Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Art, visual and edible
Today we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art which is my favorite museum in the entire world no matter what anyone says.  T got a wheelchair and soon got annoyed with not being able to drive herself. She settled on a system of flight attendant hand signals- which F quickly got the hang of- that silently let him know when to turn, stop, and turn on the 'fasten your seatbelt' sign. We went to see a fashion show at the Costume Institute. If Anna Wintour thinks something is worthwhile, we are not going to be the first to disagree with her.

Man oh man, do I love the Met.

For dinner we went to a gourmet vegetarian restaurant named Dirt Candy that is so exclusive that my stepfather has not been able to get reservations for months and months, but he finally got one for us at 5:45 PM and was told that if we were even ten minutes late our table would be given away. So we got there at 5:00 PM and T scored an adorable vintage dress from an East Village shop called Dusty Buttons that was as charming and alluring as the owner lady.

Anyway, the menu is basically four choices of appetizers and four entrees and four desserts. We tried everything and their jalapeno hushpuppy starter with maple butter. In case you are confused, this is the entree called tomato:

This is potato:
This is corn:

This is mushroom:
T said she wants her ashes scattered there after she dies, but I told her we couldn't because they are soon to a bigger and better location on Allen & Broome streets.

 This is the celery cheese cake that T had for desset:

And here is a picture of me and my dearest friend Ian who accepted me for the bleary, jet lagged mess that I am and ate the best dosas of my life with me:

I put your photo under the art category 'cause your so arty and your value goes up every year. (Read this with a New Yawk accent.)


It takes more than not being able to walk to keep three generations of women in my family from going shopping, that much I can assure you. Even after the flight and the bag situation, I managed to spend about an hour buying discount cosmetics at the mega-drugstore called Duane Reade. There are so many choices of tooth floss and shampoo that eventually some salespeople came over to make sure that I was okay because so much time had elapsed since I had moved or blinked. I'm fine, I said. We don't have big drugstores like this where I live. I'm pretty sure they figures I was from some tiny farm in Kentucky or something.

 Then my mom took me grocery shopping at Whole Foods where I looked completely lost. At some point this Whole Foods apron wearing guy inquired as to whether he could help me choose from the sixteen types of cheddar cheese. I got this dreamy expression on my face and thought to myself: he wants to help me choose my cheese. He did give me such sage advice about cheddar that I started to wonder if he would help me with other perplexing problems of the day like where to find lip balm, and how to deal with my hangnail, and which museum to go to, but in the end, I kept my mouth shut because there was always the possibility that he was just a cheese specialist.


Even with her swollen feet, T was able to negotiate Victoria's Secret, TJ Maxx, and Forever 21. We went to a bunch of stores near my mom's house, but we saved her favorite for last. It is a place called Shishi. When I walked in to meet the owner, Elle, she immediately thanked me for having a mother who keeps her in business. I don't think she was kidding. She told me that I looked tired and had me sit on a velvet loveseat for forty-five minutes while she dealt with the other two sets of customers who were in the tiny golden changing rooms. When it was my turn, she told me not to bother going through the racks because she would bring me everything that looked good on me that was my size in the store. Um, okay. P.S. that was the funnest shopping experience of my life.

Do you like my new outfit?

A bit of sfortuna
Everything was great when we set out for New York from Pisa Airport. We got a wheelchair for T right away and this sweet guy named Luca came with the chair. Who knew? Ask for a wheelchair and get one sweet guy free! So he got us to the front of all the lines and we were through security in no time. T and I were seriously thinking about taking turns pretending to break something everytime we have to take a plane from now on. We also received kind attention from two other Pisa airport employees and by the end I promised them I would write them a glowing review on their website. If anyone deserves a promotion, it is Luca Saviozzi, Nicoletta Ion, and some chick named Roberta who managed to make adult braces look fetching.

