Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Last post from Italy.... Wed night.

This is a photo of Ilaria, Nico and Gas (pronounced Gus) at Zio Claudio's home on Christmas Day. When I get home I will load my photos since I have been using Lucia's.
It has been a very long day and Zio Corrado did not have a good day. He woke tired and it effected his balance and walking alot today. We did all go (Zio Corrado, Gus, Ilaria, Nico, Lucia, Stefano and myself) to McDonald's outside the wall at the Miracle Square. So odd to see this wall from the Reinassance and then McDonald's. Sort of glad I went. It was totally different. You could order a small hamburger or cheeseburger, Big Mac, a Deluxe CB, a Bacon Cheeseburger or Chicken Nuggets. The children's meal came with a hamburger, drink, carrots not fries, and a drink and a toy. The toy was Snoopy in a long car. What surprised me that is you can order either water, a soft drink, coffee or a beer in the McDonald's. There was a separate counter for the coffee which is served in cermanic cups not plastic or foam. You could also have cappecino. But what totally amazed me was the dessert case. Most good restaurants at home do NOT offer the quality or quanity of choices in the deserts. There must of been 15 types of desserts including cakes, cheesecakes, pies and cookies. Too bad I was full or I would of tested some out. LOL...
Afterwards Gus and Ilaria took Zio back to Marina di Pisa. I foolishly went shopping outside of Miracle Square and also inside Miracle Square and also at the shop Lucia works at. There we stopped to shop, visit and have a drink (I had water okay? Was exhausted from all the walking. We took many photos of the Leaning Tower from this new direction. I had taken them all from another direction the last visit. I took one with Lucia, then one with Stefano and then I had them go together for another photo.
Then we walked forever .... Lucia went to get the car, so I only walked about half the distance she did, but I can tell you it was over 10 blocks. That is why I am so tired. Just no dang stamina anymore.
I came home to find Signora Giovannia waiting to tell me goodbye. It was difficult. I like her so much. I even began to shed a few tears. Imagine tomorrow morning when I have to kiss and hug Zio goodbye. Oh Mama Mia! I have 2 packages of kleenex in my purse already for this.
Okay I leave you now, and then next post will be from Arkansas. The church bell is ringing 8:30. I must sign off....

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mercoledi (Wednesday) December 30

This is my cousin Fabio with his baby girl, Malia, who is the youngest in our family. It was taken at Zio Claudio's home (Fabio's father) on Christmas Day. She is a happy little baby. I never heard her cry the entire afternoon. Fabio is the brother to Lucia and Ilaria.

I noticed that I did not post on Tuesday. Sorry but it was a busy day with much traveling. But before I discuss Tuesday, let me go back to Monday afternoon.

Signora Giovannia, Zio's next door neighbor, invited us to a small afternoon snack. I am not sure what it is called here, but we might call it an afternoon tea in the US. I must digress and tell you a story here, then continue with the doings of that afternoon.

When I was last here in Marina di Pisa, in the summer of 2008, someone came by with a bowl with a pate or a dip in it for Zio. Now remember I had already been to the grocery store where he bought horse steaks (yes horse) and I should of known to take my time in the translating. Anyway when I asked what this pate or dip was, Zio Corrado told me it was fige (pronounced figgy). Okay what would you expect? I expected it was some sort of item made with figs... WRONG!!! And much to my dismay I did not figure out that I was WRONG until after I ate some of it. YUCK! PHEWY! Fige is not made of figs. It is a liver pate.. gross....

Okay now back to our story. Signora Giovanna served us fige and tuna sandwhiches, chips, crackers and a bowl each of a shrimp salad. Then for desert there was a special Italian Christmas cake called Pandone (Pan-doe-ne). It is delicious. It is a yellow sponge type cake with raisins. She also served some type of wine liquer that was very strong. Believe me it took me a good 45 minutes to drink the small full glass she gave me. I normally only take a fourth to half of a small glass of wine. We are speaking about 2 to 4 ounces. Here she gave me more like 6 ounces. Yikes. I was full upon returning to Zio's two hours later. Then he wants to know what would I like for supper. OMG... who needed supper? I convinced him I would eat a slice of salami and a piece of cheese. Whew! I could not have another full meal.

Yesterday Ilaria and Gus took me to a parking lot near Miracle Square to meet Lucia. The area where the Leaning Tower, the Baptisry, the Catherdral and the Camposanto (cemetary) is called Miracle Square. I transferred from their car to Lucia's. Then we went to Prato a good hour and a half away. We had to first take a small highway over the mountain to Lucca because the Interstate as you would call it, because the North Pisa Interstate section is closed to to flooding of a local river. Then at Lucca we got onto the Interstate. Prato lies beside Florence, so it is a good distance away.

Lucia was taking me to her favorite scrapbooking store run by Patty. It is a small store in comparasion to those in the States, but for here it is large. I would bet I have more in my own scrapbooking room at home. LOL. But she carries many things I am familiar with like Metric ScorPal, sizzix dies, Big Shot, ribbons, scrapbook paper, ink pads and stamps. I got several Italian wooden rubber stamps, then went for some clear stamps for Jenny. Sorry sis, the clear stamps are all from France.

Afterwards we returned to Pisa and went to Carrefour. It is a grocery store and shopping center similar to Walmart on a smaller scale. I scoured the aisles looking for things and found 3 zip up sweatshirts for Austin, Cody and Bruno. Today I will hunt for a shirt for Wayne and a Pisa souvenior plate for Laura in Miracle Square.

Zio wants to eat at McDonald's for an American hamburger so we will go there to eat. I cannot deny him anything he likes.

Okay speaking of Zio, he is calling me to the kitchen. It is time to prepare his morning shot. He cannot do this alone.

You take care and I will try to post again this evening. Remember I leave here early early tomorrow morning to arrive back in the States at 3 pm EST time in Cincinatti.


Monday, December 28, 2009

This young man is Gioelle (Joel). He is sitting on my lap eating a French fry. You can also see Ilaria with her son Nico on the right. Aren't these boys just precious!

