Aug 29, 2011

Upstaged by a dog

This is all about Tala, the socialite. Let me back-up a little. I am somewhat of a recluse; I like my alone time and although I am a socialized individual, if I had the choice to be with people or alone, I'd choose the latter.

Well, I have to say good-bye to all that if I decide to go out with her. She attracts people like a magnet and I am forced to chit-chat while she gets all the cuddling and caresses.

A couple days ago we were tossing her favorite toy, the Frisbee, into the water to swim after or across the sand where she'd leap and catch it. A mother and her two kids took a fairly good walk, from the other side of the bay, to talk to us and play a little. Today I saw them again on the beach and Tala, knowing just how much those kids like her, went over to their umbrella, uninvited, and dropped the Frisbee at the little boys feet waiting for him to toss it. Then she did it for each one in the family while I just stood there doing the small talk. Why do I get the hard part?

But what amazed me, is that animal sense that I know exists, but have never seen in action until today. She "knew" the little boy was dying to play with her but didn't say anything. She included everyone, although it was obvious she had a favorite, the dad, who tossed it just the way she liked it.  By the way, she excluded me.


I guess I feel awed by this demonstration of friendliness because I know I hesitated to go on the beach with her when I saw the family car parked where I usually go. I was the one who didn't want to "play" but went grudgingly, knowing I should say hello. And although she doesn't know it, she showed me up by openly embracing each one of them and giving them what they wanted...the opportunity to connect and interact with another living being, albeit or perhaps especially, a dog.

I am again reminded, and probably will take the rest of my life to learn, that it is really in giving that we live our finest moments. 


Aug 24, 2011

Sunrise over Riace Marina

This morning I rose early enough to see my living room tinged in red. I love sleeping with the balcony doors wide open so in the stillness of the early morning, the only "movement" is the fiery red tint on the chestnut wood cupboard and brown leather sofa slowly fading into light.

View from the balcony doors off from the kitchen. In addition to this wonderful visual experience, a moment later, the room was filled with the scent of fresh coffee.

Every morning these fishermen, with their very individual style go out to the beach where I take Tala and drop their nets. Talk about having sea legs!

Now that the enchanting sun-kissed moment is over, it's time to close the shutters to keep out that once lovely sun. These days are muggy, with the hot African heat coming in over the Mediterranean but hardly a breeze to cool off. Believe me, Tala isn't too keen on it. She's happiest near to the water, sitting under the umbrella and watching seagulls, or chasing after her Frisbee....near to the water.

Aug 19, 2011

Bagpipes of Reggio Calabria

We went to the Mercato della Badia, the annual festival at Bivongi in Reggio Calabria and stopped at one stall for a meal. We heard the strains of the traditional tarantella and before long the musicians were standing amongst us. The musical instrument that arrived first was the ciaramedda, native to the rural areas of Calabria (and parts of Sicily), and is usually paired with a tambourine. If you think it looks like an inflated animal, you are right. It is made from the skin of a goat, with the legs still in place and dangling merrily to the music.

Ciaramedda, bagpipes of rural southern Italy


Aug 11, 2011

Festa at Placanica in Calabria

Placanica is another charming hilltop village in Calabria that is filled with ancient ruins and a very old historic center. I am always amazed at how villages are constructed with homes practically one on top of the other and then ends up charming.

The poster announced that the town would be lit up only by candlelight, which I thought would be an enchanting sight. We headed out from Riace where the air was so still, it was practically suffocating. We arrived at Placanica in the midst of a "hurricane". Unless they were covered, I didn't think there would be any candles lit that night. In fact there weren't any, and not because of the wind, but because I was one night too early!!

The stairs lead to an overlook with an amazing view of the valley below. Tonight it was too windy to appreciate, and too dark!

My love of old doors and entryways. How I'd LOVE love love to have one of these on a front entrance. This led to a narrow staircase with the name "Vico P". 

The ancient olive press that sits at the entrance of the Domenican Convent, founded in 1470. The convent is one of the oldest in Calabria.
Ruins from the "original" church from the '400's remain in the restored Chiesa di Santa Catarina. "Original" means that the first construction had been modified over the years in various styles. The face of the church, not shown, reflected the Baroque period.

Musicians playing the Tarantella, typical music of the area. Fun to watch as some of them pulled local youngsters from the crowd to dance. I had some of the best ribs ever at the outdoor kiosk. The only drawback to the meal was having to weigh everything down from the gusts of wind, especially the wine.
View of the theatre where we wanted to see Paolo Migone, a comic, perform. Of course that would be the next day. We didn't stay for the concert which was scheduled to start at 11pm. Way too late for me.
The houses in this old historic area were built from limestone that was ground, boiled to make a paste, cooled off over a period of days before it could be used to form the bricks of the house. Talk about time consuming but they have stood up well to the test of time.

Aug 4, 2011

Stages of life

One impressive bloom and then kaput for this particular cactus

After 10 days of playing house alone with my wonderful four legged friend, A has finally joined me. Despite bad weather, he packed his motorbike yesterday, pointed it south and is currently crashed out after dealing with many hours of traffic and a short night's sleep.

He overnighted in Battipaglia and hoped for a good night's sleep before hitting the road again. But August is a month of festivity and having fun and celebrating until the wee, WEE hours of the morning. And some happy-go-lucky teenager happened to reserve the ball room that happened to be below A's room in order to party in honor of his 18th birthday. Poor A didn't sleep until after 2am.

I suppose if I were a teenager, I'd understand but I've reached another stage of life where my sleep is extremely important...no, it's more like I just can't stay up until all hours of the morning, even if I were having fun. My body has changed, my mind has changed and although I'd say I've matured, it's really a part of growing older. A passage of life.

I hope I accept growing older gracefully. I notice the animal and plant world don't seem to gripe about it. They just keep doing what comes naturally and - life goes on.

Cactus bloom, in three stages of life