Day 4 – “Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusions, and the city of yearning.”

Someone once wrote;

Sometimes, you just can’t find the right words to describe Rome.

The beauty of the Eternal City, the chaos, the mismatch of elegance and decay that is around every corner.

So very true.  Even the decaying buildings are magnificent in their own right.  The juxtaposition of the graffiti against the stunning gardens.  Tiny ristorantes tucked into corners of the city across the crowded road from five star eateries.  And so it goes.

Before our day really begins, we engage in a bit of goofiness – I show off a Christmas present blouse from Isabel & Ricky, while Robyn models her teeny tiny coffee pot, in the Price is Right style.  (Note the adorable orange refrigerator door!)

 

This was truly a blissfully exhausting day of sightseeing.  Again – Juxtaposition.

First stop was finding tickets to the hop-on hop-off bus tour.  We walk and walk and walk some more, until we locate the ticket vendors and find the bus stop! Image result for HOP ON HOP OFF BUS Rome

We began the tour with the amazing coliseum.  The Colosseum or Coliseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of travertine, tuff, and brick-faced concrete, it is the largest amphitheatre ever built. The Colosseum is situated just east of the Roman Forum.

And now we continue our tour on to Vatican City.  We keep seeing these initials on landmarks and light posts, and so we just had to research …  2019 04 17 D        SPQR (Latin: Senātus Populusque Rōmānus, “The Roman Senate and People”, or more freely as “The Senate and People of Rome”; Classical Latin: [sɛˈnaː.tʊs pɔpʊˈlʊs.kᶣɛ roːˈmaː.nʊs]) refers to the government of the ancient Roman Republic.    2019 04 17 E

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A little surprised to see all of the vendors pedaling their wares all along the walk inside the Vatican City.   I would have understood more if there had been rosaries, crosses and things like that.  Instead there were little cars that transformed into other things, stuffed animals, little race car toys and many other unrelated items.  I just felt there should have been a little more respect for the area.  And, did I mention the 1€ to use the toilette?  All over Italy you pay to potty.  The things we take for granted in the USA.

Vatican City, in full State of the Vatican City, Italian Stato della Città del Vaticano, ecclesiastical state, seat of the Roman Catholic Church, and an enclave in Rome, situated on the west bank of the Tiber River. Vatican City is the world’s smallest fully independent nation-state.

2019 04 17 VSuch a beautiful day In Roma.  The sights and sounds are almost too much for the mind to absorb.  But in the end, that is exactly what we did – we absorbed!

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remembering July(s) from the past

an all grown up granddaughter comes to Leesburg to say good-bye before we move back to Tucson

weekend visit with a granddaughter

Old Glory

Wedding day for Lori & Jim

Tristan gets a little surprise from Uno Blast

Kerri’s Birthday

Maxwell visits Leesburg

Family get-together

Walking the town center in Leesburg Village

I have no idea what he is doing, but it must have been important!

Look at those little kiddos.

Parade in downtown Leesburg

Parade in downtown Leesburg

Parade in downtown Leesburg

He loved the Inner Harbour in Victoria

Bicycling thru Tucson

Family BBQ in Canada

Happy Fourth of July, everyone.

 

a teenager grandson

Grandma's Bebes

And now he is in his second year of teenager-dom.

This smart, funny, sensitive little boy – is no longer so little.  He is grandma’s boy and I tell him that every time I see him.  Even though, now, when he runs through the airport to greet me, he almost knocks me over; he will forever be grandma’s boy.

I was at the Virginia house when he came home from the hospital.  A preemie at 3 pounds and 5 ounces, you would never know it today.  At fourteen, he stands over his dad and takes much satisfaction in resting his forearm on his father’s shoulder.  He has a tender heart and a sensitive soul.  He also has a sly sense of humor and enjoys making me laugh when we should be serious; lovingly taunts his younger sister by flipping her hair or poking her side when dad isn’t looking.

When he was a toddler in Tucson, he was my Target buddy at least once a week.  And he kept me in check, removing items from the cart when he was of the opinion that “we don’t need this, Grandma”.  Later on in his tween years, he would accompany me to the Wegman’s, and it was my turn to keep him in check.

And now he is heading toward the middle of his teens.  Still Grandma’s boy.  Still his sister’s biggest fan and her steadfast gentle tormentor.  Still a loving, sensitive, smart, talented and handsome boy  er, young man.

