Time moves on

I had the opportunity to attend a funeral this morning. The father of one of our childhood friends passed away and as it happens I was in town for the graveside funeral. I was the only one of the "Bunch" as we were once called. I saw several parents of my childhood friends. Like me, this was the final chapter for these friends as they had already buried their mother several years ago. With the passing of this parent, the chapter in their lives closed as they both live away from the area now. I could empathize with them. With Mom's passing almost 2 years ago, a chapter in our lives closed.

It's amazing when you are faced with these moments in life. You still see so vividly the past. It seems like yesterday when were all playing together and doing life together as children and teens. And yet, time has passed by so quicklly. These two friends have 6 children, many of whom look just like their Aunt or Uncle at the age that I'm talking about.

Wow--a life moment that made me realize I'm not 7 or 17 or 27 anymore. As my next birthday approaches, life seems a little shorter on the backside than I would care to admit. So, what do I do with today to make it count.

The Longest Day of My Life --Part Deux (or Planes, Trains and Automobiles)

Home....arrived just minutes ago. And oh what a day this has been.

I was booked on the 3:55 flight out of Dallas--already told you that, but the mess that I had to get through to get to that flight is a story in itself. Seems that the weather in Dallas this morning choked the system and thus flights going east couldn't leave their gates and flights coming west could get to Dallas but not to the gate. So---a traffic jam. They shuttled us 6 different times to 5 different gates--I think it was all a cat and mouse game because they knew that the injuns were getting restless on the reservation. Finally the last time that they moved us I let out a sigh and others too audible enough for them to know that we weren't taking this lightly. Be careful who you sigh in front of, the guy next to me was a prominent Baptist church leader (oh well, he'll never recommend me for a position--not to worry, he doesn't know me from Adam--but ya never know!!)

Finally left for Lubbock @ 6:00 and landed there only to find that my bags didn't make it to Lubbock either. So, started and ended with no bags---some consistency there.

And, to top things off--my car was deader than a doornell in my brother's driveway. Seems no action on a 1997 Sub. for a week makes it go in to sleep mode. Had to jump it to get going.....boy, now you know why I feel like I was in the movie--PLANES, TRAINS and AUTOMOBILES.....

Back to life in Scurry county....


I should have suspected that something was up by the addition of 4 gate managers at B-22 this morning. Then the offer came for those willing to give up their seats (I was tempted to take it and go on the 3:55 flight--but ready to get home) then...the news was Flight Cancelled due to weather in the DFW area. Just then the most typhoonic rain storm I've ever seen enveloped the DFW airport. So--now I'm booted to the 3:55 flight. Lesson--trust your instincts. Now I'm on that same flight and I could have had a $200 voucher in hand.

So, more time to spend in an airport. I'm beginning to think this is my life. I'd love to take a Roma nap right now, but I'm afraid I might oversleep the flight.

The journey continues!!


The Longest Day of My Life

I'm here at DFW...just a few more hours til I'm home. It's so nice to be typing on an American keyboard. Please forgive the typos in the previous posts. The keyboard @ the hotel was an international keyboard and the strokes and keys I'm used to are not in the right place.

We began yesterday morning (about 7:00 Rome time--Midnight here in Texas) Flight was 10:30 there and arrived here in States @ 2:00.. Ok..doesn't sound like a long flight. Jeessh....10 hours in the air is maddening, especially when you don't have any personal electronics to keep you busy.

I started the day off with a thought that a sleeping pill might help...wrong thing. I didn't have much in my tummy so by about 1 hour into the flight I thought I was going to be sick. That would be great.... I gathered myself in the bathroom and came back and sat down. I'm not one to get air sick or motion sick so I just attribute it to the high altitude and no food in my tummy. Lunch was chicken with pesto--but I didn't want to go there. I ate bread and sprite.

By the time we landed in the states it was midevening in Rome...almost 11 hours difference and I was feeling it. Had a long layover in NYC then delayed departure from there before finally arriving in Dallas @ 10:00 (1 hour late). Then to hotel by 11:00. My room was suppose to be N Smoking...but it wasn't and I was too tired to fight.... Slept pretty good except I think my clock is still Roman.

Interesting thing this morning, I met two Italians @ breakfast. They are here to see the states. I recognized the italian they were speaking... I stopped and showed them my pictures and we talked about Rome and America. They were having problems exchaning money here in the states...something you don't have a problem with in Europe (wonder why that is?)

Ok...this is all until I get home and see the family. Will continue to post my thoughts on travel, life and culture. It's been an eye-opening trip


Good Night and Good Morning

As I write this, many of you are putting your head down to sleep. It's almost 7:00 AM here and midnight there. The day begins.

I'll see you in the states!



A Texan and a B'Day

Uh.... what's this other thing in my bathroom? This has been my first experience with such. I first thought it was a two-fer and wondered who I was sharing it with. It's been a puzzling thing? Why don't we have these things?

