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January 26, 2009

Horses and me.

I am not quite sure when I've first developed the desire to ride horses. I've always wanted a pony as a kid, and always felt that I would like to be on horse in open fields. My mother, however, was(is) afraid of horses, and felt it would be a dangerous activity, so I was not allowed to ride horses .So, when I got on my own, I went riding the first chance I got.

My very first time on a horse was on Maui. Me, Bill( before we even started dating), and two friends from work (Pete and Keoki),took a trail ride in Napili, past Lahaina in west Maui Ironwood Ranch. I rode a beautiful paint horse,white with brown patches, named Queen Latifah. Thinking of that day brings a lot of memories and puts a smile on my face for many reasons, for one it was my first time on a horse, I had hard time getting on and off Queen Latifah, and later I leaned that Bill was already loving me then, we started dating four or five months later, but that is another story.

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Riding Queen Latifah in the tropical valleys and ironwood forests was a lot of fun; fresh air, perfect weather, beautiful panoramic scenes and nice company. The ride though left me longing for more, and I felt I was missing something.Later I've learned that it was control I was missing,and actually RIDING the horse.This is a photo of me when i first got on Queen Latifah, and the ranch dude was guiding us to the trail. Queen Latifah was so good to me, she knew exactly what to do and where to go,which was a good start for me and horses.
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The first chance I got after that, which happened to be in Albuquerque,NM, I started taking western horseback riding lessons. Six month later by the time we left Albuquerque, I was already able to get on and off the horse,walk,trot, lope, stop and steer the horse. I take horseback riding lessons everywhere we go, on different horse, under a different instructor, but with growing passion and a lot of improvement.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to ride since we got to Spokane, for weather reasons really.So I am having horses withdrawals, and I can't wait to get my fix when I get back on Maui.

February 16, 2009

The Eternal City...eternal in my heart

We took our very first trip to Italy last June for our honeymoon, we spent four weeks total, of which two weeks were in Rome.

The question about my favorite part of Italy is hard to answer, because every part is unique in its own way. But I lost my head in Rome. I am not sure what it is about Rome that I connected with, maybe it is because I got to know it more than other places we visited, maybe because it was my dream city to visit, or maybe because I love ancient.


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April 1, 2009

Finding Steven Saylor.

There are always some events in life that happen just to remind you that life has been going on(and will be going on) even if you are/were not part of it. I was reminded of that about six months ago, while browsing the sale table at Borders.Yes , the bookstore.

It was a warm October day in Houston,Texas,where we were visiting my in-laws. Bill and I stopped by the mall, for one reason or another, and we happened to stop at Borders. And here comes a confession, I hardly ever buy any books from the stores, I'd like to support local bookstores, but I need to support my budget more, and it is so much cheaper buying books online, especially that I buy them in bundles and get free shipping.Anyway, I was browsing the sale table at Borders, and happened to get a glimpse of the Colosseum on the front cover of one of the books. Ah, I forgot to mention that I was missing Rome greatly, so I jumped at the book. It was a novel by Steven Saylor, called Roma: The novel of Ancient Rome.

Roma.jpgThe novel, while considered fiction, is a very factual history of Rome, told through characters over a millennium of time. The reader does learn the revolution in Rome from its first king ,to the end of the crown age and the formation of the Republic , the different phases the Republic went through , until it lead to the great Roman Empire.

From the first chapter, the way Saylor approaches the story is very gripping, I kept wondering how he would be able to connect thousand years in one novel, while still keeping the reader engaged, well, he does so brilliantly. From the girl traveling with her dad trading salt up to the Emperor , you follow characters in a very solid generation line, there is even a generation tree at the beginning of the book to help you connect the characters.

The book is very well written, it is dense, still a page turner. I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in Rome in particular or well put novel in general.It has become my absolute favorite book.

After falling in love with Saylor's novel, I started checking out his other work, and all I could think was "What was I doing while this brilliant author was writing all of these novels", again life goes on whether I am part of it or not. I am not sure how I haven't heard of Steven Saylor before finding this book, but I am very glad that I "found" him.

Saylor has a series of novels set in Ancient Rome, called Roma Sub Rosa, all featuring Gordianus The Finder, an investigator old roman style. This is what Saylor says about the name of his collection:


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April 2, 2009

Missing Italy: The Colosseum

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I am a Rome lover. I fell in love with Rome as soon as my foot touched its grounds. Actually,I fell in love with Rome even before then,during the planning process, and before, when that nagging voice in my brain started singing a Roman melody, and my heart started beating a Roman rhythm. I just had to go to Rome to save my sanity.

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We spent a little over two weeks in Rome, living and loving every minute of it. And here I can't help but wonder, if our trip would have been the same have we spent less time there. I have my doubts. There is a pleasure in leaving the map at the apartment, and walking the streets of Rome;it gives a sense that you belong. There is a pleasure in walking down the same street everyday for two weeks, and discovering something new everyday. There is the joy of recognizing the guy,who works at the cafe across the street from your apartment,or the lady at the shoe shop on your street. Familiar is good, and it is very exciting, and this is a big reason of why we like to travel slowly.

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One of the first things that I wanted to see,pretty much all of my life, and a big part of longing to visit Rome was the Colosseum. So you can imagine just how many times we strolled down Piazza del Colosseo, and it never failed to amaze me.

