Monday, August 31, 2009

And She Can Cook!

First I’ll do an update on my training, since this blog is supposed to be about training, blah, blah, blah. This week I ran once (yep, once, marathon schmarathon). It was supposed to be 10 miles, I made 5. That’ll teach me to start a run at 2:30 in the afternoon, on a boiling hot day, after eating nothing but ½ a muffin and a tasting of tomatoes. I was one hot, dizzy, dehydrated, slow mess!

Why so late? Why a tasting of tomatoes? Well, after living in Northern Virginia for 3 ½ years I FINALLY ventured out to the Eastern Market (bigger (better) then a farmer’s market, much smaller the Reading Terminal in Philly). And that, my friends, is the first of two Happy Places I found this weekend (2nd is Total Wine - someone explain to me how I missed this gem?!).

Eastern Market is heaven on earth. We went there with no menu, no recipes, just an open mind and the desire to make a fabulous dinner. We walked through all of the vegetable stands and ideas were forming, but I needed the main dish solidified before making a purchase. I was starting to get disappointed because there was no meats/seafood - then we went inside. The first counter we saw was the seafood counter…Frutta di Mare? Next was fresh meat…Pesto stuffed Pork Loin? Focus on the appetizer and that would determine the main dish. Choice between Prosciutto wrapped Cantaloupe (then I'd make the pork loin) or Bacon Wrapped Scallops (to go with the Frutta di Mare). HMMMMMM

And the decision is:
Thick Sliced Hickory Bacon wrapped Sea Scallops
Grilled Baby Octopus (17/101)
Tomato Salad
Baked Sweet Onion
Tomato Basil Fettuccine (Cheated and bought this)
And Frutta di Mare (18/101)

I thought I bought 2-person quantities, but know that these recipes could have EASILY fed four. I also don't believe in measuring things when I make up my own recipes so everything is an approximate.

Fresh Herb Mix
1/4 Cup Loosely Packed Basil
Leaves from about 6 inches of Rosemary
Leaves from about 6 inches of Oregano
Sprinkling (teaspoon-ish) Sea Salt
Pepper (about 5 turns of the grinder)
Put everything in a bowl and chop. I prefer to use scissors, Dude uses a knife on a cutting bored. I don't recommend a processor - in my experience too much moisture is released. Set aside - will be used throughout these recipes.

Thick Sliced Hickory Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops
6 slices bacon, cut in half
12 Scallops (ordered ½ lb, this is what I got)
Wrap bacon around scallops, put on metal skewer. Grill for 10 minutes (500 degrees*).

Grilled Baby Octopus
4 Baby Octopus (figure 2 per person)
¼ C Olive Oil
2 Tbs Fresh Herb Mix

Marinate octopus in olive oil and herbs for 15 minutes. Remove from oil, shake off extra oil. Grill on top shelf of grill (500 degrees*) for 10 minutes.

Note: Some people can’t get past the look of the octopus and won’t eat this. Once they are cooked you could chop them up so they no longer resemble little 8-legged aliens. (Not that Dude or I have an issue with this, but Dude did apologize to each one before he ate it).

Fresh Tomato Salad
3 Different (Colors/Types) of Tomatoes - I used beefsteak, Green Zebra, and a big orange one. Do some tasting at the farmer’s market to find a good mix.
2 Tbs Olive Oil, divided
Sprinkling Sea Salt
1 Tbs Fresh Herb Mix
2 Basil Leaves, sliced in this strips
Drizzle Platter with Olive Oil and sprinkling of salt. Slice/Core tomatoes. Arrange on Platter. Sprinkle with Fresh Herb Mix and Basil Leaves. Top with additional Olive Oil.

Baked Sweet Onion
Dude and I have been trying to duplicate this since we had it in Italy. It seemed simple enough, a baked onion that was basically caramelized in its skin. After trial and error, I think we have it.
2 Onions - top/bottom cut off, cross cut in top and bottom, and stabbed on each side
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
Fresh Herb Mix
Preheat oven or grill to 500 degrees*. This is why the grill was so hot for the scallops and octopus.
Pour 1/4 cup olive oil in two bowls. Put onion in bowl, top with Fresh Herbs. Cover with saran wrap and let sit for ~30 minutes.

