Thursday, 31 December 2009

Discovering Puduhepa And Nefertari

????????Wishing you all the best in the new year, I want to tell about an interesting place to visit "before you die" as suggest the widget for travellers. This place is connected with the feasts because I tell you about the capital of a very powerful kingdom mentioned in the Bible. I tell you about hittites and their capital Hattusa.

If you read the romance about Ramesses II and his battle against the hittits (near Qadesh 1274 BC) -you understand, what are we telling about here. So, the place to visit is in Turkey.

There are special tours when you can visit all the places connected with the history of hittites Empire. GAZIANTEP - URFA - ADIYAMAN-NEMRUT - ANTIOCHIA -MERSIN - SILIFKE - KONYA -CAPPADOCIA - HATTUSAS (photo Wikipedia)

As for me, I was very interested to listen (in un documentary) the story about Hattusili III, his wife Puduhepa and HER relations with the wife of Ramessese, Nefertari. The women of that period were so independant that did not need femminism else...
Mmmm? I awoke your interest?

Tuesday, 29 December 2009


A very happy 2010 to all Brittany Walkers, looking forward to lots of new walks and events. Thanks also for all the many seasonal wishes, gratefully received. We kick off with an easy walk at Huelgoat on January 12, starting from the car-park by the mairie at 2pm. Let's hope the weather smiles on us!

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Pictures of the Day, December 21-26, 2009

It's been a busy few days, so I've not been able to post the Pictures of the Day for nearly a week. Here they are, in chronological order. As always, if you'd like to see more pictures, you can check out my Leftovers page on flickr. In the text below each picture, you'll also find various links to pictures that I've taken and enjoyed over the past week, so feel free to click on those links, as well.

December 21, 2009: I took this with my new camera I got from Brad... it's great, but I'm still learning the ropes! I chose this picture because when you look at the big version, you can actually see a (freaking) dog hair in Mary's hand, and it looks like she's using it to tickle Jesus. Seemed like a good justification for Picture of the Day.

December 22, 2009: Angela and I were walking in City Park with Dustin and Sam and we came across a sculpture. The sculpture itself was pretty cool, but then Dustin pointed out that this was written on one of the columns. Bummer.

December 23, 2009: Angela and I went sledding with my brother Paul (and his dog Iris) at Edora Park in Fort Collins... for about 15 minutes. It was pretty cold, actually, but still a good time before it got dark, windy, and freezing. I chose this one for Picture of the Day just because I liked the color.

December 24, 2009: As part of our traditional Family Christmas Eve Fondue Dinner, Paul made these little cut-outs for everyone as our place-cards. I'm on the left (the guy from Alien), and Angela (Helloooo, Kitty!) is looking on as a paper alien bursts out of my chest.

December 25, 2009: Nothing says "Christmas Cheer" like a new machete under the tree. I engraved this one for Paul with the Kill Bill inspired message: "To My Brother Paul, The Only Man I Ever Loved, -Ryan." He liked it, and used it to guard the artichoke dip.

December 26, 2009: Today we saw some friends from high school, including Aaron McGrew and his fiancee Ashley. We went to their house in Fort Collins for coffee and, since it was built in 1904, the house was a great place for interesting Picture of the Day opportunities. This is actually an altimeter on their furnace. I'm not sure why one would have an altimeter on a furnace, but I'm also not sure why one would ride one of those weird old-fashioned bicycles with one giant wheel and one small one. Old stuff is weird that way.

So, the upcoming few days are also looking busy, but I'll see about posting pictures. Rest assured, I'll still be taking Pictures of the Day, but it may just take me a while to post them.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

Thursday, 24 December 2009


Blog-posts are like buses, you wait ages then two come along at once! Today we went for our traditional Christmas Eve walk. We travelled to the village of Abbotsham, just outside Bideford, and were going to walk down to Greencliff, but we ran out of time and opted for a walk around the fields surrounding the village instead. There was lots of ice around and the kids had fun trying to slide in their wellies. We found a puddle covered in ice at one point, and a pretty bridge over a stream where we stopped and played Pooh Sticks. It was very pleasant and refreshing.

There's a nice pub in the village for those of you wanting a bit more than fresh air in the way of refreshment, but we jumped back in the car and headed for Pizza Hut in Barnstaple. Greencliff will have to wait for another day.

