Monday, April 26, 2010


Anyone who knows me knows that I love Texas.  Moving to the Midwest made me realize that not everyone loves Texas in quite the same way.  Not everyone recognizes that the Dallas Cowboys are America's team.  (My apologies to Marisa for this unfortunate shot of the Giants).
Not everyone knows that there was a hole in the roof of Texas Stadium so that God could watch his favorite team. 
Not everyone realizes that Tex-Mex is a religion to some people.  
Moving to Milan made it even more clear that, not only does everyone not love my beloved state, but that some people just like to make fun of it!  We went out for "Mex-Tex" one night.  The confederate flags on the wall were just the beginning.  What followed were shotgun jokes, Fox news jokes, George Bush jokes.  I have to admit that, while I don't agree with all of the above, I became a bit defensive.  Luckily, the chips and mediocre salsa calmed me down.  But then I began to think about it and is it really my fault that I fell in love with Texas?  Has anyone read the lyrics to our state song lately?  

Texas, our Texas!  All hail the mighty State!
Texas, our Texas!  So wonderful so great!
Boldest and grandest, Withstanding ev'ry test
O Empire wide and glorious, You stand supremely blest.

Why would any kid think twice about the grandeur of their home state with such magnificent words?  So, while I will continue to be a proud Texan, I now understand the courtesy that must be given to all the other residents of our fine country.  As my mom used to say - it's not that they don't like you, they are just jealous.  

Saturday, April 24, 2010


So, I wish I could say that I have been busy living the cosmopolitan lifestyle this past week but, I’m afraid the only cosmopolitan I’ve seen in the last seven days was in a SITC2 advertisement!

The week before the midterm presentation is always busy.   As a student in the lab, it was incredibly stressful.  As a TA in the lab, it is really just tiring.  Tiring because I am constantly learning, constantly teaching, and constantly trying to be patient!  I very much like the view from this side of the fence, though, and cannot say that it isn't exactly what I signed up for.  It's always fun to be working on a common goal with a group of really smart people even if it has involved staring at each other and our computers (surrounded by bottles and bottles of aqua frizzante) for longer than we would like!

All this craziness will end on Wednesday at noon and we will be cut loose to travel on our own for two days until reconvening in Florence for a retreat.  If all works out, I will meet up with my DC and his parents in Rome for a full day of Roman fun.  

I'm really looking forward to the Roman fun.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010


With DC still living the good life in Switzerland and a "free day" on my hands, I decided to throw on my walking shoes and get out of my little neighborhood.  Milan is a great city to live and work in but it isn't Rome or Florence in that there are a million things you must do so I was able to cover a lot of ground today.  I started out at the Sforza Castle and, without David to force me into appreciating its history, simply wandered around it.  It is surrounded by this huge moat that is now grassy and has an inordinate amount of stray (but cute) cats living in it.  The castle is located in Milan's version of Central Park (Sempione) and, while it is much tamer than NYC's version, it was fun to get lost in for a bit. 
From Sempione, I walked down Via Dante, a cool "no cars allowed" street that connects the castle with the Duomo, and treated myself to my favorite sandwich for lunch.  I then wandered through Brera and shopped for furniture that was way out of my budget.  
It was starting to get rainy and cool so I popped into the Brera Gallery, which just so happened to be free that day, and spent a few hours looking at its collection.  The gallery is located in the same building as some art school so it feels very funky and the collection is very religious / political, including quite a few artists I had not seen before.  The weather had not improved by the time I was finished so I treated myself to some gelato on the way home and holed up in my apartment with a book.
I have to admit, traveling alone is odd.  David and I both feel that without the other to see what we are seeing, it's almost as if it didn't really happen.  I know the benefits (in terms of learning / exposure) are still there but if a tree falls in an empty forest, does anyone know (or care)?

