Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day...and (maybe) the arrival of a Little Pirate,too!

Woke this morning with a smile on my face, and remembering Bill and all the Talk-Like-A-Pirate Days we enjoyed together...one of our favorite holidays.  From the first "...there be coffee, wench?" to  the last "Arrrrr..." of the night...we both loved it. Through-out the day e-mailing a running piratical commmentary about our day, co-workers, or  interaction with friends.

"Hogging the copier? I suggest you run him through! Arrrrr..."

"Avast ye scurvy dog...I'll be pillaging the bank at noon, then!"

TLAPD began in 1995...but really didn't take off until Dave Barry did a column about it in 2002.

Needless to say, we celebrated every one thereafter.

Today not only am I celebrating...but also may be the honorary great-grandma of a Little Pirate of my own- if he arrives before Midnight.

Brittany (Amelia Rose's Mom...and Nicole's adopted/honorary daughter) is at 40 weeks and is being induced today.

It is a Land Before Time Moment:

"Come OUT.  You are LATE!

It will be so cool if Brantley makes it in time for Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Amelia Rose...my honorary Great Grand-Daughter

And believe me...it is an honor! 

More anon...

Monday, September 18, 2017

(Virtual) Trapani,Sicily

All the way up to the third corner of the island today!


A city, seemingly, built around salt.

So, it seems appropriate to  start today's tour with the saline beds.

Windmills pump the sea water into shallow beds for evaporation and the result (after evaporation and raking) is piles of what appears to be never-melting snow; but is,in fact, sea salt.

Trapani Salt Production


Sosalt Tour


And if you wish...you can purchase genuine salt from Trapani here

www.williams-sonoma.com/products/trapani-fior-di-sale-salt/?catalogId=19&sku=1520357&cm_ven=PLA&cm_cat=Google&cm_pla=Food > Salt %26 Pepper > Salts&kwid=bingproductads-adid^11472831019-device^c-plaid^1100309429772-sku^1520357@ADL10BMC-adType^PLA

I have also found it on eBay.

Museo delle Saline

It is no surprise,then- that they have a museum dedicated to the area's salt production through history. The Phoneticians developed and used these salt pans.

Tour of Museo delle Saline


But Trapani offers much more than salt.

Erice-Trapani also offers

 Cable Cars to the top

Gondola to Erice


Medieval Town and Cobble Streets.

Tour of Erice


Complete with not just one,but two castles.

                                                        Erice Castle

And last, and perhaps best in my opinion

Baia Santa Margherita

Beautiful coast.Sliver of a beach. 

Turquoise water giving way to that deep Mediterranean Blue.

What's not to love?



With this, a fitting ending, to our Sicilian Adventures.


Only the painting to finish now!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

We All Float...

Soon you'll float, too!

Today's Morning Cup begins with a review...so if you STILL haven't seen the latest release of IT...turn away now-

Wow!  Caught this on Monday. I loved Tim Curry as Pennywise...but this one was 100x scarier...better.  Bill Skarsgard's depiction was darker...more threatening...even the muted colours in his suit and make-up was closer to the clown I imagined while reading the book all those years back.

Unlike the original motion picture this one divided the book into halves...making it much easier to transfer to the wide screen. Instead of trying to pack the story of the children and their adult counterparts into one film. They have spent the entire first film telling the children's stories...building background. 

The Sequel will be the continuation of them as adults. 

Great casting. Good score. I don't usually care for re-makes...but this is indefinitely better than the original.

Well worth your time and money. 

Can't wait for the Sequel.

Finished the latest Stephen King novel, as well, this week.

A Collection of Short Horror Stories from the Master of the Genre. Enjoyable but not spectacular. Good, but certainly not his best. After Joyland and the Mr. Mercedes Trilogy, it may be that I just enjoy his psychological thrillers more than the overt killer car type stories,now.

A book that is nice to go through slowly. Read one story. Digest it. Read another tomorrow. 

Worth a look see.

