Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Why Have a Wife?

When I wrote my semi-humorous pseudo-paean to husbands in my post "Why Have a Husband," I was shocked by the response, especially from my own daughter.

She seemed to be a bit defensive and to take issue with my post.  She said, "If you are going to say that about husbands, why have a wife then?" 

But I forgive her because she hasn't been married long enough to know just what a pain in the ass a husband can be, but mostly because when she said that, I went, "Aha!  Another idea for a blog post."

When I told Hubby about her response and threw out the question, "Why have a wife?, he was quick to respond: "For sex."

So as I clear my throat, I must say, I rest my case.  Husbands are very basic. 

Neil Young sums up a man's basic needs:

And, in general, that's why a husband thinks he needs a wife.  So we need to get out of that whole "maid thing."

I can easily write about why a husband needs a wife and what a wife is good for, besides sex and maid services.  So here goes.  And thank you to my darling daughter. 

And by the way, this is not just aimed at the man/woman relationship.  This is aimed at whomever considers themselves a husband or a wife.

So without further ado...

Why have a wife?

This is why a husband needs a wife:

---A husband needs a wife to dress him.
We all know that husbands have terrible taste in clothes and even when their taste isn't terrible, they tend to stay with the same style for years.  Sports logos and baseball caps often abound. A wife is needed to make sure they are both not embarrassed by Hubby's clothing choices.

Amy Schumer gives you a hint of what we wives are dealing with.

---A husband needs a wife because she communicates and he doesn't.
Whether you like it or not, if you are a husband, it is likely you are incommunicative except to be judgmental and complain about stuff.  Wives want to talk about feelings and husbands tend to think feelings are something to be felt (there is someone out there who knows exactly where that came from).  Husbands want to come home, be fed, and live in the fantasy that their wives understand when they are too tired to talk to them and when they do talk that their wives really care who won the NFL draft.  A wife communicates what her husband needs to know to have a better relationship and life.

---A husband needs a wife to decorate the house.
Unless the husband is an interior decorator, he should not have a say in the window dressings, the couch, the bedspread or basically anything inside the house when it comes to decorating. The Barcalounger does not belong in the living room.  We know that husbands have terrible taste because so many of us have closets full of tarty lingerie and stripper shoes.  What, you don't?  Anyway, if you are lucky and keep your opinions to yourself, your wife might let you have a room of your own where you can hang your neon beer sign and display your trophies.
The sleeping poodle is a nice touch, don't you think? 
I have a good eye for detail. 

---A husband needs a wife to bring home the bacon.
Not literally bacon, but these days, most households require two incomes if you want to live comfortably and especially if we wives are going to have the wardrobes we deserve.  Many of us wives might even make more money than our husbands and that's OK, but if we bring home our own money, we should be able to spend it as we like.  Yes, there should be a financial plan for the future, but working husbands and wives should not have to ask each other for permission to spend money unless Hubby comes home with a Maserati.

---A husband needs a wife to do stuff with.
Not that! Get your mind out of the gutter! I am talking about stair walking, going to movies, playing golf, traveling, having Happy Hour, watching "The Bachelorette."  Ok, you watch "The Bachelorette" because your wife wants to, but wives do things with their husbands that they don't necessarily want to do, too, such as attending ball games and the occasional tractor pulling contest.

---A husband needs a wife so he has someone he can trust absolutely.
I know, we sneak a Macy's bag into the house from time to time and when you see us in the cool faux fur coat and ask us "Is that new?"


and we reply, "Oh, this old thing? I've had this for ages," that doesn't really count as not being trustworthy.  That happens because husbands are big grumps about Macy's bags coming into the house.  No, I'm talking about important things like always telling you the truth about how you look, what you should be doing with your life and how to put up the Christmas tree lights.

--- And speaking of the Christmas tree lights.
As I said in my post "Why Have a Husband," husbands need our input, especially when it comes to the Christmas tree lights.  It wouldn't be the holidays without a fight about the lights, now would it?

The bottom line is:  A husband needs a wife to tell him all the things he is doing wrong.  I mean, if your best friend, your soul mate, your wife can't tell you, who can?  Don't you want to know when you are screwing up?

Albert Einstein said, "Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.”

Sorry, Albert.  I say wives don't change.  They just start noticing things their husbands could do better.

