The Best Museum I Had Never Heard Of.

We are staying with friends in Santa Marinella just outside Rome. Lucky for us they have a sense of adventure and love for UNESECO sites and lead us to the following adventure.

Mysterious Tarquina full of Etruscan surprises. We begin at the Necropoli. There are so many wonderfully preserved tombs here. Stunning rooms are carved into solid rock, including wide staircases descending to a small door entrance.

Part of the area dates to the 9-8th century BC. As time went on traditions changed, more and more elaborately decorated tombs appear. Many depict the Etruscan lifestyle. All are beautiful.

Above the surface there are yurt type structures. Of course over time these structures were buried beneath the earth and rediscovered by farming. Imagine the surprise of finding such treasure in your field!

After touring the Necropoli, our wonderful friends drove us to the town of Tarquina. The town retains a medieval charm. Meandering through the streets it is easy to imagine the sound of horse hooves clip-clop along the cobblestone roads.

On to the museum where the treasures are kept.

Fantastic pottery, carvings, weapons, and items used for daily life in the centuries BC are shown

This little museum rivals the more famous and a must see if you are able to break away from spectacular Rome and travel up to the area of Tarquina!

τόσο πολύ

Continue reading “The Best Museum I Had Never Heard Of.”

Save Scooby

What the heck? I have taken a 9 month break from publishing a post.  Perhaps like birth but  without the  adorable baby at the end.  (So many drafts. I just wasn’t willing to share) Today I feel amazing.  Today I created beautiful things.  Today I am brave.  

Today I want to tell you about the lie.  Or maybe it’s the truth as I see it.

This past 9 months I have been having the time of my life.  My beautiful daughter married the man of her dreams, a loved one survived leukemia to remission, the world seems amazing and perfect. Life is so good.

Then a horrible imaginary sound invaded my universe. Like a BOOM! One of my loved ones became severely depressed and there was NOTHING I could do about it.  I’m going to rename this person Scooby-Doo because everyone loves Scooby-Doo.

ISN’T IT HARD to imagine a depressed Scooby? ……..Exactly.

Why does it happen to such a wonderful person?  Scooby is so loved, so funny, so happy.  Scooby makes EVERYBODY feel good. How could SCOOBY be depressed?

Scooby’s brain lies to him.  Scooby’s brain is full of a cornucopia of chemicals that create an alternate reality.  If you love Scoob you are having a hard time accepting his state of mind.  Picture Scooby Doo putting a gun in his mouth.  Impossible!  True.

Scooby is great at covering up.  Only those who check in daily know.  I am one of those.  I am so ANGRY at those who don’t check in. Scooby lied to his loved ones. He said all is well so they don’t know.

Hey Shaggy, Save Scoob!   If you read this & think you know who Scooby Doo is you are right.  Call. Text. Show you care.  It’s f’n life or death.

P.S. Scooby Doo I Love You

Shells & Mexican Politics

Once and a while we stumble on a small business & just fall in love with it.  Rocky Point Rodeo Drive has a of of shops that hold very similar tourist items. We weren’t expecting something different or new.  Creating curios from shells has been a long standing tradition even when this road was simply sand and shacks. I had my own tradition of buying one particular older woman’s shell creations but when they upgraded the road a few years ago, her store disappeared.  Now we have created a new tradition as once we met Salvador.Way at the west end of the street on the north side we found a shop owned by a delightful couple. Salvador is showing the secure backing his wife uses on her designs.Some of the shells are local, some are purchased, but all the work is hers.He explained they live behind the shop and TODAY  he was watching the shop and the kids while his wife was at a political luncheon for women.Salvador’s pride in his wife’s work & her participation in the luncheon was delightful. We  learned a lot about this couple in a short time from his story. They are part of the old traditions, and they are shaping in the future of their town.   This is such a terrific mom and pop business. Please stop in the next time you are in Rocky Point. I know  we always will.

Going To The Dogs

Excited for Prime day and I was ready.  I had my item all picked out.   The first one sold out in minutes and the remainder well…Apparently the site has been crashing all day.  You are redirected to these adorable pictures of  dogs delivering the bad news.  Meet some of the dogs of Amazon!

