Monthly Archives: February 2009

Veggie update

At 27 weeks, we’re just finishing up the second trimester. Bambina weighs about 2 pounds and is apparently the size of a…


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Countdown to Carter

My giant dog, accompanied by my gracious mother, will be arriving in Roma in…9 days. Italy may never be the same. Seriously the dog hair alone could change the climate, or the culture.

At a photo shoot in New York City

Carter on a fashion photo shoot in New York City.

Photo by Colleen Chrzanowski.


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My dream car

It’s really a little truck, just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Carter could ride in the back.



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Never too rich or too…

The doctor called me “thin” this morning during our six month checkup! Well, there’s actually a dispute. When our doctor was doing the ultrasound Paul heard, “It’s easy to see because it’s thin,” referring to my stretching skin. But for my own mental and emotional health I maintain that it went like this, “It’s easy to see because you’re thin.” He did go on to say something about it being best to gain the weight at the end so with this version in mind bless Dr. Grimaldi, bless his children, grandchildren, acquaintances… Because seriously, and I think I speak for all pregnant ladies here, we’ll take what we can get.

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Free To Be You and Me…for Bebe

Strangely enough, I had never heard this before our trip to the villa at Christmas time (perhaps because I’m a spring chicken compared to my husband?) Anyway, it could be my hippie upbringing but I’m smitten. Baby Girl Mathews will hear a lot of this. In the meantime…

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A Fairy Tale

It’s the best way to describe being in Venice. We had such a great trip last weekend. Highlights here:

  • What promised to be a cute little hotel in a central area on turned out to be a cute little hotel in a central area.
  • Two delicious meals at acclaimed restaurants: Osteria Santa Marina and Da Fiore (with a Michelin star, no less).
  • Sunny (but cold) weather.
  • Fantastical nature of Venice was amped up a notch with the start of Carnivale, which produced thousands of people in masks and costumes. A kind of Marie Antoinette meets Halloween.
  • *Corny American woman riding along in a gondola while animatedly nodding her head in an effort to “lead” a group of other corny tourists in a rousing chorus of “Country Roads”. Seriously, it’s 80 Euros to ride in the boat and this is how you want do it?  I mean, I love my J. Denver but…
  • It really is a city built on water. Lovely. Romantic. Picturesque.

*By popular request, okay one person asked, a photo of Miss West Virginia Singalong is attached below.

*And the Chanteuse of Venice, by way of Colorado (furthest right):



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St. Mark's

St. Mark's

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Eating Chinese in Paris

We asked our friend and host, Ryan, to supply us with ethnic food during our weekend in Paris. With this decadent Chinese dinner, he did not disappoint. The setting of Chez Vong was decidedly upscale; often referred to as “the best Chinese restaurant in Paris”, this was no takeout joint. Instead we walked into a multi-level dining room with wooden embellishments, red dragons, glowing candles and crisp table linens.


Ravenous, we ordered several delicious starters including something called “Happy Dumplings”, which turned out to be steamed dumplings full of shrimp, chicken, cabbage and carrots. Very good. The entrees were rich and flavorful, especially the duck dishes (one pictured below).


But the real treat came at the end. We ordered a fried banana with caramel which sounded simple enough. Not so. Moments later an Asian woman dressed immaculately in a traditional robe appeared at our table with two things: a metal bowl of water and a sizzling platter with thick pieces of friend banana atop a hot bed of caramel. Using chopsticks, she worked quickly to individually roll each warm banana segment in the sticky caramel before dousing in the water dish and finally placing the tasty bite on one of our three plates. We watched with awe. As for flavor, it was good not great. The presentation however, was magnifique.


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Paris in the winter

We escaped the empty apartment to enjoy a weekend with our friend Ryan in Paris.


CCM walking

RPM's balcony

RPM's charming apartment

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Drama mia

As reported on Facebook, we discovered shortly after moving in that two of our three kitchen appliances don’t work. Well, don’t work the way they should. In the 21st century. In the price range of our rent.

To elaborate, the dishwasher doesn’t wash any dishes. Rather, just sloshes a little water around for approximately 2 hours. (Turns out that a pipe is filled with calcium–a huge issue for tap water in Rome–therefore the water source is depleted.) The stove is an entirely different matter. An entirely different era, actually. It’s white. It’s rickety. And my favorite part, you have to light the burners with a match! Feel like a serf in feudal times, and not in a romantic way, more like someone who’s preparing a bowl of gruel.

So after pointing out that all of the other apartments that we’d seen came with updated appliances, and shedding a tear or two (Hormones? More likely just my normal reaction. Poor Paul.) the landlords graciously agreed to replace both this week. Hooray! The celebration however, ended abruptly when it came time to arrange for the installation. Behold, today’s email from our landlords who inexplicably made a same-day appointment and, well, you can see for yourself…

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Tue, Feb 10, 2009 at 5:13 PM
Subject: Flat V. Nizza

To Charity and Paul

We have been trying to get in touch with you by phone since
yesterday, but it seems impossible to have an answer from you. Ione has
ordered the new dishwasher and a gas-cooker. Delivery is only possible
on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday between 11.00 and 4.00. But before
delivery a new plug has to be applied in the wall by the electrician
for the gas-cooker. We had managed to obtain an appointment by the
electrician for today, but having had no answer from you we had to
cancel it.
So the whole thing has to be reorganized again. In any case the
electrician is not available for tomorrow (Wednesday) and he always can
come only afer 4.30 pm.
Let us know how to procede, considering that  making any arrangement
with these people is a nightmare.On our part we can only offer to
receive your keys if you cannot be present when they come.
Consider that at present our PC is still not working.


Ione and Massimo Roccas

Pleasant. Perhaps the subject line could have been: Molto put out.

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