Like a Queen: Treating Enemies Like Royalty

No taller than a 10-year old, with a sly and suspicious gleam to her eye, she played the part of the proverbial evil landlady with me. And yet was as sweet as honey around my husband. The other residents, also hostile, seemed sweet by comparison. And the dark, dank apartment revealed a miserly streak as well.

It rained half the year in that picturesque region of Italy. Which produced luxuriant landscape, as well as flourishing mildew. Between wiping walls with bleach, and tossing ruined shoes, I shed many a tear of frustration.  Continue reading

Life in Small Town Italy

Moving to or even visiting Italian villages is a unique and sometimes perplexing experience. Expect people to stare (and I mean really stare) as you walk down the street, without letting it give you a complex. No, you are not funny looking or strange. They just don’t see many outsiders, and curiosity is one thing Italians do not lack!

“But they’re whispering about me!” That’s normal. They want to know who you are. And actually, if they’re limiting it to polite whispers you’re probably in a medium-sized town. In smaller towns they loudly query, with a total disregard of discretion, “Who are they? What do they want here?”  Continue reading

Italian Worm Cheese [Video]

We have a saying in Italian. Non c’è niente di nuovo sotto il sole. (There is nothing new under the sun.) And yes, I know it’s from the Bible. But I also know that King Solomon, who wrote that, didn’t live in a foreign land. Otherwise, I wonder if he might not have changed it to: “There is something new under the sun. Every day, and in countless ways!”

We were in the deep south, at my father-in-law’s home. [Read: Italy’s Deep South →] A dear man, but eccentric, and prone to grumpiness. Having lived alone many years, he had the tendency to mutter under his breath a lot. Mario says he was mostly cursing. He didn’t like the priests or the saints, and seemed to blame them for most of his ills.  Continue reading

Why I Got a Smartphone (Finally)

In Why I Don’t Own a Smartphone I stated that my decision not to get one was a matter of ethics. Because as a Christ follower, I believe ethics should extend to every area of my life. And not only those traditionally viewed as spiritual. So have I reversed my stance? No, and with God’s help I hope to never do so.

But life is an ongoing process requiring continual change and evaluation. And the time had come to reevaluate. I had not previously made the purchase because I did not need it. I’m home most of the time with a good internet connection, and did not need to be connected when out.  Continue reading

Modena’s Balsamic Vinegar [Video]

The Modena province in Emilia Romagna, where we lived many years is known as the Home of Balsamic Vinegar. And because it’s one of the places we most love returning to, it’s where we spent our Easter holiday this year. Full of tradition, great food, fine autos, and friendly people, it’s a great place to visit!

Traditional balsamic vinegar, as expensive as it is tasty, is also known for its curative properties: abundant in potassium and calcium, and with antioxidant properties. And is also thought to lower blood pressure, stabilize cholesterol levels, and keep blood glucose levels steady.  Continue reading

Kill That Pigeon

I wanted that pigeon dead; it’s sad but true. Now don’t get me wrong, I love birds. I’d like a house full of them, and barnyard too. (Not that I have a barn!) But I did not like that pigeon! “Kill that pigeon, I said!”

The outside walls of our old house, like the one pictured below, are full of nooks and crannies. Perfect nesting spots for birds. And I usually think: “Oh how lovely, baby birds to watch!”  Continue reading

That’s Not My Mom!

Grandchildren often think grandmothers are the most wonderful women on the face of the earth. But I wonder if my kids ever think, “That’s not the woman who raised me!”

Windows wide open to soft gentle breezes…it was springtime! My favorite time of year. And what better time to do spring cleaning? “But what does cleaning have to do with grandkids?” Well, read on…  Continue reading