Wow! Another week gone, another Thursday Thirteen post I have to throw together because - again - I've been swamped, this time with preparations for my summer trip to the US.
One day I'll learn and get this done well in advance when I have time. Until then, allow me to present to you
13 Things Which Kept
Me Busy This Week!
Sophie helping me *unpack* two years ago. ...sigh...
1) The biggie - Packing! It takes me forever to pack what I want/need to take with me to the US each summer, in part because I make a list and then proceed to, basically, ignore it. Ugh.
2) I had to finish my lessons at the school this week, too. That took time, especially since one student had to reschedule her final lesson at the last minute.
3) I actually managed to get in that bike ride I wanted to do on Friday. However, I didn't ride the planned distance of 6.5 miles. They've extended the path I rode on and so I wound up doing a round trip of 8 miles instead. Go, me! I just hope to get back in the swing shortly after I get back to Italy.
4) I had to do more laundry, of course. That took time. Not a lot, but still...
I'm biased, yes. But I think it's purrrty!
5) I had to put the finishing touches on the cover art for the new paperback of Ask Me if I'm Happy (coming soon - I hope).
6) It sounds crazy, I know, but... I had to try to rest, too. With the warmer weather, I get tired more easily, and I sometimes conk out unexpectedly. Best to avoid that if possible, right?
How sweet is this??? Squee!
7) Thanks to pics like this one, courtesy of cyclist Ken Sommer, I found myself inspired enough to put down some new words on 27 Stages - at last!!!
8) I tried to clean my desk. BWHAAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!
Alle and his father, Paolo at lunch in Carpineti.
9) We went for a visit with Alle's relatives in Carpineti. It's always a pleasure to spend time with them.
10) I tried to get my Tumblr blog queue updated so I won't have to worry about it for a couple of weeks. I won't say which one it is, though. (It's a secret!)
He looks so pensive here, doesn't he?
11) I started preparing some of my Giro pics for the possibility of printing them in the US. I might even offer a few of the best shots for sale on eBay while I'm there.
12) I'm still watching the Giro on the computer or on TV - almost every day. Why almost, you ask? Well, the pre-travel preparations have kept me pretty tied up, to be honest.
Me and Mom, Lago Maggiore, September 2006.
13) The final thing keeping me busy? I call my mom nearly every day. So, that's a regular part of my schedule. Heh.
Yeah, I've been pretty busy.
And my vacation looks like it'll be pretty busy, too...
what with visiting relatives, writing, watching the Tour de France...
And hitting the beach... Ciao for now!
Ciao a tutti! Hello, everybody!My new monthly guest blog is up on Book After Book
now. Won't you come by, read about Living on Italian Time
and share your thoughts on the subject?Thanks!
If you're in the market for a couple of reasonably priced and enjoyable e-books - and you never quite got around to purchasing one of them the first time around - here's your chance!
Ask Me if I'm Happy is now available again in e-book format, and is yours for the taking for just $4.99 at the following online sales outlets:
Smashwords (in various formats including Kindle)
Barnes & Noble (for the NOOK e-reader)
And if you've already read Ask Me if I'm Happy, want a short and sexy read showing how Emily and Jacopo met and you have $2.99 to spare, you'll enjoy "Alternate Rialto", also in e-book at the following locations:
Smashwords (in various formats including Kindle)
Barnes & Noble (for the NOOK e-reader)
Before anyone complains: This is a photo of a storefront in Firenze, Italy, back in 2006.
Ciao a tutti! Hello, everybody!
Well, this week has been a corker. I'm trying to get ready for my summer visit to the US, wrapping up my lessons at the school where I teach, and working out the final kinks in order to get both Ask Me if I'm Happy and "Alternate Rialto" out in paperback.
Of course, this means that I've sacrificed a lot of time and haven't been able to do a proper Thursday Thirteen. So this week, I'll have to present to you:
Yet Another Utterly and Completely Random Edition
1) Who knew that "save to PDF" could be such a frakkin' challenge? Well, it is for me...
2) Someone in my neighborhood is cooking something which smells totally and unquestionably DELICIOUS. This is when open windows are both a treat and a torture, I tell you what.
3) I can also smell flowers. I'm not a big fan of flowers, but these smell niiiice...
4) Did I mention that Ask Me if I'm Happy is now available via Kindle, once again? No? Well it is. WOOOT! It's also available in the UK and in Germany (in English). How cool is that? 5) Did I mention that "Alternate Rialto" is also available via Kindle? No? I must be slipping, eh? It's there now! It's also in the UK and in Germany (in English, of course). I'm so happy! Yay!!! 6) This is the Madonna del Ghisallo - the patron saint of cyclists. This medallion is mentioned in my novel, 27 Stages.
