Saturday, February 27, 2010

PhotoHunt: Daily

The Swiss Guards protect the gates of Vatican City daily.

They are responsible for the safety of the Pope. The force has served popes since the 1500's, has varied greatly in size over the years and has even been disbanded. The uniform of the guard was influenced by the paintings of Raphael, not Michelangelo which is the usual impression. It has varied over the years but now weighs 8 pounds, the heaviest of any uniform existing today! The customary uniform is tri-colored with boot covers, white gloves, a high or ruff collar, and either a black beret or the more formal silver for special occasions. Sergeants wear a black top with crimson leggings, while other officers wear an all-crimson uniform.

Since the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II's life, the guards are now trained in small arms. In addition to carrying the 'rapier' sword, they now also have pistols and sub-machine guns at their disposal.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Battle of the Cameras

Girasoli's post regarding cameras got my curiosity going about today's capabilities of the Nikon and the Canon, an ongoing duel in the photography community. I happened upon this well-presented comparison of some higher-end cameras by some pro photographers.

And to the question of lenses, this article is extremely helpful.

Hmm .....

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Quote for the Day

I've always thought that a big laugh is a really loud noise from the soul saying, "Ain't that the truth. ~ Quincy Jones

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Tired of winter .. giving spring a nudge.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

PhotoHunt: Cuddly

Cousins sharing a summer moment

Friday, February 19, 2010

Gratitude: Blogging

Something fundamental in our world.
I was thinking of forgiveness for today's gratitude blog entry, based upon the press of Tiger Woods' interview.

But, something closer to my heart would be the subject of blogging. I am truly amazed at how friendships are shaped with blogging buddies without physically 'meeting' them. Associations are made on many levels - travel, family, ancestry, hobbies, attributes, likes, dislikes. Maybe there's a lesson here that what is important is the character of the person, the honest emotions that are shared, the experiences that are relayed, the caring and concern of one's life challenges at the moment which are shared in a safe environment, and the kind words that are shared across the technology highway that really solidifies a friendship.

For all its current negative publicity, the internet also provides a link that enables friendships to form that may never have had an opportunity to grow. I may never have learned so many interesting facts about and churches of Venice, shared my love for the Sox with others far and wide, investigate shares experiences of traveling the surrounding hill towns of Tuscany and Umbria and major cities in Italy, Spain and Scotland, seek wonderful daily inspirations and artwork, enjoy the beauty of the Northwest and Canada, increase my recipe collection, and stay in touch with my second home of Hawaii.

Yes, blogging has provided me a lot to be grateful for these days. Mahalo and gratias, m

Urban Cowgirl

Yes, I'm an aficionado of music, 'master of none'. Each genre of music is on my ipod. Recently, I've been listening more to country music. Maybe because the beat gets me on the much-needed cardio machines at the gym in the early morning. Maybe the reason is Rick, a drummer by desire, who turned me on the Phil Vassar.

But how can you not enjoy country when some of the lyrics are: "save a horse, ride a cowboy". Or, "..and the coconut replaces the smell of the bar/I don't know if it's her or the rum." Or, "Carlene was the valedictorian/I was the quarterback in the back of classes".

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

(Courtesy of The Boston Globe)

Carnivale/Ash Wednesday

Saturday, February 13, 2010

PhotoHunt: Broken

You know I love the beach, salt air, waves, Cape Cod, ocean, shells -- especially broken shells. I'm not sure if it's the image they conjure of 'not being perfect' and that's just fine with me.

When I first visited Hawaii in the early 70s, I was surprised to learn there are no sea shells, as I know them on the East Coast, on their shores. Puka shells and deep ocean conch shells, and such are available - but not the shells of the sea - scallops, fishermen's toenails, mussels, clams.....

Friday, February 12, 2010

Gratitude Friday: Roses

This morning, my work desk was adorned by a huge arrangements of luscious-smelling pink roses. Don't I wish every work day began like this! I am grateful for the special love in my life and his attentiveness.

My garden contains 15 varieties of rose bushes, mostly English roses. Thank you David Austin! I am hopeful they will survive this winter season. The colors and scents of roses are one reason I garden.

Happy Valentine's Day early to y'all! (Sorry, I don't have my camera with me. This is from the net, but it portrays the idea).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Reading is my therapy

I have been ravenously reading lately. Sure beats getting over the eating marathons of the holidays - tough chocolate withdrawal!

Reading goes in spurts and sputters for me. Not sure if it's the same for all of you. Since my long Christmas holiday break, I have hunkered down with Conroy's South of Broad, the Penny Vincenzi's series of books, beginning with No Angel. I'm on the third (or is it fourth) book in this never-ending series. Then I progressed to Steig Larsson's trilogy, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, driven by my family's regales (still awaiting the third book from daughter who retrieved it from Europe - not yet distributed to America)!

The other day I was in B&N and noticed Adriana Trigiani has been writing again. Not sure if any of you have read this author. She generally portrays a woman as her central figure who is of Italian-American heritage and colorfully extols this character's life experiences growing up in NYC. She's a masterful story-teller with a wit that is evocative. I've read Lucia, Lucia and her Queen of the Big Time. The latest (to me anyway) is Very Valentine. As Conroy's writing style is literary eloquence, Trigliani's voice is laced with wit and, at times, lyrical dialogue.

"Why is it in the story of my life, that the moments I remember with the deepest affection are the times when I have been alone? I can line them up like faceted perfume bottles on an antique dresser."

I can sooo relate to that thought. My best clarity of thought and decisions comes when I am wrapped in my meditative process.

PS: Soon to be a movie with Jennifer Garner as Valentine...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


After reading Barb's blog,, about old TV programs, one thing led to another. And last night, Ty and I had a discussion about changing fashions. I am thankful some of them never made a comeback.

Friday, February 5, 2010

PhotoHunt: Average

Average and medium apply to what is midway between extremes and imply both sufficiency and lack of distinction.

OK-This is a tough one this week. Let's S-T-R-E-T-C-H the imagination with determining the average between Ed's (a/k/a Santa's) age and his granddaugher.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Gratitude Friday: Daughters and Sons

...or sisters and brothers. These are my children. The older photo was taken when my son, the youngest, graduated college. This June he graduates med school. My daughter lives and works in NYC - unbelievably she's been there for 4 years already. This past weekend both were home, and it was heart-warming spending 'nothing' time with them. Nothing any of us had to do but enjoy each other's company.

My sister gave me Kibran's poem on the birth of my daughter, and I still treasure his words today.

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

This is Pie Alley in Marian, MA, seacoast town near New Bedford. There is a local debate as to whether Marian is really on Cape Cod as it's located near the foot of the bridge over the canal to the Cape. It's a vacation as well as residential town. Still holds a July 4 parade down the one short street of the town.