November 30, 2007

Family portraits

Tamar took these (except for the ones of her, of course). First, of Aaron:


and Tamar:


and Tamar and Aaron, together for the first time in a long time:


and me, happy to be with my children, a rare pleasure:


Living so far from my children is the only thing I don't like about Nova Scotia. I like the weather, the intensity and frequent changes of the weather, the people, their kindnesses, my home, my life here. But I do wish my children were closer by.

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November 28, 2007

A walk by the brook

Thank you everyone for the warm birthday wishes. It's been a birthday celebration I will cherish. After a lovely weekend with my children, I'm too tired tonight to say much--I'll just post a few photos of the walk Tamar, Aaron, Lila and I took on Sunday by the brook in my neighborhood.





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November 24, 2007

Another road

I must interrupt this photo journey to celebrate my big birthday. The actual day is Monday but we began yesterday afternoon at the airport when Tamar and Aaron arrived from their respective homes—Tamar from Montclair, N.J. and Aaron from Ottawa. As Aaron’s plane was two hours late (Tamar and I wasted no time at the airport waiting—good time to chat), we went from there to my favorite Halifax restaurant, da Maurizio. The food was, as usual, wonderful, the service impeccable and appropriately friendly, but the best part was sitting across the table from my two beautiful, grown children. Just the three of us. It was so delicious. I couldn’t have asked for a better present.

Tamar goes back Monday morning because she will have to pick Damian up from school. Right now Dan and Damian are at Dan’s brother’s for the American Thanksgiving weekend. Aaron can stay until Tuesday morning. So I have a whole weekend with my children. It’s been many many years since we have had this opportunity. I feel very fortunate.

When we were being seated at the restaurant, I, of course, had to tell the woman we were celebrating my 70th birthday. She did the usual disbelief, what’s your secret, etc. I told her “stress” and she asked, avoiding stress or flowing with it. I said the latter. But truthfully, it’s simply heredity. I do appreciate every day. I’ve known too many people who have died much younger than me. And I am fortunate to be healthy and active. I am very happy to be doing what I am doing—painting, exploring the world, playing with my dog, meeting friends. It’s a good life. So getting older, aging, is in itself a privilege.

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November 20, 2007

Before we leave Rome

A few random pix from the streets of Rome:





and the ubiquitous scooters:


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November 19, 2007

Tuesday in Rome

On Tuesday, my last day in Rome, I went to some churches and saw some Caravaggio paintings and Bernini sculptures and some beautiful interiors.





Then Ann and her husband Loris met me for lunch. From there I went to a BIG museum with more Caravaggio paintings and Bernini and Michelangelo sculptures and Etruscan art and artifacts.





Then I walked back to the train station by way of via del Corso, a main drag. Lots of people out. Some of the main streets are blocked to traffic during weekdays which makes it a bit easier, but SO MANY PEOPLE! Tourists from everywhere!

I dragged myself back, totally fried, by 7 pm and watched Bewitched with their daughter Elisa. Then dinner and bed. Ann and her family were so wonderfully warm and welcoming. I could have stayed there well beyond my welcome!!! But I really wanted to go to Venice before heading off the Switzerland, the original reason for my trip.

One of my favorite photos of Ann and their dog Pann:


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November 16, 2007

Monday in Rome

Ann has Mondays off from work; no performances or rehearsals. So in the morning we went shopping for groceries in the part of Rome where they live. Lots of pleasant stalls. Because I was taking so many photos, they knew I was a tourist, so they all asked Ann where I was from. Everyone knows her in the markets. And the food is so beautiful and tasty! Can’t miss on food in Italy!





In the afternoon, we went for a long walk into a ravine outside of Rome. There is an old village, almost ruins, where people still live, set into a steep hillside.



There was a movie being filmed there as we walked through. We also stopped for tea in a lovely teahouse. The mother had the teahouse with a hundred different teas and teapots and the daughter make beautiful flowers and picture frames and boxes out of old plastic bottles and magazine pages. Very creative women.

The hike felt like we were in a jungle, with vines and brooks everywhere. We took Pann, their beautiful sweet boxer girl. She’s a sweet lovely dog.





When we got back to their house, Ann made pizza for dinner. A Monday ritual.

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November 15, 2007

Day Three in Rome--The Opera!

On Sunday, I went to the opera! What a treat!


Saw Wozzeck by Alban Berg. A very stark set. Beautiful music.