I've spent most of the week recovering from that kidney infection and regaining my strength (...as well as dealing with the side effects of Amox 875...bleah) Slowly pulling it back together. 

Have made a start on Fall Decorating...but far from finished.

I do have a wonderful Spiced Pumpkin Jarred Candle and have also (already) baked Cinnamon Bread Pudding, Cherry Crostada and Pumpkin Spice Cookies through the week to take the morning chill off the house,  Also to accompany my favorite Fall Tea: Bigelow Orange Spice.

Tina is into her EMT Clinicals and doing very well.

Chris just received this

His Five Year Service Award...and now has 3 weeks paid vacation!

He is busy with his Network Plus Course and has been learning Coding.

Lennon (and his Gran) made it safely back from Evacuation...although the drive

"sucked hard"

and he had to be back to work immediately-

They were extremely fortunate and came home to a mess but no structural damage and the power was ON!!!!

James and Nicole and the kids added a member to their family this week

Brenden's new buddy

"Dino" the Ferret

He is just too cute.

Emma made the paper!

Excelling in Math!
 Nicole says James deserves some  of the credit for working with her.

And all the kids made bath crafts with Nicole

All of our Florida friends and family cleaning up a lot of debris, water or both. Several still without power...but everyone back from evacuation and basically unscathed. 

Overall everyone very blessed.

A new positive development with Shelby, as well. Not only is she now sleeping with me nightly, but when I wake in the morning she has started this habit of holding my forearm to her as she sleeps like a teddy bear. I wake with this fuzzy gauntlet wrapped round my arm...lol!

I am the cat's "woobie".

Apparently, I have finally became her person.

Last weekend was the first pot of Grandpa's Chili fixed this Fall...and tomorrow I am doing a kettle of Ham and Beans.

Fall Food at Last!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Shel and her "mousie"

Friday, September 15, 2017

Virtual: The Castles of Sicily

Nineteen, in all. Sicily is (or was...in some cases) filled with them.

So let's explore!

Beginning with (1.) Castello di Agrigento

Built in 1087, it was mostly destroyed in 1900 and is abandoned now. What little remains sits atop a tall hill and overlooks Agrigento. It was built just after the defeat of the Arabs and was used primarily as defense and as a repository for the cities antiquities.

No video is available.

(2.) Castello di Barrugeri

A Sicilian Castle built in 1295 and since completely destroyed.Nothing remains and the area on which it stood is now flat farmland.

No video available.
 (3.) Castello di Bifar

Built in the 11th Century...then captured by the Normans in 1086. There are no remains  and this castle is known only by writings. It was destroyed in the Earthquake of 1693 and nothing remains.

Eventually there are CASTLES on this tour....right??

 (...channelling my inner Ian from Jurassic Park...)

(4.) Castello di Bivona

Yay...A Castle!  Sorta...kinda...almost.

Built in the 14th Century the castle was sacked in 1529. Abandoned but there are ruins remaining. Yay ruins...

 Tour by Air


(5.) Castello di Caccamo 

 Okay...this is more like it!

Castle Caccamo is one of the largest and most well preserved Norman Castles outside of Palermo, Sicily. It rises 521 metres on a large cliff overlooking Caccamo,Sicily. Built in the 12th Century over the remains of an Arab Settlement...modified and added onto both in the 14th and 17th Centuries.

Today the castle is owned by Sicily and restored. Open to the public. There is a restaurant  within and also used for conferences and meetings.

A Beautiful Tour of Caccamo


(6.) Castellazzo di Camastra

A 14th Century Castle that also remains in ruins.

 No video footage available

(7.) Donnafugata Castle

Although the Origins of Donafugata can be traced back to the 14th Century...most of it was renovated in the early 19th century. More recently the Palace was left to ruins and scheduled to be removed. No telling if this actually occurred. Much like the Messina Bridge

" eh...who knows???"

 The Donafugata

The name roughly translates to
The Woman Who Fled

and this was the setting for Il Leopardo.

The Donafugata in happier times

and inside

This Video Tour was shot 8 years ago.


