Category Archives: transportation

Needing a name….

But before it’s named, I want to share some of the calm and tranquil of the cabin that dad and John Miller created behind the Kamama gallery they run. Mom keeps calling it “Julia’s Cabin” only because I’ve asked her not to. It’s absolutely a cabin that will be enjoyed by many — but I’m admittedly already looking forward to going back. The photos are courtesy of Suzan Buckner— because, yes, I forgot to take my camera. (Maybe I was using that as an excuse to go back up?)

Without further ado …

Here is the link to some pictures. Now help me name it please.


a place in time

My parents are considering selling the farmhouse. They have been there for over a decade and that is a long time for them to stay still. I went down over the weekend to say hello to the Bobs (my former cats) and to visit. The angel trumpet had just bloomed, the confederate roses were changing from white to pink, it’s a lovely spot. I know for my dad, deciding to sell the place of his childhood is beyond a tough decision. That’s the kind of thing he can be good at though, deciding things. And my parents have a lot of flaws, like all of us, but fear of taking risks is not one of them.

But naturally it’s bittersweet. I know I’d never want to live there. I can’t imagine my brother ever would be happy there — but it is the one place that threads throughout my personal timeline. It comes close to being my constant—but that’s not the truth. Like everything, it has changed. Thinking about this on my drive to Atlanta, I realized the true constant lies in my parents — their ability to keep moving, keep changing, keep taking that leap in a moving van — pushing the horizon. The sound of wheels on asphalt driving down the road is the steady beat of my family. The only true constant is change.

Will post pictures later when time permits.

that old thing

Packing so far has resulted in two huge blue IKEA bags full of clothes to donate. Seems simple. I’m the girl that complains about the amount of “stuff” we have, I like to cling to the idea that minimal is better (except for in the case of books, really, that’s still tough for me). And most of you that know me are laughing, right? I mean, I also love little treasures, small tokens of friendship, endearing triggers that help me remember.

Yet, in spite of my hypocrisy (or dichotomy or whatever, split personality) usually when it comes to clothes I am all about donating. And I’m doing it now. With startling results. I mean, come Fall you may find a large chunk of Florentines dressing like middle-aged librarians (probably not though). And yet . . . yeah, I’d forgotten a few snags in my desire for an almost clothes-less state. I am a sentimental creature.

There are 2 items of note that have made it to the “maybe” stack. One is a gray long sleeve t-shirt from the Gap that I bought around 1994. OK. I know. I mean, it is 14 years old now and well past it’s prime. But still, it saw Jane’s Addiction play. I remember the night I wore it to one of Shelle and Patrick’s Halloween parties (because I was lazy and dressed as a movie goer). I also remember Shelby saying that year (1998 I think) “Julia, shouldn’t you retire that?” That gray shirt also went to Ireland with me and my old boyfriend Keith. I’m sure it went to Washington and Oregon with Mark and I. I used to wear flannel shirts over it in the late Fall. The shirt has history, it has been a constant during my adult years.

And then there is the tree outfit. Well, the outfit is down to the blazer part. Called the tree outfit because it is made from tencel. It was the first big thing Mark ever bought me and a gift on my 28th birthday. I know it cost him a lot of money because he bought it at one of those little boutiques in Virginia Highlands. It came in a brown sack with green ink. So earth friendly. He bought a dark brown neck scarf to match it. And I really was touched by the consideration and thrilled by it and wore it to work and well, you know, that is memorable. The first gift by your first love.

So these two things sit waiting judgement. I think I’ll give them away. Having written down the memories here helps (sorry to bore you all). And there are all of these other memories now, all of the things I can’t leave behind. Zoe art. Lori and Shelby letters. My writing angel. Books from Luigi. The list goes on, but you get the idea: stuff.

threading together continental drift

“Welcome back to the continent.” And then he immediately took me upstairs at the airport and ordered me an Illy coffee. It seems Luigi knows my weaknesses enough to realize one way to soothe me is with my favorite coffee as part of the homecoming. That and a drive up in the hills for a meal and a view. To steal his phrase, it was “beyond expectation” and very much appreciated.

Still, coming back this time seems tinged with sadness. It’s not that I’m not happy to be here and in this life again, but having so much love stretched across the Southeastern section of the United States makes for a hard parting. Having my parents close and chatting in the same room as me, being able to visit friends by hopping in a car, knowing your brother is coming for dinner, and being woken by insistent hungry kitties are just a few of the joys of being there and the pains of living here.

