Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Old Friends-New Places

My dear friend Kim Moreno is 1/6th of the Fab Fems, who are also known as the Slumber Sisters. We have all been "no-holds-barred" friends since high school, and in the case of Sue Eiler, since about 5th grade. My "sisters" know the worst about me, yet they still love me.

Twice a year on pre-set weekends we have an extended "sleep-over" at one of our homes or in a place where we can have an adventure. This November we're renting three great cottages at the Victorian Centrella Hotel in downtown Pacific Grove. We'll gab all night, eat too much, and spend too much time trying to decide where we want to go, but we will have a ball together. My hope is that when I am checking out of this life my "sisters" will be there rooting for me.

Now back to Kim, who is an indescribable personality and over-achiever. She is just getting her doctorate, and we are all proud of her. When Kim found out that we were planning a trip to Italy, her mouth dropped open because we would be there at the same time she and Ralph (her adorable husband) were there.

Lucca by night

So we set up a rendezvous spot in the incredibly beautiful town of Lucca, which is a walled city (actually surrounded by three ancient walls) in Tuscany. I had high hopes that we would be able to pull it off, but I wasn't sure how we could connect and all hit the target at the same time.

Kim told us to meet them "at the Santa Maria Plaza entrance to the city between 8 and 9." We hustled out of our room, which was on the opposite side of Lucca, and trekked over to a bistro where we could munch a croissant, drink coffee, and keep a look-out for them. When they didn't show up, I tried to call them on their cell, but it didn't connect. I was disappointed and felt sure we wouldn't meet, but just as I lost all hope, the phone rang. "WHERE ARE YOU?" Kim asked. Jeff answered, "Exactly where you told us to be."

Kim and Ralph were on the opposite side of Lucca (a block from where we'd started). We set up another meeting place. We came together like a confluence of four rivers, bubbling, laughing, shouting, jumping up and down and hugging each other. It felt so great to see friends half a world away from home.

Although we had talked about bike riding the ramparts (wide wall encircling the city has a pedestrian and bike friendly road), we ended up gabbing, walking aimlessly from one place to another (because we couldn't stop talking), and we did manage to visit a few high spots.

Kim says, "You guys will love this place!"

Kim is off to the next find while Ralph and I linger at the market

One "MUST VISIT" for me was the home of Puccini, who composed some of my favorite music La Boheme, Madame Butterfly, etc. .We found his home and Ralph, Jeff, and Kim stood by as I kissed his door. Wow, he might have actually touched exactly where I planted my lips.

Puccini's home with Ralph and Kim
I plant my lips

Kim and Giacomo

After Kim and Ralph left for Pisa, we rented bikes and rode the ramparts. It was beyond lovely looking down into gardens, a moat, an arboretum, and riding through whirling clouds of golden autumn leaves.

Tree lined rampart where we biked the two mile loop around Lucca
View from rampart into backyard gardens

Humble backyard garden

Moat at base of inner city wall

Memories are woven of love, laughter, old friends, and new adventures.

Our favorite cafe in Lucca

A simple supper

May your memories be as golden as Lucca leaves,


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your magazine articles and books for years and enjoyed finding your blog with glimpses into how you look at life. I can't wait for your new book Toad Cottage.