Saturday, January 29, 2005

New Newsletter Up

Take a look at my newsletter at Books for Readers # 67. You can subscribe too by sending an email to It's all about books.

Also, for more our our Italy vacation, click here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Getting back into it

How strange to be back here, everything seems larger (especially the SUV cars!) colder (obviously), whiter (duh--there's snow on the ground), but also, more seriously, somehow more raw. Andy said people are less nice when you drive. Everything feels unfinished here, which I guess is some of that typical sense that American is young, awkward. It will be interesting to go back to the City and see how New York feels after Rome and Florence (larger? colder? )

Monday, January 24, 2005

Back from Italy

January 24, 2005

We are back from Italy! Amazing that we went, amazing that we are back. Among the amazing things: that we left Rome on a splendid sunny day with no coats required, and arrived (delayed flight) at the end of a major snowstorm and single digit Farenheit temperatures. Quick memories: Thinking at the Colosseum about gladiators, "We Who Are About To Die Salute You," and all the Medicis and the Borgias and the Augustuses and Constantines -- so many dead. Rome in the sun but also the Parthenon roof next to our hotel just before dawn, deep deep blue, white sudden explosions of gulls between me and Orion's belt: deep salmon bricks, deep blue sky, chips of white flung agains. Also: tiny pink roses in bloom near the circus maximus. Sound of music below, rising from "our" piazza. At the Capitoline museum the beautiful brass lupa with the little bambini from a thousand years later. An Escher exhibit, very popular locally, and one I'd love to see at my leisure in NYC. High point: almost back to the hotel at 4:30, we stopped at a cafe and sat outside (in the third week of January!) and the waiter was friendly, we took his picture, and I got up my courage and said, "Somos americanos ma non votamo per il Bush!" And the waiter shook my hand and each of our hands! Very satisfying. I tried it again on the cab to the airport, and again got a delighted reaction, the cabbie saying that the Italian president and Bush are like that (fingers pressed together)-- "due putti!"

Friday, January 14, 2005

Off to Florence and Rome!

People are being so nice, ideas for places to get pizza in Rome, special museums in Firenze, lending expensive travel books, and cetera. Andy's cousin Sam the travel agent extraordinaire (You cancontact him at called for last minute questions. It's just me being terrified of the Unknown, which ranges from airplane sounds to death.

Friday, January 07, 2005

New Year Greetings Should be Over...

We've passed Twelfth Night El Dia de los Reyes, so I think we can stop giving one another New Year's greetings. I spent yesterday with 3rd and 4th graders in Linden, NJ at School # 8, pleasant place, very well run classes, children pleased to meet a real author, lots of questions about Marco.
Then today it was Warren Streeet School in Newark.

And now I've been putting my first full entry into Wikipedia! What an extraordinary feeling, to be able to contribute to and participate in something that thousands maybe millions of people are working on together. A kind of euphoria and marvelling. I did the story "Life in the Iron Mills" because I already had the research done. A week or so ago I put in some grammatical corrections, but this was my own article!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

New Year's Evening

January 1
Early today, a beautiful low 60's day with lots of sun, I officially finished my holiday messages and end-of-year donation. I also went to Maplewood's reorganization meeting which was nice and colorful--a lot of folks show up, there is a clipped-step police color guard, lots of swearing in of trustees and officers, and the magnificent Lori Brown Mirabal sang "God Bless America" and more. Prayers Christian and Muslim--a visit from Congressman Payne. I wish South Orange did something similar!
Last night, we went out to Verjus with Joel and the Graveses, and afterwards, Joel went out to a party and we four elders came home and sat in front of the fire and the Christmas tree.

This evening, a walk:

Pink fingernail scrapes
On a chalkboard of sky–jets
Pass: New Year's evening.