French artist Clet Abraham gives traffic signs in Florence, Italy a “new look.”

street-signs-florence

While I was walking in Florence recently, I “did” notice the traffic signs had art on them and thought it was graffiti. Then a friend told me it was actually a French-born artist, Clet Abraham, who had been going around town placing stickers on traffic signs.

Clet has lived in Florence over 20 years now and started this street sign art about five years ago. He has had a little trouble from the police, but it seems that has been sorted out and now he is famous for his art. He created the art as stickers, so they can easily be removed and he has expanded to other cities in Italy. If you are visiting Florence, he has a studio close to Piazza Michelangelo and he sells some of his stickers there. So, you could pay him a visit, see his art and speak to him in person.

You can follow Clet on Facebook. I just visited his site and was amused at other stickers he has come up with. He had visited New York, so he has one of the Statue of Liberty. There was a funny post there where Clet went to buy a pizza and they surprised him with a pizza that had a traffic sign on it. Be warned, if you don’t speak Italian, you will need your Italian dictionary to understand some of the conversations; however, you don’t need to speak Italian to enjoy the pictures he has posted. Good news – some of the discussions are in English.

Enjoy looking at street signs in a whole new way!

Chicago Cubs Win the World Series – Exciting Game!

fireworks-cubsIf you watched the Chicago Cubs play against the Cleveland Indians in the World Series tonight, I am sure you’d agree that it was a VERY exciting game!  And I don’t normally watch much baseball, but this game had us on pins and needles the entire time. FANTASTIC! They deserved the win!

For those of you who want to share in the excitement, see this article from the Chicago Tribune, “Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win!,” written by Paul Sullivan – Contact Reporter.

We’re proud of you Chicago Cubs!  You broke the 108 year curse AND you have brought Chicagoans together united in celebration!  This is wonderful!

 

Chicago Cubs reach World Series. Have not won since 1908 (108 years ago) – GO CUBS!

cubs-lionsHELLO Chicago — Are we excited! For those of you who do not know much about baseball, the Cubs are a Chicago baseball team. We have not won the World Series since 1908, which was 108 years ago. That’s a long time! So, you can imagine the excitement in Chicago right now.

In fact, The Art Institute of Chicago on Michigan Avenue decorated the two lions that are in front of the museum with Cubs baseball caps. This is a tradition in Chicago, when one of our teams (Cubs, Chicago Bears, White Sox or Blackhawks) goes to the finals, the lions are decorated with the team helmut. You can see how the lion looks with the Cub’s helmet.

I’ve heard that tickets for the World Series games are out of control. For example, standing room tickets are approximately $860 per ticket and stadium tickets are up to $6,000. Forbes.com’s article (October 23, 2016), “Chicago Cubs Ticket Prices At Wrigley More Than Double Previous World Series Record,” has more details on pricing, if you are interested in going. You’ll have to fork out a lot of money that’s for sure.

Well, after patiently waiting 108 years Cubs fans probably have a piggy bank full of $$ just waiting for this occasion.

Tune in Tuesday night (October 25, 2016, 8 pm EST) to see the Chicago Cubs play the Cleveland Indians. Now, the Cleveland Indians have not won the World Series since 1948 (68 years ago), so you can better understand the importance and excitement in this game. History will be made in the next two weeks.

Go Cubs!

Nashville – Go see Bellissima! The Italian Automotive Renaissance, 1945 – 1975

old-fiat-in-italyIf you love old cars, you have to hurry! Nashville is having a fantastic auto show called, “Bellissima! (translation: gorgeous) The Italian Automotive Renaissance, 1945 – 1975.  The show is at The Frist Center for Visual Arts and ends October 9th, 2016. Sorry for the short notice.

italian-map-bootThis tour of 19 Italian built automobiles is post-World War II era. They are designed by Alfa Romeo, Ducati, Bizzarrini, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lancia and Maserati. You’ll see Italian coachbuilt cars, concept cars and motorcycles from the economic revival period known as “The Italian Economic Miracle.” From what I have read, The Italian Economic Miracle was given this name by historians to indicate a time in history when Italy was flourishing. Italians are known for fashion; however, did you know they also produced type writers, washing machines, refrigerators, plastics, sewing machines, and inexpensive motor scooters. They were known for their elegant designs and inexpensive production techniques at this time. The Italians do have a sense of style in anything they do…. AND food/music, we enjoy it all!

