notes from a runner....

*this one comes to mind from grandma's marathon weekend a few weeks cardinal rule for any spectator (runner or not) that goes to cheer at a race.... NEVER yell 'you're almost there!' unless, by God, the runner *is* almost there. I had someone yell that at us at mile 7 of my half marathon. I almost was my complete smart a** self and just about yelled out 'do you REALIZE how far we are into this race?!?! we are SO not almost there!'. yell something else like 'looking strong!' 'nice work!', or if you really are within 1/2 a mile of the finish line,
'YOU GOT IT! BRING IT HOME!' which i yelled for about 2 hours at marathoners finishing to help them get to that finish line....

*just got back from a 5 miler. worked til 9, ran @ 9:30pm. got a killer side stitch about 3.5 miles in. so bad i couldn't breathe let alone run. (a few 4 letter words fit here) i had a great pace going and then that happened. GRRRRR. but somehow it abated and i just had to keep going....cuz if that happened during a race,i'd have to deal and walk or power through it, but in order to run you have to breathe and if your diaphragm is completely cramped up preventing breathing, well, then that's a problem. so i have to check with the coach about how to get rid of those better if they occur....

*running at night. yes, i wore a vest. yes, i had reflective stuff on. here's a favor to drivers. if you see a runner coming at you (which is where we are SUPPOSED to run for safety so we can see what's coming at us) *please* move over if you are able. runners prefer to run on asphalt vs. concrete. concrete can really wreak havoc on the knees, joints, etc. asphalt actually has at least a bit of give, and it's much better to run on. so if there's a sidewalk and you see a runner in the road, usually this is why. we the runners are not doing it to piss anyone off. i swear. i so appreciate those drivers who actually pull out wide in order to allow me to get my run on vs those, on their phone, texting, whatever that think it's great fun to try and see if i'll move. i'm not saying runners own the world, but there are ways to share the world (and the roads which is one reason i run off peak hours from most traffic)....

*there's one huge difference in this summer olympic year than in 2004....i wasn't a runner then. i am now. and i'm hooked on watching these olympic trials in track & field. (also *love* to watch diving, swimming & gymnastics...) watching these olympians makes me appreciate and respect track stars even more. and it might just put a little extra kick into my running (besides watching and idolizing my amazing teammates). and running *is* cheaper than therapy so just the momentary hour or two to clear the mind and just take in the world without technology is something i've become addicted to savoring...even if it's one of the hardest things i've ever learned to do.

*and to close, i am running a race with a friend & colleague on the 4th of July. Sounds festive and will make those margaritas that night with our friends that much more refreshing :) have a great week and welcome July. peace, love & fireworks! ~jd

ps that pic above is from me running @ Grandma's.

journey-ing on.....

this has been a hot topic around the proverbial water cooler lately of my music lovin' friends...

journey has a new album.

journey has a new lead singer.

who is freakishly SOOO the voice of steve perry, it's scary.

listen to this youtube link. listen and don't watch.


and if you wander by the digs of the dietrich house, i'm likely singing loudly along with the good ol glory days of journey during my high school years. i listened to greatest hits, cleaning our backyard pool, like a bajillion times. LOVE the journey bad, *even* tho they are so not country. i don't just do country. I just do it most often....

some year in a kareoke bar somewhere i'll sing a steve perry song.

loopy of course, but if there's any great songs to belt out, it's journey.

no one will ever be *the* steve perry, but the new guy is pretty damn good.

rock on.... ~jd
ps quinn the dog is kind of better. acting pretty normal. just not processing things very well still. again, calls are in to the vet for more info. so very frustrating :( i just want everything back to normal...poor pup.

drowsy sunday....

back very tired though. that's what i should expect however when i stay up til 1am partying like a 23 year old with fellow runners, most of whom ran 26.2 yesterday on a beautiful day in duluth....i fininshed my 2nd half marathon successfully thanks in great part to awesome coaches and my teammate kim, who saved my sanity the entire race.

and i know i've said it often, and loud. i don't have any interest in running for 5 hours. i don't have any interest in running a marathon.

something this weekend, be it the lake, the company, the team, the event, the 'magic', changed in me.

