About Me

2014 In Review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,400 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

About Me Travel

A family in Giulianova, Italy

Our family took a trip to Italy this past spring. My Mom and I had been taking language lessons for two years, and all of us were searching for relatives that my great-aunt and grandfather had visited over the past twenty and forty years. We did find them, but it was only by chance. I’ve been writing a piece on it ever since we returned and wanted to share how we started our search.


How to find your family: Collect Names, Find Family Tree services online, Type in Names and find links, and finally, Try to seek out other people living today and follow their lineage back to your tree.

Easy, right?  The last two years have  been spent trying to do just this.

The following was found on Trip Adviser: Put your surname in the box labeled “Cognomi” to see the heaviest concentrations of your family name at this website here.

I knew that my family was from Giulianova in the Abruzzo region along the coast of the Adriatic Sea.

Abruzzo_in_Italy-Image from Wikipedia


map-of-abruzzo-map-From Big Maps

Next, try looking family up in that region by using the Italian phone book online here.

You could also contact the comune in Giulianova, specifically the “Ufficio Anagrafe”. The “Ufficio Anagrafe” is where all the people who were born in a town are registered.   Commune Giulianova Translated Email them at:


Go to: and see what ships brought them to America.

Build a Family Tree at or throughFamily

Seek your local Sons of Italy club.


Find Publications about your area:

Locali dautore


From the Giulianova is a pleasant and prosperous town located at the foot of the Appennini and facing the Adriatic Sea. Giulianova can be considered as an ideal seaside resort thanks to its golden and fine sand beach, but even as a town rich in art and ancient treasures. Giulianova is located both on the sea and near the mountains, offering in this way a really great vacation to the tourists.
Being the Gran Sasso very near, it is possible to visit the National Park of Maiella, the National Park of Gran Sasso-Monti della Laga, the Regional Park Sirente-Velino and the National Park of Abruzzo. During the winter it is possible to go skiing. For those who love nature the caves of the calcareous mountains in Abruzzo, easy to reach, offer landscapes of spectacular interest: The Cavallone Caves exalted by the poet D’Annunzio, the Stiffe Caves still crossed by the water, the Beatrice Cenci Caves where important archeological finds dating back to the Stone Age have been discovered.

– Emmeti Website

My Italian Family. com


When you think you’ve found them, and want to go visit make sure you bring family photos on your journey! It’s the only way we found our relatives.

More to come.

About Me

Marathon Fuel

That is, my 1st Marathon ever and I am quite excited!

Though my first marathon won’t be until this October I am going to prepare this spring by running up to the 18 mile marker. My brother suggested the schedule below: Hal Higdon Training Program: Novice 1 for beginner marathoners . I’ve begun to follow the regimine but was glad that the first week I could actually run 6 miles on a Saturday. For the real race I plan to begin training a few weeks ahead of this schedule.


With a few tweaks suggested by a friend massage therapist, the program will change to rest more during weeks of long runs. As for my running diet I’ve never had a problem consuming carbohydrates. I found these articles online that focus on different high-glycemic carbohydrates:  Running Competitor and Active.

The next item on my running list-of-things-to-do is to find running partners! I’ve just moved to Morgantown and a friend of mine runs with a group on the weekends. I look forward to joining them soon and hope to find a partner who won’t mind running the 18-miler with me!

About Me Community Travel

Narcisi Winery & Finding Family


I was happily surprised to discover that the family of Narcisi Winery has roots that come from the same town my great-grandparents were from!

~ Giulianova in the Abruzzo area of Italy ~


I attended a wedding shower here this past spring. The winery resides in a lovely setting in Gibsonia PA, just north of Pittsburgh. Learning about where the Narcisi family was from is a coincidence because my family will be traveling to Italy next year to find our relatives. The task is taking longer than I anticipated. Our family name must have been changed from Campetti to Competti at some point. My great grandmother’s family name was Stellarini. I’ve contacted the Registration Office, or the ‘Ufficio Anagrafe” of Giulianova to try to find records of my grandparent’s siblings. My idea is that I can trace down lineage to find someone we can visit today! If anyone else has any ideas to offer I’d love to hear them!

~ The lovely seaside community of Giulianova ~



About Me

Why I’m glad I’m not a Teenager Anymore

Why I’m glad I’m not a teenager anymore.

A toddler will be entertained with a zipper for an hour. Teenagers enjoy socializing with friends at the mall. Old ladies love flowers. People of all ages play golf. Different hobbies entertain all different kinds of people. The way a person spends their time differs with age and is related to the freedom we perceive.

