Doors That Should Be Opened

May 28, 2009 at 03:12 | Posted in Bits and Pieces | Leave a comment
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There are doors that cry out to be thrown open wide. Doors that should never have been shut, windows to the world that should be thrown open along with those doors. Doors that hide ignorance and shame and lies should be opened wide. Let daylight in, expose those dark hiding places of the souls. School doors should never be closed to anyone for any reason (excluding the obvious criminal reasons). Church doors shouldn’t be closed. Pretty sad that in today’s wild world, there is a need to lock a church door. A politician’s door should always be open to all their constituents. Not just say they’re open but really be open to everyone. I guess it goes almost without saying that a hospital door should never shut to anyone whether or not they can pay. But that’s a tough one if the hospital is a for-profit organization. Someone has to pay somehow but it would be wrong to deny a sick person help.

Borders. Now there’s some doors we shouldn’t close. They should be wide open but that’s not gonna happen. That nice poem on the base of the Statue of Liberty doesn’t mention closed doors but how do we keep them open to everyone if everyone isn’t nice? Sigh… this open door thing is getting tough. And borders to “rogue nations” or “bad guys”… how do we deal with them. Those doors should be open to inspection to be sure human rights are protected. We want charities to be able to get aid to those in need. Doors to vital records offices and maybe adoption agencies should be open. We want everyone to find their roots and they have a right to know who gave them life, right? But what about the parent’s privacy rights? Seems like some of these are becoming revolving doors?

Let’s get back to some simpler doors. Remember when everyone lived in great little towns where no one had to lock their doors? Those kind of doors need to be reopened! Closet doors need to be opened so kids can see there are no monsters waiting until they go to sleep! Library doors need to be open all the time so kids can go curl up with a great book and have the doors of the world opened to them! Doors to the heart need to be opened so we find compassion and love for our fellow man! I want the doors to closed minds to be opened so that pain and fear and prejudice go away when exposed to the daylight!

Can you think of any other doors that need to be locked or opened?

I have one. I want the windows and doors of heaven opened wide that the blessings are so numerous as they shower out on you and yours that your own doors and windows burst open so you can share it with everyone else too!


Doors That Should Stay Closed

May 28, 2009 at 02:14 | Posted in Bits and Pieces | Leave a comment
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Some doors should stay closed, never to open again to anyone. Doors to my sons’ rooms when they went through those wonderful teen years. You know the years…years when only a mother can love them… and even then… sigh. And the door to my home office when I am cleaning the rest of the house… it is the catch-all room that I then need a week to clear out. And garage doors. I don’t know about you, but my garage does not house a car. It houses everything else in the world but a car. I live in Florida, land of no basements and not much attic. The garage is it unless you pay for storage, something I refuse to do!

And then there are the jail cell doors. The doors to the cells of people who would hurt children. Those should be shut and never opened again. Yes, I know I am supposed to be forgiving. My God teaches a religion of forgiveness. But I do not have to condone … and I certainly do not have to allow you access to children again. Sorry. Those doors need to be shut permanently. Wait – I take back the sorry – I am not sorry.

Doors to concentration camps. That’s another set of doors that should never have existed and certainly need to be shut forever. Before anyone reminds me not to hide away the truth of the horror, I am not advocating sticking your head in the sand. I just mean those doors should never have been. Concentrations camps had no business existing. Maybe that is another set of jail cell doors we need to shut – the doors of concentration camp wardens. Doors to nuclear armament labs could stand to be closed too. Maybe throw the leaders of those countries that would use them as bargaining chips in the world today right in that room before those doors are sealed. Just remember to take away the ability to make more nuclear bombs and missiles. Now please understand, I am not advocating a political position here. I tend to be rather conservative in my outlook but I really don’t see a justifiable reason for nuclear weapons such as Iran and North Korea would like at the moment. I think we have enough weapons and we have had enough lessons about intolerance and war.

Doors that should stay closed leads us naturally to doors that should stay open, or that should be opened…..

Open Doors…Closed Windows

May 26, 2009 at 09:08 | Posted in Amore di Italia, ancestry, Bits and Pieces, Itri, Italy | 2 Comments
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Most of us have heard the expression “God never closes a door that He doesn’t open a window…”. I personally believe that myself …but… doors and windows seem to evoke other feelings and thoughts for me.


