A date night in the Village…We had such fun!…

It took Madam Zahra a few times to figure out our food preferences after we showed her photos on my laptop since she only spoke Arabic, not English. From there, every night, we were excited about her unique dishes.

Last night, we went to dinner at “The Bar,” a pub at the bottom of the one flight of stairs from our floor to the Village. We decided to go early, at 4:30, to ensure we’d get two seats at the bar. We’d dined there for the first time about a month ago but arrived after 5:00 pm, which was too late to claim two seats at the bar.

We were thrilled to see two empty seats at the bar, as if they were waiting for us. We couldn’t get situated fast enough. As it turned out, by 5:00 pm, the place was packed, and there was barely a regular table available. With the narrow bar top, we knew it would be better if we ate at a high-top table.

Fortunately, a table opened up after our drinks, and we quickly grabbed it. Usually, I only drink one glass of wine, but with the short “pour” from the bartender using the only stemmed glass in the place, I ended up drinking three glasses of the Pinot Grigio, the most I’ve had to drink in a long time. But, looking at the pour, each couldn’t have been more than 3 ounces.

When two people spend every day and night together, dining out may not necessarily be a time for lively conversation. But we are different that way. We turned our chairs to be knee-to-knee, with my feet resting on the base of his barstool, and the usual highly entertaining banter began with us. Sitting at a bar makes us both more animated when the atmosphere is all the more conducive.

There we were, almost 33 years later, and it felt like a fantastic date of the early days of a budding relationship. We couldn’t have been more fun. We never chatted with other patrons, just with each other. We had such a good evening that we decided to forego dinner out on our upcoming 29th wedding anniversary on March 7 and dine in. I’ll make something special for dinner, and then we’ll head out again next weekend.

How fortunate we are. We will never forget that. Getting along day after day is such a joy in itself, but actually having fun together, giggling, teasing, and showing signs of affection is all it takes for every day to be memorable. We often hear that marriage takes a lot of work. But, we are grateful that it never feels like “work” for our marriage to succeed.

Having had about a bit more wine than usual, I woke up at 12:30 and didn’t get back to sleep until 3:00 am. This morning, I could sleep in and make up for the sleep I lost during the night. When I finally awoke this morning, I felt great and ready to tackle another day.

It’s noon, and I’ve already made the salad and prepped everything for tonight’s dinner: roast beef with carrots, onions, and mushrooms for Tom, which he’ll have with his rice and wild-caught salmon with broccoli. All I have to do is put Tom’s dinner in the oven around 4:30 and mine about 15 minutes before his roast beef is done. Easy peasy.

Once I’ve completed today’s post, I’ll do day 7 of my BetterMe, 28-day yoga/pilates-type exercises. I am totally committed to this program and already feel some benefits from these at-home exercises. I may not have access to a fitness center in the future, and having a definitive at-home program is most beneficial. The exercises are not easy but each day I notice improvement.

This morning, we’re still smiling at one another or our fun “date night” and look forward to another beautiful day together “at home,” wherever that may be.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, March 2, 2014:

Finally, we made it to Marrakesh, Morocco. We were greeted by this man who hauled our bags in the Medina, The Big Square, to our riad, quite a distance away. For more photos, please click here.

A stormy, stormy night…Date night that is…

The puffs of clouds surrounding us this morning were a delight to behold.

When a couple is together 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (I never liked that expression, 24/7) we find it’s important to designate certain periods of time as “date nights.”

Sure, it’s pretending. But then, isn’t romantic in itself a pretense of sorts, making special times out of “normal” times?  Some may believe this is not important in a strong loving relationship.  For some, it may not be important, or so they think.

Sadly, power lines always seem to obstruct the view in the remote areas we’ve visited.

But, spend an evening freshly showered, wearing an attractive outfit (need not be fancy), preparing a carefully planned and executed quiet dinner, finishing off the evening with a movie befitting the taste of both parties and a romantic evening can be had. 

For the budget-minded, the cost is no more than any other evening at home. For the extravagant, the experience is as rich and fulfilling as a lavish night on the town with the end result being the same;  feeling loved, cherished, and fulfilled.

Last night was “date night” appropriately a Saturday night that even us retired folks still perceive as the time for extra fun (along with Friday nights). 

Beginning at 5:00 pm, our evening began when the bells from the church out our window began ringing prompting me to once again attempt to take a video, once again to do a poor job but I’m working on it. Taking still photos has been tough enough for me, as my family so well knows.

The church across the road with the bells only ringing on Saturday nights.

