>Today is my husband’s 62nd birthday. We celebrated on Sunday night by going out with our dear friends (and Godchildren) Damon and Madeleine Boiles. We do this every October, because Madeleine’s birthday is October 5 and my husband’s is October 6.

But October 6 will also live in our memories for another reason—it was the date on which our dear friend, Urania Alissandratos died, in 2007—three years ago today. She was very much like a second mother to me… to many of us.

I did two blog posts about my experience being with her during her final days, so I won’t repeat those memories here. If you’d like to read them, just click on the titles:

“Watching, Dancing and Fishing.”

“Catch and Release, and Watching, Continued”

I’m packing for our trip to Italy (we leave this afternoon!) so this will be brief. I often look back at things I’ve written a year ago when I’m preparing a blog post, and it’s interesting to me that one year ago today I was in a bit of a funk, as I am today, actually. You can read it here, if you weren’t following my blog this time last year:

“Why Does Sobriety Have to Come With Feelings?”

I went on a walk this beautiful afternoon and talked to my best friend in Little Rock on my cell while I walked. I told her I was depressed, which feels so weird on the eve of such a fabulous opportunity as a two-week trip to Italy to celebrate 40 years of married life with my husband. But it’s true. I can’t really say why, but I do hope that I’ll find my “happy place” while I’m in Italy. (We’re going to Rome, Tuscany, Florence, and Venice.) I’m such a social media junkie, but I’m leaving my laptop at home, taking instead a sketchbook/journal, a really nice pen and a few watercolor pens, and a camera. I’m sure I can find an internet café if the monkey gets too heavy on my back, but I’m hoping to learn to just be present, with my husband, and with the beauty of the country and people we are visiting.

So…. If you don’t hear from me for a couple of weeks, don’t worry that the terrorists have gotten me. Just send up some prayers and wishes that our time together in such a beautiful country will be peaceful. And as always, thanks so much for reading. Ciao!

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