Front page post display

  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Textures - A selection of images illustrating texture.
  • An adventure in Prague - I don’t usually travel in the summer, but a chance to see two friends from the USA in Europe was too good to pass up. We met in Prague and despite the heat and crowds, had a great time discovering this fascinating city. Our first day, we had a lunch that included fresh lemonade—perfect for … Continue reading An adventure in Prague
  • Sunflower season! - Sunflowers in front of the Castello dei Conti Guidi in Poppi.
  • Don’t finish what you start - When I was in my 20s (shockingly long time ago that was!), reading The Far Pavilions got me interested in learning more about the Khyber Pass, so I bought a book on it. Despite the interesting subject matter, the book was the most boring book I had ever read. Even though my boyfriend suggested I … Continue reading Don’t finish what you start
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Bridge - My fascination with the Brooklyn Bridge began many years ago when my brother gave me David McCullough’s The Great Bridge. Up until then, I associated history with school textbooks and read little of it once out of university. This story was so fascinating and well-written that I was reading the book on my lunch breaks at … Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: Bridge
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Transient - The transient color and light and pattern of fireworks.
  • Love Language - Originally posted on Not Inclined To Resign To Maturity:
    Love languages have been on my mind lately, in part because of Skype conversations with my oldest sister, Melissa. We haven’t actually discussed love or love languages, but what we have done is engaged in amusing ways to say goodbye to each other as we sign…
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Order - As someone who used to hang her clothes in color order, this challenge appeals to me!
  • Lisbon bits and pieces - Bits and pieces from Lisbon: This scene was a nice start to my visit. Left my table at the restaurant where I was having dinner to capture this combination of color and light, blue and white. Whoever designed this pavement was devilishly clever! It’s flat, but can you imagine walking on it in a state of altered … Continue reading Lisbon bits and pieces
  • The Museu Nacional do Azulejo - What an absolutely fabulous visit to the Museu Nacional do Azulejo in Lisbon – truly one of the best times I’ve spent in a museum! I looked forward to visiting this museum, also known as the National Tile Museum, because I knew that Portugal was famed for its tiles, but it was even better than I … Continue reading The Museu Nacional do Azulejo
  • A day in Belém - I spent a day in Belém because one thing led to another: the Monastery of Jerónimos was high on my list of places to visit in Lisbon, then I saw that the Tower of Belém was part of the same UNESCO World Heritage site, then I noticed that the  Museu da Marinha was in the same area and I … Continue reading A day in Belém
  • A walk around Lisbon - Visiting Lisbon, I did something different – I booked a guided walking tour of the city for my first morning there. It turned out to be a good move, not only because I got an overview of the city, but because my guide was so knowledgeable and entertaining. The tour filled my head with new names, … Continue reading A walk around Lisbon
  • Serendipity - Sometimes, I go out and about with a specific sightseeing and/or photography goal in mind. Other times, things just happen! The other day, I took afternoon tea at the St. Regis. While I was making inroads on the delicious sandwiches, scones, and pastries, I opened the book that is one of my ‘bibles’ for Florence, An Art … Continue reading Serendipity
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise - This was one of the first images I captured with my macro lens and I was entranced by what I could see, especially the dusting of gold pollen on the bee. What I did not expect was what it would look like when the bee took off and flew towards me. It wasn’t nearly as close as … Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise
  • Beauty for Elka - When my friend Jeff married Elka several years ago, I lucked out because while at first she was ‘Jeff’s wife,’ over the years she became ‘my friend Elka.’ I remember saying to Jeff one night, as he drove me to my train after a visit, that I liked Elka more and more every time I saw her. About … Continue reading Beauty for Elka
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: It IS Easy Being Green! - Photo challenges like this one make the endless photo cataloguing worthwhile - I could search my catalogue for photos with keyword green. The challenge was limiting myself to a small selection and seeing if I could avoid plant photos (almost!).
  • Spring evening - What a lovely spring evening in Florence!
