Circle 2: 1st 2016 WordPress Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is CIRCLE.

Here are a few circles self encountered in the latter half of Year 2015:

Thanks to Niece Irene L, who invited self to come along on a trip to Florence in early November!

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The Cathedral at Siena: November 2015

Self had a wisdom tooth pulled in October; a friend made her this malted milk drink for after:

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When self had a wisdom tooth pulled in October, she couldn’t have solid food for a day. A friend made this malted milk drink for her.

Self collects buttons; she pins them on her jackets and blazers. Here’s one she bought in the new Whitney Museum on Gansevoort Street, Chelsea, New York City:

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Button Humor!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Woman, Do Not Weep!”

Florence, Palazzo Vecchio, early November 2015: Self visiting the city for the first time with her niece, Irene, stumbles on a conference to honor the 10th anniversary of the death of Msgr. Luigi Giussani (1922 – 2005):

Woman, do not weep! Do not weep, because I did not make you for death, but for life. I put you in the world and placed you in the company of people.

There is nothing that can block the certainty of a destiny that is mysterious and good!

Transition 3: Further Adventures in Italy

First “transition”: a dish almost consumed

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A bowl of navy beans and pasta, which she was told was very “Venetian.” She had it for lunch at the Florian Café on San Marco Square.

The whole of Venice itself is in transition. The structures rest on pylons that are thousands of years old. They look as if they could sink into the sea at any moment:

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On the Venetian Lagoon, early November

And, finally, here is Pisa, as the sun sets across the Field of Miracles:

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Because self and her niece had so much fun, when her niece suggested another trip in 2016, self immediately said, “I’m there.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Transition 2: One Day in Venice

The whole of 2015 has been about travel, travel, travel.

Writing, too.

But here are pics from the day self and her niece Irene went to Venice, early this month. Venice is only two hours away from Florence by fast train. Self and niece are such adventurers!

The train pulled into the Ferrovia Train Station, across from the very old church of Santa Lucia. From Ferrovia, we took the vaporetto to San Marco Square, where we shared a dessert at one of the outdoor cafés.

2nd post on this week’s WordPress Daily Post theme: TRANSITION

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Niece and self shared a sundae at an outdoor café on San Marco Square, early November: The weather was beautiful, like fall in California!

Self took these pictures from the vaporetto on the way back to Ferrovia (which lurched so much: hence, these blurred pictures), late afternoon:

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On the Vaporetto to Ferrovia from San Marco: early November

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Another From the Same Vaporetto Ride

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Mockingjay 2: Cry, Cry, Cry

Self can’t believe it.

She can’t believe IT’S OVER!

She caught the 1:20 p.m. screening at the AMC Loews almost directly across from the Lincoln Center, a few days ago. Only a block away from Alice Tully Hall, where Dearest Mum once played (when she was still a teen-ager). So ironic that self hasn’t yet been to a concert in Alice Tully Hall but here she is sitting in AMC Loews with a bucket of popcorn on her lap, anxiously awaiting the final film in The Hunger Games franchise. But ever since Niece Georgina recommended Suzanne Collins’s trilogy to self, self has been on a Peeta kick. Yes, her favorite character in The Hunger Games isn’t Katniss, it’s Peeta. And it’s always going to be Peeta. Forever and ever and ever .

J-Law, you were awesome! Every time the camera zoomed in, your facial expressions were so on point! Thank you for your portrayal. Now there’s talk of making a pre-quel with some younger actress. Ixnay! Self would much prefer a sequel: with you again.

Woody Harrelson, you were equally great!

SPOILER ALERT!!!

And so were you, Elizabeth Banks! That scene where you bid Katniss good-bye, decked once more in your Capitol finery (How could Effie get away with dressing like that in District 13? Wouldn’t Coin have frowned on that kind of extravagance?), self found it so affecting.

It was nice to see Philip Seymour Hoffman’s smirk, one last time.

