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Sunday, December 16, 2012


I am now, really and truly, looking at my final days in Brasil.  I started ‘Flowers’ as an experiment, just to learn something new, pass the time, and it evolved into a means of talking about, of showing you my world.  It is full of the inevitable comparisons between the USA that I knew so well and Brasil, a country that I was learning to understand and to, at times, DSC_1934love.  It also, from time to time, became a voice to my efforts to know and understand myself as I have changed through aging and experiences, and now may become a place for me to express all the changes I will have to make as I return to the place where I started.  

I find that this idea of changing back has occupied my thoughts at the oddest moments; while visiting my sister a month or so ago, or when in a hot shower, just walking mindlessly through the grocery store, or while standing in long lines, waiting.  The idea of what defines us now and of how we make our way back to a place where we are comfortable with ourselves, and our expectations is a question that needs answering.  Are we the sum of all our titles held: daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, divorcee, wife, widow or of the things we enjoy doing: reader, talker, walker, dancer, cook or what others see from the outside looking in, student, bookkeeper, manager and back to student once more.  How will those secret character traits we keep so well hidden: shy, unsure, child, needy, affect us while we wait for the transition back to be complete. 

I suspect we are all ever evolving.  Sometimes being influenced by our hidden traits and at others, being pushed forward by who we have become to be that person we have yet to meet.  I suspect that the transition takes time and patience.  That in the end all those titles we have been, become a part of our new self.  Like a well cooked stew, in the end all the components add taste and character; widening, shaping, determining who we will be next. 

Sunday, December 09, 2012

A Flash of Memories

camillo (109)

Today Camillo has been gone two months, and even today I can’t really believe that he is not here with me and his family.  I have spent nearly the complete two months looking back through our photo albums.  Albums that we started after our first trips in 1992 and ended with the my first digital camera Camillo gave me for Christmas 2002.  After that I stored all my digital photos in folders on an exterior drive, thousand and thousand of photos from all of our trips, parties, celebrations, all the good times.

DSC_2899In February of 2007, I started writing on ‘notanissionary’ as a guest writer and nearly simultaneously started Flowers on the side; a blog for the purpose of posting color and photos from time to time.  Through these two blogs I began to track our trips and other activities in real-time.  I didn’t always post about all of the trip, maybe the leaving or just the return, but I have photos of nearly everything we did over our 20 years together.  I find this a comfort; not many people can say their lives have been so thoroughly documented. 

(The countryside near Alba)

My last photo post was from Torino.  From there we traveled to Alba and on to Como.  I have yet to look at all the photos from that last week, but I will.  I wouldn't want to miss the memories they represent.  All of our DSC_3293last week, the last day, the last hours are documented in photos. 

(Lake Como)

The last day was a day well spent.  A sit on a bench sharing a panna cotta flavored ice cream, gelato; a day filled with laughter, and good food, and friends and new sights.   All  the things that our life was filled with, all twenty years, no one can ask for more than that; a lifetime of memories. 


Saturday, November 10, 2012

One Step


DSC_3224One step is all it takes

one foot then the next

one foot then the next

one step is all it takes.


Our first step and our last

one foot then the next

takes us where we want to go

one step is all it takes.


One step backwards doesn't count

one step forward is what it's about

one step then the next

takes us where we want to go.


Life melted down

is about one step, then the next

taking us where we want to go

one step is all it takes.

GingerV, Nov. 10, 2012

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Ipanema and beyond


A view of Ipanema from across the Lagoa. 

During this past two weeks, Camillo and I have been in Rio, Lisbon and Torino.  Here is a sample of each skyline.


Historic center of Lisbon – a view of the castle from the old city.


Rooftop of Torino viewed from the Palazzo Reale.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The last night in Turin,

Tomorrow we leave for Alba and the Tartuffe (truffles) festival; the highlight of this trip.  Camillo’s sister ask us over two years ago to meet her in Italy for this festival, and then backed out once we got into the idea.  We are both sorry she won’t make it.  The idea of trying many recipes of food and pasta with truffles, and the local wines that are made to accompany the food is of real interest for us. 

