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Italian Travel and Random Thoughts

Italian Travel and Random Thoughts
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Monday, October 14, 2013

In Other Words...


         I have an issue with words. Not all words, just those other words. You know, the words people say when they are trying to explain something that they think you don’t understand. It’s the sentence that begins with “in other words,…”. This saying makes my blood boil! I immediately have to wait for clarification of the meaning of the words that were previously stated. “In other words” instantly follows without regard to whether or not I have comprehended the original words or not. What was wrong with the first words? Having survived on the planet for over fifty years I feel entirely put off when someone uses “in other words” to describe something. I fully understood the meaning immediately. I “got it” with the first words. I didn’t need the other words. And what are the other words anyway? Do they really create a better understanding of the topic at hand? If they do, then why bother with the first words? Just go directly to those other words right off the bat?
Sometimes I think people use those other words because it’s a habit. In other words like when people say like after every other word. Like I was going to the store so I like bought some juice because I was like thirsty. Why do they have to say like? It is what it is. Isn’t it? It’s not like anything. It is just that thing. Whatever that thing is.  I can understand if they like something. “I like this food.” Or “I like this dress”. I’ve even heard people say “Like I like that sooo much.” What? What does that mean?? In other words, I like don’t get it.
Another linguistic issue that I have is when people go instead of say. Specifically, when a person is telling another person about a conversation. “So he goes, Wanna go out? And she goes, no I wanna stay home. So he goes how about a movie?” You see where I’m going here? I’m not going anywhere. I’m just saying. She’s saying and he’s saying. If he was going or she was going then there should a destination at the end of the sentence. Sometimes when I’m going somewhere I’m also saying something. This is not the same as when I’m just going. If I say I have to go it usually means a trip to the closest bathroom.
     This leads me to something else that truly baffles me. How is it that some people don’t know whether they’re coming or going? Just saying…

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Who Moved MY Mile Markers!!!


Who Moved My Mile Markers!!!!!!!!!!!    




When I first started to run I ran the Long Beach boardwalk. Originally I could only manage the first half a mile and then I turned around and ran/walked back from where I came. It was a quarter mile warm up from my house until I got to the boardwalk, then a half-mile jog on the boardwalk, then I would walk the quarter mile home. As I improved my distance I was able to run as far as the Playground on Magnolia Boulevard along the boardwalk. 2 miles.  It took me months to be able to run a round trip. 2.1 miles there and 2.1 miles back.  It was a monumental achievement to be able to continuously run 4.2 miles. Imagine the ocean and beautiful sandy beach on one side and buildings to block the wind on the other. Since I run the speed of a turtle I had plenty of time to meditate and enjoy the beauty on my runs.

When I trained for the marathon I would run from my house to the boardwalk. I’d run to the end 2.5 miles and run off for another mile until I got to the Atlantic Beach Bridge. Then I’d turn around and run back. I’d run off the other end of the boardwalk and run to the end of Point Lookout and back. It was 9.8 miles from one end to another with barely any cars for interference. For years I knew exactly where to run to in order to complete whatever workout I had planned.

Every runner, expert or novice knows the distance. If someone were to ask how far did you run? The answer is always specific. One mile, 4.3 miles, 6 miles, whatever the total mileage was. To this tree is 2.1 miles, or to that hill and back, 10 miles. It becomes a silent gage of fitness level whenever you run to a certain spot and back.
It is the one constant, the solid measure of achievement or disaster on any given run.
Abilities change, out fits change, weather changes, but the distance remains the same.

Then Super Storm Sandy hit and the boardwalk and much of the town was destroyed.  My lovely city of Long Beach, even ten months later, still does not have all of its residents back.  The sand and streets have for the most part been returned to where they belong, but the people and the boardwalk have not.

I have no more mile markers!

I can no longer run from here to there without thinking about how far I’ve gone. The streets next to where the boardwalk was are too congested to run on so I’ve had to choose other routes.  Every time I change my route I must make a conscious effort to figure out the distance. Instead of contemplating world peace on my regular route I’m worried about actual distance.  It’s frustrating!!! It becomes a chore to constantly have to think about how far it is to run to this point and back.

There is good news on the horizon. The boardwalk is slowly being replaced. One block at a time it is growing. As the distance on the boardwalk increases so does my ability to stop worrying about how far I’ve run. I can get back to the task at hand.
World peace!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Marti's European Vacation: School In Italy?

Marti's European Vacation: School In Italy?: While I was finding a way to complete school requirements for the New York City Board of Education I stumbled upon a great little secret. I...

School In Italy?

