Reader. Writer. Romantic.

Archive for May, 2014

Patricia’s Story

Here’s a little treat for those who have read my novel Eternal Bonds.

I was born into a rich family. I was surrounded by privilege and anything I wanted was always within reach. I’ve heard that power and wealth can be corrupt, but I wasn’t one of them. I wasn’t corrupt. And neither was my family. There would always be opposition to us, to what we stood for. There was no pleasing everyone in the world. That was clear. I was taught in the United States, Louisiana to be more specific under Madame LaLaurie’s strict curriculum. Madame LaLaurie wasn’t our teacher, but we were brought up on the same education that she had had in her youth. Now, you may say she was a cruel and twisted woman, but those claims were unsubstantiated. For one, she was a decent human being like myself. Her only crime was learning a bit of magic. Witchcraft was forbidden and could be punished by burning the witch at stake, but she used her magic for good, as did I. I was taught the highest and most power type of magic. Some called it black magic, but it wasn’t. It just wasn’t the mainstream magic that everyone flocked to. I wasn’t a sheep and my magic reflected that. I wouldn’t say I forced anyone to do anything they didn’t want, but I just gave them a small suggestion, a slight persuasion to see my perspective and they often came around my way.

In 1940 I met a charming gentleman, his name was James Schaffer. He said he was a doctor. No not really of medicine, but he worked in  a laboratory. He struck me as a lost little puppy with his big innocent eyes. And could he ever dance! He was one of the best dance partners I had the pleasure of knowing. And soon I found myself stepping out with him every Friday night. Though our family lived in Orion it was a short drive to Calgary. There was no nightlife in Orion, but Calgary, oh it was wonderful there. I mean, it wasn’t much compared to the parties of high society in Louisiana, but they were certainly better than Orion. Orion didn’t even know what it meant to have fun. As a matter of fact all the shops closed at 5pm, how boring! I didn’t even know why we lived all the way out here except that daddy inherited from a distant relative that partially gave his name to our home, the Carvell-Moore Manor.

It was in the summer of 1944 that James proposed to me. He was worried he’d never come back alive from the war, he had been conscripted into the war like many others and wanted to guarantee my hand in marriage. He created a very elaborate ruse to lead me out to the pavilion an acre away from our house. He had planted the entire acre with daffodils. I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t believe his dedication, nor could I believe that I had never noticed that they had been planted there, destined to bloom for me on this special day. I wasn’t sure I loved him, but when I saw all this dedication, everything that he had done for me, the rings, how could I say no? He was going to die in the war; I had to give him some peace, to make him think that he had my eternal love. I accepted and my father offered the house to James as my dowry. James was given a quick tour of the house and stayed for a week before he returned to Calgary and headed off with the other young men heading off to the training camp in Winnipeg.

Life has a strange way of working. On the night James left I had a vision of a tortured man. He blamed me for his death, for the death of his brother and sister in law and his nephews and nieces. I had never seen him before and I didn’t understand. I tried to block him from my mind, from my dreams, but he was constantly there. I could feel his presence even if I couldn’t see him. I could hear his rasping breaths as if he was next to me. I wondered for days about who he was. I had no leads, no information. Perhaps it was just my imagination or perhaps it was a restless ghost in the house due to some act of injustice against him. Because of my magical inclinations I was able to communicate with the other side, but this also meant I was plagued with their problems. I created a protective barrier around me in hopes of warding him off, but he was powerful and easily shattered my defenses badgering until I could no longer bear it. I had to ask. I had to know who he was.

I asked my father who the Moores were. I could see the slight loss of control over my father’s perfect poker face before his answer that the Moores were a distant cousin of my mother’s side, something like the cousin of her great aunt. I knew he was lying so I asked for a name. It was William.

Now I wasn’t stupid. My upbringing and education had seen to that. I knew how to do my research and sweet talk the librarian’s assistant into allowing me access to the restricted records without the proper identification. William Moore had been a suitor to a woman name Catherine Beaumont who had met his tragic end in the first world war. Catherine was James’ mother. Perhaps this had been Catherine’s house? Or maybe it was William’s? Was William hoping that Catherine would come back for him? Was he unable to rest because he hadn’t been able to say his good bye? Would James come haunt me if he died in France? Or Russia? Or Germany? Or Italy?