if there is *ever* a chance i'll run a marathon, it would be Grandma's. we'll see how life plays out between now and next year.....i'm still not confident or trained enough but if i found the magic pacer, like i had in Kim, i just think i might try one.

holy frijoles. i never thought i would ever say that out loud, let alone in print. but there it is....dream big i guess ;)

quinn the dog is okay. still no idea what exactly is wrong, and he's on many meds and cost a staggering amount to not have answers, but he *is* home so fingers crossed we don't have any more relapses and that he only gets better.

a few pics below to share from the fabulous but fast weekend....

titled: "eating with greatness" these are kenyan runners benson and cyprian, who we just invited to eat dinner with us. benson, in the foreground, finished *third* in the marathon and cyprian finished 9th. incredible. for those not part of running, kenyan runners are the best on the entire planet. so meeting and talking with a few up close was really inspiring. and they loved every minute of it :)

kim & duana went on a walk with me at sunset to see my lake. i can't explain how just being up there heals my soul but it does. yes i would love to move there. if they ever need a librarian and a singer/manager, i'm done here in the cities....and will hope friends will visit :) but until those odds happen (very unlikely) i'll continue to visit often...

the fantabulous allison finishing her very first marathon....i have totally taken to this girl (and a few others) since we met running this winter...she makes me laugh like no other ~ and she shares a bed very quietly when we all have to cuddle up for 2 nights in a big hotel room :)

team short bus....on the way home from an awesome running/celebrating of our runners owns this special bus, and this took most of our team up and back to grandma's marathon weekend 2008....

next up, the TC 10 mile, the Whistlestop Half, both in October, and 3 of us are 'in' for the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN next APRIL. HOO-RAY for Nashville!!! Through random conversation i discovered i am *not* the lone country fan on our team. there are actually others :) who are willing to fly with me to TN to *run*.

damn this team makes my heart smile. thanks so much ya'll.....

time for some wine. i've earned it....~jd

not much to report...

well, sven on kare 11 just reported that the full moon tonight is called the 'strawberry moon' or 'solstice moon' as the summer solstice is friday evening.

the last time we had a solstice, in december, i got a tattoo...

this time i'm running another huge race.

good to know i can align the solstices with big events for me.

anyway, for those of you who heard about our rough homecoming, and specifically quinn's hospitalization at the U of MN, we have no conclusive news yet.

other than that we might have to refinance our refinance.

well it feels like that. (dh says there's not point in worrying about the $ but i can't help it; we *did* just get back from our big trip for which i feel guilty now in ways...)

and it feels even worse to have a fur-kid in the hospital, alone, and not one damn thing i can do but sit and feel sad and worry that he's not here and he's not well. to most he's just a dog. but to us, he's a loved family member....

all tests the vets did today were 'normal'. labs, xrays, nothing showed anything....the dr. did tell dh tonight that had Quinn stayed home today alone, he likely would have perished due to 'severe' dehydration. :( we had no idea....he really wasn't acting that 'off' other than the 2 major symptoms he was taken in for....(bloody D and vomiting...sorry, not pretty but true).

so he's in the ICU and they gave him IV fluids most of the day....they were going to 'test the GI tract' (ie feed him) tomorrow and see how he does after rounds.

i'm hoping for answers tomorrow....~jd

good news, bad news...

good news. we're home. after 14 hours...yay!

bad news. the house sitters who we asked/paid to stay here the past few days (we had a *great* housesitter the first 10 days we were gone then had to change due to her availability) did a bad job and we came home to a mess of a house (as in dog poop mess in many places, that stacy our wonder neigbhor sadly had to tend to before we even made it in the door...) so i have spent the past 90 minutes steam cleaning 2 rooms, including the new carpet :( :( :( so sad to think the furkids didn't get the care and love they *should* have after our first housesitter left on the 13th....makes me furious and tearful at the same time. blame some of that on jet lag but not all of it...and to top it off, it really looks like Quinn *is* sick. Mark is on the way to the U of MN vets now as our's is, of course, on vacation until July we'll see what's wrong...

good news. full moon :)

bad news. first full day back is a double shift day, plus a run. and even worse it's karen's birthday, one of my amazingly fun & beautiful runner girls, and i'm going to miss her shindig at cafe latte :(

good news. i don't have to think about how to talk to people in person now that i'm back.