But seriously folks and I was only half kidding before, I use the word "wife" as a metaphor.  It doesn't matter your sex.  Etymologically speaking, the word "wife" has historical connections to the term "fish wife," which I hate to say because that is associated with a shrill, yelling woman which has also become a negative metaphor for a wife.  I prefer "better half" and "life partner" and that is what I would like to focus on.


When you have a wife, you have a person who in most cases played with baby dolls or took care of their younger siblings or helped and loved their mothers.  They were nurturers. They wanted to take care of someone and they were looking for YOU. When they found you, they wanted to look after YOU and share their lives with YOU.

So even though your wife wants you to dress better, stay out of the decorating decisions, communicate more and do a better job putting those Christmas tree lights up, just know this: she wouldn't be trying to make you a better person if she didn't care.  She would find someone else to work on! 

See you Friday

for my review of the new movie 
"Magic Mike XXL" 

The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

and the latest on

My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
 I Die Project."

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Friday, June 26, 2015

"Inside Out" and The Week in Reviews

[It's more about what to avoid this week except for the new movie "Inside Out." I also review the DVDs "The Long Way Down" and "Hot Tub Time Machine 2." The Book of the Week is "Always Pack a Party Dress," fashion advice from a fashionista, and I also bring you up to date on "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project:" - the Soviet silent film "Earth"]

Pixar's animated version of what it's like inside the mind of an 11-year-old.

Eleven-year-old Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) lives happily in Minnesota with her parents.  She loves her parents (Kyle MacLachlan and Diane Lane), she loves playing hockey, she likes to be goofy and has a best friend.  But when her family movies to San Francisco, Riley's world starts to fall apart.  She has a hard time making friends and misses her old friends, has an embarrassing moment at school, the hockey is not working out so well and she hates the pizza...and it doesn't help that adolescence is just around the corner.

If you ever wonder what your kids are thinking, well, now we know how it all works as Pixar takes us inside their minds.

We can see inside Riley's brain, where Joy, (Amy Poeller), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) live.  Joy runs the show.  She is a happy control freak but that's great because joy is what rules little Riley's life.  Joy doesn't want anything but joy for little Riley. Anger blows steam and flames out of his head when riled.  Fear runs amok, Disgust says "ugh" a lot and Sadness is a round blue blob of melancholy who keeps screwing things up, but as long as Joy is running things, she can keep those negative emotions at bay.

But Sadness can't keep her hands to herself and keeps touching the little balls of Riley's happy memories that are in storage up there at Headquarters and contaminating them. But it's the "core" memories that are most important and when Sadness messes those up, Joy and Sadness must go deep into the recesses of Riley's mind to save them.  There they run into Bing Bong (Richard Kind), Riley's long forgotten imaginary friend, part elephant, part floppy-eared dog who cries candy tears and who tries to help them.  But they also run into Riley's fears and sad memories.

While Joy and Sadness are gone from "control central," Fear, Disgust and Anger try to keep things running smoothly in Riley's mind.  Well, you can pretty much figure how that's going to work.

But what Joy doesn't realize in her frenzied quest to keep Riley happy is that Riley needs to be sad sometimes.  Sadness makes you appreciate the joy.  

That's the message in this delightful story devised and written by 
Pete Doctor ("Up," "Monsters, Inc." and "Toy Story") and others and directed by Doctor and Ronaldo del Carmen

But don't be fooled by this being a Disney picture.  This is not "Toy Story" or "Cars."  Yet it is just as enjoyable but probably not for very little kids.  The little kids in the audience were running around and not watching this film, because this one is more cerebral and aimed at older kids and their parents.

There are all kinds of funny moments and recurring bits such as a chewing gum jingle that once played you can't get out of your mind (we've all had that happen, right?) and Riley's "train of thought" is actually a train.

How is Pixar able to create characters that look like Keane paintings and yet get you to care so much that the hankies are out for much of the film?  It's the end of childhood.  That gets to all of us.

 Rosy the Reviewer says...a not-to-be missed summer movie!

You Might Have Missed
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)

Four disparate people find themselves up on a London rooftop on New Year's Eve, all planning to kill themselves. 

However, they talk each other off the ledge (literally).  The four make a pact that they cannot kill themselves until February 14 (the next date that people are likely to kill themselves).

