Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I miss you all a lot. Thinking of the memories of Christmas' past and feeling a bit sad, but grateful to have them and for Ray who makes new ones for me.

We are heading out on the 27th, Andrea's 50th birthday, to the termes in Tuscany. We are staying at an old palace ( - love the English translation on their homepage-cute) for two nights and visiting the hot springs nearby where one can take advantage of naturally warm, sulfer baths from the nearby volcano (I suppose - I have to read up on that one). We will then head over to lower Tuscany and then arrive in time to celebrate New Year's Eve with the Hoddell's at their house in the Marche. We decided, with all the stress over housing recently, to not try and push our way down to Puglia at this time, but perhaps over Easter vacation.

It is 7.30 Christmas morning and Ray has yet to wake. I better write that note from Santa before he does so, telling him to continue to be a good boy and especially to listen to his mother and give her lots of hugs. Merry Christmas everyone. Lots of love for the New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The House is Ours!

Christmas came a day early this year.

So far so good - the owner of the mountain house signed our offer this morning and if all goes well, we should move in this summer. I didn't want to get excited knowing how things can fall through, but he was a very nice, older man and was only a little disgruntled about accepting our low offer. I told him that I love old houses and that we had looked at so many, and this one was particularly well done (he replied, "I know") so at least he knows I appreciate the work and planning he put into it. He also agreed to leave the curtains covering the lower spaces in the kitchen so that is one less thing I have to worry about. Ray will finally get his sprinkler and blow up pool this summer. The owner also said there are wolves, deer and even a falcon nest in the backwoods. A hike, anyone?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas time

We made an offer on the house and will have a reply by Tuesday. If it doesn't work out, we will go back to the original house we offered on as the owner has decided he is ready to let it go. I will keep you posted.

Visit Florence and come visit me in 37 minutes by highspeed train Bologna-Florence, or I will come and see you. (OK, so this article is outdated but maybe prices are even lower now. Nice Christmas present!)

Snow has hit Bologna big-time and the cold temps are hindering any melting. I am making stinco today (pork shanks slow-cooked in wine with herbs - love the name) and Christmas cookies. We have yet to dig out the car but will try to take a ride for some air this afternoon. Here are some photos I took yesterday. Nice view from our window.

Godfather Alberto came to visit us from Providence last weekend. He will stay with his family in Rimini over Christmas then return to Esther and baby Giocamo the days after. We have yet to plan our trip to the Puglia region. We will probably just take off and go where the warmer winds blow us.

I have to add this article on renting a scooter in Rome. A real risk but what a blast.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

December, lovely December

It has been a long time between posts these months. Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. We celebrated with Andrea's students and several professors at a nice restaurant that makes the turkey with all the trimmings. I took a ton of photos which Andrea failed to download before clearing my camera disk and I am sorry I have nothing to show of it.

I am exhausted on the house search. We found a lovely place on a mountain that we really like, but we hash over the commute to Bologna and Ray's future schools. But the price, since we expressed interest, has come down almost 30% so it is a tempting choice. However, the offer we made on the house a while back has resurfaced but in the form of a four year rental contract with then possible option to buy (while the owner tries on a new life in Milan with mistress and baby) which initially sounded awful to me, but the offered flexibility has now made me think it is not a bad idea. But I am a little gun-shy of this guy since he backed out an hour before on the signing the original contract ...

Anyway, we are all fine and preparing for Santa. One week left of work at school, the off for three weeks. Wish we were planning to visit the US but instead we will take off for a trip to the Puglia region to celebrate Andrea's 50th. Woohoo! Here are some house photos of the mountain home,with friends Philippa and the girls, in a village called Tra Sasso (translates to "between stoney hills"), and my favorite elf.

(The house is a renovated barn and the brick columns are the original area where the cows were kept - it is now a kitchen with sitting area, and the loft upstairs has original beams. It really is quite unique though it still only has 1.5 baths and the two loft bedrooms would have to be walled in (or curtained, or glassed)- there is another bedroom we would use as Ray's. The views are beautiful and the closest town, Monzuno, is quaint. Oh yes, a photo of Ray with the Monzuno Santa - he was a sad sack who then got teased by the local dudes. That is spiced wine in the copper lined barrel - vin brulè -a yummy treat this time of year.)