June 23, 2019
It has been rather quiet here at my home in Italy, and with the heat, I have spent a lot of time just lounging around and thinking. And when I think, I like to think big picture. You know, what's over the fence, what's under that rock, why do bees sting and those lizards grow back their tails. But today, it is hard not to think about the current American Presidential campaign. While I am far away at the moment, it remains big news. As I see it, the current race has become a circus. And being from a long line of circus performers (my forefathers were brought forth by the Barnum and Bailey Circus), I decided that as an experienced candidate, I would throw my hat into the ring. (Obviously, I mean the hat thing metaphorically.) I have a family history of jumping through hoops with great dexterity, and I am sure this will be a valuable skill. How many of the other candidates can say this? So, I am happy to announce my campaign this week as the candidate for the Canine Party. In the interest of full disclosure, my party has no ties to big oil, big pharma, big business, wall street, or Hollywood. My only ties are to the ASPCA and animal rescue organizations.
As for my qualifications, they are many. First, I have spent half of my life abroad, and have developed strong diplomatic skills. I find that where ever I go, people are just naturally attracted to me. I like to kiss babies and shake hands. There is never a language barrier when I meet new people. Living in Europe, I hear a lot of talk about US and European relations, and I understand the importance of our relationships with our allies. I wag my tail heartily at all of them. Make love not war I like to say. Yes, I believe in world peace. Oh my God, that sounds like I am running in a beauty pageant. Well, if I were, I am sure I would win that race. I have by far the best hair of any candidate and a body that would look great in a bathing suit, although I prefer to swim in the nude. (No paparazzi please!)
I can state with all sincerity that I will run an honest campaign. I have never and will never tell a lie. I have no tax returns to hide. I will accept no campaign contributions and will be beholding to no faction or individuals. I can bark loud and strong, but my bark is worse than my bite. Well, actually, I am not a back biter and never will be. My life is an open book, or maybe it is still waiting to be written. I will never tweet. I will never use the word "SAD" or call a fellow candidate "a dummy" or chant "lock her up." I promise to smile for the press. Speaking of the press, I believe in freedom of the press and will never use the phrase "fake news". And I never have and never will eat junk food or drink sodas or alcoholic beverages. As for making any unwanted advances, well, I can't say that has never happened. You see, I like to stand up on my hind legs to see better and sometimes, that means resting my front paws on a leg and then I like to lick hands. And I don't discriminate with my affections, male or female, it is the same to me. But this is my only transgression. Full disclosure here.
My platform is simple:
Thank you for listening my fellow Americans. And may whichever deity you choose to talk to provide you with happy trails and lots of treats.
Dino for President, 2020
June 11, 2019
Well, the weather has certainly taken a turn here. I can no longer complain about fog and rain and cold. We are having a heat spell. I don't think I am built for the hot weather. It would sure be nice to be able to take off this thick fur coat of mine, but I am not supposed to be trimmed or to have my coat shaved because I have an undercoat and very pink, delicate skin that would burn in the sunshine. (I am so delicate, such a little Prince.) I'll just be doing a lot of panting I guess. The house is not air conditioned here like in California, but so far those thick stone walls have kept the indoor temperature very livable, and the cool tile floors are just right for stretching out on and cooling off. We do have a standing air conditioner that we can use if it gets too hot. Jim and Maree say it works good. I hope they're right.
With the change in the temperature, we finally had a warm night. We went to Alessia's restaurant for dinner and sat out on the patio where I could lay down in the grass next to the table. That was the best time I have ever had at a restaurant. There were lots of kids running around, running past me. And I, much to your surprise I imagine, was a perfect gentleman. I didn't run at them or jump or bark. I just stayed there in my position, stretched out in the grass and watched the world go by. What a great life!!!! While I hung out, watching, sniffing the air, and getting some pets I might add, Jim and Maree indulged in a dinner of polenta with truffles and frito misto of calamari and shrimp. We didn't leave the restaurant until almost midnight. I hope I get to go hang out in the grass there again soon.
