Amazing Grace


A poem begins with a lump in your throat, a sense of wrong. A homesickness, a lovesickness. It is a reaching out — toward expressionism. An effort to find fulfillment. A complete poem is one where an emotion finds the thought and the thought finds the words.”

— Robert Frost

Scientifically speaking, ideas spark from reactions in our brain. It doesn’t feel like that though. My ideas feel like they come up as a heartfelt lump from my soul. Before I tell it vocally, I clear my throat to bring up the thought. It doesn’t belong stuck there, so I get it out by clearing my throat. It makes a sound that gives listeners around me a heads up that I have something to say, while working my way in, mid conversation to express my feelings in words. Clearing my throat also gets up phlegm.

There is a song. It goes like this:

Amazing grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come,
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

Timestamp: The song was written in 1779

Grace is a tough one to describe. It is something that is always there. It protects you and gives you freedom.  Grace is forgiveness, even to those who may not seem to deserve it. Any one of us, from one time or another. Grace is that extra space that allows you to follow your heart, make mistakes and grow. Some mistakes are little and some are BIG. Grace is a second chance, a third chance, a fourth and another chance and another. Its Amazing.

One thing that we can say, is slavery wasn’t a good thing. Slavery is a horror, but this wrongness led John Newton to write Amazing Grace. With such a beautiful song, you would never believe that he was a slave trader himself. The song was developed as an expression of thankfulness, after he came to his senses.

Sixty years later (1840) Turner painted The Slave Ship. This is an oil painting of slave traders throwing the slaves — people that the traders had purposely gone on a mission to capture — overboard. Based on a true story (1781), the slave ship, ZONG, it’s captain and crew, were caught in a storm. They threw their sick and dying captives overboard to collect “slave” insurance money by claiming these people were ‘lost at sea’. Some were still alive. Imagine having to swim like hell to save yourself while feeling the sickest you’ve ever felt. Those dark rigid edges in the water are the bodies treading helplessly to save themselves. Who would want to give the people who threw living people overboard a second chance?

“I hope it will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me, that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.”

— John Newton, 1788

John Newton started out as a Slave Trader, following his predecessor’s footsteps. The career was profitable and everyone else was doing it. He was blinded by the excitement of making money and sailing the seas. He had gotten carried away. Some time after jumping on the band wagon he turned around, recognizing the atrocity of what was going on and did the best he could to make himself better. At one point he was trapped in Africa by a female African slave trader. This woman treated him WORSE than you can fathom. She threw cold water on him while he was sick, with out a change of clothes, starved him etc.. etc..  He had never felt so homesick. With that, Newton opened up his eyes. He realized his wrongs. He took that lump of guilt in his gut and turned it into a song.

England was the beginning of the wave to abolish slavery. It is where John Newton is from, and a few decades later, Joseph Mallord William Turner (J. M. W. Turner) was born.  Turner is the one who painted The Slave Ship. Turner grew up in Covent Garden, England. A popular area in London with shops and stores. He would walk past print sellers displaying prints directly on the glass, a galleries of Britains Churches, monuments, Abbeys, and castles. He fell in love. He spent years studying the sky, the effect of wind on clouds, weather, the shape of the country side, trees, and light during different times of day, and the way the world behaved. He understood it so strongly and accurately that he was able to passionately extend his drawings with his imagination for that fiery, emotional and romantic painting. Combining elements of roughness with order, darkness with color and light. He grew a heart for the sea. Emotion transcends from the canvas of the glossy, stormy, green sea and golden glowing sunrise to your thoughts.

The Slave Ship is passionate and emotional. It honors those that were lost and it does not minimize or pretend that nothing happened. The song Amazing Grace is so good that it fills any ounce of homesickness or lovesicnkess you might have had before you listened to it, with good. A poem isn’t simply a Haiku or a Limerick or Rhyme. a poem is an expression from the heart. It can be written with a certain number of words, but it doesn’t have to be. What makes it a poem is the expression behind it. Grace isn’t only for John Newton, it is for everyone who believes. We all need it one time or another. Grace allows that mistake to not have to be the be all end all. Grace is the space between a wrong and a fresh start. Grace is Gods unconditional love. The sun sets, the sun rises and every day is a new day.

