April 30, 2016

Gloucester, MA. April, 2016

Can you post a picture of your husband during Friends Week on SLS? Yes. Here's Dr. Blake in front of the section of his garden we affectionately call Mars. Don't ask.

April 29, 2016

Rome. October, 1984

Friends Week continues here on SLS with this shot of (from left) Patti and Dali when the three of us happened to be in the Eternal Città at the same time. Fortunately, none of us could resist any hint of a photo opportunity, so when we came across this graffiti, well, you can see the result. (For another shot of Patti, in her Rome-based alter-ego as Gina, click here.)

April 28, 2016

Some beach in MA. Summer, 2014

Frequent visitors to this blog will know that I love jumping pictures. And love the people who also love jumping pictures. Like my friend Hayden, above center, who puts his companions' attempts to shame with his impressive, weightless jump. Bravo.

April 27, 2016

Cambridge, MA. Winter, 2014

An old pal from college days, who found this blog by accident, recently wrote to me that he was struck by the number of people I count as friends. Yes, I am blessed. So this week, a look at some of them. Here's a photo of my friend Floyd on the tracks of Boston's Red Line. The winter blizzard had shut down all subways, so Floyd and his now-husband Rob (who took this photo) snuck into the Central Square station, jumped onto the tracks and, well, you can see the dynamic result. (For another of my favorite photos of him, click here.)

April 26, 2016

Westford, MA. July, 2008

Here I am with my friend and former Bose colleague Margarita at our off-site event one summer day. There were "team-building" exercises which were infantile and stupid. Followed by softball and ceramics and such. Mainly Margarita and I were waiting for the ice-cream portion of the afternoon, as the event was held at a quasi-amusement park known for its frozen delights. Margarita is from Colombia and she used to practice Spanish with me. One day, her computer was not functioning properly and I asked if it were a "computadora Colombiana." She smiled and countered, "No. Es gringa!"

April 25, 2016

Near Galway, Ireland. May, 1992

When my mother died, I took my father on a trip to Ireland, a place he'd always wanted to visit. We rented a car and drove more than 1,000 miles in ten days. We also drove each other crazy. His constant noise (whistling, singing, coughing, snoring, etc.) irritated me 24 hours a day. And I imagine my photographer's suggestions (No, not there. In the sun! No, over there. More to the left, etc.) must have worn on him, too. But at least my niggling resulted in some nice mementos. Like this one.

April 24, 2016

Senglea, Malta. October, 2015

This is what a traditional Maltese fishing boat looks like. With those two stand-up posts at either end. Why? Something to hold onto if rough seas make the boat tippy? The boats look mighty nice, if strange, docked here among modern pleasure craft in this somewhat affluent section of the city. Miniature handmade versions look more at home in just about every souvenir shop in town.

April 23, 2016

Agrigento. October, 2015

When I look at these Roman and Greek ruins here in Sicily, I wonder what from our age will endure for 2,000 years and fascinate some future civilization.

April 22, 2016

Valletta, Malta. October, 2015

I never tire of looking at the various styles of signage on display in this island capital. This one (in English and hinting at a slightly Art Deco typeface) is clearly from a period in the not too distant past when the British were still in command.

April 21, 2016

Napoli. October, 2015

There are many strange things to look at in Napoli. And here's one of them. Doesn't that central neoclassical part of this building look odd? As if it were wedged in between those two medieval-looking fortress towers as an afterthought?

April 20, 2016

Catania. October, 2015

When I was growing up, my mother used to eat pickled pig's feet. I remember what they looked like in the jars they came in. They resembled formerly living things preserved in formaldehyde on the shelves of a high school biology lab. As a child, I could never understand my mother's fondness for them. But now, as an adult...I still can't understand it.

April 19, 2016

Leaving Palermo. October, 2015

One of the great pleasures of being at sea, even just when leaving port, is the magnificent views of the sky, unobstructed by buildings, commanding the horizon. That plus the occasional rainbow.

April 18, 2016

Valletta, Malta. October, 2015

When I first approached the sign for this store, I thought, "Talk about a niche market!" Upon closer inspection, it became clearer, if a bit disappointing.

April 17, 2016

Alhambra, Granada, Spain. March, 1995

My turn with the tiles. Oh, how I long to go back to Spain. Soon.

April 16, 2016

Alhambra, Granada, Spain. March, 1995

Don't let that handsome redhead distract you. This shot is all about the geometric tilework, a hallmark of Islamic art and architecture, which, for the most part, excludes any representation of people, animals, just about every living thing...except the occasional flower.

April 15, 2016

Sliema, Malta. October, 2015

Walking through a seaside park in this resort town, I was reminded that cats will sleep anywhere, won't they?

April 14, 2016

Civitavecchia. October, 2015

I love to visit outdoor markets in my travels. Especially in Italy. Here, in the port of Rome city of Civitavecchia, I was reminded that shoppers here are more discerning about produce than they might be in an American supermarket. They want to know where the items came from, if you please. How do you like them apples? From Trentino, in case you were wondering.