While I was finding a way to complete school requirements for the New York City Board of Education I stumbled upon a great little secret. It's no secret to 20 year olds looking for a study abroad program. It's a secret to us older folks looking for a non-traditional way to earn credits and have an adventure.
I found this great school called Lorenzo de Medici. Lorenzo de Medici is an accredited college with classes in Florence, Tuscania, Venice, and Rome. They work in conjunction with Marist College in NY and that's where my credits came from. 
    You can take classes in anything from jewelry making, to sculpting, to cooking. The classes are for 4 weeks with Fridays off. Most are for 3 credits. I took a class called Pairing Food with Wine. I don't know about you but this has always been a mystery to me. I had a wonderful teacher, Renata, who had a very laid back way of teaching and spoke excellent english. We learned how to taste wine and rate it with our own taste buds and not some experts. We made pasta from scratch and created dishes that still make my mouth water just thinking about them! 
     The best part about taking classes in Italy is that you learn to live like an Italian for a month. You become a local. Your life slows down and you learn how relax and enjoy. Sip a glass of wine in an outdoor cafe and people watch. Have a cup of cappacino in the morning and talk to the regulars on their way to work. The Italians are a friendly people and make you feel welcome. After teaching all year long, it was a wonderful way to recharge, rejuvenate, and have an amazing summer experience.
If only I need more credits!



Sunday, February 10, 2013

Italian Street Artists!


The thing about Italians is that they are all artists. Yes the buildings, the bridges, even the windows and doors are magnificent. I'm talking about the modern Italians that I have met. They take pride in their work and workmanship. If they are chefs then they are amazing chefs with one dish tasting better than the next. Even if the restaurant is a take out coffee shop! If they are brick layers, then each brick is painstakingly placed with care and precision. It may take ten minutes to figure out exactly which way the brick should be tapped into place but, in the end (which maybe a week later) the finished product is perfect. Even if it is only meant to be a storm drain! All you have to do is walk down any major street in #Florence #Italy and you will see art like no where else. This artist is drawing the famous Mona Lisa in chalk on a cobblestone street. At night, the street cleaners will erase every last chalk mark. They too are masters at their craft. The next morning this artist will begin a new painting just as succinctly as the day before. With clarity and patience he will create another masterpiece. All this for a payment of a few Euros to be tossed into an old cup. Belissima!

Marti's European Vacation: Preview ""

Marti's European Vacation: Preview ""

Monday, January 28, 2013

Some Florence, Italy secrets

Before I went to Florence the first time I booked everything I possibly could while I was still home.
I guess if you don't know much about the city you're visiting it's a good way to go. Since I have been there for the last four July's I have found out a few secrets.

First, just because a restaurant doesn't look like a fancy schmancy place doesn't mean it's not good food.
I found a little restaurant right across from the Teatro Verde called the Teatro Pizzeria. It had amazing fresh raveoli with spinach and of course Bistecca Florentina. If you've never had Steak Florentine it is a must.

Second, you can order any house wine in any restaurant and it is always delicious. Period. Is there even such a thing as bad wine in Italy?
If you want to go to the Uffizi Gallery or the Accademia and you don't have tickets before you go don't worry. Across from the Accademia on the left hand side of the street is a quiet little store front next to a book store. You can get whatever tickets you like for just about any time. That will save you tons of time. The lines are usually horrible to get into these places. Go when you first get to Florence so you know how to plan what to see.

Third, the Centro Market is huge but it's hard to find and you MUST go there. You will find all of Italy's favorite foods that you can bring home or ship. Also, it's right next to the outdoor leather market.
If you're at the S.M.N train station walk toward the Duomo and turn left on Corso St. You'll find it. Ask anyone in the leather market where it is. It's not open on Sundays though. Don't buy the pretty pasta in clear plastic bags. They are made especially for tourists. Italians don't ever eat that pasta.

I get hungry just thinking about all the delicious things to eat!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I love Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy. It is rich with history, culture, and the most amazing wine and food.  I have managed to spend the month of July for the last four years soaking in the Italian lifestyle. It is like New York City but in two feet of water. There is as much to see as in Manhattan yet the pace is much slower and leisurely. It's as if the people of Florence want you to slow down and enjoy life. So I do.
When I am home I jump in my car to go three blocks to run an errand. In Florence, I walk three miles just to walk and take in the sites. The rise and fall of foreign voices chatting or arguing in Italian is musical. Their passion for live overflowing in their morning cappacino conversation. I am drawn to this culture like a high powered magnet. I must return. I must. I have no idea why I have such a strong yearning to be there. The customs? The people? The food?
I have been on every tour there is. The David, the Arno river cruise, cooking classes, concerts, the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens, and the annual trip to the leather market. I breath the leather in like it's a perfume.  Michel Angelo's David is not to be missed. You can wait on line the day you want to go for hours on end, or you can go to the ticket office that is hiding across the street and by tickets there for a specific time. Everytime I go back  to Florence I try to figure out this attraction. So far I have nothing. So I think I have to go back and give it another try.