Saturday, September 29, 2012

Another page in the same vein, created for my heritage album.

I have to rework this page -  it was created almost five years ago when I first started writing a book about my roots and my father......but since my previous posting refers to a soldier standing on guard for his homeland, I thought of this page and how my father must have felt. Lonely. And unhappy.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

this is really for my son who loves learning about our family history.

In 1749 the "Honourable Brotherhood of S.Nicolo", which had been running the main shipyard in Trieste since 1588, decided to offer the management of it to a professional builder from Rovigno, a town renowned from early times for its naval constructions and famous for having launched many small, fast vessels well suited for sailing in the Adriatic Sea and over its borders. The chosen shipbuilder was Iseppo Panfilo, son of Francesco Panfilo from Venice, born in 1698 in Venice, who accepted the offer and moved to Trieste at the beginning of 1750 with his son Odorico and is later joined by his wife and the other younger children Bortolo, Domenica and Giovanni Battista, my direct ancestor . Iseppo managed the shipyard till 1770 when he retired and was replaced by his son Odorico, who had worked with his father for the last twenty years as well as other able naval technicians.

What is very interesting is that the love of ships and ship building has remained and been passed down through the generations. So when my husband retired for the last time, he took ship building to a totally different level: he built wooden model ships.

Odorico's father Iseppo is my husband's grandfather





Tuesday, September 18, 2012

We fell in love with Anghiari. I am not sure which tiny street we used to actually drive down but I remember that it was very steep and I was freaking out.....but oh, what a delight to drop the car and just walk around - and unlike Napoli, some streets had steps that were actually comfortable to use.....Most windows are shuttered and it really makes you want to peek inside and want to to know more.....I have seen much of the world but it is rare to find such charme and beauty anywhere....other than Italy. The walls alone - just imagine the age: hundreds of years, back to the Middle Ages, and you can actually touch them......and of course the color of those old bricks and mortar adds to it all.....


Anghiari is a small medieval jewel set on a hill made of stone built up over the centuries from the Tiber River at its feet between Tuscany and Umbria. The characteristic village is surrounded by massive 13th century walls, preserving the ancient and original atmosphere of small medieval towns. Walking around its narrow streets, you can breathe the air of its history and glory. The stone houses overlooking the streets have small windows, wooden shutters and doors, sometimes damaged or broken, but still characteristic. The entrances and balconies of the houses are often decorated with flowers which color the narrow streets of Anghiari, making it more beautiful and charming.

Due to its strategical position, Anghiari played an important role in the Middle Ages. The flat valley underneath the village was the set of the famous Battle of Anghiari in 1440, when Florentine troops won the battle against the army from Milano.

They say Anghiari is considered one of the "most beautiful villages in Italy"...


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Some of the photos I use to create digital artwork, some will even get printed, but all are precious memories. These photos are from a collection I have when I researched my roots.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

La Montagna

Into 'la montagna', the blessed mountains where my husband's family has had a home for many many takes about two hours driving from Trieste but oh, the time flies - there is so much beauty, so much peace and serenity. We love it, both of us for different reasons: my husband spent a lot of his childhood here and I love it because I spent a lot of my time on the other side of the alps, (the German and Austrian side) skiing and holidays. It reminds me of home even though I grew up far away from the mountains. It has memories of my father who loved driving up the narrow steep roads even in the middle of winter when there were very often blocked and we had to somehow find room to turn around or worse, if you encounter a truck and there is no room for both of us......he loved the challenges. I have to admit, that the heights were too intimidating and I am not sure if I would want to drive a car there myself.
view into the valley

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

no cars to be driven around here,
you keep fit and walk
Trieste, a Northern Italian border town,  dates back as a settlement to about 800 B.C. and  is geographically located near Slovenia and Croatia. Its roots go back to the Illyrians, an Indo-European race living in the northern part of the Balkans. It was colonized by Rome and became a fairly important military and shipping port during the Empire with its population largely mixed with Roman citizens. The area AROUND the city remained, and still is, predominantly Slavonic, whilst the population of the city itself is more Roman and Carnian ( Venetian-Gaulic origin.) After various vicissitudes in order to partially keep its freedom,  it became part of the Austrian duchy and remained Austrian almost without interruption for the next seven centuries (until 1918) and therefore the influence of the Middle European culture totally sets it apart from other Italians and particularly those of the Southern regions.
The difference between North and South is not based on religion since 95% of Italy and Slovenia is Roman Catholic but is based on a visible and clear difference of taste,
attire or costumes, dialects, origins, culture and of course physical looks.

