Friday, December 10, 1999

Part One: lessons about life from art history...

There are some works of art that seem to be particularly significant with regards to life, how it is lived, how things might be afterwards, etc....

So this is the first blog of a few that will tell you about these works from Renaissance masters, one was mentioned in a previous post....

Located in the new sacristy of the San Lorenzo basilica, two blocks from my apartment are two tombs commissioned by the pope in the honor of two Medici family members. The artist commissioned was Michelangelo, who hated the Medici but was also extremely pious and could not refuse the pope. The first tomb is that of Giuliano Medici: he lived his life in action, visible by the sculpture in the middle. He looks ready to move and act. Underneath him lie the sculptures of night "la notte" and night "il giorno".

The second tomb belongs to Lorenzo Medici. This depicts a contemplative life. The statue of Lorenzo in the center is very different from Giuliano's, showing deep thought and a life that is pensive, filled with knowledge, studies and thoughtfulness. Underneath Lorenzo lie the statues of dusk "il tramonto" and dawn "la alba".

Michelangelo was able to show two contrasting ways of living, that both accomplished morality. The secret of life through these sculptures shows that there are two ways of life: one of action and one of thought, both equally moral. Michelangelo also represented the idea of eternity through day and night and dawn and dusk. These subjects suggest the cycle of life, that has no actual beginning or end...the eternity of the soul. I very much like this idea presented, that however you choose to realize your life, it is moral and good, and that there was more to you than what came to be on earth, and still more to come.

Some days, it just hits me...

Today, I was reading my mom's blog about making our Christmas card, and she mentioned my grandfather, "papa", who passed away in 2006. He was the most amazing person I've ever known...I usually saw him on holidays, like Christmas and Easter. Christmas at Nanny and Papa's was the best growing up, well....Thanksgiving was hard to beat. Being between the 2 holidays, I think it a good time to reminisce...

At Thanksgiving, the entire family would go up to a cabin in Wawona, Yosemite. That's where I learned the importance of the Elliott family tradition of making pomegranate jelly--actually, the importance is really just that it gets made :) haha....all the kids would play around, and if we were lucky it would snow and we could make home-made snow cones. Papa was sure that no body broke the initiation of poker. Everyone had to earn their right to sit at the table on Thanksgiving to play poker with the kids could be seat warmers till we earned a seat--meaning we got to play while someone was in the bathroom.

But christmas was particularly nice. The tree was always so beautifully decorated, and having presents for the whole family made it look like we had billions of presents!! Papa would always have a drink in his hand at christmas...tom and jerrys are another tradition--papa always made the drinks strong, you know, sharing the christmas cheer. As I grew up, I sat closer and closer to papa, he would teach me things I never thought about, like the price of bees. (These conversations were very different from the ones we would have at our cabin in Huntington Lake which usually involved some horror story about firearms or weapons or fires to teach my sister and I not to play with these types of things). Santa Claus himself always came to Christmas...I'm pretty sure it was Papa sometimes, but I think my godfather dressed up once too...I'll have to ask my dad about that...then all the adults would have cigars while all the kids played with everything they had just unwrapped.

Papa's always around, he probably plays tricks on me hah, but today was one of those days when it just hit me, out of the blue...I miss Papa

Here's my dashing dad and papa:

Monday, November 22, 1999

Nightmares on the Night Train

Just got back from a wonderful trip to Switzerland. Went to the Pray 4 Snow event in Thun with Sessions....

So I took a night train from Zurich to Florence. Last time I took a sleeper train, I was 12, almost 13. I am a much bigger person now than I was back in the day. I am a bit to tall for those beds inside the train. I'm only 5'9" dad is 6'3", i don't know how you did it, that had to be one of the most uncomfortable nights of your life, on our way from the south of france to venice. But that was such an awesome trip, arriving into venice looking out the window, picking up wine and cheese from a little shop and eating on the train together....buying as much 1.5L waters as we could b/c it was the hot hot days of summer :)

Back to 2009. So, I never really fell asleep. I sort of dozed off, forcing my eyes to stay shut. And every single time I closed my eyes, I had a horrible nightmare about this trip. In one I got off the train at one of the stations to stretch my legs, and I thought the train left without me, with all my stuff. Then I saw all my stuff on a pile at the station and didn't know how I would get back to Florence, I couldn't afford to get another ticket! And, the conductor takes your passport when you get on the train, so I was without my passport too! Then it turned out my train was still there, and I got back on.

Another one: I thought we had arrived in Florence so I got off the train with only one of my bags, planning to go back to get my purse. But then the train left! Again, I was without my passport...and we weren't in Florence, I was at some random stop in Italy and I was completely alone except for this guy with missing teeth who started to chase me....that was a bad one.

