Advantage Car Rental and Driving in Rome – A Warning!

In the U.S.A., I had a very similar experience with Alamo, and some truly appalling ones with British Airways and US Air. We all have travel stories. Like many of life’s misadventures, the stories are hilarious over beer after enough time has passed to cool tempers.

But I hold grudges. I still won’t fly British Airways. Or US Air. On the other hand, Aer Lingus, KLM, and SwissAir were all absolutely wonderful. I get misty remembering America West. They never served a meal but would serve you all the booze you wanted. I found myself ordering Bloody Marys for the celery stick. The layover in Las Vegas made it more than worthwhile because 2 hours of slot machines while a little drunk made that trip way better than average, even though I had the flu. — I tried to get them to hold the flight because I was doing very well and needed a sack to bring home all the quarters. Alas, I had to continue to Boston or remain in the casino until the next connecting flight. Sadly, I said goodbye to Vegas.

Travel. Love it after I get there. Otherwise, the transporter please!

Beasley Green

Last summer I decided to visit the beautiful city of Rome. I had never been to Italy before and IPM were hosting their annual club promoters festival and pool party, so it seemed a good excuse to take in some sun, fun and a bit of ancient history. Since the events for the festival were scattered all over the city, it seemed sensible to hire a car to get around. I’m quite an experienced driver and I’ve driven in many European cities and felt quite confident getting around without incident. My general rule of thumb when driving abroad is to follow the signs and the flow of the local traffic, never park in a place where nobody else is parking, and if in doubt – ask somebody. So it came as some surprise five months later – just before I was heading out to Turin for a bit of…

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Notes to Self (While Running System Diagnostics)

Why is my computer freezing and sending me blue screens? I guess I should run some system diagnostics. I ran them a month ago and it said everything is hunky dory. If it’s so hunky and dory, why does it keep freezing?



NO, Marilyn! You cannot run diagnostics while surfing.  Bad Marilyn.


NO you cannot check email. Okay, check, but don’t send anything. Ow. Frozen again.


Why is it prompting me to update the drivers I just updated? Should I do it again? Nah. Waste of time.



Why is Dell installing the software again? This is the fifth time. It’s installed. Geez. It’s just doing this to aggravate me.


I need lunch. Afraid to leave the computer. Who knows what mischief it might get into?


Bathroom, I don’t care what’s going on. I gotta go NOW. Computer? Sit! Stay! Don’t do anything while I’m gone.


I guess no matter how boring it is, I should NOT play Scrabble while running diagnostics.



I suppose this means running diagnostics is not a perfect opportunity to thoroughly clean the keyboard.


My system is fine. Absolutely nothing wrong. So what’s with all those Blue Screens of Death referencing my video card? Huh? Let’s stress test the video card.


This is more boring than watching paint dry. Are we there yet?



Everything is freaking fine. I’ll tell myself that the next time it locks up. Thanks for nothing. Another afternoon I can never get back.

Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness — Twice!


I have  been many things to many people over the years, but this is the first and second time I’ve been awesome much less epically awesome. Yet last week, I got not one, but two Epically Awesome Awards of Epic Awesomeness!

First, Natasha over at Films and Things honored me and before I had a chance to catch my breath, Mike at Mikes Film Talk gifted me with this amazing award again. I’m trying very hard to not have an epic and possibly fatal attack of ego bloat.

Natasha has a wonderful, creative blog. A young woman who thinks for herself and has more enthusiasm in one post than I can dig up in a month. If you like movies and even if you aren’t all that into film but just enjoy good writing and unique idea, take a look at her site.

Now about Mike. I’ve given him so many awards and he has given so many to me, too that we form a little mutual admiration society. I know his URL without looking it up. I think I know it better than I know my own. Despite the site’s title, it’s about life, the universe and everything … movies too. It’s a great writer, whether he’s being witty or serious. Smart, hyper-literate, his site has something for everyone from healthy recipes to fiction.

Please visit their sites. You will not regret it, I promise you.

