Category Archives: Day trips

Needing a name….

But before it’s named, I want to share some of the calm and tranquil of the cabin that dad and John Miller created behind the Kamama gallery they run. Mom keeps calling it “Julia’s Cabin” only because I’ve asked her not to. It’s absolutely a cabin that will be enjoyed by many — but I’m admittedly already looking forward to going back. The photos are courtesy of Suzan Buckner— because, yes, I forgot to take my camera. (Maybe I was using that as an excuse to go back up?)

Without further ado …

Here is the link to some pictures. Now help me name it please.


MLK day

Just pointing out how much I love the fact that MLK day has transitioned into a day of community activity and service. I mean, sure, everyone wants just a day off — but the impact of getting out and working for an organization or event that helps those in your community speaks more to the message that (perhaps) Martin Luther King Jr. would advocate. (I only say perhaps because I didn’t know the man. But have you heard anything he said? Read any of his speeches? Well, I think we can all make the leap that he would love the fact we celebrate his life by participating in his dream.)

Unfortunately I have to work. So please, if you can, get out there and pick up trash in front of your home (wear gloves) or take something useful to a shelter. Or go the extra mile and participate in an event and be part of a team. However big or small, it may have the potential to positively change a moment in someone’s life — or just make it look better when people walk by. And if you live in Atlanta, I can’t think of anything better than going to visit the King Center and get a glimpse of the past, present and hopeful future. Tell me all about it, because I have not been (yet).

Me? I’m taking a box of books to a book drop after work and have 2 bags of clothes to drop off. No, it’s not a lot, but it is what I’ve got planned for today. Hoping for more in the weeks to come. As I commented to a friend’s blog earlier, I need to redirect some of my energies to my dear hometown. There is a lot here that needs some healing.

Hot plates, sweet tea and diamonds

On the drive up to Mentone to celebrate my dad’s 69th birthday, cherry and pear blossoms were blowing across my windshield. All the new green slowly spread up the hills and naturally, again, I had the thought that I live in the most beautiful region in the world. I do.

And, once again, upon entering my parent’s new digs, I had the thought “they are crazy”. I mean that in the best way possible. But mom is cooking on a hot plate, their shower is smaller than mom’s former refrigerator, etc. Still, they look remarkably happy and dad has another project and mom is on the mountain and, well, let’s face it — that’s their bliss and it’s beautiful. Makes the rest of us look like lackluster lumps; but that’s our fault.

I slept the whole night through Saturday. I think that’s the first time I’ve done that this millenium. Feels like an accomplishment. Sunday I woke to the smell of bacon cooking (and everyone should wake to that smell once a month). Mom then went on to prepare beef bourguignon for Easter’s meal (and yes, she did it solely on a small hot plate, with a rusted iron pot and water that took forever to boil). Take that Julia Child’s. Naturally, it was delicious over noodles and with sweet tea. It’s good to be only 2 hours away.

And today, in ten minutes to be exact, the Braves walk out on my favorite stretch of green — Turner Field. Of course, I have to work and will miss their opening game — sigh. It’s good to be Spring though.

Weekend Road-tripping

Impulse will take you places. Last week I had an unexpected few days off and Cinque Terre beckoned. Initially, we were going to check out a restaurant but when the weather turned nice, Luigi and I opted for my first visit to Genoa.There was a pit stop at a neat place over looking the sea in between. We found ginger and rum drinks and some of the preppy and bit too chatty clientele. But the view was great and the music was Ben Harper, so we hung out on the edge and in between so-to-speak.

Genoa found us at after midnight and the hotel situation was a bit scarce. There was another bar open and this time the locals seemed an appropriate blend of entertaining. The bar, was 28 Erbe and open late. Genoa seems more vibrant at night than Florence. To me it was great, but one of the ladies at the bar compared it to an Octopus that grabs you and never lets you go. I guess home towns have that effect on everyone.

The next day we went to the Museum of Asian Art which is housed in a nice modern building in a little green forest on a hill that overlooks the city. Walking and riding the bus and looking for information took most of our time but we found some great graffiti, working girls, cafes, and a bustling busy place.

On the way back we stopped in Cinque Terre again to check on hotels for a longer stay in July. I mean really, we were working, not playing — or as one would say “evaluating, considerating*, and calculating.” When you look at t that way, you realize one’s work is never done.

Click this link for pictures.

*Please note that only a non-native speaker of the English language would say considerating.  🙂


Mendy came breezing through here last week. We really had a great time. She was fortunate enough to be able to stay longer, so the whole pace of her visit was “take it easy”, much better than “let’s go”. Honestly, I hope she wasn’t bored. I got her hooked on Weeds and we both caught up with LOST. Lots of laughing and talking and staying up too late. We did manage to leave Florence for a beautiful day in Lucca. Lucca, with its walls and alley ways and tasty lasagna ai funghi. I love discovering new places, and especially new dishes. Naturally I did take pictures, but hers are much better. Eventually I’ll get them all organized and on Picasa.

But, as it always happens, people come and people go. I guess that would be true no matter where I live. Luckily I worked the day she left, so wasn’t able to feel too glum about it. Of course now I have a ton of catching up to do. Here on the blog, cleaning the apartment, preparing for classes and resting for my work week. It was a fantastic visit of a great friend. Check out her blog for pictures and a clearer description of what all we did.

(cough cough) It’s Friday!

Pathetic land abounds. Actually feeling better now, but for 2 days I have had a slight fever and nasty cough. This did not (thankfully) prevent me from enjoying Mendy’s last few days here. We even managed a trip to Siena (her first) where we had great views, fantastic picci and ravioli, and lots of pictures.

And of course I have some pictures of that trip, as well as my first visit to Pisa with Mendy and another jaunt through Fiesole. However, I want to wait and give her time to get her feet back on the ground in America so she can send me some of hers. (Her camera is much more effective than mine.) That way you’ll have a barrage of Italy views to choose from.

In the meantime, I’m making this my recuperation weekend. Soup, blankets, ordered tv shows on iTunes (Angie and I are going to watch the first 2 seasons of Grey’s.) So, yeah, a few restful days ahead. And I have good news on the job front, but that will have to wait for another post and some more certainty.

Hope everyone has a good one! Wash your hands and take your vitamins. Oh, and mom, hope you feel better too (she is also sick).

Spontaneous September Saturday


Above is the little town of Consuma that I went to yesterday on an unplanned journey. Only a short bus ride away and I made it back to Florence by 8 pm. The weather is gorgeous here and in Consuma it was cool enough for me to wear a jacket. They are famous for their schiacciata (a flat bread made with olive oil typically Tuscan). Schiacciata means crushed, squashed, or flattened. Beyond simple meaning of the word, it is a tasty bread—especially when stuffed with all kinds of goodies (salami, prosciutto, cheese, veggies). Naturally, me being all about mountains, picnics, vino, and cool air, and having a companion similarly inclined, full advantage of the situation occurred. Case in point, below is a picture of our picnic, umm, bag:


I don’t know if any of you count carbs, but clearly I don’t. All in all, it was a great unplanned breather. Even saw my dream house:


Exhausted after the day but so worth the bus ride there. Whoever visits me next, be prepared for a side trip back (only 3.10 euros there). But for now, it’s back to writing time. The British Library opens tomorrow and I’m joining it. Got to get my hands on some WWII books. I’ll keep you posted how that goes…