Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

One of the things that fascinated me when I lived near Cincinnati was that fact that there were so many small, cute towns to explore on weekends. S. Lebanon was no exception.

According to their website, S. Lebanon was established in 1795. It was originally named Deerfield and was an important town on the Little Miami River.

Although off the beaten track, S. Lebanon boasts a historic inn called The Golden Lamb dating back to 1803 or thereabouts. It is Ohio's oldest continuing hotel/inn and many important guests stayed there including 12 presidents and other notables such as Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Period furniture and a homey atmosphere welcome you.  Who knew? It seems that S. Lebanon is about halfway between Cincinnati and historic Rt. 40 so it was a logical stop off.

Easter Sunday lunch was (and is) a big event there with lamb a highlight on the menu. I was lucky enough to get a  reservation one Easter years ago.

Ah, memories . . .

Sunday, February 02, 2014

groundhog day

I'm from Pittsburgh and we make a very big deal about Groundhog Day. I love this film and we can learn a lot about ourselves from it. I'm grateful that most days are different from one another . . . Happy Groundhog Day!

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Yes, it's true. I've been grateful for this all my life. hahahaha . . .

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Mercado de Campo de Ourique

Farmer's markets are still an important part of life here in Portugal. You can get every thing you need to prepare healthy fare: fresh fruit, vegetables, bread, dried fruits and beans, meat, fish, jams, and honey, as well as potted plants, flowers and starter plants. I love to go to the Cascais market and sometimes go after walking on the paredão on Saturday mornings.

Today we went to the market in Campo D'Ourique to check out their renovated market and found that it was less traditional and attracting more than housewives. The idea was simple. The redesigned market included traditional market stalls and food stalls in the same space. The center of the market provided seating for lunches, snacks and dinner. Although found in other cities, this is a pretty mod and groovy concept for Lisbon.

We had lunch and the hamburgers were really good. Although the smooth music in the background set a nice tone, the downside was that the logistics of the space were chaotic. The food stalls didn't serve beverages so you had to go elsewhere for drinks. Well, ok but it went a bit too far when you had to order your food from one stall and return to pick it up in 10 minutes and in the meantime search for a stall  where you buy drinks only to find the drink stalls were not full service either and you could get only soft drinks and beer at one bar and needed to get wine from another stand, all the while hoping that a seat would be available when you collected all the necessary components for your lunch.

Anyway, I liked the new market and was grateful that my hamburger was excellent and that we were able to find a table and relax.

Friday, January 17, 2014


It's not very often that it snows in Lisbon. We are right on the Atlantic and are gifted with a temperate climate. It snowed here for about 10 minutes 6 or 7 years ago and it caused a lot of excitement. The time before that was in the 1950's, so you see what I mean.

This morning as I was getting ready for work, I heard a lot of thunder. This also isn't very usual here. Anyway, it wasn't raining and I went about my business. During my commute the sky opened up and there was a hell of a downpour. But more surprising was that it was a freak hail storm. The results of which are captured in the photo above. The "white stuff" is ice rather than snow. As the temperatures were no where near freezing, it melted very quickly.

I was travelling on the A5 (a highway) and am grateful that I didn't have any problems as a result of this tempest.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014

be still my heart . . .

Matisse's Studio, Vence

Damian Elwes, an English artist living in the States, has a "studio" collection which showcases the studios of famous artists such as Picasso, Dali, Matisse and Monet to name a few. I LOVE them. I'm a friend of Damian Elwes on Facebook and I am delighted each time he posts another image.  I am grateful for the lightness that his work brings to my heart.

Oh yeah, I want a studio . . .

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Gone With The Wind

I first saw Gone With The Wind on a Thanksgiving Day when I was in my early 30s. It was playing in one of those cheap, low frills, one dollar a ticket movie theaters that we had in Pittsburgh back in the day. There was a total of 5 people in the theater - so it seemed like a private showing.
The film was fabulous with all its high drama from start to finish and I became a Gone With The Wind groupie. While the movie is good, the book is even better.

I learned a lot from Gone With The Wind. Scarlette O´Hara, the  beautiful but headstrong protagonist who is at the center of much of the drama, goes through some very trying times but never gives up.  She always looks forward and has an optimistic view of the future. At one point in the middle of her personal chaos she said, "After all, tomorrow is another day!" And she's right.