Make tinfoil pouch. Put onion and oil mixture in the pouch and seal. Bake/Grill for 1 hour. Remove skin and serve piping hot.

Frutta di Mare
Olive Oil
4 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
3 Tomatoes, chopped, with juice and seeds
1/2 Cup White Wine
Fresh Herbs
Sea Salt
4 Calamari Tubes, cut into rings
5 Large Shrimp, peeled, deveined, cut into 3 pieces
6 Mussels, scrubbed, debearded
6 Clams, scrubbed
1/4 Lb Bay Scallops

Fill a large pot with water, add some salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Bring to a boil. While boiling the water do the below.
Wash, clean and lightly steam the Clams and Mussels just enough to open. Remove meat from shells and set aside.
Wash the calamari and cut into rings
Heat olive oil and add garlic, Stir for ~2 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and herbs and cover. Simmer on Med-Low for 5 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil. Add all seafood except clams and mussels. Salt to taste. Cook for ~5+ minutes. In the last 3 minutes or so add the mussels and clams. Add red pepper flakes right at the end. Cover and let sit (on the same burner) until ready to platter.

In the last 3 minutes of cooking the sauce, add fresh pasta to the boiling water and follow the directions (usually calls for 2-3 minutes). I recommend under cooking it, drain. Reserve some of the pasta water. Put on serving dish, drizzle with olive oil. If it seems to dry out quickly add a scant amount of the reserved water. Serve seafood on top of pasta.

And the results...mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm GOOD!

For each one of these recipes, I give them:

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thursday Thirteen Things I Did and Did Not Do This Week

Yes I know it's Friday - Deal with it!

Things I DID:
- Got my wireless card reestablished on my computer so I can work from home again

- Worked from home every evening M-W until midnight

- Had over 40 hours in by 9am on Thursday - still worked the rest of the day and working 1/2 day Friday. And NO I don't get paid for all my hours.

- Booked a trip to FL in September to go visit my family and catch up with the highschool friends I've reconnected with on Facebook. (101 in 1001)

- Made homemade pasta with my new pasta machine (and homemade pesto with our basil that we grew).

- Tried to give blood. (101 in 1001)

- Lost one pound (I gained three since Ironman)

- Week three of 100 crunches every other morning. (101 in 1001)

Things I Did NOT DO:

- Give blood. Despite BEING AN IRONMAN my iron was too low

- Any training (other then the aforementioned crunches) since the run on Saturday

- Finish cleaning my house - upstairs spotless, downstairs not so much

- Weed my backyard. The weeds/grass is almost up to my hips.

- Wash my car, well I haven't done this since May(!)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2010 Already

No, I haven't figured out time travel. I'm starting to think about my 2010 Race Schedule.

Things I know for sure - NO IRONMAN! No long-distance travel. And that's all I know for sure.

Things I'm considering:
Marathon (Just one):
Either ING Marathon (Atlanta) or Shamrock Marathon (Virginia Beach and Yuengling after) the weekend of 20 March.

Half Options (Thinking two):
Kinetic Half - After this years failure I kind of feel like I have to try again.
Mooseman Half - I just love this race venue.
I also really like Endurfun (folks that put the race on) so I'd consider Timberman or Longhorn.
An Ironman Half - either FL (get to visit mom), Vineman (wine country), Amica (Rhode Island - kind of close)

Olys -
Rumpass (if they do it again)
Nation's (in my backyard)
Mooseman (if I don't do the Half)

I'd also like to do some more distance cycling, maybe an adventure race, rock climbing class, cooking class, housework, etc., etc., etc.

CRAP - looks like next year's weekends are filling up!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Ran...And I Liked It

Saturday was my first “distance” run since IMS - 16 miles. I had not been looking forward to it at all. Since IMS every step after 5 miles hurt…really bad. Shins, Thighs, Hips, Back…just hurt.

But then Saturday happened.

Team run started at the Caboose in Vienna to run the W&OD trail. It’s not my favorite place to run but it does give you a mix of hills, false flats, flats, and the occasional jump out of the way as cyclist go flying by without announcing themselves. Unfortunately I showed up ½ hour late so I was in for a lonely run, just me and my iPod. I did get to see many team members and that’s always a treat.

I did my normal 10/2 walk/run mix. I also split the run to 4 miles to the west and back (more hills), refuel, then 4 miles to the east and back (less shade).