good news. grandma's is in 3 days!!!

and even better news? i'm running the half marathon with the amazingly kind and supportive kim...another teammate...this was a plan that just came in i didn't know about it ;)

so until after the weekend....i swear i'll lay off the blog....~a tired tired jd

as the saying goes...

all good things must come to an end.

i believe there is some truth to that saying in all kinds of ways.

for now, vacation is over. taking a break from packing to *shock!* blog...cuz i can.

i've been pretty melancholy the past day or so, even though i am anxions and ready to see my pets, home, bed, familiar faces, even work, and bacon again. (or a waffle would work too...with real syrup (like there is any other kind, right?)

i never knew how protein dependent for breakfast foods i was until these past two weeks occurred, hence the big want for breakfast meat. hmmmmm.... seriously, wed morning, there will be a hearty breakfast for the dietrichs before i hit work...

i can't imagine there will be much to blog about until after grandma's weekend (in which i just read an article on the duluth tribune site that if any runner is caught taking care of nature's call *outside* of a porta potty they can be banned from future races?!, most folks just don't go in the wilds for the hey of it, but whatever...) so until i have more things to talk to the keyboard about, arrivederci, be well, and thanks for reading *8-/ ~jd

a few more pics to share...

the group is rehearsing so macbook & i are taking a lazy sunday afternoon (aka nothing is open and it is gray and cold and rainy) to browse the web and keep in touch...

this little guy was about 18 months old. we totally bonded. his name is stefan. and he was the cutest thing to see try and walk up to see the men singers practice....his grandma had brought him into the church, and for being so young he was completely well behaved...yeah, a few stern 'silenco!'s were heard from grandma, but he listened and just watched so intently....from what i have observed, grandmothers are the day-care folks during the week while the parents work...

sushi lunch a few days ago. have i mentioned i am super done with pasta?? this is kim & jordan with their sushi boat...we got 3 of these for about 8 people...a spectacular meal and change in diet!

the rock stars arriving for their gig in an adorable little town i wish we had had more time in. i can't spell it at the moment but will edit this once i find the program again...

the rock stars at work pre-concert warm up... this was one of the loveliest venues they were in....

arrivederci for now....~jd

for my runners...

runner girls!!!!, originally uploaded by jenmdietrich.

here are the two women i found running in all of northern italy this trip.

did 7 miles this morning and thankfully, got it in a)while it was quiet on the streets (love that that is apparently an international thing the world over...people sleep in a bit on sunday mornings. i love the peace and quiet and having the streets to myself without the danger of cars, etc...)

and b) got the workout in before the rain started. thank goodness for small things...

note to those who might google Garmin 405 specs...

the next garmin, the 505, should include the following things, just merely as suggestion ;)
-a flip up digital camera that comes right out of the watch somehow. i cannot tell you how many times i wanted to run with my camera this trip (and many trips actually) to take pics of my run and the places i go or things i see and even todays (sorry no apostorphe on this keyboard that i can see) digital cameras are too big to take on a run. and my cell does not have a camera (okay i really didn't think i needed one til about now..).
-an MP3. built in. without the jingly jangly white cord swishing to and fro in front of me the whole time.

so garmin fans & designing folks, the 405 product rocks and has made my tracking and documenting SO much easier, especially half way around the world from where i usually run.

but down the road, these 2 upgrades would be sweet!

still raining....not sure of todays plans. dh stayed out with norwegians til 5am. so i am not sure how much of him i will see today. off to explore on my own....jd
ps even in italy, things like the US Open and the NBA Finals are shown on cable. so go Tiger & KG!

2nd post of the day...

ally and others with non blogger blogs, email me thoughts on other 'good' and user friendly bloggin' sites. there are a few things related to blogger that i am dissin' lately and will likely jump elsewhere. (mainly pic related; i hate that blogger is pretty rigid in how to move and/or post pictures...)


here's another post as i couldn't get this to add to the previous one all neat and clean like i had hoped.

so the group (mainly ex dare to breathe folks minus one tenor) went out to busque this afternoon.

make some money. you know, cuz musicians are wonderfully talented but rarely rich....

they made about 80 euro in spain in about 2 hours last fall, so today they all went out hoping for at least a little bit of pocket change.