I've had some days in which everything went wrong and I thought that the day would never end. I was thankful when it finally finished and I got to start again the next day. I am grateful for tomorrows. . .

Saturday, January 11, 2014

good times
Today I was thinking about all the cities that I have visited in France and about how beautiful the châteaux in the Loire Valley are.The first time that I went to Europe I went to Monaco and Paris! Wow! It was something else. I am grateful for all the good memories of holidays spent in France.

Friday, January 10, 2014

message from the universe . . .

I saw this image on a Facebook post today (Journey To Peace). Sometimes the universe sends messages and if you keep your eyes and your mind open, you can easily find inspiration. I'm grateful for this.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

7 in a row

My school works on a 2 week schedule. That means that my Week 1 schedule is different than my Week 2 schedule. I teach roughly the same number of classes, they are just allocated differently. We have 7 periods per day. On Thursday in Week 2 I teach 7 classes in a row and am in the computer lab during lunch time to offer help to students.  This week is Week 2. I came home very tired today but grateful that all went well and that I had a good day. I always sleep well on Thursdays in Week 2 - hahahaha.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014


I received a gift today from my friend, Chris, from Luxembourg. It's a beautiful ceramic piece than can be used as a vase or a candle holder.  The Italian artist who made this is  Fabrizio Tranquilli. You can check him out here:  (

I met Chris in 1991 when I studied in Luxembourg and we've been great friends since then. I feel grateful to have made such a good friend.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Frozen Pittsburgh. . .

The north-east is experiencing sub-zero temperatures.  Many schools and businesses in Pittsburgh are closed as a consequence.   -7 F (-22 C) is COLD.   The icy conditions make everything just that much more dangerous.

Winter is beautiful to look at in photos, but I'm grateful for the milder climate in which I live.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Put me in, Coach . . .

Today was our first day back after a well-deserved 2 week holiday break.

"Oh, put me in, Coach - I'm ready to play today;
Put me in, Coach - I'm ready to play today;
Look at me, I can be centerfield."

I'm grateful for my job and proud of the work I do.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Sunday mornings are made for walking . . .

This morning the sun was shining and the birds were singing . . .

It was clear and sunny this morning and the temperature was about 55º F (14º C) as we began our 5k (3 mile) walk. Although there were remnants of high winds and strong waves along the esplanade where we walk, it was very calm at 8:30am. We were joined by a bookclub friend of mine who was walking her dogs and had lots to talk about.

Today I was grateful for the morning sun that promised a beautiful day.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

www . . .

While on Facebook today I came across the following photo and post from Humans of New York:

"When I was 19, my girlfriend and I were going to study in Paris. Our boyfriends came to the docks to see us off. Right as we were getting on the ship, my friend's boyfriend said to her: 'If you go, I won't wait for you.' So she turned around and decided to stay. My fiance saw this and told me: 'I won't wait for you either.'  I said: 'Don't!'"

Facebook page:

Check out the page, it's a really creative project and the posts are full of interesting characters.

I'm grateful for the internet which allows me to broaden my horizons, encounter new ideas and learn about (and from) others.

Friday, January 03, 2014

another rainy day

We've had a lot of rain in the past few weeks. It's normal for this time of year. I've had a fire burning since mid-afternoon. I'm grateful for the fireplace that keeps me warm and dry. I'm grateful for the rain that turns Portugal green in the winter.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Let's talk . . .
Goodbye Nokia 2650 red flip phone.
Hello white Samsung Galaxy Pocket Neo . . .

I finally bought a new phone today. While at the mall I received a message from my telephone service provider informing me that there might be a better payment option. As I had the moron package (way overpriced for everything) I thought it might be a good time to talk to the Optimus people. There was no line at the phone store at the mall and I just went in to ask a question about my service and before you knew it I was saying good bye to my red Nokia.  It was such a cool phone and looked just like Captain Kirk's communication device in the original Star Trek series. I've had it for 8 or 9 years and it served me well but the technology has really developed since I bought my Nokia and now a phone is more than just a phone so an upgrade was in order. I'm grateful that I looked at the message and decided to act upon it.

Now, I need a training course in using my new Samsung. . .

Wednesday, January 01, 2014


Fashions change but celebrating the new year never goes out of style . . .

