Creating Life at the Villa Coro di Rane

This blog is about being in the moment - creating life one instant at a time, whether in the flesh or on paper.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


All week the weather people had been pretty squirrelly about their forecast for the week. At first it was for rain, then for rain maybe mixed with sleet, then for an inch of snow, then maybe 1 to 3 inches. Finally, on Wednesday morning they announced 3 to 6 inches. It started to snow in the afternoon and was really quite lovely.

I took these 2 shots from my balcony, showing the lake and the crepe myrtles below.

At 8:00 I looked out to see how much had accumulated on Ravi, and this is what I saw!

Remembering last year's Snowmageddon, I went out to brush off the snow that had come down so far, so that, in case it snowed all night, my job would be easier in the morning. I estimated at least 8 inches had piled up. As it turned out, that was the brunt of it. In the morning, no more than an additional half inch had accumulated.
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Our clan knows how to party! Two weeks ago, Heather and Dudley hosted Nicholas' drum circle birthday party for his friends, and we also celebrated Tara's birthday. Last week we celebrated Nicholas' actual birthday on January 21st, along with mine, which was the day before, January 20th.

A blazing fire provided a comfy backdrop.

As usual, we started out with a champagne toast! Nicholas has sparkling cider.

The birthday celebrants.

Nicholas had tested and earned his white belt that afternoon, so he demonstrated some of his winning postures. He can look pretty fierce!

He also had to make sure we all knew that had turned 5. He told us all about taking the "5 trips around the sun" at school that day - the clever Montessori way of helping kids understand the passing of a year.

Then he finally got to open the big package that he (and I) had been excited about as soon as he saw it. One night when I baby sat, we were looking at one of his catalogues and he showed me a picture of a truck that he really wanted. I already had bought a birthday present for him, but decided to keep it for Frog Level and get him the thing he had his heart set on.

I don't think he was disappointed!

It was like Christmas all over again, with bows on the head and lots more presents to unwrap.

One of the presents was a doggie hand puppet from Grandy and Gipu.

I don't have photos of me opening presents, but I got some yummies, too, including some great jewelry, sexy reading glasses, smudge sticks to purify Frog Level, a "How To" book for beginning gardeners, and a CD of musical hits from 1942, the year I was born. When we finished with presents, Heather and Dudley brought in birthday treats - key lime pie for me and strawberry cheesecake for Nicholas.

I'm glad my candles are only partially visible!

Monday, January 17, 2011


Heather and Dudley decided to have an African drum circle as the theme for Nicholas' fifth birthday party. He was very excited about it and counted the days until it would arrive. Tia Tara drove all the way down (12 hours!) from the Cape with 25 drums in her car to be the teacher/leader. The kids all loved it and actually sat still for 45 minutes while she taught them some basic drumming rhythms.
Best Buds rockin' out!
After the party we all went back to the Capps' house for a yummy Southern dinner of fried catfish, hush puppies, collard greens, and cheese grits. Then we celebrated Tara's birthday, which comes on January 28. She won't be able to come down again for the actual day, so we "aprovechared" having her with us so close to the time. There was a red velvet birthday cake, presents, and, of course, champagne toasts. We enjoyed reminiscing about the details of Tara's and Nicholas' births, and even tried to piece together some of the details of mine.

At the end of the evening, Andy modeled the beautiful sweater Heather had knitted for him a few years ago and the coat I brought him from Uzbekistan.


He virtually oozed authority and wisdom!

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Thursday, January 13, 2011


Nicholas decided that it was time to eat the gingerbread house. To do that we would first have to demolish the house, which for an almost 5-year old boy, is heaven. He donned his fireman's suit, rounded up all of the necessary equipment, and started by putting the excavator to work to size up the job.

One of the roof panels came off first. As he took each piece down, he loaded it into the dump truck to be hauled off for eating later on.

Then, after both roof panels were down, it was time to tackle the sides.

Finally, it was all gone and he surveyed the "empty pit". We had done enough tasting along the way to know that the gingerbread was worth saving and that the gum drop and candy decorations will be sweet treats for several days!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Nicholas and I got together again to finish the gingerbread house that we had built right before Christmas. We colored some of the icing blue, and then spread it on the roof and sides of the house.

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Then - after licking the spatula - it was time to add the gumdrops and little candy beads that Nicholas called foosballs.

The finished product was a masterpiece!