Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Does this look like two round trip tickets to Italy?

Well, in a round-about way that’s exactly what this it. It is an ARMILLARY sphere. They were originally designed by the Greeks and were used as teaching tools. The rings and poles and arrow represent the equator, the meridians and parallels and the center ball represents the earth following the sun.

In today’s world the Armillarys are most often used as garden ornaments and that’s where my story begins. As some of you may recall my daughter and her husband have an antique business in New York state. They’ve been collecting and selling for almost 20 years and they both have the gift of seeing a treasure where someone else might just see a dusty object. My son-in-law is especially creative with metals and he has a large stockpile of discarded metallic pieces.

One of their regular clients was aware of his talents and asked him if he could reproduce an Armillary and what would be the cost to him. I don’t know the particulars of the transaction but it evolved that the client’s wife was a world traveler and had many free air miles that were going to waste. My children, being not only amazingly talented but resourceful as well, jumped at the chance to barter … and the end result was … “One very large armillary in exchange for two round trip tickets to Rome”.

Here is the satisfied customer out in his field after the Armillary was installed. You can see how large it actually is. What you can’t see is the big grin on his face. However, that didn’t compare to the grin that I had when my children informed me of the swap and presented me with the tickets. !! They knew that my dream was to return to Italy one last time and they made that dream come true.

My oldest son was my companion on the trip and we spent two wondrous weeks amidst the treasures of Rome and Florence.

Now I am back home and, as I try to come back to earth, I envision the bright red Armillary silhouetted against a snowy landscape in upstate New York. It is so much more than just an outdoor ornament. It is a symbol of the generosity and love of my daughter and her wonderful husband. I can never thank them enough.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I was literally flying high on Nov. 5th. My oldest son and I were on a plane leaving Heathrow Airport in London headed to Rome. I was elated about the Presidential election of the day before and just as we settled into our seats the man in front of us took out his newspaper.

It was The Daily Telegraph of Britain and under the headline declaring “The Dream Comes True” was this touching photo of Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. It brought tears to my eyes. I was watching history in the making and it was exhilarating. Yet, I couldn’t help but think of the treacherous path that they are about to tread.

In all my 75 years I can’t remember a time of such uncertainty and lack of hope as we have now. No President should have to inherit a mess such as this and I pray that the American public will give Obama a degree of latitude to put some fixes in place.

The two weeks that we spent in Italy provided us with the world’s eye view of our new President. It was 100% positive. Everyone, from the nuns in the monastery where we lodged, to the cab drivers and fellow travelers, gave him (and the United States) a “thumbs up”. For the first time in many a year I can feel a positive energy flowing, not only here at home, but worldwide

It was also interesting to hear, time and again, about their great displeasure with the Iraq war and the Bush administration. Let’s hope that we can now put that to rest once and for all.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


A hiatus is defined as: “a gap or interruption in space, time or continuity...a break”. That is what this will be...simply a three week break.

My oldest son and I have some traveling plans and when I get back I will be anxious to share my memories with you.

Until then, I will leave you with this little hint as to where we will be…