Monday, June 22, 2009

Marche Weekend

We were invited to the Hoddell's house in the Marche for the weekend. It was very nice to spend a chunk of time with my closest friends here - Philippa, Harriet and Sogand (I got a lot of tea and sympathy about the ruin, as well as prosecco and a negroni). It was a mix of rain and plain, old overcast sky, but the sun finally broke out on Sunday afternoon. We had left just after lunch so we didn't get to swim, but I heard the pool was pretty warm. We did spend the time learning backgammon and foosball, and Ray got to hang out with his "Italian cousins" - well, as close as they all can get to having some!

We took the long way home and passed "the Rock" of San Leo - a castle built on a stone hilltop. It is much more impressiveto see in person.

I hope I can post again before Ray and I leave for the US next week. It seemed so distant but these recent weeks have gone by much too fast. Still, I am so psyched to see everyone....

Friday, June 19, 2009

Spilt Beans

Well, the beans got spilled in the comments. I was going to wait until I felt better to post that the ruin, when we called to begin the offer process, had been sold one month before to someone else. We had just spent a half a day on the property with a picnic and the blueprints (and later wading in a nearby river), so you can imagine my disappointment (then multiply it by 1000). I'll get over it, but it will take a while.

Here is a photo of Ray and Andea playing on the church property - hummmm, didn't I mention once that was going up for sale in the future...?

Friday, June 12, 2009

June in the Middle

I realized today that I have been writing on this blog just over a year. In many ways, it feels almost ridiculous to throw out in cyberspace such mundane information about one's life. On the other hand, it has kept family and friends up to date and saves a lot of "touching base" even to just make certain I am still alive and well. So if you can put up with me, I will continue to write and you have no obligation to read (when Paula and Susan stop posting comments, I know it is time to drop the curtain).

Ray continues to be Spiderman (can you spot him at this recent birthday party?), Andrea is in Rome at the moment attending a conference, and I am winding down the school year at the International School. Andrea and I have been toying with the idea of really buying the ruin, and I am really hoping we will move forward on it before I leave for the US. Mortgage rates are historically low now and there doesn't seem to be a good reason not to go for it. I think I want it badly enough for both of us at this point, and had the nerve to finally show Andrea all my sketches of the floor plan including furniture (and even sink taps) as well as the garden layout. Imagining having this place has helped me cope with living in a small space in Bologna where I can't invite those closest to me to stay, and this house will give me that option. In addition, I will get a lot of exercise working in the terra surrounding it, and hopefully get rid of my new flabby, flapping upper arms. But again, we shall have to see. (Are you sick of this topic?)

My US trip is coming up quickly. Can't wait to see everyone. A visit to the city, the Hooks and others are lined up. Can we swing a PU reunion on the 10th, Suziq?

Pietro Frassica came to Bologna from Princeton to attend a conference in Italian studies, and we stopped at his hotel to see him. He was Andrea's best man at our wedding, and he is doing very well. You can tell that Ray had just received a gift from him.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ray's 4th birthday came and went with just a small celebration with Nonna and a spiderman cake. He is growing up so fast and it is so fun to watch him dress himself, brush his teeth, etc. and in addition, anything I do (such as unlocking our front gate) that he intended to do has to be repeated so that he can do it (whew, makes for tedious days sometimes but pazienza).

We went back to the agriturismo to celebrate our 6th anniversary on May 24th. It was just as lovely as it was two weeks earlier. Franco, the owner, though covered in green grass as he was weed wacking when we got there, took us off immediately in his serious off-road Range Rover to show us around his property and then to two abandoned housese that are for sale. This pink one is enormous and has ten acres for €100k (or $142k). Franco has 40 acres of mixed woodland and fields and the week before had taken on two mares and their foals for boarding. We went to visit the Dream House and then hiked down to an abandoned house which is the one that initially got us exploring that area. This particular ruin (the first photo) is on the hillside in a stunning position and is more beautiful than I expected. But it needs not only major work (there are huge gaps in the roof) but the driveway is a half mile long and no doubt it needs electric run to it. Anyway....enough about the abandoned farms of Italy...

Ray had his little school celebration among a slew of birthday parties to attend. Here he is with his best friends Davide and Francesco. We have been out a lot as well - here are some photos of recent events, including a lovely crescentina with prosciutto eaten at a recent festival and one of Giro Italia - the Italian bike race that Lance Armstrong participated in for the first time. Here is a photo I caught of the head group - the second and main group were more than two minutes behind. we stopped in a small town where there were about 20 people waiting for the race to go by. I don't know why but one can't help but shout out when they fly by!

I am gearing up to begin packing for our long summer in the US. Mom and Keiko will pick Ray and I up on at JFK and we will stay in Manhattan until the 4th of July when we head to Bordentown. The I will shuffle between there and NYC until Ray, Mom and I depart for Montana on the 16th. Can't wait to see everyone and head over to Princeton for some of the old haunts.