Butrinit, Albania

My mosaic inspiration!

Well, shoot.  After only a month, my post on the geese that took over Mum’s yard is already out of date – the birds moved on!  (Everyone’s a critic…)  It got me wondering what other of my posts could use refreshing.  And since it’s the time of year for reflection, here are a few new images and thoughts on a sampling of old “bits” of the Tesserology mosaic representing my life and interests:  bits on travel, sport and my favorite tv show ever.

THE GREAT ASHLAND MIGRATION BIT  This post was mainly about my family trips to Ashland, Oregon for Shakespeare, but the memory truly was triggered by those geese!  Alas, my honking muses appear to have flown slightly south to the nearby golf course where now (in blatant disregard of club rules, I must say) they make tons of noise and leave unsavory calling cards all over the green – plus, I’ve never seen a single one wear a shirt with a collar.

Hard to play through...

“Do we just play through..?”

Anyway, another thing I’ve realized (who knew those fickle fowl would prompt so much introspection..?) is that I haven’t shared anything about the mosaic photo that was the inspiration for the theme of this blog – and a sliver of which appears at the top of every post.  It’s from the extensive ruins at Butrint (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) that I had the pleasure of scrambling around while on a cruise that stopped in Sarande, Albania.

Butrint, Albania

Butrint, Albania.

It’s a remarkable collection of structures spanning centuries of occupation (including by the Romans).  What especially delighted me about the site was the lack of modern-day encroachment and the unfettered access (for good or bad, I suppose) one had – including to the remnants of a building where that colorful section of mosaic flooring peeked out from overtaking grass and grit.  There within my reach (well, you know, when I knelt down) was a real – and really colorful – piece of history!

Butrint, Albania

Butrint, Albania.

As I stood mesmerized instead of moving on with our tour group, I expected some guardian with an oversized blazer and a walkie to race over and demand that I back off – or someone hiding in shadow from the heat of the day to leap out, whistle blasting (um, not that either thing has ever happened to me…).  But no one spoiled the magic.

Butrint, Albania

Butrint, Albania.

Accessible or not, I appreciated that one shouldn’t disturb things.  Still, I just couldn’t help pausing to trace with a tentative finger the patterns in those tiles – those tesserae – which had been carefully laid so very long ago.  Yeah, even though I felt a bit wicked, I kinda did it anyway…

THE “WE” IN “TEAM” BIT  and  THE BISCUIT IN THE BASKET BIT  These posts were about devotion to sports teams and especially about my family’s obsession with ice hockey!  As proof that it has to be carried in my DNA, here (with apologies for the quality) are a few screen captures of the home movies I mentioned my Grandpa Jack took (I believe in the 50’s) that I thought were going to be primarily about family.  Instead, quite a bit appears to be the result of his lugging a camera to several Chicago Blackhawk games.

Up the stairs and onto the ice

Up the stairs and onto the old stadium ice.

Big save

Big save!

What? No penalty on the cross-check?!

What? No penalty on the cross-check?!

As I said before, this is clear proof to me that my becoming a hockey fan (Go Kings Go!) was entirely inevitable.  Like some unseen Force, passion for the sport runs strong in my family and surrounds us and binds us.  I have it.  My grandfather had it.  My nephew has it.  And my mom?  No doubt she has it too!



THE TESSERA WITH TRIBBLES  Speaking of The Force, yeah it’d be more apropos to talk about Star Wars – and I’m totally looking forward to seeing the new film – but I was just as excited for the recent release of the trailer for the next installment of the Star Trek reboot!  I was saddened though earlier in 2015 by the passing of the venerable Leonard Nimoy, and recalled that a couple decades before I wrote this post about having loved the Original Series pretty much since birth, I once ran into the man – almost literally.

I’d scored my first proper job in LA at the Writers Guild of America and one morning I was hurrying up their big main staircase, getting lost in thoughts about basic cable residuals (as you do), when I heard a wonderfully deep, rumbly and entirely familiar voice.  I glanced up – and there, moving down the stairs deep in conversation, was Leonard Nimoy.  Mr. Spock, himself!  I stepped (well, stumbled…) aside and just gaped as this idol from my most beloved series continued past.  He was busy anyway but I was far too (I gotta say it) stunned to be able to summon the courage even to offer a brief-yet-polite-but-appropriately-reverent-although-not-reverent-to-the-point-of-being-nerdy-or-creepy-or-anything kind of a greeting.

