Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Phall Classic: Phillies lose to the Yankees

Maybe because we won last year. Maybe because Hamels lost his mind, Lidge lost his mojo and Howard couldn't hit a sliding curve I am not surprised how the story ended on this season. Nor am I frustrated, annoyed or other adjectives associated with being a Philly Phan.

But, it was still a good season. We picked up Cliff Lee. Manuel delivered a pennant not knowing what he would get out of his pitching staff. How many teams would be thrilled to play in the World Series?

I want to hate the Yankees. But the only whack job well whack jobs are A-Rod and AJ Burnett. The rest seems like nice guys if they were wearing another uniform. Forgot about the ownership, Georgie boy and his sons gave the Girardi the players to bring home a championship.

There is a core of guys who have the foundation of building a dynasty. What more can a phan ask for? The Phillies are the second best team in the MLB.

Second best.

HMMM Well now, that was a pile of bullshit.

I have another night in St. Louis, I planned on watching my Phillies crush the Yankees in their house.


BOOOOOOOOOOOOO, where is my snowball?

Meet me in St. Louis

The sun is setting on St. Louis as I sit in a Borders beside my hotel. Work brought me to this part of the country. After two days of the insurance version of American Idol, I am parked here nursing a Seattle's best medium vanilla latte, just cooling out.

To my left are two 20 something men discussing God, the bible and the need to pray in order to manage their lives. Their bibles are open and to the ready.

To their right, a french tutoring session is taking place. The instructor is a artsy middle age woman. Her student appears to be a eager high school student. A Veteran college student is pouring over a text book. His camouflage shirt, erect posture and short haircut reveals his past or present. The military is huge in this part of the country.

All are taking advantage of the free WiFi. A different time and place my guess is these activities would have occurred in in a library. This is the community hub, judging by how the clerk assembled most peoples orders with a smile and without coaching.

I am guessing that I am the only traveller, interloper in the room. It has a positive energy.

I return home tomorrow. I may have to travel to Iowa for this account before the end of the year but it should be the final business trip for the year.

Work is work. I've grown bored with this component of my life. I am grateful to be employed but I am working through what I want to be when I grow up. The economy was a convenient excuse for me to be complacent about my career. I have the opportunity to manage a captive but I'm not sure I want to stay in this business. It is nice to know that option is available to me.

I have a home yoga practice but it is time for me to return to that community.

Through a spiritual career counselor, a strong yoga practice, I will find my now.

It's all good......

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rob Miller SC Donate Here

Oh Canada, O(h)bama, Oh My

I spent my overdue vacation touring through Canada. Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and of course, Niagara Falls. I was joined by group of outdoor types. We rented a "luxury" bus for this adventure. Most took in these cities utilizing their in-line skates. Others, such as yours truly, absorbed the cities using a bike. The weather and the company were spectacular.

Whenever I travel, I always read the local newspaper (if it is available).  To my dismay, the nonsense surrounding the POTUS address the student citizens hit the Canadian press. They were disturbed as I. Work, hard, stay in school....hmmm that screams of socialism. It would be funny if this were to be happening in another country.

The Republicans began the notion of an illegitimate President when Clinton was elected. They refused to accept a "hick from from Hope" was parked in the seat of power. The nonsense has been building. Granted Clinton should have kept his penis in his pants, taking real impeachable offenses off the table. Isn't nice Barack wants to have sex with Michele...I digress.

They say it is a small minority of whackos driving this madness. When the majority of the Republican Party do not speak out or worse carry the mantle of this vitriol it condone this behavior. Silence is consent.

I, like many of my recent new activists, thought the heavy lifting was done when Obama was sworn into office. OK, what were we thinking? 

Our work has just begun. Next week we will flood the local school board meeting to protest the not showing of the President's school speech. (I live in suburban Philadelphia, not Kansas).
The Superintendent independently made that decision citing technological challenges. ( I report it you decide)

A reminder politics is local. The off cycle elections have become critical to ensure these races are not won by folks who do not know or accept Hawaii as a state.