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Lets Go

Well its been a while, but here I am, blogging again. Barnstaple's newly revamped bowling centre has finally opened so we went along to see what it was like. The bowling seems to have got more expensive. I paid �28 for one game for five of us. We did manage to stretch it out to last an hour, but even so, it's no wonder the place was nearly empty. The only new thing on the bowling front was the fact that you could choose which person to have bumpers up for, that meant me, husband and daughter no 1 got rubbish scores with no bumpers up and the other two did great!

After the bowling it was upstairs to the new ice rink. As you can see it wasn't busy at all. Only four of us went on and this cost �22. You get nearly an hour on the ice, which is synthetic. It is apparently the first of its kind in Europe. It was pretty good for plastic I thought. I've never been able to skate on plastic like I can on real ice, and I could do this. In fact it was quite satisfying wizzing past the teenagers as they crashed to the ground. Disappoiting for daughter no. 2 though as she was expecting to be as good at this as all the other times she's been and she couldn't do it at all. So, difficult to tell if we will go again, but I hope so.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Setauket Grist Mill

As early as 1664, a mill operated  along this edge of the Setauket Pond that flows into Conscience Bay. The structure located here now is a re-creation built in 1937 as part of the Frank Melville Memorial Park. This is a private park that was dedicated by his son Ward Melville, and is maintained by the Frank Melville Memorial Foundation.

Much of the character of the Three Village area (Stony Brook, Setauket, Old Field) is the result of Ward Melville who was instrumental in preserving, restoring, and re-creating many of the colonial buildings here. When I first learned of him years ago, I was intrigued and wanted to know more. One of my pet-peeves has always been the suburbanization of America and the abandonment of it's downtowns and village centers.Ward Melville appeared to be an early advocate for the preservation of American towns.

Scratching too deep can sometimes lead to disappointment. While Mr Melville was adamant about maintaining an historic aura in his hometown, he was simultaneously destroying much of the nation's architectural character. His Melville Corporation (Thom McCan, and later CVS as well as others) paved heavily the destruction of the American landscape. He outsourced jobs before outsourcing was even a word; and he replaced town centers with generic shopping centers. Wal-Mart would be proud!  Every vacant downtown, every ugly strip of chain stores, and every abandoned factory is partially the result of Ward Melvilles "pioneering".

Meanwhile, back at the Setauket Grist Mill, I took in the beauty of the freshly fallen snow and the peaceful surroundings. Robert Frost could have composed a poem, and Norman Rockwell, a painting;.... this is one of the most charming sections of the North Shore thanks to Ward Melville. But as much as I enjoyed the scenery, my mind kept drifting off to Paramus, Rockville Center, and every other town that lost it's soul to the Miracle Mile half a century ago.

Neapoletan Christmas Cribs

Presepe, ??????????? ?????????
Happy Christmas!

One of the traditions in Campania are the visits of "Presepe", the representations of Christ's birth. The idea comes from S.Francisc that wanted to explain the Bible to the simple persons. But it seems, the greatest diffusion it became in Neapoletan area. There are entire streets in Neaples dedicated to sell pieces of Presepe. And many of them are really works of art. To visit Presepe is a sign of auspice. And there are different possibilities. There are, for example, alive representstions where the persons show a sort of theater. There are little and large size pictures.

I visited one of them, exposed every year not far from Dom. The scene is crated on a round table, so I made some photos walking around it. Hope, this visit will bring you fortune too! :0)))

Presepe, ??????????? ?????????

Presepe, ??????????? ?????????

Presepe, ??????????? ?????????

Presepe, ??????????? ?????????

Many persons probably create a Presepe in their homes too. There are many places and even special shops where you can buy everything you need for it. All the figures seem to be alive. Made with great attention and love.

Presepe, ??????????? ?????????

Presepe, ??????????? ?????????

Presepe, ??????????? ?????????

What is interesting, the image of Christ-child they put it on it's place only AFTER the birth. And in some cases all the "partecipants" like visitors of the Holy Family "come" every day nearer and nearer to the place of birth. Every day when you visit Presepe you will find other situation.

Presepe, ??????????? ?????????

