Sunday, January 25, 2015

Venice in Winter

Canal Grande
Twilight soccer, Campo San Giacomo 

Titian, Basilica dei Frari

Canals, calles, and campos.
The continuous echo of church bells and lacy palazzos. 
Venetian red.  The Bridge of Sighs.
Boats and cobblestones, no cars.
An empty museum.
 Ethereal, fragile.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Learned, The Fat, and The Red

Bologna: La Dotta, La Grassa, La Rossa. 
The Learned, The Fat, and The Red. 

The famed university, oldest in Europe (and many bookstores). 
The food! (more on that later) 
and (depending on who you ask) 
its red rooftops or its far-left/Socialist/Communist political leanings.

A vital, thriving, non-touristy city. 
Exceptionally walkable with 40 km of porticos,
and severe limits on center city traffic. 
Beautiful, medieval, small, complex.

La Passeggiata,
that occurs every evening in villages, town, and cities throughout Italy.
Families and friend stroll, gossip, chat, flirt, pause 
for a gelato, espresso or aperitif, to admire a baby or a small dog.

I adore this ritual, observed it, happy and envious.

I got sick right after I returned. A cold, a virus, but also 
my reluctance to return here from there, 
my way of stretching out the space between,
 savoring it, imprinting it deeper, 
so when I fully return I will be a little different than when I left.

And the food. Oh, the food. The freshest, most flavorful pastas, 
deeply savory cured meats and cheeses. 
The challenge of ordering from salumerias and formaggerias
with my thirty words of Italian.

Fruit and vegetables from hot wild places to the south.  
Every day I bought clementines from Calibria, 
the leaves still fresh, the fruit so sweet.

The scent of political engagement everywhere, especially in the university quarter.

Memorial to the victims of the 1980 Bologna train station bombing that killed 87, 
and the victims of two train bombings. 
The horror in France occurs while I am in Italy, 
and I am reminded how small and strong and vulnerable and unique these countries are.

A room with a view.

(If you missed it, my previous post was about New Years Eve in Bologna.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Buon Anno!

Happy New Year, friends! A little late, but traveling gives me a fresh perspective on things, and I return with resolutions, born of new experiences. One is to get out more and let myself have fun. 

I spent New Years Eve in the 13th century Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, where precisely at midnight the ritual of burning away the old year, symbolized by a huge sculpture that a different artist makes every year, began. It was spectacular and I really enjoyed the whole scene. 

I'm home now, and will be back with more soon. xo, Jen


Sunday, December 28, 2014

la dolce vita

The last time I was in Italy was October 2011. 
If you go back in the archives you'll find some posts about it.
I had a store then and every weekend (almost) 
drove four hours to the Catskills to run it.
 I was still practicing law, representing mentally ill people in court.

I've closed the store and stopped practicing law, except for some pro bono work.
I'm painting, almost full-time, and writing a book,
blogging (occasionally) and instagramming (a lot).

I've become a crazy cat lady.

Tomorrow I return to Italy. 
It will be cold, but it's cold here too.

There will be New Years in Bologna
known as La Dotta, La Grassa, La Rossa 
(the learned, the fat one, and the red)

and wandering through Venice without crowds.

It will be good to see new things, and 
it will be good to come home.
See you then. Be good. Have fun!

xo, Jen

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas cats, flowers and a bunny.


A visit to Bow Street Flowers
filled me with holiday warmth and cheer,

and my house with beauty.

Aji finally left the tree 

to work on (re)arranging the flowers.
My work is done. She's in charge now.

Jane is sharing our Christmas in the house posts, so scoot on over here to join in.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

merry and bright

I love Christmas lights. Every night I stay up late, 
reading, in sight of the tree.
(Do you spy two cats?)

 My mantle is covered with a rainbow coalition of deer.

I made friends at the local pet store/cat shelter.
I wish I could bring one home, but two cats is my limit these days.

My son Luke, adopted this sweet cat in Brooklyn.
I can't wait to meet her.
(Am I grandmother to a cat?)  I'll bring toys.

The days are short and cold on this side of the planet.
I hope that you are filled with light and warmth.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanksgiving in the Catskills

I felt like I was living in a Robert Frost poem.
Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening was on repeat.

Dinner was at our friends George and Gerry's house.
( and their three Boston Terriers--see Louie, above)
It was an especially nice group of friends and family.
Everybody contributed to the meal.

 There was just the right amount of snow--
enough to be pretty,
but not a bother.

I often find holidays stressful, and have struggled to simplify,
to focus on what matters, enjoy the little things.
Tonight talking to my son about Christmas I said,
Just give me a tree with lights and some hot chocolate and I'm happy.