Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Remember me?

Remember me? Probably not. I  barely remember me some days. I'll forgive you if you'll forgive me.

It's been a strange winter. What should have been our off-season (down time, time to relax, etc) has turned into a planning frenzy for the coming year. I'm not complaining, mind you, it's just that the break in past years has been kind of nice. That moment to take a deep breath, let it all out, and comment that life certainly is good and where's the wine?

So quick recap.

We returned to Italy early in January just in time for Leif to head up to the Dolomites for a cross country ski event. I stayed home with the cold of the century. Luckily, an angel of a friend gave me a bottle of Nyquil out of her stash (it's not available here) and I've been using it sparingly hoping to make it last forever. Or at least till the cold of the century decides to release it's iron-like grip on my body. Because the cough remains. Annoying.

Leif left again in early February to attend a travel fair in Sweden. I stayed home nursing the cough, courtesy of the cold of the century. I think it rained the entire time he was gone. I didn't get bored though, because even though it was hard to go anywhere I had entertainment. I joined an online art project and kept myself busy doodling and painting and thinking creative thoughts. And coughing.

My son turned 29 in February. Funny, it didn't bother me at all to turn any of the milestone ages, but when your children start hitting those milestones it does make you stop and think about the time that's gone by. I've come to the conclusion that it's been a good life, and will continue to be fantastic. I'm lucky.

In late Februarty we headed up into the mountains north of Florence for another thrilling 10 days of watching dogs and cats. This time the weather was poor to awful the whole time. The electricity went out one day. The heat failed to reset after getting the electric back, but by the time we figured it out the 17th century stone farmhouse had cooled to the temperature of a dank cave and took two days to warm up again. Truth is, it never really warmed up. The owners had lowered the temperature in the boiler before they left assuming warmer weather was on the way so it really couldn't catch up. On the upside, my conversations with the housekeeper have gone beyond "Good morning" and "thank you". We can now discuss the weather! I also answered the phone a couple of times. I've had phone conversations entirely in Italian and we understood each other. At least I think so.....

One of the perks of staying at another persons house is that you have access to their books. Eight walls of books on every topic possible. Like a buffet of words. Granted, some of the words were Italian and some were Swedish, but there were also a lot of English books. I was in heaven. I read The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason, A Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut, The Hundred Secret Sensesi by Amy Tan, Nellie Taft by Carl Sferrazza Anthony, Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden and The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt. My head probably weighs more, I've put so many words into it lately. I actually would have read more, but it took me a couple of days to realize that I had all those books waiting for me. What a waste.

I've managed to get a few rides in. Well insulated from the cold and rain, and when that wasn't possible I did the grown up thing and stayed inside. The weather is improving steadily now, so I'm hoping to have more regular rides coming up. That 100k ride in June is fast approaching (for all you saying, what? That's months away! Time flies, you know) and I need to get in shape.

I think that brings us up to date. On Saturday the Swedes in Florence will be at the annual children's carnival event for Fat Tuesday (rescheduled  because of rain). We dress up like fierce Vikings and terrorize the crowd. It should be fun.

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