La Pausa

Last month I returned from my dream trip to Italy. As a birthday gift my husband and some of our closest  friends rented a beautiful villa in a quiet little town at the base of the Dolomites. The villa included beautiful grounds, a swimming pool, 8 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms and a huge, fully-stocked kitchen. (It was a really big birthday.)

David knows that I love to cook, so the big kitchen was key. Cooking for 14 is not everyone’s idea of relaxation, but for me it was the perfect La Pausa.

La Pausa refers to the Italian notion of taking things slowly, savoring the food, the company, the moment. It also refers to the afternoon period between 12-3, when most every bookstore, boutique, restaurant and museum in Italy is closed for an extended lunch break. The Italians know how to savor the slow life, and it is absolutely narcotic.

Our vacation completed, I returned from Italy to a full schedule. My first novel, Aftertaste, will be released on August 30. My publisher, Kensington, has assigned me about 3 months of work to complete in the next 30 days — mostly related to the book launch and surrounding publicity and events. I really need some La Pausa!

So Wednesday afternoon I took a break from my work to visit the farm stand and then host dinner. The food was simple, the courses few. We ate slowly and enjoyed every bite, the smooth-flowing conversation, and the easy company of good friends.

There is plenty of work left to do, but none more important than the opportunity to pause and appreciate the wonderful chance I’ve been given to be a writer, a cook, a mother, a wife, and a friend.