Sandra Thompson’s 61 Birthday

Great!
Like I need a reminder!
I get home from a rough day at work and unlock my computer to check my emails and what pops up?

Sandra Thompson’s 61st Birthday is tomorrow!

Couldn’t they turn it around? Couldn’t I be just 16?
No that wouldn’t do at all. I had no eyebrows when I was sixteen. I’d shaved them off because David Bowie didn’t have any and I was (and still am) his biggest fan. He’s gone now of course, on a new adventure. I hope I see him again some day.
If I was 16 I wouldn’t have my beautiful daughter, I can’t imagine a life without her smile.

IMG_0851

I’d not have met my eccentric, quirky husband.

_MG_7531
Hey 61 is middle-aged now. I have a few years ahead of me still, and I intend to cram lots of good things into them.

I might be 61, but I’m not dead yet.

Advertisements

The R Word

work-retirement

For years retirement seems to be a long way away. Something you NEVER need to think about. Then all of a sudden you’re in your sixties. You still enjoy good health, but don’t quite have the energy you used to. Retirement is constantly on your mind because you don’t want to be too old to enjoy it.

All of those questions pop into your head.

“Do I have enough money?” being the biggest one!

Most folks don’t even save for retirement until they’re in their forties, if at all. Saving for retirement means admitting we’ll get old one day and none of us want to face that fact.

Let me tell you this, I’ve never thought about retirement so much as I have these past six months. Now, I believe I’m looking forward to it. Am I scared? Yes! I’ve brought in a pay check my whole life. What is it going to feel like when I don’t?

I have a pension, but will it last me until I die? What if something comes up that takes all of my money? There’s certainly a lot to consider.

There is also one other BIG thing to consider too. Death isn’t reversible so retire before it happens, and enjoy your golden years doing what you want to do!

Lanciano 2018

IMG_0759

Getting closer to setting foot in my our home in Colledimezzo. Of course I’ve walked through the front door before, but only as a prospective buyer. Now its ours. It’s the family villa. Our escape from the world. A tiny village in Italy, our dream.

Why is the title of the blog Lanciano 2018? Because we have no furniture yet. I’m too old to sleep on the floor. Our first trip back to Italy in March will be a working vacation to buy furniture and make the place comfortable. We’ll be staying in Lanciano, a place famous for the Eucharistic Miracle. To me the whole of Italy is a miracle and Abruzzo is the icing on the cake. It has everything anyone could ask for. Mountains, beautiful beaches, lush green countryside, olive groves, vineyards, and more to the point, wonderful, welcoming people. I wish I could retire right now, but we’re not rich, much of our savings was used to buy our little piece of paradise so now we need to work a few more years to pay for it. It’s a good carrot to have dangling in front of this old donkey.

Thank you Abruzzo Rural Properties and Monia Di Guilmi. You helped make my dream a reality!

download

Il sogno della pensione diventerà realtà!

Happy New Year

 

fuochi4We spent last New Years Eve in London with my favorite people. Husband (of course), daughter, son-in-law and their friend Rob! We had a blast. Special occasions like this are meant to be spent with family and folks you love.

This year will be a quiet one. Alone with a nice meal and a glass of wine. Can’t drink too much because I’ve had dental surgery. Don’t feel up to going anywhere for the same reason, but its OK. I’m living for the future and next year we’ll welcome the New Year in Italy with all my favorite people around me. And maybe a few I haven’t met yet.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could stay there.

Happy New Year Everyone!

 

Boxing Day Memories

Boxing Day Buffet 1
26th of December means two things to me. Family gatherings with cold buffet’s were our Boxing Day tradition, but first and foremost it was my mum’s Birthday! She’d have been 100 today!

IMG_0001
Here in the US, Boxing day isn’t on the calendar, but I take the day off work every year anyway, like I said it’s my mum’s birthday!

