Liqueur? I hardly even know her

“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.” ― Truman Capote

I’m stopping in Venice just for a night on my way to my grandmother’s house. Let’s see if Truman was right, shall we?



After a few days in Rome it’s easy to see how Romans can appear totally blasé about the city’s countless monuments, basilica, and fountains. These vestiges of past empires are simply so numerous that they crowd every street and piazza. One can’t run out for a quick coffee without stumbling past a 1st century ruin. NBD. And given how massive and massively breath-taking each vestige is, it’s also easy to see how one might miss the tiny details that lend the city it’s layered charm. The floor of the Vatican museum is made of tiny beautifully placed mosaic stones. The simplest bits were the most beautiful.

Outside Santa Maria in Trastevere, the walls are plastered with headstones, almost haphazardly.

On the road, part 2

Morongo Valley

On my way to Palm Springs from Joshua Tree, I drove down into the Morongo Valley. I stopped to eat ribs at Willie Boys Saloon and Dance Hall. There was a mechanical bull but it was resting (it was only 5:00 PM or so). At the bar, an older man was trying to convince a woman to hire his band for an upcoming local festival. She put him off gently, “I’ll have to discuss it with my committee.”  He pleaded, “I play harmonica and guitar.”  “Yes, I’ll tell my committee.” A woman who was roughly 85 years old came in wearing a blond wig that looked as though it had been stepped on, more than once.  She ordered a cosmopolitan, crossed her legs and pursed her lips.


In the Coachella Valley, I saw a dozen military tanks roll up the highway going north. Soldiers in desert fatigues, with helmets and goggles, sat on top of the tanks as though searching for roadside bombs. They had guns too. At sunset, the wind turbines took my breath away — an entire ocean of them stretching from the San Gorgonio Pass (“the second windiest place in the country”) south and west towards the Salton Sea.

# # #

Palm Springs, the guidebook said, is a place for retired persons and gay men, and gay retired persons. I loved it. I want to die there, a shriveled tan little woman with immaculate shag carpets and a big dog. The Design Sponge Palms Springs Guide was very helpful (though some shops mentioned have closed since the guide was first posted in 2009), as was the Palm Springs Modern: Mid-Century Architecture Tour App — well worth the $4.99.

Palm Springs

In one shop in Palm Springs, I found this “primitive” sculpture nestled in between Danish mid-century modern furniture pieces. It had big teeth and was chiseled out of a single massive piece of wood.

Let’s all go to Rome

“I don’t like Rome, I said. It is hot and full of fleas. You don’t like Rome? Yes, I love Rome. Rome is the mother of nations. I will never forget Romulus suckling the Tiber. What? Nothing. Let’s all go to Rome.”

— excerpted from A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway


I’m off tonight for Italy! Wish me buon viaggio.