Author Archives: Nancy Hampton

Corona virus 25

  • Umbria has 969 positives and 28 deaths. This is a rise of 9.6%
  • Italy has 92,472 positives and 10,023 deaths. This is a rise of just 6.9%.

Wow, it’s dropping, it really is. (!) The reduction in the number of cases is ahead of the deaths but that’s to be expected. It takes someone on average about a week to die, so there’s a lag. Not to be callous about it, but it is a fact.
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Another very good Atlantic article .
The missing six weeks: how Trump failed the biggest test of his life

Quote below. And at the same time, South Korea acted decisively and have controlled the virus.

When the definitive history of the coronavirus pandemic is written, the date 20 January 2020 is certain to feature prominently. It was on that day that a 35-year-old man in Washington state, recently returned from visiting family in Wuhan in China, became the first person in the US to be diagnosed with the virus…

…It was not until 29 February, more than a month after the Journal article and almost six weeks after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the country that the Trump administration put that advice into practice. Laboratories and hospitals would finally be allowed to conduct their own Covid-19 tests to speed up the process…

…Those missing four to six weeks are likely to go down in the definitive history as a cautionary tale of the potentially devastating consequences of failed political leadership. Today, 86,012 cases have been confirmed across the US, pushing the nation to the top of the world’s coronavirus league table – above even China.

It is more than 110,000 now (since the article just 2 days ago). It doubles every 3-4 days…you can imagine what it will become. I have to hope, that sooner rather than later, everyone in the US, no matter their political persuasion will come to believe this is real, and it is a juggernaut.

My happy spot for the US is the amazing Governors/mayors of (some of) the States/cities. Due to the lack of coherent leadership at the top it has fallen to the States. And they are rising to the challenge.
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I finally baked my cookies!

The recipe is one from a David Libowitz. It is probably the best Oatmeal cookie I’ve ever had.
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I was talking to a friend a couple days ago. We asked each other “when this is over will you feel comfortable going out?” We each answered no. And the double kiss greeting in Italy? It may take awhile. This is incredibly sad, as it defines the Italian culture.

I think I’ll call the syndrome PCVSD. Post Corona Virus Stress Disorder. I’ve been reading that it may well be a real thing. People will/already do, have agoraphobia. They don’t want to leave their safe place, their house.
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Today is gorgeous. Watery sunshine. Birds are singing in the little forest behind us. The House Martins are flitting wildly about, as they do. And I got to go outside for a bit to pick up our weekly Calagrana dinners and wine. After lasts weeks run in with the Carabinieri I was nervous. And I was by myself. Drove fast, fast across the bridge and parked behind a bush.🤣 Right away Ely arrived with the food. Then, Gary, then Paul with Georgia (their pup) and finally someone else I don’t know. We all rushed about, unloading-loading, but I, for one, was deliriously happy to see people. Even if from / feet apart 😳. It felt wonderful. ☺️
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Buona domenica everyone. We had good news here so you will too in the not too distant future — if everyone self quarantines. Stay home and safe. Forza America. Forza Italia.
💕💕💕

Corona virus 24

884 positives in Umbria. Up 10%. 21 deceased.
86,498 positives in Italy. Up 7.3%. 9,134 deceased.
Now over 100,000 positive cases in the US.
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Really good article in the March edition of the Atlantic. “How the Pandemic Will End”

Quote from the article that I thought summed up the American attitude that will lead it down a dangerous path:

“Aspects of America’s identity may need rethinking after COVID-19. Many of the country’s values have seemed to work against it during the pandemic. Its individualism, exceptionalism, and tendency to equate doing whatever you want with an act of resistance meant that when it came time to save lives and stay indoors, some people flocked to bars and clubs. Having internalized years of anti-terrorism messaging following 9/11, Americans resolved to not live in fear. But SARS-CoV-2 has no interest in their terror, only their cells.”

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On a lighter note:
Dinner last night was….pizza!! I had a feeling calling early would be a good idea. I’m guessing there are not a lot of people to bring the pies. We called in our order at 6:10. We were told to expect it about 8:30. It was good pizza. Not the absolute best but very good. Nice chewy crust with a good char. Good toppings.  I always go vegetarian with pizza. They had a good many choices for me.

