|How I consoled myself, at Heathrow airport, over a 2.5 hour flight delay. . . When you're stuck in London, scones with clotted cream are a decent compensation|
Now, though, I have had two decent nights' sleep, even if both involved one or two of the wee hours awake reading downstairs while Pater kept the bed warm above. I've even unpacked my case, laundered my gear, and chatted (by text) with all my kids, although I haven't managed to see the grands yet.
|On my way up the hill from hotel to my daughter's place to say good-bye and wait for the driver to take me to the airport.|
And I'm sorting through photos yet unshared, trying to work out the balance of how much more to post about my solo trip to Rome and how much to get back to both the quotidian here and now and to writing about plans for the future. The garden, for example, is a wonder of new leaves and shoots and buds and flowers right now, and I'm keen to get out there with my camera. For the moment, though, I'll start by pointing you madly off in all directions, sharing a few links I've accumulated lately.
First, I think this long article by Norman Doidge on Oliver Sacks in today's Globe and Mail (one of our two national Canadian newspapers) is moving and fascinating and thought-provoking. Not only does Doidge trace the life and career of Sacks, but in doing so he also sketches a brief cultural history of the case history's role in medicine, its disparagement by physicians and researchers, from early 20th-century onward, in favour of randomised controlled trials (RCTs), and the awareness throughout the last decade or so of the Reproducibility Crisis -- that these RCTs cannot be reproduced with similar results. In other words, that they're not the assurance of objective science they were assumed to be. And with this awareness, a look again at the possibilities of the case history. As well, the article describes Sacks' wise acceptance of his death, offering considerable inspiration to those of us who draw closer and closer to our own mortality.
|A room of late medieval art in the Palazzo Bernini, using the Panorama feature of my iPhone camera|
Second, a good friend who is a voracious, astute, demanding, and astonishingly well-read bibliophile (hello and thank you, Jennifer!) emailed me a link to an essay in The Guardian by Jhumpa Lahiri about her latest book In Other Words. The memoir explores Pulitzer-winning Lahiri's gobsmacking commitment, after years of intending to learn Italian but being stymied in her progress, to writing only in that language. What she finds about the relationship between language and identity is fascinating, and the essay bolsters my own paler intention to struggle seriously with exploring my Italian self....
Besides those two long-ish pieces, I've also recently saved links to blogposts I think some of you might enjoy.
This post, for example, by Erin at Reading My Tea Leaves, where living (and parenting) simply in a small NYC apartment always looks beautiful in its ethical minimalism. Erin (whose book Simple Matters has just been published) extends her thinking on lowering consumption to the problem new parents often face regarding both giving and receiving presents for babies and young children. I find this determination by/in young parents to leave a smaller footprint inspiring, and I hope the movement grows. Erin's contribution here is not only in how to dial down the materialism (not to mention the clutter that makes small-apartment life less serene) but also in how to do so graciously, neither preaching at nor shaming others whose paradigm hasn't yet shifted. Worth a read!
I was also inspired -- and thought you might be as well -- by this post on Erstwhile Dear about digital record-keeping, photo preservation, and blogs as the new cross-stitch sampler (Seriously, she makes the analogy convincing. Go read it and see -- I promise you'll like it!)
|Three generations in Rome . . .|
And finally, if you'll forgive another plug by a proud Mama, especially since I've just returned from my time with this young ex-pat family, my daughter has added another chapter to her story of life in Europe. I should warn you that in this post, she's finishing her account of a pre-Christmas trip to Innsbruck and there are some surprisingly scary photos of a parade there. Christmas? Parade? Scary? Who knew!? But Crampus is apparently a long, old tradition, and I think you might be interested in her response to it.
I'd be happy to read your thoughts on any of these links. And I must say, your presence here was so sustaining when I was in my little hotel room on my own. Thank you!