Sunday, July 31, 2011

Why oh why does the Ipod Touch not have a Zoom?
There in the distance is a very small bull
Today we took the girls to Sevilla/Seville, Spain.  It is truly a gorgeous city with some of the most breathtaking architecture and that smells very much of horse droppings and purple flowers. The girls got very quiet at the cathedral and really seemed to appreciate how different this church was even though they have been living in church central for some time now. We were stunned by beauty. Wanna see?

The road signs are bad in Italy, but Good Gazpacho they are really confusing and absolutely awful here so every trip we have to add on an extra leg of getting lost time, but you can see from the photos that we covered a lot of ground. Poor F seems to be eternally trapped in a game called Find the Estrogen  because between the three of us females there is always some girly moment of hungry hormonal hilarity happening. They don't even pronounce H's in this country. H-0la.

Are you gonna get us ice cream?

On the way home we stopped at El Puerto Santa Maria to go to a fabulous vegetarian friendly restaurant called El Arriate where we had fried, breaded guacamole croquettes, artichokes with red pesto, falafel with yogurt sauce, grilled veggies and the best smoky creamy cold tomato soup of this century on this planet in this solar system. Plus caramel rum cheese cake and grandma abuela's chocolate layer cake for dessert plus four spoons and a fight to the finish.

I can't help how cute I am in my new hat.
I wish I had a hat.

I miss meat. . . . Not me. . .
We ran after this couple and accidentally got in their wedding video. . .
As far as we know there is no bathroom in that whole building.
We hate vegetarians here!
I love you almost as much as fried guacamole

Saturday, July 30, 2011

eso es todo
Today we tried the swimming pool in Valdelagrana where we lived out day two of our house switching festivities from Lucca to Spain. The life guard who was more interested in guarding the life of this one particular senorita a little more than the rest of us let us know that we had violated some rule having to do with our hair. I didn't want the girls wearing hair elastics because they get their locks all knotted up, but he seemed to say we had to wear our hair up.  That is when I realized that none of the other girls had their hair up, but they did shower before entering the pool. Elastics back off and we got our hair wet. We went in the pool. Senor life guard came over and told us we had to use elastics. I know this because Spanish is Italian spoken while eating saltines and whistling. But none of the Spanish girls had to. Then I figured it out. We had American hair cooties. So now the girls and I call hair elastics AC bands.

The life guard can only watch one body . . . like Bay Watch but creepier

Hey, aren't I doing a good job at watering and feeding Greta?

Greta and T then put on a "diving show" which fascinated several of the Spanish girls who then began doing their own dives and looking back and me and F to see if we appreciated their prowess, which we, of course, did.

After a lunch (of whole wheat and protein, K says to Greta's mother) we went to the beach. I took a long walk on the silky sand, kicking through the super clear water. T managed to get three jellyfish bites, bump her elbow, skin her knee and get bitten by a very cute boy. Hold up, the boy was four.  And the boy was someone I was drawn to. I asked the father if I could do Bioenergy treatments on him. And then I made friends with Carmen his mom.  Rodrigo has Apert syndrome which involves malformations of his skull, hands, feet, jaw and face and has had surgery on his webbed feet and on his skull.
Rodrigo was named for a great champion
Carmen says he is her great blessing

Rodrigo's dad said to me that I will give energy to his son just like his son gives energy to him. That's when it hit me. Energy is love. And love is God. And so for me the math is very simple. And Rodrigo thought T was delicious which nobody can deny.

Arrivederci, Brooklyn!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Viva la Valdelagrana
We had no problems with our flight. Los switcheros left a huge air-condition equipped car at the parking lot for us. Greta is on antibiotics from before but I have that situation under control along with her five small meals with whole wheat and protein and her sun protection etc etc etc (are you reading this Bridget???:))   We are going in search of  UV shirts for the girls today since it is 90 degrees in the shade. The apartment which is Paco and Maria Angeles' vacation home is small, but the mattresses are fabulous and it was clean, clean, clean so I'm happy. The beach is not crowded like I expected and the sand is super soft especially under the sea with perfectly clean aquaman colored water and a wide, long concrete boardwalk where all the families stroll late at night when all the little cutie-cute stores are lit up with inexpensive tourist goodies.

