Top 10 Romantic Movies for Celebrating Valentine’s Day

Below are my classics–tried and true– for celebrating Valentine’s Day, romantic as much for their settings as for their stories. While living abroad since 2014 I’ve seen most of them broadcast repeatedly in English on television stations in Morocco and the Dominican Republic. Valentine’s Day Movie Marathons are as popular in these two countries—one Catholic,…

A Wedding, the United Nations, and Disney

A wedding. Two unique people become one. A mystery and a marvel. Until recently I’d never attended a January wedding, but starting a new year with a couple committing to share the rest of their lives felt right. And kind of Disney. Weddings renew hope, reminding us that there is happy-ever-after, not only for the…

Relax in Nashville Like a Local

Before moving abroad, I lived in Nashville from 1987-2014.   This year I plan to move back to Tennessee and the place I call home.  Most tourists come to Nashville for offerings in the  downtown area –country music, sports, special events–but for lazier days wandering urban neighborhoods like-a-local is relaxing and fun.  Over Thanksgiving weekend I had…

Wisdom Wanted for the New Year

It was a good day. My coworkers in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic  greeted me Latin-style after our being off for 3 weeks for Christmas break. Hugs. Kisses.  Big smiles.  “Happy New Year!” “Feliz ano nuevo!” On my way to the grocery an older lady saw me trying to cross the street in the rain and…

Knoxville & Smoky Mountains: Great Escape and Journey Home

Though I am writing this on a Dominican Republic beach a couple of hours from Santo Domingo where I’ll return to work on Tuesday, I’m reliving the mountain escape I had while home for the holidays.  I’m sorry I missed the snow in Tennessee that arrived just after I flew back to the Caribbean on…

Perfect Gift: Italy All Year

Nine trips to Italy and I’ve just planned the next one.  This year I spent New Year’s Eve in Venice, my birthday in Tuscany (below), and Easter in Rome, but I’m asking Santa for an extended holiday in the land I love. Thanks to Chef Paulette‘s just-released book,  Italian Cooking Party, this tour will last for…

Pat’s Palo for a Front Row Seat to the Real Santo Domingo

Like I said, Santo Domingo takes salsa seriously from Sunday night dancing-in-the-street in the Old Town to Saturday night shaking-in-the-courtyard in the New City.  According to health experts and dance studios, such as Arthur Murray, salsa and merengue burn an average of 400 calories per hour.  Good to know for those who love the pulled…

Piantini Pleasures…Good Eats in Santo Domingo

We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.–David Mamet I am not a glutton.  I am an explorer of food.–Erma Bombeck Santo Domingo has surprised me with its wealth of food choices– from mega groceries full of imports to familiar chains and international cuisine.  While many coworkers have cooks…