If William couldn’t lay himself to rest, I would help him. He didn’t deserve to suffer for so long. I would lay him to rest forever, but first I had some shopping to do.

Performing magic wasn’t like in books or plays. It didn’t need a pentagram drawn on the ground or black candles. It just needed a few household supplies or things that could be easily procured from the supermarket. Most of the things I found at home, I only had to buy some bacon fat, extra matches and a small plastic soldier. I created an altar before my mirror and began to muster up the power from within me. I never expected him to show his horrible face in the moment I released my spell on the soldier. His crushed arm and severed throat caught me by surprise and I misfired, sending the spell into the mirror and causing it rebound and hit me. I felt my head spin and my heart sink. Then I stopped feeling. Then I felt everything. My soul floated away from my body, but it was still tethered there. I watched as people came and took me away. I sat through my own funeral knowing that one day I would get my revenge. I didn’t deserve to die. Death was for other people. I was supposed to have lived forever and I would.

I knew I had to be patient. If I rushed it, I wouldn’t have enough power to sustain myself and end up dying more permanently. I bided my time, watching James weep over my death. It was definitely unfair. How could he have survived the war when I had died because a spell rebounded off my mirror. I knew what to do. I knew how to come back and I would use James to do it. And he provided the perfect opportunity.

He naively asked whether I wanted to live again. He, like many others, had thought I had committed suicide upon discovering the actions of my family’s involvement in William’s death. I had not known that at the time of my misfire, but eventually learned about from my parents at my funeral about what they had done to William and the Moores. From what my father explained, it had been a job, he had been asked by his best friend, Edward Schaffer, to deal with William, a competitor for Catherine’s affections. Edward was an aristocrat that you didn’t refuse. And by the sounds of things, William never deserved Catherine anyways. His death had been a good thing. Edward had saved Catherine from eternal servitude by having William eliminated. I knew what to do, but I needed James to bring me something I could be carried away in as my body had now decayed. Something that had emotional significance to me. He brought me his engagement ring. Though I hadn’t loved James it had still caused me some happiness: to see the effort he had put into it and the number of daffodils he planted for me.

He brought me home and I slowly began to take over his life. He offered me a body. A beautiful young girl. I couldn’t be happier. To be reincarnated in such a lovely body. There had to be some changes made to the body of course. It wasn’t habitable without some tweaking to make it more like home. After all, I was going to be living in it forever. If I had to spend it with James, so be it. He would eventually die and I would continue to survive without him. It wasn’t going to be a burden.

However William had to ruin it like he did the first time and he taught the children to kill me forever. I wasn’t going to let that happen. I escaped and returned to my old room where I hid until one day in 2012 when a young boy moved into my room. I had never met anyone like him. He was well educated. That night he was reading a book in Latin, I was impressed. That night I approached him. He would be perfect. He would make an eternal rest easier. I would take him away from the world in the same way I had been taken away. He made me feel something that James could never have made me feel. He was special. I had finally found the love of my life. I could finally rest.

Travel Log: European Cruise-Italy, France and Spain PART 4

The trip to Naples was the one I was most looking forward to. In particular because we would be visiting Pompeii. I had read about Pompeii in grade school from a book my sister won as part of a summer reading adventure through one of our city library programs. I had hoped we would be visiting Pompeii in the morning before it got too hot, but we went to Sorrento first. Upon meeting our guide, I thought that he was pretty good until he mentioned that he had been married three times and that he liked his latest wife best because she didn’t talk. He went on to express that women should remain at home and their only job was to bear children. I was shocked. I’m not sure if that’s a cultural thing, but it’s still unbelievable to hear and that type of misogyny should be put to an end by running the offender over with a bus. Or something equally horrible. To get to Sorrento is a scenic drive up a rather steep and narrow road up a cliff. Once we arrived, we were taken to a furniture shop and given two hours to explore. There really wasn’t much to see for us in Sorrento so we walked down the main streets and looked at the churches and stuff before returning to our meeting place almost 45 minutes early. The only thing I considered purchasing was from the furniture shop that we first went to. It was a handmade music box. However, I didn’t think it was worth €130 for something the size of a chocolate box.  From there we headed off to a farm for lunch. All the ingredients for our lunch had either been grown or raised there. Our starter was a couple slices of salami, one slice of prosciutto, green and black olives, basket mozzarella and bocconcini. I could only get down the bocconcini, the salami and prosciutto had too much of a raw meat taste, I can’t stand olives and the basket mozzarella was flavourless. The main was a lasagna noodle sliced lengthwise with a tomato and dried cheese sauce. It was good, but I would have preferred it a little more al dente. Dessert was a cream puff with some lemon zest and smothered in more cream. Then came the famous limoncello. GAWD that stuff is strong! They gave us two demonstrations at the farm. One was how the mozzarella was made. The other was how they made limoncello as well as other fruit and nut liqueurs. By far the walnut liqueur was the strongest, described by my dad as tasting like brandy. After that we headed back to the bus and we were off to Pompeii.

