Well.. my love and passion for Italy continues. I returned from Italy Oct. 7, 2011. This time, I went alone for 2 weeks. WOW! I actually had an airline credit to use by Dec 2011, so there you have it! Flew into Milan , great to see my Hotel Stella freinds again, in Rapallo. This being the 4th time to Italy since the last post on this blog. Actually the last post about Italy was my 2nd time and in 1999. 3rd time in 2006 with .. well… we will leave that alone for now. And this last time, same place Hotel Stella in Rapallo. If you go there, you must speak to Stefano and tell him that I sent you! Its a wonderful 50 room B&B, just a 10 minute boat ride south of Portofino. This is my favorite area so far.
So, I noticed in my previos blog that I had such a different perspective than I do now after the 4th time. Interesting to see how we can change in a 10 year period. This trip was definately a different experience. I look forward to sharing in the next few chats. I truly hope you are living La Dolce Vita!
Wow! First started this blog a year and a half ago.. still living by the beach.. and Love Love Love each new day that I wake up near this beauty!! Such a Gift from God!
Looking back and re-reading this blog, I have realized that I have skipped a whole few ‘decades” of my life. Just POOF!.. never mentioned.. not there.. ha!! Looks like between the age of 20 and 45 are completely left out !! What is that about? is it Posting Passions?! Posting two of the most influential and passionate times of my life! Travel and Travel. But I know I must back up a bit. I tend to get ahead of myself!!
Will I address the huge gap at this time? Nah.. I will get to that.. Its all boring stuff!! you know.. Africa, Croatia, Ireland.. marriages, kids. Well now, I must add that
my son Matthew, now 27, is also one of the most inspirational and life changing experiences as well!!
Until next time..Enjoy your wonderful God given Life and Love! La Dolce Vita
So the adventures and observations of my Italian vacation continues as I am still on the bus on the way to airport in Milan.
…..I don’t think the teeth whitening thing has hit Europe yet. Many golden retrievers and mutts, nothing in between. The cats in Cinque Terre all need to go the the vet or blow their nose to get rid of the mucus. You cannot try on bathing suit bottoms in a boutique when the bathing suit cost $75, I bought it anyway. I saw a 10 1b rat on my hike, from Monterossa to Vernazza. I’m running out of ink and it’s hard to write in this bus. I only got on the wrong train once, it cost more, was faster and a German man standing next to me paid the difference. I like the little trucks that have only one wheel in the front and 2 in the back, wanted to put in my suitcase and take it home with me. too cute! If you get the right answer 5 out of 6 times when you’re asking “where is this train going?” chances are you are on the right track! You have to push the wall above the toilet in order to flush it. And you have to step on a pedal to get water from the faucet, longest it took me to figure out how to turn the water on was a good 10 minutes.
Its very difficult to make a phone call here, it costs a lot and you don’t even understand what you did wrong when an Italian recording is talking the whole time you try to dial out. Everything is military time, why do they make things so difficult? One has to continually do a bit of math, so bring a calculator, perhaps that is why they only serve vinegar and oil for salad dressing because you’re still trying to figure out what time the restaurant closes and you’re counting your cash out in millions.
If there is a loud buzzing noise on a bus or train (which is where I am now, and I hear it) no one seems to be bothered by it. The McDonalds in Assisi drive through is called Mcdrive. The buzzing on this bus is still going ~ eek .. Now I know why they drink wine all the time. No one watches their weight here. I think this man next to me is trying to grow hair on his head, I see little hair bulbs starting to sprout where there is none. The Buzzing is still going!! I wonder if dentists do a good business in Europe. The buzz is still there. Men wear their wedding ring on their right hand. I hope this bus goes to the airport. Layover in Amsterdam, supposed to be outrageous, too bad I’ll be sleeping through it, as I get in at 1am and leave at 6am. People say “salute’ when you sneeze AND toast wine… not sure of the similarity? My flight leaves in 3 hours … the buzzing sound is still on. American music still playing. I was more ‘regular’ when I was at the sea (if ya know what I mean) I find myself laughing inside A LOT. Unable to let out a good belt of laughter, since I have been traveling solo! Actually, why can’t I let out a big belt of laughter? Chances are I won’t see anyone on this bus again for the rest of my life! I still hear the buzzing sound, I actually think it’s a little louder, since it has drowned out the American music playing. The big woman / Actress on the train to Switzerland had to put on 70 lbs for a movie. It took her a year! She’s trying to lose it now. The Italian guy that stopped by my table in Monterossa and told me he gave up drinking and wants to take life more serious now. The boat operators in Rapallo have been doing the same thing for 20 years.