Today again there is no sun. The skies are very overcast. We have had breakfast. Zio has already had his morning shot and medicines. The medicine for the shot comes in a glass vial and you must break the top off. Then load the medicine in the syringe. I have alot of trouble doing this. I cannot imagine when Zio must do this alone. In the morning his hands shake much. Right now he is in the bathroom getting washed and dressed. I am sitting here in my gown posting. Soon he comes out and then I do my morning chores. I make both beds and wash the breakfast dishes. It is our deal that he cooks and I wash. He tells me when he comes to see me in November 2010 (I told you he is making plans totally unaware of the situation) then he will still cook and I will still wash the dishes. LOL

Then I must go fold my clothes that Gina, his housekeeper who comes weekly, washed yesterday. Here in Italy the washing machines are front loaded and appear to be the size of our dishwashers. But the difference is you can only load about one third of what you could put in a washer at home. There are no dryers at least in most homes. Things are hung up to dry on drying racks or laid over the radiator vents. I have already folded a few things and I thought I better come post soon.

Today Zio will be using the computer to go to a naval site in the US. He had me go to last night for him. He loves naval and aieral photographs.

At 2 Ilaira will pick me up to transport me to Pisa to where Lucia works (which is 1 block from the Leaning Tower in the tourist section). Then I will go with Lucia to Prato to her favorite scrapbooking store. I am really not sure how far away is Prato, except that it is close to Florence.

Tomorrow's game plans are that Stefano and Lucia will come to Marina di Pisa and collect Zio and myself. They are taking us out to lunch at McDonalds. Can you believe I fly half way around the world and here I am going to eat at McDonald's? LOL I even avoided it all costs on my last trip. But Zio wants an American hamburger, so we go.

Already wondering about the flight home. I see that many American airlines are now asking international travelers to arrive 3 hours early. This is because of the failed bombing of that Delta flight from The Netherlands to Detroit. I followed it on the Italian news and finally came to the computer to CNN to get a better understanding of the attempt.

I leave here from Marina di Pisa in the early hours (3:30 a.m.) to travel to Florence with Stefano and Lucia. I must arrive 2 hrs before my flight (Florence to Paris). My plane departs Florence at 7:20, so boarding will be around 7. Florence is the tiniest airport I have ever seen. It makes Little Rock look huge. LOL.... even the parking lot is smaller than one of them in Little Rock! Amazes me. I just wish I could of gotten a cheap ticket to Pisa, but they all sold out. It was a choice of Florence, which is close by, Rome which is 4 hours away, or Milan which is up in the mountains and thankfully I avoided it: Milan got much snow and ice and I think it would of been a week stuck there. Yikes!

Okay I must go off to do my morning chores. See you later.

Lunedi, (Monday) December 28, 2009

This is photograph of Lucia. She is in her home on Christmas morning. She lives in Collesalvti, a town near Pisa. You are viewing her living room and her pretty Christmas tree. She is showing off some of the gifts we sent from the US. I see her HELLO KITTY stuffed animal that Austin sent her. There are a pair of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer pajamas, and the Crop Bag I brought her from Jenny and myself. I used it as a suitcase coming here. She could not believe the size of it! It has 3 outside zippered compartments and then a huge inside area with dividers. Now she is ready to pack it for any stamping or scrapbooking class she attends. All will fit inside this massive bag. It has rollers on the bottom and a handle to pull it.
Today is a very cold day. I am already wearing a tshirt with a sweatshirt and thinking about adding a zippered fleece jacket to boot. Hate that it got so much colder today. Brrr.. There is no sun to view just ugly clouds and rain. A dreary day.
This morning we played Scopa and Zio is far ahead of me again. At one point in the game we were only 4 points apart. Then Lady Fortuna departed from me and went to sit with Zio. The current score is 111 to 96,. So I am getting my tail whipped. I keep telling him this is not good. Not good at all.
Today is a quiet day. He sits and thinks in his chair, while I sit here and keep myself occupied. He is going to start reading a book Ilaria brought him. I guess I will go soon and get my Clive Clusser book and begin re-reading it. I only brought two books with me. One was Living Dead in Dallas, a Sookie Sackhouse book (Makes me think of Melissa!) I read it again and then gave it to Lucia to read. Now I have only 1 book in English with me. So I must re-read it. I happen to like Clive Clusser, so it is not much of a problem.
I have surfed the internet on Facebook and the Crop Room (a scrapbook site) and my email. Now doing the blog and then off to visit and read. Seems all I do is sit and sit. My hands are idle, but my mind is busy creating card ideas for when I return home. Maybe I will also go surf some Stampin Up Blogs too.
You stay warm and have a good day.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My sweet little cousins

These handsome young men are my 2nd cousins. That is Gioelle (English is Joel) in the gray jacket. He is the son of my cousin Fabio and his wife Analia. The little boy in blue is Nico (English is Nick). He is the sone of my cousin Ilaria and her husband Gas (pronounced Gus). Aren't they just precious! Gioelle was taught my name by Stefano and he was walking around the house saying Ar-lay-neh (the Italian pronounciation of Arlene). It was so cute in his little sing song voice. Later someone told him I was his cousin and he was just repeating MY COUSIN (cugina)? LOL These two are so much fun together. They got into the Navity scene playing with the animali (animals). What one had, the other wanted.... and vice versa.
Today I was typing away in an email, when I saw a lady walking down the sidewalk outside the front glass doors. I thought how much she favored my Zia Adriana. Then thought how silly. Zia Adry is several hours away on the Island of Elba. A few minutes later the doorbell rang and went to open it. Imagine my shock when it was my Zia Adry along with her son Maurizo and his wife Genny; her son Paolo and his wife Rita. I was just amazed to see them all. Lucia knew last night that they were all coming this afternoon. She was laughing at my facebook note that it was a very quiet day, knowing all along this was going to happen.
A friend of Maurizio took Zia Adry to the ferry to ride to the mainland. He and the rest of the gang were waiting for her to arrive on the mainland. Then they drove here from the ferry (about 1 and half hours) to surprise us. Later they had to drive to Bologna and Modena which is almost 4 hours north of Pisa.
Rita and Paolo brought me a lovely doll. Rita is a doll collector. Genny and Maurizio brought me 2 cookbooks, one from the Verona region where Genny is from, and one from Tuscany. Now I will need my Italian-English dictionary because the recipes are written in Italian. LOL
Paolo also did me a favor and brought me a biography on Ferrari the carmaker for my
oncologist, Dr. Baltz. Dr. Brad is nuts over Ferrari. So I have a gift to bring to him on my next chemo on January 13th.
Within minutes of this arrival, came Gas, Ilaria and Nico. Soon after Lucia appeared. Maurizio has a good camera that has a time delay on it, so he got a family photo of everyone! Yes I mean everyone: Zio Corrado, Zio Adry, Lucia, Ilaria, Nico, Gas, Maurizio, Genny, Rita, Paolo and me. This will be a very special family photo for me.
We had a lovely visit. Genny brought a special cake from Verona for Zio Corrado. He ate a huge piece of it tonight and declared it good. I am full right now, but plan on trying it later.
While the sun was out, Paolo captured me and we walked to the seaside. This afternoon the sun appeared and I took advantage of it to take photos of the Meditterrean Sea. The sea was calm. There were so many people out walking too! A portion of the road is closed on Sunday, so the street was full of people out walking and enjoying the sun.
While I was away, Lucia, Rita and Genny went to the store to get Zio Corrado his daily newspaper and a hot chocolate or cocoa.
It seemed that everyone disappeared at one time. I enjoyed seeing them all ! What a pleasant surprise. I understand that they had a long trip ahead of them and by now they should be home. Glad I did not have to go up north. The weather is not my friend in the north. Too darn much snow and cold air for me. I will remain at the seaside instead.
All is well tonight. Hope all is well with you too.
Oh by the way, the Christmas dinner photo I loaded was NOT after dinner. I got to looking at the photo (double clicking on it) and saw it was prior to dinner and many of the appetizers are shown. Look too at the lovely plates. I have never seen decorative plates like this in the US. Too bad.
See you tomorrow


