Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pisa at Night

This is a photo of Tommaso and his friend Francesca in front of the Keith Haring mural in Pisa. I was surprised to come across it there, and T said he painted it just before he died. The shadow in back of T and Francesca is a glass wall to prevent people from touching it or defacing it.
That night in Pisa was really hard. It was very hot, we had to walk a long way to see the leaning tower, it was crowded and dirty, and many of the small alleyways we walked thru smelled of piss. Yuk. We stopped for gelato, and I didn't even want to finish mine, which is unheard of. We met up with another friend of theirs, Riki, who was very pleasant, but I was complaining so much that I can't image I made a very good impression. I'm twice the age of these kids, and they were not bothered by the walking or the throngs of people or even the grimy streets, and they were very tolerant of my whining.
The leaning tower was underwhelming. I've seen better photos of it. It's on a small plot of ground with a cathedral, and perhaps because it was night I did not see all the "glorious" details, but it didn't seem like a big deal to me. None of the Italians sweat there, but I was just dripping with it, but I long ago decided I would not be embarrassed by having inherited my father's sweat glands! Tommaso kept commenting on it, tho. Bad boy.
I'm going to go look at three more apartments today. Then have to be home for the first load of M's stuff to arrive. And Kip has gone missing all night! I just want to sleep, but the anxiety is too great.

Monday, July 30, 2007


One photo of the beautiful dry hot landscape in the Tuscan hills, where I spent two days with Tommaso's parents. I have many stories from the trip and will share them gradually.

Right now I'm in the middle of trying to pack and move, still with no clear idea of where I'm going, and my brain is scattered. And I'm a bit jet lagged.

There are four cats in the house now: Camilla and Misty, and Kip and Pippa, M's kitties.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Tommaso and Roberto, his father, have just gone off to the dentist. I am in their lovely apartment by myself, as his mother is at work. She is a nuclear physicist, and has a very important job of dealing with the safe disposal, as it were, of nuclear waste. They are lovely people, and Miranda, T's mama, is so warm and welcoming. She tries very hard to use the English she knows, and does very well, although last night she was so tired she could not keep trying. I showed them the wedding photo of Ginny Anselmo and Augusto Campanella. Miranda said by the way they were dressed in the photo it looked as if they had money. Roberto said I have my grandfather's mouth. I also showed them a 1942 photo of Walt and Fifi, and Roberto remarked that my mother was "il bambino," looked like a baby in the photo. I said she was 18 when she got married.

Last night for dinner we had stuffed zucchini, salad, fruit. So delicious and healthy. For lunch Roberto made pasta with small shrimps and fresh mussels, and the most ripe flavorful sliced tomatoes from their garden. I cannot remember when I have had tomatoes so good. I mixed some of the tomatoes with the pasta, and Roberto in Italian told T. something about "these Americans, mixing everything together," good naturedly. He said, "You will ruin the taste of the pasta!" Yesterday T. and I went for a swim at a beach in Terrino, then to a private pool club that one of his friends belongs too. It is so hot here, and so nice to be able to dip in water at will.

Miranda told me about her cat Rufus who died ten years ago, and how much she loved him. She cried telling the story. She said, "I always told people I have two sons: Tommaso and Rufus." She is deeply sensitive, and I like her very much. She told me about all the plants on her window sill, and was perplexed about why her very old rosemary plant is not doing well. A bonsai was a gift from a colleague, and she admitted she does not like it, as she sees the constriction of the plant in its pot as being cruel. She is hoping to retire in April, if the Italian government does not change the minimum age of retirement from 57 to 58. Roberto is retired from the postal service, I believe. They were very interested in my retirement options at Yale. Miranda is also suing the government for wages due her, as her salary is way below what other workers in her position make. Tommaso did not say it was gender discrimination, but I think it is, as there are very few women in her position. The married women here do take their husbands' names at marriage, but then continue to use their own surnames in daily and work situations. So all the married names on the buzzers' labels to the apartments here have two last names. And guess what the first one was that I noticed on the list? BINDI! Turns out Bindi is a very common surname in Italy. Who knew? Certainly not I.

