Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Let’s see, what was memorable about our trip to the states? In Louisville the coolest thing I did was blow my own Christmas ornament with Nicholas at GLASSWORKS. Of course I didn’t think to bring my camera, I guess in part because I didn’t really know what to expect…..I wasn’t really sure if we would actually get to DO anything, but we did, with the help of an expert, actually BLOW our own ornaments!

In Tampa we had the privilege of taking our oldest granddaughter to her first movie theater movie. Siobhan, like her dad and her Nanny, loves movies, and we thought that seeing “The Polar Express” in IMAX 3-D was about the coolest way to introduce her to the theater experience. Although not quite four years old, she sat completely still, totally entranced by the movie. I’m just afraid that now she’ll expect EVERY move will be as large as the IMAX and in 3-D!

Other than that, we did the usual….Art worked at Churchill Downs, which although it provides the money to pay for our airfare, severely limits the time the two of us have for socializing! What a dilemma! Although a few of our friends are retired, a great many of them are still working, so we’re still bound to some degree to the schedules of other people.

Art was off from the track on Mondays and Tuesdays, so those were the days for doctor appointments and movies. Art got a clean bill of health from the cardiologist concerning his “episode” last summer. Everyone seems to agree that it was NOT heart related, but caused by Art’s decision to quit taking one of his medications for a few days.

He also saw the two doctors who performed his back surgery three years ago and has agreed to have yet another surgery at the end of March. The pain in his right leg has been getting worse, and now occurs when he sits for long periods….a real problem in the car. The pain also occurs when he’s lying down, i.e., when he’s in bed. The pain often makes it hard to fall asleep, and wakes him up fairly regularly. I certainly hope this surgery can help.

Visits to the eye doctor, dentist and internist were also scheduled, and we both feel like we got answers to all the questions or problems we had. We plan to continue with the Italian healthcare system next year, and will get all our prescriptions from there.

We saw a few movies while in the states, although there didn’t seem to be as many really good movies out as I had hoped. It always seems that the best ones are being released just after we go back to Italy!

Of course I shopped while we were there, and even more than the shopping itself I enjoyed just wandering in the stores, looking at the staggering variety of goods for sale. I send a box of books back to Italy in order to avoid having to lug them home……even when I think I don’t have much to bring back, the suitcases still seem to be full every time we leave. This trip we also had Christmas presents to bring home, accounting in part for the heavy suitcases.

I restocked on baking supplies….vanilla extract, baking powder, pecans, chocolate chips, Crisco and brown sugar. I also bought computer supplies like ink cartridges and software, stuff for the house like batteries, dishtowels, and office supplies. What else? One thing I forgot was the cheddar cheeses! I remembered to buy it, then left it in my son’s freezer! I told them to think of us when they eat it! I also bought hair color….it costs $2.50 in the states, versus $10+ in Italy. Vitamins, new contacts and the cleaning solution for them. Hellmann’s mayonnaise. New athletic shoes. Blue jeans. A few sweaters. Of course many of these things are available in Italy, but are much cheaper in the states.

We got to watch our grandson play ice hockey.    I’m glad it’s not too violent at this point. We connected with old friends, hung out with family, and enjoyed the benefits of wall to wall carpeting and a forced air furnace on a cold morning! Read the daily newspaper. Cut coupons out of the Sunday paper.

We enjoyed having mashed potatoes with gravy and cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. We enjoyed having wonderful huge salads with a variety of dressings and really good Mexican food…..and barbeque. And of course I had my fill of fountain diet cokes.

Our visit lasted five weeks, the last few days spent in Tampa visiting with the grandgirls and our daughter-in-law. My son was off saving the world, or at least assisting Gen. Abizaid to direct the saving of the world.

Everyone seems to be healthy and happy, but also terribly busy. Life in the United States runs at a much faster pace, something that becomes painfully obvious to us every time we go back. Yes, I realize that most of our friends are still working, but even so, life just seems so crazy with work and school and car pools and hockey practice, workouts at the gym, running here and there to pick up this and that, scheduling meetings for the neighborhood association or the next school function, etc., etc., etc. It was wonderful to visit with everyone, wonderful to be among familiar sights and sounds….and tastes, but it was also wonderful to come home again. What a wonderful life we have!


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