This sideways photo is of my cousin Stefano, the husband to Lucia. He is holding his gift from me. Stefano is crazy over the tv show DALLAS and the Dallas Cowboys. I had purchased a watch with the Dallas Cowboys on it a couple of months ago for him. At one time, Stefano, Lucia and Zio Corrado were to come to Benton for Christmas. This of course did not occur. But I had already prepared some of their gifts.

Tawanna, I am sorry I cannot figure out how to make Mr. Studly's photo the correct way instead of sideways. But I followed your Lucia remind me to tell you why he is called Mr. Studly.

This is a short post because I have another photo I want to load tonight. Be right back!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sunday, December 27

This photo was taken by Lucia after the one of the courses at dinner. Notice the tree in the corner with the Nativity scene underneath it. That is my cousin Ilaria holding her son Nico, who has a head of blonde curls. I am sitting beside Zio Corrado.
Today is Sunday and I awoke within the last half hour. Already I have helped Zio prepare his shot. This is a difficult task for both of us. The medicine is in a glass vial and you must break off the top, then load the small syringe. I have difficulty with those type of very fine motor skills, and for Zio it is even harder since he shakes so much in the morning. It takes a little time then I get it accomplished. I am not sure how he will do this alone. Then he has a slew of pills to take. I took my antibodics and came to the computer to write just a short blog this morning. I can tell you that between the two of us, the kitchen table looks like a pharmacy.
Lucia was here last night and prepared a fish dinner with potatoes, peppers, zucchini and tomatoes that I love. It was wonderful. She had a very long day yesterday. Her husband's family had their Christmas dinner together then. Her mother in law, Signora Carla, is also undergoing chemotherapy. She had a reoccurance of ovarian cancer this fall. She is recieving chemo every 3 weeks and is weak. So Lucia and her sister in law had to do much of the tasks. Then my sweet cousin drove 30 minutes here to prepare a dinner for us. Bless her sweet soul!
Today Gas, the husband of Ilaria, is coming to do some type of plumbing work for Zio. I did not understand it all. But I did understand that after this work is done, then I can wash a load of clothes. Remember here there are washers but you hang up the clothes to dry. Dryers are very rare. Here you see the front loading washers in the kitchens of most homes instead of a dishwasher. Only at Zio Claudio's have I seen a dishwasher.
Okay this is enough information for this morning. Later I will post again with another photograph and more information. For now, I think I will go eat my breakfast and prepare for the day.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

This is a photograph of Zio Corrado, Lucia and myself on Christmas Day at the home of her father, Zio Claudio.
We took photographs after the dinner. Zio said he was tired of all the photos and would we stop please.
Lucia brought her card reader over tonight and we loaded all her Christmas photos to Zio's computer. Now I have a few photos to share with you. Of course, I must upload them each day and sometimes I get the written Italian words confused, so we shall see.
Today we went to Ilaria's for lunch. She served the appetizer course with a shrimp in a cream sauce, salmon on toast, sliced boiled eggs, capers, sausage, 2 types of cheeses, and finally OLIVES! I had some wonderful black and green olives..... yummy. The main course was a pasta with a crab sauce. It was good, but since I am not that found of crab, it was not my favorite meal.
After we ate then we played Scopa. Ilaria and Zio were partners and Gas and I were partners. Not sure how that happened. The two novice players versus the experienced. Needless to say, they won. But it was good for me, because Ilaria explained to me how the game is scored. I knew you got a point for each Scopa (clearing off all the cards from the table) and a point if you had the bella diamonte (the 7 of diamonds). I did not understand how you got the point for total cards, total diamonds or the family of 7's until today. Nothing like playing with only half the rules. LOL
I was not feeling well this afternoon and went to rest for thirty minutes. I ended up falling asleep for over 2 hours. I woke and went to the kitchen to find Zio sitting with his scrapbooking. Or that is what I call it. He takes his photographs of the naval ships and puts them in an album. Then he takes a Dyno LetraTag machine and creates a label for each ship. He writes the name of the ship on each page. To me, it is another form of scrapbooking. He told me he had a nice, calm and tranquil afternoon working on his photos. I think it the first time he has been alone doing anything he wanted to do since I arrived.
I had only been up about 5 minutes and Lucia arrived. They are both in the kitchen now visiting. Lucia is preparing fish for dinner. She wanted me to come and put the new photos on the blog, so here I am!
Today is cold and cloudy with no rain. I hope for better weather tomorrow. I want to go out walking and the weather has not cooperated with me. Today the sea was calm with little waves. Yesterday instead the waves were very high and crashing fast against the beach. The wind was bitter off the water.
I am feeling much better now than I have felt most of the day. That nap sure helped me alot. But now I need to go back to the kitchen to visit with Zio and Lucia.
I will see you later or tomorrow with other photos.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Evening

It is already nearly 9 p.m. and I have now time to write a little before bed. Lucia came to visit this evening and we chatted forever.

Today was a long day. The day began with rain and winds. The sun finally arrived with blue skies in tow. The sea today was very angry with huge waves. I hope tomorrow it is nice enough to walk over there. I still have only seen it from the car driving back and forth along the marina area.

