Wednesday, October 31, 2007

riding the bus

Everyone tells you when you are in a town or city other than your own that you should ride the bus. "It's the only way to learn your way around." I couldn't agree more, but it takes some courage to do it in a foreign country, especially when your vocabulary is limited to about a dozen words, none of which apply to riding the bus. But today I burst right through that barrier of hesitation and decided we would go forth and ride.

After breakfast we walked up to the mercato centrale to look at the goodies inside and outside. I headed right for the Triperie to stare as the various "parts" that people eat here; brains, lungs, tripe, spinal cord (!), testicles, kidneys, pig snout - PIG SNOUT. I have pictures to prove it. Bought some tomaatoes, a head of radicchio, some citron for the Patient's mince meat pies - it's impossible to buy in the US and costs only 1€ for 100 gms. He got three big pieces for 95 cents, a steal!. Then we strolled through all the various stalls looking at leather goods, beautiful scarves, and alot of just plain junk. Then we decided to check out a train schedule so we can get back to Pisa from Vicenza in one day. Cannot happen. We have to be at the airport by 11 AM. Soonest we can get there is 12:15 PM. So that means we will either come back here on Sunday and train over to Pisa Monday morning, or go directly to Pisa, stay there overnight and be right where we need to be.

It being lunch time, and our being in the neighborhood, we headed over to Belcore, a spot recommended by MAS, she of TWBLJ (see yesterday's post). Menu looked swell. But it is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. We'll try again, perhaps tomorrow. I could not face walking home on an empty stomache so we decided to try the bus. I bought tickets, the Cartographer found the route, and off we went. Short ride, but a real ice-breaker. Once you've done it, remembered to validate your ticked on board, pushed through the crowds, you feel like an old hand.

Cutest thing I've seen since being here? See photo, except it was a pink one. Oops! Unable to post photo. We'll, you'll just have to wait. I am going to get one of these things when I get home.

Happy Halloween to all. Hope your candy sack fills up to the brim and lasts you an entire year.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

florence when it drizzles

Rain today so no train trip to Lucca or bus trip to San Gimingnani. Maybe tomorrow.

Instead, a day spent at the Palazzo Pitti. Not a bad way to kill a few hours, I must say. We got there about 10 AM and wandered through miles (or what seemed like miles) of incredible treasures. For those of you wishing to send me a little something for Christmas or perhaps my birthday, here are a couple of suggestions. First, Frederico Zandomeneghi's (1841-1917) Sleepiing Girl. I have just the place for it. If that's not to your liking, I could take Ardengo Soffici's Tile Roof Tops. Or Mario Caragleri's Red Interior. Very Matisse-like. Two of the paintings I really wanted to see were Artemesia Gentilleschiàs Judith and Holofernes. I read the novel "The Passion of Artemesia" by Susan Vreeland and there, right in front of me was what the author was describing. But the real reason I wanted to go to the Pitti was to see Caravaggio's "The Sleeping Cupid." I saw it and immediately the tears ran down my cheeks. Hid sepiction of this innocent babe, asleep on his wings, his pink lips slightly open, his hands curled lightly - well, it's just more than I can handle. Would I want this one, too? No, the emotional toll would be too heavy. Weeping 27/7 is just not good for me.

Yesterday's trip to Santa Maria Novello, the central train station, was a success. We bought our tickets for Vicenza, leaving here on Sunday at 11:30 for Padua, transfer there to Vicenza. We also checked out train and bus destinations for later this week.

Last night's dinner at Osteria Santo Spirito was a big disappointment. The food was not very good, the prices (even in euros) out of sight. Cross that one off the list. Today's lunch, after the Pitti, was at Leo's, a place we had been to in 2004 and liked very much. Bustling, lively, good food (the Patient downed roast pork, mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, pasta with meat sauce, green salad, 3 or 4 glasses of Chianti and is now sleeping it off), interesting crowd. Talk about your code-switching; the foursome next to us was speaking primarily French, then segued into German, threw in some Italian. I was impressed. Us poor Americans, who expect everyone to speak English, are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to foreign language study. I wish it were not so.

