Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Seeing the (web) Sites

Every once in a while I like to blog about other people's blogs. It's always nice to take note of other people's blogs since there are some outstanding blogs out there. Honestly, though, it's been a while since I've spent time checking out those other blogs--it's hard enough to post my OWN entries!

Still, these past couple of weeks have seen me stumbling upon occasions to blog-surf, and as soon as you start, it's easy to lose yourself in other people's little worlds. What a pleasant means of passing away an afternoon.

So, here's a typical blog-surfing afternoon at Jackie's house:

1. My friend Cathy just started a personal blog: Walking In My Shoes. Cathy lives in New York, but she's a world traveler, and she's graced The Long Trip Home with many a splendid story from her jet-setting days. As she was also a frequent blogger on The Long Trip Home's travelblog (which has seen better days: I've had so much trouble with moveable type lately that I'm convinced all spammers are out to get me), the blogworld isn't new to her. Her new blog continues in her travelblog-style, but it's personal touch adds a bit of charm as well. And, as always, she's quite funny.

2. I have recently been introduced to the site: Expats in Italy, which I, an obvious expat myself, didn't even know existed until my friends Lori and Cyndi told me about it. I feel completely out of the loop, and I realize that I'm always the last one to know about most things, but you'd think, with all of my internet interest, I'd have come across such a site before. No, not me. Anyway, connecting to this site has meant gaining an immense knowledge of all things expat related, and I even came across a list of other blogs (to think allora aspetta made it on the blog list before I had even discovered the site!) that dealt with homesick Americans and dreams of cheddar cheese and nachos. Two of the said blogs:

Think On It: Philosophy from an Umbrian Farm. Life in our neighboring region of Umbria on a farm in the Perugia province. Frequent mentions of Italian food (and recipes!) keep me coming back for more.

American Girl in Italy. How many Americans came over to Italy as wives of Italian men? Here's one. (I'm starting to think there are many more.) This site is a good fix for my especially homesick days.

Finally, this last blog I came across based on a search for vincisgrassi (see blog entry below). Who knew someone could discover vincisgrassi, the lasagne of Macerata, in Wales? This blog is beautiful and filled with too many gorgeous images of various sugary delights. Not to read if you are dieting.

So that wraps up my day of perusing the internet. Hope you enjoy the blogs and have an afternoon to spare.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ocean Spray

Living in Italy, there are a lot of food items you learn to miss. It's weird--coming over here to the taste of tasty sauces and pastas, lasagne, vincisgrassi (vegetarian style), pizzas with every possible topping, you think anything that might have once delighted your taste buds before will be old news by the time you sink into Italian culture. But it's not true. This doesn't happen completely. There are things that you are reminded of, tastes that you can't find here, and, in half-nostalgia and half-'I-really-do-love-Ranch-dressing,' you begin to long for particular foods.

I could make a list of things I miss, but one thing that surely tops it is cranberry juice. It's one of those things that you can't really find in Italy--no one has heard of that rare fruit, mirtilli rossi, besides me. I love the tangy flavor, the crisp red color, the fruit in general. I found dried cranberries here, which has been a bit of a help, and I've added them to cookies, put them in trail mix, and sometimes just eaten them on their own. I've had cans of that cranberry sauce stuff sent me--you know, the kind used for Thanksgiving. It's great too, but I only eat it in November--any other time of the year seems just too strange.

So I've been missing cranberry juice, and for some reason the only kind of juice I really like is Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice. No, I'm not being paid to say this. Really, I don't like that cranberry cocktail stuff--the mixes between cranberry and blueberry and apple and grape. Why do they need to put all of those other fruits there? I like straight cranberry juice, and I've only yet to see that as Ocean Spray brand.

So two weeks ago, when Lori arrived to stay for a couple of days with us before her classes started in Milano, she brought me a carton of cranberry juice. Ocean Spray brand. It was like a little miracle--cranberry juice in Italy! Apparently there's a store in Milan (what DON'T they have in that little world of a city?) that sells American stuff and Asian stuff and Greek stuff and a bit of everything. Lori says the place even has veggie burgers and filo dough! Anyway, when she told me about the Ocean Spray juice, I was sold: please please buy me a bottle! I asked her. (I wanted bagels too, but they didn't have any left.)

Anyway, I had a carton of Ocean Spray cranberry juice for a total of three days before I drank the whole thing. It was wonderful, delicious. It was also great to see Lori, of course, who was here visiting us for four days. Her visit meant nights out at Le 4 Porte and Bar Firenze (the college hang out bars), something Antonello and I don't ever do (I feel so old!), as well as a pal to constantly gabber to in English, another rarity in this little city. Lori was my roommate three years ago, so every time she visits it's like that again--not having a house guest, but having my old roomie back.

Antonello and I are heading up to Bergamo this weekend for a caving convention (more news to blog about soon, I'm sure), and maybe that will mean seeing Lori over the long weekend and drinking (and stock up on) cranberry juice? I hope so!

Next blog entry: I miss salsa.