Wednesday, May 31, 2006

hair and left hanging...

Just a few updates…ya know, since I don’t really have anything else to write about tonight:

-- So, David and I decided to do some work on the house. We decided that after two years of living here having the upstairs and downstairs connected by, well, STAIRS would be a good thing. We also think that after two winters of making the 5’ x 5’* computer room downstairs into our bedroom because the 20’ x 20’* bedroom upstairs has such gaping holes between the stones of the walls that mountain winds nearly blow us out of bed* (in addition to the holes being convenient exits for all the heat from the wood stove…it seems a physics impossibility but air seems to flow in both directions through these holes at the same time. Incredible), it might be time to plaster the walls upstairs. We’re thinking we can do these projects - projects that will completely change our living conditions - for very little money. We are now at the point in the process where it becomes totally out of our control. We have started waiting for the construction guy to come to give us an estimate. He was supposed to come on Monday. Anyone want to place a wager on when he’ll show?

Current construction-guy-wait count: 2 days.

* indicates slight exaggerations

-- I gave myself a haircut today. I got a little carried away with the scissors but luckily I bought some cute flower and rhinestone adorned bobby pins at the Walgreen’s while in the US. I just pop a couple of those babies in my ‘do in strange places and say, “yeah, it’s supposed to look like that”.

-- On a knitting note, the green variegated cotton cardigan (I better come up with a better name for that thing) is almost finished. One sleeve, the button band and collar to go. When it is done I WILL find a way to post a picture. I must admit that this is the first thing I’ve done with variegated yarn (previously I shied away because it seemed too, I don’t know …70’s – and not in the good 70’s way…having said that I must admit that my idea of “a good 70’s way” might be different that a lot of other’s ideas). Anyway, I love the yarn but am puzzled by the difference in natural patterns resulting on the front, back, and sleeve. Will they “go together” when I sew the thing up? More to be revealed soon.

-- Other news…the washing machine is still broken, the computer is still contaminated but we have water, hot water, heat and the car is functioning. Shit. I probably just jinx us.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The music of love

In just a few short weeks David and I will be celebrating 11 years of wedded bliss. For a lot of reasons, that I won’t go into here, I’m really happy about us making this mile marker.

One of the things I most appreciate about our relationship is our ability to share – you know, what’s his is mine and mine his, we’re in this together, …all that kind of stuff. Maybe this is because we first met each other when we were sharing a classroom of kindergarten, 1st and 2nd graders in the ‘hood in Denver, during which time we shared laughs, tears, frustrations, pet peeves and a lot of coffee. In these years we have learned to share our hopes, dreams, fears, houses, cars, money, successes, failures, and families.

Ok, ok, ok, I admit it. There are a couple of things that we won’t share. David won’t share his sweaters with me. He says that I always spill on them. He’s totally wrong, by the way, about that but I respect the fact that he prefers that I wear my own sweaters (perhaps this has been a subconscious motivator for my knitting? In which case I’m grateful for his obvious selfishness in this area ). And I won’t share a beer. “Get your own” is my thinking. If it’s the last one, well, then we have an understanding that David gets it and he is obliged to share it with me (which, of course, is totally different than me sharing it with him).

It was only two things that had to be “his” and “hers” until this afternoon. In the next decade of happily-ever-after we might need separate CD collections. That man can not put a CD back in it’s case. I mean, after all this time (and nagging) I’m thinking that it is actually impossible for him. This would be ok…well, it’s a pain in the ass, of course, to open a CD thinking you’re going to get Tom Waits and finding James Taylor (not that I have anything against James, but when you want Tom you want Tom), but this isn’t the problem. He doesn’t get them into ANY case which is a HUGE problem because we don’t have any CDs left that don’t skip.

I know what you’re thinking, “how do you know that he’s responsible for the scratched CDs?”. Well, I’ll tell you how I know. I did a little research. Guns-n-Roses* Appetite for Destruction – not one skip. Scorpions* The Best of – not a scratch. Now, you tell me…is that a coincidence?

*for those of you not familiar with these two bands, go to google and type in “80’s pop metal”

David is away again for work. I just spoke with him on the phone and told him I was going to write this blog. He said, “great. Thanks. Bye.” Perhaps we don’t always share the same sense of humor either.