Ah the beauty of encountering another culture!

Good night!


Last Day and Hours

Ok..this will be it from the Eternal City. We head home tomorrow.

Highlights from today:
Vatican Museum-Sistine Chapel. Stood with the masses for an hour to get into the museum. Push, push, shove, shove and you just got use to the smell. Saw people from every nation and every tribe. Art and architecture were splending. Sistine Chapel is without words. Bought a panel picture to show everyone

St. Peter's Basillica- Got in line to go into the church and ended up in the grottos with the dead Popes. Hadn't intended to do so but knew that we were close when I saw the crypt of JP1 and then JP2. Right around the corner was PETER's tomb. Small box lit in the back--big ornate room right under the altar upstairs.

Back to square--our dogs were tired so we hopped on tour bus like Sunday that starts and stops. The best Euros spent by us so far. We rode it all the way around to see all of the last parts we hadn't seen yet....then rode it back to hotel. Had hoped to ride it tonight but I guess it doesn't go...we waited 30 minutes to pick up bus.

Shopping in Trevi Foutain area. We threw in two coins...so we're coming back to Rome some day. Food here is tremendous...we have a place down the street CIAO BELLA...couldn't find a thing terrible to eat there. Best fire roasted pizza and splendid pastas there. We will miss it.

Today has been a great day. Ready to head home...but as they say I will leave a little part of my heart here in Rome. Maybe someday I'll come back with you.

For now


UGHH...I hate this computer!

I just had a wonderful blog about my day at Sistene chapel and this computer locked up on me!

Last hours....last minute shopping and site seeing. Hope to advise you before I go home tomorrow


A Texan and His Man Purse

When you see my pictures from Rome you will see that I have a satchel over my shoulder. In Europe and States these have been referred to as Man Purses. This is my first encounter with such. Seriously, I don't know how you would manage over here without it since you have to protect everything. Nothing can be in your pockets. So---having a Man Purse helps. Besides the fact that I'm managing a tour book, a cell phone, a digital camera and other stuff....I guess I need the extra space.

So, don't make fun of me when you see my pics. When in Rome...do as the Romans!

Audience with the Pope

Today was an eventful day. When we booked this tour, they said '' Audience with the Pope'' Now in Texas if you say that you are going to ''meet''someone they mean--face to face. I had a hunch that this wouldn't be the case here.

Early on we had an indication that this would be a larger crowd. The crowds at St. Peter were very large today (maybe even more so since the Pope's comments that were controversial). We were ushered into St. Peter's square. It was huge and beautiful. I watched all of the stuff on John Paul's funeral last year, so I had an image in my mind of what it would be. I can't begin to tell you how beautiful it is. We found our way to the seats. The front section was already closed--the pilgrims must have been there already 2 hours ahead. We sat in the second section about 4 rows from the barricade. Smack dab in the middle of St. Peter's

When the Pope flew in by helicopter, we knew he would be arriving soon. About 10 minutes later he appeared in the far corner of the plaza in his car (open air which surprised me) and began to wind his way through the plaza. The spanish speaking man next to me gestured that he would come by our way. So I positioned myself to get ready. And he did--about 6 feet away from us. I took three short pictures and got him in some part of the frame. It was an exciting moment for all around.

The service was in 5 languages. It apologized over and over again for the remarks. It was amazing for me to listen in Italian and to be able to pick up bits and pieces here and there. He spoke very fluently in all of these languages, but more slowly in Italian. Maybe the longer I'm here the more I understand. Service lasted more than 2 hours. We ditched our bus and wandered back through Castel S'Angelo and across to the Piazza Novona for a lovely lunch in the square. Awesome! And the artists were out in full force today.

Back to the Pantheon for a quick glance at a structure that has been there since 27 AD and it was beautiful. Then over to Trevi Fountain again for some daytime pictures.

We were very tired this afternoon, so came back for a Siesta! I love these....I may be spoiled in the states.

Now to rest for the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums tomorrow. A little more shopping then rest for the trip home.

Thanks for reading and replying....it makes me smile



GLT--it doesn't stand for what it means

GLT--Green Line Tours has been our tour company for the last two days. If we weren't totally impressed yesterday in Pompeii, they did everything to make sure that impression stayed today in Florence. We were extremely rushed through Florence and arrived there late. We were herded through the Academia to see David (totally awesome, Suzanne you were right) and then herded again to the Public square to see all of the statues( ''You see statues...now we go!'') I'm not joking. I felt like i was my 15 year old dog being dragged from place to place. We renamed the GLT--the Get LOST Tour as it seemed that our guide didn't know where he was going most of the time.