Friday, April 16, 2010


So, springtime in Milan is not the seven-day affair that it is in Texas nor the teasing three months that it is in Chicago.  Springtime in Milan is lots of warm days and cool nights and, apparently, drags on for weeks and weeks allowing the trees outside my window to look like this:  


Does anyone else send their husband to the store for milk and eggs and have him return with one giant beer and eggs?  Tasha B, you don't have to even answer.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Ah, Venice.  We took a fast train Friday night from Milan and I was so ready to get out of the city.  We got in pretty late but managed to have a good (if not extremely overpriced) dinner on some piazza and met a really sweet couple from Florida that had never set foot outside of the States.  The restaurant, however, finally put a stop to our bonding and we headed to bed.  The next morning, we wandered over to the Rialto Bridge for breakfast on the water and, I'm afraid, at that moment my love affair with Venice officially ended.  My memories of Venice from 10 years ago were of this creaky, damp, beautiful town that C, D, and I just explored; granted, it was November and the weather was chilly at best.  The reality of Venice is that 12,000,000 tourists visit this sweet town of 60,000 and it feels just like Disney World.  I applaud the residents for all the money they make off the industry but I, for one, will not be coming back.  That said, we managed to find some pockets of "real life" and truly enjoyed our weekend away from the city and away from work.
After breakfast, we hopped a slow vaporetto down the Grand Canal and managed not to get off at St. Mark's Square with everyone else.  We rode all the way out to Lido and back and finally jumped off at a local park filled with real people.
We wandered through a market and found ourselves at a little bar where we had some Prosecco and took in all the Saturday morning activity.  I love, love, love my new camera and had fun capturing the street without looking too obvious.  
also got a little obsessed with all the laundry.  I just love the color, the movement, and the transparency of it.  We spent the afternoon in Murano -- went to a glass blowing exhibition, had a fabulous lunch, and shopped a bit.  David permitted me to buy one thing and so I walked away with only a pair of cufflinks but I could have left with boxes and boxes of anything and everything glass.  
That night, we went to a "local" place that we read about in Rick Steve's.  And, while it was off the beaten path, it was filled with other tourists that must have been just as sick of the chaos as we were.  It was great food, fantastic service, and some of the best conversation we've had in weeks.  
The next morning, I had to meet with the team from 10-1 so DC wandered around with the camera and (from the looks of our memory card) captured the entire city.  It was a beautiful blue sky day and my meeting was fairly enjoyable as we were on the patio and in the sunshine right off the canal.
DC and I met back up and decided to get lost for the next few hours before catching our train.  We had a great pizza, some gelatto, and took the requisite pics of ourselves at St. Mark's Square and on a canal before hopping back on a train to reality.  Well, to quasi-reality.  


I love my husband.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Just in case anyone was starting to wonder what my Dave Cole was up to....he'll be here tomorrow.  Lucky dog is heading to Zarmatt, Switzerland for three glorious days of skiing through the Alps in both Switzerland and Italy.  I'll be working 12 hour days in preparation for our midterm on April 28th.  Somehow I'm thinking he got the better end of the deal!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


While I've always appreciated nice cars (I remember telling my Uncle Paul I wanted a Jaguar at age 10) I've also never ever actually considered buying myself a luxury vehicle.  Until today.  I rode in the new Porsche Panamera, their "family" vehicle, and fell in love. There's nothing family about it.
Luckily (for our finances), David pointed out a good substitute -- Alfa Romeo's Brera -- and so we won't be tooling around Cincy in a Porsche.  Sigh.


My team spent Monday (a bank holiday) in Lake Como and it was more beautiful than I'd imagined.  Granted, all my research came from shots of Clooney's house in People but still.  It was a bit chaotic / slow traveling with 10 people but overall it was very restful and I definitely want to make a trip back as it is only a 30 minute train ride. We started at a market that offered everything from food to birds and then had a cappuccino outside of the city's duomo and did some prime people watching.  After my morning gelato, we wandered the city of Como and then hopped a hydrofoil ("fast" boat) to Bellagio.
I knew we were approaching Bellagio when it started to look a bit like Vegas.  Only real.  The colors, the sky, the Alps in the background -- I didn't even want to blink.  

We had lunch at 3:00 at what we had heard was "the best restaurant in Bellagio".  I have no idea if that is true but we loved it.  We sat on the patio in the sunshine and ate whatever they brought us.  I had this pretty little fowl and some fantastic risotto.  The chef was adorable, probably all of 22, and insisted on driving us to and from the restaurant to the dock.  We crammed a ton of overfed Americans into a tiny Eurocar and spent the last few minutes of daylight lounging on the warm rocks overlooking the lake.  
And, while DC was invited to join us in Como, he preferred to spend the afternoon with our good friend Leo.  He said the experience was amazingly well done and topped his day off at my favorite sandwich place!