We visited a man down the street who has two dogs and two cats, including a black miniature pinscher, very very very cute named Jotti. The dog and one of the cats were puppy/kitten together, and get along so well.

I am off to the American beach near here, as there is a huge US military base nearby, and I know almost no Italian.
Ciao, ciao!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Italy Bound

Ok, all you lurkers, I've got my sitemeter installed and can tell people have been reading or looking at my blog, but not leaving a comment. How 'bout just leaving your initials so I know you've been here? Want to make it as easy as possible.

Got before-the-trip stress. I always wait till the last minute to pack. Went and bought a new pair of sneakers and a rain jacket for the trip. Expennnnnnnnsive! Oh, well, it's only money.

If I have a chance while I'm away, I'll blog a bit from my trip, but otherwise, see you on July 27!

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Isn't this photo that Rob took of one of the local foxes stunning? He's such a good photographer, and he caught this gal in such a great pose. He told me he was just driving on Route 146 one day, saw her, and took the photo from inside his car.

Went out to the Prospect house last night with DF, and she made some good suggestions. Bad news: my cell phone doesn't get reception at that house either!!! I can't stand it! DF said it was because there was a mountain right in front of the house, not a big mountain, but a hill that was probably blocking reception. The price of living rurally I guess. Met the next door neighbor, who was very chatty but seems very nice. Has lived there for 30 years, and knew the woman well who lived in the house I am considering. Into gardening, has a golden lab not seen during our visit, and has a big pond on her property. I'm still hoping for something along the shoreline, but it will take a miracle.

More bad news: I might have lyme disease again. Thought all these symptoms were just stress, but am going to see my doc this afternoon, get her to order some blood work, and get her to give me some antibiotics to take on my trip. I think I should start taking them prophilactically as the lab tests won't come back till early next week. Here's a list of my symptoms that can all be associated with lyme, for your information:

muscle/joint aches and cramps
clunk in neck/maybe jaw
vomiting, diarrhea
decreased appetite
sensitivity to cold
eye redness

I've no rash or hives or anything -- wait. That's not true. I have a rash on my very low back, right above the butt cleavage. Didn't connect it till just now. Oh, drat.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Swim Little Fishy, Swim

Ok, so I got myself to go to the pool and swam and swam. It was SO hot here today, and humid. How can I possibly move to Florida? The transplants down there say you get used to it. But I dunno. I feel so down and depressed. Nothing is getting through this cloud. Exercise is supposed to make one feel more alive, but not me, which is why I try to avoid it at all cost.

Tommaso called today to say he and his dad will pick me up at the airport in Pisa. His mom he said was all apologetic that she couldn't come to the airport, too, but I said that was not a problem. He said I could have his room and he would sleep in the study, and that it was cool there. I have no idea what to expect. I've got my Italian phrase book, and that's about it. I've been told that if you make an effort to say a few Italian phrases, the people are very pleased, even if you don't speak fluent Italian. Have to remember to bring some photos of my Sicilian ancestors to show Tommaso and his family.

Tried to do the directory update for Yale today, and ran into so many problems. Rachel and I will tackle it tomorrow.

My garden is doing well. The tomatoes love this hot weather.

Monday, July 09, 2007


This blog on blogger made me change to an upgraded template in order to install a site meter, but I can't figure the darn thing out. And it screwed up my last post, and the edit thingie won't work. Bleecchh. On the topic of bleecchh, I threw up last night. Rather early this morning. Woke up at 3am filled with worry, about the trip, about moving, about work, about money, had a headache, took some ibuprofin, and . . . hurled chunks. Rachel thought it was cause we were at the beach yesterday, and I got too much sun, but I was under the umbrella most of the time. I didn't even want to go in the water; stress makes me colder I think, and the water was just too cold. I usually love jumping in salt water, but I'm just a wreck these days. Did a bad junk food binge last night, too, which I'm sure contributed to me being sick. Ate better today. Overeating never solved anything.