After a good lunch we had.....1 HOUR before the bus left for Roma. No Ponte Vechio, no time for shopping. We were upset and let our guide know it. I don't think it mattered I think his lunch was 100 proof. We tried to visit some of the leather shops, but the area they took us to was full of overly priced, cheap stuff. So we protested again and had gelato!

We did see where Michaelangelo was born (yippee--get me on to the shopping please) but it's just a plaque (Boring). The Duomo was amazing and the architecture here is wonderful. My sister says all I take pictures of are doors and windows.

Got back here to hotel around 9;00 and went to our little Pizzaria down the street. Had the most wonderful bowl of soupa (Onion) and split a Pizza. I'm serious when I say that if you've never tasted true Italian pizza---You haven't lived.

Tomorrow is the Vatican (Audience with Pope). We hope that our guide isn't the same as today. We may be on the lookout for the preacher boy that we met on Sunday. He was excellent and we didn't pay a thing for him. Just goes to show--trust your own instincts. From here on out we're here in Rome and will do our own thing. Piazza NOvona, the Pantheon and Villa Borghese are on the list for tomorrow plus some shopping. I resisted the urge to buy the boxer shorts in Florence that had...uhmm David on them.(If you know what I mean!) Too much!

Sorry there are no pics...this computer in the hotel doesn't have a flash reader and to walk down to the Internet place in Barberini wouldn't be smart this time of night. I'll let you know when they are up on webshots or something. Today was the first day since Sunday that I've had my digital camera.



Sleeping Hard In Rome

Whew--I almost missed my bus this morning.. I guess that two days of sightseeing are catching up with me. Susie had to come to my room and get me this morning. I need a good alarm clock.

Today is Florence. The sight of David's Michaelangelo's masterpiece. It will be a good day.

Thanks for the many comments...I'll blog tonight when we get back in (your afternoon time)

I just got my luggage last night--so my digital camera is charged and ready to go. If I can, I'll get to the local internet site down then street that has the capacity to upload photos (can't do that here)


Day In Pompeii

Whew-its been a long day. Up and to the lobby by 6:00 AM to ride a tour bus to Naples-Pompeii. We heard lots of different dialects. I mostly slept since i couldn't last night, but the area south of Rome is lush and rural. I've never seen so many gardens. As you cross into the region south of Rome, you begin to encounter the mountains and Mt. Vesuvius, the volcano that irrupted.

Naples was ok--not much here to look at besides the great sea side shore line. We didn't stop here for long, but made our way to Old Town Pompeii where we had a lunch scheduled at a local Pizzaria. We didnt have Pizza, but Pork Loin and Potatoes. It wasn't bad--but probably wouldn't be something I would eat regularly.

We arrived at Pompeii--it looked like Wally World in the VACATION movies. I started making cracks about seeing a ferris wheel, or cotton candy. It really has become so commercial on the outside. Once inside, we were struck at the intricate details of life in Pompeii that have been uncovered. There were lots of advanced civilization things that I never knew existed there. We were only allowed 2 hours to be here--but unlike Sat-Sun, the sun was out today and it got a little warm. Besides the fact that the cobblestones hurt your feet. We were glad to get back on the bus!!

It took almost 3 hours to get back in to Roma and we weren't much for walking so we ordered DEAD COW at the Hard Rock next door. It tasted wonderful.

I'm off to bed. Another early day tomorrow as we head to Florence. Ponte Vechio, the statue of David, Shopping and more await.

I need some comments.....let me know you're reading these things.



Found In Pompeii!

Once set of luggage...left from 79 AD. They weren't using it so--I took it.

Luggage arrived today while we're gone. So now I dont have to smell like a Roman Army.

Off to supper--it's been a long but informing day


The Luggage that went around the world

Ok-so as of this morning, I'm still wearing the same thing that I did when I left Texas on Friday. If you see my pics--you'll know.

My bags went from JFK to London via Air France--back to Chicago and then back to Rome. As of this morning we are both in the same city. While I'm gone to Naples today the hotel hopes to track it down.

What a side story to the trip.

Last night GLADIATOR was on TV here--in Italian, but what a way to end the day after being at the Coliseum. It's a must watch when I get back.

On to Pompeii today and back late tonight.


Italian Pizza and Gelato

Ok--where have we been. Italian pizza is thin and crusty and full of fresh veggies. Oh my--Pizza Inn would have a hard time dealing with this.

Then Gelato---can I say heavenly with the most flavors ever. DQ wouldn't hold up either

Good night to all. Early wake up in the AM


You Can Survive

I'm living proof that you can survive in Rome on anything. As of now (7;00 pm) my bags have still not arrived from the airport. So when you see my pictures and I'm wearing the same thing--it's because I am. Amazing how you can come back to your room and rest a bit--and put the same clothes back on and go at it again. Ok Beth--you were right--should have carried on the luggage.

