Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's Right Where I Left It, Wherever That Is
Don't ever ask me to watch your children, feed your dog while you're away, or hold your purse while you go to the bathroom. I can't be trusted. I have the attention span of a gnat and the short-term memory of a lump of clay. I would blame it on early senility, but I've been this way as long as I can remember (my long-term memory is okay, I think, but I'm not sure).

I have misplaced and/or lost countless items over the years. Purses and keys have been the victims in most of my mishaps. When I was a teenager, I once left my purse on the front bumper of my Dad's pickup, as we were preparing to drive into town. Miraculously, it was still there when we parked, seven miles later. I was not so lucky the time I left the same purse on the hood of a stranger's car in a school parking lot, while I chatted with a friend. I never saw the purse, the car, or my friend again.

I have absentmindedly abandoned my key ring in a breathtaking variety of inappropriate places. Perhaps the worst was HANGING IN THE CAR DOOR LOCK, while I toodled off to the pizza parlor for a couple of hours of eating, drinking and being merry. I didn't even realize they were missing until I was walking back to the car, looking frantically for them in my purse and pockets, wondering if I could break a window to get into the car. I was both relieved and chagrined to see them in the lock. I'm glad it was an old car, or I would have had to walk home, for sure. And then I'd have had to break the house window to get in.

I must admit that my sense of humor was not well enough developed back then to find these events amusing. Now I just say, "What the hell. You might as well laugh." So, just imagine the merriment that ensued yesterday, at the local farmers' market. I never carry a purse anymore, preferring to stow my wallet safely in my jeans' front, right pocket. So, after each purchase, I put my wallet back into my pocket, pick up my bag of produce and proceed to the next stand. I periodically pat my pocket to be sure the wallet is, indeed, in there. So, there I was, at the largest stand, surrounded by several impatient shoppers, all jockeying for position. I paid for my bags of brocolli, bananas and apples, arranged the bags on my left arm, and turned away from the stand. I patted my right pocket, checking for the wallet. It wasn't there! I tried to stay calm, checking all the other pockets. Nothing. I pushed my way back to the produce counter, and frantically looked through all the fruits and vegetables in the area I had been standing, all the while thinking that someone had stolen the damn thing and was at this very moment using my credit card to buy a new car. I called to the clerk and asked her if she had seen a small, brown wallet anywhere in the vicinity.

"You mean that one in your hand?"

There it was, in my LEFT hand, which I had thought was completely occupied by nothing but the plastic bags. Apparently, the look on my face was amusing, because the clerk started laughing. I was so relieved, that I started laughing too. And you know what? I'm laughing right now, just thinking about it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Slow Down for Heaven's Sake!
I am beginning to be disillusioned with our fearless leader. Why on earth is he pushing for immediate passage of such a massive piece of legislation as this Health Care Bill? Isn't it something like 1,000 pages long? Shouldn't the legislators read it before voting on it? They have other things on their plates as well. Economic matters are certainly a distraction, among other subjects.
That Health Care Bill, if passed, will change our lives in unforeseen ways. It may be good or it may be bad. Who the hell knows? What I DO know is that it needs careful study and discussion before it's signed into law. Who wrote the thing, anyway? Shouldn't we, the people, know who's behind it? What their motives are? Couldn't we be treated to some calm debate before rushing in?
But no. President Obama just tells the legislators to pass the bill before they go on vacation next week, whether they've read the bill or not, and without careful consideration.
Bah! Humbug!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Okay, I'm determined to post something, ANYthing, even though I'm in on of my "Why am I alive, life sucks, the world's going to hell in a handbasket" moods. So, after staring at the blank screen for several minutes, inspiration struck! I'm going to think positive and come up with a list of ten GOOD things, if I have to sit here all night. Here we go...

Ten Good Things

1. Our yard looks really pretty, with lots of flowers blooming and my artful arrangements of pretty rocks around each flower bed. If I weren't so frigging lazy I'd take some photos of those flower beds and post them, so you'd believe me. Oops! Did I veer into negative territory with the "lazy" remark? Skip that part and just pretend there are some nice pictures inserted here:

2. As far as I know, everyone whom I love is healthy.

3. So far, July in Lancaster county has been pleasant, with temps in the mid-eighties and NOT HUMID! HALLALUJAH!

4. Rush Limbaugh will probably not live for more than 40 or 50 more years.

5. I can still picture that hunky waiter in Siracusa. just occurred to me that someone in our group may have taken a photo of him. If that happened, and it can be found, I will post it!

6. We have plenty of beautiful lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini (surprise!), tomatoes, bell peppers, swiss chard, parsley and carrots in the garden. Wow! That's eight "good things" right there!

7. Today I did the laundry AND the ironing in the same day! Usually the ironing sits around, getting more and more wrinkled for days, sometimes weeks, before I get it done.

