We have much to be thankful for this year. Daughter Andrea married Sean Baker on June 18 at Appleford Estate in Villanova, PA. Excellent weather enabled us to hold the wedding outdoors in the garden. All went smoothly (aside from the officiant thinking the wedding started half an hour later, and arriving when it was supposed to start), and they enjoyed their honeymoon trip to Bali, Thailand and China. They’re living in Los Angeles where Andrea is working in post production on the next “Naked and Afraid XL.” Clare and her husband Kyle are still at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia.
Tom retired after working for the U.S. government for 31 years and, as he jokes, getting out unindicted. He’s taking a break now, but will start working as a part-time contractor soon. Andrea, Clare and Kyle flew in for his retirement ceremony, which was lovely. Afterwards, we went out to lunch at L’Auberge Chez Francois, a top-of-the-line French restaurant. We had a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner a few days later while the kids were still here, and were joined by Clare’s friends, who ate like vultures. We then played a game called “The Great Dalmuti.” It’s an easy-to-play game with a fascinating lesson: that those who have the least (the peons) have the games’ rules stacked against them, in cards as well as life. Our second Thanksgiving dinner was up in Rochester at my brother’s Sticky Lips restaurant, which he and his wife Laurie generously opened to family and friends.
I still work downtown, commuting on the Metro, which takes longer during periods when they single-track to perform maintenance. This is part of the “Safe-Track” program; they’re trying to avoid another tunnel fire, a goal that its riders share.
We took a trip to Italy in October, visiting Venice, Florence, Rome and Pompeii. It was our first trip there, but not our last! The food, the scenery, the culture—what’s not to love? We didn’t eat gelato every day, but we ate it most days. I became a groupie of the sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and spent our last day in Rome visiting churches to see more of his works. Turns out that Bernini is featured prominently in “Angels and Demons,” the movie and the book. Three captioned slide shows from Italy are available for your viewing pleasure by clicking here.
Venice, OMG Venice, it’s achingly picturesque. In St. Mark’s Square every evening was a duel of the classical bands: at one outdoors restaurant were musicians playing the piano, base, violin, accordion and flute for ten minutes, then another group of musicians playing the same instruments played at another restaurant 100 feet away. The audience shuttled back and forth between the two. In addition to classical music, they played tunes from James Bond movies, and “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.
Florence, OMG Michelangelo’s David, not to mention the Uffizi Gallery, the Pitti Palace, and the Duomo Cathedral. We visited Pompeii, which is much older and spread out than Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat, and you really sensed that people lived there. And Rome!!!! We went to as many museums and churches as possible, and honestly, there’s too much great art and opulence all in one place. I think they should allow the, say, third fantastic church in a neighborhood to be shrunken down like in “Honey I Shrunk the Kids,” transported to another country that could use the tourist dollars, and sized up again.
Wishing you all happy holidays and a joyous New Year.