The Antithesis of Printer Throwing

This past weekend I had the magnificent opportunity to attend a 4 day yoga retreat with my beloved teacher Britt Bensen Steele.and 10 other amazing people.

So many take away gifts from the weekend, but some of the highlights from the group:




Sure and Comfortable with Not Knowing.

Embrace the Mystery.

Going to the Edge.

Always, always, always,  back to the BREATH – the gateway to freedom.

Bella gioia, secondo me.


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Finding Inner Peace Through Throwing the Printer Across the Room


Yesterday I had one too many times of this piece of shit NEW Canon printer breaking down. I picked it up and threw it across the room. Then I did it again. And once more. Third time is a charm. It was so satisfying. I have wanted to do this forever.

The result was a complete state of calm and inner peace. Molto tranquila. Ahhhhhhh.

This was better than yoga or meditation.

Almost better than anything. Well, not quite anything.

I then called Office Max to see what my new printer options might be. They patched me over to their tech guy and I recounted my printer throwing story , and that I was in need of a new printer and NOT a Canon. He cracked up and said I was his kind of person and to come see him today – he would get me all situated with a nice new Epson printer and to bring in the smashed up one – Office Max will give me $50 off the price of the new one for my “trade in”… This is GREAT – not only did I find inner peace by throwing the printer across the room but I am getting paid $50 for it.

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Roma, Cortona and Beyond


I can hardly believe that I am headed back to Rome 2 weeks from today, and subsequently Cortona.

I am beyond excited.




I have been anticipating this empty nest for sometime, both boys, Jesse and Corey are now launched in their adult lives, Corey in college and Jesse finding his way after college.  It is time for me to explore a bit and see what my post child rearing life will offer.  What better place to begin this journey then back to where my heart resides, Italy.

I will work and live in Italy for the next 2 months, based in Cortona without some huge restoration project on Casa San Marco, travel a bit, and simply be open to the adventures that present themselves. It is a little bit scary, but mostly exciting, and no matter what, I am sure it will not be noioso or boring.

Maybe I will even study Italian and learn to speak it better, I am quite bored of just getting by after 30 + years. It would be lovely to speak it fluently, I have sufficient motivation now.

I will miss my life in Portland, the past 6 weeks have been incredible, forming many new friendships and deepening the ones that are in place.  I love my people here, I am so blessed with an incredible community of support and comfort.

And I will miss my sons, yet I know that they are now entering some of the most exciting years of their lives, they are amazing, well adjusted young men and I know they will be just fine without Mom for a bit.

Time to pack le valige.





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August Moments in Portland, Oregon

It usually takes me about 6-8 hours to create a blog post. Start to finish. Editing photos, processing them in Photoshop until they are my version of perfect, inserting them into the blog and then writing the post. Maybe it does not take normal people this long. But I am very obsessional, an artist, and a perfectionist. So it takes a while. Therefore, I do not make as many blog posts as I would like. So tonight, I decided to do it differently.

I have had some absolutely stellar moments since I returned from Italy two and a half weeks ago. Instead of spending all day going thru the arduous process of creating a blog post, I decided to just throw some photos up – more of a photo essay. Just to capture the moments. It has been a great 2 1/2 weeks. Certainly the best re-entry from Italy that I have ever done. Usually I am a hot mess for about a month after my return from my beloved Italian madness. This time?

Three days.

 Thats all it took. I have some theories about that, but I will save those for another day. Otherwise, I will be here another 6-8 hours.


My boys, Corey and Jesse.  The day after we returned, August 5,  Jesse celebrated his 22 year old birthday.

I am proud of him. I don’t like the word proud.  But there it is. Proud. I just am.



Backyard. Early morning.



 I met her 7 days ago. But it surely has been at least 700 years. I know we have known each other in a million lifetimes. We are glued at the hip.


My hot, amazing, outrageous friend Deanna. I met her at yoga 2 years ago. Sometimes she wears a leapord hat with little teddy type ears. And cowboy boots. Or something like that. Today, she is rockin’ the stilettos. I might have to try that.