Dear Liver

Dear Liver, I feel so betrayed.   I have been focused on eating properly and proud of exercising routinely.    I was prepared for the doctor to say something like “woo-hoo great job”.  Instead we had the talk.  Since my doctor is much younger than I am  he says things like “it comes with age”.  Really little boy?  Does it? Child, I am fully age aware every morning as I get out of bed as  it sounds like popping bubble wrap and  feels like various bones are breaking.  Just when one gets used to a new wrinkle, silver starts showing up in the hair. Get used to that and an old knee injury turns chronic on what is now the last ski run one will ever take. So now organs are rebelling?  Great. It’s not Dr. Babyface’s fault. He’s only trying to help.  As a matter of fact he spent a lot of time investigating happened.  Here’s what we found and the reason I feel betrayed.

The past 6 months I  eliminated  many unhealthy foods. I completely cut out  Diet Coke, drink less alcohol, less red meat, cut out processed foods etc. Imagine my shock when I am suddenly in a dangerous range. The young doctor saw the look of horror on my face and started the investigation. “What’s changed in the last 6 months?”  It turns out in my quest to be healthy that smoothies made with a low calorie almond milk contain over 2 grams of the worst kind of fat!  In another twist, the organic/non GMO/Omega 3 bread also low calorie contained another gram. So  my healthy smoothie-a-day was trying to kill me.  I don’t like taking prescription drugs so he gave me 3 months to bring it back down on my own.  He graciously said “you did it before so maybe you can do it again but the obstacles are genetics and age”. Challenge accepted.

I often wonder if I had a time machine, I would  go back and tell my young self to take better care of this body.  The answer is no. I wouldn’t miss a minute; not one mogul flying down a mountain, not one wipe-out, not one vodka, not one all night party, not one tamale, not one prime rib… I would tell my young self just do it.   It was all worth it.  As the jaded young doctor says, “it comes with age” anyway right? Perhaps my attitude is how I ended up here. Truthfully this time products labeled healthy were poisonous.   At least now I have more ammunition to fight the inevitable  with everything I have.   So dear liver, you are on notice for the next 3 months. The great experiment begins.

Note from Dr. Babyface:  Look for monounsaturated fats  in all nut milks such as Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk- (click on Nutrition facts ) It shows 30 calories, no saturated fats.  Great right?  Wrong.

Note from Me: Damn it now I have to give up chips and salsa.  (Stay tuned for solar cooked sweet potato and beet chips)

 

 

Grad Night – Hey Mister…

I recently attended a high school graduation and what an entertaining evening.  REALLY.  I’m not kidding.  Okay so here’s what happened. G & I arrived about 10 minutes early to packed stands.  We took the first two openings we saw, row 2 on the 30 yard line farthest from the stage.  (There were also chairs set up on the field for people with tickets).  Soon “Never-met-a-stranger-G”   was entertaining our section of the bleachers.  A family with 4 of the most well behaved children I have ever seen were right in front of us and the kids immediately started interacting.  What happened next was entirely G’s fault as he encouraged the kids per usual.

Kid 1; “Hey Mister, Where did you get that hat?” G-“Mexico”.  Kid 2 ( adorable girl 5 years old) “You mean real Mexico?”

Kid 3; (Middle girl trying to get in on older brother and younger sister’s action) “Mister, Why are your boots so pointy?”  *All 4 kids, their parents,  and an old man left of  G look down at his feet*  G-“That’s so I can kill the bugs in corners.”  Now, I could see the emotions pass over their face, ‘should I laugh or am I going to get in trouble if I laugh?’ He smiles, they laugh. Old man next to G: “What did he say?” His wife: “He kills bugs. BUGS”.  Old man looks back down at G’s boots visibly irritated.

At this point I have to interject that  the procession of 367 seniors had begun through a gauntlet of parents on the field (you know, the ones with tickets). They lined up in 2 lines for the grads to pass through all the while taking pictures. At times, in their zeal, they completely blocked the progress.  Three songs played…then started over again. Therefore our banter wasn’t making us miss any action on the field.  Plus we were on the second row and a gaggle of people with balloons & signs were still streaming in trying to find seats blocking any idea of a view. Okay. Back to the conversation;

Kid 1:  “Mister, (pause…looks up while he is thinking ) You’re reeeallly old”.  Kid 3 (Middle Girl not to be outdone) “You’re older than my grandpa!”  To which G replies-“I AM OLDER THAN YOUR GRANDPA.”  *Parents nervously laughing*

Mom of the  inquisitive kids: “How old are you?” G answers-“73”     ALL FOUR KIDS EXCLAIM “WOW!”.   (Kid 2-, the adorable 5 year old covers her eyes).