We stopped in a cameo shop while our guide bought tickets and this really racist Italian American lady held up the group by like half an hour because she was buying a cameo and turned off her radio.

We saw a lot of interesting places in Pompeii including a brothel…with stone beds…I can’t imagine how uncomfortable that would have been. What if you hit your head and died?! Anyways we also looked at some of the places the “big wigs” lived at. Fancy…There was a lot of walking, but that’s what I prefer anyways. And under the hot sun it was painful to stay standing in one spot for very long. Pompeii is so big that we only got to see the highlights. I might want to come back when it isn’t s hot to slowly explore what the entire town-city has to offer.

After such a tiring day all I wanted to do was sleep, but instead we had to pack and have our bags outside our staterooms before 10pm for disembarkation the next day. We were picked up at the terminal by a car from Hotel Seccy, the hotel we would be staying in in Fiumicino. The hotel was lovely. It had an antique-historical charm. The only things I could complain about was that there were weathered tiles in the bathroom making it look like it was dirty, the bedet taking up too much space again, and that there was some weird splotch/stain on my bed cover.

We were starving and there had been recommendations that the pizza place next door was amazing. But surprise, it doesn’t open until 7:30pm. So instead we walked to the sea/riverside and got some pasta. This is where I learned what scampi really were. Like huge shrimp or shrimp on steroids. Mini lobsters really. The pasta here was a lovely al dente. Would definitely come back to tried their fried fish/seafood special. For dinner I think my dad went overboard…we had scampi risotto, penne carbonara, calamari, chicory, fried mixed seafood, a mushroom and sausage pizza, tiramisu, and biscotti. Seriously. SO full! The only complaint I have is that Italians take their time with everything so we went in at 7:30 and didn’t leave until about 9:30. The restaurant only had 4 other tables and we were the first to arrive.

As Fiumicino is a small fishing village, seafood was in abundance, which was great, but because it was a small fishing village, it doesn’t get many tourists which in turn means many of them can’t speak English. This was the first time during the whole trip that we couldn’t rely on English or Chinese to get by. Yes, we spoke Chinese in Italy…with owners of souvenir shops in Rome and two Chinese restaurants in Rome. We got by with pointing and one lady (the one at the pizza place) was impressed I was able to find the Italian equivalent for my English order. What got me was that they had an English menu but no one in the place could speak or read English.

The one thing I think I love most is the Caprese Panini I had in Rome on our second day there. It was glorious. Caprese Paninis are the best things in the world. It was the last thing we bought at the airport before we headed back home.

By the end of this trip I was tired and sick. Like a coworker said, “You have to work in Europe.” This didn’t feel like a vacation. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every minute of it, but I was exhausted after all of this and needed a vacation from my vacation, but unfortunately I don’t have that luxury. It’s nose to the grindstone and I just have keep on working just to get by. One day I’ll go back and take my sweet time going from city to city. And the next time I visit Italy, I will go to Venice.