  • Signs going for a ride - Even signs like to get out and about sometimes.
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: The Road Taken - A mild, sunny December day, a geocaching power trail, a 20-kilometer walk along the towpath and a watery road taken - the Canal de la Robine near Narbonne, France.  It seemed every bend showed us another lovely view, even after sunset.
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Against the Odds - This one was my gift from the photography gods. On a safari some years ago, my guide Tesha and I headed out for the evening game drive around 4:30. When we saw several vehicles around a tree, we knew it was probably a leopard. We joined them and saw a large, beautiful male in the tree. … Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: Against the Odds
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow - Part of the challenge on this one was limiting myself to just one photo! I didn’t succeed, but I did at least manage to limit myself to this handful of photos. Shadows cross the lines of the planks forming the walkway. Shadow curves on top of chalked curves. Look closely and you’ll see a plastic hanger lost … Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow
  • Random notes from Italy - One of the interesting transportation facets of Florence is that you don’t hail cabs, but you do hail buses. For cabs, you typically either telephone for a cab or go to a taxi stand. You don’t really hail a bus, since you can’t just stop one in the street, but if you see your bus … Continue reading Random notes from Italy
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude - This photo from the Serengeti symbolizes the quiet and space I find in being alone.
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Graceful - The graceful curve of a boat being built by hand in Essaouira, Morocco.
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Names - A familiar name on the wall of a building in Newburyport, MA.
  • Be of good cheer - New Year’s Day is generally a non-event for me. Sure, if I’m with people, I’ll enjoy whatever rituals and traditions they have, but I don’t expect to feel that life has been ‘rebooted’ and is all bright and shiny just because the calendar says it’s the start of a new year. This year, though, I … Continue reading Be of good cheer
  • Christmas lights - One of our Christmas rituals growing up was to pile into the car and take a drive through nearby neighborhoods to look at the Christmas lights. One of our favorite displays was on a small manmade lake. The houses surrounding it were on a slight elevation above the lake and the homeowners decorated from the backs of their … Continue reading Christmas lights
  • More magic - I mentioned in a recent blog post that there was something magical to me about fog and that autumn mornings in the Casentino Valley offer lots of magic. That was an understatement, as you can see from the photos in this gallery.
  • The fabric of life - Sadly, I went to a funeral yesterday in Stia. A local shopkeeper, someone my friend Catherine and I knew from numerous visits to his shop, died tragically. Although we had committed to attending a workshop at the wool museum, we knew we had to attend the funeral Mass. It didn’t matter that neither of us … Continue reading The fabric of life
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Magic - There's something magical to me about fog and autumn mornings in the Casentino Valley offer lots of magic.
  • How the light gets in - One of my favorite songs is Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem.” I discovered it via Louise Penny’s book How the Light Gets In; the title is a phrase from a line in the song that is one of my all-time favorites, “There is a crack in everything / that’s how the light gets in.” Cohen’s death last … Continue reading How the light gets in
  • Antique - In Arezzo, started down a street lined with antique shops. Interestingly, the photo I captured of shadows cast by old metal objects has an antique look to it.
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Shine - Melting ice at river’s edge shines with the setting sun. For more entries in this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Shine, click here. Image © Melissa Corcoran.
  • Blue - In Arezzo a couple of weeks ago, I saw this blue door: As with my Yellow photos, sharing the image sent me looking at other blue images in my catalog, like this tangle of rope: Blue shutters and sky: Shadow turning a hubcap and sidewalk into blue-on-blue (now that song is stuck in my head!): Another door in … Continue reading Blue
  • Working the dream - A couple retires, buys a RV, and takes to the road, planning to spend time with children and grandchildren and explore the highways and byways of their country. A woman fulfills a lifelong dream of moving to Europe, which among other things gives her easier access to the opera performances so important to her. Another woman spends … Continue reading Working the dream
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Mirror - Another photo challenge for which it was hard to limit myself to one image! Click (or double-click, depending on your device) on any image to launch the slideshow. For more entries in this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Mirror, click here. Images © Melissa Corcoran.
