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Ode to My Husband

“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.” Judy Garland

As we approach 20 years of marriage I want to tell you all how wonderful my husband is…First, I can’t believe it has been almost 20 years. We met on Yahoo, while I was working in the Museum and he worked at the Lab. We chatted in a chat room often, and ironically enough we basically were doing what young people do now, typing to each other everyday…kind of recapping our day to each other. We then moved on to emailing, and finally started talking on the phone. By the time we were talking on the phone, I was living in San Francisco. We finally met at the clipper ships, and each of us had a gift for each other. I had a wizard for him, since his name online was “Merlin” (the wizard in Camelot). My online name was Contessa Grigia, which just mean Countess Gray. He purchased a giant black teddy bear that was in a giant red gift bag.

We met at 10am, because we wanted to make sure we would get the most out of our day, and just in case we didn’t like each other, we wouldn’t waste our day. We had a great time, we not only laughed, but we talked, about everything and anything. We even went to the grocery store and made spaghetti together. I never had so much fun on my first date!

We met in person in the month of March, and we were married in September. We were married at my church in San Francisco, and I moved to Oakland. We always loved taking long country rides in the Toyota. Sometimes we were quiet during the ride, and sometimes we would not stop talking there was never a point when we forced each other to talk or be quiet, we just let it happen. We rode our bikes all over Berkeley, and took long walks through the Oakland hills. We got our geek on when we created websites together, and we even had web rings, which really geeky people will remember.  We won all kinds of awards for our websites too. We purchased codes that we had on our website, available for people. We worked on 3D puzzles together that would take up our whole dining room table.  The whole time we would go in and out of talking and being quiet, just concentrating.

Since his parents lived right across the street we would go to their house every Sunday for dinner. We would all watch “Funny Videos”, and when 9PM would roll around we would go home, and the perfume of faux orange would be hang in the air. To this day the smell of that flower reminds me of walking home from across the street. We had so many wonderful dinners and conversations at that old house.

We had our first child, Sergio. His name was the one that Roberto always longed for, and Sergio was the name of the nemesis of Cesarina when she worked with the Ferrari family. He was the meaner kid that always gave Cesarina a hard time. After she waxed the floor, he slide through the fresh wax and screwed up the whole hallway. She had to start all over again. Roberto and I had a two reference books that we called “owners manuals”, when something was questionable we would ask “Where is the owners manual?” We would take our giant stroller down to College Avenue and collect beanie babies for Sergio. We went a little crazy with that whole collection. I mean really, it’s almost embarrassing. It was just so much fun at the time.

Roberto lost his father, and it was the first time he ever lost someone so close to him. I had to make the phone call to him to come home from work. It was a tough time for him and his mother, but they handled it was dignity and grace.

Roberto and I renovated our house in anticipation for our second child, we hired an architect, and interviewed several construction people. We finally got all the permits and finalized our decisions for the house, and then I was too pregnant for renovation. We had to wait until Sabrina was a little older. We decided it would have been too much dust for a little baby. Finally, it came time to start the house, and it was a HUGE deal. Not only were we building on, but also digging out the basement to make it larger. We were going from 1100 to 3500 square feet. Everyday, we had to clean up with the kids, and get ready for the next day. It was exhausting for both of us. Roberto was the finisher for the house. He built all the crown molding in the house. He had the tool made, and then he milled each and every piece of molding that went into the house. He cut every sheet of hand painted paper for the ceiling, and even fired me when I couldn’t hold still while holding the paper. He replaced me with a cardboard box on top of a ladder. LOL! True story!

Those country drives were marriage savers, and Roberto would encourage me to go to the movies with my girlfriends. He would stop at antique stores that were on our way to obscure places. We would take our chances, and take our time. He would be outside sometime pushing the stroller, and I would go in the stores.

We have had tough times too, just like everyone else. Cesarina was never easy to get along with, and would often try to start problems between the two of us. She got cancer, and we took care of her. Then we had my dad come live with us for 10 months, and he was an instigator too. I mean with parents, reconstruction, and everything else…we are married for life!

Marriage is hard work, it’s compromise when you want your own way. It is understanding when the other needs your compassion. Everyday, he kissed me before we say “good night”, every morning for the last 20 years we kiss before someone leaves. Even when we have been pissed off with each other, we always end our evening with a kiss. It was part of our contract that we had with each other before we ever got married. Part of our contract was never ever say “I will divorce you.” Neither of us have ever said the word to each other. Part of our agreement was Never say the word unless we are really going to end our marriage.