Travel Log: European Cruise-Italy, France and Spain PART 3

Our first stop in Spain was a small island called Majorca (pronounced Mah-york-ka). Since the island was so small we went to about three places in total. The itinerary sounded great before we started: a pearl factory, the Caves of Hams, and Porto Cristo. I had expected the factory to be like what I had seen about six years ago when I went to China, but I know now I shouldn’t have compared it to that awing experience. In China, the factories put a grain of sand into the oyster to irritate it enough to induce the production of a pearl. Here, they were purely synthetic. They take this rod that looks like it’s made of plastic and heat it to about 600°C and form it into whatever shape the design of the day calls for. After that we rushed off to the Caves of Hams (pronounced “ams”). Stalactites are not my favourite things in the world and creep me out a little bit. Combine that with my inability to walk with slippery uneven terrain in the dark makes for a whole lot of clumsy. On the Sea of Venice, a large pool of water within the cave with an interesting “island” we were treated to a light and music show. While images of opera singers singing pieces by Mozart were projected along the walls, some actors dressed up with Venetian masks came towards us on a boat, went once around the “pond” and returned to the back of the cave, but not before hitting the wall and disappearing from sight. I strongly believe in obeying the authorities, something I missed saying about the Vatican was that when we entered the Sistine Chapel, talking was prohibited. Apparently people don’t understand what that means and even with the security personnel telling them to shut up, they kept on talking. I find that to be very rude, especially in such a holy place. Here a similar thing happened. We were clearly told not to touch anything or take pictures with flash. Yes, it is inconvenient and you get horrible photos, but there is a reason why they ask you not to do it other than so that they can make money. Let’s just say I did not enjoy being blinded in addition to all the other handicaps I already had against me. After the caves we went to Porto Cristo. There wasn’t much to see there and this was the only time we had been able to stop for souvenirs. We had worn runners to walk through the caves more easily so heading down to the beach to fill our shoes with sand wasn’t something we wanted to do. Instead we sat on a bench and stared out into the water and at the opposite shore and the boats giving tours of the area. We observed everything closing at 5pm and wondered how a business could survive closing so early, especially restaurants and food stalls.

This was our first night eating dinner at the buffet. Love my chicken strips with honey mustard.

The next day we arrived in Barcelona. The cruise staff kept warning us that theft was so high in Barcelona, but I really was like whatever. It doesn’t matter where you are and who you are, if you flaunt yourself and your wealth and don’t take care to secure your belongings, you’re going to be robbed. Immediately when we arrived in Barcelona (well when I went onto my balcony, not when I was in Barcelona and still in my room), I started sneezing. I didn’t feel cold and thought nothing of it until I arrived on the shore and my eyes started watering like they normally do when I get allergies back in Calgary.

The tour in Barcelona was a quick city highlights tour. The most beautiful thing we saw was Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. It was huge and it’s not even finished yet! Four of the bell towers, on what appeared to be the front of the basilica, looked like they were formed in a cave. It look really cool. We got some free time and I was able to buy a shoulder bag for myself to replace my old one that is ripping because it was a hand-me-down. Since the tour was only for half a day, we got to go to Taste to see what they offered for lunch. My starter was a popcorn shrimp with cocktail and tartar sauces and it was phenomenal! My only complain was that the shrimps were diced, but at the same time I didn’t mind since it saved me from cutting them and allowed me to douse each piece in sauce. I was happy that it was lightly breaded, unlike the calamari had been. Valerie’s scallop gratin came in a dish made for escargot with the same garnishings and way of preparation. It was pretty good. My main was country fried chicken and the portion size was huge! I couldn’t finish it all and felt bad wasting since packing it away for later wasn’t an option.

The day we were in Barcelona was the night we had a show. It was the only show we had to pay for so I hoped it would be worth it. It was called Cirque Dreams and Dinner and it turned out to be the worst possible experience ever. We had paid for premium seats, but they seated us at the worse possible spot ever. We couldn’t see anything because we were seated on the side the performers had their backs to. I sat down in a place and wasn’t told that I wasn’t supposed to sit there and the waiter just treated me like shit the whole night. When I asked for water he’s said to me that he was getting there and that I had to be patient. If I f***ing paying you extra money you better treat me better. It was this incident that was the last straw for me. I will write a review later specific to the cruise ship, but I will not be returning because of that incredibly rude waiter. It was a set dinner so we had prosciutto with mesclun and cucumber and a caprese salad. It was not good. That’s all I’m going to say…just not good at all. The entree was a surf and turf (tenderloin with shrimp and potato wedges and broccoli). It was so salty that I finished both my iced tea and water and the guy didn’t come to refill my water, geezus! Dessert wasn’t any better. They gave us a trio: red velvet cupcake, chocolate and praline cake, and some mango jello thing. The red velvet cupcake was so smothered in icing I couldn’t find the cupcake and when I did, there wasn’t much of it. The mango jello thing is something you can find at a Chinese buffet in Calgary. And the chocolate and praline cake was the best thing all night. Honestly, this was the biggest disappointment ever!

