Monday, June 14, 2004


I've been reading Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mays. I've seen the movie repeatedly, but the book is a completely different story. I loved the movie. It's one of those tales about thinking you're in the absolute worst place in your life and winding up exactly where you want and need to be. I guess that's something that I'm really identifying with at this point in my life. When you get to a place, numerically, where you thought you would have certain things, have accomplished certain goals, but realize you're in a completely different place than you thought you'd be. Not a bad place, per se, just a different one. And you wonder if you've taken a path that took you somewhere other than where you thought you wanted to go. I'm turning 34 in a few months and I always imagined that I would be married by now and have children. I'm not and I don't. I have other things, things I'm very proud of, but I wonder what I may have sacrificed on the way. Did I completely miss the married with children exit on the interstate? Was I so focused on the left hand lane of higher education and career? (Hang in here with me, I'm enjoying this metaphor! )

But getting back to the movie, this story, at least in the film, is one of those tales where people end of getting everything they want in the end, they just have to get used to the idea that it doesn't look like what they expected. That's what I like. I think maybe the interstate is really a beltway and that if I just keep driving, I'll hit that same exit again. I just took a longer time getting there.

The book is different though. She doesn't run away to Bramasole, it's a summer home with her second husband. And she has a grown up daughter who visits. But it stills makes you fall in love with Tuscany and gives a romantic feel to the lives of American expatriots in Italy. I am jealous that my tomatoes and peaches will never taste as vivid as the way she describes the fresh fruits and vegetables from the markets in Cortona.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

It was a dark and stormy night...

We've been hit with the violent thunder storms the last fews days. I guess I should start by saying that these storms are one of the things that I love about living here, but they do cause a certain level of inconvenience.

They always seem to hit during rush hour, which by itself wouldn't be a big deal, the local civil engineering has some added bonuses. There's an interstate and an expressway that run through the city and both are sunken, created in such a way as to serve as drainage when a heavy rain floods the city streets. First to flood are the on ramps and then a perfect hydroplane spot gets created at the exits. During these storms, I avoid the highway going home, not because of the natural disaster obstacle course, but because I know my fellow drivers are not up to the challenge.

Have you ever noticed that everyone claims to be able to drive in snow?? I rest my case....

My sister lived in Manhattan for 9 years, in a neighborhod not far from where Carrie lives in Sex in the City. It's a section of NYC with mostly 4 to 6 floor buildings, most don't have elevators, so they're all "walk ups." Anyway, at the end of my sister's block, Donald Trump built this metallic monstrousity that had to be at least 20 stories that sticks out over all these little neighborhood-like buildings, the provebial sore thumb. And as if the gods had conspired with the laws of physics, everytime an electrical storm comes through Manhattan.... Whether I would be in my sister's tiny 4th floor walk up studio, or on the phone with her hundreds of miles away, the enormous crash-bang sound is unmistakable, and the view is equally blind either way since her two windows looked out the back of her building. Hit the Trump towers again, we'd say in unison, with a giggle. It's now our standard rationalizing whenever thunder hits too close, always the Trump towers, whether we're in Virginia or Texas or Massachusetts or even Mars, I suppose.

But I never mentioned why I love the storms here, did I? We never had storms like these where I grew up. Maybe all the mountains got in the way or perhaps we weren't in direct line with the jet stream like I am now. The storms come rolling through here like there's nothing to stop them. There are sheets of rain and lightning that lights the night sky brighter than day. I've learned not to leave windows open, horizontal rain is not out of the question. And there are times when an umbrella will do you no good. You will be soaking wet in the moments it takes you to open it and the winds will twist it around anyway. You just wait out the rain and it will pass because it always does. The sound of the rain of the roof is to be savored anyway.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Livin' La Vida Chipotle

I was at Chipotle last night after work picking up some dinner and witnessed WAY too much of other people's lives. First there was this girl with cotton knit shorts and a tank top flashing her thong to the general world.

And then when I was getting my drink these two other girls (maybe 17 or 18) walk over. One of them comments that the other looks taller and the apparently taller one responds, "Must be all the sex I'm having."

Excuse me, random stranger within earshot??

But with the ridiculousness of it all, I have all I could do to not start laughing at them. What is this, Sex in the Suburbs? And then this guy, who I can only assume is the source of all this sex, comes out of the bathroom to join them and he's this scrawny dreadlocked white kid who looks like he's 15 on a good day. (I guess I need to mention that everyone in this story is white but I only mentioned the race of the boy to illustrate the ridiculousness of the hairdo).

Yes, welcome to my world.