Sunday, August 31, 2008


When I was shooting film, I took a series of country churches. They were what I had in mind this morning, but since I can't find those, and they would need to be scanned even if I did, I decided I would put up images from the cathedrals, churches and basilicas we visited in Italy. Enjoy your Sunday.



Santa Maria Novella, Florence



Saturday, August 30, 2008

steppin' up

Some mornings I walk outside with the dogs first thing in the morning. And if I'm not carrying a cup of coffee, I will take my camera. For a while I've wanted to get a picture of Cotton on the steps.

She likes to put her backside one step higher than her front feet. I will come out the back door frequently to find her perched on the deck stairs watching the neighbor's yards, or the squirrels or our own back yard. By the time I get back with the camera, she's gone off to investigate something or wants to come in.

The other morning I went out with the dogs because I wanted to see the limbs enormous that came off the oak trees the night before and make sure the fence was sound. When I finished my inspection and turned to go back upstairs, there she was.

Have you seen other dogs do this?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Spinning straw into gold

I have signed up for an out of town photography workshop. It is my fondest hope that the class will turn the figurative straw above into gold. So to speak. And help educate me about what lens I should purchase. And help me discover my hidden photographic talent. And become a world famous photographer. And rich. I'll settle for which lens to buy and a lottery ticket. I have invited my friend Candi to go with me.

There is a precedent for this, like when I talked Candi into doing the original Avon Breast Cancer 3 Day walk. it was sponsored by Avon and put on by Pallotta teamworks but they disbanded and SusanGKomen picked it up. Good cause I said, healthy I said, easy to raise money I said. This or sky diving?, I said.

We raised about $2,000 or more apiece and beginning in February, started our training. So finally the big weekend was here October, and we started walking. And we walked and we walked. Things were going well. Did I mention Candi had a baby who was nursing? She was separated from that baby for 3 days. I noticed she was picking up speed until finally she said is it okay if i go on ahead in order to get to the tent in order to pump? I was all absolutelysureitispleasedon'tbeatmetodeathwithyourrunningshoefortalkingyouintothiswhileyouarestillnursing.

I got left in the dust. But that was A-O-KAY with me.

Then there was the showering on a truck with no shower stall walls. And sleeping in a tent and waking up to rain and an inch of water in the tent. And it turned cold. And the walking? 60 miles. 3 days.*

Yeah, she's still speaking to me.

Last year I suggested we go to the scrapbook convention. She drew a sigh of relief when that was over and the worst situation I had gotten her into was craft tote envy.

This year it's the photography workshop. I think she felt safe, that I hadn't involved us in anything unusual until the emails started from some of the other participants. Let's just say that Candi and I are more reserved than 10 or so of the 20 ladies from across the U.S. participating in the workshop. And it's a rather expensive workshop that we have to fly to a major city and stay in a hotel to attend. And these ladies are proposing we buy a gift for the photographer giving the workshop. That we haven't had yet. From a photographer we haven't met yet. Who we are paying to learn from.

So I am passive agressively not answering my email. I don't want to be ostracized once I get there because I didn't want to commit to buying a gift to someone I'm buying a service from. I have a feeling Candi may be wishing I'd kept this idea to myself.

And to those other ladies: Don't be hatin.


*it was a great experience for a wonderful cause- the survivors on the walk were inspirational. There's something about walking 60 miles over 3 days next to a leg amputee with a leopard pattern prostheses that puts things into perspective.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Shoot the Lawyer Twice - Book Review

I got another book to review. It was called Shoot the Lawyer Twice by Michael Bower and it is the 4th in a series featuring Rep and Melissa Pennyworth. I had the hardest time getting engaged in the book. I wanted to like it, I really did.

Mysteries are my favorite in all their forms: cozies, whodunnits... I can't think of any more forms, but I'm sure you understand.

Last weekend I made myself finish it. Part of my problem is that when I am really busy at work, my mind is too tired to read. When I was younger I never thought that could happen.

I didn't allow myself to read the other reviewers until I finished. Then I went and looked. Boy, they didn't like it either.

There was too much going on, and it was too hard to make connections between the various threads. That's the best way I can think of to describe it. I liked the main characters. It seemed a lot of work for the story.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Swiss Chard, winter vegetable?

