Raindeer Games!

Courtesy of EG and Tater and before that Farmboz:

You Are Dancer

Carefree and fun, you always find reasons to do a happy dance.

Why You’re Naughty: That dark stint you had as Santa’s private dancer.

Why You’re Nice: You’re friendly. Very friendly.

Okay that thing with kindly older gentleman and drinks, that was a long, long time ago. And friendly is a good thing. Right?

05 dicembre – Beato Guido Maria Confort


It’s been a while since I’ve shared the wealth of postings that are out there on my favorite blogs, not because I haven’t been checking things out but mostly because I’ve gotten lazy. There’s been a kind of lethargy settled over our place the last month or so – call it the post-winter blahs, big-city depression, whatever but its certainly had its effect on my blogging activity. It took me almost a week to get a posting done on the very exciting Fidelio I experienced two weeks ago; and I still haven’t posted anything about the two Vatican visits last weekend – but they are in the works. Maybe by Pentecost???

Here are a few things that I’ve read and enjoyed over the past few weeks.

  • One of my great inspirations when I first started blogging, the incredible Lynette over at Big Ass Belle posted a piece on prayer God’s Golden Spotlight back at the end of March – yes its been that long since I shared. It came at a time for me when prayer seems to have, in a small way, reentered my life. And it’s great to see Lynette posting again, even if for the moment it is only off and on.

Alms slot at St Giacomo in Augusto

This alms slot is at the portal of the now closed Church of St Giacomo in Augusto which was built to serve the former hospital for the incurables.

  • The newly shaven EvilGnome had an unusual sighting in the middle of Boston earlier this week. And his camera has come in handy for capturing the birds that are flocking to his neighbourhood. And in his wry way he shared his thoughts as he looked in the mirror razor in hand.

Monuement in St Maria dei Aracoeli

This funeral monument set in the floor at Santa Maria dei Aracoeli was commissioned to commemorate the burial spot of an important personage for eternity. Ironically their name and face has been erased by the footsteps of centuries of worshipers and tourists.

  • As well as changing her profile picture (you can’t mistake those naughty eyes) Sageweb had a transcendental experience in the grocery aisle that had me in stitches. And she ended the week with two great videos that are touching and reaffirming.

A converted stable

Just off Campo di Fiori this stable/coach house dates from the 1500s – its now a beauty salon. Sic Transit Upsweep!

Vatican Museum - Map of Venice

We saw this famous map of Venice last Monday during our private tour of the Vatican Museum – its on the wall at the end of the incredible Map Room. Venice is one of our favorite cities and we’ll be there next week just in time for their Patronal festival. Don’t even ask about the cost of hotel rooms!

  • Foodie Jonathan at Around Britain with A Paunch praises the joys of Heinz 57 and unveils a new upscale version that’s coming on the market.

Crowds at Trevi

For any of you who think you want might want to relive those moments from Three Coins in the Fountain – here’s the crowds at the Fontana di Trevi on a quiet day in late February. You won’t want to see it now that the warm weather is here. Actually you may not be able to see it.

  • For the past few weeks Jeff has been taking us on a Sunday drive through his neighbourhoods. It reminded me of the Sunday drives we often took when I was young – only in this case the driver is a heck of a lot better looking.

Bacchus at Bleve

When we were having lunch with friends at Bleve, a great little wine bar near San Andrea delle Valle, Laurent noticed that this Bacchus seemed just a little bit tipsy. I must say his eyes do have that slightly unfocused look I remember – says he very self-righteously after over six weeks without a drink – from my drinking days.

  • And Elizabeth has been keeping us posted, as her time allows, on how things are progressing with KH after his surgery. Though I’ve removed the candle from the sidebar I’m still stopping in to light a candle for his recovery and to remind myself of the needs and concerns of so many of my friends.

Photo-op at San Pietro

After the Papal audience on the Wednesday following Easter newly married couples were lining up for their photo-op. Couples come from all over to re-don their wedding finery and receive the Papal blessing during the general audience. The couple waiting their turn were from Spain.

You may have read some of these posts already – if not give them a visit. And if you have, what it would hurt you to take a second look?

