Tuesday, May 31, 2011


That's a European adapter in the ancient wall plug, an adapter for the Brookstone adapter in the European adapter, the Brookstone adapter itself, my flat iron plug and a cook book to hold up the weight of it all.

My flat iron lasted about 5 minutes.

Arriveder-CHI. Get it? Get it?

B & A: Gelato

Owen had cioccolato, Scott tiramisu, and I had a lovely shade of green pistachio.

Our current gelato count: 6 out of 8 days.

I haven't had the same flavor twice, but Owen is currently stuck on one called stracciatella. Think of a DQ dipped cone.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Greetings


Early last week I was up at sunrise and found myself with several hours of alone time courtesy of Owen and Scott's continuing jet lag. I made and ate my first fried egg ever, runny yolk and all. Then I figured out how to french braid my own hair. (Think how many hours I could have saved you in high school, mom!). And then I went for a walk in the fields and experimented with macro photography. That's one of the shots I took in the post above. Last fall when I made the mistake of signing up for Basic Digital Photography (sounds innocuous, right?) and found myself in a room with people who had decades of experience and multiple bags for all their fancy camera paraphernalia, "macro" was one of their favorite pieces of jargon, and I had no idea what they were talking about. In my insecurity, I imagined they kept bringing it up just so I would know I didn't belong. Let's call it a middle school moment for me. I decided only snobs shot macro.

But now I'm here in Italy surrounded by so much beautiful light and color and scent, and I'm already afraid of going home and losing the details. So I started zooming in.


Saturday, May 28, 2011


and Back


I'm sitting in a convenience store parking lot AGAIN. Can't get an Internet connection at the house; pics still won't post, and the iPad battery just dropped to 3% but the car charger won't work. Supremely frustrated, but I don't expect you to feel sorry for me. A bad day in Tuscany is better than most days elsewhere.

Still wanted to check in here and let you know we're fine. Went up to the Apuan Alps today to tour a cave. Owen loved it!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Panificio

We've been buying fresh bread every day or two from a bakery (panificio) in the next village. As far as we can tell, Camigliano has a butcher but no baker- and no candlestick maker either, in case you just couldn't stop your brain from completing the rhyme. So we drive a few minutes over to Segromigno en Monte, following winding one-lane roads that often have stone walls where you might wish a shoulder to be. We quickly learned to honk before going into a blind curve, just to warn anyone who might be coming the other way. It works out well that all the vehicles here are small (even delivery trucks) so that two can usually squeeze past each other when they meet. If it's going to be close, you fold in your side mirrors- an electronic feature on a lot of the cars. If it's impossible, then the car to the inside of the curve backs up to a place where the road was wider. It's all handled very politely... and speedily.

Back to the panificio though. It took until the 3rd trip for me to crest the learning curve. For one, I've never gotten bread from an authentic bakery, where you choose the loaf and have it cut to the portion size you want; two, I've now got to complete this alien-to-me process in Italian. (We're finding that we're not as spoiled with English speakers in the villages as we would be closer to the big cities.) Our first time to the panifcio, we were the first of a flood of customers to come through the door. I was overwhelmed by all the choices and their Italian descriptions, so i decided I would hang back and observe. But when another woman tried to make a selection, the woman behind the counter refused to take her order, gesturing toward me. Apparently it mattered that I came through the door first. I made some sort of ridiculous bowing gesture, and she mercifully moved on past me. I ended up ordering a half loaf of pane brutto, which turned out to be wheat bread.

And worth all of the embarrassment.

*unable to post pics today (?)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New friends

Running to the slide & swing

Since this villa has both a vineyard and olive trees (Scott calls it the olive garden... ba dum dum), a gardener and his family live here year round. His name is Salvatore, and he has identical twin daughters who are Owen's age. We've already spent the twilight of two evenings playing with them, and I've been amused by their lack of awareness of a language barrier. They just talk away at each other. The more dramatic twin is fond of sticking out her tongue and blowing spit, so it's not hard to tell when she is unhappy. Owen accidentally kicked her in the face when he was at the top of the slide and she on the step behind him. She wailed. Talk about an awkward playground situation. Luckily Scott and I had just been studying simple Italian phrases, and "I'm sorry" was on the list. Mi dispiace. Her mother was gracious and reassuring, and I'm pretty sure she shrugged and said something about there not being any blood.

