Feeds:
Posts
Comments

DID THE STARS ALIGN OR WAS IT JUST COINCIDENCE?

 

coincidence and stars

The Stars Aligned                              Photo credit Wikipedia

I left the plane before Peter because I had my carry-on luggage nearby.  I was waiting for him beyond the gate when so easy on the eyes Dario came by. As he was passing by, he said, “Enjoy your stay in Rome”.  To which I replied, “We’re not staying in Rome”.  He slowed down and asked me where were we going.  I told him we were going into south central Italy, in the mountains to a small village.  HE STOPPED.  He asked me what village were we going to. “Guardia Sanframondi”.  His hand hit his forehead and he shouted, “NO! That’s my village, this is not possible, this is too much”.  We hug and kiss cheeks as if we were old time paisans. He was literally in shock as we both sort of reviewed the sequence of events;  He was sitting behind me next to an empty seat on a plane that was 3 rows wide holding more than 225 passengers.  I spoke to him, he smiled and agreed to a seat switch.  He boarded in NYC because he had been looking into an opportunity with the United Nations, he flew to Rome rather than Naples so he could look in on his mother (so Italian), who lived just outside of Rome. He casually stopped and wished me well for my stay in Rome and then THE STARS ALIGNED.  We both considered what the odds could possibly be-if he sat on the other side of the plane I would have never met him,  So many ifs and ands….

Dario asks me how I happened to pick Guardia Sanframondi, so I relate how I saw an episode or clip from an International House Hunters show about the village where Americans were buying homes and that I planned to go to my grandfather’s birth village which I believed was nearby.  He wants to talk more, but he must go because he also has to be back in Guardia to pick his daughter up from school,  (I saw the ring earlier, I knew he was married) so we should have coffee.  YES, we should have coffee. Dario gives me his card and we exchange WHATS APP information – you have to love technology! Apparently he is Agronomist, he studies plant pathology and works for a company that has developed a viable pesticide without side effects that are dangerous to both humans and animals.  Dario kindly draws us a map of how to get out of the airport and to Guardia (remember my map is still in NYC ).

After retrieving luggage we decide to eat a panini (so Italian) and have a coffee before our 3 hour drive.  It literally took us 20 minutes to find where the car rentals were located – Signs were confusing.  Finally we found the area and see 10 couples lined up with huge amounts of luggage and all of them have golf clubs in tow.  I didn’t think Rome had a golf course, lol.  And there were lots of other people all gathered in the Hertz/Thrifty/Dollar area.  I stand and stand and wait and wait some more – 25 minutes to be exact and as I try to position myself closer to a counter, a woman behind me says, “You have to get a number”.  OMG!!! It’s now 10:30 in the morning and we landed at 7:45am.  We are not making much progress BUT we for sure know we are no longer in NYC – where things can take place in a New York minute.

43b1e526597ba79d70f142a0e98dcbea

to be continued…..

 

7 HOURS and 4 MOVIES

I always prefer an aisle seat, in fact I really want an aisle seat because I have this totally ridiculous abhorrence of asking the person next to me to get up so I can go to the restroom.  I know it’s a bit neurotic but I only feel comfortable if I know a bathroom is nearby and accessible.  Added to that craziness is my Germanic insistence of following the rules, so when anyone gets up to use the restroom when the seatbelt sign is still on, I look at them in both wonder and distaste.  Well I guess at this point we are way beyond TMI.

airplane, seat belt sign, Germanic

Can’t They Read? You’re Not Supposed To Get Up.

Back to aisle seat choice;  my need to feel comfortable about the restroom comes with the discomfort of the inevitable ex-college football player sitting in front of me. Invariably a LARGE man sits in front of me and the moment the plane lifts off the runway, he pushes his seat back.  Sure enough, there is a giant parked in front of me, he has already pushed his seat back, I’m kissing my kneecaps. We are packed into this particular airplane so tightly that I can’t even bend down to access my handbag.  In fact midway through the flight I tried to take my sneakers off and I couldn’t really reach the shoelaces!

The plane took off about 5:45pm, however, our cheery-voiced captain assured us he would get us to Italy on time.  Soon we were cruising along at high altitude and we settled in to see what was available on the TV screen in front of us.  Wow, things have changed-no longer are the airlines selling you earphones, they give them to you.  There are no longer just one or two choices of a movie, now you can pick from several categories.  I’m happy and Peter is in heaven.  He always says how wonderful it would be if everyone just left him alone so he could watch TCM (Turner Classic Movies) all day.  This came pretty close to that nirvana.  

