When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore…

God knows, I love listening to Dean Martin.  Here, have a sip of vintage Dino…That’s Amore clip.  He was born Dino Paul Crocetti, to Italian immigrant parents in Ohio, and spoke only his father’s dialect of Italian until he went to school.  He was, and still is to me, the King of Cool.  Sweetie and I went to the land of his father on our honeymoon, and this image was taken while we were in Florence howling at the moon.  Sweetie was a breech baby, born backwards and we fear she hasn’t changed since.  She has what the Prophet Omega termed “crossed-up condition”…tends to say “right” when she means “left” and so on.  Smart as a whip, but does things backwards.  We did the honeymoon first, followed with the wedding reception some months later, then went to the Grove Park Inn and were married!  It was just the two of us and the padre, in the garden of a home that hosted F. Scott Fitzgerald and in which Nina Simone took piano lessons.  So, I guess I’m backwards now too, and the only thing I’d do differently is to do it all again!  And if anyone’s looking for a honeymoon recommendation, try Florence and the Arno River by moonlight…and bring a little Dean Martin with you to set a fine romantic mood.
(5 September, 2006  Arno River, Firenze, Italy)

God, don't you love Dean Martin!

There’s a lipstick sunset, smeared across the August sky…

When John Hiatt sings “maybe love’s like that for me, maybe I can only see as you take away the light”, he’s wondering if love is recognizable only as it fades, like a sunset is only visible as the light is leaving.  The man knows about pain, and I imagine so does the guy rowing in the image below.  If you’ve never tried rowing as an exercise, I can’t say I recommend it.  Rather, I’d advise you to sit down until the feeling passes…rowing is a lot of work!  If you’re looking for exercises that burn lots of calories though, rowing is right up there with running, aerobics, playing basketball, and my new favorite- cross-country skiing!  There are more than 90 kilometers of ski trails lit by floodlights just in Oslo, and skiing them is free!  When you live like we do in a city second only to Tokyo as the most expensive place on earth, you have a keen interest in anything that is free.  So, keep your rowing and bring on the skiing, and we’ll both be happy with the bargain!  (16 September, 2011 Arno River, Firenze, Italy)

Like a bridge over troubled water, I will ease your mind…

If I ever tire of looking at the Arno River in Florence, someone stick a fork in me…I’m done.  The timeless combination of moonlight, water, and stone so often creates stunning images, the kind I like to have sitting around in plain view for a mental retreat when things get stressful.  The Ponte Vecchio over the Arno River was first built in Roman times, using stone piers and a wooden superstructure that tended to wash away during floods.  It was finally rebuilt in stone in 1345, a medium which has proven to stand the test of time. The bridge was originally home to butchers, but we are told the odors of their cast-offs led to their eviction in favor of the jewelers who still occupy the bridge shops today.  In 1565, the Medicis had a private enclosed corridor built atop the shops on the bridge, giving them a safe and secure way to get from their Pitti Palace to the town hall nearby.  It is indeed so historic and picturesque that even Hitler found a soft spot in his heart for the Ponte Vecchio…at his express order, this was the only bridge over the Arno not destroyed by the Germans as they retreated from  Florence during WWII.  Check it out some time, and don’t be afraid to explore the far side of the river too…many visitors to Florence don’t venture beyond the great Duomo and Uffizi Gallery hotspots, and they’re missing so much.  (5, September, 2006  Firenze, Italy)