And being here, well, I write about it all the time, so you have an idea of why I love it. I’ll add to that being embraced by a man I love and who loves me, challenges me and makes me laugh — well, that is a large part of here.

Maybe that is where the sadness comes from. The awareness of impossibility. I can not be there and be here. If I could, you know I would. Rather than let it go though, I try to recreate. And I brought over some light-weight and entirely packable things to help— small props of my emotional landscape. First, the background of my babymac is now a picture of the kitties that I took with Shelby’s camera. So every morning I can still see them. Second, I stole 2 of my dad’s cookies from Lori’s bag o’ cookies. I am allowing my self a crumb or two a day until there are no more. I bought 2 magazines and 1 newspaper to read, a box of note cards to write on, several recipes. On my bed stand there is the stuffed bunny that is similar to Lori and Shelby’s that we all bought together. My mother’s scarf is draped in my room and there is fresh ZoĆ« art for the fridge. Life is reflected in details, and I believe happiness is as well.

And of course there are memories. So before mine dissipate into nothingness, I’m going to journal my homecoming adventures and tales. After all, ink binds us. Expect more posts, because it helps writing to everyone in this way and my intimates should anticipate more cards and mailed goofiness. (That is the closest I come to a resolution.)

The biggest prop of all is finding new ones. So I’m here, gathering my “here” happiness, slowly unfolding outside of my skin again. It can be chilly, but like all good reptiles, I seek out and collect the warmth.

All of this keeps me from drifting away from my being (you the people, sounds, place, food — you know, being). My true self. And my true self is becoming more and more a person of there and here. Rather than allow for a tear in me, I’ll try to thread the elements together, create something new, remain humbled by impossibility, and strive for definition.

My American Soundtrack (winter)

Primarily the sound of asphalt running under the tread of tires. Long stretches of highway and quiet that unwinds as you move through it. I miss it and hate it all at once. So much of our culture stems from cars, highways, the everyday movement of the individual from home to work to play to home again. Gasoline. But isolation too — that is the part I can get into. The small private space between four-doors.

And from this we can hear traffic, brakes, semis going over the line on the interstate. Service station dings and fuel pumping in the car. Auto lock, windshield wipers keeping beat and even if it doesn’t make a sound, we all have a moment of self appraisal in the rear view.

Driving. It has its moments; but the best thing it can do is lead me to the sound I crave — the voices of my family, my friends. The real soundtrack has everyone’s laughter mixed in. Anticipation and cruise control. Soon, soon, soon.

Cursed blessed day

It is a day of black and white (so far).

Had to come back to Coverciano this morning at a little past 6 after falling asleep downtown. Early morning dark and the fading stars; lovely. Napped at home, dreamed of old friends, nostalgic. Bathed, went to teach a class back at the train station that wasn’t really meeting; frustrated. Took the number 10 bus, that then broke down; irritated. But the walk home was brilliant, leaves falling in the light, presence of god blue sky, cool wind; soothed. Only to arrive back at home an hour after the PosteItaliane tried to (for the second time) deliver a package I’ve been anticipating for 3 weeks. Sigh.

With all the peaks and dips of the day’s first half, I’m wondering what will happen this afternoon.

Tomorrow I camp out on my stairs until the package arrives.


So, I know anyone that has had to suffer in the heat recently really doesn’t want to read this post. Unfortunately, I’m a mere vessel conveying information to you. More to the point, when I woke this morning I had to put on these (note the flannel):


Not only that, the view from my bedroom looked really chilly to me:


And of course, to take this shot, I had to put on a jacket (could have used a scarf).


As for other things, I got a free bike yesterday. No, I didn’t steal it. Just one of the many benefits of having friends in the academic cycle. Seems a student that was here in the Summer didn’t feel like selling it back before he left. And now I am the lucky one. Well, lucky may not be the word. It is kind of a rattling thing and I don’t think I’ll attempt to take it into town. But it’s blue and it works and I feel like I’m 12 again riding the roads, wind in my hair, cruising. OK, maybe not 12 — but still, bicycle, bicycle!!!

(yes mom, I’ll be careful—see, I am 12 again).