Monday, February 27, 2006

Little beaded flowers?

Did you ever just feel like making little beaded flowers?

Yeah, me neither. But I did today. I went to the Self "everything you need for do-it-yourself" as their promo goes. It's my favorite store. Usually I go there just to wander the aisles. But today I had a purpose. By way of the craft aisle (where I found some very festive beads) I went straight for this:

That is the switch that was supposed to solve my hot water problem. I was feeling so hopeful this morning about being able to have a hot bath today. I should have known better. In fact I should have known I'd have problems when last night I asked Jeeves about how switches work, you know, just doing a little research, and he told me this:

Forget that. I'll just unhook the bad switch and rehook the new one in the same way.

In theory this should have worked except that, well, the new switch wasn't the same as the old switch. It has less little holes in the back where the wires go. In fact, the switch was really a buzzer switch for a front door (apparently the Self doesn't have everything you need for do-it-yourself. A little knowledge is helpful too). Well, I tried to hook it up anyway. If it worked I would just hold it down for 3 hours until the water got hot or someone came to the door.

I proceeded to try every possible wire/hole combination until ... I got a shock. It wasn't a big one but it was enough to get me to give up for today ... and make little beaded flowers.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

She's taken a gold!

Yes, it’s true. With 6 hours and 23 minutes to spare, I wove in the last end on the most-boring-to- knit sweater ever created for the Knitting Olympics.

I mean no disrespect to Ms. Bliss, the sweater’s designer. It is an adorable sweater. In fact, I’m in awe of most of her designs, ‘specially the kids' stuff. She actually might be a genius. But I must speak the truth, this was a very boring sweater to knit.

As for my challenge to knit a sweater following ALL the directions with no little Lynn changes…well, I did it and don’t need to ever do it again.

Other Maberga Updates…

See this?

That is the switch for the water heater, which, obviously is not working now. What is it with this house?! Just when we get one of life's little comforts (ok, basic necessity) working again we lose another. It’s almost as if the house is mocking us. Perhaps I shouldn’t fix this switch, who knows what will go next.

I got an email from Ruffino’s previous owner asking if Ruffino (aka: Atilla) was settling in. I don’t know, what do you think?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Don't break my balls.

Don’t Break my Balls**…

(For the record, I never used to use this phrase but it’s almost impossible not to here in Italy. I don’t think you can have a conversation with an Italian without hearing about their balls being broken by someone. This phrase is used by men and woman equally, old and young. I don’t know any nuns but if I did, I’m sure she would talk about her balls being broken.)

David is out of town, will be for over a week. He left approximately 30 hours ago. I have already done this:

And this:

And this:

If he were here, HE would have done these things. And I would have said, respectively:
1. “Honey, our house is too small to not hang up your coat. Come on, the armadio is right behind that chair.”

2.a. “Honey, lunch is not over until the dishes are done. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. Wash them.”
2.b. “Sweetheart, why is it so hard to get the peels out of the sink and into the trash can? It’s not like it’s across town, it’s right below the sink.”

3. “Baby, it defeats the purpose of washing things if you just hang them over the patio furniture to dry. Why can’t you get them to the clothes line?”

So, why do I do all the things I breakDavid’s balls for when he’s gone?
--Theory 1: I love him so much that this makes me feel like he’s really here when he’s not.
--Theory 2: I’m the queen of double standards. My stuff is ok but his isn’t.
--Theory 3: I just like breaking balls.

One last observation, why do I start every ball breaking statement with a term of endearment?

David, honey, if you are reading this, I miss you.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

As if Dante, Da Vinci, and Michelangelo weren’t enough…

At one of my English lessons on Friday my student made the argument that Shakespeare was actually born Guillermo Crollalanza (a direct translation) in Sicily and fled to England under religious persecution by way of the Sorbonne. Roughly, the argument went like this:

--why is it that we know everything in the world about Dante with records to back it up and nothing, and no documentation about Shakespeare?

