Rosemary - Florence & a Dyson Vacuum
Saturday, February 26, 2022
Because I am stuck partly in the 20th century, my ability to connect from my digital camera to the internet while traveling or
being able to blog every day is an impossibility. It was Rosemary who suggested I use my A5 Galaxy
phone while we were in Venice and in Florence in 2019. It was then easy to post the
photographs onto Facebook and write a short description. This method became my
blog on the fly. Now Facebook is reminding me of these photographs that I took
and I thought that the best route was to write a new blog (this one) and post
those photographs with the original written paragraphs.
Looking at those photographs, and some of them including a
smiling Rosemary, I cannot possibly regret that we did travel together and had
so much fun.
Below was the blog on the fly.
Upon Rosemary's request I am placing here a picture of our
Hotel Berchielli room. She wants to show off to our two daughters
The red pass hanging from Rosemary's neck gives us (I have
one too) access to all museums and many churches without having to line up.
My grandmother often told me "La ignorancia es atrevida." I dare to say that I am ignorant
and particularly about art. My Vancouver photography friend Jan Gates suggested
I visit la Chiesa Santa Felicita to see the Pontormo. I was thinking that when
Jan suggested this that Pontormo was certainly known by his family. Upon seeing
Pontormo's The Deposition From the Cross a pleasant German explained the
painting in broken Italian. I remembered Argentine painter Juan Manuel Sánchez
telling me something about Mannerism. Thanks to Sánchez and Jan my ignorance
has diminished a tad and I have now discovered a great painter. And right next
to that luminous Pontormo there was another, an Annunciation. Over both
Pontormos there are four darkish circles featuring the evangelists painted by
Even though we are using our hotel laundry service Rosemary
washed some clothes in the bathtub and then placed them by our two windows for
a final dry. I could not resist doing a modern version (alas a puny one)
celebrating the intense red of Florentine painting
The inspired Museo Dell' Opera Del Duomo has several
reproductions labeled as touchable. Rosemary touched.
A souvenir kiosk, the only refuge from hordes of tourists
trampling the pavement, all with their phones up, snapping the Cattedrale di
Santa Maria di Fiori.
The wild pig (jabali) gives good luck.
After puffing up 463 spiralling steps to Brunelleschi's dome
the 360° view was a washed out noon sky. But I did note the shadow.
Museo Dell' Opera Del Duomo, not a place for a person with a
bad knee. But certainly worth the effort.
One of the finest and most beautiful museums that we have
visited is the Museo Dell' Opera Del Duomo. From the outside you would never
know what is inside. Inside, stark, ultra modern architecture sparsely exhibits
works of Renaissance art. Here is one of Michelangelo's Pietas (in reality a
deposition from the cross in which artist Tiberio Calcagni also contributed.) That's Rosemary on the right.
Always in my mind when I look at those photographs is this idea, that while we did have
all that fun, I never would have thought about the fact that I am now writing of
those events and Rosemary is not here. Why is it that we live in the moment
without taking special consideration of how impermanent that happiness in the
flesh can be?
Even in my daily menialities like today, Sunday February
27, 2022 (I am placing this blog in yesterday's vacant space), while vacuuming with our portable and very good Dyson that Rosemary urged
I buy but which she never used I look at it and ask myself (is it a banal
question?), “Why are you here and not
My Heavy Canadian SIN Card
Friday, February 25, 2022
|My SIN card
Canada (Vancouver) has been my home since 1975. It was in
that year, while Rosemary, our two daughters and I were living in Mexico City, that Rosemary told us that our future in Mexico
would not be a good one for our daughters and that we should move to her native Canada.
Until that point I was used to and suffered extreme bureaucracy and long
lines to get passports or anything else.
Sometime around Christmas 1958 my mother gave me as a
Christmas gift a roundtrip flight on a Comet 4C to San Antonio and from there I was going
by bus to my boarding school high school in Austin. I did not notice that when
I was leaving at the Mexico City airport that in customs they did not stamp my
Argentine passport that I was leaving.
When I returned I was almost not allowed back as the man at
customs told me, “It is impossible for you to be coming from the US as you
never left.” That cost my mother lots of money and we lined up for days at the
infamous Gobernacíon. Finally she hired a coyote (a facilitator) and my
passport was duly stamped.
In 1964 when I attempted to re-new my Argentine passport
at the Mexico City Argentine Consulate, I was told that I had to do my military
service and I needed to have an important document called a Libreta de
Enrolamiento (a draft card document). It was for that reason that I returned to
Buenos Aires to serve those two years in the Argentine Navy so I could hold my
Argentine citizenship. I was stupidly patriotic.
Some many years later I returned to Buenos Aires with that
passport and upon arrival my passport was stamped “not valid”. I asked and I
was told that this is what happened to all passports issued abroad and that I
would have to apply for one at the police station (that is where until the late
70s one went for the document and for the DNI (Documento Nacional de
Identificación). Since I was going to stay in BA for only a week and a few days
more, I could see myself lining up for hours and days. I appealed to my
half-brother Enrique. He told me he knew a police chief. With the police chief
we went into the Casa Rosada (from its balcony Perón and Evita would make their
speeches) and I had my passport in minutes. The police chief told me that the
next time I returned to Argentina that I become first a Canadian citizen and
get a Canadian passport as he might not be around to help me. This I did.