Although she didn’t initially agree with the choice of Donald Sutherland to play the role of President Snow, boy did he kill his part in this final installment. That conversation he has with Katniss near the end, when he says he doesn’t believe in waste, the part where he makes Katniss start questioning Coin’s motives, that part was made infinitely more believable because of Sutherland’s trademark sardonic delivery.

OMG, Finnick’s death was worse than it was in the book. Because it was so — graphic. And he was calling out to Katniss. And self almost couldn’t bear it.

FINALLY:

JENA. JENA MALONE. Talk about the perfect Johanna. Mockingjay Part 1 suffered tremendously from her absence. But she was back! And self loves Jena/Johanna. Truly loves her.

P.S. Julianne Moore as Coin — her pupils had a disconcerting tendency to go all to black, and she looked like a soulless witch. Which, self guesses, was the point.

Tallies: One super-hot Galeniss scene, at the very beginning. Unfortunately, instead of pressing his advantage, Gale mopes. And mopes. And mopes some more. And, honestly, if self were Katniss, she wouldn’t have waited for Peeta. Even though self is Everlark to the max, if Liam were hanging around all the time, being all loyal and supportive, she would not blame Katniss at all for switching affections.

J-Hutch, if only there were more of you Not-Hijacked. If there was one flaw she saw in the film, it was that the end didn’t allow enough time for the “growing together” of Katniss and Peeta. Self was waiting for it, she was waiting for the voice-over narration, she ached to hear J-Law’s throaty voice say “Peeta and I grow back together.” But it was not to be.

There’s a scene where hot Peeta is bent over planting primrose bushes while Katniss sneaks up behind him. The camera starts zooming in on — ahem! Never mind. But no, F-Law was extremely respectful and provided no more than two or three seconds of  J-Hutch bent over. Please!

Not even the teeniest hint of anything in the end, just that cuddling thing K and P do, then — babies! Toast babies!

Ugh! Not enough time in the end! The end! The end!

 

Still More Trios! Florence

More from the trip to Florence, more on this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge, TRIO.

While self and her niece were in Florence, niece booked us on a tour to the surrounding towns of Siena, San Gimidgiano, and Pisa.

The church (or Duomo, the word Italians use to refer to a cathedral) at Siena was beautiful. The front of the church has three entrances:

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The Duomo at Siena: So beautiful!

And here’s another museum, whose name completely escapes self, but anyhoo: It’s in Florence, which has 62 museums.

Each wall facing a central courtyard has three arches:

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A museum. Somewhere in Florence.

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Three figures above a door to one of the smaller chapels next to Santa Maria del Fiore

Deepest apologies for being so lame about specific museums and what-not. Self is in New York City, and she still hasn’t fully unpacked from her last trip (to San Francisco). Will fill in the names when she gets a breather!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

More Trios in Florence

Lovely, lovely Florence.

Self encountered the city for the first time, early this month.

Today, self is browsing through her photo archives to find pictures that fit this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge: TRIO.

The first picture is the display window of a bakery that faces out onto Piazza della Repubblica. Look at the piles of pastry on the three plates! In Florence, self was able to indulge her sweet tooth to the max!

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Florentine Bakery Near the Piazza della Repubblica

According to the tourist brochures, Florence has 62 museums. Niece got the idea of purchasing a 3-day Firenze card, which lets you into any of the museums, free of charge, for 72 hours (Be advised: They calculate down to the very last minute: say, you purchase the card at 10:56 a.m., it will expire at exactly 10:56 a.m., three days later.)

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Three columns in some museum or other (Self will add the name as soon as she has a little more time to browse through her notes from the trip)

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Approaching the Uffizi Gallery on the Piazza della Signoria: The front loggia boasts three arches!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Trio: WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is TRIO.

The image posted by Cheri Lucas Rowlands on The Daily Post is a picture of three buttes jutting out of the arid landscape of Monument Valley. Magnificent!

Here are some of self’s takes on TRIO:

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New York City MOMA Sculpture Garden: There are three painted figures in this art installation. (Possibly, there are more, but from this angle, only three were visible. Which is great because she could then include the photograph in this post!)