A large latino Bart Simpson bounces children out of his mouth. . .

There was a problem improvvisto in that our house switching buddies didn't realize that we were vegetarian (my bad) and so left us a long list of meaty, fishy restaurants to try because there are NO OTHER KIND here. But a sweet lady in a clothing store recommended to my Spanish/Sign language laden question with a recommendation to try one of the nearby restaurants.  I asked the cooks and waiters who were smoking a cigarette before opening time at 9 PM whether they could oblige us. They stared at each other with their mouths aghast and then tried to contain their bemused mirth and amusement. Then  they made us the best veggie paella of our young lives. Plus the sangria "were'nt bad" neither.
Behind me was the "cuteness train" where children ride along the boardwalk. Choo choo!

Even cuter WITH sangria!

There is also a gigantic pool and two tennis courts for the apartment complex. The girls have been advised that I have taken T's insults that I am not adventurous or playful enough (when I am not shopping which I have been banned from doing until January) seriously and they have to guess what dare I am going to take to rectify this situation. Stay tuned for the answer to this Scooby Doo mystery . .

Yesterday we went to the closed down Vodafone store, but today they re-opened and so we are reunited and it feels so good.
Mmmmn Paella!

Arrivederci, Brooklyn!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

technical difficulties
It is 3:45 AM right now. The apartment we are going to in Spain later this morning is actually not hooked up with Wi-Fi. The ad actually said Hi-Fi, which helps not at all.  We will try to get vodafone, or at least have an internet cafe. OOPS!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dancin' for my life!
We are frantically packing for Spain and cleaning the house and getting it ready for Paco & Maria Angeles. Meanwhile, I have been trying to figure out my work life for when we get back. 

Well, I am going to work at that happy, Happy Gym twice a week entertaining the moms who bring their kids to a children's class at the same time. The pay is less than I was hoping for, but at least the gym is in walking distance (25 min.) from my house; the vibe is relaxed; and I don't have to bring my own clients with me in order to get paid. It will suck during rainy season, but lots of things are suck-ish during rainy season.

Therefore, I guess I will bid adieu to the Peacock (see earlier post) because what gym makes you have to bring in your own students and fires you if you can't?

Plus I'm going to offer classes at the house for the lovely, lovely women who belong to an invite only facebook list of expats called Lucca What (Women Having a "Time Out"). By "time out," I  don't think they mean a punishment for naughty toddlers but rather fun evenings out. And I will invite my friends that work at stores in town. Yeah, it's totally illegal but what am I -- living in the movie Footloose?

 I started treadmill dancing before Tracy Anderson did, but she did all the work to publicize it places other than Body Reserve Gym in Park Slope, Brooklyn, so she gets the credit.  Here is a piece of my morning workout:

Monday, July 25, 2011


Watch, friends, how this blog practically writes itself. 

You've no doubt heard of Diddy's white party where all of his guests at the Hamptons had to wear white. Well, we did something like that today for energy practitioners in Arezzo. It was, sadly, not like this:

F and I have no white clothing due to the fact that we spent three months killing fleas in them (see post from Dec. 2010) so I had to wear my wedding dress. I trusted F to buy his own outfit at OVS, the discount store. Big mistake.  Not only were his pants off white and his shirt a size too small and wrinkled, but he had to sew the pants and needed no less than three consultations on what color underwear to select. In summary, we looked like good candidates to work on the Good Humor Ice Cream truck.

We joked in the car going up that if it rained, everyone's underwear would show. Of course not only did it pour, but it was freezing. Imagine three dozen spirtual type individuals dressed in thin white cotton frocks, clawing over the teeny coffee maker and snatching up any scattered throw blankets. Not pretty.

Let me backtrack. Fabio and Adriana invited us to visit them at the convent where they live and work for their teacher and spiritual guide  and his 200 to 300 monthly visitors.  They met in Romania, where Adriana was born, and where the yoga that they were practicing back then was illegal and had to be done under a different name. He gave up yoga for meditation, but she is still teaching and I had hoped she could one day teach at our center if we get it going. They are not the only volunteers at the convent, but they do a lot of work serving up meals, and welcoming everyone, getting them to their rooms, and maintaining the grounds.