I gave money to Rob Miller (SC) and encouraged others to do the same. Joe Wilson needs to be sent to the unemployment line and look for affordable health care. Oh, I forgot he is a Vet. He can receive care, but voted against an increase in VA benefits for other men and women who served our country. Sweeet!

Affordable health care for all just makes sense. It starts with affordable education. How do you think health care providers pay back their student loans? My guess it turns up in the overhead buried in their bills.

Hospitals have the resources to triage the non-emergency care out of the emergency room. Insurance companies should add this type of care to their plan documents to reimburse this type of care.

Get rid of PPO preferred provider organizations. Why? By accepting a reduced fee, PPOs are supposed to deliver a volume of patients and be paid timely. The doctors can reduce their staff who spend all of their time signing up for these plans then chasing the revenue. By opting out of this clusterfuck, they can reduce their overhead. 

There have been more arrests of gun toting angry citizens at or near Obama events. They have been called to arms by Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity and the Palins. There are a whole bunch of white folks who refuse to accept a Black Man in authority, unless it is on TV.

There a bunch of uninformed and refused to be informed citizens armed with microphones, camera and guns. 

Where were these people the last eight years when .......oh never mind.

Back to the work of trying to save my country, from the threat within...

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Let's see the good ole boys develop a whacked off the books system of legally stealing money and wreaking the global economy and they get stay bonuses....

And this single mom gets hammered for downloading wonder our country is a mess...

h/t Booman.

Tomorrow is Father's Day

I just returned from a few days in Dallas, TX. I had a safe trip, no dead pilots or water landings.

It was sunny and 100 degrees. In between meetings, I did get to the pool. I had no problems with the weather.

There were those flippin' Cowboy stars everywhere you go. AND one of the local news stations had it impeded in their logo. Dear God, make it stop. 

When I was still married and my daughter was not even a year old, we had an opportunity to relocate to the big D. I am sooo glad I vetoed it. At the time, I was making more money and it would have killed my career. Furthermore, it would have radically hurt our standard of living. To no surprise, the ex currently resides in Dallas with his wife. 

It worked out for everyone.

I managed to get in a brief ride in this morning before the rain came. Sitting at home this morning was not an option. So I decided to write at the local cafe. 

The Gryphon is a eclectic little coffeehouse. The staff is friendly and efficient. The decor is funky but practical tables doted with fresh flowers. The walls are lined with artwork by local artists, available for sale.

Judging by the flow of traffic, I am the only new customer. When the customers arrive, the staff  confirms their order.

As I stood staring  blankly at the menu board, a very attentive staffer, informed me what I was looking at was not available for a couple of hours but recommended other items not listed.

Ignoring the baked goods, I settled on a simple salmon and capers breakfast with a cafe au lait. A welcome change from the chain coffee shops.

Despite the rain, I am glad to be home.

Tomorrow is Father's Day. At my age, each milestone that passes with my family is good. Most of the time......

On Mother's Day, my folks, daughter, grandson had dinner with my older brother's family at a local restaurant.

Normally, my sister-in-law hijacks family events but at my parent's 50th anniversary party there was no drama. None.

Maybe the stars would line up and we would have another successful outing.

Upon my brother's late arrival, he bounced out of the car with a warning "She is a mood about whatever".  With a glare, I asked, "Why didn't you either leave her or stay home?"

Now I'm hoping for the best.

We arrived at the local restaurant. We agreed to go for something nicer than our normal Old Country buffet. A modest Mainline Restaurant.

The food and company were wonderful until dessert. 

After dessert arrived, my oldest nephew, who is 16 and stands about 5' 10" popped up almost knocked over a waiter with a full tray of food as he ran to the men's room.

We all looked at each other assuming dinner didn't sit too well. No big deal.

Or so we thought.

He came out and started crawling on the floor, clearly looking for something. When he could find what he was looking for, he knelt in the middle of the floor and began weeping.

