Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Starry Starry Love...

I have a new love. A long, lost love.

The Night Sky!

A friend has shared with me a new passion for learning the constellations
and other such things whose terminology
I am just in the beginning stages of learning.
But even though a new love, it feels like an old love.

I'm like a teenager again, in the throes,
but with an entity that gives me,
rather than angst,
immense feelings of beauty and joy.

Several times a day I look at the sky and smile,
impatiently awaiting our next Night Sky rendezvous together.
But like a secret love, I never know when that will be.

Clear evening skies in the Pacific Northwest's
winter (and spring and fall) months
-with which to study, gaze, learn and commune-
are a rare treat.

The day teases me with patches or clearings of blue sky,
what I excitedly hope are foreshadowings of a later tryst
when the cloak spills over everything.
And each night, I step outside my door with great hope.

Sometimes my evening dance card is filled
though I always check before bed to see if a short,
bundled up, moonless kiss might be possible.

And sometimes my Night Sky's dance card has been filled
with high clouds and fog who refuse to share.
Granted, recent low temperatures tend to add to
my already full-on Aries low-patience level.

And lately it's been cold enough that my thrice-nightly sojourns
out onto the deck to glean possible sightings
is fraught with scarves, gloves and ice under my feet.

So I don't wait long, just long enough to wink back at a few stars peeking out
or simply sigh at the blank screen
of weather pattern technical difficulties
(for Night Sky viewing trysts).

My very first recollection of the sensation of Awe
was the summer night sky of the Sierra Nevada mountains when I was 13.
I'd seen the night sky before but NEVER in it's full,
magnificent, clear mountain air glory
(which doesn't even begin to describe it)!

And here I am again, feeling 13, impatient and waiting for Christmas
only to find nightly that fog
has stolen the presents again.

(Photo courtesy of PDPhoto.org)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday is 'Missing Paris Day'~The Paris Eiffel Tower News

If you are looking for the official website for the Eiffel Tower
(in French, of course), click here.

But if you want to find out about
'The Controversy about the Eiffel Tower'~
including an Eiffel Tower Fact Book~
OR everything you wanted to know about the Pont Neuf~
OR The History of Montmartre~
OR my personal favorite museum: The Jacquemart-Andre~
OR the oldest church in Paris~
OR any number of walking tours in Paris~
AND about a gazillion other things about Paris~

I would write more but I will most likely have my nose up to my earballs
in Paris Eiffel Tower News. With info on hotels, restaurants, bars, including maps,
museums, photos and landmarks, it looks to be one of the best sites (I've found)
on the wonders that are Paris!

a bientot!

(Antique Postcard courtesy of The Graphics Fairy)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Verry Merry!

"The merry family gatherings-
the old, the very young;
The strangely lovely way they
Harmonize in carols sung.
For Christmas is tradition time
Traditions that recall
The precious memories down the years,
The sameness of them all."
~Helen Lowrie Marshall

"Love came down at Christmas;
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas;
Stars and Angels gave the sign."
~Christina Rossetti

Wishing all
a Divinely Lovely Christmas!

(Postcard courtesy of The Graphics Fairy)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gifts That Give Back!

Give a Gift for a Cause!

The Huffington Post is calling attention to their
Created by the HuffPost Impact Team and Causecast,
you can give a gift to those in need
in the name of a loved one.

Gifts Under $25:
$10: Give a mosquito net to help protect from Malaria.
$14: School supplies for a former child slave in Ghana.
$20: Give clean water to one individual.
And more!

Gifts $25-$50:
$25: Stuffed toy for a hospitalized child.
$25: USO Care Package for a U.S. Soldier.
$30: Solar Cooker for a Refugee woman from Darfur.
$30: Soccer ball for an impoverished child.
$35: Scholarship for Ugandan University Student.
$40: Pre-paid phone card for an American Soldier abroad.
$50: Provide US schools with up-to-date software!
And more!

Gifts over $50:
$65: Educate a girl for one year.
$75: Send a child to school in Africa.
$87: A Bicycle for a refugee.
$94: Specialized education for a former child slave in India.
$100: Clean water for a family.
$100: Stock a library in the US.
$128: Seeds, tools and fertilizer for a school in Afghanistan.

If you need any further reason to give for a cause,
all gift donations are tax deductible!

