Monday, June 23, 2008


As my blog statement mentions..........what's going on in the studio, or not! Well, not is it for right now. I'm anxiety ridden about needing to be in the studio but other comittments are taking me in and out of the house. That is just not conducive to working creatively when you are there. Your mind is just not there.

Work at the farm is coming along, although very slowly. I've been over several times since returning from Italy. This last visit was to take a new bathroom vanity over. We got it put together and some of the plumbing stuff to wait for a real plumber for other things that need doing. I'm really not that much of a DIY person but my husband is always determined to try to do it himself unless he just has to call a service person. My thoughts are that for things like this, it is time. Who knew there were no water cut-offs until looking.........well now we know. It's not a good thought that you might have to have water turned off all over the place just to work on a shower installation or a lavatory update. Now we have a cut off in that bathroom for the lavatory..........slow progress for sure. Sticker shock for sure as well for "you know who". Of course, he should know I'm a bargain hunter so I'm doing the best that I can with what I've got.

Don't even think about me not still having painting going on in my mind..although you might wonder lately. It is there, all the beauty I soaked in while in Umbria..just waiting for the opportunity to escape into paint on canvas, or wax or collage on panel and paper.

Actually, I'm pulling out work for the show at the local art musuem to see what is available and to consider picking up a few pieces if needed. The show opens mid July with area artists featured this time, which is unusual. There is a 50 year celebration going on this year for our museum...I'm in the permanent collection there so I'm honored to have been selected for one of the shows.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Last days

June 10 was here, the last day to get out and bid farewell to the wonderful area around Casa Rondini. When we had our bags packed about as much as wel could and had sorted things out for our night in Rome before the flight, we set out.

First we headed toward Monteleone di Orvieto and just looked around the area.........then headed back to cook a little dinner and clean up.

The next day we took a picture of our lovely host family, Franco, Bozena and their two daughters before driving out for the last time. As we headed toward Fabro Scalo, we saw that the poppy field was really putting on a show for us so we had to stop to take a few pictures. I also took a picture of the sign we'd passed so many times going that way with the names of so many of the towns around there we had passed through going and coming every day.

If anyone is heading to this area, you should definitely check out Casa Rondini. It will live up to your expectations and more as an ideal location for exploring Umbria and Tuscany.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Pizza, Castiglione del Lago

June 8

Last chance for Pizza Night at Casa Rondini. Usually pizza night on Sundays is sort of an instructional "how to make pizza", like the pasta night. If it rains that might change since the oven is outdoors, but we will have pizza tonight.....Franco said so. (addendum: no pizza since the oven is outdoors because of rain..Stuffed Foccacia instead, with antipasti, wonderful spring peas and broadbeans from the garden, artichokes stuffed with garlic and parmesan. Ice cream and a blueberry tart for dessert. Way more food than we needed.

We're hoping our last laundry will have time to dry since it's been rainy/cloudy for several days. If not, then pack some in plastic bags for the trip home. We check out of our wonderful agritourisimo Tuesday morning and make the drive back to the Rome airport and the Hilton on the grounds there. We want to get the rental car all checked in and our hotel notified about out shuttle for departure times.

This has been a really marvelous trip. The time has flown by so quickly. How could it be already almost 28 days?

One last little trip out this afternoon....We went to Castiligone del Lago up on Lake Trasimeno again. No bags for Pat, sorry Pat, they were closed on Sunday at the only place I found them. We had a nice lunch, looked around, headed to Citta Della Pieve again so Carolyn could pick up a last minute item. It started raining and I took a 20 minute nap in the car while she went in to shop. Boy did I need it as I was really sleepy.

With that question about time passing so quickly, I'm also ready to get back in the studio. I'm thinking ahead to a big show at the local museum that will have my work featured and all that comes with slowly getting ready to move to the farm. I will be a very busy person. It has been really nice (understatement) to have no agenda for this whole trip. Every day or so we decided what we wanted to do and just went or NOT.Heaven. Umbria must be the greenest area in the world not withstanding Ireland although I've never been there so I wonder.

I found these pictures awaiting me as we walked to dinner.........Bozena's lilies were all in their glory. There was even a magnolia blooming today. I also took some pictures of the storm rolling in as we left Castiglione del Lago. Whatever the weather, the skies here are always awesome.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Saturday at Casa Rondini

June 7

This day (Saturday) started with a lot of fog....I just turned over and went back to sleep. I was up early looking out due to that darn humongous crow or whatever he is pecking on the glass of the French doors in the kitchen again.He starts about 5-6 am. The only day he hasn't wakened us this week is the day we beat him up at 4:30 am to get ready for Rome.

