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Saturday, November 30, 2019

SAUDADES: EDITED AND CONCEPTUALIZED BY AMY SERRANO

Proud to be a part of this artistic endeavor


Here is the book cover and the artists whose gorgeous and haunting works will be featured in the upcoming book.



Friday, November 29, 2019

SAUDADES


ANTHOLOGICAL CONTEMPLATIONS ON THE SAUDADE
OF PERSONS, PLACES AND TIME



So proud to be one of the artists included in the Saudades Project.

Thanks to Amy Serrano of Siren for putting so much of her creative energy into this book.

I can only hope that a gallery in Miami could host an exhibit of the works displayed in the upcoming book.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

WHAT MAKES US THANKFUL


In no particular order, this is a top ten list of what we are thankful for,                  on the 55th Thanksgiving we have observed:

1. That we judge a person on their capability and character, not their bank account

2. That raw power doesn’t impress us at all

3. That true leadership and kindness does

4. That we have been able to help some of those who are less fortunate

5. That we have been able to help those folks with hands on efforts, not just writing a check and hoping some non-profit is doing the right thing

6. That being raised dog lovers, we have evolved to adore and appreciate the poetry that is cat

7. That we are not afraid to take an egotistical, criticism-hating elected official to task for dropping the ball on equality for all

8. That we have put our name behind criticism of high-ranking government officials who have failed to plan and provide for the needs of people with disabilities

9. That we have cast off the Midwestern Puritanical Suburban snobbery that values a neighbor only in terms of picket fence, manicured lawn and professionally painted façade

10. That we have extricated ourselves from extreme petty behavior – exhibited in (former) friends, associates, clients and bosses




Wednesday, November 27, 2019

TICHIRO: OUR BEAUTIFUL SIAMESE BOY BY DISTANCE ADOPTION -- PART 10

OUR DONATIONS SUPPORT THE LOVING CARE FOR
AN OLD CAT AT ROME'S TORRE ARGENTINA SANCTUARY


I'm not a selfies person.

And I've never liked pictures of me.

But here I am kissing Tichiro goodbye.

The time had come for me to return to Miami.

And for him to remain with his feline friends and the loving volunteers at Torre Argentina.

I wept a lot after this photo.

I may have covered him in tears as I whispered that I love him and will send him healing, positive energy from the USA.

http://www.romancats.com/torreargentina/en/distantadoption.php

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

TICHIRO: OUR BEAUTIFUL SIAMESE BOY BY DISTANCE ADOPTION -- PART 9

OUR DONATIONS SUPPORT THE LOVING CARE FOR
AN OLD CAT AT ROME'S TORRE ARGENTINA SANCTUARY


Tichiro is our forever boy, via distance adoption -- read more about distance adoption at the link below.

I told him all about his Meezer family in Little Havana.

How roughly the same time he was rescued by former opera star Silvia Viviani and her team of volunteers at Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, we rescued HoneyBear.

Our HoneyBear roamed the streets just south of Calle Ocho for more than a year.

We took her in and now she's our daughter -- sleeping in my bed nightly.

I gently petted Tichiro and told him he is every bit as loved and cherished as HoneyBear.

http://www.romancats.com/torreargentina/en/distantadoption.php

Monday, November 25, 2019

TICHIRO: OUR BEAUTIFUL SIAMESE BOY BY DISTANCE ADOPTION -- PART 8

OUR DONATIONS SUPPORT THE LOVING CARE FOR
AN OLD CAT AT ROME'S TORRE ARGENTINA SANCTUARY


Every other day, for nearly two weeks, I would walk down the steep steel staircase from ground level to the excavated ruins -- to visit the cat sanctuary.

A nice lady there let me pet and hug Tichiro.

She would find him for me if he sneaked off somewhere.

I noticed that he had almost no teeth left.

But I also watched him wolf down a bowl of dry cat food -- so I know he's still got plenty of fight and spirit in him.

http://www.romancats.com/torreargentina/en/distantadoption.php

Sunday, November 24, 2019

TICHIRO: OUR BEAUTIFUL SIAMESE BOY BY DISTANCE ADOPTION -- PART 7

OUR DONATIONS SUPPORT THE LOVING CARE FOR
AN OLD CAT AT ROME'S TORRE ARGENTINA SANCTUARY


During one of my visits, Tichiro had sneaked up into the bins that hold the souvenirs that serve as another way of raising funds for the very expensive work of a sanctuary that gets no government support.

