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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Venice Diaries IV


I thought I would let you know why you haven't heard from us since we arrived in Venice. It is quite an epic.

First, as we tried to leave NJ on Rt 80 in the midst of a blinding rainstorm on January 27th I needed a rest room. We left 80 on the road to Blairstown and the car went dead!! Thank God we were off of 80 or we might have been also.

We called AAA who took us to a good garage where we sat all day waiting for a new alternator. It came so late we had to stay over in Newton. Mind you, we are traveling all this time with Tippy so we have to find Motels that will take dogs. Newton didn't.

Next day we drove to visit Laurie and the day after to visit Allison and see our new Great-grandbaby, Raven, who just delightful!

We then drove down to Jacksonville and thence to Venice where we arrived on Feb.1.
Claire wasn't quite ready for us and spent the next two days removing her stuff from closets,etc.
Monday we drove down to the Venice Post Office to see why I wasn't receiving my mail. We parked at the PO and the car went dead! Again! We called AAA and were towed to a local shop who said it was our alternator. Three days later we got it back and decided to get rid of the Hundai as it was 10 years old and becoming unreliable. We think it was the computer causing the problem. Anyway we started looking at cars and found a cute Hundai Elantra Touring car in bright red. We bought it on the spot, or so we thought until Massachucetts wouldn't let us register it. We drove it for a week with out our knowing it was unregistered. Finally Hundai let us use their dealer plates until the car got properly registered in MA. My insurance agency person finally got it set up, but because of the holiday couldn't get it registered until today, Tuesday. Mind you we bought it on Feb. 9th. today is the 21st.

Besides all that, we just got down here and I came down with a serious allergy attack and had to go to the Emergency room for medication. Three medications later I thought I was recovered, but yesterday it came back with a vengence and I am now on an antibiotic for 10 days. I don't even know what I am being allergic to. This never happened on the Cape!

Then, at the end of the first week Patrick started having urinary problems, so back to the Emergency room and he was on an antibiotic for a whopping urinary infection. He's OK now. But thank goodness the hospital is just across the highway from Claire's house and they are very efficient and fast.

Actually, we love the location of the house, it's walkable to the Publix, the hospital is very close, the Episcopal church is just behind the hospital and is very nice and we are only blocks away from downtown Venice. They even have a Paw Park for dogs right on the beach. Tippy loves it here!

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln.......

So that is why you haven't heard from us. The only friends we have seen at all have been Roger Rockefeller and Maria Rosa (who have become quite the artists) and who came down from Sarasota to visit for an afternoon. We will be going up to go painting with them next week.

So, brother, that is my tale of woe, which was actually only a lot of inconveniences, and I hope that we will be able to get together with you and Sue sometime in the near future!



Venice Diaries III

Celebrated our third wedding anniversary with dinner at
Cassariano's, an "authentic Italian eatery" (a literal translation
of "Osteria") along with hordes inside and out, on Valentine's
Day. We now have 106 years of married life between the two
of us!

Explored the Venice Art Center, which is a working museum
and educational facility for recognized and would-be artists.
Venice also hosts a large community center, library, and
theater in buildings of contemporary Italian design. At the
theater, we saw "The Music Man," featuring a large, local
cast and experienced principals. Splendid production!

Friday, we were joined by Roger and Mariarosa Rockefeller
for lunch at the Cafe Venice, and an afternoon of family
reminiscences. Roger is Winston's younger brother. Both
he and his wife have become recognized artists. They want
to get Barbara painting again, as do I, and have invited us
to spend a day with them in Sarasota/Bradenton.

On Sunday after church, we became Jews for a day, along
with hundreds of others, by attending the annual food festival
at the Jewish Center. Lunch was authentic pastrami and rye
while listening to a klezmer band.

No trip is complete without a visit to a mall, in this case,
the Port Charlotte Towne Center. We had Macy's gift cards
from our trips. Lunch at a Ruby Tuesday, which I remembered
from 1993 when Mom and I reconnoitered Florida. We
were impressed then by being able to eat outside in February.
That didn't happen again until Siena in 2002.

Enjoying St. Mark's particularly. Shrove Tuesday pancake
supper, then the Ash Wednesday service today. Later in the
morning, authentic Stracciatella gelato at a shop in Venice
that has an Italian gelato maker. In Italy in the summer, you
have gelato at least once a day.

