Tag Archive for sj rozan

More Assisi, and a little Bastia

I had the best of intentions of blogging often. I was thinking Ah, I’ll be lounging about, drinking a little cappuccino, laptop on my lap… My tenth year here at Art Workshop International in Assisi and I still haven’t figured it out. Between teaching and hanging with my buddies, between walks and art and my local friends I only see once or twice a year, all that lounging time doesn’t exist.

So here I am, belatedly, back again, with some photos. Most of them are from Assisi, though we took a little trip — and I mean little, literally 4 minutes on the train (though of course you have to walk down to Santa Maria degli Angeli to get the train, and then wait for the train, so from the hotel the trip is about an hour and 4 minutes) — to Bastia, and strolled around.

View from our favorite cafe


Breakfast at the Hotel Giotto (plus a little fruit for lunch…)


The hard-working guys holding up the rose window at San Rufino


Below street-level plantings. Don’t show this to Grow Dammit, he’ll feel insecure.


Flower pot on the wall


Sunflowers, almost ready for harvest


Bastia: the market’s over


Bastia: painted wall


Filipina nuns in habits and identical straw hats waiting for the bus.


Bastia: I don’t think this is the police station any more…


…or else some cop has a very green thumb.


Dragon sings karaoke

Assisi, Assisi

Arrived at the Hotel Giotto, went to my regular room, unpacked and I already know where everything goes. Charles Kreloff and Bob Hughes had a slice of Pane di San Francesco waiting for me. Went for a walk around town: it’s been beautiful for 1,000 years and it changes but it doesn’t; still beautiful. Herein, the first set of photos. Including food, as requested.

Salad at dinner


Bootleg photo in the Basilica (no photos allowed!)

Basilica door detail

Outside my room, dawn

The Pope’s Dining Room in the Basilica. For nine hundred years, when a Pope visits Assisi, this is where they feed him.

Interior garden at the Basilica

Lemon and sage ravioli (SO yummy)

We visit the Basilica at night



Early morning at the Rancho

Well, not exactly at the Rancho. On the causeway nearby. Went for a sunrise walk, and can report we are rich in egrets this year. That must mean the marsh is rich in fish. Also was dive-bombed by some smaller shorebirds I can’t identify, but this also happened last year when I walked too close to their nest. (How come you nest so near the road, guys, when you have the whole marsh to choose from?) All the osprey nesting platforms are full, and a few telephone poles have been colonized with those big, sloppy nests osprey build. We have robins, redwinged blackbirds, catbirds, sparrows, cardinals, house finches, some kind of warbler I can’t identify, starlings, crows, Baltimore orioles, and woodpeckers (don’t know what kind, have heard but not seen them) in abundance but no wild turkeys, of which last year we had two broods marching around on their route from house to house, chowing down. The butterfly bushes I planted last year are just starting to bloom, so I’m expecting hummingbirds when we come back next weekend.

#resist #rememberwhatyou’refightingfor

A great idea! In fact, two.

I’m just loving this: ice stupas!

To bring water to drought-stricken areas.

Photo by Sonam Wangchuk.

And speaking of the Himalayas, come to Kathmandu!  Click the link for details. (Not the photo, the link.) See you there!



Opening weekend at the Rancho

Inaugural dinner. Swordfish and onions on the grill. Jim making it happen, with kibbutzing from everyone. (“It’s done!” “It’s still raw!” “Take it off!” “No, just move it to the side!”) Summer has begun. Photo by Susan Chin.

I love New York

Pouring in NYC this afternoon, so  I ducked into one of those specialty coffee places. I waited behind two other wet people ordering from a barista so sprightly I could only assume he’d been hitting the product. When it was my turn I asked for a cup of tea. He pirouetted, grabbed a teabag, pulled the hot water, and said, “I can tell you how tea started. I mean, if you have time.”

“It’s raining, go ahead.”

“Well, a couple of thousand years ago the emperor of China used to drink hot water three times a day and then one day he was sitting in the garden and a leaf fell into his water and when his servants tried to take it away and give him another he said no because it was fate so he’d drink it and see what happened so they all watched and they were scared but afterwards he felt so great he wanted more of those leaves in his water the next day. And that’s how tea started.”

He grinned, gave me my tea, looked past me at the wet young man behind me and said, “What can I get you?”

I love New York.


Mother’s Day

My mom, about twenty years ago at a family reunion.  Miss you, Ma.  (Don’t call me Ma!)


Draft letter to Congresspeople who voted YES on Trumpcare

Is your Congressperson among those lily-livered sellouts (is being lily-livered a pre-existing condition?) who voted for this bill?  Would you like to give her/him a piece of your mind but you find yourself just sputtering? At the request of a friend in a district represented by one of those hypocritical cowards (if this bill was going to be so great, why did they exempt themselves AND THEIR STAFFS from its provisions?) I’ve put together the following letter anyone is welcome, indeed encouraged, to use.


Dear ____________,

I am one of your constituents. I’ve read this so-called health-care bill — which, I suspect, is more than you did — and whatever nonsense you spout about coverage for pre-existing conditions, I can tell you this: if this bill becomes law, within two years I will be dead. However, you are up for re-election in less time than that.  I promise you, whether the Senate passes this travesty of a bill or not, I’m going to spend the next 18 months fighting your re-election and making sure your career is dead, too.



Mongolian graffiti

Flatbush, Brooklyn, yesterday.  No, I have no idea.



ANATOMY OF INNOCENCE came out this week. The brainchild of Laura Caldwell and Leslie Klinger, the book pairs crime writers with exonerees — wrongfully convicted, that is, innocent, women and men who spent years, decades, in prison for crimes they hadn’t committed. Each writer was asked to work with an exoneree to tell a portion of the story, from initial involvement in the case through trial, prison, release, and beyond. I was given the double privilege of working with Gloria Killian, and telling the part of the exoneree story that opens the book. (“Hey, Gloria, they want us to do Chapter One!” “Oh, good, no pressure.”) If you’re thinking criminal justice reform is an abstract issue, this book gives you the opportunity to look at things differently.