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March 2009 Archives

March 1, 2009

A Photo Quiz for Venice lovers

The creator of the beautiful A Lover of Venice website has just posted a new page: Let's Play (a Venice game).

The game consists of twenty photos to identify and let me say, it's very challenging. But fun!

Right now, I know twelve of them and am still trying to figure out the other eight. I didn't know all of them right off the bat, I had to do some research. Some helpful hints: a few of the answers can be found on other pages of the ALoV website (check out the "Cast in Stone" page, and also "Hidden Corners" and the sestiere pages linked at the bottom). Two of the answers are somewhere on my blog.

Question #15 is driving me crazy. I know that spot, I've been there, and I just can't place where it is!

ALoV will post the answers on March 25, and there may be more questions coming later on this year.

Continue reading "A Photo Quiz for Venice lovers" »

March 2, 2009

Snow Day!

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What a great surprise! We don't get that much snow where I live, and it's especially unusual to get any this late in the season. It rained all day yesterday and then when I went to bed, it had just turned to snow. I woke up this morning to a Winter Wonderland, and the roads are so bad that I can't go to work (yay!). I love Snow Days and we get so few of them that it's really exciting when it happens.

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It was 70 degrees here last week and we've already got daffodils blooming.

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Kathy (Trekcapri) asked me how my cats like the snow. Well, they are indoor cats so they don't have to go out and get cold feet but when I woke up this morning, they were both in the window checking it all out. The first thing I did was go outside and fill up the bird feeders, so both cats sat in the window watching the birds for an hour or so. Cat TV! Now LuLu is in her bed taking a nap but Maria is still sitting in the kitchen window chirping at the birds.

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Continue reading "Snow Day!" »

March 3, 2009

The girls

I thought I'd share a few more photos of the cats before I "go back" to Venice. I am still trying to get my photos and thoughts organized, and now that the Blog Everyday challenge is over, I'll have time to mess with my trip photos some more.

Here's Maria doing her impression of The Sphinx:

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Cuddled up for a long winter's nap on a cold day. For the most part, they are getting along great. Occasionally LuLu has to remind Wild Child Maria who's boss, and she'll take her right paw and lightly bonk Maria on the top of her head. Maria gets this very indignant look on her face and then they have a staredown, and eventually Maria backs down. Only rarely do I hear any hissing and that's when Maria is really getting on LuLu's nerves. But LuLu has much better success keeping Maria under control than I do (when I say "no" to Maria, she thinks it means "do it again"!). Maria has calmed down some but she's still a little whirlwind. :)

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When Maria isn't tearing up the house plants, stalking her toy mice, trying to make LuLu wrestle or play chase with her, searching the kitchen for food to steal, or sitting in the window chirping at the birds, she gets on the floor and rolls around. I call it Kitten Yoga.

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Continue reading "The girls" »

March 5, 2009

Corte del Forno Vechio

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A cool little shrine/chapel/oratory in a corte in San Marco. Built in 1815 and dedicated to Beata Vergina Assunta, it even has a bell on top.

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Continue reading "Corte del Forno Vechio" »

March 6, 2009

PhotoHunt: Space

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This week's theme is "space."

It's gonna be fun to see what everyone does for this wide-open theme!

No surprise, but I've gotta go with "Sacred Space" and the amazing mosaics in the Basilica di San Marco, the cathedral of Venice and my favorite church in the world.

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You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Have a great weekend everyone and Happy PhotoHunting!

March 9, 2009

Santa Margherita

The mascherone (grotesque face) guarding the bell tower of Santa Maria Formosa isn't the only one in Venice; there are several others including this goofy guy protecting the campanile of the church of Santa Margherita. The church is deconsecrated and the bell tower is half of what it used to be, but the campo itself is thriving.

Santa Margherita

At one time, this was one of the most opulent Byzantine churches in the city. Consecrated in 853, the church was decorated with mosaics and had an apse covered in gold and a huge dome supported by four enormous Greek marble columns. The Byzantine church survived for eight centuries and was then rebuilt in 1687. The campanile was built in 1305 and the scary monster face added when the church was rebuilt.

SMarg tower

The best story about this church concerns a hermit nun named Bisina who in 1330, moved into a tiny cell in the bell tower and only came out once a year, on Ascension Day, to go to Mass in the Basilica di San Marco. The rest of the year, she would climb through a tiny passage in the roof of Santa Margherita and observe Mass from up in the dome.