Did I mention the fact that this was a Mainline restaurant on Mother's Day and we were the only colored folks in the place, not members of the wait staff?

My brother tried to find out information and comfort his distraught namesake.

After removing him from the center of the restaurant, we learned that he lost a ring his off and on girlfriend had given him.

Seeing his anguish, the wait staff and other customers are crawling on the floor looking for this piece of jewelry. 

We sat horrified at the scene unfolding. It was so surreal. This simply could not be happening. We are now grateful for Mom's dementia. She was enjoying her pie and coffee ignoring the chaos unfolding.

As I'm trying to get the check and get the hell out of there, my father, who is Never Politically correct, leans over truly befuddled and says "Do you think the boy is gay'?

In his world it only acceptable for girls and gays to weep over jewelry. At that point, I had to just laugh.

The manager comes over, and promises to find this ring. I told him not to fret about it. At his insistence, I gave him my contact information.

We returned to my place. Everyone is trying figure out why he was so upset. This behavior came out of left field or did it? Instead of his Mom hijacking an event, he did.

 I just wanted this family outing to end.

When we realized the boy was still in the family vehicle, my daughter, the eldest grandchild, who is all of 5'3', goes to the van, and demanded that he apologize.

As he sheepishly followed her in, the phone rang and it was the restaurant manager.

"Ma'am, we found the ring."

With this bit of wonderful news, my brother and his family left to retrieve the lost treasure.

Later that night, I checked in my kid brother who couldn't make the dinner because of transportation problems. He was a little down when he answered the phone.  I shared with him the days events.

Little did the boy know, that he cheered up his uncle. He couldn't stop laughing.

Tomorrow is Father's Day. We left it Pop as to what he wanted to do. Returning to the scene of the last meal was not going to happen. " You know we can't go back there," he said with a hearty laugh.

He still hasn't decided. 

Monday, May 11, 2009

On the road...again

My corporate travels (travails) have brought me to the soon to be succeeding state of Texas.
What if Texas left and nobody cared? Peace Out.

A friend recommended writing a thesis on "What if Lincoln, encouraged succession?" It would keep me busy. 

I digress.
First stop, Houston, tomorrow night Dallas. A Leadership meeting then off to visit a new client.

It is funny, how all Hiltons are starting to look alike. Tonight, I will get through dinner while as I will find out how grateful me and the crew should be to work for this fabulous organization. I really thought the travel would decrease but I find myself continuing to rack up frequent flyer miles.

In this economy I am grateful to be working but do not need to be reminded of it. There are three of us from the Northeast who actively avoid sitting next to our Sr. VP while the West Coast contingent practically sit on her lap. They drink to much and talk to much. The Pre-Leadership meetings always last too long.

My goal is to keep a very low profile and run back to the hotel before they hit the bar for after dinner drinks.

I don't drink and really would prefer to do anything other than spend an evening with most of these people.

At the last event, I won an award for leadership in Process Improvement. Well, when they strip you of resources, humans to do the work, we had zero choice. Necessity my friends.

The ultimate plan is to get through tomorrow without more work, but I am not that optimistic.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Ah Arlen

Talk about making a deal with the devil, Arlen is all about Arlen.

As a voting citizen of the Commonwealth I'm not sure what we have gained by this backroom deal. I am suspicious of decisions that are made on my behalf particularly when I wasn't asked. This falls into that category.

Maybe I'm missing something, but if Obama thinks Arlen is going to fall in line, he's nuts. He has always followed his own rules. At least he didn't lie about why he switched parties. Would he have lost next year? Maybe. With politics things can turn on dime. Ask McCain.

I didn't vote for Arlen and it is unlikely I would have voted for him next year. He is 79 years old, I would like to have the opportunity to vet my Democratic nominee.

Not cool.

