A Full Moon Shines on my Waiting Game!

Last night I donned my mask and ventured out. I only walked about two hundred feet or so, to the bottom of my daughter’s street. There was no one close to me! I was vigilant and moved if I saw people heading in my direction.
The moon called me, well not literally, but when I looked out of the window I couldn’t resist stepping out to take photos. I hadn’t realized we were experiencing a lunar eclipse. I watched people with cameras set on tripods, or using binoculars, as they picnicked and enjoyed the view. I wish I could have joined them, but my covid test was still positive yesterday. The line is fading slightly, but still there.

The moon shines down on my waiting game. I hope the wait is short! I love being with my daughter, but I want us both to be covid free. She has a big family vacation booked in Maui in June, and I want to return home to Italy.

Send us both positive vibes everyone.

Stay safe and keep a smile.

My Covid Story – Beautiful Denver

My daughter proudly showed us around her new house. It was lovely. A huge balcony opens from her bedroom and overlooks Sloan’s Lake. The view at night is magical. Downtown Denver illuminates the skyline and along with the moon, and shimmers on the lake’s glassy surface. We managed to stay awake for a glass of wine, and then retired to bed. My husband was snoring in a matter of minutes, me…not so much, but I did sleep a little.
The following day was beautiful and I took my first walk around Sloan’s Lake with Princess Tess, the family pup. Still feeling jet lagged, much of the day was spent relaxing in the garden. My son in law was traveling for work, but made it home briefly, before flying again the following day. On Monday I had some documents to take care of for our upcoming house sale, and then Joanna left for an overnight in business trip in Houston. My good friend came to visit, we had lunch (fish and chips) and caught up.
Tuesday is when my husband began to feel ill. He had a fever and went back to bed. I assumed the “travel cold” had him in its grip. It’s not unusual. He seemed better the following day, but still had the sniffles, and a bit of a cough. It didn’t go away as quickly as normal.
The rest of the week was a blur of getting things done, seeing old friends, shopping for things we can’t buy in Italy, celebrating mothers day….and that is when I started feeling ill, mother’s day. We’d tested my husband for COVID earlier in the week, just in case, but the test came back negative. On Mother’s Day, because I felt ill, I tested too, negative.
Tuesday May 10th is a day I won’t forget.
“Mum, I’ve tested positive for COVID” I think you guys have COVID, you need to test again.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
My husband tested first…a very definite positive. I tested positive too. I was scared, angry, and ashamed. We’d traveled from the USA to spend three lovely weeks with my daughter, but instead, we’d given her COVID. It took a long time for my anger to subside. Finally I came to terms with it, but for the rest of the day I walked around in total disbelief. I cried a lot!
We had to quarantine of course. My son-in-law, who tested negative couldn’t come home, and stayed with a friend.
I contacted everyone I’d seen since arriving in Denver, and let them know I’d tested positive, so they could watch for symptoms. What about the people I’d been close to in stores and restaurants? When did I become positive? Yes, this alone kept me awake at night.

My husband seemed to have had the worst symptoms. I had a weird rough feeling in my throat/chest, fuzzy head, sniffles and a bit of a cough. I was tired too. My daughter coughed, sniffled and was tired. She wasn’t able to concentrate on anything. Didn’t even venture into her beloved garden to see how her veggies were coming along. This was not what I had planned for my first return visit to Denver. I was miserable, angry, and overcome with guilt.

I’m begging you all to be more vigilant. If you get a cold, always suppose the worst and test for COVID. If you see someone who has a cold, and they’re not wearing a mask, move as far away from them as you can. Be aware of your surroundings. Some situations are unavoidable, such as passing through airport security, but be as careful as you can. Getting COVID is not fun, but giving it to your daughter, is a nightmare. Luckily we all have a fairly mild dose, and my husband got his first negative test yesterday (we’re doing three before flying), but it could have been much worse.

Take care everyone, this isn’t my usual type of blog, but I hope you learned from it.

