27 April 2008

a nice, soft landing...

...back to a beautiful reality! i missed those children & hounds. i missed our peaceful plot of land by the bay.it is good to be home with a heart-full of memories & a promise of the next time!

22 April 2008

for the pender crowd...

D. is having a grand time...speaking the language one word at a time...making new friends...even finding some work (just kidding!)...ci vediamo la settimana prossima (yeah, he said that!)

21 April 2008

when in roma...

after an unplanned weekend in firenze, arriviamo in romaguess, just guess who we bumped into this fine morning...il Papa!!he was busy for lunch, so alas we are off on our own again...a presto!!

19 April 2008

guess where we are now??...

some clues...be sure to scroll down for a very late love thursday post! ci vediamo in roma!

17 April 2008

love thursday...

oh, yes it is!! love is in the air here in venezia!...please visit the shutter sisters, keepers of love thursday.

16 April 2008

what's cooking wednesday...

oh, hons...you seriously did not think i was cooking today, did you?!? no, thank you very much! i much prefer to let sweet italian chefs prepare my scrumptious meals& other gorgeous italian men plate the food& serve it to me! in that spirit, i am officially callin' this a what's eating wednesday (apologies to shan!...love ya, hon!)!! recipes will resume after we return stateside. in the meantime if you should be hankering for a recipe today...please visit shan for the master list. if you would prefer a teaser of venetian culinary delights, keep scrolling down! buon appetito a tutti!!


14 April 2008

lost & found...

another lovely day getting lost in venezia (just a little bit~~)...& finding a new friend...D. & i had the wonderful opportunity to spend our midday with the delightful claudia of message in a bottle.she is a university student studying nearby. i am so glad that she commented on piacere last week, letting us know that she was free today. we ambled around the streetssoaking in the beauty...her english is perfect & she was so patient with my paltry stumbles through italian! D. & i thorougly enjoyed her company & her generous sharing of knowledge.on a different note, some business...if you have emailed me since we arrived & i have not responded, it is because we were having difficulties. it appears i have solved that dilemma. if you were trying to call us, well, that was an issue but D. took care of that one too. please check your email for the update (i hope)! if you work at pender (you know who you are!), D. sends a big 'shout out'!!

13 April 2008

where in the world...

...venezia~~ a BIG sigh of relief this evening! you know the travel drill~~ hurry to the airport...wait in lines...sleep on planes...ha! sleep~~ not so much. this is me...blogging after 36 hours of uninterrupted awake, a few flights, a few train rides, problems with our ATM cards, & phones that are not working~~ so be kind to poor ol' piacere if the spelling & grammar are a bit~ ahem~ off! tomorrow is another glorious day & the camera is indeed working, so for now i will leave you with a few highlights of our first day in venezia...

12 April 2008

tom petty was right...

the waiting is the hardest part!& so out comes the laptop...it is time for some airport live-blogging!
frances, would you believe that D., my official flying hero, waltzed up to the raleigh-durham ticket counter & put us on the earliest flight outta dodge. we are at JFK~~ hours & hours earlier!.., but i don't know how to let you know & so i will just settle for waving wildly back at you as i sip the starbucks & have hours stretching before me to chat with D., people watch (lots of fun in airports!), & of course, play with my laptop & camera!sabine, you know that 'thirteen' theme coming up...would you believe they put us in seats 13b & 13 c! but no, i did not think to use that for a photo op. next flight maybe! & what does D. do while i blog & read & photograph strangers waiting at airport gates? well, he goes all hi-tech on me!up next...some light reading & lunch (or is it dinner, central european time?)...
travel contest...the prize~~ your name in lights! guess what D. was doing in that store??

11 April 2008

going, going, gone!!...

we are out the door!!

...see you on the other side of 'the pond'!

i hope to be able to post from venice on sunday or monday...ci vediamo la settimana prossima!

09 April 2008

overheard...wise words edition & a perfect spring vegetable...

person addressing my child: "do you want to hear the truth..."
my child's wise response: "well, i don't want to hear a lie."
sounds good to me!
what's cooking wednesday?? ha! i bet you thought i forgot about this in all the travel excitement...well~~ you're wrong! D.'s parents will be here any minute (they are staying in boyworld, lucky them!) & tonight it's pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes &...
roasted asparagus
clean asparagus...wash thoroughly & snap the tough ends by bending each stalk & allowing it to break naturally
place asparagus in a roasting pan with olive oil
finely chop 2 large cloves of garlic & place over asparagus
sprinkle with ginger (fresh, if you have it), fresh ground pepper & sea salt
dash soy sauce & a bit more olive oil over all & toss well
bake for 10-12 minutes at 375...remove & stir...bake another 10-12 minutes or until tender...enjoy!