The song has been widespread and played by many. It brought attention to a movement to dissolve slavery and share the news about forgiveness. If you have time, listen.

Inspiration and Research

  1.  Turner, J. M.W. Slave Ship. 1840. Oil on Canvas. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Web.  MFA Boston — Turner, Slave Ship
  2. http://britishromanticism.wikispaces.com/The+Slave+Ship
  3. Hochschild, Adam. Bury the Chains. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. Print.
  4. Turner, Steve. The story of America’s Most Beloved Song Amazing Grace. An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. 2002. Print.
  5. McQueen, Steve, et al. 12 Years a Slave.
  6. Moyle, Franny. Turner, The Extraordinary Life & Momentous Times of J.M.W. Turner. Penguin Press. 2016
  7. Django Unchained. Dir. Quintin Tarantino. Perf. Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson. The Weinstein Company, Colombia Pictures. 2012. DVD.
  8. Tomlin, Chris. “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone).” See The Morning. September 2006. Six Steps (SIX). CD, MP3, Streaming.

Time Goes By


There is here no measuring with time, no year matters, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means, not reckoning and counting, but ripening like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms of spring without the fear that after them may come no summer. It does come. But it comes only to the patient, who are there as though eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly still and wide. I learn it daily, learn it with pain to which I am grateful: patience is everything!  7

– Poet. Rainier Maria Rilke

Tree’s start out small from a tiny seed and grow into these great strong ever powerful organic forces of life. They don’t rush for anyone, they grow slow and steady, knowing that they will make it to where they are meant to be in their own time. From afar, they are symmetrical, but the closer you get you can see with all of the intricate detail that one by one each branch and leaf is unique and beautiful. A tree is quiet and it is strong, it provides shade, oxygen, beauty in summer spring and fall and it also brings inner peace. Its presence of just being still reminds us that it is okay to take time to breathe and just be. And, it even dances in the wind.

A Tree In Spring. Drawn by Anne Marie Horan. 2009. New York. This illustration is an example of how trees appear to be symmetrical from afar, but when you look more closely, you can see their are small differences in the details.

The poster above is an advertisement designed in 1967. Mr. Louis Sudano, the owner and designer of the DYNAMITE DISCOTHEQUE in Brooklyn. The place was advertised as the world’s largest discotheque at the time. Illustrated by George Jay Rogers, the illustration grows, like something from nature, starting from the center and outward, like a root. It looks symmetrical from afar, but when you look closer you will see that there are small intricate organic shapes throughout. The message from the illustration narrates the groovy trip you’ll be stepping foot into when you enter this Dynamite Discotheque.

There was even a radio announcement, ‘Dynamite is Dy-na-miteLocated in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn on 1830 Coney Island Avenue, near Avenue O Brooklyn.

During the late 60’s, ideas from eastern culture were growing infused with modern society. The club and the ad for Dynamite Discotheque evolved with this movement. Beatles member George Harrison’s interest in the Eastern culture had an enormous influence into the west, Harrison was “leading his band mates on a spiritual quest towards Eastern philosophy and finding inner peace, which greatly influenced their work during the later 1960s” (1).. Planting the influence of the Sitar from Ravi Shankar and Transcendental Meditation under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi into their music, spreading Eastern Culture into modern and pop culture, rapidly carried over with the wind (aka. radio waves).

The poster is 16 ½” by 12 ½” in size. You can see the right and left side of the design are symmetrical figures with a little bit of freedom. Giving it a closer look, the border of the poster is filled with small organic shapes that fit together resembling henna design, an eastern tradition of temporary tatooing (4). The picture is lively, emotional and busy. With just enough flat space to keep you from getting dizzy