Give Aunt Gertie a card with the unforgettable message
that, in her name, $20 went to give a child clean water.
Or $100 for an entire family!
Go to the link above to Give for Christmas!

(Photo courtesy of PDPhoto.org)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Travelin' Tuesday~Vatican City, Rome

Welcome to Vatican City, Rome!

Being the month of the Holiest of Holidays
(and having a request for more Italy on Travelin' Tuesdays),
today we are visiting the Vatican.

the Vatican held a conference earlier this year,
inviting priests and bishops from 82 countries for the purpose
of studying and determining the challenges to evangelization
by the Internet's evolution in digital media.

Namely, ways to reach the world's youth through
social networks like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter!

Under the direction of a communication sciences professor
at Milan's Catholic University, bishops and priests
from countries all over the world
surfed the net, reflecting on
"the anthropological implications of these new realities".

The Pope on Twitter? I'd follow that! And I'm not even on Twitter. Yet!

Could be a whole new look inside a previously untouchable world.

(To send the Pope a virtual Christmas card this season, go to Pope2you.net.)

(Photographs copyright: Kirsten Steen)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday is 'Missing Paris Day'~Chinon

Another in the Traveling Doorway series! This one from Chinon, France.
Looks like the portal to a Secret Garden, don't you think?
Doors give me that mini-awe feeling, like the Muse is knocking on...
well, that would be too punny. She does have a sense of humor, doesn't she!

Mine tends to whisper in my ear, telling me all the things I need to hear:
She tells me that I am good, whole; that I can inspire that awe feeling with my writing.

But it seems to me that when pen gets to paper and push to prose,
My Muse has left the building.
She inspires, teases and then hides, as if to say,
"Go ahead. See if you can do it without me! See if you really NEED me!"

Where exactly does she go? What? Is she busy?
Excuse me, but what kind of other appointment does "My" Muse have
that would keep her away?
A writing friend once made the statement that she suspected
her muse had finally sobered up after drinking at the bar.

And mine?
What, does she have an early Squash game?
An all day Body Glow Spa treatment?
Or is she moonlighting with other writers?
Do we not each get our own or aren't there enough to go around?

Should I be leaving out chocolate or cookies at night
like children do for Santa?
What does she like? Martinis? Do I want a hungover Muse?

How 'bout coffee? With chocolate in it?
Any possible way I could leave a cup of java out with my work
and have her pull an all-nighter while I sleep?
Chocolate sprinkles on top?
This too much to ask?

Okay, ok, I NEED you!
(Photographs copyright: Kirsten Steen)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Travelin' Tuesday~Sorrento, Italy

Welcome to Sorrento, Italy!

This charming old Albergo sits atop a bluff overlooking the
Bay of Naples. Out amongst the blue and white beauty
of the Southern Italian coast, one can actually catch a glimpse of
Mt. Vesuvius and the island of Capri.

Nearby is the stunning archaeological site of Pompeii
(of which there will be a future post as it is my all-time favorite ruin)
which Vesuvius covered and entombed,
along with neighboring Herculaneum, in 79 AD.

From here, one can easily drive or ferry to Naples and the Amalfi Coast
Capri or Positano.

Would love to be gazing out from one of these chairs,
Limoncello in hand, taking photos
and writing poems.

Thanks for traveling with me. Where shall we go next?
More Italy? Greece? Spain? Portugal? Or more of France?
You pick!

(For a lovely photo tour of Sorrento along with the music
of "Come Back to Sorrento" by Jerry Vale, click Here.)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Good News Day!

Sour Grapes? Who knew! Turning water into wine into clean energy!

According to MSNBC's
Technology and Science section,
The Napa Wine Company
in Oakville, California is creating
clean energy from the bacterial
microbes of it's wine-producing wastewater.

With the use of electricity, wastewater fed to
microbes breaks down into hydrogen gas.

The company's goal: To create more energy
from the wastewater than would currently
be needed to treat it making the company
a "net power producer."

The winery hopes to use the clean energy to
power cars and run systems.

Who knows? Maybe wine will power the world!

To see full article, click here.
(Photos courtesy of PDPhoto.org)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Travelin' Tuesday~Florence, Italy

Just a lovely doorway I spotted in Florence on a walk.
Wishing I was there now sipping a local red and
nibbling olives and bread with nothing but
an afternoon of art and history
to discover.