Friday, January 26, 2007

Se Fossi Rica...

Sometimes I like to play a little mental game called, “what would I do if I were rich?”* Of course, I’m speaking financially rich here because in most every other way (spiritual, emotional, family, friends, etc) I feel quite well off…but I digress.

Yes, it’s as you would expect…I play this game when I’m doing something that I really don’t enjoy doing and want desperately to pay someone else to do.

Here’s a little sample of how I come out on things:

Cooking? No, I’d still do that myself. If I let go of this task I might not ever get to eat frozen hamburgers.

Cutting my hair? No. I’d still do this myself, too. I like the random wonky styles that come only from the cutter not having any clue what she is doing and not being able to see the whole head. This leaves me cutting my own hair.

My nails? You betcha! I’d pay someone else. I would have a standing weekly appointment with Madge.

Laundry? No. I wouldn’t need to pay someone else to do that because David does it. If he wants to give up that job, that’s up to him. Ironing is a non-issue since both David and I appreciate the wrinkled look, or maybe better said is that we don’t care if others appreciate it or not.

Cleaning the house? Well, now, that’s a big one. I would still clean my own bathroom, that’s no biggie. But I would gladly pay someone else to wash the floors (‘specially when we have puppies around) – I hate doing that. And dusting, well, no one does that now so I could go either way on it.

Cleaning the car? Yes. I would definitely pay someone else. That is a job that, similar to dusting doesn’t get done by anyone currently. However, unlike dusting, the dirty car drives me nuts…so to speak.

Painting the house? Yes. There was a time when I really enjoyed this…but that time has passed as I discovered on this last round with the stairwell.

Taxes? Yes. I already pay someone else to do this. Taxes are awful.

I played the game today because of this task –

Typing knitting patterns? YESSSSS. I might even start paying someone else to do this even though I’m not rich (financially speaking). I have to say that I’m not a very bad typist BUT typing a knitting pattern sucks. If you’ve never tried it, imagine typing in Arabic with a lot more punctuation and headers. And proof reading it is akin to that of a computer program.

I’m off to proof read now.

Proof reading knitting patterns? Yes.

*Sometimes for added fun I try to play the game only in Italian. This is because “se fossi rica…” is one of the only subjunctive phrases I know.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


So now I am a knitter on a deadline. I've done a lot of things in my life on deadlines...I'm quite good at deadlines (some might say they even bring me to task) but I can't say that I've ever really been happy about the deadlines.

Let’s think for a minute of papers, exams and thesis deadlines from school. Those suck. I always made them, but they did not make me happy.

How ‘bout work project deadlines, uhg. Those suck too.

Or maybe Christmas gift buying deadlines…those really suck. They suck enough to make gift giving not fun.

Or the ultimate…the 9:00 am deadline for having lesson plans prepared for 30 5-7 year olds, for the next six hours with the knowledge that you will have to meet this deadline for the next 180 quasi-consecutive days. Whoa. I need to sit down thinking about THAT.

As it turns out, for these book submissions there are, well, speaking frankly, INSANE deadlines (excuse me Katie or Michelle or anyone else at the nice book company that is publishing these books and is including my ideas). AND the deadlines don’t suck at all. I LOVE them. Due to the fact that my country of residence does not seem to stock English name yarns, even though they PRODUCE them, the week and a half deadline I had for two projects has been even further shortened as I wait for the specified yarn to arrive. And I’m still happy. Here’s why :

1. I can fall behind on household chores because of knitting if I want because “I have a deadline to meet”. Nice. I am able to look at the dirty kitchen floor and say, “ohhh, I’d love to wash that but I have to knit.” Nice.

2. I can knit until I have a SERIOUS crick in my neck and it’s ok to ask David for a neck rub because I wasn’t just knitting all day because I’m obsessed but rather because “I have a deadline to meet.” Nice.

3. I don't prepare anything for dinner which is a triple bonus because a. I don't have to prepare a dinner, b. I'm knitting instead because “I have a deadline to meet”. Nice. , c. we get to eat frozen hamburgers. This isn’t nice for David as he is not as fond of the frozen hamburgers as I am. (I know that you are thinking, “Gross!” but HEY, don’t knock ‘em until you’ve tried them with a little bacon and some nice cheese, perhaps a gorgonzola or a provalone)

Well, if those 3 reasons weren’t enough to express my joy at this deadline, well, I don’t know what to say. Now I need my knitter's rest so I must cut my blog short

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Feelin' groovy

Ya know, sometimes you just really feel good about things…just things in general. You know, you’re in a good mood and everything just seems cheery. Let me give you a few examples, in list form, of course…

1. indoor stairs. I know I know, I’ve been talking about them for months. But let me tell you, we went without again for about a week as Augusto (apparently I’ve been spelling – and PRONOUNCING his name wrong for about four years now. WRONG. Two u’s) laid the tiles and then David and I painted. What a freakin’ P-in-the-A it is to go outside to up and down! Just give it a try sometime. Now we have our stairs and they are beautiful.

