Friday, February 12, 2016

The Friday Five, Full of Promise(s)

Back in Vancouver, jet lag vanquished, my morning run completed, some babysitting on the afternoon's agenda, and a burgeoning list of things I want to do competing with the list of things I really must do, both of which are sorting themselves into A, B, or C priority. Feels a bit jangly inside my head, truth be told. As a consequence, this Friday's Five are going to include a few intentions, pointers to posts I'm going to write. Soon. Very soon.

1. For example, I finally photographed the bracelet I told you about, playing nicely with my long-time constants and another Rome purchase. I want to tell you a bit more about the transaction and its context, but I haven't shaken that pocket of time free yet. Some of you will already have seen this photo on Instagram where I posted it yesterday, but some of you don't dabble there, so please forgive the duplication...




































2. At the opera, way back in the fall, a good friend told me about a fascinating Ted talk he'd seen, given by a neurology researcher about what she learned from living through a stroke. He promised to send me the link, and did, way back in, I'm embarrassed to say, November. And finally, this past week, I opened the email, clicked on the link, and Wow! What Jill Bolte Taylor has to say about the important links between neuroscience and mindfulness is so very compelling that I urge you to move more quickly than I did, and take the eighteen minutes to view this video. Moving, instructive, quite astonishing, really....

3. Another post I've been circling around has to do with self-perception, and self-representation, and portraits, and visibility, and visuality, and yes, age.  It has something to do with my little hair experiment and with how much makeup I have (not) been wearing lately and it has to do with mothers and daughters and generations and all kinds of, hmmmm, Deep Thoughts. #kiddingnotkidding as the kids hashtag.

Anyway, you can see why such a post might need sneaking up on, but as an entrypoint, I played with a few selfies the other day, then collaged them together with a Portrait of a Woman (by 16th-century Bolognese painter Ludovico Carracci) I was drawn to in the Palazzo Barberini last week (feels rather odd to write that, because I was in Rome just last week, but I'm so firmly here now. Or am I?)



































4. Italian. I'm still trying to figure out how to get the ball labeled French! back into the circuit of projects orbiting my days. But I'm really pleased that I've acquired a beginner's vocabulary and a nascent understanding of the grammar of La Bella Lingua. Because it really is beautiful, Italian, although it moves so quickly and I'm so mesmerised by its musicality that so far comprehension of the spoken word will depend on much patience and repetition. The written word I'll do much better with, and I'm hoping to move into some reading before too long.
I'm using the online app Babbel as a convenient way to get started adding a language -- I think it helps that I have a reasonable competence in French, and I know that my four years of high-school Latin and two years of university Spanish make it easier to add another Romance language (unfortunately, the latter study dates back to my first go at university, four decades ago, so the Spanish has been severely weathered by time).

5. I'm really hoping to set some techniques or habits or whatever in place to facilitate more regular What I Wore posting. In many ways, I've lost some interest in certain aspects of this as I've tried to turn away from what feels like a constant push toward retail acquisition, to consumerism. On the other hand, though, I've been finding great satisfaction in putting together simple outfits that please me very much out of a number of core pieces as I whittle and whittle. And that feels like something I might want to share.
Meanwhile, though, what about a completely different What I Wore that folds in an additional promise of a Post I Will Write Soon. . .

What I'm Wearing? That's the kimono provided for guests at the Casa Howard Capo le Case, to accommodate our short walk down the hallway to our private, individual bathrooms.  I had some small trepidation about having to leave my room to go to the toilet at night, as a single woman, especially because the Casa Howard is typical of a certain type of near-hotel that we've found in Rome.  The guesthouse is staffed from early morning to late afternoon, but there is no one there except guests throughout the evening and during the night.
As it turned out, this was not an issue at all, and I felt very comfortable and secure there at all times,; indeed, I must say that the kimono's crisp white-and-blue-patterned cotton, the neatly fastening woven obi, made me feel surprisingly happy

I am in no way as experienced nor as intrepid a solo traveller as Madame Là-bas who is currently on her own in Oaxaca, having arrived there to find that her room had been mistakenly rented out to someone else. But I will share what I added to my knowledge and experience and confidence in a future post that will also take you on a tour of my charming "room of my own."  Soon. Very Soon.