My Covid Story – Crossing The Timezones

We moved to Colorado in 1995, so have made many International flights to Italy over the years. It’s the place we love to be, and retirement to Italy was always a dream. Finally our dream became reality, so now our flights are back to the US to see our daughter. In our younger days our bodies were a little more tolerant of International long haul flights, but now we’re older, it takes much longer to recover from jet lag. Our flight from Rome to Denver crosses eight time zones. That, coupled with our aging bodies being trapped uncomfortable seats, was making long trips a chore. About five years ago we began requesting upgrades at the ticket counter when we checked our luggage. We were always lucky and managed to upgrade to business class for a good price. It made those long trips much more comfortable. Pretty soon we realized if we watched the prices avidly, we could purchase business class tickets in advance, as cheaply as premium economy, so thats how we fly now.
I still get a little annoyed when waiting to board a flight. Regardless of the fact that everyone has a ticket showing their seat number, they like to push and shove to get ahead of you, the flight from Rome to JFK was no exception. People act so entitled, especially in first or business class. It irritates the hell out of me. Anyway, I digress…
Our flight from Rome to New York was comfortable, peaceful and relaxing. The Delta flight crew were attentive, but not obtrusive. I don’t enjoy flying, but this was as good as it gets. We arrived in New York fairly relaxed. Because New York was our first port of call in the US, we had to go through passport control before picking up our luggage. Next we had to walk through customs with our belongings, before rechecking them for our next flight. Once our cases were checked, we had to pass through security.
Not good! It was hot, crowded and although the airport staff were trying to keep everyone under control, it was very unorganized. We were packed together like sardines…very few people wore masks. COVID was a distant memory it seemed. We were very relieved to get the process behind us.
We had a long layover in JFK. By the time our flight was called, I was exhausted, and hadn’t a clue what time it was. We’d already crossed six time zones and about to cross two more. The flight from New York to Denver was full and it took a long time to board. Eventually we took off.
I tried to read during the flight, but struggled to stay awake. The aircraft was cold. I asked for a blanket, but they didn’t have any. The low temperature was making my husband visibly uncomfortable. He sometimes gets sick when he flies, we call it a travel cold. It comes on quickly, makes him so ill he has to go to bed, and then disappears. We blame it on his low white cell count, which makes his body slow to fight infections.
He’s going to be sick, I know he is” I thought to myself.
After what seemed like an eternity we landed in Denver. We’d already cleared customs in JFK, so all we needed to do was collect our luggage, and hope our daughter was waiting for us.
Joanna found us before our luggage arrived. It was so good to see her. I hugged her as tight as my exhausted arms would allow.
It was such a good feeling to know we had three long weeks together. She’d have to work of course, but had taken some time off to be with us.
I was overwhelmed with happiness as she drove us to her new home.

I was so happy to be in Denver, I’d forgotten about the germ spreading young man on the bus in Italy, and the fact we’d been packed like sardines in the JF Kennedy Airport in New York. We’d made it, we were in Denver.


My COVID Story – A Lesson to All – Part 1

We booked our trip to the US months in advance and looked forward to spending time with our daughter and son in law. We were also eager to see their beautiful new home and ski condo. We’d made plans to meet with old friends and visit old haunts. We moved to Italy in summer 2020 and due to COVID, haven’t been back since. For almost two weeks prior to the trip we stayed away from crowds to avoid the chance of getting COVID and being unable to fly. Pretty much isolated ourselves. We hadn’t even ventured to our local bar. My only indoor interaction with anyone was when I went shopping.
Finally, departure day arrived and we both tested negative for COVID at the local pharmacy, a requirement to fly. We were ready to go. Our friends gave us a ride to Pescara, where we caught the bus to Rome. We found a seat at the back of the bus, away from everyone, and made ourselves comfortable. Soon the bus filled up. A young couple sat on the seat in front of us. The young man had a mask covering his face and mouth when he boarded the bus, but as soon as he was seated he adjusted it so it hung from one ear only. He began to cough and sneeze immediately.
OK, it could just be a cold, don’t get paranoid” I thought to myself.
I turned to my husband to make sure he had his mask on. He did!
For the duration of the journey the young man (I guess he was in his late teens/early twenties), coughed and sneezed. The only time he wasn’t doing this was when he was exploring his girlfriend’s throat with his tongue. I perused the bus for a better seat, but there wasn’t one, so I kept my mask firmly in place and hoped for the best.
When we booked our seats I hadn’t realized that the route to the Airport had changed. This bus now went into Rome Tiburtina train station before Fumicino Airport, making the trip four hours long, not good with a germ machine sitting in front of us. The young man and his girlfriend exited the train at Tiburtina, but we’d been trapped behind him for almost four hours. A couple of times during the journey I had to pull my mask forward from my nose to take a deep breath. My husband slept for some of the trip, but kept his mask firmly in place, I know because I checked it.
Finally we reached Fumicino, where we collected our luggage and found a taxi to take us to the Rome Park Marriott, a short drive away.
The Rome Park Marriott is a beautiful hotel with glorious sunset views. We were both tired so after an early dinner we went to bed. The following morning I woke up excited because we were one step closer to visiting our daughter. After breakfast we took a taxi to the airport. Isn’t it always such a relief to get your bags checked? I did a little airport shopping (always a good offer on champagne in duty free), and then we sat in the lounge until our flight was called. Next stop New York.

