Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…

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Happy New Year…

I was looking through a year’s worth of photos to create a review of my year and try to use the split screen capabilities of iMovie. This time of year is such a natural demarcation for me because practically all celebration in my life occur between the last week in November and January 1st. TM’s birthday and Thanksgiving (usually the same day or very close), Christmas, my birthday, New Year’s Eve all in one week. New Year’s Eve is also the anniversary of when I met TM and the night he asked me to marry him. Only two kids birthdays and our wedding anniversary happen in other parts of the year. This movie helped to wrap up the year. It felt good to look again at all the parts of the year. The garden flourished and the seasons changed indicated by the farmer’s market produce coming in on schedule. We saw many exciting sites in the world and close to home. I didn’t realize how the California coast figured so prominently in our journeys and, of course, San Francisco. Visually entrancing places. I started to use Photoshop Elements again at the end of the year. 2013 was a very happy year for us…I wish a beautiful 2014 for you!


Detour, 2…

I did not take many video clips when I was in Venice. It was mostly when something that depended on motion to impart its interest presented itself. I did not start out trying to tell a story. For this class I was urged to make a short movie with only video clips, no stills. I was flummoxed at first because I had no linear story but I managed to put things together and am very excited that I also learned to split a clip and detach the sound track from one clip and duplicate it to use it with another. I did not have to spend any time on finding a soundtrack for this movie because Venice provided its own.

Here are vendors in San Marco throwing lighted balls into the night sky and gondoliers checking their text messages.¬†We were standing in the entrance level of the Palazzo Querini Stampalia Museum where you feel like you are almost in the canal with it lapping at your feet. Our early morning venture to the seafood market where the fish are so fresh they are still moving. The traghetto, a gondola that only goes back and forth across the canal…tourists sit and natives stand. The last master craftsman in a long family line that does not know who to leave his gondola making business to because he only has daughters. Restaurants and, of course, street musicians…here is a sample of Venice…

Click the square next to the word vimeo (in the lower right hand corner) to make it full screen or you might miss the details…



I did try very hard to keep in chronological order when blogging about our recent trip to Italy. Here I must veer for a bit because I just got lost in my photos of the third week of our trip when we were in Venice. I had to do something with them. I will get back to the Umbrian hill towns, but I just can’t help myself…the visual was so rich there. This iMovie is a teaser of things to come.

We left our Ettore apartment near Spoleto at 8:00 a.m. because we had to be at the Venice Airport by 2:00 p.m. with our car turned in. We were to meet our Untours host Denny Jennings who would get us onto the transport (water taxi) and guide us to our apartment.


I was navigator and here is Garmin with our list of cities to look for so we were sure we were going on the correct road. We saw some beautiful scenery on the way…and made our rendezvous on time.

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We boarded our water taxi and as we approached the city, Venice rose up out of the lagoon. What I was seeing knocked my socks off, and around our house, now, when someone is distracted, forgetful, or late for something we throw out the phrase “What are you, lost in Venice?” Most likely we are…

We disembarked the taxi and made our way to our apartment across from the Frari Church (and very close to GROM Gelato). Looking out the window we saw the full church and looking down we saw a small canal with two gondoliers waiting. We had entered a world without a single car after having spent the previous two weeks dodging small cars on small streets¬† in hill towns (I love you Fiat!). Here in Venice it was all about the water. I don’t feel that the water and moisture seeped into my bones and joints, but I do feel that the city seeped into my soul. My iMovie is of the first few hours we were in Venice…(click to make it full screen)

After unpacking our suitcases, we wandered out in search of dinner. Got lost (the point of being in Venice, afterall) but eventually we found Dona Onesta…all the food was permeated by the sea…

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That seafood risotto was maybe the best thing I ever ate (I do say that about lots of things…but…it was really good!)

