15….FIFTEEN

Pirates constructed the leaning tower of Pisa.  Around the time of the Crusades Pisa was a port city with a victorious naval fleet and thriving merchant settlements throughout the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East.  A status they had earned by fighting various neighboring cities – Carthage, Constantinople… and winning.  As a result it was a veryContinue reading “15….FIFTEEN”

14 ….. FOURTEEN

On the Origins of Species was first published in 1859 by Charles Darwin.  While not the only one at the time to be developing theories about evolution, this book is regarded as definitive when discussing Natural Selection – a process that dictates the success or failure of certain traits in a species.  Behaviors or attributes that best ensureContinue reading “14 ….. FOURTEEN”

13….THIRTEEN

In 1861 the Kingdom of Sardinia became the Kingdom of Italy and Sicily, having been annexed by Giuseppe Garibaldi the previous year, was united with the rest of the peninsula.  For centuries the island had passed through the bloody hands of nearly a dozen rulers as they claimed control over the lucrative Mediterranean trading routes. Over the next eighty-six years SicilyContinue reading “13….THIRTEEN”

12….TWELVE

Ukiyo-e is a form of Japanese printmaking which began during the 17th century.  When translated literally, Ukiyo-e are “pictures of the floating world”.   The pleasure of moonlight on a blossoming tree, the tranquility of a peaceful landscape, the enjoyment of wine and conversation or a beautiful woman’s company – nearly all pleasures were possibleContinue reading “12….TWELVE”

11….ELEVEN

Sir Isaac Newton did not invent gravity. Describing an isolated characteristic of the universe in terms that satisfy our intensely analytical human minds, does not constitute inventing it.  I do not mean to insinuate that Sir Isaac is undeserving of the historical fame with which he has been adorned, only that he should be part of a largerContinue reading “11….ELEVEN”

10…..TEN

Her hair smelled of olives and as she embraced me in front of the hotel, I breathed in deeply.  The softly wrinkled olive-smelling woman then waved to us before turning to walk away into the darkness. Earlier that day we boarded a ferry and had spent the afternoon crossing the Mediterranean ocean with a group of elderlyContinue reading “10…..TEN”

9….NINE

The woman at the ticket window rolled her eyes slightly as she slid two of the cheapest ferry tickets under the window.  A friend from my painting class was waiting by the dock and walking over to her I ran fingers through my hair, trying to smooth out my blonde pony tail.  I was tiredContinue reading “9….NINE”

8…. EIGHT

My mother backpacked around the world in the 1970’s, before cell phones and Skype, before ATM machines, even before email.  She spent most of her trip in Africa and those were the stories I asked her to tell me over and over again as she put me to bed at night.  I had some favorites;Continue reading “8…. EIGHT”

7….SEVEN

Catastrophe – Pompeii is one of the most famous versions.  One day in late August, the people of Pompeii celebrated their Roman god of fire, the next day Mt. Vesuvius erupted.  In just six hours the city was buried with 25 meters of volcanic debris.  In a moment, every creature was dead as a result ofContinue reading “7….SEVEN”

6 ……SIX

Easter had nothing to do with Jesus in my childhood.  It was an honored holiday full of traditions for both of my houses, but Jesus just… never came up.  The Easter Bunny reigned supreme, rivaling but never outdoing, Santa or Halloween – neither of which I thought of as religious holidays.  I related Easter with baskets ofContinue reading “6 ……SIX”