Check This (shameless plug) has republished a photo-essay I sent to them last year on Naples, Italy:

The pictures aren’t THAT great, in my own opinion. They are completely untouched, unedited and a little colorless. But I was pretty psyched that they were published on the site anyway. I should have included these pictures from a wedding I attended while I was there. The daughter of the family that hosted me when I was an exchange student married a nice Scotsman. The wedding was a brilliant combination of both Neapolitan and Scottish traditions:

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Erin, Me, and Jeff on Christmas Eve in the late 70s.

When my parents divorced, when I was 7 years old, they devised a scheme where we, my brother, sister and me, would split christmas day between them, alternating year to year who got us on christmas eve and who got us christmas night.

Sounds fair, right? Sure.

But consider the gut wrenching sadness we felt when leaving one lonely parent (especially before they were each remarried) around noon to head to the other. To the credit of my mom and dad, they never let on how sad they were to see us leave mid-holiday. But I secretly hated it. No matter how we spun it, leaving one for the other felt like a betrayal and next year’s retribution was too far away to consider. We did this for 15 years until my mom and dad lived a little too far apart to make the mid-day change-off feasibile.

After that we tried to spend Thanksgiving with one parent and fit in visits to both parents during the christmas holiday. Whomever didn’t get us for thanksgiving, got us for christmas day.

These days, my brother doesn’t come East for the holidays at all. But my sister and I still head home (you know, ’cause we aren’t married). We now hit one parent for Thanksgiving and the other for Christmas. Our break isn’t long enough to fit in visits to both anymore.

Techically speaking, this year is Dad’s year for christmas and my sister and I already have flight reservations to meet him at his future home in Washington, NC. But tell me, how do we go there with joyous hearts knowing our mother will potentially be spending the holiday alone and newly separated from her husband of nearly 15 years? It isn’t an easy question.

So, I am planning to talk to my Dad about inviting my Mom to come with us to NC for the first jointly celebrated holiday in 24 years. How weird would that be? Strangely enough, I bet it would be weirder for us, the kids, than they, the parents.

I am sure they’d be all mature and adult about the matter, but there is something itchy for me when in the room with both parents. The last time this happened was on the day of my college graduation in May 1996. Dinner that night was painfully awkward. Or rather, I was painfully awkward over dinner. They seemed to get along fine, I don’t know why I can’t just sit back and relax. Mom and Dad have never fought or turned into strange monsters when in each other’s presence… so why the weirdness?

Maybe growing up in two totally different households does that to you. My dad was all contemporary, progressive, and liberal. Mom was all toille, antiques and conservative. Splitting my early days between them where Monday and Tuesday was spent with Mom and Wednesday and Thursday was spent at Dad’s and flip-flopping weekends (which I did for almost 10 years) has made me a bit schizophrenic and the joining of both these worlds in one room results in a mental crash.

I don’t know. Just random thoughts for this Monday morning.

Me with Santa wishing for a ‘sit-n-spin’

Giving Thanks

I am home in South Carolina.

I use the term “home” loosely, since I didn’t grow up here and in fact this is the first time I am in this particular house. I am in the house of my mom, who moved down here to Beaufort earlier this year. Shortly after moving into this new home with my step-dad, he got up and left her.

My sister is here too, so it’s just the girls this year.

Traditionally Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I’ve only spent one of my 31 turkey days away from my family, the year that I lived abroad in Italy when I was 16. Ooops, wait. That can’t be right, I probably didn’t go home every year while I lived in Amsterdam. But surely we celebrated the best we could even though finding a whole turkey and an oven large enough to cook it in would have been pretty tough. Why do I love it? Everyone celebrates it (well, in this corner of the world) regardless of race or religion. And I think it’s important to stop our hectic lives, join hands around a table and reflect on our blessings.

Lately I have been thinking too much about my own short comings rather than the myriad of blessings that grace my life. Thoughts of my personal imperfections, the inner battles to maintain sanity, and my ever growing disconent with work and life as a faux Bostonian litter the constant dialogue being played out in my mind.

So, I pledge to sit here for 2 full minutes to come up with a brainstorm of blessings. In no particular order.

family friends health winter coats internet water soap perfume sight smell music tulips food on my talbe every day education right to vote term limitations dogs cats apartment my bed books italian good wine belly laughter love hugs traveling lipgloss energy work teddy pictures camera airplanes socks cellphone paper crushes lavender chocolate silence prayer community biking along the charles breath a hand held knowing art candles bookstores sex high heels faith ties curry acceptance adventure ability mobility creativity voice strength body mind spirit foggy mornings sunsets being on my own being with others

That was kind of hard. It looks like it came out as a list of my favorite things… I mean, is lipgloss really a blessing? Well, yes. I like a glossy lip. It is a blessing not to be chapped.

One of the things I wanted to change about my blogging is to be more open about what is really going on in this corner of interravision. I think before I glazed over a lot of things, more to protect myself than anything else.

So at this moment, I am sitting at the new kitchen table of a house that is only half decorated. Mom doesn’t seem to have the heart to finish the house on her own, and I doubt that she’ll stay here anyway if B. really does go through with the divorce. I am sad. Its heartbreaking to see loved ones in pain, especially your own parents. My mother, who has always been a pillar of strength, is showing signs of vulnerability for the first time since I have known her. In a way, this is refreshing. But hard. Through recent conversations there is a new truth between us. No matter what happens next, I am thankful for that.

I am also thankful for this view from the back porch. I love how the spanish moss drips from the craggy branches of the live oaks which stand on the perimeter of the marshes.

Thinking about it

I’m plotting my return.

My first posts in nearly 2 months will be filled with wild imagery, heartfelt observations, and laugh out loud stories. I’ll tell you about my jaunts to Prague, Nice, South Carolina, and the corner grocery. I’ll explain why pretzels are the sexiest of tasty treats. I’ll lament the boys who quickly came and went, and rejoice in the faithful friends who remain at my side. I’ll bitch about stuff that, in retrospect, isn’t really worth bitching about. But I’ll do it anyway for your amusement. Oh, there is so much to catch you up on as I have been living in warp speed wearing no seat belt.

I am thinking of all of these things and looking forward to the return of Interravision.

Did you miss me?
(say YES! Even though I swear I don’t need your validation)