Quite soon.


Corey washed all his tailored Italian shirts that I have bought for him there. I told him not to put them in the dryer. This was his solution for hanging them out to dry. Of course, they were still on the front lawn when I came home tonight. In the dark.


11My beloved Sabrina, friend of 21 years. Making a special stop to wish my Corey Buon Viaggio and good luck on his journey to college tomorrow. Is he really leaving home tomorrow? Yes.


 Sabrina brings me a $500 Italian chocolate brown leather skirt that she found at Goodwill for $5. It doesn’t fit her.

Lucky me.  It is now mine. Grazie infinite Sabrina!

Smooth like butter and fits like a glove. Super hot. It needs to go back to Italy with me.

Deanna, do stilettos work with a leather skirt?


L’Ultima Cena, the Last Supper at Fireside with some of my boys, Andre, Corey and Owen

15Yoga today with my awesome yoga girl pals at Yoga Pearl.
uzanne, me, and Mercedes. And Britt of course. The stunning blond – arms outstretched. Our beloved teacher.  She works magic.


Shannon’s second day at class with Britt. She is hooked.


That only took 1 1/2 hour. Not bad. I will try this more often.

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Missing Rome. And All the Rest.

625467_10201689355265244_1731162928_nI am home in Portland, the first few days spent in recuperation mode, drifting  in and out of sleep in a dreamy altered state. My thoughts keep drifting back to Italy, as a part of my psyche and heart is always left there, it as if I have left the love of my life, this pazzo  paese, Italia. As I am in this altered reality, I think of my Rome adventures, I spent a total of a week there, broken up into 3 bits, once when I first arrived, here, then again with Wendy, here, and lastly a few weeks ago, when I went to Rome for the last time of the summer, with Jesse, to drop him off to his 5 day Bartender School at Planet One, on the outskirts of Rome. Taking the train, once again, Sunday afternoon. Terontola to Rome. I’m getting quite familiar with this station.

IMG_8753After checking in the Navona Palace, the place Wendy and I had discovered the week before in the Governo Vecchio neighborhood, we got ourselves over to an incredible bar/terrace restaurant called Hi Res,  recommended by Wendy, who had been to Rome by herself the a few weeks before. Wendy makes friends with everyone, and this was no exception. She made fast friends with Lorenzo, a most amazing bartender, who is passionate about his work, and an expert in his field. She wanted Jesse to meet him, so we went Sunday night, and meet him we did. He saved us two places at the bar, and proceeded to give us exotic cocktails and fruit drinks and drink samples and antipasto tastes and all kinds of amazing things. The level of food, drinks, atmosphere was truly elevated, Lorenzo was charming and we had an amazing time.



Best drink I have ever had, senza alcohol, some mixture of Italian ginger ale, cucumbers, fresh fruit.



View of Rome from Hi Res.

I loved this place. I went back the next night, and had a most magical time. A must visit place next time you are in Rome and in need of a great cocktail , view of Rome from a terrace, wonderful food and an elegant experience.

IMG_8785Next day, next stop, Santa Teresa in Ecstasy – Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini. I have seen this work many times over the years and it never fails to transport me. I found this cool blog where the author discusses HER interpretation of this work, and how it seems that Bernini was much more focused on sensuality and sexuality and not much so much the religious content. I have always felt this way about this piece. Read more about this here.


I spent a few days in Rome, wandering around, not doing much, but photographing and poking my head in alleys, stairwells, windows.


The well worn marble stairs of this building are insanely beautiful, as are all of its arches and windows.


My friend from Portland, Stefania McCormick, at Taste Unique told Jesse and I to go visit her friend, Riccardo Cruciani, at his macelleria, Centro Freschezza Cruciani. located in a very authentic working class part of the city. Not one tourist in sight. Loved it. Riccardo was a gem, so accommodating and lovely. Jesse could not go with me because of class, but he got over there later in the week to tour Ricardo’s place and to discuss the possibility of working for him down the line, doing butchery work. This place was a trip, a supermarket of meat and cheese, wonderful.