I am attaching Barbara's letter to her brother, Frank, for more
background. They are in Wellington, near Palm Beach. We
will probably drive over there some time on Alligator Alley.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Venice Diaries II

Feb. 9

Looked at new cars at the local Kia dealer yesterday, then drove up to
Sarasota (20 miles) to see what was available. The Kia Soul was a gas,
but a bit too trendy for old folks. Success: A floor model Hyundai
Elantra Touring. Fire engine red. Who knew? At least, we won't miss
it in the parking lot. Drove it home after an all day round of financing,
insurance coverage, registration, piles of documents.

The Elantra Touring is a five door wagon with lots of room. The floor
model had features that B especially wanted, to wit, leather seats and
a moon roof. Besides, the controls are very similar to what she is
used to from her Hyundai that we traded in. Now we can begin our
Florida stay in earnest, without car worries. We had AAA service
three times, fortunately being able to stop in a safe place each time.

St. Mark's Episcopal Church is a joy, reminiscent of Christ Church,
Winnetka, with a large choir, lots of clergy, and over 200 people
at the service we attended (one of four). On Wednesday, we
went to the weekly parish dinner with about 125 unmistakable
Episcopalians. Haven't seen so many at once in a long time!

Feb 13

Another setback! Alarming symptoms sent me to the Venice Medical
Center on Saturday. Fortunately, hardly anyone was waiting, so I was
out promptly. A young, no-nonsense lady doctor said that they start
with the most obvious causes and proceed from there, a pattern with
which I heartily approve. It was a urinary tract infection, that Darcy
says responds quickly to antibiotics. Mom used to get it frequently.

So I felt well enough today to go up to Sarasota to deliver the title to
the old Hyundai, which Jesse had forwarded overnight from the Cape.
Then we drove to Holmes Beach, at the far north end of Long Boat
Key to see and buy art works by Barbara's brother-in-law and his
wife, returning to Sarasota to tour the Ringling Art Museum.

Some glimpses of small town life in Venice: A pasta dinner at the
Italian Club, along with hundreds of retirees. A quick dinner at
a hamburger emporium which was hosting the awards dinner for
the girls' basketball team from Venice High School. We clapped
at appropriate times, but forewent having a piece of the sheet cake.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Venice Diaries I

Feb 2

Arrived in Venice about two p.m. yesterday, with time to visit the famous dog beach
and the Chamber of Commerce. Celebratory dinner at the Cafe Venice. Still a
little chilly to sit outside. High of 71 today, warmer tomorrow. R&R today in
our rental house. Running around in shorts and T-shirt.

Had very worthwhile visits with all of Barbara's daughters and families, on the way
down. Used up one of our non-travel days having an alternator replaced on the
Hyundai. Otherwise, very fast driving all the way, for about 1600 miles.

Feb 4

79 degrees and partly cloudy. Walked Tippy on the bike path across the street,
that follows the Intracoastal Waterway on the west side. We are on Venice Island,
separated from the mainland. The little ranch house we are renting from Barbara's
cousin is in a section settled in the 50s.

B developed a sinus infection on the trip down, so yesterday we became very well
acquainted with the Venice Regional Medical Center, spending two and one-half
hours proceeding through the medical bureaucracy. But the people were all very
nice to us, and the the PA who ultimately took care of her seemed to have a good
handle on accomplishing a cure without antibiotics. Today we were able to raid
the Publix market for supplies, at prices noticeably less than on Cape Cod.

Walking around the old shopping district led us to Cassariano's, a superb
Italian restaurant to which we will return on Feb.14th, our third anniversary.
Tomorrow we will grace with our presence St. Mark's Episcopal Church for the
principal service.

Feb 6

Disaster! The Hyundai died very conveniently in a parking space next to the
Venice post office. Alex, the AAA battery service technician with a pronounced
Russian accent, kindly replaced the battery, which was dead. Then he checked
the output of the alternator that we had installed last week in New Jersey.
Also dead. Then with enough juice to drive to a repair shop, we found that we
will have to purchase another alternator. We have determined to take the ten
year old Hyundai to a local car dealer to buy a new car for Barbara, break it
in here, and drive home in it.