Have to take Bindiloo to the vet AGAIN tomorrow to get her kennel cough shot. Her eye still does not look right to me, but two vets have said it is fine. The darn surgeon still hasn't called me back, after two calls. Television sucks. I want a crewcut, but better keep it a bit long since I'll be meeting people I've never met before, and don't want to freak them out. Have to go buy a pair of good sneakers before I leave. The teardown before the rebuild has taken place at the house I'll probably be moving into, and JA said he would really like me to live there. Nothing else has panned out near the shore, and I really don't want to move back into New Haven. Need a yard for these guys, these critter guys of mine. Gals.

I have to remind myself that nothing I'm facing is as bad as what many other people endure. Like the Iraq war. The major media doesn't even focus much on it anymore, which is abhorrent to me. Have to go to online sources to find out what is really happening. One thing's for sure: things are not getting better.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Photo of the Grand Lunar and Gark at a Loons baseball game. They look happy.

Tried to go to my pool today but someone had hurled chunks and the pool was closed. Reached Rachel and went with her and Frances to their pool, which is not heated, and was very refreshing. Had dinner at a Japanese restaurant after, then talked to Rachel's neighbor who does the most gorgeous garden in his small yard. Flowers, plants, perennials, herbs. Had a blooming yellow clivia. And black bamboo. Very beautiful.

Went to Edgerton garden after and did some weeding and watered my garden there. Dahlia's are coming up, and cannas, and four o'clocks, and the patty pan squash that reseeded itself from last year is covered with flowers so the fruit should be coming in soon. Probably while I'm away.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Greece (and Italy)

Photo from Tommaso from his trip to Greece. I mean, the place REALLY looks like this. It's just astonishing how beautiful these whitewashed stucco buildings and narrow street town pathways are.

My friend RM from The Hague has been visiting all week, and we've had much fun. Had a small gathering of folks over for a cookout yesterday, then RM and I went to the video store and he was telling me a story about his dad, a funny story, and when we walked into the store we were both laughing hysterically. I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard. What a relief. He played the accordion for my guests and has been my helper with many small tasks around the house. He's such a great guy. Wish he lived closer so he could give me piano lessons.

Went to look at a condo on the beach in Milford with RM on Tuesday. Yuk. Two flights of cement stairs down to the water which was gross, and the condo only had windows on one side. Can't do that. Prospect is still looking like the best bet. Would like to get out there and clean up some of the gardens, but the temps are supposed to be above 85 degrees for the next week, when it isn't raining. Still trying to track down people who live in that area. So far, two. Rachel says she already sees herself out there, sitting on the deck, overlooking the overgrown pond.

Finally went to my accountant and had my 2006 taxes done. Getting a refund which will go to paying off my Master Card bill. She said if I reduce my 401K contribution by 15% I should be able to afford a $900 rent. I'm lucky I get a pension, I guess, cause I would never be able to live on the amount I have managed to save. I'm starting to understand what the economists mean when they talk about the "disappearing middle class." Either you are so poor that you get government assistance, or you are so wealthy you don't have to worry that much about money. The rest of us sort of live paycheck to paycheck. Something is wrong with this picture. I shouldn't have to have another person's income combined with mine in order to find a decent place to live, but that's the state I find myself in. A single income isn't enough.

Been swimming at the pool a couple of times. They have that awful thunder policy: after the last sound of thunder is heard, everyone has to wait one half hour before getting back into the pool. They've been keeping the water temp at 90 degrees, a little too hot for me, but good for the little ones who take lessons there. It's on the Branford harbor so sometimes the breezes make it kind of cool. Where will I swim in Prospect?

Off to Italy a week from Sunday. Have I started packing? Of course not! Gonna try to take carry on bags only. I remember I did that when I went to Greece. Found a couple of things I'd bought in Greece which no longer fit me. May send them to IKA.

The Indiana Jones madness is supposed to be over tomorrow. Good.