IMG_8854IMG_8858IMG_8860Heading back to the centro, I stumble upon a doll hospital of sorts. Swoon.



Next, a stop to see Museo Ara Pacis, an alter from Rome antiquity, that has had a modern structure built around it to house and preserve. The marriage of the 2 styles, antique and modern were insanely beautiful. The altar to Peace was driven by Augustus, in 9 B.C.

IMG_8870IMG_8872IMG_8888IMG_8892IMG_8896Lastly, what trip to Rome would be complete without a stop at my most favorite lingerie shop in New York, Only Hearts, with a sister store in Rome in “my” neighborhood, Governo Vecchio. In chatting with the lovely owner, Jean, I found out that Jean’s sister started Only Hearts way back in the day, and Jean, who has lived in Rome for 30 years has the Rome store. We had a delightful time hanging out.


Only Hearts, Piazza della Chiesa Nuova 21, Rome Italy

IMG_8919Ending the day at Caffe delle Pace, a neighborhood hangout. Found an antique book I could not resist called Santa Settimana, it spoke to me and I will most likely make a book out of this that documents my time in Rome this summer.

As I am parked at the Caffe delle Pace, I notice a woman who is pretty fuori la testa, or nutjob material, making proclamations to herself, ranting, pulling the world out of her purse and arranging the items carefully on a parked car. Not hers. Oh well. Watching the world go by.


Dinner later, at a new discovery, out of the way trattoria, in the Campo dei Fiori neighborhood La Fiaschetta serving only to locals, not a single tourist in sight. Phew. Dodged them again.

Am I a tourist? Maybe not. I hope I have earned the right to not be one by dutifully going thru all the bureaucratic ridiculousness at the Questura in Arezzo every 2 years for the past 12 years to keep my Permesso di Soggiorno and Residenza in tact. It has to count for something, doesn’t it?

IMG_8926IMG_8929Dreamy. All of it. I miss it all. A presto Roma.

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I Vanitosi (The Silly Vain Ones)

 Arezzo, July 2013

One of my most favorite outings in Italy is visiting my amici at Prive, my hairdressers of the past 12 years. Without them, I would be a mess, important to keep the Goldwell red hair color going every 3 weeks. And equally as important: Fabrizio, Mino, Ela, and Miri  are my dear Arezzo friends/family at this point. Prive is a jewel of a salon, Fabrizio is an amazing artist, along with being a brilliant parrucchiere (hairdresser), he is continually displaying new works he has created in his salon. Whenever I go, it is spa day for me. I am completely at home, I let down, relax, and they all take care of me.




Mino, Fabrizio, Me, Ela and Miri



One of Fabrizio’s paintings that I have always enjoyed


Mino and I bonded a few years ago over our mutual love of our identical Nikon cameras and have been friends ever since. We also share the character trait of being extremely vain and self absorbed ( I vanitosi) when it comes to having photographs taken of ourselves, so we entertain each other in this obsessive quality.



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Yes, I admit it. I am hopelessly vain. Una vanitosa senza speranza. Oh well. It could be worse. It is what it is.

After a delightful afternoon of covering getting fresh color on the hair with my Goldwell 8kg, 7K, etc. formula, I headed over to Albero, a wonderful shoe store nearby. Shoes and handbags, another hopeless addiction. I discovered a handbag line last year, 3rd Floor, and since July is saldo month in Italy, where the entire country is on sale, I figure I need to go check out whats happening at Albero.


Naturalmente, I find another 3rd Floor handbag I can’t live without (this makes 3) and it is discounted to a ridiculously low price. Of course I bought it. I haul it over to Mino’s and we take more pictures of each other while we wait for his partner Filippo to get ready so we can go to dinner.


Beautiful bag, isn’t it? Will I stop at 3? Probably not. There is always another saldo, next July.





Ok, I think this is good Mino, lets go eat.