Yesterday I started walking up and down our stairs. It is a good workout. My knee didn’t complain too much. Luther did 15 times. I only did 5. I want to start slow. I don’t want to hurt myself. Our neighbors are doing their 86 stairs 10 or 15 times. Free stairmasters!
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Saturday
It is a beautiful day. Temperatures have come back up some. I am just back from my turn to go grocery shopping. I had my mask, and good thing because EVERYONE was wearing one. I would’ve felt naked. And they give out plastic gloves. There was no line!! I walked right in. Only concerning thing is that people weren’t being very good about the 6 feet distance thing. Hardest thing was to get the plastic bags for the vegetables open while wearing plastic gloves! I got my groceries. Stripped off the gloves, my hands were soaked with sweat. And took off the mask…so hot!

When I got home, I washed all the items I had bought. And washed my keys, phone, wallet, credit card and then my hands. OK call me overdoing it…but I feel better that I can touch all the things I bought without worry.

Here is another poor locked down inmate of Umbertide. I took the whole building first so you could see how tall it is. And then a close up.


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Sometimes it is good to go back to good memories. For me, my blog is a journal of sorts. In it I save all my adventures good and bad. Among them are a LOT of trip reports. So today I went back and re-read some of them. I re-lived them. For a time, I was released from this house. Able to be other places…someday we will travel again…

Speaking of this, we have some trips planned. One in Early June I’m pretty sure will need to be canceled. One in July/August to Germany. This one most likely will need to be cancelled. But I’m willing to wait to see how it goes between now and then.

We also had planned to welcome some visitors. Luthers brother, Mike and his family were planning to come. I was very excited. I’m guessing it will have to be postponed. Other old friends, Vicki and Tommy were coming in May. Of course that trip is postponed too. Very sad as I look forward to visitors. But it will get better. And I’ll see them all soon.
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As always folks, stay home, stay safe. We’ll get through this! Andrà tutto bene!

Corona virus 23

802 positives in Umbria. Up 12.5%. 20 deaths.
80,539 positives in Italy. Up 8%.
Slight uptick. The top of the curve will be a little up-down I guess.
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Sadly the latest figures from the US show the virus has grown and the cases have surpassed Italy and China. It’s now the world leader. As I’ve mentioned before, it will grow very fast from here. There’s no stopping it. But it can be slowed if people stay apart, and stay home. The point is to decrease the cases so the hospitals have the capacity to treat the sick.

I believe some people think the US will win against the Virus. It will not win. No matter what the people in charge try to do. But it can and will get worse if they open up too soon and encourage people to get out. And get together. Very, VERY big mistake.
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Notes from self isolation
Last night was another very yummy meal courtesy of Calagrana.
Fish pie! Chock full of seafood. Shrimp, white fish, salmon and mussels that I could see. Topped with mashed potatoes. Mmmmm.

We placed another order (Calagrana) for pickup on Sunday coming up. This time we chose the Spicy Baby Chicken and the Lamb shanks. Each a meal for two.

Luther came to me this morning and announced that he had stupendous news. A pizzeria is now delivering pizza in Umbertide!! He’s very excited. He loves pizza. Maybe we will try it tonight.😋

Today was our weekly Italian lesson. We each get an hour one-on-one with our teacher via Skype. Used to be in person before.

I finished getting all my US income tax stuff together yesterday and sent that in. Always a relief.

As I said, oatmeal cookies were in my future and today I will make them. Pictures tomorrow.
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I worry for my friends and family in the US. Please stay in and safe. We can come out the other side of this thing if we stand strong together, but apart…Faremo insieme! 💕

Corona virus 22

710 cases in Umbria. 9.5% increase.

74,386 cases Italy wide. A 7.5% increase.

Now we’re cooking with gas!! We’ve reached the top of the bell curve. It’s what we’ve been waiting for. Single digits! But unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the case in Lombardia and north. Still growing there. No one understands why.
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Trash
In Umbertide, there are places around the Centro with rows of trash receptacales. One for carta (paper), vetro and plastica (glass and plastic), indifferente (trash that doesn’t care) and biodegradable. The closest one to us is maybe 250 meters away, on the edge of the Centro.