I'm grateful for another year on my journey.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy 2014

Journey to Peace

Enjoy the journey . . .

2013. Photograph. Journey to PeaceWeb. 30 Dec 2013. .

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Star of Wonder

Hope your holiday season is full of wonder . . .

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Don't walk alone after dark . . .

Monday, October 28, 2013


Anta do Tapadão

Here in Portugal you can't go too far without tripping over a megalithic monument. And earlier this week was no exception.

While touring the Upper Alentejo we visited the Anta do Tapadão near the village of Aldeia da Mata. This structure has been around for the last 5,000 years or so. It was built by the Celts and similar structures can be found elsewhere in Europe including the most famous site of all, Stonehenge.  There has been much speculation as to the purpose of these monuments and some think that these sites held religious significance for their architects.

The Anta do Tapadão is said to be the best preserved anta in Portugal. But what is even more amazing is that we actually found the anta which is located atop a small mound along an unmarked path in the middle of someone's cow pasture.

There is a sign along the road indicating an entrance point on someone's farm. There is  also a sign on the gate asking people to close the gate after entering but that's where the signposts end.

We walked straight along the main path assuming that we would see some kind of indication. There was a path to the right and further down there was a path to the left. We kept on the straight and narrow. We walked about 1 kilometer and didn't see anything.  Finally, some workmen entered the property and we stopped them and they pointed us in the right direction.

This isn't the first time that we have visited national treasures on private property. These are often in the most surprising locales. Once we had to cross a large herd of grazing sheep on a farm with tailless cats to visit a menhir.

I can only say that the harder it is to find, the bigger the treat . . .

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Autumn at my door . . .

These early days of autumn are spectacular. It's sweater weather - warm days and cool nights. Soon enough the damp will set in but before it does, bask in all that October offers.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

I'm a blogger
There, I've said it. I'm a blogger.

I started my first blog in 2005. It was a joint-educational venture with my good friend Dr. Cristina Costa (then Ensign Cristina Costa) when we were both working as English teachers at the Portuguese Navy in Alfeite. The blog was called From Stem To Stern - an oh so nautical theme.  I just visited this blog after a lot of years and see that it doesn't look the same - the background is missing, as is the forum among other things.  I can only say, "Oh well" and not feel bad about that. What remains are the memories of that moment. You can also get a pretty good idea about what the students were learning.  Remember that edu-blogs (educational blogs) were very new then and this was ground breaking classroom practice. This was my first blog. You always have a soft spot for your first . . .

Since then I have spent a lot of time on blogs. I have created other blogs for lots of different kinds of students. There were more groups of Navy students, there were teachers who were my students when I was teaching teachers online, there were mothers that I taught to blog, there were OIS teachers who took a class from me when we were in the Fundição, yearbook students, SDIS CT blogs, OIS CT blogs, a Cyber-Kids blog (an after school activity that I ran one year), Year 4 blogs (these little kids were so enthusiastic about learning technologies), MYP English class blogs, a professional blog and a personal blog. In addition, I visit a lot of blogs. I love cooking blogs and visit a few on a regular basis. I know, who would have thought . . .

Yeah, I guess you can call me a blogger.

There seem to be lots of different reasons why people blog. Some links to sites that talk about this are:,

I blog primarily for self-expression. I like to write. I like the part that I need to sit and focus on what I want to say. I have to think about it - whatever it is. I can pull my thoughts together and really decide what I think. It's contempletive, not reactive.

I had had several educational blogs before I created a personal blog. At first I felt a little vulnerable but then I realized that nobody really reads my personal blog anyway so no big deal - hahahahaha.  And that's not a tragedy because there's a certain freedom in writing for yourself.  You're not writing to please, entertain or  impress; you are writing to meet your own needs - to figure things out, maybe to vent a bit, to commune with the universe. You are writing when it suits you and about topics that suit you. There's no "have to" associated with personal blogging.  Ahhhh, already the pressure is off.  A personal blog also charts one's journey through life. It's a kind of documentation of one's journey.  Some years one blogs more, other years less. Some years are full of one thing, other years focus on other matters. If someone should happen upon my blog in their journey through cyberspace, I hope my blog will help that person find his/her voice and his/her reason to blog.

I understand that some of my students/former students have discovered my blog. Thank you so much as I am flattered that you find me interesting reading. Maybe you should start your own blog.  I would be sure to "follow" you.