My children know very little about Trieste - they were all still very small.

inside Trieste, ancient relics

remains of the Roman threatre
an old arch

Trieste or Tergeste, which dates to the protohistoric period, was enclosed by walls built in 33–32 BC on Emperor Octavian’s orders. The city developed greatly during the 1st and 2nd centuries.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

to carry on with Italy, I decided to upload a few photos. I am hopeless with my camera but I am sure my children and husband will love to see them anyway.
Two views when approaching Trieste. I just love the rugged look and stark rocks that basically accompany you along the road.
Cafe degli Specchi
where you sit and take a break to enjoy life......
or you go shopping

you can almost eat off the streets

Sunday, September 9, 2012

created by Sabina
Italy, or to be more precise, Northern Italy is my husband's homeland. I have lived in Italy and visited this country many times and each time I feel the same overpowering excitement when the plane touches soil....
I love the color of the Tuscan soil or the rocky texture of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia. Our daughter's middle name is Giulianna and our family's roots are there. And even though a part of his family originates from the South, he will keep pointing out that he is Northern Italian and that the North is totally unlike the South, both in landscape, industry and population.

Art and beauty resides everywhere and I tend to take pictures that are very unlike the typical tourist shots - I like windows, doors or some old piece of wall...(the digital
page above was created with one of the photos below.

James Joyce, a famous poet
and writer walking towards
the Berlitz School
     Umberto Saba, a famous poet from Trieste as he is
 walking towards his bookstore, which is still there,
called Libreria Saba

My husband just told me with a big smile on his face that each morning on his way to school he would walk in front of  the Umberto Saba bookstore. The statue was put
there about twenty years ago.....

One of my favorite songs used to be: 'If Tomorrow never comes' - I
adjusted the lyrics to suit my feelings and thoughts and this is what I came
up with:

Sometimes late at night I lie awake in the dark and think about my family, mostly my children and the thought crosses my mind:
If I never wake up in the morning
Would they ever doubt the way I feel about them in my heart ?
If tomorrow never comes will they know how much I loved them ?
Did I try in every way to show them every day
just how much they mean to me.

And this goes especially for my oldest -
if my time on earth were through, She must face this world without me.
Is the love I gave her in the past going to be enough to last if tomorrow never comes...

I've lost loved ones in my life who never knew
how much I loved them and now I live with the regret
that my true feelings for them were never revealed.
There are no words to describe the agony of regret and the
sorrow it leaves if you do not tell that special 'someone' that you love them. Show it with kindness, with
deeds even when life gets too busy. You need to take the time to show your love...

Times have changed perhaps and words do not seem to flow easily. It is not cool ? but lying there awake at night, you start to wonder if anyone really cares..where has it all gone?






Saturday, September 8, 2012

Shabanou (the name is Persian and means 'Princess')

Shabanou is my husband's kitty,
it took her years to get used to humans, she had been abandonded and was very much afraid. She is now six years old and is finally looking forward to being brushed and even asks for it, waiting patiently on top of our wingback chair. She still hides under her blanket if a stranger comes into the home. But she knows she is loved by us.

Friday, September 7, 2012

talking about Europe, it reminds me of our coffee afternoons and German cakes that I absolutely love and cannot live without. I used to be able to eat three pieces of cake daily: one piece around ten a.m. for my second cup of coffee, another piece of cake around 4 p.m. with my afternoon tea and definitely a third piece after dinner as a desert.....I am reminded of the typical Chocolate Marble cake that is like a staple in all cafes and homes....simple to make and nice to look at.

The marble cake is one of these typical cake recipes for the traditional "coffee and cake" getting together on Sunday afternoons. German families and friends like to meet Sunday afternoon to enjoy a cup of coffee and some cake. They come together in their homes, or meet in Cafes which are open on Sundays. You dress with style but not in a blatant obvious way.

My mother would always bake a cake for the weekend, and one of them was a marble cake. It is a delicious cake because it was never too dry or too mushy. I think nobody in Germany can imagine a Sunday without a cake.

Chocolate Marble cake recipe:
Makes 1 cake

1 cup Butter, room temperature
1 cup Sugar
4 Large eggs,
1 cup Milk
1 tsp Almond Extract
3 1/4 cups Flour
1 tbsp Baking Powder
1 pinch Salt
1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
3 tbsp Triple Sec

Icing Sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt or fluted pan (like an angel food cake pan) and set aside. ( I use a German cake pan specially sold for those Marble cakes, but any fluted pan will be fine.)
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, milk, and almond extract.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into the butter and eggs.
Move half of the batter into a separate bowl. Mix in the cocoa powder and triple sec.
Spoon the batter into the cake pan, alternating white and brown batter. Then swirl with a fork.