While watching ‘Lost in Translation’ I noted the age of the two main characters and their situations that put them in a similar place to cross paths.  The difference between the two characters was how they entertained themselves during free time. Scarlett Johansson’s character enjoyed self-help books on tape. Travels in a new city lead her to Buddhist temples and flowering dog trees in the tea forests of Japan. Bill Murphy’s character mocked the job that brought him to Tokyo and spent time golfing or floating around the pool in between spending nights at the hotel bar. The bar is where Johansson and Murray meet to exchange an automatic, almost too familiar, connection that brings the rest of the movie to life.

This comparison of characters began to paint lines in my observations dividing age and the differences in how time was spent during different times of life.

When I think of life without responsibility, no worry, free-minded, untethered people I think of a little boy I spied on once. The memory is a battle between a boy and a bush. The bush is winning, woody branches have grown taller than the boy’s front porch and he is in full combat. Swinging his bat to the base of this plant, the boy charges into its leafy arms, only to get whipped in the face by an elastic arm. But, he isn’t giving up. One more spin move, his dance electrified from the open grass he stomps, and he is full fledge back into the hedge. It looked like fun, therapeutic, to throw yourself into your front beds and to come out alive! A better man. So went his routine until dinner time, a guaranteed event to cut the fun short. The shrubs don’t stand in the way of anything we need, any security of food or home, and if we were to look at the situation for enjoyment you see he only got caught in imagination, the bush was an army against him and he was able to take it on. It was time for the play that determined the outcome. Everyone needs this time to realize day dreams. He acts because there isn’t a bargain for time. There is ample time –and too much of it frankly, waiting around for the adults to catch on.

I remember a time growing up when all of my belongings were cataloged, my tapes were a collection of radio recorded songs that I had the patience to wait for and then alphabetize. I remember that I also collected paint chips from Wal-Mart, drawing the same ranch-style dream home over and over. There were Barbie empire weekends, designed to keep our younger brother out of the room, and Lego land. My sister and I built precisely with every plastic block, taking so long we never did play or act in Lego land. These times were in lazy summers, the ones that don’t exist into your late twenties. After college, you are lucky to plan free days about one weekend a month when you must plan to do nothing at all.

So, six-year-olds are content to make enemies out of the hedgerow all day and build lands that won’t ever be played with. The next years of life begin to incorporate learning how to survive, including a job, perhaps an education, volunteering, boards of the local do-good venture, service, kids, food, house, etc…an endless amount of things piled on until the strain of our body contorts us.  We become stressed out people who need to find a balance in all of this abundance. Life becomes faster.

To ‘slow’ it down we must strike a balance. Consciously let yourself go unplanned as you get older and realize that this is how the young and the wiser spend their time, proving that success happens on the inside. It takes age to grow into that confidence.

If a different path presents itself this opportunity causes a personal evaluation. If a chance arrives to seek your profession, refine your gifts, or be influenced into a new search, then change. What a teeming experiment being mildly distracted is. Step back and be conscious of the situation you are working for. Write about it. Perhaps there are goals to obtain and change is initiated by your own determination. Young adults growing into their forties are finally free to roam different paths and they begin to mold into unexpected grooves.

These adults seem to know how to enjoy their free time, dinners with the family, watching a show, traveling to the sun, relaxing in a way that has become common to them. They are involved with children and a school community while taking upon the responsibility of friends. Desires and hobbies turn into volunteering. Finally comfortable with who they are, adults partake for the second time in their life an unprescribed happiness. The imagination leads them. The lingering uncertainty allows room for being flexible in the moment. Not only does getting older provide an acceptance into retirement, we also grow into the customs of our aging mind. ‘Territoriality in humans is more related to the needs of self-identity and freedom of choice.’ a

Youthful life is devoted to finding something to define yourself by –and if you are lucky you may find it in good work. This age group is busy trying to find out what will sustain them. It’s age in the mid-twenties before one begins to worry about supporting their enjoyments and securing a future. That is, securing a future within the pressures of what our society expects of us. But, for those who want something more, who are thirsty for helping, climbing, experiencing, working, searching, the searching becomes equally exhaustive because there are a lot of options. If a young adult doesn’t have a firm grasp on how to control, stabilize and finance themselves by this age, they’d better catch on quickly. Work becomes a time to enhance our personal being through what we do. If one isn’t fulfilled in what they do, this generation of workers, staring around year 2000, isn’t afraid of moving to make the change. So, for the young working adult, we spend our time trying to earn worth out of our work. Once through this life period, aged adults begin to enjoy more time with their family, invite the neighbors over, and relax by playing tennis. Free time spent during one period transitions into something else. Take note of how an older generation passes the time. Perhaps they have fulfillment figured out.

