Thursday, April 22, 2010

Verona part 1

Outside the Roman theater on this day there were people dressed in the
old fashion demonstrating some of the old crafts, making silk thread,
wool, spinning wheels, rope and paper from the skin of animals. It
was educational for the kids and me as well.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

At the beach near Cecina

The last bit of our Easter trip. The beach reminded me a little of
California, cold water and there were some waves the first day that
had been generated by the rain and wind.

Degrading Women in Italy

Last night we, Luisa and I,  were channel surfing and started watching this terrible show on Mediaset 1.  They paired nerdy smart guys with beautiful stupid young women.  The women, all young and very nice looking were dressed to the sexual max and the guys probably dressed themselves.  Then they put the girls on a table in front of the guys one couple at a time and asked the girls to identify some pictures of famous Italians, like an ex president for example.  It would have been in the US like asking someone to recognize a picture of Gerald Ford or even Bill Clinton.  They did not recognize any of them and the host gave them a bunch of hints until they finally sort of sounded out the names.  Then they had to do a sexy dance on top of the table in front of the guys who couldn't decide if they should look up their skirts or not.  We kept it on too long hoping that at least one of the girls would answer at least one question, but none did.  Well I have to admit I don't mind looking at the girls, but how degrading can these TV producers get.  We turned it off before really understanding what the point was if there was one. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Colle di Val d'Elsa

One of those Medevial Tuscan villages. We were looking for a place to
attend mass on Easter Sunday so we saw the church and a place to park
the camper and there we were.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Loss of a Friend

Last night we got the overwhelmingly sad news that a dear friend Steve Tanaka passed away.  He was on vacation with his family in Costa Rica and he drowned or maybe had a heart attack while swimming.  He was only 50, maybe a bit younger I'm not sure of his age.  But he was not someone that one would imagine leaving us so soon.  He had a beautiful family, his wife Kathy and their 10 year old son Christopher and his life seemed so perfect aside from the stress of his job.  That job, chief information officer at Palomar Hospital, though stressful was a part of who he was in the sense that it was a mark of his success not just as very competent in his work but a person who was liked by all and had a way of getting along with everyone.  For me he was  a person that I connected with on many levels.  He and his family were a kind of fixture at our family events in California, and we at his, we went sailing on his boat, made trips to the beach, did a bit of surfing together and the occasional dinner out.  After we moved to Italy they came to visit us on their trip to Europe to celebrate Kathy's 50th birthday.  And on our trips back to California we stayed in his home and borrowed his car.  We have kept in touch always by email though most of the conversations were through Katy as he was always so busy working.  But mostly it is just that feeling of connection that makes his loss so hard.

I leave you with his last note to me:

John,

Great to hear from you. Kathy's out in Colorado on a Skiing trip with a friend which means that I'm picking up Christopher from school. So, right now I'm sitting out in front of Nativity responding to emails on my Blackberry.
Life is crazy busy for me as usual. I'm trying to get my mind wrapped around the notion that's it's really a matter of choice in terms of how I choose to create and deal with the stresses I feel but can't seemed to get past the current reality of having 14hrs of work to do each day. But enough of that...We're all doing well here, your description of Julia entering that "tween" phase of development exactly describes where Christopher is. Pretty sure he already know the Birds and Bees thing...but someday soon, I'll have to have that conversation with him to make it "Oh-fficial"
Sports wise he's gotten into baseball in a big way. I'll email you the link to his Catching and Batting videos. He's also gotten into running gates this ski season. At Keystone on the Nastar course I was running the course next to him and near the finish was shocked to see out of the corner of my eye a green streak which was Christopher who finishing 0.01 second behind me. He got the Gold, I got the Silver. Next season - expect that he'll finish ahead but by a bigger margin.

Well, he's coming out so I gotta go!

Stay in touch and send our love to Luisa, Julia and Giovanni!!







We will miss you Steve.