Primavera

I enjoy my daily afternoon walks, especially on days like this. The weekend snow has almost disappeared. Trees are blossoming and flowers turning their heads towards the sun. The end of winter is in sight. If only we could wash COVID away with the snow. So tired of it. I heard there were a couple of cases in our village today, I hope they’re not serious. I really want life to be normal again.
Can you remember what a normal life was like?
Stay safe everyone, and let’s look forward to spring.

The Ups and Downs of Life

Beautiful Colledimezzo

COVID is messing with my head and I’m sure I’m not alone.
The English strain of the virus is becoming a problem in Abruzzo, particularly in the province of Chieti, where I live. This means we’re back in the red zone, and I can only leave my village with a self certification form, and a good reason. I understand but wish people would follow the rules and be a little more cautious. We need to beat this virus and get back to a normal way of life.
My surroundings make confinement bearable. I had a beautiful walk today. The view lifted my spirits.
Yesterday my daughter told me she’s booking her flights for the end of the year. Not safe to consider international travel until Christmas at the earliest, but it gives me a whole year to look forward to seeing her.
Who’d have thought we’d still be battling this? I have a bottle of Champagne in the fridge which I’m keeping for the day we’re all free again. I may drink it all to myself.
Stay safe everyone!

That Shopping Thing

There are lots of adjustments when moving to a different country. Yes, the language is the biggie, but also shopping. We have a small shop in Colledimezzo and larger supermarkets (supermercato) close by. Each supermarket has a butcher, baker and fresh produce section. When I say fresh produce, I mean local, probably from the ground to the supermarket in the same day. Delicious.
Occasionally I visit Lanciano, the closest large town, and shop in Oasi. Oasi is a ipermercato, and sells everything. Their deli, fresh produce, bakery and butcher’s section is fantastic. The choice and quality is amazing.
At first shopping was exhausting, but now my shelves are stocked with familiar items, or their Italian equivalent, its a more relaxing process. I can’t run to different towns on a regular basis because of COVID. So for now, I’m making do with the necessities.
I’m longing to visit my favorite kitchen shop in Casoli. It’s called Miranda and sells pots, pans and various kitchen gadgets. My favorite linen store, Punta Bianco, isn’t far away. I can barely wait to wander around the shops in Pescara, (and maybe have lunch by the Adriatic) or browse for home goods in Maison’s du Monde.
Patience is a virtue and I need to count my blessings, but I never thought I’d miss shopping so much.

More Time to Walk!

I was lucky enough to work for a great company before I retired. Loved the people I worked with and miss them terribly, but I was always juggling my time. When COVID hit and we began to work from home it was even more difficult because mornings ran into lunchtime, afternoons ran into evenings and before I knew it the day was over.
Weekends came and went in a flurry of paying bills, cooking, shopping and before I had time to rest it was Monday again. Of course it was even more frantic for me towards the end of my working career because we were selling our home too.
Now I’m finally retired, and living in Italy. My time is my own. A few chores, maybe a little laundry…then I can go for a walk, read, write (I will get that book finished eventually).
The other amazing thing is, I really don’t have many bills to pay. I lived in the US for 25 years and seemed to be constantly shelling out money. Property tax, gas bills, electric bills, homeowners insurance, car insurance, umbrella insurance, the list seemed endless. I hadn’t realized how expensive it was to live in America until I left. Of course I still have bills to pay, but not many.
Now I spend more time in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes. I walk daily, sometimes twice. My joy of photography has been reawakened.
At the moment, I’m restricted because of COVID, but next year at some point, road trips will be possible. Short breaks visiting different areas. Hopefully I’ve got ten good years in me before I’m decrepit, so I’ll make the most of them, retirement is a good thing. If anyone reading this is contemplating retiring early, do it!
Now I just need my daughter to visit and things will be good! Go away COVID and let us live again!!!

