Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mea Culpa

I'm feeling the void of blogging. This week work has been exceedingly busy, and it's a short week so I am unable to read my favorite blogs. Sorry to all of you. Hope your week is more enjoyable than mine has been.

At least for the last part of the week, I will be on vacation - a sort of 'stacation' meaning we are not travelling abroad. Ty is going to see if he can give the 'shaka' sign to Obama in person. Will take pictures of the cherry blossoms!

And, here's my photohunt for the week - stripes. My neices' children celebrating the fourth which is a huge family gathering/tradition in our family.

Friday, March 27, 2009

PhotoHunt: Hands

taken on Kauai, Hawaii 2007

Let's hope this works~

I hope we can make a difference:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Civita di bagnoregio

This enclave is close to Orvieto. It's a small hill town only accessible by a walking bridge. A bit of a ghost town, unmarred (so far) by the modernization of progress. It’s a charming, rustic Etruscan town that rises like a monolith out of its surrounding canyons. The buildings are a mix of the forgotten and those being carefully and tastefully restored by the ‘new’ inhabitants. Civita is decaying in parts but that is part of its charm for me. It's hauntingly beautiful.

I visited Civita during their wild boar hunting season. I had that fact in the back of my mind while crossing the expansive bridge over the canyons: when gun shots rang out, I hit the floor of that concrete bridge in one second flat.

Why Italy

I’m feeling nostalgic after reading all the posts about impending vacations abroad.

It could have been the spiritual connection that draws me in to Italy. It could be my cultural ancestry as well. It could be the enchanted and changing landscapes of each region, the masterful gastronomic and visual art, or the warm hospitality of the Italian people.

All I know is being seated at a noontime Mass in a small village among family members, hearing a Christian Mass recited in Latin, and listening to familiar liturgical songs being sung in Italian made me cry. All I know is that walking the quiet streets of Rome at 5:00 AM on a warm fall morning with a close friend who was then a newly-minted cancer survivor made me cry. All I know is that seeing Venice for the first time made me cry. All I know is that seeing David for the first time took my breath away and then made me cry.

All I know is I feel this wellspring each time I visit Italy.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Girasoli's blogging about her upcoming trip to Italy and her itinerary choices, which include Orvieto, reminded me of my travels there in 2006. Two of my friends and I separated for part of our time in that lovely medieval city. One sat across from the cathedral with her husband and enjoyed a bottle of vino, one circumnavigated the city with her sister and I was treated to a private tour with a newly made friend from Italy. Upon our return home and sharing photos, we each had taken a photo of this woman in the market. And, she has appeared, I am told, on Samantha Brown's show and other travel shows. So, you may meet her if you travel to Orvieto on market day. She's quite a quiet superstar! Andiamo!

Friday, March 20, 2009

PhotoHunt: Yellow

A day early because I am off to Connecticut for the weekend.

Here's my entry. I know, you are thinking I've totally lost my mind. After all, today is the first day of spring, and here I am with a photo of New England's fall foliage. But, when I think of yellow, the foliage is the first thought that comes to this Bostonian mind. Have a good one! And, GO BC EAGLES!!

I am shedding my dreams like cricket songs –

one by one,

with the sibilance of leaves

and the sense of falling,

whispering all my selves


I stand before explaining,

bare-boned as these hills. ~ Jane Hirschfield, Love Poem – Autumn

Friday, March 13, 2009

Date Violence

I was going to take a blogging break this weekend, but this came across my desk and I can't understand the thinking these days from a delicate part of our population that condones violence. It's a sad commentary of the self-worth of adolescence. Please, let's stop the violence and not condone it by our silence!

********* (EXCERPT)

BOSTON - A survey conducted by the Boston Public Health Commission on the dating violence incident involving pop music idols Chris Brown and Rihanna revealed that nearly half of Boston youths surveyed said she was “responsible” for what happened while 52 percent said they were both to blame. Nearly half say Rihanna was responsible for the incident with Chris Brown.

“The story of Chris Brown and Rihanna may have happened 3,000 miles away, but it is very much a Boston story,” said Casey Corcoran, director of the Public Health Commission’s new Start Strong program.