We went to Zio Claudio's for a very wonderful but long Christmas lunch. There were so many types of food served today. First were the appetizers. There were plates of proscuitto (ham), salami, salmon over a toast, shrimp in a sauce, and a wonderful quiche type of food with ham cheese and eggs, 2 types of cheese (parmasean and talllegio), olives, pepperoni, bread, tuna, and the fruit of the sea (squid). That was only the appetizers. Next came either a cup or bowl of broth. Then came ravoli with meat sauce. After this platters of meats were served. There were 3 choices of meat: lamb, pork loin and turkey fillet. Also there were potatoes with this course. Finally it was the desert course. There I saw 5 things. There was a cherry cake, a cream type pastry similar to cream puffs, a banana and chocolate confection, cookies dipped in chocolate on one end, and coconut cookies. There were 2 types of wine served: either white or red. I choose white today. Then 2 types of water: aqua natural and aqua frizzante. The first is what we drink at home and the second is water with carbonation. Then there were fruits and nuts too. Just sooo much food. I did not even try to sample all of it. I had 2 slices of salami, 2 slices of tuna, a slice of the quiche, some tallegio cheese (I prefer parmasean), and the shrimp during the appetizer course. A small half cup of broth that I could not finish and a few ravoli. Then in the meat course I had a slice of pork. I skipped the potatoes. I had a cream puff and a piece of the banana confection for dessert. In addition to all this bread was also served. No wonder it takes a couple of hours to have a traditional meal!

I got a lovely Christmas ceramic house from Zio Claudio. Lucia and Stefano gave me a beautiful silver necklace with a cross. Ilaria and Gas gave me a cute pink and white photo album. I came home and Zio gave me more gifts that I cannot mention because Jenny has some of the same. Sorry, I will give those details later. One gift I got that Jenny did not get is a joke gift. The first words that Stefano taught me was PISA MERDE which means PISA STINKS... so Zio Corrado gave me a red shirt with the white emblem of Pisa on the front. On the back it reads in Italian, THANK GOD I AM A PISANO (from Pisa) NOT LIVORNESE (not Livorno). Stefano is from Livornio. They are coming to dinner tomorrow night and Zio has already given me instructions that I am to wear that shirt to dinner. He is teasing Stefano. LOL

Jenny, one of the gifts Zio gave me had me just simply bawling and bawling. I could not stop crying for a long time. It will touch your heart. But that is all I will tell you at this point. Zio Claudio's house was decorated for Christmas. In the corner on a table was a 4 ft Christmas tree with some tinsel, lights and many ornaments. Under the tree, sitting on the tree skirt was a nativity scene. The doorways were covered with tinsel or flashing lights and a bag with mistletoe hung in the center. The tablecloths were gold colored out of paper not linen. In fact, except for the bowls and glassware, the plates (and there were 4 of them per person in various sizes for different parts of the meal) were disposable. They were not paper but a type of plastic but very decorative with a Christmas theme of poinsettas.

I took many many photos. I just cannot explain all I saw or heard today.There were so many voices and I picked up bits and pieces around the room. Just so much activity and so much happening all at once. Many cameras were taking many photos. Lucia, Zio Claudio, Fabio and I were all taking photos. I am going to get copies of them all.

We left around 3:30 or 4 coming home. I rode with Nico and Ilaria and Zio rode with Gas. We got here and Ilaria had misplaced Zio's house keys. So we had to wait for Lucia to arrive with her set of keys. She was about a half hour behind us. It was very windy outside as we waited.

Ilaria visited with us a little while and then she, Gas and Nico went home. Lucia and I sat at the kitchen table and had a long visit for at least 3 hours. It was lovely. We left Zio relaxing in his chair watching tv.

Tomorrow for lunch we are going to Ilaria's house. Then Lucia and Stefano are coming here for supper. Lucia is going to prepare a fish dish that I love.

Zio and I played Scopa this morning and already he is ahead of me. Score Zio 14 and me 10. He skunked me in one hand with 4 pts and me zero. Typical. He can count cards and lets me know it. LOL.

I am extremely tired tonight, so I am closing with a shorter post for you to read. I want to check my email and facebook and then I go to bed.

Hope you had a Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Venerdi (Friday) Dicembre 25 Natale

Buon Natale!

Here it is 9 a.m. on Christmas morning. The sun is starting to peer thru a mass of clouds. But the rains have stopped. It is a peaceful morning.

We have had breakfast. I had my bottle of water (go figure huh?) with some sugar cookies. But these sugar cookies are not super sweet like the ones in the USA. In fact, most of the sweets here are mild and taste better to me. Zio had a bowl of barley, his mini toast and jelly with his coffee. The barley is prepared with boiling water and has the look of coffee to me.

Speaking of food, supper was good last night. Zio had crab that was sent especially for him and a peppered perorino cheese (tasted like it had anise in it to me) and hard bread. For me, I had a typical meal I would eat in the US but with better flavor. For most of you, it would not be your meal of choice, but I grew up eating this combination. I had hard salami, parmasean cheese, hard bread and green grapes. It was soo good! Oh Melissa, I am having wine at the table but not here at Zio's. I had it with each meal at Ilaria's and then I will also have it today. One evening when I return we will sit and have a glass together.

Right now Zio has gone to prepare for the day, starting with the shaving of his face. I am in the living room typing in order to give him his privacy. It must be difficult for him too, to share a house when he is used to being alone.

I woke this morning to find him already at the table with Tex, his cat. He spoils that cat rotten. It has gotten as big as Garfield. But not off lasanga! He is spoiled by Zio with real fresh meat daily. Zio cuts a tiny steak into small pieces and feeds it by hand to the cat. I have photos to share of this with Zio and the fat gatto. Then Tex demands to be let out the door and he takes off for the day. In the late afternoon Tex will return and paw the door demanding entrance. Then he gets regular cat food. Afterwards he sits under Zio's chair and they play for awhile.

We had a great misunderstanding that Ilaria cleared up yesterday. He told Ilaria I did not want to play Scopa with him this time. Instead I was simply waiting to see when he wanted to play Scopa again. He seemed too tired and not interested, so I never asked. I figured when he was ready he would tell me. He figured when I was ready I would tell him. LOL.... Talk about 2 stubborn mules in one barn. So after we both get ready for our journey today, I will sit and play Scopa with him. This makes me smile, even though that cardshark will beat me!

The church around the corner rings its bells each hour and half hour thru the day. It is such a comforting sound, plus I do not need my watch. LOL. Since it is winter and the doors are shut, it is a muffled ring, but wonderful too.

