Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First Day in Florence

Florence on a sunny day is a beautiful place to be. Of course, I think Florence is a great place to be anytime, but we were blessed with some really bellissimi blue-sky days with perfect temperatures.

So, even though I have plenty of pictures of the Duomo, I just had to make some more.

I don't know how many times I've been to Florence since leaving there in 1990. Quite a few. Even so, I'm always struck by the Duomo: the architectural marvel of the cupola itself, as well as the incredible detail of the facade--which is so much prettier now after cleaning than it was when I first saw it in 1987 as a student.

Coming to this area around the cathedral often reminds me of the first time my eyes beheld it as a student. I wonder if anyone could see then on my face how amazed I was by everything. It was so much to take in for a 21-year-old who had grown up in an Arkansas town of then about 10,000 people. I had traveled some in the States and seen some beautiful and very interesting places (thanks to chorus trips, mainly), but there simply is nothing in the States to compare with a European city that was the center of the Renaissance!

Seeing these buildings also reminds me of how as a student, I wondered if I would ever get to come back. Little did I know then that this city would become a second home to me.

Now I've opened a can of memories, so to speak, but it's getting toward bedtime, so I won't indulge in letting them out to wriggle around. They'll have to wait for another time....Buona notte!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Home Front

Well, actually three of these pictures are from the back of our home, not the front.

I just thought I'd better put them in now, or they'll be forgotten forever. They were all taken before the trip to Europe, but never made it beyond the storage phase....

Here is one of the first mushrooms that sprouted in our backyard after an unusual amount of summer rain.

And here is wisteria attacking our garage. This stuff must be related to kudzu. It grows so fast, it is truly amazing...and annoying! Thanks to the help of a dear friend, all that is reachable has now been cut down to the base, and I plan to start applying poison this weekend. (Goes against my grain, but so does having a plant do this to our garage!)

And here is the first sweet little tomato I have ever grown. So cute! Unfortunately, the tomatoes for the most part came of age while we were on another continent, so I didn't get to enjoy seeing them ripen and all that should come after that. We do, however, have one more that has appeared since our return, and I must say it looks an awful lot like this one did.

And here are shots of our Tosca and Paolo during their first unleashed visit to the front porch. Drazen was working on something, just what I don't recall. For whatever reason, we decided we would put up the gate and let them go out onto the porch. It was so cute watching them venture out, with our encouragement, to an area they are consistently not allowed to go to. They sniffed and looked, and raised their ears, and probably lowered their ears at certain moments. All in all, they seemed to enjoy it, and we certainly did.

The pictures are all strange. It was dusk, and I think I had the flash on for this first one, which made everything else look much darker than it was.

And then I don't know what I did, but Paolo looks a bit like a ghost after that, especially in that last picture. With a digital camera, I often have no idea how I get what I get....

Back to Italy next time!