Saturday, January 21, 2017

Read, Write, Make a Bowl

Dear Elizabeth Gilbert,

Hi.  I'm writing because I've just mutilated your lovely book and it seems like I owe you an explanation.  See...

 Umm, yeah, it was that one

Please don't misunderstand this, Liz...can I call you Liz (given ALL that you shared in that book, I sort of feel like I can).  Anyway, Liz,  I really did enjoy this memoir.  Really.  The movie was a bit of a let down (Julia, if you are reading this, that was NOT your fault.  You did a great job.) but the book was really top-notch. It was all the title promised and more.  In fact I liked it so much that it survived our household purge of paperbacks 4 years ago.

But then one day I went to do my morning journaling.  Yep I journal every morning, 3 pages, like it or not.  Sort of my own version of Eat, Pray, Love except that no one wants to read it and  (because?) it consists mostly of to-do lists and bitching about my husbands lack of tidiness....yeah, ok, so it's nothing like Eat, Pray, Love.  Anyway, I went to do my writing and I found that I had NO journal into which I could journal.  Here's where you come in.  I thought, "how can I do my writing, like Liz, if I don't have a journal?!!!"  Yeah, so, I grabbed your book and a fat Sharpie and just started writing over top of your writing.  Well, then, a few months later there was nothing of yours left to read because every page was covered with "pay water bill, buy dog food, ask David to wash the dishes" in rainbow colors.

Well, then after that was already done I thought, "what the hell, Liz won't mind...." so I ripped the book to pieces


and now I'm making papier mache bowls out of it.

Of all the things you thought would happen to this story when you were writing it, I'm guessing this wasn't one of them....

On the bright side, I won't be lending this book to anyone any more so any of my friends who haven't already read it will have to buy their own copy. 

There it is, my confession to you.  I hope you're not offended.  Obviously, I've gotten a lot out of your book, so thanks for that.

yours in flour, 


Monday, January 16, 2017

When a friend gives you shit

Say thank you.

No, no.  None of our friends gave us shit about David's 1994 Fiat Panda.  No one would do that because a) everyone in Liguria has one, and b) because that car is awesome monumental (David has, correctly, pointed out my overuse of the word awesome). No, no,....look INSIDE the Panda.

Free shit for the garden!  AWESOME!   STUPENDOUS!

Winter gardening here we come.  

Or, well, here we are....

Two bed done, about 10 to go.  Perhaps you're wondering why we aren't rototilling that shit in with our new-to-us rototiller.  That's because our new to us rototiller became a new-to-someone-else rototiller last spring when it was stolen.  Oh well, rototillers come and rototillers go and shit still gets put in the earth. 

Here's some winter gardening already in progress.  David's growing wheat to grind in the mill to make bread to cook in the wood oven.

Sorry, kind of a shitty photo.  I'm still trying to learn to use my new smartphone (yes, I have entered the 21st century at last.  The jury is still out on whether I like having this new technology in my life.  Truth be told, I was sort of enjoying the solitude of my 20th century phone).

Just 'cus some of you's Ernesto


Wednesday, January 04, 2017


Only the 4th day of 2017 and I've already:

--given Q a bath,  
--weeded the herb garden
--did yoga and meditated
--changed the sheets on the bed
--finished two sweaters (started in some other year)

Given that Ernesto (have I mentioned our new dog?) isn't even a year old he doesn't need a bath yet,  it's not a leap year so my car doesn't need to be washed, and I'm currently writing a blog post...I figure I'm about done for 2017. Everything done.  Guess I'll just relax for the remaining 361 days.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

It's that time of the year...

when I do things that are done only once a year, like....

write a blog,

and play the viola,

and put up the Christmas tree

Yeah, ok.  It's more of a Christmas installation than a tree. But, well, what is a Christmas tree anyway?  It's a plant formerly growing outside brought inside decorated with lights and ornaments assembled whilst listening to Christmas carols.... check, check, check and check.   As I was saying, today we put up our Christmas tree.  This is actually our 2nd tree since the first tree, a replica of last year's tree made by son-extraordinaire Graham, 

experienced a fatal encounter with my broom leaving the entire upstairs of our house flooded.  Looking now at this photo from last year, I see my mistake.  Just because that demijohn CAN hold 52 liters of water doesn't mean that it SHOULD.  Slightly over-aggressive sweeping led to a ever-so light tap on the belly of the bottle, which led to an explosion of glass and water, which, ultimately, led to the cleanest floor this house has ever seen and a Christmas installation

If you'll excuse me now I need to go practice Oh Holy Night.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

somethings just sound cooler....

in French.

The other day we went dinner at the famous Kate and Ralf's.  When we arrived, just after the welcome kisses, Kate handed me a big bag, "this is for your atelier".  Inside was this...

The candelabra, not the squash.  Kate went on to explain that they used that it in their house when they had no electricity.  Now they do so it needs to move on.  How very thoughtful of them. 

Have I mentioned that I have a new studio?  Well, new to me, that is.


english - studio

italian - laboratorio

french - atelier

Yeah, ok, in any language it's pretty cool to have one, et's look at it again...

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

So here's the thing....

Unsolicited advice makes the receiver look and feel like an asshole.

I went to the Cooperativo the other day.  The Cooperativo sells everything a country-living girl could want from plants to chicken feed, pet supplies to fashion-forward green rubber garden shoes.  They also sell a bunch of other stuff that I don't even know what to do with.  Which brings me back to my story...

So I was at the Cooperativo the other day to buy some tomato plants.  The first round of tomatoes are pushing out their last fruit. It's only the beginning of August. And I have some free time to putter around in the Orto.  Why not try another batch, I thought to myself pulling into the parking lot.

Immediately I see a pal who is a great gardener.  He knows what all those things are for that they sell at the Cooperativo.  He says he's buying chicken feed and asks what I'm doing. 

"I'm getting some tomatoes to plant," I say feeling kind of proud to be able to add "I've already made all the sauce I can from the May plants".

My friend makes a few grunting noises and then says, "no.  It's too hot.  You can't plant tomatoes now.  No.  You should wait a few weeks.  Too hot." I have a dilemma.  I'm standing there next to the rack of beautiful little cuore di bue tomato plants looking for a home, that I was just about to reach for when I got this unsolicited advice.  I have 2 choices: 1. thank my garden expert/friend for the advice and for saving me from making the foolish error of wasting time and money planting tomatoes the first week of August and then go home bummed out because I don't get to plant tomatoes in my garden like I wanted to, or 2. smile politely and thank the gardener expert/friend for that gift of his advice which comes from the wisdom and knowledge gained through years of experience and explain that I'm going to ignore it and plant them anyway .....and then look and feel like an asshole.


Actually, there's a 3rd option:  linger in the store, pretending to be interested in the green rubber garden shoes (which I'm not because I've already got a pair) until the friend's got his feed and has left.  Then grab as many plants as possible and go home to putter....

PS.  check out the Sear's-Freakin-Tower of trellises I've built for these little babies

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Chicken or the Egg?

We're having some Germans over for dinner so we got some potatoes...

Or maybe it was that we had the potatoes so we invited some germans?

Nah, it's just a coincidence that Mila and family are coming for a visit the day after David and Franco did the potato harvest.

Feel free to send creative potato recipes our way.  Yesterday I had a boiled potato for lunch and David made au gratin for dinner.  I have a feeling that eating potatoes will be a bit like harvesting potatoes....seriously awesome for the first couple and then some rapidly diminishing returns.