Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A birthday...

I know I promised more photos from the Maberga celebration but you will just have to wait. Something more important has come up - today is my sister's birthday (that and I'm having technical difficutlties trying to get so many photos in one post).

I'd like you all to know that my smart, funny, generous, beautiful sister turned 40-something today. (I DO know that she turned 42 today but I'm not sure she wants all of you to know that). Anyway, she's a really great mom/wife/daughter/sister, a bad-ass school board president, not such a great cook (but she orders really well at the restaurant) and an all around swell gal.

Happy birthday, Laur. I'm really glad that mom and dad adopted you.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Let us pray....and eat.

So, as I said, Sunday we had a little celebration at the church in Maberga soprana.

I got there early to help set up. You'd be surprised how many people it takes to get ready for a mass. The preparing was as beautiful as the service and the lunch. We were like a group of neighborhood kids getting ready for a party in our tree house. When we needed something someone would take their clippers and head out into the gardens or the woods and come back with something beautiful or useful.

While we were getting the church ready, some ladies were preparing the food.

By the time the frate arrived, we were ready.

Then at 11.00 sharp someone rang the church bell and we all assembled (perhaps the first event I've attended in Italy that started on time).

We prayed, and sang, and said mia colpa. It was really beautiful. (am I overusing that word?)

Then we ate.

And drank.

And chatted.

And hung out.

Then we went inside and ate some more.

Then I went home and took a big ol' nap.

Here ends this post. Amen and buon appetito.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

just a preview...

Today was the annual mass and post mass party at the church in Maberga(well, it was only the second time, and they weren't consecutive years...but the INTENSION is to make it annual) . Once I've weeded through the pictures (and recovered from the headache caused by homemade white wine), I will post more. Here's a taste of what's to come...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Short post tonight as I'm really tired and just want to go to bed.

Why am I so tired, you might ask?
Well, I'm tired from learning so many new Italian vocabulary words. Words like "clutch cable" and "snapped" and "pissed off"...ok, I already new that last one. I also learned a bunch of new car vocab that I don't even know in english.

So, this really wears a girl out. That and having to walk into town to fetch the car from the mechanic.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Ear Weeds, I-cords, and David

Ear weeds, I-cords and David

You maybe wondering how I’m going to tie those three seemingly unrelated topics together. Well, I’m not going to. I’m just going to include them all in this post.

So, I’ve been reflecting some on my little trips to the vet yesterday. How did that weed-thing get into Ruffino’s ear? Did it blow in? That seems unlikely given that Ruff is a Golden retriever with nice floppy ears. Was it on the ground and he laid on it just perfectly with a naked ear at just the right angle that it popped in? Did the cat put it in there while he was sleeping just to get back at him for being around? Did a neighbor do it after Ruffino chased their car down the road one too many times? Did he put it in there himself so he could have a field trip away from Maberga?

It’s a mystery.

I do know that I didn’t put it there and I’m wondering if he’ll get another one stuck in there.

Let’s have a look around the house to see if there are more…

Oh, there are some outside the bedroom door….

Ah oh, and there across the street is a little patch….

Oh dear, look at that patch by the car….

Let’s look where Ruffino likes to lay in the grass….

I don’t know, what do you think? Will I be heading back to the vet soon?

As promised yesterday, here is the newest bag, still missing the i-cord drawstring…ever knit an i-cord? It’s a lot of freakin’ knitting to end up with a piece of string.

David is in Denmark again. Was anyone wondering how he gets there? Here’s a picture:

On that note, I'm off.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Like I've said, Italians don't usually ask "So, what do you do?" But if they did my response would be this, "I fix things. Things in my house break and I try to get them fixed. It's a full time job, thanks. In my spare time I knit and teach a little english."

Today in my day-timer appeared: 1. dog's ear. 2. computer.