Shopping is part of what this city is all about. I have been poking through various shops looking for nothing in particular except, perhaps, some beautiful stationery. My friend MAS was here in April and managed to buy herself the TWBLJ (World's Best Leather Jacket). I can't imagaine how she made up her mind. I am looking for a wedding gift for our nephew who is to be married in Pittsburgh, PA this coming weekend. Will it ber some bed or table linens? How about a ceramic Della Robbia wreath (saw a beauty)? Some kind of pottery platter (lots of beautiful stuff)? I'll let you know what I decide. I'm favoring the linens or wreath.

Europe went off daylight savings last weekend while you in the US are still enjoying more light in the afternoon. It is now 5 PM in Florence and has been dark for almost an hour. Of course the rainy weather doesn't help. Tomorrow, if it has cleared a bit, we will try Lucca or San Gimingnani, or even a tour bus around the city. There's always something to do. And with the rate the euro is rising we better do it fast! When we got here the duro was 1.4276; today it is 1.4437. Who knows about tomorrow!

Monday, October 29, 2007

how the other half lived

Yesterday we took in the Boboli Gardens, part of the Pitti Palace. When the inhabitants (Medici et al.) became bored strolling through the hundreds of rooms in the palace they could step out into their own private gardens, landscaped with fountains, pools, miles of pathways, and beautiful statuary. The Boboli is the largest single green space in Florence. And it was green and fresh and cool, especially after the rain in the past few days. The trees, mainly sycamores, are turning rust and gold. Against the clear blue sky it was a gorgeous sight. It seems to be a favorite Sunday strolling spot for Italians as well as tourists. It's a pricey treat: 9€ entrance fee, 18€ for two or about $27 US. The euro gets more expensive every day.

The resident cartographer plotted a route into the gardens that somehow (!) missed the easy entrance. So we climbed 45 steep stairs then walked up a hill of about 45°, past some huge estates until we came to the very top gate into the gardens. The rest of the visit was all downhill, thank God. There are some sweeping views of the city, including the Duomo from up at the top tier. You can look down on the various terraces and ponds to the back side of the palace. The idea of this being held in private hands for centuries boggles.

Today was to be a visit to the Bargello Museum, open on Monday from 8:15 - 1:30, but for some reason I did not sleep last night and the Patient kept the apartment dark and quiet until about 10:30 to let me make up for the lost night. Instead of the museum we wandered through this neighborhood and found a good mini-mart so we don't have to go to the Standa, about 2 miles away on the other side of the river. Found another bakery, visited the greengrocers for more beautiful veggies.

After lunch we will go over to the train and bus stations to check out the schedules. It's going to be a restaurant dinner tonight but where has not been decided. I was opting for lunch out since it is so beautiful and the three eateries around the piazza all have outdoor seating. But the patient has discovered Knoor cream of porcini mushroom soup and cannot be persuaded to eat otherwise. In fact, the "kitchen" in this apartment is such that we really can't cook anything else. It has two small burners, a tiny fridge and a microwave that holds one cup. A plate won't fit in it. And if we were to cook anything like fish or meat it would stink up the whole place. So we are confined to soup, boiled eggs, boiled pasta. The more I think about it the more I resent having to pay the equivalent of $1400 for this place. So I try not to think about it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

a beautiful day in the neighborhood

Today started out dark and cloudy, but by 11 AM the sun was out and the sky a clear blue. After morning coffee we went shopping locally: to the bakery for a mezzo loaf os eomthing that looks like it will be very good for us - grains, etc.; the green grocer for pears and some interesting olives; and to the vendor outside our front door for bananas. A quick breakfast and then an outing to the super and pronzoat La Spada. We did not go last night as it was pouring rain. It was everything we remembered. Cheerful, delicious, colorful.

