Friday, October 27, 2006

Really, I promise, I will not start veering my posts in the direction of politics. I promise. Frankly, I find politics a little boring to discuss not to mention there are many more, better informed people than me to carry the discussions. BUT, just this once I have to say something…

The new “fence” embarrasses me. I’m not pissed or outraged or shocked, I’m embarrassed. I won’t go into my personal opinion here about the topic of immigration or immigrants, documented or not because, as I said there are better informed people than I to discuss this. Of course, I HAVE an opinion which is based on my own experiences, but, again, I won’t go into that here.

What I would like to say is that I find “the fence” really really childlike…and I don’t mean in the let’s wear stripes and plaids and pokadots together and go play in the sandbox. That kind of childlike is lovely and something, I personally believe adults are missing too much of, but I digress. “The fence” is childlike in the not-fully-developed-cognitively way. I know (I’ve been reminded a lot here in Italy) that I come from a young country but I was not aware that we are still in the concrete interpretation phase of our development (based on this I would put us somewhere between 2 and 11 years old).

When I first heard the BBC blurb (my only news outlet is the BBC on shortwave radio since we have no tv, I read no newspaper, and I hate surfing the net...'specially for shit about politics) about approval for "the fence" a vivid memory came to mind - The annual spring break vacation to Alabama that involved an 18 hour car ride from Wisconsin.

Sister Laurie and I in the backseat annoying each other – mostly me annoying her. Approximately 20 minutes into the drive Laurie declares that the seam down the middle of the seat is NOT, for any reason what so ever to be crossed by me. Yeah, right! Now I had a new game of slyly and not so slyly sliding my pinkie across the seam. And then, more annoyed, Laurie built “the fence”, with that big bag that carried car ride's entertainment and snacks. It was a physical barrier that she thought would deter me from getting what I wanted. I will repeat… yeah, right! Not able to slyly slide a pinkie over the seam any more I was forced to access what was available to me. Yep, my pinkie went immediately into her ear, my big toe between her toes, a twisting index finger in her hair.

As I said, I don't like to talk about politics. You can form your own opinions and arguements about my mental connections between Wisconsin, Alabama, Laurie, Lynn, USA, Mexico, treat bags and fences.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Maberga open next spring

So, it’s been raining some here. Well, it’s been raining a lot. We’re happy for the water but I’m ready for sun so I can clean and dry out the house. You couldn’t imagine how a stone house with walls two feet thick collects and retains moisture. MOLD! Bleach is my new favorite pal.

Anyway, during a crack in the clouds, Ruffino and I went up to get him a lemon from one of our lemon trees, only to discover (to my joy and amazement!) our vasca filling with water!

My stepson, Graham, came to visit a year and a half ago and one of the projects he and his dad worked on was cleaning out our “pool”. It’s actually, our vasca – built and maintained for the purpose of collecting spring water to give to all the vegetation we (should) have growing on our terraces. But the vasca looked to us, during a time of great water wealth, to be an excellent swimming hole during hot weather. So David and Graham drained the thing and cleaned all the weeds and algae out of it. This was the beginning of …well…a long story.

The drought really started then. And we share that “pool” with some neighbors, who, as it was empty, found it an opportune time to cut into it and add larger pipes going to their land.

It’s never been the same since.

The neighbors did something wrong in the sealing of the new pipes coming from the bottom, so, even when there was water (ie: rain) to fill it, it leaked and never filled. The whole mountainside was experiencing a water shortage and our source (there has always been a small small small spring that feeds into this vasca) was hemorrhaging and WASTING WATER.

The neighbors, who made the mistake, fixed it by adding some temporary containers to collect the spring water that arrives. This trickle of water has kept David and I, our clothes and our dishes clean for over a year (you would be surprised what a collection of water you will have from a 24 hour drip – really, it’s incredible. It’s enough, well to keep two people, their clothes and their dishes clean!). We had such a collection that a neighbor, who has no rights what so ever to this water decided to put his own container below ours and rig it with a pump so he can have some water up at his place (this is a touchy subject, best not explored here!).

But today, Ruffino and I found the pool FILLING! It’s filling even beyond the leaking point (which happens to be at the BOTTOM!), I don’t know how or why – no one has been to fix it. It’s just filling, by itself.
Let's have a look again at that first picture...I'm sure you will now see it with new eyes.

I can’t wait for summer. I might have to knit myself a new bikini for sitting out by the Maberga community pool.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Sweater Weather

I ran into the boss of a friend of mine the other day. He likes to speak in English with me.