And the number one ‘adventure and observation” moment in Italy was when I replaced my tennis shoes with a $100 pr of French pumps! Wooo hooo !!!
The restaurants close at 2:30 after lunch and reopen at 7pm, which is why I lose weight in Italy. Not many blonde people here. Men are way better looking than women. You are not allowed to pour your own wine. Italians think it’s strange to see a woman eating alone in a restaurant, especially in a smaller town. My favorites Sienna, Cascia, Assisi, St. Francis Doves, St Rita, Rapallo, the hike from Portofino the hike in Cinque Terre and the spaghetti, the stray cats near the sea, Stephano, Cillo and Randy. The cars are tiny and the streets are even more tiny. Lots of cute shoes and bathing suits! All bathing suits are French cut. Men are always looking at your chest. Store owners smoke while they ring up the sale. No pepper on the table, no Mexican food and definitely no hot wings. Wine is cheaper than water. Italians say Prego a lot, I found out it means ‘thank you’, but for a long time I thought they were telling me that I look pregnant, like in a fat sort of way, so I would stop eating the bread but drank more wine..go figure! The guys selling leather in San Lorenzo Market tell you they will give you a leather coat for free. One time I actually put one on said, Gracie and walked away. When I saw he wasn’t following me I went back and returned coat in exchange for a smile that said “I want YOU, you blonde American woman!” Every one’s teeth are yellow. People identify the name of the village by the particular Saint that lived there. If you mention that you want to go to Cascia, they will say.. “Oh Santa Rita! Si, Cascia!”“The terrain looks like Oregon. No one likes President Bush. The American shows on TV are dubbed in Italian. I watched part of a scary movie in Italian. Also, “An American Beauty” in English with Italian subtitles, so Stephano could practice his English. Cillo took me to sailboat races in Santa Margarita. Tony gave me his token regatta hat, which I still have! I just love the names of these towns. Everybody has yellow teeth and they need to floss. The waiters don’t like it when you put parmesan on top of your spaghetti with fish. No one has picked my pocket. I forgot how to have a conversation in English. I am now speaking broken English to Americans!? I cut off words, use parts of sentences, and wave my hands a lot more than I did in America. The guys in Venice are way cute. Randy was from England. Seems that his relatives either had an overbite or buck teeth, except Randy, he just needs a good cleaning, floss and whitener. OMG! I hope he doesn’t read this! It cost 1 million for a cup of café or a glass of vino. All the restaurants have a cover charge, because Europeans don’t like to tip and neither did I when I was in Italy because I paid the cover charge to eat dinner. I don’t like focaccia, too many holes , very holy.. hmm why don’t they use THAT bread in Mass? They don’t put mustard or catsup on anything; I was going to McDonalds just to see if they use catsup in Europe. The small villages are more fun that the cities. I can actually wash my own clothes by hand and be ok with it. Including jeans. The dirt that comes out of your clothes from washing by hand is either brown or greenI It’s rude to put your feet up on the bench across you on a train – the conductor will slap your hand, even if the seat has graffiti on it already. I’m tired of not hearing English around me. People don’t get drunk here. You have to walk too much and you lose that good buzz you had for the $2 liter of vino. Everyone has a cell phone.
LIFE FIRST! CALORIES SECOND!
The first time I visited Italy…I was in the middle of my second divorce so I went with a good friend of mine from Arizona, Kim. We met in Venice traveled in Italy for a week, then to Switzerland where I was to leave her as she stayed for work. I then went back to Italy to continue my journey. I came across some very interesting observations which I recorded in my journal while en route on a bus back to the airport to return home. The second week in Italy was spent experiencing more adventures, and since Kim stayed in Switzerland, I had plenty of time to observe my own thoughts and surroundings, which produced, what I call ‘inner laughter’ as I watched these funny Italians my ‘family’!
…from my journal..
“The things in Italy that made me ponder, chuckle, celebrate or indulge!
When I first arrived in Italy…Venice, I flung luggage off in the room and immediately went exploring. The first place I went was St. Marks Square! Saw tons of pidgeons so ran like a banchee through the lot of them!