Internet came back on so I uploaded some blog entries and downloaded to the laptop pictures from a couple of days. It looked like another good day for a pot of lentils so I did that as well.

A lot of the day is spent packing bags to see what will fit, and especially what will go in checked or carry-on baggage. Hum...what to wear now for the next couple of days???

The pictures for today were really made at the Vatican Museum in Rome yesterday.............those Romans sure did love their baths. This is not the largest of the tubs they have displayed there. Looks like a big party could be held in some of these....and probably was.


June 6 I tired. I didn't really sleep well last night knowing I had to be up at 4:30 am to get ready for a long day to Rome and back. We went on the train again and also bought a ticket on the Green Line to be able to go on and off the bus for the "sights". We spent most of the time in the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. We had a nice lunch at a restaurant near there and had a gelato on the way to the Trevi Fountain to throw a coin in for luck and that you will for sure come back to Rome one day...........then on to the Spanish Steps.

We barely made it back in time for the 5:12 pm return train trip. Tired for sure. I could see some of the other sights from the bus but we didn't stay on it that long......also the Coliseum, etc. Maybe we'll have time the evening before we return home to go into the city by metro .......and maybe not. We are staying at the Hilton at the airport so we can get out early for the 6:45am flight home on Wednesday. I took a couple of pictures at the signts we saw through the tour bus window......this one of the Coliseum is an example.

Oh we got home to Fabro, there was another rainbow waiting to greet us as we drove toward the house. It wasn't anything like the sight that greeted us on the first day we were here, but it was a good omen we think.

Another day in Umbria

June 5

Just a laundry etc. day in Umbria. We made a nice dinner again before our early trip to Rome in the morning..............up at 4:30am tomorrow.

The dinners we cook are joint efforts.......Carolyn made chicken and wine sauce this night. I made farfalle with peso sauce. We threw together a salad, artichokes from the garden and I did the bruschetta again with olive oil, tomatoes, basil and pecorino.......woo woo...with rosso from Casa Rondini.


Friday, June 6, 2008


June 4

We're driving to Florence today with a stop at the factory store (outlet) for the Siena leather shop (where I bought the red bag) is located.We made a little detour by getting off the A-1 one exit or so too soon. What the heck, we finally found it by following some parallel roads. In the shop I found just what I was looking for to take home as a couple of gifts. We headed on toward Florence and found a miraculously free parking spot right outside the pedestrian city center. We got our bearings (Carolyn is a good navigator) and started out. We found the San Lorenzo Market again where Carolyn was looking for a couple of things she saw previously and didn't get. I also found me that great little hanging leather eyeglass case I spotted on a woman at Il Latini. Oh yeah...then something else and on and on. We left no leather wallet, coin purse, money clip or handbag uninspected in all of Florence, Siena and environs.

Off to Rome on Friday on the train. If we take the 5am we can stay all day and head back at 7pm or 9pm train back to Fabro. By not staying overnight, we can forgo hauling the rolling laptop cases for all that gear. It will be an exhausting day for sure. I've never been to Rome so we will go to the Vatican Museum, Coliseum, Pantheon, etc by buying a day ticket on the buses that make the rounds where we can get on and off at will. Hummm....better make a run to the ATM on Thursday and do laundry again on our "rest" day here at Casa Rondini. There is also a little ceramic place Franco told me about near here where you can buy or make your own little oil jugs. He had a really cute one with a saucer that was different than the ones you see in all the shops. (Wonder if my baggage allowance can stand another item???)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


June 3...

We are off to Assisi this morning. The sun was shining as we got up but by the time we headed down the road, it had clouded up. We both took umbrellas this time and planned to carry them all day. Still no internet again this morning............and none when we returned from the trip either. Who knows why as we've given up trying to figure out why it comes and goes. It doesn't seen to really have anything to do with the weather like satellite internet does. I had to take this picture of the lilies in the flower beds......just think of the fragrance. I'd been watching them for several days. Bozena said we would find new delights each day as the flowers bloomed and she was right.

"Miss NUVI " did a good job of getting us there and back since we had to skirt Perugia.We only disobeyed her directions a couple of times this time. We found a parking garage and got a ticket. Good thing I noticed the sign saying take your ticket with you as we needed it to get back in. Weird way they had to pay as we had to go back in and put the ticket in an automatic machine with cash and then go back out and put it in another machine at the gate going out. Wonder how many just drive away and get a big fine later.