2. We were invited to dinner at pals’ Franco and Lisa’s place tonight. Besides the lovely company, which is not inhibited at all by the fact that they speak mostly Calabrese (a dialect of Italian) and a little Italian and we speak American (a dialect of English…so we are told) and a little Italian. No problem….good food, good wine, nice people. You can’t really go wrong there. And, if anyone says anything that would offend another…no problem again! No one understands! Apart from this, it rained today so Franco couldn’t go to work. He and Lisa decided to come up to their garden/animal land in Maberga and kill a chicken. Fresh chicken for dinner. Franco had a cut on his thumb to prove it – Lisa, a few feathers in her hair (ok, I just made that last part up…about the feathers).

3. I’ve been holding out a little on you all. I’ve had two of my knitting designs chosen for books!!! I found out last week and have been trying to get appropriate yarn and make sure that it was all going to work (short deadlines, bad Italian post). It seems that it just might work out. So anyway, I spent the day busily knitting and pattern writing…it was terrific. Ok ok, I do that every day but to today’s exercises was added the additional drama of “the yarn that travels too much”…I need Rowan yarn for the pattern that will go into a book published in London. So here we have yarn, produced in Italy, sold in London, sent to Italy, to be knit up (by an American, who by the way is half german and half Calabrese but can not speak either german nor Calabrese), to be sent back to London (where, I hear, they speak English). It’s all really nice…all the craziness.

4. And now, I will wipe up all the Q pee from the floor and go to bed.

Che bella, la vita!

Friday, January 19, 2007

A checklist

I love checklists. I frequently write them after I’ve already done a bunch of the things that I wanted to do just so feel good about accomplishments. I love making the checks.

For example, this one:

Finish stair well. CHECK !

2. Finish socks for David. CHECK !
(Yarn: Alpaca, found here. Pattern: Mine, yours too if you ask)

3. Finish gift bottle of Barolo with David in celebration of long awaited big stuff. CHECK!
(Some people say, "stick a fork in it. It's done!" I say, "It's done? Stick a candle in it.")

4. Begin washing dust off all the rest of the shit in our house after Agusto leaves. CHECK!

And, as my current favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut says,

5. “and so on”. CHECK

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Lava dreamin'

So, today I was dusting EVERYTHING due to Agusto’s work cutting and laying tiles on the stairs. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever again live in a house that doesn’t have a cm layer of construction dust covering everything. Anyway, I got to thinking about the stuff we have which, consequently needs dusting when it remains uncovered and tile cutting is happening in the vicinity. You know, the stuff that is around the house that you don’t even think about, and probably don’t even see any more even though it is in plain view all the time…until you have to dust it. The dust and the thoughts about the stuff that David and I have collected got me to thinking about a segment I heard on the BBC the other day about Vesuvius.

All these thoughts got me imagining what people 2000 years from now would think about how we lived our life if a volcano should cover and petrify the whole place in lava.

No, David is not out of town.

I came to the conclusion that the archeologists would determine that we were great traveling people who hosted dinner parties for hoards regularly. This would be based on the fact that we have an over abundance of travel guides and plates. Neither of these conclusions would be correct as we use neither of those collections.

A very astute digger would be able to conclude that we enjoy wine, as evidenced by our lack of wine glasses. This archeologist would have to be a wine drinker him/herself so as to know that only people who don’t use their wine glasses still have them. This conclusion about us would be correct.

This item would not confuse the future diggers too much. They would of course know what it is and figure that it was part of entertaining all those guests we have at all those dinner parties. And the wine-drinking archeologist would astutely add that, “there was a direct correlation, in the times of these people…and for all of history…between the entertainment level of such an instrument and the amount of wine consumed”.

They might be, however, perplexed as to why they found it in the bathroom.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

a list of lists...

1. I feel that I should write a blog tonight, not because I have anything to say, but rather because:

a) I haven’t written anything real in a while.
b) I made a New Year’s resolution to blog more consistently. This reason doesn’t really exist, however since I am the child of teachers, the sister of a teacher, the wife of a teacher, a ton of my friends are teachers, and I have been a teacher myself, it’s pretty ingrained that the real New Year is in September. This does mean, however that you can expect some great writing in the autumn.
c) It’s only 9 pm, my husband is already asleep and we don’t own a tv.
d) See 3. b)

2. I suppose I could share some updates with you because:
a) I don’t have any witty stories to tell you.
b) Nothing has broken lately.
c) Well, there is no c, but, it’s ok because there is a d) in the next list and there was one in the last.

3. Here are some updates:
a) For those of you who are waiting on non-rusting T-pins and 2.25mm double pointed needles (that was just some bad knitting humor in case you didn’t understand), here are the answers to Sunday’s barrel-o-fun Who’s Who game.

the greek woodcutter

the Swiss flight attendant

the Danish pipemaker

Are you surprised?

b) I’m almost finished with these socks for my husband. So you know, this is a huge feat because he’s got some huge feet. You know what they say about men with big feet? Yep, they say, “boy, that’s a drag for his wife if she’s knitter.” (yep, that was more bad knitting humor). Anyway, because of his endowed feet, I’ve had a very difficult time ever finishing a pair of socks for him. I usually get to the place where, well, I am now (see 1. and read "distraction!"