Other moments I remember…the lady that hopped on the train with her dog in a suitcase with his head sticking out. My friend Kim and I hopped on a 6am train to Assisi without our morning coffee because we woke up too late. Everyone on the train looked so serious that we decided to find a way to make everyone laugh. We were successful! Now THAT was fun! The food cart boy that wore a small ponytail of hair directly on top of his bald head, taps his little bell as he walks by. The breath on this man sitting next to me smells like… OMG..I will just say …not pretty, therefore, I will refrain from asking him anymore questions! When we stop at a station the stench of unwashed armpits fill the air, why is that I wonder, do they not sell deodorant here? Phew! The dog at a Monterossa café that ran continuously by my table with a rubber band around his snout, making it unable for him to bark, eat or breathe for that matter. Not an owner in sight. The comical waking up to the knocking and drilling as we slept in what we called the ‘closet room” in Venice. The huge grasshopper that flew into the train window and almost hit me in the head, while on the train to Assisi. The tiny cups of coffee served. Everyone has yellow teeth. The dogs follow their owners through city streets into restaurants. Dogs go to Mass. People wear a lot of dark colored clothes, coats and jackets! I want to don my sleeveless bright colors. Italians play American music. They only offer vinegar and oil for their salads which they eat AFTER the meal and before dessert. They start with antipasto then meat and cheeses, pasta, then meat of some kind, salad, dessert and café. In America, it is totally backwards, we eat salad first.. Then the meat, pastas, café and dessert! I guess this means that Italians truly do enjoy “ life first and calories second”!. La Dolce Vita!
I have caught you up to where I am today, in California, by the sea and how I came to be here. The time has flown by as I have been here for a year already! I realize I haven’t written since September 2009. Why? Well.. we will explore that in a future blog.
I will now continue my story of the earliest memories of the beginning of Pilates and Chocolate….If I haven’t mentioned already.. YES, you can have your chocolate and eat it too! I will embellish more on that subject in the near future! Stay tuned!
At 10 yrs old my father moved all 8 of us to Oregon. At 19 I moved to New York because I wanted to see the world and travel. Thats about when the “pilates” started in my lifel the journey of self discovery I which I was about to embark !
Here’s how it started…at 19 I was hired as a nanny by a Jewish family. I had applied through the college I was attending in Eugene Oregon for “Custom Overseas Maid Servce” .. I arrived and worked for this family for 3 weeks when I started feeling uncomfortable..I felt the ‘mother’ was somewhat insecure or something and became worse when she saw me enjoy my days off! That was the feeling I had anyway.. she became very cold and I started feeling uncomfortable. So there I was, in upstate NY., not wanting to leave, yet dreaded where I was commissioned for the next 3 months! I decided to take a walk one day and I ran across a 15 yr old girl Annie, who was posting signs that said “Nanny Job, Housekeeping.. etc”, I inquired about work, and she said SHE was looking for work. We spoke a bit more, one thing led to another and before I knew it, I quit the nanny job moved in with her and her mother just a few blocks away. Her mother was editor of The Village Voice magazine of Greenwich Village. I moved into their basement, Called my parents, asked them to send the ‘rest’ of my things, ski’s boots and poles, radio, the important things in life .. ya know! In the meantime, I was to work at the Village Voice the following day. I decided to go to a Temp agency on the way to the Village, and take a typing test. I did, and they sent me that day to work at a stock brokerage firm on Wall Street as a temp secretary for 8 high maintenance stockbrokers. I was to fill in for someone who was sick that day. One of the brokers, Pierre, was a frenchman that couldn’t get along with anyone except ME. Needless to say, the office manager offered me a job on the spot. I think its because being from a big family.. there were alot of different personalities I had learned to work with, so I adapted easily to anyone or anyplace. I never made it to the Village to work, but had rented my room in the basement of Annie and her mothewr. It was right along the Hudson River. I remember it clearly because I would get up at 5am to go running along the Hudson, rain, snow sleet.. whatever the weather, then back in time to catch the bus to the subway and then another subway to get downtown. Took me 2 hrs each way to commute to Wall Street.
There I was, a 19 yr old girl from Oregon, long brown hair that I would wear in braids most the time..walking down Wall Street to work smiling at all the passerbyers. Didn’t quite understand why no one would smile back at me.. hmm…perplexed, until I figured out that thats how people were raised in New York.! Oh well, as usual I quickly adapted as usual, and became more like ‘ them’!
For 9 months I worked on Wall Street, during the days of ‘liquid lunches’ and the ‘ticker tape’ parade when the ‘hostages’ returned home! This was 1980 or so! Time seems to have gotten away from me!
At that 9 month point, my girlfreind, Barbara, who was also a secretary, was fired, and she wanted to move to Florida~! Ok, that sounds good, I have always wanted to work at Disney World, OK !! So I gave my 2 weeks notice and we packed her car and drove south! I haven’t mentioned any of the ‘experiences’ I had in New York, except I grew up fast. From fast men, to fast living to long hours..a gal can grow up quite a bit in a short amount of time! Don’t let me forget to tell you my dinner with the office manager Bob who took me to dinner at a place called “A Little Quiet Table in the Corner” What does THAT tell ya! He had ulterior motives that I will not go into at this time, but will leave it to your imagination for now!
