July through September, 2013

To read the CURRENT month, go to ITALY JOURNAL

We post to the journal several times a month, so if you'd like to be notified each time we post, send us an email: evanne@lavventuraitalia.com

July 1

Yes, I did forget to say, "Rabbit, rabbit!" as my first words upon waking up this morning. I am growing more forgetful, as though I seem to live in dreams these days, even though those words are superstitious fabrication that I can't seem to ignore. Thankfully, I live with my greatest loves, Dino and Sofia, and these days are indeed sweet and mellow.

I have been dreaming of the words to a Michael Feinstein song, "On Such a Night as This", and of course he did not write the piece, although he sang it like a dream. Dream along with me and with its songwriters: Marshall Baer and Hugh Martin as you read their words below...

"There's something in the air that you can sense; elusive but unbearable intense. The stars are hanging there in bright suspense, as they prepare to light immense events.

"On such a night as this did young Lorenzo swear he'd gladly swim a thousand seas to please his lady fair?

"On such a night did Wagner write 'The Evening Star'? 'Neath such a moon stood Lorna Doone and Lochinvar'.

"On such a night as this did gentle Juliet cry "Forget that I'm a Capulet and set me by thy side"?

"Hurry, my sweet, wings on you feet. You mustn't miss the sheer delight on such a night as this".

"T'was such a night as this when Judy Garland swore, "I just adore him. How can I ignore the boy next door?"

"On such a night did Gershwin write his Rhapsody? On such a set did young Jeanette sing, "Lover come back to me"?

"On such a night as this did Robert Taylor sigh as Garbo gave a little cough and wandered off to die?"

"Lately I find I'm disinclined to reminisce. Except, perhaps, on such a night as this".

Oh, how I love that piece of music!

Under clear and sunny skies, Dino leaves to drive to the hospital in Orvieto to try to obtain an appointment for an eye test for late August. It's so difficult in Italy to get appointments for tests; the wait is so very long.

Since the temperatures are quite high, it's not a good idea for Sofi and I to go with him, for it will be too hot to wait in the car in the hospital parking lot. So instead we catch up with you and little Sofi dreams in her polka dot bed by my side as we listen to music.

Dino returns just after noon. He is to call the hospital early tomorrow morning for a better appointment, and perhaps he'll speak with one of the senior doctors if he has not luck then, to try to gain an appointment before the end of August.

For pranzo today, we have little precooked and tasty chicken drumsticks and wings, basmati rice cooked with a pat of butter and caprese salad, followed by prepared tiramisu.

Now, that dessert is something we have stayed away from for a long time, for it seemed as though it had a silly history as a dessert that was just too cute. But it is a delicious dessert, and we can purchase it in small serving sizes at our favorite market, so expect to hear more about this very tasty dessert again as the summer progresses.

It's naptime afterward, and because I spent the entire morning on the computer, we'll definitely both take naps, with Sofi by our side. Now she's hanging partly over the side of her polka dot bed. It's a funny sight, with her tail resting on the cool marble tile floor. What a great doggie!

July 2
Dino spoke with a good doctor at the hospital in Orvieto early this morning, who agrees to try to fit him in for an appointment. He stays at home and we do some gardening; then spend the rest of the day inside. It's quite hot outside.

We have that basmati rice with a bit of butter added in again and it is really delicious...as is the remainder of the chicken.

Earlier, he took me to dear Giusy's for a pedicure, and it's always good to see her. This time, she took me right away. It's usually a long wait for her, even though I always have an appointment. I love her! She's the gentlest and kindest woman imaginable, and we have been friends for more than ten years. I consider myself so fortunate to have her as a friend, and I do appreciate all that she does.

Back at home, there is always more weeding to do on the gravel, and Dino clips back wisteria as I weed. We have a lot of shade in the summertime thanks to this wisteria, and that's so important, because we face South/Southwest, where the sun is about the strongest. We love it here!

After long naps, we spend the evening watching prerecorded programs on television. Sofi has chased her share of lucertoles (lizards) and is content to stay by my side. She is ten and I'm praying she'll be healthy for at least several more years.

July 3
Its just Wednesday, but the big holiday weekend coming up is not celebrated here, for it's a holiday for folks from the United States, who celebrate their Independence Day from the Old Country. We do think of our friends and family who do celebrate it, and wish them well.

All is mellow here in little Mugnano in Teverina, and we love it that way! But then, we're getting up there in age and have slowed down a bit, enjoying watching the world go by and reminiscing about the good old days. Hope you'll enjoying the week, and the weekend, wherever you are!

It's another lovely sunny day, with Sofi and I catching rays from the sun on the terrace for a bit, while dearest Dino works on a project in the summer kitchen.

It's a reading kind of day, so Sofi and I sit on cushions in the conch shell and do just that; well, I read while Sofi chases lizards, her pals, who hide under the tiny white gravel covering the terrace.

Here's some news:

Vatican's top banking officials resign

By Alanna Petroff July 2, 2013: 8:34 AM ET

The Vatican is trying to clean up its reputation for shady money.


Two top officials at the Vatican bank have resigned as the Holy See comes under growing pressure to clean up its finances.

Director Paolo Cipriani and his deputy Massimo Tulli resigned this week as Italian prosecutors continue a three-year investigation into the bank, formally known as the Institute for the Works of Religion.

The investigation led to the arrest last week of a Vatican official, a financial broker and a former secret service police officer over an alleged attempt to smuggle millions in cash into Italy, according to Rome's prosecutor.

The Vatican made no reference to the arrests or investigation when announcing the resignations but stressed the need to accelerate efforts to repair the bank's reputation.

"Since 2010 the [Vatican bank] and its management have been working hard to bring structures and processes in line with international standards for anti-money laundering," said Vatican bank President Ernst von Freyberg in a statement. "It is clear today that we need new leadership to increase the pace of this transformation process."

Freyberg was hired early this year by Pope Emeritus Benedict to head the Vatican bank and clean up its finances. He will continue in his current role and become acting director of the bank until a replacement is found.

In May, the Vatican's financial watchdog agency issued its first ever report on money laundering in a move to improve financial transparency in the city-state.

The document from the Financial Intelligence Authority showed six reports of "suspicious activity" in the past year, up from just one in 2011. It said the Vatican's prosecutors were investigating two of those reports for possible criminal activity, though it wouldn't elaborate further.

The 64-page report detailed how the Vatican is looking to reduce the bank's exposure to money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities.

The Vatican bank serves thousands of Catholic charities, religious orders and dioceses around the world, in addition to roughly 500 people living in the tiny city-state. It has some 33,400 accounts and about $8 billion in assets.

CNN's Hada Messia contributed to this report from Rome.

I'm reminded that the 1970's movie, The Godfather , is looking more like a nonfiction account these days, don't you think?

I'm also reminded how much we all love watching crime shows on television in our living rooms, although the thought of actual crime at our front door is horrifying. Does that mean we are all trying to escape our normal life for a bit?

We had our own real bit of crime here at the edge of tiny Mugnano in Teverina years ago. Now we have iron grates on our doors, windows and gates to deter even the most professional of thieves. The thieves even used gas on that night to keep us asleep when we slept as they entered the house: how horrifying! Our protection systems should keep us safe, now.

If you have bad inclinations and are reading this, don't even think of it!

It's a really lovely and clear morning, so I take advantage of the early sun to catch some rays while sitting on a bench on the front terrace.

Dino leaves to shop and do errands, while Sofi sleeps in her polka dot bed and I read after doing neck exercises to keep a possible headache at bay. Oh, how I love to read! I'd love to also use our exercise bike, so perhaps this afternoon I will be ready to do just that. It's a good thing to use whenever it's too hot outside to walk.

Dino returns with goodies from grocery shopping. After pranzo, we take a nap and then he's out doing projects again in the car. Sofi and I continue to nap for a bit and then catch up with you while we wait for Dino's return. It's been a beautiful and sunny day.

The rest of the afternoon and evening is spent right here at home, relaxing as usual.

July 4
It's another mellow morning here, with a buttermilk sky after a rainy night. Unless I look at the date, I'd have no idea that the day is so important in the United States, where we lived for all our lives before visiting here, and then moving here full time.

Dearest little Sofi cried quite a bit earlier, as though she was in some pain, although she wagged her tail when she first saw me. An hour or two later, she seems better. I am so relieved! I don't even want to think of her being really ill, although she is ten years of age.

Dino stays in bed and reads for a bit, which is very unusual for him, so he must be reading a compelling book. We love to read these days; comé no?

Once he's up, he's ready to go, and after prima colazione (breakfast) he leaves for Lugnano, where he will pick up special hamburger chopped meat, for thick and juicy burgers that he'll grill with melted cheese on top for us just after noon.

Here at home, I boil potatoes and make potato salad, for it's a traditional part of the U.S. 4th of July celebrations. We already have hamburger buns purchased recently from LIDL that have sesame seeds on top and they'll be perfect with it. (Comé no?)

LIDL is a market chain here in Central Italy that carries U.S. food now and then, so they are always stocked for today's celebrations at the end of each June, anticipating a good business.

I do miss the traditional celebratory morning "Bloody Mary" drink; made with: tomato juice (or V-8 in the U.S.), vodka or gin, bitters, and a bit of Tabasco sauce over ice with a tall stick of celery that is also used as a stirrer. I recall having them with Roy's (aka Dino's) parents at their home in Carmel Valley, CA on that day of the year if we were there visiting, which we often were, so many years ago. Comé no?

Since we're by ourselves here today, it's fine to celebrate in a more simple way, but if we were with Frank and Candace and other buddies living here who were originally from the U.S., we'd surely have a more complex menu. Fa niente(no matter).

How about a bit of trivia aimed at this day? Sadly, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe all died on this day of the year. Who were they? As U.S. Presidents go, John Adams was the 2nd, Thomas Jefferson was the 3rd, James Madison was the 4th and James Monroe was the 5th President of the United States. Why is that?

Well, perhaps the stress leading up to the 4th of July celebrations was too much for an already stressed President of those times to handle. James Madison must have been made of sterner stuff. Ha!

My parents purchased my childhood home before I was born in Quincy, Massachusetts. As a child, I remember visiting the homes of John Adams and John Quincy Adams, the 2nd and 6th President of the U.S., which were located close to Quincy Square and are probably still maintained as historic sites that one can visit when there.

The stresses of modern day Presidents are different, but not all that much less than those mentioned above. I suppose that going down in history is worth dying for, but imagine that it is a thankless job in some ways. God Bless President Obama! He surely needs our love and support.

Back here in tiny Mugnano in Teverina, Sofi is feeling somewhat better, resting nearby in her polka dot bed while we wait for Dino to return with food for pranzo. Have you every heard of a man who loves to be out and about and shopping as much as he? What a great guy! Bravissimo, dearest one!

After a very difficult night, I'm so relieved that little Sofi is back to normal. I don't think that either of us have the beginning of Alzheimer's, but Roy's father had it, so it's important to know what to do when symptoms arise. Here's help from alz.org/alzheimer's association. Hope you never have to refer to it:

Living with Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's disease is always changing you. One day you may be able to do something, and the next day you may not. However, you can continue to live independently during the early stages of the disease by making simple adjustments, taking safety precautions and having the support of others.

1. Get help with daily tasks. Give yourself more time and less hassle by using services that can take care of everyday activities like shopping, cooking, bill paying and housekeeping. You could also ask a friend or relative to help with these tasks.
o Get meals or groceries delivered to your home. Also consider stocking your freezer with microwave meals.
o Use a lawn service to do yard work.
o Ask your bank if they provide services to help pay bills and keep track of your accounts. Or, have bills paid directly from your checking or savings account.
o Hire a cleaning service to vacuum, dust, mop and do laundry.

2. Use memory aides. Labels, lists, notebooks and sticky notes can help you cope with memory loss.
o Label drawers to help you find things.
o Keep important numbers by the phone.
o Post reminders to lock doors or shut windows.
Have step-by-step instructions on how to work appliances (such as the computer) or complete routine tasks (such a fixing your hair).

o 3. Take safety measures. Make home safety improvements, such as installing grab bars in the bathroom to minimize falls. Use appliances that have an automatic shut-off feature. Enroll in MedicAlert(r) + Alzheimer's Association Safe Return(r) or ComfortZone to help protect your safety in case you cannot find your way home or if you have a medical emergency.

4. Plan for the future. At some point, it will become too difficult to live independently. Make plans now for your future care so your family can honor your wishes. A good place to start planning is with Alzheimer's Navigator, our online guide helping individuals and families create customized action plans and receive information, support and local resources. Learn more about planning ahead.

5. Take your medications as prescribed. Taking your Alzheimer's meds can helPMinimize symptoms. Consider using a pillbox to help you organize medications. Ask the pharmacist or a family member to place pills in the pillbox for you. Write down the times to take your medicine on a calendar.

6. Have a plan to get around. If it is no longer safe for you to drive, there are other ways to get where you need to go. Ask family and friends for a ride. Take taxicabs or other public transportation. Some communities offer paratransit services for seniors and those with special needs.

7. Protect yourself from solicitors and potential fraud. Do things that will limit solicitors calling you on the phone or sending you mail. Get your phone number registered on the "national do not call list." Consider getting Caller ID so you know who is calling you.

8. Stay active. Continue doing hobbies you enjoy. Whether it's gardening, dancing, painting, volunteering, playing sports or card games, you will benefit from the mental and social stimulation.

9. Talk to friends about your memory loss. Your friends may not know how "to be with you" after you disclose your diagnosis. Put them at ease. Talk openly about your memory loss and allow them to ask questions. You will get their support and understanding. If you feel your friends may be backing away due to your diagnosis, try these tips to overcome stigma and stereotypes.

10. Get support. Get in touch with the Alzheimer's Association for information and support. We can give you referrals to local programs and services that can help you keep your independence. You can also talk to others who know what you are going through on our message boards.

Hope you never have to refer to them, but just in case, hope this helps a bit.

After pranzo today, there are plenty of recorded programs to watch, so because it is overcast and warm, we watch a few of them before taking afternoon naps.

I find a recipe for Peach Cobbler; one that I'd like to make with our peaches, so as soon as we have enough ripe ones, I will make it and will let you know.

I am relieved not to be celebrating this day in U.S. fashion, for in my youth it was unfortunately a day of chaos and sometimes bad happenings for my family; so of course, for me as well. With my parents both in heaven now, and with a brother not wanting to communicate with me for some reason, there is no reason to think of it as any special day to want to remember.

With possible inklings of a headache, I fortify myself with tachiprina (aspirin) and breathe in and out, slowly. I read in our cool bedroom and then nap, with dearest Dino and Sofi by my side and let the afternoon slowly wind by. With no plans, there's nothing to prepare.

How about a recipe for Southern Peach Cobbler? Sounds great to me!

Southern Peach Cobbler Prep time: 20 Minutes Cook time: 40 minutes

8 fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and sliced into thin wedges
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. lemon juice (fresh is best)
2 tsp. cornstarch 1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces;
1/4 cup boiling water

Separately, Mix Together:
3 Tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS: 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 C)
In a large bowl, combine peaches, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly; then pour into a 2-quart baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.

3. Remove peaches from oven, and drop spoonful after spoonful of topping over them. Sprinkle entire cobbler with the sugar and cinnamon mixture.

4. Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.

5. Cool on a wire rack.

Sounds delicious, so I'll be testing it out as soon as we have some ripe peaches, which means any day.

We've cleaned up the kitchen after our meal and now Dino is watching a tennis match. I catch up with you and then Dino and I take a nap. There's plenty of time now to read and sleep, for we have no plans for this evening, and that's how I prefer it. Comé no?

With plenty of recorded programs to watch on this lovely evening, we do just that. I have the promise of a headache, so take a headache cocktail for it and sit on the couch with an ice pack under my neck, not stressing at all. That's a good thing. At just before eleven PM, I catch up with you and then turn in. It's been a very mellow 4th of July and since we're living in Italy...Comé no?

It's Friday, and we drive to Viterbo to pick up a present for a friend after having toast and caffé at home.

Weather is lovely, with a few clouds in the sky but otherwise clear. I've suggested to Dino that he cut back the wisteria that is happily wrapping itself around the shutters of our guest bedroom. The plants are trying to take over the property, I suspect, so the five or more plants that are growing on our front terrace are thriving in the hot sun.

We had no idea when we purchased them in what seems so long ago that they would turn the house into a veritable Green Mansions in no time at all. If you grow wisteria, or are thinking of doing the same, beware of how prolific it will become. Yes, life here is somehow always an adventure.

Before driving to Viterbo, we stopped at MayElin's garden and it is indeed lovely. It is yet another garden paradise in the outskirts of tiny Mugnano in Teverina. We brought Sofi with us and she loved meandering around and kissing MayElin and Olav, just as they love her.

In Viterbo, we pick up a roast chicken for our pranzo and a gift for MayElin's new little paradise and take her gift to them when we return. She's always so kind and friendly.

Back at home I make basmati rice with a knob of butter, and that's the way Dino likes it best. I serve it with the roast chicken picked up an hour earlier from IPERCOOP in Viterbo and make a delicious caprese salad to go with it.

Afterward, we watch a bit of the tennis match, but Sofi and I are bored after a while, so come upstairs to catch up with you, then take a nap and read. All the while, tiny birds sing outside our windows, but other than a car passing by now and then, there is no noise.

Saturday, July 6
Lovely blue skies greet us, with just a wisp of a cloud in the distance. Our wisteria is so prolific we surely will need to cut it back around the balcony window!

We're awake early and have toast from the loaves of bread I've made. It is delicious, Si, certo! Yes, I always add salt when making bread from scratch, although many local artisans do not.

While Sofi searches for lizards, I sit on one of the wooden benches on the terrace, but after only about fifteen minutes it's too hot to remain outside. Yes, my skin is looking tanned a bit, so that's enough for me.

Meanwhile, Dino leaves to shop for a few things, as I agree to make chicken salad for our pranzo with the cold chicken left in the frigo that was purchased from IPERCOOP a day or so ago, but I don't know what he'll come back with.

He is a bit stressed that I leave our choice of what to eat up to him, and I cannot understand why. He is a take-charge kind of guy and likes to drive around, so doing food shopping is natural for him, and he's done it since he was a boy.

With wisteria beginning to encroach on the screen of the studio window, I remind him once again that it needs to be cut back. He does not like to be reminded, but agrees.

While sitting on the terrace earlier, I was reminded of Ruby Holliday's comment years ago: that "I would feel more comfortable living in a country other than my own". How strange and yet romantic that sounded then to this dreamer, and how real it is now. Thank you, Ruby!

I did not last long in the sun just now, for it was very hot. So back inside I confirm that my arms and chest are brown with a rosy glow. Va bene!

Pranzo is great, with chicken salad served on sesame seed topped buns, sliced and toasted in the middle, as well as a caprese salad.