Jack Kemp, If only

I will join others in mourning the passing of Jack Kemp. I had the opportunity to meet him when he was Bob Dole's running mate. (Long story)

His definition of social responsibility included Civil Rights for folks who did not fall in the grumpy old white guys club.

I'm sure his attitude was shaped by how members of his Buffalo Bills football team were treated. Sports have a funny way of breaking racial barriers. At the end of the day, talent trumps racism.

He and Dole activitely fought about a ton of issues, but Kemp was not pushed out of the infamous big tent. This was a time, when the Dems were a mess and the Republicans were engaged in the 80-20 rule. If we agree 80% of the time we can work together.

Michael Steele, Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Anne Coulter and Sarah Palin are the face of the Republican Party. Their tent has been reduced to a pup tent whose welcome mat clearly states: PISS OFF, to folks who don't who don't think like they do.

Personal, fiscal, and social responsibility are only for folks who have low or no income. It has to be their fault, if you can't keep a job or have sex when and with whom they think appropriate.

Dear God, can you image the headlines, if one of Obama's girls were pregnant? Obama has a prescription drug problem or was working on wife number 3?

I believe it was W who didn't see a spending bill he didn't like. He and the compliant Congress who paid for a WRONG war off the books. Shall we talk about the derivative nightmare?

Sorry folks, there just aren't that many poor black folks who did not make their mortgage payments to ruin the economy. The bankers and those who failed to mind the store should be in jail, not receiving stay bonuses.

No one was watching anything. Responsibilty. Please.

Is the Republican Party dead? In it's current incarnation, you betcha.

The citizens of our nation instinctually mistrust one party rule, so there will be the emergence of another party.

Too bad the Fab Five, didn't spend more time with Kemp, they may have learned a thing or two.

Enjoy your rest Jack, you earned it.

Friday, May 01, 2009

For this moment in time

Last year like many other citizens, I spent time and money to get Obama elected. Bush has left a horrendous mess and a legacy like no other. I'm sure not the legacy he intended. But what was often overlooked were his SCOTUS appointments. Eventually, we will pull out of Iraq, clean up the financial mess and put criminals in jail for treason (maybe). Bush's picks will be around long after the HazMat team cleans up the toxic waste left behind by the Cheney-Bush team.

Obama's appointment(s) will cement his place in history more than his current and future successes.

Clarence Thomas is evidence that skin color alone should not be a litmus test. I really don't know what he sees when he looks in the mirror. But the last time I checked he was a Black Man. You would never know it judging by his voting record.

There are plenty of QUALIFIED left leaning students of the constitution who do not have any old Y chromosomes.

The future is now. Do the right thing, President Obama.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Tim Cole: Justice Served?

This is not a problem just for the Cole family but us as a society. I wish we funded schools as quick as we build prison.

The prisons are filled with Tim Coles.....

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Joys of Lawmaking: Plumline

Thanks to my buddy Trakker, I discovered Greg Sergent's blog, Plumline.  Enjoy.

Dick Cheney Speaks: Why?

I had dinner tonight with some old friends who evidently still watch Fox News. These are reasonably bright people, BUT...

Our conversation naturally turned to current events, economy, the stimulus package and of course W.

LL offered, "I don't agree with many of the things W did, but you have to admit he kept us safe."

With a sigh, I just said, I would see how the families of 9-11 feel about how safe we he kept us.

Her husband quickly changed the conversation to Spring Training.

Field Negro has a great post on this very topic.......

Colored People Behaving Badly: Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Edition

h/t afro-netzien

My head hurts............

Buy IT: Tear Down This Myth

With an upcoming cross country plane trip, I needed sanity material. To make the trip tolerable, I just purchased Will Bunch's latest book, Tear Down This Myth.

Bunch is local award winning author and blogger. His blog Attytood is filled with passionate posts about politics and sports. I have found Bunch to be pleasant working stiff just trying to carve out a living writing about stuff important to him. Hooray for him.

Being a frequent visitor to his site, I'm sure his book will be funny, well researched and written.