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Frame - In Fes, the activity in the souk is reflected and framed by the mirrors in a shop.
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Morning - I’ve never been a morning person, but practicing photography has propelled me out the door earlier than I would ever have thought possible. It’s not just the light that appeals to me, but the stillness and quiet of the early morning, even when in a city. This image of a young fisherman is from a vacation in … Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: Morning
  • Right turn - Today was one of those delightful days that are a welcome relief to August heat – cool, windy, sunshine and clouds, so I hopped in the car with my camera for a short excursion. When I came to the bottom of the hill out of Porciano, I almost turned left because that’s what I usually do. … Continue reading Right turn
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Cherry on Top - Just capturing the silhouette of the ferris wheel against a sunset sky would have been enough; the cherry on top was getting the sun too. For more entries in this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Cherry on Top, click here. Image © Melissa Corcoran.
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Look Up - I love this photo challenge! Having lived in an urban environment most of my adult life, I’ve learned to look up – the details above street-level are amazing. It was too hard to limit myself to one photo, so here’s a gallery. Click (or double-click, depending on your device) on any image to launch the … Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: Look Up
  • Letting go - When I moved to Italy last fall, my friend Elka was starting her second year of cancer treatment. Although I had been emailing her and responding to posts on her CaringBridge site, I felt badly that because I was living in various cities distant from her, I couldn’t provide the kind of support other friends could, … Continue reading Letting go
  • The road to Porciano: Consuma to Porciano - After the road crests at the Consuma Pass, it dips down to the hamlet of Ponticelli. There’s a bus stop here, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, where the bus from Florence offloads passengers going to towns in the Casentino and the busses from the Casentino offload the passengers going to Florence. For the most part, … Continue reading The road to Porciano: Consuma to Porciano
  • The road to Porciano: Pontassieve to Consuma - After Pontassieve, I make the turn towards Consuma. For me, this is the dividing line in my journey, perhaps because after this, the road twists and turns and climbs up and dives down even more than it has until now and the towns become smaller. In a lay-by after the turn, a produce truck is usually … Continue reading The road to Porciano: Pontassieve to Consuma
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Curve - Curve framing curve. For more entries in this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Curve, click here. Image © Melissa Corcoran.
  • The road to Porciano: Florence to Pontassieve - It’s a journey I’ve made many times; I never tire of it and it is never less than beautiful. For me, when I’m driving, the journey starts by going north from my apartment. I started using this route when I didn’t have cellular data for google maps and didn’t think I could remember how to navigate through … Continue reading The road to Porciano: Florence to Pontassieve
  • Gnomon - Another great day in the Duomo! Today I attended an observation of the transit of the sun on the meridian plane (I’ll have to study more to understand that fully!). What happens is that on a few days in June, the sun’s rays are channeled through a bushing under one of the windows of the … Continue reading Gnomon
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Pure - Pure gold. For more entries in this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Pure, click here. Image © Melissa Corcoran.
  • Yellow - The yellow broom is in bloom all over the hillsides here and it’s quite eye-catching: Sharing the above photo with a couple of people reminded me of other ‘yellow’ photos in my catalog. Just for the fun of it, here are some of them. A stunningly yellow wall: A fire hydrant set off by red … Continue reading Yellow
  • Books, comforting - “Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?” * Casting about recently for something to read, I realized that what I really wanted was to reread a book – one that I knew would be absorbing, allow me to fall into another world, and … Continue reading Books, comforting
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Spare - Usually when I’m near the water, I’m looking for reflections of blue skies and colorful boats. On this particular morning, I got a completely different kind of image. For more entries in this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Spare, click here. Image © Melissa Corcoran.
  • A day in Montepulciano - Images from a day trip to Montepulciano.