Regular readers of this blog know that, in early November, self went to Florence with her niece. The weather was amazing, barely any rain.

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View of Florence from the Palazzo Vecchio’s Arnulfo Tower: See the three structures towering over the city’s rooftops?

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One morning, while self and her niece were walking towards the Uffizi Gallery, we passed a Biblioteca and decided to explore. The Biblioteca turned out to house hundreds and hundreds of opera librettos.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Victory: WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge

From Krista on The Daily Post:

  • . . . I got the chance to test myself, and this time, I won.
  • In your photo this week, focus on the win, the victory — that moment of glory and pride you’ll remember forever.

Wow, what a grrrreat theme!

Looking back on 2015, here are three pictures that represent self’s small victories:

Self was in Florence! As 2015 began, she could never have imagined she’d end the year going there. And having tremendous fun. And loving the city. Here’s a picture of her, on the last night of her trip:

You did it, self! You did it! You accepted your niece's invitation, decided you did have the energy for just one more trip, and ended up falling in love with the city and its people!

You did it, self! You did it! You accepted your niece’s invitation, decided you did have the energy for just one more trip, and ended up falling in love with the city and its people!

Self never imagined, either, that she’d be back in Venice. But here she and her niece were, getting off at the train station in Ferrovia, and waiting for a vaporetto to take them to San Marco Square:

Ferrovia, Venice: All trains to Venice stop here. The last time self was in Venice was spring 2013, with Margarita Donnelly, her friend and mentor at Calyx Press. Margarita passed away December 2014.

Ferrovia, Venice: All trains to Venice stop here. The last time self was in Venice was spring 2013, with Margarita Donnelly, her friend and mentor at Calyx Press. Margarita passed away December 2014.

The one day she and her niece spent in Venice (Only two hours by fast train from Florence), the sun was shining, and San Marco Square was thronged with people. What grace! What a blessing! To be there again, and happy!

San Marco Square, Venice, Saturday Afternoon, November 2015

San Marco Square, Venice, Saturday Afternoon, November 2015

Of course she has to go back. Of course she will go back. She didn’t love Venice when she left in 2013. Or maybe she loved it but she didn’t know it yet.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ornate 5: Siena’s Duomo; the Loggia of the Uffizi Gallery

Self’s niece was so organized that we got to see three small towns around Florence, all on the same day: Siena, San Gimignano, and Pisa.

Self’s favorite was Siena.

The beautiful Gothic cathedral has a magnificent interior (striped columns! Who would have thought!) but it’s the exterior self will focus on for further examples of the “ornate.”

For instance, all kinds of creatures proliferate, including a roaring lion sticking out of a buttress in the front:

Stone lion on the front of the Cathedral in Siena, built in the fourteenth century

Stone lion on the front of the Cathedral in Siena, built in the fourteenth century. The lion represents one of Siena’s 17 districts.

Here is the facade of the Cathedral, or as the Italians refer to it, the Duomo:

The Duomo of Siena is decorated with animals representing each of the city's 17 districts, which compete twice a year in horse races called the Palio.

The Duomo of Siena is decorated with animals representing each of the city’s 17 districts, which compete twice a year in horse races called the Palio.

For the third picture, self goes back to her archive of Florence photos. This is a shot of the loggia of the Uffizi Gallery. On Sunday afternoons, the stone benches are lined with people.

The Loggia of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence: a great spot to people-watch!

The Loggia of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence: a great spot to people-watch!

The last shot isn’t related to the Photo Challenge but is one of self’s favorite pictures from her trip.

On self’s last afternoon in Florence (a Sunday), she took a picture of this adorable creature, whose owners kept calling him “R2” which self thought was a kind of homage to R2D2 of Star Wars, until a young man told her that the dog’s name was “Artur.” Oh. How adorbs!

Artur, who self met on the stone benches in the loggia of the Uffizi Gallery

Artur, who self met on the stone benches in the loggia of the Uffizi Gallery

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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