Blog Post Photo, Phyllis, Red Wine Toast, La Carbonara, Monti, Rome, Italy

Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks

Over last weekend we were sitting by our little antique electric fireplace with its glowing glass “coals” reminiscing, sipping wine and reading the entries in my Rome journal from last October.  We spent our Thanksgiving  there wandering the Jewish Ghetto and having lunch at Da Giggetto.  Quite honestly, we are missing being there so much.

This year we chose to cook an Italian inspired Thanksgiving dinner for just the two of us:

  • Butternut squash gnocchi with browned sage butter
  • Turkey “roulade” with a cremini/porcini mushroom filling and a pan sauce with marsala, shallots, turkey stock bit of fresh rosemary
  • Dessert: my mom’s famous pumpkin pie. 

This is rather unusual for us because we so enjoy sharing great food, wonderful wine and stories with friends.  Dinner was delicious as was the wine but missing were happy faces around our table.

The past year has brought with it the expected wait for my knee replacement surgery…was hoping it would take place at the end of October or the beginning of November…not that I’m chomping at the bit to go through it and not that Joe can hardly wait to look after stuff when I’m unable to but…we have tentatively planned a trip back to Italy with the good friends who insisted we accompany them there in 2007.  And we are forever grateful that they did!  Since that first trip we’ve been fortunate in being able to return to Italy on numerous occasions but also to spend two vacations in London, England.  Although we are lying low until after my surgery, it was fun helping my sister with some ideas for their visit to London.  I can hardly wait to hear more about their visit there.

One of the funny things that came along on Facebook just last week was My Most Used Words on Facebook!  Of course “Oracibo” was there along with tomatoes and recipes…but what I didn’t see was pointed out by my friend Elatia, “knee.”  OMG…I told her I was going to refrain from using that word!  But it does tell me how focused I am on the surgery and rehab!

Since I had a serious bout with pain in April and May (alleviated by cortisone steroid injections), my world has kind of shrunk!  I couldn’t even walk across the street to pick up a container of yogurt!  Now, though, fingers crossed, I’m back doing my pool exercises and walking a few blocks.  Thankful for small things.  Gee…maybe I’ll even be able to take the bus somewhere by myself!  I hope this holding pattern lasts until the surgery!

An unexpected challenge has been getting myself to focus on writing posts for my blog.  I’ve no idea why, except life getting in the way.  No trips, not much entertaining, not seeing friends as much as usual, no new adventures and not enough laughter!  We’ve lived in the same place for 31 years and have shared friendship and love and laughter with a few other couples in our building and in particular a couple who’ve lived here since 2004.   There are so many memories!

One of the very best things to have happened are the new friendships with people in Rome…they are unexpected and something to be treasured.  If only we weren’t so far away from each other!  If I close my eyes I can see us all sitting at a big table, sipping wine, nibbling tasty treats and laughing ourselves silly!

Another best thing that happened late last year was the re-connection with a long-lost friend.  We had been friends since 1985 but drifted apart for some years…then from out of the blue he phoned us.  We were absolutely delighted in being able to re-establish our friendship.  Oh the times we had together over those years…the laughter, the silliness, the craziness, the love.  And it was still there.  However, a few months ago our friend phoned us from the hospital to say that he had just been diagnosed with an incurable form of brain cancer known as GBM.  He’s undergoing chemo and has been very unwell and unable to see us.  He has only been able to talk on the phone for a while.  When he is able we will see each other somehow, someway.

And so…reading through this post I’m thinking how blessed we are to have some terrific people in our lives.  And when it comes down to it…remembering, mindfully, how much we care for, love and value them all.  Salute to everyone!

I want to say a special thanks to my good friend and fellow blogger, Jo Wennerholm whose thoughts and words recently gave me a push to get writing again.



  1. My dear dear Phyllis! I’ve just finished reading your post and was thinking to myself, “Oh Gosh! Life can be truly trying at times and I wish Phyllis and Joe lived closer.” If there is something that makes me happy to do under any circumstances, that’s cooking for people – especially so for people I treasure. You are a better cook than I am (and yes, you are going to teach me to bake some fine day) but that wouldn’t stop me from coming over to yours and putting a meal together. One of the things I am very very grateful for is the invention of the internet – emails and facebook are a wonder and help us keep in touch, as does the telephone. So we have to remember that. I am so grateful that I met you ! And we ‘met’ over food blogs, and the one in particular was Gareth Jones’s who, I know, you miss just as much as I do. Your knee operation will be a success, you will find a great new home, and you will come back to Rome and we’ll have a great time together! Un bacio ed un abbraccio bella mia!

    • My dear friend, thank you for such kind words…made me cry. We may be thousands of miles apart but are together in our hearts! Forever grateful to Gareth and the introduction he made. I wonder if he knew? From what I’ve seen, I think we are pretty well matched cooking wise and yes, I will bake together. The next visit to Rome we are going to spend more time together just hanging out…maybe drinking some vino. And you can help me with my Italian!

  2. We all have our dry spells like that, I think. I know I do… sometimes there’s a good reason, sometimes the muse is simply not there. Great to see you’re back in action, Phyllis.

    • Thanks so much Frank…so nice to hear from you and to know you understand! Life, does indeed, intrude and like you say the muse is simply not there! Thanks again for the encouragement!

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