When we left the restaurant we promptly got lost, again. We were saved by a young, English speaking woman with a map. Thinking that the Frari Church steeple would be a good landmark did not take into account that it is not lighted and doesn’t stand out in the night sky, plus Venice’s streets tend to be corridors in caverns so what is a landmark going to do for you? We found home and we knew we were smitten with this city.

I was lost in Venice…I want to be lost in Venice, again…I am lost in Venice…

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Our first day-long trip was over to Orvieto (it took about an hour and one-half to drive from Spoleto). We had been there two years ago, so I have another blog post from that day that is here. Unfortunately, from my perspective, photos are not allowed inside the Duomo. The interior is an amazing piece of art, especially the frescoes by Fra Angelica and Luca Signorelli in the Capella Nova. The Duomo was started in 1290 and took 300 years to build influenced by plan changes and technical difficulties as well political and social circumstances. There were considerable costs due to quality of the materials and the fame of the artists involved over the centuries.

We met our friends, the Cozens, here for the day and after drinking in the magnificence of the facade of the Duomo with its mosaics, bas relief, and sculptures (not to mention the stripes), Chris and I detailed Terry and Darrell as scouts to ascend the Torre del Moro (clock tower with view and 120 steps, no elevator). They did us proud with view shots…


Chris and I did them proud with our meandering. We saw lots of boar’s heads.

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Tempietto di Clitunnus and Fonti del Clitunno…

Between Trevi and our farmhouse apartment were two historic sites worth visiting. The Tempietto was at first thought to be a Roman temple. Eventually it was found to be an 8th century Christian church. It was built with ancient Roman columns and other architectural parts from ancient buildings. The frescoes inside date to the 8th century which makes them some of the oldest in Umbria.

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The Fonti del Clitunno is a spring named after the river god and oracle Clitunnus who was thought to live in the waters. (The area is nice for picnics and has a fine restaurant and gelato bar.) It is said that the springs were used by Claudius and Caligula and have been considered sacred ever since. It is a small lake with lots of bird life. There is a movie! First the temple and then the springs and feathered friends!

Next will be Orvietto…


Colors of home…

I have been so submerged in the colors of Italy that I almost missed the colors at home. Grabbed my iPhone yesterday morning to see what was going on during the morning walk. The day before had been sparkling clear and I had told myself that I wanted to record the color of the trees. Most of the year my neighborhood impresses as shades of green but during the fall quite a lot of red, orange and yellow show up. (This is California, not known for its seasons, so my brain notices that something is different because it seems quite unique.) Yesterday I got outside, camera at the ready, and it was blanketed in fog. Turned out that it added a nice touch to the photos. Except for some cropping I did not do any post-processessing…their color is their color…at least the way an iPhone interprets it…

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Happy Morning to you!

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Trevi, cubed…

As you make your way up the hill to Trevi you pass through miles and miles of olive groves and once you are up there you are treated to incredible views off over the Plain of Clitunno.

We always drop by the TI Center in the town and Trevi’s had the most incredible ceilings to greet us.




Then it was off to investigate the town.


We ate lunch at La Vecchia Posta in Piazza Mazzini.

With this view of the 13th century Torre Civica.


We enjoyed the Civic Museum connected to the Gothic San Francesco Church. Part of it was about olive oil production and the other was religious art. While we were inside it poured rain, but I liked the skylight that connected the old church and the newer museum building.



An alter piece by Lo Spagna from 1522. Part of it (the yellow area) was dispersed in the 19th century and is housed in the Tucson Museum in Arizona. (Send it back Arizona Trevi needs it!)







This painted cross is from the 14th century.

There was also the Saint Emiliano Duomo to explore.







Luckily we had not planned to visit Assisi the same weekend…(can you imagine the crowds if you were there the same time as the Pope?)


As we wandered we would find such interesting artifacts like the remains of a wayside chapel (Santa Reparata) from 1578 with some frescoes behind the plastic.
I thought this building was interesting. No decoration except the intricate trompe l’oeil painting.





Also liked the eagles on the war monument.



There is the cube…