When I look at a door, a closed door, I want it opened. I want to see in that door. I walk past a closed door or window shuttered and I want to throw them all wide open – to peer into every corner. Not that I want to be the local peeping Tomasina or anything like that. Well, maybe I do??? Hmmm. Guess I might need to think about that…. Nah. I don’t. But I do want to see in all those closed doors and shuttered windows. I want to know who is behind Door # 1 and 2 and 3 and …

 052609_1307_OpenDoorsCl2.jpgI think about the people who live there, what their lives are like, what they wanted it to be like. Were they disappointed, happy, weary? I try to imagine myself inside those doors.. would I be happy there? Was life there what I wanted life to be or would I be disappointed, looking for something more? This is never more true than when I gaze on doors and windows in Italy. I have 052609_1307_OpenDoorsCl3.jpgdreamed for so many years of living in Italy that I wonder if I would find what I dream about or not.


 But what about those doors and windows that are opened and can never be closed again? Those doors fascinate me even more, if that is possible. I wonder so about the people who lived behind them at one time. Were they there when tragedy struck? Were they a happy group or were they simply getting by emotionally and physically? Did they have the same dreams and prayers that I do or were they too busy to think about a future? Or were they dreaming of emigrating to somewhere else…were they looking for a new life? Why is it I see those 052609_1307_OpenDoorsCl5.jpgpeople as someone with feelings and emotions and dreams and hopes for the future? I can almost hear their laughter around the table as fathers and mothers sit with their families. The sounds seem to still drift from those windows. 052609_1307_OpenDoorsCl7.jpg
 052609_1307_OpenDoorsCl6.jpgIt bothers me more that in today’s crazy world, others can look at the ruins and see joy that an enemy is destroyed. Do they not hear the cries of the children? Do they not think of the pain of the mothers who weep for their children? Do they not see the people as people? For me I wonder if those families heard the bombs, knew the last seconds of terror that they would die? When I see the bombed ruins of Italy I wonder so about those precious souls. My own mother in law heard the planes coming. She ran out from her house to see the plane aiming low and she sought refuge in the arched door of a church. She survived but hundreds died that day and 65% of the town was destroyed. These people who were farmers for the most part – and certainly no one the soldiers needed to fear. But the enemies were hiding in barns and alleys and other buildings and needed to be routed out. Those buildings sit still as silent reminders to the horrors of war but I listen instead for the laughter of the children, the joy of the parents. I chose to remember the families who lived there and see them like myself dreaming of a better future for the children. Throw open those closed doors and windows… maybe sunlight will allow others to see and hear them too. 052609_1307_OpenDoorsCl8.jpg

Master of Lists…or ?

March 26, 2009 at 16:49 | Posted in Bits and Pieces | Leave a comment
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I am the original authoress of lists – seriously – I must have invented the concept – or at least I perfected it (?) – I certainly have managed to take it to a new art form. I will grab a scrap of paper and write a list anytime anywhere. Speaking of scraps of paper, I never met one I did not like so I am also very good at saving scraps of paper – old envelope backs are wonderful, cut bottoms off partially used papers, turn over misprint pages, etc. Anyway, once more in my life I digress. I love to write lists.

I find myself rewriting these lists to consolidate and re-date them. There is comfort in seeing all my bills listed in neat (or not so neat) rows, tallied at the bottom. To the side paychecks are listed and subtracted. Sort of like a budget maybe? (he he) Or how about long lists of tasks to be done, things to not forget to do. It seems at time my time is so over-scheduled, it is easy to forget to do something. Did I remember to write down sleep on any of this week’s lists? An agenda list is nice to have. Then there are those long time lists, the goals, the things I would like to accomplish in my life. And places to visit. My favorites places folder on my PC is FULL of those lists. Everything neatly categorized – until I try to find something I know I read somewhere once before – sigh.

But these lists are not an obsession. I can survive for days without thinking about one and I certainly do not obsess when I lose one or do not have paper at hand to write one down. There is no stress in not making or reading lists. It is just a de-stresser for me when I do have a list to cross off as I go along. A safety valve of sorts to be sure I have not forgotten something when I am so busy all of the time to take enough time to not forget something. Phew. Anyway no stress about it as I go along crossing off my lists if something is undone — well, let me qualify that. There is some stress on the bill thingy part – unpaid bills are stressful, especially if not paid because I forgot them or forgot to cross them off the list (we are NOT going to talk unpaid because I ran out of money first – THAT is beyond stressful and worthy of its own blog). Usually within a few days all items are crossed off of one list and it is crumbled and tossed or shredded. Soon another list is started on another scrap of paper. Sometimes months later I will find an old list in a book or in an unused purse. It is fun then to see what was finished, what was accomplished, what is still undone (that bedroom floor comes to mind here).

