30 September 2009

Take Time

Today was a lovely day. It's the last day of September and we went to the beach. It started busy with shopping at the open market in town, meeting friends for coffee and putting up the LAST light fixture in our apartment (what a great satisfaction that brought!). Then John said: "let's go to the beach". So we took the time to go to the beach, take a long walk, have a swim and collect sea glass.
Made me realize the importance of taking time for favorite things. It was so relaxing at the now uncrowded beach. I've always loved collecting sea glass. I have some from every place we've ever lived. When I came home I took a photo of the pieces I found today because they were just so pretty. Then I added it to some I already have. I bought a hand made glass jar, filled it with the beach glass and put it on the top shelf of the bookcase to catch the sun during the day.
I felt happy when I looked at it and remembered the beaches we've walked, the treasures we've found and the memories we've made. They're the things I take with me always.

25 September 2009


Please read the elderwomanblog on "Turning Green" listed in my blog list and watch the amazing video by Paul Hawkin. It will make your day and make you feel part of something big!


Ireland- land of my ancestors, land of the people I look like, land of my husband's ancestors, land where my daughter spent a semester abroad, land of my deep, deep roots and where I feel at home on a cellular level. Even the weather cooperated with all 12 days sunny or fair except 1/2 day.
Some highlights: County Clare: a visit to John's great aunt Eileen who is a treasure trove of information about the family. She's in her 80's, sharp as a tack and full of stories with all the particulars about John's genealogy on the Kelly half of the Warren/Kelly grandparents. Next time- bring the recorder!

A visit to a pub in Doolan where we heard traditional Irish music played by locals and drop in visitors to this famous site of great trad music. And an opportunity to see up close and personal our favorite fiddler, Martin Hayes, who takes traditional tunes and fiddling to a whole new level. We love this music and live is even better!

Watched Zoe, John's cousin, Aiden's, daughter, launch her singing- at- weddings career with her friend accompanying on the violin. Her voice is a tiny taste of heaven.
Saw Aiden's other daughter, Dawn, who's almost finished her studies and is in love with her new profession of midwife. It's such a joy to hear the stories of someone who loves what they're doing, whatever the profession. Met her son, Noah, for the first time and got reminded of how much sheer fun a 3 year old can be!

Drove around with Aiden and his newly retired wife, Geraldine, (we swapped beginning impressions of this life phase) and took in again the unspoiled beauty of this county Clare. Photo is Lissycasey, County Clare.

County Cork: Good friends, Tom and Ann, are just fun to be with. We laugh a lot. Ann is also newly retired and we started our conversations about what this phase is all about for us and how we'll discover more of what it can be. How rich to have friends with whom to talk about this, friends on this journey. Did our mothers ever ask these questions?

Traveled to Kilarney and Kinsale, 2 jewels of West Cork. Kilarney is altogether lovely! We took time to walk a park and castle grounds, take a boat trip on the largest of its lakes, visit the renovated central church, eat, see an ancient waterfalls, and stand at the point overlooking the lakes named for the Queen's ladies who also liked this spot. A delicious day that by no means took in all there was to see and, so, set the agenda for our next visit. And Kinsale is a picturesque historical village that is charming in itself and set in this gorgeous coastal spot that kept us oohing and aahing the whole day. And to find a sunny place to sit outside a pub overlooking the town at the end of a beautiful walk was perfect!

Because I'm learning another language, I was very aware of how rich English, as spoken by the Irish, is. And is it just me or are Irish drivers relaxed and polite? They also queue up in lines in such order. I knew I was home when I went to my flight to Rome and the Italians rushed en mass for the front of the line. Boundary tapes were removed and everyone jostled forward. Okay, that's the spirit!

Made me shake my head and smile but I did have to wonder (again) about this whole St Francis calling us here rather than to Ireland. Do saints make mistakes? I've had glimmers of a call to craft a new role for grandmothers as respected elders in our culture so we can bring our wisdom to the issues of the day. Now wouldn't that just be easier in a country whose language I speak? I'm just asking. Hmmmm.

23 September 2009

The Long Way Home

It started as a short and simple itinerary on Ryan Air: Dublin, Ireland to Stansted, England to Pescara, Italy. Monday, 0630 to 1200. That changed when the first flight was delayed arriving in London, I had to reclaim my bag and recheck it for the second flight (even though it was the same airline) and the designated time for boarding that flight was closed, although it hadn't yet left and wouldn't for another 20 minutes. Since this was the only flight to Pescara and I really wanted to get home I changed my ticket to the 1815 flight to Rome and planned to take the bus to Pescara from there. That's when my adventure began.

In Stansted I noticed that my phone needed to be charged in order to call my friend who was picking me up at noon. I emailed her first and found that computer access costs 3 Pounds Sterling for 10 minutes! I then bought an adapter, found an outlet, since the ones with the comfy chairs provided by the airport for that purpose were too small to accept the adapter, and plugged it in. Nothing. I went to the fellow in the adapter store who said the airport doesn't let their outlets be used to charge phones. He whispered conspiratorially that there was one outlet I could use in the ladies room. So I stood in the (very busy) ladies room for an hour while my cell phone charged enough to text my friend.

I found comfortable places in Stansted to sit, passable places to eat, a good book to read and hunkered down for the wait. At the appointed hour I flew to Ciampino airport, Rome. When I went to find the bus for Pescara, they said it actually leaves from Termini but that there was bus service to there. I bought a ticket and off I went once the bus was full enough to leave. At Termini I saw a workman who told me the bus actually leaves from Tipiturno but that I could take the train there. Not easy with 2 suitcases one of which weighs 33 pounds and the train is down 2 long flights, up one and down a third with no escalators.

