Liebster Award Nominations

Although I have only been blogging since September, I have found it one of the most rewarding outlets for my writing and thoughts on gardening, travel, pets and the every day happenings of life. So it was with much amazement that our blog has been nominated for the Liebster Award. As a newcomer, I have been buoyed by the feedback and kind words of my regular followers and visitors. My nominator was Nitty Gritty Dirt Man, whose blog I follow from the other side of the world, and one which never ceases to inspire with its heartfelt, entertaining and socially aware commentary – danke schoen to you Kevin!

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A Special Christmas Wish

Recently I began reading Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence” again. You might remember the film vision directed by Martin Scorcese starring Daniel Day Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder. The novel gives an insight into the social mores of Old New York at the turn of the century – how wealthy socialites should behave and conduct themselves. This is of course punctuated by the main character Newland Archer’s infatuation with his bride’s divorced cousin, Madam Olenska. But it really is much more than this – it is about our wishes, our decisions, and the losses we have to endure.

“Archer did not accompany his son to Versailles. He preferred to spend the afternoon in solitary roamings through Paris. He had to deal all at once with the packed regrets and stifled memories of an inarticulate lifetime.”Excerpt From: Wharton, Edith. “The Age of Innocence.”

Sometimes the decisions we make can have far-reaching consequences. We can treat ourselves quite harshly over these decisions and our judgements of others. So, for anyone who has ever experienced difficult decisions or experienced heartbreak and sorrow

This Christmas

I wish for you greater tolerance of opinion
I wish for you greater acceptance of reason
I wish for you greater recognition of loss
I wish for you less consumerism
I wish for you less anxiety
I wish for you less anger
I wish for you less animosity
I wish for you more tolerance
I wish for you more understanding
I wish for you more connectedness
I wish for you more love

And in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut sorrow, I wish for us all to expand our hearts to the entire community and reach out in a collective embrace and in sympathy over this tragic event. May all the innocent angels, their teachers and their families find Peace.

And may your God’s gentle hand guide you on your path. May you live a life which can be expressed not through introspection but through understanding and giving to others.

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Milano Part 2

It really is impossible to see Milano in two days! However, we did a vast amount of walking from our hotel into the centre of the shopping district. As I continue to reflect on our journey throughout Italy, I have discovered many things about traveling with others and their wonderful and varied personalities. (This needs further exploration in another post.) Journeying as a group has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of course are that one is in familiar and safe company and have shared similar experiences in special places. One disadvantage can be that these special places can suddenly conjure up feelings that are emotionally overwhelming and quite embarrassing. The second part of our Milan visit did exactly that for me as we entered the grand Teatro alla Scala or La Scala.

I am the daughter of northern Italian and Czech parents with some Hungarian and Swedish influences. Most of my life I grew up listening to stories about life under the Austro-Hungarian Empire – stories of art, music and history. As a child and teenager this was probably the last thing I really wanted to listen to. However, during this visit to the northern regions of Italy, I finally understood the beauty, the art, the architecture and the history. This in turn created an overwhelming link to my ancestors. As we walked in to the grand theatre, the home of opera and ballet, and entered the viewing platform where a rehearsal was underway, I became so overwhelmed by the artistic beauty that I began to cry! Quite embarrassing when one is with twenty other people! Colin was just as bemused by my antics, quickly shuffling me out of sight as I incoherently sniffled into his sleeve, “now I know what my family was on about this place”.

Dating from 1778, La Scala has been home to all the famous operatic and ballet artists. In fact, the museum, also located on the site, reveals the past performers in all their glory: Rossini, Bellini, Toscanini, Maria Callas, Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev and of course our own Dame Joan Sutherland, to name but a few.

In my last post I depicted Milan as a place of self discovery through fashion – a somewhat artificial enterprise. However, it has now become a place where I have found a connection with myself and my ancestral past. Indeed, I will never forget Milano for this gift of understanding. Have you had a similar profound experience of place?

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