Posted by: forgingahead | August 1, 2016

Italy July 12-21 2016

Tuesday July 12th – Siena
Discovered our hands down favorite restaurant in all of Itay Grotta di Santa Caterina. Also known as Bagoga, the nickname of owner Pierino Fagnini who was a jockey in the famous Siena Palio horse race. Fabulous food, great service, friendly and comfortable. And lots of horsey art and riding helmets from all the neighborhoods represented in the race on the walls.

Bert finally found a latte he could get behind too!

In the afternoon we finally found Allesandro Stella in his shop! We had been admiring his store and the beautiful leather creations every time we walked by but were losing hope that we’d ever get to meet the artist himself.
It was worth the wait – Allesandro is charming and a wonderful storyteller and we spent hours chatting with him. Made a couple of purchases that we will always treasure.

7/13 Weds – Cortona

Drove to Cortona and were graced with an amazing field of sunflowers on the way. Cortona is where Under the Tuscan Sun was filmed.

Enjoyed yet another slow cooked meal – this time at Taverna Pane e Vino in Cortona. Nicest waiter ever, wonderful red wine and great chocolate pie. Yes, eating our way through Italy.

7/14 Thursday – Siena

Great Siena walking tour with Antonella Piredda. She’s a lovely person and really brought Siena and its history to life. 

Lunch again at Grotto s caterina. Cannot get enough of the peppercorn fillet, wild boar pasta, and tiramisu.

7/15 Friday – Bagno Vignoni

We embarked on an early morning daisy trail drive to the spa in Bagno Vignoni, a quaint little town well know for its hot springs. 

The beautiful hot mineral pool at the Hotel Posta Marcucci was the perfect place to be on a rare cool and rainy day.

7/16 Saturday – Siena to Rome

Got another early start for our 2+ hour drive to Rome. Lots of lovely rolling Tuscan hills to admire along the way.

Once we returned the rental car and checked into our hotel we went looking for lunch. Stopped by the mesmerizing Pantheon along the way. I do love that building.

We wrapped up our first Roman day sipping champagne in the St Regis ballroom which was both beautiful and surreal. They open the bottle by striking it with a saber!

7/17 Sunday -Rome and Trastavere neighborhood 

Headed out early to beat the heat and the tourists to take in the Spanish steps only to discover they are closed for renovation. Made it easy to take a good pic🙂

Most of the day was spent exploring a lovely neighborhood called Trastavere. Here we found small cafes, a ceramic and glass art studio and lots of fun shops tucked into the medieval streets. A nice change from the big boulevards that define most of Rome.

We enjoyed yet another slow food spot Grapollo D’Oro for dinner. Carbonara was amazing, great Barolo wine and really nice staff. Cannot thanks Lewis enough for this book…

7/18 Monday – Rome

Walked to the Coliseum mostly to check out the hordes of tourists. I did get to pet a police horse🙂 I know it looks like he’s sleeping but he’s actually licking my hand.

7/19 Tuesday – Rome

Walk discovered the caffeinated nirvana of the Illy coffee store. Good coffee, good music, lots to read, air conditioning and a spacious lounge where they welcomed you to sit and hang out. 

Here’s their entrance artwork constructed of coffee cups!

And then guess what we did. Enjoyed a very tasty lunch at yet another slow food find Armando al Pantheon. We are predictable.

7/20 Weds – Rome

We started the day with a lot of bones. The Capuchin Crypt is a trip – definitely not your usual tourist experience.

We thenjuxtaposed our 1631 experience with some modern art and went to see a great Banksy exhibit.

Enjoyed our final evening ritual of champagne in the beautiful St Regis ballroom.

7/21 Thursday – Rome to SF

Began the long journey home. What a wonderful 3 weeks. Until we meet again Italy.

Posted by: forgingahead | July 11, 2016

Italy July 6-11 2016

So hot. Day 6 was spent avoiding heat exhaustion. I did finally have a spritz cocktail and am now officially a fan. 

Day 7 we discovered the second floor of Mercato Centrale! A gourmet food court with nice service friendly staff and fabulous food. Plus places to sit and decent AC. We did have a classic Nerbone steak sandwich downstairs first but upstairs is much more my jam.

After enjoying lattes and pastries and making a plan for our return the next day we headed out to find the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, one of the oldest pharmacies in the world – founded by Dominican friars in 1221. It’s a beautiful space that smells magical and feels peaceful. Highly recommend.

We finished day 7 of our adventure with a walking tour called Dark Heart of Florence through City Wonders. It was fun and we learned lots about the Medicis and medieval Florence.
We began day 8 with an art exhibit in a palace. A lot of the art from Peggy Guggenheim’s Venice collection was on loan to Florence and combined with works from the NY Guggenheim. It was a great exhibit…

My other highlight of the day was discovering this beautiful venue La Menagere which also had the most magical spritz so far…

Day 9 we turned in the keys for our beautiful Florence flat, rented a car and drove to Siena. Google maps has made driving in foreign lands ridiculously easy. We had a rocky start to our stay in Siena so no pretty pics to share. Let’s just all agree that travel days are hard. Here’s a pic of the Florence Duomo taken on our early morning walk before leaving the city…

Day 10 was much better. Took in the beauty of Siena in the cool early morning hours. Did some shopping and ate some good food. 