19 aprile – Sant’Emma

4 X 10

So here I am in the middle of working on a few posts appropriate to Holy Week and doesn’t Lorraine come along with a bit of memish distraction. Well I’m easily distracted and I wanted to post a few pictures from Athens so:

Coffee Frappe

There isn’t a cafe in Athens where you won’t find a Coffee Frappe – sweetened ice coffee with a delicious foam on top. My favorite is at the Cafe Metropole in the Cathedral Square.

Four jobs I’ve had in my life:
Airline Employee (33 years) – Clerk, Customer Service Agent, Training Instructor, Project Manager
English Teacher to the Polish Armed Forces Chiefs of Staff
Web Editor of an English Language Business Paper in Poland
Security Screening Officer with the Government of Canada

Four Movies I Watch Over and Over Again
The Dead – a beautiful, simple, touching film – Walter Huston’s last based on the James Joyce short story
Raise the Red Lantern – a classic of the Chinese cinema with the incredibly beautiful Li Gong as a young girl brought into a merchant’s household as the fourth wife.
Dumbo – What you ain’t never seen an elephant fly?
Some Like It Hot – Well no body’s perfect!

A tinsmith in Psiri

This tinsmith’s shop is located just on the edge of Psiri.

Swan Windows

These iron work swans grace the balconies of the Spanish Embassy on Dionysos Areopagitou; and yes, that’s the Acropolis across the road reflected in the windows.

Four Places I Have Lived
Toronto, Canada – born and bred
Ottawa, Canada – home base for most of my adult life as I travelled around the world
Warsaw, Poland – our first real diplomatic post together, I was more a visitor in Mexico City, Amman, Cairo, Chicago and Beijing.
Rome, Italy – our current home

Four TV Shows I Watch
(We have 500 channels here – 100 in Arabic and 50 of those are for sex chat lines???? – and there is still nothing to watch)
The Simpsons (I Simpson)– you know its reruns when you can say the English dialogue over the Italian dubbing.
Ugly Betty – reruns on Fox here and we still don’t have this season yet!
Family Guy (I Griffin) – you know its reruns when you can say Italian dialogue over the original English
Law and Order: SVU – reruns but who bothers with dialogue when you can watch Chris Meloni or Mariska Hagerty for that matter.

Sunday around noon the cafes near the Agora where filled with a few tourists but mostly locals enjoying those wonderful frappees and early lunch. Adrianou St. was crowded with street sellers and entertainers including this old man with his antique hand organ.

An open air cinema on Apostolou Pavlou. Its like a drive-in without the cars.

Four Places I Have Visited
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam
Aix-en Provence, France
Mount Sinai, Egypt
Skagway, Alaska
Okay I’m not bragging here but on one of those map programmes I’ve clocked up 195 cities visited, now mind you that includes a restaurant stop at St. Tite so maybe I should make that 194.

Four People Who E-Mail Me Regularly
Linda Gagne
Charlie Knight
Bev Toomer
Robert Mickens

Many of the houses on the upper reaches of Monastiraki and the Plaka seem derelict.

However this building very close to the Cathedral has been beautifully restored.

Four Favourite Foods
French Fries
Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
Scalloped Potatoes
Roast Potatoes with Rosemary and Olive Oil
And yes I am Irish and yes there is a theme here!

Four Places I Would Like to Be Right Now
(Okay I’m going to cheat on this one and going to include places I’d like to be in the coming months)
In Punta Cana for our nephew Andrew and Jessica’s wedding in April
At Mount Tremblant for our friends Martin and Robert’s wedding in June
In my old garden, once the 52 cm of snow has disappeared, to watch things begin to grow
In Rome with Laurent – oh wait a minute I am but I honestly can’t think of a 4th place.

There were many small chapels and churches throughout Athens, many like this one adorned with mosaic tympanums.

This group of cub scouts where playing a round game of some sort on Dionysos Areopagitou on Sunday afternoon. I’m still not sure how the guy in the Asterix helmet was involved.

Four Things I Am Looking Forward to this Year
Our trip to Salzburg in May
Our trip to Venice and Vicenza in April
Maybe, just maybe, a trip to Malta
Celebrating our 30th anniversary in November.

Four People I’m Passing this on to:

Subtle Knife

The area surrounding the Theatre of Dionysos was a mass of poppies and the gentlest breeze sent them dancing.