The following day we were at sea. Unfortunately the sea took a turn for the worse and we weren’t able to go wall climbing as per our original plan. We did manage to find a giant chessboard and started playing on that until the wind started knocking over our pieces and we gave up. Originally we were also going to play some board games as an alternative if the weather was bad, but by the time we got down to grab a game to play, they had all been taken.

Stay tuned for the final installment of this trip in Naples, Sorrento and Pompeii as well as our return to Civitavecchia and our stay in Fiumicino.

Travel Log: European Cruise-Italy, France and Spain PART 2

When we arrived to our stateroom, we were greeted with a strange yet visually appealing curvy sight. The T.V. was on playing some kind of informational video on safety at sea, but we mostly ignored it to explore the room. The toilet and shower were split and were their own separate “rooms. The shower was more of the kind we were used to in Canada, unlike the ones at the Palatino Hotel, which had half a door, the shower head had a very small range and there was a bedet…which took up more space than was necessary since we didn’t need it. We headed up to the top deck to grab a quick lunch before we attended our mandatory safety drill where they just talked at us. I remembered thinking in a real emergency we’d be screwed, we had no idea where to meet. Dinner was at one of the complementary restaurants, Taste and it was a bit of disappointment. Again, for the money I paid I expected better service. It took over 40 minutes for a server to come refill our water and the restaurant was barely half full and it still took them at least 25 minutes to come out with each of the courses. The food wasn’t even that good either. I ordered an calamari and arugula salad that was supposed to come with tomatoes, olives and red onions. There was one ring of onion (like the tiny centre ring). a cherry tomato halved, three microscopic olives, and the batter on the calamari was oily and heavily battered. I was not impressed. Norwegian Cruise Line not the first cruise line I’ve been with, the first was Celebrity Cruises. Firstly, there was no set dinner time, it was first come first served meaning that at times there would be a ridiculously long line up to get into the complementary restaurants. If you didn’t want to wait for dinner in a nice restaurant, then you could make a reservation at the specialty restaurant, but had to pay a cover charge ranging from $15-$30. As I would find out, the food in this restaurant and the Manhattan Room (the other complementary restaurant with the exact same menu as Taste except more formal), was consistently either over-seasoned or under-seasoned [should probably be reading salt not seasoning, although sometimes it was the seasoning].

The next day it was off to Florence and Pisa. Technically the port is Livorno, so it was a bit of a drive to get to Florence. It was supposed to be a good day, but the guide sped through the streets without once looking back as she led 40 tourists who have no idea where they’re going through the crowds of locals and other tourists. I was terrified by the idea of getting left behind in a country I didn’t know how to navigate, with a language I couldn’t speak. We met up with a local tour guide who looked like one of my university profs and that really helped. For lunch we went to a palace. It was freaking amazing and food was great! The portions were fairly large in comparison to what we had been served locally in Rome. After lunch we looked around a bit more before heading off to Pisa. I wasn’t looking forward to seeing the leaning tower. It really wasn’t that interesting anyways and the guide didn’t give us enough time to get far enough away from the tower to take one of those leaning pictures anyways, so it was a bit pointless. In the end, we returned to the ship 30 minutes later than the time we were supposed to have sailed because lunch took 2 and a half hours!

The next day we arrived in Cannes. Lucky (or unlucky) for us, the Cannes International Film Festival was going on at the same time. Meaning there were swarms of fans and locals and tourists pushing along the streets to catch a glimpse of a movie star. We headed to shore early like many others in hopes of glimpsing someone, but alas, no luck. In the afternoon we went on our excursion to Grasse and St. Paul de Vence. In Grasse we visited a perfume factory and there were so many scents that we wanted to buy. However, the guide had only given us 30 minutes before we had to be back…which was no time at all considering the tour/lecture part took 20 minutes and the line up for the bathroom took 10…

Before long we were in St. Paul de Vence. It was a quaint medieval village that had many art galleries and shops along the streets. The whole time I walked along those streets, I imagined myself there in the middle ages. How horrible it must have been! If the streets were this slippery in the hot sun, I couldn’t imagine what it’d be like in rain or snow! Assuming that they get snow that is. Also, to make matters worse, the entire town is pretty much going all uphill until you reach the point of view, which is a scenic point that overlooks the surrounding countryside and a cemetery. This is a place I would most certainly return to. I would love to explore the small street at my own leisure. Of course a command of the French language would be a big help to me. Maybe I’ll upgrade my French before I return.