Being able to sit quietly, if not uncomfortably, to watch a film of your choice is a wonderful way to while away the monotonous hours.  Then again, for some reason, the whole experience begins to take on a zombie-like experience.  The fact is I watched 4 movies and am not sure I can remember them all.  I know I watched Hacksaw Ridge because twice during the movie I sort of jumped in my seat and made a sound as a particularly scary scene evolved.  Peter grabbed my arm and asked me what was wrong! I’m sure I also watched All We Had, a movie about a mother-daughter relationship and their sad journey through poverty and bad boy friends – I looked it up today on IMDB – it got 2 1/2 stars!

After they served dinner, a “interesting” chicken meal with the requisite cold roll, pathetic salad and crackers with a blob of cheese.  LOL I sound derisive but I ate the whole thing including the blueberry muffin. 

Soon most of the plane is sleeping but not us.  Given we usually keep vampire-like hours at home, I can’t imagine trying to sleep at 9:30 at night.  I have to admit at some point I thought it might be wise to try to sleep.  I blew up my neck cushion, took off the earphones and tried to settle down. Not happening!  Better to just give up and play Crossword on the screen.   Every now and then I would glance over at Peter who was deep into some 1940’s movie and revealing in it.  I’m at the point of checking my watch and trying to figure out just how much longer 7 hours really are.

Peter decides he needs something from his carry-on, so in the wee hours of the night, he attempts to open the overhead bin (the one that is above his former seat) and in the course of removing his bag, he knocks a pillow down which lands on the head of the sleeping Dario.  Oh, I forgot to tell you that the very good-looking Italian man who switched seats with Peter was named Dario?  Oh well, more about him later.

                                                                                                             to be continued…

THE TAXI TO TICKETS – OH NO!!!

Didn’t have to wait very long for a taxi to come by, so we piled our bags in the trunk and hopped in.  “JFK sir, American Airlines terminal”.  There was a lot of traffic on 1st Avenue as we made our way to the FDR drive but our driver knew we were in a hurry (probably when he heard me in a high-pitched voice) say over and over again “OMG we are not going to get there on time”.  We were cruising along the Van Wyck Expressway when I received a text from my friend, Rosemarie asking me if I had my tickets and passport.  LOL – I wrote back to her in Italian that I had “i begligetti, il passporto e mid marito” – which translates to “the tickets, the passport and my husband.

We were about 15 minutes away from JFK and Peter and I were talking about taking photos and I told him I planned on using my iPad.  “MY iPAD! OMG I forgot to take my iPad :(.  OH NO! I forgot all the folders too”  Peter says, “What do you mean you forgot the folders”?  ” I mean the folders with all of the information I need AND the airline tickets! 😦 .  From that point on I was a total madwoman, I must have gone through my handbag 5 times and of course they were not in there.  I already knew that. I’m frantically grasping at solutions. 1) let’s call an Uber car and have them bring me the iPad and folders and meet us at the airport. N/G we would have to check in before the car could make it through the rush hour traffic. 2) What if I ask Jade to take the stuff to FEDEX and have it sent to the B&B. N/G I called FEDEX and found out it would cost around $600 to send an iPad. 3) I call Jade and ask her if she  can to Manhattan Mailroom and have them fax the paperwork to the B&B, she says yes she can now that she has located the folders in the kitchen!!?? N/G In order to fax, I need a fax number.  I hastily attempt to reach Pasquale through WhatsApp under the title URGENT.  He writes back saying why don’t I scan them and send to him through WhatsApp. WHY? Because I don’t have a scanner and Jade who is at my apartment doesn’t have WhatsApp!!  Pasquale sends me a phone number but never says whether it is a fax or not. I call Jade and give her the number, the store tries but it won’t go through. I write to Pasquale again and he reminds me that is very late there and the office is closed! 4) I have an email from my cousin Kathi with some of the documents. N/G That’s not going to work since I don’t have a printer. 5) I ask the taxi driver if he thought a taxi would take the stuff to the airport N/G Being worked up to frenzy is probably the reason why I a) forgot we had to check in and b) the taxi would never make it now that is was full blown rush hour traffic. A few more calls back and forth with Jade and I finally say Thank You and resign myself to NO iPad, NO documents and NO Airline tickets.  Peter remains calm as I have gone from upset to crazy-mad – Naturally.