We started walking into the city street area after getting off a new, an elevator was welcome here. It all looked new with a nice contemporary steel railing, etc. However, that euphoria over an elevator didn't last long as the bridge ended and the walk began. It wasn't too bad considering some we've made over the last couple of weeks. We started finding shops all over the place and wandered into many of them and found some cute stuff for the grand-kids in one. I also finally found an olive oil bottle made in Deruta that I liked that was actually a decent price. I decided to come back and get it later if it was still there when we walked back to the car (and it was). We finally found the Basilica San Francesco where Saint Francis of Assisi is interred. It really is a beautiful church with all the Giotto frescoes.No photography was allowed although there were so many people in there that some didn't abide by the posted rules/signs.........or the Silenzio signs either.

Oh yeah, did I mention it started pouring down rain right as we were getting ready to sit down for a bite of lunch? We sat there with our umbrellas, under the umbrellas.......but finally when I saw mats washing down the street it was time to move indoors. We waited it out for a time. Due to the rudeness of the woman working there as we stepped into the space with our umbrellas....we decided to take our business elsewhere for lunch.

So we found a spot, ordered, sat or whatever. They served us, we decided on a gelato for desert. When il conto came, it seems we had to pay double OR more to sit, We sat down and they made us order from there when we'd planned to just order and then sit. Whatever, the reason (and I'd read of this), we were encouraged to do it the expensive way and then billed accordingly. Not happy campers, us.

I'm sure we didn't see much of what Assisi has to offer but the weather was not cooperating and it was time to head out for Casa Rondini...........we told NUVI, "Home, James" and headed out.

Some might wonder why I would show a picture of the edge of the Basilica, but my eye was caught by the verdant green of the landscape, the larger than life skies and the angles on the walk ways and buildings, with the curve arches just setting them off. These kinds of "marks" will show up in the paintings I will do after I return home from this inspiring land.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Slow Day In Umbria

June 2

We decided to decide this morning if we would go to Assisi. We were really tired from going out all day and into the evening just about every day since we've been here. SO, we just woke up...and turned over and went back to sleep. We knew the forecast was for rain, too. So it's been a lazy day around here....feels like a couple of weeks ago as it's much cooler when all the rain and wind came blowing through here today.

Now if it just blew on through enough to give us a little better weather tomorrow to go to Assisi. We're also looking at weather and schedules for a day by train to Rome but the weather looks like rain every day there as well except for Friday.

Late this morning I decided it was time for a pot of lentils since we bought them and the weather certainly called for something like this.........yum, yum they are good. Especially, with garlic and shallots from the garden and some chopped proscuitto crudo sautéed in olive oil.

Carolyn decided we couldn't let a day go by without a picture so here it is.........the beautiful sunset looking off the bedroom terrace....if you look really closely you will see the sparkle of the lights of Montegabbione.

Buona notte, amici.

Monte Oliveto Maggiore

June 1

Oh's June already. This afternoon we headed off to Monte Oliveto Maggiore. I'd been there before and Carolyn had not.

It shouldn't have been hard to find, but somehow it was. We did get off the A-1 at the right place but wandered off course at one of the round-a-bouts or strangely marked turns. into a tight squeeze and now know the meaning of the term. In Sinalunga, we went down a street that continued to get smaller until the passenger side outside rearview mirror scraped the side of a wall.......OOPS. Pulled those mirrors in for sure. I got out and helped direct Carolyn as she inched (I mean inched) the way back up the steep incline. At the end the transmission (or something) was smoking. We got the heck out of there and parked the car for a short time to cool it off. I was searching for numbers to call the rental office if necessary....but the auto kept on going although we would get a whiff now and then getting into the car the rest of the day.

Finally, we reached our destination. Beautiful and worth the trip for sure. More hills to climb, as I knew.

We considered a pizza again due to the later hour and being tired. Oh well...........home to Casa Rondini and the food we'd purchased earlier at the supermarket. Carolyn made a chicken saute/pasta sauce. We had a salad and the farfalle. We served it with some bread brushd with olive oil, and the Bianco we found at the supermarket.....Limoncello for the digestiv. Better watch out for Limoncello as it can make a person go dip their toes in the pool outside (cold water). No photos of this either even under the influence of Limoncello.