Sunday, November 30, 2008
In 1970, at age 16, I was in Europe (and Florence) with Mom and Dad and I was a natural red blonde as seen in these "butt photos" that Dad took of Mom and me. He was famous for taking pictures of us from the rear. I've always wondered about that. You get a good look at Miss Clairol at work however. My hair is much like Mom's color; maybe (but I can't remember) that's what I was trying to achieve. Attempting to minimize the natural frizz in my hair, I took elaborate, somewhat byzantine steps to straighten the look. There were no plug in hair straighteners around in those days. If I was happy with the color, the curl was definitely not my thing and something in demand of daily attention. Some days were easier than others.
In case you can't find us in this butt photo taken between the Duomo and the Baptistery in Florence, look to the lower right in the photo. You'll spot my mother in a green dress and me by her side in a mini-skirt and white top.
What I think about here, in addition to the red-blonde hair, is that little child wearing a hat who stands midway along the bottom half of the photo. That little one is now 40 years old. Many of the other people are long gone. Those that aren't, are much, much older. The natural red blonde gal now has grey in her hair and hasn't sprung for highlights in over a year.
Time passes but Miss Clairol stays much the same.
He loves them as they
need to be loved
in these dark hours.
He's game for a sprint,
as we all are in this
Piece by piece, with time away
to collect one's soul back from the fray.
At it again with a resigned, if not joyful style.
If there is ambivalence or pain,
it does not show.
For me, the exhaustion never quits.
The guilt over succumbing to exhaustion even worse.
I've always said, I'm up for a sprint, not a marathon.
Even with bits of time away, the rejuvenation never comes
and I feel older by the second.
My face muddy,
my heart stony and hard.
Aching to make the most of a whisper of time
but not knowing how, with my
soul slowly burning, evaporating into mist,
dying to today's promise
with the closing of a door.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Today has been quiet until the fire truck pulled up across the street (again) to chainsaw holes in Mr. Matter's rooftop this afternoon. On a Saturday? C'mon. Give it a break, can't you? See those guys on the left? They're busting through shingles with intention, learning how to break through a roof in a real emergency. After all, this house is a "tear down" (see post from 11/25/08). Sigh.
Oh wait, I think they're leaving now; they never stay long. Just enough time to bust a few new openings in the roof and then they're off leaving the street quiet again. Blessed. I can now hear my Mozart CD playing, the Grandfather clock marking the seconds passing, and the soft, nearly imperceptible breath of the cat who lies next to me on the living room couch. This is such the typical late November afternoon in Seattle, complete with overcast skies hanging so low you can all but reach out and pull the mist into the front door. No rain, just air that's heavy with stored moisture. Waiting.
I'm remembering 48 hours ago when we gathered for Thanksgiving Dinner at the Arapahoe House; the 5 of us: Mom, Dad, Denny (the cook; all except for the pumpkin pie and the corn pudding), Chris, and me. We were a small group this year but privileged to celebrate at the Arapahoe house which has until now, never been the gathering spot for a Thanksgiving meal in our family. Nice. I have gratitude for the gifts of family and food shared around a table that has hosted thousands of meals in Aruba, Houston, and now in Seattle. Here we are....
Friday, November 28, 2008
I don't intend to shop today. Maybe I would if Laura were home. Nonetheless I can't help but wonder....if things don't make for happiness, why are all these people out there buying things?
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Yesterday came the assault of chain saws across the street and a fire truck in front of Mr. Matter's former house. When he died last year, his family sold the house to a couple with young children sometime last spring. We waited for the family to move in but nothing ever happened. We knew this likely meant they were planning to "build up" to get their so called "sweeping sound and mountain views". Not quite; it's worse. With all the commotion going on at the property yesterday we learned that the house is now a "practice palace" for in-training firefighters. The house is a "tear down" we learned so the fledgling firefighters are using ladders to access the roof and chain saws to cut gaping holes in said roof. Good for them I suppose. They need experience.
For me, I witness the slow destruction of a house that has been my front window view for the last eighteen years. I can only imagine the monstrosity (aka new construction) that will come in its place. The bit of blue and mountains we see from our bedroom window will be no more, turned into the brick facade of another family's home.
I wonder if they'll be happy. Do things like this bring happiness? I asked Denny this question today. He just shook his head and said, "I don't think about things like that." I wonder why I do. Questions like this chew at my soul sometimes.
On a day when I should be savoring the sunshine and the opportunity to celebrate a glorious meal tomorrow with my 91 year old parents, my husband and son, I'm ploughing around in the underbrush of sadness. I certainly wish one and all a Happy Thanksgiving. It's the best holiday of them all in my opinion. I'm just not in the mood for it this year. Is there the equivalent of "Bah Humbug" for Turkey Day?