Old man to the left of G (not their grandpa): “What did he say?” His Wife shouts: “He’s seventy-three” (people behind him laugh and nod at G)

Mom of 4 inquisitive kids: “I thought you were in your fifties!  You look young”. Old man (who I think is not yet even close to 73 but looks older than G)  shakes his head, GETS UP, MOTIONS TO HIS WIFE & THEY LEAVE!

Preteen Girl on my right who has been listening: “Are you in love with him?” (which I think is kind of a weird out of the blue question but hey, we ARE the entertainment during this turtle walk the grads are doing so I answer) “Well yes, we have been together 25 years”  Teenage girl:  “Woah. That’s quite an accomplishment!” to which the surrounding couples above her chuckle too.  We are all sitting in the bleachers to celebrate accomplishments so I roll with it.  The mood around us remains festive, total strangers striking up oddly personal conversations all thanks to my G.

For the rest of the night our section enjoyed the celebration together.  We all shared a belly laugh  when unbeknownst to the owner of a huge bundle of balloons, a wind had blown  the balloons to engulf a man walking past in the opposite direction. The poor man was trapped in a sea of blue, gold and black.  The trapped man  panicked, struggled, batted and swam his way out of the mess.  What WE saw were balloons,  elbows, balloons, knees, man twisting around, more balloons. What we HEARD was Squeaky squeaky squeak “Sorry dude” just as the balloons finally set the captive free. They just kept going walking  away in opposite directions like it never happened.

We all listened to the same speeches together and a collective wave rippled through the bleachers from over 30 year old onlookers as we questioned why so many speeches by the top graduates referenced TV Shows as inspirational. One recounted episodes and praised  the accomplishments of a fictional character as if she was presenting that character an award. The only other quote was taken from Cardi B.   Not one literary quote in ANY of the speeches.  None.  No standards like Walt Whitman, or Mark Twain.   Perhaps my time as a lover of books is old fashioned now.  I’m the old woman in the stands thinking  “kids these days…do they know how fascinating  it is that   Harper Lee is still relevant?” Perhaps the student speech givers knew that their peers understood why the quote from Cardi B was special, and why Kim Possible or Ron Stoppable is inspirational even if I wasn’t in on it.

Every speech from the  hall of fame inductees to teachers to students  had some reference to the support received from the community. Whether it was from fellow students, family, teachers, or the community itself, all of them called out each other for kindness and support they received.  I found that so comforting and somewhat unique in the political rhetoric speeches have become today’s norm. Perhaps that is the epicenter of  this school’s success. A community celebrating each other’s accomplishments.

This diverse school had  nearly 5 million dollars worth of scholarships, so many awards to the senior class including awards in academic decathlons, a 92% rate of continuing education from this class alone, national awards in things like ROTC, and even in Fashion.  These were opportunities we didn’t even have “in my day”.  It came as a surprise to me that the biggest cheer of the night was for the principal like he was some kind of rock star.   What a great time to be a graduate.  Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the school is exactly that, making us all wish we were one of them.

Two and a half hours later many families had already duck-walked in front of us out of the stands as soon as their grad received a diploma.  I KNEW their student had received a diploma because 3 foot  pictures of their grad were produced, screams, horns & booming confetti cannons shot over us all as the names were announced.   The confetti cannons were such a hit with our new  friends that, for a while at least, the children  were occupied with collecting. “I get red, you get blue…” Those of us in our little section stayed to the end. Together.  We helped each other gather belongings, amble out of the bleachers and bid goodbye like we were long lost friends.  Kids gave hugs to G, hands were shaken, good luck offered.

We looked for my nephew who we were there to celebrate and met the family off to the side of the common area, out near the vending machines.   He was number three Senior in his class and remained humble and grateful for the support from his parents, brother, aunts,  uncles and cousin who were present and gathered in a circle around him taking pictures in terrible lighting.   Oh and score! We got out of our parking space onto the street like the parking gods were watching.     Yep we REALLY had a blast at this graduation.

Lorelei:  (aka kid 2 -five year old adorable girl ): “Hey Mister, are you gonna come to my graduation?”  G- “Yes I am so you better work very hard.” Lorelei: “Okay I will.” and runs to her dad.  

See you in 2031 Lorelei.