Bringing Europe Home

Quotes from the Masters: Ovid

We had to go to Nepenthe.  It was mentioned in every Pacific Coast guide-book I had, and it was highly recommended by a friend.  It was in the area of Big Sur, so we made it our lunchtime destination.

We began our day with an immensely satisfying breakfast of French pastries, croissants (and cappuccinos for my eldest and me) at the Paris Bakery in Monterey, spent a few hours at the Monterey Aquarium, then loaded into our car and made our way to California’s Hwy 1, heading for Nepenthe.

The ride was spectacular.

We stopped often to capture the scenery on film, (my husband snapped these orange flowers),

and still, the photos do not do it justice.

Finally we arrived at the restaurant, marked by layers of parking lots that were filled with cars.  This place was no secret.  We climbed flights of wooden and stone stairs that worked their way through the leafy vegetation and led to the top of the slope, where the trees gave way to a large patio and the California sky.

The restaurant had an ethereal quality; there were bleacher style rows of stone benches carved into the wall, where you could lean against pillows that were thrown along the rocks and drink a beer while you drank in the sunshine and the view and waited for your table.  It was the ultimate in California cool.

A long wooden bar facing the view served as a table and optimized the dining experience.

We wandered, enjoying the scenery and taking photos.

I walked to the “Phoenix” snack bar, a level below, and found a menu that described a brief history of the place and explained that Nepenthe  is a Greek word for “No worries.”  I was pretty excited to know that the word was Greek, because that gave it enough of a link for me to use it in this European-themed blog (I only need a thin tether of a connection).

Certainly, worries could waft freely away in these surroundings.

While working on this post, I googled nepenthe, hoping to find a good picture of the restaurant.  And I found that, according to Wikipedia, nepenthe means, “that which chases away sorrow,” and was probably a type of anti-depressant drug used by the ancients.  That was an interesting twist, spinning the meaning of the word into something not quite so hakuna matata, not quite so Bobby McFerrin, but something along the lines of a natural Zoloft– a salve for our troubled minds.

This nepenthe revelation got me to thinking (because that’s what I do).  It got me to thinking about our human condition.  Our world is full of worry—of sorrow and heartache and pain.  And how do we deal with that?

Sometimes, we need to be engulfed in something bigger than ourselves.

We seek consolation in the glory of God’s creation, we seek refuge in the comfort of a friend’s embrace, and we seek peace in the depth of our prayers.

“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.”  Ovid

“Quotes from the Masters” is my weekly (if I can manage it) blogging challenge.  I invite you to use the quote as an inspiration for your own post and interpret it as you like, using a photograph, a story, a reflection, a poem, a song–whatever!  If you would like to, please title this one, “Quotes from the Masters: Ovid” and please add the link to this page on your post.  I’d be delighted to see a link to your post on the comments section of this page, too.

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Is There an Award for Procrastination?

If there’s an award for procrastination, I should get it.  Instead, I have been given some very wonderful awards from some very talented and generous bloggers.  As you may have surmised, it has taken me a while to officially and formally accept these awards, but I do so now, with gratitude.

Each award comes with its own set of rules, which I will explain and promptly break.  Please forgive me.  I will also make some of my own rules.  I will: 1. give the awards to blogs that have not received it (if I can tell) and 2. give the awards to blogs that I have not already awarded (if I can help it).

I have been awarded the Sunshine Award by Jamie of GrandmotherMusings and Valentina of ValentinaDesigns  and Expat Alien. Thank you kindly, dear ladies; your blogs do bring a ray of sunshine into my blogosphere.

But a funny thing happened in the blogosphere–the Sunshine Awards landed at my site with two different sets of rules and questions.  Being the benevolent sort, I’m giving my nominees both options.

