Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Coming up

This weekend, I’ll visit my uncle and Carlin, two prominent characters in Half Italian. I conclude Half Italian‘s preface with the thought that peoples’ lives are like treasure chests, full of gems. Carlin just keeps tossing me gems, whether she intends to or not; a visit with her often provides something to write about.

On 4 April, I’ll meet one of my favorite authors, Frances Mayes, at a book event at the Getty Villa. Then it’s off to New Mexico that evening, for Easter weekend. Two days at Ojo Caliente and two in Santa Fe. I’m ready.

- PJ

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Editing and wondering

I’m involved in a project to cut and merge material from several DVDs into one long DVD. The DVDs consist of old 16mm home movies of my Italian family, converted and burned onto several disks. With DVDs as my starting point, this means having to go in “reverse” by converting the DVDs back to a workable format. But it’s possible, and they’ve been converted back to .avi files. Wonderful software, Adobe Premier Pro; in addition to chopping away the unwanted, I can make clips play longer. Old home movies tend to play on the fast side, even more so when converted to DVD.

Seeing people I’ve written about in Half Italian who are now deceased is wonderful, but it does makes me wonder if the book will ever get published.

- PJ

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lost in Hollywood

I’m now feeling better; although, I got lost, driving to work the other morning. Noticing fewer cars on the opposite side of the 101, I decided to deviate from my normal route, thinking I’d found a shortcut. And then I learned the reason that section of Cahuenga Blvd. moves quicker: it’s one way (but not my way). This I realized not from having driven it in the past (several times) but as I passed a gridlock of cars, all waiting for access to the street from which I’d just turned. So much for my shortcut.

Not wanting to get stuck in the gridlock, I decided to ascend Lake Hollywood Drive to see if I could simply drive over the hill, in the direction I needed. Sometimes that works. The most common indicator of an alternative route would be other cars, on-route to work, but I saw only two people walking dogs, and a bicyclist. Not good. Soon, a sign indicated that a right turn would take me to the Hollywood Sign. I found myself on a desolate section of street, facing the Hollywood Reservoir, cars parked at the sides of the road, looking like they just might’ve been there most of the night. Drug deals? Passed out? Morning prayer? At 7:15 a.m., this was not the place to be. I imagined trying to explain my situation to a policeman.

“How long have you lived here?”

“All my life.”

“How long have you worked at your place of employment?”

“Over fifteen years.”

“And today you’re lost. Uh, sir, please step out of your vehicle…”

So I returned to the gridlock and walked into work twenty minutes late. Indeed, my manager’s eyebrows rose, probably wondering if her employee had a screw loose.

- PJ

Friday, March 16, 2012


Well, it appears the “Monster cold of 2012” comes with a built-in relapse. I was warned, by others who’ve had the monster. Mine hit my chest last Tuesday, with coughing anew. Back to the doctor, today.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Coming back

I’m nearly free of what my cousin, Dianne, named the “Monster cold of 2012.” What relief to cough without pain in my ribs!

My uncle, who spent a few days at the hospital in January, has returned to good energy and good spirits. One reason: for the moment, he’s still living with our cousin, Carlin, which means he’s eating well. (Everyone eats well at Carlin’s – she knows the secrets of Italian cooking, and has never fallen out of practice.) And to watch her battle the mole problem in her garden is enough to enliven anyone’s spirits. “Oh, those talpin -- they make me so mad! They make their tunnels everywhere!” (Talpin, pronounced "talpeen," is the word in our Italian dialect for moles.)

There’s talk of a trip to Italy, the Amalfi coast, with my friend and travel companion, the one with whom I’ve taken two trips to France since the beginning of this blog. I’m ready.

- PJ