ISLAND FOR SALE–does a little haunting bother you?

poveglia island - Italy

Like so many people—who probably play the lottery—I have often dreamt of having my very own island. This always seemed like a brilliant plan. My island, my rules, my choice of who gets to come to MY ISLAND. The daydream still makes me smile.

I see that Italy plans to auction off a very small Island in the Venetian Lagoon, ostensibly as part of selling many properties to offset their economic debt. Being completely unable to afford the island appears to perhaps be one of those “blessing in disguise” metaphors you hear about.

Though the history of this island is fraught with creepy, weird, scary stories, I will skip ahead to the 18th century. Ships en route to Venice would be quarantined there for 40 days to be quite sure no one had the Plague. Bad news was, 2 people did. At that point forward—things got BAD. From then on, the island was closed off and used to quarantine those with the plague or to dump those who were close to succumbing to it or those who already had. The stories—to this day—tell tales of the island being haunted by the souls of those who perished there. I imagine being tossed on an island to die could put you in a bit of a sour after life mood. But wait—there’s more. In the 1920’s, since let’s be fair, from a real estate standpoint, they certainly couldn’t use “quaint, exotic, charming, breathtaking or lovingly maintained” as selling points. Actually, dying sort of implies “breathtaking”, but still not good real estate buzz words for Poveglia Island.

Next best choice for use of this island? Well, naturally, hospital for the sick and insane. From what I have read, I am going with emphasis on insane. 1920’s version of mental health had a lot more to do with painfully crazy—pun intended—experiments and unnecessary lobotomies. The doctor who ran the place was either mentally unstable to begin with, or as some stories say, became that way from the hauntings. *The version I read has him flinging himself off a tower—or pushed by a disgruntled patient or poltergeist. (Like it matters.)

So Italy is trying to push this island as the perfect locale for a luxury hotel. And, if you win the auction, it comes with all the current structures and ruins. There is even a military fort dating back to the late 1300’s called the Octagon that can still be seen there. Yes, the haunted hospital, among the other fabulous backdrops sound like they would be perfect for the glossy brochure of an up and coming luxury resort. I know… YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT IT!

Maybe if it were purchased by someone who would lovingly bestow peace and tranquility to the island, the apparitions would lighten up a little. I think the island deserves a chance at flourishing. Italy has not yet released the initial starting price for the auction, but rumor has it at about $499,000 and expecting perhaps as much as  11.5 million. Online bidding ends May 6th…so start checking your sofa for change. I know the Venetians claim it is evil… BUT, it’s an ISLAND, it’s about 17 acres…And it’s ITALIAN. 🙂

The history and the ghosts aside, the only thing that has me a smidge concerned is that the soil is made up mostly of the charred human ash and bones of the more than 100,000 people burned there. That very well could be a deal breaker for me. BUT, getting back to the sunnier side of ME, I still really want my own island. I suppose when I really start my search I shall mention to my real estate agent that I would sincerely appreciate a NON haunted Island. However this auction goes, I for one am very interested to see what the future holds for Poveglia Island. It could very well wind up on my travel bucket list. 😉



UPDATE 5-14-2014  The 99 year lease was sold for approximately $700,00 US. (It requires more than $25 Million to be renovated.) But I was interested to now know the origin of the word QUARANTINE.. which I now know is attributed to the Venetians.  It was Venice that coined the term quarantine, which is from how long travelers were required to stay on the island before they could be issued a clean bill of health and  be on their merry way — forty days. Quaranta giorni.  🙂

The pamphlet should read, “So you’re unemployed–Good luck with that!”

unemployment pamphlet

I find myself in unchartered waters. After 29 incredibly hardworking and loyal years for the same employers, I was laid off. Because of the time I first started working—contracts were not a standard—so I left with NO severance and barely any notice. (ZERO dollars.) As that is a still a touchy topic for me I will move forward to the reason I write today: NEWLY UNEMPLOYED

Whereas I am told there are good people, willing to go that “extra mile” for their fellow-man, I am having trouble finding them. Thus far the only good I see Is in that of my friends and family who have been putting up with my incessant—probably intolerable—whining.

The varying opinions, along with the openly incomprehensible lack of tact by “supposed” professionals is mind bending. I very much want to be the glass is half full girl. I want to go back to what was clearly naivety of FIRST believing in the good of people—right before being proven wrong.

I have applied for unemployment. Another low point in my life. It has been made clear to me NOW, that my choices in life were less than perfect. The structure and consistency of my everyday life has literally CEASED. I spend hours upon hours scouring for jobs, contacting people I thought were supposed to help but literally made me feel worse, (an agency, that out of respect I will not mention), and my days are depressing.