I bought a calendar featuring the cats of the sanctuary.

I also purchased magnets and dish towels.

In total, the Wright family contributed about 200 USD to the welfare of Tichiro and his hundreds of friends at Torre Arentina Cat Sanctuary.


http://www.romancats.com/torreargentina/en/distantadoption.php

Saturday, November 23, 2019

TICHIRO: OUR BEAUTIFUL SIAMESE BOY BY DISTANCE ADOPTION -- PART 6

OUR DONATIONS SUPPORT THE LOVING CARE FOR
AN OLD CAT AT ROME'S TORRE ARGENTINA SANCTUARY


Teichiro was found living on his own in a subway stop.

He we rescued on a very rare snowy day in Rome.

He's a dapper old gentleman that makes the daily rounds to check in with his dozens of friends at the sanctuary.


http://www.romancats.com/torreargentina/en/distantadoption.php

Friday, November 22, 2019

TICHIRO: OUR BEAUTIFUL SIAMESE BOY BY DISTANCE ADOPTION -- PART 5

OUR DONATIONS SUPPORT THE LOVING CARE FOR
AN OLD CAT AT ROME'S TORRE ARGENTINA SANCTUARY


Tichiro likes to visit the disabled cats.

Because street cats often get injured, there is a separate part of the cramped sanctuary for disabled cats.

Some are blind in both or one eye.

Others have little hearing.

There are several that are missing a limb or tail.

Some have the effects of head injuries.

Many are on kidney failure medicines or have FIV.

Here Tichiro is getting a smooch from a friend while they await admission into the disabled cats wing.

http://www.romancats.com/torreargentina/en/distantadoption.php

Thursday, November 21, 2019

TICHIRO: OUR BEAUTIFUL SIAMESE BOY BY DISTANCE ADOPTION -- PART 4

OUR DONATIONS SUPPORT THE LOVING CARE FOR
AN OLD CAT AT ROME'S TORRE ARGENTINA SANCTUARY


Tichiro is an old boy.

His right eye is a bit cloudy and his hearing isn't great.

He has been on meds for kidney failure for some time.

He also has a bit of arthritis and his mobility is slowed.

Still, he's a happy cat who moves about the entire sanctuary.

Here he is sitting on some of the dozens of hand crafted souvenirs that can be purchased to support the largest cat sanctuary in Rome.

http://www.romancats.com/torreargentina/en/distantadoption.php

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

TICHIRO: OUR BEAUTIFUL SIAMESE BOY BY DISTANCE ADOPTION -- PART 3

OUR DONATIONS SUPPORT THE LOVING CARE FOR
AN OLD CAT AT ROME'S TORRE ARGENTINA SANCTUARY


Tichiro likes to hang out in the front of the sanctuary, where visitors stream in seven days per week.

He sleeps a lot, but loves a gentle petting while he's in his cat bed.

By the way, the ch is like a K sound.

So his name is pronounced Tih-KURE-oh.

http://www.romancats.com/torreargentina/en/distantadoption.php

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

TICHIRO: OUR BEAUTIFUL SIAMESE BOY BY DISTANCE ADOPTION -- PART 2

OUR DONATIONS SUPPORT THE LOVING CARE FOR
AN OLD CAT AT ROME'S TORRE ARGENTINA SANCTUARY


The caring volunteers at the cat sanctuary believe Tichiro is at least 16 years old.

When he was rescued and treated by vets, they thought his beautiful seal point Siamese markings would get him adopted.

But no family ever re-homed him, so he lives in the sanctuary carved out of an underground storage area next to the Largo di Torre Argentina ruins in the Centro Storico.

http://www.romancats.com/torreargentina/en/distantadoption.php

Monday, November 18, 2019

TICHIRO: OUR BEAUTIFUL SIAMESE BOY BY DISTANCE ADOPTION -- PART 1

OUR DONATIONS SUPPORT THE LOVING CARE FOR
AN OLD CAT AT ROME'S TORRE ARGENTINA SANCTUARY


I met Tichiro while working in Rome and staying at the nearby Unico Argentina Suites.