As the days have passed, I couldn’t help but notice the ENORMOUS pile of trash that has been building up in our hallway. In our normal routine, Luther would be carrying a bag out whenever he goes for a run. And we carry some out whenever we go to the store. Now, however, neither of these activities are happening. So…it looks like dedicated trips to the trash cans must be made. I assume the police will let us do that as long as we are carrying a stinking bad of garbage. It even occurred to Luther that he could put the bags in the back seat of the car and if stopped, claim he’s going to the dump. Ah, the fantasies we indulge in…

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From the New York Times —
“Based on epidemiological projections, as the virus ran unchecked, it would quickly expand to infect somewhat over half the population before herd immunity would slow its course. Assuming a death rate of about 1 percent of those infected, about 1.7 million Americans would die within a year.“

I will add that the 1% death rate is not in line with the facts so far. Here it averages 3.4%. So the death rate would increase by over three times if it holds true.
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Someday this will be past for the human race. And those who survive will go back to their lives. My sister shared this poem with me. It sums up so many of my feelings.

When This is Over -Laura Kelly Fanucci

When this is over,
may we never again
take for granted
A handshake with a stranger
Full shelves at the store
Conversations with neighbors
A crowded theater
Friday night out
The taste of communion
A routine checkup
The school rush each morning
Coffee with a friend
The stadium roaring
Each deep breath
A boring Tuesday
Life itself.
When this ends
may we find
that we have become
more like the people
we wanted to be
we were called to be
we hoped to be
and may we stay
that way — better
for each other
because of the worst.
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Stay safe and at home my friends. Faremo insieme…

Corona virus 21

648 positive cases in Umbria. Up 12%. 19 deaths. 7 cases total in Umbertide so far.

69,176 positives in Italy. Up 8%. Holding steady. 6,820 deaths.
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A day in lockdown…after two weeks
We are doing fine here. Not a lot to do in a 1,300 square foot apartment. And it’s gotten cold. Snow here today. It was pretty but didn’t stick much down in the valley. Up in the hills there is more.

Yesterday, for the first time in 25 years, we cleaned our own house. OK. I’ve always worked and my time was important, so we paid someone to clean. We came to Italy and we were retired. The habit was hard to break…so we hired Vera. She is now our good friend and we are part of her famiglia. And she ours. We miss her for herself…and for helping us by cleaning. But it’s OK. We are divying up the duties and it’s not like we have anywhere to go!

We have other things to keep us busy. Trying to exercise is challenging. Our friend nearby told me he walked up and down their 86 steps 7 times without stopping! I’m winded just thinking of it! I read the newspapers everyday (4 of them). I have two books going at any given time. I’m a moderator on a FaceBook group (over 8,000 members) which is pretty time consuming. Gotta keep an eye on the posters. They get unruly. I spend pretty much time keeping in touch with my friends all over via, FaceTime, email or Facebook. I write my blog. Laundry needs doing but since we’ve stopped bathing it’s not so often..🤣

I do a lot of cooking. Since it is cold out I built a fire in the kitchen fireplace and cooked a steak and potatoes for dinner last night. It was good. I make big pots of soup for our lunches. I’ve resisted making sweets so far… but my resistance is beginning to crumble…I see oatmeal raisin cookies in my future! I read somewhere the average person will gain 7-9 kilos during isolation.

In the evening I watch an hour of CNN usually. And then we eat dinner and watch a movie or series. Right now it’s the movie, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood”. Liking it so far.

So that is our exciting day…

Sunday I’m going to try out Zoom for a virtual book group get together! I’m really looking forward to that (we will be spread from Los Angeles to Italy). I’ve read a lot of people are doing virtual happy hours this way. Bring your Prosecco and some nibbles to your computer. It is amazing what a situation does to human innovation! Zoom stock must be soaring…
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To all my friends stateside, I keep hearing bad things and I hope you will heed our situation here. We are slowing, but it will take time. If the US goes back to work and normalcy you will be allowing the virus to do its worst, and ALL at once. Many thousands will die. There will be no checks on the disease. It will be a runaway horse. There won’t be enough ventilators or beds, or nurses, or doctors, and horrible decisions will have to be made about who lives and who dies.😢

Please care for yourselves…stay home and safe.💕

Corona virus 20

577 positive cases in Umbria. 10% rise.