Yesterday Ruffino got one of these stuck in his ear:

Ok, I know...it's a crappy picture but trust me, it's menacing. Mind you it didn't get stuck in the outer ear. It went all the way into the canal. After a quick panic call to Chiara and Luigi (who told me to put olive oil in his ear - none of us were exactly sure why I would do this but we all agreed it would be good), I calmed down and added Ruffino to the fix-it list for Monday morning.

It took two trips to the vet to get the bugger out. Ruffino is not the best patient in the world...a bit too sensitive perhaps. Drugs were required - for him, not me, in case that wasn't clear.

Luckily for me the computer fix-it store is right next to the vet. Yes, I had to take the NEW f-in' computer in. Don't ask.

Luckily for La Signora, the yarn shop is near the computer shop and the vet. I picked up this:

On the way to the car after a full day of work, toting the clean-eared and slightly droggy dog, a functioning computer, and some new yarn, I ran into neighbor Antonio. We had a little chat about Mabergese things. He gave me an update on his efforts to fix the Maberga water problem by getting us hooked up to the aqueduct (hmmmm...what a good idea! No more hanging water tubes in the trees and, of course, no more of those pesky droughts when there is no rain).

"We were so close but now everything is on hold, you know, since the mayor who approved the money for the project is, um, 'on vacation'."

Yeah, it's a drag the mayor is in jail. I really wish he hadn't accepted that bribe money. The aqueduct connection would have greatly cut down on the possibility of water-related breakdowns being added to my inbox in the future.

After work today I almost finished another bag. Photo tomorrow, now I'm off to bed.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Maberga, Maberga? Or Maberga?

There was the promise of rain this morning. Thunder and everything. Those huge drops started falling and I got excited because we really need the rain. Ruffino got excited too...who the hell knows why. Well, actually, I know exactly why.

We teachers of elementary school aged children learned to loath rainy days early in our careers. You get the double whammy of kids getting hyper because of the change in the weather and the inability to go outside to use all this added energy. "I HATE inside days" was always mumbled over and over in the teachers lounge and around the photocopier first sign of clouds. I hear it's different in the Pacific NW of the US where the stock is stronger and the little lads go outside even if it's raining, but not anywhere I've ever taught. In Denver we couldn't go out because the rain was tough on afros but that's ok, it never rains there anyway. And in Italy - forget it. There ain't no way of getting a little Italian kid out in the rain at all, and if you did you'd be hearing about it from their mama for the rest of the year because you surely caused pnuemonia. Well, I found myself repeating that stale teacher phrase this morning ... Ruffino was already nuts and we couldn't go outside.

Then I thought about those colleagues from rainy climates - screw it, we're going out in the rain. Who cares about the lighting. It's not like we are on the top of a mountain...oh wait.

Anyway, Ruffino and I set off on a walk to Maberga. I know I talk about being from Maberga all the time but, truth be told, David and I actually live in the suburbs of Maberga. This might be hard for some of you to believe but not only do David and I live in the suburbs, it's also a gated-community. Here's the gate:

Yep, we need a key to get onto our "private road". Gotta keep the riff-raff out, ya know. Never mind the fact that everyone who has a key has given a copy to their brother, cousin, and mother-in-law, so pretty much the entire valley has access to the road...but I digress.

This is actually Maberga.

No one lives there any more. There was a fire some time in the 50's (I think) and everyone's places were distroyed. There was no road going up here at the time (the resistents came and went on foot) so rebuilding everything would have been a major endeavor. So now, this beautiful little village (I think there were about 11 families here when it was at full capacity) is literally crumbling away.

Except for this place

See, there's actually a roof and windows. No one lives there but Colombo and Nucia use the place for, well, I don't know exactly for what.

Nucia was born here. She lived here until she married Colombo.

When Ruff and I got to Maberga Nucia and Colombo were their cleaning and preparing for the big festa in Maberga next Sunday. A few years ago Colombo with friend Agusto, rebuilt the village church. Now, once a year they hold a mass there and then everyone eats together.

After sharing a shot of amaretto, Nucia and Colombo posed for me by the church.