April 13, 2016

Cambridge, MA. December, 2015

I am not what you'd call an early adopter. In fact, I entered the modern world and got my first mobile phone, an iPhone 6s, just a few months ago. But I will always be a student at heart, and so the day after I got my phone, I signed up for an "iPhone Basics" class at my nearby Apple Store. Basics is right. Here is the first photo I took with my phone, taken during the class, and one that I would clearly call basic. I'm so used to my point-and-shoot Canon camera, that it's taking me awhile to adjust. Watch this space.

April 12, 2016

Senglea, Malta. October, 2015

When stormy seas prevented our docking in nearby Gozo, our ship remained a second night in Valletta, moving across its harbor to the port of neighboring Senglea. Dr. Blake and I went out for our customary morning exploring, but as he does not fancy steps, our walk through this much-stepped town was confined to sea level.

April 11, 2016

Napoli. October, 2015

The Galleria Umberto in Napoli is so beautiful at ground level, that sometimes one forgets to look up. And when you do, here is your reward.

April 10, 2016

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY. March, 2016

This year at Easter, my friend Nick served this simpler version of risotto, also made with arborio rice as its more complicated cousin is. The rice, broth and asparagus cook together (no stirring needed), the pre-cooked asparagus tips are added to the plates just before serving. Grated cheese passed separately. I took this photo quickly because I could not wait to start eating.

April 9, 2016

Valletta, Malta. October, 2015

Oh, why so serious, honey? Actually this guard outside government central here in the country's capital reminded me that for the longest time Malta was ruled by the British. And while the costume might be more amenable to a southern Mediterranean clime (Valletta is further south than parts of Africa), this kid's stance and facial expression may remind one of the Royal Guard outside Buckingham Palace. And they don't smile, either.

April 8, 2016

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY. March, 2016

OK, more from Nick's Easter dinner. Here, two different focaccie, served along side a Sicilian olive salad with drinks at hors d'oeuvre time. One with cooked onions on top (left), the other with pancetta and provolone in the dough and Pecorino Romano shreds on top. Can't decide which to have? Do as I did and have them both. Several times.

April 7, 2016

Istanbul. September, 2014

Look at these beautiful items at the early Sunday morning farmers market in an Istanbul suburb. Growers from the Black Sea region drive all Saturday night to set up and sell their wares here in the big city. And shoppers have to get here early if they hope to score any of these freshest items. (I snagged the last loaf of corn bread for my friend Cenk's mother because I knew she loved it.) Here's a tip though: Don't buy any of the raw milk yogurt and bring it back to your hotel for breakfast. Not unless your system is stronger than ours. Just saying.

April 6, 2016

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY. March, 2016

As Andy Warhol used to say, "Life's too short. Eat dessert first." So even though I plan to post about several of the dishes from this year's Easter dinner at my friend Nick's, I'll start with the chef himself holding up his magnificent Cassata alla Sulmonese. Several layers of butter cream, each incorporating a different mix-in (torrone, croccante, chopped chocolate, etc.) I confess that I picked a little at the crumbs during cleanup after the guests left.

April 5, 2016

Agrigento, Sicily. October, 2015

Last night at dinner, I learned that my friend Tim (renowned for his enjoyment of salt) does not like olives. How can that be? I asked if it was the pits, the taste, what? No answer, just a shrug. Here, some beautiful unripe olives on a tree in the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. If you've never had an unripe fresh olive, try one. You'll soon learn, as we did, how important curing (in oil, in salt) is to remove the intense bitter taste.

April 4, 2016

Leaving Napoli. October, 2015

By the last day of each cruise, people are so relaxed and accustomed to life on board ship, that they almost take for granted some of the sights that can only fully be appreciated from the distance that departure provides...like the view of Mount Vesuvius, seen here across the Bay of Napoli.

April 3, 2016

Sliema, Malta. October, 2015

I was killing time before a nearby meeting, just sitting on a bench along the waterside promenade in this resort town, watching all the people. These four Italian men stopped for a smoke and I thought of Stendhal's The Red and the Black. First I thought, OK, fathers and sons? Two couples? Then I wondered why were the two younger men dressed in red, the two older in black? (I think I may have worked on the PBS program Mystery! for too long.)

April 2, 2016

Leaving Napoli. October, 2015

When Jay and I were considering going on our first cruise, one of our worries was "the other people." Would we meet anyone we'd want to spend time with? Would our being a couple be an issue? Years have passed and we've been on many cruises, and we can laugh now at our initial concerns. We always meet some terrific people with whom we spend a lot of time. And Simon is one of them. Here he is (third from left) at our farewell dinner with the rest of his traveling party...and us.

April 1, 2016

Napoli. October, 2015

Whenever and wherever we travel, Jay misses no opportunity to pose next to larger-than-lifesize representations of food. Here he is with some unappetizing French fries that look as if they're made from either bricks or insulating styrofoam. (For a look at his posing next to a rather large fried calamari sandwich in Madrid, click here.) I thought this photo might be appropriate for April Fool's Day. Maybe that's a stretch.