Somewhere

 

 

Sometimes I feel, well, untethered. In those moments, I want to find myself, and I want to feel grounded.

 

 

But wanting to feel grounded and actually feeling grounded are two different things.

 

 

So I look to places for a sense of belonging. Occasionally, I get lucky. More often than not, I am left feeling as lost as ever.

 

 

Heaven help me – I will probably always be searching…

World Pasta Day

 

 

Something or other is probably denoted on each day of the year as X Day or Y Day. To be perfectly honest, I don’t usually give a hoot about any of that. But today’s designation is something I can really sink my teeth into: World Pasta Day.

 

I think this began almost 2 decades ago, probably to encourage more global consumption of pasta. But I have to ask – do we really need to push pasta? Aren’t we all consuming more than our share? No? Just me?

 

I have lived most of my adult life thinking pasta was brought from Asia to Italy by Marco Polo, back in the 13th century. But I’ve recently read that pasta in Italy dates to Etruscan times, way before young Polo’s adventures. Believe it or not, this information has kind of thrown me for a loop. I mean, what else do I “know” that’s wrong?

 

My neurosis aside, I do love pasta and think that today I’ll get out the old pasta machine and make a fresh batch. Maybe I can enlist Mister’s help. Maybe we’ll even toast Marco Polo and the Etruscans. Yep. I’ll drink – and eat – to that.

Olive Grove

 

 

This little painting was based on time spent in a friend’s olive grove in Tuscany. Mister and I wandered around, taking pictures and mostly being quiet. Olive groves will do that to a person.

 

Anyhoo, it’s a small painting, only 8 x 10 inches. And it’s rather abstract, showing a close-up of an aged olive tree branch. Honestly, after painting it I sort of forgot about it. Only recently did I put a frame around it, just to see how it would look. Maybe it was a magic frame, because once I saw it surrounded by wood, the little painting sort of became majestic in my eyes. And the truth is, I love trees. This lichen-covered specimen is no exception.

A Place I Love

 

 

While I’m in my coma, I think I’ll share a few things I love in this world…

 

I love Italy. I love so many Italian towns, but the above photo was snapped on a trip to Venice, and it is that town I’d like to highlight.

 

Venice is romance. It is hope. It is dreams. I’m sure it has its dark side, but I never saw it. In fact, what I mostly saw were scenes like the one above. Around every corner. And it couldn’t have been lovelier.

 

When I look at this photo, it brings me comfort. Just knowing Venice is there makes me smile.

 

I sure hope I get back there some day.

Montalcino

 

 

The first time I went to Italy, wait, that sounds like I’ve been a jillion times. I’ve only been twice, y’all. Anyhoo… The first time I went to Italy, I was fortunate enough to visit the Biondi-Santi Winery in Montalcino. This was a very big deal, as Biondi-Santi is the place where Brunello wine was invented. I don’t care who claims what or for how long – it all began with Biondi-Santi. And to this day, their Brunello is sublime. I mean spendy. No, I mean sublime.

 

As we were leaving the winery, I looked out across the fields and saw grapes being harvested. It was early afternoon and the countryside couldn’t have been more beautiful. I turned my gaze up the road and the view just spoke to me. As it was the time of film (and not digital), I worked with what I had loaded in the camera. I ended up snapping a black & white pic. I would show you the pic, but it’s packed away in a POD, somewhere in the desert. But I digress…

 

Years later, that photo continued to speak to me. And I wanted to paint it, but not in black & white. So I used my imagination and came up with my own colors. What I ended up with is the above painting. I call it “Montalcino.”

 

For now, it hangs at the end of my galley kitchen. It reminds me that there are always roads to travel, places to see and experience. I don’t know if I’ll ever make it back to Montalcino, but the painting takes me there from time to time. Even now, I can smell the dust in the air and feel Autumn coming on.

 

A new season. What a blessing.

Siena – After the Rain

 

 

People flippin’ love Siena, Italy. I mean, they reaaaaallllllllllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyy love it.

 

And it is pretty danged cool. The last time I was there, Mister and I had lunch beneath an awning – right in the middle of a late-summer rain storm. The air was cool and the rain was beautiful. We were dry and the food was wonderful. By the time we were finished with lunch, the rain had subsided and we crossed the square for gelato.

 

This photo was taken after those cleansing, cooling rains. We were able to walk around for a few hours and we saw all we could. The skies approved, clearly, a few clouds not withstanding.

 

I have to admit, I’ve never stayed in Siena. Maybe that’s why I’m not in the camp of Siena devotees. But I would love to go back someday, stay there and experience the Palio. It’s nice to have adult dreams. Maybe I’ll get to check that one off. Maybe.

 

Anyhoo, this photo reminds me of sitting beneath that awning with Mister, not saying much, just listening. To the sounds of Siena in the rain. I can almost hear it now…

 

Another Precious F*&%@$! Hill Town

 

 

I love Italy. It holds a special place in my heart. I’ve been twice and I’d go again in a heartbeat. As that simply isn’t on my horizon, today I’m taking a moment to visit in my mind.

 

I don’t remember the name of the town in the above photo. Mister was messing around with the light settings on the camera and ended up with these crazy-cool shots. We kept joking about the place being yet “another precious f*&%@$! hill town.” We didn’t come up with the saying – that credit goes to the same gal who curses the sun and inspired the song “You’re Not the One.” But it’s an apt expression for the varied and multiple hill towns populating Tuscany. They are all spectacular. They are all interesting. They are all precious.

 

Anyhoo, just after Mister finished taking the series of photos sampled above, we decided it was late and were ready to get back to the olive grove where we were staying. I had held back on the vino, so I was the designated driver. And that was great. But friends, one of the features of many a precious f*&%@$! hill town is the closing of the town squares to vehicle traffic. This sometimes takes place in the evening, ensuring open, safe areas for pedestrians. It’s lovely, and I’m all for it. When I spot the signs. On the night of this photo, I missed the signs and drove smack-dab through the gathered pedestrians. It wasn’t pretty. And they were really letting me have it. In Italian. As they scrambled for their lives. I felt like the dorky American I was. Am. Whatever. Fortunately, no lives were lost, and there were no injuries. Mister and I laughed until we cried, then we made our way to that olive grove.

 

It’s a fun, crazy memory. I’m glad we have the pictures to remind us, and to take us back to that precious f*&%@$! hill town. I hope we can return some day. But I swear, I’m not gonna be the designated driver next time.

No Vacation

 

 

This year – this crazy year – doesn’t allow for a vacation. So I look to the past.

 

This photo was taken by Mister from the car window, as I drove through the Italian countryside near Montepulciano. It was years ago, but I still remember the sky, the air and the day. And I remember Mister taking photo after photo, all as we sped along those beautiful roads. Soon after this photo was taken, it began to rain. And we didn’t mind at all.

 

Remembering is good. For a moment, I am transported to a lovely vacation, to a lovely day.

 

It’s a simple memory. And yet it holds tremendous power. I’ll take it.