Right now, though, Pater has just got home from a morning of meetings, and he's free for lunch.
We're going back to a Lebanese place in the 'hood, a place that makes the most wonderful sandwiches via an obviously rather old "technology." I've only been there once, almost a year ago, and I've been wanting to get back ever since. This time, I'll see if I can get a few pictures, and I'll tell you about it. Soon. You know. Very Soon.

So that's it for this Friday. As always, you know that I love your comments on anything here that strikes your fancy. Or just a "hello, I'm reading" is fine as well. A reader who recently emailed me about recommendations for her upcoming trip to Paris wrote that she reads my posts but feels as if commenting is reserved for other bloggers. Not true, my lovely readers. Not true at all. It's true that many blogs develop a community, a conversation that one can feel shy to break into. But so many commenters felt that hesitancy, even shyness, the first time we laid down a comment somewhere. And I can tell you from this blogger's perspective that even the briefest wave in our direction is so encouraging after the many solitary hours we put in at the keyboard. . . Of course, you're very welcome just reading and staying silent for now as well. . . Happy Weekend!


55 comments:

  1. Bracelet - beautiful.
    Teddy talk link - I WILL watch!
    Self-perception - oh dear. I am very much in that place. I have recently discovered tinted moisturiser and now can't leave home without it.
    The joys of shared bathrooms - ah well, they signify that you are somewhere very interesting!
    I love this sort of post. There's a lot for me to take in and then to use to shine a light in this corner of Blogdom.

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    1. That's really made me chuckle! ;-)
      This bathroom wasn't shared -- I just had to trek down the hallway for it, but I have to say that I absolutely agree with your take on this. Sometimes I just want the comfort of a toilet in my very own room, but I can feel very intrepid at the boldness of a loo just down and across. .

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  3. I'm here and I'm reading. And I'd have to be wrenched out of that kimono - what a beauty. Lovely leather wrist strap too.

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    1. Thanks! So pleased to have you here, Ceri.

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  4. I'm here and reading! Love the bracelets!

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  5. Just arrived from dinner
    Beautiful bracelets and kimono
    Thumbs up for learning Italian
    I hosted costumed dinner Saturday evening-was something like geisha
    Will watch Ted talk
    You have a lot of promises to keep....
    Have a nice weekend
    Dottoressa

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    1. Really? What fun! How many guests? A theme?
      And did you cook the whole meal on your own or did your guests contribute?

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    2. Ten guests,only best friends,every month some of us is a host for the dinner. I cooked the whole meal,here is the custom(if not prearranged otherwise-very rarely,f.e. if my friends happen to work on "their turn",we ,the others, usually bring primo piatto or desssert) that the hostess/host prepare everything. If you are used to it it, is ok(and I treat it as a project,with "to do" and shopping lists,systematically,so I am not too tired),and I quite like it-there are 5 dinners to go now and I would be free.
      It is usually connected with our birthdays (and we celebrate "big" ones in a restaurants,like every ten years). My dinner was connected with Valentine's day(my generation didn't celebrate it,before 1990 it simply existed only in english books,so it is a little reminder. Pink element was Aperol spritz!)
      There is at least one good cook of every pair(or both),and one of friends is great sport fisherman,so it is fun everytime we met
      It was long time set date,but because of my flu, decision to costumes made briefly before,so it was without a theme ( Mad Hatter with a Lady,Pipi Longstocking,Pirates of the Caribbean, Cabaret lady...)
      And the menu was simplified:
      Goose liver (free range,not fois gras) quick confit,caramelized onions,toast
      Veal with potatoes,Nishime slow cooked vegetables and salads. I usually prepare more vegetarian little dishes,but,after the flu,was to tired)
      Chocolate cake
      Jamie's Oliver Christmas bomb (prepared before the flu,with frozen ice cream)
      Coffee
      I am so detailed because you've asked and I assume that some aspects of our life here might be interesting and unknown,sorry if I am boring
      We have a lot of really wonderful wines in Croatia,really,really good,so it is always a pleasure for me to choose what to go with the meal
      Happy Valentine's Day to you and Pater!
      Dottoressa

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    3. What fun! I mean, what a lot of work, but yes, also, what fun! We used to have a similar arrangement many years ago when we lived in a small town that had few restaurants and that rather demanded we make our own entertainment. I've often thought we should start something up again but haven't got there so far. Your menu sounds delicious, and I'm intrigued to find out more about Croatian wines -- my daughter-in-law, trained as a sommelier, is working for a wine-importing company -- I'll have to ask her what's available here.

