I Blame It All On My Mother

Although I’m not a clinical psychologist and I recognized early in my career that I didn’t have the patience to deal with patients, I’ve been studying psychology for almost 40 years and teaching for over 30. From the original writings of Dr. Freud to the hideous array of pop psychology self-help books that abound in bookstores, a theme emerges all too frequently: whatever the psychological issue you are dealing with, it is probably somehow your mother’s fault. While I personally think mothers have been unfairly targeted in this argument over the root cause of our adult neuroses, I can definitively say that my mother is absolutely the reason for the fact that I am a self-diagnosed Travel Addict today.

 

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Notre Dame: The Soul of Paris

Paris was the first city in Europe that I ever visited, way back in 1986. Since then, I’ve spent countless days and nights in the “city of light”, and even had an amazing opportunity to “live” in Paris for a month on University business. It has remained one of my favorite cities in the world.

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Evening along the Seine, with the glow of Notre Dame to warm our hearts

Despite the fact that I am not Catholic, Notre Dame has long been one of my very favorite landmarks in the city. The Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Pantheon, and the Hotel de Ville are all charming, but all of them combined don’t measure up to Notre Dame. Its impressive facade towers over the Seine, and dominates this whole area of the city. I’ve sat quietly inside, awestruck by the rose window and the the grandeur of the Cathedral’s interior. I have climbed the perilously claustrophobic, crowded and winding stairway to the top of the towers to commune with the gargoyles that stare out across the city from up there. I’ve spent a few warm summer days reading a book on one of the shaded benches at the back of the church. listening to her bells ringing out to let me know another hour had passed.

This past week, I watched the TV coverage of the horrible fire that claimed much of “Our Lady.” It was agonizing to watch and I couldn’t keep myself from crying as the intricately carved spire and roof surrendered to the flames. As painful as it was for me to see this, I can only imagine what Parisians felt as they watched helplessly while this treasure that is the soul of their city was destroyed.

I’m sure that the cathedral will be rebuilt and restored to its former glory and that its story is not over, but still, it’s going to take awhile for me, and for the world to come to grips with what has happened. At least I can take some comfort from the memories I have and the photos I’ve gathered over the years.

 

 

 

Strada Facendo: The Best of Italian Music

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A couple of years ago I had the amazing opportunity to create my own radio show for Dominican University of California’s Penguin Radio. Under the excellent guidance and with the enthusiastic encouragement of Leona George-Davidson, a Humanities and Cultural Studies major with a concentration in Communications, I developed and recorded a 10 episode radio program called, Strada Facendo which I hosted as my Italian alter-ego, “Matteo”. The programs showcase the Italian pop music that I have grown to love over the years, and also feature stories about Italy and some simple lessons on the Italian language by Dominican foreign language instructor Kate “Katerina” Rider. In some of the later episodes, some of my friends from Italy appear in promos for the show or to help Kate with a language lesson.  I have made all 10 episodes of the program available here.

Anyone considering a visit to Italy or who is trying to study the Italian language might want to give these programs a listen. I have found that by regularly listening to Italian music  I’ve been able to expand my vocabulary and improve my comprehension of the Italian. And there is some excellent music coming from this dynamic country!

The episodes below are presented in chronological order, from the first to last. Enjoy!

Episode 1: Benvenuto! (Welcome!)

Episode 2: Sognami (Dream of Me)

Episode 3: Baciami Stupido (Kiss Me, Stupid!)

Episode 4: Salute to the Music of Eros Ramazzotti

Episode 5: Strada Facendo (Along the Road of Life)

Episode 6: Duetti (Duets)

Episode 7: Bambini (Children)

Episode 8: Salute to the Music of Laura Pausini and Tiziano Ferro

Episode 9: La Forza Mia (The Power in Me)

Episode 10: Per Dirti Ciao (To Say Goodbye)

 

Listen to the Sounds of the Hawaiian Islands with “Catchin’ a Wave”

Whenever I travel to new places, I try to get a sense of the culture through things such as art, food, and music. On my first trip to Hawaii back in 1994, I became captivated by Hawaiian music, which seemed to be experiencing a Renaissance in popularity as a number of young and talented artists explored traditional Hawaiian music and energized it with a contemporary feel.

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The End of the Road? My Journey with Fleetwood Mac

Warning: Other than the title, this blog post is not about travel. It is about my long term devotion to the group Fleetwood Mac. If you’re a fan, or you want to learn about the band, you may enjoy this. If not, you’ll probably be happier back in the Travel Blogs section!  😊

Fleetwood Mac Rumours Back

John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie   Fleetwood Mac circa 1976

It all started in 1975…

Spring Break: New York and New England

When planning for my Spring Break trip this year, I searched the Internet for hours to find the best travel bargains on my airfare and rental car. I could have flown round trip to Boston and rented a car for 10 days and spent over $1000; instead I discovered that if I flew to Newark, spent a couple days in New York, took the train to Albany to visit friends, and then rented a car in Albany that I could return at Boston, I would save about $400. And on top of the saved cash, I got to experience several different places, making for a much more diverse vacation!

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Who says winter isn’t a great time to travel?

Come along for the ride…