Almost all awards in the blogging universe come with rules. Not so onerous, but still requiring a little effort, some thought, perhaps a bit of planning. Not an entirely bad thing, especially for someone like me who has a lot of trouble with the whole “following rules” thing. When I was a kid, I was a little bit rebellious. As a senior citizen, I don’t take crap from anyone. It’s an old person thing. You don’t get a lot of bennies in the mis-named golden years, but one of them is doing it your own way. So every once in a while it’s not a bad thing for me to recognize the legitimacy of a few rules and agree to follow them. If I can do it, so can you.

Awards are supposed to be fun, not punishment … and regardless of every other consideration, it means one or more of your peers thinks enough of you to honor you. It also helps to build bonds between us even though we may live oceans apart. In the end, it’s not just about what you write or the pictures you post. It’s also about spreading a certain kind of camaraderie. We aren’t in competition. We are in this world together and if we work together, maybe we can make it a better one. We aren’t going to right all the wrongs, but maybe we can make life more interesting, pleasant and fun. And we can be nice to each other. That’s epically awesome all by itself.

Now, about those rules:

ONLY two. Only two? All that for just two rules? All that fuss.

Oh shut up. I need to occasionally climb on my soapbox and wax eloquent. Or something like that.

  • Reveal 10 epic and/or awesome facts about yourself. Note: I’m not sure how much epic and awesome stuff is left to tell that’s suitable for a G-rated blog.
  • Give it to 10 bloggers you think are awesome and/or epic – or both. 

10 Possibly Awesome Factoids about Moi …


  1. I graduated high school at 16. 
  2. I got married at 18.
  3. I got my BA at 19.
  4. I became a mommy at 22.
  5. I didn’t get serious about a career until I was 27, at which point, to absolutely no one’s surprise, I started writing for a living.
  6. My current husband was my first husband’s best friend.
  7. My husband is also my son’s godfather and that’s why my son’s middle name is Garry.
  8. Don’t even try to figure out what it means. Trust me, you won’t.
  9. I had a spinal fusion and laminectomy at 19 and almost died, the first of 2 near death experiences with visions and everything.
  10. Had a chat with God. I didn’t die. 

And now for my 10 Epic and Awesome nominees!

Tyson Carter over at Head in a Vice who manages to be the Johnny Carson of bloggers, turning a website into a forum and a collaborative effort across oceans and mediums.

Isaacs Picture Conclusion who describes his site as honest reviews from an honest guy (who doesn’t take things too seriously), which pretty much says it. It’s a pleasure reading his writeups.

JCAlberta at My Favorite Westerns. He does beautiful graphics and nostalgic posts about MY favorite westerns.

Rich Paschall whose Sunday Night Blog is a weekly dose of erudition and honesty. Beautiful writing and frequently reblogged by me!

Christine M. Grote – Random Thoughts from Midlife. Unique, humorous and smart observations on the world and life.

My Beautiful Things – Finding the Beautiful in the Everyday. And she does. She finds beauty in all the things that surround all of us in our daily life and shows us how beautiful they are.

Vastly Curious posts one extraordinary image every day, pictures that aren’t just things. They are moods and mysteries.

Hot Rod Cowgirl doesn’t post every day but every post is beautiful, memorable, full of the joy of her life and the land she loves.

Rarasaur is funny, sad, poignant, hilarious, weird, outrageous and absolutely unique. Try her. You’ll like her.

Rumpy Dog – I’m cute. I’m funny. And I’m making a difference for animals. And she is. Every day. She makes me laugh, makes me cry, makes me glad to cuddle up with my furry kids. She does make a difference.

There are others to whom I would happily give this award but either they are dealing with LIFE in capital letters and there will be other awards to confer when life is less crazy. And other friends recently gifted or who do not like awards

So go check these bloggers out and the folks who nominated me as well, they’re all EPIC AND AWESOME! And now, so am I!

P.S. You might also want to notify your fellow bloggers that you’ve nominated them. I almost forgot that part 😉