000 words long this time. That was what I'd done for all the others because it got us more points, even if I didn't win. But I just thought the stories I did were good enough and I didn't want to ruin them by making them 2-4 times longer than they "should" be. But I STILL feel guilty about this. Yet, as far as I know, I'm the only one who has made an effort to make all my stories 2000 words long. Our leader is just more concerned with us simply turning something in. She doesn't care if I don't make them that long. But still...

Speaking of which, we have a GREAT leader! Shsssh, It's Just Me! is awesome! She's SO sweet (she must be a good witch) and encouraging, not to mention SMART! *Smile* I'm VERY glad I'm on her team! She's a G.o.T. GENIUS! I should send her a Leadership MB. Okay, DONE! *Smile* Actually, I think I'll get everyone on my team a MB. I wanted to be sure I'm sending out as many as I'm receiving. I'm behind. Update: Okay, I've sent one to ALMOST everyone on my team. But two members have already received one from me recently, so I have to find someone else to send them. *Pthb* I've actually got several things that need folks to send them...2 badges and two awardicons. I've asked some folks to help out, but haven't heard back yet. (Yes, I'm giving them the GPs. I'm just asking them to do the work. *Smile* )

Alrighty folks, I need to get back to my G.o.T. reviews! Adios and TTFN!
July 21, 2016 at 12:03am
July 21, 2016 at 12:03am

Game of Thrones Goodies

I've got some more wonderful discoveries from my reviewing with G.o.T. and wanted to share them with you. I really encourage you to read some of these gems! We are talking fabulous and talented writers!

Robyn's Heart Needs Mending wrote a great (though dark) piece about a ghost watching others in a park. "Numb and Fading

"Me And My Shadow Discover Jogging is one of the funniest things I've read in a while. It's written by SandraLynn

"Mansquatch by Kevin is another amazingly creative piece with humor I never would have thought of. It's so great that I had to go back and look for it when I discovered I'd accidentally erased my previously started blog entry.

"My Name Is Mud is a a super funny piece by Winnie Kay about an experience in Catholic School! This also took a lot of work to write, in my opinion. Oh, and it's pretty much error free!

Rhonda wrote "Invalid Item which is a cute piece where she talks to her inner self as she writes a letter to her self telling herself 2014 is going to be the best year yet. It's also kind of inspiring. *Smile*

Here's a funny (to me)/scary story about a girl stopping to go to the bathroom at a gas station "Invalid Item written by OOT™

On an unrelated note, I think Agape Novels ROCKS! He has agreed to donate his personal merit badge to anyone who donates at least 40k gift points to "Invalid Item! WOW! How GENEROUS! And what a great way for a group or contest who don't have their own MB to raise funds! Genius! And I know it works, because I donated! Hahaha!

In Other News

SOMEHOW I managed to win first place in the Week 2 Prompt 4 Game of Thrones competition with the prompt: "Tell me the whole story," he said calmly. "Take your time."

I have NO IDEA how this happened to me. But congratulations go to my actually talented teammates, Paul D who got 2nd place and Inkslinger who got 4th. SWEET! WHITE WALKERS RULE!!! *Bigsmile*

For those interested, here are the winning stories...
1st place--"The Truth Is...
2nd place--"The Stranger
4th place--"Invalid Entry

I'm excited! Today I finally managed to secure a ride to West Virginia to a rabbit raising seminar being put on by the Livestock Conservancy! (See https://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/what/internal/2016-rabbit-workshop for more information.) One might think I should be concerned about going 5 1/2 hrs away with a stranger, but one would be wrong.

When you can't drive, beggars can't be choosers. Well, they can, but then they're really hungry beggars and I HATE being hungry, so... lol I'll just hope that since he's a fellow veteran that I met at the VA (and he works there too), he's probably safe...PROBABLY. However, if I disappear, start checking there first. Well, he's been texting me. Surely he's not dumb enough to do that and then kill me...unless he ditches both our phones...hmmm... Well, until he pulls out his hockey mask, I'll just focus on BUNNIES! *Bigsmile*

It's been 8...DOH, it's 12:01...9 days since I last updated my blog, so I'll just go ahead and post this now. Waiting for more exciting things to happen could be another 8-9...or 89 days. lol

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