Using only black and white lets it be simple amongst all the crazy intricate details. Large bold black eye catching capital letters with serifs are hand drawn standing right above a flat portrait of a mysterious woman’s face. She has “…Eastern mystical (features) in stylized, flat graphic form” (3). The flat artistic features of her face resemble artwork similar to full frontal clarity style of the ancient Egyptian artwork. The illustrated facial features consist of almond shaped eyes, full lips and a distinct nose. Her necklace looks like jewelry inspired by eastern society. Her long, wild, tangled hair gives hints to Medusa, a character from Greek mythology. And in fact patrons of this nightclub state that in the entrance of this space they are welcomed with a giant rendering of the same ladies head, designed to portray Medusa, which indeed was Medusa. Painted in day glow colors glowing in the night, her hair spread throughout each exotic room of the club. It’s a wonder no one turned to stone. The night owls that came to visit this club were welcomed to enjoy the onion dome arches, yoga mats, a rubber room to bounce around, a juice bar cafe, and a room to dance in, carried by a tune from a musical band. Not to mention, the Brooklyn based band Alive and Kickin‘(5) took root in this club. This for sure sounds like a place where you can relax and just be.

The same artist that illustrated this poster also finished the walls of Dynamite Discotheque. The theme of the poster is consistent carried throughout the partitions of the night club. “The whole area is indescribably enhanced by luminous murals designed by by George J. Roger, tasteful renderings of Egyptian and Indian themes” (2). Following through the poster design, the woman’s portrait, surrounded on her left and right side with a bold black vertical organic stripe design that will lead you through to the lower letters whose purpose is to explain the reason of this poster, which is to invite party goeers in to the Dynamite Discotheque night club.

And with this eastern cultural movement we are left with awesome music, yoga, and a better understanding to be like a tree and let things be. To transfuse with nature and let nature take over sometimes.

And so, despite the stormy weather, the wind, and the snow, the branches and time goes by and leaves still flourish when they are supposed to. The tree makes it to where it is to be at the right time. You’ll see that we can be like that to if we just let things be.

I can go on and write the lyrics of the song ‘Let it Be’.  I think that we all need to pay a visit to Dynamite Discotheque, have a seat on a yoga mat with our juice from the juice bar and listen to the Beatles “Let it Be”, as time goes by and our rushes are carried away through the strands of Medusa’s hair blowing in the wind.



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(This post is not complete yet. There are still works to be cited and visuals to be added. Please stay tuned.)




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1 Kozinn, Allan. “George Harrison, ‘quiet Beatle’ and lead guitarist, dies at 58.” New York Times (Late New York Edition) December 1, 2001: A1, A24

2 Gross, Aelx. “DYNAMITE DISCOTHEQUE.” THE east village OTHER

Aynsley, Jeremy, “A century of graphic design.” Great Britain: Octopus Publishing Group, 2001

4 Mirza, Zaynab. Mehndi Body Painting. London: Carlton Books Limited, 1998. Print.

5 Alive and Kickin’.  TighterTighter. Roulette Records. Alive and Kicken. 1970. Record

6 The BEATLES. Let It Be.  Apple Records. Let It Be. 1970. Record

7 Rilke, Rainer M., Letters To A Young Poet. New York | London. W.W. Norton & Company. 1934. Print.

8 Horan, P. Edward. Tree In Hawaii. 2010. New York.

Happy Valentines Day!


The final design chosen for Valentines Day.

“If I could like that you liked my post; I would.” 

Valentines day is a day of sharing warm and caring feelings. It is about bringing out the love and affection that we sometimes forget to share. With our hectic schedules and professional priorities, love might need a little extra highlight.

And so I wanted to let you all know that I appreciate your likes. I designed a card for my social media friends. When friends “like”my posts whether it be on Facebook or Instagram or the like, I take it as a smile. It does not specifically mean that they agree what I am saying, it just means that they acknowledge what I wrote. It is a smile, and when we smile in person it is our human nature to smile back. So when friends like one of my posts it is my instinct to want to like it back. And I wish I could so that they know that I liked that they liked my post. So I made you all a greeting card.

I designed a variety of cards but with feedback of family and friends, I came to the result that Valentines Day is supposed to be warm and fuzzy. So I chose to use the pink design with white dots because the colors translate love and fuzz.