The Rules:

  • Acknowledge and thank the giver, link it back, and put the award on your page
  • Answer 10 questions about yourself.  (This is where the two different sets of questions come in and I’m not going to list all twenty, but [fine nominees of mine] you can choose the questions you find here or here.  [Sorry, I’m not answering any of them–I’ve got to finish this post.])
  • Pass it on to 10 or (interestingly enough) a random number of bloggers, and notify them

The Blogs:

Ventura Upon Thames

Romancing the Bee

Mountain Mae

Sharing My Italy

Filing Away Cupcakes

GenieSpeaks, Beyond the Green Door, Spiritual World Traveler, and Grandmother Musings have given me the One Lovely Blog Award.  Your blogs are certainly lovely, ladies, and I thank you sincerely for inviting me into your ranks.

The Rules:

  • Acknowledge and thank the giver, link it back, and put the award on your page
  • List 7 things about yourself
  • Pass it on to 10 or 15 bloggers you like (again, the number varies–you pick) and notify them

The Blogs:


A Strawberry Patch

The Urge to Wander

Beyond the Brush

The World is a Book

Spunky Meg of MegTravels has nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, and I send my sincere thanks.  Your blog is inspiring me to head back to Italia, Meg.  Andiamo!

The rules:

  • Acknowledge and thank the giver, link it back, and put the award on your page.
  • List 7 things about yourself
  • Pass it on to 7 bloggers who inspire you

The blogs:

Words and Herbs

Beyond the Green Door


The Single Good Girl

A Nature Mom

Jamie at Grandmother Musings has also nominated me for the Illuminating Blogger Award.  I thank you for all of your kind recognition, Jamie, and I’m so cheered to be able to have a flickering candle image on my site, now.  There is an Italian proverb posted on Jamie’s page:  “If nothing is going well, call your grandmother.”  I love that.

The rules:

  • Leave a comment on the original award site
  • Tell one random fact about yourself
  • Pass it on to 5 other bloggers

The blogs:

A Leaf in Springtime

Robin Coyle The Writing Life of Robin

Rough Seas in the Med

Chris Everheart

Holistic Me

Okay, one random fact:  I can’t parallel park.  Really,  I can’t.

Not long ago, Restless Jo of RestlessJo invited all of her female followers (and I’m among them) to join her in accepting the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.  Since then, delightful Lorna of LornasTearoomdelights and bright Amy of The World is a Book have graced me with this award, as well.  I’m well chuffed to accept this award and become a part of this sisterhood, ladies.  Thank you so much.

The Rules:

  • Thank the giver, link to the page, and add the award to your site
  • Tell 7 things about yourself
  • Give the award to 5 bloggers

The Blogs:


Nine Cent Girl

Madame Weebles

An Unrefined Vegan

Expat Alien

Lovely Arnel of All Things Boys has given me the Best Follower Award.  Thank you so much for this kind recognition, Arnel—I’ve taken a while to accept it because I’ve been busy following blogs.  😉

The Rules:

  • Thank the giver, link to the page, and add the award to your site
  • Answer the question, “Who was your first follower?”
  • Pass it on to three of your best followers

My first follower was Dubrovnik Lady, Carol, at Essence of Dubrovnik, and it was quite a thrill for me that my first follower was from Croatia.  You’ve earned a place on my blogroll and in my heart, Carol–thank you!

The Blogs (the top three commenters according to my stats page, and it doesn’t lie):

Lorna of TearoomDelights

TBM of 50 Year Project

Jamie of GrandmotherMusings

Thank you, dear followers.  Your comments have surpassed those of my own mother, and that’s an accomplishment.

I didn’t think you would care for me to list 31 assorted facts about myself, but if you’ve got a hankering to read random facts about me, feel free to click here or here.

Thanks again to all who have awarded me and all who read me and all who blog.

Thank you.

