I’m HONGRY, Mama…

When my brother, Jimmy, and I were little we’d devil our mom by mewling, plaintively, “I’m HONGRY!” and she’d flap her dish towel at us and chase us out of the kitchen.

She new we were making fun of her, in a loving way, of her accent and her family.  After all, Jimmy and I were born in the big city of TOLEDO, and she was from Reedy, WV (which, at that point, barely existed any more…)

What Can I Eat?
Having cancer, for me, means that I’m FRIGGIN’ STARVING almost all the time, but very few things sound good, and fewer things taste edible.  Once I light on something that I can actually EAT, I spend days hoping that my tastes won’t change again.  What I love on Monday can sometimes taste like doggy-do on Tuesday, and there’s no rhyme or reason to it.  It’s not about spice, or temperature of food, or sugar content, or really anything.

One constant has been tea.  I love a good cup of tea, and for better or for worse THAT is a delicious thing to cling to.  I’m also good with bananas and peanut butter is generally a positive.  There were a few days when the smell of it made me nauseas, but since then I’ve returned to the land of Smucker’s peanut butter, and in small amounts it’s good food.

One would think that friend foods are a no-no, but for whatever reason the fish sandwich from Culvers is exactly what I crave most days.  Fish & Chips in general (hold the chips) are tops on my list every day.  At least, this week.

Standing up long enough to actually MAKE that cup of tea, or butter that toast, or peel that banana is another story.  My back hurts SO badly, I think the pain is from the original tumor (in my T9 and T10 vertebrae) and also from the cancer metastasizing into other parts of my spine and hips.  Finding a comfortable position to sleep, or sit, or stand — it’s hard.  I am SO fortunate to have a nice recliner that seems to suit me very well.

I bought it (ostensibly) for Gerry for Father’s Day several years ago, but it never seemed to suit him.  Funny how many things I’ve bought for Gerry have become mine by default!

Picking My Battles
I had to give up a project today because I realized that with the deadline looming, and with two more chemo sessions lined up, there was NO WAY that I would be able to complete this project.  The weight of expectations was so heavy, and now that I’ve given up I feel a bit of guilt, but even more relief.  My brain needs to be sending as many positive thoughts to my body for healing, not fretting over getting a sweater knit — something that dozens of other folks could do just as well, if not better than I!

Back To Mom
Days like today, though, I swear I could go for some of my mom’s classic Soup Beans & Corn Bread, or her Fried Chicken.  Even some of her baked beans.

We ate like poor hillbillies, but damn that was some tasty food!

I miss my mom for so many reasons, but friend chicken is one of the big ones.


Wings Over Engalnd

Finally I’m feeling non-jet-lagged enough to blog, and I find myself with a day on my own, so of course the first thing I do is return to my room and begin web logging.

It’s amazingly beautiful here in Frascati! I arrived late on Tuesday and overslept on Wednesday (a 9:30 call woke me up 30 minutes before my first class was to begin

(I must remember to REMOVE the headphones from the iphone when I’m using it as an alarm clock!)

Passenger in Italy

But since the group had already had several days to slide into the Italian mindset, they were very gracious at my late arrival and after taking a poll of the group I proceeded to teach a short day of entrelac techniques.

It was quite amazing to see everyone getting it so quickly – they’re a skilled group – and I may just sleep in before ALL of my classes if this is the result!

Roman Pines & Palms

After a day of classes I had a nice glass of wine with a lovely couple from Minnesota, Robyn & Jack/Marco (of COURSE they’re lovely – and the live near me!) and we were joined by my good friends the Sessa’s (Jill & her mom, Sheryl) who then accompanied me to a very nice dinner.

Other tour members are just as lovely, I’ll introduce you to them in later posts.

Gelato has no Glutino

Alanna, our hostess for Tactile Tours, is a beautiful combination of American ‘get’er DONE’ and Italian, ‘but why hurry?’ and I think by the end of our tour we will ALL be incredibly relaxed.

Me & Fountains

It’s true there’s a lot of gluten here – pasta, anyone? – but there’s SO much wonderful stuff that I CAN – and WILL – eat!  I could thrive on the eggplant alone!

Yesterday our group went to the Villa D’Este in Tivoli and visited the water-fed gardens which were AMAZING!  So lovely, so well designed and such a joy to stroll!

Villa D'Este, 100 Fountains

I was unprepared for the difference in, well, comfort that is presented in the Italian villas vs. Irish/Scots/English castles, which were NOT designed for comfort at all.  Even something as simple as the scale of the stairs, with an easier rise and tread, is apparent here.

We heard the water organ (the construction was quite fascinating) and the walk did us all good!

So much water flows here!

Our tour guide was adorable, if a bit long-winded (evidently it was very important that we know the dates that each room was painted, re-painted and then re-re-painted)

After our tour we had lunch at an amazing restaurant, Sibilla Antico Ristoriante, built in 1730 with an outdoor dining area covered by a 200 year old Wisteria vine.

Crocheted Plate Cushions

It sits next to the Temples of Vesta & Sibilla (circa 1st Century BCE), incorporating part of that into the outer dining area.

Temple of Vesta, Tivoli

I have learned new phrases, “Non che glutine?” translated: “This Doesn’t Contain Gluten?” and it’s gone a long way toward helping me find gluten free alternatives.  I’ve also learned, “Non posso mangiare glutine.” translated: “I can’t eat gluten.”

Lunches of the Royal & Famous

The walls display marble plaques commemorating visits by royalty and other famous persons.  It was quite a wonderful location.

But the food was even more outstanding!  We started with an antipasto (which actually contained quite a bit of bread, but the non-bread items were pure heaven!) and then found ourselves so full we opted for a small tasting plate of the pastas they serve (I had gluten free with clams & gambero [crawdads] and it was magnificent!)

The Beautiful Ristorante Sibilla

Resting in the late afternoon and dining late is quickly becoming an easy side for all of us!  More wine, ham and cheese last night at the wine bar where we’re becoming regulars, then I retired after a gelato, not really requiring a full meal.  I’ve eaten plenty!

We’re a bit south of Rome, but within commuter train distance so while the group goes on a tour of artists studios in the area today, I’ll take the train into the Eternal City and just walk around, searching for good things to see.  And look where I’ll be eating