The final design chosen for the Valentines Day Post


A variation of the Valentines Day Post



An alternate variation of the Valentines Day post.


The pencil sketch on paper of the Valentines Day post including the typography used, which is are hand drawn letters inspired by Lousie Fili.


This idea is protected under copyright. Do not reproduce. If you wish to use this idea for alternate purposes you may contact Anne Marie Horan to discuss further.


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No Room at the Inn (Part III)

NRI3Far across the universe — in this still moment in time. Hours stood still. On the third night of our stay, in our stay in the Inn, in Cuneo, because there was no room for us in Paris. We were hungry after a day of grandma visits, driving in the snow and dance party ice skating. The stars are out and it is time for dinner again. And in fact, it is my birthday. I took a short moment of personal time. I went into our room to change into dinner clothes and took a short moment of silence for myself to regroup.

I went outside and crossed the few feet from the Inn, past the barn, to the restaurant. There were more people there than what we started off with. There was a long table covered in cloth with two rows of plates on either side. A party was waiting for us. Not because it was my birthday but because it was the day after Christmas. The room just looked so beautiful and there my Poinsettia was standing to the side of the  welcoming counter. And so, there was a group of people. a good group, about ten or twelve. Before we sat down we had a ‘Cocktail hour” if you will. We had some wine and mingled with the other guests. Batti, the owner of the Inn, bed and breakfast and barn asked “How is your cold?” In Italian, remember the cold I had the day before? Daniel translated to me what he said and I smiled and said ah much better after the medicine, thank you. Batti smiled and held a plate of food in front of me. He said have some, it will make your cold better, in Italian. Daniel translated that to me again. The food looked like cheese. I was like okay, (I don’t know how cheese will make my cold feel better) but I listened and took a slice. And it did help me feel better. But they smiled and chuckled, something was said in Italian. I smiled and nodded as if I knew what they were saying, and then I said ‘What?’ What was it you ask? It was lard!! so gross. I wouldn’t have eaten it had I known. But I ate it, and it actually did kind of taste good. They eat that, like a normal thing to eat in Italy. So ha ha ha we all laughed that I ate lard.

We found our seats near the end of the table and dinner is served. Like I said, there is a good crowd. The seat was filled to the left of me, Ethan and Daniel sat across from me, a girl from Malta was to the right of me, and her boyfriend, and then there was another girl, with this crazy awesome accent. She was like trained in French, Italian, British and a few other languages and her accent reflected all. She had her own unique accent. Her father was the city mayor who in fact ate with us too. And that girls boyfriend was there and the mayors wife was there and a few bunch of other people. And we had wine and dinner and regalled each other with tales, to me it felt pretty cool that I got to have the day after Christmas dinner with the mayor and his family.

Then, THEN, the lights were turned off, a cake with candles was brought out and everyone began to sing ‘Boun Compleanno’ and the cake was placed in front of me! And the town mayor was singing, to me! and I was so touched. “How old are you?” Ethan asked me in English. Venti Sei, I said.


A rendering of the Italian restaurant. Color sketches to be added in the future.

On December 27th it was our last day in Cuneo, and a beautiful day. Hours before this day there was  snow fall. Layers and layers of snow. On this day the sun was shining bright against the white snow. The day air was bright. It was fresh and cool, kind of like the environment you feel when you are skiing. The sky is blue and the ground is white and the air is fresh and you hear a crunch crunch crunch everywhere you step.

Hop in the truck! We are going hiking! Andiamo! Lets go! And we’re off. First stop, off to the nearby family to pick up some hiking clothes. My boots were not made for hiking. I borrowed guys boots that were a little to big, but they worked and someone else’s bright red winter coat. Next stop, the mountain.

Away we go, Daniel, Ethan our friend from Malta, her boyfriend and the mayors daughter and her boyfriend, and the dog came with us. And march! To the top of the mountain we went. Everything along the way was white, the ground, the trees, the branches, the signs, the benches, the rocks, the river. If it wasn’t white, it was an icicle. Please view the pictures below for a better idea. Ethan leading the way! Over the river and through snow, our midpoint stop, I’m not going to say the top of the mountain, but it was pretty up hill. At this up hill rest stop was a cabin in the woods. We walked in, sat down, and then we had polenta and Vin Brûlée and rested. And then the Journey was over and we walked back to our car.