(addendum:  Did find out that instead of the wrecking ball...the Palace underwent complete restoration and is returned to its former splendor!  An aside...the writer's Lampedusa Palazzo...unfortunately, did not...and is lost forever.

                                      Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
                                             Author of Il Leopardo

(8.) Castello di Lombardia 

Erected in the 1st Millennium BC  the Sicani it sits on a hillside 970 metres above sea level. Conquered by The Romans who had to pass through its sewer networks in order to do so. Beneath the Castle the Temple of Ceres who was a widespread goddess throughout Italy at the time.

Conqured by The Romans, The Arabs, The Normans...then used as a gathering place for theater and operas...it is now open to the public.

And I am assuming you no longer have to go through the cavernous sewer system to access it. 




(9.)  Castello Maniace

Maniace is located in Syrause,Sicily at the tip of Ortygia Island.

Built in 1232...from the 1300-1500s used for the Queens of Sicily...then converted to a Prison in the 15th Century and later an Armory. Both a castle and a citadel is is now primarily a tourist attraction and open to the public.



(10.) Mategriffon

No photo avaiable

Mategriffon was a wooden castle built in Sicily by Richard the 1st of England in 1191 at Messina.  It is listed as a destroyed landmark in Sicily.
Ya think?

No video available

(...and WHO the hell builds a castle out of wood, anyway????)

(11.)  Castello di Milazzo

A Castle and Citadel in Milazzo Sicily.

Used by the Greeks as an Acropolis...enlarged into a castrum by the Romans...a castle by the Arabs...and enlarged and modified into Medieval times. It is now a popular tourist attraction and open to the public.



(12.)  Castello Normanno- Aci

Also known as Castello di Aci located in Catania, Sicily.

Built in 1076 by The Normans. The town of Aci sprung up around the castle. It is used now as a museum. 

Tour from air by drone


and from land (inside)


(13.) Castello Normanno.Paterno

Built in 1072 to thwart Islamic raids it later housed kings and queens.
It was owned by a single family until the 1400's then used as a jail...and eventually fell into disrepair until the 19th Century when it was restored.

Now open to tourists.



(14.)  Castello della Pietra d'Amico

Another castle which has fallen through the years. This one leaving only the rock it was built on.

Which I found kind of neat. 

Although all that remains are staircases and bits of walls...the site is open tothe public.

A rock..okay...I just want a rock.

No video available

(15.) Castello di Schiso

Originally constructed in the 13th century...rennovation was done in the 14th,16th and 19th centuries. The fortress was used as a means of protection against pirate attacks and also had a sugar cane mill inside to process the local crop. The castle is privately owned today by the Palidino family and not open to the public. 

Although there is no drone footage of Schiso Castle available...I felt compelled to share this video...which is of a castle for sale in the area...lol

Castle for Sale


"Yeah Bob, that's right...bought a freaking castle in Sicily...I'm staying."

(16) Castello di Terra

 Built in 1186...now partially restored...and FOR SALE...Castello di Terra is probably known in realestatese as your "Great Little Fixer-Upper"

Direct quote: Today only the Northwest face of the castle is still standing intact.

I'll pass...

Yeah...I get a lot of mileage out of this lady.

 (17.) Castello Ursino  (Bear Castle)

Built in the 13th Century,Ursino was the Royal Castle of Sicily, and eventually became the Seat of the Sicilian Parliament. 

Today it is is excellent condition and is open to the public as a museum.

Tour Drone exterior




(18.)  Castello di Villagonia

Razed in 1913...no photo...no video.

I guess when the Sicilians want you gone...you are gone.

(19.) The Ziza,Palermo

The last castle on our Virtual Adventure.

Built in the 12th Century by Arabian Craftsmen for King William the First of Sicily.The style is Moorish. The name from al-Aziza meaning Splendid or Dearest.

In 2015 it was named a World Heritage Site.



Truly an amazing place.

So there you have it. Some of the better known castles of Sicily.

On Monday we will check out Trapani and the (sea) salt beds.

More anon...