American Airlines Terminal JFK Airport

We’re Here

The driver drops us off at the American Airlines terminal and out of guilt and embarrassment I give him a good tip!  We go into the airport and the American Airlines counter are NOWHERE to be seen. I am sweating because I’m still the aforementioned frenzied, wearing a jacket and long sleeve shirt because I’m sure the plane will be cold.  I find someone with a dangling badge and she points to the far other end of the terminal and says that’s where the American Airlines check-ins are located.  When we finally reach the area, it is a madhouse of people, suitcases and check-in kiosks that have a line of impatient passengers waiting.  

la-blm-thanksgiving-travel.jpg-20121217

Where’s My Boarding Pass?

We’re planning on checking in two bags and carrying on two.  After a while I get to a kiosk that’s working and begin to fumble around in my bag for a credit card to try to login and get the required check-in stickers.  Seriously I must have answered about 10 questions and after each answer the screen told me to wait while they processed my transaction.   Got ’em!  We get in line behind a woman who is literally standing 15′ back from the counter and there is one guy up there and he is futzing with his bags and shaking his head no and the American Airline clerk is also shaking her head – you just know this isn’t going to go well.  The clerk leaves her counter and is assisting the young man with the kiosk!!  The woman in front of us stands patiently.  THEN, the American Airlines person walks away and does not return to the counter.  I tell Peter to wait in line and I’ll go after her, but she disappears into the crowd.  When I return, Peter is already in another line and he is up at the counter.  He’s waving me to hurry and when I get there he says, “She needs the Boarding Passes”.  WHAT Boarding Passes?  OMG I never got them from the kiosk.  I race back to the kiosks and you know what they say, “they all look alike”.  I can’t remember where we were so I start reaching in front of people and looking into the trays.  I don’t find them but I found someone else’s.  Back to the counter and the woman tells me I can go through the process again on the kiosk get 2 more Boarding Passes – REALLY? Why didn’t she say so in the first place?  

After all that we’ve been through, it was a pleasure to board the plane even though our seats were way in the back which meant negotiating business class, then the first economy section, then to the back, literally.  When I booked the tickets I knew we each had an aisle seat but I thought they would be across from one another – NOT!  My seat was a double and Peter was 2 rows in front of me in a triple on the aisle. I planned on asking my seat mate if he or she wanted Peter’s aisle seat so he could sit with me.  Well, as it turned out, my seat mate turned out to be a young woman with her husband and she wasn’t too happy that he would be sitting behind her next to a very good-looking Italian man.  I decided to take charge and see if I could negotiate a settlement.  I politely ask this man (in Italian) if he spoke English and as he did, would he mind switching the seats with my husband who will switch seats with the young woman and then everybody will be happy.  He smiles a most charming smile and says he will.  

                                                                                                           to be continued…

 

The Tales, Trials, and Tribulations of Travels with Peterlori

For the those readers of mine who have in the past enjoyed the tales of my trials and tribulations in travel, I think you’re in for a treat.  This trip was long in the  planning stage;  As the New Year rang in, the stark reality of turning 70 this year hit me,  and well,  that and a fairly significant real estate deal gone south, caused me to re-assess a LOT of things. What followed were a series of days and weeks when the phrases Carpe diem, You only live once and Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today and lastly, My God, this is a BIG one!  That’s the prologue to my finally deciding to go for it!  I’m going to celebrate my 70th birthday in Italy!!

And so in the wee hours of the morning (a.k.a. I can’t sleep because my mind is racing), I searched and searched and then researched and read and read some more and  then I did the following:  I booked a flight to Rome (because Naples was more expensive) so reasonably I was jumping up and down at my desk.  Then through Facebook, I communicated with the owner of a B&B in Guardia Sanframondi, in Campania Italy.  I checked out whether we should train it to the village from Rome but realized it would be best to rent a car so we could drive around once there.  So I went online and rented one, you have to love the internet.

But why Guardia Sanframondi you ask?  Well, last year I saw a segment of Sunday Morning that featured this town as a place many Americans were buying homes in this medieval town – I was intrigued.  Then I found out that Guardia was within an hour’s driving distance to Mirrabello di Santico which is the village my paternal grandfather was born and raised till at age of 16, he took off for America.  Mirrabello di Santico is in the province of Molise.  Several years ago, my cousin Kathi did extensive genealogical research and during the Christmas holiday, she showed me many of the documents she had uncovered.  Since no one is still alive who would know the history, things seemed a bit confusing. My cousin said the family came from Mirrabello, my grandfather used to refer to Naples, my grandmother said her family was from the province of Abruzzo but we believe it was Salerno, my father often told me I must be Calabrese (a slur referring to my being stubborn), and to that add the fact that over the years, some of the borders of those provinces blurred.  This landmark birthday was the perfect time to find my roots.