08 April 2008

catching up (on awards)...& counting down...

many, many hugs to you for the prayers. our friend's memorial service was last night & it was a beautiful celebration of her life, washed in many tears & wrapped in many hugs. this part of life is for me the hardest & yet i still look toward it with awe. may she rest in peace & may her family find peace & much comfort in these days.
time for a pick-me-up here at piacere! jackie...do you see a trend? it takes me nearly a full month to graciously accept my awards! please tell The Fixer that this is my very favorite bloggy award ever~~...i only hope that i am able to live up to it! at the very least i'll try.
& finally...with each tick of the clock this week the excitement is building! D. is mostly just shaking his head at my high energy flurry of pre-trip activity. really it is a very good thing that we did spring cleaning during lent, or else i would be at it again. i tend to channel my uber-energy in to things like that...no closet or drawer is safe around me right now! is my backpack packed?? well, not quite but all its contents are obediently lined up & ready. D. has received his final laundry call for packing. my trip notes are organized. passports stand ready.

venezia e roma...here we come!!

06 April 2008

heavy heart in the midst of spring

D. & i spent friday evening visiting one of our first friends here in north carolina...his partner of many years had finally given up her struggle with cancer. she was truly one of the most courageous persons i have ever known...enduring more than most people i know in such a short time.she was a brave soul with the heart of an artist...it was hard to be there surrounded by her beautiful creations & collections & not see her amongst them as we had done just a few evenings prior. it was hard to see our friend struggle in his new life...moments when his heart wanted to say a word to her & then his logical mind remembered that she was not sitting with us on the couch. i could see the stabs of grief in his eyes~~ his once-right world turned upside down with a new vocabulary. now he clings to his faith & friends...to the love they shared & the memories born of that. please, keep B. & M. in your prayers through these hard days.

04 April 2008


waffle update...our sweet adopted penguin waffle has said goodbye to her 2 chicks. they have officially begun life on their own! mike reports, "Chick weight is so important that we weigh the chicks before they leave the colony. The chicks will not sit still on scales, so they are dangled by the legs instead. It looks unkind, but it does not hurt and it is quickly over. Anything over 3 kilograms is a good weight, and the average weight for the chicks at our Chilean and Argentine colonies this year was 3.2 kilograms, so they should do well." please be sure to visit mike at seabirds.org ~~~ (photo: chick being weighed courtesy of mike)i have launched a new photoblog with sabine (another member of she who blogs)~~ snap2days. april 1 was the official first post (no joke!) & we are having the best time. please stop by for a visit & be sure to leave some feedback. lissa recently proposed the project & paired us...her help to us has been extremely valuable. thank you so much, lissa! (be sure to check out lissa & susan's 2lives photoblog too!)

new friends on dogblog!! my friend L., not to be confused with the Elusive L., sent a pug-nacious photo my way...too cute for words!
bathroom, before & after!!!i am so relieved...
& finally the countdown to italia...1 week to go!!!!! i'm just trying to keep my feet on the ground before boarding the plane~~~~~

02 April 2008

chocolate...must have some!!!

from Easter Sunday through most of last week there was an abundant, fortunate flow of chocolate through casa piacere, but by the weekend some people (ok, it was mostly me!) were digging through Easter basket grass in search of those overlooked pieces. you know those pieces...the ones no one actually chooses on her own, but the same ones a desparate, starved chocoholic will settle for in a pinch!
saturday afternoon i had finally had enough...later that evening was the neighborhood girls' night & i knew with absolute certainty that i would make something chocolate! & because girls' night can be a bit on the late side (i really am a morning person), i decided to work in some form of coffee too. & because booze is fun for girls' night...kahlua seemed logical! the end result...
mocha madness brownies (originally found on epicurious, my adapted version)
preheat oven to 350 & butter/flour a 9 X 13 pan.
melt 1 c. unsalted butter & 6 oz. unsweetened chocolate (i used baker's) over very low heat or in microwave. allow to cool after completely melted.
beat together on high speed 4 large eggs, 2 1/2 c. sugar, 2 t. vanilla, 2 T. ground espresso (i used lavazza...NOT instant!), & 2-3 T. kahlua until thick & pale (a good 5 minutes).
beat chocolate mixture into egg mixture.
sift 1 1/2 c. flour, 1 t. baking powder, & 1/2 t. salt together & gradually add to chocolate mixture until just blended.
spread mixture into prepared pan & bake 30 minutes. these brownies are moist & chewy...store in an airtight container. serve them to your girlfriends often!