Photo of La Spada goes here.
Unfortunately I cannot upload photos. You will have to wait! I had Tagliatelle with fresh porcini mushrooms, what I have been waiting for these long three years. The Patient had his second bowl of Ribolita soup. We went to dinner at a little restaurant around the corner last night where he finally broke his Ribolita fast.
About noon we headed across the river to do some more grocery shopping and to hit La Spada. Retracing our steps from the market I found the elegant paper shop I saw before, and the bakery where I bought anise-flavored cookies to nibble while sipping Vin Santo, a sweet dessert wine we were served at La Spada the first time we ate there.
On our walks we have passed by the creme de la creme of Italian couture shops for both men and women. Italian women are invariably chic. However, everything in the windows is black, everything on their bodies is black. If black had not been invented they would go naked.
Photo of naked Italian woman goes here.
(just kidding)
There are massive crowds everywhere near the Duomo and Santa Croce, thousands of people milling around, taking photos, pointing and oogling, cleaning out the souvenier stands. While on our stroll we came upon a parade of the Chianti Wine Growers (I know there should be an apostrophe here but I cannot find one on this keyboard.) Collective . These worthies were all dressed up in robes and other costumes and marched down the street to the beat of snare drums. Very colorful. It was a traffic stopper.
Photo of gents in costume goes here.
I have tried uploading pix for this page but as I am a Mac user and my native tongue is English, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to do it on this PC. My faithful readers will just have to wait.
It is now time to trudge up the 70 stairs to the apartment and read the IHT for the weekend. Tomorrow we go to the SMN train station to check on both train and bus schedules for various outings. Then to the Ufizzi to buy tickets for next week. Did not get to the Boboli this morning as we were afraid the super would close at 12:30 and not be open tomorrow. Wrong on both counts.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ciao from Firenze

It is 4:15 on Friday afternoon in this gorgeous, but today, rainy city. We arrived safely ON TIME on Thursday, caught the train from Pisa to Florence, and finally made contact with the landlady. A word about the travel. On time departures, on time arrivals. Unheard of these days. The JFK to Pisa flight was wonderful. The plane seemed to be less than half-full. We got Business Class on that leg. Spoils you rotten for anything else. We have our Personal Delta Travel Adviser to thank for all of this. The apartment is on Piazza Santo Spirito on the south side of the Arno. It is old, cold, four flights up, rather cheerless and drab. But we will call it home for 10 days and make the best of it. The one I had contracted for has a serious plumbing problem that cannot even be looked at until Monday so I think we are completely out of luck. We have investigated this neighborhood and have found this internet cafe (only €2 per hour), a bakery, a greengrocer, an Asian market, a couple of restaurants and a Tabac. Otherwise, we will have to go elsewhere. Last night, after being up-and-doing for 24 hours, we went to bed at about 6:30 PM and did not stir until 9:30 this morning. We went out, bought yoghurt, bread, 2 bananas, and some mortadella for breakfast. After that it was time to take on the city!

First we had to find a bank. We were looking for Deutchbanc. So near us we found a very impressive building with a discreet brass plaque that advertised itself as Deutchebanc Money Management. We pressed the button, got let in to the foyer, took the lift to the 3rd Floor and pressed another button. A rather startled youngish gentleman opened the door and looked at us in amazement. I said, in my best Italian, "ATM?" He replied, "Cash?" I said enthusiastically, as if I had hit the jackpot, "Si!" He shook his head sadly, said "No cash" and gave us directions to a real bank. With an effucive "Grazie" we headed over the bridge, found the bank, emptied it out and moved on to other chores. We wanted to find the Standa, a grocery store we used last time we were here. With map in hand -- we look SO like tourists -- we finally hit upon it, and the post office, too. Past the Ufizzi, through a piazza or two, past a raft of very upscale shops, around a pile of Vespas, avoiding construction (making the "old" "new", not always a good idea), it was just where we left it three years ago. Remembering that we had to walk a couple of miles back, plus up 4 flights, we kept the shopping to the necessities: wine, salami, cheese, butter, crackers, paper napkins, sapone de piatti, and several kinds of minestra. Then we walked over to the tiny square where Pensione Feretti is located. That is the hotel where we stayed in 2004. Yes, still there. Located La Stampa, restaurant were the Patient had his first taste of Ribolito, a bean soup he has been longing for since he stopped treatment. We are going there tonight. It is about a 20 minute walk from the apartment. The walk back, the climb of 70 steps back up to the apartment, a lunch of cheese, salami, beer, bread and a bit of minestra primavera, a delicious spring veggie soup. Now it is almost time for a nap before pre-dinner wine/cheese and a stroll to the restaurant.

