October 31, 2012
For more than a month my spouse and I have been traveling through Italy. Now, don’t get all made at me. I know I should have told you I was going to be away given that you plan your days around my blog posts but I was just wanting to avoid that whole “Send me a postcard from Rome, pleeeease!” mess. You would have sat anxiously waiting by the mailbox all month and I would have felt guilty for never sending you a letter. Trust me when I tell you that tt was much better this way, sneaking out of the country under the cover of night. I did it for your good as much as for my own. You can thank me now or later.
Anyway, we had an incredible adventure that included a week in Rome, two weeks in Tuscany, and a final week on the Amalfi Coast before stopping in London for a few days on our way home. I kept a travel blog while we were away that you can view over at Anita and Dana in Bella Italia! To follow our trip from start to finish just go to the archive list on the right column and begin browsing around September 17 which is when our travels began. I should probably mention that The Great Food Poisoning Fiasco of 2012 falls around September 19 or 20.
That’s called a teaser, just in case you didn’t know.
I know this might surprise you but I made it all the way until our third day in Rome before I started looking in store windows for cookie cutters. I found a few but in a country where biscotti rules, decorated cookie supplies were far and few between though I was delighted to find this shelf of cookie bling in a small village market on the Amalfi Coast.
And before you ask, the answer is yes. I somehow managed to bring home just a few cookie-related treasures.
Even with my cookie supply finds, the only rolled decorated cookies I found in more than a month of traveling were these at London’s outdoor Borough Market and the minute I saw them I started jonsin’ for cookie dough to roll!
At least I had the chance to get in the kitchen for a short time in Tuscany to take a couple cooking classes, and you’ll notice in the photo that even in Italy I wore my red ALS awareness bands. I wear one on my left wrist, the one my brother Randy was wearing when he died. I wear five on my right wrist for all those living with ALS today. I always wear them. All the time and everywhere.
The reason I wear all these bands is so people will notice and when they notice they’ll get curious and when they get curious they’ll ask, “What are those about? What do they mean?” And that’s the moment when these red plastic ALS awareness bands have the power to transform into awareness in people’s minds and hearts. Nearly every week someone asks me about the bands and that’s when I tell them about Randy, about ALS, and about the ALS Association. Occasionally when talking with someone I’ll slip one of the bands off my right wrist and give it to them in the hope they’ll wear it and one day while wearing it someone else will notice, get curious, and ask, “What is that about? What does it mean?”
Wearing my red ALS awareness bands in Italy gave me the chance on at least a half dozen occasions to spread awareness about ALS. A clerk at a small market in Buonconvento. A woman in a coffee shop in Florence. A man outside of Naples. A salesperson in Orvietto. The woman who taught me how to make hand-rolled pici and ribolitta. Six American tourists on the Amalfi Coast. In Italy, ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is known as SLA (Sclerosi Laterale Amiotrofia). Different acronym, same terrible disease. Speaking of ALS awareness bands, you can get one for yourself by going here. Just saying.
So now that I’m back home I’m eager to get back to baking, decorating, and raising funds for the ALS Association. I also have some ideas brewing in my head for upcoming posts that I hope you’ll enjoy. And if you don’t enjoy them, don’t tell me. My ego is a fragile little butterfly with gossamer wings.
In the meantime, I thought I’d share some photographs I took over the past month of candles glowing in churches from ancient cathedrals in Rome to London’s Westminster Abbey. Each time we visited a church during our travels I’d light a candle of thanksgiving for the life of my brother Randy along with prayers of strength, hope, and comfort for all those living with ALS.
Flickers of hope illuminating the dark.