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.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Short Takes

We have dug out the heavy coats--except that I bought a new one in Florence last week-it just seemed the right thing to do. Mittens, gloves, scarves and boots have infiltrated the wardrobe and reside in the basket by the door. Wool socks and silk camisoles are on the shopping list. Winter is coming.

Being from Southern California, we aren't used to a cold Christmas but it seems so right. At least it does now while the temperatures are still quite bearable--making the air crisp and invigorating. Until today early morning gray skies turned to sunshine by mid-morning but today we had gray skies all day. Someone said it was supposed to snow this week, but I don't think so.


By practicing on our spiral staircase, I now have a pretty good idea of what it would be like to ride a roller coaster without a coaster car. I also now know that you don't wear slippery socks on slippery hardwood steps. Being as it was a spiral staircase, once I slipped it was a bounce from side to side on the way down. At the moment, I am one big bruise and sitting is very uncomfortable. Who would have thunk that it was possible to bruise so many different sides of the body in one slide?

Or Merry Christmas to those who are monolingual.

For some reason I had thought that Christmas was much less commercial and glitzy here in bella Italia. But--every store you enter has Natale for sale with the same marvelous merchandise from China that my friends are buying in the US. Tree, window and home decorations, toys, linens, snowy globes, gift bags, paper, whatever you might need. We brought a lot of our favorite decorations with us so that Casey would feel at home (or, maybe so that we would.) So, we are very red and green here now.

Today we bought a live Christmas tree in a plastic pot. Trees here are not as perfectly formed and nurtured for their purpose as in the US. Our tree has such a unique personality and individuality that it demands to be loved--I will miss it next year, perfection will have lost its draw. Since we didn't bring lights, we must go to the piazza and hope to find some so that we can decorate tomorrow after school. When the season is over, Alessandro can plant the tree and Camilla will have a special way to remember Casey.

Gifts are given here but, from I am told, not to the extent as in the US. There is much focus on family and family celebration with gifts being smaller and less center stage. But--with kids I think that no matter what, presents are eagerly awaited. There are already some under Camilla's tree--Babbo Natale arrives early so that there isn't such a heavy load on the 24th. Now Casey comes home from school every day wanting to know if Santa has made it to his house yet- not that he believes in Santa but it is convenient to hold to the fantasy.

Alessandro and Nicoletta are in Morocco. Before they left we made arrangements to take Camilla and Casey to the local theater to see Happy Feet. Because of the smallness of the community, movies come for 2 day stands--something called the Movie Village Road Show. In the past, when she has taken the kids, Nicoletta has purchased the tickets and then the kids went in by themselves. (One of the treats of living here is the safety level--everyone knows everyone else and kids are safe.)

So, I get to the cinema, go to buy the tickets from the elderly man in the booth and hit a roadblock--I couldn't leave them. Kids have to be 9 to go in without an adult and Camilla and Casey are 8. He wouldn't budge and so that is how I ended up sharing a theater with a gaggle or two of children and seeing Happy Feet dubbed in Italian--I didn't even get the benefit of Robin Williams. I need to find out from Nicoletta her trick for getting them in. Maybe it's speaking Italian--do you think?

And Finally,


Camilla and Casey at market.

What should we do?


Judith in Umbria said...

Dear Jane, I do have silk camisoles. They keep certain parts of my sweaters from itching me, glide over bra bumps. They are fine for now, but in real winter, they simply are not warm!
Get the dual fiber undershirts. Cotton inside, wool outside. Buy them tight and they won't add bulk. Not even my ski underwear or silk longjohns work as well.
You can also usually buy wool blend tights T the stocking shop-- can't remember the name!

Jane said...

Judith thanks and I am glad to hear they won't add bulk as I have enough of that already!