Come back tomorrow to read about my adventures in Spain. Including an allergic reaction to Barcelona!

Travel Log: European Cruise-Italy, France and Spain. PART 1

As some of my readers know, I recently returned from my cruise through Italy, France and Spain. We flew out on May 10 and arrived at the Fiumicino airport (AKA the Leonardo da Vinci Airport). I would have to say that Leonardo would be very disappointed that such a unmodern airport has come to bear his name sake. However, it didn’t really matter, I was tired and just wanted to get to the hotel to get some food and rest. When we arrived at the Grand Palatino Hotel, the service was very poor. No one was willing to help, we had to approach them and ask and even then, they seemed reluctant. For the price we were paying to stay there, they should have been tripping over themselves to come help. We arrived at the hotel around noon and check in wasn’t until 3pm so we decided to grab a bite at the hotel’s restaurant. There was no one in sight. Literally we walked around the restaurant peering around corners into other rooms before some guy was like “Can I help you with something?” Hmm, i wonder what a bunch of tourists peeking around a restaurant means? Anyways, we were finally seated and given menus in English, luckily. We made our orders and it took forever for anything to come. I had a ricotta stuffed ravioli served with “scampi.” When it came, they just looked like normal shrimp with their heads on. I didn’t realize that this wasn’t really scampi until later, but I’ll get to that when I actually describe my encounter with “real” scampi. Thought they were giant ravioli, I couldn’t forgive the fact that the shrimp was not fresh (it had that powdery consistency that seafood shouldn’t have if it is fresh) and for €18, I expected it to be a little better than what it was. Of course, i was also to learn that in Europe a lot of places serve fairly small portions. My sister is not a fan of pasta (ironic since we were in Italy, but she’s never liked pasta) so she ordered a duck breast dish. It was bad to put it mildly. The duck breast was completely dry and the vegetables looked and felt like they had been boiled in oil with oil poured on top prior to being served. For such a “high quality,” elitist kind of restaurant, that was disappointing and we would not be coming back.

Our first day there, as I said were dead tired. I had slept one hour. I woke up 6am Calgary time. We arrived in Italy at 11am local time (3am Calgary time). However, they wouldn’t just let us rest. No, they made the most of the money we paid by having a quick tour of the area around our hotel and our guide showed us restaurants we could eat at that were close to the restaurant which i found to be really nice and considerate of the guide to do that for us. She also bought us some gelato. So yummy! I was very happy even thought I was tired. We turned in early that night without dinner because we had to be up at 6am the next day to start off for the Colosseum. We were told that we would be getting a wake up call. It never came. Apparently the computer system responsible for that was broken…wow…okay…great job hotel, great job. Luckily my parents got us up in time.

Our hotel was located near the historical part of Rome therefore it wasn’t far for us to walk to the Colosseum. A word of warning: don’t take a picture with the gladiators wandering outside. They will charge you. And if you really want to take a picture with them, ask them how much they charge before you do get a picture otherwise they will charge you something ridiculous after like €40 and you can’t say no. Although I wonder if just deleting the picture will do it. Anyways, as beautiful as the Colosseum was, I couldn’t forget all that had happened there and it made me a bit sad to walk through there. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to have to fight. Especially for those poor unarmed Christians…

After the Colosseum we headed to the Roman Forum, which was also within walking distance. It was a pretty hot day to be walking around in the open air, but the greenery and flowers were beautiful. We got to see a lot of Roman Pagan Temples which were only preserved because of it’s conversion into a church when Roman Catholicism reigned supreme.

After that, they gave us the afternoon off to explore Rome on our own.

The next day we explored the religious side of Rome. Our first place to visit was the Vatican Museum which then led to the Sistine Chapel, From there we went to see San Pietro’s Basilica.

