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Archive for October, 2010


October 30, 2010 By: admin Category: Italy & France Oct/Nov. 2010

This is the photo that defines my firs day in Tuscany: David, Carolyn, and the owner at Il Vinaio, a wine & olive oil shop.

The moment I slid into my seat on the Luftansa flight from Boston to Munich, my body and mind relaxed. I dont know what was in the air on that plane, but it was the most comfortable flight I’ve ever been on. Might have been my attitude, but the food and in-flight service were also excellent. Lastly, I met my seat neighbor, a Saudi name Mahjdi (pronounced “MEHJ-dee”), and we talked for nearly the entire flight, making the time whiz by. I wasn’t at all bugged about the length of the flight, though. It was just over seven hours, but given that my last two international flights were to India, I laughed a little bit about how easy 7 hours was going to be… :)

Mahjdi told me all kinds of things I didn’t know about life in Riyadh, and peaked my interest and shame-of-ignorance enough that I’m considering learning Arabic after Italian, which is now A MUST. :)


Yesterday was my first day in Tuscany. Carolyn and David have a small, but very well appointed apartment in Pieve di Cerreto, a tiny village outside the larger, Cerreto about 1.5 hours outside Pisa. When we got to the apt. around 2:00pm we wasted no time. I grabbed my camera for a nice, long walk. I bought olive oil for gifts for the French folks, and wine for the three of us for dinners/loungings in the apt. We met their neighbors and chatted in our broken Italian. Turns I actually HAVE some broken Italian. Being here yesterday and trying to communicate with people rebit me with the language bug. I feel awful that I’m not fluent in Italian. It’s such an easy language for me to learn! Once I get home I’m definitely taking a class…

After our walk, I showered, changed and read for a bit while noshing on appetizers of pesto & truffle butter smeared fresh focaccia with prosciutto on top chased by the local wine we’d bought earlier. That was at about 6:00pm. The Italians eat late so our dinner reservation wasn’t until 8:00pm.

Dinner @ Osteria i Macelli.

A young guy and his wife run this small, inexpensive restaurant tucked into a valley down the hill from Carolyn & David’s place. D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. food. I had vegetable soup, pasta white white truffle sauce–the first time i ate truffles!–duck, wild board, wine and Limoncello. The wine was local too. Macea (Mah-CHAY-ah) is the vineyard/label.

More tomorrow! Lucca!

The Lute Player

October 17, 2010 By: admin Category: Uncategorized

In ten more days I’ll be on my way to Europe. I haven’t been there since 2001, when I worked at Oxygen. It was Italy, and I had been sent there to cover a women’s snowboarding competition. It was the second time in one and a half months that I’d been in Italy. The previous trip had been to Rome for the Italian Open of tennis. We had followed a tennis player as she gave us a tour of Rome, so I’d seen all the major sites. For the snowboarding trip, our boss had given us an extra day, in Rome, to recover from what had been a tough assignment.

Since it had been so recently that I’d been in Rome I didn’t know how best to make use of this gift of a day, so I called home. My mother loved Rome and knew it fairly well. I asked her what she thought I should do and she said: “Find the Caravaggios.” Unbeknownst to me, the city was littered with Caravaggios. They were tucked away in random, secret palazzos, or hidden at the backs of smaller museums. If you wanted to find them, you had to know someone who knew where they were. My mother, long a lover of Cavaggio’s work, thought the best way for me to spend an exciting day in Rome, was to hunt for art. :)

Leaving my hotel after talking with Mom, I headed straight for the Pantheon. I figured, if anyone in Rome knows where the secret Caravaggios are, it’s going to be someone who works at one of the oldest and most famous icons of art that there is. When I got there, though, the only two people on duty were a young couple, and the boy wasn’t really on duty. He’d just stopped by to pick up something he’d left on his previous shift. Still, I approached them and, a bit embarrassed, asked if they had any clue how I might “the lost Caravaggios.” After some translation-stumbling the boy’s eyes widened and a huge, amazed smile broke across his face. He knew EXACTLY where they all were. He was a Caravaggio buff.

He took my map in his hands and excitedly grabbed a ballpoint pen from under the desk. He marked dots all over the city and then handed the map back to me with a proud grin…

On that day the Caravaggios were the least impressive or important things I saw. I saw unmarked palazzos tucked down deep and dark alley streets, met a policeman who told me where there was a series of studies Caravaggio had done of the hands of The Lute Player, saw a young couple-just married-unable to keep their hands off of each other as they wandered through a small museum, pretending to be interested in the art.

I found my center on that day, and have since been moving slowly away from it. I so look forward to this next trip, when I can again lose myself in an ancient city full of answers.

You Can Smell Onions From The Plane

October 13, 2010 By: admin Category: Happiness, Living, Love, Molly, Music, Nik

There’s something that used to happen to older Macintosh computers. They would lock up/crash in a way that would require the user to perform a fixit action called “de-fragging.” De-fragging was actually beautiful. All the colors of the spectrum would appear on the computer’s screen in little rectangles. They would push forward and forward until the whole screen was filled with colored blocks. The different colors represented different things that were wrong with the machine, and the progression of them across the screen was the “de-fragging” action trying to fix them. You literally watched a broken thing try to fix itself.

I always liked watching the de-fragging process, even though it meant that my computer was probably pretty fucked. I was so hopeful that the colors meant the process was going really well and that my machine would emerge like new. But that didn’t usually happen. Once the de-fragging process was finished the computer would display a message basically saying, “I’m really fucked. You need to do something drastic or I’m going to die.”

Well, it looks like I need a little de-fragging myself. You saw that one coming, didn’t ya? :) This morning I got another “Alexia was abusive and an aggressive and insurmountable horror in our relationship” song from Molly. Seems to be no end of them and their message has finally done it’s work and wiped me out. I’ve hit bottom and literally can’t take any more negativity being thrown at me. Molly’s morning email came on the heels of a night of fighting with Nikki, with whom I haven’t been in a relationship for months. She’s mad as hell at me too and let it out last night. So I’ll be going to Europe in a couple of weeks to see if I can’t reconnect with the lovely person I was then and find a little joy. There’s none for me here at the moment. Boston is all tangled up and needs to be de-fragged.