Slowly the film reveals each character's story and what led them to that rooftop on that New Year's Eve.

Jess (Imogen Poots) is a politician's daughter (Sam Neill is her Dad), a sort of bad girl who is despairing of a recent rejection. 
Martin (Pierce Brosnan) is a disgraced TV presenter.
Maureen (Toni Collette) is overwhelmed caring for an invalid son and JJ (Aaron Paul) wanted to be a rock star but now is reduced to delivering pizzas. Oh and by the way, he is also dying of brain cancer.

The press finds out about the four of them so they decide to make some money out of it by telling their stories and saying that an angel stopped them from killing themselves.  But it all blows up and they decide to get away together to Tenerife to escape the press.

What started for each of them as a mission to kill themselves becomes a mission to save each other. 

I love Pierce Brosman and I have liked Nick Hornby's other screenplays ("High Fidelity," "About a Boy"), though he didn't write this one.  This one is based on his 2005 novel, adapted by Jack Thorne and directed by Pascal Chaumeil and it's a really good idea for a film: four people who all decide to kill themselves forming a bond not to. 

So what's the problem?  It just doesn't add up to a satisfying film. The characters are not particularly likable so you just don't really care what happens to them. Perhaps if Hornsby himself had written the screenplay, the film might have had more gravitas.  Unfortunately, the film was executed in a disjointed way and treats the issue of suicide in a rather glib manner.

Rosy the Reviewer says...good idea that they couldn't quite pull off.  Not recommended unless you are a big Pierce Brosnan fan (he is still handsome as hell) or wondered what happened to Aaron Paul after "Breaking Bad" ended.


If you didn't see the first one, there is a hot tub that is really a time machine.

There is a bit of a recap at the beginning of this film, in case you didn't see the first one.  Lou (Rob Corrdry), Nick (Craig Robinson), Jacob (Clark Duke) and Adam (Adam Scott) discovered that their hot tub could transport them back in time.  Knowing what they knew in the present, they were able to make money and change their lives from what they learned from the past.   

So as this sequel begins, Lou is a rich big shot Internet mogul (he invented a search engine called Louggle), and Nick is a successful songwriter from stealing parts of other songs from the past.  Clark Duke is back as Lou's son Jacob and Adam Scott replaces John Cusack (who very wisely did not affiliate himself with this film), accompanied them back in time in the first one, as Cusack's son. 

Lou is shot in the groin at one of his over-the-top parties, and it is revealed that he has actually hidden the hot tub from his pals. But now they plan to go back in time before Lou was shot to save him.  Unfortunately, they end up in the future instead of the past.  Supposedly, The Hot Tub doesn't take you where you want to go.  It takes you where you NEED to go, and though I couldn't really figure it out, they needed to go into the future.

In the future - 2025 - Neil Patrick Harris is President.  And it gets worse.
Now bear with me.  The boys are here in the future to kill Lou's killer who came from the future to kill him in the present.  If you understand that you will enjoy this movie far more than I did.

There is one laugh: a smart car that wants to kill you and an ensuing fight between Lou and the smart car but basically it's penis jokes and offensive homophobic humor.

If they went into the future, why didn't Lou die?  If they couldn't control where they went when they ended up in the future, how could they get back to the present?  Oh, geez, why do I even try to figure this out?  I should instead try to figure out why I watched this thing in the first place!

Yes, I have to ask myself why. Why do I keep doing it?  Watching these comedies that are just terrible.  In my eternal quest to find a comedy that is actually funny, I have to kiss a lot of frogs or should I say, watch a lot of clunkers. But I remembered the first one as being funny, so I thought this one would be too.

That's the problem with sequels.

Beware of sequels, unless it's a "Star Wars" film (though all of those weren't stellar), "The Godfather," or "Jurassic World."  I am actually starting to get phobic about it because of the spate of sequels we have been subjected to, none of which measured up to the first (Pitch Perfect 2, both "Hangover" sequels,  and "Anchorman 2.")  And what is worse, many of them didn't deserve a sequel to begin with.  Think "Dumb and Dumber." If anything could be dumber than "Dumb and Dumber," it's "Dumb and Dumber To." If you liked the first one they will crank out as many as you can stomach, each one more horrible than the next until you can't stand it any more.  I am already worried about "Magic Mike XXL" and the next "Hunger Games."
Rosy the Reviewer says... if you like penis jokes, you might like this, but it's the kind of base humor that appeals to 15-year-old boys (and Hubby).  Don't wait until the future.  Avoid this DVD NOW!

