Sunday, April 29, 2007

Mental Gymnastics

Friends, what’s happing to me? Today I went for a RUN and then I PUTTERED! Weird. Thus far my little experiments with physical activity and non-product-oriented activities have resulted in an amazingly increased amount of energy. All the time I’m losing by running and gardening, I’m making up 5 fold because I’m moving so much faster when I’m not doing them. Amazing. The other by-product of my new found activities is that my mind seems much clearer. It’s not so cluttered any more. That’s cool. I hate clutter, specially brain clutter.

There is one problem though, I have become fixated on one question. It just keeps popping back into my head. It came to me on my first jog, and now it won’t go away. My brain is not cluttered but it’s like there is one piece of pesky mail sitting on the kitchen counter and I don’t know where to file it.

The question…

Why do dogs sneeze when they lie on their backs?

If anyone can help me with the answer, I’d be really greatful.

In other interesting news: it is reader/commenter gift week here on Olive knitting. Don’t get excited, I’m not giving anything away – I’m receiving! Remember the house numbers and the chili peppers?

Well, I got this in the mail yesterday from commenter Mike Rowe. Thanks Mike! David and I are currently arm wrestling to see who gets to read it first. Given my new-found fondness for sport, I’m sure I’ll win.

In knitting news: this is about done. As soon as I’m done writing I’m going to go cast off. Just in time to don it in Denmark!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Happy Liberation Day. Here is a link, in case you’re curious about this Italian holiday. Actually it was yesterday but I couldn’t write yesterday because I was eating. That’s a surprise – eating to celebrate something in Italy. Yesterday was the second time (this month) I’ve attended a holiday that involved so many hours sitting at the table that two separate meals were served. May 1st is Labor Day. We’ve been invited to the neighbors’ house. I wonder what we will do?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


While I was at the incredibly successful artisan street fair yesterday...

(successful because I got this far on the shawl…keep in mind that I knit really slowly and that there are now about 250 stitches in each row, you can figure out for yourself if I was helping customers buy all my goods)

David was busy making me a surprise…

That’s the orto (vegetable garden) that I’ve been talking about since about January. In the gray days of January I decided that this was the year that I was going to give gardening a try…again. Although most people I admire find gardening a tremendously enjoyable and rewarding activity, I’ve just never got it. But one day this winter, when I was wishing I could be outside, I decided that I was really going to try it this year. Really, this time. I would start small with a few herbs, a couple tomato plants and some chili peppers (brought to us by commenter Earle(and Mary)-in-Denver. I would commit to working the soil, planting them, watering and weeding them. They would be all my responsibility, like cleaning the bathroom and washing dishes. I imagined the feeling of making a huge vegetable salad with my own veggies (a strange salad – tomatoes, thyme, parsley, basil, tarragon and chili peppers) that in my mind would be similar to that of pulling a new hand-knit sweater over my head.

On Easter, the weather was beautiful. David, as usual in warm weather was puttering in the garden so I decided to join him. I don’t putter very well – no, that’s not right, I am physically, psychologically, emotionally and mentally unable to putter. So in a short time we laid these stones – an attempt to stop two puppies from discovering China.

And I worked the soil for my orto. Two hours of carrying heavy, very heavy stones, digging and turning soil, and a bunch of other stuff that involved pitch forks and shovels, dirty hands and even a little sweating. That was enough of that! We opened a bottle of wine and had our Easter dinner.

I haven’t really done anything out there since. Nothing. No weeding, no watering. You don’t need to weed or water if you haven’t PLANTED anything, which I hadn’t.

So David took it upon himself to provide me with another chance to ENJOY this gardening thing.
I think the key to finding pleasure in pulling weeds – weeds that you know are laughing at you because they start growing again as soon as you’ve pulled them- and all the other stuff that is involved in tending to a garden is the puttering.

Puttering is unfocused. You don’t know when or where it ends. You have to putter for a REALLY long time in order to see results. Knit two rows, you have two rows. Read or write two pages, you have two pages. Wash two dishes, you have two clean dishes. Puttering for two hours? It’s hard for me to even imagine, but this summer, with my little orto I’m going to learn. Or at least I’ll try. Honestly, I think the probability of my taking up a sport is greater than that of my learning to putter, but I’ll keep you posted, so to speak.

In other garden news…we’ve got to stop getting puppies in the spring. Maybe you remember that Ruff chewed this vine last year.

It grew back just in time for Q to eat it, along with its neighbor.

She’s an over-achiever.

Also, which has nothing to do with the garden except that you can see this whilst sitting in the garden, these

A gift from commenter friends Wayne (and Denise). It’s a bonafided house now – it’s got numbers!

Friday, April 20, 2007


Yesterday, I was having a lesson with a young lawyer. We were humming along well, concentrating on question construction when he said, “how old are you?”

“I’m 37.”

“Wow! Complimenti!”

COMPLIMENTI! COMPLIMENTI! Complimenti is an Italian way of saying ‘my compliments’.

You say it when you are at a dinner party and the food is really good, ‘complimenti al cuoco!’ - ‘compliments to the cook!’.

Or someone says it when they see your hand-knit sweater, ‘ahhhh, complimenti, sei brava!’ – ‘my compliments, you are good!’.

OR when you think some one looks really good even though you find out that they are OLD,
‘37, wow, complimenti!’ – ‘37? Holy shit you’re old’.

And then this morning I sat down at the computer to check email and I had to get my glasses to read the screen. I’ve had glasses since I was about 30 but putting them on because I NEED them, that’s a first. They used to kind of just be an accessory, like my Jack Percells.