Corcoran’s program, housed in the Commission’s Division of Violence Prevention, surveyed 200 Bostonyouth ages 12 to 19, between Feb. 13 and 20, using the Chris Brown-Rihanna case to gauge their attitudes toward teen dating violence; 100 percent of those surveyed had heard about the incident.
Among the findings:

71% said arguing was a normal part of a relationship

44% said fighting was a normal part of a relationship

51% said Chris Brown was responsible for the incident

46% said Rihanna was responsible for the incident

52% said both individuals were to blame for the incident, despite knowing at the time that
Rihanna had been beaten badly enough to require hospital treatment

35% said the media were treating Rihanna unfairly

52% said the media were treating Chris Brown unfairly

In addition, a significant number of males and females in the survey said Rihanna was destroying Chris Brown’s career, and females were no less likely than males to come to Rihanna’s defense.

“Boston parents need to be aware that our children are facing a crisis,” said Emily F. Rothman, assistant professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health, and an advisor to the Boston Start Strong initiative. “Ten percent of Massachusetts youth report having experienced dating violence during their lifetimes. The consequences of dating violence can be severe and long-lasting. Teen dating violence victimization can be a precursor to adult violence victimization, and can increase risky behaviors during adolescence,
including substance use, unhealthy dieting and weight control practices, and suicidal behavior,” she said.

“The case provides all of us with an opportunity to have this conversation with the young people in our lives, and it should serve as a reminder that no one---not even the rich and famous---are immune to abuse.”

PhotoHunt: Four

Have a great weekend, everyone! I titled this photo Alliteration - it's one of a group of cards I had printed a few years ago...

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Peonies are to me like peanut butter sandwiches are to some people – comfort ‘food’.

As a gardener, they were my first loved plant –not only because the blossom is impressive, but because I successfully transplanted them from my childhood home. The plants in these photos are over fifty years old. When these beauties bloom each spring with their top heavy heads, my mother’s attention to them are fond memories.

One of my favored contemporary poets, Mary Oliver:
Peonies (an excerpt)
the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again ---
beauty the brave, the exemplary,
blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever? ~ New and Selected Poems

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"First" Meme

Courtesy of http://bleedingespresso.com

1. Who was your FIRST prom date? That would have been Ricky.
2. Do you still talk to your FIRST love? No.
3. What was your FIRST alcoholic drink? Boone’s Farm Wine – makes me shutter!
4. What was your FIRST job? Besides babysitting? Working a summer for the city in the Probate Court archives -totally boring!
5. What was your FIRST car? Chevy Nova
6. Who was the FIRST person to text you today? No texts yet – but probably my daughter.
7. Who is the FIRST person you thought of this morning? Ty
8. Who was your FIRST grade teacher? Sister Ann Mary and she used to make boys cry! Isn’t it awful that’s the only memory I have of her?
9. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane? New York City
10. Who was your FIRST best friend & do you still talk? Stella and unfortunately I lost touch with her a few years ago.
11. Where was your FIRST sleep over? Stella’s house.
12. Who was the FIRST person you talked to today? Ty
13. Whose wedding were you in the FIRST time? My sister, Marianne.
14. What was the FIRST thing you did this morning?
Got into my gym clothes.
15. What was the FIRST concert you ever went to?
Soo long ago – maybe Jimi Hendrix?
16. FIRST tattoo? – Not yet.
17. FIRST piercing? My ears when I was 16. My friend’s sister did it with a sewing needle. I still wince when I think of it.
18. FIRST foreign country you visited? Canada
19. FIRST movie you remember seeing? Elvis – Blue Hawaii – must have been an omen!
20. When was your FIRST detention? High school – a uniform infraction.
21. What was the FIRST state you lived in? Massachusetts
22. Who was your FIRST roommate? An ex-husband
23. If you had one wish. What would it be? I could make a living doing something creative which would afford me a comfortable lifestyle in Hawaii.
24. What is something you would learn if you had the chance? Multiple foreign languages – Italian, French, Spanish.
25. Who do you think will be the next person to post this? You! Consider that a dare.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday's Teasers

The instructions are on Fissy Thoughts blog: http://fissythoughts.com/

'I wanted to peel back my own skin, too. My life felt as sodden and smoldering as the unburnt log. I had set together every condition for ignition, and something in me refused to burn.' Deep Water Passage by Ann Linnea.

