Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Satellite TV

Where would I be without Sky television package? I think I might be speaking better Italian and not having Mr Murdoch infiltrate my brain on world news via Fox News. But, I do thank Mr Murdoch for all the USA channels that I do watch. My very favorite is Dave Letterman which we get a couple days delay but we get to see this show. Thank you for this Mr Murdoch!

Here is the listing for today's possible viewing between the hours of 10 AM to 11 AM on the entertainment channels.

Starsky&Hutch dubbed in Italian (diI)

NY Undercover (diI)

Cheers (diI)

Happy Days (diI)

Una Mama per amica (Lorelei and Rory show)

Cambio Moglie USA

Hell's Kitchen

Willy, il principe di Bel Air (I don't recall if this is in English)

The Practice

Lt Colombo

Doc: Lee Marvin


Sabrina vita da strega


You can switch languages on lots of these programs to the original language or Italian. The ones listed (diL) are only broadcast in Italian.

Lot's of homes have satellite. Mostly for the sports channels. So we have news channels, cinema channels and documentary and cooking channels. I did watch 10 minutes of The Practice this morning. I like programs from Boston.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Most of the monuments and statues in this town are those of Saints. There are two giving remembrance to Italy's war dead.

In one piazza is a monument of a soldier with names of those who died in WW's 1 and 2. The second monument is a tribute remembering the 16 Italian soldiers who died in a suicide bombing in Nasiriyah, Iraq. None of those dead were from this town. All of Italy was in mourning for days as the television broadcast both their homecoming and state funerals.

Monday, February 26, 2007


First update is on the Limoncello. It sits in my refrigerator unused. I had enough to make an additional small bottle and we used that as a taste tester. It has a kick and we will enjoy it this summer. My friend tells me it should go in the refrigerator and not the freezer. These glasses are the kind used for serving Limoncello. They should go into the freezer.

Carnavale was cancelled last Tuesday but it was held on Saturday Feb 24th. The powers that be gave special permission.

Many readers asked me about the price of gas here. I did not know off the top of my head. We fill that gas tank about every 6 weeks. I certainly would know the price of gas if I lived in the USA but it isn't something I think about here. BUT, I should. Don't fall off from your seats when you read the price per gallon! Here is proof that there are gas stations called Q-8.

One gas station lists €1.20 per liter and the other €1.24 per liter. We would and we do shop at the one listing €1.20 so I will use that price. Multiply €1.20 x 3.78 (number of liters in a gallon) and the answer is €4.44 per US gallon of gas. (all numbers rounded off) Today the Euro USD exchange is: 1 €=$1.32. Conversion 4.44 EUR=5.84098 USD. This is what the cost of gas is

$5.84 per gallon.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Danny and Arnold

*The person whose birthday is closest to today gets the centerpiece!* That is how we met and found each other. Twins! Born on the same day, same month and the same year.

The lady sitting at the table across from me ...said her birthday was in two days and she would be taking home the flowers. I almost did not have the heart to say that my birthday was the next day but admitted it after my husband blurted out this information. Then things got very eerie! She was born on July 21st at around 4 in the morning Italy time. I was born some time between 9PM and midnight eastern time in the USA. (My mother told me I was born after visiting hours were over at 9PM.) If I had been born in Italy, I would have been born on the 21st. She would have been born on the 20th in the USA. This is due to the 6 hour time difference. This all became a good reason for us to get together each year...on the 21st of July, since we both live in Sicily. Physically we are extreme opposites. Characteristics are much alike. She is plain spoken and hard working. I like to think I am as well.

Check us out and see if you agree...we could be Dannina and Arnoldina. She got the flowers that day and we both got a new friend.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


My friend posted a pair of new sexy red *Copacabana* shoes on her Web Page that I would love to have in my closet. That is about where they would stay. I am definitely not a shoe or purse person. I would look out of place wearing those delightful and fun looking pair of shoes. I want them but I'd never wear them. I am a very boring dresser. Nothing too fancy. When and if I dress up I look very out of place.