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Going inside the Colosseum was one of the major highlights in our trip for me. I think I must have had my mouth open the whole time. The fact that the Colosseum is still standing two thousand years later, is amazing, but stepping into the battle field is fascinating. I could just imagine gladiators fighting to death in the arena. I could imagine tigers and lions fighting with men, and could hear Romans cheering. Not necessarily the prettiest picture, but my point is, the Colosseum comes alive even twenty centuries later.

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And hear I am, looking at the photos from my trip, and longing to get back to Rome. Ah, Bella Roma.

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How many shots of the Colosseum can one have?

May 5, 2009

Missing Italy: Positano

Rome is not the only place I miss in Italy. Okay, maybe I do miss Rome the most and it is always on my mind. But, Positano is another Italian town we have fond memories of.

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We stayed in Positano for three days, at a wonderful B&B, Holiday House Gilda.Actually, the B&B is in Arienzo, with breathtaking views of Positano down below.

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June 24, 2009

Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome by Robert Harris

Imperium.jpgSmooth, meticulous, gripping, entertaining and highly informative. I absolutely loved this novel by Robert Harris. It is the first in trilogy of a fictional biography of Cicero, Roman greatest orator, written as narrative told by Tiro, Cicero’s personal secretary during his public life.

Harris’s approach in writing a biography from Tiro’s perspective is brilliant! Tiro is recalling the life of Cicero during the thirty six years he served as his personal secretary; writing down his speeches and letters, carrying secret messages and witnessing private meetings.Tiro followed,closely and first hand, Cicero's journey towards imperium;defined by Tiro as "the power of life and death, as vested by the state in an individual”. If someone knows so much about Cicero’s career and personality, it has to be Tiro. And yet, at the same time, Tiro is trying to maintain his loyalty to Cicero. By trying to accomplish the first, while preserving the latter, Tiro creates a complex character of Cicero, which I believe to be true.

The novel takes off with the trial of Verres, the corrupt Roman governor of the province of Sicily(supported by the high senators of Rome’s distinguished families), who was prosecuted by Cicero. Cicero wins the trial and with it the support of many Romans who saw Cicero as the change from aristocracy, and the man that will stand in the face of injustice no matter what. The novel then takes us through the political career of Cicero until the day he won the consulship of Rome, making him the first and last man”without family, fortune, or force of arms to assist him” ,who managed to achieve supreme imperium with the Roman consulship, using only his voice.

In the author's note, Harris writes:"Although Imperium is a novel, the majority of the events it describes did actually happen;the remainder at least could have happened; and nothing, I hope(a hostage to fortune,this),demonstrably did not happen." And although I detected some anachronisms, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and was totally immersed in it. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in Ancient Rome, history or just a well written novel, Robert Harris does not disappoint.I can hardly wait for Lustrum, the second book of the trilogy, which is already available in Canada and the UK, and hopefully it will get here soon.

January 13, 2010

Zumba Fever!

Have you heard of Zumba?
Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance fitness program that has been around for a while. According to the Zumba website, the now-celebrity fitness trainer Beto Perez had stumbled upon the concept by accident one day in his hometown in Columbia in the mid 90s and Zumba became the most popular fitness class at his facility. In 1999, Beto brought Zumba to the United States and by 2001, he was approached by a couple of entrepreneurs, who all three of them trademarked the word "Zumba" to spread this fitness philosophy all over the world. The response to Zumba was great that that it created a big demand for Zumba instructors. By 2006, there were thousands of Zumba instructors worldwide, and it is still going strong, that the company launched its third DVD collection in 2008.

I am not exactly sure when I first heard of Zumba, sometime in 2006 or 2007 perhaps, but I never tried it until last week, and I must say I am hooked! The website defines Zumba as a "fusion of hypnotic Latin rhythms and easy-to-follow moves to create a one-of-a-kind fitness program that will blow you away", it further goes on to say: "Our goal is simple: We want you to want to work out, to love working out, to get hooked." Well, they succeeded with me, and from the size and the attitude of the class I joined, I'd say they were successful with others too.

I was a bit hesitant to join ( I always am), but I do enjoy dancing, love Latin music and need the workout. And lets face it, if I am sweating the same dancing and having fun as cycling and grunting, I'll go for dancing any time. I am actually looking forward to Friday class. Can you believe it? Looking forward to working out? It is true, I have finally caught the Zumba bug and I love it. If you like dancing, need a cardio and toning workout, and there is a Zumba class near you, join! You won't regret it.

March 8, 2010

A Roman View: Piazza del Popolo

Fellow blogger Sandra mentioned in a post that Piazza del Popolo is her favorite in Rome. I was reminded of our trek up Pincio Gardens (on the western edge of Villa Borghese) to view a magical Roman sunset over Piazza del Popolo and Rome's rooftops.

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March 22, 2010

Florence View

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Views of Florence from top of the Duomo, June 2008

March 23, 2010

Mamma Mia!

Just got my tickets to see Mamma Mia on Friday in Jacksonville's Moran Theater. Did I ever tell that it's a favorite show of mine? I loved the movie too.


This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Candi's Corner: Wanderlust and Passions in the Things I really like category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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