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Picture of the Day, December 20, 2009

Today is a day I really wish I could have spread out over a couple of days. A lot happened. First of all, it was Pierogi Sunday at my friend Martha Wawro's family's house. Polish feasts this legendary only come around once a year. Secondly, we went to church with my family to hear my folks sing, but since there was an explosion at their church a few months ago (weird, long story), they had the service in my old elementary school. That brought back lots of memories and pictures. We also went to see "Dead Snow" at the movie theater... yep, it's the Norwegain Nazi Zombie movie you keep hearing about. And finally, we visited my friend Craig, who is a firefighter. He let Angela put on some of the gear for a photo op.

It was a busy day. Go ahead and check out the Leftovers Page on my flickr account if you're interested. Otherwise, I'll try to put up a few more of today's picture on the blog within a few days.

(PS - To all you Costa Ricans out there, there is a strange Franklin Chang-Diaz reference in the pictures-- don't miss it!)

No Volleyball Today

Lighthouse Point Park, New Haven, January, 2008

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Picture of the Day, December 19, 2009

This is a picture of a family friend named Bruce working on the heating in my parents' house this morning. In other words, it's a pretty good picture to illustrate a very distinct difference between Costa Rica and Colorado. In Costa Rica there's no need for heating or air conditioning systems (at least in Berlin). I've also never heard of crawl spaces or basements in Costa Rica, but I'm sure if they had them they'd fill up with water, mold, and snakes within hours.

At least he got the problem solved and now things are warmer.

I had some more pictures but I'm having trouble uploading them to flickr now. I'll try again later, but have a good day until then!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Picture of the Day, December 18, 2009

Angela and I made it to Colorado fine. The trip went off without a hitch, but we're really tired (we woke up around 2 this morning). So, here is the last Sitzblog Picture of the Day from Costa Rica for 2009.

I know that pictures from airplanes are totally lame, but I didn't have too many more options for today. And as pictures from a plane window go, I suppose it's not too bad, considering I took it from an aisle seat. It's also pretty Costa Rican: you can see Arenal Volcano near the bottom of the window, with its smoke oozing out the top. I thought it was pretty cool, at least.

So, from here until 2010, the Pictures of the Day will be coming from Colorado. We'll see if we can't find something interesting!

Thanks for reading, and have a good day!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Picture of the Day, December 17, 2009

Today's Picture of the Day is skinny and baby blue. It's a bike frame hanging from a hook (isn't that the same way they killed Mussolini's bike?). The guy who lives next to Angela's parents has a painting shop that opens to the street, and he was re-painting this frame. It's not the most incredible photo ever, but oh well. It's a picture a day, not a Masterpiece per day. I was pretty busy today.

On that note, we'll be going to Colorado tomorrow. Our flight leaves at 6:00 or so, so if I have enough presence of mind, I'll try to get some sort of picture in Costa Rica tomorrow. If not, I'll get one in Colorado. I will still be taking a picture a day, but I may not be able to post them on the internet every day, since I may be visiting relatives or friends, and it's kind of a downer when your guest is putzing around on the internet all night.

Since I'll be out of the country, that also means that for the next couple of weeks I won't be uploading my pictures to SeeVida (since I'm the Costa Rican representative, and I won't be in Costa Rica). You can still follow the progress of SeeVida's other members, though. Just click on this link. The idea is to get people from as many countries as possible to take a picture a day.

Thanks for reading, and have a good day!

Pata de Gallo

Ah yes, Pata de Gallo... "Rooster Foot"... As I mentioned the other day, I went to Pata de Gallo on Tuesday to help deliver gifts to low-income families. Pata de Gallo is a community that is just down the (4-wheel drive) road from Berlin, but it's worlds away in some senses. It's pretty remote; if you can make it there, you can probably make it anywhere (literally).

I work at the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano in nearby Palmares, and as part of a giving program, the teachers, staff, students, and even students' families at the center gathered gifts for the people of Pata de Gallo. Here are some more pictures from that day:

This was my Picture of the Day for Tuesday. It's three of the girls from Pata de Gallo, along with my coworker Paola's daughter, Hannah (on the right).

The front door of the church in Pata de Gallo.

Two pictures of Hannah playing a toy drum. Cute girl!

Some pictures of the kids opening their presents.

The corral at the church. I'd never seen a church with a livestock corral before this one.

A boy with a ball he got as a present.

A family with their presents.

Lucy's macho car, de-machoed a bit by the fluffy flowers.