Philly is the city of ideas. So it is not surprising so many bloggers have emerged from this community. The stars can be found on Bunch's blog roll.

So I think you will be pleased....

Good Luck Will!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Where the @#&* is Waymart?

After the courtroom gasped. My first baseman turned to me with his weary eyes and whispered, "Did he say 3-6 years?" Before I could reply my daughter nodded her head.

My right fielder's wife shrieked and her brother had to carry her out of the courtroom. The judge continued softly with the sentencing: count 2, three years probation to be served concurrently: count 3, three years probation to be served concurrently; count 4, three years probation to be served concurrently.

He proceeded to advise my right fielder, that his attorney did a great job. Even though this was his first offense and with a clean record he picked the wrong statue to violate. 

If not for good psych evaluation, the courtroom of supporters according the standard guideline; he would have received 10-20.

The day long proceedings were surreal.

I met my right-fielder fifteen years ago when I got involved with my team. He and my kid brother became fast friends. After watching my brother play, he graciously moved from center field.

He was money on the field. He navigated the ups and down of the season with ease. His wife came to the games. He worked as a meat cutter for the same employer for ten years. He drank with team but in moderation. A fun loving good guy.

He wasn't one of the members of the team I prohibited my daughter from getting in the car. Was my maternal radar that off?

He and his wife couldn't have kids but he was a wonderful uncle.

Needless to say, last March I was stopped in my tracks when I got the call from the team manager about his arrest. I was in Whole Foods in the deli section.

Sadly, he was caught in an Attorney General sting. He was screwing around in a chat room. The agent was pretending to be a 13 year. AAAAAAHHHHHHH

Unlike on the "Catch a Predator" he didn't go meet the agent, it is a crime in PA to discuss the possibilities of sex with a child. 


After his arrest, he got an attorney, went to counseling and opted to skip a trial and plead guilty.

The shrink opined that he was not a sexual predator and was not a threat. Since his arrest, he just worked as much as he could. He was too embarrassed to face the team. Most of our calls ended with one or both of us in tears. Ugh

I do have to wonder what the outcome would have been if he would have taken his chances with a trial.

We will never know. His wife of 22 years will have to sell their house. She is a clerk in a local pharmacy. The prison is 2 1/2 hours away with rolling visitation days. Will they stay together? Who knows.

I experienced a ton of emotions. Now, I'm just sad. A young girl killed her newborn and she got 21 weekends.

He got caught in a sting and he received 3-6 years will have to register under Megan's Law. There is something a little off with these sentences.

He and his wife's nightmare is just beginning.

I debriefed my kid brother this morning. It took an evening to process what I witnessed. Finally, he said "Where the fuck is Waymart?" 
With frustration in his voice he answered his own question..."I suppose we will find out."

I suppose we will....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We've only just begun

Most significant events are captured with the backdrop of a song. For some reason, I have the "We've only just begun" dancing in my head.

After checking in with my folks this morning, who are just thrilled. I reflected on the Civil Rights activities that were coordinated in our modest home and local church. They were instrumental in getting black history incorporated into the curriculum; affordable housing for our neighbors and the right to register as Democrat without retribution. They spoke out when others, for their own reasons, sat silent. My heroes. My role models. Their struggles made my freedom to move about the world possible.

They are stunned and thrilled about today. They NEVER thought a black man would lead our nation.

Today I celebrated this historic event with a few of my dearest friends and my fellow committee persons who skipped the bus trip to DC.

We converged up the local Champs. While packed, it was a different energy than the NFC Championship Eagles game.

I felt different than Election night. Maybe because today represented the shutting of one door and the opening of another. No tears, just joy.

It was funny how the place cheered when Bush departed. It was even cooler when most of the place stood during our national anthem.

(My daughter is a Y counselor and she had her kindergartners stand during different parts of the Inauguration).

There was a group confession, that this was our first Inauguration. None of us knew the flow of events.

After he was sworn in, the place erupted. The speech was a roadmap of what we can expect from him and more importantly, what is expected of us.