Say hello to the 2 year old swiss chard. It's in the front corner of the flower bed, between The Fairie rose bushes and various day lilies. It was planted by Tim the Landscaper two winters ago, and has lived through 2 summers. That's two summers of drought to you, mister.

Every other week when Tim the Landscaper arrives, he comes over to look at the Swiss Chard. Every other week, the Swiss Chard looks back.
Chard (Beta vulgaris var. cicla), also known as Swiss Chard, Silverbeet, Perpetual Spinach, Crab Beet and Mangold, is a vegetable and a Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima. While the leaves are eaten, it is in the same species as the garden beet (beetroot), which is grown primarily for its edible roots.

The word Swiss was used to distinguish chard from French
spinach varieties by nineteenth century seed catalog publishers. The chard is very popular among Mediterranean cooks. The first varieties have been traced back to Sicily.

Chard can be harvested while the leaves are young and tender or after maturity when they are larger and have slightly tougher stems. Chard is extremely perishable.

Chard has shiny green ribbed leaves, with stems that range from white to yellow and red depending on the cultivar. It has a slightly bitter taste. Fresh young chard can be used raw in
salads. Mature chard leaves and stalks are typically cooked or sauteed; the bitter flavor fades with cooking.

Cultivars of chard include green forms, such as 'Lucullus' and 'Fordhook Giant', as well as red-ribbed forms such as 'Ruby Chard', 'Rainbow Chard', and 'Rhubarb Chard'.

Chard and the other beets are
chenopods, a group which is either its own family Chenopodiaceae or a subfamily within the Amaranthaceae.
Source: Wikipedia

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Green paint, manhole covers and hot water heaters

Last November, after several leaks by my not so old but no spring chicken hot water heater, I got a new hot water heater. That episode included the new hot water heater having a defective pilot light, and coming home from the company holiday party - a hoedown - and having lukewarm water courtesy of the new hot water heater. I share this with you to enhance your appreciation for the story I'm about to tell.

Last Friday morning, I was in the last stages of walking around the house before leaving for work: where's the cell phone? where are my car keys? where are my house keys? where's the dog's leash? come here other dog and get your leash get the picture.

I heard




Followed by dogs BARKING.

What now, I wondered? After all, the metal plate was uncermoniously dumped into the street in front of my house less than 12 hours ago.

What it was were two trucks intent on disturbing the peace. See the pattern forming? Dogs were BARKING at the people standing in the street. While I was looking at the people standing in the street who were feeding orange hose into the manhole in the street directly in front of the front bedroom window, a terrible, awful gurgling sound began. Coming from my bathroom. And then just as I got to the bathroom, certain the commode was going to shoot off the floor,

water, yes water, shot out of the commode.

I went downstairs and looked at the gauge that the plumber had attached to my new hot water heater recently because, strangely, the brand new hot water heater had leaked just last week and they couldn't understand why. The found no leaks. It read 150 pounds. Which means that my presesure control valve, the one that regulates the water pressure coming from the street, is shot.

Yes, Molly is coming to believe there is a scheme to prevent her from realizing her right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Disturbing the Peace

Yes, yes, you've seen a photo of Molly's house before. Recently, in fact. But that was before the peace was disturbed, possibly even destroyed.

Perhaps you notice the hieroglyphics on the street? And the jarring metal plate on the road in front of Molly's house?

It all began last Thursday night, when Gus and Cotton stood bolt upright at 9:15-that's pm-while Molly was reading I am Bossy. Odd, Molly thought. That's when Molly heard the




Odd, Molly thought. That's a noise that big trucks make when they're backing up. It's dark. People are parked on both sides of the street. How could a big truck get down the street moving forward, let alone backward? Well. It didn't go down the street where big trucks have gone before. Oh no.

It stopped dead in front of Molly's house. Gus and Cotton were beside themselves. [Beside themselves means BARKING at full volume] Then there was a chain noise. Odd, Molly thought. Well, that sounds like a tow truck. Some neighbor must have a car problem.

Seconds later there was a big clang. It was so loud it stopped the BARKING. But only for a minute.