  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Face - In general, I don’t like graffiti but who could resist these happy (and surprisingly expressive) faces on the side of a building in Narbonne, France? For more entries in this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Face, click here. Image © Melissa Corcoran.
  • Facebook and mindfulness - When the season of Lent started in February, I happened to be IMing with my sister. She mentioned that she was giving up Facebook for Lent and although I am not a member of her religion, I said I would too. It was partly to keep her company and partly because I thought it was … Continue reading Facebook and mindfulness
  • A Chianti vista -   Image © Melissa Corcoran.
  • Rainbow! -   A double rainbow over Stia.     Image © Melissa Corcoran.
  • What bad could happen here? - If you could see the village of Vallucciole as I saw it today, you would wonder – what bad could happen here? This small, isolated village is located in the hills of the Casentino, which at this time of year are awash in the bright greens and colorful flowers of spring, set off by a … Continue reading What bad could happen here?
  • Arches - arch: a typically curved structural member spanning an opening and serving as a support (as for the wall or other weight above the opening) Recently, I was looking for an image in my photo catalogue and came across one of repeating arches. That sent me searching my catalogue for other photos of arches (and being pleasantly … Continue reading Arches
  • Henry James on Ravenna - One of the things I liked best about Ravenna were the placards along a main thoroughfare titled “La vie dei poeti. Appunti di viaggio / The street of poets. Travel notes.”  Each placard had a story about or a quote from visitors to Ravenna. This quote from Henry James was one of my favorites: “The greyness everywhere … Continue reading Henry James on Ravenna
  • Ravenna - I’m waking up from a dream, one filled with glowing color and intricate patterns. The dream is called Ravenna and the colors and patterns are those of the Byzantine mosaics. With several early Christian monuments on the Unesco World Heritage list, I had expected the mosaics of Ravenna to be wonderful, but I was astounded … Continue reading Ravenna
  • Viareggio - Rather than stay inside and be frustrated by internet issues, ran away to the seaside today … As views go, one of waves with snow-capped mountains in the background isn’t too bad! It wasn’t that warm – the wind was whistling in the rigging of the sailboats docked on the other side of the jetty.  Laughed … Continue reading Viareggio
  • Bicycles - My sister Nancy, who blogs at Not Inclined To Resign to Maturity, often takes one or more of my photos as the starting point for a blog post. When she does this, I often see my photos in a different way – her commentary gives meaning to the photo or highlights details I had discounted. A … Continue reading Bicycles
  • Sunlight and fog - Click (or double-click, depending on your device) on either image to view larger. Images © Melissa Corcoran.
  • Assume good will - Several years ago, I logged onto the website of a car-sharing service of which I was a member. I wanted to reserve a car, but when I tried to do so, I got a message saying that my account had been cancelled. My immediate reaction was ‘what is wrong?’ followed by ‘oh no, are they blaming … Continue reading Assume good will
  • Chefchaouen, the blue city - Walking into the town of Chefchaouen, Morocco was like walking into an enchantment. There were blue walls and doors, a rich mix of colors and textures, and life going on all around us. It was, as the saying goes, a feast for the eyes. Click (or double-click, depending on your device) on any image to … Continue reading Chefchaouen, the blue city
  • Red - Noticed the red bicycle and chairs and when I pulled out my phone to capture the image, saw the reflected red car and taillight. Image © Melissa Corcoran.
  • A Duomo day, part 2 - It was raining when I woke up this morning and as I walked from my bus stop to the Piazza del Duomo, I told myself that this was a sign that I did not have to climb the bell tower. This was a relief since my calf muscles were aching from the climb of the … Continue reading A Duomo day, part 2
  • A Duomo day, part 1 - During the many years I lived in Boston, one of my favorite places was The Brattle Theatre, which showed second-run and classic films. I got to see some of my favorite movies on the big screen that I had previously seen only on television, like “Singing in the Rain” and “Rear Window.” The problem was … Continue reading A Duomo day, part 1
  • New Year’s Day - I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions; I think my coach has the right idea (Resolutions … Bah Hum Bug!). However, I occasionally take the approach of starting the new year as I mean to go on, not in all aspects (the day is not long enough), but in one or two. I’m not fanatic … Continue reading New Year’s Day
  • First light, 2016 -   Image © Melissa Corcoran.