It was BOILING hot. Sometimes after swim I sit in the sauna – it was hotter outside. And muggy. And humid. I was DRENCHED. And I’m not exaggerating! Despite this, I felt great the entire run. Note to self, don't lick arm for salt after applying sunscreen!

My pace for the first 8 miles were 11 min – and that included the 2 min walk. I did slow down a bit for the 2nd 8 miles and ranged between 11:00 – 11:45. Not too shabby (ok, slow as shit, but right on my marathon pace).

Did I mention I felt GREAT?!?!

And recovery, who needs recovery? Never felt pain or stiffness. Awesome! (Sang in a high pitched tone).

Oh, and Sunday, we went for a 5 mile hike, with climbing/hills and it wasn’t so bad. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m loving it!

In other news – I’m thinking of backing out of the Nation’s Tri. It’s the weekend I’m supposed to run 18 miles. Marine Corp is more important then this Oly. I need to see if I can get any money back though (I am a cheap ass so if I can’t, I’ll do the race). If that’s the case, I’m not sure how I’ll get those additional miles in. Finish the Oly, then run an additional 12?! Now that’s HARDCORE!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday Thirteen - Catch Up and A Lot of Nothing

1. I suck. Get your mind out of the gutter. I suck at blogging but not by choice. I have a LOT to blog about but due to technical difficulties and my (stupid) job I don't have time.

2. I still read everyone's blogs. Thank "the maker" (I'm stealing this from Mary) for stoplights, traffic jams, and down time in the evenings with the blackberry.

3. Marathon training is...well it is. Anything over 5 miles still hurts but I have made it up to 10. This weekend I jump to 16 (combining training schedules kind of screws up the build). I'm going to do 8 miles at a time (4 out/back) so it doesn't seem overwhelming.

4. Dude and I went cycling in Amish Country, PA last weekend. What are the requirements for becoming Amish? They lead such a simple life, but they seem so happy. I think they KNOW what is important in life and the rest of us will realize it when we're old and decrepit.

5. We are playing the lottery this week (my first time since ummmmm, the 90's). If I win I'm buying property and going to attempt my dream job.

6. Want to know what my dream job is...? Owning a Bed and Breakfast (but in my case it would be Supper and Siesta because I hate making breakfast). See, I will have "the big house" where I live and cook. I will have cabins (fully decked out cabins) for the guests. They will get home-cooked gourmet meals (with wine pairings). During the day, there will be hiking, running, cycling, or on their own activities. Breakfast (simple stuff) will be available as well as box lunches. Come on, wouldn't you want to stay there???? (and as Dude takes pictures of me blogging (learning more about photography), I'm sure he would be available to document your vacation).

7. I mentioned we went to PA this past weekend. It was another opportunity to realize one of the 1,000 reasons why I love Dude so much. That man can talk and make friends with anyone. I'm an extrovert (according to Myers-Briggs) but seriously, he IS the definition of extrovert.

8. Funny (not so much) story.... I have one of those stickers with the pictures of the swim/bike/run on my car. So, I'm walking out of the store and this guy (kind of looks like an athlete) asks "what kind of triathlete are you?" I'm thinking, "um, middle of the pack?!" but I still haven't answered. I think he saw the confusion, because he said/asked, "you do sprints"? I said "No, I did Ironman Switzerland a month ago". He said "you did".

Now that can be read a couple ways. You DID - Meaning - that's awesome! Or YOU did - Meaning - seriously, someone with thighs and an ass that big can do Ironman?!

Unfortunately, he said it the second way - like I'm not worthy of the Ironman title. Fucker.

9. Work is stupid busy. Lesson learned - Never EVER tell your CFO that you sometimes get bored because there is not enough to do. I now have more then enough to do and not near the hours.

10. Being a woman SUCKS sometimes! Especially when it's that time. Seriously, menopause can't come soon enough.

11 - 12 - F-it. I'm tired and I've had 3 drinks tonight. I'm going to bed.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

#58 - Cook 101 in 1001 - #'s 10 - 16

I have been cooking just not blogging about it. These span the last couple months. If the recipe is not typed, click on the link:

To remind you of the Fat Running Chef (FRC) scale:
1=Never Ever Again
2=Try One More Time
3=Good But Needs Tweeking
4=OMG This Is So Good Calories Don't Count

#10 - White Bean & Roasted Tomato Soup
– Wegman’s Recipe - Followed the recipe to a tee except I chopped my own onion, added a minced garlic clove, omitted the croutons (served with bread) and did not strain the mixture, just blended it. 3 ½ FRC – nothing wrong with it and I’ll make it again, but not “to die for”.