Our six days in Torino (Turin) have been fun.  Our hotel is inside the historic center, within easy walking to many sites.  In fact, the map of this area has 58 buildings to see listed and 92 sites of artistic and cultural interest.  (there may be overlaps)  Most of these are palaces (Palazzos) from when the Savoy kings and their courts were housed here.  Torino being the first capital of the unified Italy before Florence then Rome.  Over a three hundred year period, the city went from a remote military outpost to one of the most sophisticated cities in Europe.DSCN1972  (1560 – 1860s)


We’ve spent many hours walking, browsing, gazing, photographing and, of course, eating.  I have 3 pair of comfortable shoes with me, a pair of tennis, one pair of boots and one pair very comfortable sandals.  Over the six days, I rotated through the shoes, going out in the morning around 10 and walking until two or three in one pair.  Going back to the hotel for a rest and then going out again around 7 wearing a different pair of DSCN1855shoes.  This works pretty well for keeping the feet (arches) from collapsing.   

The café in the Palazzo Reale -

In the first two days we visited the Palazzo Reale, which is huge; didn’t allow photos and took at least 3 hours to walk through: 

the Palazzo Madama which is a wonderful museum containing furniture, plates and decorative items, and is four stories of history of the Royal period, did allow photos and nearly caused me to drop with exhaustion and gave tremendous joy all at the same time.


The Palazzo Madama:

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The Madama had a full room of hand made lace on display.  OMG!DSCN2207

We filled each day, but I will tell of only two more places we really enjoyed.  We took a bus then a trolley (train) up to the Basilica di Superga (the tombs of kings and Queens of the Savoys).  First we got to sit for most of the 40 minute trip both ways, the view of the city is superb, and the Basilica beautiful where it sits upon the hill.


And FINAALY : the National Museum of Cinema - the MoleDSCN2109

Mole Antonelliana sede del Museo del Cinema:  This is probably the best known landmark, the most photographed  in Torino.  To tell the truth, I wanted to see the building but wasn’t really interested in the Museum of Cinema.  I was wrong.  What fun.  There are many interactive displays  illustrating the technology of early film and the development of cameras.  Then when you think your feet won’t hold up another minute you, enter a huge room with large screens hanging from the ceiling and lounge chairs with sound coming from in the head rest…. and clips from old movies from the 40’s and 50’s and some 60’s (that we saw anyway in the 40 minutes or so we laid with our feet up) playing on all the screens.  There isn’t a child, of any age, that won’t enjoy this museum.DSCN2163







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Goodnight from Torino.

Monday, October 01, 2012

A Meal to write home about

Finally, one week in Europe and I have a meal to write home about.

Restorante Tre Galline (10122 Torino – Via Bellezia, 37)  [the three chicken restaurant] info@3galline.it 

This restaurant was recommended by the (night) Concierge when ask if he knew a ‘local’ restaurant with typical cosine.  

We shared 3 dishes, in order to taste as many tastes as possible,  and we were impressed that the server did as we ask without complaint. DSCN2231

Ricotta fatta in casa con misticanza di erbe & verdure di stagione

Fresh made Ricotta with a mixture of herbs and greens. This included Bulei (Camillo is not sure of the spelling) mushrooms, steamed small green beans, red cabbage, and very thin sliced zucchini, drizzle of olive oil and salt)

Served with local wine: Nebbiolo


Tagliolini ai funghi porcini

pasta with porcini mushrooms (sounds better in Italian)

served with local wine: Barbera


Agnello al forno e Torino di patate, fichi e nocciole

Baked lamb with a ‘Potato Patti’  (this is so wrong – this was whipped potato, maybe twice baked – had a slight crust on top - with small pieces of fig and a nuts.  This was super delicious and I will try to make at home as soon as possible.)


Meringata ai frutti di bosco

Meringue with raspberry  (Inside the meringue was a hard shell of meringue with a raspberry jelly on a light crust.)

A perfect meal.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Museums & Memorials – Lisbon (Cont.)

We have been in Turin (Torino, Italy) for two full days….  We have seen so much in Turin already that it is hard to go back to Lisbon and show you more of the things seen there.  I am sorry to say I may have to just get back to it in remembrance later.  That means; maybe in a month, or 6 months or as I have done in the Past Vacations series; a couple years from now.  For now though, I will finish with the Torre de Belém  and the Castelo de S. Jorge and hold off on the city streets and this and that of Lisbon that I had planned in my notebook.  (Yes I am trying to keep a notebook so I can remember later my thought and feelings as we go through this month.)