But in my eyes, he is still the toddler stacking soup cans in my pantry or running down the sidewalk to my open arms and appearing out of the bedroom where I thought I had cleverly hidden his birthday gift, on the seat of his brand new red tricycle.  So much for that surprise.

I love this child.  This toddler turned teen.  This handsome young man.

This forever grandma’s boy.

Happy Birthday, Mateo.  Grandma loves you.

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a smorgasbord of an evening …

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Ricky & Isabel each prepared a dinner casserole featuring pasta and I did absolutely nothing except enjoy the food and company.

Victoria was suddenly overcome with shyness at the “kid’s table”.

We take some time out to remember this evening in pictures.

Alexander decides the perfect way to end the evening would be to form a pyramid of kids… what could possibly go wrong with four kids in a stack on a hard tile floor?

 

Gdovins & More 2014 Family Reunion Day 1

Monday, the 24th,  was a comedy of errors as far as our flight.  Bob was unable to travel to Grand Junction Colorado, so Ricky remained behind to stay with his dad, while Mateo, Marluce and I headed to the airport.  From before we even left home, our flight was delayed by 45 minutes.  Okay – no problem as we had an almost 2 hour layover in Phoenix.  So, 1:45 passes us by and then 2:15 and I am thinking, boy our layover is getting fairly short!  At 2:40, we are moved to another gate to board a different flight to Phoenix.  As we are landing with 7 minutes before the boarding gate is closed on our connection, the flight attendant asks everyone who is not connecting to stay seated as we are all running out of the plane to get to our gate.  With one minute to spare, we make it.   We taxi out to the runway and then stop and wait…and wait … and then the Captain announces that he received an error message on the plane’s computer and maintenance people are on their way so we wait and wait and 2 guys come on board and check this and that and then they leave and we are thinking “woo hoo”.   Well, we woo-hoo’d way too early.  After the men leave and the stairs are pulled back up and we are getting ready to take off, Captain has other ideas.  He announces that we have to go back to the terminal and we will sit on the plane while some other mechanics surmised the situation.  A fuse.  We needed a new little fuse.  A short time later, we were on our way – although, since this was the 2nd attempt at take-off, the enthusiasm had waned somewhat.  As we settled in the air at 30,000 feet, Mateo and Marluce played on their iPads (Yes, the each have one and Mateo won them both at different events).  Once in a while you could hear their voices and a little giggle.  Just good kids having a little fun.A1 A2

This smaller jet has much more engine noise than the bigger ones, so any conversations were muffled, as if they were whispering.  Captain announces that he is beginning the descent into Grand Junction and clapping follows.  I like a grateful crowd.  Just as the first wheel touches down, Mateo, not realizing the volume of his voice after such a noisy plane ride, exclaims (okay – he yells!) PREPARE FOR LANDING!!!  And then comments on how he didn’t realize that his voice got so loud.  Several passengers joined me in laughter.

GJ Regional Airport

I will admit to the embarrassing confession that I have never rented a car myself up until age 62. The hubs always handles these things and I have not minded one bit that I have been spoiled for my many years of marriage. Off we go in a 2015 Nissan Altima with key-less ignition. Zippy little thing and if I could, I would pack it up and take it home!! So, back to our day … We arrive at the Marriott’s Spring Hill Suites in beautiful downtown Grand Junction, facing Main Street and all the beautifully lit trees ready for the holidays.springhill

and then as quickly as they arrived … it was time for them to depart.

Ricky and Mateo and Marluce left early in the morning for the airport and their return trip to beautiful northern Virginia.  The paints and crafts were all back in their rightful place.  The house was too quiet.  Nobody asking for snacks.  Nobody asking to play in the water.  Nobody trying to talk their daddy into a little more screen time.  Just the quiet.

I do not accompany my kids to airports, if I can avoid it.  I am too emotional.  Watching them walk into the building and having them beyond my grasp is just too much.  So, I leave that to the other son or the husband.  Although, I am certain you wouldn’t have to look too close to see a tear in Jeffry’s eye as the glass doors of TIA closed behind them.

I remember the many times we would leave Grandma Tabor’s house for our return trip to Grand Junction, and we silently giggled at the fact that “uh oh.  Grandma is crying again”.  I think I can hear her voice in my ear asking “well, how do YOU like it?”

I don’t, Gram.  I don’t like it at all.

TIA sunrise