My husband is the hardest working man I have ever known. Willing to do whatever it takes to get things done. It may be loud at times, but after he it’s off his chest he doesn’t bring it up again. We never hold our past against each other either. What has happened, has happened, we can’t change it, why linger over something that can’t be changed? It’s been a wonderful 20 years, and I hope we have another 20 years together. A destination winery, with all of our other dreams unfolding as well. We have one child that is in college, and one is a senior in high school. Our children are wonderful human beings, and I am ever so grateful that we found each other and created such loving children.

Thank you Roberto for making my life so much better with you being a part of it! I love you, and am so gad we stated “talking” to each other so long ago! We’ve been through so much…2 children, 2 renovations, 6 dogs, 25 goats, 100 chickens, 27 ducks, 3 miniature donkeys, 2 cows, 30 scooters, 3 trains,  7 apartment complexes, 5 websites, 100’s of pieces of art, and one giant ass move! Plus, all our new adventures and a destination winery.

642 Things to Write About, bounty, Collections and Obsessions, country, country, Cucina, Design, Family Friday, farming, food, Fountain of Youth, Fruit, orchard, sweets, farming, pies,organic, food, country,trees,bounty,, Galleria, Genaolgy, Happiness Project, orchard, organic, Photography, random, renissance, Uncategorized, Winery

Christmas Blogging Miracle

No really, it is true! In 2008, I started blogging. I had a different name and many, many followers. I wanted to log our experience of trying to find a farm, winery, bed and breakfast, museum, along with sharing what I knew about our family history. I spent my nights commenting to other bloggers, every night was a competition with myself to see how many other blogs I could read and comment to each night.

The nights got away from me, and I was up until 3 and 4am. Something had to give. We were in escrow for the first place we wanted, and then it fell out of escrow. Our hopes faded a little, but my blog name had to change. I changed the name of the blog, but lost my followers. Oh sure, in hind sight, I could have emailed all my followers and told them my new URL, but I didn’t. So, I started over.

I have gone to blogging conferences, and I have had so much fun attending them. Bloggy Boot Camp is one of my favorites. I didn’t start my blog to get rich, I just wanted to share my journey. I then thought about sharing what I knew about…art, my new adventures in farming,  bee keeping, my new adventures as a winery owner, taking photographs, making Italian food, genealogy, stories of my kids growing up, gathering everyone for Sunday dinners, and life in our new county. I have many subjects of stories to share. Meeting other ladies at the conferences made the whole experience more fulfilling. Many of us started with Google blogging, and then moved to Word Press. We were meeting many of the people that were followers and friends on Twitter, Face Book, Word Press, Goggle, Tumbler, and Pinterest. We have watched others families grow.

Anyways, I blog in my spare time. I am not a professional, this is my outlet   that happens to be public. On Friday, I have “Family Friday”, it’s the day I share knowledge I have gathered about one of my ancestors. Just recently, my cousin found my site, and commented. She was given up for adoption and had been looking for her family. She knew some history, and enough that led her to find my blog posting. She then took it a step further and contacted me through direct message. I answered, and the two of us exchanged information. I promptly got ahold of my other cousin (her sister) to tell her, and she couldn’t wait to call her. The two of them talked and talked. Now, they are talking and exchanging stories It is a miracle, and a terrific Christmas present for all the lives that have been touched.

So, the moral to this story is, you just never know how you are going to touch the lives of others through your writing. My blog may not make me monetarily rich, but rich in spirit! I feel blessed, I have gained a cousin, and my cousins gain a sister! What could be better? Merry Christmas!!

642 Things to Write About, country, Happiness Project, random, Therapy Thursday, Throwback Thursday, Uncategorized

Being Grateful…

I am grateful for all the trials and tribulations in life, they have made me who I am today.

Thank you to all the people that have touched my life, good, bad, or indifferent.

Thanks to my parents for giving me life.

Thanks to Dolly, my neighbor, she scrubbed her porch every week, and that fascinated me to no end. She also fed me oatmeal first thing in the morning when I stopped at her house.

Thanks to my neighbor that gave me a piggy back ride everyday to my first school #49. He was like the big brother I never had.

Thanks to my dad for sitting on the porch with me, and listening to the mourning doves.

Thanks to my mom for showing me cocoons on the milkweed plant. I loved waiting for the butterflies to emerge.

Thanks to my sister and brother for always being great friends.

Thanks to the wonderful kindergarten teacher that told me she would miss me.

Thanks to my Grandma Gray for always making me feel special!

Thanks to the boys that lived down the street from me that threw a cherry bomb in our yard. From that moment, I knew I didn’t want to live in that neighborhood.

Thanks to my first grade teacher for telling me I was good enough of a teacher to teach the left handed child in our class how to use scissors.

Thanks to Aunt Mary for teaching me how damn had it is to pick bushels and bushels of strawberries.

Thanks to Aunt Tink for allowing us to spend weeks at her house in the summers.