This is an excerpt from my current reading (seems to be a spirituality theme more prevalent than customary for me these days). This book is an autobiographical spiritual as well as physical odyssey of a woman's journey through midlife. She has a gift for words which allows the reader to join in her most intimate thoughts.

PS: I don't follow instructions (3 sentences instead of 2): one of the benefits of 'middle age' ...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Big Brother is Watching You - Shop?

Does anyone use the ‘shopping buddy’ at their grocery store? I'm not sure whether this technology is readily available. But I used it this weekend while food shopping at our local Stop and Shop. Food shopping is one of my least liked chores - sort of like ironing, making the bed, dusting, etc. etc. I always thought it a waste of time and energy/unnecessary duplication of tasks to place grocery items in a cart only to take them out of the cart at checkout and then put them back in the cart after bagging. So the availability of this new techno gadget was appealing = scan, bag and checkout from your cart!

An added 'bene' - the savings offered on some items as a ‘gift’ for using this gizmo. The idea of a running total for items spent/saved was helpful to the budget.

Downside – I’m not a good bagger and this procedure works efficiently IF you bag your items as you go. (Prior to shopping, load up on plastic bags in specifically designed carts that hold the bags open.) Some of the negatives: uses plastic bags -for those who are green-conscious might be irritating. Spent more time shopping (scanning and bagging items). The store’s publicity states this is not taking the jobs away from employees as you still checkout to complete your transactions/pay for the items/give coupons, etc. But, once again the human touch is replaced by efficiency….. Hmmmm - Will grocery shopping go the way of the # sign? Am I revealing even more of my personal information and shopping habits to strangers?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

St. Paul de Vence

I was pleasantly surprised to discover a soap left over from my trip last year to the French and Italian Riviera - Fragonaud - heavenly. But I digress. My thoughts took me back to St. Paul de Vence. I'm not a France fan but these medieval hill towns are a beckoning, magnetic force to my travel bug. If I were able, I think I would take a trip just visiting these towns on the Cote D'Azur.

St. Paul is a beautiful medieval fortified village perched on a narrow spur between two deep valleys. Set between the Mediterranean Sea and the Alps. Its location gives you a great view of the village from the La Colle road to the east or the Cagnes-Vence road to the west. A bucolic town - charming, quaint, cobblestoned streets with photogenic archways and picturesque entry ways - grandiose vistas - great walking town. Even a bocce game in the square (wonder if it's called bocce in France?).

This town seduced many painters including chagall, renoir and matisse.

Friday, March 6, 2009

PhotoHunt: Space

Umbria, the stepsister to Tuscany, is a favorite (ok every place in Italy is special to me) place. This photo was taken before the fog lifted on a road out of Rome to Orvieto. I think it's the vistas/space that's memorable. Of course, the landscapes help too!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Pound Key

The # Key

What was life like before the pound (#) key?

Let’s see – no wait time comes to mind~ GRR – it’s even a fait accompli to follow this command with one hand on a tiny cell phone. It takes Patience when you hit the # key and realize that’s not the correct key and need to get back into the never-ending loop of directories only to realize that the # key should be called ‘the last resort’ key.

Today, I have used the # key for accessing my voicemail – both home, cell and work; accessing phone banking; calling Ty’s office and the doctor’s office.

So, what was life like before that drat !@#!#@@ pound (#) key?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hawaii (or any place warm) Dreamin'

Guess I'm just eager to have Spring (a/k/a warm weather) arrive on the East Coast, but the reality is a snow storm is predicted once again. Girasoli, keep those warm, wonderful palm silhouettes and sunrise photos coming!

However, it's coming - spring, warmer weather and the Red Sox!

I'm posting a photo of Boston College's (where I work) baseball team. It's an annual event to kick-off their respective seasons for the Red Sox and BC to play a game in Florida. It's a treat for the players altho BC generally loses - and loses big time. No mercy by the Red Sox players.
(Photo courtesy of Boston Globe)