With plenty of time for a nap, we lie down in the shady bedroom, I read from my Kindle and we do a bit of snoozing. At just after 5 PM we're up, for dear friends and part time Swedish neighbors, Annika and Torbjorn arrive soon for a toast of Aperol with a slice of grapefruit. It's a refreshing drink to have on this hot and humid evening, served tall with ice cubes.

We sit with our dear friends and catch up with them; they'll not be here long this time, but soon will return to stay for most of the summer. We may do a pizza night then. Comé no?

The humidity tonight is oppressive; I'm so happy we're not making pizza tonight. After our friends return to their nearby Mugnano home, Dino leaves to help at MayElin's garden with something. Sofi and I are happy to stay at home.

I continue to worry about Roy's eye, for he tells our friends that he can only see well out of one eye; there is a black spot in the midst of his view in his other eye. Sigh.

I remember that I used to make a great coffee cake, but today find a strange recipe for one, with packaged cake mix as the prime ingredients. How strange! It's on the Allrecipes site, if you want to look it up. I choose another, Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Coffee Cake on the same site, one that was submitted by a woman named Ruth. Comé no? We'll test it soon to see if it measures up and will let you know.

This weekend there is a sagra in Bomarzo, but I don't think we're interested in attending...At least I'm not. It will be held in the parking lot of the farmers co-op building on the main road from Bomarzo to the Superstrada.

Just before we go to bed, there is a story on CNN News that a 777 plane crashed at San Francisco Airport. Dino calls Terence and Angie for he recalls that they are returning to San Francisco today from Los Angeles. He reaches them and they are in the car driving back to S.F. It's a relief for us, but so sad for anyone involved in any way. The plane came from South Korea.

On that sad note, we turn in. Hope you and all your loved ones are all fine.

July 7
It's Sunday, and that means going to church. It will probably be hot during mass, so let's dress in a cool way. Skies are clear and colorless, with plenty of birdsong.

It's really not bad inside the church temperature-wise, but only three of us in Coro. No matter. The priest is one we do not know, but he's obviously an experienced one, and all is well. There are plenty of hugs with neighbors afterward, including some who are here only part time and one, Rosina, even hugs me back. Before, I thought she disliked me and kept her distance. It's so much better this way. Thanks, Rosina!

Afterward we drive to the new Superconti for grocery shopping, and eat something at the bar right in the same complex.

We're beginning to pick up things for our next pizza night, for unbeknown to me, Dino scheduled one this Wednesday for the Gasperoni family and Dan and Wendy. Comé no? Since the menu for our first pizza night was a real success, we'll duplicate it; that is, if we can find fresh zucchini flowers on Wednesday.

Other than the two of us, none of the guests attended the first one. The only difference is a dessert, which I will make and it will probably be a peach cobbler, for we have ripe peaches now. I've begun the dessert and will finish it tomorrow or Wednesday. No rush.

We arrive home to a happy Sofia, and spend the rest of the morning and afternoon inside. It's hot outside, but then it is July, so that's pretty much expected.

It's only an hour later, but I cannot remember what I fixed and served for pranzo , other than a caprese salad! Oh, yes I can. We ate cheeseburgers on the grill on sesame seed hamburger rolls, thanks to Dino for doing the grilling. They were delicious!

Today is a big sports day on American television, so we watch the LA Dodgers and our beloved SF Giants on the ESPN America channel. I leave to catch up with you after the 6th inning, with San Francisco ahead by two runs, while Dino stays downstairs and watches the rest of that game, then his beloved Formula-1 race and then the Wimbledon tennis finals.

I'm somewhat tired for some reason, and have been all morning; perhaps it is the heat and high humidity. So Sofia and I move into the bedroom, where I turn on the air conditioner and read and nap a bit.

I'm reminded of my childhood and of earlier years in the United States, where Sundays were full of fun sports, either participating in or watching: golf, baseball, football, swimming, etc. We would watch, except for my brother who usually played golf or football, and am so very glad that all that is behind me/us. I never was an excellent athlete.

Tonight we watch Andy Murray win Wimbledon Tennis in England. He's the first Englishman in more than seventy years to win the trophy!

Dino leaves to consult on a project while I catch up with you, and then he returns so that we can watch television programs we've recorded and relax for the rest of the evening. It's been a bit hot today, so we're hoping for a cool evening for sleeping. Hope it's lovely weather where you are right now.

It's after midnight, so we're off to bed.

July 8
I've just found a recipe for four-cheese pizza, and may add that to the list of pizzas we'll make Wednesday night. I'll add it to the repertoire just the same, as it's a traditional pizza in Italy. Comé no?

It rained mightily during the night; with wind so fierce I was actually frightened. Sofi and dear Dino seemed to handle it well.

This morning skies are clearer, and I spend time reworking the first pizza night repertoire of this season, for we'll have another pizza night in a few days and we'll fix the same pizzas as the first ones we served earlier this season, as all of our guests will be new.

I also print out a recipe for Peach Cobbler, which I'll make for dessert, not that we'll need more to eat after all the pizza! You can find the recipe in the journal of July 4th . Aren't you dying to make it yourself? Comé no?

After a long afternoon nap, I make the cobbler up to the point where it is cooked in the oven for the first ten minutes. I take it out while we're watching television this evening and let it cool. I'll finish it tomorrow or Wednesday, depending on whatever else is going on.

The temperature is warm and a bit humid; perhaps because the oven in the kitchen has been on. No matter. All is well.

July 9
We do some shopping, but forget a few things that we'll need for tomorrow evening's pizza night here. Dino will pick them up, surely.

I print out a recipe for Emeril Lagasse's "Perfect Pizza Dough", thinking I'll use that one for tomorrow evening. It's similar, very similar, to the one I usually use. We'll have five pizzas plus the cobbler for dessert, served with ice cream.

There is a wild thunderstorm this afternoon while we are taking naps. I'm almost imagining that this weather will continue, for I have a strong headache; but taking two tachiprina (aspirin) and lying down for a couple of hours helps a lot. I get up just before 6 PM and am feeling much better, so we'll undoubtedly have pizza tomorrow night after all.

Dino fell off a ladder earlier, while clipping roses growing against the outside wall of the summer kitchen, but after a nap and taking two tachiprina, his headache is gone and he tells me he's fine. There are a few scrapes on his arm and his head, but don't worry; I'll watch him closely. He did what he called a "4 point landing": elbow, elbow, calf, head!.

I do all the sauté work for tomorrow's pizzas and set them aside in small covered containers. Tomorrow we'll be so organized that we'll set each set of pizza ingredients aside together and the cooking should proceed easily.

We've had pizza nights enough times that we should be able to have them and have a good time while we're at it, too although it's a lot of work.

Dino's a bit worried that I'll drink wine with our guests and will become too mellow and forget what goes into the pizzas, so I pledge to him that I won't touch a drop of alcohol until all the pizzas have been served and we're ready to serve the peach cobbler and gelato to go with it for dessert. I do agree with him that drinking wine makes me relaxed, perhaps too relaxed...

We go to bed before 10:30 PM, so should be pretty rested in the morning. We don't know what the weather will bring, but we'll be ready...

July 10
With a few things yet to purchase for tonight and the pizza bases to make, we'll do just fine. We have the whole day to prepare.

Dino picks up ground sausage meat to use for one of the pizzas, and we sauté it early and set it aside.

With béchamel sauce the remaining thing to cook, I find a recipe online and while Dino watches programs on tv in the afternoon, I fix it so that everything will be prepared in advance of tonight's pizza festa.

Who is coming? Well, it's the Gasperoni family, including Tiziano and Alessia's tiny twins, plus Dan and Wendy.

I take the cobbler I have made out of the frigo to bring it up to room temperature, and will bake it for the remaining half hour tonight while we're having our pizzas. Dino picked up gelato to serve with it earlier. Rosita will of course bring a dessert, for she always does, so we'll have plenty.

This afternoon we'll set up the table, after Dino takes a nap.

All is finished early, our friends arrive, and the weather is cool and lovely with no chance of rain. Sitting outside on the terrace tonight is a dream.

We serve five pizzas and a peach cobbler for dessert, and everyone seems happy.

The stars of the show are Erina and Rachele, the tiny twin girls of Tiziano and Alessia. Rosita and Enzo are also here, as Nonna and Nonno, happy as can be. The little girls have a great time and like the pizza, too!

Everyone seems to have had a good time. We turn in just before midnight after cleaning up the kitchen and all of the dishes and things on the terrace for tonight's meal. It's such a great feeling to have everything cleaned up, even if we're exhausted (and we are) when we finally turn in.

July 11
After a good night's sleep last night, my feet feel rested. We have a piece of Rosita's crostada for breakfast. It's delicious.

The day is mellow until a thunderstorm erupts while we're taking a nap this afternoon. It's a hum dinger. We're very thankful it did not erupt yesterday.

It's a surprise to me. Dino accepted an invitation to attend a sagra in Bomarzo tonight. I have an enormous headache, so lie down with an ice pack under my head after taking medicine for it, and after a while I'm better. Dino calls our friends and arranges to put off our attendance at the sagra until tomorrow night. I did not ask him to, but am so relieved.

I find a great recipe online for Portobello Mushroom Burgers and include it for those of you who don't always want meat, but want something tasty and casual:

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 4
* 4 Portobello mushroom caps
* 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
* 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
* 1 Tablespoons olive oil
* 1 Tbsp chopped rosemary
* 1-1/2 tsp steak seasoning
* 4 thick slices red onion
* 4 oz Swiss cheese, sliced thin
* 4 thin slices tomato
* 1/2 avocado, sliced thin
* baby spinach
* 4 whole wheat buns

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, oil, rosemary, and steak seasoning. Place the mushroom caps in the bowl and toss with sauce, using a spoon to evenly coat. Let stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes, turning a few times.

Heat the grill or indoor grill pan over medium heat. When hot, brush the grate with oil or lightly spray the grill pan. Place the mushrooms on the grill, reserving marinade for basting. Grill for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or until tender, brushing with marinade frequently.

While the mushrooms cook, grill the onions about 1 minute on each side and the buns until toasted.

Top the mushrooms with cheese during the last minute of cooking. While the mushrooms cook, grill the onions about 1 minute on each side and grill the buns until toasted.

Place the spinach and grilled Portobello mushrooms on the buns and top with the grilled onions, sliced tomato and avocado.

I save this recipe for all of us; then spend the evening before the television with my pals, just relaxing.

July 12
What a lovely morning! With clear blue skies, it's a joy to get up. While Sofi hunts for her favorite lucertoles (lizards) and watch them move about, I weed a bit on the gravel terrace, then come inside to research a fall trip. Outside, someone is weedwhacking; we're used to the sound now and then from various neighboring properties.

All the while, birdsong is at its peak, and the sounds at different octaves are a delight, with soprano soloists chiming more loudly or in a more pronounced way, now and then. Ha!

Dino leaves to check on a property and to shop for our pranzo food, while Sofi lies in her polka-dot bed and sleeps through it all as I watch her snore as she twitches her beard hairs just a bit now and then and I catch up with you at the nearby desk. What a sweet treasure she is!

I've the feeling that we've lived here forever, although it's only been about eleven years full time. When we watch stories about life in the United States, that life all seems so complicated now.

We spend most of our time here enjoying dealing with what we have in our little village house and enjoying life spent with each other, enhanced greatly by sweet Sofia, who seems to be doing well at ten years of age. I pray for her continued good health and for Dino's better eyesight. How fortunate I am to have two treasures to live with who love me as I love them!

After a lovely and simple pranzo, we watch a couple of Masterchef shows on television, then take a nap.

With cicadas beginning their summer songfest within the last day or so, we're surrounded by their notes. It appears the sound is of them breathing; is that possible?

I read that when temperatures start consistently hovering above 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28C), the cicadas will embark on their six-week life cycle, which ends with their eggs being buried underground for another 17 years. This is the year for them, some folks say. Today is the first day we've heard them in Central Italy. For such small insects, their sound is huge. Does it give them headaches?

Look up: www.magicicada.org if you want to learn all about them. I skip over most of it, for I find the information nauseating, but you may find it fascinating. Thanks for not sharing any information about it with us.

At about 3:15 PM we take a nap, or try to, with the windows closed, dreaming about the end of August, when their noises will hopefully disappear.

We send email greetings to Jed and our wishes that he and Adrian and their family will have a special birthday celebration. Sorry we can't wish him happy birthday in person. His birthday is tomorrow. Hope all is well with him.

After a nap and some reading, the sound of possible thundershowers has us wondering if there will be a sagra in Giove tonight. Duccio and Giovanna are picking us up for it later, while Sofi stays at home. She's such a dear doggie! It won't be fun for her, and she'll be happier here. Let's hope there is no rain.

Duccio and Giovanna pick us up and we all go to Giove to their Zucchini Sagra.

It's quite good, and also good to be with our dear friends whom we don't see as often as we'd like. So we plan a gita in a week or so for another adventure together.

The evening is lovely and not too cool or too hot. We're home before 10 PM and watch some television programs that we love before I turn in. Well, we watch one program and then Sofi and I go upstairs, for I have a bit of a headache, and with a dose of two tachiprina (aspirin) and an ice pack, I'm hoping I'll be fine in a few hours. My head is buzzing, and I am sure it was from two glasses of white wine with cena. What a drag!

Dino stays downstairs for a bit to watch more television, while Sofi and I go to the bedroom and I turn the air conditioner on high. Speriamo. We can only hope it will work to bring the temperature of my head down. What a weird system I have in my body! If only I knew how to control it better.

Actor James Gandolfini died in Rome on June 19, 2013, at the age of 51. According to Dick Cavett, "Gandolfini's great feature was his eyes. For a man of unremarkable physique and features, the eyes were pure magic. They were soft, twinkly, cuddlesome and loving. At other times, frozen, menacing, cruel and murderous, shifting suddenly from one expression to another with startling impact. Those eyes were the outstanding, endlessly versatile feature of this gifted actor's arsenal of talent. He never made a false move."

Gandolfini was remembered Thursday as a private but generous man who, despite struggles, created one of the most indelibly iconic characters in TV history.

The Sopranos star's funeral, at the enormous Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in NYC, was attended by 1,800 friends, family and fans, who streamed in on a steamy day to hear eulogies and prayers.

That about sums it up for the person I think of when his name is said or his photograph is shown. Gangster is a word I thought of often during my childhood and also into my adulthood, and although I think I met a few of them in real life, connected to Boston somehow, mostly I considered them to be action figures that were not real.

Probably Gandolfini will be replaced on the show, for it is so popular. Why is it, I've said before, that crime shows and stories are so popular on television and in the movies, especially when people are hurt or killed? I admit I am somewhat of a Pollyanna, hoping for the best in people, but yes, I do watch crime shows on television.

July 13
I think I'm doing a good thing by pulling up weeds from the gravel, only to realize later that the mosquitoes must be their friends; they attack me with gusto on my arms and legs. Later, I try some alcohol on the itchy spots; perhaps the only solution is time. Sigh! Perhaps wearing thin cotton socks will help, too.

Our French friends are back for much of the summer, and after a short visit by a few of them, we agree to see them all tomorrow morning in church. We love them all!

I've had a long rest, although I read for most of the time, and that was enjoyable. Now it's television time, for I surely won't want to spend time outside. My skin really suffers from the bites.

Dearest Sofi is ten years of age and then some in human terms - seventy years of age in dog years, and is beginning to show her age. Either that, or she's really warm tonight, although we have air conditioning in the house.

Her nose is warm and she breathes a bit strangely, too quickly, I'm afraid. But Dino tells me not to worry. She wags her tail, so let's pray she's fine. She does not want to drink water, even when I bring the dish to her. Let's not overdo the dramatics.

I try not to worry, so come upstairs to catch up with you and Dino tells me that Sofi heads outside to poop when I'm sitting at the computer. She arrives upstairs after a minute or two and sits under the desk on the cool marble floor while I write. I'm sure she feels better now and am relieved.

We've made an appointment for Silvia to come here to groom Sofi on July 25th. Then her hair will be short and she'll probably be much more comfortable during the hot weather. Of course she'll always have a bit of a beard, for that's the kind of dachshund she is: a mini wirehaired dachshund. We so love her!

July 14
Today is what we recall as "Bastille Day", but it's also known in France as "La quatorze juillet". If you don't know even a bit of French, it translates to the date: the 14th of July. With our French friends here, we wonder if they will celebrate in a special way. We'll ask them in church this morning. We'll try to wear red, white and blue in honor of all our French pals.

Afterward, we'll have pranzo at Frank and Candace's in Orvieto. They so love little Sofi, and she loves them, too. In fact, they are her Godparents! Comé no?

Church is wonderful this morning, with a few Mugnano part time neighbors acknowledging me and returning my hugs who would not even look me in the eye a few years ago.

I won't include their names, but will remember who they are, and am so pleased that no animosity remains. I don't judge my fellow man and it saddens me when others do. But then, I'm told it's their loss. Please do all you can to refrain from judging your fellow man/woman. Thanks so very much.

I love greeting the younger French girls after church, for they stayed at home during the service, although they live right next door.

Speaking of French folks, savoir flair is what I think I see when watching the French parade in Paris down the Champs-Elysees on television at home after church. The French are known to have such wonderful style, that there are soldiers matching in blocks with truly fabulous colored uniforms. Look it up online to see for yourself if you do not know how wonderful they look!

While dressed in red, white and blue, to honor our French friends and share our love of all things French, I catch up with you before we drive North to our Orvieto pals for pranzo. I have been counseled by dear Dino not to drink more than one glass of wine today; he tells me the alcohol changes my personality. How scary!

Yes, my mother was an alcoholic, how sad, but I can't imagine following her. I hardly drink at all and yes; it does affect me, especially afterward, with potentially a huge headache. Perhaps I am even allergic to alcohol. Let's change the subject. There's no need to bring it up again. Thanks.

With the weather quite warm and a bit humid, I'm a bit nervous about being bit by mosquitoes during our visit to Orvieto this afternoon. My skin does not do well after a bite. Let's be positive. I do have a bit of a tan on my arms from a bit of sun from the last few days, and that's a good thing.

Sofi is in heaven, for she adores Frank and Candace and why not? They are her godparents. Si, certo!

Our dear friends greet us as we walk into their cool and lovely house. Sofi is over the moon happy to see them, for they are here godparents and she loves them as they love her.

After a mini hug fest, we're welcomed and spend several hours talking and eating and drinking a bit. I behave well, with one glass of wine that is continuously filled with water as the afternoon goes on. The food is marvelous, served outside on their patio surrounded by so many healthy and lovely plants and flowers.

Sofi rambles around the garden, remembering her favorite spots, but is happiest nearby. We feed her a Cesar and then eat a wonderful meal ourselves, prepared by both Frank and Candace.

We've not seen these dear friends for a long while, and there is plenty to talk and laugh about. There are also health issues to discuss, and we discuss them; then return to happier subjects.

