Italian Mailbox

Thursday, September 30, 2010
This was a first.  I've never seen anything like it before or since.  We were in a quaint town in Tuscany, Barberino, when I noticed all these unique mailboxes.  No two were alike and all were made from clay.  We tried to find out where they were made but no luck.  Guess I'll just have to learn to make it if I want one.  Shouldn't be too difficult. 

"Italian Mailbox"   © Kathy Dunham 2010

Fiat Traffic Jam

Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Horns were honking and no one was moving.  It was quite a scene to see this mass of little Fiats in Siena, Italy just outside the Cathedral.  I think they were having a rally and in short order everyone moved on.

"Fiat Traffic Jam"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Another Use for Pasta

Tuesday, September 28, 2010
When you get tired of cooking your pasta you could string it and make curtains for your windows.  Or garlands for the Christmas tree. 

"Another Use for Pasta"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Old Wine

Monday, September 27, 2010
One of the bottles says 1984, but the dust looks like it's been there longer than that.  I don't think the wine could be any good, stored in an upright position, the cork must be all dried out. 

"Old Wine"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Cherub Ornament

Sunday, September 26, 2010
The gondolas in Venice have a number of highly polished brass decorations intended to make one boat look better than another.  This little cherub was happily tooting his horn late in the day, hence the orange reflections in the water from a nearby building. 

"Cherub Ornament"      © Kathy Dunham 2010

Where Gondolas Rest

Friday, September 24, 2010
Early morning is quiet and peaceful in Venice. There's a little activity, vendors delivering their goods, but the gondolas are still asleep, waiting for the rush of tourists who want to see the city from the water.

“Where Gondolas Rest”    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Lunch at the Gritti Palace

Thursday, September 23, 2010
It was a special treat. But being in Venice is totally awesome and having lunch at the Gritti Palace Hotel on a beautiful, warm, sunny day with a view across the Grand Canal to the Maria della Salute was indeed one of the best.

“Lunch at the Gritti Palace”    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Venetian Gondoliers

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Nothing is more typically Venetian than gondoliers in striped shirts and straw hats. These two are obviously deep in conversation. But today, it seemed that all of them were out giving tourists a ride down the canals.

“Venetian Gondoliers”    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Rialto Bridge at Night

Venice is my most favorite city in the world. The charm, the history and the art are among the many things that endear it to me. The Rialto Bridge, at one time the only crossing of the Grand Canal that bisects this wonderful city, is the one spot everyone wants to take a picture of. I'm lucky, all I have to do is open the doors on my balcony and there it is. Viva Venezia!!

“Rialto Bridge at Night” © Kathy Dunham 2010


Monday, September 20, 2010
Another spectacular day!! So we took the ferry from Vernazza to Portovenere, about an hour away. We stopped at three towns on the way and the view from the sea as you approach is awesome. Portovenere is a large port so there are lots of boats and yachts. Don't you just love the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous?”

“Portovenere”    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Monterosso Sunbathers

Sunday, September 19, 2010
It was a warm Sunday afternoon and both the tourists and locals were out soaking up the sunshine and working on their tans. After taking the train to Riomagiorre, then walking to Manarola and another train ride to Monterosso, we finished off the day by taking the ferry back to Vernazza. The Cinque Terre is made up of five hillside towns on the western coast of Italy and it's easy to go from one to another by any of these three modes of transport.

“Monterosso Sunbathers”    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Saturday in Vernazza

It was a bit of a hike, but we climbed up the hill, over rocky steps set into the mountainside, to see this view. Along the Cinque Terre is a trail from town to town. Some parts are easy, some are very strenuous. But the views are spectacular. These old seaside towns are full of charm and character.

“Saturday in Vernazza”   © Kathy Dunham 2010

Rainy Day in Vernazza

Friday, September 17, 2010
We were hoping the rain would wait but it didn't. As it turned out, we had a great day taking photos, watching the waves break over the jetty, shopping and of course... eating. The food here is wonderful, but that's another story. As you can see, the fishing boats stayed in the piazza today and provided us some super shots.

“Rainy Day in Vernazza”    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Vernazza at Night

Thursday, September 16, 2010
This quaint seaside town, one of five that make up the Cinque Terre on the western coast of Italy, is quaint, charming and quintessential Italian. Beautiful by day, spectacular by night.

“Vernazza at Night”   © Kathy Dunham 2010

Arrivederchi Tuscany

Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Today is our last day in the Tuscan countryside and it was topped off with this beautiful sunset. Tomorrow we stop at Lucca on our way to the Cinque Terre. More adventures to follow.

