It’s December

Tick tock!  Another month has passed.  What have all of you who have talked about coming to visit done towards that end?  One year and 9 months more until we move from this wonderful roomy space to some place smaller.

Yes I know it’s ‘scary’ in America now.  I read the International Herald Tribune everyday.  We watch the BBC world news every night.  I can understand the Italian news well enough to know what is going on.  I see our Merrill Lynch statements.

What I know is that now, many people are living the reality that Ben and I lived for over three years in Northern Virginia when we were both under employed and paying over $800 every month for our healthcare.  We ran up a large amount of credit card debt, tapped out our savings, and tapped into our retirement.  We did not buy books, CDs, go to movies, go out to eat or anything else.  If it did not feed us or pay a bill it did not happen.  Our only indulgence was a trip to Europe.  Which we managed with frequent flyer miles and a Capital One card and by not staying in $300 a night rooms.

So I am questioning the sincerity of all my friends and relatives that I chat with over the phone or email.  The dialogue goes like this.

Me:  So have you all made any progress towards planning a trip?

Other Person:  Oh the economy is so bad.  We just can’t.  You don’t know how bad it is.

M:  Well actually I do.  Okay what about…

OP:  Chatter chatter

M: That’s good

OP: Chatter chatter

M: Oh how nice.

OP: We went to …………(really nice resort) for a few days.

M: Ohhh was the food good?

OP:  Chatter chatter

M:  Really.

OP:  We are going to buy…………(large ticket item)

M: That’s nice. What color?

OP: I bought ………..(vast collection of things that will probably be discarded or used up in no time at all) for the child that already has so much of everything.

M:  What fun!

OP: Chatter chatter.

With some minor variations that is pretty much how most of these conversations and emails go.  By the end of them I am usually sure that no one is ever coming to see us.  And the most amazing part is, some of these friends and relatives are sitting there with HUGE CHUNKS of frequent flyer miles that could go away with mergers and bankruptcies but they just can’t get around to booking tickets.  Yes, I know it takes time.  I used to have to stand with a whip over Ben to make him book our tickets.  But once that is done, I always felt that the rest of trip planning was half the fun of the trip.  Excluding airfare it is possible for 2 people to travel here for 10 days are so for less than $5000.  Probably even less than $3000 if you are a careful planner.  That means reading, researching, planning.  Not trying to see 5 big expensive cities, eat in Michelin star restaurants every night or buy half of Italy and ship it home.   A vacation should be relaxing.  Sure visit one or two sites or museums but this a great, beautiful country.  Some days it is just nice to ride around and simply take all the beauty in.

Okay show of hands!  How many of you see yourself in this email?  Yeah, yeah.  I thought so.  Now do something about it.  And stop raising my hopes that you are coming to visit unless you really mean it!  I am pretty much through begging people to come.  I will continue to remind everyone as our move date draws closer.  But time, unlike the economy, moves right along.

I am putting the soap box away now.  Here is the cute little mushroom I found in the yard.

lights in mss,croissant, olives 008

lights in mss,croissant, olives 009

It is about the size of a large pill.  See, you can just spend hours here on the farm looking at things and watching the sun move across the sky.  The days can be very full with ever leaving the property.



  1. sherrie and franco

    I can vouch for what Martha is saying everyone!! we came to Italy last March/April. we had a wonderful time.. it was a lot of work, planning and all but that was most of the excitment of the event.. we did travel alot which next time we are in Italy we won’t do probably.. but for our first time we wanted to see it all!! It you are even the least even thinking of going to Italy to see Ben and Martha, you need to just DO IT!! Tuscany is amazingly beautiful and when they move they may not be in Bella Tuscany anymore.. so you need to go now! Going at Christmas time would be an amazing time to go.. I would love to be there now to see the lights and really get into the Spirit of Christmas.. so.. you need to go to Italy people!!!!!!!!
    Ciao for now

  2. Fabulous. Although airline costs are dropping the cost of accommodation is a major issue (we strangers can’t stay with you). I’ve found a great alternative – stay in a real convent or monastery. Check out as they have acess to places all over Italy. The prices are reasonable (including their fee) and the feedback looks ok. Get to Italy no matter which way.

    Thanks John for this comment. I guess this validates the reason I wanted a blog, to allow more readers than the few I was sending emails to. Maybe ‘strangers’ will get to know us and feel like friends and then check to see if they can stay with us. And besides monastery stays there is a book called “Bed and Blessings” that lists convents also.

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