The afternoon has been a delight. We drive home to little Mugnano and our cool house and there is plenty of time for late afternoon naps for all three of us. Why not? There is nothing we have to do.

After a couple of hours sleeping with the air conditioner on and the room in very comfortable temperature, the three of us get up.

With clear skies and nothing we have to do, we sit and watch the European Golf Championship for a bit. We have recorded programs to watch and there are no great movies to watch tonight, so I'm hoping we'll visit recorded programs and shorten the list.

All is mellow.

July 15
I sleep in late while Dino does errands and then eat colazione with him. Sofi is of course by our sides.

Dino arrives back home with an enormous steak purchased from the excellent macelleria (butcher) in Guardea; one that he grills beautifully and we eat some, then save the rest for a possible snack tonight or a steak salad tomorrow.

It's time to watch a couple of recorded programs of Master Chef on television as we eat pranzo; then take a long nap. Well, I take a long nap while Dino takes a short one and then drives off to shop, do some errands and supervise work at a local garden.

I read in my Kindle and snooze for a bit. When I get up to feed Sofi, Dino has not returned. I feed her and we watch television programs until he does.

The remainder of the evening is mellow, as are most evenings in this delightful village. The air outside is humid, but no matter.

July 16
On this clear and hot morning we arise at the usual time and eat cereal, drink caffé and enjoy little Sofi, always by my side. Oh, how sweet she is!

Dearest Dino leaves to shop for food for pranzo and to do other errands, while I read my Kindle and Sofi rests right by my side. He still does not return at noon, so I feed Sofi and we wait downstairs for him, with Sofi rambling about outside on the terrace for a bit. Its quite warm and humid; a typical summer's day. Lovely!

Dino arrives home, and the rest of the day is mellow.

July 17
Another beautiful and warm day begins, with cereal topped with pieces of banana and caffé for breakfast and a couple of cheerios for dearest Sofi.

I do a bit of weeding afterward, but just a bit. Dino clips the wisteria growing wildly and reaching down around the balcony. I help him to get rid of the pieces in a barrel; one whose contents will be burned soon. I'm so relieved! Thank you so much, dearest Dino!

Temperatures are quite warm and seem humid. I choose to spend most of the day inside, and why not? We have air conditioning when we need it, and we need it today!

Pranzo is forgettable; an hour later as I catch up with you I can't remember it, other than the caprese salad with fresh buffala mozzarella, which is very tasty. Perhaps Dino will jog my memory and I will let you know what else we ate, not that it's a big thing.

The air is so heavy, even inside, that it's difficult to concentrate. Sofi feels very warm, and that worries me. She'll lie on the cool terrazzo floor and I hope that will help. Silvia will be here in about a week to rid her of all that extra hair, thank you Silvia!

I bring an ice pack to bed to take a nap and reading my Kindle, while Dino watches a bit of American softball on television and as Don would say, "Washes up!" Ha!

I weed for just a bit; then help Dino to cut down wild wisteria branches that hang down over the front pergola.

Back inside, we watch television with dearest Sofi, after feeding her some croccante for her cena

Dino remains downstairs watching television, while Sofi and I catch up with you and then go to bed. I read on my Kindle and she sleeps on her little bed beside me. What a dear doggie, and she seems to be doing well, despite being ten.

July 18
Today there is a gita with Duccio and Giovanna to Lucignano in Tuscany, and of course little Sofi will come along. We've found a restaurant where she can be with us; there is seating outside under a pergola.

I'd love to purchase this book from Amason.uk, but Amazon won't send it to me here in Italy. It's called Portrait Painting Atelier by Suzanne Brooker, but that's one for my "wish list". Extra expenditures are not what we spend our money on these days. No matter.

We do have a lovely day with our dear friends, Duccio and Giovanna and little Sofi. Dino drives us all to Lucignano, where we visit a gorgeous church with some magnificent paintings and then have a grand pranzo at a trattoria.

Sofi is with us for pranzo, for we eat outside. She eats the little Cesar that we have brought with us for her right at my feet, with a bit of water with which to wash it down.

What a dear doggie, except for snapping once or twice at folks at the next table who are a bit aggressive with her. Otherwise, she is perfect, staying by my side and not complaining a bit, no matter how long we drive or the length of time she has to wait.

We drop our dear friends off in Bomarzo and return home at just after 4PM, just in time for an afternoon nap in the cool bedroom. It's been a lovely day.

July 19
A few clouds appear overhead, but no matter, the weather is not too hot on this morning. We eat cereal and Sofi has a bit as well, then Dino drives off to visit our good dottore in Viterbo for our regular prescriptions and do some food shopping. He'll surely be back for pranzo.

I rake leaves on the terrace while Sofi meanders about nearby, and then we return inside to catch up with you and rest until dear Dino returns. I'm quite tired; perhaps it is the weather, for the air feels quite heavy. Sofi looks tired, too, as she rests her head heavily on her polka dot bed, just to my left in the studio.

There are sounds of thunder overhead, and they are loud! Surely we will lose our power, so ciao for now, for I'll turn off the computer and log out until the skies clear.

It does rain, but we don't lose any power. The day continues and after dark we sit and watch plenty of prerecorded programs on television. I think I'll catch up with you and write just a paragraph or two until I'm too tired to write more. A domani! (Until tomorrow!)

July 20
Yes, it's warm when we awake, and by 9 AM we've had cereal with sliced banana and caffé. Dino leaves for Viterbo, where he'll pick up some things to add to our salatone (big salad) for pranzo. It should be refreshing and the perfect meal to have on this hot day.

I put a few eggs on the burner in a pot with cold water until the water has boiled; then turn the temperature off with the lid closed and they will cook perfectly but not too much. In a while I'll refresh the water with cold water and they'll be ready to peel and refrigerate until I'm ready to compose the salad.

Whatever eggs we don't use I can use tomorrow to make an egg salad. We have sedano (celery) and whatever I'll need to fix that for a snack or sandwiches then.

I am feeling the heat at noon, and know that we are blessed by having shade from the wisteria plants over the pergola in front of the house and air conditioning in the kitchen when we need it.

A few fairly new wisteria flowers remain on the pergola, but this must be the end of their flowering for this season. They are lovely, just the same.

We watch the first half of the movie, The Departed, and although we've seen it before, it holds up. We'll watch the rest of it later today, perhaps, when the weather cools down and we've finished with our naps. The movie takes place in and around Boston, and since my brother and I grew up on the South Shore of Boston, it is interesting.

We receive a discount on a membership to GeneaologyBank, but since my mother was born in Canada and my father in the Ukraine, it is not worth it. I'd have to be able to search records in Canada and the Ukraine in English for it to be worthwhile. Sigh.

It's almost 4 PM but we're just now finishing dishes for pranzo, so our naps are late today, but no matter. The temperature is hot today, and it will be cool in the bedroom. We'll surely have the air conditioner on, too.

After our naps, we spend the evening in front of the television, watching the remainder of the movie The Departed and enjoying it, despite the violence. Since I was born and lived my childhood and early adulthood in and around Boston, I laughed at the swear word that was overused and reminiscent of those early days of mine.

Dino stays up after Sofi and I check in with you and go to bed. I so love having Sofi by my side. She is a dear doggie, and seems to be doing well, despite being ten years of age.

Hope it's mellow and lovely where you are. Buona note!

July 21
Today is Sunday, so mass is on the agenda this morning. When we awake, it is 8 AM, but already quite warm. No matter.

I realize that dearest Sofia will be alone for a few hours here this morning, but at least it is cool inside the house. Her hair is getting quite long, but Silvia will be here in several days to groom her and she'll be more comfortable when outside afterward. She seems fine for now.

We get ready to go to church, closing the windows that will bring in too much hot air. All the regulars are in church, and there is plenty of hugging going around. Don Angelo is our priest, and gently turns to acknowledge me as he walks up the center aisle of the little church.

I know Lore and Alberto are here, for their window shutters are open, but although I see Alberto and give him a hug after mass, Lore is nowhere to be found. Perhaps she rushed home to fix pranzo for guests.

Dino tells me that she is angry with me because I have not called her, but why, I wonder? I'm not about to call her and incur her wrath, or even scolding. Life is just too short.

I love her, anyway, but they spend the month of July usually on the island of Ischia, so am surprised that she is here. Let's not fret...about anything.

I fix a salatone (big salad) for pranzo and Dino loves the look as well as the taste of it; it's a great midday meal for a hot summer's day, and this is surely one.

After checking in with you, I join little Sofi and Dino for a long nap and reading my Kindle in our air-conditioned bedroom. Otherwise, it's quite hot here in little Mugnano in Teverina.

There is a major golf championship in Scotland, "The Open", and we have watched most of it over several days. Tonight it ends, with Phil Michelson playing brilliantly and winning. He celebrates with his beautiful family afterward, and then I take a few minutes to catch up with you and let you know, although you probably do already:).

With a major thunderstorm in the forecast for today coming true here, the storm is so fierce that I am a bit frightened. We stay inside with all the doors and windows closed. It's a good thing there is no storm where the golf tournament is being played!

Dearest Sofi has remained by my side the entire day, except for this morning when Dino and I attended mass and then shopped in nearby Il Pallone.

When I napped, she napped. When I watched television, she lay next to me, seemingly facing the screen. Dino and I seemed to be in lockstep all day. I love him so!

The thunderstorm ends, finally, and only a few clouds remain in an otherwise blue sky. We needed the rain, so everything seemed to work out.

The evening ends with us beginning to watch a prerecorded movie on television, the Red Widow. Dino has to take the SKY Box back to Viterbo tomorrow to trade it in for another. I watch part of it and am bored so go to bed. So much for the programs we have recorded and will lose tomorrow. There is no way to save the programs once the box is exchanged. No worries.

July 22
Terence's birthday is in two days, but we've sent him his presents, to arrive before his celebration. He's a wonderful son, a wonderful father. His girls adore him, and why not?

Dino takes the SKYBOX back to Viterbo to exchange it for another one, but all the prerecorded programs will be erased. We spent last evening watching one last movie. Now we will blow the rest away with a kiss. Smooch!

Here at home this morning, pink, white and blue hydrangeas bloom in the shade under an enormous loquat tree on the side of the house. Certainly they are lovely, hiding mostly from sight. Even a glance at them is a treasure, and we're happy we have them here.

Sofi is doing fine, sitting under the desk as I catch up with you. Amazon.uk pops up, but we cannot purchase any of their books, for we are not in the U K. Why, then, do they taunt us?

It's quite hot this morning, but no matter. All the news is about the Royal Baby in England, expected at any moment, since Kate is now in labor. All the best to them!

I take out my Kindle and read, for why not? It's cool inside with the fan or with air conditioning if we need it in the kitchen and bedroom. I'd love to read in the conch shell, but am so afraid of vipers or snakes that I forego that. Summer is their season. Yikes!

It's another mellow and hot day here in Central Italy. After our midday meal and a long nap, I'm hoping the temperature will cool off.

With no word back from my brother living in Massachusetts, I'm wondering what's up with him. I've sent him a couple of emails. If you know him, please let him know. Thanks so much.

Tonight we watch more MasterChef Australia programs and are now up to date. We love the MasterChef programs. Later, we watch Mob Doctor; need I tell you more?

July 23
It's Tuesday, so it must be Central Italy. Yes, that's where Roy and I live full time. On this bright and sunny morning, after a bit of cereal and caffé, Dino takes a ladder out to change some of our light bulbs to LED type, and I stand nearby to assist whenever he needs something. HE is converting all of our light bulbs to LED. The LED bulbs are quite expensive, but consume very little electricity.

Many long and velvety pods hang down from the wisteria growing above the balustrade, and I am sure it is Japanese wisteria, although a Google search confirms it. Not that it matters.

The seeds inside those pods are poisonous, so perhaps as the leaves start to fall in the autumn months, we'll remove all the pods, to prevent darling Sofia from ingesting any seeds. I love her so!

I'm thinking of my loving mother this morning, especially since I feel like being quiet. She was not a joiner, and these days I don't feel like getting involved with lots of folks; watching any village action from a distance feels better.

We do love our lives here, and would not have it any other way. Strangely, I have no yearning to adventure out anywhere, perhaps because it is so lovely right where we are. Other than missing our son and his family and cousin Cherie, as well as my brother, that's about it.

So many birds chatter outside the window as I write to you; they are probably guarding their nests. Below, a plum falls here and there, for plums are ripening on the plum tree on the terrace and yes, their fruit is delicious.

Some years ago I made plum chutney from it, but feel tired on this morning, and perhaps it is the heat. It's too early in the year to make it, just the same.

Sofi loves to be outside, but more so when I am with her. Since we have a thriving wisteria pergola covering the whole front of the house on the first level, there are plenty of velvety seed pods that droop down from the branches.

I look up online for information regarding poison and yes, the pods are poisonous to dogs, so it's best to cut them off before they do any damage, although it's highly unlikely that Sofi would chew on any.

Later in the summer, the pods turn brown and explode the seeds, sending them to hell and gone. I'd rather clip them off before any wind up on the gravel on the terrace and give Sofi any curious leanings to find out if they are good to eat.

Do you know that if you transpose a few letters, the word good becomes ogod! That's how I feel when the possibility of Sofi being poisoned lurks.

While waiting for Dino to return, I catch up with emails and this journal. I've watched some television, to learn about the new baby for William and Kate in England. It's a boy, but we don't know his name. How wonderful for them!

Dino calls and will be home in a few minutes; then I'll fix pranzo for us, although little Sofi has already eaten hers and is ready for dreamland.

Time passes, we've had pranzo and are ready for our naps, but dearest Dino is mightily frustrated, for he's having trouble with the SKY TV Decoder Box that was brought home only yesterday, after being exchanged for an earlier one that had seen better days. Sigh.

Sofi and I take a nap while Dino continues to unhook the box and get it ready to return it. I'm sorry for him; wishing I could fix it and he could relax. Alas; it's not to be.

Dino unhooks the box and returns it, while I read in my Kindle and Sofi sleeps. He returns with another box, but it takes quite a while to re-synch it back up, hopefully before losing recorded programs. I know so little about the system that I did not know one could keep remaining recorded programs without losing them.

Darned cicadas are back! They've returned within the last 24 hours and repeat their constant drumming when temperatures rise above 82 degrees F (28C). Sigh. Welcome to summer in Italia. These insects are also known as tree crickets, disappearing after they mate, but there are billions of them!

On a very different and happy note, dear Terence's birthday is tomorrow, and we're sure he'll be celebrating. We miss not being with him but know he'll have a wonderful day.

In England this afternoon, Kate and William have had a son, their first child, and although he does not have a name yet, the wait and the birth have been anticipated all around the world. We send them our blessings. Well, it was Kate who did all the work, but William was right by her side and seems quite devoted. We're sure they'll be one happy and loving family, especially since the parents have their own delightful way of doing things, though they do embrace tradition.

We go to bed under an almost full moon. All is well.

July 24
It's Terence's birthday today, and we hope he'll have a wonderful day. We do miss him, and look forward to seeing him again, but don't know exactly when.

It's hot and quiet here, with dearest little Sofia by my side all day. This is the last day she'll have long hair for a while, for tomorrow Silvia will "strip" her, as that is what is done to wire-haired doggies. The process is uncomfortable, but Silvia is so very kind and sweet to her.

Tonight we sit and watch our favorite television programs, then go to bed under warm and lovely skies and a few stars. How fortunate we are!

July 25
It's another hot and clear day, so we're up early. Dearest Sofia will have her coat stripped of excess fur, for she's a mini wire-haired dachshund, and their hair is not cut; it is stripped. That's not fun for her.

Silvia is so sweet! She arrives right on time but Sofi is frightened, knowing what's to come, although Silvia is always kind to her. Unfortunately, she has a job to do, and little Sofi is a bit dramatic.

I leave the terrace right away, as that's best for her, but while upstairs in the studio I hear her cries now and then. It makes my heart ache, for I love her so!

Dino leaves to do errands after measuring the chimney of the outdoor oven; he's such an industrious guy that he's always working on one project or another.

Soon after he leaves, dear May Elin comes to say goodbye; they're going back to Norway but will be here again in September. We'll be here when they do, and look forward to seeing her as well as Olav, then. The two of them seem very happy together, and for that we are also happy.

I return to the studio, with my heart in my throat; every whine from Sofi feels so sad. Soon she'll be stripped, cooler for the remainder of the summer. She's always adorable. Si, certo!

Two hours later, Sofi remains on the little grooming table on the terrace, the work still not completed. A friend of Silvia's arrives and I greet her, then return to the house, for Sofi is too upset for me to remain with her, although she wags her tail and gives me kisses whenever I am close to her face.

Heat becomes more intense by the minute, especially for the two women standing on the pale beige gravel. Though they are partially shaded by the giant cachi (persimmon) tree, it is very hot.

Dearest Dino should be back by now, but is not. I hope all is well with him.

The nearby town of Guardea begins its Sagra degli Gnocchi tonight, and we'll attend, but not tonight. Since Sam called earlier, we may meet Sam and Lisa there. We'll see what Dino has to say when he returns.

It's dear Paola's birthday today, so Dino sends her birthday wishes from us. She's a dear woman and she and Antonio are expecting their first child soon. We wish them every happiness: they are a wonderful couple, two special people.

While watching television later, pains in the back of my neck occur, and it is the start of another headache. I take two tachiprina and go to bed with an ice pack after a bit, but perhaps I should have taken a difmetre as well. I did not, but we'll see as the night progresses.

I catch up with you and then Sofi and I go to bed, while Dino continues to watch television for a bit.

July 26
On this very hot morning, it is difficult to get up, especially since dearest Dino is already off to do work in neighboring Umbria for a few of his project management clients., this time to show a property.

I have an immense headache, despite taking a cocktail of 1000mg. of tachiprina and a difmetre, yest it is a migraine. After lying down for an hour or more, I'm somewhat dazed, but it appears the headache has dissipated somewhat.

I fix caprese with: fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced tomatoes and tender basil leaves from the garden, topped with local olive oil, and Dino sautés saltimbocca. I do not eat the saltimbocca with him; it's so hot I can only eat the cold salad.

With an icepack on the back of my neck, it's defrosted before the meal has ended, and look forward to lying down with a fresh icepack in our cool dark bedroom.

In the meantime, thousands of miles away in Boston, Massachusetts, horror and fear seem to envelop the neighborhood where James "Whitey" Bulger has murdered yet again.

This was a neighborhood where two of my father's shoe stores existed for decades and oh, how relieved I am that none of my relatives live near there. But oh, how sorry I am for its residents, gripped with fear for unknown events that might take place at any moment.

We watch a movie on television and then turn it. It's a lovely night but should be hot tomorrow!

July 27
On this warm sunny morning, I check messages and hear from Linda Webster in Boston who tells me that crime is still rampant in Uphams Corner, where my father had two stores for more than fifty years.

