Category Archives: everyday life in Umbria

Corona virus 27

Total positives in Umbria 1,051 up (just) 2.7% – deaths 33
Total positives in Italy 101,739 up (just) 4.1% – deaths 11,591

Another amazing drop in the increase. Well done, our team!

Our first death in Umbertide. A 91 year old in a nursing home. The number of cases continue to rise here. And in the next town north of us, Citta di Castello, they have had 10 deaths.
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News from Italy
Wow, I’ve been posting 27 days about the Virus.

So our date for our lockdown to (maybe) end was April 3 here. They’ve got it set up they can reassess every 15 days. The big newspapers are saying the official proclamation will come out soon, and it will say they will extend to April 18. And maybe to April 30. 🙁

Part of the reason is the number of people trying to flaunt the law. The police have checkpoints all over Italy. They check your papers to see if it is a legitimate trip. In past couple days they stopped 200,000 people for controls. 5,000 people were found to be out illegally. They get a big fine. They also get tested. Of that 5,000 — 50 tested positive for COVID-19. FIFTY. Because of them we will get extended probably. Thanks so much you assholes!😡

Other part of this news is that when it finally ends. It will be a staged ending. Piano, piano as they say here. Restrictions will slowly diminish. The last things to reopen will be the Bars and Restaurants.
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Dinner was my cooking tonight. Chipotle pork with mashed potatoes and salad. It was very yum.

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Today is blustery, gray and cold. We had a front come through yesterday. I plan a trip to the farmacia in a few minutes. Otherwise it will be a quiet day.

Stay safe everyone.

Corona virus 26

  • Umbria total positives 1,023 — up 5.5%
  • Italy total positives 97,689 — up 5.6%
  • 135,029 cases in the US

I went back and looked at these blog posts I’ve been doing. When I started doing percentages the highest growth in one day was 35% and now we are seeing 5%. So we are on the downside of the curve. The cases will continue to grow, until there is herd immunity, or a vaccine. In the meantime, the hospitals will be able to handle the fewer cases that need care. It was the goal. Yay us!
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Big news I read this morning is that the US administration has finally seemed to grasp the magnitude of this crisis. They admitted there could be 100,000 deaths but that was not too many (hmmm). But since there are already more than 2,400 this number is probably low. Also the shutdown extends to April 30 with normalcy hoped for by June. These are all good steps. At least they’ve backed away from that disastrous Easter date. I do think normalcy is a long way down the road.

I am sorry people still are not getting it. Two examples:

California they had to close all the state and federal parks and all the beaches in California because so many people were flocking to them that it was impossible to keep proper personal distance. I say GOOD. If it takes this to make these fools stay home then that’s what it takes. Seems the only way to stop people from mingling is to take away all they places they could mingle. Sigh.

And my friend in Myrtle beach told me the cases there doubled overnight with their first death. And yet, her neighbors — no words…Here is what she said…“I really don’t understand how some people think…this morning I saw our neighbors standing in their driveway with a cooler and beach chairs and a SUV pulled up. All four people were loading the car up and they all got in TOGETHER and drove off! I guess they think they are above it all and won’t get sick…people like that just can’t abide by the rules – they are the ones who will give it to someone else”

I completely get what she’s saying. Too many people are STILL behaving recklessly.

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Dinner tonight courtesy of Calagrana. Lamb shanks.

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After dinner I had a Zoom meet up with my book group. It was very fun. They are my besties from 20+ years ago. I miss our meetings full of good food, wine, laughter, and serious talks. Oh, and books…we read books 🙂 Today there were six of us. I haven’t used Zoom before. It is a good platform for what it does. I find it difficult to talk without talking over someone but otherwise OK. I know lots and lots of people, neighborhoods, work groups, friends, even trivia contests are taking place now on Zoom. It works well for our present situation! Anyway, it was great “seeing” everyone. I was pleased we could all squeeze together with our nine hour total time differences.
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It’s morning in Italy. A new day in paradise prison. Weather will take a turn for the worse after today. It will get cold again. Stay safe and home everyone! It will get better. But we all need patience. 💕 And maybe a glass or two of wine ☺️🍷🍷
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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!!