The ability to realign yourself and alter or deepen the path you are on seems to get harder and harder the older people become. You receive the experience of a working adult. Other people’s opinions have steadfast influence. This can become more and more complicated unless you find a way of dealing with it. Thinking things out and giving yourself time to do so until they are no longer problems, is necessary. Financially, entertainment, enjoyment… are we not lucky that these are our needs? I have riches in food, shelter, and safety. This is what the older person has determined for themselves and are therefore enjoying in the time of fifty years.

Getting older means that one year is fractionally less and less of your time. As these responsibilities and obligations add up the more the busy-ness seems like nonsense. Amidst searching for yourself you begin to give up! What we should do instead of allowing responsibilities to impede, is take time to digest and order the things that are important.

If there are a few things to keep in order, make a quick list. My list begins with my health and house. Eat healthy, have fun with friends and incorporate exercise into your ever becoming sedentary way of life. There are family obligations, friends’ weddings, babies, career change, moves, layoffs and opportunities galore. Enjoy.

I want to have the ability to watch over myself. Goals of the day make big resolutions for the week and fare well when they stack up into years. I try to be myself everyday.  I do that by taking the time to be conscious of myself in an honest evaluation. Only I am in control of where I put myself, and only I can enjoy the free time I allow myself to have.

a  Architecture Registration Exam (ARE) 4.0 review pg 38.
About Me Architecture

Fabric Obsessed




I am inspired by fabric. Expressed in the threads you wear are a sense of style, a type of daring, a piece of your inside feelings expressed externally. For some time I’ve wanted to reupholster my couch. It’s a tan Ikea model with a nice shape, but without a personality.



{found on Pinterest}

poet sofa

Some fabric companies I consult with are below… am I missing any?


Exterior Designer Shades

Mecho Shade (Interior / Exterior)

Lutron (Interior / Exterior)

Earth Shade

Arc-Com Fabrics        Artemis

Brentano Fabrics        Artemis

Solucent Exterior Shades by Cambridge Architectural

Dressage and Strata by Conrad UV Shades of Natural Fibers

Fabric by Distinctly Duralee

Curtain Works

Lee Jofa


Lisa Fine

Katerina Tana

RP Miller


Marcie Bronkar

Kerry Joyce

Off White Castle

Le Gracieux

Kathryn M. Ireland

Carolina Irving


Katie Leede

Rose Tarlow

Peter Dunham

Ferrick Mason


High Fashion, La St. Tx

Mood Fabrics

Anzea fabric, recycled

Custom Fabric on Demand



housebeautiful february 2013 will merrill






About Me

The Structure of Thought

The Structure of Thought – Managing time in an efficient way.

When I am more perceptive of my surroundings I get more from them. I learned while on my honeymoon that I live trying to cram three things in a moment, all of the time! I brush my teeth while picking out clothes for the day, while hanging up yesterday’s clothes. I learned to be more focused while traveling, because when I am out of my routine I don’t feel compelled to do multiple things at once.

I also notice that I feel better when I walk to places. Walking causes you to carve out time and be aware –something that most of our busy-oriented lifestyles don’t incorporate. I think this is why I am drawn to urban environments. Even in a small town of 5,000 people my husband and I chose to live in a house that was within walking distance of our historic downtown. We can go to a high school football game, walk to a coffee shop on Friday night, bike to a grocery store, and attend church, all within a few miles of where we live.

We all need to learn to be more focused and enjoy doing one thing at a time. This will lead to better overall satisfaction, I think. So, I wondered, is anyone else coming to the same conclusion?

Multi-Tasking vs Mono-Tasking by Dumb Little Man was an interesting article that I found. This lead me to this article on the same site which stresses that people who are multi-tasking are actually less efficient. This article about Passion for productivity strengthened my determination to try and not pack too much into a day. If I am too productive, I don’t have a good sense at the end of a day. I feel frayed at the edges, and at a loss for not having lost myself in something enjoyable during an entire day. Where is the balance in this?

One more article, this one from Phys Org, concludes that people who often multitask are actually bad at it. So, enjoy a winter weekend starting now. Make sure to sit back, relax, and take in something you enjoy!

About Me

Inspiration Today ~ Living Room Collage

Short and Sweet


I’ve been thinking of upholstering my couch in blue velvet and wanted to bring together some existing colors already present in my living room. I recently found this neat online interface for collaging, and combined a few of my interests into a one page, online collage.

What do you think?

