Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Perhaps it is the fact that my oldest is getting older and relationships can become more serious . Or maybe because I have somehow managed to become addicted to Say Yes to the Dress(more on that later). Either way I have been thinking about what makes a good marriage and what doesn't. How does anyone in their 20s correctly pick the right person with whom they will manage to stay with for the next 50 or so years, if they are lucky enough to to get them. It is impossible to know what one's 30s, 40s, 50s etc will bring thought you can be sure they will be full of chaos, ups and downs, struggles,hard decisions and hopefully lots of fun and joy. The fact that anyone actually does pick the right person for a life time seems impossible. yet we know it happens all the time. The question is how? Is it just good luck or is there a magical formula?
I highly recommend trying to find the Oprah at the white house special that recently aired. I couldn't find a written transcript or i would have posted it here but the full video is all over you tube. Sure it's cool to see the White house all decorated and Bo is super cute and very well behaved. I have a vision of Cooper leaping on Oprah and knocking her over which I suspect would not go over well. But if you are short on time , or patience, just go to the part, near the end, where Barack and Michelle are seated together and talk about their marriage. They talk about both being strong stubborn personalities and what the think kept them together. I thought it was amazing. If they bothered to teach relationship skills in high school that 4 minutes should be required.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Venice and the Biennale

On our next to last day we took the train to Venice. Very easy. In Venice we took the water bus. Ugh! The 'bus' made a 100 stops and took forever. While this may have been a pleasant way to see Venice unfortunately seeing out the windows was impossible as the bus was packed. Wall to wall people , everyone of whom were talking into their cell phones. Seems Italians are crazy about their cells and everyone from kids to little old ladies can be found talking on one.
This was my third time in Venice and while it definitely can be crowded and touristy it is still, in my opinion, a magical place. Walk a few steps away from the grand canal or the main piazzas and you are lost in a maze of endless winding streets. The light reflecting on the water is breathtaking and the beautiful mansions crumbling into the canal are heartbreaking.
As evening came I stood on one of the bridges and realized that I would probably never see Venice again. After all, I had 'done' all the sights so no reason to return as a tourist, it's too far for a get-a-way weekend and I can't imagine anywhere I'd be going that would have me passing through. It was a weird feeling, one I suspect may be common in your 90s as you say good bye to various things in your life, but not one I thought would hit me so strongly at this point. Perhaps I'm older than I like to believe or maybe Venice with it's beautiful decay just inspires melancholy .
Now the main reason for the Venice visit; to see the Venice Biennale. The Biennale,, for those of you who don't know, is like the Olympics of the art world and has been going on since 1853. The work, done by artists from all over the world, is very contemporary, and very cutting edge. Almost all of it is installations. The art is set up in two main locations, incredible enormous wooden and brick structures that seem to be falling apart around you. The Biennale is organized like most of Italy, that is, not at all. There are no maps, little to no sineage, and no guards. One building leads you into another and for hours you are lost in a world of flashing lights, strange construction sites, and flickering films. The work is scary, beautiful,creepy, and sometime breathtaking. After a while we decided to leave the first site and find the second one. This never happened. Instead we wandering thru giant outdoor art installations that had us climbing up moving walls and swinging on gymnastics rings.Then we wound up walking on a gravel path through the woods. Who knew they had woods in Venice? Scattered throughout the woods were broken down sheds that seemed to be tool or storage sheds. When you opened the door to each one you stepped into a art installation. One, a nod to Hansel and Gretel, was covered inside with wrapped hard candies. Since these had been here for months the sweet smell was overwhelming and the oven in the middle added to the strangeness. Again, no signs anywhere so you had no idea if you were heading in the right direction or how long you might be wandering. A bit like being dropped on a foreign planet with no directions home. Eventually we came to a exit gate. Of course since there were , again, no signs we wandered for quite a while trying to find our way to a canal. During that time we often passed the same people we had passed wandering lost in the woods which was some comfort.
Next stop, Peggy Guggenheim's home. She had a large home right on the grand canal which is filled with her art and open to the public. ( For a fee, of course).While I think we would have enjoyed it more if the home retained her original furnishings it did allow you to hang out on her patio? veranda? which hangs out over the Grand Canal. Since I don't expect to ever be invited into anyone's home who lives on the canal it was a fantastic experience to be there.
All in all, a great day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Arrivederchi padova

