Monthly Archives: March 2012

“The Icing on the Cake of Life”


I’m always overwhelmed with the joy and happiness I experience when I’m fortunate enough to spend time with our grand baby girl, the Divine Miss G. We spent a day with her before heading out on this long journey. Dress up, princesses, and playgrounds. . .oh my, what joy!!



Gemma took this photo of her mom. Pretty artsy I’d say!!!!


amidst all the playing, papa said to G, ” You’re the icing on the cake of life,” to which G replied, “Where’s the cake, Papa?!”

La Grande Avventura, Chapter UNO


I’ve arrived! The flight from PHL to Rome was seamless. I sat beside a young couple with a little girl about a year older than Gemma. I had her practicing “Ciao a tutti!”. Hi, everyone!

I’ve developed my own recipe for avoiding jet lag, which was minimal for me for the first time in my traveling life. Here’s my formula:
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate before and during the flight with water.
Use nasal spray before and during the flight.
Use eye drops before and during the flight.
Take 2 melatonin tablets after dinner.
No alcohol.
Use an eye shade ( I got a free one once, never used it, now wouldn’t travel without it.)
Know that I’ll get a few decent naps.

I honestly felt the best that I’ve ever felt when I collected my luggage and started the day.

So I’m chilling out for a day, then to the train into Rome and off to meet Telma aka Donna! Here’s my hotel, a good one about ..10 min from FCO airport.

Oh, by the way, ho mangio pranzo alle l’albergo e ho regulato in Italiano! Il camierere capirmi!

I ate lunch at the hotel and ordered in Italian. The waiter understood me!


Wait, wasn’t I just looking at palm trees in Costa Rica??

La Grande Avventura Italiano di Telma e Luisa!!


So, my friends, the adventures continue. About a year ago I emailed to an ad in our Beaufort paper advertising a Cozy Tuscany Apartment, local owners. .cozytuscanyapartment.comMy question was, “do you speak Italian?”. I had this strong desire to be able to speak and understand the people in my favorite country. the reply came back to me, something like, ” no, I don’t speak much Italian, but let’s have lunch!”.

well, we did, and now fast forward a year. Donna Drago, owner of the cozy apt, and I have become great friends, have shared our love of all things Italian, have taken two Italian language classes this past winter in north Charleston. . . .and now we’re off to Italy to immerse ourselves for 2 weeks in Italian. actually, she’s already there because she’s a more advanced student than I am. I am still a beginner.

We had a little send off with something bubbly in Beaufort last week. . .


Note the team scarves. . .knitted by me. . .and there are other team accoutrements which will be unveiled in future blogs!!

I’m now sitting in Philly, gazing upon the beast which will carry me to Rome


Lest you think, dear readers, that I’m totally organized and have my act together, gaze upon this bedroom floor scene. . . Unpacking from Beaufort/chapel hill, and repacking for Italy /holland biking/back to Italy. Not a pretty sight, I’m afraid!!


But I’ve now got it all in two tidy bags, one for biking and one for Italy, and I have my game face on so that I don’t attract any Italian nasties who think they want to ” help”.

BTW, we biked 30 miles on Wed. And 22 miles on Thursday. I doubt I’ll be biking in Italy, so that final training will have to do me.

Ciao for now. .. More as it occurs. . .

Beaufort Garden. . . before and after!


A year and a half ago I took this photo of our front yard in Beaufort, SC:

Pretty bleak, in my opinion.  So we took matters into our own hands, had the scrubby bushes taken out, then rototilled, weeded, feeded, weeded more, manured, planted, mulched, weeded, watered, planted, feeded,. . . . .well, you get the idea.  Here’s what it looked like a few days ago. . .

Much improved. . .and just wait for the summer color to start blooming’!!

Here’s a sweet close-up of a “walking iris”. . . .

No Toros, but two Torres!


Sorry, dear readers, I couldn’t upload that video of the bulls.  Suffice to say, there was too much testosterone abounding. . .bulls with riders on their backs, riders being thrown off, bulls running around in the ring with LOTS of spectators chasing the bulls trying to smack the bull on the backside.  All in all, entertaining, a bit exciting, and just crazy.

So although you won’t see the movie of the toros (bulls), I can share with you the wedding of Mandy and Rick Torres, which took place on our next to last day in Costa Rica and was the reason we travelled to Costa Rica!

On the beach, they shared their vows.  Both were beaming!

The photos just say it all. . .

Best wishes to the happy couple!!

Fiesta time, Tamarindo-Style


Finishing up our time in Tamarindo, we got lucky because the FIESTA was in town.  Off we went with Gary, to eat some kick-butt fried chicken!


Don followed suit and tried out some Spanish. . .


With beer and food in hand, it was time to watch the bull-riding. . .


Let’s see if I can post this short video of just one of the 8 El Torros we saw.  Watch this one get a guy right off the fence. . .



Local grub. . .


Want to eat like the locals in Tamarindo ?? Here’s the spot. . .




About $6 US per person and we were groaning in pain. Today we went back and shared lunch. After all, we have to save room for the FIESTA tonight. . .bull riding, twice fried chicken.. . .

These are REAL bulls, Roger, not like the kind you and Don rode in Austin!! Stay tuned. . .