Day 11 we ventured out to San Gimignano early in the morning and enjoyed wandering the winding streets free of those pesky tourists and blazing sun. Lots of cats around and of course stunning views of the Tuscan countryside…

We had a lovely chat with Patrizia Piciacchi a ceramic artist. She and her husband both create art and they are big time animal lovers: 17 cats (one is 22 years old!), 2 dogs, 2 horses, 2 chickens🙂

And that my friends concludes days 6-11 of the Italy 2016 adventure. Gripping stuff.

Posted by: forgingahead | July 5, 2016

Italy July 1-5 2016

Arriving in Venice via boat – feeling like Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp in The Tourist:

Thank goodness for Google maps making navigation of the winding streets of Venice possible. 

We played tourist at Piazza San Marco, explored the Peggy Guggenheim museum and window shopped.

We had a lovely dinner one night at Anice Stellato, a slow food restaurant in a book borrowed from Lewis. Met a nice couple from SF. Sat next to a woman with the best cat dress and cat iPhone case. Here’s a sunset pic from our walk that evening…

View from our lovely apartment in the Dosoduro neighborhood…

Then we hopped a fast train to Florence to discover an even more stunning view…

We’re getting the hang of this travel thing and made it out to another slow food dinner spot – Al Tranvai. The best bruschetta, sausage pasta, grilled steak, tiramisu and chocolate mousse. Excellent house white too.

Then a late night walk through the Piazza Della Signora. Warm nights, lots of people, magical lighting…

Day 2 in Florence included more walking, eating and window shopping I do love the Santa Maria Novella. And cats.

Posted by: forgingahead | March 20, 2016

Another Year

I just looked back and it was nearly a year ago when I last posted. Oh my.

I am still working around the stress fracture in my tibia. Saw a specialist last October who said these injuries do take a long time to heal and to just be careful. So I’m back to cycling, swimming, horseback riding and yoga. I seem to be able to do all of that with no pain so that’s good!

Bert, the horse and the cat are happy and healthy. Last week Bert and I went to Big Sur for couple days – a long overdue vacation. It was glorious.

Work is good. We continue to keep running at a pace that seems untenable. I definitely need my rest on the weekends these days.

My commitment to myself this year is to get back into serious cycling shape. Let’s see what happens.

Posted by: forgingahead | April 27, 2015

Baby Steps

After 3 months in the boot the people who are well paid to make such decisions told me to try walking without it. Even though the stress fracture was still – well – fractured.

They couldn’t really articulate why this was a good idea except to say I had been in the boot long enough.

I double checked with a family friend who is also a PT for a sports medicine clinic. Since he also thought it was ok as long as there’s no pain I went for it.

The timing was fortuitous as I was heading into 3 consecutive weeks of travel.

I’m home now and spent the weekend going on short slow walks with Bert. This morning we walked to Bart. It’s been a long time since we were able to make that trek together.

Pain is mostly gone. I get intermittent twinges that convince there is still healing going on. An X-ray this week should tell me more.

In the meantime, I’ve become mindful of every step.



Posted by: forgingahead | February 20, 2015

Still Healing

Seven weeks into wearing a walking boot for my fractured shin bone I am not yet healed. So four more weeks have been dictated.

The good news is they say I can swim. And they changed their minds about having to use crutches – thank goodness because the 3 days I used them were hard.

My days with Now Voyager are mostly grooming him to a shine and standing in the middle of the arena while he trots in circles around me. He’s being so good listening to my voice commands!

A couple weeks ago Mom and Tony invited me and Bert to join them in Carmel for a long weekend. It was beautiful and a little rainy and Bert kept a beautiful fire going to brighten up the room.

So 2015 is limping along but life is good so I’m mostly being Zen about it all🙂





Posted by: forgingahead | January 4, 2015

Welcome 2015

I’m starting the year with a six week imposed rest from a stress fracture in my left tibia. So many plans to get back running biking and swimming will have to wait.

Bert took me to the top of Twin Peaks on New Year’s day on his motorcycle so we could enjoy the view.

Wishing you and yours a healthy, happy and prosperous new year!


Posted by: forgingahead | December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

Greetings from sunny Santa Barbara. Wishing you and yours a very merry holiday season and a fabulous new year!



Posted by: forgingahead | December 15, 2014

Happy Horse


Posted by: forgingahead | December 7, 2014

December 2014

Two months have passed since my last post. Dreamforce was a smashing success.

And the four weeks following Dreamforce were taken up getting ready for another big event in New York.

And then we had Thanksgiving, which was lovely.

And this week I head out to Minneapolis. Last trip of the year.

Everyone is happy and healthy, including the animals. Wishing all a happy holiday season!

Assorted random photos from the last few weeks.

Sunset over Twin Peaks taken from my back deck:

Weird fog at Crissy Field on a warm November morning:

My mom’s adorable dog on Thanksgiving:


A morning walk along the beach cliff in Moss Beach with my honey:


A cool building on a cold morning walk in SOHO NY


Zinger ate too much turkey on Thanksgiving:


View of Central Park from the 25th floor of my NY hotel (not my room)


Pretty clouds


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