This apartment is in a section of antique stores and what look like interior decorator shops and studios. The church of Spirito Santo ìs at the end of the block; the bells ring only at noon, 6 PM and 10 PM. At least that is all I have heard so far. Right outside our door is the daily street market around the square. I took a photo but donàt think I can put anything up using this machine. I will check later. The market is mostly things other than frutis and veggies - clothing, household goods, antique knock-offs. The newspaper vendor is across the street. Very handy. There is a lovey fountain in the square, a monument or two that I have not yet investigated. Seems to be a popular place. Lots of students around.

I have no idea what will be on the agenda for tomorrow. We are very close to the Boboli Gardens so perhaps a walk over there. This is not the ideal time to see them but now is the time we are here. More marketing, too, as things are closed on Sunday. Perhaps some church viewing, beginning right here in the neighborhood. I have been a bit shy about usinig my Rick Steves Italian. It comes so easily to them; it is so difficult for me!


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

talk about your bad news

When we got to Alex's I logged on to my email to find a message from the landlady in Florence. Guess what? She tells me the apartment is not available due to some problem "not depending on our willing". What the #%$@ does that mean? And when does she tell me this? Today, as we are almost out the door and onto the plane. She does have an alternative she is willing to offer that is south of the river, four floors up (no lift) and with no internet connection, something I was counting on. I am NOT happy. Oh boy, I am REALLY not happy. But there is really nothing I can do at this late date and from here. I probably will not take my computer after all and therefore all photos will have to wait. Daily blogs, too. Too expensive at a cafe.

Otherwise, easy trip down. Lots of semi's on the road but not much traffic otherwise. Skies over LA basin thick and fragrant with smoke. Whole hillsides blackened. Terrible.


Monday, October 22, 2007

ieri, oggi e domani

Ieri I finished up "Les Girls" and turned in my Netflix® key, so to speak. You can suspend for only 90 days. When I get back I'll have to start all over again. More packing, some reading ("Grasshopper" by Barbara Vine, aka Ruth Rendell. Light horror.).

Oggi, more packing, cleaning, boxing up and general wheel-spinning. Massage this morning to slow the wheels a bit. The car is so full I'm afraid we won't make it over the Grapevine to LA. One would think we are moving to Nebraska instead of just taking a few necessities for a vacation. The black suitcase on the right is my fully-loaded overseas adventure bag, including the Patient's heavy raincoat. I'm hoping he will need it coming home so there will be room for treasures. (Since I took this photo another suitcase, a box of books, a box of medical supplies, the wonderful plaque I bought for the kitchen which the Patient thought was something else and had no intention to taking, my on-the-road-in-Mexico bag and who knows what else have been added to the load. "Less" is not an operative concept here; more is just that. MORE.)

E domani we take off in the wee hours of the morning for the drive to Long Beach at what I hope will be a reasonable speed given the substantial tonnage added to our usual load. The next addition to this travelogue will be domani from Long Beach or, as they say on the Veneto, Spiaggia Lunga.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

more on TV, etc.

Mary Lou Retton was seen on TV advertising knee replacement surgery (see above). Mary Lou Retton? See what I mean.

