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…)

Ah, the ever popular stuzzicadenti, toothpick. Yes, they are readily available the world over. In any grocery store, a hundred can be had for a few coins. But the picking of one’s teeth shouldn’t be limited to processed slivers of wood. Oh, no! For those of you who are already a bit confused by the title, we’re not suggesting that istrici, porcupines have discovered the secret to perfect teeth. Certainly not! Most of them have nasty overbites. But, we are saying that the curious gift of the porcupine can make a difference in our dental hygiene, while making the world a better, tidier place. All we have to do is start using quills instead of toothpicks when the judicious picking of i denti, teeth becomes necessary. Let us lay out the argument and then you can decide for yourself. (more…)

The window was open and he went for it. You can’t blame him. Any one of us would have done the same thing, given the circumstances.

This story could be a take-off on the ever popular Beatles song, or, about a devious thief in the night, or . . . just a simple reminder not to leave the windows open—it’s just not prudent! (This is a little joke, since Prudence was the one who supposedly came in through the Beatles’ window.) In this particular case, however, it happens to be a short story about a gray cat named Grigio (Italian for gray), who made a few decisions of his own lately. Let’s take a look at what he’s been up to. (more…)

Well, autumn is just around the corner and it’s mating season here in Italy for the Caprioli, Roe Deer. We hear them in the dusky hours every evening and in the misty dawn, making their unusual call of the wild. What a sound! It’s unbelievable. Seriously, the Roe coughs out a disgusting guttural grunt/scream noise that would put a halt to any possibilities. The first few times we heard it, we thought there must be some monster of the woods—some creature both dreadful and loathsome. We wanted no part of it. The only deer references we had were 1.) the sweet, docile and perpetually hungry ones that live in Indiana and Ohio; and 2.) Bambi. (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…)