Sunday, January 31, 2010

Not Another One

Where will it end? When will it stop?

I have an outerwear problem. I admit it to the world. I already own numerous coats and jackets. There is nothing wrong with any of them.

And I don't need clothes at all.

I just went to Italy for cripes sake.

I am trying to live with what my son calls a clamp on the wallet.

I'm taking deep breaths.

But dear reader, every store --EVERY STORE-- saves its one cute perfect jacket for when I walk in. Even stores with horrible schmattes and leftovers seem to possess one. They see me coming in and they rush to display it.

Uh, not this one, thanks. We don't want to frighten the populace.
It's driving me crazy. I don't want to name all my jackets. I don't want to and no one can make me, though I might if you contact me privately and speak in low neutral tones. It has to be at night with the lights off.

But it's a lot. The number is high. The Traveling Feast took our winter sojourn down to the Cape this weekend. Good fun, way too much food and drink, the usual.

I announced to my friends that I would just be windowshopping on this trip. I was happy and content with my role as sidekick and consultant to purchasers other than myself.

I did okay for a couple of stops. But you know? You can't let your guard down. Ever.

We walked into a lonely little shop (theme from Jaws) and I sensed it. (DAH dum) I felt it. (DAH dum) I could feel its eyes on me. (DDDDAAAAAAAdum) and then we saw each other. You can't stand in the way of love, dear reader. BLAM. A darling darling white ski-type of smushy smoothness, oh dear reader, what was I to do?

What would Peyton Manning do, I wondered.
I gave it careful thought, keeping in mind that he will probably blow out the Saints next weekend. And the answer came to me in a vision: Who the fk cares what Peyton Manning says about my jacket. My vision also suggested that I stop thinking about Peyton Manning to start with. He's nerdy. And it's my business alone. I'm free from him. He's not the boss of me. Goddammit.

So fk Peyton Manning! Yaay! I bought it. It's yummy. I can wear it to watch the Super Bowl and I hope the Saints kick Peyton's ass. He's got a lot of nerve pushing me around.

Winter Capesters

Go Saints!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Back to Reality


Sigh. Here I come. Back from Italy and thoughts of Italy.

Well, no. Ix-nay on the thoughts. They will always be with me (help here from Sargent's Street in Venice).

But life goes on.

Real life.

The kind with students in it who say and write funny things. The euphoria in the air at this time of the semester is palpable.

To quote one of my former students, not everyone has the lechery of sitting around all day and not working. I certainly do not. So, dear reader, what do we have to be happy about?
Certainly not the Patriots.

The Red Sox are in that time of year when they trade away the people who could really help us and get in the people who will not. Goodbye Jason Bay. Spring training is always hopeful. But we're a long way from that right now.

Sigh. So what else?

The weather?

New Englanders keep one eye on the TV during all of January, February, and March. It's either snow or severe cold. Take your pick, baby!

Well, I know! It's a good time of year for reading. I have read a pile of books that I haven't reported on, including Homer and Langley by E. L. Doctorow, which was excellent, That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo (my new favorite writer) and This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper, also very good. If you can't put a book down and have to stay up way into the dangerous hours, the ones that keep you puzzled and bewildered during the day if you're not sleeping during them (what did I just say?), then that book is by definition really good.

As promised, here is a shot of Ostia Antica, an ancient port city near Rome that has been excavated to a very surprising and large degree. You pretty much have a chill down your back every moment. We made friends with a guy from Sicily who took our picture.

The Mouth of Truth, Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome

And back in Rome, via a fun subway ride where we got to see how Italian teens make out, here is the Bocca della Verita, the mouth of truth. Legend is that if a liar puts his hand inside, it will be bitten off. We didn't have time to stand in line for a pic here, but I would have put my hand in, no problem
I have known one or two who should have been very afraid to do it.

Onward, dear reader.

(this is me espying a lemon tree)
A rivedercci con amore,

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rome 2

So this is how the hairdo came out. Not so very different from home, but very straight and poofy, which I liked.
A woman who resembled Ivana Trump did my hair. She didn't speaka my language and I didna speaka hers.
"Prego," they say. It means please most of the time except when it means you're welcome or even, will you please move over here?
"Prego." I loved the way Ivana said it. I think she was terrified. She was forced to take me (by the boss) and her hands seemed to be trembling. I reassured her from time to time--"good! Bene! Bono! Sonny Bono!" You grab at anything when you don't know wtf you are talking about.

Note box of Cheez-its in the background. I find it a must-have for hotel living. I think Amy was a bit appalled, but she has way better taste than I do in general.

Here is Amy just before the wind blew the potato chips over. That sounds symbolic, doesn't it? Before the Potato Chips Blew. You sit outdoors in Rome, no matter what. It was in the 50s most days, so that was okay. On this occasion, though, we may have been kidding ourselves. I kept saying, "It's January 8th and I'm sitting outdoors."

Look at these yummy artichokes. I think I ate some. Not these of course, but others. I was totally confused by food and what I was eating. It was all good, though.

See the Dior logo?
In the doorway of these posh joints you frequently see a bouncer type of individual, meant to discourage the riff raff, I don't doubt. We stood across the street and watched. I offered Amy twenty USD to go up to their window and press her nose against it, but she turned it down.