And so this was our last day of our stay in the Inn. Time would not allow us to stay any longer for we had to go back home to regroup of our next journey.

As you can see below are some pictures of this day. You can see how truly pure the afternoon truly is.

When I got home after my Italian Journey I told my mother about the story. And she told me “That sounds like the story of ‘No Room at the Inn!'”



No Room at the Inn (Part II)

NRI2And so.. Swimming in the night, over and through the stars well into the morning and eccchhhhhhhheeeeeggm, I woke up Christmas morning with a scratchy throat. I stayed in bed.

Word spread and Batti called me downstairs. He gave me an over the counter medicine that was powder. The powder liquifies when water is added to it. The drink was a minty flavor with medicine too powerful to be sold in United States but powerful enough to blast through the phlegm in just a short amount of time and safely bring me to health in Italy. I took a nap while my friends went to visit family in town for a Christmas lunch. Batti stayed next door hosting the restaurant and told me if I wake up I am welcome to come down, I wanted to, but I felt shy, so I didn’t.

So — eeeeeeecccccchhhhhggggggghhh the phlegm broke through, I jumped out of bed and got dressed. I was picked up and greeted with a huge English hello by Ethan’s girlfriend and the five of us drove to a local Italian bar and spent the evening there with other Italian friends from the town.

And then we went back to the Inn and slept for the night; nothing too exciting. In the morning we went to another coffee place. You never run out of coffee places in Italy. So we went to one, and my throat was still a little scratchy and not ready for coffee. I will tell you what I had. The Barista had unlimited oranges on the marble bar top and she made me FRESH SQUEEZED ORANGE JUICE! so delicious. And guess what else today is. It is December 26th. my birthday! Ethan and Daniel planned to visit their Grandma and took us along with them. She lived in an apartment/house that was built in like the 1600’s. Ciao! Ciao! Comè stai!? aaah bennne!! e tù? aaaah molto bene!!! Grazzzie! We went inside and, I don’t know she was so warm and loving. I didn’t take any pictures of her beautiful home because I didn’t think it was appropriate to take pictures of the inside of her house.  She had made fresh home made spaghetti; it was on the counter ready to be boiled and she had orange peels on the stove simmering filling the air throughout the house with the smell of orange. Now — I will tell you I can not figure out how she did this. I have tried to repeat this natural orange air technique on my own and the peels always burn. If you know how, totally comment and let me know. She had the orange peels bare on the stove top.. not in anything, no water no oil, nothing. I don’t know how she did it. She was chatting up a storm in italian, Daniel and Ethan knew what she was saying. The time was so nice… I wasn’t home, but with this family I was home. Italian’s are great for making you feel that way. She served us the pasta with her very own Bolognese sauce and served us Panettone cake for dessart. She had like a classic tv with knobs and antennas. After we ate she showed us around her home. I kind of wanted to stay there for a long time. But we had places to be and people to see.

Alas, adventure awaits and guess what. It’s snowing! Ethan had the perfect car for snow. It could plow right through, but it wasn’t a snow plow truck. just a truck. Ethan said what do you want to do? And I said I want to go dancing. It was the middle of the afternoon. I didn’t think we’d actually go dancing. I just said it. But I guess a light bulb struck Ethan and he drove us around and we parked. Guess what we did. We went ice skating and skated to music. So it was pretty much like dancing. The thoughtfulness of the idea is beautiful. So we skated, and then it was snowing pretty heavy and we drove around for a while in the snow touring the woodland neighborhood. The area wasn’t your average Long Island suburb. It was more like a mountain town.

I think I mentioned this day is my birthday. When we arrived back to the Inn we were once hungry again.

And I will continue on with my story in Part III. Below are some pictures that I took on this day. You can see pictures of me in front of the Inn, Ethan chasing his dogs, a horse in the barn (did I mention they have a barn?) and some photo’s that I snapped on our drive through the storm. Oh yeah and me on the day time dance party Ice Skating rink!