  • A Christmas wish - Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, … Continue reading A Christmas wish
  • Sunrise sky Firenze - Image © Melissa Corcoran.
  • Fog and smoke - The combination of fog and smoke in the hills this morning created beautiful effects. The smoke is from the burning of plant matter such as branches pruned from olive trees. The smell of wood smoke is prevalent right now because burning is only allowed at certain times of the year.   Images © Melissa Corcoran.
  • A Sunday in the Casentino Valley - Waking up to snow on the hills surrounding the valley. The streets in the valley gleaming like silver from the precipitation during the night, which included rain, hail, and snow. A road trip to Castello di Castel San Nicolò, a hamlet above Strada, from which there are beautiful views. Turning from the views to the streets … Continue reading A Sunday in the Casentino Valley
  • Consuma Pass clouds - Driving over the Consuma Pass (that’s one of my favorite phrases these days) into the Casentino Valley this morning, I gasped when I saw this spectacular cloud-scape and immediately found a place to pull off the road. Don’t the lower clouds look like waves cresting or water boiling up between the hills? Click (or double-click, depending on your … Continue reading Consuma Pass clouds
  • Duty done - I’ve done my duty and visited the Galleria dell’Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David. While appreciating the magnificence and symbolism of the statue, I was underwhelmed. (I don’t think it’s because I’d seen so many representations of it beforehand; other artworks have blown me away when I finally saw them in person after seeing them in pictures.) More interesting to me was … Continue reading Duty done
  • Olio nuovo - One of the highlights of the year in Italy is when the new olive oil arrives in stores. This oil is from one of my favorite places in the area of Porciano – Toscana Twist.  This is where we go to buy wine and breadsticks, taking our own empty bottles to be filled with wine … Continue reading Olio nuovo
  • Apples and grapes - My landlady and friend Martha gave me these apples and grapes last night. The way in which she piled them into the basket struck me as so lovely, I wanted to share. Image © Melissa Corcoran.    
  • Autumn afternoon - Images from a walk above Porciano (in the Casentino Valley). It was a perfect autumn afternoon – blue sky, sunshine, warm but not hot. As is common here, the cloud formations were beautiful. Click (or double-click, depending on your device) on any image to launch the slideshow. All images © Melissa Corcoran.
  • View from Piazzale Michelangelo - Image © Melissa Corcoran.
  • Home, for now - Two years ago, when I told a lifelong friend that I had closed my apartment and put my stuff in storage (see Two Years a Vagabond), she replied that she wondered if my travels would bring me to a place that would tell me “this is my new home.” In a way I did not … Continue reading Home, for now
  • A wander around Florence - Today was the first time since I arrived back in Florence that I had a chance to wander the city. My walk took me to the Duomo, across the Ponte Vecchio, into the Oltrarno, and back across the river near Santa Croce. Click (or double-click, depending on your device) on any image to launch the … Continue reading A wander around Florence
  • Sunday morning walk -   All images © Melissa Corcoran.
  • Two years a vagabond - In one of my first posts on this blog, I wrote about how a ‘brush with death’ accident changed my perspective on life. That changed perspective led to one of the more major changes I’ve made: two years ago this month, I closed my apartment in Providence, put my belongings in storage, and became a vagabond. … Continue reading Two years a vagabond
  • Stuff about stuff - Earlier this year, I took advantage of a sojourn in Providence to go through the clothing I had in my storage space. I tried on everything and discarded two bags of clothing that didn’t fit or wasn’t in good condition. It wasn’t until this summer that I realized I had overlooked some clothing that was in a … Continue reading Stuff about stuff
  • The space in which we live - “The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.” “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, Marie Kondo  
  • A lovely thought - This morning, I donated some clothing to a local organization that provides work-appropriate clothing to low-income people who are completing training or educational programs. As I was filling out the donation form, I chatted with the woman who took in the clothing, saying that I hoped the recipients would wear the clothing in good health and on their way to a … Continue reading A lovely thought
  • Country fair - A summer tradition – the country fair. These images are from Brockton Fair, one of the oldest in the USA. Click (or double-click, depending on your device) on any image to launch the slideshow. All images © Melissa Corcoran.
