Wednesday, August 09, 2017

ABC Wednesday..."E" as in Mt. Etna

Welcome once again to ABC Wednesday and the letter "E" as in Mt. Etna.

Getting to the top of Mt. Etna was one of the things on the Bucket List that I did for the letter B.  Let me explain.

From December 1968 until May 1971 we lived in Sicily.  My husband was in the US Navy at the time.  One weekend a day trip was planned to the top of Mt. Etna.  Mt. Etna is Europe's largest active volcano.  A bunch of us from the base took a bus to the ski lodge on Mt. Etna.  It was June and we all wore light weight clothes.  We had been told to wear long pants and to bring a jacket in case we needed it.  I remember one lady had even worn sandals.  That was a big mistake!  When we got off the bus at the ski lodge it wasn't summer anymore...it was cold.  Fortunately, we were able to rent winter coats at the lodge.  Here we are before we got our rental coats.
 We were loaded onto smaller vehicles (probably 4 wheel drive) for the next part of the trip up the mountain.  All of a sudden they stopped and we were told we'd have to climb the rest of the way.  It was freezing cold and there was an ice storm.  I've never been so cold in my life.

This wasn't really mountain climbing like you see them do on Mt. Everest.  No ropes or anything.  It was more like climbing up a steep hill.  Some months before man had walked on the moon for the very first time and up there Mt. Etna kind of reminded me of the moon.  No vegetation and black lava dust on the ground.

Our group was really not prepared.  Although Mt. Etna's elevation is only 10,991 feet a couple of people had to stop to catch their breath.  (These are old slides that were scanned.)
Here is our group of friends...
At the time I was about 6 months pregnant.  I kept slipping and falling on the icy ground (everyone was falling) and the weather was worse the higher we went.  I knew if something happened I'd have to get off the mountain, back to the base, and on a plane to Naples where the Naval Hospital was located.  I decided it wasn't worth the risk.  Reluctantly, I had a guide help me back down to the vehicle where I waited for everyone else.  I knew at the time I would regret not making it to the very top, but also knew in my heart I was doing the right thing.

My husband later told me that if I had just climbed for five more minutes I would have been at the top.  He told me that they held their hands over the top and could feel the warmth.  Here's a slide that he took at the top of Mt. Etna.
They didn't stay up there very long.  Soon they joined me in the vehicle and we rode back down to the ski lodge for lunch.  That's me on the right with the bottle of brandy.  Believe me...we all needed it!  (Back then no one said anything about not drinking during pregnancy.)
I had a healthy baby boy that October, but I've always regretted not making it to the very top.  I always thought that someday we might go back to Sicily, but my husband died and I've gotten older so making that trip is kind of doubtful now.  It's on my Bucket List, but really more of a dream.

As long as we lived there I would watch Mt. Etna smoking.  Here's the view from our apartment in Catania...
and when we moved onto the base the view from our street...
You can't really see the smoke in these old slides, but it always seemed to be smoking.  There were small eruptions while we lived in Sicily.

Last March a group of tourists were up on top of Mt. Etna when it suddenly erupted throwing hot lava into the air.  People had to run for their lives and some were injured.
Now I'm wondering if they even allow people to go to the very top any more.

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Thursday, August 03, 2017

ABC Wednesday..."D" as in Crazy Doll Lady??

Welcome to ABC Wednesday and "D" as in Crazy Doll Lady???

Yes, I know I asked you last week if I was perhaps a Crazy Cat Lady.  Now I'd like to know if I'm a Crazy Doll Lady too?  Anyone that's ever stumbled upon my blog know that doll collecting and "playing" is another passion of mine.

I mostly collect the dolls I grew up playing with in the 1950's...the Vogue Company Dolls that were originally made in Medford, MA.  This is my childhood Vogue Ginny doll.  She's the only one that survived my childhood and she's a 1954 painted lash walker.  She's wearing one of the outfits from my childhood too.  She originally had a flip style hairdo which I cut as a child.  I was able to find a replacement wig on eBay and now she has braids.
There are all kinds of collectors.  Many collect what's called the "mint in box" dolls and they can run anywhere from the hundreds to the thousands.  That's not me.  I don't want a doll that has to stay in a box and sit on a shelf.  I'm glad that there are collectors that preserve these dolls, but I want to "play" with my dolls and not be afraid to touch them.

I buy what a friend calls "the previously loved" dolls.  Over the years I've learned to restring them...
and wash and set their hair.
I also collect other Vogue Dolls and some of their friends.  I have quite a few reproduction Vogue Company Dolls that were made up until 2011 or so.

What I really enjoy is setting them up in scenes.  It's fun finding or creating all the accessories for the scenes.  I recently worked on a couple of school scenes.
Recently I was asked how many dolls I owned.  I had never counted and assumed around 100.  I started counting and stopped at 260.  I'm now assuming I have around 300 dolls.  I was a little shocked and probably won't be buying many more.  I do try and keep my dolls set up permanently in scenes or on shelves.  I'm fortunate to have a room just for my dolls.

If you do a google search for "doll hoarding" you'll find this...
I do think there's a fine line between collecting something and hoarding it.  I like to think I haven't crossed that line yet.  This is probably true of most hobbies whether it's baseball cards, comics, etc.

Besides, my love of dolls goes back many years.  I started at a very young age.
That love grew throughout my childhood.
I'm 71 now.  What do you think?  Have I crossed the line yet?

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