Again in the afternoon, we got free time to explore Rome.

Technically, after each of the excursions mentioned above there were additional excursions that we could go on, but by that time in the day we were all too tired to go on anymore and didn’t want to spend anymore money. I would have liked to have seen the opera, but as half my family was against it and were unwilling to pay €100 to go, I didn’t go either.

From there we headed to Civitavecchia, the port of Rome, where our cruiseship would set sail. Well, no, technically it had already picked up some passengers in Barcelona and then got here. I think it goes on a circuit, so you can get on in Barcelona or Rome/Civitavecchia depending on which one you want to spend a few days in or is closer or which ever city you like better.

Now here’s the unfortunately thing. The photographs I took for these three days is completely gone. There was a malfunction with my camera and I lost all 130ish pictures. I’m really mad and sad at this, but at least my sister’s got some of the pictures.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s part detailing the visit to Florence, Pisa, and France.

Driving School

My relationship to driving school and getting my class 5 GDL driver’s licence is a love-hate relationship. I was sorta excited by the idea of getting a car in joint with my sister and finally not having to ask my dad for a ride when I work until 7pm, but at the same time, I didn’t really care. I didn’t have any real need for a driver’s licence because I was going to university and parking costs way too much for me anyways. Now that I’m graduating and it looks like I won’t be getting into law school, I will be working a lot more and will probably need the licence just so that I’m not such a hassle to my parents.

However, after my two week vacation and seeing how crazy Italians drive, I began to reconsider wanting to learn how to drive and also reconsidered moving to Italy despite my love for pasta. I came back not excited by the idea, but knew I had to continue with it. So early this morning we headed off to the school and I was beginning to get my excitement back. It was short-lived. As soon as the instructor opened his mouth, I knew it was going to be a long day. Now, I don’t say this to be rude, but if you can’t speak or understand English fully, you shouldn’t be teaching students how to drive. If I ask you a question and it takes you 20 minutes and 4 people trying to explain it to you for you to get it, you’re probably not qualified. I don’t care if you’ve been driving for 35+ years, it doesn’t automatically make you an expert in the field. I could be interested in writing for 20 years and churn out hundreds of crap manuscripts that never get reviewed and I never improve and decide to self-publish, doesn’t mean that I’m a good writer. You say that licensing is to regulate who should have the right to drive, maybe they should screen you for the same thing. You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about and you understand even less. There are two instructors that I know professionally from this school, that’s what made me choose it i the first place, but this instructor makes me want to forget about driving forever.

The classroom portion of the class is supposed to be 9-5 not 9-5:30 and today he only got through 20 some pages out of about 100. We watched a whole bunch of pointless videos made in the early 90s and he didn’t even know how to operate the DVD or computer. Every time he wanted to talk he would turn of the projector, why can’t he just leave it on and talk then go to the next slide instead of showing the slide, turning it off for 5 minutes to talk then turning the projector back on to show the slide that we have in our workbooks for about 3 seconds and turning it off again? Also, what’s the point of showing the “how to use this DVD” portion of the DVD and saying that that is the important point of the DVD? It clearly isn’t important, it’s the content not the “how to use.” Also, if the video has no sound, maybe you should turn it on so that we can hear what we missed. There’s no harm in re-watching some parts that were missed. I’m so pissed off right now.

Honestly, I don’t remember the instructor’s name, but it was something close to Asswipe. That would be a pretty accurate description of the services and attitude he provides. He is completely rude and I f***ing want to burying him in a pit of man eating pigs. Like the one in Hannibal. The one Mason Verger has. That one.

Then there’s the issue of the road test. I may have the theoretical knowledge and be good at it, but that is very different from application. I’m worried that I won’t be able to master everything required for driving in the time I’m given. Also, I don’t want to go with a certain driving examiner, but I don’t want them to be offended because they’ve known me for a while too. I just hope that that driving examiner will be all booked up and I will be able to go with a different examiner and avoid offending them.

I’m sorry for ranting so long about this. I will try not to post too many rants because I know how tedious they are to read. Once I get over this sleep deprivation I will resume posting short stories, poems and whatever else I normally post. Thank you for bearing with me.