This is part one of a three part blog. I hope you’ll stop by for the next two installments. I want you all to learn a lesson from my mistakes. COVID is most likely here to stay and we all need to be more vigilant.

Twelve Minutes from Downtown Denver

Note – This will be my last vacation blog for a while. I prepare my blogs two or three days in advance of posting, which gives me time to add things, and edit them. Since preparing this blog I have tested positive for COVID. My vacation has come to an abrupt halt. I suppose I could walk with a mask and keep my distance, but better not to. I’m vaccinated and don’t feel too bad, but just tired of this horrible pandemic and all that comes with it. Will it ever end?

Tess and I walked early this morning. Sloane’s lake was busy with people running, walking dogs before work and strolling with their morning coffee.
Tess was very vocal this morning, especially to passing pups, so I had to make her sit with every approaching dog. She’s small and cuddly, but for some reason, pretends to be aggressive, especially to the larger four legged passers by. I think she picked this up from Fendi, who was the first Thompson/Hogrefe pup. Fendi was small, but liked to make herself heard. She lived to a ripe old age, but left us last year. I miss Fendi a lot.

The tranquility of Sloane’s Lake makes it difficult to believe that Downtown Denver is only twelve minutes away by car.

A family of geese were enjoying the early morning sunshine, not at all bothered by the human presence (or noisy pups).
I watched a solo canoeist slowly glide across the lake’s glassy surface.
I’ll miss my walks around Sloan’s Lake. In Colledimezzo I usually walk in the afternoon, but maybe I’ll fit a morning walk into my routine instead, It is a great way to start the day.

Find your tranquil place and make time visit it often. You don’t need a dog as an excuse to walk, just do it for yourself.

If you want to read about Princess Tess, click on the link below. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B097ND34BF

Sloan’s Lake and The Highlands – Denver

While it was cool this morning, I walked around the Sloan’s Lake and Highlands neighborhoods. For those who know the area, I walked along 26th and turned left on Tennyson, then right on 32nd. This brought me to the Highlands, where I wandered past shops, bars and cafe’s. At 10:00 am it was lovely and quiet. My return route took me on Tennyson to Yates, passing beautiful homes and gardens on the way. Many of these old homes have been tastefully revamped. Most of the gardens are well tended and lush. The different home styles compliment each other. What a lovely area.
Now I’m resting a little, my poor old hips are stiff, hoping its something I can resolve without surgery…who ever thought getting old brought so many aches and pains. Still, glad to be alive and enjoying this beautiful weather.
Colorado was my home before Abruzzo and it is a beautiful place to come back and visit.

Explore your local areas and enjoy the best of your surroundings.

Stay safe everyone and make the most of today because you never know what tomorrow may bring.

Keep a smile.

Delicious Indian Food, Huge Trucks and Baby Geese

The days are flying by! It’s taken a week, but we finally got to satisfy our craving for Indian food. Every bite was heaven. Vegetable Samosas followed by goat curry, poppadoms, garlic naan, lamb marsala and mango lassies to go. Once isn’t enough! I think one more visit is on the cards before we return to Italy.

The drive back from south of Denver wasn’t fun, it seems the rush hour starts earlier now. I25 was packed with traffic at 3:00 pm. I’m not used to being boxed in by huge trucks anymore. It wasn’t scary, just annoying. I miss the quiet rural roads of Abruzzo. I took Princess Tess for a short walk when we got back. We came across a family of geese strolling in the late afternoon sunshine.

Despite wearing several layers of clothing my husband got really cold on the flight from New York to Denver. I knew he’d get sick. On Sunday, I started to cough and sneeze too. We both did the COVID test to be safe and it was negative, so we just have to patiently let the cold run it’s course. Probably the dry air of Colorado, the altitude and air conditioning isn’t helping. We’re used to the gentle humid air of Abruzzo.

