Monday, August 29, 2011

The City of Romeo and Juliet

On August 24th Hunter and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in Verona, Italy-courtesy of our children! They gave us tickets to see the Romeo and Juliet opera in the arena.
This was a once in a lifetime experience. We spent the day on a walking tour throughout the unique city stopping at fountains, churches, Juliet's balcony, the town market and a coffee shop where Hunter had the "best in his life" espresso. After the many sights and our day's exercise we returned to our hotel and donned our evening wear and taxied into town for a lovely meal in an outdoor restaurant. Our first ever opera didn't disappoint and we thoroughly enjoyed the tradition of candlelighting before the performance. Thankfully we knew the story so even though the Italian language was unfamiliar the sets, costuming, and beautiful voices combined to make this a wonderful memory! Never would we have guessed 40 years ago when we said "I do" on a hot August evening in a little country church, we would be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary in Italy! One can never guess about the future but simply know it may just tuck in some unexpected adventure into the fabric of life.

The arena

The coffee bar

One of many interesting sites

Juliet's balcony

Delicious meal

Ready for the opera

Opening set for Romeo and Juliet

Friday, August 26, 2011

Life's Irritants!

We spill grape juice on our best white pants. It rains on a day planned for the beach. We hit the car in front of us, a nice fender-bender, as we turn to quiet the screaming kids. Our cell phone blasts at 3:00 a.m. with a wrong number. The teddy bear birthday cake to serve at a birthday party in an hour falls out of the pan and smashes on the floor. Our husband brings a guest home for supper on a night the new casserole recipe burns, our hair is a slight shade of green from visiting a new beautician, and the washing machine over flows onto the family room carpet! Any of these situations sound familiar?

Life’s little irritants can become major volcanoes ready to explode at a moment's notice. I know because I’ve experienced a couple lately. The first “irritant” involved my computer-note no blogs for a while? A couple of weeks ago it simply stopped working-really- this had to happen in Italy? Thankfully, Steve has an employee who is Italian but speaks good English and he knew of a shop which provided “Apple” computer service. We took it in and in less than a week it was returned as good as new, for a slight fee. Yes, I was very happy until a few days later when an entire glass of red wine was accidently spilled on the keyboard! Now I won’t mention who was involved in this incident but suffice it to say it wasn’t me! As of this writing it is still not out of the shop. (I’m composing this blog on Rebecca’s computer.)

OK-irritant number 2. Many of you know that I have had digestive problems for 10+ years. The medical community has not been able to identify the causes. During our visit to the Netherlands I was able to have my blood tested for food intolerances and discovered I have 68 food intolerances-ranging from cow’s milk, including all related dairy products, to wheat and other gluten grains, beef and veal, and some common vegetables and fruits and even a number of spices! Oh, and don’t forget eggs! Wow-quite overwhelming-right? I guess I must prepare for a change in my diet, reading lots of cookbooks and making some new meal plans.

My recent devotional shed light on viewing life’s irritants.
“See not the small trails and vexations of each hour of the day. See the one purpose and plan to which all are leading. If in climbing a mountain you keep your eyes on each stony or difficult place, as you ascend, seeing only that, how weary and profitless your climb!
But if you think of each step as leading to the summit of achievement, from which glories and beauties will open out before you, then your climb will be so different.”
I also need to remember what Christ said: :My GRACE is sufficient for all your needs!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Netherlands

"Nederland" is a geographically low-lying country, with about 25% of its area and 21% of its population located below sea level, and 50% of its land lying less than one metre above sea level. Often incorrectly referred to as Holland, (North and South Holland are but two of the twelve provinces.) it borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east. Hunter and I have Dutch friends who recently opened their home to us and our "traveling tandem" for a week. Their generous hospitality allowed us the privilege of exploring Limburg, a southern province of the Netherlands, via a myriad of bike routes. This country is a bikers gem! Though clouds and chilly weather prevailed our adventuresome spirit spurred us on to back country bike roads proving not all of The Netherlands is flat! Once we mastered the system of bike roads courtesy of the internet and a local map we were "on our way". Yes, we managed to get lost a time or two, but our faithful GPS always pointed home. Next visit we plan to explore the flat lands around Amsterdam and the windmill area, which is in South Holland. In this country there is a never-ending network of paved bike routes tempting our tandem so we'll gladly return!

Friday, August 12, 2011

A day in Venice

"City of Water", "City of Masks", "City of Bridges", "The Floating City", and "City of Canals" are among the many names stamped over what we call Venice. New York Times once labeled Venice as one of Europe's most romantic cities. To have only a few hours to wander it's streets is akin to taking only a whiff of a hot cinnamon bun and not being able to sink your teeth into it's sugary juices! Yet to smell is still enjoyable.
Rebecca, Steve, Hunter, and I (without the children who spent an "action packed" time in on base daycare) drove to Venice on a Saturday and explored the narrow streets and alleyways of this fascinating city. Check out Rebecca's blog for photos. OHHHH such good memories!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Whether it's the first time we master a two-wheeled bike...

or the challenges and excitement of a tandem...

biking can be a life-long source of fun! Since arriving in Italy Hunter and I have taken two morning "trips" around Montegalda, the area near Vicenza, where Rebecca and Steve live. We've visited both a vineyard and an olive grove as well as simply peddle the rolling hills drinking in the amazing scenery. Sunshine and warm breezes have accompanied us along the way as well as being fueled by cappucino and plates of yummy pastries. Thankfully Hunter brought a hand held GPS to help us navigate the narrow roads. Getting "lost" is expected but home is "marked" and we eventually get there. Love the adventure!