Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Friday, September 13, 2013

GONE TO ITALY: Sept 16 - Oct 3

My current research and writing trip takes me in search of "new-to-me" Palladian villas in the Veneto region of northern Italy. I'll spend a good portion of my journey at Villa Ghislanzoni Curti (www.villaghislanzoni.it), a 40-acre farm on the outskirts of Vicenza. The Curti family also acquired the Palladian Villa Gazzotti (ca. 1542-47) in 1897, so staying at this property is perfect for making progress on my current book, a mystery with a setting in the Veneto, and yes, there's a Palladian connection!

Via fiction with my current book project, my goal is to foster an awareness and appreciation of the Italian architect, Andrea Palladio, and his amazing villas. Additionally, with my friend, Harold Partain of Epicopia (www.epicopia.com), we are pre-planning a joint travel adventure for the fall of 2015. Harold will join me in Italy for a week as we scout for potential villa properties for lodging, but also for potential side adventures. Vineyards, food artisans, cooking classes, and art are high on our list, so we'll be looking for great opportunities in the Veneto! 

Please travel with me, vicariously, as I post along the way (September 16-October 3, 2013). For updates, I invite you to subscribe for free by "following" or "joining" this blog. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

"Italian" Rice to the Rescue of My iPhone

After many years of iPhones, it finally happened: my phone got wet!

When our Labrador, Hanna, recently got carsick on a return trip from Marfa, Texas, she suddenly leaped into my lap like a baby. In route to my lap, she also "tailed" a cup of iced tea, sloshing said tea into the adjacent cup holder where my iPhone was happily nested and playing an audiobook. 

Within seconds it became obvious that the volume of the audiobook was fading. Just enough tea had splashed in the bottom of the cup holder to reach the phone's speaker. Soon there was no volume at all.

I'd heard about rice drying out phones so as soon as we got home I made a beeline for the kitchen where, wouldn't you know it, the only rice in my pantry was Italian, . . . and expensive. Quickly, I popped the seal on the most prized variety of Arborio rice for risotto: Carnaroli. Then I buried the speaker end of my iPhone in the rice and walked away. Four hours later, I gave it a test and the sound was returning, so I reburied the phone overnight. 

By morning my iPhone was back to full volume with only one thing left for me to do: dig through my Giuliano Hazan cookbooks---and start dreaming of cooking risotto.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

EPICOPIA: Join Harold in Italy in 2012

My dear friend, Harold Partain, has a great travel menu for Italy this year! "Authentic Puglia: A Culinary Cultural Experience" (September 20-29, 2012); Puglia (or Apulia) is the sunny heel of the "boot" that's wrapped by the Adriatic Sea (hint: lots of seafood!). And what's not to love about pasta via "Italian Maremma & Umbria: A Pasta Lover's Culinary Tour in October, or Tuscany for "Taste the Land of the Renaissance" (November 7-18, 2012). See EPICOPIA for details and say ciao to Harold for me!


Cleaning out my studio so I can start painting in January . . .

Thursday, September 16, 2010

EPICOPIA: Harold in Italy 2011

My good friend, Harold Partain, is at it again, going to Italy without me! Only a few spots are left on his upcoming Tuscan experience: A Taste of the Land of the Renaissance (November 10-21, 2010). Trip includes a visit to a cheesemaker and a personal "truffle hunt" and cooking lesson, plus a visit to Lucca (one of my favorite destinations). He's selected an amazing agriturismo stay near Vinci and a delightful hotel in Florence---best of country and city with food and wine experiences along the way. Harold and EPICOPIA pair the best of Italia!

Friday, August 6, 2010


Time for Lanna to jump again. I told her that her shadow looked like a bull, hooves and all.

Rome at Night

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vatican Flooring

Please tread on me.
Where we walk is important.
Floor mosaics celebrate functional beauty.

Great Lighting in Rome

First Day in Rome

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Soon Departing Orvieto

I write.
Lanna jumps.

Special Purpose Lighting in Orvieto

This is one of the more unusual wrought iron light fixtures that I documented. It's designed to illuminate an enormous display frame. I never confirmed if it was electrified or gas since I never walked by it at night to know if it worked or not. I've also seen candle holders like this before, so not sure what this one really is.

Orvieto's Duomo with Golden Mosaic Facade

A Simple LIght Fixture In Orvieto

One of my research tasks this trip was to document light fixtures along the way. This one reminds me of "lusters" from Murano.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Taking Time to Write

Living the Dream via Sagraincasa

Our gracious hosts and my niece, Lanna; www.sagraincasa.com.
As charming as it looks. Delightfully Umbrian in the midst of rolling hills.

Fiori di Zucca alla Romana per Sagraincasa.com

Inserting a tiny "cherry" (ciliegia) ball of mozzarella inside after removing the pollen head.
Adding a sliver of anchovy inside before dipping in batter.
Frying in sunflower oil until golden.