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***

258 to go!


Earth (1930)


It's the Ukraine in 1930. The peasants want collectivization but the landowners do not.
The film begins with close-ups of fruits and flowers, then long close-ups of pensive peasants. Our hero Vasyl, a proponent of collectivization, arrives with a tractor.  All of the other farmers urinate into an overheated radiator to show their solidarity in what has become a famous scene.  Vasyl is killed by an opponenet of collectivization but in death he becomes a symbol of the new way of life.
Why it's a Must See:  "Aleksandr Dovshenko's Earth is arguably the single greatest achievement of the ever-more-impressive Soviet silent cinema...Dovshenko's ode to the beginning of collectivization in the Ukraine is a riot of delirious imagery of swaying wheat fields, ripening fruits, and stampeding horses."
---1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

I have to be honest.  The silent films are the tough ones to appreciate. It's bad enough that we have to read subtitles, but the histrionic acting used to supplant the fact that no one talking is difficult to watch by today's standards.  It's probably because we are so over stimulated these days.  But if we can try to put ourselves back almost 100 years, I think we can appreciate the films that were produced then.

This was a bit like doing homework.  As a film enthusiast, this is one I had to be educated about, because I did not find it particularly enjoyable.  But I also didn't like math but knew I needed to know about it.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Unless you are really into film history and like Soviet silent films, you can probably skip this one.

***Book of the Week***

Always Pack a Party Dress: And Other Lessons Learned from a (Half) Life in Fashion by Amanda Brooks (2015) 

Brooks is the author of "I Love Your Style: How To Define and Refine Your Personal Style (2009)" and has worked as fashion director for Barneys - New York.  Here she shares her life and career along with fashion tips and other advice.
I was drawn to this book because I love fashion:  I like reading about it and I like wearing it.  However, when I am reading about buying basics for my wardrobe and a Rolex comes up, I am wondering what the hell I am doing with this book.  Brooks also says the book is aimed at 20-somethings with the goal of helping them feel fabulous.  If it takes a Rolex to feel fabulous, I pity those 20-somethings reading this book.  I don't know any who can afford a Rolex.

Brooks got into the fashion business early by becoming a photo assistant to  Patrick Demarchelier and from there her opportunities skyrocketed.  Reading books like this remind me that coming from money (she went to Deerfield - and you don't go to Deerfield if you don't come from money - and Brown, summered in Palm Beach and dated Diane von Furstenberg's son) helps you in life and being pretty doesn't hurt either when it comes to getting glamorous jobs and hanging out with the beautiful people (Mick Jagger had the hots for her and she name-drops like there is no tomorrow).

Brooks shares her "style influences (her mother - she's the one with the Rolex) - Sofia Coppola, Tracee Ellis Ross, David Hicks and Celine, to name a few.  When your style influences are movie or musical royalty, British nobility or a person whose name embodies a very high end brand, you know you are reading the work of someone who moves in circles you can't hope to enter.

She shares her ten best pieces of clothing which include a Balmain pea coat, a Chanel faux-crocodile jacket, and a Philip Lim evening cape and her five best accessories are Manolo Blahnik pumps, a Chanel bag, Celine sunglasses, Proenza Schouler colorblocked bag and Repetto flats, you know she is just  showing off and writing this book for her friends.  I don't even know who or what Proenza Schauler and Repetto are.

She tries to mitigate that with a chapter on how to pack (don't forget that party dress because you never know when one of the jet set will expect you at their party), how to learn from your mistakes, how to handle rejection, consulting tips (not sure how that slipped in there - not sure how many of those 20-somethings she is targeting are consultants) and making jam on her farm (read estate) in the Cotswolds, the fact remains that she thinks we can turn things we like to do on the weekends into a career, she gets to go to the Met Ball (not just once but many times) and she married a rich guy.  If you 20-somethings out there can relate to that, fine.  If anyone out there can relate to this, fine. I'm just trying to fit INTO a party dress!