well, they made their goal, but just literally by that. a *little* change. a coffee for each of them. or about 2 euro a piece. but they tried. and that is all anyone really ever needs to at least start with.

their location, however, created the snapshot of the day (the acoustics outside of the enclosed theater space made for the best was kind of a covered mall type area).

movies play only once while in legnano (and had it been dubbed or subtitled in english, i totally would have gone tonight! instead, here i sit at the hotel blogging and playing with pictures on linda's laptop; thank you linda!!!!! your use of the macbook has saved my internet soul/addiction this trip!)

so now it's time to hit the hay. gots my last long run in the early am before cocoa krispies breakfast. yay. ~jd

musings of the weekend...

well let's see. above is lucarno, switzerland.

yep. seriously. am i in hawaii??

palm trees?!!?

moutains i expected, but palm trees, about 85 degrees and no snow on the mountains was a little surprising.

as was the following:
*no stamp in my pass-a-port :( nobody checked us for anything.
*switzerland doesn't use the euro. they still us swiss francs. hmmm. go figure. (but they DO take visa ;) sweet!)
*when we got to lucarno, we heard 4 major languages right away....french, deutsch, italian & spanish. well, and just a hint of english now and again. so at first we were saying common things like 'hello' and 'excuse me' in any one of those depending on who we just bumped in to or bought something from.

the day was stunning. the entire day stayed sunny and warm. ian and i traveled really well together for having basically just met days ago. good times for over 15 hours.

we left the hotel at 6:40am and returned through the doors again just before 10pm. so yes, a *solid* day trip, but completely worth it.

i did the noble thing and bought swiss chocolate for some gifts to bring home. and even bought a few things to wear to work.... yep, even on vacation i'm practical about the real world i'll be returning to shortly...

so the tour went like this:
4 hours of train travel (5 different train rides...)

3 hours riding a ferry, at the bow...(only got doused by a wake one time, which was rather cooling!

3 hours or walking & eating/shopping in 2 countries...yes a technicality but still a fun one :)

this is what my demeanor visually looked like on friday the 13th...(me + mountains + lake + summer = :D )

3 more days and we zoom on home.

one week from right now i will likely be a little bit partying after finishing grandma's 13.1. and my 5 teammates who are running the full shebang will be likely a partying as well, noodley legs or not :)

and i *finally* saw 2 women running together. in the same outfit no less! it'll show up in flickr....

7 miler at 7am so no vino for me tonight. did have gelato though, just because.

thanks to the devoted few who have emailed and let me know about life back home. the greetings have made my days when they hit the inbox. the post-vacation hangover is coming, i can feel it, but it *is* time to reposition back to 'normal' (whatever the H that is, right?)

arrivederci, ~jd

the past & the future...

this is another shot from the other day in lago maggiore.

it sounds like many others who didn't tour it 3 days ago are going to go tomorrow (friday).

i am heading off in a similar direction....i will take an all day trip with ian....he is ginna's husband (and ginna is the vielle player in Rose)

ian and i are heading on this excursion ( )

so a glorified version of tuesday's trip but with a new stamp in my pass-a-port to switzerland ~

due to the ensemble's schedule of singing every night, no one else can join ian and i, so that is the bummer of the deal, but i am looking forward to a beautiful ride through the alps and a gorgeous ferry ride back down lago maggiore. let's hope it doesn't rain much....(no idea what the forecast is. it is what it is)

other news of late:
*spent 2 hours today shamelessly shopping for couture. something i never in a kazillion years thought i would do. i mean i do consider myself a girly-girl but i don't have the budget for spendy clothes. (and i'm just as quick to get down and dirty in the mud of the outdoors...)

heard there was a dolce & gabbana factory store near here. there is. *completely* unmarked. no sign. nothing. in da hood actually. but the inside of the store is beautiful, and yes, bought a pair of jeans. for about double what i'd pay at the Gap or elsewhere, but i did it as one splurge. and i have to say they are hot...(even if i never would refer to my own self this way; the JEANS are hot). so that was my girly moment of the trip....(was wishing my fashion lovin' friends were here with me!)

*it is thundering away again as i type. but it *has* been beautiful for the past 3 days so we were due for some rain.

