Healthy never tasted so good.

Recipe for health

Recently we stumbled upon a recipe on Instagram. Our nephew Joshua described a simple dish that we think is worth sharing far and wide.  Josh decided it was time to take some action with his general health. He needed an energy boost and a way to lower his cholesterol without taking meds. So, he developed this natural, organic miracle breakfast that you might find appealing—you know, “set your cork-a-bobbin’,” as we used to say in the midwest (an old fishing metaphor).

Josh and Yuri

In the post, Josh casually boasted about his 35 point reduction in cholesterol. His missive was quite detailed and got our attention. Hmm. Could it really taste as good as he says and be that effective? We fired off a personal message to ask Josh for the details. He graciously shared all the particulars without hesitation and even gave us permission to distribute it “far and wide—the more the merrier and healthier.” We named it the “Poet’s Power Porridge.” (He’s a poet and musician among many other rare and delightful talents.) So, here it is:

Poet’s Power Porridge

Before mixing

Every morning (or thereabouts), begin with boiling water to make one single serving of steel-cut oats. Whilst that yummy base is simmering on the stovetop, chop/combine the other 21 ingredients: walnuts, poppy seeds, black sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp hearts, flax meal, pine nuts, cacao powder, turmeric powder, ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, ground coconut, dried currents, plain yogurt, maple syrup/honey, maca powder, mulberries and a few blueberries perhaps sprinkled on top.

After mixing

Mix all of those crazy-tasty ingredients together with the cooked oats. Add a little almond milk to thin, as you like. And then, in a slow, respectful meditative rhythm that feels right to your body and Soul, take slow bites, savoring the distinctive co-mingling of all those tantalizing flavors.  As Josh says, “It ends up being a nutrient-dense start to your day (or later if you prefer), that can keep you fueled for up to 6 hours.”

So there you have it, a not-so-secret recipe for health, happiness and lower cholesterol, straight from the Poet’s mouth. Give it a try if you’re so inclined and feel free to spread the word “far and wide,” as Josh says. Any comments or testimonials about your experience will be appreciated.

Salute, (to your health!)
Cheryl, Emerson and Joshua

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Summers’ submittal

On a beautiful morning, July 1st, 1849 Dr. John Edward Summers, an Army physician was on duty at the Mission of San Diego de Alcalá. His task was to record the weather conditions at the post. So he followed orders, even though they were out of the ordinary, and submitted his findings to Washington. In doing so, he became the first official “weather observer” in what was to be the city of San Diego, California—in the United States of America. That simple action began a maritime tradition that would continue on into the future.

Urban Lighthouses

Fast forward 155 years to 2004. The beautiful city of San Diego had grown and changed dramatically. The twin residential towers called “Grande North and South” on Pacific Highway neared completion with a surprise in store. Artist, Spencer Finch, was diligently designing a special project for the apex of the architectural masterpieces. His vision harkened back through time to Dr. Summers, his fateful orders and the ongoing seafaring tradition of reporting the weather. The Grande sculpture became a modern-day “lighthouse,”  with a dramatic effect, visible for miles around.

Watercolors of the sky

In his own words, Finch described his inspiration and intention: “My vision was to create watercolors of the skies that would become a project of light and shadow in the sky at an enormous scale, thereby making the connection between the picture, the idea and the weather forecast.” His creation would tie directly to weather data, giving immediacy and accuracy to his ever-changing climate-predicting message.

Sunny skies tomorrow

To this day, beacons of light announce the upcoming weather. A plaque on a column at the Grande Towers bears the 2000 year-old saying: Red skies at night, sailors’ delight. Gray skies at morning, sailors take warning. Every evening the massive lanterns mimic the layered Pacific skies—with either an orange/red mesmerizing glow like a California sunset, (signaling yet another clear day of delight) or, both towers become a moody gray/blue/violet (if rain is in the forecast). A passing glance at the colors, orange or blue, communicates tomorrow’s prediction. Reporting the weather has never been easier or more straightforward.