I am excited for Zio to open his gifts. I had already purchased 2 for him earlier in the fall and had expected to take him shopping there at home for others. So I brought the 2 I had previously purchased. One is a book on airplane-jets he loves to see photos of airplanes and naval vessels. In fact he scrapbooks them. He has many scrapbooks of them. Okay I call it scrapbooking. He actually cuts out the photos and puts them in an album and labels them. He was showing me a book of American naval vessels.... the USS Tennessee and the USS Colorado and the USS Arkansas were all there (those I remember). His other gift would make many hog loves happy. I got him a super thick sweatshirt with the Arkansas Razorbacks on it. It is very heavy and deep red with lovely embroidery of the hog and the words ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS.

He gave me a pair of earrings already. They are beautiful. It is a special crystal maker, that I do not spell well.... but you will recognize the name. I will tell you it later because I need the box to spell it. Even in English that word is hard for me to spell.

In fact, I have many Arkansas Hog tshirts for the male family members. For Stefano I bring his Dallas cowboys item, for Lucia and Ilaria more scrapbooking tools that are hard to find here or very expensive. I think my luggage was one third of scrapbooking items. I brought few clothes. 4 sweatpants and 2 hoodies and a pile of tshirts.

I will be going home with many things. Already it is piling up in my bedroom. Lucia brought Jenny 2 large wedges of true Parmasean cheese, some European chocolates and a few other items.

I have only purchased a few Christmas ornaments to bring home for my tree, but then again I have hardly left the house. One day next week, Lucia will take me to do a small shopping. Jenny has a little list for me to bring back. But this was not a vacation and shopping trip this time. This time was a family trip. It was time to be here and enjoy Zio's companionship. This is a memory storing trip for me. Between my photos and the blog, I am capturing the moments to savor.

Okay I think I have spoken long enough (and probably strange enough too?) for all. Zio already accuses me of writing a romance novel on the computer. I cannot help it. The first paragraph is always difficult and then the rest seem to flow from my brain to my fingertips.

Have a blessed and Merry Christmas.

Jovadi (Thursday) Christmas Eve 2009

Buon Natale! Merry Christmas to one and all.

This morning Zio Corrado awoke in good humor with his vibrant personality! He was laughing and joking around with me. Such a change from yesterday. This is the Zio I remember. The problem now is he was making plans for the two of us for June 2010- He told that he wanted me to come spend 2 months of the summer with him. I told him it was impossible. A month at the most. Finally he settled on having me for a month. He has great plans where we go visit. He tells me Volterra and Assisi for starters. Then he tells me of the good food he will prepare for me. It was heartbreaking to sit and listen and make these plans which will not happen. On the outside I am being funny and strong and making these plans with him. On the inside, my heart is just breaking.

Today Ilaria and Nico came to get us. We did go out to the town square in Marina di Pisa. Zio went to do his banking. Then Ilaria went to the pharmacy for Zio. While she and Nico were doing that, Zio and I went walking down the street. We first stopped at the pet store so he could greet his friends. Then onto the bookstore or newspaper store where he got his daily paper. I, of course, did a small amount of shopping but very little. A few ornaments for my tree at home. From there we went to a small grocery store and I was the cart to hold all the items. LOL... he is so funny. I got Zio Claudio a bottle of wine for tomorrow's meal, and some lemon pound cake for us. He really loved the pound cake at lunch. Then we came home.

Signoria Giovannia, his neighbor lady, came for a short visit. She is a lovely lady with a generous heart. She and Zio act like brother and sister. They are good friends. She brought me a gift. Really it was several items. One is a wedge of Grana Padano cheese (it is a very good cheese) because knows I love the Italian cheeses. Then a bag of peanuts in their shells, a bag of little cookies and the last is a candy called torroncini (it is a nougat with almonds and fruit). How sweet was that! I had brought her some Christmas dishtowels on this trip. I really like the Signora Giovannia because she takes the time to talk to me and gives me time to comprehend what she is saying. We would go daily to her patio to visit on my last trip. She reminds me of someone but I cannot place who it is. Anyway she is a lovely lady who I enjoy visiting with when I am here.

We had a nice lunch today. It was spaghetti con burro. It simply means spaghetti with butter or buttered noodles. It was topped with Grana Padano cheese. Simply delicious! Then a slice of lemon pound cake. Now this makes me think back to the 1st time I had this dish. We had been at the grocery store and Zio had bought horse steaks (yes I said horse!) which is something he loves and I avoided. So when he told me burro I had to go get a dictionary to make sure we were not eating a burro or a donkey with our spaghetti. I draw the line at some meats and fish! laughed when I saw that burro simply meant butter.

Now Zio is taking his afternoon siesta. I am updating the blog while he does this. He tells everyone I am writing a romance novel. LOL.... If it is not raining when he wakes, we will walk to the corner tobacco store (less than a block away) for his cigarettes. Today is very cloudy and it has rained off and on. This I like much better than the snow I found on Monday.

I think all I am doing is sleeping, eating and talking. I wish I had brought more to occupy my hands. But I carried so many scrapbooking items for Lucia and Ilaria, that there was no room for me to bring a project along with me.

Ilaria bought Jenny and I a gift today, but I am not going to spill the beans right now. Jenny will have to wait and see. Lucia already brought 2 wedges of real parmasean cheese and good European chocolates for me to bring to Jenny. Plus a bag full of other things to boot. I hope I can pack it all.

Ilaria will return in a little while. She was going hunting for Christmas paper for me to wrap gifts. I have to wrap 2 more for tomorrow. Then I have some small items for other cousins who will come next week. Cannot say what it is in case Paolo or Genny or Maurizio are reading the blog...instead I tease them.

Maybe when Zio awakes he will want to play cards. Maybe not. When he is ready, I will play. He always beats me at Scopa. After all it is his game and he has played for years. I am a novice and I get the Jack and Queen values mixed up. In this game the Jack is worth more than a Queen. Sometimes I get confused and do it the American way where the Queen has more value.

A friend (hi Kathy!) wanted to know if this blog is for me or for all. It is both. Basically I am journaling what occurs day by day for me to remember the details. Then when I add photos for my scrapbooking layouts I can refer to my journaling. I simply do not want to forget a detail and we all know how easily that can occur.

It is simply a quiet day here. People are preparing for Christmas. Tomorrow night I will probably have yet another book to write. After all this is my first Christmas in Italy. I am curious to the customs and traditions observed. Later today, Lucia will arrive with Stefano. I hope to get her to go with me around the corner to the church. I would like to go light some candles in memory of Mom and others that are now gone. I think it would do my soul some good to be able to do this.