(an aside…please don’t anyone comment on how all our problems would be solved if we got an ipod. The last thing I need in this house is another damn thing that will break down)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

It’s occurred to me that I haven’t really written anything very knitterly here on my knitting blog for a while. This is not for lack of knitting on my part. I assure you I have been knitting up a storm. The reason I haven’t been blogging about them is that 1. without photos, well, how interesting is it to read about projects?! 2. I can’t seem to pay attention to any one project long enough to have anything to say about it. In fact, here is a list of my current projects (which average out to about one new project started every 2 days since I’ve returned to Italy):

-- the never-ending quilt that I am knitting with the never-ending stash of bits and bobs that I received from my friend Natalie

--a snazzy little summer cardigan using a very soft and fun green variegated yarn that I found at my local yarn shop (there are two shops in town, one with an owner that never shuts up and one with a slightly advanced-in-years, one-toothed owner. I got this green treasure at the latter of the two. I prefer shopping with her. I get great delight from walking into her packed 5’x5’ store and being greeted by her from behind the counter, cigarette dangling from her lips.). This design is my own and will be available to you all as soon as the sweater is done.

--A doll made from the alpaca that was given to me freshly spun after freshly sheared off the alpacas of some friends of my parents – what a treat! The pattern is from an Interweave magazine.

-- 3 different pairs of socks (various patterns - a couple followed, one from my head)

--A wool sweater made from beautiful feeling yarn but in rather ugly colors. (My one-toothed smoking yarn lady was having a sale – I couldn’t help myself) The pattern for this is an adaptation of a Rowan pattern that I love. (I don’t feel like going upstairs to look up the particulars of the pattern…anyone who cares to know, leave a comment, I’ll get back to ya)

--a bag that I intend to felt. This pattern also comes from an Interweave Knits magazine.

This last item, the felted bag, brings me to the real reason for the lack of fiber blogs. You seen, while all this knitting is going on, so is general Maberga life with all its little dramas that are immensely more fun for me to write about. You know, wasn’t that fun when I wrote about the “black water tube” breaking? And that post about the switch? And the no water? Ok, I must say the truth… I have to have fun writing about them or else I might just go crazy trying to deal with them.

What does this have to do with the felted bag? Well, one of the afore-mentioned mini dramas hit my would-be felted bag project. I would have felted the bag but the washing machine broke. This was two days after I got the pellet stove fixed, which had not been functioning since about two days after we got the water heater fixed. Are you seeing the pattern here? Isn’t it funny?! I just have to laugh. Ha.

PS: I still haven’t resolved the computer problem completely. Earle-in-Denver, or any other technology inclined persons, please offer any techy advice that you have. We have tried several different anti-virus programs to no avail. Is it possible that we didn’t act quickly enough and our virus developed into the computer equivalent of terminal pneumonia?

Also, anyone who has insights or advice about what to look for in a new labtop, please comment.

This is all so funny, isn’t it?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Internet Deprivation

So, we don’t have a tv. People (regardless of nationality) are usually shocked by this and proceed with the question, “what do you DO if you don’t have a tv?” Our response…”well, we do a lot more than when we had a tv.”

I don’t mean to sound preachy about the tv thing. I actually love watching tv (especially big screen ones with the option of fast forwarding through commercials – amazing!). It was actually an accident of our last move that we ended up without one. David did all the moving of stuff from our last house into this house (thank you, honey!) because I was already in the US. When we came back to the house in the fall I said, “wow, I like how you’ve arranged everything. Where’s the tv?” David, in his wonderful David way, gave the question a thought and then said, “hmmm… yeah… I don’t know. I might have given it to someone.” We spent some time without one and then just kind of got used to not having one.

So, what DO we do without a tv? We read a lot. And have dinners that start before dark and finish well after dark. We play a lot of cards. I knit and David putters in the garden. AND, as I’ve realized in the past two days alone here at the house without the computer (and my husband), we do A LOT of internetting (can that be a verb?).

So, what did I do when I didn’t have a tv OR a computer?

--I read two whole books.

--I knit approximately 100 of the 181 squares I need for the knitted quilt. (Ok, ok, here’s the truth…I knit exactly 92 squares, 722 stitches per square, which means, ROUGHLY, I knit 66424 stitches… roughly.)

--I learned to make two new pasta dishes.

--I reorganized the armadio that houses all-things-paperwork-like. This job included filing things (bills, bank statements, residences forms …you know, all those little things in life) from the past 4 years (I don’t much like this part of running a household)

--I did copious amounts of laundry

--I washed the kitchen floor (which happens about as often as I file useless-to-me paperwork).

--I wrote (yes, HAND-wrote!) three letters.

In addition to these very concrete things I also did stuff like: enjoyed the view from my terrace through binoculars, took walks to collect wild flower bouquets, and I watched the cat and the dog trying to be friends.

If you are ever feeling restless, I highly recommend a couple days of tv and computer deprivation. Warning: at first you will feel even more restless…very shortly, however, well you will have 92 hand knit squares that are part of a quilt…or whatever the equivalent for you might be.

Totally unrelated to anything I’ve been talking about…

--Many many many congratulations to my cousin Denna and her new hubby on their wedding. I’m sad to have missed seeing you look so beautiful, Den!

