Welcome to my daily journal, a look over our shoulders as we navigate our lives in Italy. The journal reads from the beginning to end of each month. 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

If you read this journal, you might want to know my mantra: "Dare to live your dream!" Dreams can come true, but first you must have a dream...mine surely has come true; has yours? Enjoy.

For previous entries, click on JOURNAL ARCHIVES to find the month you're looking for.

Evanne is also a contributor to ItalianNotebook.com. From time to time she writes about something of cultural interest about life in Italy. Take a look and you can subscribe to get a daily (5 days a week) snippit of life in Italy. Click here: www.italiannotebook.com

For those of you who have known us for a long time as Roy or Dad and Evanne, the names Nonno, Dino, Eva and Nonna may seem a little strange at first. We are grandparents of Marissa and Nicole of California, hence the Nonno and Nonna nicknames. Dino and Eva are our Italian nicknames, or sopranomes. If you've been reading the journal, you'll know about those changes, too.

In addition to LINKS in the column on the left, you will now find Dino's, soon to be world famous, collection of photos of Fiat Cinque Cento cars. Everyone needs a hobby and it probably keeps him out of trouble.

November 1
It seems implausible that today is the first day of another month, for it's Friday, but no matter. There is church this morning to attend at 9:30, and dear Don Angelo is our priest, greeting me before walking up the aisle to the altar as usual and doing a marvelous job as he always does, with great heart and kindness. I sing with my other Coro members, of whom there are a precious few. No matter.

Today is celebrated, if I can say that, as All Saints Day for Catholics everywhere, especially in Italy.

Afterward, Dino and I drive to Il Pallone for groceries and a morning snack, then return home under lovely sunny skies to an anxious but thrilled Sofia, who hates to be alone.

I've been tired all morning; is it my age? Yes, I am growing older, and although our cemetery plots are secure in the local cemetery, I'm not ready to move there just yet.

We have plenty of chicken to cook today, and although I don't feel much like cooking, perhaps I'll cook it all. We'll have it breaded today with rice; then there will be plenty for another day or two to heat up and serve again.

I'd love to take a nap right now, but it's too early and the sun is bright above. So let's fix pranzo early and then take a nap. Comé no? (Why not?:))

The day ends quietly after a lovely pranzo, followed by a sweet nap and a bit of television watching.

November 2
Skies are mostly clear, although the temperature seems lower than yesterday. The leaves on the persimmon trees have not begun to change, although they feel the pressure of wind now and then, as if they're dancing.

For today's pranzo, Dino fixes fried eggs served over breaded chicken cutlets (left over from yesterday) and I make a salad; then we have brownies for dessert. Now and then, the supermarket chain LIDL has familiar treats from the U.S., and a few days ago we picked up a package of brownies made in advance. Now, there are four left for snacking later or tomorrow.

Clouds seem to float across the sky here and there; otherwise, all is calm.

The day continues to be uneventful at our house, although it is the Day of the Dead and a service took place earlier at the cemetery on the hill to honor those who have passed on in the past 12 months. We did not attend and for that I am sorry.

November 3
Today is gloomy outside all day but no matter; we love it here.

With no activity to speak of all morning, we eat a simple pranzo and then take naps after I check in with you. Outside the front studio window all is dark, with clouds roaming by in shades of medium to dark gray with leaves of the persimmon trees gliding to and fro.

I try to read while in bed to take a nap, but find myself nodding off quite quickly. Dearest Sofi is already snoozing away.

Somewhat later, after dark, there are television programs to watch, but by 9 PM I'm ready to go to bed.

Dino warns me about the little green bugs we know as stinkbugs and yes, they smell terrible. I am cautioned not to cast them into paper garbage, for they'll continue to stink. It's into the toilet with them, our outside with the food garbage. Lesson learned, I admit.

Dearest little Sofi follows me upstairs in a few minutes, and she's ready to go to bed, too. Va bene!

I go to bed and read until I'm ready to nod off; then today's posting ends. Hope you have a good night's sleep on this night, whenever and wherever you are when you read this.

November 4
Today is Monday, with nothing much for us to do. But then, we live in a quiet medieval Italian village. Across the street, a couple of muratores (construction workers) jackhammer the concrete of a neighbor's front of their property, so it's a good thing we're not trying to sleep! What's that about our village being quiet? Ha! Ha!

We've eaten breakfast and now while I check in with you, mountains of clouds stroll by. Although there is plenty of blue sky in the background, plenty of dark grey clouds stand out in the forefront of each mass. Will we have rain later?

I've found what looks like a good recipe for "Fluffy Walnut Apple Muffins", but since there are only two of us, it doesn't make sense to fix them. In this weather, they'd get moldy before we've finished them all.