For now, I end my mini novella. Off to see if I can find my sorella (sister) Jenny on Instant Messanger. Also I must email Paolo.

To each and everyone of you, have a Merry Christmas with your families.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mercoladi (Wednesday)

Wednesday arrived with wind blowing off the sea. It is chilly but not bone chilling cold. Today at least I can sit without a 3rd layer of clothing. The sun came out for a visit too! There are blue skies, so later today it will picture taking time. My cousins, Lucia and Ilaria, and I will walk over to the sea (about 2 blocks) to take photographs.

This morning I woke and sat with Zio Corrado. For breakfast we had toast and jelly. He had his expresso and I had my water. Typical. Here you purchase toast already made in a package wrapped similar to our crackers at home. These are mini toast or bread toasted. I would say slighty larger than a saltine cracker. Signora Giovanna (the neighbor lady)came by for a short visit. Then Ilaria and her son Nico were here to pick up Zio's grocery list. Later in the morning, Alessandro, the bread man arrived. He comes by in a van with breads and breakfast items like danish (but not as sweet). He brings your order to the door. I was amazed that he recognized me and told my Zio that he remembered the neice from the USA.

Around 11, my other Zio, Zio Mario arrived with his daughter, Sylvia and her daughter Ylenia. We visited together. Mostly Sylvia and I talked together. It is difficult because she speaks no English and my Italian is that of a small baby or child. But we always manage to chat well. Zio Mario spent his time showing me that he carries my photograph (an old one at that from maybe the early 1990's and one I do like) in his wallet and "guarda" (look at or stare) at me. He is difficult for me to understand simply because he speaks too softly. It is almost a whisper. Ylenia played with my wigs and then Zio Corrado wanted one of my wigs. We put it on him, and of course the joker had to have his photo taken in my curly wig.... made me laugh. I can't wait to share this photo with you. You too, will laugh at the model and his antics.

Then Ilaria returned with the groceries. She did not stay because Nico had fallen asleep in the car. Sylvia and Zio Mario left shortly afterwards, promising to return to visit again next week. Lucia called to say she would be late arriving, and not to expect her until the afternoon. So we went to have lunch.

I am not sure exactly what the meat was, except to say it was a type of sausage I am not familiar with at all. It was okay, not one of my favorites but okay. I had parmasean cheese, grapes and hard crusty bread with mine. Zio had pecerino cheese (a softer cheese) and bread with his sausage. He tells me for supper he is making carbonara, which is a pasta speciality of his. I also like this very much. Yummy!!!!!!

I am surprised how much Italian I have remembered. I am not fluent by any means, but I am following the conversations pretty well. The news was on earlier and I was actually able to translate alot of it to follow along and understand. I have to focus on some conversations because of the speed of the speaker. Those are the most difficult. If they speak slowly, then I understand much. Now do not ask me to answer in Italian. LOL That is the hardest thing.

Yesterday, Ilaria took me to the bank and the grocery store. I forgot to tell you about the bank this time. I find the bank interesting; it is so different from USA banks. First only one person at a time can enter the bank. The door is like a vacuum tube (makes me think of George Jetson). You have to touch the green light button and a door swings open. Then you step into this area. The door closes behind you. A few seconds later, the door in front of you opens and you enter the bank. Several customers can come into the bank and stand in line, but only enter the door one by one.

One of the things I love to see in the bank is that God is recognized. There is always a crucifux on the wall. Why can't we be that open in the USA, especially when our money even states IN GOD WE TRUST. Strange huh?

The grocery store is very similar with produce sections and meat sections and canned and frozen food sections. What I like is in the produce section. You must put on a glove to touch the fruits and vegetables. Ilaria purchased the grapes I requested. First she put on the glove, then opened a plastic bag, then selected a bunch of grapes and placed them in the bag. You take the bag to the scales and enter the code for the food (it is listed above the produce) and weigh it. The scale prints off a price tag that you adhere to the bag. Viola! Ready for the checkout.

I also notice most people bring their own bags to the supermarket. Ilaria had a large blue plastic bag that had hanging clips on both sides that snapped to the grocery cart. She filled her bag with the groceries and then at the checkout, she put them on the counter for the clerk. She moved the grocery cart to the end of the counter and packed her items back in the blue bag to carry home.

Also here the grocery carts are rented. You have to pay some coins to unlock them to enter the store with them. Or you get a large plastic bin with a handle (like our hand held baskets at home) but these have a long handle like a wagon handle and wheels on the basket. You pull it behind you as you shop. When finished with the shopping cart, you lock it back in the row of carts. Interesting idea. No shopping carts are taken away or loose in the parking lot this way.

I remembered many places from my last trip. It is different to see the area without the abundance of flowers and sunflowers everywhere. Winter is not a beautiful season anywhere, I suspect. But it is a part of life. The winter is the dying and the spring is the rebirth (or that is how I always have viewed it).

I got my tailed whipped last night playing Scopa with Zio Corrado. He is a cardshark. LOL Scopa is an interesting game that has cards Ace (1) thru 7 and then the Queen (worth 8), Jack (worth 9), and King (worth 10). The object of the game is to capture the 7's, especially the Bella Diamonte (the beautiful 7 of diamonds) and to clear the table creating a Scopa. At least this time I am remembering that the Jack is worth more than the Queen. That mistake cost me alot last time we played. LOL....

Right now, Zio Corrado via a letto (he has gone to take a nap in bed). This is common here. A short nap of 30 minutes to an hour after lunch. He says respoto (I think I spelled that correctly it means to rest). I am here instead fighting with the keys of the laptop. My hands are too big I think for a laptop. I prefer my regular keyboard.

Ilaria brought me gift wrapping paper so I can wrap my presents. On Christmas Day, I go with Zio Corrado to Zio Claudio's home. This is the father of Ilaria and Lucia. There will be also Lucia and her husband Stefano; Ilaria, her husband Gas (Gus in English) and their son Nico; their brother Fabio, his wife Analia and their son Gioelle (Joel) and their baby daughter Maila. So I want their gifts wrapped from Babbo Natale (Father Christmas).

Cousin Paolo, if you are reading this, I want you to know I am glad I did not fly into Milan or Bologna. My goodness the amount of snow and ice you got! Over 18 inches is wayyyyy tooooo much for me. I hope you get a chance to come to Marina di Pisa where there is NO SNOW (no Nieve!).

I have given you a short book to read for the moment. For now, I think I too will go rest a bit. First I go check for Tex (Zio's cat) who went outside, and then I rest.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


No photos today. I did arrive safely to one of the COLDEST days I have ever spent.