Continue reading "Santa Margherita" »

March 11, 2009

Orbs?

I only learned about Orbs recently, maybe because I just got my first digital camera last year. A quick google search showed lots of Orb discussion and photos out there on the web, with people divided into two camps: those with the rational “reflection off a dust particle” explanation, and then the mystical camp (people who believe that an orb is an angel or other being from the spirit world).

Now, I don’t know what they are but it’s surely more romantic and exciting to think that they are angels. I do believe that there are unseen benevolent beings around us, and I like the idea that they might pop up in our photos from time to time. And they show up so rarely in my photos that I pay attention when they do.

So anyway, I came home from Venice last winter with two orb sightings in my photos, both of them shrines.

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shrine with orbs

Continue reading "Orbs?" »

March 13, 2009

PhotoHunt: Four

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This week's theme is "Four."

This theme had me stumped and I wasn't sure I had anything, but when I started looking, I found some easily. In fact, I found Four photos for the Four theme! It's a very random assortment.

Four birds on the beach

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Four balls in a window

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Four slats on a fence

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A four-leaf clover that my nephew found

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It's March Madness now for hoops fans, and I did think about how I hope that my Tar Heel basketball team will be playing in the "Final Four" in a few weeks, but I don't have a photo for that yet. But anyway, Go Heels!

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Have a great weekend everyone and Happy PhotoHunting!

March 15, 2009

Winter Minestrone

sundayslowsoupers I'm off schedule again with the Slow Souping; this minestrone was last weekend's soup but when we had an unusually early burst of warm weather, I didn't want to spend so much time in the kitchen. But now the cold (and rainy) weather has returned, and this soup is perfect for that. It does take a while to make this one, but it's worth it because it's really delicious.

This recipe came from Shannon who found it in Gourmet magazine, and I changed it some because I'm trying to eat as much local food as possible. Instead of chard and escarole, I used some Napa cabbage and a bunch of baby red turnips that I found at my farmer's market. It came out great! Recipe and my notes are below.

We've been making soup since November and several of my fellow Soupers have said that they're getting a bit weary of it! I'm not tired of making or eating soup at all, but I AM tired of soup weather. I've got a bad case of spring fever but the good news is, it's definitely on the way even though it's pretty cold here this weekend. We have about a month of soup left and then we move onto Salads. Yay!

Soffritto on the left, soup on the right

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Signs of spring in North Carolina

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Continue reading "Winter Minestrone" »

March 17, 2009

Restoration and scaffolding

I wrote a report after my 2007 trip about the scaffolding and restoration work sites and and such, so I thought I'd update the on-going restoration of Venice.

The Basilica in December 2007. Check out the number of pigeons.

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And in December 2008. A much better view of the most beautiful cathedral in the world. There's still a bit of scaffolding on the left side of the church (and there's a huge work site around the base of the campanile) but overall, this is an improvement. The biggest change in Piazza San Marco is the GREATLY reduced pigeon population since the city banned selling birdfood last year. There are still a few pigeons strutting around but not that many.

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Santa Maria della Salute in 2007 with the strange metal beehive scaffolding around the dome.

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And in 2008. Still a lot of work going on but the main dome has had most of its braces removed, and now they're working on the back of the church. In addition to the work on the church itself, the whole Punta della Dogana was covered over in December. But I just read that the Punta della Dogana is unveiled now, and the new museum is due to open in June.

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Continue reading "Restoration and scaffolding " »

March 18, 2009

The President Picks the Heels

tar_heel.jpegMarch Madness is in full force here in North Carolina and everyone is talking about their brackets and office pools, and Tar Heel fans like me are fretting about our point guard Ty Lawson's hurt toe and trying to figure out how to leave work early for the Heels' first game on Thursday afternoon.

I have to say, seeing President Obama's bracket makes me very happy! I haven't finished filling my bracket out yet but I'm going to pick UNC to go all the way too. :)

Go Heels!

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Presidential Pick 'Em At the White House (story and photo from ESPN)

"The most powerful person in the world is like many of you: He predicts the Tar Heels will be cutting down the nets in Detroit.

"I'm going with experience, and I think that Lawson is going to be healthy. I think having an experienced point guard who can control the game and make free throws at the end, that's going to be the difference," Obama said.

