Musing with Max

Musing with Max

October 28, 2016


I remember a line from that great sage Christopher Moltisanti in the first season of "The Sopranos" where he complains to Tony how he is "bored with the ordinariness of life". Ironic coming from a mobster but I guess everything can become routine regardless of who you are and what you do.

We returned from vacation to find some extraordinary events. The NJ Department of Labor had stopped my benefits because I was in Italy. How Big Brother is this? How in the world...??? Well, it turns out I have to file every week or they stop the claim so I filed twice from Italy and they can tell. They scheduled a hearing for the first week of November and after a slew of phone calls I ran around faxing, mailing...whatever they asked...showing when I left the country and when I re-entered while frantically answering every ad for a job that seemed remotely feasible. Continued to file, as instructed, even though I kept being rejected and fretted constantly wondering what the outcome would be. Frank was starting a new job on October 24th and had to run around being fingerprinted, drug tested, background checked...all in two days before going back to work and resigning to a very angry boss.

Life continued.

We went to the ballet,

marvelling at the beauty of Lincoln Center.

I was delighted at the fact that the Montauk Daisies which were full of buds about to burst when we left waited to bloom until the day after we came home.

I watched the trees start to turn,

and was giddily surprised when cleaning out my Summer flower pots and pulling out the potato vines that I had become an accidental farmer!

I baked apple and cheddar scones,

watched Max take over our bed on a daily basis once we returned from our morning walk,

all while holding my breath.

Then last week I filed and was approved, I received a letter saying they wouldn't pay those two weeks because I was on vacation. My hearing seems to have been cancelled. Frank started his new job this week which cuts his commute to a half hour from one and a half hours, we won't be paying NYC taxes or NYC commuting costs.

We went to dinner and the theater.

I was overjoyed to look at the remaining flower garden to find a giant Dahlia had bloomed,

brought Fall to the front porch with mums and pumpkins,

made chicken Marbella for Frank and his wine making friends.

Took care of Max's tummy troubles.

Had three interviews for jobs I'm not going to get. Cleaned the house, did the laundry, went grocery shopping, planned meals.

Just living my ordinary life, and breathing.

October 24, 2016

Arrivederci Roma

Rome wasn't built in a day and it certainly can't be seen in two, trust me. However, when in Rome...(sorry about all the cliches but they just fit so well!) there are certain things one really must do if time is short. And here is where we bought our second ever tour because Vatican City is not for the uninitiated. So on our second morning in Rome we hauled ourselves out of bed at 5:15 AM, got ourselves all ready just in case the Pope was meandering about, as he tends to do, and walked a few blocks in the pitch black Roman morning to the taxi stand next to the Fendi store. We were to meet our tour at the bottom of the steps across the street from the Vatican Museums entrance by the Vatican Cafe at 6:35 AM. Our VIP tour would let us in at 7:00 AM, they open at 10:00 AM, where we would bypass security and then have a buffet breakfast in the gardens. There were two tours from our tour company divided into groups of sixteen. We had a lovely guide, Marina, who pulled out a big giant pink flower instead of the requisite umbrella. She was engaging, knowledgeable, and a little bit of a potty mouth. She also got into it a couple of times with other tour operators who got in our way and a guard at the Sistine Chapel. I loved her. When we walked into the smallest country in the world, my heart skipped a beat...or seven.

There is so much magnificent art in those walls and ceilings it is practically impossible to grasp let alone capture with my little camera and phone. I can never do it justice, it is overwhelming and incredibly beautiful. Lots of Raphael and Michelangelo of course. Recognize those last two? They're actually from the last part of the Vatican Museums which is a modern art collection that was started by Pope Paul VI. Unfortunately we raced through it which was disappointing since the pieces that rushed by my eyes were exquisite but how could I complain, we were on our way to see the original.

There are no pictures allowed in the Sistine Chapel and no talking, we are asked to respect the holiness of the place. We are ushered in and I am surprised at how small it is. It's not really that small but considering it's infamy I was taken aback. Guards usher everyone in until the entire room is filled, with wiggle room. We have 15 minutes. I stare straight up, I can't describe the feeling, I have goosebumps. Mom, I'm in the Sistine Chapel! Me! A priest comes to the very plain altar (other than the the walls and ceiling with it's unbelievable art, it is very plain and simple) and leads us in prayer. We stare and try to grasp as much as possible from Marina's explanations as we can in our short time allotment. Then we follow the bouncing pink flower out the big wooden doors.

The last part of our Vatican City tour is St. Peter's Basilica.

This is Pope John Paul's resting place where he was moved to after canonization.

We walk across St. Peter's Square, cross the bridge over the river Tiber back into Rome,

and are having lunch right outside the Pantheon in about 20 minutes, wondering why the taxi took so many streets. Hmmmm???

As if we haven't seen enough church today, we go inside the Pantheon.

Another thing one needs to do is get some fountain overload,

and we can't miss the mother of all fountains....Trevi...where is Marcello????????

One more night of Roman food,

pasta carbonara, again!!!!!!!

pasta with truffle sauce, the aroma just permeated the room.

then we rush to the airport the next morning, just make our connection in Zurich since our flight was delayed almost an hour (and I got pulled aside to be searched, again! Seriously? Am I on some list?)

I really hated coming home...but then

there's no place like home.