I often wonder now if blogging isn’t just another form of lists? An extension of writing lists as we try to make sense of life around us or a hobby, a passion? A list like a blog is a tool to organize our thoughts.  Pleasure and relaxation can become objects of guilt if we are neglecting those other pesky necessary details of life. If we cross off enough of those, do we earn free time, me time? Or is it the me time that gives me the impetus to cross off more of the obligations times?

So it is the same with blogging for me. It allows me to sort and list, to organize, to cut through all the little details, to find the nugget at the center. And it becomes the ultimate list of myself – here and now – and the travel back to family long ago as I do research. It is a comparison list of now against then as I use it to guide me forward and backward towards family and myself.

Holidays of 2008 That Almost Weren’t

January 25, 2009 at 20:28 | Posted in Bits and Pieces | Leave a comment
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     This year everything seemed to weigh heavier than normal. For the first time that I can remember, I had zero holiday spirit. The Holidays were always my favorite time of year – a family tradition passed down by my parents. My dad loved having huge family holidays and parties. Mom would bake for days – especially her famous yum yum cake – the only fruit cake I have ever enjoyed.  Thanksgiving everyone would sit after dinner planning and plotting shopping for the next morning and then when finished marking all the advertising flyers, we would plot and plan our decorations and themes for the year. That was to ensure we bought anything we thought we might not have enough of!

     Of course , Valentino has always insisted we have enough to decorate three houses and he is probably right — I inherited many of my grandmother’s decorations, gifts and excess from my mother, and added to it all with our own favorites. Decorating started on Friday, went into serious high gear on Saturday, and was finished by Sunday night after Thanksgiving. We rivaled every other home in our neighborhood because we decorated front and back yards as well as every room in the house including bathrooms! We had a family tree in the family room, a formal one in the living room, and small trees in each boy’s room, too. Dept.56 would be one huge display, a large nativity of 7 inch figures in the living room, and a 10 foot display in the family room of 5 inch figures including buildings and the Bethlehem village complete. Being Italian meant Valentino was in charge of the presepi display and it was awesome. We had a four foot tall mountain on one end of the display complete with working waterfall. Little flicker lights replicated the shepherd’s fires. and Bethlehem was a bustling market scene with all the kiosks such as butcher, fish monger, flower stall, basket shop, winery, rug seller, kings’ tents, and the creche up on the mountain. Then in 2005 we were hit by two hurricanes back to back that destroyed the base to the display and we have not yet completed quite as an elaborate one.

     This year I have been working long hours at the local hospital, finishing my bachelor’s in business, and helping my mom while she was ill. Then the economy meltdown and the wickedness of the elections soured any remnants of joy for me. I certainly wasn’t feeling peaceful. But I forced myself to put up the trees and a smaller scaled back presepi on an 8 foot display. And then I set about cooking for family for Thanksgiving. But even that felt like a chore instead of the usual fun. I turned my CD player up full blast with our Italian Christmas carols and that seemed to lift the spirits a bit. Yet I was still struggling. That is until we were sitting around the table after dinner watching the children play. It was little Julianna that touched my heart. She was mesmerized by the presepi and wanted to know all about it so I stood showing her all the figures and the creche. At four years old, it is difficult to tell what she was understanding. I left her be to look and went to make espresso.  Then her mom noticed her touching and was going to reprimand when I signaled to wait. I sneaked not too far away and took a photo to make ‘a memory’ for her for years from now. Mom was trying to tell her not to touch but just look – and then Julie answered her tearfully, “I wasn’t being naughty grandma – the Baby was cold! I fixed Him!” Precious Julie had taken the little bits of fabric from in front of the king’s tent to make a pillow and blankets of the satins and silk for the Baby in His manger! So it was Christmas Spirit arrived at our house right on time thanks to the heart of a child!

Fixing the Presepi

Fixing the Presepi

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