We went for a tour and wine tasting at Colonnara winery this past week with our friends Renate and Udo. Renate and Udo are from Munich and they have a vacation home nearby. Our friend Cristina works at the winery now and she took us around for the tour. Her husband, Massimiliano is the President of the winery which is a cooperative of growers. His grapes make all of the biologico (organic) wines. Our tour took us down into the cool wine cellar where they store the sparkling wines and where the red wines age in the barriques. Maree likes it down there with the scent of wines and all of the riddling racks. I liked it there too because it was cool and I got carried around during the tour. We took an elevator the size of a 12 by 15 foot room to get down to the cellar. That was pretty weird, but then again it was an adventure.
After the cellar tour, everyone went into the tasting room, and I just had to lay down and wait. It seemed like a very long wait. I think they tasted every wine on offer. First there was Luigi Ghislieri, a methodo classico sparkling wine, which has been one of Maree's favorites. It is bottle aged for three years. Then there were white wines, Verdicchios and a Bianchello, then there were red wines Cabernet, and another one that I don't remember. Oh, and there was a rose too. At the end, they tasted a methodo martinotti (charmat for those of you more familiar with the French term although the Italians assure Maree that they made sparkling wines first). The table was weighted down with bottles. When they were done, I don't think anyone walked a straight line back to the car but me. I should have been the designated driver. Fortunately, lunch was only five minutes away.
Back home, I keep learning new things. For a very long time I never jumped up on the furniture myself. I had to be invited and picked up. But, eventually, with a lot of coaxing, I learned to jump up into the car. Well, once I mastered that, the couch and the bed were easy. I started with the couch though just to check out the response and see if it was okay for me to jump up there. Of course, I only do it when Maree is there and I can hang out with her and play. The bed took a little longer. I think I liked being able to sit there looking up longingly at it until I was picked up and put on the bed. I especially liked it when I would wake Maree up at 1:00 am with a little woof so she could put me up there. Somehow I think something in my life will be missing now that I can do these things on my own. I don't think I'll have quite as much control, and I am all about being in control. Maree and Jim have not figured out how to break me of this idea, and they have tried.
On the house front, it looks like we will be here for a while, so if anyone wants to visit, they should do it. We have someone coming to see the house on June 20. The woman from Milan is still interested, and she will be coming back to visit when she has time - so who knows what that means. In the meantime, Maree is going to start more marketing on her own with fliers in our friend's bed and breakfasts and the local restaurant. Maybe we can pick up some interest that way.
Brian is off to Japan for a week for work. He arrived there on Sunday. He is looking forward to the Ramen whatever that is. Maree wonders about Siobhan all alone there with the three little boys. Siobhan seems to have this Mom thing well in hand though, and she is home schooling Charlie. He is five and doing 3rd grade math on his own for fun and writing signs that he posts around the house. My favorite sign says "Stop Chickens." I would like to stop some chickens. I think that would be a fun game, but no one will let me near enough to catch them.
Speaking of animals, I saw deer outside of our fence the other day. It just ran by the yard on its way into the forest down the hill. I stood there looking and made one little, quiet growl. I didn't want it to hear me in case it was mean because it was very big with big antlers, and I don't think I wanted to make it mad at me. It was the second time I saw a deer within a week. A few nights before one jumped right out in front of our car when we were coming home from a dinner. Some nights I can smell the scent of the deer and the wild boar. I just stand there in the yard, nose up, smelling. Then I run and bark like crazy. I think that scares them away. I wish that my barking would also scare away the deer ticks. Maree says there never were deer ticks here before, but they are here now along with the deer. And, unfortunately, my long, luxurious fur, seems to have a magnetic attraction for the ticks.
Longing for a little bit of rain,
Your friend in Italy,
Dino the hot and thirsty
I am Maree, the voice of Dino - or at least I am the one who does the typing. For more information about me and my life in Italy, you can follow me at theproseccoproject.com.