Afterwards, Ann who plays in the Rome Opera Orchestra, her friend Naomi originially from California who lives in Rome now and also teaches music, and I went for tea and canollli. Her friend commented on how the music seems to have come into the main stream now whereas when it was composed in the 1930’s it was strange, unusual. Bursts of cacophony yet still passages of beautiful lyricism. (Even pop music is like this now.) I have always related to it—bought the record when I was an undergrad. I am very comfortable with this music. It may be similar to what makes me relate more easily to abstract art than work with images.

In the morning Ann and I had gone to get the tickets, then to the flea market. In the evening we all went out for dinner. I tasted a variety of real Italian antipasti. I was a stuffed bunny by the end of the day.

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November 13, 2007

Day Two in Rome

Day two, on her way to teach violin students, Ann dropped me near the Vatican but it was too crowded. It would have been a three hour wait to get in, so I went to Saint Peter’s. (Ann started a music school in Rome and was teaching most of the day.)




Then I stopped at Castel S. Angelo and wandered through it's fascinating passages and its ammunition stock:


and looked down at the Tiber:



From there I walked to the Forum and Coliseum:





then walked to the train station which was quite a hike. That took all day, from 9 am to 6.

There is so much to see. I could have taken a photo around every few steps. I don’t remember Rome being this exciting from when I was there 35 years ago. And it’s so crowded, so many tourists, more even than London or NYC. Everyone is out on the streets. And talking! At the airport, waiting for the plane, it was the noisiest group of people, talking talking talking. I tried to move to be in a quieter spot, but finally gave in. Italians like to talk. It creates a very friendly atmosphere,

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November 12, 2007

And now for a tour of Rome

So, day one I arrived in Rome at 8 am (after leaving home at 11 am the day before). My niece, Ann, met me at the airport. Shortly after settling into her house, I took a long nap. Then Ann took me to a lookout above the city,


then we walked down into the city,


had pizza with artichokes and zucchini and after that she dropped me at the Villa Borghese. I walked through it--a beautiful beautiful park with, of course, statues and a museum.



Then down the Spanish steps, at which time it was already dark so the beggars were out pushing their wares, flowers, lights, bags, hands. One man offered me flowers. Then I went on to the train station and back to Ann’s.



This afternoon Minnie took a raincheck (as it is raining/snowing now) and instead, Tchai came over to play. Tchai lives a few doors up the road and is now seven months old. I don't think she will get much bigger. After a tentative start to the friendship a few months ago, they've learned to navigate the size difference and are beginning to play with each other.



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November 09, 2007

It's been two years already

The first week home after my travels was spent catching up on sleep and domestic arrangements. Then I came down with the @#$! head-cold that going around (and was a flying around on the airplane via the person sitting next to me on the plane from Newark to Halifax). But I have finally downloaded all my photographs from my trip and am sorting through them to see which ones to post. And I have, between blowing my nose and taking Lila for walks, been spending time in my studio, starting to fill it up again.

Tomorrow Lila is two years old. We’ve come out of the tough first two years and are settling into a much calmer companionship. She’s still a lively, strong willed pup. She’ll never lose that, but she is also much easier to be with now.

I had told her I would take her to Bark & Fitz for her birthday. So we went today (as I want/need to stay home tomorrow). B & F is a lovely new dog supply store in Halifax on Doyle Street (they should give me a bone for the plug!). I let her pick out a new toy—let her choose from their delightful selection. She picked (went crazy for) a duck that says “quack, quack, quack, quack” when I slap it gently on my leg. The duck also has loops forming its body so there are several places for me to hold it and her to chew. I also got her some liver treats. Tomorrow her friend Minnie is coming to play with her, wish her a Happy Birthday and share the treats.

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November 02, 2007


And happy to be here. After a long and wonderful journey. Lots of walking from one end of Rome to the other, walking through the narrow winding streets of Venice, walking through Zurich, walking and taking pictures. In fact, sometimes I took so many pictures I felt like I possibly didn’t see where I was, except through the camera’s eye.

At the airport in Halifax, I was so tired from the long trip home that, when going through immigration, I put down the wrong date for when I left on my trip, said it was the 18th, when it was the 17th. Then the officer asked me what I had bought abroad and, thinking what else would you buy in Italy and Switzerland, I said “Clothes and candy, you know” and he replied, “No, I don’t know or I wouldn’t be asking.” Oh.

I have tons of photos and stories of my trip I hope to post soon, but now we are awaiting the Big Storm Noel.

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