Outside the studio window, wind picks up. Will we have a storm? Let's not worry...about anything, although the leaves of the persimmon trees shake too and fro while clouds seem monster-like as they seem to stretch forward and back again in rapid motion.

Dino leaves to shop, while Sofi curls up nearby and waits for me to move from the desk.

Skies begin to clear. Dino tells me that Brian and Antonella will stop by for a visit after he returns. The house is not at its best, but so be it. It will be good to see them; they are such lovely and kind people. Brian has just purchased a vintage Cinque Cento and he wants to show it to Dino!

If I had known earlier, this would have been the perfect morning to make those muffins. No matter. It seems they are running late, so won't be here for a visit today after all. Hope all is well with them.

We have a mellow midday, eat pranzo, watch a bit of television, then take naps, while the wind dances among the leaves of the large persimmon tree growing right in front of the house.

I'm so ready for a nap, and would love to read for a bit! Comé no? (Why not?)

We take naps, and when we get up again, the skies are still clear. With plenty of recorded programs on television, we watch a bit of news and then spend the rest of the evening in front of the television, with dearest Sofi by our side.

By the time we go to bed, skies are lit with thunder and lightening and plenty of rain. Sigh!

November 5
My mother was happiest when she was at home, and it appears, I feel that way as well. Living a simple life with the man I love is heaven to me.

We're up quite early and Dino takes me for hospital tests this morning, with Sofi resting at home out of the rain. I don't remember what the tests are for, but will let you know. It's something female, I am pretty sure.

Tonight we have a wonderful visit with dear friend Pietro aka Stein at his home in Mugnano. After a lovely visit we return home with dearest Sofi and my little doggie and I go to bed early while dearest Dino stays up to watch television.

November 6
I plan to laze around this morning with little Sofi, while Dino plans to leave for appointments.

We have a lazy day, with sun and clouds followed by long naps, and get up while darkness descends to watch our favorite programs on television, mostly pre recorded. Dearest Sofi stays by my side all the while.

The evening ends quietly with the three of us watching television and then turning in.

November 7
Plenty of overcast skies clear, until there are just a few dark ones overhead trimmed in white and blue sky as the background.

We spend a mellow day, with nothing to write about. Dino fixes a pasta dish and we save some for tomorrow. There's a bit of salad and dessert, then a long nap planned. The temperature outside is cool, and a ladybug hides on the inside of a screen in the studio. Hope she finds a good place to hide for the winter.

November 8
It's Friday, not that it matters. Here's what's happening here in Italy to the country's artistic efforts, thanks to the New York Times:

Faced with about $2.5 trillion of debt, the Italian government has implemented widespread austerity measures, and shrank its cultural budget by a third in the last three years, to $1.86 billion. Former Italian finance minister Giulio Tremonti defended the cuts by saying, "I don't know what all the fuss is about. After all, you can't eat culture."

Italy has about 5,000 museums and 60,000 archeological sites, including 44 cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites-more than any other country in the world-and its cultural heritage has suffered significant losses; the country can't afford to maintain the ancient city of Pompeii, though it is a major tourist attraction, and there have been a series of well-publicized structural collapses at the site.

How sad!

Here in our little village in Central Italy, clouds roll by below blue skies, with hardly a breath of wind. It is a lovely day here.

After watching a movie on television this morning, Dino drives off to shop for food while little Sofi and I check in with you. Outside the open window where I write, leaves of the giant persimmon tree in front of me lie straight and shiny, dancing to and fro whenever the wind picks up a bit. They should change color very, very soon to a gorgeous reddish hue.

There is very little fruit on either of our two trees, but we'll surely make Persimmon Pudding, even if we have to pick up ripe persimmons at the supermarket later this month to do it. If you have ever eaten one of our persimmon puddings, you'll know why:)

I'm feeling older; as if we've both entered new phases of our lives here. No matter, we love it here, although we do miss our families in the United States and know that we need to take good care of ourselves as we continue to mature. It's a good thing.

I just read online that Hillary Clinton is willing and ready to run for the position of President of the United States; this time she'll have lots of support, including mine. I'm excited about the possibility, aren't you?

So what's up for Thanksgiving this year? We have no idea. It may be a quiet affair, or we may join a group of expats in the area for a meal. I admit the former is my choice as of this moment. We'll eat stuffed turkey, known here in Italy as tacchino repieno and why not? I think we can purchase what's known as a turkey breast here from a local butcher and roast that.

Yes, we have leftovers from yesterday, and I take them out of the frigo while Dino is shopping nearby, in the event we want to heat them up for our midday meal. I don't have a lot of energy to fix anything complicated today.

Dear that he is, Dino picked up chicken cutlets and breads and sautés them for today's pranzo, which is quite tasty.

We watch a movie with Michael Caine afterward that is quite distressing; then it's time for naps. It's a delight to be retired and not to have to go back to work for anything, just the same.