*windowblinds in europe overall ROCK. if you want to nap (one of the big perks of vacation if one is not out running or touring around) you can and the entire window becomes covered in these roller shade things that admittedly aren't pretty to look at from the outside but are stellar for good dreaming environments within.

*i (and the rest of the group here) are 10000% sick and tired of eating pasta. if anyone suggests we hit any kind of italian resteraunt within 3 weeks of me coming home i will so pretend i can't hear what you are saying. lalalalalalalalalalalalalala....

*i am not, however, sick of wine. :)

*i am seriously starved for some really good eggs & bacon. breakfast here consists of the following choices: cocoa krispies, corn flakes, rolls, butter, jam, croissants stuff with jelly & 3 canned fruits (pineapple, prunes or peaches). that's. it. oh, and yes, the all important coffee. i am in italy, i will eat what they tell me too, but MAN i miss bacon & eggs and waffles and the rest of the breakfast kingdom that is missing here.

*for my coach and runner girls, i am totally back on track for training. 9 miles in the past 2 days. no running friday, but will not forget my 6-7 mile LSD on the weekend. my left hip flexor hurts. no idea what i did. i want it to feel better.....any suggestions (besides advil)? ally, i don't have stumpy with me to help :( eeegads, one flippin week til i leave for duluth.

*travel home tues from milan, work some on wednesday & thursday, drive to duluth on friday, run Grandma's on saturday. that is quite a week coming up. the time has flown by but in all honesty, it's getting to be time to be back with my furry critters and to the piles o work and projects a-waitin for me. time for wine...peace and love, ~jd

today looked like this...

went to lake maggiore. which is close to lake como but different. many little islands to ferry too, which lake como does not have.

saw a lear jet flying around.

was convinced it was george clooney looking for me.

bad news of the day?

well, first that a friend at home was briefly hospitalized over the weekend, (bigger deal than what follows; this is a shout out to her if she hears about my blog) and thankfully is gonna be okay, hopefully soon!

other disappointing news is that i did not get my workout in.

that is two days in a row with no running.

sorry coach.
sorry 'angie'.
sorry team roseville.
bad bad vacationing jennifer.

i have to get back in the saddle.

i have a RACE to train for.

a race that is by LOTTERY only that i was deemed worthy enough to get into

a race where someone with my exact name from rochester tried to get into, but nope, *I* was the chosen one.

in 10 days.

time to get myself moving tomorrow morning first thing.

you know what that means.

no vino tonight.


but the day our group had was unbelieveably beautiful and for that, i'll sans the wine for tonight and run in the early early am.

pictures from today are to the right.

ciao, amigos...~jd

one fav pic so far..

this is linda. taking a photo of a church at night in the rain. she looks very mary-poppins-esque.

it rains every afternoon here it seems. hot & humid in the early part of the day...sunny around 1pm, thunder around 5 with downpours. every day but one so far. so apparently italy weather is very tropical. another new thing i wouldn't have expected ~

i am going to hope and try to upload some photos to my flickr acct and add them to the blog. we'll see if that works.

today's topics:

*10.6 miles this morning. Coach Rudi & Gals, I did my LSD in a foreign place with no directions, 200% humidity (i have never sweated so much in my life....Karen you would have positiviely melted!) and yes, i caved and took the iPod. I couldn't do it without....esp after sleeping like ass last night. got maybe 3 hours of sleep. my brain just would *not* turn off...stupid brain.

*after the run ended (about 10am), i showered and supercalifragilisticexpealodocious!!! I DID shave my legs in the teeny tiny shower! hallelujah! (i know, i know, the things i'll blog about and that you care to's my blog, i'll say what i want ;P

*towel sizes in italy rock. they are like bath sheets and the hotel towels here are actually pretty decent! most past european countries we've visited have had pretty scratchy-sans-fabric-softener feels to them and are not very big. here they actually can almost wrap around me twice and go below my knees! (so on someone like my boss they'd be almost as long as a formal gown ;)

*older men (ie those that have outgrown cat calling women) in their 60s and above walk often very slowly and with their hands behind their backs. not sure why but almost every man i have spied walks like this....and they politely nod if you make eye contact. (not that i'm trying to pic up seniors in italy)