7) Yes, I am still working on 27 Stages. Hopefully I'll be working on it full-time very soon.
8) About an hour or so ago, I compiled a list of cyclists who are over six feet tall. It wasn't research, but a favor for a cycling fan friend.
Bicycle still life with Chuck Taylor shoe and chubby leg. *ahem*
9) This week, I went for a recreational ride on my bike (as opposed to commuting, which is what I usually do). I only managed 4.5 miles. Add this to my commutes, and I've ridden 7.9 miles this week. I hope to add 6.5 miles to that tomorrow. Wish me luck!
10) I've got a load of laundry in the washing machine right now.
11) I have to switch out my winter clothes for my summer ones. Ugh. Luckily I'm packing relatively light for my trip to the US. I think.
12) I have two lessons left and then I'm done with work. Pity it's only wrapping up two days before I leave for the US.
13) I just had to throw that in there. Heh. Fabian makes me soooooo happy.
And that's it. Thirteen utterly and completely random posts.
Sorry 'bout that.
In the end, though...
Is random really so bad?
Thanks, Ohlala Mag! That's a keeper! Ciao for now!
This week's topic is the result of a lot of mixed emotions for me. I had planned for some time to share photos I'd taken at the start of Stage Three of the Giro d'Italia. Unfortunately, the tragic events prior to the stage's end gave me pause.
In the end, as you can see, I've opted to share the photos after all. After a neutralized stage in Wouter's honor on Tuesday, the race is on in full as of Wednesday. I offer these photos in that same spirit.
So, here we have
13 Photos From the Start of
Stage Three of the Giro d'Italia.
The trophy for the Giro, along with the jerseys of the various leaders: Pink for the overall leader, Green for the mountains leader, White for the best young rider and Red for the points leader.
Alessandro Petacchi - points leader after Stage Two.
Doogie Howser! No, wait, it's Vasili Kiryienka of Team Movistar.
Brice Feillu, post-sign-in.
A leap of leopards: Davide Vigano', Oliver Zaugg and Bruno Pires of Leopard Trek. Monday was also Oliver's birthday.
Alberto Contador, winner of the 2008 Giro.
Mark Cavendish, overall leader after Stage Two, with his Ombrellina (umbrella girl) to keep him company before the race start.
The riders chat while waiting at the start line.
The final three shots I'd like to share are my photos of Wouter Weylandt. He died after his crash on the descent of the Passo del Bocco, just a few hours after these photos were taken.
There's no eye candy this week, but I hope for a more festive posting next week.
Ciao for now...
On Monday, I came home from the start of the third stage of the Giro d'Italia with the intent of posting a Thursday Thirteen consisting of photos I'd taken that afternoon. I was so excited to have gotten what I knew were wonderful photos - and my excitement grew when I got home and saw just how good some of them actually were.
I called my mother to thank her for the camera she'd given me. I called my husband to share my joy at having had the experience of my first-ever stage race start event. I shared my happiness on Facebook and Twitter.
And then I sat down to watch the race.
Roughly 24 kilometers or so from the finish everything changed. A rider crashed on the descent of the Passo del Bocco, heading toward the finish at Rapallo. Hardly surprising - it was a rather tricky descent, and riders crash all the time under such circumstances.
I saw the live video on RAI, when they showed the rider being tended to. A heavy sickness settled in my stomach when I saw the boy was from my favorite team, Leopard Trek.
The fact I couldn't recognize his face was disturbing. The sense of "knowing" was worse still.
As the race continued, it quickly became clear just how bad this crash was. When they said his name, I started crying. That wasn't his face I'd seen. He wasn't there anymore.
I kept hoping. I kept praying he'd be okay, that they'd airlift him and he'd go to the hospital and someone, somewhere, would do whatever it took to put things right again.
But I knew better. Even before the director of the RAI broadcast shared the news long after the program was supposed to end, I, like so many others, already knew we'd lost one of "our boys".
Wouter Weylandt was only 26 years old. He has a baby on the way. His family has to deal with their loss - so sudden, so unexpected - but I hope they will find some comfort in his child, and I hope they know that his fans are thinking of them at this time, too.
A friend of mine said she felt as though the son of a friend had died. I think she captured perfectly the way so many of us feel. His loss isn't ours, and yet, it is. We will miss the young man we cheered for, pulled for and wished great things for. We didn't know him, but we mourn his loss and we celebrate his life.
Yesterday, the race stage was neutralized. No-one won or lost and the standings didn't change. Wouter's teammates crossed the line together, embracing and carrying along with them a member of another team: Wouter's best friend, Tyler Farrar. They wept, openly and without shame, and countless riders in the peloton wept, too.