63,927 in Italy. An 8% rise. This is extremely heartening! The relief I feel is a surprise to me. A light at the end of the tunnel. Wow. I hope it continues. If we all stay strong…and stay HOME it will…
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It is hard to believe I’ve been writing everyday for 20 days!

From The NY Times —
…health experts say it will require extraordinary coordination and money from leaders as well as near-total cooperation from the public.

…If it were possible to wave a magic wand and make all Americans freeze in place for 14 days while sitting six feet apart, epidemiologists say, the whole epidemic would sputter to a halt.”

West Virginia… “All this scare is hyped by the media,”

Listen…IT IS NOT. Please people. Look at the deaths in Italy…it will arrive…even in West Virginia.

Can you do it? Can the US population stop this virus?

For me, I find the very idea that this is a partisan event crazy, pazzo! And I keep hearing that. PEOPLE it is NOT partisan. This is a GLOBAL pandemic. It has absolutely nothing to do with politics. You, and your children, your parents, and your grandparents are at great risk if you don’t acquire a brain. Please.
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Dinner tonight courtesy of Calagrana. Gnocchi with farro, cheese and truffles. Mmmmmmm

Photo courtesy of friends who are sheltering in place up in the mountains…thanks Jill!

Faremo insieme!
Stay safe everyone.

Corona virus 19

521 total positive cases in Umbria, 14% rise. 16 deaths.

59,148 total cases in Italy. Rise of 10%.
I feel it is slowing somewhat, the percentages a bit less. They say by Wednesday this week we will see the slowing…Spero di si. 🤞
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Italian news bits —

10% of the total cases here in Italy are health care workers. This nurse has worn a mask so much it has damaged her skin. They are our heros.

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Amazon has announced that they have suspended delivery of non-essential items to Italy and France. I received an email this morning from them. I had ordered something non essential a couple of weeks ago…before all this got going…and it will be delayed indefinitely. Darn. Now I can’t even shop on-line to keep my spirits up. Sad… but I’m fine with it. Whatever helps!
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And from abroad…

Somehow people can’t seem to get it through their heads this is a real thing!

London Times —
“After huge numbers flocked to parks, markets and beaches in the UK over the weekend, Downing Street warned the government will impose curfews and travel bans if social distancing guidelines are not followed.“

Washington Post —

I’m thinking this could be a Darwin event…
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In our lives we still have some pleasures. Last night we had a wonderful dinner of fish cakes and mixed vegetables. Courtesy of our friends at Calagrana, Ely, Albi, and Ollipops. I am looking forward to the day we can all meet up on their beautiful terrace after all this is finally over…

It occurs to me that our world will emerge from this pandemic someday, but I think it will emerge a very different place. Our economies are being severely tested. Our moral fabric is being tested. And no one knows how it will all turn out. I fervently hope some good will come from this. That we will come out a better race of human beings. Speriamo di si.

Faremo insieme – we stand together.
Stay home and safe all my friends!

Corona virus 18

462 cases in Umbria. Up 17%. 10 deaths now.

53,578 cases total in Italy. Growth of 14%. Worst news is there were 793 deaths report yesterday, Saturday, in 24 hours, here in Italy. Seven hundred and ninety three.
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Well they finally did it. They proclaimed that running or walking outside will be against the law outside your own yard. You can still walk your dog 200 meters from your house. So, of course I will comply. Too many people were misusing this loophole to congregate. I understand, it is for the best. But it did ruin it for me. I’m not sure how I can keep my knee progressing in this small apartment. Sigh. Walking was the best exercise.
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Today is Sunday. We now pick up our pre-made dinners from Ely (of Calagrana – our favorite restaurant) every Sunday. We pre-order by Wednesday. Today we decided to walk separately over to the parking lot where she comes so as to not attract attention…soooo, I guess one of us will take the car next Sunday! The Carabinieri stopped and told us to wait at home. Boy did they NOT want us to approach their car!! Technically, Ely is supposed to deliver to our homes we think. Also Ely got stopped by them, and another lady there said she’d been stopped. They are OUT there today. They are definitely tightening up.
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I’m watching the news everyday. Only in the evening. I watch the news conference with an ever-changing cast of characters…but always the same Emcee. (?) hmmmm.

