Lately, I've been boxing up some books for a few reasons: to keep Fianna from destroying the nice hardbacks, to make room for other "stuff", and the expectation that we'll move soon and have to do so anyway. In an indicator of how pampered modern life has become (not just me), I'm running across several books that I planned to read but never did... because I bought a Kindle roughly two years ago. With an ereader on hand, the prospect of prying open poorly binded books to read all the text comfortably, squinting at small type, or propping up a one-pound hardback for extended periods... sort of... lost its appeal.

After leaving the Val d’Orcia, we made a short 1.5 hour drive to Siena. Siena is an impressive city. At one time, Siena was in a class along with Florence, Venice, and Genoa, competing for political superiority. Siena’s grand hopes were wiped out, along with a third of the population, during the bubonic plague of the mid-1300’s. Florence’s military conquered them in the 1550’s. After an eventful day in Sienna, we were off for another day in Volterra, and finally, five days in Florence (our second visit)

In August, the Bresslers went on our first two week vacation since Fianna was born (Feb. 2009). We used to take 3-4 weeks of vacation a year, so it was nice to get ‘back in the saddle’. Our destination... Tuscany, Italy. We’d been to Italy in 2002 and were looking forward to a return. Italy is a terrific place to vacation. Italians are nice folk with a good deal of respect for family, neighborhood & tradition. There is no shortage of historical sites either, which is a big plus in my book.

In April, my Dad (Rick Maybe-Bressler) and Uncle (Allen Maybe) did something that nobody one else has done. They navigated personal water craft (perhaps better known as "Jet Skis") from the Pacific Ocean to the source of the Sacramento River. They started by passing under the Golden Gate bridge, then navigating the San Francisco Bay, San Pablo Bay, Suisun Bay, and the Sacramento Delta region to the source of the Sacramento River (somewhere past Lake Shasta). In all, a trip running four days and a little over 400 miles, some of it across pretty rough and debris-prone waters (at least for a Jet Ski).

Fourteen years ago today we picked up a scared little terrier from the Sacramento SPCA. She was about seven months old. I remember suffering the horrified glares of a little girl and her family as I stole Phoebe out of the cage, while they debated getting her themselves. Another 5 minutes and we would have never seen her.