Here's a bit of Boston news: Whitey Bulger was and still is a vicious murderer whom it appears still has plenty of co-conspirators walking the streets. His murder trial is currently in progress.

A witness, Stippo Rakes, was to testify on Wednesday but found dead from poisoning on Tuesday. Such is the life of anyone who gets involved.

Elsewhere, also in Boston, a New England Patriots player, Aaron Hernandez, murdered three thugs in Dorchester. I hope that Linda is safe. She is like a sister to me.

Back here in our little Italian village, Dino leaves to shop and Sofi rests in her polka dot bed while I search for upcoming vacation rentals in France. French people love dogs, and Sofi is very popular there. Why not? She is a dream of a doggie!

It's very warm here today. After pranzo and some web surfing while Dino watches Formula-1 trials on TV, we take naps with the air conditioner on. Si, certo! (Yes, of course!)

Temperatures are so warm that laundry drying on the front terrace dries almost immediately. So sheets and two loads of clothes are washed and dried and put away and our bed is changed before we relaxing for the evening.

I hardly ever want to travel anywhere anymore, so find myself nervous now and then when anticipating that Dino will want us to go somewhere. I am showing my age, although it's lovely right where we are, and cool inside during hot summer months.

Tonight we attend the Gnocchi Sagra in Guardea with Sam's houseguests: Mark and his two teenagers Lily and Aaron.

They live in Austin, Texas and are here for a week. We have a great meal of Gnocchi, Suppli and Cocomero!

When we are back "a casa" we watch a lovely program about Paris, and because I love French style, I relax a bit and wonder what it would be like to vacation in Paris. But then, we're going to Burgundy in a couple of months, so perhaps I'll get my "French fix" then.

I so love French fabrics, and the idea of making costumes charms me. Will we pick up any? Probably not, although I'd love to if it is all right with dear Dino. We'll see.

Dino wants to watch a movie, but I go upstairs to the studio to catch up with you at about 10 PM and then Sofi and I go to bed, where I read until I fall asleep. The movie does not appeal to me, so Dino will probably not come to bed until after midnight when it finishes. Hope he enjoys it.

July 28
It's a hot Sunday morning, so of course we'll attend church, although Sofi will stay home where it's cool.

We drive up the hill part way and park, then walk the rest of the way. Loredana and Alberto are outside, and Alberto gives me a big hug and smile, although Lore is busy speaking with someone and does not want to stop to talk with me. I'm so surprised that she does not even give me a hug. Now I feel sorry for her, for she hurts my feelings.

Inside the church all is well, with Don Daniele doing a wonderful job as priest. He's a lovely man.

Afterward we give hugs to our French friends and then Dino drives me to Il Pallone, where we have caffé and a sweet at Bar Nando before returning home to dearest Sofi.

All is well at home, with Sofi happy to greet us. She's doing well, despite her age. I think her eyes are not good any more, for sometimes she looks right at me and I think cannot see me distinctly. No matter. She's a darling doggie.

I feed her special pieces of chicken cooked especially for her, and then prepare a few salads for us. Dino wants salads today, including a caprese with red tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil from the garden. Our tomatoes are doing well in the garden; just not ripe enough yet to serve them by themselves.

I prepare the salads for us and serve them. Dino puts on a video to watch while we eat, then he's set to watch a Formula-1 race on television while Sofi and I relax upstairs. I don't enjoy watching the race or listening to it at all. Sorry, dearest Dino!

After naps, we attend the sagra in Guardea with folks renting one of the houses we manage. They are from the U.S. and it is fun to meet them.

July 29
How could it possibly be so hot and steamy so early in the morning?

Well, it is, but no matter. I slice our last peach over cereal and we drink our caffé and watch a recorded program on television.

Dino leaves to do a bit of food shopping after taking his watering wand to the few plants on the terrace, while Sofi stays by my side. Yes, she is truly my shadow, and I love her so!

I make a carrot salad by shredding carrots and making a dressing and adding sultanas (raisins) to it, for Dino loves salads. He'll pick up something easy to grill for pranzo to go along with the salad and perhaps I'll make a caprese salad as well, if one of our tomatoes is ripe enough.

After a long nap, Dino and I clip roses on the terrace and put them into a bin to get rid of. There are so many shoots that have more than five leaves that I'm thinking they should all be thrown out, but we'll see. We cut what seems to be tons of them and put them in a bin to be disposed of.

We're finally through, and return inside where we sit on the couch and watch movies and programs that we love. Of course, all this with dear Sofi by our side.

Sofi and I turn in at around 10:30 PM while Dino stays up to watch a movie that I think is too gruesome for me.

Temperatures are warm, very warm, so the air conditioner is on and I'm hoping we'll be able to sleep tonight. It has me recalling summers of my childhood, when I'd keep the window closed in my bedroom because I was afraid of mosquitoes. What a wimp!

Just before going to bed, I see a delightful recipe online for Schiacciata bread and copy it. I'll surely try it in the next few days; that is, if the temperature cools down just a bit.

July 30
We're certainly in the hottest part of the summer here in Central Italy, and I'm looking forward to fall, when temperatures are lovely and mosquitoes are not bothering us much. Hope it's lovely where you are!

We're up and outside on the front terrace, where Dino cuts the longest wisteria branches that roam all over the place, and I clip them and put them in a garden lug. Wisteria grows like wildfire, and although we still have some lovely blossoms, the vine itself grows like topsy!:)

I last not much more than an hour outside, for it's so very hot. Luckily it's cool inside, with shutters closed on the front from the bright sunshine.

I try to update my listing in classmates.com, but am unable to, for it appears the folks there can't imagine anyone living outside the Continental United States. I try to send them an email, but who knows if they will be interested to answer it. No matter.

I print out a recipe of Schiacciata con L'Uva and will give it a try, but not today. There is more work to do on the front terrace with Dino, who is busily clipping more wisteria branches; those that are longer and wind their way up over the pergola and against the second story of the house. I'm back clipping them in to small pieces and putting them into lugs; later in the season, the branches will be burned.

My, it's hot! We're going to have pizza today for the first time this year, so I find the pizza stone and set it out for dearest Dino. I'm pretty sure we'll cook it in the oven at the highest temperature, but since Dino has left to get his hair cut in Bomarzo, we'll have to wait and see.

In the meantime, I fix a caprese salad with luscious tomatoes, lovely mozzarella from Naples and fresh basil from our garden.

Sofi is hungry, and I fix her chicken and cut it up into tiny pieces, serving her about 1/3 of it and putting the rest in a container in the frigo for tomorrow and the next day.

In the meantime, there is a wonderful program on television about the first astronauts and their flights into space. We were in high school then, and John F. Kennedy was President of the United States.

I still remember the first astronaut's phrase when landing on the moon: "It's one giant step for man, one giant leap for mankind..." or something like that. I'm still touched by the memories. If you were around then, aren't you?

Dino leaves to get a haircut. Sofi stays by my side as I fix the caprese to go with the pizza for pranzo. Oh, how I'm hoping we won't have to go out for anything later. It's so much more comfortable inside with the air conditioner on. Yes, I can just see you frowning at me as you read this. Sorry. It's really hot!

Dino returns and turns on the oven. The salad is made and I'm wondering what kind of pizza he'd like to have. It's a packaged pizza, but quite good.

We turn the oven up high, take out the pizza stone, and fix a very tasty pizza, eaten with caprese salad and ice cream treats for dolci.

It's almost 30 degrees Celsius when Sofi and I arise from our naps at around 6 PM; Dino is already up and leaves to do a couple of things for neighbors while I catch up with you.

Skies are that intense cerulean blue that indicate it is hot, hot, hot outside. There is no sign of clouds to lessen their intensity. I'm wishing we did not have to go to the borgo tonight at all, especially since we'll be walking there and back home. Can you hear it sizzling?

It's really not that bad after all, as Dino and I walk up and back and he joins me in the little church, while I have Coro practice. He sits against a nearby wall on a bench, just listening, while we sing and dear friend Paul leads us in song with his portable keyboard. He's such a lovely fellow and so patient! No wonder...he's such a great dad to his five children!

Back at home we snack on ice popsicles and watch a bit of television, this time Mob Doctor, and once it's over I realize it's almost midnight. Time to go to bed near dearest Sofi, who is so sweet and loving to us.

As I write to you just before turning in, lo and behold, it's 23:59, so another day arrives before we hit the bed!

July 31
On this last day of July, it's hot and clear when we awake. Sofi seems just fine, and that pleases me so! She's ten, and quite an old doggie, but sweet and my shadow. I love her lots, but then you know that already.

Fabrizio, son of Enzo our plumber, arrives at around noon with a team to install a new part in our bathroom. Dino stays around to help if he's needed and to watch the action, while Sofi and I stay in the studio and catch up with you. We are so thankful for our air conditioning and for our floor fans; they're necessary at this time of year.

With so much zucchini around, it's time to do something a bit sweet and tasty with it. So I make zucchini muffins with it. Here you go!

Zucchini Muffins

makes a dozen mufins Ingredients * 2 large eggs, beaten
* 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
* 1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
* 3 cups grated fresh zucchini
* 2/3 cups vegetable oil, + extra for greasing muffin tins
* 2 tsp. baking soda
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 3 cups unbleached all-purposes flour
* 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
* 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
* 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
* 1 cup golden raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar and vanilla.
3. Stir in grated zucchini, oil, baking soda and salt.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk flour with cinnamon and nutmeg.
5. Add dry ingredients to the zucchini mix and stir well, then stir in pecans and raisins.
6. Grease a 12-cuPMuffin tin with oil.
7. Spoon batter into cups to fill them 3/4 of the way.
8. As an option, spoon batter into an 8x5x3 inch loaf pan.
9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
10. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes, then run a small paring knife around each muffin and remove from muffin tin.

Tonight, sometime after midnight, I must remember to say "Rabbit, Rabbit!" out loud. Today is the last day of July, and with the arrival of the month of August, it's a superstition to remember. Yes I'm superstitious, and this is a superstitious custom. Since I'm Italian, comé no? (why not?)

August 1
And so another month begins. August is probably the hottest month of the year, and there is not a cloud in the sky all day.

We spend most of the day inside. I do a revamp of the documenting of our past pizza nights over the years here and imagine that we'll have precious few of them for the remainder of this year, with none planned yet for this month. We're known for our great thin crust pizzas and our pizza oven is perfect for our needs. This activity contributes to making our home such a happy one in so many ways.

After a simple pranzo of salads and long naps, I check in with you and feed dearest Sofi, who does not seem hungry. Perhaps the temperature outside is just too hot, although it's comfortable enough inside the house. I really want her to eat, for she'll guard the house tonight while Dino and I drive to Orvieto for the town's outdoor Movie Night.

Tonight is the screening of one of our old favorites: Big Night, and if you have not seen it at least once, do try to rent it. Its music is terrific and the movie is truly memorable.

We're home late. It's after midnight, so "Dorme bene!" (Sleep well!)

August 2
I'm pretty sure today is the anniversary of my parents wedding; oh, so many years ago. They have both passed away: my father is buried in a cemetery at the edge of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, not all that far from the place where they were married, and I scattered my mother's ashes off a beach in Marin County, California as I sang, "I'm gonna getcha on a slow boat to China, all to myself alone..." years ago, just as she would have wanted me to.

She loved that song; it is as if she is now sailing on that slow boat to China. I remember listening to her while she was still alive, singing the song softly as she gazed off, seemingly in a dream all her own.

She asked me to scatter her ashes after she died and of course I honored her wishes, scattering them years ago at the water's edge on a beach in Stinson Beach, Marin County, California, facing out toward China. Kisses to you in heaven, dearest Mom!

We sleep in later than usual on this hot morning, and after breakfast, Dino will begin installing the new pellet stufa (pellet stove) right next to the fireplace in the kitchen. We'll use it often this winter, I suspect.

Since there is to be a lot of drilling and dust making, Dino tells me to move upstairs with dearest Sofi to keep away from it all. I thought I would help him and do not complain. How considerate he is!

After a bit of measuring, he will not install it after all today. We have plenty of time, for it's very hot outside and winter is far away! I suspect this will happen in the next couple of weeks.

I don't feel much like painting; perhaps it is the oppressive heat. I must return to painting the large canvas behind me soon, but not today. While I sit at the desk to catch up with you, I pause and look around me. Oh, how many memories I recall in this room with so many pictures and objects of my past on the walls in addition to the canvas!

Am I at the age when my past becomes my present? Will I live in dreams, good and not so good, of the times in the years from my birth to the present? I hope not. My life with dearest Dino is still sweet, and I'm not ready to give the future up just yet...

Dino warns me that the delivery folks will be here in a few minutes to bring up the new stufa and to keep Sofi with me in the studio with the door closed so that she won't bark at them. Good idea!

I turn the floor fan on high to hopefully block out the sounds and to bring some welcome relief from the warmth of the day.

So what was it a few paragraphs ago that I wrote about Dino installing the stufa if it is not here yet? Well, he was preparing the wall adjacent to the fireplace itself by measuring the pipefitting. In case you don't understand, the pipe carries the air and the smoke from the stufa to the fireplace chimney so that they will rise up the chimney and won't enter the room. Hopefully, only warm air will enter the room. Let's be hopeful!

I wonder now and then what the purpose is of this journal. I thought I began it because I was beginning to forget things that I wanted to remember and might want to read it later.

Because it is posted on line, many folks have found it and have written to me that they enjoy reading it and look forward to each next installment. So there you are! Do email me if I don't automatically add you to the list when we post if it's important to you...no pressure.

Please do remember that I do not judge my fellow man/woman, so it's not a big deal either way to me, although if it brings a smile to you I'm happy to include you.

I'm feeling quite tired and without much strength this morning. The men arrive to deliver the stufa, and one stays to answer Dino's questions. Yes, it will fit in the space we've indicated, after some drilling.

It's time for pranzo, so we eat cold roast chicken and caprese, then watch an old George C. Scott movie. It's one that I abhor, but stay with it for almost an hour. Dino continues to watch it while Sofi and I move upstairs, where I catch up with you and then we three take naps.

It's quite hot here today, and just when I catch up with you I am reminded that my head is full of a strangely pitched sound. Am I about to have another migraine headache? Let's hope not.

August 3
It's another very hot day. Since it's the weekend here in Central Italy, power costs less. We do two loads of laundry; then hang them out on the terrace in front of the house. Since we're situated on a knoll above the street level, the laundry is not very visible to passers-by.

We have chicken salad and caprese (sliced mozzarella cheese and sliced pomodori(tomatoes), topped with basil and olive oil) salad for pranzo and watch MasterChef Australia, which is a cooking competition show that we both enjoy.

It's a mellow day, so until the wind picks up in the late afternoon, we sleep and read; then fold the laundry and put it away and watch more television.

I've been very tired lately; so tired that walking is not something I'm comfortable doing. I also have a headache, so the special medicine I take to alleviate it has been a great help. Sleeping has helped as well.

Dino takes off to water a friend's garden while Sofi and I stay at home. Dearest Sofi is getting mellower, as if she's showing her age. She stays by my side, no matter, and I love her dearly. Oh, how I pray she'll stay around for several more years. Each day with her is a blessing.

August 4
It's Sunday, and that means attending Mass in our little church in the borgo, followed by breakfast in Il Pallone and food shopping at the good market there.

Attending church is especially lovely today, with old friends and old age friends smiling and chatting. Dear friends from Paris, Paul and Marie, are here and sing while Paul plays his keyboard during Mass. Their two boys are here: Wolf is dressed in choirboy garb and Leon sits by his brother and sisters. It is always good to see them.

After mass, Dino drives us to Il Pallone and the regular Sunday schedule continues with caffé and pastry at the bar and then grocery shopping at our favorite market.

We come home to a sweet, sweet Sofi and I fix a large chicken salad for us and pranzo for Sofi; then we watch two television programs before Dino washes the dishes and I catch up with you.

After our naps, I'll dry and put the dishes away. Time for a snooze and a bit of reading! There's nothing we have to do for the remainder of the day, and that's just how we like it!

I'm thinking Sofi needs to be checked out by the vet, but perhaps I'm too worried. She is ten years of age; is that normal? She seems happy. Let's not worry.

I research our little doggie's breed online and this is what I learn:

The smaller the dog the longer the life. So for example a Mini Dach who has a healthy lifestyle should probably live for about 15-18 years.

The average lifespan of a Dachshund is 12-16 years, providing its owners take good care of it and it doesn't have too many health problems.

I'm quite relieved. Our darling Sofi should last a minimum of two...and a maximum of eight (!) more years. We'll do all we can to make those years delightful for her. I so love her!

Brian calls and we'll meet him tomorrow evening at the sagra cena in Ceretto. What fun!

August 5
It's another clear and sunny day in little Mugnano in Teverina, Italy. While sitting here to update the journal, I see wasps outside the window trying to get inside the screen to build their nests. No thanks!

Little Sofi seems fine, and for that I am so very grateful. Dino is his usual strong self today, and we'll have a simple day with cena out tonight at the sagra in Ceretto. That should be fun, although it will be a possible mosquito haven. Dearest Sofi will stay home where it's cool inside. Lucky Sofi!

We eat chicken salad made yesterday, still fresh in the frigo, and that will be fine for pranzo, so dearest Dino has no need to shop, although he does need to go to the next town to the bank for a minute. What a guy! There is all we need here for a salad and dolci, too. Yes, we're prepared.

I spend a bit of time updating our recipe folders, and wonder if one of these days we may make muffins and/or bread with fresh zucchini. This is one vegetable that people with orti (kitchen gardens) have with abundance, for it grows like wildfire with little care at all. We didn't grow any zucchini this year, so that will have to wait for another year.

The muffins and bread made with zucchini are delicious, and don't taste at all like the vegetable, so that face you're making while you read this is really not necessary. Ha! Ha!

Today'spranzo is fine and so is the nap in our cool bedroom. Later we'll attend the sagra in Ceretto, with dear Sofi.

We're expecting to see Brian there, and perhaps Antonella as well as Brian's son and family visiting from the U.K.

After our naps, the temperature outside begins to cool, although it remains incredibly hot. The three of us drive to Ceretto, where we sit with Brian and Antonella and family after picking out the focaccia we want to eat. I wind up eating two supplis instead of focaccia, but Dino loves his sausage focaccia and we both also have watermelon, which is quite good.

Sofi stays by my side, well, under the table, and enjoys the scene and little tastes of my meal. She is a dear, and I can handle her chattering (whimpering), although it drives Dino a bit crazy. She loves watching all the folks, especially the children on a mini jungle-Jim nearby.

We drive home under a bright sky, but I'm sorry I did not even look for the moon, which is probably about full by now.

Back home we sit and watch a couple of MasterChef programs we've recorded, and then I come up to catch up with you and go to bed after taking tachiprina for, you guessed it, another headache. Dino will come up in a bit, but Sofi stays by my side. It's a fitting end to a lovely evening. Thank you, dear volunteers from Ceretto!