I visited the cat sanctuary five times and fell in love with Tichiro, who has lived there more than six years.

Before I left, my wife Heidi and I agreed to do distance adoption -- allowing him to live out his days with his friends at the sanctuary next to Roman ruins -- with our financial support.

http://www.romancats.com/torreargentina/en/distantadoption.php

Sunday, November 17, 2019

UNICO ARGENTINA SUITES -- PART 5

FIVE STAR ACCOMMODATIONS IN AN HISTORIC PALAZZO
IN THE HEART OF ROME’S CENTRO STORICO


 

Unico Argentina Suites has the smallest elevator we've ever been in.

And we've stayed in some odd spots in Turkey, Morocco and Latin America that certainly have had some tiny lifts.

While great for guests, as the rooms are on the second (third by American count) floor, and older residents on floors three through five -- the lifts really do not make the suites wheelchair-accessible.

I know of no wheelchairs that would fit inside. 

Not to mention, there are a series of small, couple inches, changes in elevation in the hallway of Unico Argentina.

It's a shame, because the rooms have walk in showers and bathrooms large enough to accommodate wheelchair users.

Plus the entrance, though the door is a bit heavy, is flush level with the sidewalk -- a rare bit of access in an ancient city still difficult for wheelchair users to navigate.

The Suites would be ideal for a person who uses crutches or a walker -- it would provide outstanding access and is in close proximity to dozens of attractions and super close to transit.


For an older couple, a slow walker or a person whose stride is impact by a stroke, Cerebral Palsy or Multiple Sclerosis, again, Unico would be very largely accessible and accommodating.

https://unico-argentina-suites.business.site/#summary

Message +0039 333 212  4626 on WhatsApp



Saturday, November 16, 2019

UNICO ARGENTINA SUITES -- PART 4

FIVE STAR ACCOMMODATIONS IN AN HISTORIC PALAZZO
IN THE HEART OF ROME’S CENTRO STORICO



Rome is a chaotic and often noisy city.

Unico Argentina Suites is an oasis of calm and quiet.

My room, facing the courtyard, had an amazing double door system.

The first pair of doors featured thick, soundproofed glass.

The second set are metal painted white.

Close the second set and you have instant blackout for sleep -- no need to fuss with curtains that don't shut.

Plus the second set of doors keep things super quiet.

Katerina, the host, is there roughly 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. six days a week, sometimes seven.

I actually had to tell her to stop cleaning my room and making my bed daily -- as I have no expectation of that much time-consuming attention at something that is more like an apartment short term rental.

She thought of everything then double checked to make sure I was having a tranquil stay.

https://unico-argentina-suites.business.site/#summary


Message +0039 333 212  4626 on WhatsApp

Friday, November 15, 2019

UNICO ARGENTINA SUITES -- PART 3

FIVE STAR ACCOMMODATIONS IN AN HISTORIC PALAZZO
IN THE HEART OF ROME’S CENTRO STORICO




Authenticity is what I seek when I travel.


With all due respect to the chain hotels -- even the luxury brands and those that have tried to create hip, boutique-feeling flags within their brand -- I could go the rest of my life without checking into a cookie cutter hotel.

While Unico Argentina Suites is very close to historic sites, the feeling within the palazzo where it is located is totally authentic.

I made friends with a dog that quietly spent his morning on the neighboring apartment’s balcony.

Right before bedtime, I would step onto my small balcony and listen to opera wafting out of a top floor apartment.

I pictured an old, proper, balding man near 80 still playing classic LPs on a turntable.

A hardware store, fruit stand and other conveniences were housed in the ground floor retail units.

An old machine shop even took a ground floor space on the side alley part of the palazzo – but I never heard light industrial sounds past 5 p.m.

A locals-favorite restaurant and bar turned out fabulous food and drink – including fra diavola super thin and crispy Roman-style pizza.

Even though the joint was open till midnight, I never heard a peep in my room.



Message +0039 333 212  4626 on WhatsApp


Thursday, November 14, 2019

UNICO ARGENTINA SUITES -- PART 2

FIVE STAR ACCOMMODATIONS IN AN HISTORIC PALAZZO
IN THE HEART OF ROME’S CENTRO STORICO




The price is outstanding for the quality of room and location.