Tonight we watch more recorded programs together with little Sofia and then turn in. Earlier, we watched the Stanford football team beat The Mighty Ducks of Oregon on television in a good game. My headache continues all evening. Sigh!

November 9
Today is Saturday, but so what? :) Let's be mellow.

It's a quiet day here in our little village, with blue skies, and plenty of pale clouds soaring by above.

November 10
Under cloudy skies, we go to church while Sofi remains at home. We return at around noon with groceries and feed our little doggie, then Dino does some wood sawing on the terrace while I prepare pranzo .

After a meal and a long nap, we visit with Kari and Leif and have a delicious salmon with them that they have brought from their home in Norway. How wonderful!

Back at home I have a lot of trouble logging in to the computer for Facebook, so give it up for the night and check in with you, then watch television for a bit with dearest Dino and Sofi before turning in for the night. With nothing we have to do tomorrow, there's nothing to worry about. A domani! Until tomorrow...

November 11
I sleep in late on what is a Veterans Day for those United States soldiers who died in different wars of the past. Uncle Cal is the only one in my close family who is one of those, and I bless them all.

Here in faraway Central Italy, I have slept in quite late. Skies are still dark when I finally arise at around 10 AM, with plenty of raindrops on the persimmon leaves of the tree on the front terrace.

Dearest Dino is working to clean the inside glass door of the small standup oven in front of the fireplace in the kitchen. It uses pellets to heat the room in wintertime and to create pretty flames inside the closed door.

Sofi continues to rest in her polka dot bed, just waiting for me to finish writing to you. I eat a sour apple for breakfast and all is quiet here, with nothing much to report.

Outside the rain continues, although the leaves on the giant persimmon tree in front of the studio window have begun to turn a brilliant orange color.

Dino leaves to do his normal errands, although we agree we'll have baked fish sticks from the freezer and freshly cooked rice and a green salad for pranzo. No, it's not Friday, the customary day for eating fish in the United States, where we are from, but no matter. We live simple lives here and love it that way.

Pranzo is fine, although the food is not great. No matter.

Afterward, it's a bit of television watching of prerecorded programs and a nap. The weather is dismal, so might as well cuddle up and read and sleep a bit. Sofi curls up in her polka dot bed, waiting for me to finish writing to you. All is well.

A bit later we're up again. Dino has been working on making a special frame for one of my paintings of figs and it looks great. How dear of him for doing this without being asked!

We spend another quiet evening watching television programs, but Sofi and I turn in early, while Dino stays up to watch the movie: "Good Morning Vietnam!" I've seen it before and it is a very good movie, but watching it once is enough for me.

I research a couple of recipes online and then go to bed to read.

November 12
It's Tuesday. With dark and overcast skies, Sofi and I languish in bed, while dearest Dino gets up and takes off to do some errands.

I take out the pizza stone and put it in the oven to heat it until it is hot enough for me to place the pizza on top to cook for today's pranzo, while Dino leaves for something, I'm not sure what.

Later this afternoon, I have an appointment with our dear Dottore Stefano. I am not sure why; perhaps it is to check on my ongoing headaches.

Right now, sinister clouds move swiftly across my view through the front studio window. Outside the second window, skies remain colorless. Winter is surely on the way. Sigh!

We drive to see Dr. Stefano and he gives us our annual winter flue shots, shop a bit and then return home to a loving Sofi, our dearest doggie.

The rest of the afternoon and evening are spent at home lighting up the fireplace/heater in the kitchen after putting in lots of pellets and then watching lots of prerecorded programs on television.

I check in with you and go to bed to read a bit before falling asleep at just before 10 PM our time, at which time all our friends in California are just sitting down to lunch. Buon appetito!

Am I insane or does this recipe actually produce a good dish? Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallow Topping. I find it online and perhaps we'll even experiment by trying it this week. Comé no?

November 13
A combination of sun and clouds greet us on this Wednesday morning. After a short breakfast, we step out onto the terrace and walk around the property. There is so much garden work to do here to ready the property for winter!

We are at the stage of our lives when we should be slowing down and living sweet and simple lives, however, it appears that is not to be just yet; or is it? Dreamer that I am, I dream that someone will come by and offer to buy our property at a price that we can afford to sell.

That would mean that we would need to find an apartment we could afford with the proceeds of the sale. Perhaps someone nearby wants to move up from his or her sweet apartment to a home with a lovely garden and we could move into his or her apartment while they move here to our home.

We are aware that many people love to read our journal; perhaps one or more of you are ready to move here to Central Italy or to purchase our property and then use it as a vacation home or rent it out to others when you are not here.

If that means you, let uus know. We purchased this property in November of 1997; perhaps November is a lucky month for you as well as for us. We admit we love it here and love this little home.