“Arrivederchi Tuscany”     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Florentine Skyline

Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Florence, the city of the Renaissance. Home of Michelangelo and Dante, burial place of Galileo and the above. This is the city of spectacular art. And thanks to the Medici's, art was supported and encouraged. A definite must see for anyone interested in art history and the history of Italy.

“Florentine Skyline”   © Kathy Dunham 2010

Chiesa di Santa Maria

Monday, September 13, 2010
Castello di Monteriggiono is a very small hilltop walled village. It is best known as the heart of the Chianti Classico region. It takes a special grape to make this particular wine, Sangiovese, and what a delight to have with your pasta. This little church, Chiesa di Santa Maria, serves the local inhabitants.

“Chiesa di Santa Maria”   © Kathy Dunham 2010

In the Contrada

Sunday, September 12, 2010
Sienna is comprised of many “Contradas” or neighborhoods. Each with its own flag, colors, costumes and symbol. Twice a year they hold a major horse race known as the Pialo or organized chaotic rivalry between these contradas. It's quite a spectacal held in the Campo or square at the center of town. Today we were able to see one neighborhoods display their pride as they marched through the old town area twirling their banners to the beat of the drummers. Some day I'd love to see the race in person.

“In the Contrada”     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Tuscan Countryside

Saturday, September 11, 2010
The Tuscan countryside looks like a patchwork quilt. Patches of green, rows of vines and olive trees and freshly plowed fields. Add to that the wonderful food and wine and you'll have an experience like no other.

“Tuscan Countryside” © Kathy Dunham 2010

As life changes...

I was a little bored that I decided to go through some random blogs. What do I mean by 'random'?? Random here means blogs by people whom I don't know at all in real and maybe one or two by those people I knew... Reading blogs by people you don't know at all is fun.. Knowing part and parcel of their lives, how they deal with stuffs... and so on...

One of those blogs I went through this time caught my sight deeply... It was all about her perspective and perseverance in the winning battle against heavy issues in life... Of course the author was a SHE unless you did not realise me using ‘her’ in my previous sentence... Her blog was simply awesome... Not too far... A Malaysian too... She stated one of her real life incidents and the conclusion was there too... According to the author,
the most important thing is to accept where we are, our current situation or whatever that we are going through at the moment and then to seek some evidence to change our perspective...

I feel this is one important statement that we all should look into... Reflecting back at our lives, of course all of us will agree how much we’ve changed... maybe in a good way or vice versa... If we’ve changed into a negative way... all we have to ask ourselves is just one simple question: Is there a wiser, more enlightened way of looking at this seemingly negative situation??? Yes, the only solution is to change our perspectives... For instance, when you walk around KL, you’ll be astonished and the first thing to come up your mind is, ‘OMG!! Look at how big KL is!!!’ What happens if you look at KL from an aeroplane flying high up the sky... All you might see is a dot or maybe nothing... This is exactly what I am trying to say... Look at it from a different perspective and even huge problems would seem to be like a tiny dot... What happens if you look from the outerspace??? Do you think you can even see Malaysia?? Hell no... This is a clear example of how problems can shrink as you look at them from a different perspective... Just learn to switch perspectives... And beware of the words you use... Remember!! You can use your words to build someone or kill that same someone... Make a promise that you’ll use words only to build people and not kill them.. I SAID MAKE!! NOW!!! Haha..

And yeah.... I am not a counsellor, a philosopher or the wisest guy on earth to share all this with you... haha... I have to state this because a few days ago, one of my INTEC friends asked me, ‘Hey Vinod, can you suggest me a way to release stress?’ I was like, “why on earth are you asking me??” She said, ‘you seem to be like a professional’... No way... I am just ‚a common guy‘... ‘ein allgemeiner Kerl’ in deutsch, unnai pol oruvan in tamil.... LOL... All I am doing is trying to sum things up and spread some useful messages that I obtain from people and daily experience...

Sometimes, changes hurt... When they do, all of us or maybe I tend to look back at how my life has changed and wonder if I can ever get back... However, I am clear of one thing now... It’s not about looking back or forward... It’s not about searching for the rewind button... It’s all about living this particular second and making it a useful one... it’s about loving people around you and making everyone happy, it’s about being humble and burying the hatchet with our enemies... Hence, if some people out there tend to have misunderstandings with me, let’s solve it as soon as possible... I am sure there would be at least one person... haha... Let’s not brag it further... What’s the point in doing so?? Without you cooperation, I can’t change things...

And yeah... Sometimes, when I read blogs of certain people, I tend to respect them more.... For example, the blog I mentioned earlier. I respect her without her knowledge... haha... And yeah, there is another guy... I happen to respect him more and more as I read his blog... Reading another person’s blog is fun... you get to learn a lot and live life in a better way or at least change your perceptions on life....