Rosy the Reviewer says...there are some fun fashion tips here but unless you can relate to having lunch with Isabella Blow, and getting free Louboutin's from Louboutin himself, this is an exercise in futility and will just depress you.

That's it for this week!

Thanks for Reading!

See you Tuesday for

"Why Have a Wife?"


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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rosy the Reviewer Does Italy, Pt. 4: What I Learned

If you have been reading my posts over the last three weeks, you know that I went to Italy in May - specifically, Rome, Naples, Sorrento, Positano and the Amalfi Coast.

(If you need to get caught up, here are Part I, Part II and Part III).

Those posts show where we went, what we did and what we thought of the sights, but they didn't really go into some of the INsights I gained while traveling. 

I thought I would wrap up the trip with some things that I learned.

  • I learned that I love European style yogurt (the really runny kind), cappuccino in the morning and there is nothing more thirst- quenching after a day of sightseeing than a bottle of "frizzante" water (fizzy) - followed by some wine, of course. 

Trader Joe's is the only place where I could find the European style yogurt here in the U.S. (do you have some other suggestions?). I bought Hubby a cappuccino maker for Father's Day and sparkling water is a daily thing so I can continue to enjoy those little perks.

  • If you want to fly the "Friendly skies," it helps if you are friendly.
I mentioned this in one of my earlier posts but I can't stress enough the importance of being friendly to the flight attendants when you fly.  Remember, you are going to be sharing a flight with them for the next 10 hours or so (if you are flying overseas), and they can add to or detract from the experience depending on YOU. 

I make a point when I walk on board to flash a big smile, offer a greeting and say something fun or complimentary. The sad thing is that few people who fly do that, so you are remembered.  I'm not trying to get anything from them, though sometimes they do reward you for your good nature.  What I  am trying to do is make my own experience better by relating to those who are also sharing my experience.  For that short time, I and my fellow humans are having this experience together and it helps to relate to each person's humanity.  And you do that by just being nice.

  • I learned how to use a bidet (they are everywhere).
Well, sort of.  I learned that you are not supposed to wash your feet in it, store your underwear there or use it as a place to cool the wine.  Apart from that, I'm still at a loss.

  • May has become a  terrible time to travel.
We had always thought that May was the best time to travel, especially to Europe. The kids were still in school so you didn't have to deal with kids running up and down the aisles on airplanes or families adding to the crowds.  It's still not summer, so many people have not started their summer vacations yet and you can enjoy those long evenings of daylight. 

Well, I have this little saying that I say.  If I have discovered something, so has everyone else.  And this year it seemed like everyone had discovered May as the time to travel.  The crowds in Rome at the Colisseum and the Vatican were horrific.  However, this year the dollar is very strong so I guess that explains why there were a lot of Americans in Italy.  I had never encountered so many Americans in Europe before, but I can't blame it all on the exchange rate.  Remember when I said I thought we would avoid school children?  Well, for some reason the Europeans like to take whole classes of kids to see the sights in May.  So much for that.  It's going to be April or September from now on.

  • Only being able to speak English is embarrassing.
More and more as I travel to Europe, I feel embarrassed that "my hosts," the locals of whatever country I happen to be traveling in, must speak English in order for me to communicate with them.  Yes, I try not to be an "Ugly American" and I do attempt to say what few words in the local language I know, but when the person I am talking to realizes he or she can speak better English than I can Italian or French and they start speaking English because I am so pathetic, I realize that I really am an "Ugly American." Hubby always tries to reassure me by saying that English is the universal language, and I guess he is right, but I still feel bad.

We have had some interesting experiences witnessing that whole English as a universal language thing, though.  One time, we were in a bar in Stockholm in the Sodermalm neighborhood ("The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" fans will recognize that) and the bartender was Swedish but at the bar there was also a French guy and a Turkish guy.  When the bartender realized that, he started speaking English and the other two did likewise and they had a lively discussion.  I was so impressed with that. 

But at the same time, I still feel very inadequate that I can only muster a minimum of words in the language of the country I am visiting.  I studied some French in school but without the practice, I am still not very good.  I wish our country cared more about this and required that students become fluent in at least one other language.

