Sunday, April 28, 2013

Every day’s a Roman Holiday for these cats !

In 2001 I spent a month in Italy and the day before we flew home we visited a fascinating square in Rome that was excavated in 1929 … Largo di Torre Argentina. It is considered a sacred area, hosting four Roman temples, the remains of Pompey’s Theater and is actually the very place where Caesar was murdered in 44 BC.

It felt so strange to see this immense below-ground area containing authentic parts of Rome’s earliest temples. Gazing from above you get the feeling that history is playing out before your eyes.

The public is not allowed into the ruins so I was a little shocked to see movement in the shadows below. Then it occurred to me…these were the feral cats of Rome. They live in the cave-like excavations under the streets and for years they were fed and protected by the “amanti del gatto” (cat lovers), the most famous of which was the Italian film star Anna Magnani.

Now, since the mid 90’s, the Torre Argentina has become an official Cat Sanctuary. It is a no-kill shelter and is literally over-run with homeless cats lounging on the ancient ruins. Volunteers feed, spay, neuter and protect the cats but I noticed that the ordinary citizens passing by seemed to show little interest.

You would think that the people of Rome could at least thank the cats for keeping the rodents at bay ... but I guess the cats have the last laugh ... they get to bask in ancient temples, but, unlike Caesar, they don’t have to worry about being killed.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fed up …


I am sick to death of our politicians in Washington. It is almost inconceivable to me that a few Senators can block what 89% of the American public wants but that’s exactly what has happened recently with the defeat of the gun bill.

This quote by Senator Lindsey Graham (R- S. Carolina) says it all:

”It was a gut check, for sure, but we had to draw a line in the sand. If we had voted the way the American people wanted us to, it would have sent the message that we’re here in Washington to be nothing more than their elected representatives.” *

Well, Mr. Graham, I’m sorry to give you the news but that’s exactly what you are … OUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES … and it’s about time that you men and women in Washington started to act that way.

  * The Borowitz Report, April 18th, 2013 issue of The New Yorker



Saturday, April 20, 2013

1980 … The Outer Banks and my DRIFTWOOD Whale

In 1978 my husband and I and our three children moved to North Carolina. It was quite a change from our previous years spent in the state of New York., but it wasn’t until 1980 that we actually got out to investigate some of our new surroundings.

We were able to take a small vacation and we opted for a trip to the 200 mile-long string of narrow barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina known as the Outer Banks. We stayed in Nags Head that first night and then headed south on the narrow road that snakes through the length of the islands.

We thoroughly enjoyed our drive but it was a little scary to say the least. There were many areas where the water was as close as 15 feet from the road on BOTH sides at the same time. It was Inlet water on the right and the Atlantic Ocean on the left

At one point we spied a big piece of driftwood that looked amazingly like a beached whale and Dick just had to have it. He struggled it back to our Chevy blazer and we spent the rest of our vacation with the “head” part sticking out of the back window.
 Almost as soon as we got home Dick mounted his prize on the side of our house and it‘s remained there ever since … a remembrance of him and of our trip to the Outer Banks.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My heart is heavy …

I grew up in Massachusetts and each year we looked forward to Patriot’s Day in April. It is a commemoration of the anniversary of Paul Revere’s famous ride … 26 miles from Hopkinton to Boston's historic Back Bay … and it ran directly through our town of Wellesley Hills on Rte. 9, barely a block from where I lived.

We would line up on the main street of the town and cheer on the runners. It was a time of jubilation and so much of it was because the runners were an eclectic group of people from all over the world and many of them were overcoming handicaps.

I was 14 in 1947 and I remember that year in particular because Clarence DeMar (1888-1958) was still alive and running. He was the legendary figure who won 7 Boston Marathons, (1911, '22, '23, '24, '27, '28 & 1930) and he was still running strong at the age of 59.

When I heard the news of the bombings yesterday I was stunned. My heart is so heavy. Not only do I mourn the victims, as we all do; but, I mourn the loss of those “innocent” days of my childhood. They have been tarnished forever by this senseless deed.

Friday, April 12, 2013


My granddaughter is determined to bring me into the 21st Century. You may remember that at Christmas she gave me a Kuereg coffee maker and I’ve come to love it. Being a cheapskate I especially like the little thingy attachment where you can use your own coffee in place of the packaged cups !

Next in line was my birthday in February and she really shocked me by presenting me with a Kindle Fire. She knows how much I love to read and thought it would be perfect for me. Once again my thrifty nature took hold and I berated her for buying me such an extravagant gift and, in the back of my head I was thinking how expensive it was going to be to buy all the books to read on the Kindle. (I am used to yard sale books at tops $1 each !!)

BUT…to my delight I found out that you can actually use the Kindle as a library card and I have done just that. I can order the book on line and have two weeks to read it … just as I would the old fashioned way! I also took a tutorial and am slowly getting to know my way around the “Kindle world”… so once again my granddaughter has shown me the way.

However, just a few days after my birthday bash I got this sweet email from her and I thought it would be fun to share it with you: (in the “Subject“ line she entitled it BUSTED). “Hey Grandma, I just stumbled on the darndest thing. I was tinkering around online giving my brain a break and I came across your blog and saw a post from a few weeks ago saying how you preferred a good old fashioned book as opposed to a Kindle - I almost died, ha ha, I suppose that's what I get for not keeping up with your blog in a timely fashion! Anywho, I hope you are enjoying it and ARE NOT FEELING ANY PRESSURE to give up your "physical treasures" .

Who could ask for a sweeter granddaughter ???


Monday, April 08, 2013

This Rockwell painting says it all …

Artist’s block … writer’s block … they’re one and the same and this self-portrait by Norman Rockwell shows that even the most prolific of artists will hit a stone wall once in a while. It depicts him approaching a deadline with no idea in mind … so he used that as his theme and it became the Oct., 1938 cover of The Saturday Evening Post !

I’m taking my cue from Mr. Rockwell and using the “writer’s block” that is plaguing me lately as my topic for this post. As most of you know my blog is actually made up of little vignettes of a lifetime of memories and of current things that I want to share with you. That’s my format and it’s worked well except for times like this when my mind goes blank !

I’m pretty sure that some of you have experienced the same thing and wonder how you’ve handled it. I want to keep my blog going and I like the format so I guess I’ll just give it a few days and see what happens. At the very least it’s a great mental exercise and I can certainly use that !

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

A proud mom …

Remember this guy? It’s my middle child (man !) and I introduced you to him a few time before when he took me along on two out-of-town jobs.

He’s a very hard worker and has been self employed all his life. Although the last 3 or 4 years have been tough on the building business he’s been able to keep his head above water and now things are really starting to open up.

This job is a complete renovation of a charming but very run down building. The location is on a busy street just a few miles from our large hospital, so the owner is converting it into Dr’s offices. 
This gives you an idea of the scope of the project: Before:



And these two pictures show the charm of the building & why the owner felt it was worth rejuvenating:

The new owner is a landscape architect so the courtyard will be his project and I can just imagine how lovely that will be.

This is just one example of Matt’s excellent work but often times I will meet one of his customers and, as soon as they realize that I am his mother, they will tell me about the wonderful job that he did for them. It makes me very proud !