I paid roughly 150 euros fully (tax, etc) loaded.

There is a Carrefour supermarket footsteps away that is open late daily.

The suites are very easy to reach by public transit, because more than half of the city’s major bus routes stop at it, as Torre Argentina is one of the largest transit hubs in all of Rome.

There also is a taxi stand on the north side of the square, also just footsteps from Unico Suites.

It is a 20 minute walk from the Colosseo and 12 minutes from the Foro Romano.

It takes less than a half hour, walking or by bus, to get to the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square.

It is a five-minute walk to the Jewish Ghetto, Tiber Island and the famed Ponte Cestio bridge over the River Tiber.

Unico is a 30 minute walk from Termini Train Station and less than 20 minutes by bus from that access point to all of Italy.

https://unico-argentina-suites.business.site/#summary


Message +0039 333 212  4626 on WhatsApp

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

UNICO ARGENTINA SUITES -- PART 1

FIVE STAR ACCOMMODATIONS IN AN HISTORIC PALAZZO
IN THE HEART OF ROME’S CENTRO STORICO



Unico Argentina Suites gets a virtually 5 (out of max five stars) review on any platform I’ve seen – TripAdvisor, Booking.com, etc.

It features modern, totally renovated (but with preserved natural wood beams on the super high ceiling) rooms within a 17th century palazzo.

When I was looking at a base of operations for nearly two weeks of work and play in the Eternal City, I was amazed at how many positive reviews existed for a tiny place with only four total rooms.

The moment I checked in, weary from the overnight flight, ( knew exactly why everyone gives thumbs up.

Katerina, the host, speaks wonderful English and is outstanding at explaining the rules of the house and the various keys needed for security.

She accompanied me to my room and seemed very concerned about every detail – the bed promised to be firm and comfortable – please let her know if it wasn’t (it was).

The shower should have plenty of hot water (it did) and there should be extra shampoo and body wash in the room (yes!)

Katerina even emailed a list of her favorite restaurants and spots within walking distance of the property – in advance so I could plan.


And she helped me get a reservation at a classic Italian restaurant.

https://unico-argentina-suites.business.site/#summary

Message +0039 333 212  4626 on WhatsApp


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

LARGO DI TORRE ARGENTINA CAT SANCTUARY -- PART 10

LOVING CARE FOR DISABLED AND STRAY CATS 
AMONG THE OLDEST TEMPLES IN ROME




The Torre Argentina cat sanctuary is open noon-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

It is very easy to reach by public transit, because more than half of the city’s major bus routes stop at it, as Torre Argentina is one of the largest transit hubs in all of Rome.
There also is a taxi stand on the north side of the square.

It is a 20 minute walk from the Colosseo and 12 minutes from the Foro Romano.

Largo di Torre Argentina is less than a half hour, walking or by bus, from the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square.

It is a five-minute walk from the Jewish Ghetto, Tiber Island and the famed Ponte Cestio bridge over the River Tiber.

The site is a 30 minute walk from Termini Train Station and less than 20 minutes by bus from that access point to all of Italy.

Monday, November 11, 2019

LARGO DI TORRE ARGENTINA CAT SANCTUARY -- PART 9

LOVING CARE FOR DISABLED AND STRAY CATS 
AMONG THE OLDEST TEMPLES IN ROME


All Torre Argentina cats available for adoption are sterilized, vaccinated, treated against external and internal parasites and tested for FELV and FIV.

"Which does not mean that they cannot harbor any ailments, like us, like you," the volunteers quip.

That's why the sanctuary offers, within 20 days of adoption, a free visit to its vet.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

LARGO DI TORRE ARGENTINA CAT SANCTUARY -- PART 8

LOVING CARE FOR DISABLED AND STRAY CATS 
AMONG THE OLDEST TEMPLES IN ROME



There is a special space for cats with disabilities.

Because street cats get injured and neglected, there are a fair number of cats who:

*are blind in one or both eyes
*have hearing loss
*deal with the effects of head injuries
*are missing a limb or ear
*have arthritis or mobility issues
*are being treated for kidney failure
*have Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

All are happy, safe, comfortable, in treatment and treated with respect and dignity.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

LARGO DI TORRE ARGENTINA CAT SANCTUARY -- PART 7

LOVING CARE FOR DISABLED AND STRAY CATS 
AMONG THE OLDEST TEMPLES IN ROME



While visiting and petting the roaming (most cats in the sanctuary stay there, but some wander back and forth between the safety of the indoor area and the adventure of the ancient Roman ruins) felines, you can talk about real or distance adoption.