Yeah, that's right. I'm a blogger. . .

Sunday, August 18, 2013


August 16 at Centro Congressos do Estoril 


Web definitions
(trademark) a self-balancing personal transportation device with two wheels; can operate in any level pedestrian environment

I've finally had the opportunity to try this out.

The only thing I can say is that it's way cool.   I want one . . .

Thursday, August 08, 2013

The things I love about Pittsburgh

I recently went home. While I love my life and living in Portugal there's actually no place like home. . .
Some of my favorite things about Pittsburgh are:

The Cathedral of Learning

Funky neighborhoods

The Andy Warhol Museum

Restored Victorian Architecture

Phipps Conservatory

Breakfast at Pamela's

Unexpected delights

Walnut Street in Shadyside

Dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum

 The mansions on Fifth


New Technology

The importance of details


and Family.

Pittsburgh visit - July 29 - August 7, 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013



 Here I come . . .

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

 My book club met this afternoon in picturesque Pednedo as one of the members hosted a luncheon. Summer Tuesday afternoons were meant for this!

 Ahhhhhhhhh . . .

Thank you Kathie;-)

Monday, July 22, 2013

"do interesting things and interesting things will happen to you"

quote by Sir John Hegarty co-founder of Bartle Bogal Hegarty (BBH) a British advertising agency.

This Levi's commercial is a classic example of his creativity.

For more on creativity:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

It's not unusual that people have disagreements. After all, we each have a unique point of view. It's how we deal with disagreement that is telling.  One tactic that I've been introduced to is very interesting.

Person A doesn't agree with Person B. Person B persists. Person A gets pissed at Person B. So far, ordinary.  Now watch this. Instead of looking at things from another angle or blowing the whole thing off, Person B then gets double or even triple pissed because Person A is pissed and apparently Person A isn't supposed to have an opinion or perhaps is not entitled to a point of view or maybe is not permitted to express his/her feelings and should go along to get along. Anyway Person B elevates the situation to a war of silence.  Brilliant move!  Nothing gets solved this way . . .

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

It's official, I'm on summer holiday . . .

Under the boardwalk, down by the sea,yeah
On a blanket with my baby is where I'll be . . .

Sunday, June 30, 2013

5 things you don't know about me . . .
1. I won 3rd prize in a Christmas cookie baking contest when I worked at Westinghouse (we had to submit 13 cookies.  It took me 2 batches on 2 separate nights to yield 13 perfect-cookie-contest-winning-cookies, but I did it - AND it was a borrowed recipe - lol),

2. I love to read and walk but not at the same time,

3. I'd like to take salsa lessons,

4. I used to drive a sports car - a 1976 Fiat Spider - white with red interior,

5. I love antique photographs . . .

Saturday, June 08, 2013


Get this, as we both approached a door at the same time the other day at work, a female colleague of mine held the door for me and said, "Age before beauty" and laughed all over the place. She then announced that it was just a joke and added some more ha ha ha's.

I was a bit taken aback as this would be a rude thing to say to anyone let alone to the oldest teacher in the school.

Just for the record: Not Funny

I just don't get it.  But then I don't get a lot of things these days. . .

Sunday, May 19, 2013

you can't have it both ways . . .

Most people learn from a very young age that you can't have it both ways.  And for most people, that is the rule.

And so it is with me.  It's EITHER this way OR that - it can't be both.


Sunday, April 14, 2013


Spring outside my window . . .

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Happy Easter!  I hope you find everything you are looking for . . .

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dear Universe,
Dear Universe,

I am available to teach students who want to learn. No fees required.

Am looking forward to meeting such a student.

Please send someone soon as the world is in dire need of educated people who give a good toss about how things should be run and know the difference between right and wrong.

I am also qualified to teach the difference between right and wrong and more importantly the difference between right and almost right.

Thanks in advance for sending someone my way.

Yours truly,

Ramona Dietrich
Teacher who gives a good toss and knows the difference between right and wrong

Friday, March 08, 2013

I think it's going to rain today. . .

I graduated from high school in 1969. It was a different time and a different world.  On one hand it seems like a very long time ago.  On another, it seems like a blink of an eye.

A friend from high school died today.  May he rest in peace.

You're never really sure what the day will bring. . .

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Now I understand,

people think I am stupid . . .