Under partly overcast skies, little Sofi snoozes in her little bed next to me. Outside the window, two trees with beautiful orange persimmon fruit, known here as cachi remain, their leaves beginning to turn that burnished copper color before they fall to the ground. How lovely the leaves are now!

The fruit of our two trees continues to ripen until we pick it to make spectacular persimmon puddings that we can freeze until we're ready to heat them and serve them as a fabulous dessert. If you have not eaten a steamed persimmon pudding, you have missed out on a real treat.

This tiny village has an enormous history, dating back more than one thousand (!) years. Then, it was known as the spot on the Tiber River the bricks and roof tiles made in kilns in the valley below our casa was put onto barges that floated down to Rome, to build some of its most spectacular buildings, some of which still remain - namely the Colosseum and the Pantheon.

Although I love it here, I'm ready for us to move into a smaller place without the care of a garden. If you're serious about finding your dream home in Central Italy and love to garden even just a bit, do contact us and we'd be happy to show you around. Let's make your dream and mine a reality!:)

Now I think I'm jumping the gun; well, I have not spoken with dearest Dino about my thoughts, and right now he's out doing errands and shopping and it is not a good time. Perhaps I should just dream some more and let my dreams be...dreams for a while.

A recipe pops up for French Toast from our neice Bunny Dunn-Diner and it looks good! You can find it online or let me know. Thanks, dearest Bunny!

I read that speaking more than one language helps to defer the risk of dementia. Well, I speak Italian, not too well but I do, so perhaps that's my saving grace, although sometimes dear Dino makes me wonder if I have any memory at all...

November 14
It's Thursday!

Plenty of sun greets us, with a light drifting of clouds above as I look out the South-facing window of the guest bedroom/studio at just after 10 AM.

Ever by my side, Sofi stands in a sunny spot and then faces toward the wall, her back to the sun as dear neighbor Luigina bids good morning from the street up to Dino. He is finishing framing the painting of blue figs on canvas that I painted in France more than a year ago.

Was that last sentence I just wrote a bit too long for you? Ha! I've turned the paragraph into two sentences. Comé no? (Why not?)

A few minutes ago, I took a handmade broom and brushed as many of the fallen leaves on the terrace from the cachi (Persimmon) tree into piles as I had the energy to do. Later, Dino will probably vacuum them all up with the noisy blower.

With hundreds, probably thousands, of leaves remaining on the twocachi trees on the terrace, it's practice for a job that will take place about a month from now, when none of the beautiful coppery leaves remain on the trees and mounds of them will lie on the gravel.

At 10:30 A M, skies are clear and lovely, with just the sound of a motorino buzzing by on the road below us now and then and a rooster crowing.

Of course you know by now that I am a dreamer, searching for natural paintings as I look out a South-facing window, fixing them in my mind.

With dearest Dino working on the terrace, I stop dreaming for a bit, join him and do quite a bit of raking of leaves and fallen sticklike branches; then scoop them up and put them into leaf bins.

Clouds gather like wraiths gently moving by above. Oh, how I love to dream!

We eat a lovely pranzo, watch a MasterChef program on television and take naps before Dino drives off to check on a house of a client's; he manages properties for people who are not living in Central Italy full time and does it very well.

Sofi and I don't want to be anywhere but here; on this sunny day, at least four ladybugs find their way onto the front screen of the studio window, and I pick them off gently and scoot them back outside, where they belong, when they are not too high up on the screen window. That leaves one, and I'll try to reach him later.

Let's take a nap!

The ladybug now absent from the front screen window, I research flights to San Francisco from Rome and back, and fares are not bad, below 300 Euro each way for this month. I don't think we can go now, but the fare is worth dreaming about.

Dino leaves for an appointment, Sofi continues to snooze in her polka dot bed and it's almost 5 PM here; time for some tea and some favorite television program watching. We spend the evening watching some of our favorite programs.

November 15
So it's Friday, and a gloomy one here at that, but no matter. We sleep in a bit; have breakfast and then Dino drives off to pick up a few groceries for our next meals.

We'll have beef fillets (little ones) for pranzo and Sofi and I are already ready for our afternoon naps. Well, Sofi naps right next to me in her polka dot bed while I write to you at just before noon. What a dear doggie!

Some of the leaves on our persimmon tree are a brilliant orange. The tall tree stands right outside the South-facing window of the studio. How lovely!

Raindrops sit on the windowpanes as I look out at the colorless sky. I'm looking forward to a bit of television watching, reading and a long nap this afternoon. There's nothing else we have to do. Yes, this is the life I dreamt about for so long and now it's really here.

Whoops! It's reheated pasta on the menu for pranzo today, and why not? It's delicious and we have a baking dish full of it, ready to reheat and eat. We do just that, have pudding for dessert with a few cookies, and then watch a bit of television and take naps. It's gloomy outside, so why not?

