Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Goodbye to Sandy, my bad knee and Rome...

I'm back and glad to report that I would have been back sooner if it were only my knee I had to contend with.  But Sandy came for a visit and we have been without power for the last couple of days.  It came back on today at 1:05 p.m.  Did you hear me cheering? We got off very lucky this time.  Our outage was kind of a freak thing that had more to do with last year's storm that never got completely cleaned up than this one, I think.  I feel for all the people along the East Coast who have had a devil of a time.  I hope things get better soon.

I did have my knee surgery last Wednesday.  Everything went swimmingly.  Of course, the next morning I thought I was going to die or at least never walk again, but when I woke up on Friday, I realized that I hadn't needed to be quite so dire.  By now, I have pretty good motion, am going up and down stairs with less discomfort than before the surgery and am looking forward to graduating to a cane from the walker at some point in the near future.  The power outage didn't help my point of view for a few days.  I was a bear to live with because I couldn't ice the thing down and the swelling was out of hand.  But now, I am able to do what I have to do and things are looking up.  Please be patient with me as I try to catch up with all your blogs.  I'm looking forward to a trip into Blogland.

I haven't had a lot of time to edit photos needless to say with the power outage and normal fatigue after the surgery, but I did get to a few today.  Here are some more shots of Rome, the Eternal City.  

The Forum in the morning.

Looking up in Rome

The Colosseum

Ciao from Roma!  See you all soon.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Acts of Appreciation…

It has been a jaw-droppingly beautiful autumn here in central Massachusetts compared to last year.  The yellows are yellower, the golds more burnished and the crimsons redder.  It is just gorgeous out there.  Last year’s non-fall (the first bad fall that I can ever remember since moving to Massachusetts 30 years ago) taught me that I should not take the beautiful New England autumns for granted.  I love them so.

But the season is all but over for me.  Tomorrow I will be stuck inside for a while because I am going to have my left knee replaced.  This is a procedure that I should have had done at least a year ago but I have put it off.  I have gotten to the point where I can’t even remember what the simple act of getting up from a chair and walking across a room pain free is like.  So it is past time to go ahead and do it.  My doctor tells me that I can expect around a 70% improvement.  How they quantify that is beyond me, but I think a 70% improvement sounds pretty darn good nonetheless.  I will appreciate it!

So in four or five months, I am looking forward to getting back to one of the things I took for granted two or three years ago.  I’m talking about the nice walks in the woods that I used to take with my dog before my knee started dictating the way I would live my life.  We liked looking for those pleasant little surprises that nature lays at our feet…a little red mushroom, an elegant Lady Slipper, a stalwart stand of Indian Pipes, an array of pale green lichen lying on a fallen tree branch.
I plan on being back in Blogland in the not too distant future well before I am able to be up and out with my camera.  I have figured that my recovery time will give me a chance to get to some of those hundreds…What? Did I say HUNDREDS?  Silly me!  I mean thousands of unedited photos on my hard drive that have been knocking on my monitor and yelling at me in their most annoying little pixilated voices:
   “Pick me!”  “No, pick me!”  “No! I’m the best.  Pick me!”

So here I go on another adventure.  I’ll see you all soon.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ciao! Scavenger Hunt Sunday…

My reentry into real life after our trip to Italy has been a bit on the busy side, so instead of driving myself nuts trying to find new things to shoot, I thought I would look at my pics from our recent trip there to see if I could find good entries for this week’s Scavenger Hunt.  Since I took over 1,000 photos, you wouldn’t think that would be much of a challenge and I will admit, there were entries that jumped out at me immediately for each prompt:  Orange or Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Faceless Portrait, View from the Top, Cozy and Stacked.  Here are my entries:

Orange for Breast Cancer Awareness Month:  or orange peel for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  

Faceless Portrait:  These are our friends Sean and Ellen, two of the eight of us who got together and rented a villa in Italy.  This villa called Villa Miragalli was just beautiful.  Here, Sean is standing at the edge of the infinity pool looking out over the Tyrrhenian Sea and Ellen is just enjoying the view.  I didn’t realize when I took the photo that the light at that moment would make the color of the pool reflect onto Sean’s back.  That’s an odd effect.

View from the Top:  One of the views from our villa.  This looks out toward Praiano, Italy, which you can see on the furthest peninsula.

Cozy:  That’s what I would call the boats they put you in to take you into the Blue Grotto in Capri.  I knew I couldn’t get in and out of the boat so I stayed behind but took this picture of Greg (far right), our friend Fred, the fellow who rowed them into the grotto and a young English woman whose mother also stayed behind.

Stacked:  This is Positano, Italy.  It is a truly vertical city and that gives the impression that these buildings are stacked on top of one another.  In reality, there are roads that run through the layers of buildings there.  Isn’t it beautiful! 


Thursday, October 18, 2012


In life you have to make choices.  We had one day to spend in Rome and knowing this, Greg booked a driver to give us an overview tour.   We decided that we would concentrate on old Rome and leave the Vatican for another time.
Our driver Max Rocca of easitalytours was terrific.  While the frenetic Roman traffic buzzed around outside our car, he calmly and effortlessly drove while telling us what we were seeing outside our windows.  And we were given time to walk around and explore each of the places that were highlighted on our tour.

Our first stop was to the Piazza Navona.  It’s quite a sight as you approach it through the narrow street.  All of a sudden there is a beautiful, large open space with three magnificent fountains including the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of Four Rivers) by Bernini.

On the Piazza Navona

Detail of Bernini's Four Rivers Fountain
From there we went on to the Pantheon. The Pantheon was originally commissioned by Marcus Agrippa in 31 BCE and rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in about 126 AD.  My photos don’t do justice to this beautiful, graceful building.

Then we had a brief stop to admire Bernini’s Pulcino della Minerva, this nice little elephant sculpture that holds up one of eleven Egyptian Obelisks found in Rome.  Here he is front and back.  He sits in front of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, an important Roman Catholic church of the Dominican order.  

That’s all for today, folks!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Home from the hills…

We lit out for Italy on October 3, driving down to Kennedy Airport in NYC so that we could take a direct flight there.  Flying all night with no sleep is not the most fun thing in the world to do, I will admit, but everything was on time and there were only a few bumps in the sky road.
Our transport was there as promised to pick us up at the Rome Airport and to take us to the hotel that we booked a couple months ago.  But…surprise!  The hotel was overbooked and we had no room.  They arranged to have us taken to another hotel in the same area for a night until our room became available the next night.

Long story short, it all worked out.  Our stand-in hotel was run by two women who didn’t seem to speak any English but both were enthusiastic enough and we finally got settled.  The only way we know how to deal with jet lag is to sleep a couple hours.  So that’s what we did.  Then we got up and started roaming around Rome.  Here are a few things we saw the first day…

We are at the top of the Spanish Steps looking down.  It seems that this area is always crowded with people.  If it’s like this in October, I can’t imagine the crowds in June.  Still the people were congenial and the light was fantastic.

A proud Italian pigeon.

After we had a delightful dinner, we strolled through the shopping district.  I was rather taken by these purses but decided that it wouldn’t be prudent to purchase something that didn’t go with a thing that I had packed.  But I did really like the knitted mug and tea cosies.  Note to Carrie:  There’s an idea for your next knitting project.

Ciao from the Spanish Steps!