 Anyway, as you can imagine, our luck didn't hold out. When we got to New York after ten hours of a tedious flight, we were at the very back of the plane and so we asked the flight attendant to call ahead and make sure that the wheelchair would be waiting for us. The wheelchair came, but without the right kind of employee to push it. After half an hour the gate agents decided to start walking us towards Customs themselves. I had to pee the whole time. And I was thirsty. It was awkward. Anyway, we zooped to the head of the line through Customs as well, but then as we emerged and saw my mother frantically waving at us on the welcome line the gate agent told us that we had to go in the opposite direction because she had to put the wheelchair away. I signaled to my mom but she got lost on the way to us so I sent F to go get her while I waited with a wobbly T. Meanwhile the gate agent who had insisted on stowing one of our suitcases (mine) under the wheelchair took off with our bag unbeknownst to us.

Hi folks! Wait, I can't hug you because a Delta gate agent is leading us in the opposite direction. Bye. Sorry.

We didn't realize we were a bag short until after we got past the parking lot type traffic situation on the Van Wyck expressway and had already gotten the low down on how to use every imaginable type of household appliance from the lady whose house we were swapping with in Manhattan. We had to call JFK airport six times, once that night and five times the next day to find out that they refused to send us the bag. Once they actually hung up on F. And then F had to drive back to the airport at night to rescue my bag.

I bet you never get your bags left under a wheelchair, Kimye or Kanwim or whatever you famous people are calling yourselves these days.
 The hands free crutch that we were so excited about turned out to be less miraculous than we had hoped as it is a cumbersome piece of machinery and left a big bruise on T's thigh before she fully figured out how to walk on it. It is also s a challenge to wear if what you have packed are mostly dresses and skirts and T had to figure out an innovative oragami folding technique to, as Tim Gunn would say, "make it work." Unfortunately all that hopping around on her good leg has left her with a swollen ankle on the other side and so now there is no really good foot, which is super sad. But she's been a trooper.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ragazze just wanna have fun
T had friends over. Then this happened:

Charlie's Angels?

It works like this
I know I've said this before, but it still holds true. If you want to live in Italy, you have to realize three things.

you can never get anything accomplished on the first try.
T did get another x-ray of her foot done at a very low cost at the hospital. This time it only an hour and a half instead of five. The doctor was pretty amazed that it had healed 70% in seven days, but we couldn't tell them that it was because of the Domacic method bioenergy treatments we have been doing because that would freak them out. T had to remind them of their promise to take off her cast and let her have the removable boot/tutore. They didn't fight the request as we had feared, but they did say that she had to go to the orthopedic care place outside the hospital called Michelotti. When she got there they didn't have a boot in her size.

it's all about who you know. Luckily, F has a new English student who works at Michelotti and he promised that he would get a boot that fit her from another location and that if she came back at lunchtime he would have it for her.

persistence is key. Of course, they then called us to say that it would not be ready by lunchtime. But it was ready by late afternoon and they were very kind to her. She loves it because it is removable and breathable and much more stable than the cast.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Ti chiedo.

It can't rain forever, where do you live?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

T was supposed to go to visit the orthodontist on Wednesday. On a last minute run up the stairs, she slipped and fell on her knee. Her foot swung out to the side and hit the metal railing. She got a huge swollen bump on the top of her foot. After five minutes she said that it didn't hurt that badly, but with our vacation coming up and everything, I thought she had better get it checked out. F took her to the emergency room. I really didn't think they would find anything so I didn't worry about going to the closest hospital. It wasn't as swollen yet as it is in the photo below, but when T showed me where she hit it on the railing, I started to worry. She hit it on the pointiest nastiest little metal cube in the world, the one that just happens to decorate our stair railing. 

During the next five hours of waiting, my brain started to play back all of the bad stories I had heard about people getting casts on at the Lucca hospital. In fact, they had their legal right to put casts on taken away from them after they put my former student's grandson's elbow cast on backwards. When he got to the children's hospital in Florence the doctors were appalled. Now Lucca has a new hospital building with fancier equipment and so I could only hope there would be more competent cast putter-on-ers. 

Here's a sight no mother ever wants to see.

Here is T in a full cast. Sorry Natasha. We take blogging seriously.
 Five hours later T came home with a cast that reaches all the way to her knee. This has not made her want to wash her waist length hair any less often. The good news is that they said that they will let her take off the cast and use a boot starting next week. The bad news is that we leave for our American vacation in less than a week.