Thanks to Aunt Sharon for teaching me that driving fast is an art.

Thanks to all my cousins for having so much fun over the years!

Thanks to the community center that I cheered at, played soccer, basketball, and was a bat girl. I also was in many plays,  musicals, and ballets.

Thanks to all the horrible babysitters that I had, you taught me that I was independent and strong. I could take care of myself and my sister and brother.

Thanks to the boys in sixth grade that felt the need to throw eggs at me on the last day of school.

Thanks to the museum I would visit that was out of the area where I was suppose to ride my bike. The visits would ignite a fire within me, that would become a part of who I am!

Thanks to the little library that ran out of books for me to check out without going into the adult section.

Thanks to the wonderful teachers I had in high school!

Thanks to all the wonderful friends I made in high school!

Thanks to my two favorite deans, Mrs Strong and Mr. Shires.

Thanks to the girls that beat the crap out of me because I was weird and they were stoned. It cemented the knowledge that doing drugs was not worth it. Thanks to the guy that helped me as I bled on the side of the street. He walked me home, and made sure I was ok before he left.

Thanks to the counselor I had in high school that told me that “with your lofty dreams, you’ll need to marry a banker.”

Thanks to parks and recreation for hiring me as a lifeguard, it was one of my favorite jobs.

Thanks to my friend that told me to enroll in college!

Thanks to all the boyfriends that were a part of my life, I’m glad we broke up with each other.

Thanks to the dean of history that told me he had never met anyone with as much tenacity.

Thanks to the professor of museum studies that told me that I was going to have a museum.

Thanks to all the friends I made through college, all those years.

Thanks to Indiana University for my degree, proof that the sacrifices I made were so worth it.

Thanks to my niece for allowing me to take you to the theatre, museums, and zoo.

Thanks to Indianapolis Museum of Art, for my first “Career job”.

Thanks to my nephew for being such a sweet baby.

Thanks to Believe it or Not of San Francisco for being my first California job.

Thanks to Yahoo for having early chat rooms, where I would meet my husband.

Thanks to my husband for meeting me that early morning in San Francisco.

Thanks to my mother and father in law for teaching me about your upbringing.

Thanks to my children, for being YOU!

Thanks to all the friends I made in Oakland and Piedmont. I am glad you are not far away from me!

Thanks to the camps that my children attended in the summers.

Thanks to all the friends I have made in San Luis Obispo county.

We are all the sum of our parts, and that includes all the experiences. There are some experiences that I have had that are not something I would ever want to experience again in my life. Even those experiences have taught me life lessons. I lived through all my experiences, and that is a miracle in itself. I am grateful I am alive, and I have the friends I do have. Live life, and learn from what your life has given you. You can grow from each one, and you will be a better person for it.

Live well

Laugh often

Love Much

Learn Always









642 Things to Write About, Happiness Project, Therapy Thursday, Throwback Thursday

What Would You Do?

Finding yourself locked in a museum overnight….What would you do?

I have been in the backrooms of museums. It’s so quiet, the mind starts seeking sounds. When I worked at once museum we had to utilize our i.d. badges to get access into the storage room. Once inside, the door is locked. I was in there to do inventory. Painstakingly add a tiny strip of white paint in an area, wait for it to dry, and pen the number of the item. Check the item for any wear, chips, or flaws and make notes of what was found on that date. There would be times that I was really engrossed in my work, and other times that sounds would occur. In the storage area, the lights were on a motion sensor too, so not only was it quiet, it was also dark in some area. It was also a huge space. I kinda wanted to hum to myself to bring a little comfort to my well being. It was spooky, but not too frightening.

Would I want to touch everything? No. I know that touching items destroys them. Our salt and bacteria are not good for the paintings and other artifacts. I would rather read about the history of the item, as the item is before my eyes. It is more compelling for me.

How would I spend the night? I would walk around from room to room. When it was time for me to sleep, I would go to the auditorium, planetarium, and if they did not have either, maybe the cafe.

642 Things to Write About, Therapy Thursday

The Inner Narrative Of Your Dog

We have two dogs that are very different. The girls are sisters, and are Cani Corsi (Italian Mastiffs). Sadie has always had a frown, but we have always pictured her in her house (crate), with a computer. There she is with her glasses on, typing on her Mac, and her only source of light is her bank light. Sadie blogs about her day, and tells the world what she has done for the day. How interesting her people are, and the strange things they do. Sheba on the other hand goes into her house, and utilizes a blue crayon on her walls. Her personality is much different than Saddie, she is like a puppy as soon as she goes outside.

Sadie looks at things like she in analytic. We often make voices for the dogs, and Sadie always has a more intellectual voice. We pretend that she is doing math in her head, calculating complex mathematical computations while Sheba is trying to add or subtract simple numbers.