I am shorn, painted (mani and pedi), waxed, packed and ready to go. There is almost no room left in Vincent (the van) except for the Italian suitcases -- no, that's suitcases we are taking to Italy; mind the syntax -- and anything last minute. Tomorrow brings the final touches on cleaning ~ I will NOT let the Patient vacuum on Tuesday morning at 3:30 AM as we are hoving out of town ~ and laundry. We are eating leftovers from who knows what century as we empty out the fridge. Our Delta agent has changed (again) our reservations so that now we leave LA at 7 AM for JFK; better seating and plenty of time in New York in case any flights are late and there is a risk of missing one.

Trees that were festooned with turning leaves are now bare; we have had heavy winds for about 18 hours and they have done their worst. Our beautiful Chinese Pistache that was covered with bright red leaves yesterday is now naked. Meanwhile, Southern California is going up in flames, helped along by a Santa Ana wind. At least we don't have that to contend with.

I am going to finish watching "Les Girls" tonight. This was Gene Kelly's last dance movie (1957),with music and lyrics by Cole Porter. I'm a sucker for musicals and this one has always been one of my favorites. With Kelly are Kay Kendall, the British comedienne who was Rex Harrison's wife, Mitzi Gaynor, Taina Elg, and Jacques Bergerac. Great fun. It's a "Rashamon" type film but with far less serious consequences.

Go Sox!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

back in print

The muse deserted me for several days. I had no interest in writing anything so I didn't. It may have been a lingering sadness about Riley's demise, and she wasn't even my dog. Or it may have been an inability to focus on anything except getting ready to leave. But this morning the Muse is once again with me and I will catch up on my past few days. Several topics occur for discussion.

I Saw it on TV
A few evenings ago I had dinner with several friends. On our way home we got on to the topic of TV advertising. In the "old days" it was laundry soap, floor cleaner, sugar-packed cereals for kids, toothpaste, and a nice Ford car. Now it's products to get you up (Viagra), put you to sleep (Lunesta), empty you out (Ducolax), keep you that way (Benefiber), ease your pains (Alleve or any number of others), turn your hair any number of interesting colors (L'Oreal or Just for Men), sinus medicine with animated mucus globs, and a new product I heard about for the first time recently, all-night adult diapers. Who in the world thinks I need this information? No ill, no ache, no problem is too sensitive for a million-dollar ad campaign. I remember the first time I saw an ad for Kotex; I was so embarrassed I had to leave the room. Now? The sky's the limit. If you have never paid particular attention of the subject matter of TV ads, it's a real revelation. Perhaps it's geared to the aging commercial TV watcher or perhaps it's simply a matter of coarsened sensibilities.

The Changing Itinerary
In discussions with our Personal Delta Travel Agent we decided to change our departure from Italy to Pisa instead of Venice. The weekend we want to leave is the close of the Biennal and flights are full. Instead, we will train back to Florence and then to Pisa to fly home on November 19th. One day short but a better chance of getting a seat.

The Great Pack Up
Everything is packed and ready for the trip. I have gotten in all into one medium-sized suitcase plus one carry-on for books/New Yorkers for in-air amusement, my wonderful Bose earphones (gift from the Patient for Christmas), camera, insulin (never check it), and anything else last minute. My travel wardrobe is going to be mighty well-worn by the time we return.

I got everything, including leather jacket, 2 pair pants (jeans, black wool), black wool jersey skirt, 2 T-necks, 2 sweaters, boots, pj's, sox, tights, undies (including silks), Shooties (
down-filled slippers I never leave home without; forget the AE card), scarf, muffler, gloves, wool hat, insulin pump supplies, beauty kit into this suitcase, with room to spare! Since the Patient has no more room in his bag (I think he's over-packing!) I will take the umbrella and the package of vacuum-packed coffee so we'll have a starter.

And of course I need plenty of room for the goodies I am likely to find along the way. I am actually quite proud of myself for paring this down to a manageable size. On the 2004-05 trip we had, between us, FIVE suitcases. What was I thinking? This time, much less is ever so much more. If any event or outing calls for the sort of clothes I do not have I'll just make my own fashion statement.