Soothing the Troubled Mind

I’ve retired to one of the most beautiful places in the world. Unspoiled natural beauty. I’m surrounded by caring, friendly people, but every now and then and my troubles surface. The COVID numbers terrify me and I miss my daughter in Colorado. Yesterday my heart ached to see her so bad I contemplated just booking a flight and showing up on her doorstep. I took a long walk to think things through. Flying back to the US would be silly, a risk! I was unsettled because Italy is on a partial lockdown. I felt trapped! The walk helped clear my mind. This will pass!
COVID won’t “magically disappear”, but it will be controlled eventually, and life will return to normal. Let’s hope the new normal is a friendlier and more compassionate place.

Keep Stepping!

Keep on SteppingA couple of years ago my husband gave me his Nike Fuel fit band. I loved it. He’d moved onto something better, but the Fuel was great for me. It was simple, tracked my steps and it was also comfortable and easy to wear….until they stopped making it. I’d become addicted to tracking my steps, which isn’t a bad thing, so purchased a Fitbit. UGH! I tried three different types over the last couple of years and they were nowhere near as good as the fuel. Finally, the last one I owned slipped off my wrist in the supermarket and I didn’t even try to find it! I was over it.

Unfortunately, as sad as it is, I stopped making the extra effort to exercise and walk. Nothing was holding me accountable. Yes, I admit it, I was cheating myself. Yesterday, determined to get back on track, I bought an Apple watch. It seemed the most logical thing to do. I have a Macbook Pro, iPhone and iPad (yes Apple are taking over the world), and they’re so easy to use. So far so good. After one day I’m in competition with myself to get in my daily steps, use my elliptical and generally beat the machine on my wrist!

Never thought I’d need to feel accountable to a computer…..but I am. I’m not ashamed of it either. I’ll use what I can to keep myself fit.

Keep stepping folks!

 

FitBit Free and STILL ALIVE!

I’ve been fitbit free for a whole week and guess what……I’m still alive. I did a three-hour hike/climb (seven miles) at Castle Wood Canyon last week without counting my steps and lived to walk another day. I’ve had an extremely busy work week, with no lunchtime walk, but my fitbit wouldn’t have changed anything. Life and exercise back in my own hands. I’m no cyborg, I’m real. I’ll walk today, my usual three miles, and I don’t need a fitbit to tell me how far I’ve walked….FREEDOM!

By the way fitbit, had you made a wrist band that didn’t fall off your wrist so easily, I’d still be hooked, and probably buy a new one when my Alta finally died. However, your wrist band is so lousy it came loose and fell off constantly. At over a hundred dollars a pop, that really isn’t acceptable, just saying!

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Breaking the Habit!

Nike

How many steps have I done? Got to reach 10,000 – no wait, let’s go for 13,000! Oh no, forgot to put on my fitbit, got to turn around and go home to get it.

Does that sound stressful to you?

It all started with the Nike Fuel. My first fitness tracker. I really enjoyed using it. All I wanted to do was track my steps and try to walk five miles each day. It was simple to use, fairly nice to look at and it served its purpose well.

Unfortunately, just before mine needed replacing, Nike stopped making them. Rumor has it that Apple poached their experts. I had to find a new way to track my steps, (well I didn’t have to, but it had become a habit). I invested in a fitbit! The first one I bought was the Fitbit Flex. Didn’t care for it at all. The band didn’t display as much info as I needed, plus it got me hooked into recording everything I ate, drank as well as logging my sleep patterns. I used it for a while, but spent too much time at my computer, inputting my life.

Next I bought a Fitbit Alta. I liked the display on this one. Steps, miles, calories. It also buzzed when my phone rang, or when I got a text! Then there were the competitions….. Was I the step leader for the week. YES! How was everyone else doing? How many miles can I do before noon. Yes, it made me get up and walk, but really, shouldn’t I be doing that anyway? It was synced with my phone and I checked it WAY TOO OFTEN.

Last night, while packing my grocery shopping in the back of my car, I went to check my steps. OMG! SHOCK! HORROR!

