Thursday, October 29, 2009

Out of Focus

Living in a foreign country, every day I am challenged when I answer the phone, when I get into the car, when I go to the store, not to mention when I visit the doctor. This is something I did not fully grasp before I made my big move to Italy. I never truly studied Italian, all my language skills have been learned by ear. Frankly, I think it was the best thing for me, but a few grammar lessons here and there would not have hurt either.

Frequently I am asked, "what is it like to live in another language?" The answer I give most feels a bit like you are drunk...all the borders on a dream like state. Sometimes I catch everything within a conversation, sometimes I miss a word and lose the meaning of a statement, and sometimes I am just lost in the clouds. Literally lost in translation. You really need to focus when you do even the most mundane of tasks. So if you are having an off day, do not even get me started. Lately off days have enveloped me. This is a really bad time for this to happen and I hope it is just a phase. I really don't want to be labeled the girl from La La least not for the wrong reasons! Here is to wishing the world back into focus...

Friday, October 23, 2009

October Days

I am not sure if I have ever mentioned it, but October is my very close second favorite month here in Italy (May and it's flowers being my first as you probably already guessed). The weather is usually a perfect blend of indian summer and brisk autumn. However, this year has been a little extreme in that clear, cold Siberian winds literally blew in and overnight my picture perfect fall turned frosty. Of course, that did not stop anyone around here...we trudged right on through. We had things to do...Roman baths to visit, new Laura Fair product samples to review, wood pigeons to watch migrate, paintings to finish, stories to read, sunsets to absorb, tree houses to climb up into, views to soak up, new friends to enjoy, quiet rains to listen to, fires to build, and of course wines to taste. We have had a lovely time so far October, and we thank you for all of your gifts...especially the best one you gave us this year...dear visiting friends in which to share your bounty.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Oh my goodness, October is just flying by...I have so many things to tell you all. We have had some wonderful guests, the weather turned from indian summer to winter in a day, and my twentieth high school reunion came and went without me. I promise I will elaborate with more details of all the happenings as soon as my feet hit the ground...but I wanted to check in and say ciao...I have been missing you.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I took a little was heavenly. Just me and the camera on an incredibly beautiful October Sunday,

that turned into an even more stunning night. I went to Ancona by the sea to visit a friend. All I can say is thanks Tracy...for the chance to experience some great inspiration and relaxation...I did not even know I needed it. But then again, I guess everyone needs a little getaway every once in a while.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


We have now crowned the last weekend of September "the weekend of wine, vino". September is traditionally the month in Italy for the grape harvest, or vendemmia. It is not uncommon to find yourself spending some time in a neighbor's vineyard.

Align Center Every year we lend a hand to our friends who make their own wine and have a small grouping of vines by the lake. Even though it is hard work, it is a pleasure to be out in the sunshine participating in the harvest and hearing the odd story or two along the way.

Basically we spent Saturday morning cutting ripened bunches of violet grapes from their vines and depositing them into buckets. Every once in a while, a tractor would creep by to collect our bounty. Just after picking, the grapes are placed into a machine that spins them and separates the stems from the actual grapes...I had to show you this seems quite violent, but actually it is a very gentle process.

After the vendemmia, we caught vino fever. While speaking with some new friends we met through Tuscan Contacts, they suggested we tour some wineries around Tuscany and we jumped at the chance to do it. The first day, we visited a winery in Montalcino where among the wines we tasted was the world class Brunello di Montalcino. We then drove to the lovely town of Montepulciano across the valley from Cortona to endulge in the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

As if we had not had enough, we chose to go a second day where we traveled to a friend's very small family owned winery not far from Cortona. It was a beautifully relaxing morning of visiting the cantina, strolling through the vineyard, and finally settling down to a spread of Tuscan food fit for a king...prosciutto, salami, pecorino cheese, cannellini beans and bread drizzled with olive oil.

My head is still spinning a bit, and I am not sure if I could drink another drop of vino...that is until this weekend when we just might do it all over again.
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