You might wonder why (800 years ago?) the very first inhabitants of Maberga (a group of monks) decided to climb all the way up here to build a monestary where there was nothing. Here's the reason I came up with:

Not a bad view, huh? Easy to know there is a God from here. That photo is taken from one of the abandoned houses' balcony.

Last but not least I will show you a picture of my mom and dad on Main Street, Maberga in honor of Father's Day (and Mother's day because I don't think I posted a picture of my beautiful mom last month) taken when they were visiting last autumn.

And, I'd like to report that the sun is now shining and the dog is sleeping so I can get back to knitting more little bags.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Holy little purses!

Here are the little bags as of today (in various states of completedness).

Just for a change of scene, I have them sitting on the top of the shrine across the street from our house.

I'm running late for a pizza engagement or else I would have made a little yellow arrow pointing at the cross, in case you don't notice it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Just call me John Madden

So, I learned a new trick on the computer. Let's see if you can figure out what it is, shall we?

Olive News...
Do you all know what an olive blossom looks like? I didn't until I moved to Italy. Here's one:

The trees are covered with them now, promising loads of "liquid gold" in the autumn. Right now they are producing loads of powdered gold pollen all over everything.

Knitting News...
I was invited to participate in another artisan market in July. Of course I said yes, given that the Easter market was such a money maker. So now, as is my way, I am frantically trying to make enough stuff to fill my little table. I've decided "little purses" is the way to go. Here's one:

I've made two more since that one but I will save those for tomorrow when I'm sure I will have nothing to talk about.

I've also started this fine project with the Lamb's Pride wool I bought in Wisconsin:

I love this yarn. That is the back of the sweater with all those checks and the two color ribbed cuff. I was thinking of striped sleeves but knitting friend Mette cautioned me against it. I heard her warning - "people might vomit from dizziness when looking at you in the sweater with all that going on" but I'm still considering it anyway.

Random News...
Having been to a "proper" italian bbq on Saturday night (ie: it was hosted by Italians) we learned just exactly how over the top one is supposed to go when purchasing the meat for such an occasion. Anxious to use our new knowledge, we had a little bbq of our own on Sunday in celebration of Luigi's birthday. Here we are:

Here's the meat we had:

In other randomness...

Many thanks for all the congratulations on the pergola coverage but it was actually a trick of photography. Here it is from another angle:

The circle shows the not-covered part. That arrow is pointing to our view of the sea - that has nothing really to do with the pergola but I thought I'd point it out just because I can.

So, can you guess what I've learned to do on my computer?

By the way, this post was originally called "Just call me Steve Madden" until David pointed out to me that I probably mean JOHN Madden the sports guy who likes to draw all over the screen while he is announcing football games and not Steve Madden, my favorite shoe designer.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Time to catch up on some missing photos from past blogs...don't cha think?

Remember when I tried to squeeze my car between that cliff and the APE? Here is that most famous and functional of Italian forms of transport (it's not the exact APE that scratched me, it's just an example) . Looks harmless doesn't it?

And maybe some of you were wondering how the pergola grape vines are doing. This is them in the evening. Nice, no?

And remember that checkerboard that almost institutionalized me (again)? Here it is:

I know you've all been enjoying the other picture of my new green sweater. Here is a close up on the buttons I made:

And now I'm going for broke...I'm going to try to post a photo that I haven't been able to shrink down yet (I can't figure out how to do it on this new computer...there are many things about this new one I can't figure out but I'll save that for another blog - or maybe for Earle-in-Denver when he is Earle-in-Maberga in September). I'm happy to introduce La Signora (I don't know her name):

Yes, that would be my new favorite person, the owner of the yarn store (to get perspective on the shop - and so you know I wasn't lying about it's size - I'm standing in the doorway making the photo)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


just checking....

It's there!!!! I'm going to have some dinner and then try to post all the pictures you've been waiting to see!!!!