So here are my shoes. I wear these and a pair of black Nike walking treads in the winter. I have had these Birkenstock shoes for about 5 or 6 years and I keep them looking new. Any shoes I have are kept shined and shod. We have a great shoe man in town who will fix just about anything. (Ask my son who came here with a broken luggage strap.)

I don't go in for the current style either. Notice pointy toes on these babies! My husband is the shoe shine man. My feet feel great in these shoes.

My friend's shoes just go so well with her personality. I wish.....well wishing won't make them look good on me.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday Feature

Agip, Q-8 and ERG are names of gasoline stations. I know what Q-8 stands for but I am curious if saying Q-Otto brings Kuwait to mind?

The gasoline station I am featuring is also just down the road from Oliveri. It is run by an Oliveri man and his younger brother. I have know them since one was in High School and the other just a small lad. This place is an ERG station.

The gasoline sold is verde and diesel. Verde is unleaded gas. They outlawed leaded gasoline in the early 90's. Most gas stations also sell coffee, snacks and car items. In the summer you can also buy beach gear.

It is not a service station as they do not offer repairs. You can fill it up...get your windshield clean, add some oil, put air in your tires and receive scratch off cards perhaps winning a cup of espresso from ERG. Sometimes gifts are given away with fill ups. (Remember those days?)

On occasion these places go on strikes for a couple days at a time. There is one planned for the end of the month. One of the protested subjects is operator's anger at government plans to let shopping centers and supermarkets sell gasoline.

I should have checked the price of gas but will do this soon on an update page.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pass the Plate

A few months back I went on a *gita* with some of the local townsfolk to visit Nicosia the birthplace of Sicily's newest saint, Santo Fratello Felice. Often folks get together and go by bus to parts of Sicily for the day. Normally, it is a religious based trip but you get to sight see and hang out together for the day. These trips are usually Sunday outings. Nicosia is up into the mountains and in the area bordering Nebrodi. Nebrodi is about as forest looking as you can get.

I always enjoy myself on these trips. It pushes me into Sicilian dialect and the Italian language. I put the dialect first as that is the language mostly spoken.

After visiting the monastery where Brother Felice had lived we hopped back onto the bus and were taken to the Seminario Vescovile for lunch. This is where the Vesco lives and this seminary is a retreat. (I did see a Marriage Encounter symbol on the wall.) They fed us lunch which was very nice. After lunch, I approached one of the men who were waiting on the tables and asked if I could purchase one of the plates. I like to collect something memorable on each trip. He told me that that would be impossible. OK! I went with that and thanked him for his time...ugh!
The whole trip and meal cost around €20...a bargain.
We did more sightseeing around Nicosia and then boarded the bus for the trip home. After an hour into the ride home a young woman came to me with a sack in her hand and said she had a little something for me. I opened the sack and there was the plate I'd wanted to buy. I was surprised. I was happy. I had the plate. I don't care that it was slipped out. Those Sicilians....know things.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Prince (Barilla) Spaghetti Day

Today and every Wednesday it is Prince Spaghetti Day in the North End of Boston. That was a good commercial for Prince Spaghetti. The mom calling Anthony to come home for his plate of spaghetti.

In honor of this day I decided to make spaghetti and meat(a) balls. We don't have Prince products here so I used Barilla instead. We don't use white flour pasta anymore and Barilla now makes integrale and 5 cereal pasta and that is what we use and eat. Misura makes good integrale pasta also.

The sauce is made from vine tomatoes, garlic, onion, frozen basil and salt...with a little hot pepper. The oil I use is local. You can chop the tomatoes and onions and garlic into chunky pieces as it will cook down and it all gets ground thru a vegetable passata. I like vine tomatoes better than plum tomatoes. They give off a better perfumo and are more liquid.

Today's meatballs were made with hamburg, granna padanna cheese, fine bread crumbs, garlic, 2 eggs, pinch of salt and some hot pepper. I like to add some sausage meat to the meatballs but did not have any in the house today.

I cook the meatballs in just a little oil for about 5 minutes to brown and then add to the sauce.

