Hello friends!  It’s been forever since I have checked in.  Another season is winding down for me, but instead of being exhausted and ready to tuck my head in like a turtle as winter looms, I am feeling oddly energetic and productive.  This may be in part because I took off some much needed kilos this summer, but also because I have lots of projects that I want to accomplish this winter–one promise I made to myself is an hour of writing every day.  So I am planning that my updates here will be more frequent.  Ever the optimist!

Summer has flown by and now the Tuscan countryside is laden with brilliantly colored leaves on its grapevines. It’s the first season since I moved here that the landscape actually feels really like it has put on its autumn colors, bright reds, oranges, and yellows around every corner.  The air is crisp and the skies are sunny. I have been regularly roasting chestnuts and am about to make pumpkin soup so I am embracing the season wholeheartedly.   Now if I could just find some apple cider…

I have been lucky to spend the last couple of weekends with friends in Cortona and in Umbria.  I love my town, but I also love exploring so any time I head outside the walls, I feel like a dog with its head out the window ready to catch every scent on the road ahead.  It’s wonderful to have a network of both Italian and expat friends here.  I remember saying when I moved here that I didn’t care so much about meeting expats.  Well that was just nutty.  Friends who share a common language and common sensibility… and common stupid movie references are priceless.  I love going to dinners with my Italian friends and I love just being silly with my expat peeps.

So I am still studying for the driving exam.  Or I should say I have restarted studying.  It’s a bear of an exam and the practice quizzes, while addictive, are hard.  Every time I fail one, there is a sound effect that says WHOOPS!  I can’t wait to see what it says when I actually pass one.  It’s the little things that motivate me.  I will keep you posted.

I also hope to finish my follow-up book, Well Seasoned in Tuscany, in the next couple of months and want to begin work on another writing project which I will talk about more as it is fleshed out.

Thanks to all of you who have been with me on this journey here and a special hug to Lynn Arnone who was one of my early blog followers and supporters on At Least You’re in Tuscany and actually came to visit me at the winery this summer.

Lastly since today is a holiday in Italy to remember the souls who have passed on.. a special thought for my dear friend Marinella.  I miss you lots.

Happy Autumn… have a cider donut for me!

A chili weekend in Cortona at Sam & Starr's house complete with Sam's amazing texas chili and my infamous margaritas and tasty guacamole.

A “taste of home” weekend in Cortona at Sam & Starr’s house complete with Sam’s amazing Texas chili and my infamous margaritas and tasty guacamole.


Another fun expat weekend this time in Citta delle Pieve in Umbria. Friends Ruth and Stuart introduced me to Rugby. I am now a fan… at least of Daniel Carter!!

Bertie taking us for a walk around his town

Bertie taking us for a walk around his town

Autumnal Energy

5 thoughts on “Autumnal Energy

  1. Looking forward to the new book! So keep that 1 hour commitment! It was great to see you as one of those expat friends who know you are living the dream. BTW – You look great!

  2. You don’t know how excited I was to find your blog in my email yesterday! I sure did miss it. I am also very excited that your second book is coming soon. We all enjoyed the visit last month, especially me – since I’ve been wanting to meet you for the past 3 years. Thanks for the “hugs” and I am sending the same to you! I feel like we’ve been friends forever. Best wishes for a terrific “Tuscany Thanksgiving”!

  3. What a welcome delight to receive your new post! We can’t wait for your new book to be available so let us know when we can find it. It was also so sad to hear about your beloved Marinella — I feel like I’ve just lost a favorite Auntie. Will remember fondly your tales of culinary exploits in her kitchen. Hope you are following your “neighbor” Frances Mayes blog at http://www.francesmayesbooks.com. Bramasole has never looked so good!

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Anita Martinez

  4. Jen, Excited to hear of your commitment to write regularly. I always enjoy reading about your adventures in your blog or book. So happy to hear that you are able to get out of your little piece of paradise and explore Italy. You really are “Living The Dream”, lucky you! Enjoy the fall colors while they last and please prepare for winter.
    Love, Aunt Krissie

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