Sometimes a pair of shoes becomes way more than just a pair of shoes!

About 12 years ago I bought some rather odd looking slip-ons, and wow . . . they were way more comfortable than I ever  imagined! As we eased into pre-tirement, we decided to move away from public view and dress codes, into sole-full comfort in a casual sort-of way. And at that transitional time, we happened onto a pair of brown leather cartoon shoes, and I was hooked. For me they symbolized a life-style change and a different way of being that meant the world to us at the time—and still does. (more…)

Quietly closing the door, he began his descent down the stone stairway located just behind the grand saloni, salons of his royal apartment recently reconstructed within the Palazzo Vecchio, Old Palace on Piazza della Signoria in the heart of medieval Florence. He made his way effortlessly through the hidden corridors leading to the small exterior door, opening onto the inconspicuous side street, Via della Ninna. Carefully glancing both ways to insure that he was alone, Duca Cosimo I de’ Medici made his departure from the Palace without anyone even suspecting. (more…)

We went to the Teatro Odeon the other night to catch the new movie called A Dangerous Method starring Keira Knightley, Vigo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender. We were excited to see their depiction of the two pioneers of psychotherapy, Freud and Jung because we’ve always been fascinated with their incredible contributions to the field of psychology. In fact, many of the concepts, therapies and ideas we take for granted today were products of their fertile early 20th century minds. (more…)

Belonging is really important to us, although we’ve never been joiners in any traditional sense. We never had a desire to be Italian, even though we joke about our quest to become “true Italians.” That, of course, could never happen. Nor do we intend to become naturalized citizens even though we could. However, what we’ve always wanted from this journey is the chance to dig deeply into the real life experiences of another culture. We wanted to go so far in, that we’re changed at the core of who we are. Becoming and belonging takes years, if not decades to happen naturally. After years of personal investment, conversation and shared experiences, we begin to really “belong” somewhere. Italy is like that for us. Our lives have become delicately interlaced with the lives of others, in ways we don’t really understand—yet it matters. (more…)

This story has little to do with the man smiling and holding a white paper sign with a name on it.

It also has absolutely nothing to do with Mr. Gould (the name on the paper), whoever he is, and wherever he might have been going.

It doesn’t even have anything directly to do with the larger than life woman on the wall either, but she does have something to say to us, and that’s what this story is about. What is the message to you and me? (more…)

There’s nothing quite like a smarty-pants e-mail.

What I mean by that is: when somebody sends you a message that seems innocent enough at a glance, but beyond the surface niceties, there’s an underlying smarty-pants attitude that can’t be denied. The reason I even bring this topic up is because I got one of those SP messages the other day. It was from our dear friend Scott who happens to be one of the best cooks I know. Yet, that doesn’t give him the right to parade his gifts in front of those of us less fortunate! (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…)

It was some sort of modern day eco party that was pretty spectacular. Evidently thousands were invited unbeknownst to us. There was more than enough room for everyone to either sit down or flit around—their choice. Drinks were plentiful and unlimited while there also seemed to be an endless supply of goodies to eat. No fights broke out as the day of drinking wore on. (more…)