When it got into the plate I was a little disappointed with the look, but it was just fine. I used to make this dish with tomato sauce, but for the past few years we have come to like the fresh tomatoes better.

Now I just need my Antonio come to the table!!!!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Birthday Boy

Happy Birthday Cicciu! I love this picture and loved it when the "birthday boy" was here. He really got into the life. We get asked about him alot. One more year till this grandson will be a teenager. One more year to act like a kid and not get into trouble for not acting so grown up. I hear someone saying...but he is grown up?
I remember when he was just a little fella and didn't want his Mom to leave him behind. He loves his Mom all right. We made up a little song about *we got the house!* We could do stuff when Mom was away! (But now that you are growing up....things change there grandson! )
If you were here today I'd take you out for one of those ice cream sandwiches.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Chinese New Year

We have the year of the PIG. That spells T R O U B L E for me. I am struggling to lose some weight and this new year means food to me. I shall have to be extra alert. At the animal market last fall they had some pigs for sale. Both the live kind and if you desired something roasted.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday Feature

Arredamenti means furnishings and home decoration. Pirri and Munafò s.r.l. is all that and more. Three buildings housing office space, furniture and appliance display and a woodworking shop are located in the town of Falcone which borders Oliveri.

This is where we purchased most of our furniture. We visited and talked with one of the owners and set up an appointment for him to come and see our home. After this visit where we discussed our needs and he measured spaces he went back to his office to draw up a diagram of how furnishings would best look in our home. We meet at the furniture display store and agree or disagree on his plans and pick out the style of furniture we want. These are the steps for most folks setting up a new home or refurbishing an older ones. The selection of furniture goes from vacation type to elegant home furnishings.

The workshop refinishes as well as makes cabinetry. They made doors for us and installed a granite top for our kitchen counters. When we have a problem with any of the cabinets that we purchased they come and repair them. I find this service to be a good reason to do business with these folks. Each person working in this business is professional and courteous. The fellas who deliver the furniture to a house don't have it easy. The streets are narrow for maneuvering their trucks. Even hauling a washer up three flights of stairs doesn't cause an eye to blink. That is what happened in our house along with living room furniture hoisted up and through balcony windows.

I have taken lots of furniture display pictures. We are very satisfied with the items we have purchased from this business. I had selected a very formal table and chair set but the owner kept leading me to another style. I took his advice and am glad that I did. His suggested set fits just right in my kitchen.

Falcone is a small town just like Oliveri but this business is a BIG one customer service and quality.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Merry February Christmas

Car door slams outside and then my door bell rings. I suspect a package as I know the sounds that precede the delivery man. He likes to talk to me in English. He removes a very large package and it is a Christmas package from my Ohio daughter and family. I like late Christmas gifts. I like any Christmas gifts!!!!

So what was inside?? Lot's of food items including a packaged Red Velvet Chocolate Cake Mix with a can of Cream Cheese frosting. I fell in love with this taste at her house last year! Fat free jello packages to soften the blow of calories from that Red Velvet Cake, lifesaver candy and some Chinese food mix.

Husband got a naughty calendar for the Barber Shop and some Ohio State pj's, plus the local newspaper. He loves to read the ads and then compare with local prices.

Books are a great gift...thank you ten million times! Other items were also inside but I save the best for last!!

Red Sox memorabilia! One of my favorite players sponsoring my ALL TIME favorite drink...MOXIE!!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

S Valentino

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone reading this. Today my name is Valentina. I have no saint's day using my name so I have been given the name of Valentina for this day only by my neighbor, whose name is Valentino. Here we are. Not the greatest photo but I am glad to have and share it.

So, of course I like Valentine's Day even more since coming here.
Nice PS: My own Valentine came bearing flowers and strawberries. XO to him!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Nice Folks

Two couples from New York State left to return home this morning after an extended vacation in Naples and Sicily. I love when Americans come to this small town. They either open my eyes to new things or reaffirm how I feel about life here. Many times I feel like the odd man out. It was so very nice to hear one gentleman repeat over and over how nice the townsfolk were to them. I think the local folks want visitors to go back to their homes with stories of what a nice vacation they had here and make the extra effort to ensure that they do. It isn't the best time of year to be visiting this area but I think they made the best of it.

