Unfortunately, it’s true.

One year ago I visited family in Indiana. Strolling from the plane to the baggage claim, I admired the Weir Cook Terminal at the new Indianapolis International Airport. I thoroughly enjoyed the architecture, the open spaces and the great environment that had been created. It was functional yet beautiful. Nice! Job well done! But above all, I was thrilled to see the artwork that was included at key locations. A commitment to the arts has always been a sign of civility and appreciation. It speaks of broader perspectives—leadership and vision. The Arts bring a much needed reflective quality, a sense of playfulness or a nudge of provocation—while they speak of the unseen currents that animate our lives. Powerful stuff! (more…)

California has a reputation. It’s laid back, casual. Beachy. Of course, those of us in northern CA are not beachy, but tell someone that you’re from CA and immediately they say, “Oh, perpetual summer. Beaches. Bay Watch.” In fact, California’s reputation can lead some to think that whatever happens in CA is “lite.”  But we can be a pretty serious lot. Take our holiday decorations, for example. No one in their right mind would want to miss the 1.5 mile winding drive through the Vasona Lake Park. Why? To totally immerse themselves in the very serious lights display. (more…)

According to the classic story of the Velveteen Rabbit, becoming REAL is everything in life. And if that story has a thread of truth in it, then Brandi Carlile is well on her way. At 30-something she has talent and insight beyond her years, as anyone who listens to her storytelling can attest. We enjoy her music and have been trying to catch one of her concerts for years, but we were never in the same place at the same time—that is, until last Tuesday. (more…)

In the Ligurian town of Rapallo, along the northern coast of Italy, three brothers are making a name for themselves and their restaurant.. They attract a diverse crowd at their popular place called K2—but that’s only the beginning. More than a mere meal, what really happens behind the driving beat, the flashing big screens, the delicious food and great conversation is a real Italian experience—Sicilian style!

While visiting the famous and beautiful coastal towns of Portofino, Rapallo and Santa Margherita, we discovered that the main attraction for us was the restaurant, K2 (Rocco e i Suoi Fratelli, Rocco and his brothers). Here the brothers Costanzo charm your socks off, and give you a first-class lesson in following dreams and values. Our first dinner was a magical evening that made the visit not only fun, but memorable—perhaps even life-changing. (more…)

“What do you know about Siena?”

A question like that is pretty normal in Italy, when uttered by a visitor. “How far’s Rome?” “Could we go to Venice and back in a day?” Questions we’ve heard and answered typically end up taking us on an unsuspected day trip. Just a “little” outing. We always enjoy the possibility of further exploration. So once a question is asked, we go into gear, planning and heading out on the new adventure. (more…)

We just finished hosting our first In Touch In Tuscany retreat at the beautiful Villa Il Trebbiolo just outside of Florence. Scott Colglazier led us all through an engaging process of Rediscovering the Fire of Everyday Life. After the retreat concluded, Cheryl and I offered an optional tour of Florence. Of course the tour was followed with a scrumptious celebration dinner at our favorite restaurant Da Quei Ganzi, where Domenico and Matteo surprised us with even more incredible taste treats. It was a fantastic experience for all. (more…)

We had a plan. But things in Italy often times don’t go according to plan.

The idea was fairly straightforward: Grab a panino, sandwich then catch the 5:30 movie. Then after the movie, we planned to get a primo, first course dish, such as pasta just before making the rounds to all of Florence’s great museums since it was “Art Tuesday,” from 7-11 pm. The three of us were excited and couldn’t wait to see how the evening would unfold! (more…)

“The systems just aren’t very robust.”

That’s become a rather common phrase for us in Italy. Whether we’re talking about the telephone connection, the electrical service, the water or the heat, our lament always seems to apply. Something is always breaking down, turning off, or just wavering enough to be annoying. (more…)