Monday, October 15, 2007

farewell to the faithful riley

I received an email message from daughter Cait this evening that their beloved dog, Riley, suffering from an aggressive canine cancer, has gone on to that great pheasant hunting meadow in the beyond. Everyone who ever met her, saw her run after a tossed frisbee, watched her watching the preparation of her dinner, or felt her velvety brown coat will miss her. RIP, Riley.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

the time it takes

I am notorious for waiting until the last minute to do things, mail things, get ready, set the table, call for reservations . . . whatever. Twenty minutes before we are to leave for a dinner party I am still fussing around doing something other than getting ready. Does this mean I don't really want to go out? I don't think so. I think I'm just a lousy time manager. In college I did learn that waiting until the last night to research a 100-page paper was probably not a good way to excel . . . or just pass. This is by way of saying that I am trying, still, to mend my ways and get everything in order even one day before we are ready to leave. Yesterday I spent almost the entire day straightening up my desk and all of its drawers, paying bills, getting mailing envelopes addressed for sending to Mexico, finishing up the Christmas chores. This bustle was after a wonderful brunch of home-made beef hash, eggs and fruit all cooked by the Patient. Fuel for my multi-tasking. And at the end of the day I didn't feel I'd accomplished much except that now I can see the top of my desk know exactly what's in each "to do" pile.

In the evening Caitlin ~ our personal Delta travel agent ~ called to give us new travel info. Instead of Venice we will leave from Pisa on November 19th instead of the 20th. We will train back to Florence on Sunday, spend the night at our favorite little hotel in Florence, Pensione Ferretti. It's not pretentious but wonderfully located a couple of blocks from the train station and in the heart of a great eating/strolling district. Then we can train to Pisa in the morning. Or perhaps we'll go straight to Pisa and get to know something more about that city than that falling-down tower.

We are expecting rain here in the valley tonight or tomorrow. This has been a beautiful fall, made so by the occasional rain that has kept the dust down and the flora clean and fresh. It is usually so grim here at this time of the year, with everything dry and dirty, sadly in need of a good dousing. This year we've had that cleansing, refreshing rain. The air is clear, the fall foliage lush, the chrysanthemums bright and bushy. This year, it's a pleasure to be here.

Friday, October 12, 2007

and the winner is . . .

How surprised are you? Not very.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

a post script

Congratulations to Doris Lessing, winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature. One of the founding mothers of the women's movement. Yes, congratulations and thank you, Doris.

clearing the last medical hurdle

The Patient got the thumbs-up from his oncologist this afternoon. He's actually gained weight ~ about 3 pounds~ and all his blood numbers are on a (very) slow rise. No need to darken any of those doors until next May when we return from the beach. The doc thinks he looks good, albeit a bit on the thin side. But at least he hasn't lost any weight. Two weeks and we're on our way to the capital of carbohydrates, pasta paradiso.

Before that a trip to CostCo for a 2-gallon jug of Windex. I have more windows than Philip Johnson's Glass House. Well, almost. Actually, I think it would be eerie to live in a house, out in the woods, with no walls. Too much of the outside in. In this vein, in today's House and Garden in the New York Times there is an article called "The Stylish Terrarium" about living in glass-walled abodes. Two gallons of Windex wouldn't be near enough.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

dinner for three

Last night's dinner was a pleasure in every way. The setting was warm, cozy and comfortable (B's house), the food was tasty and satisfying (quiche, salad, fruit, cheese, wine), and the conversation wide-ranging and free-wheeling. The talk among women takes on a different dynamic when gentlemen are present. When it's just "us" things get said - and solved! Topics included the war, the elections, life in this burg, who's reading what, family, children, travel, youth and age, and the state of the world in general. I treasure these gatherings. Food for the body but, more important, for the soul, the mind, and the funny bone. We finally called it a night at about 11 PM and I drove home one happy reveler.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

the day the army got him

Fifty years ago today the Patient was drafted into the army. He fought his war in Fort Riley, Kansas. During one summer, to reward him for being such a good soldier, he was sent to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, where it was nice and cool. For this faithful warrior, no combat, no wounds. Honorable discharge after two years.