Today was full day. First church at St. Susannas church. Yes--its a Catholic church--but it's right down the street from our hotel. Service was in English and the message was from Mark--on 'Who do you Say I Am' interesting since that has been our series since August at church.

Following church we made our way to the Termni and caught a Christian Tour bus that allowed us to get on and off for the day. So we rode to the Coliseum and found another improptu tour given which gave us the pass to Col. and also a guided tour through Palatine Hil. Excellent--best Euros spent. First Guide--we called him Paulo was a walking History Channel. He's one of Rome's finest tour guides we found out later. Walked in the Col. and was overwhelmed. I did read Romans 8 while looking over the ground below. ' What then shall separate us from the love of Christ' Chill bumps. On to lunch across the street at a side standa. Pannini lunch on run--just right. Then met our guide for P.Hill. I called him Ian since he had a thick Scottish Brogue. Guess what his name was---IAN! Wow--I'm good--but so was he. We climbed the hill of the palaces--our GLUITIMUS MAXIMUS were working (that's not the name of an Empourer for those who don't know). Overlooked the Forum--Awesome! and then we found the free tour by a guy named Jason (I called him Todd--but it was Jason) An interesting character who we just knew had some trick up his sleeve. We followed him all the way through the forum to the steps of the church across the street from where Paul and Peter were imprisoned. There he gave the best SERMONETTE I've heard. I told Susie--he would be a great preacher. come to find out he did a Master's Degree at Yale in Historical Theology. Talked to him after and think he may be running from his calling. Just a hunch.

You meet so many people here. We met a couple named Verna and John who heard us talking about Texas. They are from Dallas too. He saw me pull out my scriptures toward the end of the tour when I was reading from 1 Peter and also from Acts. Had a great conversation with them. I guess it just proves we are all Roman of some sort.

It has been raining terribly here. Our feet are wet and our clothes--but not our spirit. We've had a great time. Off to supper now--lots of pasta and get ready for a 6:30 alarm for the trip South to Naples.

What a great day and I have thought about many of you in the states reading this. Just an encouragement to you that the Spirit is alive in well--in all places and at all times to accomplish what He wills.

Blessings to my family and home group meeting tonight. May you do the wise thing




Arrived here this morning at 8:30--long flight and my luggage didn't make it but neither did all of the plane from DFW

Spent this afternoon at the Spanish Steps and the Piazza Barberini. Then came back to the hotel for a siesta!! Just finished supper at a sidewalk cafe--took 2 hours to complete the 4 courses--but who's in a hurry. When in Rome....

We just had our fist taste of Gelato!! Yum, Yum! and the Trevi Fountain at night (we dropped our coins in). What a finish to the day.

Tomorrow--church here in Rome, then off to Coliseum and Forum area. Monday is Naples and Tuesday is Florence.

I'm off to my room---comfortable and clean.

For now--Ciao!

Paulo (thatàs my Italian name I gave myself)

On The Road

Arrived in Lubbock--after a driving West Texas rain storm. It was awful--I couldn't see three feet in front of me. I thought to myself---I'm going to die before I even get to Lubbock. At one point a large truck passed me, and with the volume of rain coming from him and the sky---I didn't know where I was in the road. It was as stressful as can be. But I made it--to lubbock by 10 and a quick trip by Wally World to get a larger memory disk. As you can see by this post---it's nearly 11:30 and I have to be up by 4:45. Getting an early start on the day.

Tomorrow will be long---depart Lubbock @ 6:55--then on to Dallas and NY. With all of the new regulations--I hope that my bag makes it in the 45 minutes that I have in NY... or else I'll be buying all new fashions in Italy (actually I'll just wear what I have)

Ciao! for now

Less Than 48 Hours

Ok..it's Wednesday night before I head to Italy. Tomorrow will be a busy day as I try to wrap things up here and get on the road. I'm excited to be going-but I'm also very tired physically. I hope that I can sleep on the train.

Have been busy doing my last minute things in the office. I want this trip to Rome to also be spiritual--so I've downloaded a study on the book of Romans (some 107 pages). This will give me some things to study in some down time. Just reading through some of the background stuff, I understand that Paul was writing these books (the Prison epistles) during these last years of his life. He would have known full well of the persecution of the church in Rome by Nero. So when I read from Romans 8 today ("There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus) I fully understood that this message was intended to encourage the believers in Rome--to hold up and persevere. I can imagine thinking of that verse when I stand @ the Coliseum and know that persecuted and condemned men and women were killed because of the name of Christ. Wow--if i can feel that here--what will it be like when I'm there.

More tomorrow

Travel to Italy

It's only 2 days until I depart for Italy. Getting nervous but excited.
I hope to keep you posted here on my travels. Check back often (and
hopefully I won't be cut off from the known world (NO INTERNET). I'm
suppose to have access in my hotel lobby. We'll see. Ciao!