August 6
I have a great pedicure with dear Giusy in Orte, and she is dear! Dino waits for me, with Sofi sitting patiently in the car with him. Then it's on to Rome today to IKEA, for Dino likes the prices of their "l-e-d" lights and tells me we'll never have to replace them in our lifetime/s... and they don't cost much to operate!

We eat our pranzo afterward on the way home, stopping at a discount shopping mall. The meal is not memorable, but good enough.

After a long nap at home, I join Dino on the couch watching television programs. I don't attend Coro practice at 9 PM. Sigh.

August 7
It's quite warm on this August morning, and although we're up at the normal time eating breakfast of half a peach sliced over cereal and caffé, I'm not feeling much like going anywhere.

A bee stings me on the wrist bone of my right hand and later it turns red and is a bit swollen. I've been outside on the terrace, scouting for peaches that are just not growing on the peach tree this year. There are six bites on my right wrist; they all seem to come from the same bug. For now, let's try to ignore them.

Dino does not know what to tell me to do about the sting, but thinks if I ignore it, it will go away. A few hours later it's a bit swollen and red and itchy. Otherwise, it's not a big deal.

Sofi spends a bit of time outside with me, but does better lying on the cool terrazzo floor tiles behind me in the studio while I write to you. Yes, she's my shadow, and I love her dearly. I'm happy to have her almost always nearby.

It's Wednesday, and another week has flown by. Dino is off in the car, driving to Guardea and Montecchio for folks to check on their properties and do shopping for pranzo and of course I'll be happy to fix anything he brings back.

I so love our simple lives here, recalling now and then Ruby's pronouncement that I "...would feel more comfortable living in a country other than my own". It is surely true, although I do miss our dear relatives and friends from the United States.

I put clean sheets away that were washed last weekend and are still folded on the ironing board of the studio. With no energy to iron them in this hot weather, we'll see how things stand when I change our sheets next weekend. For now, let's not worry...about anything.

Another bite on my wrist swells. Not having any idea what it is, I put on some arnica cream and try to think of something else. It's very humid here now, and the bugs seem to like the weather. Sigh!

I'm noticing that dear Dino is quite a bit like his father. He is strong willed, and without realizing it, hurts my feelings this morning, and again this afternoon, but I get over it. He's a good man; a very good man. Perhaps I need to toughen up. Sigh.

Now that our recipe folders are all set, the remaining task is to make an index for them. Since I want to remain in the cool studio, I begin to work on the index. Comé no?

The evening ends watching programs on television and then going upstairs to read until we fall asleep. Sofi is of course my shadow, always by my side. Does she ever snore, but so cutely.

A domani (until tomorrow).

August 8
I wake up several times during the night, for it is quite warm and I find it difficult to sleep. No matter. With dearest Dino sleeping calmly by my side, what's to worry about?

Skies are clear and the temperature is high, but it's August, so that's normal. In one week we'll celebrate Ferragosto, known in Italy as "The Iron Days of Summer". Ferro is the Italian word for iron. Let's try to stay cool.

With a fresh peach to slice to serve over cereal and milk, and caffé to drink, we take showers and then sit down to enjoy a bit of colazione (breakfast).

Sofi does not feel well, her nose is a bit warm and she acts frightened by the world. So is dear Dino, for outside on the terrace he's found a field mouse (eek!) and thankfully I've been inside. He whacks at it a bit and I think it dies; then he'll dispose of it. I am so fearful that I don't want to see it. I don't even want to step outside our front door; for fear that I'll see it before it is lobbed over a wall or hopefully disposed of in a more neighborly way. I don't even ask...

Dino drives off for his morning errands, after we agree about what we'll eat for pranzo, so all is well. Sofi finds a little corner of the kitchen, sitting on the cool terrazzo marble floor tiles, and although I hear her stomach rumble now and then, I try not to get dramatic with her. I'm feeling mellow, so happy to be living out our days in this tiny bit of paradise.

I come upstairs to sit in the studio with the fan whirring to catch up with you, amazed at the amount of work I did yesterday with the recipe books. Is it a silly hobby? The project is finished; containing, I think, at least 170 recipes, although there's always the Internet for further research.

I comb out my hair, which is now shoulder length and damp from the shower. Since I always wear it back, it's not a big deal and is easy to manage. I have a collection of different colored scrunchies to tie it back with, and although they are no longer really in style, I like the way they look.

Dino leaves for errands, and I think Sofi and I are going to take naps. But she has something wrong with her stomach, for it keeps gurgling, and I don't seem to be able to help her.

I decide, with advice from Dino, to not feed her for a while, so we'll see how things advance for her. She's ten and I adore her, so just ache to hear her uncomfortable, although she does wag her tail. Let's all pray for her quick recovery! Thanks!

Taking a nap is a waste of time, for the little doggie continues to have stomach problems. So I get up and sit at the computer, with her resting on the cool floor behind me, and soon she feels better.

We move downstairs to watch television. After a while, with nothing to eat, Sofi travels outside and comes back feeling fine. That's such good news; we love her so!

It's quite hot and humid tonight, so we stay downstairs and watch television until it's quite late; otherwise we'd have trouble sleeping. Hope it's mellow where you are.

August 9
Sofi seems much better, thank goodness, but stays by my side after a short jaunt on the terrace.

It's very hot outside, and inside, the swelling on my right wrist is about the same. I show my wrist to Dino, who tells me that the swelling is less pronounced. Va bene.

I have no interest in doing much of anything in this heat, so watch a bit of television and catch up with you while Dino drives off to pick up a roast chicken or something else for today's pranzo. I'd love to lie down upstairs, but try to stay awake at least until after we eat.

Oh, how I'd love to sleep in a cool room and let the colorless sky just do its thing outside. Instead, I turn on the fan and at least it's spraying cool air toward the back of my neck. Yes, these day are certainly the iron days of summer, also known here in Italy as Ferragosto.

What does this word signify in Italian communities around the world? Well, the ferragosto tradition recognizes the end of the harvest season and the time for people to enjoy the fruits of those labors. Certainly, Italians love to party!

Wikipedia tells us: The Catholic Church celebrates this date as a Holy Day of Obligation to commemorate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary-the real physical elevation of her sinless soul and incorrupt body, into Heaven. Before the Roman Catholic Church came into existence, however, this holiday was celebrated in the Roman Empire to honor the gods-in particular Diana-and the cycle of fertility and ripening

. I'm having trouble saving a recipe of Strawberry Basil Pie on the desktop. Let's let time pass by and see if the computer is just slow on this very warm morning. We're all tired; Sofi rests in her polka dot bed and the two of us wish we could do the same...although not in her little bed!

A few minutes later I try again and am able to save the recipe. Since our printer is low on ink, we'll not print it out until we have a new cartridge installed, hopefully soon. I call Dino, who tells me we have the cartridge here, so when he returns, he'll install it. What a guy!

Well, he's back, and we have pranzo, consisting of cutlets with poached eggs on top and caprese salad, while we watch MasterChef on television.

I don't bother him about the cartridge; instead I check in with you and take a nap with dear Sofi by my side. He'll surely fix it tonight, for we have nothing planned.

We've been invited up to the borgo for a meal tomorrow by our French pals, and I so hate the idea of little Sofi staying at home, but she must. The father is allergic to dog dander, although the little girls love her. Sigh! We'll surely feed Sofi early and she'll rest while we're gone.

We watch some of our favorite television programs; then I come upstairs to check in with you and go to bed while Dino watches a movie that is a bit too gruesome for me. No matter. I have plenty to read before falling asleep. A domani!

August 10
It's a lovely warm morning, and all is well. I've learned not to spend a lot of time outside on the terrace, as mosquito bites cause my arms and legs to swell up, so I must have a bit of an allergy to the bites. Yikes!

Dino just told me that Mugnano has just advanced into the 20th Century (not yet the 21st)...a Speed Bump has been installed on Via Mameli today...if only we had an intersection, we could also get a Stop light!

We're invited to a neighbor's house for pranzo, and will attend a sagra in Guardea for cena, so there's nothing to fix food-wise. What a relief on this morning, which grows hotter by the minute!

I feed Sofi early, while we're watching television prerecorded programs, and she'll sleep while we're at a neighbor's house for pranzo, so I'm hoping all will be well.

At a bit after noon, I'm so hot I wish I was standing under a cool stream...that's me: the dreamer. We'll relax a bit and then Sofi will stay cool inside while we drive up to the borgo to have pranzo with dear friends. Dino wants to take cold beer, and although I am not a beer drinker, the idea of a cold beer, or anything cold right now sounds just wonderful!

Pranzo in the borgo with dear friends is delightful, although little Sofi stays home. I love this family!

After a nap, we feed our little doggie and let her guard the house again while we drive to Guardea for the gnocchi sagra with Steven and Peppi and Don Salter. It's a lovely evening and the company is sweet. We're home by ten PM and Sofi is fine.

August 11
It's Sunday, and that means church...a hot service in our little borgo. Let's try to endure it.

It is no as hot as I expected inside our church, but a bit uncomfortable, just the same. It is a quite good Mass, with dear Don Angelo on the altar, and plenty of folk in the village enjoying the summer in our village who are not here during other months of the year.

Afterward, we drive to Il Pallone, with caffé at Bar Nando and plenty of shopping at the large market. When we return home, Sofi is fine and happy to see us. She's such a dear doggie.

We have premade pranzo of Eggplant Parmesan, and it is quite good, followed by long naps.

This is as good a time as any to let you know that Dino is quite certain that I am losing my memory. I have sent a couple of emails to good friends that confirm that I did not remember specific events we have planned for the future. I hardly know how to respond to that, other than to say that I am sorry if I misinformed anyone. It was not my intention.

Should I be banned from sending emails until they are read first by Dino? I hardly know how to respond to that, other than to say I hope I'm all right.

Am I not to be trusted? I so hope that is not the case. Perhaps I will not send emails at all. That should help. How would you feel if you were in my shoes? I hardly know how to respond, except to say that I feel strange pressure in my chest just now. Perhaps I am just feeling anxious. Please don't worry.

I have written the journal every day since 2002. Sigh. Perhaps when I am gone, someone will turn it into a book. No matter.

Tonight there is pizza, made by several folk in the borgo who are experts at it, and we have ordered Pizza Margherita for us. When ours is ready, Dino will pick it up and bring it home. Of course, Sofi will eat a bit of mine. Comé no? (Why not?)

August 12
Another day dawns, and it's bright and sunny.

It's time for breakfast; then Dino will drive to Viterbo to make an appointment at the FIAT dealer for the car maintenance. Sofi and I will stay here, in the cool of the house. I'm not interested in letting any more bugs feast on my arms; that's why. Hope you don't have that happening to you...

I continue to organize recipes of all sorts, and add a few based on research. When I've passed on, the three volumes of recipes in their own separate binders by type will hopefully be a wonderful gift to pass on to a loved one who loves to cook. But let's hope that does not happen soon...

After long naps, I stay inside while Dino waters outside; then he comes in and we spend the evening in front of the television, watching prerecorded programs. It's too noisy with crickets chattering outside to venture out. No matter. It's cool inside and there are lots of programs to watch.

When I've had my fill, I check in with you and then go to bed, of course with dearest little Sofi in her bed next to my side of the bed. A domani.

August 13
It's a lovely clear morning, with blue skies and mild temperature. We rise at about 8 AM and have prima colazione (breakfast) of cereal with half of a sliced peach on top and caffé, then Dino leaves to buy a tiny screw in nearby Attigliano.

Marie and Lisa and a lovely little girlfriend visiting them from France arrive for a short visit. Sofi greets them and we watch "Hello Kitty" on television for a bit; Marie and Dino make copies of some of the Coro selections for her, then they return to the borgo. We'll see Marie and Paul and perhaps some of the rest of the family tonight at Coro practice.

Temperatures continue to rise but no matter. I stay inside, not wanting more insect bites; perhaps I have a bit of an allergy to them.

Sofi and I return to the studio, where she gives herself a bit of a bath and rests and I catch up with you and see if I should print out a peach recipe. I add the "Sautéed Peaches" recipe to our recipe books, but we'll probably not make them just yet.

Eggplant Parmigiana is on the menu for pranzo, along with caprese (sliced buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil, fresh sliced tomatoes), followed by a long nap.

I don't have a lot of energy, and decide not to be angry with myself; these are days to relax and are too hot to do anything outside that requires a lot of energy. I also don't want to encourage the possibility of getting more insect bites to those already causing a bit of a problem for me.

We eat eggplant parmigiano for pranzo and take a long nap...a very long nap. Then, there is plenty of time for television watching before Coro practice at 9 PM.

At 10 PM, right after practice, there will be lots of activity in the borgo, for it is summertime in little Mugnano in Teverina and all the part time folks are here to celebrate and catch up with each other. Let's hope our practice session is not too hot in the tiny church.

Paul and the others are ready for Coro Prova for Ferragosto, so for the next hour he guides us in singing a number of important hymns for the upcoming service.

I remember them all with love, and from hymn to hymn we all sing well. Paul is happy with us; more than I expected. But then, he is a master teacher, and teaches with love. So how could we not love and respect him in return?

When the practice ends, Dino, who has sat on a bench to the side of us, guides me outside and we enjoy our friends for a while. Marco is here, and it is good to see him. There are hugs all around with friends: Vincenza, Augusto, Marco, Valerio and on and on.

So many people are here; even if just for a day or two, and it is great to see them all. They represent the character of this little village and we all love it so; for many reasons.

There is a temporary bar with a formal bar sign overhead, where everyone congregates. Its sign over the door has been brought by Dario and he is the center of it all. Comé no? Bravo, caro Dario!

We reminisce with our friends and neighbors outside on the little street and then walk home under clear skies and cool temperature. I could not imagine living anywhere else.

Soon it's time for bed, and I catch up with you and then join Dino and Sofi in the bedroom. Tonight has been yet another reason to love living in this little village, no matter the challenges.

Life is sweet here on this night. We have walked home and gone to bed under starry skies, thanking the Lord for letting us live here as well as Ruby Holliday, who told me years ago that I would feel more comfortable living "in another country other than my own". At that time, we lived in California in the United States. I could not imagine living back there now. Thank you, Ruby. You were so correct!

August 14
I awake with a bit of a headache, but no matter. Skies are clear and weather is quite warm.

After a breakfast of caffé and cereal with half of a peach sliced on top, Dino leaves for Viterbo and I stay inside, researching more recipes online. He will come back with food for me to prepare for pranzo. Dino so loves to drive and to be out and about. Good for him!:) He's my wonderful best pal, and has been for more than thirty years!

I'm trying to determine what to do with lots of dark plums growing outside on the terrace. Perhaps I'll roast them after making a kind of toffee sauce of granulated sugar and a bit of water heated until the sugar turns to...toffee! I'll add a bit of liquor and that should make a great topping for ice cream or for baked fruit. Or not...

Of course, I'll let you know, but wonder what would happen if I just put it all in the oven together...I'd better not try it!

I've found a few recipes for plums, but did heat the plums with dissolved granulated sugar anyway and no wonder...I am a dreamer and an experimenter. It makes a hard crust and I'll heat the two small dishes of it sometime soon to use with a cake and/or ice cream, but forgot to use any liquor. I'll do that later, too. Comé no? (Why not?) Sometimes, crazy experiments have great results worth remembering. I'll surely let you know.

Cristina arrives with a big bag of ripe tomatoes from her garden but is in a hurry. Thank you! They look wonderful, and I'm wondering if these are from the seeds I gave her a year or two ago. No matter. We'll enjoy them...even today!

Dino has not returned and I am beginning to worry. I call him and he reminds me he left here late this morning (after 10:30 AM) to drive to Viterbo, but will be home in about thirty minutes. At least he is all right.

Everything is fine, with Dino arriving with groceries and we soon have pranzo and relax for the rest of the afternoon and evening. I'm so not looking forward to going out. Perhaps it's the heat of the summer that has me wanting to rest in a cool room, along with my recurring daily headaches.

We spend the rest of the day taking a long nap and then watching favorite television programs, before going to bed just before midnight.

August 15
It's Ferragosto, also known as The iron days of summer and why not; it's quite warm today.

I have another headache (sigh!), with pulsing running up the back of my neck to my head on this morning, and not much energy. After breakfast of cereal with fresh peach slices and caffé, Dino leaves to drive to Superconti to grocery shop, for the store will probably be open on this important summer holiday here.

No, we do not have Blue Laws, the regulations that stores be closed on Sundays and holidays, although I remember them when growing up in Massachusetts, which was well known for them. I have no idea if they still exist there.

The pulsing in my head continues, and I take a nap in the cool bedroom to hopefully stave it off, of course with darling Sofi by my side.

Tonight will be the Mass and procession, of which Dino and I will both take part, so now I'll rest up. Dear Dino is just fine, and hopefully by the time he returns I'll be feeling better.

I'm having trouble with the computer, so give up on it; let's hope it's fine.

Tonight is a lovely night, with stars and the moon shining down upon us. Don Angelo is the priest and takes good care of all of us. He's a dear man, and leads us all through the service, while I sit with my other Coro members, and sing our hymns with great love in my heart.

Dino and I walk home afterward to a sweet and loving Sofia, who rambles around outside for a bit; then comes in to be by my side. She's a very sprightly ten years young.

I'm so very thankful for all of it, and for you. Hope your life is all you have dreamed it would be. Buona notte. Dorme bene! (Good night. Sleep well.)

August 16
We're up early. Dino has gone to Attigliano to purchase croissants from the bakery and after he returns our friends Leif and Kari from Bergen, Norway, arrive for prima colazione (breakfast).

It is good to see them, and for an hour or so, we sit around the table on the terrace, with Sofi by our side and catch up with each other. They are very kind people, and we agree to meet them tomorrow evening at the Guardea sagra di cinghiale. No, they won't only serve wild boar at the sagra! :) Dino calls and makes a reservation for a table for the four of us. We're all set.

When they leave, Dino also leaves for Viterbo, to check in with the fellow who is repairing his leather purse and pick up something for us to eat for pranzo. Sofi rests in her polka dot bed while I catch up with you and wish I were sleeping, too. Perhaps I will do just that, until dearest Dino returns. Comé no?

Before I know it, Dino is back with lovely tuna steaks, which he grills, after I make a marinade for them. I also fix rice and caprese salad and it's a delightful meal to enjoy on this hot day.

With nothing planned this evening, we take long naps and read. The temperature is still quite hot, although soon the temperatures will begin to lessen, with fall soon on the way.

I spend a few hours researching our fall trip to France, then return to watch television with dear Dino and darling Sofi for the rest of the evening. It feels quite warm, just the same, and I go to bed with a sore neck, expecting a headache to creep up at any moment. Let's see if an ice pack under my head on top of the pillow will send it away. Buona notte

August 17
It's warm and we awake early, having cereal with a fresh sliced peach and caffé before Dino leaves to shop. All is well with dearest Sofi.

