Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Good riddance to July. Let’s put it into perspective because it wasn’t all bad.
Weather wise (the bad part):
We didn’t have a single drop of rain the entire month and we managed to hit a new record high of 49C (that’s 120F to you Americans) in Brindisi. This is the month that I officially gave up on most of the plants on my balcony. It seems that every time I turned around they were wilting away. So all I have left are plants that are “very hardy” and toothpicks. Hey, I’m on the 4th floor so nobody can really see my plants away. I’ll just get some plastic ones! The good thing about this weather is that I was at the beach more than any other July. You already know this because I’ve been posting those underwater photos all month. Now I won’t feel bad if I go someplace else in August because I’m already getting a little burned out on the beach.

Guest wise (the good part):
It was a great month. At the start of the month my sister was here with my brother in law (Lori and Kent). They always have a good time hanging out in Brindisi. Then the following week I had Juli and Sabine as guests. They had found my place through and they needed a place at the end of their crazy whirlwind tour through Puglia. I say crazy because I really didn’t know when they would be here, until they were here. In the end they arrived on a Sunday afternoon and then they were gone by the very next night. But in that short time I had fun showing them around Brindisi, Ostuni, Polignano a Mare, and Bari. See what I mean about whirlwind. Crazy kids!

Other wise:
Work had some interesting moments for me. Naturally some things are slowing down and getting ready for the August shutdown of the plant but that’s when something unexpected usually happens. And it did, but we got through it. Enough said.
At home my downstairs neighbor started destroying their apartment in July. At 7:00 AM last Monday I woke up to a light banging sound that I found annoying to say the least. Then at 8:00 AM they got out the sledgehammers and really went to town. Then they added to this commotion with a third person shoveling up broken ceramic tiles and dumping them down a plastic slide on their balcony. The good news is that I think the “destruction phase” of redecorating is over as so far this week everything has been quiet.

So today starts August and things look better already. The most important event is that the plant in Brindisi is closing for 3 weeks starting Monday. So I have 3 weeks of vacation right, not exactly. Stay tuned…

Mia sorella throwing some parmigiano on spaghetti e cozze. A good action shot by Kent

Juli and Sabine, the Couchsurfers in Ostuni

Nello and I reading a book this month. Nello is such a showoff because he's reading it upside down.


marco russo said...

oh my god....jeffo...niente formaggio sulla pasta con le dio

sognatrice said...

Marco took the words out of my fingers there; I was literally taken aback when I saw that think I'm becoming more Italian or what?

I had some plant casualties this month too, and I'm quite good at green things; I'm hoping I can bring them back, and *really* hoping August will cooperate. So far so good as today was gorgeous with a lovely cool breeze :)

sognatrice said...

Oh, and the photo of you and Nello is too cute :)

Anonymous said...


Cheese bad? Help me understand...

Yeah, the photos of you and Nello turned out pretty was fun shooting the two of you.


Anonymous said...

I love the picture of you and the cat! Wonderful photography there!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff,
I love your site. It's fun and makes me feel like I'm on a personal tour. My grandparents came from Bari. I would love to learn more about that area. I'll stay tuned and wish you blessings.
BTW..I'm linking to your blog:) Keep up the great work.

Jeff Gromen said...

Scusi, Questa e la prima volta mangiamo cozze a casa, "senza competenza di un cameriere"

Yes, you have been pulled into the world of unwritten rules. I always have cozze in a restuarant so I guess I never thought about if it "needed" cheese or not.
I think I'm going to buy bigger pots and plant a few different plants in them and that should take longer to dry out.

It's one of the those rules that you have to learn in the company of Italians. Don't worry you didn't suffer from indigestion.

ms. violetta,
Nello is the real star of this blog.

I've been meaning to get up to Bari more because it's a nice town as I learn more about it. It's only 13 euro roundtrip on the train and I don't need to find a parking spot when I get there.


Shelley - At Home in Rome said...

OMG, Nello! Such a genius! Maybe Nello can teach my cats to read, too. That would be cool.

And, no worries on the whole cheese issue. I got that when I first moved here not because of cozze but here in Rome the dreaded combination of parmigiano on pasta arrabbiata. I asked for the parmigiano in the restaurant and got gasps. Apparently that is a big food crime 'round these parts. I've adapted, but still don't really understand why it's so vietato!!

Jeff Gromen said...

Reading with a cat isn't much fun. As you can probably guess there was a big issue when I wanted to turn the page and mr showoff didn't.
Also this is one of the great things about having Kent visit is that I have tons of photos of me and my sister. I don't usually like getting my photo taken but Kent does a great job and if I don't like it then it'll never be seen.


Kataroma said...

That's the first thought I had too - cheese on pasta with fish - NOOOO!!! But, come to think of it, I'm not quite sure why that is - I suspect it would actually taste really good. These Italians with all their dumb food rules. Eat the cheese on the pasta with fish or pasta arrabiata - drink a cappuccino after lunch, combine fruit and cream based gelati on one cone, put salad on the same plate as meat - throw caution to the wind!

Nice pic of you and your cat. There's something kinda cute about a man and his cat. :)

dana said...

Great picture of you and Nello. Gotta love those literate cats!

How are you liking your new camera?

Jeff Gromen said...

I think it's ok to break those unwritten rules once in a while but I guess I shouldn't show that I'm doing that!:)

I love the camera at first but I find a few things I don't like. In the fully automatic mode it likes to go with a really high shudder speed. I tend to use the function where I can set the shudder speed and then play with the other parameteres.