Recent Blog Posts

Texas Break 1: The River Runs Through It

Posted March 20th, 2017
Texas Break 1: The River Runs Through It

San Antonio is famed for two things: The Alamo and the Riverwalk. Decades ago My Dear One paused at San Antonio, while on route to California, to see them. He was disappointed. Apparently, the Alamo site was barely a building or two, including the chapel, and primarily intrusive hawkers of cheesy souvenirs. The Riverwalk was a short…

The Naples Jaunt 4: Mining and Minding the Past     

Posted March 5th, 2017
The Naples Jaunt 4: Mining and Minding the Past     

Ruins. Antiquities. The bones of the dead. Italy is a place where one culture layers on another, razing, reusing, raising new structures for new orders. Italy has commoditized her archaeological past since long before she was unified as a nation in 1860. Romans collected and copied works of Greek art. Greek, Roman, Egyptian relics were…

The Naples Jaunt 3: Swiss Army Knife Cooking

Posted January 5th, 2017
Swiss Army Knife cooking

I don’t want to be unduly critical of Casa Futura Retrò at vicolo Pietra del Pesce in Salerno, 2. It’s charming, decorated with a modern sensibility (and old photos of kissing couples in the bedroom). I love the gated stair with terracotta tiles that leads to the front entry. The space is lovely, with a large…

The Naples Jaunt 2: Downpour

Posted January 5th, 2017
The Naples Jaunt 2: Downpour

Rrrrrnnnnnhhhh! Rrrrrnnnnnhhhh!… Rrrrrnnnnnhhhh! Rrrrrnnnnnhhhh! … Rrrrrnnnnnhhhh! Rrrrrnnnnnhhhh! What the hell was that? Oh god. The doorbell. The guy from the bar downstairs with our double espresso, cappuccino, and a couple cornetti. What time was it? Must be eight o’clock, that’s what I told Francesca when she said first breakfast was a freebie. I felt around…

The Naples Jaunt 1: Getting There

Posted January 5th, 2017
The Naples Jaunt 1: Getting There

Surely these aren’t streets one drives a car down? I mean, it looks like this whole part of Salerno, the Storico Centro, has been pedestrianized. It was late, after 4:00. I texted Alessandro that we could be at the apartment Casa Futura Retrò around 3:30. Then got a message back that he was sick in…

Christmas Letter 2016

Posted December 13th, 2016
Christmas Letter 2016

Dearest all, I made the pilgrimage on my own, from our moorage on the Danube in Passau, Germany, up the Wallfahrtsstiege, the 321 steps to the Mariahilf.  I counted off the Stations of the Cross and contemplated the gifts people had left, pleas for help and expressions of gratitude. No one else was there, no…

The Mouth That Would Be President: It Has Been Elected President and I Am Sick

Posted November 9th, 2016
The Mouth That Would Be President: It Has Been Elected President and I Am Sick

When I went to bed, North Carolina had already fallen and I knew the nightmare was about to descend. When I awoke, I watched the numbers on my clock flip toward 6:15 when the radio would click on with the news on WYPR. And it did. And three or four words in, I heard the…

I-35: Minneapolis

Posted October 12th, 2016
I-35: Minneapolis

The Mall of America is… just…horrible. My Dear One suggested we visit. We weren’t in the mood to shop but we were curious about this place that is a destination for visitors from around the world. Parking was well-nigh impossible. There were lots outside and multilevel structures under cover. Having no idea as to how…

I-35: Mason City

Posted October 12th, 2016
I-35: Mason City

There is sculpture everywhere. Sofas, side tables and chairs in the park, children playing, bears looking confused, a marching band worth of horns, welded dinosaurs, silvery dancers, and even Frank Lloyd Wright looking approvingly at his hotel and bank downtown. Realism, abstraction, high art and humor. Who knew. And who knew that Mason City, a…

I-35: Des Moines

Posted October 12th, 2016
I-35: Des Moines

There were dropped jaws and more polite phrasings like, “What has persuaded you to make this move?” when I told people that I was moving to Iowa, in 1985 for a job as curator of education at the Des Moines Art Center. “Big careers are made in smaller museums,” I often answered. But the truth…

Copper Pots and Dad

Posted July 17th, 2016
Copper Pots and Dad

Dinner time in Cleveland Heights was always a well-orchestrated event. Ma had dinner well in process by the time Dad arrived. My sister and I set the table. After dinner, while my mother wrangled my brother into bath and bed, my father washed the dishes, which is to say he washed and P and I…

The Mouth That Would Be President: Endgame

Posted July 5th, 2016
The Mouth That Would Be President: Endgame

It is July and Cleveland is battening down the hatches in anticipation of Tornado Trump. The Drumpf has been sitting pretty as “presumptive nominee” since early May and Ted Cruz’s disappearance after the Indiana primary. Hillary could not rest easy, as it were, until just about a month later when she collected the delegates in…

Beautiful Blue Danube 8: There and Back

Posted June 12th, 2016
Beautiful Blue Danube 8: There and Back

Was getting a bit worried we weren’t going to get out of Budport. No, not a bar for rowdy boys but Budapest Airport aka Liszt Ferenc Airport. We are charmed that the airport is named for one of Hungary’s creative greats. Sort of like Rome’s Fiumicino being Leonardo da Vinci. My Dear One and I…

Beautiful Blue Danube 7: Hungarian Rhapsody

Posted June 11th, 2016
Beautiful Blue Danube 7: Hungarian Rhapsody

The evening on the Danube, buildings floodlit and bridges a-twinkle, was the cruise’s grand finale. As Captain Igor set a course downstream, the breeze, after an unseasonably hot day, lifted spirits as well as locks of hair damp with sweat. We passed Margaret’s Island as the sun snuffed out behind low hills textured with trees….

Beautiful Blue Danube 6: A Viking Cruise

Posted June 9th, 2016
Beautiful Blue Danube 6: A Viking Cruise

As we approached Vienna, the sun shone steadily and the Danube momentarily reflected blue. We passed through another lock, dropping to match the water level to the east, watching as massive gates swung toward us, a vertical opening that widened and widened, a sort of concrete-and-steel proscenium curtain. As the Atla moved forward a light…