Posts Tagged ‘Italy’

I was watering my herb pots yesterday when I heard a distinct whirring sound, even Ms Bean was looking up. I knew the sheep were still in Tuscany, and so is Bob! Because as I write now, he is cleaning a vintage pasta machine our neighbor gave us; did you know that you cannot allow water to get into the steel gears? Google told us!

“Now I’m gonna make some spaghetti,” Bob said.

It’s difficult to write in the middle of an open concept townhouse. But back to the strange sound in the sky, I looked up to see a drone whizzing by and even though I was dressed in yoga/gym appropriate clothes, I felt distinctly vulnerable. Taking cover under the porch’s roof, I watched as the drone hovered very close to my herb garden – the parsley, pineapple sage, rosemary and thyme seemed to cower in technological despair.

I know that some realtors use drones for their sales, and even Google Earth may deploy one, or Amazon might start delivering small packages. Drones can bring death in other countries, or a new iPhone to our doorstep. In my jet-lagged state, I felt invaded. Can privacy honestly be a relic of past generations? Will that smart phone we palm become an imbedded portal to our brain, teasing us with targeted advertising all the time?

On the nine hour flight home I watched two movies and finished one book on my iPad. Maybe I was feeling twitchy because the book was Dan Brown’s latest, “Origin.” The acclaimed author of “The DaVinci Code” brings back to life the Harvard symbologist, Tom Hanks, whoops, Robert Langdon. Set in Spain, of course there’s a beautiful woman engaged to a prince but the most unlikely new hero is an AI named “Winston.”

What I find interesting in today’s context was the Loyalty (with a capital L) Winston the AI displayed to the scientist who built him – I had to ask myself, can a machine demonstrate loyalty, or can people write a code for that? The book revolves around the age-old argument of science/evolution vs religion/creationism and taught me more about Gaudi and in particular, his unfinished cathedral The Sagrada Familia, than I ever needed to know.

“Where are we from and where are we going?” is the central theme of the book, and as I watch the debate over Kavanaugh and the idiotic tour of North Carolina by Mr T asking about Lake Norman because he has a golf course there, I’m wondering the same thing. This president considers loyalty to HIM as sacrosanct, he doesn’t give a fig about where our country is headed or how our allies are increasingly isolated. And his followers seem to be OK with his contradictions, calling themselves good Christians while $260M is moved away from cancer and HIV/AIDS research to pay for the care and custody of 13,000 immigrant children – with 1,500 children HHS could still not locate!   https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/20/politics/hhs-shifting-money-cancer-aids-immigrant-children/index.html

When I asked Italians what they thought of Mr T, they said they liked him UNTIL he started separating children from their families.

Hate and Fear are powerful motivators, but I have to believe that Love is the best by far. So my New Year’s resolution is to spread some love around, like a drone flying overhead, surreptitiously. I will turn the other cheek, so to speak. We will make ravioli, and work to register voters and pray for a miracle in November.


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This morning the Bride asked me if I’d heard any news yet today, or was I still blissfully unaware of American politics? Instead of sitting under the Tuscan sun, listening to sheep bells and sipping cappuccino, I was trying to get my Keurig to work while realizing we had no milk in the refrigerator. I know, poor me.

But I had powered up the NYT website on my phone last night and knew that the highly controversial SCOTUS nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, was in trouble for sexually assaulting a 15 year old when he was 17. At first I was confused; how would they delay his hearing until Monday when his accuser would speak? Wasn’t yesterday Monday? Jet lag can be a real problem when you’re on an Air France flight just a short hop from Florence to Paris, and then on to Atlanta for nine hours.

We arrived home in Nashville around 3 am this morning, Italian time. And “Scusa” for a minute, I’ve just returned from T’ai Chi!

But from what I’ve read about this predicament so far, the Republicans are in trouble. Do you remember the woman, Liz Seccuro, who received an apology letter from her rapist 20 years after the fact? It was 2006 and he was a new AA member and was making his amends to people, except this woman had him arrested, and they went to trial in Charlottesville. It was very big UVA news – the rapist went to jail. Fraternity hi-jinks, boys being boys? The victim later told a Cville reporter about that night when she was just 17 in 1984:

“This is what it feels like to die. I’m going to die here, and no one’s going to find me.”