Back in the U.S., Angie emails us regarding the trophy the girls won at their school. How wonderful for them! We are sorry we won't spend Thanksgiving with them but are sure they will be having fun.

We do miss our families a lot, but know they are doing well and happy and that is a good thing. Kisses and hugs to all of them in the U.S., from sea to shining sea...

November 16
Could it be Saturday? Plenty of wispy clouds float in a lovely blue sky, the leaves of the persimmon tree in front of the studio window begin to droop as they change to a burnished copper color, and I'm wondering if we'll have any persimmons this year to make our famous steamed persimmon puddings.

There are SO MANY LEAVES yet to fall! Just the thought of them piling upon the gravel in front of the house has me gagging. Sorry, but I'd love to have Dino sweep them up with his noisy blower and put them into bags to be burned. I'm pretty sure he will do just that quite soon, or am I merely dreaming, an activity I do so well?

Right now, he's driving off to do errands, although we'll eat the steak for pranzo that we were going to have yesterday. This time, we'll also have baked potatoes with sour cream and chives, why not?

Sofi is indeed getting older; the colder weather has her wanting to curl up and sleep in her polka dot bed more often, although she's always by my side. I so love her!

Rain is forecast in the area for the next ten days, sigh, but no matter. After that, the forecast looks clear. There's no rain just yet...

Although rumors of corruption in Italy are rampant, we ignore them and live away from all the hype in our tiny medieval village. We don't even want to know about the possibilities.

We remain content and hope to live out our lives here until its time for us to be moved to the nearby cemetery. Yikes! I don't even want to think about that!

Meanwhile, CNN gives us some news about the Catholic Church here in Italy:

Pope Francis has hired external expertise to bring the IOR into line with international standards of transparency and probity. Just a few days ago he was particularly frank in condemning Italians who worship "the goddess bribe", and who give to charity while dodging tax.

Nobody knows how far the rot extends. Many suspect that the Mafias and sundry other shady cabals have for years been concealing money under the noses of bishops and cardinals. If Francis is really determined to carry through his clean-up, then likely as not there are plenty of people who would wish him harm.

So would the Mafia really murder the Pope? It is very unlikely. The Mafias rarely kill without first carrying out a cost-benefit analysis. Even a rudimentary projection of the likely consequences of a hit on the head of the Catholic Church would show it to be a catastrophic own goal.

A much more probable scenario is that the Church will carry on reforming its finances, but at its habitual leaden-footed pace. Meanwhile, the dirty money will be spirited away.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Dickie, published on CNN.com on November 15, 2013.

Back at home, I prepare and serve that steak and baked potatoes, which are delicious, followed by a green salad and a bit of dessert. Then it's time for naps.

Outside, plenty of blue fall skies continue with plenty of clouds softly rolling by. Persimmon leaves on our trees aim straight down, even those still green, so it will be a week or more before many of them fall to the ground.

Hopefully, it will be a couple of weeks before I will fix those persimmon puddings to serve and to give to local friends as holiday gifts. If you're good friends or relatives living in the U S, sorry but we can't mail them to you there.

Guess you'll just have to come here for a visit to try them or find persimmons in the U.S. and make the pudding yourself. Yes, we'll be sure to post the recipe on this site. Oh, all right. Here it is:

Steamed Persimmon Pudding

Ingredients: 1 cup pureed persimmons (about two with their skins removed)
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 pound (125 grams) butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. rum
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup broken walnuts or pecans
1 cup raisins
Heavy cream, whipped, or hard sauce, for garnish

Directions: Fill a pot that is large enough to hold a 2-quart pudding mold with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the mold. Let the water come to a boil over medium heat while you are mixing the pudding batter. The mold must have a lid or be snugly covered with foil while steaming (a two-quart coffee can with a plastic lid also works).

Be sure there is a rack under the mold in the pot or a Mason jar ring, to keep the mold off the bottom of the kettle. This allows the water to circulate freely while the pudding is steaming.

Grease the mold. Put the persimmon puree in a bowl and stir in the baking soda. Set aside while mixing the other ingredients. (The persimmon mixture will become quite stiff.)

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, lemon juice, and rum; beat well. Add the flour, cinnamon, and salt; stir until blended Add the persimmon mixture and beat until well mixed. Stir in the nuts and raisins. Spoon the batter into the mold, cover, and steam for 2 hours. Remove from the pot, and let rest for 5 minutes. While you're waiting, loosen the pudding from the sides of the mold. Turn onto a rack to cool, or cool just a little if serving soon.

The pudding is best when served slightly warm. Garnish with unsweetened whipped cream or your favorite hard sauce, or cherries marinated in brandy.