Inside the church's yard.

My boss' boss Alejandro, a baby, and my coworker Paola.

Another picture of the four girls.

A boy and his truck. Many of the presents were toys, but many were also school supplies. It was very touching to see how excited the kids got to receive both. This boy was running around to show everyone a sheet of stickers he'd gotten, and others were proudly showing off new colored pencils or erasers. Such great enthusiasm!

We were also given a tour of the one-room schoolhouse in Pata de Gallo. It was currently being renovated by Nelson, the same guy who renovated the Formerly-Crappy Casita in the back of our property (Nelson also happens to be my brother-in-law's brother-in-law... I guess technically that's also a title I could apply to myself. Weird.). Inside the school they have a wall where each graduating sixth grade class paints their hands and names on the wall. It's pretty neat, yet it also underscored how small the community really is, and how much it was able to benefit from a bit of outside help.

Most of our group in front of the school. Good work, team!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Picture of the Day, December 16, 2009

Today's Picture of the Day is of a guy selling bootleg (or "pirate") DVDs and CDs outside the Co-op supermarket in Palmares. I bought a copy of the Batman movie "Dark Knight" and asked him if I could take his picture. Surprisingly enough, he said, "Yes, of course!" and posed with his DVDs.

I guess this is pretty typical of Costa Rica, so that's why I included it today. Almost everything here is or can be pirated. People sell DVDs, CDs, and Karaoke discs at the bus stops and on the sidewalks. Trendy young kids sport the ever-popular "Holistar" T-shirts. Also, "Bookstores" here are usually just copy shops that can make a copy of an entire novel or even textbook for you. They'll even bind it and, for a bit extra, make a color copy of the cover and call the whole thing a "clone." Even at video rental stores, all the movies are copies. There are two classes of copied movies there: "clones" and "previews" (and that's what they actually call them... they use English names).

The "clones" at video stores are just straight-up copies of DVDs, although for some mysterious reason, in the "Special Features" menu, usually only one feature out of six seems to work. The "previews" are sketchier. They're just a videotaped version of a movie that someone somewhere recorded in a movie theater. The picture is obviously worse, the sound is pretty crappy, and often you have to deal with bizarre things like Russian subtitles or dubbing into some other foreign language. Needless to say, "previews" suck, but if you don't want to spring for a movie ticket, I guess they're an option.

In other words, if you came down here this weekend, we could probably rent or even buy Avatar or any other movie coming out this Friday.

In any case, there are obviously many advantages and disadvantages to such free-spirited piracy, but I won't get into them now. I've got to finish my Batman clone (Heath Ledger's not as good in Spanish, by the way).

Latimer Reef Lighthouse

Latimer Reef Lighthouse, July, 2008

First Lit: 1884

Automated: 1974

The Luck of the Moment

Addie recently asked me why I hadn't been posting things to my blog or my twitter. I told her that it is because I haven't slowed down enough to have the words drift in to my mind. Even now, as I type a first draft of this, it is full of misspelled words and errors, a sign that I am still moving and thinking too fast. But fortunately, sometimes things propel me to take a moment to stop, and see what is happening around me.

So it was this morning...We've been closely watching the lake, waiting for it to freeze. The temps have certainly been in a range cold enough, with a low this morning of minus twelve. The wind has been our big foe, as it was blowing strong from the west, keeping the big waves rolling along. Any bits of shore ice were dashed to pieces. The result of that is a pleasant tinkling sound as the pieces rub up against each other. But what I really wanted to hear was the silence that first ice brings.

Today I got that. The lake appeared from my windows to be frozen at least halfway out from our shore. I bundled up and headed down to the landing. It is like a fairy tale world down there at this time of the year. The frost coats the branches and twigs with a flocking that Hollywood movie sets would envy. A large block of shelf ice covers the perimeter of our beach. And just beyond is the newly-formed lake ice, thickness unknown. It is covered in frost crystals, too, though barely a skim. If I were still a skater, I would be chomping at the bit. (I remember many nights of entertainment spent at the local rink when I was in elementary school. I also remember how my feet would ache in those first few days of lacing up the skates.)
It's a lovely world out there. And the bonus for me was that while I was snapping pictures and watching and listening, the Canadian wolf pack started to sing. I couldn't help but smile.