Too Much Politicization, So….Italy Revisited

Rome is the center of the universe, I will argue vehemently, forever.  With the Intercontinental Hotel at the Spanish Steps in Rome as our base of operations, my bride and I wandered mostly on foot throughout the city.  The sheer amount of legendary sightseeing overwhelms.  The Vatican museum in itself is worth the effort to get to Rome.  I took 1,100 pictures with my new digital Sony CD500 Mavica camera in May of 2002 as we flew to Venice, and then went by train went to Pisa for a day, Florence, and Rome, with a day trip to Pompeii.  We spent a week each in Venice, Florence and Rome.  The fastest three weeks of our lives. Here’s some of the pix in installment 1 of Italy Revisited.

St. Mark’s Square from a tour boat on a murky spring day
Guggenheim Museum in Venice: Yikes!
Our selection from the glass blowing capital of Italy, the island of Murano, adjacent to Venice.
Peonies at Boboli Gardens in Florence

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Time for Summer Pix!

While at Yosemite, I looked for opportunities to take advantage of unique lighting rather than simply add to the huge catalog of great photos of Half Dome, et al.  Of course, memorializing the trip was important for us.  What no photo reveals are the sheer scope and humbling scale of this park.  Ya gotta be there.  Ten days well spent for us, with many day trips including the Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, upper Toulumne Valley & Hetch Hetchy.    The road to Hetch Hetchy gets so narrow in places that I had to fold the mirrors on my F-350 to squeeze through; yikes!  Our campsite was literally on the bank of the South Fork of the Toulumne River at Yosemite Lakes RV Resort, located about 5 miles from the western park gate on CA 120.  Big fun.

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They Grow Up So Fast!

Was out tending to the Koi pond yesterday, so was nearby when our local Mallard duck mom came by with her brood to visit the friendly (Trinity) waters.  The kids used to look like little brown ping-pong balls.  Not anymore; they are about 80% the size of mom!  Not old enough yet to show sex differentiation in their plumage.  Glad to see them since these visits are less frequent now that several of our fish are becoming quite large and thus imposing and dangerous in the Mallard brain.  Our water lilies are crazy-robust and plentiful this year, but their leaves were tested for durability by the babies.  Mom is the top-center quacker in the upper photo and is standing on the barely submerged rock in the lower photo.  Life is good.

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Use a Kayak?

This is for those who kayak and might be looking for a convenient way to transport one or two.  This is the Thule Hullavator, a device that uses gas shocks to lift the kayak up to the top of your vehicle with one finger’s force.  The lashings are first quality, like everything Thule.  Here’s a before and after the lift pair of pix.

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Patience

We have been nurturing this Oshio Bene Japanese maple tree since we adopted it as a teeny sapling 18 years ago.  Genetic perfection, careful pruning, along with sealer on the cuts, has yielded a beauty.  We planted him at the edge of the pond; you may have seen this tree in other photos of our pond, but I decided to take a look at just him.  BTW, tomorrow we’re eating Traegered ribs and remembering those who shed their blood to save the USA, and wishing more realized what it takes to maintain our hopefully enduring experiment in freedom.

Oshio Bene

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