Here are some photos of the convent which housed the Francescani monks in the 15th century, including the awesome Harry Potter like library and the Alice In Wonderland gardens, complete with talking squirrels.

His expression says: A white party, really?

Be quiet, squirrels!
I am the mayor of crazy town

The common dining room

Me and my Simka
Lovingly, I must somehow convey to you how many jokes F and I shared today on the theme of the 1970's television show Taxi.  All I can say is that for some reason Fabio and Adriana remind us very much of Latka and Simka played by Carol Kane and Andy Kaufman on that show.  Here is an excerpt, in case you need reminding.  Unfortunately, the only good scene I could find on youtube was the one where Alex Rieger played by Judd Hirsch tries to get Simka to go to her immigration meeting despite her having horrible PMS. Again, let me say how much I love and admire Adriana, and so it is with love that I share this memorable Carol Kane moment which is a combination of her voice and me at that special time of the month (start at min. 2:36):

At the white party we got to observe a workshop called "family constellations" which is family role play therapy. The therapist guy explained for more than half an hour what could be summed up in three sentences:

1. Some schmuck gets chosen to be IT.
2. He has to pick someone from the group to play his mother.
3. Let the chaos ensue.

Throw me from the train!
The therapist picked a guy to be the patient and then proceeded to barely disguise his rage that this individual claimed to have no parental issues that needed addressing.  He forced this poor man from a functional family to choose the only woman with visible gray hair in the room to play his mother. This woman has had more anger issues than the lead in Throw Momma from the Train and she proceeded to monopolize the session with her own rage for an entire hour and a half.  We only got out of there because I raised my hand to ask the therapist a question, and when he called on me I thanked him for the beautiful experience and got the hell out of Dodge.

Man, it was cold.

Where's Diddy?

Who's your Diddy?

I can't believe we didn't get in the jacuzzi.

Arrivederci, Brooklyn!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Under the Tuscan Sun my Ass
Mi scusi, I'm just a bit exhausted at the moment.

Where was my frolicking through the fields collecting herbs or having my cute barebacked Italian gardener collect herbs for me while I supervised the restoration of my villa and sipped on something cosmopolitan and gossiped with my best-friend-neighbors as the children hunted for truffles and bounced sunshine off their shiny, smiling faces? Well I'll be darned if I know.

Today I was teaching lots of bored little children-- whose level of English speaking remains a mystery to me -- how to shake their little behinds. The first hour was for little three year old tots and the second hour was for older kids around double that.

Actually, it didn't go badly.  Luckily, Zara and I had T and her friends to help us out. It seems that the cable necessary to work the sound system was stolen by the Summer Festival and so we had to improvise all of the songs acapella.  And the bathroom didn't work. Which was bad because I had to pee the second I got there and I was not alone in that sentiment. Also due to the lack of music, we had to completely redo the whole lesson plan and make up a lot of stuff then and there/li per li.

Also F, despite having passed the practice tests with flying colors, failed his Italian driver's license test by getting 3 more wrong than they allow.  And he was bummed all the porca vacca out. Now he has to wait at least a month to try again.

So Arrivederci Brooklyn . . . and Frances Mayes can put ointment on my down yonder mosquito bites.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When the momma's away . . .

the cats will play! While I was off planning and choreographing with Zara for our trial English language movement class for kids yesterday, Greta, T and their new friend from Canada found common ground in fashion, makeup and her fab wig collection.  Of course it was T who wanted them to walk around town in dress-up and F who tagged along behind them.  Some confused Lucchese people probably thought Comix came early this year.  Afterwards they had a sleepover party. I think there may even have been some sleeping involved as they didn't look in bad shape at breakfast. 

Today I went around to the Guess store where the employees enjoy yoga lessons during their lunch hour on their second floor every Friday.  I offered to give them my exercise class for a low price and the lady took my number.  They are all size zero to fit in the teeny tiny Guess clothes I guess (!) so I can't really saying anything negative about their current exercise routine except that having fun while you exercise never hurt anyone.

Arrivederci, Brooklyn!