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Showing posts from July, 2019

Tuesday Travels: A Walking Tour of Rome

Photo: Light shines through the arches of the Colosseum in Rome  The evening before our scheduled walking tour of Rome, John and I went with another couple on our own stroll around the city. Though we wouldn't go inside the Colosseum then, seeing the lighted arches of the Colosseum against the dark evening sky made the chilly outing worth it.  The next day, we returned for a guided walking tour of Rome. What follows is a quick, photo-heavy recap. The Colosseum is just as impressive in the sunlight as it is in the moonlight.  Note how tiny the people seem in the photo below: Photo: A crowd of seemingly-tiny people mill around the Colosseum in Rome, which stands under a cloudless sky. Before we went inside the Colosseum, we stopped at the triumphal arch. It's easy to feel very small.  Photo: The arch in Rome, celebrating Constantine's reign. Once inside the Colosseum, I again felt small. The Colosseum could seat at least 50,000 people in its heyday. Look f

Ten Things of Thankful: Family, Friends, Pioneers, and More

Photo: A toddler boy, dressed in a sailor suit, circa 1944 I love participating in the Ten Things of Thankful, because it encourages me to reflect back on the past week. Even when much of my week has been filled with "regular stuff," there are always reasons to be thankful. And often, I find that my routine was actually anything but boring, but full of joyful moments.  I have lots to be thankful for this week: 1. I'm thankful for my dad (pictured above as that cute little sailor boy). He celebrated a birthday recently. Happy birthday, Dad! I'm sitting here listening to the Chad Mitchell Trio as I write this, and I have my dad to thank for influencing my taste in music, among other things.  2. I'm thankful for books. My dad always has a book he's reading. My mom read daily to us kids. I don't remember learning how to read; it just seemed a natural consequence of my childhood environment.  This past week, I received in the mail a book I had ord

Ten Things of Thankful: Road Trip Edition

Photo: The view from the front passenger seat of a car: an open highway stretches forward, underneath a blue sky with some puffy white clouds An advantage to having my grown children scattered over several states is that I have a perfect excuse to take a road trip. Last weekend, John and I went to Colorado to spend time with youngest son and his girlfriend. It was easy to find things for today's TToT! 1. I'm thankful that John and I had hours and hours to talk. We live on a hill in an area that regularly receives snow in the winter, and none of our vehicles are particularly suited for snowy conditions. The mileage and years are adding up, and we are reluctantly realizing that we need to start at least thinking about buying a different car. So, we spent the entire drive to Colorado researching/talking cars.  2. I'm thankful that we actually got paid to research. Did you know that if you spend hours upon hours on a dealer website, you just might have a pop up offer

Tuesday Travels: White-Water Rafting on the Arkansas River

Photo: A large rock stands in the foreground, with the fast-flowing Arkansas River behind it Though I will return to reporting on my trip to Italy in future posts, today I wanted to take a minute to tell you about my adventure white-water rafting this past Saturday. John and I traveled to Colorado to spend the weekend with our son and his girlfriend. We booked a full-day whitewater rafting trip with Noah's Ark  to go down's Brown's Canyon on the Arkansas River.  Though we've all been rafting before (though not on this river), I was a little nervous because of the high water levels this year. (My nervousness was nothing like my zip-lining anxiety , however!) The staff at Noah's Ark did a great job of giving their safety instructions without eliciting fear in the participants, and soon it was time to get in the boats.  We had a raft to ourselves (with our guide, of course!) When Ty, our guide, heard that two of us were a little nervous, he said he would put us

Ten Things of Thankful: Life is a Bowl Full of Thankfuls

Photo: Red ripe cherries peak through green leaves on the tree Erma Bombeck once wrote a book titled, If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I Doing in the Pits?  I think humor is a great tool for dealing with the challenges that come our way, but I also think it is good to remember that if there are pits, it is because we have cherries. Some of the things I am thankful for this week are not all that exciting, but remind me that my life is indeed (figuratively, of course) a bowl of cherries--and pits and all, I'm thankful. 1. I'm thankful for literal cherries. We have a little cherry tree that is a sucker from our neighbor's, and I noticed that it actually has cherries on it this year. Well, had. Before I got around to picking them, the birds enjoyed them. That's OK, though, because not too long ago, the neighbor on the other side of us brought over a huge bowl of cherries for us to enjoy. We ate some and froze the rest. Yum! 2. I'm thankful that with a new

Six Sentence Story: Burst

The moment the church organist started playing the introduction to the hymn, the precocious toddler girl stood up on the pew. Music just moved her, and she was doubly excited when she realized she recognized the tune. T hough e veryone around her was opening a hymnal and finding the right page, that was unnecessary for her.  First of all, she couldn't read, but second, even if she could read, she didn't need the words; they were etched into her memory. Finally, the organist finished the introduction and the chorister signaled the congregation to begin, but while the rest of the church-goers sang, "Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing," the sweet little girl belted out, "Go tell Aunt Rhody." By the time she got to the line about the old grey goose being dead, all decorum was lost as those around her burst out laughing.  This has been another Six Sentence Story. The blog hop is hosted by Denise of Girlie on the Edge each week. The rules are simple: write

Tuesday Travels: Vatican City

Photo: A military vehicle sits in the foreground, at the entrance to the plaza leading to St. Peter's Basilica.  I'm not Catholic, but a visit to Rome wouldn't be complete without a visit to Vatican City. I was duly impressed, and can only imagine how much more meaningful that site is for those of the Catholic religion.  After walking past military guards, we entered the city-state (no passport required, though) and headed toward the Vatican Museums. Photo: People climb steps to enter the arched doorway of the Vatican Museums. Once we were checked in, we entered a courtyard where our tour guide gave us some background into the Sistine Chapel and what we could expect to see. She repeatedly emphasized the rule prohibiting photography inside the chapel itself, so I didn't take photos inside. However, there were signs in the courtyard depicting the paintings in the chapel, both of the ceiling panels, as well as The Last Judgement.  Photo: A sign depicting

Ten Things of Thankful: Independence and Mother Nature

Photo: A huge American flag flies on a cable between mountains. (Thanks to John for this great shot.) I hope you had a happy fourth of July, and for my friends in California, I hope the ground settles down soon. We first lived in California in the late 1980's, and became quite familiar with frequent earthquakes. We moved out of the state a few years before the Northridge quake. When we moved back to California in the 2000's, we told our children to be prepared to feel earthquakes every so often. To our surprise, the expected shaking didn't materialize. Now California seems to be making up for lost time. My thoughts are with my friends and family still there, and I hope things quiet down.  This week: 1. I'm thankful John and I got to go see the movie, Yesterday. We both really enjoyed it. We've been listening to Beatles' music off and on since then. 2. I'm thankful that we woke up early on the 4th to go watch a flag-raising ceremony. Big Betsy is

Tuesday Travels: Rome--Capitoline Museums

Photo: A panorama of the city of Rome, as viewed from Palatine Hill. Old stone buildings stand under dark clouds, with blue sky visible in the distance.  I love how travel can make history come alive, and a visit to Rome certainly did that for me. Seeing the relics in the churches, the items in the museums, and the ancient ruins of buildings truly transported me back in time. One blog post could not even begin to do justice to all that I saw while I was there, let alone all that Rome has to offer, so I will spread my photos over several posts, and recognize that even with that, I will certainly not be able to cover everything.  Though we were part of a tour group, we chose to extend our trip by adding optional extension days to the front end of our vacation. As a result, our first day in Rome was fairly unscheduled, as it was the day the majority of the group was arriving in Italy. With hours to spare before meeting the rest of the travelers, we decided to walk toward the Capitol