The small (watch your head if you are more than 5 foot tall) area also is adorned with tons of souvenirs to purchase to support the cats.

We bought a calendar – featuring the actual Torre Argentina cats, magnets and hand towels.

There also are cat bed cushions, sweaters, T-shirts and dozens of other items hand-crafted and sold to support the sanctuary.

Friday, November 8, 2019

LARGO DI TORRE ARGENTINA CAT SANCTUARY -- PART 6

LOVING CARE FOR DISABLED AND STRAY CATS 
AMONG THE OLDEST TEMPLES IN ROME





Everyone from adorable kittens to older cats hang out inside the cramped, but loving quarters of the cat ladies.

There are a few male volunteers but for centuries, Roman cats have been cared for by traditionally by neighborhood cat ladies called “gattare.” 

Former opera singer Silvia Viviani and the late Lia Dequel created the sanctuary in the late 1990s.

Viviani, who speaks flawless English for those of us visitors who have not learned Italian, continues to head the organization.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

LARGO DI TORRE ARGENTINA CAT SANCTUARY -- PART 5

LOVING CARE FOR DISABLED AND STRAY CATS 
AMONG THE OLDEST TEMPLES IN ROME




The Largo Argentina ruins take up a full city block in the heart of Rome’s Centro Storico.

The site, largely neglected and off limits to visitors other than getting a view from the walls at street level, may benefit from a public access project soon.

It is very close to both the Pantheon, Campo di Fiori and Piazza Novana.

The #8 trolley to Trastevere rattles right overhead of the small, low-ceilinged former storage area occupied by the cat sanctuary mini hospital, inside home for disabled cats, offices of the organization and visitor center.

Unfortunately, the area can be accessed only by a long steel staircase, so it is not wheelchair-accessible.




Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Why Do Hundreds of Cats Live in These Ancient Ruins?

LARGO DI TORRE ARGENTINA CAT SANCTUARY -- PART 4

LOVING CARE FOR DISABLED AND STRAY CATS 
AMONG THE OLDEST TEMPLES IN ROME


Many cats live among the ruins of Largo di Torre Argentina.

A 1929 excavation found four temples -- A-B-C-D – underneath Medieval and Renaissance buildings on the site.

A big podium of tuff blocks located in the western side of the site is all that remains of the Curia Pompei.

This is where the Roman Senate assembled at the time.


It is where Julius Caesar, Dictator of Rome, was killed on the Ides of March in 44 BC.

https://www.gattidiroma.net/web/en/

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

LARGO DI TORRE ARGENTINA CAT SANCTUARY -- PART 3

LOVING CARE FOR DISABLED AND STRAY CATS 
AMONG THE OLDEST TEMPLES IN ROME


The best way to support the Torre Argentina cat sanctuary is to join the distance adoption program.

Adopting at distance is a symbolic gesture that allows you to express affection to a particular cat.

Sponsors receive news and photographs to show to friends.

While kittens and young cats find new homes, it is much more difficult to re-home an elderly or special needs cat.


Distance adoption costs € 15 per month.

https://www.gattidiroma.net/web/en/

Monday, November 4, 2019

LARGO DI TORRE ARGENTINA CAT SANCTUARY -- PART 2

LOVING CARE FOR DISABLED AND STRAY CATS 
AMONG THE OLDEST TEMPLES IN ROME




Like the sign says, the all-volunteer sanctuary re-homed more than 100 cats, housed another 100+ in their shelter, cared for more than 300 cats and spayed/neutered more than 6,000 cats.

All this is done with little to no government support.

Most donations come through visitors who go to the sanctuary at the historic site while in Rome.


Saturday, November 2, 2019

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS -- 11

PANTEON DE SAN MIGUEL -- OAXACA, MEXICO




It is common for families to display photographs of the dead during Dia de los Muertos.

Friday, November 1, 2019

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS -- 10

PANTEON DE SAN MIGUEL -- OAXACA, MEXICO



The cemetery, founded in 1829, also is known as Panteon General.