Firenze, December 2010
Kathy's and Katie's birthdays both fell in December in 2010--Kathy's
70th on Dec. 29 and Katie's 40th on Dec. 5, So we decided to celebrate
in Firenze. We all flew over on the same day, Nov. 30. Kathy and I were
in an apartment and Christen and Katie stayed at the Savoy Hotel on
Piazza della Republica. We had a great time for the six days that Katie
and Christen were there; then Kathy and I remained for the rest of the
month. We had snow; in fact most of Europe suffered from snow and
airport closings that month. But we were all lucky; our flights left and
arrived (almost) on time.

Here are some of the pix we took:

Christen and Katie drinking the pink champagne that
Katie's husband Tim provided for the birthday party:

Here is the bottle:

Some of the food (salmon, cheese and foie gras):

The cakes:

Two nights earlier we attended the annual gala fund-raising
at St. James Church. There was a wonderful buffet, music,
wine, champagne...You name it!

First, views of the church:

All the pews were removed for the gala. An overall view:

Here are the girls with our dear friend, Horace Gibson.
We have known Horace for about 40 years; he was a
mainstay of the tenor section when I was choir director at
St. James in 1991. 

Some of the youngsters in the church came as angels bearing gifts:

Another mainstay of the tenor section was our dear friend
Timothy Chaplin:

Our landlords, Luigi and Nancy, a handsome couple I must say:

Here are Liz and Heather. Liz is a member of the chorus
at the Communale and currently choir director at St. James.
Heather is her friend, a Ralph Nader supporter. (Liz is the

Mark, the rector, and his wife Dottie, with Timothy. (Dottie
had on a Dolly Parton costume. She's not that big in real life.)

Dottie also entertained the crowd:

Kathy, Katie and Timothy with Timothy's daughter Livia
(about to turn 14).

Timothy and Kathy:

Timothy's wife Diane with Kathy:

The Sunday after Katie and Christen left, Gianni Frosali,
my longtime collaborator at the math department in Firenze,
invited us to his house for lunch. Here is Kathy with Gianni's
wife, Gloria, then Gianni himeslf:

As you can see, he's a wine lover. Below we see the
antipasti he and Gloria provided:

Christen and Katie at a favorite bar:

But Firenze's best bar was right across the street from their hotel:

Kathy and I had a drink in the Savoy bar to celebrate Christmas Eve.
I'd tell you what those two drinks cost, but you don't want to know:

Some extraneous shots of the girls. The first two at the Savoy
bar, the third at our apartment.

The Friday after Katie and Christen left, Horace came to
lunch at our apartment. While he was there it started
to snow. Kathy walked part of the wasy home with him
and got some snow pix, including one of the Ponte Vecchio.
The first pic is from our window, and shows a famous shrine
on the side of a building that attracts hordes of tourists:

(Note the name Argentieri on the side of the building.
It means "silversmith" but is also the married name of
Kathy's sister Susan.)

The next tweo are of the Ponte Vecchio:

This was part of the same snow storm that snarled travel
all over Europe for at least a week. A different storm (or storms)
snarled things in the US at the same time.

Horace invited us to his traditonal Christmas dinner:

Pre-prandial libations: Diane, Kathy, Livia:

Kathy and Diane:


The huge Christmas tree outside the Duomo:

Here are two of the stores we patronized regularly. First a produce
store and then a bakery, both about 50 paces from our apartment:

We celebrated our last night in Firenze by taking Timothy
and his family to dinner at our favorite restaurant, Yellow:

Here I am, relaxing in the apartment. I did a lot of
relaxing while I was there. Now that I'm back home
I'm swamped with work.

While the snow was melting, there was a parade that marched
down Via Calzaiuolo and into Piazzs delle Signoria, just
a few meters from our apartment. The paraders were in
medieval costume. There is a Three Kings parade every year
on Jan. 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, where the dress is similar.
But the rhyme or reason for this prade remains a mystery:

Neptune overlooked the revelers from his post in the Piazza:

Well, that's all for now.