As years have passed, I’ve tried not to figure I missed the opportunity for a meaningful moment with someone who played such an enormous (albeit completely imaginary and one-sided) role in my childhood.  Nope.  I’ve decided to be glad I barely avoided tripping and face-planting right at the feet of an icon…

RIP, Mr. Nimoy

RIP, Mr. Nimoy…

THE BIT ABOUT NEXT SEASON  Since the current college football season is heading toward its climax, it seems fitting to revisit this post about football and the fall.   Being a UC Berkeley alum, I weathered the customary ups and downs this year of another exciting and exasperating campaign.  And I didn’t give up pride or hope, in part because my lack of faith as a freshman caused me to forego the Big Game against Stanford that ended with what has come to be known simply – and famously – as “The Play.”  Along with both real and fake Big Game Daily Cals from that historic sporting event, I still carry around a measure of regret that I wasn’t there.  Oh – and maybe I don’t deserve it, but it turns out I’ve been carrying around a t-shirt as well.

tesserology - the play t

“The Bears! The Bears have won!”

I was pleased that Cal’s record wound up being good enough to get them a spot in the Armed Forces Bowl this year.  As ever, I hoped we’d be able to finish the season on a good note.  And the Bears came through!  Not gonna lie though – I had some alternate text ready just in case.  ; )

So there’s my revisiting of old mosaic bits I’ve shared.  As we head into a new year, I’m looking forward to brushing the grass and grit off more treasured memories and to continuing to follow the adventures of my fellow bloggers!  And I wonder what new bits will be added to my mosaic in the coming months – these bits that, arranged all together, make us the unique people we are.  As with every life, some might be ordinary and some not so pleasing.  But some – ohhh, some! – just might be dazzlingly and amazingly bright!

Happy New Year to all – and may your mosaic for 2016 be filled with the bright ones!

Tesserology hawk dolls



  1. A great post. I always wanted to visit Albania and now I have, just a little. ( which is better than nothing.)

    1. Thank you – and I hope you get there! I went a few years back, and they were still working their way toward being a tourist destination, but they had a lot to offer.

  2. Lovely miscellany / review – happy new year!

    1. Thanks very much – and a Happy New Year to you as well!

  3. Great post and hopefully a …

    1. Thanks so much!

    2. Ha! Only just saw the nice graphic that came along with your comment – a very Happy New Year you too!

      1. Umm – ‘to’ you…

  4. You have seen Mr. Spock! He is my favourite in the space things.
    Happy New Year to you!

    1. Yes – was too shy to talk to him but I did see him! Onnellista Uutta Vuotta to you – and live long and prosper!

  5. Happy New Year, Amy!

    1. Thanks – and to you!

  6. I wondered about your title and how lovely to see that it’s based on Roman tesserae! Lovely photos of the site in Albania. And I am glad you got to meet (or at least encounter) Leonard Nimoy. What a great memory. I’m really looking forward to J. J. Abrams’ Star Wars movie, after he did such a good job with the Star Trek reboot.
    Happy 2016!

    1. Thanks! Yes, I had a super time at Butrint. And I’m looking forward to ‘Star Wars’ too! Thanks again and a happy 2016 to you!

  7. A wonderful post and I love your figurine of Spok and Kirk with the Lirpa! That’s from one of my favorite episodes. Good stuff. Happy New Year!!

    1. Thanks very much! And the ‘Amok Time’ ornament actually includes a button for the soundtrack music – which I’ve been known to play when nobody’s around. 😉 Thanks again and a Happy New Year to you!

  8. Great post!

  9. Happy New Year… may your 2016 be fruitful and joyous! 😉

    1. Thank you so much! And the same to you! 😃

  10. Hello Amy! Splendid blog. You are my first follower and I am so pleased. No idea what I’m doing but trying my hand at the blog. A very Happy New Year to you.

    1. Thanks so much – and a Happy New Year to you! Looking forward to more of your posts and views!

  11. Ooops, I’m a bit late to the new year festivities here, but I still enjoyed revisiting some of your tesserae! The Roman site at Butrint where you found your mosaic is especially awesome… It’s incredible that you were just able to walk around the ruins! All the (belated) best for 2016 😀

    1. Thanks – yes, Butrint was an amazing site to get to wander! And best New Years wishes to you!

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