Now I want to tell you that I’ve never been afraid of aging. In fact, I’ve been looking forward to it. I can’t really explain it…it’s like I think something magical is going to happen when I have a full head of white hair. It could have something to do with fact that the majority of my friends are 15 -30 years older than I am. Who knows. Anyway, now that the first signs are appearing, I’m having reactions that wouldn’t really imply that I’m so jazzed about it.

I was looking through my stash for some yarn to start a new knitting project.

On top of the pile was this beautiful New Zealand wool/silk stuff brought to me in Italy via the USA from my mom. I thought immediately of the recent Knitters’ Review article about the one skein shawl.

A shawl? Ahhhh, what the hell, by the time I finish it, it will go stunningly with my hair.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I might need to take up some sport.

My evidence: I’m wearing my jeans out. No, not in the knees. Nope, they aren’t fraying at the cuffs either. The zipper hasn’t broken and there are no holes in the pockets.

The butt. I’m wearing out my jeans in the butt. Could I be sitting too much?

Does anyone know of a sport that I can do that meets the following criteria?

1. No sweating. I hate to sweat. Getting sweaty and smelly are two things that are really low on my list of pleasurable sensations.

2. Won’t take away from my knitting, blogging, writing, beading time. Getting ready to do the sport, then going somewhere to do the sport, then doing the sport, then coming home, bathing, changing, and relaxing just won’t do for me. We’re talking about a lot of hats that won’t be knit, a lot of blog posts that will remain just ideas in my head, and books that (still) won’t be written.

3. Requires beautiful and colorful materials. Magenta spandex doesn’t count.

4. Doesn’t require new clothes or fancy equipment. Keep in mind that I don’t even own a pair of tennis shoes (unless you count my old pair of Jack Percells. Personally, I consider them to be more of a fashion accessory than sporting equipment).

5. No sweating. Just in case you forgot criteria number one. I don’t like to sweat.

Apart from the discovery that I need to do sport, I find this to be an excellent opportunity to try knitting myself a patch for my jeans (as first seen by this knitter on Mason-Dixon Knitting blog).
In fact…forget the sport. I’ll just keep knitting.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Metal vs Wool

I’ve noticed that there is a direct correlation between the amount of knitting I am doing and the amount of writing I do. I don’t know if it’s the repeated motion of stitch after identical stitch (I don’t knit much lace) that causes the story telling juices to flow or if it’s the sensation of the soft yarn running through my hands. Maybe it’s the clicking of the needles that makes me want to click the keyboard? Or maybe it’s just that when I’m doing a ton of knitting I’m alone and after a few hours I just gotta talk to someone, even a virtual someone. Perhaps this is true for all knitter. It certainly would account for the inordinate number of knitting blogs that exist.

As you can assume from that intro, I haven’t been knitting much lately. I’ve been making bracelets. No, I’m not planning on changing the name of the blog to Olive Beading any time in the near future. Mostly I’m not going to do that because well, it would be the end of the blog. It seems that I am using a different part of my brain when I’m working with glass and metal. Words don’t really spew whilst handling wire cutters. But I have become pretty prolific on the accessorizing front.

If you are an avid Olive Knitting reader, don’t worry I’ve got another baby blanket to knit before June. Of course the juices will flow again with that. And then there is that Denmark knitting jaunt in May…wait, I mean, I’m going to visit pal Mette in Denmark in May…we might do a little knitting.

Ps. Happy Easter and Buona Pasquetta. If I had been knitting at all I would tell you all about my wonderful mellow Easter when David and worked in the garden and had a bbq. And then I’d tell you about our 8 hour food and drink fest with neighbors Augusto and Lina on the day after Easter (Pasquetta – “little Easter”) that involved TWO separate meals in the same sitting. But unfortunately I don’t have anything to say because I’ve been bending wires not clicking needles.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Hello again. The family has come and gone, thus my absence from posting. Actually we said our good-byes on Sunday. Given that today is Wednesday, well, I probably could have written something by now. But I haven’t. Why?

Well, there are two reasons:
1. I’ve been sleeping. When I’m not working, cleaning or tending to hyper dogs, I’ve been sleeping. Yes, it’s been three days and I still don’t feel caught up. That family of mine can really do things up right – eating, drinking, talking, laughing, and that whole site-seeing thing…it really wears a country girl out.
2. I’m digesting. Yes, physically I am still digesting the massive amounts of food I consumed in the past two weeks with the family, but I really meant that I’m still digesting the visit (that would be a figurative digestion). I know there is so much to say about the time we spent together and the places we went and all the stuff we saw and experienced. And I want to tell you all about my wonderful family and about all the fun we had together, about the fights we DIDN’T have, about how different everyone is but that we are all totally strong, stubborn, funny, fun, kind and loving. I also have a ton to tell about how special it was to have everyone here together at my home in Italy, not to mention what an impressive tribute it all was to my folks who (somehow) created this whole clan. I really want to write about all of that but, well, I just don’t know what to say.

I’ve got that feeling you have after Thanksgiving dinner (or, if you are not American and reading this, whatever holiday your country celebrates with too much food) when you make your way from the dinner table to the couch. You know, that sated and nappy feeling that requires the body to completely shut down in exhaustion to digest what you ingested in an uncontrolled fit to consume and consume and consume because it was just to good to stop.

So, if you’ll excuse me now…I have to go figuratively digest some more.