The delight we felt during the six minutes as the bells joyfully clanged began the tone of the evening. It was uphill from there. Since neither of us felt like eating all day (a phenomenon that occurs when one eats low carb-loss of appetite), by 6:00 pm, we were ready for dinner.

Planned as taco salad night (minus the bowl), I had chopped and diced all the accompaniments well in advance and had only to cook the grass-fed ground beef seasoning it accordingly. 

By 6:00 pm, an hour earlier than usual, we were dining at the kitchen table digging into our massive salads filled with meat, cheese, and vegetables from the garden especially those plump red tomatoes gifted to us by Santina on Friday.

More puffs of clouds.  As the morning wore on, the puffs dissipated as the sun struggled to appear.  The thick heaviness of humidity remained with the cool temperature making it tolerable.

Some may say watching TV shows or movies is not romantic. For us, it is.  Tom tends to chatter on incessantly during the show, something I’ve found charming. The laughter and conversation continue as we watch. 

Our show of choice last night during dinner, one that invites comments and observations, was “America’s Got Talent,” a mindless TV series that easily incites laughter and smiles.  Without commercials, the episode ended about the time we’d finished dinner.  I tackled putting away the leftovers (repeat tonight!) while Tom as always, washed the dishes.

It almost looks as if its smoke, rather than clouds.

By 7:15, part two of our evening began, spending time on the veranda overlooking the mountains, listening to the birds, and swatting off a few flying insects.  Once again, I put on the Africa pants to avoid being stung as a couple of flies buzzed around my head. Each time I wear the pants I’m surprised by how well they keep the bugs from biting.  I’ve yet to be stung once while wearing them, even without my arms or feet protected. 

As we often do, we moved my laptop to the coffee table in the living room, positioning ourselves in the uncomfortable 100-year-old sofa, and proceeded to watch a few more episodes of our favorite downloaded shows from Graboid:  season 3, episode 5 of The Killing, and season 1, episode 2 of The White Queen (excellent shows worth watching).

After the first show, we rousted up the big dishwashing bowl for the shells for the pistachios and peanuts, more out of fun than hunger. By 9:00 pm our shows ended, leaving only a few minutes of battery time on my laptop.  

From experience, we knew that by charging it for 45 minutes we’d regain enough of charge to watch a movie in bed. We busied ourselves in the kitchen as it recharged, Tom, checking email, and Facebook, while I read my latest book.

By 9:45 we meandered to our room, setting up a wooden tray to support the laptop on the bed (it’s a dangerous fire hazard to place a laptop directly on top of the bed) and crawled under the comfy covers to watch the movie, Linda Lovelace, (bringing back lots of memories of the ’70s) that we found disappointing. But for us, with Tom’s chatter, I was thoroughly entertained.

Once again, this bell tower is a focal point in our photos.  Most villages in Italy have such a tower, visible as one travels through the winding mountain roads.

By 12:30 am with the mosquito netted window wide open as a cool breeze wafting our way, we drifted off within minutes of each other with smiles on our faces.  Indeed, it was a delightful evening.

An hour later, deep in sleep, we both were alarmed by as an outrageous bolt of thunder and lightening permeating the area as the rain pelted the tile roofs.

It was no less than two hours, there was a relentless storm that hovered in this mountainous valley as loud and as bright as any fast-moving storm we’d experienced in Minnesota.  The difference here was the time it hovered as if it was caught in this valley with no way in which to escape. 

Although neither of us is fearful of the storms, we were entranced by its intensity, eventually forced to close the window as the wind whipped in its direction, pouring torrents of water into the bedroom at the moment it took for me to jump out of bed to hurriedly shut it. 

Tom had fallen back to sleep. I lay awake comforted by the fact that this 300-year-old house has most certainly survived centuries of such storms and was nonetheless still intact. Reading my book, an enticing Irish novel, until almost 4:00 am, I finally drifted off tucking my phone under my pillow.

As always, 6:55 am forced my bleary eyes open, only seconds before the 7 clangs of the clock tower next door to us. It’s funny how it never awakens us during the night. Not wanting to awaken Tom, I lingered in bed until he awoke at 7:56 am, moments later to hear the 8 clangs, as we both offered a groggy, “Hi, sweetie.” As always, upon arising together we made the bed, a habit we started years ago when arising at the same time.

Tom called out to me as I was getting ready to shower, beaconing me to the patio to look out at the mountains. These are the photos we took this morning, thrilled to see the clouds so low, lingering in puffs throughout the valley.  What a sight!

Date night turned into “date morning” as we were entranced by the view as if it was a parting gift from Boveglio for the 2½ months were lived in its midst (no pun intended).  Thank you, Boveglio.