Bake for about 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar before serving or prepare icing with hot water and trickle it over the top of the cake once it's cooled.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

sometime ago I mentioned in another site that our family
was a family of 'gypsies'.... a very common term (and not offensive at all) in Europe for those of us who have no permanence in a place, who are constantly on the move..and we most certainly were. For most of my life we moved frm place to place, town,  village or city to city and country to it stands to reason that we all have lots of photos even though some are black and white. I have puzzled my head for a while now thinking how I could possibly scrap all those memories and photos but now that I have a blog, I realize its usefulness and will upload some of my experiences right here. No need to embellish and forever wonder if I find the time.....

downtown Toronto ART
up the mountains ART

downtown Toronto
 old and new side by side - it reminds me of all the people, black, white, yellow, mixed races, living side by side in relativ harmony here in the New Country and one can only be proud of the freedom and acceptance that everyone must feel,
as opposed to the old country where acceptance is still a 'sour' word and even though everyone 'pretends', you can hear the grumble and disapproval when you take a minute to talk to the natives of a particular country and yet if given a choice, I would still prefer the OLD. Here I feel comfortable - at home.
(the photo above taken during our last trip to Italy where I did a little bit of shopping).
 My grandfather and me shortly before he died from cancer. He loved me very much and I must have known it because here I am, all smiles.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Last night I went into some of my favorites for music and listened once again to Elvis Presley singing 'Amazing Grace'......a hymn that I have loved since I lived in England. When I leave this earth, I hope it will be with music because nothing moves me more than good music. Music is like oxygen to me, I need it when I am happy, when I am sad, when I need peace and when I want to dance around. Usually dancing is either with my husband at some official function or with my big teddibear around the rooms at home. Music makes me open my arms wide as if I am reaching for the universe, I want to touch the untouchable and I want to sing.....and it makes me cry with tears running down my face....
I inherited this love from my grandfather who was a great singer, (see the digi page below), my father who was always listening to his radio - and he had a radio and later a record player in all of the rooms in their house, (so he could switch channels) - but also it was planted in me by my High School where I played the clarinette.

Monday, September 3, 2012

  • Her name is Arabella and she is a Burmilla. Not a Birmilla or Burmese. Burmillas are a special breed known for their intelligence and affection, more so than other cat. She is now six years old but still behaves like a little kitty. Her personality is simply amazing, very intelligent and very talkative. She is also very aware of me. Wherever I am, she is. She is my shadow. If I am at the computer, she will settle down in her little fur basket, but when I get up she gets up and follows me. When I turn my head to look at her, she makes a small mewing sound to let me know that she knows I am looking at her.
  • We are very close and it's hard to tell if she thinks I am her mummy or she is mine but it all started when I brought her home six years ago and discovered that she was very ill. She had giardia - an illness that normally kills little kitties. But I was already in love with her and determined to do my utmost for my little angel. For two years I took her to the vet, had tests done and administered daily medications, but to eliminate giardia from her body, I had to make sure that she would not re-infect herself with it each time when she used the litterbox. So day and night, no matter what time, I would be listening to her and make sure she was clean with no trace left of the bacteria, even if it meant having a bath at 2 a.m. in the morning. She knew the routine and would jump up on the sink, looking at me and purring. To get some food into her, I would have to put a little morsel on my finger and then she would eat it.  I sometimes wonder if she really wanted to convey that she was grateful or that she knew.....

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Her First Dollhouse

My little granddaughter is not so little anymore, she had her 8th birthday in May and maybe it is the right time to introduce her to the world of miniatures and dollhouses....I had bought a pre-fab kit with the intention of customizing and improving some flimsy features so it took about six months to complete it....
It's small enough to fit on the back seat of the car. Well, Grandpa carried it up to her room, removed the sheet that had covered it and left our little granddaughter with it, enchanted and in another world with her polly pocket dolls moving into the dollhouse. The rooms are partly wallpapered, partly painted. I used heavy velvet for the carpeting in the livingroom and the upstairs. We gave her little pieces of furniture like a sofa, two arm chairs, a dresser and tables to start. Little Victoria was not heard or seen for
the entire afternoon.......