Tonight, dinner with two friends, all of us writers of one sort or another. I'm providing dinner (quiche and salad), B is providing the venue and the wine, A is providing hors d'oeuvres. I look forward to our occasional dinners together. There's always good conversation, lots of laughs and smart solutions to all the world's ills.

Monday, October 08, 2007

today's great quote

"I believe that kids as well as adults are entitled to books of no socially redeeming value."

This is from R.L. Stine who wrote the Fear Street series of scary books for kids. There are over 100 titles to get terrified by. Critics have said that his books aren't good for children. Thus the quote above. I seem to remember the same critical concern about the Harry Potter books. What is it about kids and reading that makes people so nervous?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

the geography of weather

Here in the valley it is warm, sunny, fall-like, yes, but also strangely spring-like. The chrysanthemums are all ablaze, it's time to plant bulbs, and the trees, mainly the Chinese Pistache, are turning red and orange. In the Arboretum the ginko trees have turned bright yellow and are snowing their leaves in a golden pool at their bases. In Bozeman, Cait reports a huge snow storm that has covered everything in white; not a blade of grass or a shrub's leaf is showing. When the low, dark clouds break up she can see the Bridger Mountains completely draped in shimmering white. Then on to New York, where Alex and family are spending a few days. She called me late yesterday afternoon to report that it is shorts and T-shirt weather. They were, at the moment of the call, strolling somewhere beneath the Brooklyn Bridge in the warm evening. Meanwhile, in Florence, so I read, it's clear and 58º.

Yesterday I went to the annual Arts and Crafts Fair in Sacramento. It's always fun to see what sort of "art" or "craft" is being produced, and not only locally. I finally found the perfect black handbag for travel; big enough to hold what I "must" have, long enough shoulder strap to sling bandolier-style, and in a beautiful, soft leather rather than rip-stop! And because I paid cash (!) I got a $35 break on the price. Humm. Cash. What a great idea.

I watched Miss Daisy get driven around on Friday. I laughed. I cried. Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman. What a remarkable pair. When, at the end, she takes his hand and says, "You are my best friend" the waterworks let loose.

Here is a poem by Peter Pereira for your Sunday enjoyment.

"Reconsidering the Seven"

Deadly Sins? Please -- let's replace Pride
with Modesty, especially when it's false.

And thank goodness for Lust, without it
I wouldn't be here. Would yuou?

Envy, Greed -- why not? If they lead us
to better ourselves, to Ambition.

And Gluttony, like a healthy belch, is a guest's
best response to being served a good meal.

I'll take Sloth over those busybodies
who can't sit still, watch a sunset

without yammering, or sanpping a picture.
Now that makes be Wrathful.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

a joyous homecoming

I went up to the Apple hospital this afternoon and brought Mighty Mac back home after a week's stay to correct a couple of faulty fans. He's happy to be home; I'm happy to have him back. I have once more packed away the (7 year-old) Less-than-Mighty Mac until he should be needed again. Not for a long time, I am hoping. Mighty is up and running without a click or a whir to disturb me and my muddled thoughts. Thanks to his marvelous talents I put up this greeting message on his face. Enough of this anthropomorphizing. It's only a little machine that can't do anything I don't tell it to do. Or can it? Sometimes I wonder. . .

Tonight's entertainment: "Driving Miss Daisy", one of my favorites. I could watch Morgan Freeman talk on the phone and be amazed.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Release date

I have been informed by the Apple hospital that my beloved Mac Book Pro will be released from care tomorrow after a week's confinement and the insertion of two new fans. There will be joy in Mudville! There will also be photos, hot links, and any other bells and whistles I can find to signify the return of this most precious of communication cohorts. The machine I am now using was, once, the sine qua non of computers. Alas, it's day is over, a victim of planned obsolesence. I keep it for sentimental reasons. And to fill in when the latest greatest is out of commission. Perhaps this old one will prove to be more loyal than the flashier model. Wouldn't be the first. Computer or otherwise, eh?