By 1999 President Carlos Saúl Menem got rid of the
obligatory draft and the Libreta de Enrolamiento became an extinct document.
As a joke about three years ago, when I arrived at the Buenos
Aires airport, from my Vancouver flight, I produced my ancient libreta (my document was new in 1926 and nobody had ever asked for one at the Argentine consulate until I came along.) as my ID when customs asked for my passport. The man laughed. And then I showed
him my Canadian passport and I was in.
Sometime around 1977 The RCMP in Vancouver recommended that
we embed our Social Insurance Number (SIN) with a special little tool on all our valuables like TV sets and cameras. I did just that on my
primary work camera, a Pentax S-3. Shortly after that I lost my SIN card.
I never replaced it. Such is the lack of bureaucracy in
Canada (at least in comparison to Argentina and Mexico) that I have managed
since then to do everything without that “important” card. When I am asked for
the SIN number I look at the bottom plate of my Pentax.
That’s Canada for you. I don’t need the help of a police
chief or a coyote.
For anybody who might be curious about the number 588737, that was my ID during my two years in the Argentine Navy.
Thursday, February 24, 2022
|Rosemary & Niño 22 March 2020
To find out about the title of this blog go to the end.
Borges - To a cat - A un gato
In jest I have told a few of my friends and relatives
that I am considering becoming a trans woman. The reason is that at my age of
79, I live alone with two cats, brother and sister Niño and Niña. I talk to
them. Because they compete to get on my lap when I sit on my hanging chair to
watch TV and compete for being as close to me as possible when I turn on the
lights at night they are as inseparable to me as chewing gum (in a good way). I
believe that except for my obvious male sex I define a crazy cat lady. But how
can I become one if I am not a woman?
I calculate that before Rosemary died on December 9, 2020 I
had lived until then only 7 months alone when I was in a pensión in Buenos Aires
when I was doing my military service. Now I have been alone for many more than
7 months. It affects me most negatively and I wonder how other people live
I have three former ecdysiasts friends (one in Mexico, one
in the US and one in Canada) who live alone with dogs or a dog. One of them is
active in finding homes for stray dogs. I wonder if these three women live
alone because they had bad relations with men in their past. The fact is that
they seem to be happy with their dogs.
Then there are other friends of mine (all women including my eldest
daughter Alexandra ) who live alone with cats. Alexandra has 3.
Since about 1977 when we (Rosemary and two daughters) arrived in
Vancouver, we have always had a cat or two cats. Most of them were bilingual
as we communicated with them in Spanish and in English.
For many years Rosemary was attached to our cats and when
one died it was my job to bury it in the garden and then immediately get a new
Rosemary and I always went to the SPCA as we enjoyed the
process of mutual adaptation with a middle aged cat. Only once we had a black
kitten we called Mosca. Mosca died of a heart attack while Rosemary was
watching Hitchcock’s Vertigo. It was during a very short period in our life
when we had a TV in our bedroom.
The reason I always placated Rosemary’s grief over a dead
cat by getting another one is that I believe that cats transfer a Platonic
essence that I call catness. The live cat retains the catness of the dead one.
When I take Hilary back to Burnaby after serving her dinner I
drive home knowing that I will be received by the gatuno company (a nice
Spanish adjective for cat) of my two cats. Am I a crazy cat lady that I find
them human? My Argentine pope has publicly said that cats and dogs may go to
heaven. Under the pain of mortal sin I will not oppose his view.
It seems to be general knowledge that cats have a short
memory. I think this untrue or the very least it does not apply to my two
orange and white cats.
A couple of years ago, in our (Niño is unleashed) daily
walks around the block Niño stood his ground with all dogs. There are a couple
of ones that lick his face. His favourite is Scout a very large close neighbour’s
pet. Niño had not seen Scout for two months so his owner told me today. As soon
as the two saw each other Niño approached the dog and the licking began. I do
not believe that a two month absence is a short memory lapse.
Because it was Rosemary who taught Niño to walk and I follow
Rosemary’s route I wonder if Niño remembers as much as I do the absent presence
of Rosemary. I almost believe in ghosts. Does Niño sense something of the sort?
I often wondered why in my native Argentina when people see a cat they use the word micifus. Thanks to Google in this 21st century I found out the following from Wikipedia
variante de Micifuf, personaje gatuno creado por Lope de Vega en "La
Gatomaquia" y posteriormente usado por Félix María de Samaniego en
"Los gatos escrupulosos".
Gatomaquia, es un poema épico burlesco de Lope de Vega, que fue publicado un
año antes de su fallecimiento, en 1634, bajo el seudónimo de Tomé de
Burguillos. Se divide en siete silvas, y consta de unos 2.500 versos.
So it seems that famous Spanish writer Lope de Vega wrote this poem under the pseudonym Tomé de Burgillos in 1634. I have no idea if this means that Argentines are more literate as the term micifuz is not used anywhere else