Families are a mixed bag aren’t they. Mine caused stress every year. Two brothers who didn’t get along must have caused mum endless heartache. The rift was too deep to ever fix. My brothers were always referred to as the “good brother” and the “bad brother”. The bad brother is dead now too, but he leaves behind a legacy of ruin and pain. Does anyone miss him? Who knows? I miss the brother he used to be when I was a kid, and before he turned bad.
Anyway, its boxing day, my mum’s Birthday, and I just want here to be remembered. Phoebe Ethel Newman, rest well in Heaven – we always remember you. Love You!

2017 – The Incredible Journey

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_399e

Christmas is almost here and the year almost over. What an incredible year it’s been. I spent last Christmas in England with friends and family. Took a trip down memory lane. The New Years Eve fireworks in London were amazing.

July took me to Naples, Capri and the Amalfi coast. My yearning for a better, slower life in Italy became overwhelming.

August found me in Abruzzo looking at homes and discovering a beautiful area I’d never visited before. The Chieti province of Abruzzo is bursting with beautiful scenery in its perfect position between the mountains and the Adriatic. Sitting on a hilltop is Colledimezzo, my second home.

It’s a long time since I was this excited about anything. My whole family shares that excitement. Now from afar, I’m conducting an orchestra of contractors who are putting the final touches to our new family home. With the help of Monia, our realtor, we’re turning a lifetime of dreams into a future reality.

It may be a while before I retire, but I’m looking forward to it now. The year of 2017  turned out to be an incredible journey.

Happy New Year to everyone. Make your dreams come true!

Decisions!

Grand Sasso-2

I’m not wishing my life away, but I am yearning to be in Abruzzo. I want to sip my morning Cappuccino and think, shall I drive to the mountains today? Or shall I dip my toes in the Adriatic?

Trabocchi2_Lars_gross

The Reason we Climb!

man-climbing-up-hill-to-reach-peak-sunset-77034017

By the end of the year I feel like I’m in the final few steps of climbing a mountain. Exhausted I push myself, one more challenge one more day. I’m longing for time off work to spend with my family. Every day becomes more difficult than the one before, but every day brings us a little closer to the summit.

Why to we do it?

Because we’re alive! When we reach the top of the hill we can see the sun set on the year and everything we’ve achieved.

If it wasn’t such a great year, we can watch the sunset on that too, and then watch the sun rise for the first time on a fresh new beginning.

I know I’m premature, its only December 14th, but for those of you struggling in the stressful holiday season, slow down and remember to look at the sunset.

 

Buon Natale & Felice Anno Nuovo

christmas-tossicia

Here it is again! December I’m talking about of course. The crazy month where we try to be everything to everyone and end up stressed, tired and happy all at the same time. I love Christmas, always have and always will, but sometimes I have to stop and remember what it’s all about. Most people seem to forget we’re celebrating the birth of a baby who (if you believe in Christianity) changed the world! I believe. I’m not a religious maniac, and I don’t even go to church, but I do believe in Jesus Christ. OK, that’s it with religion.

I’ve spent Christmas in England, Germany and the US and I have to say, the atmosphere is so much better in Europe. Not sure why, but you don’t plan Christmas there, you FEEL it. It seeps into your heart. Carol services in ancient cathedrals, traditional, beautiful. Next Christmas I’ll be in Italy, my first Christmas in my new home. Its going to be so special with my husband, daughter and son in law. A dream come true. Until then Buon Natale.

Me in the Middle

DSC03732

I’m the one in the middle. Always ready to laugh, always ready for fun. As a kid I was ALWAYS in trouble. I turn every situation into a story.

Other than my family, the important things in my life are writing and visiting Italy. I  finally realized my Italian dream and bought a house in the small village of Colledimezzo, which is in the Chieti province of Abruzzo. I’m just as pleased as punch. I have another dream to fulfill now, to make it as a writer.

My second book, Ghosts on the Sand, is almost finished. I’m working on the last short story in this compilation. It’s called “The Engineer” and is a tongue in cheek black comedy set in Italy. Watch out for my new book and help me achieve my writing dream. Who knows, maybe you’ll enjoy it.

SandraBookCoverGhostsOnTheSand

Previous Older Entries