The clang was a metal plate being carefully lowered to the road to cover the hole that has been in the asphalt in the street in front of Molly's house for all the years she has lived here. 2 and a half years. Okay, this must be a sign that the City of Atlanta plans at some point in our lifetime to repair the street.

[For the record, most of downtown and midtown Atlanta roads are a patchwork of metal plates. Some just put down on the road so that drivers are optimistic the plate is there only for a short time. Some are edged in asphalt to minimize the change in grade from the street to the plate, meaning the plate is here to stay for a while.]

So. Back to Molly's street. If you look at the picture you will notice that the metal plate does not match the slight curve in the center of Molly's street which is planfully put there to help the water runoff the street. You know what that means don't you?

Every time Molly's neighbors or the people who think Molly's street is not a dead end as it is clearly marked drive down Molly's street, there is a clang. It took Gus and Cotton 3 days to accept that racket as normal. That meant BARKING every time someone drove over the metal plate.

Molly wonders if this is an infringement of her right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Perhaps getting rid of the plate is the pursuit of happiness?

Note: Molly wrote this in the third person a la Bossy because she was reading I am Bossy when the plate arrived. Molly enjoys I am Bossy. Bossy would so know how to deal with metal plates arriving in the middle of the night.

Sleeping dogs by the numbers

I have two dogs.

1 oversized golden retriever style dog
+ 1 normal sized golden retriever style dog
= 2 yellow fur factories, 4 floppy ears to clean and 8 enormous paws to wipe.

There are 3 dog beds in my house. The 2 golden retriever style dogs count my 1 bed as theirs, so, in their minds, there are 4 dog beds. But the oversized golden retriever style dog also counts the bath mat as a bed. So. 5 dog beds.

In this picture 1 normal sized golden retriever style dog is sleeping on the floor between 1 dog bed and 1 armoire (which is the fancy 80s word for tv cabinet).


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Small packages

I was getting ready to pinch back the petunias in the pot with the geranium, and look what I saw!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Kids and Dogs

Brooks and Gus

Olivia and Cotton

Kids and dogs make even a snapshot special.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Verrazzano Winery Tour, Greve

Our first major outing was a winery tour. I had no idea what to expect. We piled into the car at the Hotel Cassafrassi, and off we went. TomTom helped us get there right on time. This is the first view of the winery as we drove in. I was captivated. See the tower in the back next to the cypress trees? I took a close up of it.

As promised, here's the tower.

This is the view from the patio before walking around to the proper entrance to the house (palazzo?) The front walk was flanked by cypress trees and to the left was a beautiful reflecting pool...excuse me, large beautiful reflecting pool. No I do not have a picture. I could not operate my camera with the lens I took, so I didn't get some of the shots I would have liked. Back to the view from the patio...the light grey foliage is on the olive trees, the dark green cylindrical trees are the cypress and who knows what the rest is except breathtaking. And those rock walls.

This is the only picture I took in front of the residence that I like. It's the sculpture in the center of a fountain. This is where Gino explained that the only kind of chianti to buy was the kind with the pink band and the black cock on it. Later driving around Tuscany, we would see large road signs with the cock indicating this region grew official Chianti wine. As opposed to grapes grown elsewhere in Italy and called chianti. Before I went to Italy I wasn't much of a red wine fan. Boy is that different now. But only chianti. With the pink band and the black cock.

These are white grapes on the vine in the drying room. Warm days, cool nights - great grapes and ultimately good vin santo, the dessert wine. I am not a fan.

This was the family we sat with - the young woman on the right in the white top and the young man in the front left are married and live in Atlanta. I was supposed to send them a copy of this picture. Think it's too late?

Ooooh the food. Salami and wild boar salami and prosciutto. Tuscan bread with garlic and olive oil. My personal favorite, the white beans. YUMYUMYUM. The pasta with spices you could sprinkle over the top. And if I'm not mistaken, 4 kinds of chianti, vin santo and still and fizzy water. And oh my I feel stuffed just remembering. Oh my goodness me.

We didn't leave until 3 pm. Then we drove to Volterra. But that's another story.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gubbio, Italy bits and pieces

While we were in Umbria, we stayed in Gubbio. Gubbio was a home of the Duke of Urbino, Federico di Montefeltro. Yes, you know him. You'll recognize his picture when we get to it. Moving along...Gubbio is built onto a mountainside, St. Ingino. It is truly steep when walking. Above the Relais Ducale where we stayed which is one of the Duke's Palazzos, there is the Duke's Palace in Gubbio. I'm sure it's not as grand as his Palazzo in Urbino.

