Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye Roma

This is a mosaic at the very top of St. Peter's Basilica at the  Vatican.  The climb was about 20min, and was an exhausting effort and test of stamina. As one gets higher and higher, the walls of the tiny and narrow staircase begin to curve in, and leaning over becomes an odd but nessacary way to go.  Once at the top the amazing mosaics come to life with values and tones. I peered over the edge and saw the transept below, with tiny ant like movement, which was the people below.  Goodbye Roma, espresso so smooth no need for sugar. Goodbye to monuments of the church on almost every corner, and goodbye to the artwork that was so inspiring. Also goodbye to evenings of 37 and 40 degrees!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Me and Caravaggio

Michelangelo Merisa da  Caravaggio, otherwise known to the world as simply..  Caravaggio. Touring the Capitoline Museum I was awed by such a rich, exciting, historical space. Large marble sculptures, many broken and placed by some giant hand just so. Painting after painting of such interest and talent I was overtaken with such a sense of wonder at every turn.  Walking slowly, I made each turn with anticipation. The art work may be famous, such as a Caravaggio, or just simply an other example of extraordinary talent produced at an unthinkable amount of time in the past.  Rome was not build in a day, as we all have heard a million times before, well one can not possibly see Rome in five, I will return.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Rome is cold

I believe I will never see anything as pretty as a tree...with some #^*@**%  leaves on it! It is Winter in Rome, in case you did not know Holaday!  My face went numb in the blinding sunlight, yes the sun was no friend of mine this day. It laughed at me.  I puzzled in disbelief as my skin went from cold to no feeling at all! As I layered almost all my clothes, I started to puff out, and it was getting harder and harder to hold my arms down by my sides. Espresso after espresso, wired and cold, yeahhhh Rome baby!!!

Sistine chapel, or bad Thomas

Painted by Michelangelo in 1508, it took him four years to do. Ok I could have been arrested.  All throughout the Vatican museum you are allowed to take pictures without flash, everywhere that is except the Sistine Chapel. ALTO!!!  Was screamed from across the crowded floor below this amazing ceiling. The guard was approaching me with a stern look in his face, as I had broken the rules. My guide said, " put your camera away, he make take you or your camera."  Well, I did say I was tired. Another funny thing, a voice will come over a speaker every 10min or so, " Please no talking, please be respectful", in at least 4 languages. The guards also make this statement every so often, to a room of at least 150 people! It reminded me of trying to silence some of my students in the classroom from time to time, well so much for vacation, I thought I was getting away from all that.

First morning in Rome

I know I look very relaxed and on top of things. First let me tell you about the morning.... I went to bed around 9pm Rome time, of course I was up for ever on the plane had a mad dash in Madrid so I guess I was pretty tired. I don't even remember hearing my alarm clock, and yes it does work, the hotel even called my room and said "your breakfast is outside your room."  Did they knock, was I that out of it?? I guess so, not hearing or remembering turning off the alarm!  I stumbled out of bed, showered and drank espresso while looking out at the tile roofs from out of my window. The tiles glistening in the early morning sun, a church top poking up in the horizon, me still wondering where I was. I was in Rome, and said this to myself, in part out of excitement and in part to reassure myself in my foggy,  jet lagged mind.

View inside the Pantheon

Walking the streets of Rome is no easy task. I had planned on just dashing off to see the sights I wanted but was surprised by all the twisting, turning, streets at all angles. Dragging, and do I mean dragging, my suitcase the day I arrived along narrow, tiny, cobblestone streets was quite the sight I'm sure!  The noise was becoming almost humorous, and in fact when I stopped and decided to carry the suitcase least I offend the people walking just a few steps in front of me, they abruptly stopped and turned around because of the sudden absence of all my scrapping and clattering! I did find the hotel, great place, very little side ally have know idea where I am!