Twenty-one years later, Seccuro tearfully says she knows the truth: “Part of you does die.”


I remember distinctly the first time I heard that phrase about boys. Some bully had pushed me off my bike In Victory Gardens, I was probably 7 or 8 years old. I broke my leg and spent the summer in a cast. It was the only time Nelly called another mom on the phone and told her “what for,” explaining what had happened.

“Boys will be boys,” the bully’s mother said, and the instant flash of anger I felt, at that moment, is still fresh. My budding realization that life wouldn’t always be fair for girls. The total ignorance, the indecency and hypocrisy of the GOP is mind-numbing today. #MeToo has seen more women than ever running for Congress, and if only Kavanugh withdraws, which I believe he will do before Monday, November is coming…we do NOT need another Anita Hill excoriation next week, nor will we stand for one.

Here is Saint Barbara standing on some guy’s head flanked by John the Baptist and some other dude! On a kinder and gentler note, do we purchase a Keurig or a Nespresso? Ciao!




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What would you do if you came home and your front door was ajar? You went into your bathroom and noticed some drops of caked blood on the sink and the rug? Would you take a shower? Then, let’s say you did take a shower, and you noticed another toilet in the house hadn’t been flushed.

And let’s just say you are 19, and studying abroad where your knowledge of your host’s culture and language is limited.

It took the poopy toilet for panic mode to set in for Amanda Knox. The year was 2009. In her mind, she’d been explaining away all the other little things: a broken latch; recently pierced ears or maybe menstrual difficulties. But the toilet was another problem entirely. Just days earlier her roommate, Miranda Kircher a British student, had mentioned in passing that Amanda needed to clean the toilet after every use, this was the European way.

Hailing from Seattle, Amanda was more of a water conservationist, but she understood  – when in Peugina, Italy, you abide by their customs. And when she couldn’t open Miranda’s locked bedroom door, she did what every other red-blooded American girl would do, she called her mother!

You may have heard that last week, Italy’s highest court decided that Amanda and her ex-boyfriend, Raffaela Sollecheti, have been convicted again, found guilty again, in the murder of her roommate Miranda.

And I remember at first back in 2009 thinking, oh sure enough, they did it. Amanda sounds like a compulsive liar. I rarely gave it another thought – then after serving 4 years in prison, they were found innocent by an appeals court. It had been a comedy of errors. A provincial police department ignored and/or contaminated evidence, they held back key pathology reports. There was a prosecutor who was being investigated for improper conduct around a “satanic serial killer.”

So when I heard the Italians had changed their minds again, found the pair guilty of murder again, the Agatha Christie in me just had to come out. I read Amanda’s memoir, “Waiting to be Heard.” I devoured every news article I could Google. And it turns out Amanda was guilty of a few things – her demeanor and facial expressions were inappropriate – she had demonstrated some yoga moves in a police hallway at the urging of a cop, she had been filmed chastely kissing her boyfriend in the driveway at the scene. To her detriment, she waited 4 days for her mom to arrive and to help the police who were framing her for murder. And sleep-deprived and naive, she was forced into a “false confession” that implicated her boss at a café in the murder. The real murderer would be arrested in Germany after his DNA was found all over the murder scene.

The theory of a sex game gone horribly wrong was more or less a fantasy of the prosecutor. And all it needed was a willing Italian press to spread its discrepancies and lies. And sell newspapers.

And I remembered sending the Bride off to Paris for her Junior year abroad. And sending the 15 year old Rocker to visit her along with her roommate’s brothers for Thanksgiving, 1999.

On top of the Eiffel Tower

On top of the Eiffel Tower

And even with some anti-Semitic graffiti in the 16th Arrondissement, I felt sure that they would be fine. They lived in an apartment above a French family, it was probably once the servant’s attic atelier. The girls ate with them weekly.

Now if I were Amanda’s mother, I’d be getting our passports in order.

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