In the past I would watch or read the news each day and hear the numbers, some of the stories, of the unemployed and have no real connection to it. WELL, I do now.

It is infuriating to think my 29 years means so little. It is embarrassing to me to be dependent on anyone but myself. It is petrifying to think that I might have deluded myself all these years into thinking I am something I am not.

Being unemployed, not by firing, but by “downsizing” or whatever the trendy word is these days, does not change the facts. I no longer wake up, shower, dress, get on the train, go to work, do my job—very well—and am rewarded with my paycheck. I am one of SO many people, willing, ready and WANTING to work, but these wages need to allow me/them to keep my/their home and food.

I have decided that the fault is twofold. Creating more jobs that cannot possibly sustain any kind of life on Long Island, is a smokescreen by the government to make you think everything is getting better. WRONG.  Employers who prefer to hire people not on experience, proven performance or quality is the other problem. Everywhere I turn it seems that the rule of thumb is to take one’s chances with the less qualified, less experienced for LESS money.

I didn’t make a lot of money. And all I want is the chance to work… make close to what I was making, doing something I know how to do, in order to keep paying my bills. (Not credit card debt.) I am talking mortgage, insurance, utilities. I am like millions of others who are for reasons I shouldn’t mention here, like my age and experience actually being worth something, are being overlooked.

I am now one of the people who I read about, hear about, and my feelings  have far surpassed mere sympathy to downright heart wrenching empathy.

For anyone reading this who is currently unemployed and feeling as if crawling out from this place with your head held high seems increasingly impossible—I hear ya!

My life is changing every second as is everyone who is unemployed… and I can only hope that the upswing is nearing.

Xoxo  DDJ

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NOMOPHOBIA – 66% of us have it

As difficult and horrifying as I thought.

Dealing With Fools


I feel lost.  Adrift at sea.  Alone on a deserted island. Frightened.  Anxious.  Worried.

I am not connected to my cell phone.

I cannot get news alerts, weather alerts, and random sales notices.  I do not have the ability to set my DVR, pay a bill, transfer money, or spontaneously purchase something I don’t need.  I cannot Facebook, or tweet or Instagram ANY of these concerns because I am without TECHNOLOGY.   I am CUT OFF.  Nomophobia… I have it. (Fear of being without your cell.)

For now this is just a horrible and unthinkable day—nightmare, BUT…

I have been going to and from my job for more than a quarter century. When I started, you were just UNAVAILABLE. You were unreachable.  I would get home from work and, if I was lucky, find messages on my tiny tape answering machine.  Ahhhh how that # 2 flashing would fill me with delight…

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How to make a grown man cry. SHAME ON YOU!

Christin Cooper

It’s the Olympics, you’ve just won a bronze medal, but nobody is asking YOU if you want to go to Disneyland.  Nope, let’s try something different. In an effort to—I presume—do a job well, Christin Cooper has dropped the snowball and failed miserably.  Perhaps if she were interviewing a serial killer and trying to get the names of his victims, but THIS?  This was torture of an innocent man.  I realize that her expertise is NOT on air interviewing—more in the former alpine skier department—but she must have a heart in that body.  Don’t go blaming the frigid Sochi air, since there ISN’T ANY.  Her interview and interrogation of Bode Miller’s feelings upon winning a bronze medal was painful to watch.  Question after question she berated this man about his brother who passed away last year of a seizure.  This was an unforeseen death. The death of his younger brother, a 29 year old snowboarder, who Bode was CLEARLY very close to, was not even a year ago.  Surely an incessant barrage of questions on that subject seems like the logical way to go. *eyes rolling*  I give Bode Miller a big thumbs up for being so understanding and likely saving Ms. Cooper’s career.  He tweeted: “I appreciate everyone sticking up for me. Please be gentle w christin cooper, it was crazy emotional and not all her fault. #heatofthemoment” I don’t necessarily agree. Anyone who has lost a loved one in any way, let alone a young person in an unexpected way will surely cringe at her interrogative inquest to his immensely personal feelings.

So, sorry Christin Cooper, but you are my FOOL DU JOUR.

Decide for yourself.

xoxo DDJ

50 years of AWESOME


2014 marks the 50th anniversary of much more than the birth of… well… ME.  Of course you can’t mention 1964 without starting  with The Beatles and their first appearance on both American soil and The Ed Sullivan Show. But it seems with each passing day I am faced with the number 50 staring me in the face.  Finally however, I am beginning to embrace the fabulousness that was 1964.