They sent Owen in tonight with their bilingual copy of Cinderella. He's in bed studying it right now so they can chat tomorrow about castelli and glass scarpettas.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Different continent, same Owen

We were visiting a 15th century palace, but our boy went straight for the Italian three-wheel farm truck. Any motor heads out there know the make of this thing?

We bought an app to see if we could blog more easily so let us know if it's working!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Last day of MDO

On to preschool next year!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Counting Down

It won't be long now until we leave for Italy!    

We've been reading a children's book about Italy with Owen, and he's discovered two key takeaways.  (1) Italy has volcanoes.  (2)  Pisa has this cool tower that looks like it's going to fall over at any second.

I overheard Owen playing cruise director with his Noah's Ark the other day, informing all of the zebras, giraffes and monkeys that they were on their way to the Weaning Tower of Peeeeza.  And that's Owen's alphabet magnet version of the famous bell tower in the picture above.  We'll be staying just a 15-minute train ride from Pisa, so Owen will get to see plenty of it - but only from the ground.  Sadly he's too young to be allowed up to the top.

(If you're a sketchy person reading this, just know that we have 2 fearsome guard cats, a housesitter, a 6'4" handyman, and several fantastically nosy neighbors who love us, so go get your drug money somewhere else.  And if you're like my sister who once stole an exam just because her teacher bragged that it couldn't be done, please don't interpret this as a challenge.  Scott will be most unhappy if I'm sassy and get us robbed.)

Monday, May 16, 2011

What if...?

So when I was bellyaching back during the days of "why?", how is it that no one warned me that a far more sinister form of interrogation awaited me.

The "what if... ?"

I can usually work out the "why" of things for Owen.  Why do the birdies fly away when I get close to the window?  Why does the steering wheel make the car turn?

But it's all the supposition that's been killing me.  What if the birdie sees me through the window and flies away soooo fast he hits a tree and breaks it in half and the tree falls on a squirrel?  What if the car starts driving all by itself and goes faster and faster and faster and a policeman sees us and I have my seatbelt unbuckled?

Much of the time, he's not just going for a reaction; he really expects an answer.  And don't even think of trying to phone it in.  He'll just step up his game.

A conversation we had in the car today:

O:  What if I ate a tree?

Me:  That wouldn't happen.  Your mouth's too small.

O:  But dinosaurs eat trees.

Me:  Yes, and dinosaurs were bigger than the trees they ate.  You are smaller than a tree.

O:  Well what if I only ate a leaf?

Me:  It wouldn't taste good, but probably nothing would happen.

O:  What if I got sick and my stomach had to be cut open to take the leaf out?

Me:  That wouldn't happen.  If the leaf made you sick you would just throw up.

O:  What if I threw up the leaf all over a car or a house?

Me:  Uhh... I guess I would just take a hose and wash it off.

O:  But what if it dried before you could wash it off?

And at this point I start fishing through my purse for an Imitrex.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

At the Y

Some of my favorite high school memories are of watching Scott play basketball.  It seemed like everyone in the stands would start raising their hands to signal "3" before the ball even left his hands.  But I was a lovesick schoolgirl, so some of you who were there and more levelheaded at the time may need to verify my story.  I do know that my own grandfather once traveled 30 miles out of town to watch Scott play even though I had a basketball game that same night less than a mile from his house.  Can't say I blamed him.

That much.

Owen got to see Scott play for the first time last week.  The two of them shoot around in our driveway together all the time, but Owen had never seen Scott play in a real game.  (Accountant rec league games at the YMCA are real, right?)

Owen sat in my lap and watched the entire first half without moving.  By the second half, he was much more interested in the cooling effects of lying out on aluminum bleachers.  I suppose we've done a decent job of hammering home the importance of sharing and cooperating with others, because Owen had a hard time understanding why some of the men on the court were actually trying to keep his dad from making baskets.  

Then Scott was clobbered while shooting a 3 but made the basket and the free throw for a rare 4-point-play.  I'm cheering away until I notice the look on Owen's face, and I realize he's thinking, that man just hurt Daddy, and not only does he not have to go to time-out, but Mommy is really happy about it.

Friday, May 6, 2011