Note: This pudding freezes well and will keep in the freezer for several months. Always wrap and warm thoroughly before serving.

A long nap is dreamy on this cool afternoon, followed by television watching.

November 17
We drive up to church, sing the hymns and enjoy Don Daniele's sermon, greet him after the service and spend the rest of the day quietly, after a bit of shopping at Il Pallone.

November 18
I have no idea what really happened yesterday, other than going to church and singing the hymns and spending the rest of the day at home, for I did not write here yesterday. No matter.

It's Monday, and we spend the morning watching an American football game that is quite good, followed by a simple pranzo and a long nap.

A new house is being built right across the street, but it is a small vacation house for Pia, so no matter. She lives full time in nearby Soriano, and her brother, Francesco, is Mugnano's Vigili Urbano(Policeman). The extended family is friendly and we like them all.

The rest of the day and evening are quite mellow, with plenty of television watching and going to bed at a bit after 10 PM our time. Yes, it's mellow here.

November 19
Overcast skies don't bother me this morning, for many of the leaves of the persimmon tree growing tall in front of our second story studio window have turned a burnished copper color. Others are a dark but vivid green or various shades of yellowish green, all with dark chocolate covered stalks. What's not to like?

All remains peaceful here, with a car driving by now and then and a bit of work being done on Pia's addition to her little house across the street. That addition won't be large, nor will it affect our view of the lovely Mugnano in Teverina valley. With a drop or two of rain falling now and then, the workers don't seem enthused about their work, but no matter.

At eleven AM, skies remain dark, with some clouds even darker yet, but no matter. We're happy here. Sofi remains curled up in her polka dot bed by my side. Oh, how she loves to sleep when it's cool. I don't blame her!

A breaded chicken and salad fixed quickly serves as our pranzo, followed by a long cozy nap under very dark and rainy skies.

We're up again at about 5 PM our time while skies seem darker yet, with raindrops clinging to the windows. Leaves of the persimmon trees continue to wither in the fall breeze.

With no workers remaining across the street, the newer structure consists mainly of a few beams just supporting each other. It's no time to work outside unless you're a duck!

Dearest Dino drives off on a quick shopping errand in the next town, while I caution him to be careful; with plenty of wet leaves, the roads will be quite slippery. Water, water everywhere splatters when someone walks or braves the roads to drive.

Sounds of the drops of water plunking on the windows of the studio are so loud I begin to worry about Dino, although he is a cautious and excellent driver. I pray he will be safely returned to little Sofi and me quite soon.

Thanksgiving does not have the same impact these days to us in Italy, for it is a quintessential holiday in North America, but not so here. In years past, we have convinced friend Diego to prepare a feast for us, but it does not seem the same in his lavish castello, so we'll do something simpler here.

What I'd love to have right now is a bright fire in the fireplace box and a hot cup of tea or cider in one of our lovely mugs. Comé no? :) (Why not?) Let's see what I can stir up!

I'm sorry to say we do not have any apple juice on hand, but will search around for it. This is another reason living in the U.S. is a good place to live, although we're happy living in Central Italy right now.

Here's some interesting news to share:

Last week, at a state dinner in Caroline Kennedy's honor, (she is the new ambassador to Japan), U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, "The daughter of a heroic lieutenant in World War II will be the first woman in the next generation after the war to represent our country in a relationship that symbolizes so much more than just a normal diplomatic relationship.

This is a symbol of reconciliation, a symbol of possibilities, a symbol of people who know how to put the past behind them and look to the future and build a future together. "That is, in today's world, both remarkable and beautiful."

I have conjured up several recipes for Thanksgiving and will post them after I experiment, to make sure they are worth remembering.

November 20
Dear Dino takes me to Orte Scalo for a pedicure appointment with dear Giusy, and all is well. She does such great work and is so very kind and loving toward me!

How fortunate I am to know her.

Back at home, I fix a simple pranzo and we watch the old movie Donny Brasco on television. It is an old film, I think from the 1970's, and depresses me mightily as I recall the days of my youth in undergraduate school in college in New Jersey.

Those years were highly emotional and stressful at the same time. How fortunate I am that I graduated at all!

Back to today in delightful Mugnano in Teverina, our village in Italy where we live full time, skies are blue and the leaves of the persimmon trees have turned coppery and green and are now beginning to fall. I don't see much, if any, fruit, but then we can buy ripe persimmons in grocery stores, so let's not fret.

After checking in with you, we all take long naps and read in bed, since the weather is perfect for that. Comé no? (Why not?)

Thursday, November 28th is Thanksgiving Day this year, and that means next week, not this one, not that it matters. We're thankful for many things, including living out our lives here, although the heart of this holiday is for the people of the United States who are thankful that there is a United States for which they can be thankful at all.