Quotes from the Masters: Hugo

This summer has sucked out the best of me and left only a stressed-out, irritated lump who is desperate for a nap.  My son returned from nine months of study in Beirut, my daughter just left for six months of study in Santiago, my husband and twins spent a week messing about in boats at a Boy Scout High Adventure trip in the Florida Keys and the boys are now preparing for a week of scout camp, and I am trying to keep everyone fed, organized, and in clean clothes.  Something had to go, and it’s been my blog and the blogosphere.  (So that’s why I haven’t posted much or visited you lately.)

But in the midst of all of the coming and going, my family members managed to collide long enough to take a vacation on the U.S. West Coast.  We went to the Neverland of Monterey and San Francisco, California, where (in a constant prowl for fodder for future posts) I searched for some European connections.  I found those connections in the form of Spanish influences, a Scottish bagpiper, and a Greek named restaurant (a stretch, to be sure, but the post will be worth it).  I learned that European immigrants transformed San Francisco with chocolate, cable cars, and sourdough bread.  I’ll be slowly eking out posts on those topics in the weeks to come, but for now I leave you with some scenes from the glorious Highway 1 and an accompanying quote.

At the urging of one of my twins, we pulled off the road and walked down the trails in the sand dunes to the beach below, where we had a welcome reprieve.

The landscape enveloped us; you can see the white of my husband’s hat as he and the kids disappear into the dunes.

Never before have I felt so nurtured and invigorated by the splendor of nature than on this particular walk.

“Nature, like a kind and smiling mother, lends herself to our dreams and cherishes our fancies.”  Victor Hugo

I’m offering this post as a blogging challenge.  I invite you to use the quote as an inspiration for your own post this week and interpret it as you like, using a photograph, a story, a reflection, a poem, a song, a recipe, a cup of tea –whatever!  Please title this one, “Quotes from the Masters: Hugo” and please add the link to this page on your post.  I’d be delighted to see a link to your post on the comments section of this page, too.

Happy Fourth of July!

To all those who call America home, may you enjoy a day of celebration.

Statue of Christopher Columbus at the Coit Tower in San Francisco, California.

Quotes from the Masters: Bacon

I’m on vacation.  I haven’t been checking in on my blog or yours, lately, and I look forward to catching up when I return home.  Still, I happened across an apropos quote for my present state of mind, and I decided to put together a quick post for my weekly “Quotes from the Masters” series.

It’s not winter where I am, (but it’s winter somewhere), and I thought this photo paired nicely with the quote.

We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand–and melting like a snowflake.”  Sir Francis Bacon

I saw these words displayed across the wall of the very excellent Monterey Aquarium, and I thought that it would be the perfect quote for the week.  I invite you to use it as you like to inspire your own post.  If you do, please link back to this page and add a link to your post in the comments section here.

For now, my husband and I are with all of our children on a family vacation, and I am enjoying every moment.

Quotes from the Masters: Fellini

I love to talk.  I really do.  I love to engage others in conversation and witty repartee.  I relish the active, educated, verbalized exchange of ideas and opinions.  I enjoy telling stories and making other people laugh.  But sometimes, I need to keep my mouth shut.  I need to curtail my own enthusiastic urge to jump in with my two cents’ worth, and I need to be quiet long enough to listen…really listen…to what someone else is saying.  I need to allow a tiny detail or a glorious vista to render me speechless.

Those are some thoughts that occurred to me when I came across this quote.

“If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet…maybe we could understand something.” Federico Fellini

This rooftop scene is from Lucca, Italy, and it impressed me at the time that the streets were sinking into silence as the sun was sinking below the hills.  I thought that the entire town had taken on its own quiet character, even though there was surely noise within the individual households.  But in that silence, as I watched the sun set across the tiled rooftops, I felt connected with that place and its people and–in a small way–with my own Italian heritage.

I am offering this quote as a challenge, and this will be a unique one.

Do you have a story or a lesson that was learned in silence? Do you have a photo or poem that inspired quiet reflection? You are welcome to create a post using this quote as your inspiration, and please share the link to your post here. I thank you for reading this post, and I thank those of you who choose to join the challenge.


Check out these interpretations of the quote:

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