Made it to Rome.  I had a very interesting trip, it was a bit rushed and frantic. After I landed in Madrid, I got off the plane and was in a huge, towering complex with no idea where to go. There was not a person at all anywhere to ask so I just followed a mass of people down two long stairways to a train station. Not knowing what train to take I jumped on the first one, got off on a platform, again with no one or idea where I was. When I asked about Ibera flights, I was directed to another train, then down another set of stairs, blah, blah, blah  I just made the flight to Rome.  The picture above is the Pantheon, built by Hadrain in AD 119-125. It only survived because it was later turned into a church. At first it was a pagan temple.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wedding and Resort

The wedding was a blast, but like all weddings went late into the night. After snaking my way down the Pacific Coast Highway I found the turn off in Laguna Beach. We had champagne and bizarre little fried snacks. The night was getting colder, the searing warmth from the heat lamps had us all huddled around them as the dance hall was getting set up. The bride being part Hawaiian had beautiful dancers to contrast with the DJ and his slightly obnoxious banter and 80's music. The live Hawaiian and old school music that was played by I believe the Hawaiian Uncle was the best, kind of surreal, unusual, and wonderful. The picture is me at the pool, the morning after, a dead resort with so many polite people working there I was not sure what they could all possibly be doing with no other guest in sight. I wondered around the beautiful grounds early in the morning with sun and clouds causing it to be somewhat warm but with a chilly breeze that just would not let me get in that pool.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Laguna beach

The sky was blue and a slight breeze was gently making the air cool, even as the warmth of the sun could be felt on my face. I emerged from a canopy of trees on the steep steps, that snaked down the canyon wall, blinking in the sudden brightness.  The sound of the waves that beckoned me down,  now for the first time becoming visible.... like some long awaited destination you were not sure you would ever reach.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

In the plane blogging along

I looked out the window at the small brown and green hills. Little smudges of white, like paint on a canvas partially blocking the view as  the protrusion of the wing my only clue I was contained inside this metal tube. We seemed to float past the slowly moving landscape, knowing that I would never travel those snaking, brown lines on the ridges of green so far below.

Blogging in the air, a first for me.

Well, off on a short trip to Laguna Ca.  Flight on SW is a hot spot, so I decided to blog on the plane. I love technology! Stay tuned for more adventures, after I get back on the ground.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

San Diego

Well boys and girls, another quick trip to San Diego was in order. The weather was ok, sometimes good, other times quite cold for us Arizona desert people. Green, plants, green and cool air sunshine and fog these were my experiences. The Ocean was cold, like a dip in a pool in Arizona in the winter. The beach was filled with the tattooed, tanned, skate boarders. The sand covering the back of a surfboard as the black suited guys make their way back to the streets. Some old man was singing as he rollerbladed, weaving in and out avoiding the dazed and confused tourists as they blindly wondered the boardwalk. Coffee, Mexican food, loud music and the beer. Pacific Beach is a trip worth taking....I take it as often as I can.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dragon fly

Enjoy, this guy was fun to try to capture on my camera!  See the previous post for the story behind the picture.

Beauty of Nature

Not quite a travel entry, but well.... thought this image would inspire some creativeness with it's amazing beauty. Eating lunch in our sitting area, we spied this amazing creature. At first I slid the glass door open ever so slowly as not to scare our friend away. I took two very quiet steps toward the plant it was perched upon, and snapped the first picture. Of course the sound, every so light that it was, of my camera sent the dragonfly into a fluttering frenzy and off it went!  One picture, I was disappointed as I was sure it was blurry due to my own shaking hand. Amazingly, it circled around aproaching me and then angling the other way, until it landed in the same exact spot. I quickly pressed the shutter button and off again it flew!  This time not returning to it's original spot but landing very near, and allowing me to snap two more pictures before it left, this time for good.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Well boys and girls, just tweaking my blog and hopefully you will get an update when I post this, if not I will need to consult someone that is actually technical!  Went to 25th year high school reunion last night with Robin. Was hesitant, but it turned out to be pretty fun, we stayed over two hours so that must tell you something. The travel will come to an end as does the long days of summer. I will have to resume my real job as an art teacher, of which at this time of the year I'm glad for it to resume. Lots of changes at my school, new teachers, some others did not get their jobs back. I'm very grateful I do have a job that I love, but the lingering thoughts in the back of the minds of many arts teachers I'm sure have is will they continue to fund art?  Designing lesson plans, as I have already started to do involves a lot. Planing how they will produce, write about, and understand something new is both challenging and fun, it invariably takes more time than I think it will.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

San Diego

 The downtown buildings look like mountains in the early morning fog. As one proceeds over the Coronado bridge it curves up and over to the left. As you descend into the swarm of traffic, the Island you just left feels like a sanctuary and you wander why you left at all. The ribbon of traffic flows and you can reach your destination in no time. San Diego has created a perfect traffic flow pattern with its freeways and expressways, too bad the population will someday soon make this disappear. The moist sponge cake was drenched in a kirsch liquor, berry's and cream flowed over the top, the rose on top was dusted with gold. Each bite was sweet, tart, and quite extraordinary. This is an amazing desert place. It is on Beech street in Little Italy near the airport, called Extraordinary deserts.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