My friend Ian sent me this cool link to a website where they offer a hands free crutch. So my mom ordered her one that will be waiting for us in America. In the meantime, one of F's students brought a regular pair of crutches for her that she hates. 

Here is T and Giorgia before T fractured her foot.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Non so che dire
Well, change is not always fun. After my health scare of the other week, things have calmed down a lot. Well, things have calmed down, and I have calmed down, but my skin is a real wreck. I believe that it is a temporary situation. I have read Tracy Raftl at The Love Vitamin's blog post about one million times to keep myself calm:

"It has many different names… healing crisis, detox symptoms, herxheimer reaction.

It’s what sometimes happens when you start making a lot of big health changes all at once, and for a while, things get worse. That means that all the symptoms you decided to get healthier in order to heal, are actually getting worse. Or you’re getting new symptoms you’ve never had before. Or you just plain feel like garbage.

Or, maybe you’re getting more acne and more breakouts!!! (yes, this happened to me at the beginning of my journey to clear skin)

What gives? Why would getting healthy make me feel worse and cause me to break out?

How is this fair?

Well, this is actually normal, and it’s actually a good sign that the changes you are making are having a positive impact on your body. Your body is releasing a lot of toxins all at once, and it’s making you feel bad.

However, it’s terribly alarming. Especially if it involves more acne. So it’s not really a wonder that some of the most common emails I get are from people wondering if the breakouts and other symptoms they are experiencing are just detox reactions or if they’re something to be concerned about. 

If it’s a real detox reaction, it should start anywhere from a day or two to a week after making significant positive health changes. 

And it really shouldn’t last for more than two to three weeks at the most. there it should continue to get better and better.

Detox reactions will never get steadily worse and worse over time. And they always go in waves.

In other words, on the onset of the detox reaction, that should be the height of its intensity. After that, you should find that the intensity and occurrence of the symptoms will come and go (from day to day, or even hour to hour), with each wave getting less intense until it’s gone."

This seems to describe my current situation to a tee. The other day I got about a dozen huge cysts all over my jaw line, drawing an arc from my right ear to my chin. This has a lot to do with the lymphatic system and the liver, and is to be expected when you take Estroblock. I figure having terrible acne for a few weeks is a small price to pay if it is then going to disappear for the rest of my life. Nevertheless, I do not leave the house a lot. My students and my Bioenergy clients come to the house. I have more and more clients as my friend Alessandro who is going to go into business with me in October after he takes the course in London has talked up the method a lot at his bagnino/beach club in Viareggio. 

After I came clean so to speak about having overdone it with the saw palmetto which did reduce my testosterone levels, but then worked too well and left me with lower levels than I should have, my friends started trying to express their concern and started giving me advice. In fact a little pack of them even staged an intervention telling me that I had to start going out with them and being more active again OR ELSE. After I got over the shock of it, I realized that it was very sweet. In fact I have started working out again, and my rear end is so sore that I have trouble sitting on it. In addition to Tracy Anderson's program I have also added in this completely insane ballerina chick who counts in this very nursery school teacher like way while you follow her through these excruciating repetitions of thigh circles which make you want to beg for mercy. I think it's called Ballet Beautiful. OUCH. 
Thank you Serena, Bianca, Francesca, Micol, Anna, Patrizia, and Elena for your concern. I am going to get my act together. I promise.

Given my determination to heal my skin, I am officially among the palest people in all of Tuscany. I may be vitamin D deficient and the moment, but it still amazes me how my Italian friends and neighbors fry their faces off every season. They just refuse to connect the sun with skin cancer and wrinkles and stubbornly hold on to the idea that a massive tan makes them look thinner, healthier and younger. Most don't even use adequate sun protection or avoid the strongest hours of daylight at lunchtime. 

Meanwhile we continue to fix up the house for the summer exchange. T is living a double life, trying to get a chunk of her summer homework out of the way while still making time for her friends and going out in the evenings. F has been working nonstop on this website he is making so I spend a lot of time watching an Italian miniseries called Elisa di Rivombrosa which is a period drama that has slowly but pulled me in and I have now watched a full 39 episodes so far with 13 to go.
Elisa di Rivombrosa has the clearest skin in the world, btw. Sigh.