DSCN1613Remember in my post yesterday?  I talked about the Memorial of the Navigator and the Jeronimos Monastery, and got tired of entering photos, cutting myself short on the Maritime Museum.  The Monastery and the Maritime museums are large, multi-floor buildings.  Actually it is the same building, one end allowing DSCN1630you to walk through long halls, with high ceilings and ornate arches, of the monastery and its soring ceilinged church.  When we entered the observation end of the church there was a service in session, and a choir was singing….. it was lovely – I hope that Camillo got it on tape for the DVD he always makes after our trips. 

DSCN1640The other end of the building is attached to a newer structure, all business hallways, housing many model ships and other ‘sea captain’ tools of navigation.  The is also a large warehouse that has barges of the royals and two or three plane, one that made a Portugal – Rio de Janeiro flight, first to cross the South Atlantic.

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I can see where taking some mid-sized boys, this museum would be great fun.  I was interested but by the time we’d walked all the floors, etc.  I was in no mood for a large warehouse.  

We stopped in the café and had a coffee and I ate a quiche, then we headed up the street, across a walkway to the Torre (Tower).  It must have been about a kilometer – A long kilometer.

The tower used to be out in the sea, but, like in Rio, a large strip of sea was filled in, from the tower to the monastery.  I am guessing here – I don’t have internet to just search the DSCN1748info for you – but this strip of land is about a half to 3/4 of a kilometer wide; there is a road and trolley tracks in front of the monastery, then a garden and parking lot, bus drop-off area, then a highway with a intercity train tracks running up the center, then a marina, garden and parking lots for the tower.  A fascinating engineering story all on its own.

Finally the Torre de Belem:

The structure is actually a small structure.  Once I got inside I took off my shoes and walked barefoot – ah what a relief -  I walked up into the upper tower, Camillo stayed down on the first level.  I am glad I had my shoes off because the steps got smaller and smaller as you go up – and without shoes my feet fit much better on the space allowed.  There is only one set of steps so from time to time going up and down you had to ‘step aside’ to let someone going the opposite  way pass by – that was fun…..

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Okay, no Castelo tonight.  I will start telling you about Torino if I post tomorrow.  I am surprised that except for a dish of gelato on the piazza Costello, I don’t yet have good food to talk about.  Maybe we have been too tired for food to taste good.  Will let you know about that later.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Museums and Memorials–Lisboa (Lisbon), Portugal

DSCN1503I know we did only two days in Lisbon; half day on Wednesday, all day on Thursday and a half day on Friday, but Camillo was the organizer of what DSCN1507we saw when, and I think we did really well in a very short time.  We stayed in a hotel in the central historic center, ate and walked near the hotel, down to the sea as the sun set on Wednesday evening. 

DSCN1557On Thursday we went by private car out to see the Memorial of the Navigators, (Padrão dos Descobrimentos), the Jerónimos Monastery, The Maritime Museum  (Museu de Marinha) and the Torre de Belém.  All of these museums and monuments are within (relatively) easy walking distance from one to the other.  The problem is when you walk all around each, then go to the next and the next, it become pretty hard on your feet.  We did the rounds in about five hours, plus a light lunch.  Then after a rest at the hotel, we went by taxi up to the Castle (Castelo de S. Jorge) walked around, watching the sunset, and afterward walked down passing by the Se (the archbishops seat) to the historic center for dinner; another two hours.  Might have been better to split all the major sites between two day, but well, we only had one full day…. so we hurt a little but saw a lot.

Photos in order:  Memorial of the Navigators

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 Mosteiro dos Jerónimos & Museu de Marinha: Taken from the Roof of the Memorial - to the right the tour of the monastery and on the left the entrance to the Maritime Museum.

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DSC_2445  DSC_2448  DSC_2455  DSCN1613    DSC_2465    DSC_2478

I am not a ship or sailboat enthusiast but enjoyed this extensive display of model ships through history and the world exploration by the Portuguese. 

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Enough!!  Tomorrow more – When I am home, with a better internet connection I will download slide shows.  For now will continue to record the trip in date order….