Dino: Ciao, Cara Leeeeen! How are you?

Lynn: I’m fine, how are you, Dino?

Dino: Yes, Yes, I am well.

Long pause in the conversation…

Lynn: Nice sweater, Dino. (it wasn’t handmade but still – a nice color combo, plaid, zip up)

An even longer pause, accompanied by that smile people give when they are treading in incomprehension…

Dino: Yes, yes, but I think it changes in a couple days.

Long pause of confusion on my part…

Dino: Yesterday I went in Piedmont and already is cold there.

Just as Dino predicted the weather (sweater, whatever) has changed and in celebration (or preparation) I have made David and I some of these…are you ready…

From the studio of Olive Knitting I am pleased to introduce

50% sock, 50% slipper, 100% warm winter feet on cold brick floors

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pigs and Freezers

So, we were up at Franco’s place the other day. He had a truckload of hay delivered and David went up to help unload it. I joined later for the obligatory glass of wine. While there we wandered around with Franco so he could do his chores. He’s got lots of animals to clean and feed and a number of gardens to tend to.

Franco, as you may recall from last winter, raises pigs for slaughter. This year he has three. He and his wife usually keep the meat of one and sell the rest. David got inspired.

He said to me, “Should we buy half a pig this year?”

Lynn: “Yeah, great idea.” Given that, even after decapitation, the pigs are larger than our entire fridge and that the freezer section of this can hold about two ice cube trays and a tub of gelato, I don’t think it’s realistic to think we’d get a half of one of Franco’s pigs in there. “Where do you suppose we’d put this meat?”

David: “Hmmm. What if we buy a freezer?”

Lynn: “Yeah, great idea. Where do you suppose we’d put that?”

Here comes the best part of the conversation…

David: “In the bedroom?”

He was serious.

Now, I must say here that my intellectually above-average husband is really a great problem solver. As anyone who knows him knows he doesn’t seem to see the world in quite the same way as a goodly number of the rest of us folks. And it’s this characteristic that allows him to find solutions where others can not. For example: need a freezer = buy a freezer, need space for the freezer = put it in the bedroom.

Now, having said all of THAT, let me list the top 5 reasons that this is the most ridiculous idea the guy has ever had:

5) “Honey, can you run up to the bedroom to fetch me some bacon? It’s right underneath your pile of dirty laundry.”

4) Freezers are really heavy and we have this small issue in our bedroom of an imminently collapsing floor.

3) I think it would be really hard to find the right color freezer to match the Turkish rug hanging on the wall.

2) Living in the country in this simple and primitive way we do, we walk a fine line between “rusticity” and “squalor” . A freezer in the bedroom, in my opinion, would propel us with jet- rocket-like speed into Whitetrashville.

1)Ummm, well, IT’S OUR BEDROOM!!!!

I must admit that I originally wanted to make a top 10 list but could only come up with 5. Maybe the guy’s on to something…no. He’s not.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Some Saturday morning randomness...

David comes home today so I thought I’d better get in another post.

Maberga random…

The olives are starting to turn color. The harvest won’t happen for another month and a half or two months. Perhaps you are wondering how one knows when the olives are ready to be picked. It’s very very scientific. David and I look at the olives, we study their color, we follow weather patterns and the phases of the moon and then, when we see all our neighbors picking their olives, we decide it’s time to pick ours.

People often ask the difference between black and green olives….a black olive is a ripe green olive. When black, they have the oil. (that last part, about the oil, I learned from Jeeves. A great olive website can be found at Another little olive fact…you can not eat olives right off the tree. Well, you CAN but you will end up spitting it out immediately(that I learned by experience). They are very bitter and need to be cured. I think I might try curing some this year.

Anyway, more olive info as the time draws nearer.

Knitting random…

Friends Mary and Earle were kind enough to pack and carry over an entire suitcase of yarn for me. I ordered a bunch of summer sale stuff from Knit Picks. Check it out…

If any of you knitting readers (I think there might be like 2 of you) haven’t tried KnitPicks yet, you should. I have gotten stuff from them several times and have been extremely happy with the whole buying experience – their service is excellent (prompt and friendly), the yarn is great and the prices are AWESOME. I’ve even received a pattern design rejection from them that was so personal and friendly it didn’t even make me feel bad! I know that buying online can’t replace the joy and elation of an outing to your local yarn store but the Knit Picks’ bang for the buck is definitely worth it.

