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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Italy 2012: A Beautiful Ride

This is part of Cocoon's Summer In Italy series. 

We're in Italy for our annual visit. I love it when everything goes smoothly - flight on time, connections made, and even managed a few hours of sleep on the plane!

This year we had a nonstop flight from LAX to Rome - 11 hours and then a short jump to Bologna. Leaving in the afternoon PST and arriving in the afternoon Italian time is really the way to go - the jet lag is so much less! Instead of falling asleep on the car ride from the airport to my mother-in-law's home, we were wide awake and ready to go!

In fact, the next day after arrival my husband and I went on a 60 km bike ride through the mountainous region of Emilia Romagna where we stay. Let's just say you're either going uphill or downhill - but it's countless miles of incredible beauty. Here are pictures showing some of the amazing views we enjoy while cycling in this region:

Rolled hay and wind generators
Town center of Civago
Fountain in Civago
View from S. Pellegrino in Alpe
Panoramic view of surrounding mountains
My husband, Fabrizio, and I
Fresh air, exercise, and natural beauty - definitely needed to balance all the amazing food we eat and the yummy wines we must try while here!

Fino alla prossimo volta (until the next time)!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Italy 2012: Silver Lining

This is part of Cocoon's Summer In Italy series. 

A beautiful sunset from the town of Montefiorino - the main village near where we stay.
Fino alla prossima volta (until the next time)!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Summers In Italy

The region of Emiglia Romagna - where LaVerna is located
Summer...just the sound of that word puts a smile on my face and a skip in my step. Each summer I travel with my 2 sons, Gianluca and Massimo, and my husband, Fabrizio, to his hometown village in northern Italy. Three glorious weeks in the land of food, wine, laughter, and family!

My husband was born in LaVerna which is where my mother-in-law, Caterina lives half of the year (the other half she lives with us). LaVerna, located in the Appenine Mountains at about 3,000 ft. elevation, is in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy which is known for Pavorotti, Balsamic Vinegar, Parmigiano cheese, Ferrari, and some of the best food in the country.

A glimpse of part of mother-in-law's house is on the left
Everyone knows everyone's business in LaVerna (well there are only 100 residents during the summer and about half that during the other months). The village even boasts it's own bar and ristorante as well as a tiny church on the corner where the priest does a quick 40 minute mass so he has time to drive to the next village to say the next one.

There's a lot to say about this little village, and you'll get bits and pieces of it and it's surrounding areas during the next 3 weeks. But suffice it to say, it's a little slice of heaven. Or, as my husband claims, "E Paradiso!"

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Yoga Hands

I marvel at the power and beauty of hands. They hold, they pray, they comfort, they guide, they soothe, they lead, they command, they greet, they create, they rebuild, they feed, they praise, they teach.

Here are some beautiful images showing the beauty and strength of hands. Most of these I found through Pinterest and are on my Yoga pinboard


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Stars & Stripes

Happy Fourth of July! Put on your stars and stripes, and go do something
fun in honor of the great country we live in!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Meditations: Real Communication

This is part of Cocoon's Monday Meditation series.

Just because our world is dominated today by instantaneous communication via texting, skyping, and email, doesn't mean the quality of our communication is better. In fact, our mind always seems to be several steps ahead of the moment we are presently in, thereby blocking our ability to truly and consistently communicate on a meaningful level. It is becoming easier and easier to opt for electronic communication rather than taking the time for an actual verbal exchange that requires giving and receiving, speaking and listening, connecting and empathizing.

But sometimes verbal conversations or discussions can end in miscommunica-
tion, misunderstanding, and misinterpretation. It's a delicate balance.

This meditation helps us reconnect to face to face human interaction and the beauty of sharing and communicating with one another in a positive and nonjudgmental way.

Photo from
Let's Meditate! 
Preparation - Think of someone who you struggle to communicate effectively with. Perhaps it is someone at work, a parent or child, or your significant other. It may be an isolated event, or a recurring problem. 
1. Sit on a cushion or chair in your meditation space. Make sure you have privacy. Begin by watching your breath and calming your body and mind. 
2. Bring to mind this particular person and imagine being that person. In essence, put on their shoes and see what the situation might look like from their perspective. Acknowledge the frustration, fear, or anger they may be experiencing and why they may be feeling that. 
3. Imagine how you could behave or respond so that their negative feelings might dissolve and be replaced by positive feelings. Feel patience in yourself when envisioning this situation. Feel acceptance and desire for an outcome to the exchange that is favorable to both of you.
4. When you are ready, come back to your breath and see if you feel a little more hopeful and positive toward this person.
This is also a great meditation to practice outside of a private space, amidst your routine life! Start with people you don't know or have very brief interaction with - the cashier at the grocery store or the marketer on the telephone. Then see if you can bring some of these techniques into your more challenging situations.