71 Days

What I did during my summer vacation…

Day 42 – Jury Duty

“That is the worst disrespect you can show someone – boxing them in their head in front of their pregnant friend, or spitting on them.”

That quote is from the witness testimony in a domestic violence trial on which I was an jury alternate. Sad, sad, sad, with layers of so many bad choices that ending up in a courtroom is the best outcome you could hope for.

I did my civic duty, mejurydutyt some nice folks on the jury, got to go to a French restaurant for lunch (Broad Street courthouse is a great location), and got to come home to my comfortable,  happy life. I hope and pray I never have to be anywhere in a courtroom other than on the jury and that all of the choices in my life don’t get to be judged by other people.

Although most of us would like to avoid all aspects of the court system, I am glad I had the experience. Somehow I have never served on a jury and think this experience is valuable and worthwhile, in addition to being my responsibility as an American citizen. But I will be glad to have a three-year reprieve before I go again.



Day 41 – On Real and Imaginary Monsters

IMG_6434To the dismay and thrill of some of my friends and family, I began my adventure with pocket monsters (aka Pokemon Go) this week. After I fussed at my 22 year-old son about his need to grow up, he showed me how it worked including the pokemon spearow which was flying around my living room. He then caught it with his magic pokeball and I was hooked! Imaginary animals flying, jumping and slithering around my house and yard make me want to take some action.

So since then, I’ve caught many Pokemon and walked more than I have all summer. In addition to the Pokemon, I’ve seen cardinals, a baby box turtle (E.T.’s cousin) a tiny non-scary alligator, flowers, fauna and all things great and small! I’ve also just about passed out from the heat, but that’s another story. IMG_6426

I’m building my street cred for my students next year and it is FUN! Really, really fun — and something my husband and son and I can do together. And my 17 year-old daughter can mock us for – which gives her a lot of enjoyment.

I know that I’m giving up a lot of data, but guess what? I’m enjoying it. I’m not as preoccupied with Trump or terrorism and that seems like a lovely breath of fresh poke-air!IMG_6438

Day 33 – Lunch in Hemingway, SC

Had a delicious lunch in a fantastic shed-turned restaurant. It’s called The Pack House and I can’t give you directions since despite Google Maps, I think we went down 4 alleys (and Hemingway does not have an intricate alley system) and made 17 left turns. We should have skipped Google Maps and looked for men in trucks rubbing their bellies as they left – the best indicator of good food. 
Our delicious lunch included fried chicken, a shovel full of mashed potatoes and black-eyes peas and snaps for me, all heavily seasoned with delicious salted pork products. Jeff had pork chops, the ubiquitous shovel of potatoes and gravy and corn (why?). We both had peach cobbler for dessert and some teeth-tingling sweet tea. It was great and I’d definitely go back.

And if you’re looking for ambiance, the restaurant featured dried tobacco leaves and animal traps on the walls. I’m not kidding about the animal traps or about enjoying a great meal. I’d definitely go back again without google maps.

Getting into a writing groove as summer is halfway over for me today, but I will enjoy a few more weeks of balmy (code for hotter than Satan’s belly button) summer time before school librarian life begins again.

Vatican Here We Come

We did a Vatican Museum tour and St. Peter’s today and WOW! Wando chorus sings there tonight…. I have my grandmother’s handkerchief with me. I know there will ever tears. Plane ride home tomorrow.


The World Is Big…

And I just keep getting smaller and smaller as I see more of it. Not only by traveling. But in nature, in our children…It seems the lesson is always that I am a small part of the world and history of this place. Spent some time in Rome and the Coliseum today and WOW – again, there are’t enough words to describe it!

My biggest lesson in this is that thousands of years of history (American brain locks up at that number already) and the coliseums, churches, cathedrals, pagan buildings are literally built on top of each other. All of those pictures we’ve seen of Roman ruins are literally spitting distance from each other… Crazy and fantastic! 

Around every corner in the city is another ancient monument, sculpture or ruin. And there is also this modern capital of Italy where people go to work (on danger scooters – yikes), take their kids to the park and pick up groceries while a zillion tourists invade and they pass ancient ruins on the way. Just fantastic!


Lucca is a walled city (the only walled city left in Italy) because it was never invaded by everyone and not hit by bombimg during WWII. Ten thousand people still live there. It is lovely and charming and we had a great day with the kids performing at a beautiful cathedral there.  

Katie found some Birkenstocks (cheaper here) and we had a great lunch in a beautiful square that was a coliseum where lions and tigers fought (not gladiators according to our guide.)

It is the home place of Pavarati and we had a tour of the town and Pav’s home — amazing what small towns produce! 

Missing my own small town a bit – but Roma and the Papal City await!


Firenze Day Due (sounds like doo-eh)

Lovely sculptures EVERYWHERE today. Thousands of years of art, music and some more art (forget science, government, etc.) cannot be absorbed in a week — but I’m trying. Starting with Goliath’s butt. Correction – not Goliath — it’s Hercules!

Sorry guys – bringing all of this beauty down to a butt joke, but I’d always heard of Michaelangelo’s David, but didn’t know he’s looking at Goliath on the other side of a set of stairs.  And I still think David’s looking at Hercules like he’s going to throw the rock at him.

It’s late and our day started at 6:00 a.m. And ended at 10:30. Tomorrow is Lucca which might be slightly more laid back – hope springs eternal. 

Photographs Can’t Capture…..

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Better Than I Ever Imagined!

For the past two days, we’ve been busing, flying, waiting, train-riding, boating and walking, walking, walking…….in the most fantastic city I’ve ever seen. I can’t explain the giant magnificence, charm and beauty of Venice. 

When we got off the train from a Venice suburb which looked like a lot of American cities, we spilled out of the station (all 100 of us) onto a football-field sized set of stairs and saw this canal teaming with beautiful boats and fairy-tale, fantastic bridges. Every hinge, stone, mildewed wall and door is a work of art. Then you walk into a museum, cathedral or square and see the actual artwork and your eyeballs nearly drown with the beauty. Which is fitting since the whole city is built on water, and there are no cars, scooters or even bikes. Everyone boats or walks – my nirvana (although I’d miss my bike if I lived here.) It is so overwhelming that I spent a lot of time giggling like a maniac or tearing up again, a revolving door of happy emotions. 

And then my daughter and her chorus performed in Chiesa di San Salvador in Venice and the tears kept coming. She also had a small group song as part of the performance and it was fantastic. One-hundred-feet tall domed ceilings cannot be underestimated in the area of acoustics. The students sounded like bells from Heaven, and I am feeling the Catholic church’s powerful pull in these beautiful places.

It will really take me months and years to digest all of what I saw today. Two days in Italy, and I feel transformed. On to Florence, or as the Italians say Firenze!

Who knew Fran Lebowitz was so wise?

Well said! from http://www.relatably.com/q/venice-quotes. 

Tiny wonderful moments

I will continue to add to this, but in the midst of this giant trip, I am truly enjoying these tiny, wonderful moments wash over me:

Katie’s head on my shoulder when we took off to Milan.

Sitting 3-across with Jeff, Katie and me 

Breakfast with Katie and her Nutella-drenched  croissant

Jeff brings me a bottle of water (many times.)

A group of Bologna region chorus (of 50 plus year-old singers) who cheered like crazy for our “Bella,” singers today at their performance in Chianti Greve Music Festival. Such nice people! 

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