Ice Cold Flames

It was so cold.  It never used to be this way.  Whoever said Hell was fiery…they were wrong, I know because I’ve been there.  I live here!

I can’t remember exactly what it was like before, but I know it wasn’t like this!  There is ice all around me, frozen, like my heart.  I’m numb, but I still feel the pain of his absence.

I’ve been like this since he had left.  Hell has been like this since.

Before, when I was alive, my life was a blur.  All I remember of it was my parents’ shame, the demon’s visit every evening with an overly good-looking boy.  This boy had a name–Alexander and he was the son of the devil.

The next thing I remember was my wedding.  I was only sixteen.  He looked eighteen, but he could have been over a hundred years old.  I was the payment for the debt my parents owed.  They had wanted a son so badly, so the devil gave them a son.  In return, he wanted me…to ease his son’s insatiable loneliness.

Marriage was what I wanted.  I loved him.  And he loved me.  We were happy.  For once in my life, I felt that I was free and able to do what I wanted, be who I wanted to be and somebody loved me for who I was.

It was the happiest years of my life, full of warmth and love. Our first child was a boy.  But as they say, happiness is temporary.  It was a dark and fiery evening when they came for him, the angels.  They wouldn’t explain anything to me.  They just took Alexander away.

I can still hear his voice, “Moira, Moira, don’t worry baby, I won’t be long.  Wait for me, I’ll be back.”

He never came back.  I’ve been waiting…just patiently waiting…for…for…so long…

How many years have passed?

I’m so lost.

So alone.

When he left, all of hell mourned for his absence.  A hush fell over the land and a pain consumed us all.  His father filled his heart with as much anger and determination as possible to fight the angels to get his son back…his only child…my Alexander.

One month.
Two months.
No news of either.
Three months.
Four months
Nothing still
Five months.
Six months.
Things got cooler.
Seven months.
Eight months.
I’m so cold…
Nine months.
Ten months…
A year…
Everything froze…except for me.

He never came back.
Father and Son.
Devil and my love.
My Alexander……

Everyone…frozen in place.
Like ice statues, with a sheet of ice draped over them
In an ice palace.
In the depths of hell
Jagged with frozen flames
Dangerous, but beautiful
And dead.

I walk amongst them…
I caress their faces.
Looking for my son among them
In the ice museum

He went out to play one day…and never came back

I sit
Wishing to die
But cannot
For I am already dead.

I think of all the people who made promises.
To do something when hell froze over.
Well it’s frozen, and so I make a promise
When hell thaws out, I will have my revenge
I will find my son
I will find the Angels who did this
And I will administer my own justice


Him and I

Mother and Son


Vengeance will be mine




Playing for Patience

Of all the games in the world
I hate your games the most
They aren`t challenges of my intellect
Nor of my speed
Rather you prefer to test that of my patience
With your lack of speed

What do you think you will accomplish from that?
You frustrate me to no end
Having to wait for you
To form your long sentences of numbers
To give me the clue to your pointless games
To lure me into believing that I have something to gain from all this pain

Sitting here waiting for you is worse than dying a hundred times
Or being condemned to a lifetime of work
I have other more important work to do…
If only you let me

For all my life I waited
Waiting for you to go
But you just take your time
Admiring the roses
The sky
And everything in between

But really?
What is there to admire
All roses, flowers and sky are coded in a numerical code
Something I would never understand
Nothing in your world is real
Everything is done through your ridiculous code
Time is nothing
Time passes but it doesn’t

You take your time
As my life goes by
I wonder if I will ever get to finish everything I set out to do

Probably not
By the time you are ready
I would have given new life
Another life
To start again
To wait for you
In the darkness of the basement
Hoping not to face the same fate again

But probably will
As many generations before me have

I sigh…
Give up
And write a poem
About the slow
Connection from a basement so secluded
So alone…that I probably won’t get one even as class starts today

You gave me hope
And crushed them again

And so I wait
With this reluctance
For you to yield to me

And finally you do
But you take your time
To show me what I want to know
And test my patience once again


“When reading, …

“When reading, we don’t fall in love with the characters’ appearances. We fall in love with their words, their thoughts, and their hearts. We fall in love with their souls”


Shakespeare in 3 panels

Shakespeare in 3 panels

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