One lady was born in Naples and I am a Napolitana wannabe. She was very friendly and now I need....NEED to be visiting Naples. I hope they had a good flight back to the USA.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Waste Management

Garbage is picked up in this town every day except Sunday. The trucks come in the morning and pick up and the recycle trucks come every couple days. I think the town has a good system. In several parts of the town you find dumpsters. Each home owner is responsible for putting refuse into these dumpsters. You are supposed to bag it and not dump it loose. Not everyone complies with this rule, but I think more do than before. The dumpsters are sprayed and cleaned at intervals. In a couple sections are recycle dumpsters and outside most bars there is a glass recycle bin. The truck for the glass recycle material is just a smaller version of the normal dumpster truck. The only issue with the whole trash system is a price to pay. The town used to do this work and not very well. Now that there is a private company doing the work it works better and the dumpster areas are cleaner and well maintained. The cost for rubbish pick up has gone up and not without major discord among the commune. Charge for the service is dependent on the square footage of your house. The rubbish firm is also responsible for street cleaning. I find the place cleaner since they have switched to a private company.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Soggy Sunday

Here we are again, another Sunday. It has been raining thru the night and the morning leaving a dreary dampness to the afternoon. Outside on my street is a picture of no activity. While on my balcony I spied two pots of budding flowers. One I think will be tulips but the other I can't remember just what I put in there. I am not a good flower person. But, I like them. I always claim that they commit suicide on me but I need to take better care of them. I can't wait to see what comes up in these pots. I'm hoping for yellow tulips and a great surprise with the second pot.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Soccer is back this week after a sad hiatus following the death of a policeman at the Catania stadium. Some teams will play in an empty stadium while others who have complied with the new security laws will have fans in the seats. Of course everyone knows that soccer is the national sport and that Italy has the World's Champion Soccer winning the final game against France last summer.

Juventus is Andy's team. He has been following this team since childhood. This year his team has been demoted to Seria B due to some *hanky panky * activity by the team's owners. They are on top of Seria B and will most likely be back in Seria A next season.

More than Juve...Andy LOVES Alessandro DelPiro. He has been with the team Juventus thru his entire soccer career. He is a gentleman on and off the field. Last year the coach for Juventus decided not to play DelPiro as a starting forward in most games. I thought that Andy would quit the his fan status. After the season's end the coach was let go and DelPiro is back in starting position.

Games can be watched on Sky Satellite TV. I made a boo boo a few years back by adding sports channels onto our satellite package. So every time Juventus plays we are watching. I understand the game better than I did when I landed here but I'd much rather be watching Baseball!

Friday, February 9, 2007

Friday Feature

Every two years it is necessary to have your car *revisione* or revisited and updated to road standards. My featured business this Friday is Officina Meccanica owned and operated by S.L. Chiofalo. He has been servicing our car since we purchased it in 1993. We bought the vehicle second hand from a gentleman who purchased an identical one but in a different color. It was under a year old when we bought it making this car around 15 years old. It has not given us a bit of trouble and has saved us in a couple incidents. The last being hit in the rear by a lady driving a brand new Mercedes. Her hood crumpled like an accordion but we had not a mark on our car. If we ever buy a new car it will be a Peugeot just like this one. It is way too late to make a trade on this car and we mostly use it for grocery shopping trips, nearby trips and of course as a beach car in the summer.

This week we had the car revisioned and the only problems were a window that does not roll up and down easily and a windshield wiper that needed replacing. The mechanic comes to our home and picks up the car and then returns it after the check up and necessary work is finished. Great service.

This garage is not in Oliveri but it is close enough in S. Anna that you can holler from the town line and the mechanic could hear you. I think this garage is something out of a small southern town that you might see in a movie. The only thing missing is the Sheriff who might be saying--*We don't cotton to your kind around here!* OK ! I had to put that in. The pit is outside the building and I found that smart. There is only one young guy besides the owner working in this garage. The work is first rate...service first rate...what could be better than this?