Below is a piece of furniture from that period, if not from the Montefeltro Palace itself. I think the picture is actually contraband. There may have been a sign saying no photographs. But it is beautiful, isn't it?

Sidetrack: I could see this from my room. In fact all over Tuscany and Umbria, clothes were hung from lines strung from balconies and rooftops. I guess the small medieval rooms don't allow much room for a clothes dryer. I wonder if washers fit and were used. Anyway, just like at home, I think clothes on a line are charming.

This "sign" was located on the side of the street we walked down as we returned from the Duke's Palace.

Here's a snippet of the Duke's Palace...I liked the color of the stone in the courtyard. The fireplaces were enormous...

And last but not least, the fellow himself...the Duke of Montefeltro. Painted by Piero della Francesca and remarkably honestly, too, as the missing chunk of nose was not painted back in. He was a gun for hire, and made good money at it. I saw this portrait along with his wife's at the Ufizzi Gallery. Walking through the Uffizzi made my little u-feet-sies tired...ha ha ho ho ho har hee....ahem. Now back to the regularly scheduled blog.

He was unusually loyal to his men, taking care of men who might be wounded or killed, providing dowries for their daughters. He was a patron of the arts. He was nicknamed the "light of Italy".

Pretty good for a mercenary, huh?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Home again

One of the best parts of a trip is to come home. And sleep in my bed. And pick up my dogs.

One of whom is pictured below, doing his best to look cute and pitiful. He's a manipulator. My other dog is at the hatch, because when I park, the next step is exiting the hatch. Always looking forward, she is.

Because it was my birthday, I visited my mother. There I practiced my i am bossy photography skills. It's not as hard as I thought.

This is my birthday present, or it will be. I love it. I will hang it in the office/nee bedroom.

This is my house.

I love coming home.


Here is part of what I have to show for 3 nights and 2 days in Charlotte. Signe went with me and we both had 1 class Thursday evening, 6 on Friday, and 5 or 6 on Saturday. Plus two or three trips to the vendor fair.

I lost count on Saturday because I was so tired - using your left brain when you normally coast with your right brain is fatiguing. But fun. And very much the reason I go.

The way this works is you pick the classes you want to attend, either because you will learn something new or you like the product line used in/sponsoring the class or you like the instructor. I had classes that fit in one or more of these categories. This time there was only 1 dud. That instructor was more focused on telling her own stories than in guiding the class through the project.

The vendor fair is great because you get product before it's on retail store shelves, and in many cases you can save money.

Coming away with mostly but not quite completed projects is okay too. After all some classes are pretty ambitious for 1 hour. The most ambitious one I took had a pretty hard driving instructor too, so I got out of there with a fully completed album (see the brown one below) in the time span plus about 10 minutes.

Below are some of the things I brought home. I really brought home a box full of projects I worked on, most just don't translate well for a photo, mostly because they need pictures added or have some assembly to happen. Stuff like that.

I get kidded about going to a scrapbook convention. I thought about that some while I was there. I looked at the cross section of America who were there - all income, education and age levels were there. Stay-at-home-moms, homeschoolers, teachers, lawyers, accountants and HR directors were there. There was even 1 guy I saw taking classes. So I think this pastime that people sometimes treat as a step child to real hobbies really has much more substance than it first appears.

How many of us inherited a box of photos, most of which feature people we don't recognize? Doesn't that make you sad? At some point, those folks were vital and vibrant and special enough to someone to be memorialized in a photo. And that someone saved the photo. And now all that is lost. Who were they? What did they care about? Where did they end up? What did they dream about?

Most times these classes show you alternative methods, new products, basic skills, the next greatest tool...but always they say to "journal"...for those of you not involved in scrapbooking, journaling is about what you would expect. It's capturing enough of the context in words to help you, your kids, your grandkids, and maybe their kids know who the people in the photo are, and what was important to them. Or how they lived. Or what they did for fun or work.

