Story of the Week

I haven’t done a story of the week in quite some time. Unfortunately, this story isn’t an inspirational or happy one. This story is about a girl from the county next to the one I went to high school in. I decided to post this link because many of my photography client’s, friends, and children of friends knew this girl.

Please note that cause of death is unknown. However, suicide is speculated. There have been many rumors that the girl was bullied and that led to suicide, but many of her close friends disagree with this. There has been a lot of controversy regarding what happened, but the most important thing has been overlooked. A young 16 year old is gone- whether it was because of bullying or inner demons or a freak accident- she is gone. And for some of her friend’s this is the first true loss they’ve ever encountered.

Please remember that life is short and unpredictable, so laugh when you can, smile through the tears, and make sure to love the world deeply, even when you feel alone in it. You are never alone.

If you’re a parent make sure to remind your kids that you love them and are always there if they need you. If you’re not make sure to reach out to people. Even a simple smile can help make a day better.


What I learned on my trip to Italy

Every year I take one big trip by myself out of the country. It gives me a small adventure and really throws me into the spot. I almost always have some type of anxiety break down while on these trips, but it forces me to cope with it and be strong for myself. It also throws me out of my comfort zone.

This year my destination was Italy. So I was VERY far out of my comfort zone. in fact I was so far out that I didn’t even know any Italian. But, this wasn’t even a problem! Now- onto what I learned on this trip! Be ready for some history, art appreciation, and social insights!

If you are at the airport (FCO) Don’t ask for help from anyone but information after you go through the passport check. They will more than likely not help you and will tell you to find information.

If you can- take the train to your destination. It’s the cheapest route. However taxi’s are 40 euro and the door to door bus is 70.

There are no rules when it comes to driving and lanes are suggestions…and so are pedestrians.

The trees are beautiful, especially the umbrella trees. Umbrella trees are only native to Italy!

Nothing is within walking distance unless you are willing to walk 45 minutes or longer. Some monuments are close to other ones if you don’t mind walking a few miles, but for the most part nothing is in walking distance.

Naples was the capital in the 1700s and 1800s.

Auto grille’s are awesome ( it’s like a Sheetz, but better). You can stop there for a cafe and cornetta.

When you order you say “cafe e cornetta”. Then you pay, they give you a ticket, and you move to the other counter. Place a 10cent euro on your receipt for the waitress. They will come, look at the receipt, make your espresso and give you the cornetta. You eat it at the bar and then walk away once done.

At the Auto Grille you can buy a 4 pack of wine for 10euro and in the states the same wine costs $50 per bottle.

Naples is the home of pizza.

In Pompeii the rich people had fountains and plumbing. Everyone else shit in the streets.

The man who first stabbed Caesar had a house in Pompeii. It’s still there and still very decorative.

In Pompeii they have the remains of several people. If you notice some have belts there is a reason for this. Anyone who has the belt on was considered a slave.

They had many brothels in Pompeii. Sailors could find them by locating the Penis carved in the stones in the sidewalk. There were photos of each sex act so sailors could identify what they wanted due to language barrier.

Poop stones- there were 3 large stones placed in certain parts of the road for people to walk across on because the streets were literally flooded with poop.

Places that tanned hides offered free bathrooms to people because they used their poop to tan the hidesf

Pomepii has two arenas. A large one and a small one- mostly used for plays.

Many bath houses in Pompeii and most still have the tiles in place.

While in Naples and Pompeii you will want to negotiate prices at souvenir huts. You can get really good deals.

They have Lemon cello samples.

Pizza and fizzy wine is a staple.

Gas means fizz- so they will ask you if you want wine with gas. Water can also be sold with or without gas.

Campfire girls/ umbrella girls= prostitute. They received these names because at night they build camp firesz and during the rain or really sunny days they’ll walk around with their umbrella.

The word polluti (now meaning trash) comes from the the Pompeii days. Polluti referred to the people in the highest seats at the arenas and collosuems. They were called Polluti which means stinky people.

The apean way is a tree line of umbrella trees with a walkway down the center. You can walk from Naples to Rome through this path.

Capua is where gladiators trained. It has the 2nd largest colosseum in Italy.

Sparta trained at the original one (built and destroyed before Capua)

Capua is considered sacred because it was built where he trained.

At Capua you can go underground and see the behind the scenes stuff- where animals were kept, vendors came in, etc.

There is also a crematorium- only rich ppl could afford to have ppl put there.

The Italian version of ever clear is called Grappa.