I’ve started several projects with this yarn already…I will post final product pictures when, well, I have final products.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Not quite there yet

So, I was all set to write to you about how I was assimilating into Italian culture. I was going to tell you that I’m becoming like Sigourney Weaver in Gorillas in the Mist. You know the movie, when, slowly slowly throughout the movie she takes on more and more of the characteristics of the gorillas with whom she is living. Please don’t misunderstand my allusion, I am NOT equating Italians to gorillas!. But rather I was going to point out this slow process of understanding and assimilation into a new culture, where behaviors and speech of those around you become your own…like when Sigourney Weaver’s lower jaw started jetting outward by the end of the movie.

I was going to tell you about my trip the other day to the phone store where I have to go to recharge the internet every month. I was going to tell you that when I was driving home I had a sensation of being so very Italian. I was going to tell you that when I was in the phone store, I didn’t just go in, ask for the recharge, pay and leave – which was the purpose. While there, I recharged the internet and also started chatting with the woman behind the counter. I asked her about other phone packages…not for the internet, which was my task there…I started asking her questions about my phone, my husband’s phone, our combined package. God, I felt so Italian. I had no intension of buying anything or changing our packages or anything, I was just interacting, getting information, passing some time.

I was going to write to you about all that until I spent the other day in my friend’s shop. I’m not assimilated at all, not even in the least.

My friend owns a “casalinga” shop. This in and of itself is confusing to one not from this culture. The casalinga shop sells things for the housewife. Her particular shop has all the stuff you need to sew (except the actual fabric), tons of buttons, some costume jewelry, and loads and loads of socks and nylons.

While I was there, every person (all women and one man) who came in didn’t just look around, get what they needed, pay and leave. They ALL went straight for my friend. They then proceeded to tell her what they needed, what they were doing, they debated the merits of this one or that one, asked her questions about other stuff in stock – we’re talking about pairs of nylons and bits of elastic here, people! Each sale took, on average, about 10 minutes.

I guess I have a ways to go yet.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Monday, October 09, 2006

Remember how excited I was about finishing the bedroom so I wouldn't have all those creepy crawlies creeping and crawling all over the place? Remember that?

Yah, well, I came up to bed tonight and found this fella

hanging out behind the radio. Yeah, he disappeared when he saw the flash...that's comforting. Where the hell did he go, there are no more holes in the walls?

Obviously there's at least one...he got in, didn't he?

Then I sat down and randomly gandered up at our big beautiful window

Terrific. Right over the bed. Better sleep with my mouth closed tonight. 'Course, that guy's so big he wouldn't even fit in my mouth if he fell. He'd just cover my face and probably suffocate me to death. (Please no comments from family members about the size of my mouth. Just because I talk a lot doesn't mean that it is physically BIG, big enough for a huge gecko).

Well, that's about all I have to say for tonight. Yes, as you may have guessed, David is out of town again. So you can expect more posts. With the additional time left by his absense, I have also started clearing our land of a year's worth of weeds and growth ... using a pair of scissors.

Damn, I almost forgot... This is a knitting blog...

Here's a photo of those wrist warmers.

They aren't really warming anyone's wrists here but it's a cool photo, no?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Happy Birthday...

So, it’s my dad’s birthday. Actually his birthday is tomorrow but our internet expires at midnight tonight and tomorrow is Sunday so we can't renew until Monday and, of course we can't renew before hand because, well, it's just one of those weird Italian quirks. Anyway...

Happy Birthday, Dad. I really wanted to do something special and unique for you for your birthday so I wrote you a haiku. Ready?

Tony, a grand Dad.

Autumn adds another year.

He worries a lot.

On reflection of my first haiku…that really doesn’t say much of anything about my dear dad. Jeeves told me that I need to do the 5-7-5 syllable thing and also include the season (he also said WAY more than I really wanted to know about writing a haiku).

I guess this means that Dad (and you lucky readers) get a new haiku every year…each year revealing a little more about my generous, loving and concerned father for many many years to come.

Happy Birthday. One year wiser, not older, well, also older.

PS. Mom, I bet you can’t wait for December and your haiku!

Monday, October 02, 2006


It’s EarleinDenver, in Maberga!

Along with EarleinDenver came his lovely bride, Mary (also from Denver) and their fun friends Nedra and Keith (also from Denver). We had a great weekend including a market, a sanctuary, a porcini festival, 5 hilltop towns, 1,000,000 lbs of food, 45 coffees (a piece), a couple bottles of wine, two and a half colds, and one ambulance with accompanying trip to the emergency room (everyone is now fine, thanks for asking, well, except David whose cold has him feeling like his head is stuffed with toilet paper). An enjoyable time was had by all.