Florida! Working at Disney World because my sister was married at the time to a pro Baseball Player who had a fan that ran the custodial department at Disney World. AND, he and his wife let Barbara and I move in with them.. too good to be true I thought!
We arrived at their house and was quickly orientated to the ways of Disney. Picked out our white shirt and pants uniform. Picked up the broom and started cleaning the Magic Kingdom. Yes, that means following the horses during the parades and picking up after them! Barbara is a beautiful brunette and used to have issues wheeling the big garbage pail up Thunder Mountain. One time the can ran away from her and came crashing down the hill with garbage spilling out all over the place. We laughed and then both cried because we didn’t like custodial at all! We would come home at night and gorge ourselves on 1/2 gallon ice-cream bins smothered with peanut butter and Jelly! Stuffing our pain!! Which leads me to the ‘chocolate’ part of my story and started me on the crazy diet rollercoaster.! Although, I think my favorite was the protein diet! Now THAT was fun! Lots of bacon, steak, chicken, pork.. as much as possible, didn’t care about the fat content, in fact the more fat, the better it tasted!
I did try to make the best of it though. For instance at midnight, when the park closed, I would sweep Main Street at the Magic Kingdom all the way to Cinerellas Castle. It was there at that point that I would put my broom down, stand directly in front of the Castle, look out upon the empty street and start singing “Disney World…Disney World…” Just like I would watch the Kids of the Kingdom sing, during each parade. Yes, at that point, I was one of THEM, my dream.. to work in the ‘entertainment dept. Those jobs were tough to get, AND you had to have LOTS of experience. I made the best of my job anyway, by returning the next morning to sweep up Adventureland. My favorite was the Swiss Family Robinson Tree house. Now THAT was fun! I would be up in the tree early in the morning and pretend that I was Mrs. Robinson. Yelling out over the park calling her ‘boys’ to dinner. My supervisor would catch me periodically and yell, ” Kathleen ! Get out of that tree !” I would then giggle and finish my cleaning!
Until ONE DAY, something very magical happened! Barbara and I were sweeping in Adventureland and the Steel Drum Players (entertainment dept) said to us, ” you girls should not be sweeping! We will see what we can do to get you transferred to another department! WOW, our dreams came true! Entertainers had alot of clout at Disney World and we ended up becoming the very first tour guides at EPCOT Center that was about to open. We were so excited ! I kinda felt like I could relate to Carol Burnett, who started out cleaning and ended up having her own show !
Well, now this changed everything~! I would have to say, that was the best part of my life up until now. It was my favorite job of all time, up until now.
The story continues….
I guess it all started today as I walked on the beach minding my own business as usual, thinking, planning, praying, my mind drifts to things such as work, money, bills, boys, and oh so much more. After all, how can a girl think about herself if she is bogged down with all the above? Anyway, my walk was interrupted, pleasantly by a surfer, with a genuine smile. That was the criteria that allowed me to return his hello. Joe lived in that area and on the beach for the last 30 years, divorced, retired, surfing everyday, happy as a clam. Here I am pinching myself for living on the beach for only 2 weeks after finally leaving the desert, Not that I WASN’T happy in Arizona, it brought many happy successful and life forming memories to my life, but sometimes you just know deep down in your gut, that its time to move on !
Anyway, so there I stood after meeting Joe, there on the beach, wonderful warm waves crashing on my feet, confiding in him that I have only been in the water one time since I have been there and only up to my hips.. of course that was due to my newly pierced belly button which happened out of more coercion than pure self desire. Which is another story for later! After I met Joe I thought about where I was.. all by myself .. on the beach.. my dream had come true.. I am back on the beach! Now what? Here I am again.. my continued life adventure seems never ending.. the locations do change quite a bit, but here I am, once again, except its in a place they call California.
I had outgrown Arizona living there for 19 years. I am sure my clients became tired of me talking of the beach and moving! This was the longest I have ever lived in one place and it was getting to me. I was done raising my son, well.. that happened 10 yrs ago or so..hmm.. so then, I was raising men? It took me awhile to finally snap out of that.. thanks mainly to my wonderful freinship with Tanya, who helped me see the beauty that she saw . And although, I am not so sure I am completely done, i realize that I was always taking care of someone else, it helped me to avoid my own self care. My fears and longing for approval and acceptance have far started to outweigh my own talents abilities to become my authentic self. How did I let that happen?
I believe it all started when I was 10 yrs old. When my dad and mom moved their 8 kids, away from L.A. and the beach to Oregon and good clean living..in 1970…… my earliest memories.