Monday, June 05, 2006

I need to do something clean. Something that doesn’t involve animals’ bodily fluids. The computer is clean. I will just sit here and type a little. No fluids involved, except for the glass of wine I just poured.

You see, I was feeling guilty because I hadn’t done anything yet with all the wool that Giuseppe gave me. Giuseppe drives by 4 times a day and I’m sure he’s checking to see if the wool is still in the carpark where he left it a week ago.

I actually knew this would happen…my not doing anything with the dirty wool for, well, a long time, and then the guilty feelings whenever I see Giuseppe. In order to by-pass the latter of these two inevitables, the first day he dropped it off I tried to move the bag – you know, hide it somewhere so I could just lie when he asked me if I’d cleaned it yet (please don’t question my moral compass in that it points to guilty for inaction but doesn’t for lying). Note the operative word in that sentence is “tried”. Yes, that means I wasn’t able to. The bag is as big as I am and frankly just as weak. As soon as I tried to lift it, my hand broke right through and I got to experience a brand new sensation - shit-caked-wool-on-flesh. Ruffino found the sensation of shit-caked-wool-in-mouth to be most pleasurable and proceeded to shred a good portion of the bag all over the road and land until I was able to tape the bag shut.

So there it sat until this afternoon when I decide, “I ain’t got nothin’ else to do, might as well get rid of the Giuseppe Guilts.” I proceeded to bring approximately half the bag down to the tub (to get some perspective, half the bag FILLED the tub) and then started the water.

You might ask, “Lynn, if you don’t know what you are doing why wouldn’t you just start with a small amount of the wool so you can figure it out?” Yes, that would be a really good idea. In fact, the first day I got the wool I made a little try with the Ruffino scattered wool. And ya know what? It didn’t work. The wool got a little cleaner but it is far from clean.

And still…? yes, I tried a tub-full.

The water became so brown and thick so quickly that I thought I needed to drain it and start a second rinse. This, of course, almost immediately started to clog the drain and I got scared. Forget Giuseppe! – I don’t want to have to call a plumber because I’m so stupid as to stop up the drain with wool. I had images of the whole tub needing to be removed so we could get to the wool-plugged pipes. I decided to just get the stuff out of the tub and outside. I’d deal with it later.

While I was preoccupied with this, Ruffino was exploring the bathroom shelves only to discover a pair of scissors, the plastic handles of which, he decided were better than a chew bone.

It took me four grocery bags to carry out the very heavy, dripping wool (I didn’t want to risk waiting while it drained of all water out, I just wanted it out of my tub!). I then set to cleaning the bathroom. I had to reach my fingers down the drain to get as much wool as possible out of it. Have you ever inserted your fingers in a stopped up drain? You know, when you can’t see what you will find in there? Well, I did that and then washed the entire bathroom with cleanser followed by a bleach wipe down. It now smells like a pool in there…but that’s a hell of a lot better than it smelled before.

As I was cleaning, Ruffino disappeared. I figured he just got bored. No, that wasn’t the case, as I discovered when I went into the kitchen. In an effort to cough up the pieces of plastic scissors handles he had ingested, he barfed all over the floor. Lovely. Now the kitchen smells like a pool, too. I love bleach.

I’m going to go surf the net now…for as long as my computer lets me, that is.

Please don’t anyone point out that there are no pictures of my finished sweater on this post. I KNOW! And I won’t explain to you why this is because I’m beginning to bore even myself with complaints of tech problems – the biggest being my own ignorance.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Dry walling....

So, this green sweater that I’ve been telling you about for weeks (or has it only been one week?) is finished. But before I get to the glory of how beautiful I think it is (ok, it’s not really beautiful, it’s more “cute” but we can debate that at a later date – like tomorrow because I can’t show you a picture at this time…I’m hoping tomorrow to go to an internet point) I have to tell you about my day today.