I'm feeling an optimism coupled with healthy trepidation that is felt on a happy occasion such as a Wedding or Graduation. 

I am now truly part of the We the People, a club, property owning white guys were always admitted. 

Tomorrow I return to my normal life with a ton of joy in my heart.

"A kiss for luck and we are on our way"

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cheney Files Workers Comp Claim

In my business, an unwitnessed injury on the last day of work is a little suspicious.....

Precious Lord take my hand...outta of this @#$% meeting

I concluded my fiscal year, in a Strategic Planning meeting. Naturally, this meeting took place on the West Coast. It took two days of travel for 13.5 hours of face time with my fellow leaders.

I knew that I was on the Leadership team, but truly stunned to find myself on the Strategic Planning Committee. OH MY GOD!

The Committee is was 50-50 split male/female. Historically, I found that when women were in meetings, the tone of encounter is generally on a higher plane. Maybe, it is a generational issue, or a life's priority issue but what I witnessed was not only penis wars but tit wars.

The Sr. VP leading the meeting at one point, stood up and yelled at the CIO. Ugh. After meeting with these folks all day, we had a one hour break, then dinner. The local members of the team, clearly didn't want to go home. It was awful. I've learned to say very little. The less they know about me the better. The jockeying for position was painful to watch.

After two hours, I cited jet lag and called a cab and retreated to my hotel room.

I tried to skip breakfast with these nuts, but they called my room. Somebody help me.

The next day, we focused on our Strategic Plan for 2009. 6.5 hours later, we came up with the same plan we had last year. You can't make it up.

At one point, an internal dialogue was screaming in my head...
This has to be a mistake.
I must have received someone else's invitation
I don't want my name attached to any of these initiatives.
I don't want or need any more projects
My head hurts
I want my Mommy

This article by Reid Hastie should be mandatory reading for anyone who schedules a meeting.
For what we accomplished, we could have had this session in a one hour conference call. I really did not need to spend two days on plane and three nights in a hotel room. More, importantly, I didn't need to spend that much time with those people. Far too much time was spent in these mind numbing meeting and not enough on state side employees who actually work. 

Our company did great last year. But due to uncertainties in the world, wages for the minions have been frozen at least for six months. Ugh

I'm sure we don't have the exclusive on silly meetings which explains why the economy is in the tank.

Both McNabbs /Teams Showed Up

Everyone who bleeds green was stunned that our Eagles made it this far. HOWEVER, there was a cautious optimism amongst the faithful at Champs in King of Prussia.

I tested the football gods by changing my viewing habits. Some of my crew had game tickets or were watching the game at Chickie & Pete's. My family was spread out over the county.

My sane alternative was to watch the game with a buddy at Champs. The place was packed and the crowd was nuts. Even the wait staff was fired up. We were settled in for an afternoon of football. In the event of an Eagles win, we were prepared to watch the Steelers game.

I said to my companion," if the good McNabb shows up we are in great shape, if the devil McNabb shows up we're in trouble."

The first half was horrendous. Short passes, dropped passes, clock management struggles and the defense was a no-show. Special teams were dreadful.

One large party left at half-time. It was beginning to snow, I was beginning to question my judgement. If I was driving my old car, I would have called it an afternoon.

The second half got off to an awesome start. The restaurant rocked with each drive. Could the Eagles actually pull this off?

Warner unlike McNabb threw catch able passes and controlled the tempo of his game. Kudos to the Cardinals offense coordinator, Todd Haley. He simply out coached our defensive guru Jimmy Johnson. Damn.

Whether we like it or not, the Cardinals deserve the trip to Tampa. Our birds earned their trip to an early vacation. Larry Fitzgerald is tremendous. A no drama wide receiver who can catch anything.

Sadly, we may have seen the end of Runyan, Dawkins and even Westbrook. All have had good runs, but the Eagles management as a history of disposing of older players.