The commander in chief then turned to an ESPN camera, offering this pep talk for coach Roy Williams' crew:

"Now, for the Tar Heels who are watching, I picked you all last year -- you let me down. This year, don't embarrass me in front of the nation, all right? I'm counting on you. I still got those sneakers you guys gave me."

I love his little pep talk! I guess the Tar Heels gave him some sneakers when he played ball with them during the campaign. His bracket looks pretty good!

Obama's Bracket

And in other Hoops news, Forbes Magazine also ranks the Tar Heels Number One: The Most Valuable College Basketball Team

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If you're scratching your head about what I'm talking about, here you go: :)

What is a Tar Heel?

March Madness

March 20, 2009

PhotoHunt: Yellow

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This week's theme is "Yellow."

Happy Vernal Equinox! Yellow is a perfect theme for the first day/weekend of Spring. I bet we'll see lots of happy yellow flowers this weekend.

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You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Have a great weekend everyone. Happy PhotoHunting and Happy Springtime.


March 22, 2009

Carrot Ginger Soup (and another spring flower)

sundayslowsoupersThis recipe came from Slow Traveler Debrah, and it's a perfect spring time soup. It couldn't be easier to make either.

I love the spicy kick the ginger gives to this soup. I garnished it with some plain yogurt and a grating of nutmeg. It was delicious. Recipe and my notes are below.

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And here's another spring flower. Many years ago, I bought a bag of mixed early spring bulbs and planted them around my yard. It was mainly crocus and hyacinth, but my favorite thing that came out of that bag are these miniature iris. They are right by the walkway to my door and are one of the earliest things to bloom every year, weeks before their much larger cousins, the bearded iris, will bloom.

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Continue reading "Carrot Ginger Soup (and another spring flower)" »

March 23, 2009

Earth Hour: This Saturday at 8:30 pm

EarthHour.jpgI first learned about Earth Hour last year when Marta of Postcards From the Trail participated and wrote about it on her blog. I knew I wanted to do it this year and fortunately, I got an email from the World Wildlife Fund reminding me that it's coming up this weekend.

Turn out. Take action.
Be part of this historic event.

March 28, 2009, 8:30 pm local time

World Wildlife Fund is asking individuals, businesses, governments and organizations around the world to turn off their lights for one hour – Earth Hour – to make a global statement of concern about climate change and to demonstrate commitment to finding solutions.

Earth Hour is a global initiative in which millions of people around the world will cast a vote in favor of action on climate change by turning off their lights for one hour on March 28, 2009 at 8:30 pm local time. By voting with their light switches, Earth Hour participants will send a powerful, visual message to their leaders...

Earth Hour
Earth Hour USA
Earth Hour Canada

Lots of cool info and maps on the websites. 2,848 cities, towns and municipalities in 84 countries will be participating. The lights will go off at the Great Pyramids, the Empire State Building, and the Acropolis in Athens. Venice is participating by turning off the lights on the Rialto Bridge and at La Fenice. Last year, 50 million people participated - it'll be interesting to see how many people join in this year.

From the FAQs:

Is Earth Hour merely a symbolic act?

Symbols are quite powerful. From the Boston Tea Party all the way to the sit-ins in the 60's, symbols have a way of sparking change that sweeps around the planet. Flipping the switch for Earth Hour is a way for people to get involved and demand action wherever they are. It's easy so everyone can participate no matter their location, age or income level.

What are the next steps after turning out ones lights?

Earth Hour is just the start. After the lights go out around the world we hope that conversations will continue on climate change and that people will take initiative to make small changes in their lives to be more carbon efficient. We encourage simple but effective energy-saving measures such as installing compact fluorescent light bulbs, which are more efficient and last much longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, choosing energy efficient appliances, making sure their car tires are properly inflated and unplugging electronics when they are not in use. WWF will spend the rest of the year taking the voices of the people who participated in Earth Hour to our policy makers and work with them on finding ways to get us out of the climate crisis the world is facing.

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Polar Bears from Wikipedia Commons.

March 25, 2009

Venice Photo Quiz: Answers posted

A Lover of Venice has posted the answers to the wonderful Let's Play: A Photo Quiz for Venice Lovers that I blogged about last month.

If you missed it, it's not too late. The questions are here while the answers are there (no peeking!). I'm slapping my head over a couple of them that I should have known. I can't believe that two people got all of them right, just amazing.

ALoV has another great new page up: A Venetian Meltdown: From the Rialto to Wall Street about the 15th century collapse of the Venice banking system. Some eerie parallels with current events!