1964 was pretty awesome. It saw the First Ford Mustang roll off the line as well as the Pontiac GTO, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, Voting rights, and the Food Stamp program. Believe it or not, 1964 was the year the Surgeon General released the report on Smoking and Health! General Mills debuted Lucky Charms and Underdog hit the airwaves! [Speed of Lightning, roar of thunder, fighting all who rob or plunder—Underdog!] The first time we meet the Island of Misfit Toys is the 1964 airing of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  Sports Illustrated had their very first swimsuit issue—crazy, huh? This same year saw Martin Luther King presented the Nobel Peace Prize and Cassius Clay, (Later to become Mohammad Ali), TKO Sonny Liston for the World Heavyweight Title. This is one fabulously amazing year.

Though I was clearly too young to enjoy it, the remains of the 1964 New York’s World’s Fair are still right there to enjoy in Queens—and equally important—for all to see in Men in Black.  So much of my childhood is rooted in the year of my birth. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory—later to be an awesome movie as Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory—is published. One of my Dad’s favorite movies—It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World—is released.  Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady  and 007 in Goldfinger also hit the big screen.  I think the longevity of ALL of these films and who I became speaks volumes, but perhaps I will delve into that in my 51st year. 🙂

Though I first recall the Sony VCR some 12 years later, it was introduced in 1964 along with the creation and introduction of the 8 Track–one of the short lived breakouts of 1964.  But a perennial favorite of mine…BUBBLE WRAP is still cushioning and entertaining us today.  What I think is most impressive about this year is its endurance, longevity and popularity.  Hasbro introduced GI Joe and  we saw those God awful trolls in 1964. Hess introduced the Hess Truck, still popular today!  AND, where would we all have been on Super Bowl Sunday without a little something invented at Anchor Bar in Buffalo those 50 years ago.  (God bless Buffalo wings.)

Television saw the premier of Bewitched and Jeopardy–took me a while to start getting that final Jeopardy question right but I could wiggle my nose so that seemed a fair trade-off.  Broadway saw Fiddler on the Roof, Funny Girl, and Hello Dolly.  (I am proud to have a lifelong love of Broadway.)

Musically—beyond the Beatles—music is forever changed.  The Rolling Stones release THEIR debut album, The Jackson Five is formed, Bob Dylan releases “The Times They are a-Changin” and The Kinks, “You Really Got Me. THIS was the year that saw Daltry, Townsend, Entwistle and Moon form THE WHO! The Moody Blues was formed.  1964 saw the collaboration of what would later become Lynyrd  Skynyrd when Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins and Gary Rossington got together. Three Dog Night and Lou Reed’s The Velvet Underground… my goodness, who knew so much could be attributed to ONE single year.

Then there is Food… glorious food.  3 High School friends from Hoboken open the first Blimpie Sub Shop and the fresh sliced Roast Beef Sandwiches of Arby’s opened the same year. And 1964 NOT ONLY saw the first box of Lucky Charms, it saw the first box of Pop Tarts, first box of Bugles, first time Coca Cola came in cans, first can of Ruffles, first Carnation Instant Breakfast.  And one can’t leave out a little something called “Supercrema gianduja” which eventually was renamed NUTELLA in 1964. In a food related birth, there is Bobby Flay.  I am a little jealous of 1965 that saw Shake and Bake and Cool Whip, but I guess we half century folk got to enjoy it anyway. 🙂

When it comes to people—aside from my friends born in the same year—we are in some pretty cool company. In fact, so many amazing people were born in 1964, I couldn’t possibly mention them all. But, in referencing my own personal life, I will mention the ones that I recall making some sort of an impact.

For the women—in no particular order—Sandra Bullock, Teri Hatcher, Courtney Cox, Mariska Hargitay, Marisa Tomei, Elle Macphereson, Melissa Gilbert. (Lori Loughlin—only because she went to Hauppauge High School.) And that’s just a few!

For the men—again in no particular order—Rob Lowe, Keanu Reeves, Russell Crowe, Clive Owen, Don Cheadle, David Spade, Nicholas Cage, Stephen Colbert, Hank Azaria, and a favorite if you are an Avengers fan, Joss Whedon!

These are JUST some of the people who in some small way impacted my world in MY 50 years on earth.  And, let’s be honest, it’s been an interesting time SINCE 1964.  The world has changed, technology has gone further than some science fiction could have imagined 50 years ago. People have changed and thankfully, continue to do so for the better.

When you think about a person’s lifetime think of this, the year I was born the computer mouse was invented, and it will likely be obsolete in my lifetime.  50 years is both an enormous amount of time, and yet a blip on the radar.  But for me and anyone else born 50 years ago, I think 1964 will always be pretty magical.

xoxo DDJ

** How’s it going so far, Tig? **