I am thankful for my family. I'm thankful for my wife, Katrina. She's the love of my life. She's smart, beautiful, creative, talented and fun to be with. We've been together for 17 years. We had ups and downs, but I still love her as much as I did the day I asked her to marry me.
I'm thankful for my son, Brandon. He's awesome! He's so smart...smarter than me is so many ways. He's creative and goofy. He's a kind and generous kid who cares about the world around him. And he thinks I'm a better Dad than I sometimes feel.
I'm thankful for this opportunity to live in Italy. Its been a fantastic, rewarding, eye opening experience so far. It's also been challenging, tiring, and annoying at times. We've seen so much in such a short time. Since we arrived, we have visited: Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, France, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Monaco, and Bosnia (for 30 km). In Italy we have visited: Venice, Torino, Como, Bergamo, Verona, Genova, Cinque Terre, the Dolomites, Milao, Rome and so many more I can't even think of right now. I've been able to see the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia, and the Tour d'Suisse. We've been sledding in the Alps, drank beer in beer gardens and at Oktoberfest. We've been up the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower and many other bell towers. We've seen so much, and we have plans to visit: Naples, Pompeii, Capri, Sorrento, Lisbon Portugal, Madrid Spain, Siscily, Greece and Norway before we move home.
We have had the oppotunity to experience daily life in Italy. Paying bills at the post office. Wearing plastic gloves to buy produce. Finding Skippy peanut butter in the milk section. We've eaten amazing produce. Had the best pizzas in the world. Met friends for coffee at the neighborhood bars. Enjoyed each of the seasons here in Italy. Its been wonderful and fantastic. Its been challenging and hard. It's been the opportunity of a lifetime.
I am thankful for Tasha: Tasha was our golden retriever. She passed away a few months ago at the age of 13, due to health problems. I remember the evening we picked her up, when she was only 8 weeks old. She was the runt of the litter. We could actually hold her in the palm of our hand, she was so tiny.
She loved everyone and everyone loved her. She never, ever was aggressive with anyone, but was very protective of Brandon when he was a baby. She was also very patient, as Brandon would use her long hair as a hand hold to pull himself up when he was learning to stand. She never nipped or growled at him one time. She made an impression on everyone who loved her, and she definitely felt a connection with certain family members - Mom and Rob were favorites.
When we were preparing to move to Italy, we knew we could not bring her with us. It would be too hard on her and on us. She was getting old. My sister Heather and her husband Rob offered to give her a home, even though they knew I would want her back when we returned. As I just mentioned, Rob was one of her favorite people. Offering their home to Tasha relieved an enormous amount of stresss for me. I knew she would be loved. She became part of their family, along with their golden Rizzo.
Unfortunately, her health problems increased in the last year. Finally, this fall after she could no longer stand or walk on her own, she was put to sleep. Makes me cry just writing this. She was my buddy...my pupster who always wanted to be near me. I miss you Tasha...thanks for your love and companionship.
I am thankful for family and friends. Although we are often far from family and friends, I think about all of you often. What is life without people you can rely on, share your life with, and just hang out with. I look forward to returning to Corvallis and getting together with friends again.
I am also thankful for the new friends we have made here in Italy. Most of them are from school. I've really enjoyed meeting you, hanging out with you, sharing travel tips, sitting at birthday parties, sharing coffee, and sharing our cultures. You have opened up a whole world of cultures to us.
I am thankful for many small things. Coca Cola. You may be bad for me but you taste oh so good - especially here in Italy where they they use real sugar.
I am thankful for finding mosaics. I really enjoy it and hope to keep working on new projects.
I am thankful for a break from model railroading. Not working on model trains has renewed my enthusiasm to do so when we return home.
I am thankful for the Italian cycling culture. Its amazing! I wish there was such a love for the sport in the US as there is here. I also wish there was as much driver respect for cyclists as there is here in Italy. I am also thankful for my Italian Pinarello carbon fiber road bike.
I am thankful for pizza. The greatest gift the Italians gave the world. Love it, love it, love it!
I am thankful for gelato. Love it! Especially Bacio.
I am thankful for Parco di Monza, one of the best city parks I have ever seen.
I am thankful for this blog. I love writing this blog and sharing our lives with all of you. I hope its been interesting so far, at least most of the time.
I am thankful for life...it is GOOD!