  • Taking pictures is a pain but they serve as your memories, especially as you get older and remembering stuff gets harder!
I remember complaining to myself about having to haul out my IPhone every time a photo op came along.  I wanted to take the picture, but I also thought always having to pull out my phone to take a picture detracted from my enjoyment of the moment.  However, when I got home, I couldn't remember all of the details of the trip, but as soon as I looked at the pictures they all came back.

The Michael Jackson impersonator in the square in Rome.

The little dog in Naples playing with a plastic cup while we waited for our boat to Sorrento.

What the Amalfi Coast looked like from the boat coming back from the town of Amalfi.

In the old days, I used a regular camera (or remember those disposable ones?), got the pictures developed when I went home and then painstakingly put them in little albums.  We may no longer put our photos in albums but we create another form of album with our phones, our blogs and our postings on Instagram and Facebook.  Remember when we used to dread people inviting us over to see their travel movies and pictures?  Well now we are those people and have captive audiences!

  • Sharing the experience expands the experience.
As I reported last week, my Swedish cousin and her husband joined us for the Positano/Amalfi Coast portion of our trip.  And as I said in that post, choosing traveling companions who are generous, considerate, up for anything, and positive no matter what happens is very important.  My cousin and her husband are all of those things and more.  You don't want to get your knickers in a twist if your traveling companions are always late meeting up with you or are party poopers or complaining all of the time.  That would ruin your trip. 

But when you are traveling with friends and loved ones who are on the same page as you, it makes the experience that much more special.

  • You will enjoy yourself more if you try to look like a local
I have found that if you keep your mouth shut and try to blend in, you will really get a wonderful experience.  For the short time you are traveling, you can pretend to be a local. 

When we stayed in a small village in England, I went to the laundromat (or as they call it over there the launderette).  Many of them have attendants.  When I arrived, I noticed a sign on the door that said they only had cold water that day.  Many of the little old ladies there were miffed about that and stalked off.  The attendant tried to tell them that "In America, they use cold water all of the time."  They made some remark like "We're not Americans, thank god."  I enjoyed that little local interchange.  He eventually asked me a question and my American accent gave me away, and when he asked me if I was American, that resulted in a fun conversation too, but the less you give that part away, the more you will experience. So avoid looking like a tourist. 

Baseball caps with American sports team logos on them are a sure giveaway, likewise a jacket with same, even shorts can be a giveaway but all together?  And carrying a map as well, you don't have a prayer of blending in.

Picture of typical American tourist.

This is more like it.  This smart young lady could pass for a local!

  • In the same vein, the more you ACT like a local, the better experience you will have. 
Unless you are staying in a hotel that caters to Americans or you are in the UK, bacon and eggs for breakfast are rare.  Europeans eat small breakfasts, which could be why they are so slim.  Complaining about the Internet connection or the wimpy air-conditioner or the lack of ice in your soda will get you nowhere and just ruin your trip by the reactions you will get from the locals, not to mention the bad reputation you will give Americans. 

When we were heading home and in line to board our plane, we talked with some other Americans in line. The gentleman shared that he did not like Italians and had not enjoyed his trip.  He said they were rude, etc. etc. etc.  That was not our experience and I think you get what you sow.  This guy seemed to have an entitled chip on his shoulder and if you come after people, complain about things, especially on their turf, yes, the response might be one you would think was rude.  So the answer to that?  Realize you are not in the U.S. and enjoy the ride...and shut the you-know-what-up.

  • Being cheap will not only ruin your own trip but that of your companion
I have come to the conclusion that those who have bad trips (and I don't mean of the acid variety) are people who care more about how much something is costing than anything else.  And even if they enjoy themselves because they are "getting a deal" or their penny-pinching is part of the fun, I guarantee you, their companions are not enjoying it.  

If the almighty dollar is your guide as to whether you have fun or not or how you get along with the locals, then I see why you have crappy trips. 

Complaining about prices to the waiter, always trying to get a better deal from the locals or staying in really low-cost accommodation without a view because it's cheaper, will guarantee you a less than stellar vacation.  Penny pinch when you are at home but when you travel, you don't want to be complaining about how much it costs to buy a Roma Pass (which enables you to skip lines) or get gleeful when you save $10 to travel 2nd class on a crowded train when you can enjoy some amenities by upgrading to Premium Second class or deny yourself a view because it's $20 more. 

