Wednesday, September 07, 2005



We’ve been watching Belinda and Giacomo’s house while they’re away, stopping by every couple of days to water the plants and air out the house. Today we picked a large basket of plums and knocked the last few almonds off the tree. I wasn’t sure what to do with the plums, and Art suggested that we see if Rita might like to have them….great idea!

Because it was Tuesday we knew we’d have to stop at the house. After finding no one at home before we went to the grocery, we stopped again on our way home and got lucky… more ways than one. Rita was thrilled to have the plums AND she asked us if we’d like some cinghiale (cooked and ready to add to pasta) for dinner. YES!!!! On top of that she even gave us a jar of jam that Marushka’s mother had made. Wow! I made fresh pasta for dinner and needless to say it was wonderful with the cinghiale.


Wendy got Art an appointment with her friend the neurologist on Saturday. Nicola (a guy…so why does his name end with an “a”?) had requested that Wendy be there to help, even though he does speak some English. He was absolutely convinced that what Art had in July was indeed a seizure, but wasn’t overly concerned. He thought that if Art had forgotten to take his Topomax for a day or two, a combination of events could very easily have caused the seizure. Since Art no longer takes the Topomax, we’re both hopeful that this was indeed a one time occurrence.

Additionally he felt that there was no connection between the seizure and the chest pain, noting that Art had been having these pains for two years now.

As he and Art talked about his medications and the reasons he was taking them, the subject of his leg pain and back surgeries came up. Since he’s a neurologist naturally he was interested in why Art still had pain. Unfortunately we don’t have the MRI that Art had done last May, but Nicola thought that we should consider have some tests done here. We’d have to go to the hospital he uses in Le Marche for two days, but if he can help with Art’s leg pain it’ll be worth it.

Oh, and Wendy brought us a gift from Giuseppe….fresh wonderful potato bread, a specialty of Sardinia. Yummy!


Did I mention that my son is now Aid de Camp to General Abizaid? Quite an honor for him, no surprise to his mother. We’re quite proud of him.


We heard music in the piazza on Sunday night just before eight o’ clock. Hmmmmm. Although we didn’t expect anything to start until nine or nine thirty, Art walked up to see what was going on. Thanks goodness he did….two guys from Senegal were playing away while a woman danced what appeared to be a traditional dance. Because it was just two guys, two drums and a few other percussion instruments, I was in heaven. The music was great, but it was all over by nine.


Our neighbor Armando is still convinced that the reason my tomatoes are so small is because I’ve put a thick layer of newspaper down as a mulch. The fact that this soil was nearly dead and has only been amended once just doesn’t seem to factor into his thinking. Art would like to lean towards Armando’s camp, in the spirit of neighborliness, and in acknowledgement that maybe in Italy things are different, but I remain firmly convinced that my way is the best way…..of course.

If Armando thinks the newspaper prevents the plants from receiving enough water, I wonder what he’ll have to say next summer when I put down plastic!


Marsciano is getting a new big superstore next weekend! From the ad it looks similar to the IperCoop, which is like a big WalMart (ugh!) superstore, carrying both food and discount store items. If this proves true it means we won’t have to drive all the way to Collestrada every six weeks or so to stock up on staples. On the other hand, it signifies that Marsciano is getting bigger, that Italy is opening more and more American style “superstores”, and that some of the charm will be lost.

It’s really a good news/bad news situation…..part of the charm of Italy is that many things are twenty, thirty, even forty years behind the United States. For the most part, shops are still small, locally owned ventures. Charming as that might be, it can make it difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for. Charming as the idea of “riposa” is, it can be frustrating to find all the shops closed every afternoon.

As more and more large franchised stores come into Italy the selection will improve but personal service will decrease. Hours will increase to accommodate the shoppers, but the employees will no longer be able to go home for lunch, take a nap or visit with their family during the day. As in the United States the cost of “progress” is sometimes shocking and often a little disheartening.


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