And to think I saw it while geocaching!

Among the things I like about geocaching is that I see places and details I would not have seen if I weren’t looking for a cache. I also like that many cache descriptions tell a story and the story is made richer by the logs detailing the adventures and experiences of the geocachers searching for the cache.

A sight I might not have seen if I wasn’t geocaching was this one. I often passed through Warren, RI, on the bus, but it wasn’t until I was looking for a cache on a side street that I saw The King.

In Pawtucket, RI, I was on the bank of the Seekonk River (and quite muddy it was too) searching for a cache. This lovely reflected view of the Slater Mill Historic Site was a bit different from what I saw from the street on the other side.

I discovered the Orti del Parnaso (Gardens of the Parnassus) in Florence six years ago when I went looking for a cache. In it, there is a tree planted to honor all non-Jews who helped Italian and non-Italian Jews escape from the Nazis. The tree is dedicated to Gino Bartali, a champion cyclist who, under the guise of training, delivered documents that aided in escapes by hiding them in the frame of his bicycle.

I had several opportunities to notice this stencil near the cathedral in Narbonne, France because we looked for a cache there so many times (we never did find it). One occasion yielded one of my favorite geocaching stories. Me (while trying to reach a possible hiding place in a wall while perched precariously on a tiny outcropping of rock): “Why am I always the one doing these things?” My friend Catherine: “Because you’re taller and stupider!”

My geo-buddy Mike and I went caching several times around Providence, RI and when I look at photos, I see that a lot of our excursions were at night. This is the Woonsocket Falls Dam. What I remember from this location is that across the street was a food cart that Mike recommended!

I never noticed this emblem on the wall of a building on Piazza Santa Croce until I had to look for it as part of a multi-part geocache. It marks the midpoint of the football pitch created in the piazza for the Calcio Storico matches every June. I’ve never seen a match, but from what I’ve read, the soccer played during these matches incorporates elements of rugby and wrestling.

The cache near this mural is part of a cache series called “DC Hidden Murals.” The mural is called “A Survivor’s Journey” and the dedication reads: “Inspired by true stories of domestic violence, this mural depicts a woman and child’s journey from a painful past to a brighter tomorrow with a myriad of support along the way.”

These iron rings are in the ruins of a fort on Napatree Point in Rhode Island. To reach the cache, I  lowered myself from the upper level of the fort to a stone bench. I couldn’t quite reach the bench, so I had to let myself drop the last several inches. I found the cache and took these pictures and then realized I had no idea how to get back to the top level. On one side, there was a steep drop into trees and brush and I couldn’t pull myself back up the way I came. I finally climbed a ladder, at the top of which was an overhanging iron plate that I somehow managed to crawl around. When I told my brother this story, he said to feel free to text him the GC code so they’d know where to look for the body!

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Images © Melissa Corcoran.



In praise of YouTube

For some months, it’s been annoying me that the clock in the car I drive is not set to the proper time. The manual is not available and my experimentation with various buttons on the dashboard has been to no avail. It occurred to me last week to search for video instructions on YouTube and what do you know? Some kind soul had explained how to do it. 

I have to admit that when YouTube first came on the scene, I didn’t understand the appeal. My impression was that the videos were mostly goofy, if not downright dumb, and I thought it was all a waste of time. Maybe both YouTube and I have evolved because while there are certainly videos I don’t care to view, there are also many that have been useful and entertaining.

Take crocheting—most of the stitches I’ve learned, I’ve learned from watching one of the many explanatory videos available. Not all the presenters are skilled at demonstrating and the quality varies, but there are several who are really helpful (a shout-out to the Bella Coco channel for so many great tutorials). The same goes for patterns—written instructions can be a challenge, but for the majority of the patterns I’ve tried, someone has made a video that makes it much easier to understand the pattern (another shout-out to The Crochet Crowd on that one).

My YouTube fandom goes beyond instructional videos, though. Read in an article that Queen’s set at the 1985 Live Aid concert is considered one of the greatest rock performances of all time? The video is on YouTube (and it is a great performance). Read after her death that Aretha Franklin sang “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” with George Michael? The music video is on YouTube. Read in an article about Jason Brown’s fantastic free skate at the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships? Yep, that’s there too.

But one of my greatest pleasures with YouTube is searching for and finding videos of skits and shows I remember seeing on television when I was a child and teenager, like Tim Conway as the dentist treating Harvey Korman (and cracking him up) on The Carol Burnett Show or Danny Kaye guest-conducting the New York Philharmonic.

Then there are the movie clips. When I need a quick boost, watching Gene Kelly Singin’ in the Rain usually does it for me. I never get tired of watching the title sequence of Top Gun or Much Ado about Nothing. And did you know that you and a friend can entertain yourselves for an hour or two by watching favorite scenes from movies or filmed live performances?! 

So, YouTube, I owe you a vote of thanks for providing a platform for the information, memories, and fun.

Change of season

On one hand, the shorter days and the end of Daylight Savings Time are depressing to me. On the other hand, it’s the season of mist and fog and I get to look at vistas like this, in which even the utility poles look interesting.

Image © Melissa Corcoran.


A tapestry of grapes

The empty drying racks.

About four months ago, a couple of friends and I had a wine tasting at the Frescobaldi vineyard at Castello Pomino. During the tour that preceded it, we saw the racks on which grapes would be hung to dry for Vin Santo. We asked if we could come back to see that, which we did the other day.

What a treat! I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t the tapestry of grapes that met our eyes as we entered the loft. Three kinds of grapes—Trebbiano, Malvasia Toscana, and San Colombano—hung in rows. Our hostess explained that one of the advantages to hanging the grapes, as opposed to laying them horizontally to dry, is that the rotten grapes fall to the ground. The grapes will dry (which concentrates the sugar) until March when they will be made into Vin Santo and age in the barrel for seven years.

Naturally, we had to buy a bottle of Vin Santo before we left!

Images © Melissa Corcoran.