Well, that isn't exactly true--we have lots of time; it's just that it so quickly gets away from us and then we don't know where it went or what we did with it. The truth of the matter is that Casey takes inordinate energy and time--both Ken and I look forward with great anticipation to September 14 when school begins and we have a life of our own once again. Now--tell me--should I feel weighted down with guilt? Nope--we love him dearly but separation is sometimes delightfully freeing.
Playing on a Sunday (finishing up the last entry, as promised.)
After our excursion to delightful Panzano and dropping a fortune at Dario's (as my friend Judy commented when I told her what all we bought there), we came back home and entertained some new friends from Impruenta, a town down the road from us on the way to Firenze. Richard, Deborah and daughter Elena are from Northern California and arrived here in April--beating us by a few months. Richard was-is flying high because he was just granted his Italian citizenship which opens all kinds of doors--including the right to hold a job here. Lest you think that one must give up US citizenship to be granted citizenship in another country, let me assure you that is no longer true. Ken and I would love to find a way to obtain citizenship in any EU country as life becomes much easier when you have that. But--you need to show a family connection with all kinds of records to achieve this.
So we had a good time with these friends--our first entertaining in our home here. I fried up some delightful, light zucchini blossoms and carrots-which were so good. And then we had salami, cold meatloaf with sauce from Darios, prosciutto crudo and melon, cheeses, etc. A very typical tray of appetizers in Italy.
Casey and Elena had fun in the pool, kicking the soccer ball and playing games. She is eleven but seemed to do OK with 8 year old Casey.
The next morning we got up fairly early (by our new standards) and left to visit Guilia, a friend in the Le Marche region of Italy--where you find Urbino and Urbania. Guilia owns a farm agriturismo there Locanda Valle Nouva. Casey was in heaven for 3 days with cows, bulls, horses and, best of all, puppies and kittens. Tearing him away to come home was very difficult and, of course, there were multiple entreaties to bring a puppy back with us. I was a little surprised that he hadn't smuggled one into his suitcase.
We had a simply great time here with Giulia who is a warm and caring person--plus being very smart, knowledgeable, fun and special to us.
If you are ever in Urbania--which may not come to pass as the Le Marche is not a region that pulls in the number of tourist that other regions do--which is too bad as it is very unique, beautiful and interesting--Giulia sent us to a marvelous restaurant. It is one of those "real finds" that sometimes happen when traveling and one that stays in the memory as being a unique experience. It is Osteria del Cucco--9 Via Betto Dei Medici--0722-317412.
This place is not easy to find, even though Urbania is quite small. There is no sign with its name; we ended up asking a barber who, with that famous Italian spirit, led us to it and announced us to Georgio, the owner. This is an old tavern, wooden benches, brown paper on the tables and no menu--you are served what ever has been prepared that day. And--it was all absolutely delicious. There were several plates of antipasti brought succesively--these were not at all what is served in other areas of Italy. We had salad covered with black truffles, black rice (delicious), cheeses, vegetables, tarts, and much more which I can not remember now. This was followed by 3 pasta dishes and absolutely wonderful home made breads--again nothing like we have had elsewhere. We were there for lunch but for dinner there would have been meat courses (secondo piatti). At the end Georgia poured a small apertif. For those of you who know what this is, the Osteria is a Slow Food establishment.
We hope to return to the Locanda before our year is up but--there are so many places to go and things to see and being restricted by Casey's schooling, a return may not be possible.
Tomorrow we are going to the Maremma region along the coast of Tuscany for 3 nights. This is supposed to be a very beautiful, untamed area (at least the parts that are not beach resorts.) I would like to be staying at another friend's B and B but Alessandro, our landlord, arranged lodging at some Italian family resort--we will see what that is.
One last note: Today I went into the village and had a haircut at the salon in the piazza. Since the hairdresser's English was no better than my Italiano, it was interesting. After having my hair washed, he began spraying it with mousse and hair spray--which I thought a strange thing to do before a cut. Then he began combing it and getting out the dryer--this really didn't seem to be right so I said I had wanted a taglio. Oh, he said, as he understood--you want a cut. It seems that many of the women here do not wash and comb there own hair--they come in once a week to have it done and then it is sprayed to last the week. Since I wash mine at least every other day, that thought is troubling!
Anyway--I did get a cut and I will know tomorrow after I wash and blow dry it just what I think. My hunch is that I need to either 1. Improve my italiano, 2. Find a hairdresser who speaks English or 3. Take an interpreter with me when I go. I found it hard to say I wanted heavy texturizing and couldn't find the word in the dictionary. I will probably have a bush on top of my head!
Well, time to fix dinner--almost 8 P.M. Tonight we are having tacos with tortillas, cheese, salsa and beans from home. I have a very limited supply of these things and this is the first time we have tapped into it. Ken and Casey are both salivating! We will see how well cheese freezes--there is not chedder cheese or an equivalent here in bella Italia.
God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.