Monthly Archives: November 2009

Very fun

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A triple threat but not the good kind

People say bad things come in threes. This, I might believe based on our week: a. I am sick b. Phoebe is sick and c. our car is sick.

She and I picked up a cold and while we’re both nearly over it, there is still “liquid” to contend with. Mine is a runny nose, Phoebe’s is a nasty cough. The toughest part is actually the cough that wakes her up at night, every one to two hours, which means I am up at night, every one to two hours. But we’re on the mend.

The Mercedes is a different story. And to make it short, we’ve got water in the electrical system. Three days of visits to the garage have resulted in this diagnosis. I think. But our issue, as always, is the language. Paul and I are getting better at Italian but we don’t really speak car Italian. It’s charming when the mechanic’s face lights up as Phoebe enters the garage but frustrating (for both of us) when he tries to explain the details of what’s gone wrong and what to do next. Armed with my cell phone and half a dozen friends willing to act as interpreter-on-call, we’re getting closer to a solution. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll take the car to the dealership and have it fixed…while we’re away in Belgium.

So, phew.

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Off to Amsterdam

We took Phoebe on a plane.

With other passengers.

I’m happy to say that none of them asked for a refund.

In fact, the whole experience went very smoothly. No crying, no fussing. Just sitting, playing, sucking (for the ears) and sleeping. So basically, she’s a much better traveler than I am.

Her first flight was from Rome to Amsterdam, where we visited friends Dave, Karin and Annika.

Together we had meals, walks, a spa day for the moms and a little shopping too.

I loved it; what a charming town with the tall, skinny houses and everyone bicycling all around. Hopefully we’ll be back soon but Belgium is next. Wish us luck!

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Olive picking

Paul was in heaven. He finally got to pick olives in Italy.

We were there to help a friend and co-worker with his annual fall harvest. Along with Eric and Alex, we went to David’s home in the country (actually very close to Lake Albano) on a drizzly Sunday morning. The project was spearheaded by David’s elderly Italian father-in-law and avoided by his two tween-aged sons. Wet weather only allowed for a partial picking but the Americans were all-too-happy to be involved.

Then came lunch. When he invited us, David mentioned “something casual”, maybe some pasta. But Paul and I have heard this before. Grateful that we’d brought rich and gooey brownies, as tasty an American treat as any, we were served countless courses of fresh bread, cheese, soup, pasta, polenta, sausages, grilled steak–each dish made even more delicious with their homemade olive oil poured on top–then dessert, three cakes plus brownies.

Several hours and a little wine later, we packed up and headed home, fueled by dreams of an olive harvest of our own someday. At our country villa. Why not?


Filed under Food & Restaurants, Life, Sights

Sweet potato success

At five and a half months, Phoebe’s dream has come true. She got to eat her first food. Sweet potatoes. We whipped out the special food processor/steamer combo — purchased on a trip to Paris last winter (anxious new parents?) — and lunch was served. Rave reviews.


Filed under Food & Restaurants, Phoebe

In napping news…

Woo woo! I’ve got two new articles on

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Close up


small face

knee too


Filed under Phoebe