*the group is performing twelve, yep, *twelve* nights in a row while here. tonight's performance is the first one i am going to forgo on and do some reading and wandering (if it stops pouring). last night's show was the last of the 'sampler' shows. all 5 groups, all doing 30 min sets. The first 3 nights of concerts were like that with different repetoire each night. Tonight Rose is performing in a little town i ran through earlier today called Castellanza (i think that's the name) and they're doing a 70 minute rep of early Hawaiian and American music. concerts end around 11:30 and the group thing has to been go 'celebrate' of course after that. due to this morning's run i decided against the boozin' it up pre-workout. after not sleeping i might as well have part taken in limoncello shots.....

glad to hear through KCF that the kickoff went well. Strib said the weather cooperated, so there's a bonus! I hope to hear more about it....

and as i close i just watched my first television commercial in English, featuring, George Clooney hawking an espresso machine..and speaking of coffee, latte macchiatos are my drink of choice here. they're pretty much just a latte from home but go by 'macchiato' here in italy.

so off to flickr-land now....~jd

what are the odds??

short post today. this is esp for my work peeps....

after last nights show we hit a bar that many other chorale folks hit. good times. late night. tired tired jd this morning...(by the way, that's mark looking over his shoulder like 'yeah, that's my wife, drinking again...and hamming it up')

but during the course of around-the-world-schmoozing, managed to meet another librarian :) (geeks unite!)

birgit, oringinally from lillehammer, norway, now residing in oslo (mary seim, take note! :)

she works for the national library (akin to the Library of Congress in the States), is in her late 20s and helped to set up and translate the 23 Things Web 2.0 system in Norway! wanted to know if had heard of the 23 Things. LOL :)

so for my librarians, a fun short tale...we have traded emails and hope to stay in touch....i have a flashback feeling to girl scout summer camp all of a sudden. meet new friends. keep the old :)

peace and all hail the 23 things of the world apparently...jd

pssst, pssst....

that's how men cat call a woman running down the street. seriously, still have not seen ONE woman runner. anywhere. how weird is that? today was my first solo run. 3 words. hot. humid. smoggy. ish. (okay my math has always sucked; that's four words.) granted i went this afternoon, so it wasn't the best timing but it was what fit into today's schedule. kinda weird to run out the front door and literally not know where you're going. but kinda wild i got a few of those lovely cat calls and just thought they were pretting fitting...coming from men who acted like snakes. whatever.

here's a few more tidbits from the past day or so...

*we have hungarians, norwegians & latvians here in the hotel so it really *is* a small world after all :)

*there are mystery cords in all showers. no one knows what they do. apparently they don't call for help, they don't make the water hotter and they don't turn on a fan. got me.

*the shower is about 4 feet long by 2 feet wide by about 7 feet high. not kidding. there is hardly any room to do anything useful. shaving legs sometime soon is going to be a freaking magic trick...

*today is the first day the sun has been out & it's lovely. about 78 degrees, tho still a little humid

*80s pop music still reigns supreme in Europe. Every time we've been we get a lot of Wham!, Michael Jackson & Whitney Houston. thank god for iPods!

*store hours. Whenever the hell they want to be open. I guess that's the beauty of owning your own place. However with lots of folks in town for this festival you'd think they want to make more money. hmmmmm....

well, the next person is awaiting online time so i must go.....hope things back in the States are well....ciao, amigos ;)

ps those working at RCL, good luck this weekend with the start of SRP. yes i do feel guilty for not being around....and yes i still am thinking somewhat about 'real life' even when i'm on vacation. it's what i do.

day 2...

i'm borrowing one of the singer's laptops while they are off to do a sound check for tonight's show. Internet cafes around these parts actually don't seem to exist, and the hotel has a PC avail for use but the rates are pretty steep so i guess i'm going to be more limited in online time. perhaps there are worse things than being off-line ;)

weather is still pretty dreary...very humid, in the upper 60s, kinda off & on rainy, but still got in my first run of the trip today with Kim (who happens to be just about 5 feet tall and of Hawaiian/Japanese American lineage, so the 2 of us running the streets of Italy together is almost comical in our height difference :) Did 4.5 miles around town (having the Garmin is a godsend!), just to learn some of the parts of Legnano. Found an old castle; found some amazing ducks near a pond that were very high fashion with amazing colors and plumage! And some ginormous birds that look like ravens in size but have a lot of white on their wings and front. I know American birds pretty well, but European birds i have no idea about....We also saw a good handful of male runners on our jaunt, but haven'ts seen a single girl runner yet. No idea why. Maybe they're too into fashion & smoking here to run...

hotel is good...the Norwegians showed up a little while we have more folks on our wing now that are not Rose Ensemble singers. The group from Norway is an Oslo Chamber Choir....The choral festival is apparently a big thing here, and the group's first gig is tonight.