--And, in response to readers’ comments: Katie, dear, glad you’re on the case! Hansi, I must say that I’ve tried both snitting and knitting and, well, they are different. Both enjoyable but different. If you’d like to learn to knit, instead of snit, I’m more than happy to help.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I'm going to have to blog quickly tonight. We are having MAJOR virus problems with the computer. If I don't post quickly I can't post at all. Photos aren't even a concideration any more (for now). I've never really been one to believe that people are evil, but who ever dreamed up the computer virus idea...well, might change my mind.

Anyway, I'm wasting prescious "connected" time on those evil, I mean, disturbed, sad and, unfortunately, smart people...

If I had time I would blog about the craziness of life (and my husband, in particular) that leads to situations involving David receiving magenta spandex as a gift. More to follow on that surely (as well as photos, I promise) when I get the computer back from the if-you-can-fix-this-you-are-a-god guy. If you don't hear from me for a few days, the fix-it guy may only be a profit.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Cherries and Cherry Pits

As I was stemming and pitting the freshly picked cherries given to us by neighbor Eugenio, I noticed my hands becoming “country girl hands” again after my two week stint in the US. “Country Girl Hands” is a term I use to describe the effect that living in the country, void of most modern conveniences (like hot running water) has on a woman’s hands. Living here my hands are very dry, frequently dirty or stained, my knuckles have expanded in such a way that wearing rings is difficult, and the nails on my right hand are really just stubs of their former selves. My hands have also become strong and tan. It’s a trade off.

So, as I was there at the sink trading off my finely manicured, French tipped finger nails (ok, not really soooo “fine”, I did them myself) for the prospect of smearing my own homemade sweet cherry jam on a hunk of crusty Italian bread in the morning for breakfast*, I got to reflecting a little about my trip to the States.

Really, I just had two thoughts:

1. I think my parents did a really good job parenting. My evidence here is not what perfect people my sister and I are but rather on how very differently we are living out our lives. I won’t even make a list here of the ways that Laur and I are different or how exactly our lives are different – I don’t have enough time. Let’s just say that the likelihood of finding Laurie in a kitchen in Italy pitting cherries so she could have fresh jam is about the same as me running for school board president in Elgin, IL and winning. For whatever mistakes my parents made (there were a few), I think it’s a real testament to whatever it was they did right that they ended up with two gals living insanely different and equally as beautiful lives. And we like each other! I’m not a parent myself, but if I were, that is what I would want for my children.

And my second deep refection this morning…

2. It’s funny to me that living so close to France as I do, I am unable to find many of the French things I always indulge in while in the US…French fries, French onion dip, French vanilla hand lotion, French bread, French salad dressing, French tips. Funny. Glad I brought that manicure kit back with me so I can redo my nails tomorrow morning after drinking coffee from my French press.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I’ve found that, since I’ve returned home, my attention span is really lacking. It might be that David is gone again so I’m alone and feeling a little restless. Or maybe I just need some time to readjust to the pace of life I have here. Or maybe I’m feeling the empty nest affect of having had a house full of visitors for the weekend (there were 6 of us in Casa Cornwell last weekend!). Or maybe I’m spending too much time with the dog.

In the States I bought a bunch of magazines and a new knitting book. There I didn’t have time to get much knitting done so I was psyched to have the time when I got home to start at least 10 new projects (luckily I put these in my carry on so they are not lost in Lufthansa hell). For the past couple of day, as I look at them all, I couldn’t even focus on one long enough to get the right needle size to start. Yes, I’m saying that I can’t even knit. Whoa.

I had to do something to remedy this immediately. Ya’ know how when you’re running and you get a cramp and they say the best thing to do is breathe deeply and run it out? Yeah, me neither – I hate running and will do anything to avoid sweating…but anyway, maybe you can imagine it with me. I applied this strategy to my knitting dilemma.

I took a deep breath and decided to knit it out. I found the perfect solution to help me with this. In one of my new magazines there was a pattern for a quilt. Yes, it seems contradictory to me, too. I mean, if I’m experiencing the attention span of a 5 year old Italian boy waiting for recess, why would I choose to knit a freakin’ quilt (which, by the way will be the largest object I will have ever knit – by far. Usually I’m partial to kids clothes, NOT because I’m partial to kids mind you but because they’re smaller than adult stuff. Hmmm…Perhaps I’ve had this attention span problem for awhile…anyway, I digress)? This is why the quilt is the perfect solution…

(Imagine here a photo of 18 - 4”x 4” knitted squares in bright colors arranged lovingly on a bed with a stone wall in the background. Sorry, I’m still experiencing technical difficulties in the photo department)

See that? I’m tricking my self. The quilt is comprised of 181 of those little squares. Those little squares are garter stitch (knit every row, no increases, no changes at all) and they are small. Every 15 minutes I get to “finish” something, pick a new yarn, and start a new one. Perfect. I can also read while I’m knitting them (just in case I get bored in that 15 minutes). Perfect.

