Tag Archives: Italy

Law & Order It Was Not – Part 1

Jury Duty


Most people that know me know that Law & Order is my jam. Not SVU, or Criminal what have you, or any other iteration or spinoff Dick Wolf dreamt up for the purposes of expanding the brand above and beyond any creator’s wildest machinations. I’m talking about the original. The one he purposed to outlive Gunsmoke’s legacy in the annals of television history. This is a show I can watch repeatedly, love richly, and apparently one I can understand in any language. Continue reading


The Music Challenge #7

When I was writing my pen pal post the other week, it reminded me a lot about my various travels over the years. There are certain cities or locations where music played quite a role in my experience, or at least in remembering my experience there.

Adding to The Music Challenge – songs from around the world. Or rather songs that remind me of being around the world. Continue reading


Throw-Back-Monday: Germans For The Win

With the hubbub surrounding the Germany/US soccer match last week, I’ve been reminded of what it is I appreciate most about the German people – they are a determined bunch that doesn’t give a fig about what people think.

I took German in high school for the following reasons:

  1. When it came to meeting my foreign language requirement, my school offered two choices: German or Spanish. I’m pretty good at hocking loogs but I can’t roll an r to save my soul.
  2. I wanted to understand what the Amish were saying about me in front of my back and German was as close to Pennsylvania Dutch as I could get.
  3. I enjoy the Chicken Dance.
  4. Herr Miller was the bomb.

Typically, I can spot a German from a mile away. Call it a sixth sense (or stereotyping or whatever). Germans wear whatever the hell they want. They do whatever the hell they want. And they say, pretty bluntly, whatever the hell they want. I admire that.

For instance, while I might struggle with wearing socks and sandals – Germans rock the look.

socks and sandals

Rock on. (land-der-ideen.de)

Though I might second guess a haircut like this:


German heartthrob Bill Kaulitz.  (coolmenshair.com)

A German wears it like a badge of honor.

They are bold.

German Olympians

Not my favorite Olympic look, but kudos for putting it out there. I mean, c’mon, our sweaters weren’t much better. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

They can drink.

Prost, meine freunde!

Prost, meine freunde! (dmarge.com)

And they must have a sense of humor.

GERMANY Fashion 3

I’ve got nothing. Maybe peed my pants a little… (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

One of my favorite experiences with the German culture happened on a small lake beach in Italy. It was just full enough with locals that we could almost reach our neighbors. However, we had a little space where I was. I think it was just me and my friend, and maybe another couple copping a squat down the way. Three Germans walked up with their beach bags and backpacks. I knew they were German instantly. Though they may not have been donning their lederhosen and dirndls, they had the look. The look I’d come to denote as purely German that summer.

I’d been in Italy for a month by this point so I’d come across many Europeans of all shapes, sizes, styles, and ornamentation. I got pretty good at guessing from which country someone hailed. The clothes, bags, shoes, and strut were their dead giveaways.

They set up camp, threw off their clothes and headed to the water. They threw off all of their clothes. I knew it was Europe and I’m no prude, but the thing is – we weren’t on a nude beach. In fact, my friend said it was actually illegal to be nude where we were.

So we watched in awe as the Germans represented their people to a T. Bold non-conformists that wouldn’t give two cents for anyone’s thoughts. Their skinny pasty naked bodies splashed around in the lake for a bit, then they hopped back out and took a seat on the sand. That’s when each of them cracked open their edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

It takes courage to get naked and read Harry Potter on an intimate beach with total strangers. So here is my attaboy to the folks who beat to their own drum with a special nod to a culture that bangs their drums all day.

What country would you give a shout out to for going against the grain?




Throw-Back-Monday: Circles

My dad turns 70 this week (shout out to the Old Man!) so I’ve been reminiscing a bit, going through old photos and the like when I came across some pictures from my first trip to Italy. Ahhhh, the memories!

My dad used to travel to Italy for business in my younger years. I thought he must have the greatest job in the world to be able to travel to Italy. Of course he’d always tell me travelling for business wasn’t what I thought it was and it wasn’t exactly “fun”, either (years later, I now completely understand what he meant by that statement).

I would look at his pictures dreaming of the day I could walk through Rome or sit in a café in Florence. I was even enamored of the pigeons (the ridiculous amount of disease-ridden pigeons waddling over every square inch of cobblestone streets). So when I found myself living in Arezzo one summer, my plan was to document it all like my dad had done. Full circle, if you will. I had my sketchbook, my journal and my black and white film. Yes, film. I noted everything.

I could go on and on about my adventures there, but I’ll save those for another day. What caught my eye were these little gems taken with my trusty 35mm camera.

The Roman Forum

Roman Forum


Roman Forum

Roman Forum


Roman Forum

Roman Forum


Roman Forum

Roman Forum

Twelve years and one trusty iphone camera later, I took this.

Roman Forum

Roman Forum

I’d created my own full circle. Circles are lovely things. They take us back to the beginning, reminding us of where we’ve been and how far we’ve come. These photos reminded me of how some things change (like resolution), and some things don’t (like ancient ruins in the center of a city). The years fly by in a blink of an eye and sometimes, with a little luck, they circle back around so we have a chance to improve the picture. Seize those moments.  They are few and far between.

What Full Circle moments have you captured over the years? Send me your  photos! I’d love to share them with the world!



Throw-Back-Monday: Public Restrooms – A Hate/Hate Relationship

I was reminded of today’s throw-back while preparing for a trip to Florida later in the week. It’s a thing on my mind with any impending trip, really.

Public Restrooms. Not. A. Fan. Why?

tandem toilets

Almost like Sochi – every time.

I avoid them like the plague, as I imagine most people do. However, when a girl has got to go, she’s got to go. And that means beggars can’t be choosers.

Public restrooms in the US are bad enough, but at least there’s a familiarity about them. As torturous as they can be, there are relatively few surprises. A few years ago (ok, a lot of years ago), I had the opportunity to live abroad. Spending an entire summer in Italy meant I wasn’t going to be able to hold it all day just so I could use the throne at home. It meant venturing into the unknown. Entering stalls in a foreign land – literally a foreign land. My bum was about to receive a cultural awakening.

So it was a different sort of experience … I did enjoy how many places had a “closet” to enter into instead of a stall. The toilets were relatively similar, not so different from our own. And those “occupied” signs next to the door handles were so cute!

About halfway through the summer, I’d hit my groove. I was basically a resident Italian and my public restroom thing was becoming a thing of the past. So I thought.

One night I was in a club with my friend Lucia and nature came calling. I headed to the bathroom. Unlike the clubs and bars I’d been to in the States, and even most of the ones I’d been to in other clubs in Italy, this particular one had no line. I didn’t think anything of it, really, till I walked in.

It was this large open room. I couldn’t find any stalls. I walked out and checked the door, to make sure I had entered the right room and I had. As I reentered, looking around, suddenly I saw it across the way. There in the middle of the floor was a hole. Just a hole. Surely that wasn’t … I mean, how could this be … the toilet?

A Hole

I don’t think so.

Yeah, I passed. Didn’t drink another drop and held it all the way home. I don’t regret it for a second.

I will never take-back NOT peeing in a hole in some floorboards in a random dance club in Italy. That’s a fact.