Tuesday, December 29, 2009


It was like 20 degrees outside today.  I have no photographic evidence because I was too cold to pull my gloves off to snap.  I feel a "How. Cold. Was it?!!" line coming on.  "It was so cold in New York today that the skating rink at Rockefeller Center stole a fur coat off an old lady."  Or "It was so cold the Statue of Liberty stuck her torch down her dress."  Nah?  I know I need some work on this. Anyone have any?

And don't forget about the windchill.  OMG.  You are cruising along coping and you turn a corner and get nailed by a gust and you want to give up living. 

I am ready to be warm and watch snow come down outside my window.  That is the kind of cold I am into.

Monday, December 28, 2009

No One Cares...

You get back home and no one cares that less than 24 hours ago you walked by the place where Julius Caesar was murdered 48 hours before St. Patrick's Day some years ago.  Or that you had a cappuccino from that little place off the piazza just that morning and that the "cornetto" you ate with it would still be found in your stomach should an autopsy have to be performed in case someone who doesn't care murders you ala Caesar that minute for going on about "Paris this and Rome that."

There is no other way it should be, but it is always odd to get back to where you live knowing that mere hours ago you were on another part of the planet and sheep were crossing the road or a tribe of native people danced for you or you were spelunking and now all you are is holding people up because you subway ticket won't register in the turnstyle.

There I stood at Columbus Circle staring at the statue of Christopher Columbus and I wanted to stop this woman with Ann Taylor bags and tell her, "See that Columbus there? I was just staring at the ceiling of Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore on the Esquiline Hill in Rome not a day ago and it was covered with gold he brought back from the New World and here I am staring at him in front of Whole Foods!" 

But I knew she just couldn't care.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Paris to New York.

I left David's house in Rome knowing it would be a long journey and lots of "planes. trains, automobiles" before I got to my home in New York.  Though the miracle that I am home from this trip in the same day still astounds, the process is remains daunting.

After landing in Paris and going through the gauntlet of my gate change (pass through security again? Really?) I finally arrive at my gate for New York.  I don't actually arrive at it, I see it in the distance like it is the waters of Lourdes and there are thousands in front of me waiting to be cured.

Thanks to asswipe who tried to blow up a plane over Detroit, all the flights to the US require more security, more stripping, more groping, more poking.  We have to one by one be inspected like oranges which will be individually wrapped and sold for a price at Harrod's.  Our bags are gone through thoroughly and we are wanded. Times 1700 or whatever all those flights together comprise, this takes time. 

And if this were a scene in a movie we would have that blustering American guy who goes on and on about the government and terrorists and the way things "should be" and blah, blah, blah.  No gentle reader it was not I. I went into zen mode of acceptance and read my book.  But there was this guy from the Ned Beatty school who just wouldn't shut up in that loud, I am an American dammit voice.  I died a little. The rest of us just waited our turn to outstretch like a DaVinci anatomy drawing and be wanded and sent forth.

Early Morning, Trastevere

Got up and out this morning for one more "giro" around the piazza before setting sail for the new world.  This piazza, "David's" piazza, Santa Maria in Trastervere always feels like it would lend itself well to a time lapse photography piece:  the sun starts rising,  few early risers enter, a nun crosses herself and then the plaza, a gaggle of tourists materializes waiting for their guide's instructions.  The cafe raises its metal gates and opens for business.  The local gypsies set up for their day of begging making sure they have the tools of their trade:  cups and kids.  Soon there will be a flower vendor and a guitarist will play while sitting on the steps of the fountain.

Life begins here as it has for centuries and today I am a part of it all. 

I went inside the basilica which was built on the very spot where olive oil flowed the day Christ was born.  (Convenient. And tasty! ) I say a prayer of gratitude and I am indeed grateful to be part of this place and this moment and this day.  For tomorrow it will all happen without me. 

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere or The Light in the Piazza Goes Off

My final night in Rome and in Europe for this trip.  It is raining.  It is Boxing/St. Stephen's Day.  I am content and restless.  How does one stay in the moment when one knows it will all fade so quickly!!?  Yes, I still muse like a teenage diarist!  But I know the taxis of New York and my life there will erase this place and though photos will be evocative, I will still doubt them. 

Do I want to defect? No.  But Paris and Rome are such powerful places and you know their histories are part of your own somehow and I leave feeling inadequate and humbled and a little stupid.  Oh and obese. And somehow I don't think I will read Cato and I feel the stress of that not bothering me like I think it should.

But tonight as I walked through this piazza which is David's piazza as he lives right off of it and I have shared this place with Brian and Tricia on past trips and David on many trips and I thought as we got gelato and walked by this fountain from 1472 still spewing water, that this moment is the history and all the Caesars and Augusti and Napoleon's mothers before me did not have this and should I choose to be overwhelmed then I miss this exact moment in the piazza with a really incredibly dear, dear pal whom I have only grown closer to and I will miss more than all faded empires before me.

Grazie e Auguri Roma.

Ciao David e grazie.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Buon Natale da Roma

What an amazing Christmas day it has been for me here in Rome. David and I got up and went to St. Peter's on the scooter. We by dumb luck happened to be standing in the right place at the right time when they opened up the seats for the Pope's “Urbi et Orbi” (to the City and to the World) blessing and message from the balcony of St. Peter's. We just jumped in and got 3RD ROW CENTER seats. To give some idea I have taken this over the Pope's shoulder photo from the internet and if you imagine 3rd row in from the FRONT right off that middle aisle there and then you look back at the masses that was where we were in all of it. It was amazing.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

This just in...

Pope knocked down by woman at Christmas Mass tonight. I was not there. I was not wearing a dress. He is okay.

Christmas Eve, Rome

David and I went to the Vatican not to see the Pope as the Pope has totally sold out.  Of tickets, I mean.  There were snaking queues for him of hundreds upon hundreds, but we came to see the tree and the crèche.  Really beautiful in the rain. 

Rome was strangely empty this evening, but not so strange as most Italians are home with their families eating seafood.

We walked back through the streets and went to a church where the nativity is done in bread! Bread of life. Get it?

We happened by the Trevi fountain which is NEVER without people, but the numbers were the lowest I have ever seen tonight.  It is beautiful so lit up.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Go Down the Way of the Virgins and Make a Right on Humility

This is exactly what I did today.

Roma Oggi

At first I thought Paris made Rome look like Mexico (sorry), but after wandering and wandering today Rome made me forget Paris altogether.  For every Romulus there is a Remus and for every Castor there is a Pollux. And for every nook there is a cranny.  It is an orgy of the senses this place.  Sure there are the major sites, but over here is where Julius Cesar was killed on 15 March:

And here in Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio is where the is a listing of Popes on the wall in the apse where they had pieces of their heart (praecodia) enshrined behind the wall until party pooper Pius X put and end to the shenanigans. 

Today Rome has me.  It has me body and soul. I gave myself over to this city today and it walked me until I could feel the souls of my shoes wasting away and it spat me out at case David and whispered, "You haven't even scratched the surface."