Saturday, January 31, 2015

around here

Winter has arrived in a bone-chilling fury,
the snow is piled high

 and all I want to do is burrow under the quilts
with cats for extra warmth,
drink hot tea 
(my favorite evening/no caffeine variety)
read fat books, 
(I'm reading this right now)
and maybe nibble a cookie or two or three.
(I'm making these chocolate chip cookies tonight.)

We have a new cat in the family.
My son Luke adopted Taki and  
I hung out with her when we went to Brooklyn for Christmas.
She's a sweetheart and so happy in her new home.

I left the quilts long enough for a visit to Bow Street Flowers
saw Shelley and the bunnies,
and brought home some beauties.

Taki likes to burrow too.
(yes, that's a pant leg)

I hope that you are warm and cozy,

xo, Jen

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