Solopaca- wine shop where you pump wine like you pump gas. Cheap wine.

Fruit grows everywhere and is sold on all the streets in Naples.

Vietri is absolutely beautiful. It’s known for it’s ceramics.

If you buy something from Vietri makes sure it says Vietri in the bottom. Otherwise it wasn’t made there.

Vietri is on the Mediteranean and you have to take the Amalfi way to get there (partially).

It is literally what you pictured Italy being like…Vietri was my favorite destination.

Do the hop on/off tour to get most of Rome. It’s only 18euros.

At the collosuem you get a combo ticket for the collosuem, palatine, and roman forum for 12euro. You won’t get a student discount anywhere unless you go to a European school and have valid id.

They have water fountains everywhere- but they don’t look like what we have- they’re usually a legit fountain. Buy a water bottle outside of the forum- it’s 1euro and usually frozen and you can fill up at many of the fountains in the site

No good place to stay bc everything is spread apart. Near Trevi fountain is probably ideal as most things happen here and there’s a lot of shopping and eating.

Always buy the house wine at restaurants. Its cheaper and just as good.

Vatican City is the smallest state in the world and it houses the largest church in the world.

If you go to the Tarot Gardens make sure you have a translator on your phone because almost no one in Capalbio speaks English.

The train station in Capalbio is machine run- so buy your return ticket when you buy your departure ticket. You can take any train from Capalbio to Rome Termini as they come by the hour and you are not assigned a set departure time- even if you chose one when buying the ticket (so- buy the cheapest one).

Once in Capalbio you would need to either go to the bar next to the station or the one across the street to have someone call you a Taxi driver. The Tarot Gardens are 6- 8km from Capalbio. That equates to about 6-10 miles.

Taxi’s in Capalbio will cost about 20 euro round trip.

With all that being said…GO TO THE TAROT GARDENS. If you love art, breathe art, are obsessed with art, or even just like art or like to climb things that are shiny…go! This was my favorite site to see!

Everyone wears jeans in Italy. So, if someone tells you the opposite they’ve either a) never actually been b) only gone to tourist areas or c) were only at a nice event.

Smoking is about as common as brushing your teeth. Everyone smokes…it’s even worse than Scotland.

They all have permanent smoker’s cough.

Rules are not actually rules. Most are suggestions. For instance- at the Collosuem it says no purses, backpacks, or large bags. Everyone had a purse, backpack, or large bag. Other places will state not to climb on something- but everyone is climbing on it- including the people that work there. People will smoke right under a no smoking sign and a police officer will come up and join them.

There are 5 types of police in Italty. Why? I have no idea…

If you take the train make sure to get your ticket validated. This is a HUGE deal. If you don’t have it validated they can kick you off the train.

If you take the Regional train they will not announce the stops. you have to look out the window to see what station it is.

Pope Francis is considered a Revolutionary Pope. When he was named he refused to put on the honorary gown and he refused the escorts. He walked up to the rest of the Holy party and looked each person in the eye and said he was a sinner- just like them. He then proceeded to walk onto the balcony unescorted. He also walked up the steps instead of being carried.

This is the first time in recorded history that there have been 2 live Popes in Italy.

Michaelangelo hated Rome.

When the Pope asked Michaelangelo to do the Cistine Chapel he refused 3 times before the Pope sent the Swiss guard to Florence to retrieve him.

Michaelangelo was so angry about this that he actually painted a man mooning the Pope on the ceiling to get back at him for making him do the Fresco.

Years later when the new Pope asked Michaelangelo to do another Fresco he said he’d do it if he could make everyone naked. The Pope agreed. However, another head of the Church was disgraced by this and every day he told M to put some clothes on the people.

To get back at this man M painted him as the Devil in his Dante’s Inferno series. He has the man wrapped up in a snake with the snake biting his penis off. M also pianted himself in this fresco. A man is holding the skin of M in his hands. This signified M’s depression and want to die.

During Jubilee (every 25 yrs) if you walk through the door the Pope smashed with a hammer at St. Peter’s Basilica (church) you are cleansed and baptized again.

All of the Apostles except for Judis are represented by statue in Vatican City.

The Pope leads Prayer almost every Wednesday and Sunday in St. Peters Square. These days are the most packed.

St. Peter’s Basilica holds the statue of Saint Peter and if you rub his foot it brings you luck.

The foot is NASTY. It used to look like a foot with a sandle on it…now it’s like a round blob. This is a checmical reaction from having sooooo many people touch it.