In other news, here's a gloomy story from All Things Considered. I heard this on the radio today and then found the story online. They miss American tourists!

Tourists Not Visiting Italy in Time of Economic Crisis

And a few strange stories:

Venice to Convert Invading Seaweed into Electricity

For real! The Venice Port Authority has plans to build a power plant that will use algae/seaweed from the lagoon to supply half the city's energy. Very cool if this happens!

Vampire Skull Found in Venice

There are stories about this crazy discovery all over the web, but National Geographic has the best photo of the skull found recently in an archeological dig on a lagoon island.

Venice to Save Stone Lions

"The Veneto regional government is set to approve a law providing for the upkeep of the endangered lions..."

They have to pass a law for this? :)

Lion of San Marco

March 27, 2009

PhotoHunt: Hands

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This week's theme is "Hands."

A large street mural on a building in downtown Durham, NC. I don't know who the artist is but there are lots of hands (and hand holding) in the painting.

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A sweet little painting and message on the back of the car that belongs to North Carolina folk artist Sam "The Dot Man" McMillan.

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And here's the artist Sam "The Dot Man" with his hand in his pocket. :)

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You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Have a great weekend everyone. Happy PhotoHunting!

Continue reading "PhotoHunt: Hands" »

March 28, 2009

Curry Mee (Coconut Curry Noodle Soup)

sundayslowsoupersThis recipe came from Marta of Postcards From the Trail who found it in a New York Times article called "From Asia, Rapture in a Bowl."

I agree with the rapture part - I loved this soup. Thanks to Marta for choosing this one because I probably wouldn't have put the effort into tracking down all the ingredients otherwise. Now that I've got a little stash of supplies, I can't wait to make it again. I made mine with shrimp instead of chicken. Really delicious.

Nice preparation photos are on Marta's blog. Recipe and my notes are below.

And in other big news....my Tar Heels are in the Final Four! Woo hoo! It's been an exciting weekend of basketball. What a great tournament this is....two weeks ago, there were 65 teams and now there are four. To win a National Championship, you have to win six games in a row and every game, you face a tougher opponent. We've won four, now two more to go. Best of all, the guys are playing SO well...they truly look like a championship team. Next game is Saturday. Go Heels!

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Continue reading "Curry Mee (Coconut Curry Noodle Soup)" »

March 29, 2009

San Giobbe

IMG_1151One of the first Renaissance buildings in Venice, this pretty pink church is dedicated to San Giobbe (St. Job) who technically was never a Christian at all since he’s an Old Testament character. But Job’s famous trials (and the fact that he was restored to prosperity and good health) made him one of the “plague saints” who was revered during the many epidemics that swept into Venice over the centuries.

The lunette over the door shows St. Francis of Assisi and Job, and was carved by Pietro Lombardo who designed much of the church and, along with his sons and workshop, also decorated several chapels inside including the triumphal arch and a sculptural scene of the Annunciation that surround the high altar.

San Giobbe relief

Continue reading "San Giobbe" »

March 30, 2009

Let's Get It On (No Cover Jinx)

LetsGetItOn

I had to laugh when I went to the grocery store this weekend and saw the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated. I had just mentioned to Trek Capri that the Marvin Gaye song “Lets Get It On” will always remind me of Venice because when I walked into the church of Santo Stefano in December, that song was playing over the loudspeaker before the Joy Singers concert, and it was so funny that I'll never forget it.

And here it shows up again, this time connected to the Heels. As for the dreaded Sports Illustrated cover jinx…...many sports fans worry about it, but I don’t. For one, Michael Jordan was on the cover of SI a record 49 times and it didn’t seem to hurt him too much. :) Plus, it's sports which means there's gonna be a winner and a loser, and SI isn't going to always predict it right.

But enough sports fans believe in the cover jinx that Sports Illustrated published an issue about it with a black cat on the cover!

The Tar Heels have been on the cover of SI many times over the years, and I’ve got copies of all the magazines they were on. Here are a few of my favorites:

Continue reading "Let's Get It On (No Cover Jinx)" »

March 31, 2009

The Big Blue Shrine

There are shrines all over Venice but the sestiere with the most is definitely Castello which also has a number of very large shrines, almost chapels. This one is so obviously loved and taken care of so well. It's unique too because of what's inside.

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Continue reading "The Big Blue Shrine" »

This page contains all entries posted to Churches in Venice in March 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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