--how is it possible that a man, born of modest means, could know French, Latin, and Greek? Did he learn it in the streets of Stratford on Avon? (actually, my student said something more like, “how is it possible in a town like Stratford on Avon? What is Stratford on Avon? It is nothing. It is a shit of a fly” – please don’t shoot the messenger, I’m only reporting what I heard. I, personally have never been to Stratford on Avon so I wouldn’t have an opinion on it’s resemblance to excrement or not)

--how can a man from a “small town” in England know so much about Venice, Verona and Paris? So much to be able to talk in detail about the streets and the characteristics that make these cities?

--and last but not least, and I quote, “could an English person write so beautifully? No, he had to have been Italian.” (Again, I’m only repeating what I heard)

My student had much more to say on the topic than what I was able to remember and record here. I would like to have some kind of response to this amazing theory but, alas, I do not. I’m sorry to say that I think ol’ Erio knows more about Shakespeare than I do. (Ms. Kapanke, if you are reading this…that’s not your fault. From one teacher to another, it was lack of interest on the student’s part, not lack of anything on the English Lit teacher’s part that has left a Shakespeare void in my education). Any thoughts from any of you readers who may be more in the know?

Ok, so Italy is my adopted country, obviously I think quite highly of most things Italian or I wouldn’t be here. Even so, I’m just not sure I’m ready to give them Shakespeare.

Other Stuff—

Knitting Olympics Completion Count of (amazingly boring) ribbed sweater:

(1) back
(1) front
(1) sleeve

New Puppy Destruction Count:

(1) cleaning rag
(1) pair of boots (I’m not going to post a picture because any of you readers who have known me for a while will say, “God, are you still wearing those?! You should be happy the dog ate them!” The truth is that I’ve had these boots since like ’97 and I’ve worn them every day, every winter since I got them. Alas (all the Shakespeare talk makes me want to say “alas” a lot), all good things must come to an end, clear out the old to make way for the new, and all that stuff…whatever. I’m crushed.
(1) set of household rugs – actually no rugs have been destroyed, per se, but each and every rug in the house has been peed, barfed or shat upon, at least once.
(1)plug from a lamp (yes, that was as dangerous as it sounds but I’m happy to report all are fine, well, except the lamp and some singed paw hair)
(1)doormat. This is ok with me, we really needed a new one anyway. I think we’ll wait a little while to get it, though.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

So, What do you have to say for yourself?

I have received several comments from people saying that they were having trouble leaving comments or that they didn't want to commit to signing up for a blogger account. I wrote to the ever so attentive and helpful people at Blogger who instructed me on what to do. I changed the settings so now anyone can leave a message, with or without a blogger account. If you go to the comments part of the posts, write your comment and at the bottom, instead of choosing "blogger" choose "other" and you can post without a password and all that stuff. You can also choose "anonymous" and then you will, well, post anonymously. So, if you drop by, please let me hear from you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

During the Knitting Olympics is not the right time to add one of these to the family.

All the same, please help us welcome Attila Ruffino (called Ruffino...we think) to Maberga.

He arrived yesterday. Doesn't he look overly intelligent in addition to how obviously cute he is? He's TRI lingual ('course he still doesn't know how to pee outside...but, come on, all dogs learn that...eventually, right?).

Ruffino spent the first few months of his life being loved and cared for by a French couple and now finds himself in an american couple's house in Italy. I can't even imagine what is happening in his little brain - two days ago he was Attila, living in a little apartment in Antibes sans garden, learning French commands, eating bagettes and brie. Now he is Ruffino, with an entire mountainside to explore and people who are themselves confused between"come" and "vieni" and parmigiano and cheddar.

Needless to say, my knitting has been a little interrupted. How could it not be?

This post is dedicated to Sparky Ruffina Serpe Cornwell.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Maberga Updates, February 13, 2006

Warning: totally random blog ahead. Sorry, I had a bit of catching up to do.

Rome, Venice, Milan, Maberga…
Tourism in the beautiful city of Maberga was booming last week as this charming, fun-loving couple came:
Denise and Wayne, of San Diego California, popped by for a few days after a ski trip they had in Brescia, Italy. We met them while we lived in Assisi 6 years ago and they were vacationing. We kept in contact via sporadic emails since. As we tried to show them some of the area and share a bit of our lives here, they were real troopers dealing with the lack of heat. Don’t you just hate it when you have house guests and the region runs out of heat pellets?