  • Life goes on - For me, as I imagine for others, one of the hardest parts about the death of a loved one is that life goes on. I remember walking to work a couple of weeks after my dad died and wondering how the sun could shine. Although the circumstances of my mother’s death were different (see Grief in … Continue reading Life goes on
  • The Boys in the Boat - This weekend, I finished reading The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, a book my sister-in-law had recommended. This morning, I picked it up again to read the last couple of chapters and all I can say is ‘read this book!’ Brown tells the story of nine working-class American boys who rowed for gold … Continue reading The Boys in the Boat
  • Mom - Today would have been my mother’s ???? birthday. (If you’re wondering if I know when my mother was born and how old she would have been today, the answer is yes, I know, but she said she’d come back and haunt us if we revealed her age.) In her honor, I am posting an edited … Continue reading Mom
  • Grief in the twilight zone - Last Mother’s Day, I wrote about the twilight zone my mother was in as a result of dementia and how my siblings and I and our relationship with her were also in that twilight zone. By this Mother’s Day just past, our mother was dead and I find I’m still in a twilight zone of … Continue reading Grief in the twilight zone
  • Isola d’Elba - When I put together galleries of my photos, I usually have a theme, as in the recent Passageways gallery. In this case, however, there isn’t a theme, just me wanting to share photos of the beautiful island of Elba. As my brother said, I wouldn’t mind being exiled here. Click (or double-click, depending on your device) on … Continue reading Isola d’Elba
  • La Pietra - I was fortunate this week to take a tour of La Pietra, a fifteenth-century villa bequeathed to New York University by Sir Harold Acton. I wasn’t comfortable taking photos inside the villa, but did take some of the garden. Our guide told us the garden is a recreation of a Renaissance garden. Such a garden is considered part of the … Continue reading La Pietra
  • Gifts - When I first thought of writing a post for this day, I planned to take advantage of it being my 60th birthday to wax philosophical – I figured maybe I could get away with it. But thinking about birthdays led me to thinking about gifts, so instead of writing the ‘let me share with you what I’ve … Continue reading Gifts
  • Commemorating Filippo Brunelleschi - The anniversary of Filippo Brunelleschi’s death (April 16, 1446) was commemorated in Florence today with a procession and wreath laying ceremony at his grave in the crypt of Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo). Brunelleschi was the genius behind the construction of the cupola of the Duomo and is one of my heroes. Click (or double-click, depending on … Continue reading Commemorating Filippo Brunelleschi
  • Passageways - Working in my photography catalogue recently, these images of passageways stood out to me. It’s one of the things I like best about seeing a city on foot – one notices the smaller and less-obvious ways of getting from one place to another. Click (or double-click, depending on your device) on any image to launch … Continue reading Passageways
  • Scoppio del Carro - As Easter mornings go, this one was pretty spectacular! I attended the Scoppio del Carro (‘Explosion of the Cart’), something I’ve wanted to do since I read about it a year ago. The morning started at Via Il Prato, where the cart starts its journey to the Piazza del Duomo. The cart is pulled by white oxen. They … Continue reading Scoppio del Carro
  • Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana - If I have a religion (used in the sense of “an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group”), it is that of the book. It’s not just that I love reading, but that I respect the knowledge and imagination that are captured in books. As a result, … Continue reading Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana
  • Santissima Annunziata - I stepped into Basilica della Santissima Annunziata to light a candle and saw this beautiful sight.