8. Not all the glaciers have melted yet.

9. Sex between consenting adults is not illegal in most states, yet.

10. Sarah Palin is not Vice President. (Please note that I did not add the word "yet" to this sentence.)

Monday, July 06, 2009

I Was Where??

Six days ago I was still in Italy, but it feels like six months. My memories are fading fast, but I'll try to capture a few of them. More impressive than the Sistine Chapel, the Tower of Pisa or the ruins of Pompeii were the Italian men! Oh my! Those guys know how to dress, for one thing. No baggy pants or oversize tee shirts there. Tight pants and slick, stylish shirts were the rule. While I enjoyed the "eye candy" everywhere, my favorite fantasy-indulgence was inspired by our waiter at a restaurant in Siracusa. That man had me mesmerized from the moment he showed us to our table until we left, two hours later. He had what I regard as a perfect build - well muscled arms and shoulders, flat stomach, and shapely butt, nicely displayed in tight bluejeans. He paid lots of attention to our table, probably because of my attractive daughter and daughter-in-law, so I got to pay lots of attention to his lusciousness. I had sweet dreams that night.
Okay, enough about my dirty-old-ladyness. I won't talk about the famous sites we visited, because they are well documented in books, magazines and movies. I enjoyed seeing the various ruins, especially Pompeii. The Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel were spectacular. But there were so many tourists that I often felt overwhelmed with people, people everywhere. One of the things that I enjoyed the most was seeing wildflowers growing out of cracks in the stones of the ruins. They were undaunted by the ages.
It was also interesting to see the mixture of old and new, primitive and modern, in everyday Italian life. For instance, the very old cities still have very narrow, cobblestone streets, designed for foot traffic and maybe horse-drawn carriages. But now those narrow streets must accommodate great numbers of automobiles. Some of the streets, especially in Sicily, were absolute chaos, at least to my untrained eye. There were almost no traffic lights anywhere, very few stop signs and the only rule I could discern was every man for himself. One narrow street might have cars parked on both sides, two lanes of traffic, pedestrians scurrying every which way, motorcycles weaving in and out and an occasional horse and buggy. Intersections were like a giant game of "Chicken." I gained great respect for my son's and son-in-law's driving skills, as well as their nerves-of-steel. I spent most of my car time curled into a ball in the back seat, trying not to scream.
There were other archaic things I noted, such as laundry hanging outside of windows and on porches (which I liked, since I like to line dry my laundry), and injunctions by hotel managers not to put toilet paper in the toilet. We were to drop the used tissue in a wastebasket placed next to the john. I did not like this, one little bit! Telephones were hard to use and public mailboxes were very few and far between. There were other things, but I don't want to dwell on negatives, when there were so many positives.
People were, by and large, friendly and appreciative of our efforts to speak Italian (it's amazing how far you can get with 20 words of Italian and 30+ words of Spanish). One especially fun exchange happened when we were in Sorrento. A young man approached us and asked if we were American. We said yes. He then grinned and shouted "Obama!" while giving a fist pump. The hospitality was great, everywhere we stayed. The food was delicious and interesting (especially interesting when the menu was all in Italian, the wait staff spoke no English and we decided to "wing it"). The wine was intoxicating! And did I mention the tight pants?
But now I'm back home in boring Lancaster, the memories fading fast and wondering if I'll ever travel abroad again. Probably not, but I may visit Cucamonga sometime.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Venice is Okay, But Pickpockets Suck

Bill Stankus commented on my last entry before I left for Italy, "Be sure to slug the first pickpocket you see in Venice."
Well, Bill, I would have been glad to slug the motherfucker if I had SEEN him. But I didn't! On our first day in Venice, I went toodling off by myself, assuring my traveling companions that I would be just fine and dandy. My wallet was securely esconced in a zippered pocket of my small handbag, which was securely looped across my shoulder and chest. But of course I got lost on my way back to the hotel and had to stop to ask directions several times. I managed to find my way after an hour of panicky wandering, but when I got back to my room, I discovered that I had NO WALLET! Some very skilled shithead had managed to unzip my purse, lift out the wallet, re-zip the pocket and escape, without me being aware of anything. So...I was left with no money, no credit card and no ATM card for the remaining 16 days of our trip. Fortunately, my kids were able to step into the breach and use their own cards to get the cash and credit we needed for the rest of the time.
In a way, the experience was liberating for me. I no longer had any financial responsibility and had, literally, nothing to lose. I didn't have to carry a purse. I still had pockets, but no contents to pick. So I got to be the "kid" in the family, just asking various adults for a few euros here and there, when I wanted to buy something. I'll settle up with the grown-ups when their bills come in.

Okay! That sums up Day 1. It did get much better on Day 2 and beyond, and I'll talk about it tomorrow. But now I have to finish unpacking and then go for a walk with my hubby, whom I missed SO MUCH while I was away. Absence does, indeed, make the heart grow fonder.