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    4. Thank you. It is hard to have so close friends near you if you move a lot,no? I am lucky. But I think you do it a lot with your family too.
      It is amazing to have daughter-in-law as the sommelier
      If I could be of any help- I love to investigate our wines (more in theory,but a little bit in praxis,too :-)),it was also fun when we had our wineyard
      I've just finished Ted's talk video. Thank you! It was so emotional ( my father,who is a MD too ,get a massive stroke 18 years ago,it was spasm,he never completely recover his right hand and leg,but he is alive and with us) and so impressive,even for me,such a experience
      Dottoressa

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  6. I just finished The Days of Abandonment by EF and how Olga, the protagonist, regards her body after her husband's departure is probably typical. Olga spent so much energy "keeping herself up", but Mario left her for a girl. Self-perception seems to play such a integral role in a woman's life. Especially as we age. I didn't bring my tinted moisturizer so right now I look pale with eye circles. That is probably what "tired 64" looks like. I like your kimono. Thanks for the mention.

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    1. You've gone beyond the Neopolitan Four -- I'm envious! But not for poor Olga. . . I left my tinted moisturiser behind last fall partly as an experiment, partly because there is only so much room in the carry-on allowance -- and also partly because I had so much colour from our sunny summer. I managed fine that way throughout our 7 weeks in France and Italy because the sunshine continued to help me out. I suspect Mexican sunshine will do away with your own paleness very quickly. . . and you're very welcome!

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    2. I abuse Mater's blog (sorry!) to tell you how you are brave and genereus choosing to travel and volunteer alone. You are writing very interesting and look great!
      You have to use sunscreen in Mexico,and it can be tinted too. Although you'll get tan anyway
      And about Olga- isn't it interesting how Ferrante women are pretty nonchalant about their children-except The Lost Daughter-? Where are legendary Italian mothers?
      Dottoressa

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    3. I love having these interchanges on my blog -- I'm just facilitating here ;-) If you're interested, though, Madame has her own blog as well which is well worth visiting, especially now that she's in Mexico volunteering.

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  7. I am ashamed to say my French language skills are almost non-existent (Where was I in high school? Oh yes, thinking about boys. Right.) In any case, this situation must be remedied and, as a start I have been using duoLingo. Lessons with real people will be in order at some point I suppose!

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    1. And I was a late-bloomer in an all-girls school. Ah the vagaries of language acquisition! ;-)
      I've heard good things about duoLingo as well. I, too, hope eventually to do some work with a living, breathing, Italian-speaking human in the room...

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  8. I'm slowly rereading Middlemarch, in between dives into British drawing room comedies and mysteries to lighten up the final months of dissertation writing—not about literature, so there's also linguistic / discourse analytic reading but that's a different beast. The photos of you in the montage are beautiful; I can't wait to read the post you allude to. And thank you for the encouragement for those of us without a blog to comment!

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    1. Sarah, mater's blog kept me going through my final thesis writing endurance test too. It was so good to momentarily sidestep the hurdles of the still to be substantiated claims in the tricky chapter for a spot of reinvigorating delight on mater's page.

      I am sure your diss will pass with flying colours.

      Bonne chance et courage

      Ceri

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    2. This exchange thoroughly -- I mean, just so thoroughly, you can't know -- delights me! I feel so pleased that this space for getting to know one another can have evolved around my words.
      And Sarah, let me echo Ceri's words of support and encouragement. She's finished hers much more recently than did I, but I suspect we might both tell you of the resonating recognition that continues to hit for at least a year after the succesful defence -- I'm done! I did it! I don't have to do that anymore! I can come out of that locked room and play in the sunshine -- oh, and the before and after photos. I have a photo from the post-defence lunch and it shocked me, at the time, how immediately I looked five years younger. . .

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  9. The blue and white kimono is beautiful, and a lovely solution to those who travel light, without a robe. Beautiful bracelet(s). The Ted talk sounds interesting.

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    1. I suspect you're too busy to watch that Ted talk, Lorrie, but do bookmark it for someday. It's transformative, really!

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  10. I love your new bracelet and I'm looking forward to the posts you are planning!