One class pointed out that very soon the ordinary, normal day would be as precious as any big event because time marches on.

And it's not new. Thomas Jefferson kept a "scrapbook" of his newspaper clippings.

Today, I think the blog is a form of scrapbooking: it has photography, journaling and design.

And today's scrapbooking is a far cry from the Victorian's pasting things into a book with manila color pages that crumble with time. There are classes on color theory, layouts, good design and writing. There are tools to master and other skills such as painting, photography and computer skills to incorporate. Classes teach looking at what you already have and thinking about it in a new way. Improvisation and innovation. How many of us buy self help books to teach us how to do that?

I guess I'd sum it up this way: scrapbooking helps us reflect on the life we are living as well as recording our lives.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Creative Break

I will be taking a creative break for a few days. In the meantime, please go visit some places I enjoy:

The Faircloth Family - my brother, the seminary student's family. They're fun and the kids like to dress up! From there you can catch up with my brother the lawyer, who is also a seminary student. Just click on the Out to Lunch link.

I am Bossy - there's no one else like her.

April Showers or The Country Doctor's Wife - until they complete their merger, these two sisters have two hilarious blogs and a wacky sense of humor.

The 7MSN Ranch - I love the pictures and stories about the burros...they are so cute.

See you soon!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Embarrassing Moments in History

The picture above has nothing to do with this blog. It's just an icon in Alabama, where I grew up. It does have the distinction of being a place where I have not embarrassed myself. I just read a blog that made me think about the embarrassing moments in my life. That's a little difficult because I've gained perspective in my old age, and some of the times don't seem so bad now. Let's see how many I can remember.

1. I was walking down the hall at work with my [male] colleagues and my half slip fell off. There are no words.

2. I went to mass with my high school boyfriend [I was raised Baptist] and got swept along in the people going to the front for communion and didn't know what to say. My boyfriend had to rescue me and I figured I had corrupted mass for everyone there. At Easter, no less. God, have you forgotten that yet? no, I didn't think so...

3. In middle school when my skin was bad, I remember having a conversation with a boy and he said a zit burst while I was talking [whether this was true or not, it was horrifying]

4. At work in Montgomery I walked out to my car and fell down. On the flat sidewalk. In front of the security cameras. There were no obstructions. One minute, walking along, the next, ripped hosiery and twisted ankle! Here came security. "Are you okay, m'am?" well obviously I wasn't, all I wanted was to disappear into the pavement...

5. Running past the dining hall at college, down I went. Flat road, skinned knees. Did I mention it was 6 pm? Large audience. They clapped. No one asked if I was okay. Fine by me, I just wanted to melt into the pavement.

6. At the grocery store last year before Thanksgiving. I stepped off the curb and down I went. In an all too familiar scene, employees came running. "Are you okay, m'am?"

7. The waffle house at 2 am in Montgomery, Alabama. Let's just say I've only had two hangovers, and this place featured prominently in the events leading up to one of them. In fact, this event may deserve it's own blog. But don't hold your breath. There are gaps in my memory of that night.

8. Wait, wait, I remember another one from my teen years! Have I mentioned I'm not a morning person? I got completely dressed for school one day and left off an important article of clothing. For a girl. I woke up enough in the car for a panic attack and to make my mother turn around. She was convinced I had done it on purpose and chickened out.

I'm noticing a trend - most of my examples happened as an adult. I guess I could rename this blog Clutzy Moments in History. Oh well, same thing.

What about you? Any embarrasing moments for you?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

This One Time, at Scrapbook Camp...

What I learned last year is that scrapbook conventions are not for wimps, or the disorganized. To avoid embarrassment, er, that is, to get the most from your convention, you must plan ahead.

First, read each class descripton for supplies needed beyond the basics. Think about whatever else you might need: bottled water, wipes to clean up after unfortunate glue situations, snacks, band aids (paper piercers, micro edged scissors, xacto knives - think about it), tylenol, cell phone, money.

Second, schedule your classes with breaks so that you can go to the Vendor Fair and shop for the cool stuff from your class that you didn't win so you simply must buy.

Third, be appropriately outfitted:

Last year I took all my supplies and put them in a plastic shoebox from Container Store and stuck that plus a bottle of water and a snack in a large canvas tote from Land's End with my initials on it. I thought this was the greatest because a)it didn't cost anything extra and b)it didn't cost anything extra.