I arrived in Paris at 6:15 a.m. to snow and sleet. The airport Charles DeGalle is enormous. I had a wheelchair waiting for me. We went from my gate to customs to a train ride to another side of the airport and it took 1 hour 15 minutes. Can you say large? Then I was wheeled outdoors to a waiting handicapped van. I was taken from the wheelchair to the van. Then we drove to the other side of the airport. Oh my goodness how cold it was! The wind, the snow and the sleet were bone chilling. Eventually in 45 minutes I was near my gate for the next flight.

There I sat for nearly 2 hrs waiting for the flight to Florence. I was very lucky. My flight was the last flight to Florence that day. Paris cancelled 40% of their outgoing flights due to the weather. Now getting onboard was another story. Oh my! I was taken in a wheelchair lift to the ground level and moved outdoors again (can I say I am still cold cause there was not much heat in the airport). Then a truck pulled up, and lowered a lift from the tail gate. I was placed on the lift in the wheelchair and then moved up and into the truck. I then transferred to a seat. The wheelchair was removed and I was left alone. This area was like the inside of a box van with windows and seats. Then I was driven across the tarmac to the plane. My fellow passengers were coming down the ramp to the outdoors to load onto a bus and then taken to the plane. Everyone loaded on the tarmac in the foul weather. I waited and waited a good 20 minutes, then the rear door of the jet opened. The man moved a walkway from the truck to the jet door and I had to walk across to enter the jet. I am now a frozen popsicle! Finally I get my seat and curl up as tight as I can to get warm. Impossible!

Two hours later we landed at Florence. I saw nothing but clouds the entire flight. The area was so heavy with cloud cover. My cousins in Bolgona and Modena have much snow. I think I understood 18 inches. Florence had ice and snow. When we landed there my fellow passengers were taken from the tarmac to the airport by bus. I was the last off and walked slowly down the steps to the tarmac. There was a car waiting for me to take me to the baggage area of the airport. The high school building (main building) at Bauxite is about the size or larger than the Florence airport. It had 3 baggage claim areas- Lucia hit traffic and a wreck and arrived about 30 minutes after I landed.

We loaded all my luggage in the car and went to get a bite of food. I had lasanga and she has a sandwich (proscuoitto). Then we drove to Pisa. We arrived and parked the car within 5 blocks of the Leaning Tower to go to the hospital. Then we walked the 4 and a half blocks there. She went into Zio Corrado room and handed him a card. The card had a photo of us together. It said that since he was not coming to me for Christmas, I was coming to him. Afterall, it was promised. He kept asking what????? Then I walked in... he looked and me and I looked at him and then the tears started for both of us. He kept hugging and hugging me. It took him a good 15 minutes before he could joke around with me again. The he asked me if he looked the same. Was he still handsome? LOL.... we sat and laughed and spoke more.

After we left the hospital off to Hotel Golf we went to visit Lucia husband (sorry cannot find the apostrophe on this Italian keyboard to add an apostrophe + s) Stefano. There I had some nice hot chocolate. We visited a little bit and then came to Ilaria house.

Several hours later, all bundled up in my sweatsuit I curled up in bed. Slept hard and long. I woke this morning at 9 a.m. ( 2 a.m. Arkansas time). I got up and visited with Ilaria. Then we went to the bank to exchange dollars into Euros and went to the grocery store. We came back and had lunch. I watched a DVD of Ilaria and Gas wedding in Albania. Very beautiful. Next I must gather my luggage to move to Zio Corrado house. We go in the next hour. Just wanted to tell you a few things first.

Stefano is here so I must close now. See you later!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


This is my Zio Corrado. I took this photo of him in a restaurant garden where Lucia works (she does international reservations for some of their other businesses).
By this time tomorrow, his Christmas present (me) arrives to his hospital bedside. He is coming home the following day to his house in Marina di Pisa.
It will be so good to see him again. I expect I will be soundly beat at Scopa, an Italian card game we play. It is hard for me to remember a Jack is better than a Queen in that game. So different from other games I know.
So tomorrow I will be there with my Zio Diablo Qua Qua Corrado (Zio Devil Duck Corrado -- that's another long story). He calls me Diavolina (girl devil). Or laughs and calls me Frito Bandito (another long story).

Off to Pisa

Here is a great shot of the Leaning Tower that I took in July 2008. Funny thing is I got the top of Zio Corrado's head too...See the man with the sunglasses.
It is now 6:25 a.m. Central Standard time in Arkansas and already 1:25 p.m. in Pisa. They are 7 hours ahead of us. I have been up and moving since 4:30 (just woke up is all -- my sleeping habits are strange these days). Jenny will pick me up in a little over an hour. We are going out for breakfast together before we go to the airport.
I leave Little Rock bound for Atlanta on a 11:35 flight. There I hit my first time change to Eastern Time - one hour ahead. The flight lasts about 1 1/2 hrs. When I arrive it will be 2:10 p.m. EST. I have an hour and a half layover. Then my flight to Paris leaves at 3:35 p.m. It arrives in Paris at 6:15 a.m. their time. That is 11:15 tonight Arkansas time. Another layover of about 3 hours in Paris DeGaulee Airport. At least I will get to my gate in time! I leave Paris at 10:15 a.m. and arrive into Florence (Firenze) at 12:10 p.m. Monday (or in Arkansas time that will be 5:10 a.m. Monday morning). So today will be a very long day for me.
Jenny asked that I post before I left. But I think I will do 2 posts == this one and one more. Have a great day!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Zia Adry of Capoliveri

Meet my Zia Adriana (Adry). This is one of my mom's two living sisters. She lives on the Elba Island off the coast of Italy. I keep seeing parts of my mom as I talked to her. By the time I met Zia Adry, Mom had been gone for 2 years. While they are not identical, there were several similar things. Both their smiles and turn of the head was alike. Their eyes were alike. But not their other facial features. It was like Mom was peeking out at me from Zia Adry's face.

Zia Adriana has 3 children: Paolo, Gabriella (Gabby) and Maurizio (Dr. Monster). They all live north of Tuscany near Modena and Bologna.

Zia Adriana lives in the town of Capoliveri on the Elba Island. You will remember Elba as where Napolean Bonaparte was prisoned. It is a beautiful tourist island about an hour off the Italian
coast out in the Mediterraenean Sea. Another aunt, Zio Luciana, also used to live on Elba at Portoferraio. Sadly, Zio Luciana died of lung cancer a few years before my visit.