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  11. Looking forward to all your future posts, they look fascinating. Good on you to add Italian to your repertoire. I always get totally confused between French and Italian, particularly when paying the bill! I'm off to view that Ted video. Have a great weekend on your little island. Barbara xx

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    1. Thanks, Barbara. It's supposed to ward off dementia, isn't it, this language-learning? Let's hope. Because you're right -- meanwhile, confusion reigns, although I find it's my ancient Spanish that pulls confusion in and so far, the French seems distinct enough, the similarities only helpful for whatever reason.

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  12. I found your blog via a comment you had left elsewhere, and now that I am here I think I recognise your nom de plume (nom de blog?) from elsewhere in the blogsphere. I wonder why I have never found you before. I like your bracelet collection very much; looks like each piece has a story to tell. I read your post about the silver bracelet from your mum, amd I can picture her original bracelet precisely, because my mum had one exactlty the same, which I always admired. Sadly, it was lost (I don't think the safety chain was up to the job required) but I can picture it perfectly in my mind's eye. X

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    1. Nom de blog. It's not as elegant-sounding as nom de plume, but it has a certain something, doesn't it?!
      I'm so pleased you found me (sometimes it's like following Hansel & Gretel's breadcrumbs, isn't it?), and I'm happy you went back and read about my mom's bracelet. I have it, still, but the clasp is wont to open unexpectedly, and the safety chain is very light. I can see easily what might have happened to your mom's. You have hers anyway, in a safer place, don't you? Your mind's eye. Your heart.

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  13. If arrangements can be made to purchase one of those kimono, you ought to; it looks so at home and happy on you!

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    1. I should ask, really. I did bring home the leftover small bars of luxuriously scented soap from my room sink and from my shower -- they're wonderfully particular, at Casa Howard, about some small luxuries. The kimono, for example, had the lovely wide sleeves kimonos do, but sewn up just perfectly not to flap. And, to me at least, better than new for having been scrupulously laundered after numerous early uses. Cotton only improves, doesn't it? (at least, until a certain point)

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  14. Love the bracelet and he way it plays with your other favorites. I'm always impressed by people who can sort out and manage languages. Always love your posts.

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    1. Ah, thank you, Mardel. I always meant to have done more with languages, and now I think I'm going to dig in and try.

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  15. I love the Kimono, Frances. Rome's colours look so haunting. I haven't been there in 37 years but I remember that light over the hills. Just reading along and glad you had a good visit to Italy. Brenda

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    1. It was a very good visit for what it was, Brenda. My purpose and goals were focussed, which was quite liberating really. Haunting. I wouldn't have thought of that, but you're right. These colours are really staying with me, so very different from Paris which has been my favourite city for so long. But why pick favourites, right?

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  16. Your combination of bracelets is very attractive. I am looking forward to more posts on your Roman acquisitions. (When I was in Rome with my students in 2013, I bought a bracelet there, from a Trastevere street vendor).
    Good luck with your Italian. Babbel has worked very well for me. At the moment I am using it for French and Turkish (advancing very slowly, as there is little time with full time teaching...)Brushing up my Italian is further down the list.

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    1. I bought mine in Trastevere as well!
      Learning Turkish sounds both challenging and impressive and like a gateway to so many marvels for those who can manage it. I'm guessing you have about 5 languages under your command. Kudos!

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    2. You flatter me! Apart from German I speak English and Spanish sufficiently well to have worked as a translator at times - that's it. Then there is some French and Italian - almost forgotten from lack of practice.
      Turkish is quite fascinating. It has some extraordinary rules like the "vowel harmonies" which call for certain vowels in suffixes according to the vowels in the stem. But it must be said that these rules, strange as they may be, are absolutely strict. There are almost no exceptions, which does make things easier.

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    3. This is what I meant! Three at a very competent level and two that could probably be brushed up quite quickly to a level that at least gets you on the right train. Those vowel harmonies sound very intriguing -- the opposite of English's "silent e" in a way. . . I'm a big fan of strict rules, though. Not something English can boast!

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  17. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and perspective on life. While I don't often comment, I want you to know that your blog holds a special place in my heart as we are traveling similar life paths. This week our family is reeling from a tragic and unexpected loss. Reading a few of your prior posts helps lift a bit of the deep darkness. Thank you.