Thankfully, Hubby and I are on the same page with this, but we ran into some people who were having a bad time and I could tell they were not enjoying themselves because they were cheap complainers.  Often people who are cheap about money are cheap with good will.

  • Toilets are not easy to find.
One thing you will notice about Europe is that finding a toilet is not easy and even when you do find one, be sure to have some local currency handy because the toilet often costs money, even at train stations.  However, you can save yourself some grief by just popping into a restaurant or bar, order something and use the toilet!  It is not good form to try to sneak in without buying something and the locals will bust you so once again, don't be cheap! 

In Rome we were out on one of Hubby's marathon walks and I couldn't make it back to the hotel.  We spotted a little outdoor café that was still open and ordered a glass of wine.  It was a sort of art gallery cum wine bar so when I headed to the toilet I was treated by a little art show on the way.  And when the wine arrived, they also brought us some little cicchetti (snacks).  Well worth the toilet stop.  And by the way, they don't say "bathroom" or "restroom" over there.  Might as well bite the bullet and start saying "toilet."  It's not a dirty word, it's a universal one.  So like I said, don't be cheap.  A toilet and wine pit stop can be fun!

  • If you don't do your homework before you leave, you will miss out on things you should see and tips that would make your trip more fun.

If we hadn't done our homework, we would not have known about the "secret" door at the back of the Sistine Chapel that allows you to skip the outside lines to get into St. Peter's Basilica to see the Michelangelo's incredible Pieta.

If we hadn't done our homework we would not have figured out that it was a better option to go to Pompeii from Sorrento, rather than Naples to Pompeii. 

I was astounded to run into people who didn't even know some of the basic must-sees at their destination.  Flying by the seat of your pants might be fun up to a point, but I guarantee you will not only miss some important attractions, you will look dumb to the locals.  So don't be lazy.  Do your homework before you go.

Final wrap-up on that? 

Don't be cheap and don't be lazy.

Apart from all of the fantastic wisdom and insight I have gained from getting older (there has to be SOME upside to that), which I extol from time to time on this blog, on this trip I learned something else that surprised me:  that I don't have the stamina or desire to get up and go that I once had even two years ago.  If you are in Rome, you need to keep moving but on some days, the idea of the four hour walk was daunting.  I did it, but I have to admit part of me wanted to be home watching a movie with the wine guzzling poodle on my lap.  That was a scary feeling from someone who all of her life couldn't wait to set foot on European soil every year or so.

Maybe I am not the world traveler I thought I was.  Scary thought.

So what's different now?

Probably 20+ too many extra pounds and the fact that retirement is somewhat like a long vacation - a long vacation of your own making.  Kind of like "The Hotel California."  "You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave."

Yes, I volunteer, yes I still have some things I must do because I have made commitments but in general, if I want to lounge around all day I can.

When I was working a 40+ hour week, the thought of leaving work to go on an adventure in Europe was liberating.  I didn't think about long delays in airports or getting shin splints from too much stair climbing or a room so small I could touch both walls by reaching out my arms.  I looked forward to all of that, because it was a chance to get away from the worries and problems of my work day.

But now that I don't have those worries or problems anymore, I see that I have embraced a "me attitude," and doing something I don't want to do anymore has become the problem.  I get up when I want, I eat when I want, I take on commitments or I don't.  So there are now some things about a vacation that smack of commitments and walking around in the rain to see a sight because it's my only chance to do it started to feel like something I didn't want to do.

Don't get me wrong.  I am not going to let that rule me.  I am still going to travel.  I am just sharing that I had this insight about myself.  But thankfully self awareness is the first step to the road back.  Hopefully, this self-awareness will help me conquer not becoming a retired person who only wants to stay home and watch TV.

That's not how I want to think of myself. 

This is how I want to think of myself!


Traveling can be fun.  It can be educational.  But it can also be insightful.  When you travel, you are not only getting to know the world, but you are getting to know yourself better too.  You find out what you are made of and how you interact in that big wide world.

As for that "Hotel California State of Mind?" I don't want to "check out." I want to leave!

Now I know what I need to work on. 

...until that next trip!

See you Friday

for my review of the new movie 
"Inside Out" 

The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

and the latest on

My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
 I Die Project."


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