Whether you’re an art aficionado, a weather enthusiast, or just wonder if you’re going to need an umbrella, you’ll love Spencer Finch’s Grande idea.

 

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Still Water

Still Water.

Discovering the Grande Towers and their maritime tradition, we were taken back to a storied time of our own when we battled “Will against will, with the sea.” Fifteen years ago seems like yesterday with fond and vivid memories for sure. We had decided to go on a week long sailing trip to Croatia with friends. It was unlike us, certainly not our normal routine, but we approached it as an opportunity—a very different kind of “workshop” that would certainly teach us something important about ourselves, since it would be so different than anything we had ever done or known. It did exactly that! [. . .]

The sun-filled city

Walking through the city streets to our favorite coffee bar is great exercise, but can become a challenge on a hot, sunny, southern California day. So we experiment with different routes depending on the time and the angle of the sun. It’s possible, with trial and error, to discover a route that stays mostly shaded with cool breezes. Always searching, we happened to glance right from Ash Street as we crossed the trolley tracks. There, to our surprise was a never-before-seen covered walkway tucked in-between some high-rise buildings and the tracks. The shade extended for a few city blocks, all the way to the historic Santa Fe Station in downtown San Diego. What? Are you kidding us? When did that happen?

10 column passageway

Strolling along our newly-found secret pedestrian-way, we came upon a series of 10 columns which were covered with literally thousands of handmade ceramic tiles, pieces and slivers depicting the entire history of San Diego. Just behind the Sapphire Tower, we discovered this “hidden” mosaic treasure. But they’re not just normal ceramic tiles—there were 40 people-size panels of intricate free-form mosaics with relief and incised carvings of objects, along with photographic images silkscreened onto some surfaces—people, places, horses, cows, birds, words, random objects, scenes, stories, dates, heroes and more, all mixed and merged into one grand 500-year-old chronological storyboard of this beautiful place as it became San Diego as we know it today.

Artist’s obscure signature

We were amazed and felt compelled to dig deeper into this surprising discovery. Who did this? Why? When? Reading the storied walls was an obvious place to start. However, finding answers to our questions proved to be a bit more elusive. To our surprise, hardly anyone knew much about the mysterious work of art. With the investigative help from a guard in the Sapphire Tower lobby, we started to piece the story together.

The creator of this detailed chronology is a local artist, Betsy K. Schulz. We first found her name by visually scouring the many clay pieces. There it was, carved in tiny letters on the outside edge of a panel, partially hidden by the adjacent iron fence. Everything we had seen and read, led us to the conclusion that she is probably very smart, clever, extremely talented, a meticulous researcher, full of energy, a consummate artisan and obviously very humble. Once we found her website, we could clearly see that she is all of those things that we imagined, and more. Her body of work is impressive and well worth a little SoCal surfing on the web to find.

Relief sculpture

This artistic masterpiece is just one of many that are tucked in and around the city, just waiting for an unsuspecting passerby to discover. We hope you enjoy our representation of her work, but also encourage you to take a meandering walk some beautiful day, (which could be any day in SD), and find this mosaic gem for yourselves. Perhaps you might glance over your shoulder to discover another hidden treasure tucked away in the shade of the city—snippets and stories about the “pillars of the community.”

“There are 8 million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them.” This quote is a nod to the “Naked City” series of the late 1950s/early 1960s, which happened concurrently with other events depicted on column #9.

San Diego Mosaics Gallery

By Betsy K. Schulz

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Upon further investigation, another semi-shady alternative route appeared on the other side of the trolly/train tracks. There was no intricate story depicted in mosaic tiles, but the walkway is a beautiful columned and lattice structure with red roses climbing skyward. Delightful. However, we did make yet another artistic discovery—lighthouses atop the Grande North and South Towers called the “Weather Report,” but you’ll have to wait a few weeks until that story is finished. Stay tuned.

Whimsy On The Lawn

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Gaudí Mosaics

We first went to Barcelona, Spain in our early 20s. Traveling Europe together on eurail passes, hostels and very little money, we intended to experience the cultures from an ordinary perspective and to see every architectural treasure we could get our eyes on. The ultimate jewels in that treasure chest lay in Catalonia where the famous architect Antonio Gaudí lived and died with his projects. That was the first exposure to his magical curvilinear mosaic world, and certainly not the last, as we returned many times in the coming decades. We just couldn’t get enough! Created out of broken pieces of china from nearby factories, they too tell rich stories about the history of a place—Barcelona, like San Diego has centuries to talk about.

Colonia Güell Chapel, Barcelona
Barcelona by C&E

This is the second “breadcrumb” we’re leaving along the path that we call “Toward the Light” of aging. 

Let’s face it, no one is exempt from growing older. Some changes may be subtle, while others are more drastic and obvious. This series of posts called “Breadcrumbs” is an attempt to find our way in and through the aging process, while continuing to mature and develop further. So, as we meander and stumble along this trail, we’ll drop as many breadcrumbs as we can. Perhaps, as we follow the clues left by other wise Souls, we too can find our way “Home.”

David Bowie

David Bowie left us all too soon, but certainly seems to have poured his heart and Soul into living Life to the fullest. He created countless moments of meaning, whether through music, film/video, performance, or painting that continue, beyond his physical presence. As we hike our trail, our path, one of Bowie’s clues about life resonates with us. 

“Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.”

For us, that short quote carries an extremely important message, basically turning Life upside-down. Rather than feeling as though we are losing cherished pieces of ourselves (disintegrating), he’s suggesting that we are intentionally and painstakingly examining what remains. He suggests that our true Essence is the Pearl we seek. We open and shed that which is unnecessary or no longer needed—eventually letting go of anything and everything that isn’t our “Essential Self.”

Mark Nepo

The poet/philosopher Mark Nepo speaks about this pursuit, this process of life-long “Pearl-essence” in a different, but poignant way when he says, “Like a comet worn to its center by the time it reaches Earth, the gravity of our journey leaves us bare and unadorned as we reach the simple, enduring center where all souls meet.”

However we choose to envision and articulate this life, the process remains the same. We simply consider it the never-ending work of the Soul—the journey of a lifetime. 

Thank you David and Mark! 

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Out of the Block
This story is about breaking out of social molds and constraints. We felt as though we were sculpting new lives for ourselves and wanted to capture the joy of creativity, the tireless commitment and the surprises that result from such an effort.

Letting Go
With much to consider, our conversations settled on the idea of letting go, and how important it is for us to move on and release that which can no longer serve us—no matter what stage of our life.

Libra is Latin for scale or balance and in ancient Rome became a unit of weight (around 12 ounces), the forerunner of the pound. As the 7th sign in the Zodiac, Libra represents someone born between September 23rd and October 22nd, who may harbor a fixation on balance and harmony. A true Libra may be obsessed with symmetry and strives to create equilibrium in all areas of life.

Equity is also reflected in the familiar symbol for fairness—the blindfolded goddess, Lady Justice, holding the scales of equality. She symbolizes the judicial system’s obligation to one and all, blind to prejudice and bias. Her only focus is balance and equilibrium, conjuring a notion of competing or opposite forces—equally strong. Balance can also refer to emotional stability or calmness, as in, “It took me awhile to regain my equilibrium.” The idea of balance is a practical and symbolic aspect of everyday life.

We were born under the signs of Sagittarius, the archer and Taurus, the bull. Yet we’re curiously drawn to the fundamental value of “balance.” For years, we had a framed picture on the bookshelf of the sketch by artist/sculptor Alexander Calder called “Tightrope Artist,” which served as a playful reminder for the importance of maintaining balance in all that we do. That doesn’t mean for a second that we’ve been able to achieve this illusive quality, but we keep trying.

In a stroke of genius in 1931, Calder broke through the established notion that sculpture was solid, static and stationary by reimagining it as light, delicate and dynamic. Voila! Suddenly the “mobile” was born—many smaller forms leveraged against larger ones. Not only was his sculptural work balanced, but usually swayed in subtle motion, ready for bolder action. 

Calder – Untitled Standing Mobile

Calder’s reinterpretation brought the element of poise into play. Most of us probably understand that balance is essential in our lives, but also feel that balance alone isn’t quite enough. In addition to stability, we find ourselves striving for an even more anticipatory stance—dynamic, poised for action. Like a Calder mobile, our balance is free-floating, with slight movement nearly undetected—awaiting action. With Calder’s shift from “stabile” to “mobile,” stationary balance became the prerequisite for the shift to movement, potential change and graceful possibility.  

Years later, we found an old scale in an antique shop. It hung over the stairway in our former home and now resides in the living room, suspended above the sofa as a hovering reminder of equilibrium, justice and fairness. We like the simplicity of it—rustic and ordinary. It seems perfectly straightforward, with no delicate calibration needed. It’s just a basic everyday scale, suspended on twine and easily gaged at a glance—in balance or out. Simple. The slight turning with the breeze, catches our eye to nudge sweet memories of scouring salvage yards for treasures, as well as being a symbol of that never-ending pursuit of balance. It also serves as a nod to Calder’s mobiles.

Calder mobile at the National Gallery

We’ve decided to keep the Calder sketch and the rustic antique scale as reminders of the basic need for balance and equilibrium in our lives. Yet, we continue to be fascinated with the notion of being poised for action. Alert and at the ready, we wait and watch with quiet anticipation, imagining our very lives to be similar to a dynamic Calder construction. Will there be a dramatic sweeping movement or just silent subtle shifts, drifting slowly in the breeze of inspiration? We’re eager with anticipation. After all, isn’t Life a series of balancing acts, of repeated efforts to regain equilibrium? Let’s examine the possibilities. Let’s weigh the options.

 

Lines Blurred

Ever heard that statement? Someone decides that he/she has reached some sort of limit, set a boundary, stopped an affront. Before that moment, supposedly all options were on the table. When lines are blurred, sometimes even an individual can’t be clearly defined. So setting boundaries is a healthy practice, right?

So then, what’s the difference between a boundary and a wall?

Sharp Contrast

That simple question triggered an unexpected hours-long conversation with us. We started talking about the importance of setting appropriate “boundaries,” defining individuality, privacy and important limits. We talked about how creating clear “edges” can improve relationships. These kinds of boundaries tend to be created in words, body language, expressions, personality and social constructs. The rub is that the very idea of clear boundaries begs the question of staying “open” to interpretation, remaining flexible. Black and white may be too much contrast. In other words, at what point does a healthy boundary actually morph and solidify into an impenetrable wall? Often a clarifying boundary can become an unintended barrier—harsh and unforgiving, resulting in a loss of communication and community.   

Walls are physical structures, that allow passage by permission only. Our homes are constructed of physical walls, defining and protecting our lives inside. They make us feel safe and secure. 

Fences Between Neighbors

Robert Frost says in his famous poem, Mending Wall, that Good fences make good neighbors . . .” But this line (often quoted out of context to suggest the value of division) is actually lamenting a lack of connection and intimacy. The opening line of the poem is Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it . . .” So Frost is actually saying that a wall is unnatural, that Nature will eventually erode the man-made structure and break it down. He imagines asking his neighbor, “Why do fences make good neighbors? Before constructing a wall, maybe, Frost imagines a more pertinent question that he might ask of himself, What I was walling in or walling out? 

Openings Between Walls

Maybe if we develop strong personal definitions, we actually don’t need physical walls. It’s only when someone oversteps a personal value, that we respond by erecting something stronger, more visible, obvious. We might see and hear the symbolic walls being constructed, in a door slamming shut or someone retreating to another room of the house. If we respect an individual’s personal edges, perhaps walls would be totally without merit, un-needed. Maybe walls could be relegated to just shelter and safety, rather than barrier status.

26 Seamless Schengen Countries

Before Europe became the European Union, travel between countries was more arduous. Border crossings were comprised of agents checking documents to control who was let in or kept out. Then, suddenly, borders were open, especially in the Schengen Area, the world’s largest visa-free zone, made up of 26 countries. The agreement created seamless movement between member nations for residents and visitors alike. Roads had always continued between neighboring countries, but after the agreement, the arm and check-point that “sealed” the country in, was simply removed (or abandoned). There may have been a few geographical edges of countries, but for the most part, countries flowed from one to another. Nature didn’t stop at the outline of France to become Italy. (Although the famed French baguette seems to have been denied entry into any neighboring country.)

So, perhaps well-defined personal edges and open borders are really what makes the world a better place—something to talk about together.

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Credits
Schengen and Featured image courtesy of the internet commons. Drawing by M.C. Escher
All other photos/drawings/music by authors, or purchased from Canva

Thomas Bayes

Start with a flat-out guess about something. Imagine the probability of your guess being right on. What are the chances? Or perhaps your guess is a little off. Which is it? Why? Return to the question. Add information. Watch closely. Observe objectively. Gather evidence. Then modify your original assumption based on what you just learned to create a new and improved model of your original guess, or at least a better-understood, more refined version. Easy-peasy, right?

This method was developed by Thomas Bayes, a brilliant English mathematician and theologian (1702 -1761). The “Bayesian inference” is an inspired model of thinking—of being “rational.” How radical!

The Thinker by Rodin

“Bayesian thinking” can be applied to whatever subject or topic you want—engineering, philosophy, sports, walking the dog, or life in general. You begin with a question or assumption and then basically add more information to your starting point. Your first thoughts are formed with what you already know—your “prior” information, your basic concept, your preconceived thoughts. Then as you add more information, you rationally “update” what you know. As you gather more and more facts, you can’t un-know them. So, you’re wise to keep adding information, despite the fact that your original assumptions may no longer be valid. Your basic data-base expands, your knowledge-base grows and you get  more objective, more effective and much more rational!

Bayesian Pop Culture

Today’s popular following of the “Bayesian model,” has simplified the whole idea, as you might expect. That simplification has resulted in a 3-word slogan, which of course, can be easily printed on T-shirts—”UPDATE YOUR PRIORS!” That concise phrase is meant to encourage everyone to constantly evaluate their knowledge (their personal data-base), fold in current observations, and with those adaptations, create a new and expanded baseline of information—an ever-expanding view of the world!

The little Thinker

So why are we talking about this today? Well, quite frankly, Bayes’ idea, stripped down to the bare essentials, has actually become a critical part of living life in the 21st century. In fact, our 4-year-old granddaughter already has her version of the theory down pat. She isn’t unique,—just observe any young person you know. Every day she’s making new observations and assumptions about life, language, feelings etc. and immediately putting them into practice. She doesn’t labor over the new details that are challenging what she thought she knew—she just casually takes each new understanding out for a test-drive. Then, she observes and modifies accordingly. Simple, right? She repeats this process over and over from dawn to dusk. Her ability to learn and adapt occurs at lightning speed, leaving many of us in the proverbial dust of our own habitual thinking.

We, on the other hand, have a tendency to function in a very un-“Bayesian” way. Start with a preconceived notion, then work like hell to make everything conform to that way of thinking. If, by chance, we encounter ideas that just don’t match, we try to figure out how we can manipulate others’ thinking to prove our point. The kicker though, is that many other people are doing exactly the same thing at the same time. Hence, we have a world full of competing agendas, anger, waste, wars, death and destruction, to name just a few nasty by-products of inflexible, non-updated thinking.

Albert Einstein

Perhaps we have simply failed to UPDATE OUR PRIORS! Albert Einstein took this idea to an extreme when he said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Basically he’s saying that closing our minds to rational observations can only lead to a “Ground Hog Day” of the same assumptions and results. Life is far more dynamic than that. Very few things stay the same. So, okay, okay. We’ll UPDATE OUR PRIORS, already.

Seriously, Thomas Bayes had an important idea that raises many critical questions about life. In order to be “rational” we will “UoP.” Creating that simple habit can have profound positive cultural, national, global and personal implications. For us, we’re starting with the world of information where we have some personal interest and control—the world within.

Credits

The featured image at the top of this story was courtesy of Dr. Trevor Bazett
All other images are part of the internet public commons or purchased from Canva

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We wrote another story several years ago called “Free Advice” that you might want to check-out. It deals with the topics of “social-correctness,” “spontaneity” and “truth.”

Coffee is an integral part of Italian culture.

Intreccio

Every morning begins with an espresso, a cappuccino, or a caffè macchiato (an espresso, stained with milk). A fresh pasta, pastry, typically accompanies the coffee. Just those two simple ingredients constitute collazione, breakfast. There are coffee bars in almost every town, even tiny burgs where there are few, if any other shops. We’ve enjoyed the simple ambience of many and how they must compete for the loyalty of locals. Now that the Tokyo olympic games are over, we thought it would be fun to conduct our own little competition for the best Tuscan coffee bar this season!

The criteria for judging this play-off has been established as follows:

(1) best espresso—duhh?

(2) friendliest barrista/staff 

(3) yummiest pastries—whether made in the back room kitchen or brought in daily from a nearby pasticceria, pastry bakery

Sara waiting to go for coffee

(4) best dog treats (Our ever-present doxy, Sara insisted.)

And since we’re reasonably sure that we’ve visited just about every bar in Tuscany at least once for the past two decades, we consider ourselves “expat-experts” of sorts.  

Three outstanding bars made it to the last round of the competition after extensive discussion and debate. The finalists are: 

Bar Cesare in Florence, definitely excels with its in-house pasticceria. Their sfoglia con ricotta, crispy-layered pastry with sweetened cheese, are so delicious that it jostles memories of the famous cartoon dog who floated mid-air with delight when he was given a dog treat. But alas, Bar Cesare offers absolutely NO dog treats. Sara gave it a “dew claw down” (the doggie version of a thumbs down). In fact, the owners, staff and patrons pay very little attention to Sara. Too bad guys! 

Cafe Lorenzo, (which we have written about before) is located in Pian di Mugnone. Great ambience, yummy pastries (made fresh every day on site) and macchiati—so good that we had to restrain ourselves from excessive savoring, to accommodate the rapid 2-sip custom. However, despite their strong competitive scoring, their dog treats are always scraps of cornetti (croissants). So, due to that avoidable, yet critical omission of actual heart-healthy dog treats, we moved on. Sorry Lorenzo

Outstanding K9 hospitality

Cafe Plineo, located in the river-town of Sieci, proved to be the toughest of all competitors. Their coffee is excellent; the owners are delightful; they have a pastry called an intreccio—a cinnamon braided pastry with walnuts (with an outlandish premium 10 ₵ surcharge); and they ALWAYS, ALWAYS make-over Sara and give her a wholesome dog treat just for being cute. Needless to say, Plineo won the competition “paws-down” with the warmed-up intreccio and hearty treats for sweet Sara. According to Sara, they won by a nose—which, for a dachshund is a significant point margin. 

Walter, Simone & 2021 Trophy

Congratulations to Walter (say Vall-tear) and Simone (Mario, unfortunately wasn’t there for the closing ceremony). We appreciate all that you guys do each day to make our Italian bar-hopping experience more delicious and enjoyable—also, for the heartfelt hospitality you extend to dear Sara, our poochy companion. She appreciates your attention to the moon and back.

So, Dear Readers, if you ever find yourself near the small town of Sieci, along the Arno river, you must stop at Plineo for a taste of an incredible intreccio and where you can get a dog treat to go!

Thus ends the annual “Best Italian Bar” competition for 2021 (special pandemic edition). 

Ciao, ciao, ciao!
Cheryl, Em and Sara

You might also enjoy another doggy/bar story complete with music called “Isabella“—written in 2013 about our other previous Italian Doxy companion.

There’s an old saying about Tuscan wines—a Chianti wine you want in front of you at the table. A Pomino wine you must keep by your side—so special, it’s to be reserved for just the right moment.

Pomino

While hiking on a crisp, clear spring morning in the Pratomagno hills of Tuscany, we came upon a valley view that drew us deeper into the Frescobaldi family history. Pomino (which means little apple) is a small town tucked away in the Tuscan Hills that surround the beautiful Renaissance city of Florence, Italy. In 1716, the Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici identified the four most highly prized territories of Tuscany for the production of wines. Today, not many know about the intimate burg of just over 200 people, but they certainly know of the famous wine that’s produced there—Pomino Bianco. The town’s elevation is some 600 meters above sea level, where white grapes grow best, so that’s the specialty in that small region. Pomino and its renowned wines are a relatively small part of the historic Marchesi de Frescobaldi estate, which has remained a family operation for over 30 generations and 700 years.

Castello Pomino

Clearly we are not wine experts, but we are compulsively drawn to the serenity, beauty and history of Tuscan culture. Surrounding the ancient Castello Pomino, lay an incredibly lush valley of vineyards. The castle was built in the 1500s and now serves as the centerpiece for that unique wine-making territory. The owners refer to the area as: “Elegance and femininity. A hidden gem that’s revealed among the woods of the Florentine mountains.” Irresistible!

The Frescobaldi family made wines that were well known throughout Europe. They socialized with the likes of artists, such as Donatello, Michelozzo Michelozzi, and Filippo Brunelleschi. Most Florentines will tell you that their city, although cosmopolitan, actually enjoys a “small town” feel. Everybody seems to know everybody else. So it’s no surprise to learn that Frescobaldi furnished wines to the well known locals, and further afield to the Papal Court in Rome. After all, at the World’s Fair of 1873 in Vienna, the wines of Pomino won coveted awards, and in 1878 took the gold medal at the World’s Fair in Paris, the highest international recognition of its time.

Splash of white wine

You might say that our story is similar to a Pomino wine—you want to save it until just the right moment. We find ourselves reminiscing about those beautiful treks through the rolling Tuscan hills. Now, some 10 years after that quiet hike in the Pratomagno, we decided it was the right time to “uncork this story.” Ahh, breathe in the distinct magic of the elixir! We savor every sip of those memories and hope you too become a bit intoxicated by the romance of it all.

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You might also enjoy another story about inspiration in the Pratomagno mountains called Nipozzano Castle—have a look! And just to get you in the mood for a hypnotic Tuscan adventure, below is our song called “Tuscan Hills” written in 2003. Enjoy!

Gallery

This is a short story with a long, happy ending.

Sometimes, we want something to happen so badly, that we will do just about anything humanly possible to make it so. But, no matter how hard we try, plan and anticipate, it seems that we just can’t force a yield. NOPE. Not happening. 

Then, in that final minute, we wonder whether trying one last time might be the magical push that will work—or maybe just one more try after that? Perhaps another?

Let’s face it. It seems that it would be a cryin’ shame if we gave up just one moment too soon. Then, how do we know when to stop? A reasonable person would understand how to decide that tricky question. But, are WE reasonable? Sometimes, we’re NOT!

Voila!

So, here’s the deal. All we wanted to do was create a little one-room studio apartment in Italy. That sounds so romantic, yet easy enough. Then the twelve months project turned into four grueling years, and we were on the verge of giving up—calling it quits—surrendering to the powers that be—bowing to the bureaucracy—admitting defeat. Then, Voila! One last gut-wrenching try turned our building dirge into a victory dance. Ahhhh!

What we learned was this: there is no real answer to the question of when to let go. The dilemma is always “of the moment.” It can’t be graphed, outlined, critical-pathed or magic-8 balled ahead of time. We’ll quit when we quit . . . or not. Perhaps we might muster an ounce of courage and effort in the last seconds of trying. Give it one more go. When that final push results in success, we are reminded to NEVER GIVE UP! This may be a fool’s lesson, but we’ll take it. ALWAYS try one more time! TRUST in yourself and the process—there could be magic just around the corner!

We invite you to read our BACK STORY—called “Meeting the Notaio.” It’s the story with a happy ending, no matter what trials and tribulations are encountered.