My Fitbit wasn’t there! OK calm down! I went back into the grocery store and looked around, checked the parking lot, checked my purse, my shopping bags, my car! My heart was beating fast. How many steps have I done?

I drove home, wondering if I should stop off and buy a new one in Target or Walmart so I didn’t miss recording too many steps!

Wait a minute, stop right there!

I’m almost sixty. I’ve managed to walk and exercise without being reminded, for my whole life. Why oh why is this a problem? I chuckled to myself as I drove home!

When I got out of bed this morning I didn’t immediately rush to find that ugly piece of plastic and put it on my arm. It felt good. I’m looking at my little gold bracelet that I haven’t appreciated in months because it’s always been hidden. I’m still walking! I’ll still exercise and eat healthily. Not checking my steps every twenty minutes means I have one less thing to worry about. One day I’ll get an apple watch, which will be much more difficult to lose because it has a sensible strap with a buckle, but I’ll buy it when I’m ready. For now I’m going to enjoy life and be FITBIT FREE!

This Fitness thingy!

My husband tired of his Nike fuel band. I knew he would. He works out every day and doesn’t need a wrist band to tell him how well he’s done.

I, on the other hand need some encouragement, so I re-set the band for my use. That was two weeks ago. I don’t know if it’s the best thing I’ve ever done, or the worst thing I’ve ever done. I have it set at 10,000 steps and my fuel is set at 2,500. I walk two and a half mile most lunchtimes (scared not to because Nike is monitoring me), and meet my Nike Fuel goal everyday. Yes, I know, I’ll have to increase it again. It is a little harder to get 10,000 steps in every day if I don’t do my lunchtime walk, like today.

When I got home from work I was 5000 steps short, and felt guilty, so I donned my tennis shoes and walked through my beautiful neighborhood. Take a look at my reward.

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I also made a new friend. She walked with me for three miles and eventually I called the number on her tag for her owners to come and get her. She was very good company.

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Now my brain is cleared of the clutter from my day at work, and I can settle down and work on my next book!

Dead of July – A German Ghost Story

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Last couple of days n Roma

It is early evening and I couldn’t walk any more even if I wanted to. We had a late breakfast this morning and then set off on a walking/shopping trip. We are pretty familiar with the city now so don’t need to check the map quite so often. We headed down towards the Trastevere district, stopping off on the way to buy some more tracky bottoms for Lester, oh and some more socks, apparently the ones I bought him a couple of days ago were so good he wanted more. We stopped off for coffee and cold drinks in a little sidewalk cafe and amused ourselves watching four German women turn up on bicycles in a flurry of chatter and chaos. They then proceeded to order beer and wine…..hope they could still handle their bikes.

My camera was like an extension of my hand as usual. Glad Lester is so patient as he had to keep stopping and coming back to find me.

We headed towards a wine shop where we tasted and purchased some Italian wine. A couple bottles of dessert wine and some local Dry wine.

Then back to the hotel and a shower. You need to shower and change at least twice a day here, it is so hot.

Now it is almost six o clock, we shared a salad and pizza, drank a couple of beers, and I have an ice cold Frascati in front of me. I could not walk another inch. I am too relaxed to move (also my feet are screaming stop). This place is fantastic, but it certainly wears you out, the temperature even now is around ninety degrees, and the humidity is off the scale.

Wish we could come every year. I need to continue writing, sell some books and make my fortune so I can retire here………a girl can dream right?

Oh and by the way…….forget the Ducati, I am buying myself a scooter to ride to work in the summer, can’t wait. Used to ride them in my teens and seeing them all here made me realize just how much I miss them.

It is now 7:00 pm and we are still sitting outside our hotel . Lester is reading and I am watching the world go by. Can’t read at ten top of Via Veneto, too much going on, even on a Monday. Scooters and motorcycles are speeding by, there is an old, but immaculate Ferrari Dino parked across the road. All the lights from the various restaurants are coming on as dusk sets in. I am going to miss this!