nonBlog: February 2007

Click here for a possibly gratuitous explanation of why my blog is called "nonBlog" and my site is titled "Ceci n’est pas un blog."

Little House on the Highway-Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ever since I was a kid I have wondered how in the heck anybody managed to live past the age of 12 in the long era before penicillin. Why weren't people falling down dead left and right after contracting strep throat or coming down with an ear infection? An ear infection feels like it could kill a person, no problem.

Now I know the answer. Our bodies are made of much sterner stuff than we realize. My no-longer-imminently-dying father, with not a curative drug in his system, has yet again beaten back the superbug MRSA staph. After the spacer in his infected knee popped out and left him fake knee-less, with just a head-sized mass of flesh where his knee used to be, there was an open, infected hole that measured 25 centimeters deep. Now the hole is less than 10 centimeters. Very much against his will, my father's body is healing itself.

He is in danger of being denied his hospice status because he seems not to be dying anymore. This would mean that he will no longer be allowed the large doses of painkillers that have been making him comfortable for all these months, which is hard to imagine. His doctor asked if he wanted to consider the amputation that would rid him of this nonfunctioning leg and allow him another 5 or so years of (bedridden) life, and my father said he would only agree to the surgery if they could promise him he would die on the table.

No Falling Footwear Here-Sunday, February 4, 2007

Every day since we came to Italy, Tom and I have waited for a shoe to drop-something to disabuse us of the notion that moving to Florence for a year or two is a really outstanding idea. It could have been the school shoe. We have a large number of daughters in our care and they each need a school that can serve them at their vastly differing childhood stages. If we were to move during the summer of 2009, for example, Ava would need a preschool. Greta would need an elementary school with either Ava or Olivia on the same campus. Olivia would need an exceptionally challenging high school. So on Monday we interviewed at the International School's upper school, which houses grades 6-12, and it was delightful. As with everything else in Italy, it's in a restored jillion-year-old villa, and it has a curriculum that leads to a baccalaureate degree. We had no trouble visualizing Olivia there. On Friday we interviewed at the lower school, which houses preschool to fifth grade, and it was 15 minutes outside of town in another restored jillion-year-old villa. The classes were small and the kids were happy and the curriculum looked familiar and we could easily picture Ava and Greta running around. So no shoe there.

On Wednesday we drove down to Cortona to look at an investment property that our financial advisor had told us about before we left, and, against all odds, it made a good deal of sense. Even if we weren't planning to spend a year or two living in Italy, which we are. So no shoe there.

Then Dar, one of my closest friends, had suggested we meet her friend Jody, who moved from Palo Alto to Florence six years earlier on a lark and never came back. Here was a mother and wife, a Californian, a person close to our age and with a similar background who could warn us of whatever truly daunting factor we were missing. By this point I was actually looking to be daunted. But she spoke in great detail about how she deals with things like doctor visits and the language and making friends and renting a home, and each thing she said sounded more reasonable and doable than the last. So no shoe there.

We ended our trip by spending a night in London, and we stayed in a hotel near Sloane Square so that we could walk to the home of Tom's previous boss and his wife. We had drinks in the living room of their stunning Georgian home and Tom's ex-boss, whose company has offices in Milan and Rome, warned us about how hateful it is to do business there. But since I can write from anywhere and Tom owns his own business that he could run remotely, we won't have to deal with those tangles. So no shoe there. Which I find highly ironic because, in shop windows in Florence and London, there were shoes everywhere I looked.




  • KQED Radio
    Perspective about my father's desire, and inability, to die.
  • Story in the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine about English Channel swimmers who train in the Bay area.
  • KQED Radio
    Perspective about how Florida has gone into the bumper-sticker business with "Choose Life" license plates.

  • Horse Crazy readings at Borders Books
    in Corvallis, Oregon on March
    17th, in Eugene on March 18th, and in
    Vancouver, Washington on March 19th.
  • Story to appear in the San Francisco
    Chronicle Magazine
    April 15th.
  • Double top secret book due out fall
    2007 from Adams Media.
  • Story to be published in the book Cup
    of Comfort for Writers
    , due out fall 2007.
  • Fame and fortune; date TBA

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