Eyes wide open

Halloween free haircuts

I strolled out to do errands, loved the weather…. Most of the stroll was moseying in the dappled sunshine, but I also got some sensory overstimulation.

In the visual realm, some outdoor Halloween decorations were of the plebeian sort, out of the box from your favorite big-box store. Others showed creativity in how they were assembled into a scenario or theme. It seemed to me that as I went along, they showed more artistry. This was the last decorated yard I went by…yeah, free haircuts…haha.

Soon after, the number 16 fire truck came by, siren screaming, lights flashing, horn blatting—strong audio stimulation. I was ready for just sunshine after that.

Pocket change

Pocket change ancient

In the basement of one of the museums we visited was a large exhibit of ancient Roman coinage. This was some of the early stuff, dating to the 4th–3rd Cs BC. They look heavy to me.

Probably no maize

Front yard veggie garden

I have thought about converting more of our front yard into a veggie garden…. This year I didn’t even plant the part that is not lawn, as we were gone in the crucial planting and watering period. We’ll see what I do next year….

I’m saying yes

Iceberg bleu Sweet Auburn

I remember Mom’s explanation of the meaning of the phrase “composed salad.” I just couldn’t fathom the word composed in that context; of course, we were a tossed salad family—sometimes slaw, so our table didn’t have composed salads (and we rarely ate out).

Glazed pecans, crunchy bacon, blue cheese, grape tomato halves—what a tasty version/composition/ of iceberg. Although is it really a composed salad?

Evening menu

Often, I think up at least a partial menu before I go shopping. Sometimes I have no focus/creativity/ideas.

Today, I was in the latter situation.

Brussels deconstruction

I saw the stalks of Brussel-ees were marked down…and thought: gee, temps below normal…I should do an autumnal oven meal.

Autumnal oven meal

Sausage, Brussels and cauliflower, a few button mushrooms, some simple stuffing (cornbread, from a box), and a pound of tofu turned into hoisin-slathered “steaks.”

Perked us both up, although we both have vestiges of jet lag dogging us.

Looking back

Valley view overhead wires

We hear about how bad unemployment is in Italy (and elsewhere), and how bad the country’s financial situation is, and I don’t doubt those reports, but wending our way along urban streets and the stretches of Tuscany we trained through, we saw construction cranes and no loitering groups lacking an agenda for the day. We may have seen plenty of underemployed people…hard to tell.

As to “we do things our way”…in the Italy we have seen, engineers are big on tunnels for roads and railroads, while the skies can be webbed with electrical, etc. cables and lines—I can’t remember once noticing them underground—in the countryside.

Jet lag report: hard to stay up later than 8pm—sleep just overwhelms.

Whooshing muddy waters

Flood ATL

Serious rain came in before daylight, a little later than predicted. Oh so fortunately we did not have bad winds at our house. Still, somehow our power went out, a small part of the neighborhood I think. We hemmed and hawed for a few minutes, then struck out, leaving the house to its powerlessness, as we headed up to Apple-land to HOLD the new iPhone models. We took a side trip to see John’s dad, had a nice visit. During our outing, we checked out the flooding on one of the small creeks—look at the sediment returning to the sea (or at least sea-wards).

All aboard!

Delta humor

In their current safety video (how to fasten seat belts, etc.), Delta has injected plenty of humor. This frame accompanies a discussion regarding carrying pets on board….

Delta heart chocolate

Delta not only gave us a sweet-heart, the flight was pretty much on time and only one toilet broke in flight (that I noticed). In the spirit of all the public transportation we’ve been taking—and the fact that our arrival aligned with rush hour—we took (S)MARTA home. Of course, the train is pretty zip-zip, and the bus route is a bit loopier and there’re extra stops, but all in all it was a win.

As to airport observations: we experienced a LOT of bus links and corridor strolls—mostly because of airport expansions that couldn’t totally be integrated into the existing patterns. The automated passport recorders were…a bit big-brother (not really surprised; just a bit creepy to endure).