I recognize that there are many OliveKnitting readers who are not actually knitters. That’s cool…too bad for you because you are missing one hell of a time with yarn and needles, but I’m glad you tune in all the same. So for you, non knitters I will try to explain my day today in terms you might understand.

Today I had to sew together all the pieces of my sweater and weave in all the yarn ends. For you non knitters let me paint a picture. Ever do any work on your house? Add on a den or convert the basement or the attic into another room? Ya know that euphoria when the whole thing is framed in and the dry wall goes up? Isn’t that great? You’re thinking, “yeah, we got us a den!” Or “Cool, my in-laws can come and stay in the new guest room in the attic!”

Yeah, well, then you have to tape and mud.

Sewing a sweater together and weaving in the ends is the mudding and taping of knitting. And, yes, it sucks just the same.

Just like with the dry wall, you are deceived into thinking that you are done. I have been knitting for 8 years now and I still foolishly think a sweater is done when I have cast off the last stitch. WRONG-OOOOOOOOOO. All the hard work is just starting…and the boring, and detailed work too.

Just like with mudding and taping, you can do the sewing together in a hap-hazard way but you see it. Yeah, ok, so you have a sweater in the end but every time you put it on you see all those f$&^#ed up seam stitched you made and you can’t even wear it. It’s the same as not being able to enter that den because you can’t see the new big screen tv you bought in celebration of the room…all you see are the terrible ugly seams in the walls where you put too much mud on and didn’t take the time to sand properly. Which brings me to weaving in the ends.

This job of weaving in ends is absolutely the sanding of mudded and taped walls. At this point you now have a framed room AND it is also somewhat sealed. Sanding?! You gotta be kidding. I feel the same about weaving in the ends. BUT....Did you ever walk into a room that was mudded and taped but not sanded? Did you ever put on a sweater with 7 inch strings hanging from every intersection (if you don’t understand how many “intersections” there are in a sweater, go get one and look at where the sides meet each other, where the sleeves meet the body, where the collar meets itself and where it meets the body, where the cuffs meet each other…did I miss any? That’s a lot of dangling strings) Yeah, you gotta do it.

So, that’s what I did today. But, I gotta tell ya, just like a new den with well mudded, taped, and sanded walls is worthy of a great new paint job (or a new big screen), my new sweater was worthy of home-made buttons, which I gave it .

Hope to talk to you tomorrow with a photo

Friday, June 02, 2006

Some perspective, an observation, and a query

My dose of perspective comes by way of Cat Stevens' Moonshadow (I added the last lines)…

"And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plough, lose my land,
Oh if I ever lose my hands, I won't have to work no more.
And if I ever lose my eyes, if my colours all run dry,
Yes if I ever lose my eyes, I won't have to cry no more.
And if I ever lose my legs, I won't moan, and I won't beg,
Yes if I ever lose my legs, I won't have to walk no more.
And if I ever lose my mouth, all my teeth, north and south,
Yes if I ever lose my mouth, I won't have to talk..."

And if I ever break my machine, if my washer will not clean,
Yes, if I ever break my machine, I won’t have to do laundry no more.

The observation comes, well, it just came…

You know you are starting to settle in a community when you are having a little walk around with your dog in the next town over and a passing car shouts out a greeting to the dog, “Ciao, Rufinoooooo!”


Does anyone know how to clean wool just sheared from a sheep (actually, LOTS of sheep – I got lots of wool)? Neighbor Giuseppe gave me an enormous bag (like 5’ tall) of dirty wool. “All you have to do is clean it!” Perfect. “How do I do that, Giuseppe?” “In the bathtub with soap – soap for wool.” Well, this sounded a little too simple to me so I tried a small sample in the sink. It didn’t really work - in fact it didn't work at all. I mean lots of shit came out (I’m not being crude there with my language…that’s really what was coming out of the wool) but it is far far from clean. Any suggestions ?

An observation inside a query – Dirty wool really smells bad.

A query inside a query following an observation – anybody know what I can do with this wool when I’ve cleaned it? Is it spinnable?