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Dad took this picture of Mom and me in front of Ghiberti's famous Baptistry Doors from the Florentine Renaissance. It was July 1970, warm and sunny. I was 16 years old and my Mom was the age I am now. And below, on a breezy, cool November day in 2008, I stood with my daughter, age 20 in front of those same doors in Florence. Time passes. The building doesn't change much if at all.
How do we ever know when we'll "be back" to visit again, or if we'll never be back? I don't suppose I gave this much thought way back then but I do now. Maybe some day, Laura will pose with her daughter or son in front of these doors which Michelangelo called, "the gates of Paradise". Or, maybe not. Only time, most mysterious and elusive, will tell.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I'm hoping that I don't lose anyone in the transition; that part still worries me a bit but hopefully you'll leave a little message here that you've found me.
I'm running to keep ahead of that pesky wave and feeling some better in the last few days.
I'll likely start posting 'real stuff' soon.
Till then....remember, it's always best to be on the downslope of that wave, moving forward, slicing through the water with precision and grace. Oh well, we can always hope....
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
So, dear ones, another hiatus is at hand.
I'll keep reading though.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Goodbye Florence. A wonderful 10 days spent with our youngest. Thanks to all back home who kept up with the pace of life.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
fresco at Santa Croce Cathedral
the Campanile Bell Tower
at the Duomo
the Duomo at Santa Maria
the Leaning Tower
The photo opportunities are limitless whether inside or outside, sunny blue sky or drenching rain. My brain is on overload, packed with images of great beauty, grace, and monumental scale.
We made our purchases; two bottles to bring home (one of which is meant to be stored and savored years down the line) and two to drink here in Florence. We shared one of those bottles with Laura last evening in our hotel room. She's learning to enjoy wine; it's a process to detach from the sugary sweet shots and the local favorite Irish pub drink in Florence, the "Irish Car Bomb" (Guiness, Irish whiskey, and something else....ugh) that flourish during the college days of 2008.
Yesterday we made a soggy trip by train east to Pisa. I'll post more about that later. In the drenching rain I bought yet another umbrella from a street vendor. The leaning tower is definitely leaning. The Duomo cathedral and the Baptistry housed in the same square were equally impressive.
Today we'll stay put in Florence since rain is again in the forecast. The weekend should be drier and we're' tentatively planning a trip to Lucca, a walled city northeast of Florence that is highly rated. Each day brings new treasures (and challenges). I'm glad to be here. As our time winds down, I have bittersweet feelings about returning home.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
The Duomo was particularly beautiful today, especially when the skies cleared for those few moments. I suppose this imposing wonder is fabulous under any conditions. The inside of the dome, complete with frescoes made me want to lie down on the ground to take it all in. The photograph barely does justice to the magnificent colors.
Tomorrow is another day. Election Day. We'll be touring the Uffizi Gallery, eating more gelatto, and bargaining with vendors selling Pashmina scarves. We won't know the results of the election until sometime on Wednesday given the 9 hour time difference.
Good night from Florence.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I saw this sign posted in the window of a store selling, among other things, lotto tickets. It says, "Si dave prognositcare il candidato che vincera te Elezione Pesidenziali d'America....."
Obama Barack 1,15
McCain John 5,50
I'm assuming this means that one can place a bet on the election. If the Democratic ticket wins the return on the bet is only 15 percent. If the Republican ticket wins, the return is 550 percent. Sure looks like those Florentines bent on predicting the outcome of our election are banking on Obama becoming our next president.
We'll just have to see. On Election Day we'll be touring the Uffizi Gallery looking at Botticelli paintings and thinking of things non-political. But, you can bet we'll be very interested in learning the outcome come Wednesday morning in Florence.
This is our second full day in Florence. Mid afternoon finds us weary and overwhelmed, in a good way, with all that we've seen today. Our feet and legs feel like lead weights; no blisters just road weary from walking miles and miles on uneven cobblestone. After whirlwind tours of the Medici Palace, the Medici Chapel and the Accademia, a fabulous lunch (followed by gelatto of course) and more walking we gave in to the overload and retreated to the hotel for a rest. We've got plans for tonight; another twenty minute walk back to a small church where there's a "gospel concert" which sounds interesting.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Today was not about museums but more about walking about, taking in the flavor of the city on foot, the outdoor artwork, the al fresco dining at lunch, and the gelatto. We took lots of photographs and enjoyed plenty of narration on the history of various sights along the way from D who has read The Agony and the Ecstasy at least a dozen times and was well prepared by tour books. Nice.
I'm determined to sample a new flavor of gelatto every day that I'm here; yesterday was caramel, today coffee with ribbons of chocolate. The choices are endless.
We've got big plans for tomorrow; on to the Accademia to see Michelangelo's David and a tour of the Medici Palace. More food, more wine, more gelatto and a concert in the evening. It's all good.
Ciao for now.