What I didn't know was that the last bus leaves at 2300 and I finally arrived at 2310. A helpful man suggested that I try the train station for a train to Pescara so I returned to the train station which looked big, dark and closed. I walked around however and found some workmen out back and the night foreman, Ricardo. It was about midnight by then and he said the next train to Pescara was 0445. I saw some benches inside and said I would wait in there. "No, no, no signora! You cannot stay in there and your bags won't be safe there." I had thought the men I saw laying on the benches were waiting for morning trains too. Sometimes I can be naive like that. He let me know they were vagrants and various dicey characters.

He was very solicitous and quickly stowed my bags in his office. He showed me a bench not far from his office that I could sit on. Unfortunately, it was located outside so I dug out my sweater and jacket to stay warm. Fortunately, it was Italy and warmer than Ireland at this time of year. A group of homeless men wandered in and decided to have a party on the benches next to me. Lots of story telling, singing, laughing and surreptitious drinking ensued. Roberto checked on me frequently, invited me to have coffee with him and his co-workers and in general took good care of me until the train arrived. He was sweet and hospitable and when I told him how much I appreciated his kindness, he said: "But of course, I'm Italian! This is what Italians do". He was right in my experience. Have I mentioned that I love Italians?

At train time he walked me through the tunnels to the train and gave me over to the conductor after telling him my story. The conductor said that the train to Pescara was actually later in the day and his train was going to Avezzano but that I could get the train to Pescara from there at 0950. So off I went yet again with the elusive goal of getting home.

Although the train made frequent stops and therefore took a long time (Pescara is only 2 1/2 hours from Rome), it was such a beautiful trip. It winds through the mountains and I saw all the lovely towns and even a castle up close that I had seen in the distance on our car trips. The day dawned sunny, clear and perfect for sight seeing. We were so high at one point that we were looking down on an old, pretty town in the early morning light. Some of the stone houses and churches along the way seemed carved into the mountains. The hills, vineyards, groves and gardens were right out of a National Geographic program and so beautiful. I'd drift off and be surprised by gorgeous vistas each time I opened my eyes. I made myself stay awake to enjoy it. I felt so glad to be living in this part of Italy. When we got to Avezzano, the conductor was replaced by someone else and he walked me to the station, showed me where to buy my ticket, where to eat and wait. Another kind gesture.

The next leg of the journey took until 1215 and did indeed get me to Pescara- just 24 hours later than I planned! A short taxi ride to Cittá Sant'Angelo brought me home with so many unexpected impressions and experiences.

When my grandson was 3 he used to start every walk outdoors with the excited exhortation: "Let's go have an adventure!". Once I got over the shock of not getting on my plane, I remembered his words and consciously decided to see it as an adventure. I did and it was! Added cost to the trip- a lot; the trip itself- priceless.

17 September 2009


I'm in Ireland seeing family and friends and more of this lovely country. But I don't have consistent access to high speed internet. I'll post when I return. Travels put things into a whole different and wider context. It's good!

10 September 2009

My Cape

Got it! My cape is purple with red triple spirals on it. Purple and red since my preoccupation lately is about becoming an elder/crone and aren't we supposed to wear more purple? A tip to the red hat women by making the spirals red. That and I'm breaking out of my usual colors choices since moving to Italy. Red is not a color I ever used before in a home and now I have a red couch and red accents in our home. I like it!
The triple spirals are an ancient celtic symbol found on the tomb at Newgrange in Ireland. They represent the 3 stages of a woman's life- maiden, mother and crone. I can claim all 3 now!
What have you come up with?

09 September 2009

What Would Your Cape Look Like?

I love my friend, Annee! I'm reading her email to me and all of a sudden she says that's she doing a "sketchbook project" in which the books will travel in 2010 and then be archived. Annee is an artist and she's randomly chosen the subject of superheroes in superclothes. Her question: "What would your cape look like?" She's serious!
That's why I love her. What a great question. No one else I know asks that kind of question. So I'm thinking... what would my cape look like? And, while I'm thinking, I thought I would post it as a question for my readers as well: What would your cape look like? Post it here and we'll share!
Some examples Anne gave: Mother Teresa's is white with two blue stripes bordering it. Coco Chanel's is black and white with pearls. Her friend who has an alter ego named Pinky Vinyl is...well, pink vinyl.
I'm all about entering elderhood these days so I need to have a purple and red thing going on but I'm still searching for the detail to go on it. I'll keep you posted.

05 September 2009

Let's Make a Cake

Our plan was to clean house yesterday and go to the beach today. But in his fun way when we finished the clean up, John said: let's go to the beach for the couple of hours left in the day." Off we went, had a great time and made it home to a spectacular sunset. The photo is from our balcony. As luck would have it, it rained today and I was glad we took the time for fun yesterday.
Although we had a different kind of fun today. Our neighbor had 4 out of 5 of her daughters visiting with their spouses, boyfriends or friends. It's her youngest daughter's birthday and she was not feeling up to the job of making the cake along with everything else that needed doing so we volunteered.
John made a yummy tiramisú (his first and learned at his cooking class in Tuscany. [Yes, I shamelessly give him cooking classes of all kinds as well as cookbooks, anything to keep him in the kitchen!]) We bought a fruit pie from the local bakery as well and also served varieties of berries with vanilla yogurt. The other photo is of the goodies. Everyone had a great time and we enjoyed contributing to the festivities and spending time with such nice people. It is, indeed, the simple things that make life so rich.