Reid and McNabb will both be back. Reid needs to stick to coaching and let someone else make critical personnel changes.

McNabb needs to be able to thread the needle to his receivers. Sigh.

In parting, my friend said "You know, both McNabbs and Eagles showed up, the good Eagles weren't strong enough to pull it off."

Needless to say, I watched the Steelers game at home. (On a serious, note prayers go out to Ravens Willis McGahee. After a legal but nasty blow, he was taken from the field on a stretcher. A painful reminder of the brutality of the sport.)

The Phillies won, Obama is our new President, my baseball team won in Florida, the Eagles winning is just pushing my luck.

Oh well, there's always next year.

It's almost over

Yet again, the weather folks got it wrong. We were supposed to have a snow shower and the inches are adding up. My community service project will have to occur on another day.

Being home, I've been granted the space to reflect. Our national nightmare is almost over. W will return to civilian life, no longer in a position to work through his unresolved issues at the expense of our country.

Lord only knows how long and how many resources it will take to correct the mess created in the last eight years. Maybe the grown ups will stand up and assist Obama manage our country. Will there be a return to civility that was lost after Bush 41 left office? God, I hope so.

The Clintons arrival to DC was never accepted, the hicks from Hope.  The insanity began before Bubba took the oath of office. His inability to be disciplined and her codependency did not help the situation.

I must give W credit, he single handily created an activist citizenry. There were civic discussions. Some civil, others not so much.  People were engaged. We, as a community, no longer ignored the elephant in the room, our prejudices and racist tendencies

Our work as citizens has just begun. We have to do better. We have to be responsible. If you are making $40K you can't afford a $700k house.  If you can't afford something, maybe you should wait. Is saving for a big screen TV so bad? Do you really need a new car every three years?

We managed to get over ourselves. We listened to message and did not get stuck on the pigmentation of the messenger.

Thank God, Obama did not know his place and wait his turn. Thank God, he is reaching out to everyone. Concept? A President of the United States, not just a base.

While bouncing around Tuscany, I a sense of being an AMERICAN, not an African-American. 

Maybe, Bush should have spent more time outside our wonderful borders to get a better appreciation of the wonders of us.

We have once again, transitioned power without bloodshed. How many countries can reflect on their histories and boast this?

W hop on your bike and ride into the sunset..... you were and continue to be a failure.

May God forgive you...

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I awoke to find a snow covered community. Just enough to be beautiful, not enough to be a hazard. There is a certain stillness that comes with the first real snow. 

I am entrenched at a recently opened Cosi, which provides an alternative to my living room for writing. With my work and personal activities, it is all too easy to retreat to the comfort of home away from the psychic energy of other humans.

I have been Home a week. My body is finally adjusting to Eastern Standard Time and the mundane all too familiar rituals of my corporate existence.

After spending a wonderful Christmas brunch with my family, my daughter deposited me at the International terminal where I began MY Christmas present to myself.

My friends had began this journey on Christmas Eve. They had one day of Tuscany under their belt before I left the states. There was no way I would miss hanging out with the tribe for Christmas. So I would take this leg solo.

A dear friend and coworker helped me with planning this portion of my trip. I had mastered enough Italian to be dangerous. But I figured, with a big old smile and pleading eyes people would help me along the way.

The flight was uneventful. But I made a decision at that instance, if first class was available on the return trip I would snag it.  Even though the plane was big, I'm a tall girl and my luck in snagging an exit row seat had ran out.

I was surprised to find the signs in the terminal in Italian and English, very helpful for a weary traveller.

My other surprise was the lack of toilet seats. At first, I thought there was a problem with my first choice. The lady following behind me was as befuddled as I. Little could I anticipate this was the norm in this lovely country than the the exception. Hell it's not like when you are traveling you would spend your life in the bathroom. Dear God. The things you take for granted.

After a short trip on their regional rail line, on the advice of my associate, I purchased a first class seat on their hi-speed  line.

