Isola Bella is a delightful most-of-the-time island at the foot of the hill that leads up to Sicily’s famous tourist
trap destination, Taormina.
I was at Isola Bella on the 5th of November this year! My cousin Maddie was visiting with her darling friend Lindsay. This was on the tail end of my parents’ visit, and they even overlapped a little bit in Rome. You can see Lindsay and Maddie chatting in photos in this post.
In Sicily, Maddie and Lindsay had enjoyed mid-upper 70s at the height of the afternoon warmth for several days. On the 5th, we decided to test our luck by planning a beach day. It never warmed enough for full sea immersion, but we did relax on the pebble beach and shared a few laughs. What more could a simple woman ask for?
-Photo by Lindsay Boggs via Instagram
Uno (1). Got my very first blogging award! Thank you, Logy Express!!! My duties with the award will be fulfilled by the week’s end.
Due (2). Completed even more data for my JOB! I’m so excited for the analyzing to begin…(yes, my job title is “Analyst”). I am about to test my admiration of the 9-5 lifestyle that plagues Logy Express. 😉
Tre (3). Sipping Tuscan wines with Hal, Anisette and Dave.
Quattro (4). Religulous. Anisette was excited to talk to us about it and luckily the Sigonella library had it on the shelf. Great movie, definitely thought provoking and hilariously produced.
Cinque (5). “Km 0” – this is a Slow Food idea of sourcing as many ingredients locally as possible. Several Tuscan restaurants highlighted “Km 0” items on their menus. It is a mix of the Eat Local movements in the U.S. and the idea of terroir (often credited to the French). In all, it is an agreement to focus on the value of food as community, art, and vocation. The phrase “Km 0” has an Italian history, so it is a fitting title for this practice.
Fagottini! What’s a fagottini? Trust me, you’ll know it when you see it! That doesn’t help you, does it? I was introduced to the fagottini in my former life as a server at Lombardino’s, and forgot all about it until last weekend. We were dining on a fabulous lunch in Sovana, at Ristorante dei Merli, and Dave ordered a fagottini for dessert. Fagottini is a “bundle” of something, and it looks like a purse or the satchel on the end of a hobo’s stick. They can be made savory or sweet. Here’s an Italian recipe, translated as “Bundle of Apples.”
Today’s Friday Theme 5-100 Post is about guilty pleasures. It’s too difficult to choose just five, so I’m focusing on five guilty pleasures I’ve indulged in since arriving in Sicily p.s. don’t do a google image search for “guilty pleasures” – it isn’t pretty.
- Laying in the sun with no agenda.
- “Friends” – although I stopped following the series around the time I got a social life in 1995, I continue to fall prey to renting a season every once in a while. I rented Season 4 while Dave’s been gone, so I don’t have to listen to his groans. Watching it, I’m reminded of how well most of the cast mixes in physical humor. Last night I was rewarded with this quip:
Assistant: “Hi, I brought you back a macaroon.”Joanna (Boss): “Oh, great. I’ll keep it in my butt with your nose.”
- Snuggling with my kitties and getting dander in my face; usually a short wheezing spell follows, but the snuggles are worth it.
- Reading (for pleasure) for more than 1 hour at a crack. Usually, life is moving too fast to devote more than one solid hour to any project I have going on; I’ve often mixed this guilty pleasure with #1.
- Kettle Brand Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper Krinkle Cut chips. Too good to be true – I actually looked forward to the distance from them, but the commissary stocks them! Argh. Might be time to apply “deliberate practice” to the chips.
In case anyone hadn’t noticed, Dave is a JAG in the U.S. Navy.
(yes, the acronym is correct, but it’s not at all like the show)
Therefore I often shop at the commissary and the exchange. The commissary is the grocery store, and the exchange is the retail store (they may be combined). In Sigonella, the staff is part U.S. civilian and part Italian national.
When we first arrived, I was excited to speak Italian with everybody so I was surprised to learn the base is a piece of Americana: USD currency, speaking English, and Kettle chips. A little comfort, less opportunity for Italian practice, and rising to the challenge of healthy choices.
- Started the new work-out schedule. Mon-Wed mornings, Thurs off, Fri & Sat mornings, Sun off.
- Had a fruitful conversation with Giuseppe while waiting for the bus intoCatania. He is the guy who parks outside of NAS I and sells produce. Yesterday he was selling roasted peanuts (in the shell) and watermelon, I got samples of both and an invite to dine with his family (agriturismo-style, there is a fee). He was the most aggressive salesperson I’ve encountered here and he was overall incredibly pleasant.
- Navigated finding a good bookstore, department store and celebrating my respective purchases with an arancino (tomate e melanzane), un espresso e una granita di limone (pictured in following post). Yummy.
- Focused on the positive after I missed my bus!
- Explored information on the Aeolian Islands(http://www.thinksicily.com/guide-to-sicily/islands-and-archipelagos/the-aeolian-islands.aspx). We have friends vacationing inTuscany, but travel prices are keeping us closer to home, so we’re taking the opportunity to explore these nearby islands which have housed civilizations for 6,000 years.
“It’s ALL relative!”* Who of you groan when I say this? I torture myself with it, too. For instance, yesterday when returning from Catania, I missed my bus. “My bus” runs every four hours, I arrived 30 minutes early, and still missed it! Instead of feeling utterly defeated, I said, “It’s All Relative! Two routes in one day, yippee.” Yes, it meant waiting another hour (hot sun), the return ride was over twice as long (50 minutes), and I paid the bus fare twice (1 Euro). Yet, I had my health, book and iphone, so I was sitting well, relatively.
*For anyone who also thinks of a particular Friends episode featuring a game category “It’s All Relative” – watch episode 412 (dialog here: http://www.cnielts.com/topic/12331.html (don’t worry about the Chinese characters)).
Another note: My hyperlink function is not functioning. I am working with WordPress to figure out the problem and until then ask you to bear with me as I cut and paste the links directly into the text.