Archive for the 'travel' Category

Italian Doors and Windows

I recently went on a wonderful Mediterranean cruise that included four ports in Italy.  Here are some of the beautiful doors and windows I found.


Italy Playlist

Burano 2003

Burano 2003

“On Approaching Italy” by Oscar Wilde

I reached the Alps: the soul within me burned,
Italia, my Italia, at thy name:
And when from out the mountain’s heart I came
And saw the land for which my life had yearned,
I laughed as one who some great prize had earned:
And musing on the marvel of thy fame
I watched the day, till marked with wounds of flame
The turquoise sky to burnished gold was turned.
The pine-trees waved as waves a woman’s hair,
And in the orchards every twining spray
Was breaking into flakes of blossoming foam:
But when I knew that far away at Rome
In evil bonds a second Peter lay,
I wept to see the land so very fair.

Here’s a playlist I put together for an Autumn trip to Italy.   Wonderful to listen to on the long flight.  One of the stops for this trip was Lucca, Puccini’s birthplace, so a lots of opera.

Cavalleria Rusticana-Intermezzo-Mascagni

Mendelssohn Symphony #4-“Italian”

Albinoni’s Adagio in G minor – Amici Forever

Ancient Airs and Dances-Resphighi

Sicut Cervus-Palestrina

Canzon for Double Echo-Gabrielli

Concerto Grosso -Corelli

Cantabile, for violin and guitar- Paganini

Carnival of Venice-Paganini

Double Cello Concerto-Vivaldi-Ma and McFerrin

Four Seasons-Autumn-Vivaldi

Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves-Verdi

O  Sole Mio-Pavarotti

La Danza-Rossini-Pavarotti

Nessum Dorma-Puccini-Pavarotti

E Lucevan le stella-Puccini-Pavarotti

Vissi di’ Arte-Puccini-te Kanawa



Autumn Leaves-Andrea Bocelli

Red Door in Dublin

After a wonderful trip to Ireland, Scotland, and England, I’m back home.  Lots of singing, lots of touring, and lots of red doors!!!!  Here’s a favorite from Dublin.  I came across it at a hotel near the bus station.  The sun was going down and someone had turned on a light in the upper window.  So lovely.  Dublin is famous for its famous painted doors found in its Georgian neighborhoods, but how lovely is this?  More later.

A Tale of Two Sets of Shutters

 One of the simple pleasures of walking through neighborhoods in new cities is seeing how people decorate the outsides of their homes.  Next to beautiful doors, I love shutters and flowerboxes.  When I found this house in Charleston, South Carolina, I was overjoyed.   The detail and layering of the window set in a beautiful urban garden.  What’s not to love? So genteel, so peaceful.  windowbox4.jpg

Compare the above window to this one I found in a small town in Italy.  Beautiful shutters, lovely old stucco.  If you forget about the frosted privacy glass and the metal pipes, I think the statement about peace (flag plus baby clothes) should touch your heart as well.



They’re back!

What do you get when 25,00 thousand or so monarch butterflies come to spend the winter in a ecalyptus grove just a few miles from the Red Door? This morning I saw the first monarchs tasting the oregano plants in my butterfly garden.  Who doesn’t like Italian food?  It is a sure sign that the seasons are changing when the butterflies stop by on their yearly migration. The first time I visited the grove, I thought the trees had an unusual number of orange leaves.  Then I realized those were the butterflies hanging on the leaves.  What a sight.  Then there is butterfly sex…..doing it in the air.

To learn all about the butterflies, check out the resources at

Autumn is on the Way

It’s time to load up the old mp3 player with autumn songs.  I made a classical playlist and one for all other fall inspired music.  These are great for walking on cool evenings, sitting by the fireplace with a good book, driving through the mountains with the changing colors of the treesaspens-in-nm.jpg, or sitting at a vineyard sipping wine among the autumn-leaved grapevines.  My favorite vacations have always been at this time of year.  A special weekend in Santa Fe one October is especially memorable since the aspen trees were in full splendor.  An amazing performance by Andrea Bocelli to get you in the mood is on Youtube. Other Youtube clips are shown in the playlists. 

Classical Playlist (Listed by composer and missing some annotations here and there, but what the heck!) 

Jazz, Pop, Folk, New Age….(Listed by my favorite performances.  Can you imagine how many times “Autumn Leaves” has been recorded?  It is always a toss up between Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald for “Autumn in New York.”)


I recently went to a wedding at the beautiful Silverado Country Club in Napa, California.  It was nice visiting with old friends and family members in such a setting.  Sunday morning brunch was on a patio overlooking the golf course. p9020127.jpg I felt like I was a character in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.  Of course, during the 1920’s and 1930’s my family would have been the people in the maids’ and butlers’ uniforms, cooking the food, and doing the laundry and the gardening, not the ones discussing theater, polo, and jaunts to the continent.  Amazing.

 Napa certainly has changed.  It seems more like a bedroom community for San Francisco than anything else.  Little boutique wineries and too many strip malls for my liking.  I was happy to get back to the little place with the red door.  No one told me, however, that a heat wave had hit the coast and instead of the fog, the temperature had soared over one hundred degrees.  Headed for the pool, posthaste.