Sunday, November 22, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
The streets of Sienna are FULL of life! Locals and tourists share the narrow stone paths that go uP AND DOWn the hills of the city. Colorful contrade flags and corresponding street lamps decorate the way as you peruse the shop windows, stopping to study restaurant menus even though you are still full from that pizza you had for lunch and the gelato you're still licking.
Peculiar local occurrences are happening all around you, like the costumed men waving flags and drumming drums that woke you up at 7 a.m. this morning and won't end until after dark, the eclectic concert last night at the campo, and now, this honking parade of Skittles-colored Fiats driving toward the cathedral that are Oh-So-Cute!
You can't help thinking, "What is going on here? And, can I please stay?"
Saturday, November 14, 2009
One of Orlando's great public spaces is Lake Eola. It's the perfect place to go for a jog, to people watch, stroll the Farmer's Market, feed the swans or sit at an open air cafe enjoying live music or the Big Game. There's one thing I have yet to do though, take a ride in a swan boat! Apparently, it's kind of like WDW for the locals...only the tourists do it. But it's just so kitsch that it's hard not to want to indulge your inner child, pay the 12 bucks, and bask in the Florida sun with a loved one paddling by your side. It sounds rather divine to me, but I cannot convince a certain someone to forfeit his ego for a 30 minute jaunt across the lake (this fight isn't over 'til it's over).
In Venice, a similar, though not parallel, occurrence is the gondola ride. Yes, there is a great tradition of gondolas in Venetian culture, I'm not undermining that. They are beautifully crafted, historic works of art (unlike the kitsch quality of the swan boat). But today its primary use is for tourist transport. And I was the first to suggest we take said opportunity. After all...we were in Venice. As tourists, you are obliged to do certain things.
For instance, you can't go to Seattle and not go to the top of the Space Needle. You can't go to New York and not go to the Empire State Building. You can't go to Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower. You can't go to Florence and not climb the dome. And you can't go to Venice and not take a gondola ride.
But that's exactly what we did. Because upon my suggestion I abruptly found out that it costs 100 Euros to take a gondola ride. 100 Euros! For. A. Boat. Ride.
I'll take the $12 swan. I have a good imagination.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Spencer Finch, Moondust (Apollo 17), Venice Biennale 2009
Apparently the artist is "re-creat[ing] the molecular structure of moon dust gathered during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972." (ARTINFO) And upon contemplating this work at the Biennale, I'll admit that my mind did think about the molecular-like structure of the bulbs, although at the time I didn't realize it was referring to this specific historic moment. But then, contemporary abstract works are like that; more often the title reveals the intention of the work more than the work itself.
I think as a viewer, it is more important to focus on your own emotional/intellectual/guttural response to a work of art. In which case, mine was something like...
"ooooo....Lots of Sparkly Bulbs!" (mesmerized by the initial magical ambience) and then, "Oh, but what a waste of energy." (reality check.)
May the psychoanalysis commence. ;)
Sunday, November 08, 2009
I would like all of the men in my life to know that I triumphantly killed a spider today as I was making breakfast, squealing minimally, with only my cats as witness. And no, this doesn't mean that you're off the hook next time I wake up in the morning to a roach crawling across the floor as I'm sitting on the toilet (Matt). I just had no one to default to this morning. ;)
Image was found here.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Friday, November 06, 2009
I don't know about you, but there are certain smells that completely invigorate me. Hardware stores, for instance. I walk into a hardware store and immediately recall my childhood. Weird, I know. My dad used to own a hardware store, and I imagine he came home smelling like this...why else would I have such an affinity for such an odd smell, this mixture of metal, wood shavings, gasoline, sweat, dirt...maybe a little paint? Pretty much the same smell as a tractor. Glorious! Noxious...but glorious!
Many women, I imagine, probably feel overwhelmed in a place like Home Depot, but I am quite the opposite. I could spend all day in a hardware store going up and down the aisles, looking at the various contraptions, marveling at the array of bolts and washers and screws, OH MY!
What is that called? You do what with that? It's such an exciting place! The beginning and end to so many projects! The raw material for creative endeavors. I LOVE hardware stores. My first job at 16 was at a local hardware store, although frankly, it was too clean to be a real hardware store, too new, too commercial...hardware stores should be grimy! There wasn't near enough grime in that place.