But then, the conductor came in and brought me coffee and some bread and told me that Florence was coming up in 30 minutes. He gave me my passport back, got off the train with all my bags, and didn't have any problems :)

Weird times on night trains.

I'll post later about Pray 4 Snow.

Saturday, November 13, 1999

I don't think you can honestly call this stealing...

So, kaitlin, ashley, kaitlin's friend and i got gelato and were eating it at piazza del duomo this evening. We witnessed a man go from standing straight up and down to horizontal on the cobble stone....honestly, it was like watching a tree fall down. A bunch of change fell out of his pockets, when we realized he was drunk out of his mind and homeless.

We proceeded to watch him nearly fall while walking away from the scene and around the piazza, somewhat afraid he would wander in our direction. We kind of took that as our cue to see if anything good had fallen out of his pockets, indeed...about 4.50 euro was on the ground. Being college students, we took it.

Friday, November 12, 1999

Birthdays and languages

I was just in Belgium for Adeline's Birthday! My family hosted her in Californa for a year of study abroad. It was so great to see her, i couldn't believe it had been 5 years since the last time we saw each other, it felt like 5 days...her family was so amazing and welcoming...they made the most delicious lunch: meatballs and fries and salad, and they made a beautiful and yummy birthday cake for Adeline :)

I was so nervous to speak french....I didn't until the end had been so long since I studied, I had trouble understanding it when Adeline's friends were talking, but when i was speaking 1 on 1 with someone, they were really great about speaking slowly and helping me understand. It was frustrating though because there was a time when I was nearly fluent. I had always been told that if you don't practice a language, you will lose it. Guess what? It's true. =) Adeline's sister and I got along really well...she was nervous to speak english at first, but when she did, she sounded fluent. I am definitely going back to Belgium to see everyone...

Now I'm back in Italy. I have got to study Italian more avidly. I just need to push myself, and memorize all those irregular verbs! And learn nouns and adjectives and all of it! But my problem is that I try to learn everything at once, and end up not learning anything....gotta take it slow. Maybe one vocab list, a page long every few days. We'll see, I'll keep you posted. I'm headed to Bormio soon to see Angelo...check out where we're spending a day:

By the way, I ALREADY HAVE THE DART SKILL...a bunch of Adeline's friends went to a bar on her birthday and i started playing darts with a few of them...and i was awesome. I don't wanna brag or anything, but i was the first one to close out the numbers, i just really suck at the whole bull's eye business. I've got to work on that, it's all about the follow through :)

Ciao for now.

Florence, Italy.

Saturday, November 6, 1999

A day.

Today was a lovely day, slept a ton and woke up late to run to Musee dell'Academia, where the famous David is on display.

My friend Sayam turned to me in the middle of class, I swear he has ants in his pants during class and said,

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift....that's why they call it the PRESENT".

In the new sacristy in San Lorenzo, we saw two tombs, one depicted the deceased as contemplative, and the other was depicted as active. Our teacher said that this represented two different ways to live your life: live an active life or live a pensive life. Got me thinking at how I live mine. It doesn't much matter, I think most people live theirs as a combination of both...these two lives are more of how others perceive someone's life.


I need a skill.

I'm not exactly sure what type of skill, just some sort of talent, that is out of the ordinary of my every day life.

I have decided that i want to learn the cello. I don't know when, but it's something I want to do. And someday I'll play the harp again....

But a real hardcore skill would be nice, like "olympic-luge-ist" (thanks ashley), or a pool shark or a darts champion (thanks kaitlin) that'd be a pretty sweet skill to have at a bar. But I need something a little more climbing up walls.

Ashley just made plums smell so good.....she's magic.

Heading to Belgium in a few hours.....I'll let you know if I find a skill there.

Band we saw in Dublin:

Sunday, October 31, 1999


Working for a snowboarding company is the most incredible thing....

I met up with Dan in Modena, where the Ferrari factory is and met Bruno, one of the Italian sales was so chill! Even more so than in the States, I couldn't believe it....I have really strong convictions when it comes to business ethics, but EVERYONE was drinking at SkiPass so I joined in....people working there were walking in with 'supplies'=tons of beer :) We did really well for the day and went out for dinner and such afterwards...i'm stoked, i'll be working for Dan again in November in Switzerland

Now i'm in Dublin--went on a pub crawl last night and to a dub concert....SO DOPE! There's something about the Irish that's makes me feel like i'm home, maybe it's the bit of Irish that's in me coming alive. My Irish family moved from County cork to Chicago, Illinois....these are some lyrics from a band at a pub last night:

--To the city of Chicago, now the evening shadows fall, there are people dreamin of the County Cork--

Then I brought the guide from our pub crawl to the Twisted Pepper--the venue of the dub bomb, not like the SF or NY.....better :)


Dublin, Ireland.