December 21, 2018

I’m hereby “launching” this blog by sending the address to loads of people.  Having just re-read my writing to date, I apologize for a few typos, e.g. Mt. “Amiata” and others.

I’ve been back in the US for two weeks exactly — meaning to write a few words about the vicissitudes of transtatlantic air travel.  Now, many would say, and correctly so, that I’m darned lucky to spend time in Rome and to be able fly back and forth.  A real jet-setter.  I agree.

But that doesn’t keep me from complaining...

First, there’s the awful Hilton Rome Airport Hotel.   We choose it because it’s so easy to walk from the hotel room across a pedestrian bridge to the departure gate.  The receptionist at the “Hilton Honors” desk took her officious self to the task of handing over a “free” plastic bottle of water.  With her pancake makeup, scarlet lipstick and chiclet teeth, her arrogance is an amazing way to greet Hilton’s loyal customers.  Her evil twin is a waitress in the breakfast room, where they have mounds of food service food (alla Sysco) for a mere $11. per person. I complained to her about the push button coffee (it’s Italy after all) and asked her to make me a cup of proper espresso.  Then I proceeded to filch a couple of cardboard rolls and mandarin oranges for my plane ride. I placed them in a small bag.  It was a furtive dream “signora, divieto di portarevia il cibo, per ragione di sicurezza,”  “Mam. you can’t take away food from here, for reasons of security.”  STOP THIEF!  Can’t believe it.

Then, there’s PANTS ON FIRE!  I was admiring a red merino sweater with white pearl buttons in the Benetton store in the Duty Free Mall in the airport — Benetton being one of the few sort of moderately priced stores therein.  An American couple came roaring up to the clerk, holding onto sweat pants “We have to get out of our jeans, they won’t let us board the plane.”  So they raced to the dressing room, changed pants, threw down the credit card and ran off “we’re gonna miss the plane, we’re gonna miss….”  Turns out that BECAUSE THEY WERE WEARING JEANS  Alitalia wasn’t letting them board into business class. The Benetton clerk told me this “FIRE DRILL” about jeans is commonplace.  That they also have restrictions about shoes — maybe no flip flops.  I can’t find anything about these rules on the Alitalia website.

I bought the red sweater for Christmas!!! Love it!


As I’ve mentioned, I love learning Italian — it’s a BIG focus for me when I’m in residence.

And I’ve written my first story — first published here, just for you.  For those of you who read Italian, please forgive me my errors, of which there are many.  Dani, my lovely Italian teacher, helped me, but I think we didn’t catch every goof!  If you don’t read Italian, you can look at my drawings of Peonia (Peony) the hen turkey and Beffi (la Befana) the good witch who rescues Peony from BECOMING the SURE centerpiece of Thanksgiving Dinner.  Thanks for reading me.

Peonia e Beffi la Befana

 Il giorno del Ringraziamento si stava avvicinando.

Una coppia, dovendo stringere le cinture e evitare l’avido macellaio, va nel campo all allevamento di tacchini. Selezionanno una bella tachinella, con piume bianche magnifiche e un petto  grassoccio in abbondanza.

Sognando la loro cena del Ringraziamento, ricchissima con tacchino arrosto, loro mettonno la bellissima tacchinella didietro la loro Fiat Panda.  Tornanno a casa loro.

Ma, stare in macchina non piace alla tacchinella, di nome Peonia.  Molta paura.  Manca d’amiche! Comincia a piangere.  Grida, grida! Aiuto! Si  arrabbia anche il marito perche Peonia sporca tanto- con cacca e piume– la sua bella macchina.

Arrivati a casa con l’uccello furiosamente gridante, loro, vivendo al piano secondo, sono andati su. Il marito, di nome Bob,  prende una corda rossa bella e fissa Peonia alla terrazza.  Dove sono bellissime le viste di Monte Cetona, Monte Amiata e Cortona – e dove i fiori  rossi bellissimi fiorirono.

Ma la povera Peonia non smette  di gridare, piu e piu forte.  La tacchinella sa che la fine si sta avvicinando. Sa che nessun presidente Americano non va a perdonarla.  Pericolo!  Grida! Grida!  Constantemente!

Al primo piano della casa, vive un nuovonato di nome Giacomo.  Le gride lo svegliano e lo fanno molto nervoso.  Lui anche comincia a piangere.  Peonia e Giacomo urlano insieme.  Nella casa, nessun dorma.  Ma la buona Beffi la Befana sente il grande rumore.  Lei vive nella selva oscura vicina.

Arriva silenziosamente la Beffi e libera la Peonia.  Volanno insieme, tornanno nella selva e vivonno felicemente insieme per sempre.

E alla vigilia di ogni Giorno del Ringraziamento, loro volanno insieme e fanno visita a tutti i bimbi nel vicinato. Loro regalanno una carota e una zucchina, accompagnate di un rotolo di carta con il detto:  “Mangiate verdure!”

Ecco come sono diventata vegeteriana. Cosi e la morale di questa storia di Peonia e Beffi.

Carolyn McConnell

Dic.  2018

Grazie tantissimo a Daniela del Buono, la mia Maestra


Note that Peonia has beautiful purple toes, she’s just back from her pedicure.


Here is my Christmas card with my drawing of the gingko leaf from San Giorgio Island.  The calligraphy mine as well.






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