Jumping to a new subject, as I’m apt to do in these days…

(ok, this part makes NO sense if you can’t see the photo. Maybe you’re feeling lucky and just want to make an uneducated guess. Sorry, I'll really try to do something about the photo problem...if I can concentrate long enough)

This is the pergola in May. Does anyone want to modify their guess about how covered it will be with grape vines this year? Remember, David says 100%, I say 70%.

Monday, May 15, 2006


I got home last Thursday. One of my bags still hasn’t arrived. It seems to be having a good time in Frankfurt and doesn’t want to come home.

The truth is, the airline doesn’t know where my bag is. They called on Saturday and asked me to describe it (again).

Lynn: Well, it’s a black, square wheelie thing. You know, like everyone else in the world’s luggage. It’s also really heavy… really heavy – I had to pay extra for that (and, apparently, for you to lose it, thank you).

Lost Luggage Lady: So, what do you have in it? Woman’s clothing?

Lynn: Umm, well, yeah. There’s some woman’s clothing in it.

Lost Luggage Lady: What else? Men’s clothing?

Lynn: ummm, no. There’s no men’s clothing in it.

Here we had arrived at a tough point in the conversation. Lost Luggage Lady was German. I was an American flying into Nice, France. I knew a cultural, language, priority disconnect was imminent. I had to explain that my “bag” (which is almost the size of a house of a family of four in most parts of the world) was filled with the following:

-- approximately 50 skeins of yarn (yeah, don’t you even think that I’m not a little stressed out by the prospect of this loss?!)

-- much, much Midwestern memorabilia (Gifts. I’m sure everyone reading this knows how proud we Midwesterners are of where we are from. Plus, it’s a gift you know the recipient won’t already own. How many Italians own beer glasses that say “Wisconsin”?)

-- a metal bucket that says coca-cola. (don’t ask. It seemed like a good idea at the time)

-- lots and lots of condiments - soy sauce, hot wing sauce, teriyaki marinade, Mexican hot sauces

-- smoked almonds ala Sam’s Club (for those of you not familiar with Sam’s little Club…that’s a lot of almonds)

-- a basket filled with embroidery equipment

-- a bag of black beans.

Lost Luggage Lady: Hmmm. Do you have any shoes in there?

Lynn: Yes. One pair of white tennis shoes and one pair of black loafers.

Lost Luggage Lady: Ok. I’m sure we’ll find it.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


So I just returned from a trip to the US. I had a wonderful time with my family and friends. It was great…too short but wonderful. And now I’m exhausted. Even before I left, my last day there in the States, I was knackered. I couldn’t figure out why…I mean except for the obvious - that I usually spend all day every day alone on the side of a mountain knitting and I had just spent 10 days seeing and doing and talking and eating and taking advantage of being with people and in places that I see only once a year. Anyway, I was taking a shower at my sister’s house…my last shower when it hit. It hit me why I was so exhausted…it hit me on my head and on my back and on my butt.

You see, my sister and her husband just built a new house…a really big, beautiful, modern house with all those technological things that now stymie me…like central heating, on demand hot water, an inside electric clothes dryer. Beyond these things there were also a bunch of things that I didn’t even understand like really large flat screen tvs with “tvo” (in addition to 1,000,000 channels), and light switches that look like remote controls inserted into the walls where a normal switch would be (I won’t even ask Jeeves how those things work!). They also have a shower in their house that, besides being as big as my whole bathroom, has so many dials and knobs and things that spray that, well, I got confused. This is when I realized why I was so exhausted.

Laurie: “That knob there controls the temperature. That one turns on the top showerhead. This one, the hand held nozzle, and that last knob controls the back and butt spray. You can do any or all of them at once. You decide.”

You decide - here in lies the problem.

I’m a terribly indecisive woman. It’s terrible. I once went to buy a wedding card for a friend of mine with my mom and she almost wet her pants because it took me so long to pick a card. There were just too many choices.

My entire trip in the US was just one choice after another. Restaurants involve menus that can be 4 or 5 pages long. Cafes have 769 ways to make a coffee. Grocery stores have entire aisles devoted only to beverages…and they don’t even sell alcohol. At Walgreens, Walmart and Sam’s Club - well, forget about it!

I had some really nice photos to support this post but there were so many choices on the digital camera that my mom gave me, well, I made a bad choice and ended up deleting them all.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Blog interrupted...

For anyone who has been worried about Lynn...don't be. She has temporarily been kidnapped and taken to the land of more-than-plenty. When we have had enough of her, we will bring her back.