Friday, August 27, 2010

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

I recorded this story (with assistance from Vito) a couple weeks ago. I read it to him all summer. He had to have it every day before going to sleep. We didn't have too many English books with us when we were in Italy, but this one trumped them all.

Since we've been back, he hasn't asked for it nearly as much, but I suppose we go through such changes in a life...

After nearly three years in Vacaville, we're moving to Santa Clara this weekend!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sicilian Something Or Other

A newsstand in Palermo, Sicily.
As we have done for the past couple of years, we spend most of our summer in Putignano. Upon our arrival this year, we rendezvoused with my parents at the airport in Bari (they had been traveling from England) and, after spending a couple of days with Angela's family and recovering from the lag, and then left on a road trip for Sicily. It took some time for me to process our trip, which happened at the beginning of June, but, on the eve of our return to California, I'm ready to let go.

First off, everyone got sick except for me. That might sound fortunate for me except that, once we had returned to Putignano, it was my turn to get sick. And it seemed to last forever. I don't think I have been completely healthy all summer until about one week ago.

Anyway, we were in Sicily for seven or eight days with stops in Messina, Taormina, Catania, Agrigento, St. Anna, Corleone, Palermo, and Cefalu. I won't go into detail, but you can see more revealing photos of part of our adventure on Flickr. It was almost too much ground to cover in such a short time, but such is touring. For the ancient Greek temple ruins, the historic city center and the Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Greci, the panoramic locale, excellent food, and the wonderful accommodations, Agrigento seemed to be the place the all of us really enjoyed.

The trip was memorable for many reasons; however, back on Italy proper, to break up the long drive home, we stopped in a little town called Pizzo. Angela managed to find us a spectacular bed and breakfast (I believe we were its first guests), which was a short walk down a very steep hill to a little beach. The town wasn't overrun by tourists, and we felt like we had the place to ourselves. It was quite peaceful with the swallows circling throughout the day, and a much-needed relaxing conclusion to our vacation.

In the evening, there happened to be a festival in the little community, which was a welcome surprise. The people were out in force (although it wasn't crowded), le luminarie (lights) were hung above the street, a procession marched an icon through town and people followed in prayer and song, fireworks illuminated the cliff that overlooked the sea and the town's little houses, and karaoke music blared until well after midnight. I've included some audio of the procession here to more deeply immerse yourself in the experience.

Among the new food that I sampled during the trip, I tried some new modes of eating gelato. One, the typical Sicilian breakfast, which is basically a kind of ice-cream sandwich, is simply a roll with a heaping layer of gelato in between. The other, something like what is pictured on the right, is called a Tartufo. I imagine that there are numerous ways to make it. The one I ate was a ball of two types of ice-cream and rolled in chocolate powder. I also found chocolate syrup and a candied cherry in the mix—something like ice-cream with a surprise in the middle—but it was delicious!

Now, the three of us return to California to begin the next chapter. We'll look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Carnevale Redux

Since my last post, we have been going to the beach every morning. We take Vito to summer beach day-school, and then we Fiat to our little spot in Monopoli. After a couple hours of sunning and swimming and such, we head back for lunch with the fam.

Widening the focus a little, Putignano is famous for its carnival parade. In fact, you can find more information about it if you drill down. Anyway, a few years ago, those who preside over such matters thought it would be a good idea to have a carnival weekend in the summer, too, and revisit all the good times from carnival. Starting at the beginning of July, it kicks off an already festive month.

About two weeks later, our church here has a festival, Santa Maria del Carmine, which wrapped up on this year on Monday. The first week of August closes out the celebrations with the festival for the patron saint of the town, San Stefano. Sadly, we will miss San Stefano this year as we are leaving one week from today.

For those of you who knew, I am still without work, so our plan is to return to California and continue looking. If you didn't know, consider yourselves informed.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Taking a Walk

It's Wednesday morning and I'm watching Vito ride his bike around the courtyard while Angela and grandma get vegetables at the market—every Wednesday to market! We purchased a little magic device that, inserted into a USB slot allows us to connect to the internet from here, otherwise I would have gone to town to use the internet cafĂ©, which is what I have been doing.

We've been here in Putignano, Italy since the sixth of June, with the short exception of a one-week circuit in Sicily with my parents who were here for a little vacation. We're actually living in a countryside house located between Putignano and Castellana Grotte where Angela's parents have a trullo.

On Sunday morning, Vito and me walked down to the chiesetta or the little church. You can see that Vito's wearing a sweatshirt, because the weather has not been spectacular. We've actually only been to the beach once since we arrived. Vito will start to going to the beach every day starting tomorrow with his cousins and another group of students who are all attending a summer day-camp. He will take a bus to the beach every morning and returning by lunch time. Vito met his teacher yesterday and is very excited about going to "school." Mommy and daddy are excited about having a little free time in the mornings.

Other than that, the job search for me continues. I don't have any leads and we don't know where we'll be in September, but we're optimistic that we'll be somewhere...

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

What's Shakin'?

Hard to keep up with time passing in the blogsphere. I don't have nearly enough time to keep up with such and such or so and so, much to my discredit. Nonetheless, in an effort to keep some kind of writing practice—one that fits my overly hectic lifestyle these days—I have started yet another blog, going strong for over a week now: Bob Marcacci's Scifaiku. It's really Hay(na)ku, but who's counting? Check it out if you're bored and looking for a better side of me.
"He did his work,—he did it nobly and well; and yet I sorrow that here he worked alone, with so little human sympathy. His name to-day, in this broad land, means little, and comes to fifty million ears laden with no incense of memory or emulation. And herein lies the tragedy of the age: not that men are poor,—all men know something of poverty; not that men are wicked,—who is good? not that men are ignorant,—what is Truth? Nay, but that men know so little of men."
- W.E.B. DuBois
"Of Alexander Crummell," The Souls of Black Folk