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After two weeks away and a corrupted external drive, I am b-a-c-k.   Thank goodness for MozyHome online backup service or we would have lost a lot of precious photos and music.  It was pretty painful to restore gigs and gigs of data over an ADSL line but at least we didn’t lose the two years of photos that I neglected to backup to DVD.    I highly recommend this service.    

I spent a few weeks up at Aviano Air Base performing my Air Force Reserve duty.  It was my first time performing duty as a reservist.  I had been a member of the Air National Guard in the United States for over 20 years.  Yes, I was 10 years old when I joined.  It was also the first time I worked with active duty people as a member of their team.  I have to say, I was pretty impressed.   They are professional and motivated.  These people regularly deploy away from their families for up to a year.   When I asked any of them about this time away from their families, a grim look flits across their face but not one of them complained.  They accept it as part of their job.   Amazing.

I enjoyed the time away but I did miss my boys, my house, my stuff, my bed.   It was like taking a break in a little slice of America.  The Base Exchange has all my favorite products and the commissary had big tubs of peanut butter and maple syrup.  I was limited to what I could bring back in the suitcase.    In fact, I had to end up carrying my combat boots and low quarters because my suitcase was 6 kilos overweight.  Oops.  

On the middle weekend, I took a trip to Verona.  Wow, what a beautiful city.   The weather was perfect on that Saturday.  It wasn’t too hot or too cold.  I was torn between wishing Luca and the boys were with me to utterly enjoying the peace and tranquility of the day.  I took a nice long walk around the city stopping at various interesting places.  I went into Juliet’s house (as in Romeo and Juliet).  At least “they” claim that it was the house of the Capulets, the powerful Veronese family to which she belonged.  It’s been a long time since I was so thrilled to be a tourist.  I think all women must keep a bit of their romantic girl hidden inside. 

The city is of Roman origin but feels mostly medieval to me.  It’s beautiful.  (Did I say that already?)  It’s one of those cities that make you think, “I could live here.”  People ride bicycles everywhere.  It’s so strange to me that in the more northern regions of Italy, people ride bikes while down here in the south they insist on driving their cars everywhere (fast and badly).   The contrast between the north and south is stark.  The north is orderly, tranquil and clean while the south is crazy, disorderly and loud.  It’s also full of life.  The south has a certain spark of life missing up north.   It’s hard to say which I prefer.   That’s one to think about….

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Strangely, we didn’t get a lot of visitors in Bloomfield, Connecticut.   Hmmmmm….

Once again, I’ve been remiss about posting regularly.  Again, I think I have a fairly good excuse.  I’m away for two weeks with pretty limited computing capabilities.  Most of you can pretty much figure out what I’m doing.  Same thing I’ve been doing for a few weeks a year for over 20 years. 

We had a great week last week.  My folks, Dad and Kathy, visited and we did a LOT of sightseeing.  I’m eager to write and post photos.  Alas, no access to photos.  I’m lucky to have this clunky old computer in the lodging lobby to use.  

As I mentioned, Dad and Kathy came over to Italy for a week.  Unfortunately, they had the voyage from hell, arriving in Roma instead of Napoli due to a flight cancellation.  Naturalmente, their luggage did not arrive with them.  They then needed to take a train from Rome to Salerno.  Since it was Easter weekend, trains were booked for several hours.  They finally arrived at our house around midnight….about 10 hours later than expected.  We needed to ensure that they had a good week or they might never come back! 

Their luggage arrived Sunday evening in Napoli.  Luca and I went to get it.  I’d get into the details of that saga but I’m still tramatized.   I’m not the only one, either.  After Luca was through with her, one of the lost luggage agents left.  Let’s just say that we were frustrated with the bureaucracy and stupidity.   

Saturday was a recovery day for them from the epic journey.  We went to the market to shop for Easter lunch.  We planned on cooking agnello (lamb) which is the traditional dish with roasted artichokes and sauted fennel.   I also made una torta di arancia.  This is an awesome recipe that I’ll have to post for you.  There I go, talking about food again.

Luca’s brother, Romeo, his wife, Valeria and our little topolino, Greta joined us.   It was wondeful to have a house full of people.  The weather was sunny so we ate in the garden.    Totally Italian!

Easter Monday is a holiday off from work.  It is typically a day for barbeques and picnics.  Luca claims that the weather is lousy every year.  It WAS cloudy but we decided to go off to the beach anyway.  The kids, big and small, played on the beach and we relaxed until it started to sprinkle.  We returned home for another big lunch and it was time to relax for the rest of the day.

For the rest of our sightseeing, I’ll wait until I have pictures!    Until next time…