I spend the morning upstairs in the studio, organizing recipes on the computer and hopefully indexing them for future reference in our four binders. Whew! How many recipes we have!

Sofi lies in her polka dot bed nearby, washing her paws as she does so well. She seems fine, and that is so important!

There is a sagra tonight in Guardea, probably gnocchi, and we'll attend with Leif and Kari, who have a house near there and visit Italy from their main home in Norway. They are so kind and friendly!

Pranzo is fine, followed by a long nap. Little Sofi is still doing exceptionally well for ten years young, but then, she's a small dog, and should be around for at least a couple more years. I consider every day with her as a priceless gift.

Speaking of gifts, every day with Dino is a gift, too. He's a serious guy and pays attention to details, which means a great deal. I am so very fortunate to have him love me as much as he does, and don't take it for granted, even for a minute.

The sagra is fun, and we so enjoy spending time with good friends Kari and Leif. The food is good, the company even better. Sofi stays at home where it is cool, but greets us afterward with lots of happy kisses. She's such a good doggie!

August 18
At eight A.M. sharp, little Sofi cries out, for a moment or so before, cannons began to explode their shells in the valley below us. Their noise is loud!

A while earlier, I took a difmentre, wishing it would cure a headache. It's wishful thinking, magari!, for fifteen minutes later cannons seem to continue to go off inside my head. Sigh!

Let's take a cold shower and see if that helps.

Later, the headache does go away, and we're able to attend Mass at our local church with no problem, followed by a drive to Superconti to grocery shop.

At home waiting for us afterward, dearest Sofi is fine. We feed her and then make a pranzo for ourselves of delicious cold salads, followed by a long nap. Sofi naps, too!:)

Later, we watch movies on television before turning in. There's an email photo of Chris and Bernadette celebrating their anniversary, and they surely look wonderful and happy. Hugs to them!!:)...and to you, too! Comé no? (Why not?)

August 19
It's only 27.5C degrees when we finish pranzo and go upstairs to take a nap. Ha! Compared to past days, things are cooling off, and we're thankful for that. Later, Dino will water the plants and trees on the terrace, but otherwise, there's nothing much to do. Va bene!

What did we do this morning? Well, we ate cereal with a fresh sliced peach (sadly, not from our garden) and then Dino drove off to do errands and check on client properties. He's such a good guy, and so responsible.

The dreamer (me), on the other hand, did a bit of nothing in dear Dino's absence while Sofi played a bit on the terrace but stayed mostly by my side.

Well, I actually kept myself quite busy for an hour or more, making separate salads: chicken, egg, potato, sliced red and yellow pepperoni (large peppers), and that took a while. Then I put them in separate bowls and chilled them in the frigo until it was time to display them on our luncheon plates over a bed of lettuce. The artist in me likes everything I do to look lovely. Comé no? (Why not:))

Dino tells me he loves the look and the taste of the composed salad in his large bowl, and that makes me quite happy. He loves these salads, and we have some left in another bowl after we've finished ours, so perhaps we'll have something similar tomorrow.

It's quite warm at 3 PM when we three move upstairs to take our afternoon naps. With no headache but a kind of ringing in my ear, I look forward to lying down in the cool bedroom and reading. I do love to read, as did both my parents and my brother.

Later, Dino will water for Maria Elena, but for now he's resting and waiting for Sofi and me to return to the bedroom for our naps after I check in with you. Let's hope it's cool!

I've just read some very sad news on the internet. Do take a minute to read it. Thanks

According to the recommendations of a Council of Europe task force, countries should have one shelter place for a woman and her children for every 10,000 residents. By this measure, Italy should have about 5,700 spots available in shelters nationwide, but it has just 500.

Italy also falls short when it comes to legal, medical, psychological and financial assistance for women who leave an abusive relationship, domestic abuse workers said.

"The message that emerges is stay home, because if you leave there is nothing, or very little to help you," Ms. Donato said.

In fact, in the current bleak economic situation, "many shelters and anti-violence centers around Italy are closing because of lack of funding," said Oria Gargano, the president of Be Free, the association that manages the S O S shelter with Rome's municipal administration. The government decree "doesn't really touch this question," she said.

Indeed, Italy's prolonged recession is likely to "aggravate the problem" of domestic violence, said Patrizia Romito, a professor of social psychology at the University of Trieste, by making it more difficult for women to find the money they need to leave an abusive situation.

Moreover, for potentially abusive men, the loss of a job can remove those "social anchors that can restrain violent behavior," Ms. Romito said. Victims' advocates also say that cultural factors contribute to violence against women.

So-called honor killings of women said to have disgraced their family were legal until 1981, said Luisa Pronzato, who runs a blog about women for the Milan newspaper Corriere della Sera.

Paternalism "is part of our culture," and it continues to permeate Italian society, she added. Even police officers and health care workers called to respond to domestic violence are not immune to such attitudes, others say. "We had a recent case where a woman was threatened by her husband with a knife, and after calling the police, she was told by the officer, 'Why don't you cook a nice plate of pasta and make up?" said Nadia Somma, the president of Demetra, an association that runs a shelter in Ravenna, in northeastern Italy.

The new decree, Ms. Somma said, overlooks the reality that victims and abusers often continue to live together even after charges are filed because of Italy's notoriously slow legal system, and victims' advocates say that even convicted abusers rarely stay in jail for long.

The government has defended the decree, which still requires the approval of both houses of Parliament to become law, and Maria Cecilia Guerra, the deputy labor minister who led the task force that drafted the decree, said that beyond offering more protection for victims, the measures were intended "to increase awareness about domestic violence."

Ms. Guerra acknowledged that while the network providing assistance to battered women needed improvement, Italy's economic crisis would require groups offering services to victims to develop better "synergy among existing structures." But Ms. Donato, the shelter worker in Rome, said it was difficult to operate the center with the little money it received. The lack of resources is "its own form of violence against women," she said.

For the first time in my life, I'm ashamed to be an Italian citizen. For years, when living in San Francisco, California, USA, I was a member of the Coalition for Battered Women in Prison. Doesn't that tell it all?

Now that we're living here full time and are both citizens in the U.S. and in Italy, I'm so sad for my countrywomen. If there is something I can do to make this change, I will surely do that. Let me know if you know what I can do. Sigh!

We are invited to visit friends Tony and Pat about twenty minutes away, and drive there for a short visit and to catch up on their lives. It is good to see them; it is also good to come home, where it is quiet except for little Sofi welcoming us back home.

We watch a little television, I catch up with you and then we go to bed and read until falling asleep. The days are getting a bit cooler, but it is still warm. No matter. We love it here and could not imagine living anywhere else, even though we both grew up and spent a great deal of our adult lives in the United States. Hope you are all happy living your lives where you are. Good night!

August 20
We're up at around 8 AM, but I remain tired all morning. It's warm, but not hot, this morning.

After eating cereal together with a sliced fresh peach on top, Dino leaves for Viterbo.

Sofi and I move upstairs. I catch up with you while Sofi rests in her polka dot bed and then we both take naps.

Dino returns, we eat pranzo and take naps; then Dino waters a neighbor's garden, as planned. Later, it's all about watching television and relaxing, and that's how we'd like it to be.

We do plenty of that as skies darken, and watch programs until I check emails and then go to bed at just before 10 PM Italian time. I've taken an ice pack to bed with me, for the ringing in my ears has begun again. Sigh! A domani!(Until tomorrow!)

August 21
Skies are clear and warm, but not too hot. Sofi and I sleep in while Dino takes off early for an eye exam in Viterbo. He does not think I need to be with him.

Sofi and I get up and wait for Dino's return before having any colazione (breakfast), but at ten he's still not here, so might as well eat a peach and feed Sofi a biscuit or two. She is such a dear doggie; always by my side.

Dino arrives, and we spend the rest of the morning together. Skies remain clear and it is warm, but not hot outside.

He wants an insalatone (large salad) for pranzo, and of course I want to please him, so boil a couple of eggs and fix lovely composed salads for our meal.

In the meantime, Sofi does not want to eat; perhaps she is not feeling well, although she stays by my side. What a dear doggie! I've prepared cooked chicken and cut it into tiny pieces, hoping she'll change her mind, but she does not eat. Perhaps she will later.

We eat our salads and Dino is happy; then we watch a television program about the North of England, with Sofi watching, too.

I'm tired, and catch up with you and then get ready to lie down for an afternoon nap, while Dino finishes the rest of the dishes and then joins us.

Sofi has still not eaten anything, although she brings my attention to a large mosquito-type thing in the studio, which I am able to squash with the bottom of my sandal. Sofi is a hunter type, still watchful but appreciative of my hunting skills. I'm happy it's gone, but not happy with the experience. Sigh!

Let's take a rest!

It's 6:30 PM when we rise from our naps. I have a roaring headache, sigh, and use an ice pack to cool down my head and shoulders. No matter the research I have done on it, the headaches continue, although I've been headache free for a while. I'll use an ice pack while we watch television. Sorry.

Dino waters a neighbor's garden and returns to watch television with me and with dear Sofia. We spend a lovely evening together in our tiny paradise and I'm so very thankful for all of it.

August 22

Mugnano population increased at 7 AM today! Eva Monchini was born to our dear friends and neighbors Paola Fosci and Antonio Monchini. All 3 are doing well.

It's hot and sunny this morning, especially as we groom the wisteria on the terrace, with Dino clipping off the pods and me picking up the fallen plums on the gravel (sigh!) to throw into the garden droppings bin. There are so many plums still on the tree, and perhaps soon we'll harvest them and make more plum jam...or eat them fresh! These plums are truly delicious.

Today, in addition to a constant ringing in my ears that portends yet another headache, I have dull pains on the right side of my breastbone. Perhaps it has to do with the warm temperature. After a bit of picking up plums, Dino tells me to forget it and to go inside and relax. So here I am catching up with you, with little Sofi resting near me in her polka dot bed. Since it's very warm, she moves to the terrazzo floor where it's cooler. I don't blame her.

Are you interested in purchasing a little Italian vacation property nearby? Dearest Dino has just such a place for you. I had the good fortune to be able to design its interior furnishings, so of course I think it's lovely. Ha! It's in Tenaglie, Umbria, which is also not very far from Orvieto. Let him know if you'd like to take a look at it in person. Fall is a wonderful time to visit Italy...the price for this property is very reasonable - €85,000.


I find recipes for pork chops and for crispy onion rings that we add to the recipes on our site, so if you are at a loss and want to make either of them, just click on our recipes button and enjoy!

After pranzo of a insalatone, which is a large salad, composed of many good things to eat, we watch a bit of television and then settle in for an afternoon nap. After a bit, Sofi spends time on the terrace hunting around for her favorite lucertoles (lizards!) and then eats her cena, which does not include any of them. Ha!

A bit later, we walk up to the borgo to say goodbye to a family we love dearly, who travel here from France a couple of times a year. We bring them a big dish of fresh plums from our tree on the terrace to snack on during their long driving trip; we will miss them greatly!

Back at home, we settle in for a night in front of the television, watching our favorite programs. Somewhat later, I walk upstairs and catch up with you before turning in. Temperatures are still warm, but I'm imagining they will drop quite soon. Buona notte! Dorme bene!

August 23
It's Friday already! On this day in 1923, Gene Kelly was born. What a fantastic dancer he was! He's no longer dancing on this earth, but surely continues to dance, probably in heaven. Kisses to you, wonderful Gene!

Here in little Mugnano in Teverina, skies are clear and warm, but not too warm. Fall is on the way, and I imagine the fall season as the loveliest of the year weather wise. But still summer persists, and there is more heat to come. No matter.

After breakfast, Dino leaves for shopping and to oversee the preparation of a property for tenants. He's a busy guy! Here at home, Sofi and I are quiet, keeping out of the heat and planning an easy pranzo for Dino's return.

Somewhat strangely, I prefer to stay inside, for mosquitoes are too big a threat. They make my skin swell and itch so much that I can't think of anything else after they strike. They don't seem to bother Dino. Let's stay calm and cool.

Dino would prefer a insalatone for pranzo, so let's prepare one for him, in addition to the ravioli, which he may not like, since I don't think he likes Porcini mushrooms, although they are an Italian specialty that most folks crave. No matter. I love him and want him to be happy. Isn't that what life as a married couple is all about?

We forego the ravioli and I make his insalatone for him instead, opting myself for a simple caprese salad of sliced tomatoes and buffala mozzarella

. After watching a bit of television, we take naps, with little Sofi by our side.

We're so sorry to hear about the fires blazing in Yosemite National Park in California, USA. The fire is enormous, and expected to continue burning for weeks! Sigh. Although this is fire season in California, I had no idea a fire of this magnitude would wreak havoc in this treasured area.

August 24
The fire continues to blaze in California, and we are sorry for that. Weather is hot in Central Italy, too, although there are signs of it cooling off.

We have a quiet morning here, followed by pranzo of ravioli with our premade sauce that we bottled last fall. We have plenty of fresh basil, so it should be quite good. For the future, I'm hoping we'll buy bottled sauce. Putting up bottles of it is a very hot and laborious activity at this time of year, and it's really not worth it.

Sofi still seems fine, sleeping now nearby in her little bed. We have food for her pranzo, and until she won't eat, she'll remain healthy and will be around for some time, we hope. I love her so!

There's time for a long nap in the cool bedroom before the evening sets in.

Duccio and Giovanna's son Giuliano is is performing with a band in Vejano tonight. It is about an hour from us. We pick up D&G and drive Southwest to the small medieval town of Vejano. It is the festa for their patron Saint Orsio. None of us have heard of this Saint; he sounds like a bear! We watch the band, Giuliano on pianoforte, for a while then go to a nearby trattoria for cena and then enjoy the first set of the concert and return to Mugnano.

...and with his proud parents!

August 25
Dino does a bit of "googling" to find Saint Orsio and finds that he is probably the ONLY Saint Orsio and perhaps not a Saint, but was a prominent member of the Orsini family in the 1500's or so.

It's Mass at the regular time and Don Angelo stops to put his hand on my shoulder to recognize me sweetly as he walks up the aisle. Yes, he's a very kind man.

After a lovely service, we drive to our regular Sunday spot for caffé and colazione, grocery shopping; then back home to sweet Sofi.

I fix pranzo and we eat, followed by Dino watching the Formula-1 race in Belgium. Sofi and I have no interest, so come upstairs to catch up with you and to take a nap in the cool bedroom. It's still warm these days, but not as warm as previously. I'm so relieved.

Later, Dino watches television and I do some writing, then join him with little Sofi by my side. Yes, she is my sweet shadow!

August 26
The temperature has dropped by five degrees, although it remains warm. No matter. It's a quiet day here and mellow. Despite the warring going on in the Middle East, it's tranquil here.

Italians are "lovers, not fighters", so I don't imagine this country getting into any disputes and I like it that way. No wonder I've been an Italian citizen officially for many years:)

Dino spends time on the terrace raking up leaves while I work on the recipes on our website. Skies above are blue and clear and lovely.

I fix our pranzo of eggplant parmigiano and it takes a while, but we'll be able to have it for a second day, so it's a good idea and tastes great.

Later in the afternoon, Duccio calls and we'll be going with Duccio and Giovanna on a mini road trip on Wednesday to Narni. There's always something to see there.

But today, Enzo the idraulico (plumber) will be here for his annual control of the water heater to prepare us for winter. With today's temperature warm and skies clear blue and beautiful, winter seems so far away.

Enzo arrives, and Û80 later, we're prepared for winter. He's such a kind man... Sofi gives him a kiss, and he remembers her name! Grazie mille, Caro Enzo!

There's no reason to sleep all afternoon, so we're up and Dino cuts away wisteria branches while I cut them into shorter lengths and put them in a barrel; one that Dino soon takes away.

There is still plenty of wisteria growing over the front of the house, but all is well. We've done enough work to come inside and relax a bit in front of the television for the rest of the evening. It's been a lovely day, a lovely early evening. How very fortunate we are to be able to call this home!

August 27
We have rain today...plenty of it. I suppose that's a good thing, for we have not had a great deal of it this summer.

I have been forgetting things now and then, and Dino is unhappy with me for that. It saddens me greatly, but as the hours tick by, things mellow between us and I can only hope he'll get over it. I suppose it's disconcerting when one's life partner can't do their share.

I usually can, and today we have a tasty pranzo, based on the Eggplant Parmigiano I fixed yesterday and this morning. We'll still have more to eat on another day.

With plenty of kindle books to read, I look forward to taking a long nap and to reading, since outside the weather is dreadful. Comé no? (Why not?)

Dino leaves to pick up a dear friend at the train station in Orte, and perhaps he'll come here to see us later tonight. He's a dear man and an exceptional Lutheran Minister (retired) in Norway, where he is from.

August 28
Today we have a little road trip with Duccio and Giovanna, dear friends who live part time in Bomarzo. Weather looks overcast in some areas and sunny in others, so perhaps we'll have both.

I'm worried about taking dear Sofi, for it will be too hot for her in the car and don't know if we can take her inside the restaurant or the tour. She stays at home, sadly.

On a more positive note, we pick up our dear friends and Dino drives us to Narni, where we park and find the underground entrance to "Narni Sotteranea". The tour guide is quite good, and leads us through a bit of a maze, describing the wonders of this magical place. There are twenty-one of us, for that is the maximum number that one person that one can guide. For internet guidance, their official website is:


We're through in about an hour, and after pranzo in Narni, we take our friends back to Bomarzo and return home to a patient Sofi, who is very happy to see us.

There's time for a short nap; then another fellow, Stefano, arrives to inspect and install our pellet stufa, which sits adjacent to our chimney. He's here for about half an hour; then tells us to call him when we have the pieces of pipe he'll need to perform the work. Since we have a doctor's appointment for me tomorrow afternoon in Viterbo, we'll probably pick up the parts there tomorrow.

I'm suspecting that Dino will drop me off and pick up the parts while I wait for the doctor tomorrow afternoon, which always takes more time than we expect.

What are we talking about, you suspect? Well, a year or two ago, we purchased a little wood burning stove to help heat our little house in wintertime. But it is very inefficient, so we cannot use it effectively. Stefano and Dino measure, and Dino has a list of pipes that he needs to buy so that Stefano can install them. Tomorrow afternoon and evening should be interesting.

What am I visiting the doctor about? Well, it's to control my headaches. If you read the journal, you'll be able to tell that I have many of them, and this doctor is trying to help me to cure myself of them. I have already gone to a specialist headache center in Perugia, still but don't have the perfect solution, I suspect, and hope the final solution is not a lobotomy! Ha!

We sit in the kitchen and enjoy the evening together, watching our favorite programs, including President Obama's speech on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous, "I have a dream" speech on television; then turn in. It's a lovely evening with clouds turning from white to dark lavender to grey.

August 29
It's Thursday, also known as Giovedi, the day named after Jupiter, the god of war. Let's hope that does not portend danger for us or for anyone...