If you love Italy, like I do, and are curious about Italian history, I encourage you to CLICK on the links above. Learn a little bit about Italy.

What I find amazing about these cars is that quite a few of them look “space age,” which is where we are headed now with car designs. So, if you are in the Nashville neighborhood, bring your espresso coffee with you and tour through a piece of Italian history AND do me a favor, find out “how” they chose Nashville for this tour, I’m curious!

Mighty Girls – strong and powerful.

Ginny Thrasher 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist

Ginny Thrasher, 2016 Rio Olympics Gold Medalist in Sports Shooting, photo from “A Mighty Girl” website.

Have you noticed lately there is a push toward “girl power?” A few months ago I started following “A Mighty Girl” on Facebook. They are a great resource for girls of all ages on being strong, confident and courageous.

The website shares all sorts of books, movies, TV resources featuring girls/women who have made a difference in their lives, community and/or the world. When I was young we didn’t have a special resource like this. What a wonderful website for girls!

As I follow “A Mighty Girl” on Facebook, I am pleasantly surprised by their inspiring posts every day. Share this website with young girls/women you know.

TODAY their message was really special. They honored Ginny Thrasher, a nineteen-year-old American sports shooter from Virginia, who won the FIRST GOLD MEDAL of the 2016 Rio Olympics in the 10 meter air rifle competition. I got lucky and I happened to turn on the Olympics during the shooting competitions, so I saw Ms. Thrasher in action. It takes a lot of concentration to win, especially when the crowd, instead of being silent, was loud and started clapping, which is distracting…. BUT she kept her FOCUS and finished with a 10.9 beating two-time medalist Li Du of China.

The story gets better. Ginny Thrasher only took up this shooting sport five years ago and was ranked 23 in the world as she entered the Olympics and not favored to win gold. Clearly she has a special skill and her passion and determination brought her the GOLD medal. She’s a sophomore at West Virgina University and became the first freshman ever in history to win the NCAA individual air rifle titles.

2016 Rio Olympic history was made!  Another Mighty Girl was revealed.

Congratulations Ginny Thrasher, we’re PROUD of you!!  Go Team U.S.A.!

My First Race – Dragon Boat Racing

IMG_3594I heard a team captain say they were “short” one woman to be able to form a team for the Dragon Boat races that were coming up, so I shyly raised my hand.  DONE – I was part of the team!

Our day started at 5 AM on Saturday. We had to drive to the location, set up and prepare for the day’s events. A group got there before us and set up our tents. We all brought food for a pot luck and stored our bags, paddle, etc.  FYI: Never forget your towel and change of clothes. You do get wet, it’s fun, but not if you can’t change your clothes on a cold day.

IMG_3601When we practice we do not have a dragon head on our boat, so I was curious to see how this would look.  I didn’t realize that there is a real drum on the boat too. For those of you who do not know much about dragon boat racing I’ll fill you in. There are 20 paddlers to a boat. The first two paddlers at the front of the boat are called, “the strokes,” they set the pace for the boat.

The drummer uses the drum to set the pace of the strokes, so this person must have a loud voice for all of us to hear. When we are paddling it’s easy to get distracted by the boats next to us and their drum beats. I also learned that you lose time if you look up to see “how” you are doing in the race, best to stay focused and give your strokes ALL you’ve got. Finally, there is the steerperson at the back of the boat, who steers the boat and also gives IMG_3609commands to the paddlers. Here is a glossary of Dragon Boat terms.

We raced about 500 meters in 2.5 minutes. There were four boats racing at once and it took a little time to get us ALL lined up. I know 2.5 minutes might not seem long, but imagine how you feel when you are doing “planks” at the gym. You start out strong and then your arms get tired and it takes everything you’ve got to keep in the plank position. Same with paddling, you force yourself to continue paddling through the pain and finish STRONG. That’s where the drum beat comes in, it keeps the team focused.

BAD NEWS – We didn’t win!

GOOD NEWS – We had a lot of fun, we worked as a team and after our 3rd time out, we improved our time, and we finished STRONG!  It was a great day!   GO TRY IT!