There is a statue known as the truth statue. Many couples go there to makre sure their spouse is being faithful. It is said that if you put your hand in the statues mouth and tell a lie it will bite your hand off.

This actually comes from a true story. A woman knew her husband was cheating and asked him to go to the statue with her. She asked him to place his hand in the mouth and state if he had cheated. He did and said that he had not cheated and his hand was taken off. However- the woman saw this coming and had hired a butcher to sit on the other side an chop off his hand if he did not admit to cheating.

Nike is an old Goddess that is depicted in Rome as well. She was depicted with wings similar to the Nike symbol and many people are convinvced that this is where the name and symbol for the shoe come from.

The lily is the symbol for Florence and was founded by the Romans in 59bc.

Fiesole is a town right outside of Florence. It used to be a strong military hold until Florence took them down.

The best view of Florence is at the top of Piazzle Michaelangelo.

Don’t take the hop on/off bus in Florence. The city is fairly walkable. But, you will want to be sure to give yourself enough time to get everywhere.

Dogs are everywhere in Italy. They are allowed to go in to all stores ( like H&M), historical sites, restaurants,trains, and musuems. I’m pretty sure there are more rules for what people can and can’t do than dogs. So, of course, I was in heaven.

Gelato is amazing and delicious.

Learn where your free bathrooms are. In Vatican City at the gift shop there is a free bathroom and at the Roman Forum inside the musuem is a free bathroom. Train stations will make you pay. Most restaurants will have a bathroom too. You’ll just need to ask if they have a “toilette”.

and finally…3 words: PASTA PIZZA PANINI.

That is all you will eat

A story for you, a lesson for the world.

A story for you, a lesson for the world.

I want to use my blog as more than just a space for me to write whatever the heck is on my mind. I want to use it to provide stories or entries by others that follow a similar thinking pattern and that I feel should be heard. So, check out the link (click on “A story for you, a lesson for the world”) and check out this writer’s work.

Rainbow of Opportunities


One day my child will understand.

She will understand every piece of advice I gave her.

She will  know why each little piece of statement

perfectly fell from my mouth to her ears,

even though she won’t know it then.

One day my child will understand

that on rainy days

a smile makes the sun shine.

And when a person smiles

everyone smiles.

When you need an answer, look at the question,

when that doesn’t work, turn to the sky.

It has a vast amount of knowledge

seeping through each cloud.

She’ll understand why

she needs to just breathe,

because when the wind is knocked out of you,

when life throws you hard,

the only thing you can do is breathe…

and sigh…

and breathe again.

Before she even has a chance to

act like the world is so small

the universe will be depicted on her ceiling.

This way she’ll know

that the universe is big, but

the earth would be stained.

And even though the Earth is small,

it will have an impact.

An impact on her life,

on her views,

though some may be more clear than others,

and on earth she may feel like no one,

but her face would be painted in the sun.

This way she knows to someone,

especially her mother,

she is the center of their universe.

One day my child will know

that to get to point C from point A

you have to get to point B.

There are short cuts in life,

but it’s not worth skipping B to get there faster.

Life’s a journey, not a destination

is what she will learn.

My child will understand that a kiss can fix everything,well almost everything,

but it can also hurt.

And when it hurts she’ll be able to fix it

Not by brushing it off, not by ignoring, but

by looking up at her ceiling and seeing that the universe is big

and to someone she is the sun, the moon, and the stars.

She’ll understand that her small hands were a gift

and that even little hands can do great things.

She’ll be able to catch love and heal pain, but let hatred and frustration slip through those

tiny little fingers

One day she’ll understand why I bought chocolates when she was upset.

Because it can cure anything…well…almost anything.

And what chocolate doesn’t fix a  good cry will.

One day my child will understand that dancing in the rain is a damn good thing.

It washes away your pain,

your frustration,

your worries.

It bathes you in goodness, happiness, and joy.

One day my child will understand why hard work is good work

and why  not succeeding isn’t defeat.

Sometimes you need to fall to get up.

One day she’ll realize that the toy doctor kit was special

So special because it was there to save her.

Because in life you’re the only one who can save yourself.

She’ll know that when people color inside the lines,

when people tell her the world is bad,

when people use black and white,




and racism…

She’ll know that her mother let her color on the sidewalks

in blue and pink

and neon orange.

One day she’ll understand why…

why her mind is open

and her heart is pure.

And one day she’ll turn to her child and say

You’re grandmother once said life is a rainbow of opportunities”

And she’ll understand every word.