I struggled to stay awake to absorb the Italian setting but the swaying of the train rocked me to sleep like a baby in a cradle.

Before I rocked out, I managed to take in the countryside. Remnants of lookout towers dotted the landscape. It was if I was stepping back in time. Very Cool.

It was the day after Christmas, as expected not much activity for these folks were in holiday mode too.

I was met shortly after arrival in Florence by my fellow explorers. One of our posse found a lovely apartment not far from the train in the heart of Florence.

With the clock ticking on this adventure, I sucked down a quick cup of coffee and we were off to take in Florence. We kept up this pace until we left.

It is truly a struggle to find the right words to describe this city. Although I was a history major and had one semester of Art History under my belt, I was not prepared to ingest the enormity of the art.

Michaelangelo, Donatello, Rafael, artists a more astute lover of art would be familiar works were everywhere.

Famous sculptures sprinkled the city with a frequency of a Starbucks. Wow, became a redundant refrain. There were buildings still standing dating back to 1200. We can't seem to build infrastructure that lasts more than ten years. Ok, so they had slave labor. I digress.

Mind you the rulers in this period raped pillaged and treated the citizens poorly, but the artists of the day were commissioned and celebrated.

We walked everywhere which was critical for two reasons, not to miss anything and to walk off 
our meals.

I discovered early on, Italians breakfast does not include eggs or oatmeal. A shot of espresso and pastry and that's it. To go or carryout is a practice adopted purely for invading tourists.

They stand up to an espresso bar, suck down their espresso and they are on their way.

You do not see people walking around with a cup in their hand. A very familiar scene here.

So we ate a light breakfast in the apartment daily and enjoyed very leisurely lunches and dinners.

We did not have a bad meal anywhere. The food was fresh, prepared with a ton of attention and we were never rushed.

Seafood, lamb and the cheese were my favorites. We closed several establishments but it was never a problem. I'm afraid it will take some time before a return to my favorite local Italian restaurants.

Taking a break from the intensity of the Florence art, we took two day trips, Pisa one day and Sienna and San Gimignano another.

My life partner (more than friend but smart enough not to see each other naked) took the wheel of our tiny vehicle. He was the perfect driver. He just drove.

Anyone else in our group would have spent far too much time thinking about the traffic patterns. Rome was in a completely different league. As he opined, "once you learn there are no rules, its easy."

The tower in Pisa certainly does lean. Did we venture to the the top? Ah no.

Sienna was lovely but I loved San Gimignano was my favorite. It was a still operational medieval community. Seeing modern panties hanging out to dry from the stone structures amused me for some reason. The tiny cars struggling to make it up the streets clearly created for horses seemed surreal.

The city of towers was built high in the hills and surrounded by walls were created to minimize invaders.

Artists, storekeepers, and of course tourists keep this walled city vibrant. The view from the city serves to inspire local artists to capture its beauty on blank canvas. It was cool to see the artists working on their pieces as we strolled in to look at their completed projects.


We wrapped up our trip in Rome. We were greeted at our hotel by friend of the family who is spending a year in Italy. It was great see her and her visiting pal.

I'm really not sure how we pulled it off but we saw the top ten ancient attractions in a very short window of time.

We rang in the New Year at the Spanish Steps after a far too much New Year's eve dinner.

The fireworks started about 20 minutes before midnight. Everyone did their own countdown because there was no official time keeper.

Then we ventured down the Spanish Steps and hung out with our new best friends at the Trevi Fountain.

Way cool.

Our flight on New Year's day was at 11:30 which did not require us to get up too early.

Thank God, there was a first class seat within my budget  available which put an exclamation point on the trip. I've wanted to visit Italy since I was in the sixth grade. I was not disappointed.

My friend and Rick Steve were invaluable for our trip.

The one thing I know for sure, is that the trip was too short. But it was great to greeted by kid and my country. 

Hopefully, the toilet seat issue will be resolved on my next visit.

It is nice to see other places, but it always nice to return home.