Heat Happens…
Speaking of heat, this also happened:

See those bags of pellets? Look at how happy that stove is with that big fire in its belly! That was nothing compared to how happy Denise and Wayne and David and I were. Unfortunately for our guests the pellets arrived back in our lives on day 5 of their 6 day stay.

Shelves, Shelves – no closets, shelves…
As part of the prep for our American friends’ visit, David and I moved back into the upstairs. Our bedroom, with its vaulted ceiling and exposed stone walls is very hard to heat (sorry, no picture. I didn’t feel like making the bed and putting away all the clothes strewn about). So in the winter months we leave our beautiful big bedroom to be in the warmer, lower part of the house. Also, I’m not sure if I mentioned this before but the two stories of our house are not connected by indoor stairs (or any stairs at all) and the bathroom is on the first floor. This means that midnight potty trips involve a journey outside, down the road to the front door…brrrrr. Since the Americans were coming to visit and, well, we didn’t have heat downstairs either, why not have our big room back.

As we moved back upstairs we were faced with the challenge of finding a place to put all the crap that we dump and store up there when we don’t need the room as a bedroom. This got me to whining about the lack of closets. I even said to David, “where did people who lived here 500 years ago put their clothes”? Instead of verbally responding to that moronic question, David put up these great shelves:
Perhaps 2 wall brackets and 5 wood planks don’t really seem worthy of blog time but let me tell you how they have changed our lives. Do a little mental exercise here…imagine your house without any closets, NONE, no attic either, oh, and no basement. Mentally take everything out of all these spaces and put them in your kitchen, living room and bedroom. Now do you get it?

Knitting Olympics come to Maberga…
For those of you not familiar with the Knitting Olympics, it is a brain child of the Yarn Harlot -- set yourself a knitting goal, anything that would challenge you personally and try to achieve it during the 16 days of the Olympics. I chose to knit a whole sweater – not a huge challenge in and of itself (specially since I chose a KID’s sweater). The catch is that I have to follow the directions in a pattern. I mean, no changes at all and no fudging (yes, that means I actually did a swatch and checked my guage). I even used the same COLORS from the pattern! I have never done that. I might have disqualified myself already because I didn’t use the pattern’s yarn. I’m using a cheaper substitute for the Debbie Bliss brand of the pattern. I justified it like this - I’m a knitter on a budget and I’d like to believe that the Knitting Olympics wouldn’t discriminate based on income. So, 4 days into the Olympics, here I am:

Yes, it is as boring to knit as it looks. Specially since I had to turn off my imagination.

Totally unrelated to anything…

This great gal turned 50 today.

Happy Birthday, Mercedes.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

That's more like it...

Now, that’s more like it…

See this:

That’s me knitting outside –today! Yep, I’m not wearing a coat and I even have my sleeves pushed up, that’s how warm it was today. For those of you who have never been to our house, I am sitting in the most used room we have. We found out last weekend that the proper name for it is piazzale – 8 months out of the year we call it the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, the study and the studio. Usually, January is not one of those 8 months, but today was.

And, given that we still have not resolved the pellet situation for the stove, it was a good 15 degrees warmer outside than inside.

In case you are worried that you will not be able to continue to follow the adventures of this knitting expat living on the side of a mountain in Italy because she freezes to death or had to burn the computer one night just to keep from freezing to death…have no fear. We do indeed have some heat. Unfortunately for us, fortunately for the electric company, it is coming from a space heater. We also have had the help of a couple of friends with some pellets this week. The great Danes let us take what they had from their living room (since they won’t be back until summer and probably won’t need them then). AND a couple really swell friends actually delivered to our door two bags that they got from a friend of theirs. Incredible. So, thanks to Chiara, Luigi, Mette and Teddy, we have had a several days of real heat this week. Last time David asked in a shop about when this problem might be resolved…”Ahhhh, by April, I’m sure.”