I’m pleased to see five states have initiated a lock-down. But I’m sorry that ONLY five states have initiated a lock-down. California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois, and not mandatory. I’m not sure how they can make it mandatory like they can here. But they must. The US is sadly following in the footsteps of Italy.
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I’m reasonably sure nothing else is going to happen today in Casa LUNA…LUther NAncy…so, since I don’t have a picture of any interest, here is one my friend Tom said I could use. From his beautiful house on the mountain nearby…

Stay safe…stay well…stay home! Wash your hands…
Faremo insieme!!

Corona virus 17

395 positive cases in Umbria — up 18%. 7 deaths. Up from 2 yesterday.

47,021 positive cases in Italy — up 15% from yesterday.

The positive cases in the US are already 15,219. Deaths 201. This is up precipitously since just last week.
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Interestingly the virus now is seeming to sicken and kill younger people. No longer only the elderly. This should be a wake up call to all the young people who have been flaunting the new protocols suggested by our government in the US.

I’ve heard people posit that things will be better in the US, than in say, Italy. There is no reason to suggest that is correct. I’m not wishing it to be bad there but I do think the facts point to the virus being an equal opportunity disease. Matters not what race, age, gender or nationality. It will kill indiscriminately.

I have been watching the afternoon news briefings with our administration officials. Unfortunately there are mixed messages coming out which is not helpful. Some say the old medicine that used to be used to treat malaria will cure the corona virus. So far it shows limited evidence of healing the sick. Dr. Fauci, the head doctor on the Presidential team says there is no reason to believe it will be helpful. And it cannot be used unless tested and approved. It is dangerous to raise hopes unrealistically.
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It is Saturday. And we still can’t go anywhere. So, what shall we do? Earlier today I caught up on the crossword puzzles I’ve not gotten to the last four days. And, of course, reading the news.

The day is beautiful and I went for a walk. My knee was needing some exercise. I made sure I was out of town in 2 minutes. Doesn’t take long. And then I walked up the river. I saw one other person, a woman who was dressed for the dead of winter. Heavy, long black wool overcoat, scarf tightly wrapped around her neck and face and a warm wool hat. This is normal, she was just being an Italian. They dress like this until June 1. Anyway, it was nice to get out and I took some pictures. The first is my favorite.

Views up and down the path…all alone…as the rules say.

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The rest of the day stretches out ahead of us. I have a good book I’m reading, The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. It is very thick. I think I’m on page 600 something and not nearly done yet. I may go out on the terrace for a while and clean off the mold that accumulates in winter. There is supposed to be a cold front coming thru so no working outside next week. I see a fire and a nice steak in our future.
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Stay safe everyone, stay home if you at all can.
andrà tutto bene!

Corona virus 16

334 positive cases in Umbria. 35% jump. In Italy the numbers passed China. The overall number in Italy jumped 11%. It is very depressing to see no slowing.

15 doctors have died from the virus. A person dies every 15 minutes in the Milan hospitals.
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I was just reading in Corriere della Sera, one of the main Italian newspapers, about changes in the rules they are discussing.

One, they are thinking of closing the grocery stores on Sundays. And possibly on Saturday afternoons.

And two, always of interest in our house, the passeggiata, or walk outside. People have been using it as an excuse to meet friends, which is against the rule to do the exercise alone. They say they are still not going to make a solo walk with no possibility of meeting up with anyone illegal. But they may do so at a future date. So we can still walk alone outside. Here is the article in case anyone wants to read it.
Corriere article
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Today was our Italian lesson. This time using Skype. My first time. My impressions were positive.
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I sent Luther to do grocery shopping. We had decided to take turns. He came back with masks, and a newspaper. 😑 No food. So, now, for some reason, he thinks it’s my turn to go out. Even though he didn’t bring any food back. Hmmmm.

He went back out…and did some serious hunting and gathering. Fresh vegetables, salad greens, and meats of all kinds. We should be good for a while now.
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I was a beautiful day. It reached 70F today. I spent some time on the terrace getting some vitamin D. This picture is in the other direction…away from the river. Houses along the city walls. An active view. A lot going on.

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Stay safe everyone. Stay home. 🏠