It's been two months since my last letter. When we
returned from our long road trip that I wrote about in my last letter, a
spot (lump) on my leg was growing rapidly. We found a dermatologist
surgeon in Rome and after a biopsy confirmed squamous cell carcinoma, I
had surgery to have it removed. Now I have another battle scar, but
everything is fine. That's two skin cancer surgeries in one
year. I'm really paying the price for all that sun tanning I did
when I was young. Advice to all: Wear sunscreen!
Mike was beginning his running regimen in my last letter. He was
doing so well! Then he jammed his knee into a metal handle in our
galley and has been hobbling around for the last couple of weeks. He
will visit the orthopedic surgeon to have it checked out as soon as we
arrive in California next week. We're hoping it's nothing
serious. He was so enjoying his morning runs along the beach, and
feeling so good about the exercise. He was looking forward to
attending daughter Kimberly's 'boot camp' program while we are in
California (and not embarrassing her!) Also, talked about doing a
race or two with son Sean. I think all of that is out the window
now. We'll have to hear what the doc says.
We spent a lot of our days in October working on the bright work on Aquila.
Sanding, varnishing, sanding again, varnishing again, day after day.
Tedious, toxic work. And yet, there is still much to be done.
We wanted to do some touring in November, so any more varnishing will have
to wait until spring. The wood we finished looks good. Our
skills improve with each varnishing project.
We rented a car and headed out to find Mike's grandmother's hometown of
Chiusano di San Domenico in Avellino, Italy. It's a small town in the
mountains and we drove around for hours looking for it. It was a lot
of fun to talk (in Italian) to the local folks about why we were
there. We found one person who spoke pretty good English (the church
pastor). He gave us a tour of the church where Mike's grandmother
was probably baptized about 100 years ago.
We stayed the night in Pompeii and spent the next day touring the
incredibly well-preserved ruins of the ancient city. Mount Vesuvius
erupted on August 24 of 79 AD and buried the city under ash and rock
killing thousands of people. The eruption, in effect, froze the way
of life in Pompeii as it stood at that time. Excavations began in
1748 and continue today on this wealth of architecture, sculptures,
paintings and mosaics from the imperial era.
Another fascinating ancient Roman site is not far from our
marina. It is Ostia Antica. We spent a day touring the
ruins of this ancient city which was once Rome's main commercial port in
the 2nd century. Malaria wiped out the city in the 4th
century. Buried for centuries by sand, the city is remarkably well
Of course we have taken the train into Rome a number of times (mostly
for trips to the doctor for Linda's leg). We try to visit a
different section of the city each time, following the recommendations of
our guide books. Rome has so much to see, we've only just scratched
the surface. We both agree that a favorite highlight for us was the
Villa Borghese Museum. Some of the most beautiful sculptures and
paintings that we've ever seen. And we've seen some good
My photo album for this month is a very tiny sampling of all we've
seen. I've got hundreds of photos from our touring this month.
It's always difficult to pick just one or two. It never seems to
capture the magnitude of the experience.
We're flying home to California this weekend (Nov. 29) and will return
to Italy on Feb. 17, 2010. We are so excited to see the kids and
many of our friends and family. We are enjoying our time here, but
we are feeling homesick and can't wait to get home for awhile. We
are also really ready for some Southern California weather.
Next update in February 2010. Happy holidays and much love to
Click here to view the photo
album for this update.