Whoa, Nelly: The Land's End bag was. not. pink. It was not pink and brown or green. It did not even have wheels so it could be hidden in plain sight in the tote corral. My woebegone shoebox cringed in shame next to specialty canvas tool holders in a rainbow of colors with pockets, elastics and zippers.

The whispers and finger pointing were not lost on me.

With all these lessons-and scars-I am taking the following steps. First, I am staging my supplies.

1. Adhesives - dry (permanent and repositionable)

1a. Glue Dots, regular and mini

2. Pop dots, regular and mini

3. Archival black journaling pens

4. Crop-a-Dile

5. Personal 12 x 12 paper trimmer

6. Holders for projects from each class

7. Brown and light blue chalk

8. Tool holder (half price, ha!)

9. Corner rounder and Glue, wet

10. Paper piercer and mat (among other things)

11. Sandpaper and rubbing tool

12. Hole punch and Scissors

Next, no more plastic shoe box. See #8 above. This year, no more natural/blue canvas bag from Land's End, initials or no initials. This year, I have the Amy Butler Creativity Bag. Gaze at it above. Drink it in. Can you feel the creative juices it inspires? Please note: pink AND brown AND green AND as a bonus, turquoise. That'll show 'em.

Now. Can anyone tell me how to work my Crop-a-Dile?

Palazzo Pubblico, Siena

This may not be the most iconic picture of Siena, but I like it. It's in the courtyard of the Palazzo Pubblico, which is on il Campo, the town square. At the time, Siena was overwhelming to me. I think it must have been the crowds...I'm not a fan of crowds...but looking back I really enjoyed my time there. It will be on the list of places to go when I go back.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday all day



Okay, much better. It was a Monday today alright. I needed a golden fix.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

17 Days of Sport, oh my!

Well, the Chinese did not let me down when it came to a display by the birthplace of fireworks. If I have my history wrong, don't tell me. [Photo courtesy of National Geographic]

As Bob Costas reminded me last night, we can look forward to 17 days of sport. Here's a little secret: I am not looking forward to 17 days of sport. Gymnastics, yes. +40-year-old Dara Torres. Definitely. Not sure about much else.

Looks like I will be relying on Netflix, OnDemand and Turner Classic Movies. Heck, I might even clean out my basement.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Pigment of my imagination

In a less that a week I will be in Charlotte for a scrapbook convention. I will spend more than 2 days going to classes to learn how to do neat things with materials I never imagined using in just such a way. It will be the second year - last year Candi went with me. This year, I've convinced Signe to go.

This is all I have to show (in photos) for last year. I made lots of fun stuff, but somehow this is all that I got into the camera.

Candi and I felt a little out of place since most of the people/women there were SAHMs. We were GTWGs (go to work girls). More likely to have 3 or more conservative suits, a string of pearls and navy, black and brown pumps than any two other women in the whole convention center.

Yep, we were fish out of water. Until I saw a free spirit more in the minority than we were: I dubbed her the goth scrapbooker.

I saw her first: black high top converse on her feet, plaid flannel skirt and black tee, many more tattoos than my needle-fearing self could imagine, with the unmistakeable air of a scrapbooker in scrapbooker heaven.

I didn't see her anymore that day or the next. I wondered if my memory had exaggerated her appearance in the sea of cropped pants and pink. Everywhere there was pink. And green.

Then the last morning, as I sat on the last row, someone came in a little breathlessly and asked if the chair next to me was taken.

It was her. She was not a pigment of my imagination.

We were sisters under the skin when it came to scrapbooking.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

small world

I used to buy Budget Travel magazine and dream about places I could go. It seemed more attainable at that point I guess in Budget Travel vs. the other travel magazines. The other night at the bookstore there was a Budget Travel display and the feature was Italy and a new kind of place to stay. Flipping through the magazine I noticed a contest and looked to see what the prize was. That's when I noticed a very, very familiar view. See below.

Now look at one of my pictures from my hotel room in the Hotel Relais Ducale in Gubbio.