November 21
Although the sky above is blue, so many clouds roll by that it takes one's memory to remember blue sky is there at all. At least the clouds are moving, toward South I think.

Dearest Dino picks up Stein to get help moving our old stufa into the car to take it to Moviusato (consignment shop) in Viterbo. That's a good place to take it, for if it sells, and it will, Dino will be paid a portion of the proceeds.

I'm happy it will be out of here, for we can no longer use it and the pellets and pellet stove work well. Now, if only the stove was working...right now!

It's chilly inside, even when I'm wearing a sweater, but later Dino will fire up the pellet stove and we'll be warm. I'll have to learn how to do that and will watch closely as Dino does it...hopefully really soon. At least flashes of bright sun appear now, and I move to a sunny window to read for a bit.

Nothing seems to help. It's almost noon, and Dino has not yet returned, nor has sitting in the sun helped, although I did put on another sweater; this time a grey wool cardigan with a zipper in front...

Always by my side, dearest Sofi lies in her polka dot bed and waits...We aren't expecting Dino home until this afternoon, for he's in Orvieto checking out the best hotels with a friend of ours. I do a check online and come up with two he does not know about, so call him and they will check them out. Oh, how I wish we were together, no matter the reason!

So, what's on the world news front?

November 22
Today is a very poignant news day in United States history, for it was 50 years ago today that President John F. Kennedy was shot and later died from his injuries. So sad!

Dino leaves the village to shop, and while he's away, the leaves on the persimmon trees shudder in the cool air, some of their colors changing to a burnished copper. The tree in front of our house looks sad, without energy, below a colorless and cold sky, despite the beautiful color on some of the leaves.

I'm going to fix a pasta for today's midday meal with a sauce of red and yellow peppers, all the while thinking back of that terrible day of November 22nd in 1962 when I was in high school. Yes, I'm an old person, although some things sear in one's memory, as this one has in mine.

The day continues to be mellow here, with a long nap and plenty of television watching. It's almost as though Thanksgiving does not make an impact here...almost. We'll find a way to celebrate when it's time, just the same and send love and good wishes to our loved ones wherever they are in the world.

I'm truly thankful for so many things.

November 23
It's Saturday, with nothing much happening in our little village, our little world. Hope it's wonderful where you are, and that you don't get too stressed with three big holidays about to arrive at your front steps if you live in the United States, or in another place where shopping is a way of life...

It's anything but that here, with nothing much going on, except for attending church and a myriad of religious holidays. After a quiet morning and afternoon, the early evening descends with a lovely visit from Stein and his lovely daughter Ane. We enjoy them so much, and have a wonderful hour or so with them, relaxing in the kitchen. Sofi is of course part of the action, and is loved by each of us.

Stein and Ane each spend a little time with Sofi; then she rests in my lap, content. Yes, she is my shadow, no matter her age. I love her so!

The rest of the evening is mellow, watching a bit of the Formula-1 race that Dino recorded earlier, followed by a few of our favorite programs.

It's so cold when we turn in at a bit after 10 PM! As much as I enjoy attending church in our little village, right now I'm not looking forward to how cold it will be tomorrow morning when we get up to go to church!

November 24
It's Sunday, and that means attending church and singing in the choir for me. But I sleep in instead and I'm sorry for that. I am not doing too well. It's an emotional thing, so please bear with me. I'm thinking positively that it will all work out.

We eat a simple pranzo, then I check in with you with dearest Sofi by my side, sleeping in her polka dot bed. I'm looking forward to a long nap this afternoon and reading under the covers. It's cold outside, with the leaves of the persimmon trees curled up tightly. Brr!

Our evening is quiet as well, with me turning in early while dearest Dino watches another movie before coming to bed. Sofi remains right by my side. Good doggie!!:)

November 25
It's cold on this November morning and the leaves on the persimmon trees are beautiful and coppery in color, although they nestle about their stems in the cold weather.

After a mellow day and a long nap, I print out a recipe for short ribs, for Dino would love to have them later this week. Since there are a number of recipes, it takes a while to pick out which recipe to follow. Now we need to shop for the ingredients! Perhaps tomorrow.

Since today is dear friend May Elin's birthday, we send her an email card and hope that she picks up her email in Norway, where we think she is these days.

I go to bed later, but Dino is still watching a movie. Sofi snores nearby while I write this, so I'll pick her up and take her into the bedroom and see if she'll go back to sleep in her bed there. What a dear doggie she is!

November 26
It's Tuesday. This Thursday will be just another day here in Italy, although anyone with American heritage probably thinks differently. Dino and I are thinking of our families who live in the United States especially on this day.

It will also be a special day for football games in the United States, for many games are played there on this day, and lots and lots of food is eaten afterward.

