Archive | December, 2012

Happy New Year!

31 Dec

At this time of year, many people focus forward – setting goals and making resolutions related to diet, health, exercise, work, relaxation, education, finances, etc. In our extended family, we were fortunate enough to take time to celebrate the present, and in particular, the sisterhood of generations of strong and vibrant women in our family.


Yesterday at brunch, four generations of women, aged seven weeks to 90, shared hugs, stories, laughs, and memories, accompanied by great food and wicked mimosas. (Our wonderful spouses weren’t included, nor would they have wanted to be!)


We toasted one another, and those not with us, as we celebrated one of our greatest blessings – the love we have for each other and the strong bond that ties us together. And of course, there was never a shortage of hands to hold the new baby!


IMG_6946IMG_6966IMG_6985 IMG_6960 IMG_6955 IMG_6943

IMG_6940 IMG_6947IMG_6929Our Italian grandmothers, and my mother, would have been proud – all of us at one table, and, of course,  all talking and listening at the same time. An Italian skill handed down from generation to generation. Tradition.




While looking forward is a great thing to do at year’s end, taking time to appreciate and celebrate the present is incredibly uplifting.

To my aunts, sisters, daughter, cousins, and nieces, you rock!

And to all,

may your new year be filled with love and

may you make time for special times with family and friends.

Happy 2013!

Felice Anno Nuovo!



Buon Natale!

25 Dec

To all of our family

and friends far and near

We wish you peace, health and joy

At this special time of year.  

Merry Christmas!

IMG_0131 - Version 2


Judy, Len and Benita

Cortona above the fog!

22 Dec

One of the most beautiful things about Cortona is that it is situated on a hillside at an altitude of over 1600 feet. This elevation provides amazing views of the valley below, called the Valdichiana. Looking out from Piazza Garibaldi, you can see Camucia, the town at the base, as well as Lake Trasimeno, the historical scene of Hannibal’s’ ambush of the Roman army in 217 BC.



Even on a cloudy day, the views are endless and incredible, but the winter views sent to me by my friend Pat were totally unexpected, and in her word, spectacular! My photos from last summer and Pat’s from last week were taken from the same vantage point, Piazza Garibaldi.

Valdichiana in the fog - 18 Dec 2012 4

Valdichiana in the fog - 18 Dec 2012 2

Valdichiana in the fog - 18 Dec 2012 1

Valdichiana in the fog - 18 Dec 2012 3

As Pat explains, “It happens quite often in the winter.  Camucia is in thick fog, and as you drive up the hill to Cortona, you suddenly come out of it into a different world.  It’s like being in an airplane above the clouds. Spectacular!”

With gratitude to Pat for sharing, truly spectacular, indeed!



Christmastime in Cortona

15 Dec

I just finished addressing our 2012 Christmas cards and am delighted that we now count among our friends several people we have met in Italy. Having the opportunity to befriend locals has enabled us to more fully embrace the Italian culture and is also the reason we consider Cortona our home away from home.

Although I have many photos of Cortona in the summer, I have wondered what Cortona looks like dressed up for Christmas. Fortunately, my friend Pat has obliged me, and offers the following:

These photographs … were taken on different days and always at about six/seven o’clock, so you can see for yourself how quiet Cortona is!  It will liven up on Christmas Eve, or perhaps even on the Saturday before …when people who have moved away for work or family reasons come back to spend the holiday period with relations still living here.

Natale 2012 Piazza della Repubblica

Natale 2012 Piazza della Repubblica

Natale 2012 Piazza della Repubblica

Natale 2012 Piazza della Repubblica

Natale 2012 Via Nazionale

Grazie, Pat, for the description and these most enjoyable photos! With all the locals warm inside their homes, I’m sure the delicious aromas from their cooking are filling the open spaces.



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