#11 – Chicken w/Pancetta and Olives came from Epicurious – I halved everything in this recipe with the exception of the Pancetta. I bought the pre-diced and used ½ of the package. I probably used a few more olives as well. 4 FRC

#12 - Pancetta & Taleggio Conchiglioni is from the Delicious Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 5. This magazine is an Austrailian magazine, so all weights are in metric. And I’m going to make you do the math!

250 g Cannelloni Shells
1 C Breadcrumbs, fresh
8 Pancetta slices, chopped
1/3 C Parsley, flat leaf, chopped
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
200 g Taleggio
1 lg Egg Yolk, lightly beaten
2 Tbs Parmasan

Tomato & Red Wine Sauce
2 C Tomato Passata
100 ml Dry Red Wine
1 tsp Brown Sugar
Pinch dried Chili Flakes
1 Tbs Olive Oil, plus extra to toss pasta

Place all sauce ingredients in a pan over medium-high heat. Season, bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, over low heat for 12 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until just thickened.

Preheat oven to 200 Celcius. Cook pasta in a large pan of boiling water according to directions. Drain, toss with olive oil. Set aside.

Mix together all remaining ingredients, except parmesan, with some pepper. (If using Cannelloni shells) use a piping bag with a large plain nozzle (or a zip-lock bag with 1 corner snipped off), to fill pasta tubes. Pour half the sauce into a 3-litre baking dish, then top with pasta, preferably in a single layer. Pour over remaining sauce and scatter with parmesan.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until pasta is tender. Serve with extra parsley.

Changes I made and Lessons Learned:
Converted everything from metric
I used giant shells instead of Cannelloni (hence the Conchiglioni), they’re easier to stuff. Used packaged Italian bread crumbs. For the sauce I couldn’t find Passata, which is a cooked tomato concentrate so I used Pomi brand Strained Tomatoes - could have used tomato paste. I added minced Garlic Clove, Season-all, and Ground Italian Herbs. I should have used less bread crumbs and more spices in the sauce. The sauce was a little too sweet for my liking. I used a Chianti wine so that may have added to the sweetness. 3 FRCs – it was good but needs some work.

#13 & 14 - Grilled Mojo Pork Tenderloin Sandwich with Grilled Peach Salsa – Both Wegman’s Recipes – Did not make into a sandwich, just had the pork (which means I grilled a pre-marinated pork loin - tough stuff!) and salsa. As a note, I’m a fake Mexican and don’t like spicy food and I thought this salsa was incredible. Quick, Easy, and mmm, mmm, good! 4 FRC’s

#15 – Grilled Swordfish Nicoise Salad – Wegman’s Recipe – This is one of those recipes you can take the basics and mix it up. I’m going to go with 3 FRC’s only because there is so much room to play with the ingredients.

And #16 Creamy Tomato Pasta with Pine Nuts is from the Better Homes and Garden Special Interest Publication “Ultimate Italian”.

3 Oz Pancetta, finely chopped
1 Tbs Butter
2 C Mushrooms, sliced
1/4 C pine nuts, toasted
¼ tsp Black Pepper (eyeball)
2 Med Tomatoes, chopped
½ C Parmasan Cheese
1 9 Oz Pkg Refrigerated Linguine
1 ½ C ½ & ½ or Light Cream
Additional Parmasan and Pepper if desired

In a large skillet, cook and stir pancetta over medium heat just until golden brown. Remove pancetta from skillet; drain off fat. For sauce: In the same skillet, heat butter. Add mushrooms and pine nuts; cook about 5 minutes or until mushrooms ar etender and pine nuts are golden brown, stirring frequently. Return pancetta to skillet. Stir in half & half and the ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently uncovered, over medium heat about 7 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened. Stir in tomatoes and Parmasan cheese.

Meanwhile, cook linguine according to package directions; drain. Add the sauce; toss gently to combine. If desired, sprinkle with additional Parmasan cheese and pepper. Makes 4 servings.

