Monday, July 09, 2012

In yet another cable car-type vehicle  
Hi kids. I'm in Tuscany. Fucking Tuscany!! Where all the schmaltzy feel good movies with happy endings that star Diane Lane are filmed. I know... this reportage from the earth's sexiest locales is starting to piss you off. And yet, you want the details. Right?

Spent the last two nights in the spa town of Montecatini Terme, where they name the water as well as diagram a sort of mix-and-match with the ailments the various springs are supposed to cure. Needless to say, my constipation is over. (But I think it was the gelati rather than the mineral water that did the trick.)

So, I'm writing off this trip, and one of the reasons I can do that (besides researching the novel I've already written and can't seem to sell), is that I work for a food company that just developed a line of croutons branded with a nod to "Old World Italy." All this week I'll be posting my culinary adventures on this particular Facebook Page, starting with yesterday's recon in the kitchens of the hotel/restaurant.

Gelati. That is all.
The write-off part of being a writer is pretty cool, but now with jobs in social media, you can pretty much write off your entire life. A tweet here, a blog post there, some Facebooking, and, et voila! work is life and life is work.

So Montecatini was fantastic. The Italian cultural norm of taking big-ass naps in the afternoon and staying out until 2:00 a.m. seemed to work well for me. As did the people-watching: old ladies strolling arm-in-arm, groups of boys playing street soccer, Tony Soprano types and their booming voices and ginormous stomachs holding court in the metal chairs of street-side cafes. The crazy drivers. The zippy motorbikes. Arias belted out in public spaces. And the shopping! Okay, I hate shopping, but I couldn't resist browsing through the street vendor wares, where tatted means lace, not body ink. Dresses come in three sizes: zero, two and matron--and the styles pretty much follow. Oh, and the aforementioned gelati--on every corner.

You dress to go out at night, and sashay down the cobblestones in your heels, then land at a cafe where you're expected to order a bottle (not a glass!) of wine, and linger until the wee hours. Was this country made for moi, or what?

There was some sort of beauty contest in the square the first night we were there. A throwback to overt sexism, where they skipped over the "talent" part, and the girls simply paraded around in bikinis -- and in the plot of street right beside it, you guessed it! A car show! Extra special sight-seeing for Kirk in this hopping town.

The right-leaning Tower in all its glory
So we motored away from the spa town this morning (Wanda, Kirk and I are now total BFFs, you'll be happy to hear. She seems to know a lot of shortcuts in Italy), and stopped in Pisa on the way to our current destination, the beach-in-the-piney-woods, otherwise known as Riva del Sole.

But first, Pisa. Let's take one of the world's biggest architectural fuck-ups and build a crappy little city around it and watch the Americans flock to it. Throngs of tourists all striking poses for posterity where they simulate propping the tower back to straight. Seriously, imagine 400 people all doing this, as if it's the most original idea ever. I envisioned all these people with copies of 50 Shades of Grey stuffed into their Leaning Tower tote bags. Ugh.

Anyway, kudos to Team Wanda:Kirk for negotiating various UTurns where seven streets came together and not getting us all killed on our way out of Pisa.

As of three hours ago, we're here in our piney woods bungalow, the cicadas are yammering away, and the beach beckons. See you soon, but before I go, let me ask you, what's the most outrageous thing you've ever written off on your taxes?


  1. Suzy, you are livin' right! Enjoy many bottles of vino and all the gelato you can eat. Next thing you'll be buying yourselves an old rundown villa, ala Frances Mayes, and we'll have to come visit. What a shame that would be....

    Taxes. I'm supposed to file taxes?

    1. Now yer talkin! (re: villa )
      Last night's dinner was in one of those romantic backyards with polished picnic tables under towering pines. More importantly - the wine was a 2006 red with narcotic properties. Bliss.

  2. Your comments about the Tower crack me up. Please tell me you did not place the building in the palm of your hand as though lifting it.

    Let's see, write-offs . . . Nothing all that outrageous, though with my subject matter I could have dildos coming out my . . . I mean, I could write off a lot of sex toys. But I won't, because I respect the power of imagination.

    1. Here the sex toys are called "sex gags" and you can buy them at grocery store checkouts - itty-bitty cocks sculpted into pacifiers. Sort of: shut up and suck on this!

      We bought one ( they come in a gumball machine type plastic egg) and the other day I was cleaning and reorganizing the luggage and left it in a pile of crap on the bed and the chambermaid scooped everything up, putting it all on the nightstand with the tiny penis globe sitting on top like a cherry. Embarrassing moments...

    2. Anonymous4:35 AM

      Tax write off stretch.........the orthopedic medical expenses incurred by propping up the leaning tower of Pisa.

  3. (i like he idea of taking pictures of large objects squeezed between my pointing finger and thumb, the idea because i've never actually done it, but think about it when i see large things (that's what she said).)

    since becoming a contract employee/writer last march, my tax write offs now act as gasoline on the fire of my book/magazine buying addiction. every time i grab for my next purchase, i think, "it's a write-off" as if somehow that makes it okay.

    my new retirement plan is to reside in a place referred to as a "spa town."

    1. There are lots and lots of large objects here in Italy, Josephine. You'd have a field day! And the idea of retiring in a spa town is great--but then there's also the plan of retiring near a spa town so you can actually have the pleasure of saying "rest cure" when you saunter off to the curative waters.


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