Well I 'm back from my trip to Italy to visit Melissa. It was very fun and we had a great time. It was quite different from my usual experiences visiting places in which the days are quite busy, filled with things that must be seen and done. I had been to Italy before and while we had things we wanted to do if we got to them at 11 or 3 it really didn't matter. It was more a matter of hanging out together. I'm really blessed that we enjoy each others company so much and hope I don't ever take that for granted. I got to have dinner with several of her friends over 2 nights and had a great meal at her family's home. Her friends are terrific and we laughed and had some great food. Her family is very nice, smart, interesting, and very warm and sweet.They seem to be crazy about her.
Padova is a fantastic city, very pretty. Small narrow twisty streets with no cars allowed, 2 incredible piazza's filled with people selling fruits and vegetables and people out on the streets night and day drinking coffee or wine. Next to the piazzas are two long alleys of tiny shops that only sell one thing; one only sells cheese, one bread, one being back in time. You feel very authentic as there are no tourists. I don't think anyone speaks english but since I was never without my personal translator that wasn't a problem.
Friday we went to Ferrera which is a very cool little town. The Italian trains are quite nice and very easy to manage, as long as you speak excellent Italian! Like Padova the part inside the medieval wall is forbidden to cars and filed with narrow cobblestone streets. Walking in heels is out of the question! They have a huge amazing castle (moat included that you wander through in and out of every room. Obviously they don't have law suits there as they let you walk down a 600 year old very unsafe cobblestone staircase into the dungeons completely unsupervised. No guards, just one or two little old women who point and grunt. Then off to bologna- a larger , very active city. Around 6:30pm every person living in the city comes out and just walks around and hangs out. It's unbelievable. The place is packed all night. On sat eve we returned to Padova and had (another great meal). Our meals were pretty simple. Plates of pasta and carafes of red wine. All good.
The north is definitely different from the south. You can see the people are well dressed, every woman has a large louis vuitton bag, and there is no cannolli.
Venice in the next post!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I decided that I am probably not well designed to be a blogger. It's not that I don't have lots of opinions on things, we all know that's not true. It's not that I'm not disciplined enough, we know that's not true also. I think the best bloggers are willing to share everything and that I can't seem to do. Lots of time I sit down to write and realize that to tell the story I have to reveal a confidence, even if I don't use names or hurt someone's feelings.maybe I'm just not tough or mean enough? Who knew that wasn't true!

So I am off tomorrow to visit my daughter in Italy. I am going by myself and while I have traveled without ken before it's been to Florida, not Europe! The thought of tramping through jfk and the venice airports and checking into hotels by myself will definitely feel odd. Still I'm sure it will be great fun. 'Talk' when I get back!


Why is it that the simplest, and often the stupidest things can trigger the most guilt? Is Mom guilt genetic; something that kicks in upon giving birth? That makes sense to me as I don't remember reading in my Dr.Spock or 'What to expect when you're expecting' anything about the importance of feeling guilty. Yet almost all of the Moms I know feel guilty about something. Of course if it is generic how do you explain all the Moms who never feel guilty about anything from benign neglect to out and out endangerment? Maybe it's socialized somewhere so deep in our brains we don't even know its there?
So my latest bout of guilt was triggered by the paperwork for the senior year book. Yes the yearbook; I told you it was stupid. There are pages in the year book entitled Then and Now. They are filled with pictures of your kid with his friends at a young age juxtaposed with the same group at ages 17-18. It's a very popular section. However, my kid entered the district in 9th grade so we have no Then pictures. Looking over the section my heart broke and I felt like I had completely let him down.
When I finally got up the courage to go over the paperwork with him and explain that I didn't think we could do this section he,of course,could care less.
Forget the swine flu vaccine, can someone invent a vaccine to stop useless mother guilt?

Sunday, September 6, 2009


So I'm back. For amazing details of everything we did in Paris I highly recommend going to melissa's blog. She did of great job of detailing all our adventures; it's funny and fast and even has a link to her pictures which you can skip unless you're a die hard follower!
Just a few highlights and comments from me...
To begin 6 months ago getting the 3 of us ready to go to Paris at the same time I was getting Melissa ready for Padova seemed like a great idea. It was not. Melissa was freaked out and stressed out and trying to juggle her and all the details of the trip plus move all her stuff out of Penn (we got a sub letter) was slightly insane. Did I mention the hygienist gave notice at the same time?
Still we all survived. Paris was a blast. I love travelling with my family. At home, despite our best efforts we really never seem to spend time together. After all everyone has friends, school, work, blackberrys, computers...In Paris we got to spend 7 uninterrupted days and nights together and it was awesome. We had great weather, walked everywhere, saw everything, ate fantastic food...Melissa and Ross really enjoyed Paris. Ross was completely overwhelmed with the Parisian women. After being in the city for 15 minutes he asked me, "am I crazy or is every woman in Paris unbelievably hot?". He wasn't crazy, every woman in Paris is beautiful.
I wish I was back. I miss my croissants, cheese, and being in such a beautiful city.
Oh and being home is a blast. Both my 4th bedroom and melissa's room look like a bomb went off, I hate unpacking ( of course I hate packing even more!), and Ross needs college stuff is piling up!
I'm taking a nap, watching real Housewives and going to the movies!

blog general info

Ok- some of you are getting direct e mails whenever i post. If you don't want to get them it's no problem- just let me know. If you know someone else who would like to get them let me know that too! I added 3 blogs I am following and recommend. One is Melissa's blog on her adventures in Padova which is amazing (of course), the 2nd is her friend Samantha's adventures in Rome and the third is an anti espn sports blog written by a few of Melissa's ends. It's pretty funny and I suspect truly enjoyable if you know ,or care, anything about sports. So feel free to pass them along. Thanks -Cindy

Last info only post!

new blog address

I switched my blog location. You can still see the old one at but all new posts will go here.