We have had our dogs for almost seven years, and Sadie is the only one with gray hair on her muzzle. We believe that she worries about real issues, while Sheba just thinks of having fun. Cani Corsi   Here are the girls eating their bakery snack for Christmas.                                 IMG_7239This is Sheba sniffing the packages to make sure it is ok to open.

642 Things to Write About, Fountain of Youth, Happiness Project, Therapy Thursday

How I Met Your Father 1

While I was interning at a museum my friends and I used to print out personal ad’s from Yahoo. We would read them out loud to each other in funny voices. One day, one of us dared each other to answer an ad. I answered an ad, and even went on a date. I had the guy pick me up from the museum, and I never told him that is where I worked. He claimed in his ad that he was Italian. (that was one of my prerequisites) I got into the car (this was the days before cell phones), and we went to a restaurant. He talked incessantly about himself, and how frugal he was. I was ready to go after my fist cup of coffee. He just droned on and on…”I save money by taking most dates on the bus.” He even had the nerve to tell me how lucky I was that he really liked me, since he drove his car. WOW! He actually wondered why he was still single?

I told him that I needed to get back to my car. He then asked if it was ok if we split the check since it was our first date, and he did spend the gas money to get us to the restaurant. I told him…Oh no, I was delighted to pay my half. I finally got back to my car, and I laughed all the way home.

I couldn’t wait to get to work the next morning to tell my friends all about my date.

642 Things to Write About, Happiness Project, Therapy Thursday

Future Facebook Status

In the book 642 things to write about…another challenge is to write 5 Future Facbook Status Updates.


Sergio graduates from High School, and is going to Cal Poly to study Nuclear Physics and Engineering. He will be spending his summer in Italy.

We have 5000 wine club members, and our wine has won several gold and platinum medals. We have gone off the grid, utilizing solar panels and helix wind turbines. Goat cheese is selling well, and so are all the eggs.

All of our businesses are making money! We may be able to start our foundation “Sisters of the Sun” by next year.

Our museum has 2 employees, and we were gifted a sculpture from a renowned artist. People are loving our installations, and being a part of the museum.

At the end of the year we start construction on our dream house, and having a pool will be great. We are going to utilize sustainable practices and variety just as we have on Terreni D’ Oro Estate Farm, Winery, and now our Terreni D Oro Ranch.

642 Things to Write About, Happiness Project, Therapy Thursday

Dear Houseplant,

A houseplant is dying…tell it why it should live.

Dear plant,

Your beauty is ever-present in the lives of our family. We need you, and you need us. We are having a wonderful symbiotic relationship. Why would you want to ruin a good thing? Is it me? I can give you more sunshine. Maybe find another location in our home that would make you perk up, and have the desire to LIVE! I want to honest with you, I just don’t think it is your time. How about you hold on for one more day for all of us? How about you try for all of us? We have a great chemistry together, literally and figuratively . I am going to come over to you everyday with a pep talk. You are going to do this, one leaf a time! You got this!

642 Things to Write About, Cucina, Happiness Project, Therapy Thursday

Worst Dish Ever!

Although the book 642 Things to Write About has Worst Thanksgiving Dish…I wanted to share with you the worst dish I have ever made. 

When we lived in the SF Bay Area, we had a favorite pasta. Ravioli’s that were made by hand, but they were sold at a few stores and delicatessens. We ate the sausage meat ravioli with homemade meat sauce. One day, I saw there were turkey ravioli. I thought, this would be a change from the norm. Well, it was a change for the worst, and not the better. 

The table looked lovely, and the smell of fresh homemade bread filled the air. It was just the right crispy feeling outside. We didn’t need a “coat”, just a jacket would do. Just as the ravioli finished in the pot the steam from the pot moistened the windows. I added our homemade sauce, and my mouth watered in anticipation of the ravioli. I started by dipping my pipping hot bread into a little olive oil. MMMM! It was so good, and now a bite of the ravioli. I took a bite, and it was crunchy. It felt like I was eating some of the feathers from the bird. I pushed it down, and did not admit to my disgust to the rest of the family. There it was, on their faces too…disgust! Ugh! I just wanted to shrink in size for putting my family through this drama. I took my fork, and cut one of the raviolis in half. I wasn’t ready to admit to defeat. I took yet another bite…yes, it was just as bad. My over active imagination took me to the slaughter house where feathers were flying everywhere. Could I keep these few bites down? I tried one more, and then I had to admit to the rest of the family that we will not buy the turkey ravioli. Everyone put their forks down, and thanked me for admitting that the ravioli were awful. 

I am sure there are some good turkey ravioli out there. I just have not had the nerve to try another turkey ravioli since.