Speaking of Abruzzo, even though we’re far away, our new home purchase is progressing. When we get back to Colledimezzo it will be full steam ahead with our packing. We’ll have a month before our furniture is loaded up to move to Teramo province. Exciting and heart wrenching times. A new adventure, but hopefully the last one.

What is on the schedule today? Maybe some more hot spicy Indian food to help kill our cold, or maybe a steaming bowl of pho.

Thats it for today folks. Thanks for following my travels and stop by soon.
Remember, stay safe and keep a smile.

May Daze in Denver – Colorado

When we landed in Denver last weekend the weather was beautiful. Then we had a cold snap, which isn’t unusual in this part of the world. Now the weather has settled in the mid to upper seventies and it feels so good.
I’ve been enjoying the best of Colorado. On Friday my daughter treated me to a massage at the luxurious Woodhouse Spa on 17th Avenue. When we got back home Jo stayed outside in the sunshine and worked on her front yard. That made me very happy because it seems gardening runs in our family. My mum spent hours tending her flowers and vegetables, and when I got my own home, it became my passion too. Now I’m thrilled to see the family tradition has trickled down to my daughter.
In the evening I met with my good friends from Western Union, the company I retired from. We had a long leisurely chat over drinks. It was so good to see them and laugh with them. I’ve missed them all.
Saturday was the perfect day for grilling and drinking Mimosas! I finally feel like I’m on vacation.
Today was Mother’s Day! I was spoiled rotten and enjoyed every minute of it. Especially the Mimosas with brunch at Bistro Vendome in Larimer Square Denver. One of my favorite restaurants! The weather was perfect. Afterwards we enjoyed a flight of wine outside Cru Wine Bar and people watched. Perfect Day!

Whether you’re a mother or not, I hope you had a wonderful Sunday.
Stay safe and keep a smile.

Sloan’s Lake – Denver – Old Meets New

Finally I slept well. Still getting tired early, not sure if it’s the altitude (Denver is at 5000 feet), or jet lag. I walked Princess Tess by 8:30 this morning.
The first two photos above show the different styles of houses around Sloan’s Lake. Old meets new, but all with heaps of character.
Third photo is my daughter’s new hobby, growing things in this amazing indoor garden. I need to look out for something similar in Italy.
The last three photos are, of course, Sloan’s Lake. The Rocky Mountain backdrop and the clouds reflect perfectly on the glassy surface. The geese rest peacefully on its banks, and the snow capped Rockies rise against the clouds.
Today was warm, I enjoyed a wander around the Cherry Creek shopping district and visited some of my old haunts. I looked at all of the pretty things I used to buy when I was still working, but can’t really afford now. I don’t need them. I have everything I need in Italy.
Finally I visited XOXO Salon and my best friend Rocco. He’s been styling my hair for around 20 years. After my “do”, we went for lunch and chatted about everything, just like we always used to.
Back home to Joanna’s and straight out for margarita’s. It is Cinco di Mayo after all.

I did a lot in just one day, but it was fun.

Don’t waste a minute of your lives, live like there is no tomorrow and always keep a smile.

Back to the USA

It’s our second day back in the good old US of A and we’re slowly getting over the jet lag. I went to bed at 9:00 last night and straight to sleep. Although I was awake at 4:00 am, I felt rested. I’ll try and stay up a little later tonight.
I decided to do some laundry today, so I bundled up all of our dirty clothes and put them in the washing machine…then stood back and laughed. I’d forgotten how big the washing machines are in the US. I need at least another couple of days worth of dirty clothes to fill its gargantuan mouth.
It was a rainy morning and a slightly overcast afternoon, but it made for a lovely walk around Sloans Lake with Princess Tess. I remembered to greet people in American today. When I walked around the lake yesterday morning I greeted everyone with “ciao” and “buongiorno”.
I forgot to tell you about my other mistake, I tried to purchase snacks in New York with Euros. It’s also tough remembering to say thank you instead of “grazie”
I’m still practicing my Italian every day while I’m here…but maybe I need to practice my American too!

Enough for now, hope you’re enjoying my little mishaps.
Have a wonderful week everyone and mantieni un sorriso. (Keep a smile)

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