Sunday, July 12, 2015

McLean, Virginia; Long Island, New York: Naugatuck, Connecticut;Providence, Rhode Island


Claudia's 50th
Friday, July 10, 2015 (her real birthday is July 13th)




lunch with Claud, Clelia (age 8), and Bella (age 4). We met Clelia's art teacher, and Claudia told her about my trip and asked her if she had any advice for me.  She said, "Make sure you have good tires.  And you should probably get a case for your phone."

Then, much to the chagrin of Claudia, i said i was on my way north.



Instead, i headed to the westin tysons and met Claudia's old and  my new friends, John and Kris. After a glass of wine, we were picked up by Jennifer and her husband, Dave, for the ride to Wolf Trap, so we could all surprise Claudia, who just thought she was attending a Pink Martini concert with her husband, Mark.


The Birthday Girl
Kris
Claudia has known her since college

John
Co-organizer; long-time friend; former co-worker; current tap partner; aka "Uncle Zizi"
my new traveling companion

Jennifer 
long time friend and former co-worker 
and 
Mark 
long time husband who sets the bar pretty high 
when it comes to showing how much he loves his wife and children


Nia
Friend, neighbor, kindred spirit














Saturday

Spent the day having breakfast with John and finding a place to do laundry, before showing up to surprise Claudia at her house, where 50+ guests were going to also surprise her.







Sunday

hung out with the Benedettis, Kris, and John before leaving for a quick visit to see French and Scott.

Drove to Long Island, NY to see Jennifer and Henry and Mackenzie and Madison, the jumping bean tennis champ.












On Tuesday, i traveled to Naugatuck, CT, where my godchild, Julianna, lives with her husband, Scott, and their children, Julie (age 6) and James (age 3).  Julianna is one of the most capable and mature women i know, and she's more than half my age.

Her house is spotless. Her children are well-behaved, and she is all kinds of creative.  Right now, she's making the cutest burlap wreaths.  I love her husband, Scott, and if i had children, i would hope they would be as hard working as these two.

Loved hanging out with the kids, and meeting Julianna's next door neighbor, Karin.  Julie made the most delicious crock pot barbeque chicken and insisted on taking care of me.  After the kids were in bed, we talked and drank wine outside on her deck, with their sweet pit bull puppy, sally mae.

James (age 2)









Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Drove an hour away to Providence to get my act together.

My body was seriously rebelling, breaking out in boils, and threatening an ear and strep infection.  Five years ago, I visited Cape Cod, and then went for a quiet, spiritual weekend at a monastery in Poughkeepsie, NY.  On the second night of my retreat, I developed the tell tale strep lump in my throat.  I had to get on a train to go to Youngstown, to see my cousin, Karres, and her husband, Tom.  It was the train trip from hell. I got off in Pittsburgh, running a fever, and Karres had to take me to the ER in Youngstown, where the doc gave me antibiotics.  Karres and Tom nursed me back to health, but it's really awful to show up on the door steps of family and friends kind enough to put me up and have to be nursed back to health.

So i did something incredibly revolutionary and counter-intuitive.  I actually listened to my body and got a room in Warwick so i could recalibrate and rest, before going to Cape Cod this weekend to be with my family.

I am used to spending a lot of time alone.  I don't want to spend that much time alone anymore, but i feel like i have to emerge from it slowly, like a scuba diver slowly surfacing.

Last night, I ate in the on-site restaurant and had the most delicious clear chowder that tasted only of clams and smoked bacon.  the bread was amazing, and the butter had a touch of honey in it.  Since i wasn't feeling terrific, i ordered the freshly squeezed lemonade and some seltzer, which they call soda water here.

This morning, i slept late and drove over to Brown University, where i composed a letter to my much younger self.  "Dear 12 year old self," it said. "Please live up to your potential so that you can go to brown or RISD."

I knew nothing of a place like Brown.  It was always assumed i would go to Catholic U. And i did...






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