Friday, September 19, 2008

Ray is in school!

Just a quick note to say that today Ray officially finished his inserimento (insertion) into scuola materna (nursery school). (Italians believe that children should not be traumatized in being separated from their parents and so this system of slowing introducing children to school can run from two to six weeks! We had to go through this last year too.) The first few days, he stayed for 60 minutes, the next few 90 minutes, then 3 hours each day of this week, and now next week he can stay until 4 pm. You can only imagine the juggling we had to do to make the drop-offs, the pick-ups, then the babysitting arrangements for the mornings and the afternoons. It was stressful as I was in the throes of a new job, but it was a temporary situation and as Ray loves his new school and my job is enjoyable enough, things should smooth out from hereon. Today when I picked up Ray, the teacher asked me if he was as tranquillo and sereno at home as he is at school, which was nice to hear. His Italian should really improve now and the other day, he actually corrected mine. Ouch.

Okay, here is the real reason I took Ray's photo at a bus stop. She cuts quite a figure around town, no pun intended.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pico and miniMasters

Here is a nice article featuring Pico and the school she works for:

And here is the link of her in the band for the Letterman show where she is sometimes called in to play:

And here she is playing at our wedding back in '03. When she was little, everyone thought I was her mother. Now at 25, everyone thinks she is my sister (heehee).
In Florida '02

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th

I was in Clio Hall on Princeton's campus when the news came through about the first plane. By the time morning was over, we had closed the department, canceled all the events scheduled to kick off the new academic year, and hoped to feel safer at home. I remember reading this some days after and put it on my desk at home where seven years later, it still sits in my in-basket.
(For those of you who might not know, Toni M. is a now-retired Professor at Princeton. Even if you didn't know that she was a recipient of the Nobel prize, she cut an intimidating and intriguing figure around campus. I suppose I was especially drawn to her expression of that raw period.)

The Dead of September 11
Toni Morrison
September 13, 2001

Some have God's words; others have songs of comfort
for the bereaved. If I can pluck courage here, I would
like to speak directly to the dead - the September dead.
Those children of ancestors born in every continent
on the planet: Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas…
born of ancestors who wore kilts, obis, saris, geles,
wide straw hats, yarmulkes, goatskin, wooden shoes,
feathers, and cloths to cover their hair. But I would not say
a word until I could set aside all I know or believe about
nations, war, leaders, the governed and ungovernable;
all I suspect about armor and entrails. First I would freshen
my tongue, abandon sentences crafted to know evil - wanton
or studied; explosive or quietly sinister, whether born of
a sated appetite or hunger; of vengeance or the simple
compulsion to stand up before falling down. I would purge
my language of hyperbole; of its eagerness to analyze
the levels of wickedness; ranking them, calculating their
higher or lower status among others of its kind.

Speaking to the broken and the dead is too difficult for
a mouth full of blood. Too holy an act for impure thoughts.
Because the dead are free, absolute; they cannot be
seduced by blitz.

To speak to you, the dead of September, I must not claim
false intimacy or summon an overheated heart glazed
just in time for a camera. I must be steady and I must be clear,
knowing all the time that I have nothing to say-no words
stronger than the steel that pressed you into itself; no scripture
older or more elegant than the ancient atoms you
have become.

And I have nothing to give either-except this gesture,
this thread thrown between your humanity and mine:
I want to hold you in my arms and as your soul got shot
of its box of flesh to understand, as you have done, the wit
of eternity: its gift of unhinged release tearing through
the darkness of its knell.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Okay, I understand the point but...

Where is the fun in not having to deal with Italian bureaucracy and taking years to get your home projects approved and off the ground? Seriously, the light and the air is what makes it so special, and that delicious espresso at the bar in town drunk while listening to two Italians having a passionate "conversation" (I used to think everyone was having an argument) that makes one enjoy la dolce vita. And the amazing food that is eaten accompanied by all that wine. Can you really recreate that in Texas or upstate NY, or anywhere in the US? (Ok, ok, the wineries in California are really quite lovely, I admit - but oh so young.)