Thanks for reading! Look forward to Part III coming soon! 🙂





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No Room at the Inn, Part I

NRI1And so… on this holiday excursion that I have described some pages ago (in From Lemons to Lemonade: Fighting for an Adventure); I must remind you that it is the season of snow. From the winter moon of mid December to mid January. At this time, Christmas is in the air and might I add to you, my birthday too.

READ | From Lemons to Lemonade: Fighting for an Adventure

The trip was full of many adventures. One story at time. I regaled you with my my ski trip, and now to present to you, my story, of my stay at the inn, in print — before it fades away.

A recap if you will — in December of 2010 I was blessed with the opportunity to visit Torino, Italy. On this trip we pursued many excursions. The Torino lifestyle is totally different than that of Long Island, New York. So everywhere we stepped foot, was a great site to see, whether next door to the local grocery market, or one of the many shopping squares, where there were beautiful lights. And this one in particular, a man playing piano in one of the windows of the song ‘Hallelujah’ in Italian.

And on this story the scene takes place in Cuneo, Italy. It was holiday break. It was mid December to mid January. It was cold. The space was quiet, most of the students in the neighboring apartments had gone back home to be with their loved ones. It was just us and a trickled few. We had Gurkon (from Turkey) and Vincent (from France, right on the border of Belgium) and Daniel from a Southern U.S. state.

Gurkon was with us for a little bit in the beginning. I carried on the plane, some toys from the U.S. to give to his son. Gurkon kept oranges on the porch outside his room to keep them fresh and cold, love that idea. Gurkon also had long hair and a super powerful hair dryer and he was super generous. He wanted me to have his amazing super powerful hair dryer but It would’ve blown up my American outlets so I didn’t keep it. Thank you Gurkon for your offer. Gurkon stayed for a few days but went home to his wife and kids just in time before the Holidays.

There was Vincent. Vincent was like a micro computer person. He was studying how to do all of those micro things people do with computers. Vincent was French but kind of Belgium too. He had this small tiny car that yet had room for 5 full people; it could fly in and out of traffic. He in fact picked me up from the airport with this car. He stayed around with us and straggled until the last minute and then left to visit his family.

And then there was Daniel. Daniel was super tall and he had long blonde hair and was super nice. He introduced me to gelato with cookies, so good. Daniel is American and had family a train ride away in Cuneo.. He stayed for a little bit and went back to Cuneo just before Christmas.

Now what about me? You ask… Well our plans are to go to Paris, passionate place. Boy could I not wait to see the the holiday set up they had.  On Christmas eve morning, it was time for our flight. We woke up early, hopped in a cab and were on our way. Making it through the airport chaos you can imagine during this time. We look up at the flight board and blink. We blink again and again and again. and What!!! How can this be true! Tears welled up in my eyes, our flight and all outgoing flights to the Charles Degualle airport were — what??!! cancelled!!! I was so sad. What do we do now?? So now I am far away from my family, I can not see my munchkin niece and nephew on Christmas and we have to go back and spend Christmas in the smelly apartment. They didn’t even supply adequate amount of water for the toilette. Yes, I’m not kidding.. the water supply was like a quarter high into the toilette. so gross.

So, sadly, we headed back. Crammed into this bus with like an inch of space per person. So back in the apartment. What are we going to do now? And to boot, the hotel in France will not return our deposit. Well Daniel is not too far.. maybe we can visit him. And we thought technology was limited in Torino, talk about in the Cuneo mountains! Boy, I’ll tell ya.. these things don’t come easy. It was impossible to get a hold of him. So one person made call after call, and what was I doing while they were calling Daniel. I went across the street to the other local supermarket to get a gift to bring to the host – just incase they have room for us. I don’t know who these people are. I picked up a plant. I found a Poinsettia and thought well maybe this will be nice. When I got back to the apartment with the plant we were all good. Well okay, so we aren’t going to Paris, but at least we’ll have the warmth of family.

