Saturday, November 28, 2009


For the Italians, our Thanksgiving Day, Il Giorno del Ringraziamento, celebration is a little foreign to say the least. Turkey, for one, is not something that is readily available in these parts. Well, I take that back, it is in the form of sliced breasts or even maybe the odd leg or two, but never the entire turkey. If you would like one, you need to order it at least a week in advance from a butcher, and lord knows where they find it. This year we were debating on making the whole Thanksgiving feast, and at the last minute (the night before) decided to put the word out we needed a turkey. We got the call at 2:00 in the afternoon on Thursday...they found us a turkey...a HUGE turkey, 7.5 kilos (16.5 pounds) to be exact.

I had anticipated we might locate what we were looking for...I had made some side dishes in advance that morning...thinking that if no one came, I would eat them myself. Keeping the Italian pallet in mind, I made Connoisseur's casserole (my very favorite from the cookbook I mentioned before here), St. Paul's Rice (because my family always does rice), and spinach and artichoke casserole. We stuffed the bird with a very special stuffing of bread, sausage and apples, (and whatever else we could find) and threw it in the oven. It barely fit and I wanted to post a picture, but it was just too much to show. I frantically called around to see who might be able to make the one point we were 12, by the time dinner was finally ready (9:00 pm) we were down to 6. Actually a very easy number to manage. We insisted all the boys have a beer before...tradition, say one thing in which they are thankful, drink all sorts of wine, arrange all of their food on one plate (this was a hard one!), and eat until their heart's content. Dinner was over way after midnight...and although it was not exactly like being in America, it was special just the same.

I hope all of you had as much fun as I did...and someone watched the parade for me...I did miss that...

Thursday, November 26, 2009


It has been two years today since we were forced to say goodbye. Oh what I would give to be able to hear your voice be a child and absorb every little word. I am so blessed that I had time with you as an adult as well. You taught me more than you thought you did, this I am sure...and I am still learning from the memory. I am thankful for you, and always.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


So my head is not really where it should be right now...which is attached to my body. Do you all ever get like that...hands move and type things that you didn't even think or do things that you did not mean to do and it takes you a while to figure it out?

The link I posted in my last entry # 9 about the internet was supposed to be this. I was so inspired by this woman's outlook on "the danger of the single story" and how we tend to see one side of everything, when in fact most things are so multifaceted we might not ever get the complete story. If you get the chance to have 20 minutes to spare, please watch this wonderfully enlightening talk.

OK, back to the regularly scheduled program...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Loving right now...

I think it is time we try to concentrate on the nice things. So with that in is a little list of 10 things I am loving right now, in no particular order, and subject to change tomorrow!

1. My fireplace...the warmth and glow you can feel from the big leather chair parked right in front of have to be here to understand. (Ciccia gets it!)

2. My Twinings Black Currant & Ginseng and Rasberry & Echinacea infusions during the day and Yogi Tea bedtime tea at night. They can warm your soul like nothing else...not to mention my hands!

3. Fresh clementines and the smell that lingers long after you have eaten one.

4. Our new TV channel...Fox Retro. I cannot tell you how fun it has been to relive my childhood through shows like Love Boat, Charlie's Angels, 8 is Enough...even the theme music brings back memories. And the fashion...inspiration heaven. I could write a whole post just on this channel.

5. Walks in the woods hunting for mushrooms, and making a huge batch of tagliatelle ai funghi when we return.

6. My new tall black boots with cashmere tights and warm scarves.

7. Sharp contrasts that only come in Autumn. Fresh new green grass, brilliant yellows, oranges and reds, the smell of smoke rising from chimneys, warm sun and cool moisture soaked air, the fog lifting to reveal bright blue sky...the list goes on.

8. Impromptu trips to towns just to people watch and window shop...Siena is one of the best places to do this...then finding a hole in the wall restaurant to eat dinner.

9. The internet...being able to stay in touch with family and friends is essential to living far away. Not to mention all the wonderful things you can find...places to escape to...and being able to share things here with you. Having said that, the ability to find wonderful stories like this and fun things like this and even very silly things like this (click the links).

10. has been taking up most of my time, but it really is the funnest part. Dreaming up new products, drawing new patterns, painting new images, proofing samples we have already created, even writing some stories...cannot wait to share.

What about you? What are you loving right now?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November Morning

Mr. November, I was about to give up on you, seriously. I have to say you have been a little melancholy this year and it is not helping any of us. You have allowed the sun to shine exactly one day...and I can tell you which one, Wednesday November 11th, San Martino, the day we celebrate with chestnuts and new wine by the fire. And it was wonderful, and it gave us hope, but then, the very next day you covered us in fog and clouds again.

So today when I woke up, a little pessimistic to say the least, you must have known, because when I looked out the window it gave me so much joy to see the blue sky and the fog dissipating. And did you hear the birds singing...they were almost deafening. I even opened the windows to grab as much of the sun as I could. Is it too much to ask to let it happen again tomorrow?!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tanti Auguri

Happy Birthday to you...tanti auguri a te...happy birthday little sister Betsy...tanti auguri a te!

One of the hardest things about living far away is sometimes you miss the good stuff. I love you Bets...35 is going to be your best year yet!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Autumn Rain

Sta piovendo, is raining, a lot these days. As the sky casts strange light upon the landscape, it unfortunately does not allow for productive thoughts. It makes me want to wrap up in a blanket in front of the fire and devour a good time for that now...but you can bet it will be the first thing I do when I get the chance. How about you...reading any good books?

Sunday, November 1, 2009


November 1st and 2nd are very special days here, a time when family gets together and celebrates those we have lost. All Saints day is combined with the day of the dead in family celebration and memory. This afternoon will be spent gathering for Sunday lunch, attending a special mass at our little country church, visiting the cemetery, and praying for our loved ones.

This day is especially poignant for me as it is the anniversary of the loss of my Grandad one year ago...which in turn also evokes strong memories of my mother. I will be thinking of them today (as I do every day) and will send a gift of fragrant roses...a favorite of both of them. I have a book my sister gave me that I refer to often, Healing After Loss, and today this is what it says...

"But surely among the richest of these experiences are the times when, with nostalgia and often with affectionate laughter, we share with others our memories of someone we love who has gone on before. We leave such experiences warmed and strengthened by our common history, our commemorations of life and of love."

So with that in mind, I will try to look upon this day not with sadness, but I will concentrate on thoughts, laughter, and remembrances of happy times...
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