The Provinces of Italy

We’re Basically In The RED

Over the next couple of months I corresponded with my soon-to-be host, Pasquale Orso.  Pasquale owns a B&B, La Tana dell’ Orso, http://www.bborso.com/ but more about him later.  I began my compulsive organizing, much list-making, reading blogs and printing out reams of information: directions, maps, reservation confirmations, airline confirmations,  house rules for the Airbnb (where we would stay in Rome), airport information as well as several pages of family genealogical information and a letter from my grandfather to his mother which I hoped to have translated.  I also made arrangements for a friend to stay in our apartment and take care of our cats for a few days and hired Edith, a cat sitter and friend, to feed and care for Nick and Nora once our friend left.  Additionally keys were designated for both parties, the doorman notified, and the Super agreed to move our car to accommodate New York City’s alternate side parking rules.  Whew!  

Monday evening May 15th was D-Day (Departure date) and in the days prior, clothes were ironed and laid out all over the apartment.  The night before I folded everything with tissue paper and packed my shirts and pants in these great plastic  packing bags my sister-in-law, Juanita gave me.  The next morning I insisted on washing my hair and then packed last minute make-up etc.. Of course being true to myself, I also dusted the bedroom, put clean sheets on the bed, laid out fresh towels for my house guest and put a new bar of soap in the shower.  

We are almost ready to leave – Peter said we should leave about 2:30pm.  Our flight was scheduled to leave at 5:20pm.  I took the airline confirmations out of the folder they were in and tried to reach the airline to see if we could change our seats.  That exercise went nowhere after about 15 minutes of wait time.   I had hard-boiled eggs to eat on the plane, packed some carrots and tarelli (Italian biscuits) and packed them into my handbag.  I made it a point to take a handbag that would be large enough to hold my Kindle, my iPad and the folders of information I collected.

Tarelli

Tarelli – photo “borrowed” from Wildeastblog.com

As the clock creeped towards 3:00pm I flew into my crazy-we-got-to-go mode, barking orders to Peter and lamenting over the fact that we would not be able to greet Jade, our friend who would stay in the apartment.  Kiss the cats, grab the suitcases  and lock the door.  As it happened we met Jade coming out of the elevator as we were going down.  Quick hug and kiss, we GOT TO GO!  In the lobby the doorman stops me before I can go out and hail a taxi.  It seems I forgot to complete a form notifying the building that I have a house guest who has my permission and key to come and go.  Peter has found the mailman who was still in the building and asks him to give our mail to the front desk.

We are off!!!  And if you are wondering why I went into such great detail about my preparations, just wait till you read on.

                                                                                                  to be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                               

Who knew that Donald Trump was smarter than….well everybody???  It’s almost as if he must be the recipient of divine inspiration – from which divinity I can’t imagine!  

Yesterday, he pulled off (in his usual overly-dramatic manner, jazz band and all) what I believe will follow him in disgrace in history.   I’m pretty sure he will be listed as the worst president EVER to occupy the oval office, time will tell, and he is off to a break neck running start.  Every time I think of him, the movie Despicable Me comes to mind.

Well, he did it!  He made good on a campaign promise to his supporters that he would pull the USA out of the Paris Accord.  That clearly puts us in a highly estimable group, we’re now in bed with Syria and Nicaragua – THE ONLY OTHER TWO COUNTRIES NOT  in the Accord.  Dear God in heaven, what is wrong with this man?  No, don’t answer me I already have a list of descriptive adjectives and nouns that I freely and continuously apply to him.

NOW that was a smart move, a truly progressive, thoughtful, effective, intelligent move, wasn’t it?  That would make Donald Trump smarter than ALL these other people who thought otherwise:  

DOW CHEMICAL                                                          

APPLE 

BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD OF MASSACHUSETTS                                          

EXON-MOBILE

SECRETARY OF STATE TILLERSON

LEVI STRAUSS

MORGAN STANLEY

CONOCO PHILLIPS

FACEBOOK

GAP

INGERSOLL RAND

MARS INC.

TIFFANY & CO.