My goodness… We couldn’t get to Paris but boy was this a blessing. We grabbed our bags and my Poinsettia and we were off. We got our tickets. I forgot I was in an Italian speaking country and blurted to the conductor, (is this the train going to Cuneo?) She looked up in shock like “I haven’t heard that one before” and nodded her head yes. So I guess she understood, I think, I hope she did because we listened to her nod. We squished on the train. It was like a four hour train ride. I guarded the plant with my life. A person sat across from me. You better not knock my plant over biotch. This is a special gift. And I’m gonna say, lets say the train ride was accurately 4 hours… we listened to a man singing in what sounded to me like a 3 hour and 45 minute (i’m gonna say what sounded muslim) prayer… the entirrrrrrrrre ride. But it was nice. And I had a window seat. The scenery was nice too.

Park the train, we are here! And look! There is Daniel with his cousin Ethan down the hill on the road in a pick up truck! Here to pick us up!! Yaaaay for warm Italian family!! and off we go.

This trip was a beautiful miracle.

The family could not have been more generous. The night we got there, (Yes it was dark by the time we got there after all has been said and done) I gave the father, Batti, the Poinsettia. He said Grazie. Ethan and Daniel took us to the local pizzeria where we ate delicious pizza (my fave). And the people spoke Italian, obviously. So it was an authentic pizzeria. So good. And then we went back to where we were staying. You see Ethan and his father run a bed and breakfast. So they had their cabin where they lived (and let us sleep) and then right next door, the cabin where they had a restaurant. So after we had pizza we waited like an hour or so, and then we had a full multi course dinner with like antipasti, fish, wine, etc….

And then we settled in, in the Inn, I called home and said hi to my niece and nephew and family while the family was over my parents for Christmas eve. I cried a little because I missed them.

I suppose really it wouldn’t have been that bad to spend Christmas back in the apartment. Looking back.. I mean just being there would have been enough.. but we don’t always see these things in the heat of a moment.

These are all of the pictures that I have of my story so far. I have them posted below. There is a picture of the town square where I heard the man playing piano and singing ‘Hallelujah” and some photos of the town of Cuneo up to my first night (where I am ending this post). I would’ve taken more If I knew I would be taking them for viewers!

Stay tuned for No Room at the Inn, Part II!


This is a statue in one of the town squares.


This is the castle of Piazza Castello in one of the Turin squares.


This is the square where we heard the man playing piano and singing to the song ‘Hallelujah’


This is a water fountain on the street that constantly streams water. Except they didn’t have enough water for the toilets.. Even in winter. Do you see, there is some ice on the floor?


This is a sign on the train.


This is one of the cobblestone roads in the village of Cuneo


This is a manger set up in the village of Cuneo.

I also installed a video of Hallelujah for you sung by Jeff Buckley. There are so many versions but this one is my fave. I invite you to watch!

Is the grass really greener on the other side?

Edouard Manet (1832-1883) Lunch on the Grass 1863 Oil on canvas H. 208; W. 264.5 cm © RMN -Grand Palais(Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

Edouard Manet (1832-1883)
Lunch on the Grass
Oil on canvas
H. 208; W. 264.5 cm
© RMN -Grand Palais(Musée d’Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

But the grass ain’t always greener on the other side. It’s green where you water it.
As Long As You Love Me: Justin Beiber featuring Big Sean

Now is the time of summer when grass grows green and fresh. Made lush and full by dirt, water and sun. All of the forests that rested quiet in winter under frozen clouds, now thrive with color and life and that fresh grass smell. Not all of the sprouts are grown, some patches fall unattended, found dull and scarce. All that these empty paths need is a little bit of love, and they will bloom too, just like the lively filled life of their neighbor.

And so, is the grass really greener on the other side?

We are all familiar with the phrase the grass is greener on the other side. The words are said in common moments when ideas are expressed of wanting what he hear about in the distance, someone has something better, where one feels that they will be happier if they have what they don’t already have.

In the song As Long As You Love Me by Justin Bieber featuring Big Sean; Big Sean dares to contradict this classic statement by telling us that the grass is greener on the other side isn’t true! he sings, the grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s green where you water it. In reality, Mr. Big Sean in fact does indeed have a point. And I have this painting by Manet presented to you to prove it.