San Diego

Flew into San Diego on Sunday. The weather was overcast, had some great Chinese food, hung out on the beach with my brother and some of his friends. Monday Balboa park in the morning, the beach for the rest of the day. The skyline seems to change every year. As the sparkling lights began to shine like little stars reflecting in the bay, the change was apparent. For those that visit San Diego on a regular basis, like I do next time go over to Coronado Island and look at the skyline. More hotels and other buildings are creating an amazing skyline that gets brighter and brighter, that is if you like that sort of thing.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Santa Fe

As I leave the wonderful city of Santa Fe, a last glimpse or two of this oddly beautiful place.

Santa Fe after dark

The little dive bar, the matador deserves a more in depth description. As I sat at the small bar with my tequila, salt, and used limes piling up,  the show began. The music was a mixture of Hank Williams Jr, and the punk sounds of The Cramps, X, and other off the edge kind of music. On the video screen the original Mad Max was exploding with fire balls and car chases. As I sipped on my  tequila, salt sticking to my hand, a slow but steady trickle of interesting characters descended into the bar. Rockabilly girls with powder white faces and perfect red lips laughing and joking with guys with slicked back hair and tattoo's in place of long sleeves. An argument about something broke out, and the bartender yelled at the two people at the far end of the bar, but it ended as quickly as it began, I was sure they were going to get kicked out for sure. The crowd was mostly young, all now had a different look, sort of that Alpine/downtown look I mentioned before when I was in flagstaff, mixed with the 7 or 8 rockabilly types. This included the bartender and the DJ. Obviously this was THEIR bar. Well it was time for me to go, not really feeling a part of this scene, but somehow not feeling out of place at the same time. As I walked toward the door I took a last glance around and decided this was a great little bar.  It fit the strange, wonderful, and very different place it was a part of....... Santa Fe.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Santa Fe

Drove for hours and made it to Santa Fe. Ate pork tenderloin with a chili sauce at Casa Sena, was good and finally a meal besides fast food!  The main square was hopping with live Jazz and lots of people dancing, a really good time, with great music as it happens to be the New Mexico Jazz festival. Great bar called the Matador. One must walk down a set of hidden steps that look like a loading entrance. Don't know why I ventured down, but I heard some faint music playing and in I went. Great beer and tequilas, only one tonight as it is time to collapse into bed.

Early morning in the Canyon

The air was cool, a bit, but the sun even at 6:45 was starting to feel warm. I jumped in my truck and made it to White house trail head. I was the only person on the trail. I went through a tunnel in the rock and descended down a tiny path worn in the slick orange brown rock. The trail was a short but steep one, and  only 30 min later I was looking at the White house ruins. Deep in the shaded canyon a few Navajo women began to set up their wares for sale. The quiet was shattered by the echos of laughter from the two, and an very loud circling hawk. I watched the sun change the color of the sheer rock walls all around me. This was solitude at its best. Even with the laughter and bird it seemed so very quiet. A place of beauty that I did not want to leave. As I ascended up the trail I now felt the pull from my backpack, sweat now covering my back as the heat began to rise. The few people I encountered had a look of astonishment on their faces as they took in this marvel of nature, and I'm sure I must have had the same look on my face, all alone feeling just for awhile that this was mine.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Canyon de Chelly

Made it to the Thunderbird lodge, a left over motel type where you pull up to your door in your car. The grounds are nice, old buildings some made of stone. Best of all just a two min drive to the canyon. As I approached the edge of the canyon red and orange curves that seemed to be carved by some kind of giant knife contrasted with green patches of tree tops. Leaning ever closer to the edge, the ribbon like dry river bed below seemed thirsty somehow, but I know that at any time those black curtains in the distance could send a torrent rushing along down this canyon. Tomorrow I hike the canyon!

Northern Arizona

Well the trip to China was canceled because of a broken hip my mother had. You have to take care of your Mother.   Well,  I have decided after 4 weeks in the hospital to hit the road!  Today takes me to Flagstaff. The town is very interesting, small, full of college hipsters and various people from around the world on their way to the Grand Canyon. Young guys and girls with an alpine/downtown look. Tattoos and hiking boots, dreadlocked girls with Gucci sunglasses, coffee shops, thai food, and brew pubs. Will let you know if I end of staying the night, or head over to Canyon de Chelly in Navajo country.