As written 578 Calories. Saved some calories with fake butter and fat free cream (but probably evened it out with the additional pancetta and pine nuts)

Changes I made and Lessons Learned:
Used 4 oz Pancetta, Brummell & Brown Yogurt Butter, about ½ the mushrooms, ½ C pine nuts, 3 Plum Tomatoes, Fettuccini instead of Linguine, Fat Free Cream, and did not add the additional parmesan or pepper. I added minced Garlic Clove, Season-all, Ground Italian Herbs, and flour (for thickening). I should have used right amount of mushrooms, stuck with original amount of pine nuts (if not less), and added another plum tomato. Also, if you use fat free cream you have to watch it constantly when it’s boiling or a film develops on top (which can be removed, doesn’t change the flavor).

Friday, August 7, 2009

Yes, I Do Still Exercise!

It’s been awhile since I’ve actually blogged/mentioned exercise. I have excuses (I always do).

First I took two weeks off after IMS to recover. I AM AN IRONMAN!

Then I went to Lake Placid to watch my Team Z peeps rock the Ironman USA.

I had planned on starting marathon training on Monday after Placid but I ended up with a cold (and no voice) so I slept for 3 ½ days then generally felt like crap for the rest of the week.

Finally on Sunday I went on the Team Z bike ride. Dude had said he would ride 50 miles with me but he left me in the dust within two miles. Jerk! (Just kidding) I ended up riding 30 miles with Kate which was quite fun and helped ease me back into cycling.

Monday was the big “Marathon Training Kick-Off”. By that I mean I ran on the treadmill for 45 minutes then went and had beer and wings with Jason, Lori, and Ken.

I’m taking this marathon training a little (lot) different then the first go-round. Myrtle Beach was all about proving that I could RUN a marathon. I no longer have anything to prove - I AM AN IRONMAN dammit!

You may recall that during IMS training I lost my passion for the sport. The training became too focused, frustrating, and way too serious – it bacame a (really shitty) part time job when it use to be my favorite hobby. So my goal during Marine Corp marathon training is to RECAPTURE THE JOY. I want to enjoy running (with some cycling and swimming thrown in) again. I want to remember what it was like to go out for a little run and come back feeling revitalized and refreshed.

That’s my goal people!

But, so far, it just hurts. EVERY step is daggers through my feet, calves, knees and thighs.

Is enjoying running again asking too much?!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thursday Thirteen - Breakfast in Bed

Forget the “which 5 people (living or dead (which is just creepy)) would you like to have dinner with” question. Most people list a bunch of pretentious blowhards, or obscure writers, philosophers, musicians, etc. Perhaps I’m jealous because my list would be as shallow as this one:

The 13 Men I’d like to have Breakfast in Bed With

Adorable Dude

Halle Berry’s Man Toy – Gabriel Something-or-other - does his name matter?!

Black and White Dude (although that would be weird if he was suddenly in black and white in a world of color)

Bradley Cooper – Where’d this guy come from?! All of a sudden he's in everything. BTW - go see "The Hangover" - don't buy a soda because it will come out your nose!

Cheesy Smile Dude (in front of the Duda Bar) – he does this cheesy smile in various pictures.

McSteamy from Gray’s Anatomy - Remember the scene where he's coming out of the shower? Yowza!

Winter Dude – He even looks cute in a hat!

Josh Turner (country music singer) – The eyes, the smile, the voice, *sigh*

Animal Activist Dude – we found a lost birdie in Italy so Dude moved him to a safer location

Toby Keith – doesn't he just look big and cuddly?

Funny Dude (in front of a delivery truck for the best named liquor store in Beaver Creek, Colorado)

George Clooney – Duh, have you been reading my blogs?

Goofy Dude with a guest appearance of Frog

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lake Como Italy = BLISS!

This is a picture story. Which means you are in luck! A picture is worth 1,000 words, right?! So imagine how long this could have been!

On Monday Dude and I boarded a train to Lake Como, Italy. Switzerland to Italy in the Alps – words can’t describe the beauty so here’s my favorite photo from this leg (ignore my reflection):

The train ride was suppose to be a major highlight of the trip and this is how I enjoyed it:

Got to Lake Como and we had to figure out how to get to the marina to catch the boat to the hotel. It was about a ½ mile so we decided to walk. Nobody mentioned the stairs I had to walk down…with my suitcase…and my tri bag…and my laptop THE DAY AFTER IRONMAN(view from the bottom):

We made it, boarded the boat and about 15 minutes later we made it to the hotel. Here is our lake view from the balcony.