The grass indeed is NOT greener on the other side. It is green where you want it to be green. Some contours of this painting are defined and some of the space is left at ease. Some of you might say the grass is greener in the foreground, with details drafted into focus, or perhaps you are drawn to look into the distance, where this painting is a light wash and consider the sight further away to be a greener value.

Do you prefer the space in focus or out of focus? Manet led the way into impressionism with this picture. He was observed to be a headstrong individual, resistant to his teachers, he listened and learn from them, but when it came down to it, he painted what he wanted, disregarding the trend. This painting Le Dejeuner sur l’Herbe (Lunch Time on the Grass) was totally out of the norm for its time in 1863. Closer to us in the space is where you can see he spent most of his energy, what you are looking at is a nude lady sitting casually, playing it cool and engaging us into the occasion with her direct confrontational stare. Another female is depicted on the lighter side enjoying the brook. The party is accompanied with two well groomed gentleman all enjoying some type of picnic. Some might say this painting is uncouth, indecent. The style doesn’t make sense and what classy lady sits nude with two gentleman? Others.. this captured lunch party is a great idea!

In the song; as Justin sings about love, Big Sean continues to run on with his solo:

Used to tell me sky’s the limit, now the sky’s is our point of view
Man now we stepping out like Whoa!
Camera’s point and shoot,
Ask me what’s my best side, I stand back and point at you
The one that I argue with, I feel like I need a new girl to be bother with,
But the grass ain’t always greener on the other side,
It’s green where you water it
So I know, we got issues baby true
But I’d rather work on this with you
Than go ahead and start with someone new
As long as you love me

Looking at Lunchtime on the Grass mimics a photograph before they had photographs; as if it were taken with an SLR mega pixel camera. Zooming into the picnic and capturing the depth of field, focusing on the side nearer to us and leaving the space towards the back slightly out of focus.

So Big Sean, he says that times aren’t always perfect but he’d rather nurture what he loves, than start over and dedicate his time to someone new.

Over the course of centuries our friends have had their own form of beauty, so of course we have ours. That is the order of things. All forms of beauty, like all possible phenomena, contain an element of the eternal and an element of the transitory.

Without intention, this painting became a message of leadership and initiated a revolt against classical & formal art. Opening the doors to impressionism and allowing waves to flow into a future of free thinking imagination and masterpeices.

Design comes to life when you work it with passion. Manet opened the doors to allow freedom and imagination into the artistic world with this painting by going against the norm and taking initiative to feature odd characters and leave the background a little out of focus in a classical world. But what makes it so good is that opposing views bring love passion and intuition to the surface.

Energy is added to the visual language with triadic colors of yellow, green and blue. Order is created with a visual triangle

The best part of the picture is up to you. Is it greener in the foreground or the background? Which do you prefer? Do you prefer what is closest to you or in the distance?

Personally, I think it is nice to look at it as though the grass is greener in the space that is closer to us. Just like in life…. It is nicer to think that the grass is not greener on the other side but truly is greener in our closest circle, where nurture and give the most love.

But. Love is blind. It does not go green with envy. So I suppose when you are in love, the grass is green on both sides. 😁

Kleiner, Fred S. Gardner’s Art Through The Age, A Global History, Thirteenth Edition, Volume II. Boston, MA. Thomason Higher Education. 2009. Print.

Cahan, Claudia Lyn. Manet. New York. Avenues Books, . 1980. Book.

Shakespeare, William. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. New York. Barnes & Noble. 1994 Edition. Print.

Adler, Kathleen. Manet. Massachusetts. Salem House. 1986.  Print.

Ching, Frances D.K. Fourth Edition Architectural Graphics. New York. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2003. Print.

Justin Bieber Feat Big Sean. As Long As You Love Me. Darkchild, Andre Lindal, 2012. CD.


You might be curious how the song As Long As You Love Me and these timeless lyrics sound: For your viewing pleasure I invite you to watch Justin Bieber pop n’ lock his shoulders in this cinematic theatrical embedded music video: