We decided it was time to repaint the picket fence.

The curved pickets are pieces of sculpture—works of art. For hundreds of years those whitewashed points and curves have worked their way into our collective hearts and psyche as an integral part of the American landscape. Ours definitely needed a lot of scraping, priming and painting, but we were up to the task. It had been about 10 years and we knew pretty much what to expect. Or so we thought. (more…)

We just spent a delightful weekend under the “D” in the Hollywood hills. That famously gi-normous word that hovers on the side of the mountain, has recently been refurbished and is even more white, blocky and ever-present than before. Although it’s actually a rather crude and corny adornment, over the years it has become an icon known the world around as the symbol of star-studded glamor and movies that have changed people’s lives. (more…)

Years ago before visiting Florence for the first time, I remember thinking that it was probably some Mediterranean wonderland—balmy, blue skies and all that stuff. After all, if you take a spin around the rivieras from Spain, across France and down through Italy, you’re enjoying some of the world’s most spectacular weather in a huge and dreamy arc of beaches and rocky coastlines. However . . . (more…)

How strange!

Italy in November with literally millions of olive trees, yet no one is picking the olives—and no one ever will! Instead, they will raccolgono, gather them, or prendono, take them. Just try to use the word “pick” on Italians and note the puzzled looks on their faces. They probably can’t imagine what you are even talking about. But, if you say gather or take at just the right time, not only would you be well understood, but might even find yourself up on a ladder in the middle of an olive grove for a few days. (more…)