Gordon Matthew Sumner wore a favorite black and yellow striped shirt so often, that a friend finally blurted out that he looked like a bee. The nickname stuck. You might know him better today as Sting.

We’ve always enjoyed his particular style of jazz/rock, and have waited for him to show up in concert in our neighborhood for a decade or so. That day finally arrived, and it was well worth the wait. He played at a place called Piazzola sul Brenta, which is a town not far from Venice, Verona, and Padova. Piazzola was never a particularly noteworthy destination until they decided to develop the magnificent 16th century Villa Contarini (attributed to the famous architect Andrea Palladio,) into an unbelievable concert venue. Now, it has worldwide acclaim, and for very good reason! (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…)

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…)

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…)

7:oo am, Thursday morning.

Phone rings.

The voice is unrecognizable to me as I groggily sit up in bed trying to figure out who this might be. They speak in familiar ways as if we chat this time every day, asking how I’m doing and when we got back in town. Slowly, fitting the pieces together, I finally hear a phrase and a tone of voice that gives it away—mystery solved. (more…)

Candlelight over the valley.

After a long hot day of working on our stuff, we settled into the usual chairs at the old table outside the kitchen door. Dusk was steadily creeping up over the hills, touching our bare feet, cooling us down on the now shady terrace. Shadows deepened within the underside of the grape arbor, as a breeze rustled the white paper napkins held still by our favorite blue-handled utensils. This is the time of day to give up all striving, surrender to the sound of an unknown chatter in the nearby woods and soak it all in—breathe as if to allow insight or the gift of ancient wisdom to arise.

That is how our world was yesterday evening at 9 pm. (more…)

We are storytellers

Over the past 10 years we have used many different approaches—writing, music, art, video, creating a hand-made book, playing our music at coffee shops and now this blog—to tell a tale. Whatever method presented itself, we played with it to see how it could help us better express ourselves—better understand ourselves. We hope our offerings are useful to, and enjoyable by others, but first and foremost, we are simply notating the real experiences of two partnered lives for our own growth & awareness and then offering it to the world . . . that’s all.

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I awoke this morning to a hauntingly beautiful dawn with yellow and salmon colored clouds hanging like lace over the blue-green ridge line of the mountains—nothing unusual as that is often the case in this valley. But today, there was something else stirring besides the sun. (more…)