That would be 1 sock done and half way through the huge feat part that is his second foot. Wish us both luck. (remember his “slocker” from November? Yep. Never finished the second one. Look familiar?)

c) Our favorite friend and construction guy, Agusto came back today to do some pre-tile work on the stairs. This forced David and my hand into selecting the tiles which David went to buy today. I’m not in love with them but who cares, at least I don’t have to knit them socks. I have, however realized that I AM in love with my stairwell and am sorely missing her tonight as she has a new layer of cement and we have to say off her. Perhaps I’ll knit her a nice runner. Probably not, but it’s a nice thought…like socks for my husband.
d) The new puppy is not housetrained yet. In case you were wondering.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Sunday afternoon game...

I don’t really have anything to say today so I thought we could play a game.


The game is called “Who's Who at the Cornwell Christmas?”. As you may recall from the Christmas post, there were characters from all over the world at the Christmas day dinner we attended. Let’s see if you can match the character with his/her photo.

Here are the characters:

a) the Danish pipemaker

b) the Greek wood cutter

c) the Swiss flight attendant

Who's who?

Friday, January 12, 2007

I haven’t really written about knitting in a while, and well, since this is supposed to be a knitting blog, here’s some knitterly blogging….

1. My friend, Betty is having a baby soon. She’s a really good friend. This is how you can tell:

Yep. I’m actually “weaving in the ends” as the pattern says. So I spent the better part of the day “weaving in the ends” - by the way, whenever I read that phrase in a pattern, the voice in my head reading it is like that which would come from the mouth of the oldest, meanest, elementary school librarian you can think of.

For those non-knitters among my readership...see each one of those strings in the picture? Each one needs to get threaded on a needle and then woven into the fabric of the knitting. If you were wondering if you could do more than one at a time or just cut them all off....the answer is NO. If you were wondering if you could tie them into knots, the answer is yes, but it's cheating. I am going all out on this one. What the hell, it’s her first kid.

2. Did you know that you cannot buy English yarns in Italy. Well, it’s not a law or anything (as far as I know) …it’s just, well, freaking impossible to find them in yarn shops. I desperately need some Rowan or Debbie Bliss and it’s just not possible. I had to order it from England. I’m thinking it’s a mafia controlled thing. They get their hands on all the big vices.

3. Ummmm…number 1 and number 2 were about all the knitterly news I had to share.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Welcome home, Q

Pick up the rugs,

Hide the socks.

Lay out the newspapers,

There’s a new puppy in the house.

Please help us to welcome Ruffino’s daughter, Q into our home.

As you can imagine, we’ve been having some questions as to the paternity.

All the Italians who have seen father and daughter together make this lovely hand gesture toward poor Ruff.

In Italian that means he’s been cuckolded by his wife.

At one point, Ruff must have decided he’d had about enough of all that teasing and thus tried to make himself look a little more like Q.

Great. That was fun to clean up. And very everyone thinks you're Q's dad, Ruffy.

Through many conversations David and I have narrowed the possible father pool to two…
1. Ruffino, who we actually saw mating with the mother but who looks nothing like any of the puppies.
2. Jack, who is the neighbors’ dog and happens to be black with a white chest – just like every one of the puppies. We did not, however see Jack crash in on Ruff’s sex date with the mother and, well, there is this small thing that he is chained up about a kilometer down the road.

If this wasn’t confusing enough, David noticed the other day that Q has my father’s eyes... which got me to thinking that she has my uncle Mike’s nose.

Nature is amazing.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Auf viedersehen Herr Bauknecht

Ok, even more negligence on my part…sorry sorry sorry …I won’t even try to give you the excuses like I’ve had such a busy social schedule (I have had) or that work is picking up (it is) or that I have a cold (I do). There will be many updates soon. It’s not as though nothing of interest has been happening since I last wrote, just nothing that has made it to the computer…anyway, maybe I will also just skip the backwards stuff and LOOK FORWARD. It is the New Year and all. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do?

I do feel the need to say a big thank you and farewell to this trusty ol’ pal

Yep, we decided it was time to put the Bauknecht washer that we had inherited from the former owners of our FORMER house to rest. Danka Herr Bauknecht…you dealt with a lot of Cornwell dirt and never spilled the water. (I know, that doesn’t really make much sense, but come on, I have a cold…).

I have a hard time with good-byes…if truth be told, more of a hard time with inanimate objects than animate. I don’t even want to think about the psychology (or theology) behind that. Anyway, in this case it has meant that whilst David is going at the new washer with the enthusiasm of a sophomore boy on prom night with the queen, I haven’t yet touched it.

The old washer isn’t even cold yet. Actually, it’s really cold since it has been sitting on our front patio since “the new guy” came home. If it weren’t for the distinguished memory of Herr Bauknecht, I would comment on the additional white-trashness he has provided us by his being on the front patio.

Tschuss, Herr Bauknecht.