It's always fun to see a place you know featured some way - you feel a connection, and you're involved as opposed to being just an observer. In fact, there's a murder story about the American student in Perugia that I keep tabs on because it happened just as I was coming home from vacation in Italy last year. But I digress.

This little coincidence brings new meaning to the phrase "it's a small world".

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Tonight was the next-to-last photography class of Digital 101. We took in prints on different papers (not me, I only have 1 kind) with different printers (not me, I only have one kind) or other variations (not me, I only have 1 kind). Anyway, when I mentioned that I might not be at the last class because of travel--packing for my vacation might take all my energy--he said I should be sure to have these shots printed by a good printer and frame them. Now is that a compliment or what?

You've seen the first one before, in this blog. Six Feet Under is a local restaurant, located fittingly enough across the street from the Oakland Cemetary. The next one is of Olivia at my grandmother's. I even got a compliment on the composition.

I think I will. Get them printed I mean. Just the other day I read about this thing I'd never heard of called a standout by Mpix. It takes the print and mounts it on 1.5" gator foam with a black band around the 1.5" edge.

So I think I will.

Gubbio, Italy

Vacation is on my mind, as I have a mini-vacation coming in a week or so. But it made me remember being half a world away last October. And how I loved everything I saw. This is the square in Gubbio in front of the entrance to the Hotel Relais, where we stayed.

The entrace is through the second arch behind the umbrellas which haven't been unfurled on this particular day because of the strong breeze. We parked the car outside the old city and walked to the hotel (their instructions) and it was incredible. The stone streets were a maze, and most shops were closed, but we looked in all the windows. I tried to imagine what would be in an antique store which was an antiquity itself.

Gubbio, and the buildings above, were taken over by the Nazis. Thanks to all the WWII movies I watch, I can easily envision the banners with the swastika hanging on the face of the buildings. When the Allies got to Gubbio, they had no desire to destroy the town--they understood it's historical value. So, they fired one "unarmed" shell into the town. If you look closely you can see the place it hit above (from the top left window, count three over and look just below the third window). The Nazis took the hint and scarpered out of there and Gubbio survived.

We heard this story from the locals who frequented the small bar just inside the second arch, which is also one entrance to the hotel. I mean to look that up in the history books.

Have I mentioned I want to go back to Italy?

Monday, August 4, 2008


Wha? Animal? Vegetable? Mineral?
This is's's a thing I've watched grow over the last two and a half weeks in a neighbor's yard. Tonight I got the courage go in their yeard to take a photo without asking because they are never there. Wait. This thing shows up and now I never see them. Hmmm. Just kidding. It couldn't possibly be the cause of their disappearance. Or could it? It looks other worldly. Like a sponge or coral from the ocean floor. Not a something uninvited growing in a garden variety front yard in Atlanta. It grew quickly, so every time I passed with the dogs, I figured it wouldn't be there when I got back to take its picture. Well, it's hardier than I expected, because here it is after heat, rain, wind, flying branches, squirrels, cats and dogs.
Anyone? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Avoidance issues

Yesterday Dawn and David helped me with a certain chore involving a certain house that I may have finally disposed of and may have been less than candid about it's being a continual albatross around my neck. Whether that had anything to do with my avoidance issues is something I will address later. If at all.

The girls stayed with Grandma, and they must have all been bored judging from the number of "how much longer?" phone calls we received. I tell you, it was hard to enjoy the heat and humidity and manual labor with all those interruptions.

After the heat and humidity with a side of manual labor, we gathered at my house for dinner to celebrate Grandma's birthday. I put out aged gouda cheese and olives to keep the hungry hordes out of my kitchen (abject failure). We had ribs, wicked rib sauce (I need to visit my Troy family and make ribs with wicked rib sauce for them), black bean salad and macaroni and cheese. We also had strawberry birthday cake with strawberry icing. From Piece of Cake [I vow never to bake my own cake again because I will never beat this place]. During the festivities I took lovely pictures of willing subjects.

But above, well, above is a different story. Above is a subject with her own avoidance issues. Or perhaps she is admiring the artfully rust embellished cast iron planter. Or bowing to the design of combining a soft, airy fern with cast iron. Or dodging a mosquito. Weeping with hunger? Or HIDING.

Silly girl. You can't avoid the camera.


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