All of our meals are paid for (well the singers are; I'll have to reimburse the group at the end of the trip for my meal tickets) and i have managed twice now to screw up taking too much food in the buffet line and end up owing some euro. we're allowed 1 first course item, 1 second course item, & 1 vegetable. I manage to keep picking TWO vegetables. Which is fine but you gotta pay a little. I think I finally have it down now...and the problem has been the fries. who thinks of french fries as *vegetables* anyway??? (but they're damn good and one luxury i'm part taking in so far)....

The men here really do ooggle at women often, everyone seems to be wearing skinny jeans (well everyone is skinny and smokes it appears), and high fashion really does seem everywhere. the man purse here is a big deal. the coffee is good but not as good as in spain. the wine is as good as i expected, and yep, cheap! gelato too is a must at least now and then. last night my flavor of choice was limoncello/puffo. (puffo was the blue stuff that looked and tasted like a mild cotton candy flavor :) and speaking of blue, Smurfs are in here. They're called "Puffi".

I believe tomorrow we get to go to another town for the performance in the evening, so we'll get to see more of this part of the country then. Lisa & Carol, I'm still looking for George Clooney and hoping we can hit Lake Como by sometime early next week. Rumor has it it's not that far from here....

so have a great weekend everyone, and next time i can score a laptop, i'll check in with more from Italia...~jd

first day....

long travel to get here, but no problems (ie delays, lost luggage, etc)...always a good thing to have travel actually go as planned!

so far i have been very mute, except for a few polite grazis here and there (can not find the apostorphe on this keyboard, so sorry!)

food had been good at the place they are feeding us as a group...buffet style but comforting. wine has been cheap but tasty (yes, yes, better than romanian wine that some of you know about!)

slept for 4 solid hours all afternoon after arriving at the hotel around 11am and then finding lunch (i was soooooo tired, almost felt drunk and passed out quick...i dont sleep on planes sadly) so i will likely be in for a rough night in terms of messed up sleep, but i am hoping some advil pm and wine will help! otherwise i have a book to read and a booklight that will hopefully allow dh to sleep...and an ipod to rock out to in the dark if need be :)

so far havent scoped out many places to run, but hear there is a park not too far. the thing is i have heard men are not really the most chivalrous here and i want to be safe so while i would rather not run alone, we will have to see what i can come up with for training. a few singers run but they have their things to do to...

so i will be back in a few days to tell of how the first real days have been adventure-wise :) i already miss my friends and pets but have another stamp in the pass-a-port ;) be well, take care and write me stories from home if you have any :) -jd

ciao, bella!

update: 9:40am. just about to leave

that run at 6am? ROCKED IT. that's the word for Coach Rudi & my girls. I did almost 5 miles in about 43 minutes. just felt damn good. guess i was due for a smokin run! anyway....


gonna head out for a 3-4 mile run. stretch the legs and up the heart rate while i can, as it'll be a really solid 18-24 hours of travel to Milan, and then a short ride to our final destination of Legnano, Italy.

thankfully only 2 legs to get there. Here to Atlanta at noon, then Atlanta to Milan around 5pm today.

jet lag usually hits me hard going over, so i'm pretty much useless when we land in another country. soooo soooo tired....and i sleep for diddly on planes. combine that with ADD Girl that i am and long rides aren't my strong point, but i brought some good books (i hope) and a trusty iPod with some podcasts & tunage to get me through...

so far, all i know of where we'll be is this. and that rose is singing as part of this.

weather looks good...70s-80s, a lil rainy maybe these first few days.

lisa, i will try to make it to lake como to scout george clooney. for you *and* for me and woman-kind ~ i hear he's single again ;)

be well and i'll write more once i explore my new 'hometown' for 2 weeks....ciao! ~jd

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