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There has been a lot happening lately and I have done nothing to post about it.

First there was the Solstice Party. Back on June 17, we hosted an open house style party. People started coming over around three in the afternoon and the last person left around midnight. I think everybody had a good time. There were board games, good food and a really tasty sangria.  [profile] todd1971 and [profile] em_yrt both brought over house plants which were and still are, greatly appreciated.  Both plants came with stories.  [profile] todd1971  brought a pot with several different plants in it with the idea that whichever one lived was the one we were supposed to have :)  What a nice idea.  And [profile] em_yrtbrought a spider plant that was a very large cutting form her own plant.  Also very nice.  

Then there was a barbeque.  That was a good time, too.  Made even better because someone else did all of the cooking and buying of the food.  

Then there was the Fourth of July in DC.  That was way cool.  Bart and I went down to DC with a girl who is interning in my lab this summer.  While we were walking through the Festival of India and watching two women do a very cool dance, a police officer drove through the festivities in an SUV announcing that a big storm with high winds and hail was on it's way and that  we should all seek shelter in buildings.   Unfortunately, this announcement came at the same time all of the museums were closing so we couldn't go inside anywhere.  We ended up under a large overhang with maybe twenty other people and several motorcycle police.   The wind was fierce and the rain was hard, but there was no hail.  Liars.  The storm lasted all of thirty minutes.  After it was all over we headed back out to the mall to stake out a place to see the show.  Bart was good enough to accquire two plastic trash bags for us to sit on.  We found a great place that turned out not to be so great after we realized the the pretty tree was in our way.  At the very last second we moved closer to the monument and away from the tree to watch the explosions.  I really like fireworks.  We got home by eleven and were very tired from all of the storm dodging and festival attending.

Then there was the sweat lodge in West Virginia.  Again with the girl from my lab, Bart and I attended a workshop and sweat lodge here   The workshop was worthless for me.  The "teacher" had nothing to say that I wanted to hear.  Her weird and wacky was way different than my weird and wacky and her "science" was just wrong.  Maybe I'll make a long post about the issues I have with the New Age movement later, but the crux of my problem is that most of what these people have to say sounds exactly like what bible people have to say except that the New Age people substitute energy/aliens/star beings/light beings for god or Jesus.  Grrr.  Why does the divinity have to exist outside of us?  

Anyway, the sweat lodge was amamzing for me.  Here is where my weird and wacky comes into play.  During the first round in the lodge I saw light orbs flying around.   At first I thought that maybe I was seeing flashes of auras, wouldn't that be cool?  But I soon realized that the orbs were materializing away from people.  I can't be certain what they were, but I can say that when one woman in the lodge with a particularly beautiful voice began to sing, all ot the lights pulsed brightly.  During the second round I saw few lights, but at two differnt times I saw a "shadow."  I put shadow in quotes because it was almost completely dark in the lodge, so the idea of a shadow being cast by anything is just wrong.  And here is the weird and wacky again, after seeing the "shadow" the first time, the first thing that popped into my head was, "Was that a bear?"  What the hell??  How could it possibly be a bear?  I had the same thought the second time I saw it, but that time I was pretty certain that I could see a bear muzzle.  I am just that way, I guess.  There were a third and fourth round, but I was too nauseated from the second round which took an inordinately long time because too many people like to hear themselves speak, and neither Bart nor our friend wanted to go in again either, so we went back to our campsite and made dinner.

I think that is a superficial overview of everything.  I'm sure you will let me know if I left out anything important.
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We went out today! The goal was to see Herculaneum and Vesuvius, but we only made it to Herculaneum. It was rainy and cold, so there were no other people who wanted to take a shuttle up the volcano and the bus schedule was not condusive to our other plans. We'll try again next weekend and try to bring along some friends this time so the shuttle driver will find it worth the drive.

Info on Herculaneum can be found here.

Pictures behind the cut )

Aside from the rain, it was a very nice day.

P.S. I have pictures from Pompeii that I never posted. If anybody wants to see some bodies encased in ash, let me know and I'll put them up.
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This past week I went to Positano for an oncology conference. Both the conference and Positano, which is on the Almafi coast, were great. The conference started on Monday, but the two most important things happened on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday, I went dancing for the first time in at least six months!!!! I was sooooooooo excited. It was fabulous. Not as fabulous as it would have been if Pet were there, but fabulous nonetheless. AND, I got free water at the bar. On Wednesday, Bart came to join me!! It was very nice to see him after a whole two and half days apart. I have a problem being away from him for any period of time.