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    1. Beth, I'm so very sorry about your family's loss. Life takes such strength sometimes. It's kind of you to say that my posts offer some little something to alleviate your suffering a teeny bit. I hope you may continue to find bright spots in as many places as possible throughout the next weeks and months and years. Take care.

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    2. Thank you so much. Sending good thoughts to you from Portland.

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  18. I like the way you encourage newcomers to comment on your blog . We don't always feel that welcome everywhere . Think I might have been tempted to pack the Kimono & do a runner !
    Wendy in York

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    1. I did wonder how many of the kimonos manage to hop a ride on an international flight out of Rome. . .
      I will say that there are a few blogs I've commented on a number of times and never had any acknowledgment or sense that I could ever break into an established community. Then again, my readership is small enough that I can easily keep up with responding to most comments and that would have to change if I were suddenly to be getting a hundred or more comments per post. It's lovely here, though, isn't it, when commenters encourage each other into "our" community -- as Ceri does, above, for Sarah!

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  19. When I go away on holidays I often like to buy a small momento to remind me of the happy times, places visited, etc. This will certainly do that, beautiful red leather!
    I must say I think I would love to own a blue and white kimono like that. Thanks for writing, I'm off to what the video now with interest.
    Cerena

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    1. This is exactly what I was thinking when I bought the bracelet, Cerena. It was affordable and easily packable and it will long remind me of the day I got my sadsack self out of the hotel room and onto the streets of Rome where I walked myself back to happiness.
      The more I hear all of you applaud that lovely kimono, the more I wonder about trying to acquire it. . . At least I took a photo! ;-)

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  20. Such a TED talk! My daughter is planning to become a neurosurgeon - I just sent her the link. Yes, I get that feeling of universality all the time. I think some of us have very active corpus callosums (callosi?), we live a lot of our lives in the transit between hemispheres. My post today on hurrying was so related to this.

    Oh, and anyone who wants to comment? It is absolutely not just for bloggers. We've just gotten used to typing our thoughts for public consumption but it's in no way an exclusive club!

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    1. corpi callosi? Callosum is the adjective, and if I remember my oh-so-long-ago Latin, it should agree with "corpus" but doesn't here -- I checked the etymology and it seems to have changed through the years of being borrowed into English. . . I loved your post on (un)hurrying and it seems very apropos to what Bolte Taylor is talking about. (you must be so proud of your daughter -- that's a long road, and an exciting one!)
      And thanks for encouraging commenters -- not exclusive at all, but such a fun membership!

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  21. Love the bracelets and hope to learn more. We have just learned that we are soon to have a new daughter-in-law. The tradition in my family is to pass on a gem for the engagement ring and later something nice to wear at the wedding (thanks to actress great grandmother --my grandmother --who loved jewelry and not banks). Since neither of the boys or their significant ladies will ever meet her, I hope in some ways this passes on good family memories. I've spent the last day thinking about her -- perhaps like your mother she was never easy so the jewelry evokes mixed feelings. Not sure this makes sense...
    Lynn

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    1. Lynn, this is a lovely, lovely tradition, and a rich way of folding a difficult personality lovingly into the family narrative. You're right -- my mother wasn't easy, but that one atypical, inspired decision to buy us our bracelets gave us ready purchase on remembering her well, prompting other good memories to the surface as well without erasing the negative ones but definitely balancing them somewhat.

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  22. I love the bracelets. That TED talk is amazing - saw it a while ago and it confirms my deep respect for the mind.
    Even my wee guy thinks sharing a bathroom sucks and he taking about the one at home! As for solo travel, I'm setting off on some at the end of February ...! Whee :)

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    1. Whenever I've had to share a bathroom, travelling, or had less comfortable access to one than I'm used to, I recognise what a luxury and a privilege ours are.
      And Whee indeed! Your Instagram feed is going to get even livelier!

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  23. Hello, Mater - I'm still reading. :-) Glad you are home safe and sound. What a wonderful idea - to bring bracelets home as souvenirs. I inevitably gravitate toward either cookbooks or clothes but bracelets and/or earrings would be much easier to pack.

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  24. Thrilled that you've dipped a toe into the commenting waters! The bracelets-as-souvenirs was a new route for me, and although I'd only buy if I came across something I love, I'd definitely keep an eye out next time -- as you say, so easy to pack!

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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