Later ruin

Nymphaeum capitoline

This is a nymphaeum that probably dates to very early in the 18th C. It’s right up against the foot of the Capitoline hill, just down from the staircase that ascends to the piazza that dominates the top of the hill at present.

Anciently, the Capitoline was a very important place in Rome. The first fortress was here, along with the first temples. Long story short, Mousse-oh-lee-nee chopped the north end off a hill that had already been greatly altered over the years, including the addition of a church in Medieval times and the 16th-C alterations of palazzos that now are part of the Capitoline Museums around the Piazza del Campidoglio, all designed by Michelangelo. This construction changed the ascent to the main hilltop from the east and the Forum to the west and the city. The climb from the Forum to the Capitoline summit was the last, and arguably the most important, part of the route of Triumphal processions that Republican and Imperial generals lead through the city, ending at a temple on the Capitoline where sacrifices were made.

Nymphaeum capitoline above
Nymphaeum Letarouliouly drawing

Nymphaeums were first sacred springs where nymphs were believed to reside. Nymphs were likely part of the pantheon of pre-Roman peoples of the northern Italian Peninsula—and probably beyond. Eventually, springs were created in the form of fountains to evoke such sacred places (the water alternative to sacred groves). The name continued to be used for a contemplative location (garden) with flowing water, so that owners of a villa had one built in the back of their garden in the early 18th C, below ruins on the face of the Capitoline. Note how the vertical support in the arch above was there in the 18th C (drawing). Also, note the row of buildings (residences?) along the rim of the hillside, where there is now an overlook.

One other thing, apparently although the destruction in the 1920s didn’t remove the wall of the nymphaeum, the water supply was cut. In, get this, 2011, it was restored and a plaque installed noting this proud fact. And a mere three years later, it now looks like it’s been a barely functional oozing fountain for a half-century….

Peugeot logo

We splurged on a taxi to our overnight down at the airport that we hope will make an early arrival at the airport tomorrow easy (well, easier). The taxi was a Peugeot, oooh-lah-lah.

And we’re seeing a slushy, romantic, Julia Roberts promotion of Calzedonia, a big Italian company (clothing at least) play over and over on the TV (haven’t had TV for a while). Big Euro-bucks to the former Georgian, I’m sure.

WEATHER REPORT: Storms in NW Italy and SE France have sent mud and sludge into many towns, including Vernazza, which has been evacuated. No rain here, and overcast even has been spotty. Our trip planner (me) sure miscalculated the temperatures we’d experience during this trip; it’s been sweaty-hot much of the time, with pleasant cool evenings, mostly; however, we’ve been lucky with the rain, only a morning or so during our first stint in Rome….

Beholding, smaller scale

Restaurant table display

Usually these little table displays outside restaurants have prepared dishes. This one had a very attractive assortment of produce, plus dried pasta and empty wine bottles. I found it rather the opposite of intended, more what wasn’t and what could be. What I find mysterious is the pepper shaker.

High wall religious

I can’t decide if these are meant mostly as we inside this building honor this image’s meaning, or we offer this for you to honor—or both.

The quote is from the Ave Maria/Hail Mary, Latin version, and the actual lines are Sancta Maria, mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, meaning the first and last words are left for you to fill in mentally, I’m guessing. The first one is interesting—Holy Mary reduced to just Mary—assuming the reader knows to assume the holiness…. Removing the last word really changes it from pray for us sinners to pray for us. Of course, if you’re in the Catholic family, you know the phrases, and fill in all the words and sentiments without even thinking. Still, removing “sinners” offers a different slant.


The sign reads “Stampa Digitale Antinfortunistica.” I don’t even want to decode it. Points to anyone who puts Antinfortunistica in their business name.

However, I couldn’t resist making Google Translate to flex its muscles; not much of a flex, it turns out. Antinfortunistica means safety, and the whole thing is Digital Printing Safety. I liked it better when I didn’t know….