#amreading about Monastic Ireland in THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE

The reading matter became more absorbing last night, when Gibbon stated that it only took eighty years for Christianity to move from being a persecuted religion to becoming the main religion of the Roman Empire. This latter development happened when Constantine, a Christian, became Emperor and swore to rule according to the dictates of his Christian faith.

Gibbon (whose faith is obviously important to him) then starts enumerating early monasteries around the Roman Empire, and these include not only monasteries in Syria, Egypt, etc but also monasteries in Ireland. Which leads self to look up names on the internet, and she stumbles on:

  • Glendalough: Monks built the Church of the Rock.
  • Iona, in the Inner Hebrides: Work on the Book of Kells was begun here, but when Viking raids became frequent, the work was transported to a monastery in Kells, hence the name Book of Kells.
  • Kildare: There is Cill Dara, the Cell of the Oak, which was founded by Saint Brigid and became a convent.

Self would love to visit some of these places, if she has time.

She remembers that one of the most exciting things about visiting Venice, a few years ago, wasn’t Venice itself, but her exploration of outlying islands, especially Torcello.

Torcello has a very old stone church, with a very high tower. When you ascend to the very top, you can see all over the Venetian lagoon. This was a watchtower. As Torcello is farther out from the mainland, small bands of Christians took shelter here, away from the barbarian hordes. Gradually, as Italy became more stable, settlement moved inwards, closer and closer to Venice. The culmination of the growing power of the Venetian state was the building of Saint Mark’s.

Self has always loved history.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Transmogrify 3: Picasso, Prada, Botero

To transmogrify is to “change in appearance or form, especially strangely or grotesquely; transform.” (Michelle W., The Daily Post)

Self has three different examples of transmogrification: sculpture by Pablo Picasso and Fernando Botero, and shoes by Prada.

From the Picasso sculpture exhibit last year at the NY MOMA: A harlequin.

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For something a little different:  A (really on fleek!) pair of shoes, seen in the Prada store in Venice, November 2015

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Final picture: A Fernando Botero sculpture can be glimpsed through an open door. Botero’s sculptures were on exhibit in Palo, Italy, November 2015.

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Nostalgia for Venice

More from the watershed trip self took with Margarita Donnelly (founder and managing editor of Calyx Press) in April/May 2013, less than two years before she succumbed to cancer. We rented a small two-bedroom apartment in Ca’ San Toma, Venice. Margarita’s adventurous spirit far exceeded self’s.

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The Bridge of Sighs, April 2013: View From the Doge’s Palace

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San Marco Square on a Rainy April Day

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Self on the Rialto Bridge, April 2013: Margarita must have taken the picture. Even though self’s face isn’t visible, she really likes this picture for the mysterious red umbrella.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Nostalgia For Venice

  • For this challenge, show us what nostalgia means to you — perhaps a moment or scene that makes you feel wistful, happy, sad, or somehow longing for the past.

— Jeff Golenski, The Daily Post

Self went with Margarita Donnelly to Venice in April 2013. Margarita was battling breast cancer. She passed away in December 2014.

What self remembers of that trip was that she was always getting lost. The streets of Venice are labyrinthine.

These pictures have a melancholy feel. Her Venice is more the Don’t Look Now Venice instead of the hectic, tourist-packed place it really is.

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This was self’s second trip. The first time was when she was 11:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

CANDIDE Chapter 25: Candide Visits the Venetian Nobleman,

Candide and Martin took a gondola onto the Brenta and arrived at the Palace of the noble Pococurante. The gardens were well conceived and adorned with handsome marble statues; the architecture of the Palace was fine. The Master of the House, a man of sixty, very rich, received the two sightseers very politely but with very little enthusiasm, which disconcerted Candie and did not displease Martin.

First two pretty neatly dressed girls served chocolate, well prepared with whipped cream

“They are pretty good creatures,” said Senator Pococurante. “I sometimes take them to bed  with me, for I am very very tired of the town ladies, their coquetries, their quarrels, their pettiness, their pride, their follies and the sonnets one must compose on order for them; but after all, these two girls are beginning to bore me a lot.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Landscape: Memories of New York City and Venice

The Daily Post Photo Challenge this week:  LANDSCAPE.

  • “Show us your best establishing shot, out in nature or in an urban setting.”

Here are shots of two of self’s favorite cities: New York and Venice.

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Late Afternoon, Heading Into Manhattan By Train, September 2015

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Manhattan, November 2015

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San Marco Square, Venice, November 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Harmony 2: Peace Out, People

The Daily Post Photo Challenge for the week is HARMONY.

My take: “A blissful state of contentment. Only achieved when mind/body/emotions are in a state of peaceful awareness.”

First Photo: Venice, November 2015

Second and Third Photos: Tuscany, November 2015

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Self and Irene, Café Florian, San Marco Square, Venice: November, 2015

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View From a Vineyard in Tuscany, November 2015

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More of Tuscany: November 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Harmony: 2016 Daily Post Photo Challenge, Week 10

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is HARMONY: “the quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole.” So here are three attempts to illustrate the quality: the first two are examples of harmonies of color. The last is an example of harmony of shape.

First, an illustration from a child’s picture book: Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Wild Swans,” illustrated by Susan Jeffers. The subject is Elise, lying in the forest. Her gown is green, and other shades of green are all around her:

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A Susan Jeffers Illustration for Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Wild Swans”

Next, a handmade book by an Artist-in-Residence at the Mendocino Art Center, Mary-Ellen Campbell. Self loves the delicate (tonal) harmonies and shadings:

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One of Mary-Ellen Campbell’s Handmade Books. She is having her own solo exhibit at the Mendocino Art Center, April 1 – 30, 2016.

Finally, from a quickie trip to Italy that self and her niece Irene took last November, the immortal La Serenisima, Venice:

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San Marco Square, Venice, November 2015: The curves are repeated in the windows the lampposts, the round tables, the aluminum chairs, and the bowl of ice cream in the foreground.

 

Vibrant 3: Venice, November 2015

The Daily Post Photo Challenge this week is VIBRANT.

Self thinks the photos below, which she took in Venice in November 2015, vividly fit the bill:

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Throng, San Marco Square, Venice: November 2015

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Red Coat Woman, San Marco Square, Venice: November 2015

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Sidewalk Café, San Marco Square, Venice: November 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Optimistic: 2016 WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge # 4

This week, the WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge is OPTIMISTIC.

“How do you fuel the fires of optimism?”

Self’s answer is: by traveling. Because traveling makes self rely on a very specific skill set: adventurousness, curiosity, and determination.

And every time she goes on a trip, she has reason to confirm that she still possesses each of those qualities, in spades.

Here, a picture from a recent trip self and her niece, Irene, took to Italy.

The entire trip was Irene’s idea. Self cannot thank her enough. We used Florence as home base and explored outward.

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San Marco Square, Venice: November 2015

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Irene and Self! San Gimidgiano, Italy, November 2015

It never rained, not once. The weather was perfect: sunny and warm. Almost T-shirt weather!

Irene is a woman of great energy and positive drive. A great traveling companion.

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Oh what a perfect time was had by all! Florence, Italy, November 2015

That trip was surely one of self’s best trips, ever!

Stay tuned.

 

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