Here in our little village in Central Italy, clouds roll by quickly and a few are even quite dark, although mostly the day is cold and clear. I'm waiting for dear Dino to return from his shopping and other activities. We'll have a delicious midday meal and plenty of television watching, perhaps even a football game! Hope it's been wonderful wherever you are on this day; on any day; big hugs all around.

There is a football game to watch; the Washington Redskins and the San Francisco 49ers, and we watch it all. Happily, San Francisco wins; then we clean up the dishes and take naps. Gee, it's cold, even inside our little house!

November 27
Today is Wednesday, and I write that so that I will realize what day of the week today is. Sorry!

We get dressed and Dino leaves with a shopping list for tomorrow's main meal in honor of our pals in the United States who celebrate Thanksgiving, as do we in our own humble way. He's a great shopper!

Under somewhat stormy skies there is no rain...yet. Some of the skies are quite dark to the South, although in another direction there is plenty of blue sky and there are even some white clouds. The clouds all seem to move quite quickly to the North, but no matter.

Sofi rests in her polka dot bed beside me in the studio, waiting patiently in a few rays of sun shining in her direction, while outside the leaves on the persimmon trees seem to shiver, their color now turned partly chartreuse but remain mostly orange to copper in color.

At any moment, I'm expecting the sound of a rumble overhead and at second glance realize that many of the leaves of the trees have already fallen to the ground. Oh, there's the sun shining for a moment again between more clouds...

It's time to switch thoughts ahead to the Christmas season. How swiftly time passes! Let's not forget to look to see if we have any persimmons on the trees. The puddings I make with the ripe ones are a treat that our neighbors and good friends cherish each year as holiday gifts of friendship and good will.

This Saturday in the United States is now known as Small Business Saturday, in the hopes that small businesses across the land will be patronized especially on that day instead of the big box stores, who often give larger discounts for merchandise that is also found in smaller stores.

Philosophically, what's a person to do? If one's family is not thriving financially, it's often the Costco type of store that does the best with its bulk buying power and large discounts.

I suppose we're out of that conundrum, for this country has very few large stores, and those are located in the larger cities. So we country bumpkins still shop mostly locally.

We'll still celebrate American Thanksgiving here tomorrow and will probably watch a football game or two on television and eat a lovely meal.

It is quite cold here right now, and keeping warm is a high priority, although we're trying to do that with a stufa in our kitchen to keep the high costs of energy heating down. It uses special pellets instead of wood. We spend most of our time in the kitchen/family room when we're at home, with dear little Sofi by our side.

I have a headache, perhaps partly by the cold weather, and use an ice pack as I head up to bed. Hope it's lovely where you are when you read this:) November 28
Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, although it is just another day in other parts of the world, including here in Italy. We are thankful for our lives, spent both here and in the United States, just the same.

Since I've done some prep work, this morning is not difficult, and ends with a lovely midday meal including some traditional U.S. Thanksgiving dishes: mashed potatoes, stuffing, carrots and we finish with chocolate cupcakes; why not?

We don't serve turkey on this day. Although turkey, aka tacchino, is available in Italy, it usually is available already sliced by the butcher. Instead, we have osso bucco with mashed potatoes, for I cooked the meat yesterday in a lovely rich sauce and it is very tasty.

Afterward, we take a long nap. Outside it is quite cold, so cuddled up inside where it's warmer is more our speed.

November 29
We're at home all day, watching football games that were played in the U.S. yesterday and keeping warm. It's cold outside!

I find it pretty difficult to write a lot in the wintertime, for the days just pass by so quickly. Either that, or it's too cold to think of doing much of anything.

We watch plenty of television: movies, documentaries, regular programs, and enjoy them all. With Sofi by my side for most of it, we're all content.

At about 10 PM our time I come upstairs to catch up with you, dearest Sofi by my side in her polka dot bed. In a minute, we'll move to the bedroom, where I'll read until I'm ready to nod off. Dino remains downstairs, watching television programs that he thinks I don't like, but he does. He's quite a guy!

November 30
On this, the last day of the month, things are mellow here in little Mugnano.

There is a visit by Sam and Lisa, who stay for tea in the afternoon, but otherwise we're alone here.

We love eating the leftover short ribs and mashed potatoes and stuffing that I heat in the oven midday and yes, leftovers are often even tastier than they are on the day they are first fixed. Today's is a good example, although they were also excellent when first cooked. No matter.

With cold temperatures outside, Dino does quite a bit of leaf raking on the front terrace; the leaves from the persimmon tree are a gorgeous reddish-copper color, and he then lights a fire further over on the front of the property and burns them all. What a guy!

We take afternoon naps after Sam and Lisa leave, then watch some of our favorite television programs until we go to bed at a bit after 10 PM. I'm looking forward to snuggling under the covers.

It's been a good month, but we're going to think Christmas, beginning tomorrow morning, so adieu November 2013!

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