There are certain places and moments when you stop dead in your tracks, in order to fill your lungs to the fullest extent, with the olfactory presence that surrounds you. Memories cascade across your mind, that you can't fully place, but you know they were good. They were warm. And it makes you smile. Hardware stores are that place for me.
And so are shoe stores.
My mom and I need only waft both hands towards our noses and inhale deeply in order to communicate the pure exhilaration of being surrounded by LEATHER to one another. For my mother, it is mostly equine related. Saddles, bridles, boots, straps...I'm getting a little warm and fuzzy just writing about it. For me, it's shoes, bags and coats. ACCESSORIES!
That being said, Florence is my Heaven and Hell, my Alpha and Omega. Vendors upon vendors, pushing fabulous belts and wallets and sketchbooks and jackets and briefcases and bags and bags and bags and BAGS!!!! ...in all the colors of the known rainbow. Heaven on Earth.
But alas, I could not bring them all home, as much as I willed my psychic strengths to do so. HELL. How do I choose the MOST wonderful, the MOST practical, the MOST beautiful, the MOST perfect thing to bring home with me??? Although I can feel your skepticism, it was MOST agonizing. Truly.
I decided upon a green (fabulous!) briefcase which will follow me through my first years of being a certifiable architect! (For now it stays hidden in my closet, except for brief exposures to the world, when I retrieve it for a quick inhale.) Sick. I know.
I was also considering the gray purse, shown above. But I refrained. And the distress was, I guess, visible. Ernie surprised me with it the day we left for the next city!! You have to keep an eye on that one. :) So now, every time I bolt out the door for some random errand, I grab that gray bag, as all of the Italian memories cascade across my mind, and a smile forms upon my lips...
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
An Italian day starts with a cappuccino. Not of the "tall, grande or venti" variety from the Starbucks drive-thru, handed to you in a paper cup with a green smiling mermaid who knows you can't wait until it's cold enough outside to order a Peppermint Mocha on your way to the mall for holiday shopping. An Italian cappuccino is served in proper glassware, piping hot, so you can take your time reading the paper, watching the people go by and nibbling on your buttery croissant. The foam is so thick that it becomes mesmerizing just to watch the sugar seep ever-so-slowly through the bubbly layer and into the espresso abyss, never to return.
What? Am I being too dramatic? Okay. The cappuccino there was good.
One of our Venetian mornings was spent on the island of Murano, known for their glass artistry. We sat down for a moment before touring the island to have our daily caffeinated beverage and much to my delight, hearts had been drawn into the foam by our Italian barista. Now, I know what you're thinking. They do that for all the tourists. They know how to make an American Girl in Venice swoon.
Well, I'm okay with that. It was a lovely beginning to the day.
We left Venice early in the morning. We had a train to catch. It was the perfect moment of reflection, crossing the Accademia Bridge (usually crowded with pedestrians) in the still of the morning, above the still of the water, as the sun was just beginning to light up the Canal. With one city down, I realized the need to be fully present in these fleeting moments, lest the trip end in a blur, without any true appreciation of the experience.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Five small fishing villages hover on the Western rocky coastline of Italy with terraced vineyards and meandering cats who patiently wait at the edge of your dinner table hoping a bit of prawn will happen to fall from your plate. We stayed in Vernazza, arriving just after the sun had set after a long day of traveling. We hoofed it up to our room and unloaded our packs in time to walk down to the water, where all of the restaurants overlook the pier. For dinner, the signature pasta of the Ligurian region, trofie al pesto, and wine, of course.
A regional train connects the villages, shooting through the dark depths of the mountains. But the real way to experience the cities is on foot, hiking along the trails, through vineyards, along the coastline, up and down the hills that separate one village from the other. It sounds like a vacation on its own (and it could be!) but this was just one of our stops along the way...
Monday, November 02, 2009
So, it should be common knowledge that Whitney and I copy what the other one does. Well, Whitney finally posted again, so I guess I need to as well! But I'm not making any promises to keep it up because I am working on FINISHING SCHOOL!!!
However, I did take a trip to Italy recently and here are few shots...just to make you all jealous!