It was, quite simply, one of the most moving events I have ever witnessed.
Today, Tyler and the Leopard Trek team have left the Giro. They will all go home to grieve and recover - at least a little - from the loss of their friend and teammate. They will ride again - they have to - because it is more than their job; it is their calling, their passion. But for now, the Giro continues without them. The show goes on. Life goes on.
For all my joking and silliness, I hold a deep and abiding affection for these young men who truly do risk themselves every day in a sport which, for all its faults, is still beautiful and frequently amazing to watch. They inspire me every single day, when I watch them race and achieve the things which I never could do in a lifetime.
Tragically, for some of them, a lifetime is all-too-brief a moment.
Wouter Weylandt 1984-2011
That's right! Ask Me if I'm Happy is now back in e-book format, and is currently available on Smashwords. If you've wanted a copy for your e-reader, now's the time to act! But don't worry - it won't be going away anytime soon. ;-)Also, if you've already read Ask Me... and would like a short, sexy read to pass the time, the prequel novella "Alternate Rialto" is also available on Smashwords, as well as on BN.com for the NOOK e-reader.Here's the blurb:All Emily Miller wants from her trip to Italy is the chance to get over her recent breakup. Watching her beautiful best friend Jenn revel in the attention of countless available men isn't helping matters. After arriving in Venice for the final week of their trip, hurt and disappointed, Emily strikes out on her own.
After a chance encounter in a paper shop, she finds herself the object of the affections of a handsome Venetian named Jacopo. At his invitation, she decides to throw caution to the wind and take a chance on a once-in-a-lifetime fling. Before she can do so, however, Emily must let go of the pain of her past and learn how to trust her own judgment in matters of the heart. Nevertheless, as Jacopo reveals more about himself and his surprisingly long-term intentions toward her, Emily comes to realize that in Venice, not all the masks are put away after Carnevale.
As you might gather from the above photo, this is going to be another cycling-related post. I can't help myself, though -- il Giro d'Italia begins this weekend and on Monday, will be starting a stage right here in Reggio nell'Emilia! Woo-hoooo!!!
And since I'm so late getting this posted, I'm going to re-post my Thursday Thirteen on this topic from 2008. I hope you don't mind...
So now, please allow me to present
13 Facts About il Giro d'Italia!
1. The first ever Giro d'Italia was begun May 13th, 1909, and was won by Luigi Ganna.
2. This year marks the 94th Giro. It begins on May 7th and will continue through May 29th.
3. It has been suspended twice - for World Wars I and II (1915-18 and 1941-45, respectively).
4. Ever since 1931, the overall leader of the Giro sports the maglia rosa (pink jersey), which corresponds with La Gazzetta dello Sport 's pink newsprint. (The yellow jersey given to the overall leader of the Tour de France is done for similar reasons - to correspond with the yellow color of the pages of France's L'Auto sports newspaper.)
5. The different portions of the tour are called "stages". The 1909 race had eight stages. The 2011 race will have twenty-one.
6. Like all cycling races, the person who crosses the finish line first on the final day is not necessarily the winner. The winner of the Giro is the person who has the overall shortest time for the whole tour.
7. Last year's winner of the Giro was Ivan Basso.
8. In 2006, the Giro passed through my new "hometown". I took some photos, one of which is my TT header this week, and here's another:
In 2007, Reggio nell'Emilia played host to the beginning of a stage. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend, as I had to work. (Yeah, I'm still bummed.) I'm hoping to make up for it this year - wish me luck!
9. An American rider won the Giro once upon a time. In 1988, Andrew Hampsten of Columbus, Ohio, raced for team 7-Eleven.
10. The route of the Giro varies each year. The Alpine and Apennine passes are probably the most difficult stages of all, and it's not unusual for the riders to endure wildly varying climates from the beginning of the tour to the end. Occasionally, the weather is a greater obstacle than expected, as Hampsten found out in 1988:
11. Three different cyclists have managed to win the Giro five times each: Alfredo Binda, Fausto (Il Campionissimo - the Greatest Champion) Coppi and Eddie (the Cannibal) Merckx.
12. The Giro d'Italia is considered part of the "Triple Crown of Cycling", along with the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España.
13. The Giro itself was started with one purpose in mind: to boost the sales of Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport (The Sports Gazzette). I dare say it's proven to be a success!
And there you have them! 13 tidbits about the Giro d'Italia!
And I'll have you know that I've searched high and low for a suitable pic to close with...
And I did the best I could, honestly!
I went a bit retro, actually, but I think you'll approve.
Besides, I think there should be more ads like this, don't you?
Ciao for now!