Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hand Gestures

As some of you know, we have been working on getting together some tapes for an American home show. On some of the videos, I realized how much I use hand gestures and I always notice when my British colleagues at work use classic Italian gestures to help express feelings. I have some favorites - they are like words in no other language that perfectly express what I am trying, unsuccessfully, to say. Here are some things to show what I mean (I always use the "what are you talking about gesture"):

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Ray is so happy to have a new pet. Almablu is incredibly sweet and so cute. Ray is very serious in his responsibility with him, and he stopped talking about an imaginary baby brother so I feel like we definitely got a two-fer.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring All Around

Well, I heard all about how spring has arrived in the northeast corridor of the US, and indeed she found her way to Bologna as well. It is to hit the high 60s this week and it is hard to believe we had a snowstorm two weeks ago. Finally Ray can spend some time playing outside after school, though daylight savings time won't arrive here until this weekend. (Here he is on the balloon slide at Giardini Margherita, in the white socks.)

Andrea left yesterday for his long stint in the US. He is in Philadelphia today, then to North Carolina tonight and then off to Indiana for the weekend. He has to come back to Charlotte to go back through Frankfurt to then return to Bologna next week. Agh. These trips are becoming more torturous, and he was pulled aside by customs in Philly to be questioned about applying for a green card in 2005 (hum, we just had a baby in Bologna so highly unlikely. And his name here is as common as John Smith in the US.).

I am more excited than Ray that we got a hamster on Saturday. Almablu (Ray's insisted on this made up name) is very cute and I held him tonight for the first time. Trying to teach Ray patience and all that jazz, when I am the one waking at 4 to go take a peek at him on the wheel and insisting we wake him in the day to see if he is hungry. I will post a couple of photos tomorrow.

Here are some more landscape photos of Tuscany for Paula, since my last one set her imagination on fire. The church is in Assisi - of my favorite Saint Francis. And the "For Rent" sign above is for a place in that little town you liked.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Snow again

Mother Nature's (hopefully) last laugh came last week - the upsides are that the motorbikes were moved by the firemen, Ray was able to have his best friend over to play, and blood oranges are especially delicious these days and make the best juice.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tuscan Winter

If you go: contact Chris and she will pick you up at the Florence or Bologna airport.

We went through Tuscany at the end of 2009 and it was really lovely. I know I posted about the trip previously, but this made me want to reemphasize that visiting Italy in the winter definitely has its benefits. In Cortona, the ticket seller at the museum told us that in the summer he sells more than 2000 tickets a day and these days he sells maybe 40- the baths at the terme we visited for the day in December were pleasantly full - enough to pick up a conversation with a neighbor but also do some laps if you are so inclined (and even I was). It was lovely not to have to battle the crowds.

I also recall that visits to Florence in the summer were hell and I experienced claustraphobia for the first time. However, a visit there one week before Christmas got me striding through the ticket booth at the Uffizi museum solo, while in the summer there can be a thousand people waiting in line.

I feel as though I am trying to sell a visit to friends and family. I am just so happy that after July, I can be a true host.

(Actually, looking back, I see I never posted about the trip. The place we stayed at was beautiful and we look forward to a return visit. The New Year with friends in the Marche was really really nice, even though James sniffed the wine a little too intimately.)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


The devil sat on my shoulder tonight. The front doorbell rang and I sent Ray out to see who it was - our house is such that we have an independent entrance, but the gate on the street is shared by three residences (the people who live above us and those below) and Ray can stick his head out the door to see who is there at the street. He came in and said it wasn't Daddy, so I ran out wiping my hands as I was cooking at the stove. A man stood there at the gate and identified himself as Don Carlo so-and-so and I looked puzzled as he spoke as if I should know him. To make a long story short - he is the local priest and I remembered that we had gotten a notice that this week the homes were to be blessed for Easter. He realized I wasn't Italian and after some fumbling of words, I told him "io non capisco bene" (I don't understand very well (this tradition)) and he said "me too" and we shook hands for the second time and he said "God bless you". The weird thing was that I realized I was almost flirting with him as he was young, handsome and with a great smile. The minutes following, back at the stove, I found myself thinking maybe I need to start taking Ray to mass every Sunday...and of course there is confession....and, yes, all those volunteer opportunities....oh naughty, I think I am breaking a commandment.