This afternoon, I have a doctor's appointment; we'll see if he can shed some light on my recurring headaches and memory loss. Wouldn't you know that today I don't have one! Let's think of something more positive!:

I've signed up for Duane Keiser Studio's daily painting emails. He's a great painter; perhaps you'd like to look him up online and do the same!:)

Under cloudy and rainy skies, we get up and face the day. It's lovely here in Central Italy, no matter the weather...

By ten o'clock, sun is bright and the temperature is lovely. That's not unusual, especially for early fall weather. Dino drives off to help folks with his project management skills and to drive to Montecchio and Guardea, where he'll probably shop at a market we like for something for me to fix for pranzo. What a guy!:)

Here at home, I clip back errant shoots from the wisteria trees; trees that were planted in open bottom planters on our terrace. Yes, they are thriving.

On this lovely morning, there are noises of folks weed whacking with their motorized clippers in the valley below our house. If today were in the mid summer, the workers would have been doing their noisy work at 6 AM (!), before the heat of the day. This is part of normal life in the country, so with the gorgeous sights, expect a bit of noise...Sorry. All is not always tranquil. It's still lovely!

Inside, Sofi lies nearby in her polka dot bed. She is ten, so sleeping the day away is normal for her, especially if she is near me. I love her so, and hope she will be well and here on earth for many more years.

It's almost noon, and still the weed whackers continue to drone away. It's difficult for them in the hot sun, too!

In France, The Centre Pompidou cultural complex, which holds 44 paintings looted during the war, insists it is trying to reflect a proactive spirit. After Ms. Bouchoux, the French senator, issued her critique and recommendations, it posted a list of the works and a new subject on its online database: "Works recovered in Germany after the fall of the Third Reich."

She continues by saying that...the information is not easy to find, but the museum plans to lend three orphan paintings by Fedor Lšwenstein for an exhibition in Bordeaux that could help publicize the unclaimed art. All were donated as a mysterious gift to the museum in 1973. In 2011, they were reclassified as stolen works.

Are those of you who have read my blog recently... moved by what I have been able to share with you? Do comment, and I'll be happy to include your comments in our next posting. I think sharing is a good thing here. Thank you.

Here's some wonderful news from England, regarding Roman archaeological finds. I do wonder what dear friend Don Salter, who is a professor at Durham, has to say about it. We'll show him what we've found and ask him soon!

Dr David Petts tells BBC Radio 5 live about the discovery of a 'Geordie' Roman god - found in an ancient rubbish dump.

* By Jeremy Armstrong

Teenager finds head of 'Geordie' Roman god on his SECOND ever archaeology dig

4 Jul 2013 09:17 The student found the carved stone deity - which had lain buried for 1,800 years - in an ancient Roman rubbish dump.

A first-year student uncovered the head of a Roman god on only his SECOND ever dig.

Alex Kirton was the toast of Britain's archaeologists yesterday after he found the carved stone deity - which had lain buried for 1,800 years - in an ancient rubbish dump.

Rookie Alex, 19, discovered the prized artifact, which is 20 cm by 10 cm, in buried garbage from Roman times.

It was within what was probably a bath house at Binchester Roman Fort, near Bishop Auckland, Co Durham.

It is the first time in over 150 years that any symbol of the god has been excavated in the UK.

The sandstone head dates from the 2nd or 3rd century AD, and may be the war-like Antenociticus, worshipped as a way of inspiring troops about to go into battle.

The last discovery of the Celtic god, complete with an inscription identifying it as Antenociticus, came at Benwell, Newcastle, in 1862.

Alex, who studies Archaeology and Ancient Civilisations at Durham University, admitted he may be an archaeologist for the rest of his life and "never find something this significant again".

He said: "It is incredibly exciting to have been the person who uncovered it.

"I was in trench two on the site at Binchester and was clearing away soil and detritus from the remains of a blocked-in doorway close to what was once a bath-house.

"My trowel touched something and as I pulled away the soil I realized I was looking at the back of a head.

"It could clearly to see the impression of the hair carved into it.

"I knew I may have found something of interest and I called over my supervisor as I thought I ought to let someone know what I'd discovered.

"He came over and between us we carefully cleared away the soil that was surrounding it until all of a sudden the head rolled out face up and was just lying there staring up at us.

"It was obvious to me even at that point that it was something special, but I didn't realize how special until I looked at the face of Jamie, the supervisor from the archaeology faculty.

"He was staring down at it and looked both shocked and excited at the same time. He told me: 'In 15 years in this job I've never seen anything like this'.

"I was absolutely ecstatic, it seemed such an outrageous piece of luck to come across it on my second dig, but I'm delighted I did.

"I hope I go on to find even more amazing things but if I don't I'm very proud to have been involved in finding this one.

Trip Advisor has a list of twenty awe-inspiring places to visit. Do look them up online. I have been to four of them: Crater Lake in Oregon, the Grand Canyon in Arizona, U.S., the Na Pali Cliffs in Hawaii and Santorini in Greece. Dearest Dino has been with me to see Crater Lake, but I saw the other three years before I met him and so wish he had been there with me at the time.

Listed here are some other amazing finds; ones that I did not see. How my dear departed father would have loved to see them up close and personal! I think he was an archaeologist at heart.

Experts say this figure was a deity that was worshipped in northern Britain by the Roman soldiers who served here.

As there is no evidence of it anywhere else in Europe, it is can be termed a 'Geordie' Roman god.

Dr. David Petts, lecturer in Archaeology at Durham University, said: "We think it may have been associated with a small shrine in the bath house and dumped after the building fell out of use, probably in the 4th century AD.

"It is probably the head of a Roman god - we can't be sure of his name, but it does have similarities to the head of Antenociticus found at Benwell in the 19th century.

"Antenociticus is one of a number of gods known only from the northern frontier, a region which seems to have had a number of its own deities.

"It's possibly a Geordie god, though it may have been worshipped at the other end of Hadrian's Wall."

Dear Dino returns home at just before pranzo time. I batter and bread crumbed pieces of veal, then we sautŽ them and serve them under fried eggs. Quite delicious, we both admit, along with fresh caprese.

There's time for a nap before leaving for my doctor's appointment in Viterbo, followed by driving to the airport to pick up a dear friend.

Durham University was "delighted" for Alex. A spokesman said: "It's a great start in what we hope will be a long career in archaeology."

Each summer, undergraduate archaeology students from Durham and the United States are joined by volunteer members of the public, to painstakingly reveal more fascinating details from the past.

Visitors attending the Roman Festival at the site on the weekend of July 13/14 will be able to see the head for themselves, along with other objects found during the current excavations. Here's some more trivia about it:


This afternoon, Dino takes me to Viterbo to our dear dottore Stefano Bevilacqua, who tells me he'll do some checking about me getting a c-scan of my head. Are my headaches caused by something serious? It's time to find out.

Back at home, things are mellow.

August 30
Today is dear cousin Cherie's birthday, and we wish her every happiness possible in her world. The morning is mellow, followed by a quiet afternoon. Our pranzo is followed by a long nap.

Afterward, Dino leaves for errands and a trip to Viterbo, while Sofi and I stay at home and rest a bit more and continue to relax.

After a few hours, he returns with plenty of good things to eat and to use here at home. Dino is a wonderful shopper. He has been a great shopper since, at a young age, he was sent on errands by his mother, dear departed Iolanda.

We spend the mild evening in front of the television, watching recorded programs and movies. My headache continues, lessened a bit by a difmetre pill. Whenever I'm near an open window, I'm reminded of the darned cicadas outside, whizzing and clicking with each breath. Oh, how I hate their noise!

Does a frozen ice on a stick lessen my headache? Yes, just a bit, although the dull pain refuses to go away. Sigh! Later, the headache is mostly gone, the difmetre pill doing its job. I go to bed with my customary ice pack just in case.

August 31
Today is the last day of this month. Warm weather will begin to wind down soon, but not yet. We still have wonderful September weather ahead of us; some say it will be the loveliest month of the year. No wonder!

Here is Dino's photo recap of the life of a Sunflower (Girasole):

September 1
It's a lovely Sunday morning, and we attend church as usual. Surrounded by our Coro buddies and led by kindly priest Don Angelo, who never fails to greet me as he enters the church and walks by where I sit on the aisle, all is well. After mass, we stand around adoring Tiziano and Alessia's tiny girls for a few minutes, then drive off for our usual Sunday shopping and colazione at Il Pallone.

We return home to our adoring Sofia and have a mellow day, later watching a DVD of the film Amacord, lent to us by dear friend Stein. The lovely warm weather continues for another day and yes, I end it with another mild headache.

September 2
I don't sleep well overnight, and at around 1 AM, I get up to catch up with you, still having a headache, even though I'm wearing my mouth guard. Might as well just lie down and rest for the remainder of the night. The temperature remains mild and lovely.

Sadly, less than an hour later I'm up again, taking one difmetre pill and two tachiprinas to hope to end my headache pain. Since it's now Monday, by tomorrow I'm hoping we'll speak with our good Dottore Stefano to see if he has found any new information that will be helpful.

I'm pretty sure I'll need a TAC (CAT Scan), and hope we can schedule one soon. That will surely tell us more. But Dino tells me il dottore will be on vacation, so we'll have to wait until October for the procedure.

In the meantime, at 2 AM, I'm still awake, and now the medicine has me not able to sleep. Sigh! I'll lie down again and see if that works. It's a lovely night temperature-wise.

We're up at 8 AM. Today we're going to process tomatoes, most of which were purchased a few days ago as a lug of 10 kilos. They were purchased at the bargain price of €3.90 at Il Pallone, where we shop on Sundays after church.

We process the ones we have, making 18 pint jars of tomatoes for sauce; then Dino returns to the market to see if he can purchase another lug. If he's not back soon, I'm sure he'll be gallivanting around the territory to find a lug of the local San Marzano variety of tomatoes at a good price. What a guy!

We process these tomatoes each year at the end of the summer to last the winter and they are quite good. (Last summer (2012) was so hot and dry, we couldn't find any San Marzani at a decent price, so we didn't do any.) It's also a right of passage and a yearly effort for farmers and locals who love and work on their land, living off it for some or all of their food needs throughout the cold winter months.

While waiting for Dino's return, I catch up with you while dear Sofi rests by my side in her little bed. Oh, how I love her. It's impossible not to!

Dino returns with another lug, of 10 Kilograms, and we continue to process them, bottling at least a dozen more before pranzo. We stop, eat and watch a movie that we've prerecorded, and then take a short nap, for we're expecting visitors for a short while in an hour or so.

Friends who are here from Paris and staying in Bomarzo arrive for a visit and we sit outside on the terrace, for it is a lovely afternoon. There is talk of the event tomorrow evening in Viterbo, the Macchina di Santa Rosa, but we will not attend. We've been to it a few times over the years and although it is a wonderful event, twice is sufficient.

In years past, we stood for hours to get a glimpse of Santa Rosa's statue and the costumed facchini (men in special white costumes) who stood under her, holding up the stand on which she stood. As they ran up the hill toward her church, thousands of us cheered.

Here's a link to a story I wrote for ItalianNotebook in 2008:


We spend the rest of the evening quietly at home.

September 3
This morning is another right of passage. We process another 10 kg. of pomodori in the summer kitchen and Dino seems to have quite a bit of energy. That's 30 kg. - about 45 jars. Basta for 2013!!

Telling you that it is a simple life is not so simple, although it has more to do with the traditions and character of Italy and the village and the seasons than material trappings.

While I catch up with you, the patter of little Sofi's paws tells me she's returning to my side to rest in her polka dot bed. Oh, how her life depends on us! She shows that in her expression as she lies near me, just resting and waiting for my next move.

It's warm enough today to turn on the fan in the room, while outside the sky is a brilliant and cloudless blue.

A while later, I turn on the oven to heat up the leftover pasta and remark to myself that the word pasta is so entrenched in the English vocabulary that I don't need to italicize it when writing about it. As a young girl I remember a Prince Spaghetti television commercial that reminded us that eating pasta on Wednesday was the thing to do, just like eating fish on Friday, although this reason is not a religious but a marketing one. Ha!

How conditioned we became in those days, thanks to the early days of television. These days, television is not so important for us, other than watching world news as well as a few of our favorite programs and movies during the evening.

These days I'm concerned about happenings in Syria, wondering in my imagination if a strike on harmless Italy would be a warning to President Obama. Yikes! Let's hope no one wanting to harm us is reading my journal. I don't think it would be a good idea, in any case.

I turn off the fan and return downstairs to heat up the pasta for pranzo, while Sofi languished in her little bed until she saw me move from the desk.

It's just noon, and that means that Sofi is ready for her pranzo; it's chicken which I've cooked and prepared earlier. Comé no?

After feeding her, Dino returns home and we eat a pranzo of our own, followed by a bit of television watching and long naps. When I wake up, its almost 6 PM. Dino drives off again to do more errands.

I locate information online about a strange fellow who kidnapped me and held me prisoner for four days while I was a senior in in college (!) and since my own identity is safe, I think and hope, I don't have a lot to worry about, other than his possible malicious curiosity. Let's change the subject.

Skies are still lovely and clear and blue, and little Sofi and I wait for dear Dino's return, which will be soon., and he does. Oh, how love has conquered all!:)

September 4
We have finished processing the pomodori for this year and it looks like we have about 45 pint jars. Now they are in the boiling pot.

We've had more contadini (farmer) practice at this by now, so the morning wends sweetly by and no, we don't do much else in the way of farming. We live at the edge of a medieval village, in case you don't already know. This is a rewarding project that we enjoy doing together.

Dino drives off at just before noon to pick up supplies, the last fifteen jars of pomodori continue to seal themselves in a water bath on the top of the stove in the summer kitchen. I realize now that having a second kitchen is really important; it's where the preliminary work gets done preparing for a meal or for other projects as the year passes.

After eating a delicious pranzo, the rest of the afternoon and evening are mellow, consisting of long naps and television watching, although dearest Dino waters the terrace and other plants to be sure that they have enough moisture.

We go to bed under mild skies and bless the Lord God for taking such good care of us here.

September 5
Sofi and I sleep in late, getting up at 9 AM, while Dino is already in Rome, having an early eye appointment at Policlinico Gemelli. He drove to the station at Attigliano and took an early train to Roma.

We spend a mellow morning at home while we wait for dear Dino's return. Skies are clear and warm and lovely. Yes, we love living here, although we do miss our friends and relatives living in California and elsewhere. Hello to you all!:)

Whatever plums have been left on the gravel on the terrace are picked up and thrown in the garbage; we have plenty left in the kitchen to eat fresh and I've no energy these days to make more jam. We have not used many of the jars of jam we made in previous years. So let us not judge others and relax instead.

Sofi naps in her polka dot bed by my side. I'll read and relax until Dino's return, when I'll fix pranzo, unless he calls on the way home; and in that case, I'll begin to make something then.

It's a really beautiful September morning. How fortunate we are to be surrounded by sun and gentle neighbors. While checking on the glycine (wisteria), I find seven separate lavender colored flowers blooming in front of the summer kitchen. How lovely they are, and how wonderful that a few are still blooming this late in the year!

Dino's appointment in Rome won't be until later this afternoon (sigh!), although he's called, so I fix a small salad for myself and of course Sofi's pranzo for her, then watch some television. Unless all is fine with dearest Dino, I remain nervous.

Dino calls again, and still waits at the hospital. I'm nervous and a bit shaky, so try to keep busy at the computer and then watch television programs with little Sofi always by my side until I hear from him.

All is fine with Dino, he returns home, and we spend a quiet evening together.

September 6
The only action here on the property has to do with clipping spent wisteria branches during the morning hours and putting them in baskets to burn later. It's a joint effort, with Sofi meandering around but close by, in the event of any action, especially the emergence of Larry the Lucertole and his pals.

Larry is a lizard, in case you don't remember. The only one I see scurries off on the outside of the kitchen screen window where I cannot get to him, not that I would want to touch him.

It's a quiet day here, with nothing much going on until the early evening, when a storm clouds the horizon, wind picks up and we expect to have a roaring storm. But nothing much happens.

By the time Sofi and I go up to bed at just before 10 PM, all remains quiet. Dino continues to watch an early Sean Penn movie on television that I've seen before.

September 7
Bright and lovely skies greet us early this morning. We have a simple colazione; then Dino drives off to check on client properties.

Gazing out the window toward the sun is somewhat blinding to me; am I getting another headache? Sigh! With Dino out of the house, I'll lie down for a bit; that is, after I change the sheets on the bed. Since it's Saturday, it's time to change the sheets on the bed anyway. Let's hope it's cool inside the room...

Dino returns, and we decide to change the sheets on the bed tomorrow, especially since I put the earlier effort off anyway.

After pranzo and watching a movie, we take a nap, after I print out Burgundy market towns on a chart for later reference. It's quite a bit of work, but no matter. He later tells me I've already done this before...

September 8
On this lovely morning, overhead is a buttermilk sky, a la Hoagy Carmichael, a singer who sang many decades ago about it.

We attend church and Don Angelo greets me, as usual, before walking up to the altar. He's such a kind man, and of course I'm happy to know him.

The mass is lovely, I enjoy participating and greeting neighbors and those here part time, including Gino and Miriam, whom I have not seen for quite a while.

Afterward, we drive to Il Pallone, as usual, for caffé and the usual bit of dolci before shopping at Super Conti, the excellent market, which has now moved to a new location next to the Superstrada .

Soon, we're home to a dear Sofi, who rests nearby me now in her polka dot bed as I catch up with you, before we all leave for pranzo at a friend's garden. They love Sofi, so she'll be with us. Comé no?

Dino thinks I have over-researched our trip to Southern France and is a bit miffed with me. I think we misunderstood each other. Sigh!

Tonight we are invited to Pietro BellaCitta's garden for abbaccchio brodetato with our neighbors from Sweden and Norway. His houseguest has been there a few times and used to keep his house for him in Norway. She is quite kind and helpful.

We have dinner in his newly re-decorated cantina. It is a lovely spot!

The evening is delightful, the food wonderful and the company a treat. I miss little Sofi, who stays at home in her little cage in the kitchen, but afterward she is fine and spends a few minutes on the terrace before returning to my side in her polka dot bed.

We arrived home just after 10 P M, with plenty of time for Dino to watch television, although Sofia and I go up to bed. It's been a lovely day and a great evening spent with friends.

A domani! (Until tomorrow)

September 9
We're expecting lots of rain for the next few days, but are surprised by thick clouds somewhat obscured by plenty of sun. Do you find that strange? So do I!

The morning is mild, with a bit of gentle wind; the chimes on the terrace gently serenading us. Dino wants me to make an omelette for pranzo, so why not? We have plenty of eggs, so let's explore to find out what else we have in the larder to make the meal especially delightful.