Views of Positano )
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Hey, look what [ profile] burny_md just taught me to do!!

Rome Pictures )
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Saturday we went to Rome via train. We bought seats in second class both ways, E22 there and E16 for the return trip, making it a grand total of E76 for the both of us. Kick ass. What is even more kick ass, is that Bart's first paycheck from his teaching job paid for the whole trip!

We started at the Colosseum, which we learned, is actually not it's real name. It's real name is Flavius Amphitheater, Flavius being the ruler who commissioned it and amphitheater meaining amphitheater. Here is an intersting tidbit, the word arena means sand in both Latin and Italian, and this applies to the Colossem because sand was spread on the ground to soak up the blood. This was the first time that either one of us had been inside this amazing structure. Here's the thing though, most of what we see, isn't original. Most of the marble and limestone was "recycled" for use in other buildings. There was a major reconstruction in the 1800's that was meant to recreate what it originally looked like, but they recreated it in red brick while the original structure was made of brilliant white limestone. There are many places where you can see the two materials in juxtaposition. The idea that we were standing where so many people and animals met their deaths was a little unsettling. One can practically hear the crowd roaring.

Next, we walked to the Pantheon and stopped on the way to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The TUS is huge and beautiful with larger than life marble statues and two winged angels standing on top. There are police roaming the perimeter shooing tourists off of the steps. Sorry, no sitting here. The Pantheon was the first structure to ever have a perfect dome. St. Peter's Basilica (which we visited last) and the capitol in D.C. both copied the design from the Pantheon. It was originally a temple where all of the gods were worshipped as well as whomever was ruler at the time. It was of course, taken over by Christian interests, which, in the long run, was a good thing because the Pantheon is the ONLY pagan structure from antiquity to make it to our time mostly in tact. There is a huge hole in the center of the dome which allows a perfect pillar of light to shine down. Currently, there is a major cleaning being done on the building, so there is this huge scaffolding from floor to ceiling messing up the view and obstructing the view of Rafael's tomb. Bummer. The one thing that didn't make it to modern times was the bronze ceiling of the entry way. However, the bronze can be found melted down and in a different form at...

St. Peter's Basilica, the site of St' Peter's upside down crucifixion. There is a huge altar in the center of the building (under the dome that is a copy of the Pantheon) that is covered by an enormous canopy...made of bronze stolen from the Pantheon. I love themes. St. Peter's is the "largest church in all of Christendom." It is also the most ornately decorated and ostentatious building most people will ever step into. There is goldleaf, marble and lapis lazuli everywhere. It really is just too much. Absolutely beautiful, but still too much. It is a little odd that there are many people who attend this church weekly because it is the closest one to them. Lucky them. Bart thought that it was audacious to have offering boxes out amongst all of the grandeur. It is hard for me not to agree.

We then made our way through Piazza Novanna to Trevi Fountain, which, in my opinion, is the most beautiful sculpture/fountain in all of Rome. It is huge and perfect. We didn't get to see it lit up at night, which is amazingly gorgeous, but we will most certainly have the chance to be there after dark one day. There are many folks there walking around trying to sell you things; bubble guns, squishy toys, scarves and roses. As a clever ploy to get the rose vendors out of my face, Bart bought me one :) We both threw coins into the water, assuring our return to Rome. The last time I did that, I wished that I could live in Italy. Wishes do come true!

The last trip was to the train station to find our platform, which was not as easy as it sounds. We arrived with very little time to spare before our desired train was to leave so we tried to get in the less than 15 minute departure line, but we were turned back because there were in fact, 17 minutes before our departure. So, we waited in the longer and unmoving line for three more minutes then tried the fast line again. This time, we were accepted. We got our tickets and asked which platform was ours, but the clerk was unhelpful, so we asked the man who had originally rejected us from the short line. He said Binario 26, but I that is not what I see. I see Binario 16. I assume that I am wrong and we walk really fast then jog to platform 26. There is no train at platform 26 even though the train is supposed to be leaving in three minutes. Hmmm. We decide to go back to binario 16 which is much farther away than it sounds. We run. Fast. The entire way. As we are running, we hear and announcement confirming that our train is indeed, on line 16. The only reason that we made the train is that it was delayed by five minutes. Whew. Now we are hot and sweaty and not in a good way. AND, we made it back to Naples in time to catch the last metro home.

All in all, a great day!


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