GOOGLE

HEWLET PACKARD

THE HARTFORD

ROYAL DSM

SALESFORCE

UNILEVER

VF CORPORATION

INTEL CORPORATION

ADOBE

DIGNITY FORCE

DANFOSS

NATIONAL GRID

PRESIDENT OBAMA (8 yrs experience, president of Harvard Law Review)

PRESIDENT CLINTON ( 8 yrs. experience, Rhodes Scholar)

IVANKA TRUMP

JARED KUSHNER

REINCE PREIBUS

I DON’T THINK SO!!!!!  ( Well, maybe not the last 3)

 

fullsizeoutput_f31

LOOK WHAT I DID!!

A LAW

A Law is the result of a Bill that originated in either the House of Representative or the Senate.  Once it has been passed in the originating house, it is sent to the other house and  after some push and pull may be passed.  It is then sent to the President to either sign it, veto it or not sign it and let it become law by default.  Congress may override the Presidential veto, if they have sufficient votes.

AN EXECUTIVE ORDER

An Executive Order is just an order issued by the President that is enforceable by members of the Executive Branch until it is either overturned by a law passed by the Congress or overturned by a ruling court.

PRESIDENT BILLS PASSED INTO LAWS in FIRST 100 DAYS
Franklin Roosevelt 76

Harry Truman* 55

Dwight Eisenhower 22

John Kennedy 26

Lyndon Johnson* 10

Richard Nixon 9

Jimmy Carter 22

Ronald Reagan 9

George H.W. Bush 18

Bill Clinton 24

George W. Bush 7

Barack Obama 11

*Took office after predecessor’s death, so we’re counting the first 100 days of their full elected terms — 1949 for Truman and 1965 for Johnson. Gerald Ford is omitted from the list.

FOR TRUMP THE 100 DAYS LOOM LARGE!

 In his first 100 days, Trump promised to work with Congress to pass 10 specific pieces of legislation into law. Those bills were:

Middle Class Tax Relief and Simplification Act
End the Offshoring Act
American Energy and Infrastructure Act
School Choice and Education Opportunity Act
Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act
Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act
End Illegal Immigration Act
Restoring Community Safety Act
Restoring National Security Act
Clean Up Corruption in Washington Act
None of these bills have been signed into law within the first 100 days of Trump’s administration.

 

Minion liar

Just Wait and See. It might happen sooner than later.

HERE ARE JUST A FEW

  1. “We’ve defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open..”  Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen a 90% drop in illegal border crossings as a result of increased enforcement. 
  2. …for anyone to cross — and for drugs to pour in at a now unprecedented rate.”  Drug seizures are actually down.
  3. “Since my election, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors, Sprint, Softbank, Lockheed, Intel, Walmart, and many others, have announced that they will invest billions of dollars in the United States and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs.”  Trump claims that his policies have led these companies to create 70,000 jobs. But 69,000 of those jobs were in the works before election and 700 were the result of Obama’s policies.
  4. “We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a 5 year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials — and a lifetime ban on becoming lobbyists for a foreign government.  Trump’s lobbyist ban actually removes some of Obama’s ethics rules instead of strengthening them.
  5. “We’ve saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by bringing down the price of the fantastic new F-35 jet fighter, and will be saving billions more dollars on contracts all across our Government”.  The savings with the F-35 were in the works before Trump complained about the price tag.
  6. “We have cleared the way for the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines — thereby creating tens of thousands of jobs.” The Dakota Access pipeline is nearly built. Keystone would create 3,900 direct construction jobs and 16,000 total jobs on an annual basis.
    And those are just temporary jobs; the permanent job count at Keystone will be 35.
  7. Help unemployed by cracking down on immigration.  A pathway to citizenship will create 145,000 jobs each year.
  8. In the last 8 years, the past Administration has put on more new debt than nearly all other Presidents combined.  This claim is misleading. Obama actually curt the deficit by almost three-quarters.
  9. “At the same time, we will provide massive tax relief for the middle class.”  Trump’s tax plan isn’t designed to help middle class: 6.6% of the plan goes to middle class, 47.3% goes to the top 1%, almost 25% goes to the top 0.1%.
  10. “…stopping a regulation that threatens the future and livelihoods of our great coal miners.”  The coal industry is a victim of market forces and the invent of other energy sources, not regualtions.
  11. “I just met with officials and workers from a great American company, Harley-Davidson. In fact, they proudly displayed five of their magnificent motorcycles, made in the USA, on the front lawn of the White House.”  Harley-Davidson motorcycles are assembled in the United States but assembled using parts from Germany, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, and Mexico.
  12. We have withdrawn the United States from the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership.”  “We have withdrawn the United States from the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

RESIST 

Because The Truth Matters