Sofi continues at my feet as I catch up with you, after finding the man online who kidnapped me at the end of my college days. It was right after the Bobby Kennedy assassination, a time of grim awakenings.

No, I do not contact him, nor do I want anything to do with him. I do know that he was and probably still is a pathological liar. I am just sorry he did not suffer the consequences of his actions. It was an especially trying time for me.

The rest of the afternoon and evening are mellow, and we turn in after watching a movie on television. All is sweet here these days, and for that we are thankful.

On a happier note, I could not be more content with the love of my life by my side as we get ready to celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary later this month. How strange and sometimes wonderful our lives turn out.

September 10
It's another Tuesday, and Dino leaves quite early. I get up at just before 8 AM with plenty of sunny skies and a few of the whitest clouds overhead. Time for a shower!

Sofi and I remain together quietly all day, for Dino is in Rome at the hospital for tests, and is not expected to take the train home until this afternoon.

We do a bit of weeding on the front terrace; then I update our book lists and this journal while looking out at dark clouds in the sky and breezes moving the trees outside the window.

There's food to fix for dearest Sofi and we still have plenty of eggs, so perhaps I'll make another omelet for myself, followed by reading in bed and taking a nap with Sofi by my side in her polka dot bed until dear Dino returns.

It's quiet here, with just the sounds of an occasional passing car, the leaves of the trees and our chimes dancing in the breeze. Oh, how I'm reminded of my dear departed mother, who spent her days quietly sitting in her chair in my childhood house's sunroom and reading.

Since I'm now 2/3 of a century in age, mellow days are what I love, especially when dearest Dino is out. He calls from the hospital in Rome, where tests continue for him and all is well so far.

Unfortunately, all of a sudden, I hear someone cutting weeds or something more substantial in the valley, for the motor of his tractor resounds even up here on the hill. Sigh!

I fix Sofi's chicken for her and something for myself with the television on, then we return to the bedroom and shut the windows tight to block the sounds; hopefully to also get some rest before Dino returns.

The sounds end and my dear one returns home, so the remainder of the evening is spent peacefully, with dearest Dino and darling Sofia by my side.

September 11
On the anniversary of a terrible day for people all over the world, especially in the United States, I sleep in late.

Dearest Dino, however, left very early for a medical appointment in Rome and calls me from there, telling me he'll be home for pranzo.

With folks working to cut down all the trees in the valley for winter firewood, I hear the whirring sounds of their machines, and look up to see many clouds in the sky, turning quite dark right above them, as if rain is expected at any moment, although I watch them moving Southward. Fa niente. (No matter.)

Should I pick the rest of the plums on the terrace? I probably should, although I don't feel much like making jam. We still have some jars of our jam made in past years, and it is delicious! Let's do just that, separating the good from the already too ripe ones. Let's go, Sofi!:)

Instead, Dino returns and we have pranzo; then take naps. It's overcast outside, but no rain has appeared yet. After we get up from our naps, it will be enough time to pick the plums...that is, if want to pick them at all...There's not much chance of us making jam this year. Sorry.

In the meantime, this just in from Reuters News Service:

Silvio Berlusconi, convicted by Italy's top court last month of being at the center of a vast tax fraud conspiracy at his Mediaset television empire, could not be expelled without a full vote on the floor of the upper house.

But he, in any case, faces banishment from front-line politics for at least a year after the court sentenced him to a four-year jail term that was then commuted to one year under house arrest or in community service.

So there you have it: It's not Italy's finest hour, but is certainly entertaining, no matter how you look at it.

My headache continues and I cannot sleep. There is no rain, although skies continue to threaten. Here's more news about Italy, just in case you don't know...

Italians are among the most deprived in Europe
Published: 10 Sep 2013 09:18 GMT+02:00.

Eleven percent of Italians have no access to basic necessities, such as heating, double the number in France, Germany and the UK, according to an EU report.

Italy's crisis laid bare by dire global rankings (04 Sep 13) The figure equates to one in ten Italians going without basic necessities, which includes not eating meat, the report prepared by EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg, said. Italy is the only large country in core Europe that suffers from such "material hardships", the report found.

But despite the economic strife, Italy is faring better than France, Germany and the UK when it comes to addressing inequalities in health. Over the past 10 years, Italy has managed to reduce the rate of infant mortality from an average 4.4 deaths per 1,000 births in 2001 to 3.2 in 2011.

Life expectancy also remains high, with Italians living to an average 81.5 years, the second-highest in Europe.

We have no complaints to speak of, having settled in to the way things work in Italy. Since we live here full time, we might as well!

By the time we post this month in the journal, I hopefully will be in line for a CAT-SCAN, to see if there is something serious behind all the headachesand memory loss I still have. Stay tuned...

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to our road trip to Southern France at the end of next week with dear Sofi. Let's hope there will not be a lot of rain, which will hamper our walking about in all those lovely French towns and villages and experiencing French Style, which is just so chic!:)

I go to bed and while checking in with you first, feel a strange pain in my back, just behind my heart. Let's hope it dissipates and goes to sleep. Don't worry. I won't, although I go downstairs to tell dear Dino about it. He tells me to lie down on my back, which is just what I'll do right now.

Buona note. Dorme bene!

September 12
With clear skies turning dark and mysterious by 10 AM, Dino drives off for projects and errands and I research our trip, with dearest Sofi by my side in her polka dot bed. Outside, the farmers continue their harvesting and other machine work, with groaning noises from their machines continuing all morning. This is the countryside, in case you forgot:).

Just before Dino returns, the skies open and rain pours down upon tiny Mugnano in Teverina. I call Dino to tell him and he's nearby and knows. Va bene. I close the windows and Sofi stays by my side, perhaps not knowing what to do.

With lovely blue sky but plenty of huge clouds in all shades of bright white to medium grey, their loftiness is an amazing sight to be seen. It's been no longer than an hour since all the rain stopped. Let's get ready for pranzo! :) The remainder of the day follows with clear skies and no more rain.

I have been researching the gruesome update of my kidnapping when I was in college, and don't have a resolution yet. I'm ready to forget it; to move it deep into my past. The fellow must have a screw loose, so let's not worry any more about it and perhaps we're too far away for him to come after me again. Let's let that sleeping damn dog lie. Amen.

Skies remain clear as Dino burns leaves for the first time in memory this year. I close the bedroom windows to keep the smoke away, and all is well. It's time to relax for the rest of the evening.

For some reason, I drank two glasses of white wine earlier, and now my head is knocking about and my ears are buzzing to remind me I should not have done that. So it's medicine for me right now and no more wine. Cut it out, Evanne!

After lying down for a while, I feel better, so spend the rest of the evening with Dino watching prerecorded programs on television. The night is cool, so hopefully we'll sleep well. Hope you sleep well, too!

September 13
Friday the 13th looms again, tra la. Yikes! It's really here!

On this unlucky day for many, I have a pedicure in the middle of the morning. Let's hope I finish with everything intact!:)

With not a cloud in the sky, I feel fortunate to be alive and here with those I love. I have been blessed in many ways, so let the cards fall where they may!:)

After breakfast here, we take Sofi and drive to Orte Scalo, where I have a pedicure with dear Giusy, whom has taken care of me for years. I bring a book to read, for I almost always have a wait. No matter. She's perfect at her craft and wonderful, as usual.

Dino's sandals have been repaired at a place in the UK, but we won't have them before we leave for our trip to Southern France. That's too bad, but fa niente (no matter).

We come home and have pranzo, then take our customary naps after checking in with you. These September days are surely beautiful.

Dino gets up before me from his nap and decides to cut down the tall loquat tree growing in front of our bedroom. When I look out the window some time later, there he is, clearly visible to one and all in his red shirt, hacking away while standing on a ladder support.

Yes, I am nervous, and because everything looks all right, I return to catch up with you instead of watching him. He's very determined. The root ball below ground must be enormous, and I'm hoping he's going to make sure that it is taken out as well. Do the roots of a tree really grow down as deep as the tree is tall?

Sofi seems oblivious to it all, continuing to rest in her polka dot bed beside me. She's so dear!

I admit I don't have a great memory. Surely I did not inherit this from my father, who was a genius and had a photographic memory. My mother had a pretty good memory, too, so that seems a bit strange to me. Sigh!

I am sure that I do not have the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease, but don't worry. I don't have the symptoms. Here are the symptoms, in case you want to know:

Sleep issues and Sundowning

So what is Sundowning? Well, it's an increase in behavioral problems that begin at dusk and last into the night.

If you'd lke to read more:


Later, I sit and watch television with my two dear ones, Dino and Sofi, until it's time to go to bed. It's been another lovely day here in our little paradise and no; nothing happened to us relating to Friday the 13th of the month, which is today. Hope it's been wonderful where you are today, too!

September 14
Today is a special day, because we come across dearest Paola Fosci (Monchini) with her new baby, Eva, who is four weeks young. Although the baby remains sleeping in her stroller, we notice her hand moving, so we hope she's having a wonderful dream. Here she is!

Paola looks marvelous, and we are sure that this is a new life for her. When we're in France, we'll pick up something special for her, but not in pink, for Paola does not like that color. Va bene

We've watched a wonderful program about the building of the 9/11 Memorial in New York at Ground Zero. Well; we watched a lot of it before we heard Paola and Eva were walking by. Perhaps we'll watch more of it later, or not. Fa niente.

We're in the midst of doing laundry but gee, Dear Dino is a bit bossy this morning. Perhaps he'll relax a bit after I figure out what to serve him for pranzo and do just that. Sofi was introduced to tiny Eva, but did not seem to react; perhaps when Eva can see her there'll be a real change.

Things seem to settle down a bit, especially since I'm flexible this morning and want my dearest to be happy. Well, he's quite forceful, so we eat what he's decided upon, although I can't really remember it. No matter. Afterward we watch a television program and I come up to check in with you while he starts to do the dishes. He did not want me to do them, so here I am!:) He is the master of "clean-up"!

The clouds outside are gorgeous, with plenty of blue sky, bright white and some dark underneath, reminding me that this is September, so clouds will darken, as the days grow shorter. Va bene.

I've put plenty of laundry away and set aside some to iron for myself, but I'm not really an ironer. Let's just do it and get it over with:).

Separately, quite sadly, a woman in India has been brutally raped and murdered by five men. They have been tried for murder, and now the sentencing is upon them:

Many Doubt Death Sentences Will Stem India Sexual Attacks

The men will be put to death by hanging. Will this change the way men view assaults upon women in India and other countries? Magari! (If only that were so....)

This brutal rape of a young woman in New Delhi last year has led Indians to ask why are women so unsafe in public spaces. Daily travels for women there are often filled with a sense of insecurity. How very sad! (:

From the moment it broke, the story of the 23-year-old woman who became known as "Nirbhaya," or "fearless," awoke real rage in the population.

Hoping for a ride home from a movie theater, she and a male companion boarded a private bus, not realizing that the six men aboard had been cruising Delhi in search of a victim. After knocking her friend unconscious, they took her to the back of the bus and raped her, then penetrated her with a metal rod, inflicting grave internal injuries. An hour later, they dumped the pair out on the road, bleeding and naked. She died two weeks later of her injuries.

Young men and women, mobilized through social media, joined protests that spread across India, demanding tougher laws and more effective policing.

"As a woman, and mother, I understand how protesters feel," Sonia Gandhi, India's most powerful female politician and the president of the governing Congress Party, said at the time. "Today we pledge that the victim will get justice."

After intensive public discussion of the case, some changes followed with extraordinary speed. Reports of rape have skyrocketed; in the first eight months of this year, Delhi's police force registered 1,121 cases, more than double the number from the same period in 2011 and the highest number since 2000. The number of reported molestations has increased six-fold in the same period.

The government created a fast-track court for rape cases and introduced new laws, criminalizing acts like voyeurism and stalking and making especially brutal rapes into a capital crime.

It's time to take a nap and think of something more positive, although if there is anything I can do to help women who have become victims of these vicious attacks, I certainly will.

Years ago, when living in San Francisco, I was an active member of a group of women who rallied around women sent to prison for murdering their abusers. It's shocking news, no matter where one lives...

September 15
With clouds overhead and a bit of rain off and on, we attend church, and I remember embracing almost every single person in our little church after mass. I love this village and love living here with dearest Dino and of course dearest Sofi, who is my shadow, but she and other doggies must stay home when we attend church.

Afterward there is breakfast at Il Pallone and grocery shopping; then home to Sofi and preparing pranzo. I am so tired that I can't wait to take our traditional afternoon nap.

Showers fall off and on, and we stay inside while hearing the patter of rain on the roof and the windows. Va bene. All is well.

After pranzo, which is heated up pasta from another day and caprese salad, I come upstairs to catch up with you and hopefully sleep and read the afternoon away. Dino washes the dishes; he is such a dear about washing dishes. I look forward to having him join me in bed.

We've planned our jaunt to Southern France, and soon the three of us will be on our way. Let's hope the weather clears up a bit. I don't mind a bit of rain; just think rain each and every day is a bit much. Don't you?

We sadly have to have our septic tank pumped, for it looks like the pump has failed (sigh!) and that is expensive, but necessary now. Dino knows of a man in Giove who is not the fellow who has done it for us before, but I'm hoping he'll call and schedule it for tomorrow.

In an hour or two, Dino leaves to pick up dear friend Frank at the airport...he'll be gone for most of the evening. So Sofi and I spend a quiet one here at home, with my little doggie right by my side.

My thoughts are with Dino, for it is raining continuously outside and roads are slippery. He is a great driver but no matter. Who knows whom he might meet on the road? Until he is home again, I'll say my prayers and hope for a safe evening for him. I love him so!

He calls me at around 8:30 PM and is at the airport. Frank's plane is expected to arrive an hour late. At about 9 PM Sofi and I go up to bed, leaving the lights on for him. I'll try to read and perhaps nod off for a bit, until he returns, which should be after midnight. I so hope that he keeps himself awake so that he can do his driving to Orvieto to drop off Frank and then drive home. Let us pray for his safe return. Amen.

For the first time in memory, I do not brush my teeth before going to bed. It's that septic tank problem, and I'm not supposed to use water. Sigh! I get up to check messages at 11:30 PM, but there are none yet from Dino. Let's not fret:) I call him a half hour later, and he's just getting gas, having dropped off his pal in Orvieto. Va bene!

September 16
Skies are foggy but bright. That means that when the fog clears in this little valley, skies will be clear and lovely. Va bene. All is well weather wise.

We're waiting for someone to fix the septic tank pump. I think that means Silvano Spaccese, but he has not returned Dino's phone calls. It would be great if he would just appear in a few minutes. Dino thinks what is wrong is merely an electrical switch. We use very little water in the meantime and hope. Silvano is a kind of handyman, and can fix little electrical problems, or so we hope...

By 11 AM all is well, and just a few hazy clouds appear below a lovely pale blue sky. It's silent inside the house, and that's just how I like it, unless lovely music is playing or there is news on the television we need to hear.

Later this week, we'll all leave for France, and that should be a wonderful trip. Silvano is about an hour late so far, and it's probably one of the reasons for Dino's impatience. Let's give him plenty of breathing room!(.

Sofi lies in the sun streaming into the studio window while I catch up with you; then finds it too warm, moving to her polka dot bed in the shade just under the window for a minute, then back into the sun, where she lies like a little lion on the cool and characteristic terrazzo floor tiles that have been here since the house was built in the 1930's.

There is another phone call, and Silvano will arrive dopo pranzo, so let's get things ready and eat, even a bit early; then relax.

By the time I go to bed for my nap, the pump has been fixed and all is well.

September 17
It's overcast at 8 AM, which is normal, when we get up, although September is usually the loveliest month of the year weather-wise.

Dino leaves for Viterbo to shop and do errands, while Sofi and I stay home and watch a George Clooney movie set in Hawaii, called The Descendants. I have seen it before, and it's not bad. It passes the time.

Skies do not really clear by 11 AM. Dino calls and he'll pick up a freshly roasted chicken for pranzo and I'll make rice. But now I'm still really tired, so Sofi and I take a nap until his return. If I awake and he's not back yet, I'll read a bit. No matter. All is well here.

Dino returns, but without a roast chicken and it does not matter. We have something else for pranzo and all is well.

I continue to do research on my gold watch, purchased before we were married some years ago on a trip to Hong Kong. It is French, so perhaps when we are on our trip I can meet with people at the brand's home office and see if there is any interest. It is quite lovely, but I never wear a watch and have no interest in doing so.

The day passes sweetly, with not much to write about.

September 18
Getting ready for our trip, there's plenty to do and not much worth sharing, except for the beautiful clear weather. Yes, weather in September is about the best all year. Hope it's lovely where you are...

We find a place in France to ask about my watch, and hopefully we'll remember to bring it. At least I've set the watch and related printouts aside. Let's consider it a part of the adventure, and not take it too seriously:) Dino thinks I'm nuts. Sigh!

Dino leaves for errands while Sofi and I stay at home, researching and organizing for the trip and catching up with you.

The afternoon is lovely, with a long white contrail below an otherwise clear blue sky, and a bit of a breeze. Well, it's more than a bit of a breeze, but no matter.

Friends stop by who will come to the house while we are away on a small trip, and it is good to see them. After they leave, Dino leaves to do a bit of shopping and Sofi and I catch up with you, then watch television, for we've already set aside things for Dino to pack. He's a faultless packer and takes his mission seriously. So, Comé no?

There's nothing else to do except pack the car in the morning, so let's relax. Since we won't be able to fly to San Francisco to be with Terence and Angie and the girls for Thanksgiving, this will be our little trip to last the winter.

It's a good thing we love living here, although winters can be quite cold. But with a working fireplace and a working stufa for warmth, we will be fine.

September 19 through September 28

Gone to France until Sunday afternoon, September 29th.

September 29
We arrived back home in dear Mugnano in Teverina at about 5 PM today, and I'm so happy to be home. Sofi does not know exactly what to do with herself, so she lies in her polka dot bed under the front studio window and watches me at the computer, not that I can figure out how to set it up again. Dearest Dino does just that and here I am...

Dino has done a masterful job of driving home today and bringing up things to the house that I'm not able to carry. I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful man who loves me after 32 years of marriage and then some!

Sofi rests by my side after I hang up a load of laundry on a drying rack on the terrace. Dino puts in another load from our trip. We'll sit and watch television in a few minutes after I check a few of the emails that came in while we were away in France. Gee, it's good to be back!

Well, all is not so good as I have something going on in my chest that may just be heartburn. In addition, I can't figure out what is wrong with our email application, for I cannot open it. Sigh!

Let's go to bed and ignore it all and perhaps in the morning things will either be much better or I'll be so out of it that it won't matter much to me. A domani.

September 30
I spend part of the day in bed, not feeling well, and wonder if it has something to do with discomfort in my chest, although I don't have one of my usual headaches. The weather is fine and so are Dino and Sofi, so there's not much to say, other than we are beginning to unpack and all is well with the computer.

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