Thursday, December 15, 2011

What makes me sing, in 400 words, exactly.

Following a prompt I saw in several places in my early-morning web browsing, I decided to write my own list of what makes me happy, in exactly 400 words. I hope you enjoy it, and then take 30 minutes to write your own.

My first cup of hot tea, milk, no sugar, in the morning. Eaten with toast spread with peanut butter and home-made jam.
Making home-made fig jam (and prune, and apricot, etc.) in spring and summer to enjoy in the winter.
Walking my four dogs up the hill, then back down through the fields.
Watching the new puppy find her place in the "pack of four".
Going upstairs to my office and sitting down to do yoga, meditate and write.
Being alone and being with others, in balance.
Being in the countryside and being in Rome, in balance.
Trying new recipes, finding one we all love and making it often.
Doing word games and jigsaw puzzles.
Discovering a new blog where the writing and content are both terrific.
Online courses, tutorials, youtube and Kindle books. and .it
Book club with an international group of women and books I'd never have discovered on my own.
Long, easy conversations in English. Speaking in Italian, and being understood!
Traveling, with trusted house sitters.
Finding some money squirreled away in a pocket that I had forgotten about.
Being a mother, being married. Having hear-to-hearts with both. Eating nearly all our meals together.
Discovering new music and ITunes music downloads.
Radio over the internet.

Winter: The fireplace, knitting and a great movie. Hot soup. Cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, spinach and broccoletti, brussel sprouts. Reading a book while snuggled under three blankets. The reflections the Christmas tree lights make on the wall and ceiling when they are the only lights in the room. My son's presepio, with figures from Naples and painted cardboard boxes. Baking cookies...and licking the beaters. Then eating the warm cookies. With a cup of tea, milk, no sugar.
Spring: The promise of planting seeds indoors while it's still cold outside. The pruned olive tree branches dancing in the wind. Bulbs blooming, and roses too.
Summer: Digging in the warm earth to plant seeds, bulbs, seedlings, trees. Picking a vegetable or fruit from the garden and eating it within minutes.
Shooting stars. Italian beaches...lounge chairs, umbrellas, snack bars and the Mediterranean Sea. Thinking: OK, in that direction is Greece, in that direction is Africa. Artisanal gelato. Home-grown tomato sandwich with mayo on white. Salads and BBQs.
Autumn: Berries, wildflowers,and mushrooms. The smell of burning wood. New oil bruschetta. New wine.

Being retired so I can notice and appreciate this all more easily!


Unknown said...

that was a sweet list of what makes you sing. warms me up just reading. and i love tea, milk, no sugar as well :) earl grey or chai best.

Patricia said...

what a beautiful perspective at this time of attitude of gratitude!

Catherine said...

Hi Diane

You recently left a comment on my blog ( so I couldn't wait to read yours!
I love especially your 'what makes me sing...' posting. It made me taste, smell and feel all the things I treasure about Italy!
Yes, we do still have our house in Piemonte but we are currently in Australia for a year because my mother is unwell and has frequent hospital visits. I wanted to be with her at this time. We will be returning to Italy for a holiday in Sep, then fulltime again from early 2013.
Maybe we can catch up sometime? Would love to meet you. We're always interested in people who have taken a leap of faith and moved to Italy!

Pamela Foss said...

Hi Diane,

It was nice to read your posts...I studied in Orvieto while in college and have traveled back whenever I heart longs for Italy!!! I was wondering if you could help me incorporate more of what I love about Italy into my life here in the mention that making (and eating) prune jam is one of the things that makes you sing...could you post the recipe? The B&B in Orvieto, the past two times I've visited, served confectura di prugne (?) and I just LOVE it and miss it!!! Thanks so much!!!


Anonymous said...

Hi Diane,

I really enjoy reading through your post, I've recently be searching the internet for Italian blogs, for practice with the language, culture and recipes. I've traveled to Italy twice, and is the only thing I want to do with my "extra" money...when it, eventually, amounts to something. In the meantime, I've tried to incorporate as much as a I can about Italy into my life, one thing that is missing is a prune jam recipe. The Orvieto B&B I stayed at served confettura di prugne, and I LOVED it. Could you post your recipe? Thanks!


Diane said...

Hi Pamela, thanks for commenting!
I make my jam without a recipe. I wash and cut up the fruit (in this case it was lots of little purple plums), removing the pit of course, mix them with sugar (about half as much as fruit, in other words, 2 lb. fruit, 1 lb sugar), and cook it until thick. Spoon it into small sterilized jars until 1/4 inch from top, cap and leave them inverted overnight, then put away in cupboard. The sugar acts as preservative. If a jar is less than full I refrigerate it and use it first. Lots of resources on the internet for making's not difficult. You should try it when fruit is in season.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to plum season, can't wait to try this...thanks so very much!


Travel and Taste said...

It is so important to remember these things, isn't it??? I am jealous you live more rurally than I do. The FOOD!!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading...would love to live in Italy!