December 31, 2005-January 1, 2006
Everybody but me went back to the Vatican yesterday to see the Museum and Sistine Chapel. On the first day they did the Basilica and climbed to the top of the Dome. The Vatican is a wonderment that gives breath to Rome and tries to strangle it at the same time. It is so all encompassing and demanding and impossible to ignore, but then ends up being worth the time.
I continue to struggle with my cold. It is so boring and seems to be lasting forever. Still, it is nice to have the quiet time for reading, going to my Internet place, introspection and observing. I was reading an article in the New Yorker on Alzheimers. Scientists are discovering that certain kinds of changed chromosomes cut off the brain synapses. I have never been good at crossword puzzles, but I am tempted to start now. I do know that not having the language has made me totally observant to what the people here are doing even when I can’t understand what they are saying. I guess when you don’t have the language going other senses help you take over. Aside from being shoved around by little old ladies in the grocery store, I generally get what is going on.
New Year’s Eve has never been my favorite night. I think of it at home in a car as amateur night. We were going to take a walk around Piazza Venezia just before midnight, but the rain kept falling and finally we just went to bed. A pretty quiet night even for us oldsters. Whitney and Amy found a “pub crawl” event for the young set that was meeting at Santa Maria Maggiore and set off alone for New Years in Rome. They returned about 3 AM and proclaimed it interesting but the group was loud. It was a mostly American event and it is hard to worry about personal safety at their age. Best of all, Rome is a town that lends itself to walkers and if you can keep from getting hit crossing the streets, public safety does not seem to be an issue. I found out from my landlord’s son that at this time of the year there are lots of burglaries by people who needed money for the feast days. While I remain irritated about our invasion, I do not feel threatened. I am watching the Motorino closely and will take it up to the Academy when I go to Naples Tuesday.
Kimberly and her crew leave tomorrow for a much anticipated train trip and sightseeing expedition to Florence and Venice. I have demurred to accompany them because it should be a good time for the girls without me and I have wanted to go South to see if it is any warmer anyplace else. Naples is filled with things to do. No doubt, I will report. We will all meet up again on Friday and then Saturday Whitney and Amy return to the states. It should be a great week for them. Miss Kim is teacher, guide and Mom; it is role she loves.
To celebrate the New Year, Kim has taken the troops up to the Spanish Steps and the Piazza del Popolo for the afternoon Passaggiata. They will stroll the Via Condotti looking at clothing they can’t afford along with thousands of other Roman walkers. Many of these celebrants will be dressed to the nines for the walk. They will be taking their time, smoking, talking and mainly having a good time.
Yesterday, the power in our apartment really went out. How could we know that a combination of a hairdryer, hot water heater and the washing machine would trip us up? This was little more then a blip because our upstairs neighbor showed us how to reset the system. I try to remember that our home is over a thousand years old with columns from ancient Rome, but I am not entirely successful. Kim advises me to not curse at all of this stuff and today I will meditate to try and accomplish this mission. Northwestern lost to UCLA, I think they looked pretty good trying. So, having had my nephew Tobin TIVO it, I will see it in a couple of weeks. I am a UCLA dad, so it didn’t hurt too badly. May 2006 be a great year.