P.S: Don’t do it often... It’s a waste of time... haha

Peace Out ;-)

The Towers of San Gimignano

Friday, September 10, 2010
The hilltop town of San Gimignano is known for it's Medieval Towers. To show their wealth, the nobility built bigger and taller towers than their neighbors. May the tallest tower win. At one time there were 70 towers. Now there are only 15 left. Did the wealth vanish with the towers?

“Towers of San Gimignano”     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Benvenuto in Italia

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Tuscan countryside is a mosaic of wonderful colors. The vineyards, the olive trees, the Italian cypress trees all add to the splendors of the land. We're off on our journey, two weeks in Italy, painting, sketching, photographing and enjoying the gastronomic pleasures that are being offered to us. This view from the plane as we approach the Florence airport gives you an idea what awaits us.

“Benvenuto in Italia” © Kathy Dunham 2010

A Christmas Star

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him. When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also. When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
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A Christmas Story

Oh No! The triple dog dare! This is a holiday classic for me. Some people love me....and some hate it. I love the whole nostalgic feel of the movie. I'll be waiting for the marathon of this movie on Christmas Eve through Christmas night. :)


I love the two toned leaves on magnolia trees. Oh yeah, the blossoms aren't too bad either but the rich contrast of the shiny dark green tops against the rust textured bottoms give the leaves a unique back an forth play. 

"Magnolia"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

A Christmas Story House

Monday, September 6, 2010
The film takes place in fictional Hohman, Indiana, the setting of writer Jean Shepherd's stories, based on his actual hometown, Hammond, Indiana. Cleveland was chosen because of Higbee's Department Store. Appropriately, the fictional boyhood home of Ralphie Parker is on Cleveland Street, the name of the actual street where Shepherd grew up. In addition to the house exteriors, Cleveland was the location used for the scenes involving Higbee's department store, despite the fact that there were no Higbee's stores in Shepherd's hometown.

Cleveland was only one of several locations used. The school scenes were shot at the Victoria School in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. The Christmas tree purchasing scene was filmed in Toronto, Ontario, as was the sound stage filming of interior shots of the Parker home.

The exterior shots of the house and neighborhood where Ralphie lived were filmed in the Tremont section of Cleveland's West Side. The "...only I didn't say fudge" scene was filmed at the foot of Cherry Street in Toronto; several lake freighters are visible in the background spending the winter at Toronto's port, which lends authenticity to the time of year when the film was produced.

A Christmas Story House Museum:

Brian Jones, a fan of the film since childhood, purchased the house across the street and converted it into A Christmas Story House Museum, which contains some of the props from the movie, including Randy's snow suit, the Higbee's window toys, and hundreds of behind the scenes photos. The house to the left of the museum features a gift shop with movie memorabilia.

The house and museum opened to the public on November 25, 2006, with original cast members attending the grand opening, and the site drew 4,300 visitors during its first weekend.

This is one of my favorite Christmas movies. A very warm telling of a family during the Christmas season.
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Summer Canna Lily

The tropical foilage of Canna Lilies and the colorful varieties of the blossoms are good plants for warm summer climates.  They're tall and make a good backdrop in the garden for other flowers.

"Summer Canna Lily"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Let's Go To the Fair

Sunday, September 5, 2010
I've always loved merry-go-rounds and you can always find one or two at the local county fair.  The faster they go the more fun they are.  Some even have a ring you can grab then toss into a clown's mouth or some such exercise.  Do we ever grow up?

"Let's Go To the Fair"      © Kathy Dunham 2010


Saturday, September 4, 2010
As I remember, the wine was pretty good, but I can assure you that the lunch was fantastic!  There's this little bistro in the town of Tremalot, France that fixes the most awesome food.  And each time I go there I am never disappointed.

"Kameleon"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

How Do I Turn on the Radio?

Friday, September 3, 2010
The old turquoise mining town of Cerrillos, New Mexico, is about as small a town as you can get where there are still people living in it.  Just south of Santa Fe at the beginning of the Turquoise Trail, the back road between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, this town had some innovative residents.  This old radio was perched high in a nook of the outer wall around a house.  There was long extension cord but I don't think there'll be much coming out of this music box. 

"How Do I Turn on the Radio?"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

But Officer, I Want to go That Way...

Thursday, September 2, 2010
Traffic in Italy is always interesting.  These two caribineri are trying to explain why she can't go that way.  I didn't stick around to see who won out. Your best guess is as good as mine.   

'But Officer, I Want to Go That Way"   © Kathy Dunham 2010

Christmas Trivia Fun

Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Here's a little fun trivia game. I found out that I didn't do so well. How did you do?
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Patriotic Skull

It's nice to see that even cow skulls are pro-American.

"Patriotic Skull"    © Kathy Dunham 2010