21 marzo – Venerdi Santo


There have been quite a few changes going on in my little corner of Blogdom and at least one addition to my list of favorites.

  • In an unusual concept three of my favorite bloggers have joined forces with a friend of theirs, who I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t visited before, to become East End Boys and West End Girls. Auld Hat (The Voluptury), Cowbell (I Need More Cowbell), Eric (Secrets of the Red7) and Maine Gay have turned blog reading into one-stop-shopping – we’ll now be getting four great blogs for the price of one. And Ms Hat’s template is innovative and cool.

Bas Relief - King David

King David plays his harp before the Lord – bas relief from the organ decorations at San Giovanni in Laterna.

  • And the sexiest food photographer I know has, with his buddy Al, done a redesign of his blog. The new look over at Tater is clean and classy and the writing remains amongst the best in blogdom. And those photographs… I want me a big bowl of cherries.

Red Bull SmartCar

I knew those damned SmartCars needed some sort of power booster.

  • And speaking of food, at Around Britain with a Paunch Jonathan has posted a very unusual food fight. As well he and Cowie are cooking up some goodies, visiting some upscale restaurants and on a very serious pancake hunt.

Spider web gate

An very Deco spider spins its metal web on a gate near our house.

  • Our blogmother Lynette has come briefly out of retirement and posted another one of her powerful pieces. Kayla is not an easy read and if you are like me you will be both heart-broken and enraged.

Collanade at San Pietro

Towards the Piazza San Pietro from the steps of the Basilica.

  • Elizabeth at Love Elizabeth touches on diversity in two posts – one as an observer and the other as one of the observed. And over on her other planet, Ridiculon, she’s posted a photo that asks, it seems to me, a reasonable question.

Forgotten tombstones

These tombstones lay forgotten by the side of Via Nomentana, our main street. No doubt they are relics from the catacombs that warren the area.

  • Buddy Sling recounts an adventure in dining at Applebee’s that makes me appreciate that here in Italy being a waiter/waitress is a profession not a inoportune pause on the road to stardom. And earlier in the week he provided us with some real pretty guitar music.

The Fountain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona is being restored. This means using dental equipment to clean delicate surfaces. Sort of like a teeth cleaning only takes a hell of a lot longer.

  • It often happens that someone posts a comment and you’ve never seen them before, so off you going to check out their blog and how it would connect to you and your interests. I’m guessing Gertsamtkunstwerk is, amongst other things, an opera fanatic but the title Mad Musing of Me pretty much says it all. Been enjoying the posts immensely and according to one I’m in the Upper Middle Class. My accountant would be surprised to hear that.

21 febbraio – San Pier Damiani


Though things have been a little off kilter here the past week or two doesn’t mean I haven’t been following my favorite bloggers. Though in many cases I haven’t been commenting a great deal – imagine me keeping my mouth shut – I still found so much to enjoy out there.
The flock starts across

  • The doyenne – so young and she’s a doyenne already – of Opera here in Italy if not all of Europe, the beloved Opera Chic has been featured in Classical Singer magazine. Interviewer Amanada White, rightly IMHO, calls her the world’s foremost opera blogger.
  • My darling Auld Hat is back in full force after a brief sabbatical and is as wise, witty and talented as always.
  • Sageweb went on a trip and gets tripped up at Ikea. And then she goes and gives us the cutest damn puppy and puddy picture around. And you all know how I feel about puppy and puddy pics.
  • RG has totally ruined The Wizard of Oz for me, I’ll never look at getting back to Kansas the same way ever again.

Under the shepherd's eye

  • Once again Tater writes from the heart and reaches our hearts with a memory profile of his beloved Jimmy.
  • Lorraine is touched by grace at a time and place she least expected. And in the telling proves that grace can be in the written word.
  • And Elizabeth muses on the nature of friendships and the kinship of being an outsider.

An old sheep dog
And that just a random sampling of what I’ve been reading from my blog buddies – all of them more than worth a regular visit if they’re not on your list already.

These pictures where taken on a back road in the Reiti plain in November. That old dog was very concerned when we separated him from the flock. The shepherd had given us the all clear when there was a break – but that old boy kicked up quite a fuss.

25 gennaio – Conversione di San Paolo