This is Amy's friend Laird, who joined up with us for a couple of days. He is a fount of knowledge (wonder if he's ever been called a fount before) and great fun to be with.

Here's Laird demonstrating his fountness.

And cuteness.

Obligatory Trevi Fountain shot.

Adjacent to the Trevi was a little gellateria. We went in and I lost all control. I ordered two cannolli and a large dark chocolate gellatto. Just throw me in the fountain, I said.
It was heavenly.

More stuff.

[see previous post for definition of "stuff."]

Once again, I think I have gone on long enough. Next time?

Ostia Antica, the excavated ancient city south of Rome! With two modern babes as your guides!

Audrey Hepburn Wearing A Circle Skirt In Roman Holiday
Audrey and Greg on the Spanish Steps. We saw them everywhere.
A rivederci, dear reader.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bella Roma (not belladonna)

This whole thing started months ago when my good friend Amy, who is in Afghanistan for her job right now (she is the queen), said she was going to Italy for Christmas to meet some of her friends there and why didn't we join forces in Rome right around the new year?

Uh, okay. I could do that. Of course Hannaford's might be having specials that week, they might even be saying "have a nice day," but somehow, I was able to break away.

The Eternal City.

What would it be like?

First of all, we picked our hotel, the Hosianna Palace on the Via del Pillachia, or it could be Pinocchio; I can never get those right.
I was trepidatious about a hotel with the syllable "ho" in it, but what the heck.
We are worldly dames.

It was very charming, and a cardinal's residence hundreds of years ago. There is a plaque on the wall that commemorates its years as a hospice, which gave us pause as we waited for the elevator.
Still, no problemo, signori. You may notice my many jackets and coats, dear reader. It was an outerwear festival for moi. And what was my best purchase and naturally most unneeded? That's right--a chic Italian black jacket. Put me on one of those little motor scooters--ciao, baby!


Be a ho!

Be a dominatrix!

Wear colors that don't match!

Spend every cent you have and don't look back! I demurred daily over the purchase of blue boots. That's right, dear reader. It seemed like a good idea. I held back and now regret it.

Okay, so the ruins. They are everywhere. You walk around in them. It feels sometimes as though you're in a big excavation site. They are eerie and glorious and remind you of Caesar and brilliant engineering feats and people who wore and enjoyed togas.

But of course it isn't just the Forum and the Colloseum that get your attention.

In your own neighborhood there are ancient ruins that some committee is working on to excavate and share with the world. Look down and see the steps to some ancient temple or theatre or early branch of Roman Hannaford's.

The Colloseum is awe-inspiring. I don't let my students use the word "awesome," but if they were talking about Roman ruins, I would let them.

Can you imagine sitting here and watching a gladiator fight a lion? Or a crocodile? A what? That's right, a crocodile.
I will be honest.
This does not appeal to me, even if Russell Crowe were involved.

I told Amy that we could have fought as gladiatresses. She could have gone out first and distracted the crocodile by running around or maybe telling a few Afghani jokes. Or really any jokes, you know? The crowd would have loved it. Then I could have swept out in a pretty sexy toga--maybe something off-white with lots of folds-- twirled around a little, always staying modest (I wouldn't have been against getting the attention of some cute centurion or magistrate in the front row) and then when the crocodile almost had Amy in its jaws, cleverly speared it with my sword. It would have worked. And it goes without saying we would have worn stylish sandals. Women were not allowed in the Colloseum except sometimes in a tiny box way up in the nosebleed section. You know what? That would be fine with me.

This is the arch of Constantine across the street from the Colloseum. People walk by it and go to work, have their hair done, fall in love, and live life. It seems incredible. Also incredible was the little bar on the other cross street where I had my first "chocolat." Oy. You have to eat it with a spoon, my friend. Oh, just kill me now.

This is Gregory (hi Greg!) , our guide for the Palatine Hill, also across the street from the Forum. The rich people by and large lived up in that section and although I can't remember everything Gregory told us, I learned a lot.
If you're reading, Greg, your English is nearly perfect and the only thing you could change is to say "back in the day" instead of "back in the days." But then again, I am a little bit picky, so don't sweat it.

This is the view from the Palatine. See what I mean about all the stuff? That's what you start calling all the ruins and artifacts and priceless marble statuary. "Stuff."
And lots of it.

One night when we were not dining lavishly, we bought a DVD of Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck (coincidence that our tour guide had the same name? Hmmmm.). Amy was sure the movie would play on her computer, but it did not, at least not correctly. We watched it one night in slow motion, herky jerky, with no sound. It was a little like watching the Zapruder film--oh, watch him lean forward now, there he goes, ah yes! It was fine since we were drinking champagne and making smart remarks like "look at those dumb pajamas"--god, we were witty!
Anyway, all the "stuff" is there from 1953, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, Castel Saint Angelo. It kind of gives you a shiver to see it. The next night we watched it in correct motion with subtitles. Eddy Arnold is HOT in that movie. I only wish I could forget Green Acres.
I think I have gone on long enough for one blog post, so tune in next time--I don't know when that will be--and see what happened when I had my hair done in Rome!
A rivederci, dear reader.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Not arrested.
Pix to follow.