About Me

How to make your Deck more Eloquent

  1. $26.00
  2. Time including 48 hours without rain.
  3. Man sipping out of crystal

My husband and I recently spent a Saturday going


Our deck had been painted six years ago and the floor boards needed some TLC. The spindles and rail looked to be in good shape so we opted to paint a two-tone scheme and chose a deep brown for the floor plane.

We power washed the deck, taped off the spindles, found low VOC deck paint and got to work.


It was the best $26.00 and easiest project we ever did together. It’s opened up an entire new appreciation for dining outside at our house.


The day after we finished my husband put on some Kenny G, sat down, began sipping a beverage and even started quoting from Yeats?!

About Me Travel

Party of the Decade – 30th

I turned 30 in the air. My husband and I were flying back from a week spent in Colorado Springs.

We were welcomed home with cupcakes and pie dessert, made in part by my like-a-sister-friend and her 3-year-old niece. They sang and I blew out candles and we all caught up, it was great.

I came into my office Monday to banners and big balloons! What fun 30 was going to be if these were my first few weeks!

I’d just spent time at high altitude enjoying the sun and friends the week prior. We’d gone snowboarding at Monarch Mountain under a blue sky at 12,000 feet.

Boulder is a low-rise city. I hadn’t realized that. Perhaps it was to preserve the prestigious view of the mountains, though we couldn’t see them through the clouds (what?!) the day we were there.

Adam’s Cafe Saturday night in Manitou Springs: I didn’t realize it when we were eating our delicious fig, brie & onion appetizer, but later realized it when reading the community section of their website, that there is a community table, where anybody and everybody can choose to sit and meet anyone else wanting to converse with someone new.

It is a rich and eclectic but tidy Indian decorated restaurant beside a stream in downtown Manitou Springs.There were deep Indian culture art pieces gilded in gold frames. We sat at a round maple table with vintage chairs in the corner.

The week spent in Colorado held many opportunities to try lots of craft brews (in between water.) We watched a documentary, Beer Wars, on the rising of craft brew popularity.

I breathed well during the trip with big gulps of air, expanding my lungs and ribs as deeply as I could just to take it all in. A highlight hike was the illegal Incline. One mile to climb 1800 feet. Many people, about 100 a day, take the journey and if you go at a slower pace some people get to be very open about themselves. There is something along side physical exhaustion and true honesty that goes hand in hand. Everyone feels better after going outside!

I wrote about my husband and I’s rating system with Hikes in a past post titled Interlaken, A town for Extremists. I just added The Incline as a difficulty level of 8. The good thing about this hike was that it was relatively quick!

10    Mt. Saint Helens Summit 8 mi (1 day)
9   Grindlewald -Fulhorn- Schinge Platte – 14 mi (1 day)
8    Gresalp to Murren via Sefinefrugge -10 mi (1 day)
8    Katahdin Summit (AT) 9 mi (1 day)
8    Beaver Brook (AT) NH (to Beaver Brook Shelter) 1.5mi
8     The Incline, Manitou Springs CO

7    Laurel highland Hiking trail (Ohiopyle to Rt. 653) 19 mi (2 days)
6    Warrior Trail (Greensboro to Covered Bridge) 12 mi (1 day)
5    Dolly Sods (Little stone coal -Big stone- breathed mt. Lionshead) seven mi (1 day)
5    Monterosso to Riomagiore (IT) Cinque Terra – 5mi (1 day)

Phil and I kept climbing after the top of the Incline, high enough to look over Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs, high enough to see the east side of the ridges flattening out. We could see the Garden of the Gods from up there and see the reddish land sliding down into the city.

Later in the week we visited a quarry where limestone had been pulled but the Rockies red rock was left to look like the pyramids in Egypt. Could the pyramids have been carved? Or were the apparatuses to build them long ago biodegraded into the nearby sand as to keep the secret?

Hey! Don’t jump!

One day we spent time at a mansion on the lake, The Broadmoor… the Oglebay of the Rockies. The main building is of the Italian Renaissance and the interior held many ornate wonders. The lake lies behind, and it all looks toward Cheyenne Mountain. The architectural detailing that pulled me to go was the painted underside of their porte-cochere.

Indian Native Castles

a midnight journal by

Montezuma’s castle

in lattice work ceilings

deep blue starry nights

spanish influence with a Navajo ornateness

ceramic fountains and flower pots

the yellow stripped pool pavilions

I felt trapped in a majestic maze

some sort of mystery among the spirits

thin panes of glass in doors peering

into the next fire lit room

a sun-drenched place

at the windy side of the lake.