Lucia, Stefano and Bruno

This is a slightly older photo taken at Bruno's home in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Lucia and Stefano were in the USA for their honeymoon. They spent 3 days in Arkansas with us. As you see we already had them wearing the RAZORBACK clothing! LOL.
It was really funny that night too. Stefano finally realized that Lucia's mom and my mom were sisters. I don't know who he thought he was visiting. But there was a look of shock on his face when we were discussing Zio Corrado and he wanted to know how each of were related to him. Lucia and I simply looked at him and then explained that our mothers were his sisters.
Bruno had prepared a major fest for us: Steaks and Shrimp! It was really good too. Lucia wanted to go see his 18 wheeler truck. So Bruno took her and then took photos of her pretending to drive it!
Earlier that day I had driven Lucia and Stefano to Memphis, Tennessee. They wanted to see Graceland and the Mississippi River. We had a really rainy spring and the Mississippi River was well over its banks and up to the levees in most places. Our Nonna Elsa (Grandmother) always had her photo taken at the gates of Graceland on all her trips to the USA. So naturally, this is one site that had to be seen personally. We rode the mini bus to Graceland (a long ride --- across the street!) and toured the manision and grounds.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Meet Paolo Santini

Meet Paolo Santini
This is my cousin, Paolo Santini. He is the son of my Zia Adriana (Zia Adry). He is the oldest of 3 children.
His sister is Gabrielle and she is married to Renzo. He works for Ferrari. They have a son named Luca. I am still unsure how anyone can be as slender as Gabby. She has a model's build.
His little brother, Maurizio, I affectionately call Little Monster (now it is Dr. Little Monster since he got his PhD). Maurizio married the lovely Genny this summer in Venice. She is soooo much fun! They live in Bologna.
Paolo lives with his wife Rita, in Modena, close to both Gabby and Maurizio. Unfortunately, they have no children together. They do have a large menagarie of animals, especially birds. Rita collects dolls and Paolo is an electrician.
Paolo and I have been doing email and Instant Messaging for several years. I was very surprised to see him this day. He met me at the airport (he had to drive several hours to be there too). The photo was taken at Zio Claudio's house. The sign read WELCOME ARLENE. Note the food spread being put out. That table and another table was covered with goodies.
There were so many people there that day: Zio Claudio, Signora Lucia, Zio Corrado, Fabio, Analia, Gioelle, Lucia, Ilaria and Nickolas. Stefano and Gas were at work. I was overwhelmed with all the people, the sounds, the imagery, and I was sleepy to boot. I had been awake over 24 hours by this time.
Paolo left later that day to return to Modena. He came back about 2 weeks later. He took me to the Elba Island to see his mother, Zia Adry. We stayed overnight there. We went and saw some other cousins that also live on the island. Then we packed up and went back to Zio Corrado's the next day for lunch. After that we took off for Modena and Bologna for a couple of days. I toured the Ferrari museum; spent the afternoon with Gabby and Renzo; and on Sunday went to Bolonga to see the sights with dearest Genny, Dr. Monster and my Paolo.
I remember taking a very winding road up the mountains and when we reached the top, I made Paolo pull over so I could relax some. I sort of had clawed my nails thru the seat of the car.... lol there were no siderails on my side of that mountain. When we stopped in this parking area I looked at the signs around the town square.... oops when I saw the sign for Skiing Lessons I realized that I was no longer in Tuscany!
The cousins who speak English are Lucia, Stefano, Paolo, Ilaria, Genny, Dr. Monster, and Fabio. The rest of the adults do not speak English.

Ilaria, the youngest of the cousins

Meet my BEAUTIFUL cousin (cugina) Ilaria. She is a stunning beauty with a sassy personality. She has so many interests that I share with her. Among them a fascination with Stonehenge, and a love of Marion Zimmer Bradley books.
Ilaria is the youngest of our cousins. I think she will be 30 in January. The oldest of course, is my big brother Bruno, who turns 57 in March.There are 21 of us in this cousin grouping with a 27 year age range between the youngest and the oldest.
Ilaria has 2 siblings. She has an older brother named Fabio. He is married to Analia and has a son and a daughter. She also has an older sister, our LUCIA, whom many of you know. Lucia is married to Stefano (who is crazy over the old tv show Dallas and eating chicken in any form).
Ilaria married Gas (it is pronounced Gus in English) who is from Albania. In fact the wedding took place there. They have a son named Nickolas.
Often I am asked how we are related as cousins. It is simple. My mother, Franca was the oldest of 8 children born to Elsa and Guiseppi Redini. Ilaria's mother was the baby of the family, Zia Antonietta, who sadly has also passed away. Between my mom, Franca and Antonietta there were 3 more sisters: Adriana who lives on the island of Elba at Capoliveri; Luciana, who sadly passed away from lung cancer; Alicia who lives somewhere near Lake Como and removed herself from the family. Then there are the 3 Redini boys: My Zio Diablo Qua Qua Corrado, who lives in Marina di Pisa; Zio Mario who lives with his daughter Sylvia in the northern part of Pisa; and Zio Luciano who lives about 5 blocks from the Pisa airport!
I hope to introduce you to some of the main characters of my adventures before I leave town, so you get a feel for them in my later posts.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

This is a scrapbook layout of my Zio Diablo Qua Qua Corrado. That simply means my Uncle Devil Duck Corrado. It is a pet name for him.
This was taken my last night in Marina di Pisa, Italy in his living room.

He had promised me for years that we would dance together if I ever visited. Now this is from a man with bad knees and his niece who has even worse knees! I come complete with 4 left feet.
We had such a wonderful time together. The last time we had seen each other, he was holding me in his arms. I was only 8 months old. He was 18. Fast forward to July 2008.... I am now 50 and he is 68.
Zio Corrado speaks as much English as I do Italian... okay that means very, very little. LOL. We lived together for 3 weeks and got along fabulously. We spoke with sign language, visual cues, in English and Italian, we drew pictures, etc. BUT WE COMMUNICATED! Turns out I understand about 80% of what I hear in Italian, I just cannot form the sentences from English to Italian fast enough to speak Italian. I get the point ! This is a layout I did of the two of us simply called THE DANCE.

A new beginning

I am setting up this blog first to record my trip to see my Zio Corrado in Italy. I leave the USA on Sunday, December 20th and return on January 1, 2010. I wanted a place to record or journal my thoughts. pictures and my adventures with my Italian family.

Secondly I want to use this site later to showcase some of my creative skills in cardmaking and scrapbooking.

So hats off to a good beginning!