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Sketches

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Hiking in Venice?

May 24, 2017
Hiking in Venice

I suspect that when you think of hiking, you imagine mountaintop vistas, strenuous climbs, and solitude. There should be trees and dirt and sweaty armpits. Probably bugs, but hopefully a few glimpses of more endearing wildlife.

hiking view

Moment from a typical hike

 

Venice is an unlikely place to find any of these things. Sealevel is nearly always within arm’s reach. The biggest (outdoor) elevation changes occur at the peaks of bridges. No dirt. (Although we did wrap-up our hike with a stroll through a secret garden.)

hiking in Venice

The high (outdoor) point in our hike. Shown is the Rialta Bridge spanning the Grand canal. At its peak, we climbed almost 8 whole meters. And I only had to stop once to catch my breath!

Instead, our flint-tiled hiking path lead us through narrow alleys bordered by ancient buildings, past ornate palaces, mansions, and Byzantine cathedrals. A cool, steady breeze and leisurely pace suppressed our armpit’s urge to do what they do, even if we don’t want them to.

 

With all these differences in mind, the hiker in me wasn’t thrilled by the prospect of several days spent wandering through another major city. I wanted to experience all the things that hiking promises: inspiring scenery, exercise for my body, and my mind (minus the torture treadmill), and a chance to rediscover the inner peace that is so hard to find in a busy big-city life. Unlikely we’d find any of this on a tiny, man-made island that hosts millions of people every year.

 

Venice, you sneaky little city, you’ve been holding out on us.

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(almost) funny, Sketches

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday- now with bonus words

March 15, 2017
The colors of Joy

Happy Hump Day y’all. You doing anything special to celebrate?

Some of you are stuck filing TPS reports; or studying for the GRE, LSAT, MCAT or whatever acronymated entrance exam you need to ace to get into grad school; the busiest of you are feeding, shuttling, counseling and cleaning a herd of crazed animals that happen to share your last name.

Then there’s us. Bleary-eyed from an all-nighter spent staring deeply into our laptops, hoping for a meaningful connection with our muse. PJ’s and teeth in need of serious scrubbing. We, we merry band of bloggers, we know how to usher in the mid-week festivities. Might I suggest a soothing after-breakfast nap to go with that morning breath? Go on… you’ve earned it.

But before you nod off, I had an epiphany a few weeks ago that I’m ready to share. Don’t worry, it’s not so exciting that it will make falling asleep any more difficult. And I’ll need a few sentences to setup, so you have plenty of warning before the big reveal.

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Sketches

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Leading Ladies

March 8, 2017
The Incurable Dreamer

Happy International Women’s Day!

 

Google tells me Leading Ladies are the ones that claim prominent roles in movies or plays. Leading Ladies is also a poorly reviewed Ken Ludwig play about two men who pretend to be women to claim an inheritance from an ailing Amish Aunt. (Pretty sure this is the “A” alliteration string to beat for the week).

Google got it wrong.

Leading Ladies aren’t just actresses or men pretending to be women. They’re women like my wife Monica, and my “sora mea din alt domn” (sister from another mister). These two women are my compass when the best way forward is unclear. Despite leading busy and productive lives, they rarely roll their eyes when I try to add to an already bizarre bucket list. Instead, they play along as much as reason will allow, even when it means supporting an increasingly demanding blogging “hobby.”

Disclaimer: I’m not saying this because I’m hoping to pick our next vacation destination (although a climb up Mt Kilimanjaro would be the perfect way to wind down after walking the Camino de Santiago if anyone’s curious).

 

Monica

Meet Monica. If you’re wondering what I did to deserve a wife this amazing, you wouldn’t be alone.

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Sketches

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

February 21, 2017
Bridge over untroubled waters

I’m not an artist.

When new friends show me their baby pics, I have a tendency to respond by showing my latest sketches, often with similar paternal fondness. Bragging about barely fridge-worthy efforts? Guilty.

Artists devote years to honing skills that I do not have. A few of my sketches have turned out well, and I absolutely love those sleepy head-pats that Monica gives me when I wake her in the morning to show off my latest creation. But I get a lot of help from digital filters and editing apps to transform the best I can do into something more eye-catching. Real art? Probably not, but I friggin’ love playing.

I began sketching images for blog posts because I couldn’t find photos that would accurately convey the tone and emphasis I wanted. Digital painting relaxed me when I was too anxious to sleep, or too depressed to do anything. It became my art therapy, without the messy cleanup or expensive paint supplies. Continue Reading…

Sketches

Stop and smell the wild flowers

April 29, 2016

I have to admit that I may not have noticed the explosive arrival of Spring after the recent showers if I wasn’t spending so much time bent over trying to catch my breath on the long climbs. Nonetheless, I still get credit for stopping to smell the roses. (Even if there weren’t any roses on the Trail)

Red Robin and her husband Hydro helped me to identify these Southern Tennessee wild flowers that grew along the edge of the Appalachian Trail.

 

Can you identify these wild flowers? (It might be worth a snickers to the first one that correctly identifies all 3, but you’ll have to meet me on the Trail to claim them)

 

Yellow shower head

This big-guy looks like a yellow shower-head

 

This delicate violet flower just wants to be held

This delicate violet flower just wants to be held

 

I rarely saw these stoic yellow soldiers in groups. (These are my favorite so far)

I rarely saw these stoic yellow soldiers in groups. (These are my favorite so far)