Straight out:

To the Left:

To the Right:

We got cleaned up and I packed up all of my IRONMAN finisher gear, removed my Athlete bracelet, took off my Heart to Tri necklace and became a GIRL for the rest of vacation. Girly Clothes, Hair, Makeup, Heels – the works! It was just one of those things I wanted to do to put the IMS obsession behind and concentrate on us. We went for a walk around town looking for a place for dinner. Finally we found La Baia Bar and Restaurante. Ok – it looked more like someone’s house with balcony seating. The owner, Mario, was the host/waiter and his mother was the chef. ABSOLUTELY incredible food! We started with carpaccio, my main dish was the special of the night – asparagus stuffed ravioli’s, but I can't remember what Dude had. Here's a pic of the restaurant (there were maybe 10 tables on that balcony) and a blurry shot of Dude with Mario (owner), his mother, and the waitress (picture was taken a couple nights later).

Tuesday – Tourist Day/”5 scoops of Gelato Day”
We took a 2 ½ hour boat ride to Varrena – the stop just North of Bellagio because the tour book said it was as nice but not as “touristy” as Bellagio. The boat ride was GORGEOUS (one view):

While aboard we went Villa Shopping and narrowed it down to this one:

Or this one:

What do you think?

Got to Varenna, and had the first of 5 scoops of gelato for the day. I tend to stick with pistachio but also find banana quite tasty. Walked around a bit (had more gelato) and found a museum/botanical garden (Manastareo) to explore. Couple pics from there:

After taking 100’s of pictures we wandered back into town, had more gelato and decided it was time for a drink. Here is Dude’s review of the 1st place we tried:
Rudest waitress EVER – you can see her in the doorway.

So we went next door. Dude’s review of this place:

Dinner was back at a place close to the hotel where I had salmon fettuccine (the salmon was actually IN THE PASTA – oh my Gawd – Incredible). And Dude had Spaghetti with Fruitta de Mare which can only be described as the essence of Italy in every bite.

Wednesday – Isola di Comacino/Cinque Bottiglie Di Vino
There is one island in all of Lake Como called Isola di Comacino. On the island are the ruins of S. Eufemia basilica and an incredible restaurant with no menu but endless amounts of food. You basically have a choice of fish/no fish, wine/no wine. We went with no fish/with wine. We soon found out it was bottomless wine. Yeah! The food was incredible, basically course after course of vegetables in olive oil (best onion I’ve ever had in my life), pancetta, parmesan, gelato, and bread (and some coffee that you had to drink to break the island’s curse). Here's Dude and I after some wine and one with me and the restaurant sign.

Oh, and this was my George stalking day. Apparently he’s dined at this restaurant so I got my picture taken with him (kind of):

We went back to the mainland and took a terrifying bus ride to the next town which required us to have more wine. Then a boat ride across to our town where we had more and more wine. Then we rested up for dinner. We went back to the restaurant from the first night where they made me Fruitta de Mare and I have no idea what Dude had. By the way, we had more wine. And my camera died so no more pictures.

Thursday – Final Day
We hung around the hotel in the morning and went swimming in the lake. Finally packed up and headed to Como and I FINALLY got to have pizza in Italy (this was a quest everyday). It was a miserably hot day and I was thankful to get on the train to head to Zurich. In keeping with my original travel nightmare the train was delayed and we didn’t get to the Zurich hotel until well after 8 (left at 2 – should have been 4 hours max). We did room service because we had an early flight to catch in the morning.

Friday – Travel Day
In keeping with my original travel nightmare, we were suppose to leave at 10 am (got to the airport at 0800) but we finally had wheels up at just after 7 pm. Because of the delay we obviously missed our connecting flight. We finally got home at close to noon on Saturday. Ask me how I feel about American Airlines!

Besides the travel issues this was the best and most relaxing vacations I've ever been on. Since I recently received an email saying I won $1 Million Euro I'm seriously considering getting one of those villas. Just as soon as I send my bank account information back so they can deposit my winnings!