Blogging 101: Intro to A Brave New World

OK, it isn’t completely new.  I started my blog last year, or even the year before.  First, to write about my vacation.  Then, one early morning when I was still doing Kundalini Yoga and working on Chakra 5 the Voice the thought that I wanted to do things that enriched my life popped into my head.  And it had nothing to do with travel.  Or, at least (since travel can be enriching) it wasn’t limited to only travel.  So I started An Enriching Life.  Now I’m the proud owner of two blogs, both of which sit unused most of the year.  Until I find spurts of energy or inspiration, like now!

This is me, with my husband, taking our tourist shot of the Prime Meridian on our vacation to the UK this summer …

Straddling the Eastern and Western Hemispheres in Greenwich, UK

Straddling the Eastern and Western Hemispheres in Greenwich, UK

I love, adore, am passionate about, dream of Europe.  Always have, presumably always will.  When I was dating my husband I went with him on lots of trips to the Tropics (his dream locale).  As soon as we married, I declared it my turn and ever since we’ve been getting to Europe as often a I can get us there.  Which is never often enough but so much more than I ever dreamed would be possible.

I love planning the trips almost as much as being there.  The research, the finding little out-of-the-way “secret” places to visit, the days on which special admissions may be had … I once considered becoming a Travel Agent and now I don’t know why I never did.  And I love to read, research, and write.  My husband encouraged me to start a blog and it seemed the perfect way to share our trip with our friends and family — I could just direct them to my blog and everyone could live vicariously through me.  But it’s time consuming to upload the photos and remember exactly what we did when, especially when it’s months afterward before I get around to finding time to blog.  And so my travel blog is very light on postings.

Despite not posting much in my one blog, I had the brilliant idea of starting a second blog, An Enriching Life, so I could expand past travel entries into spirituality and other topics that have enriched my life and that I want to share with others.  So now I have two blogs and still very few posts, and have yet to master the most basic blogging tools.  But I’m persistent if nothing else so will try Blogging 101 and see if that is the secret ingredient I’ve been missing all this time.

My goal — that a year from now I can look back at a long list of blog posts that get better as they go along, that have more variety and more use of the tools offered by WordPress and more understanding of what makes a blog the best it can be.

This is me:  I spend most of my day in a large, international law office practicing Land Use /Environmental Law.  For 23 years I’ve been doing that.  So if you’d like to hear about the California Environmental Quality Act or in general about land use issues in San Diego, I can talk for hours.  About San Diego politics.  CEQA.  404 permits.  The RWQCB storm water permit.  Lots of other acronyms.  But that’s not what I hope to do on this blog … in fact I hope to talk about almost anything but that.

Maybe my kids?  Here’s my recent college grad son, contemplating life as he gazes over the Pacific.

Peace in the Pacific

Peace in the Pacific

And my daughter, with her roommate Freshman year:

With the roommie, freshman year

With the roommie, freshman year my step kids:

And my step-daughter, with her Dad:

Waitin' on the train, with Dad

Waitin’ on the train, with Dad

And my step-son (Dad again):

Sunset

Or my amazing husband, who runs one company and is starting a second one to bring a broader spectrum of LED lights to the agricultural market so each of us can grow more of our own food, indoors, year-round.

So hard to decide.  So much to write.  So little time.  Come along with me, and let’s work together to find An Enriching Life.


A Hidden Treasure in Southern Italy

If you’re ever on your way from Rome to the Amalfi coast, don’t miss a detour to Old Capua. Research and reading about ancient Rome as I prepared for my first trip to Italy I fell in love with Julius Caesar and Cicero and, in general, with ancient Rome. Many of the books written about that time mentioned Capua in one context or another, as it was home to gladiatorial combats and a famous gladiator school, and it was from this area that Spartacus came, back in 73 BC. The gate by which the Via Appia leaves Rome is even known as Porta Capena, as it leads to Capua.

When we told the Italian driver taking us from the Amalfi Coast to Rome that we wanted to detour to Capua, he thought we were crazy. “All my 17 years of driving people no one has ever asked me to take them to Capua,” he said. “Capua? Are you sure?” Assured that we did indeed want to pass by his suggested itinerary and go to Capua instead, he drove us up to the Santa Maria Capua Vetere amphitheatre, and it was one of the highlights of our trip. Santa Maria Capua Vetere amphiteatre

It cost a whole 2 euros to get in, and the old Italians in the ticket office were dismayed that there were two more of us visiting that day — they’d already sold tickets to at least 10 people, and couldn’t believe the crowd! While we were there we saw only two other visitors, and we were free to wander throughout the grounds to come and go as we wished. Which was great, but depressing as we thought about how this treasure was open to the elements and the whims of the visitors and lay unprotected. But the freedom to explore not only the upper seating levels but also to go underground in the passages where the gladiators waited their turn was fascinating and a never-to-be-forgotten experience.

I stood by myself underneath the amphitheater stage and imagined what it must have been like. As I closed my eyes to soak up the feeling birds started flying about and making mournful songs, as if the souls of the long-dead gladiators were speaking.

After exploring the subterranean passages and wandering the grounds, we visited the on-site Gladiator Museum, which had no English signs and was pretty hokey, but worth a quick visit. After wandering the grounds we returned to the ticket office and asked about the Mithraeum, which I thought was on the grounds, perhaps under the amphitheater. Our driver asked the man at the ticket office about it, and after an exchange in Italian none of which I could understand, the man closed the ticket office and headed to his car. We followed in our car, not sure what was going on. After a short drive into the town, the man parked the car near what seemed to be some old apartment buildings, opened a door in the wall and motioned for us to go inside.

We entered a small cave-like room with stairs. My husband and I started walking down, not sure where we were going or what we would see. After going down to the bottom level and turning the corner we saw a beautiful albeit faded fresco with faded but beautiful blue and red stars along the stuccoed side walls and a fresco in the center. The beautiful sanctuary dedicated to Mithras was discovered in 1922, and is believed to date from the 2nd century BC. It was small and there wasn’t much to see, but just the experience of being by ourselves in this ancient place of worship (it was used by followers of the mystery religion of Mithraism) was an amazing experience, and all for the price of 2 euros.
Mithraeum

It helps if you speak Italian or have someone who can translate for you as the people who work there don’t seem to speak English, and there are no signs in English, but even without that it’s definitely worth an off-the-beaten-path visit.