They take me to Olga e Albano Ristorante, one of Arezzo’s best restaurants. A friend of mine had recently recommended this to me, so I was excited to go.  It was as good as he promised it would be.


Olga, the proprietaria, hanging out at her table, overseeing everything that goes by.

IMG_9126IMG_9121A great time was had by all the vanitosi.

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Vacanze Romane (Roman Holiday) with Stacey and Wendy

My oldest friend Wendy from L.A. showed up in Cortona last week. Our mothers were best friends, and introduced us to each other when I was two years old and she was one. We were the best of friends all through our childhood and saved each others’ asses in our respective dysfunctional households.  Our sleepovers were a torrent of constant giggling until our mothers would scream at us and threaten to separate us if we didn’t “settle down.” That just fueled the fire and hours of hysterical giggling would continue.


Modern Day Slumber Party in Cortona July 2013

So Wendy, after doing the European vacation of a lifetime with her husband and two grown sons, shipped them home, and came to me. We have not seen each other in 10 years, but we picked right back up from where we left off and regressed to our childhood selves immediately.  We have been laughing non stop.  IMG_8730


We decide it might be a good idea to go have a Roman Holiday for 24 hours. I was just there a minute ago, but why not? It will be a FUN adventure.


We arrive at our lovely Navona Palace Residenze di Charme, in the heart of Piazza Navona. It was fantastic, luxurious B and B,  great room, all was perfect.


Off to see the town. First stop: some incredible random Baroque church.


Madonna painting in a gilded frame. Looks like one of my books. Or my books look like a church. The lines are pretty blurry there, which came first: books or church. Who cares.


I am not a “religious” person, but I do enjoy getting into the catholic swing of things, crossing myself upon entering a church, and usually offering up a candle to whomever or whatever moves me in the moment.

Next stop: another form of worship, a chic Roman clothing boutique.



Beautiful clothes, beautiful store.  Another prayer entirely.

Since the previous clothing boutique was way out of both of our budgets, we head into ZARA, where if you pick and choose wisely, no one knows the difference.


We find matching striped linen jackets, and continue our mothers’ obsession: dressing us like twins. We each buy a matching striped linen jacket for 39,50 euro. Not bad.



Kind of Audrey Heburn-ish if one squints and ignores the current day autos and motorcycles.


We ran across these same stupidine tourists several times in various parts of town, Americans unfortunately, what an atrocity. How anyone could behave like such an idiot in an Italian city or anywhere else in Europe is an embarrassment beyond belief.


Wendy’s idea of high fashion. Just kidding.

15One more incredible ancient building.


The ladies are headed out for the evening.


The next morning with not nearly enough sleep, we hit the streets of Rome again, first stop, Piazza della Rotonda, home to the Pantheon.


Lunch at Di Rienzo, wonderfully elegant restaurant next to the Pantheon.


Antique souvenir spoons from Rome, one of my many obsessions and weaknesses. A true pleasure however, to come across.



Modern day Roman Holiday Vespa action.


The last few hours of our Vacanze Romane, an adventure in some obscure clothing boutique on the way to the train station.  We find countless wonderful dresses, entertaining the delightful Roman saleswoman while her stronzo boss stood up front, reading the newspaper, with a grumpy pout on his face the whole time.

We made her day with our antics. Wendy takes a pair of 1960’s mod pants in the dressing room while Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” is simultaneously playing. The dressing room curtain whips open and Wendy flies out doing a John Travolta Saturday Nite Fever Disco, whirling and twirling around the store.  The two Iranian customers’ jaws drop (they warmed up later and started giggling) the saleswoman had the best day working for the shithead/stronzo ever, and I am dying on the floor in hysterical laughter.


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This had to be one of the funnier experiences of my life.

We spend some money, tell the asshole boss that he has an employee that is made of gold and we race out of there, catch our train home to Cortona.

A long and twenty fours hours later, we arrive at Casa San Marco late Thursday night crawling up the steps to the front door.

FUN Mission Accomplished.

<p><a href=”″>MVI 3403</a> from <a href=”″>stacey mattraw</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

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