Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Pressed and dressed and ready for an outing with their father...

Ok, I’m going too…I just like to quote Mary Poppins whenever I can.

Tomorrow night, at about midnight or 2am or so David and I will be hitting the road with a cooler full of road trip food and …are you ready….our two “lively” dogs. “Lively” is the euphemistic term that polite Italians use to describe our dogs. Other people just try not to talk about them, you know, like the bastard at the dinner table.

So we thought that a trip to VENICE would be just the ticket for them!

Ummm, not really. That last sentence was sarcasm.

We begged, bribed and prayed (not necessarily in that order) and we still couldn’t find anyone to watch the dogs for the 36 hours we plan on being away.

SO, the plans changed.

What was once going to be an adventurous and romantic night train trip to Venice (Murano, to be specific) with the following day consumed by consumerism of the best kind - beautiful Murano beads purchased from all the shop owners David met on his last trip (probably designing a few beads of my very own to be made ‘specially for me!), a picnic dinner by the Grand Canal, ending with a night train back home has turned into this…

Well, let’s just say it will be a different trip. However, I’m sure it will go wonderfully, perfectly, spectacularly despite…

1. both dogs get incredibly car sick. The drive to Venice is 5 and a half hours.

2. the dogs see MAYBE four other people besides us each day…and they are always the same four other people. We are taking them to Venice in June – ever been to Venice in June? There are a few people there.

3. Ruffino is a golden retriever which means that he is a swimming crack head. Let me say again, we are going to Venice. Ever been to Venice? There’s some water there.

4. We will be shopping for beads…glass beads…in GLASS stores.

Folks, I’ll bring the camera and, if possible, will record the adventure for you. If I never mention it again in any other blog post ever, please don’t ask. That will mean that something went terribly wrong. Which I’m sure it won’t. When Mary and Burt took little Jane and Michael dancing on the roof tops, everything turned out beautifully - they got a little dirty but there were some amazing fireworks.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


So, it's a birthday. Big Sis is 43.

Now that I have been writing this blog for more than a year I have to come up with something different to say about family and friends when I recognize there birthdays. I can't really keep telling you all every year all those nice things I made up about them last year.

Last year I wrote haikus (I know Laur, you didn't get're not getting one this year either). I thought about telling embarrassing stories this year but, given that my family and friends are the majority of my readers, I'd rather they didn't get pissed off and stop reading. So, even though I'd really like to tell you about that time when my sister got in a car accident and she was in her underwear, I won't.

I'll just say Happy Birthday.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Another Maberga Mass

Yep, it was mass Sunday here in Maberga.

The annual event that, historically, hasn't been so annual happened today for the second consecutive year.

Here we have the priest with the same little girl assistant as last year. She's changed a little but him, not so much.

Here's the inside of the church, dedicated to San Antonio, all flowered up for the occasion.

We met Gian Giacomo who lived in our house when was young. He told us stories of sleeping on a mattress on the floor with all the harvests of potatoes and apples.

After the mass there was some eating and drinking.

And some guys solving the world's problems.

Which of course ended in some singing.

Much fun was had by all.

Friday, June 22, 2007

blog housekeeping

Ok, so just a little bit of blog housekeeping….

1. Helllooooo??? No one has commented on the new and improved Olive Knitting Blog header. I know, it’s a little too wide…I’m still working on it. I drew that olive tree myself. My mom thinks it looks like a broccoli bunch and my dad says a pot plant (for psychology of my own that I won’t go into here, it’s some how comforting to me to get confirmation that my father never smoked pot. Or at least never grew it). Any positive feedback about the new header…or the tree is welcome. If it’s negative, keep it to your own damn self.

2. Yes, yes yes…at least 15 days have gone by since I said I would give you the second half of the limoncello recipe. Good news is, if you’ve had the lemon rinds steeping in that grain alcohol for all this time more than 15 days it will not render the limoncello too strong and therefore undrinkable. In fact, quite the contrary. David made our limoncello after maybe 9 days – and I gotta tell ya, you go a little blind drinking it. As this is the case, and the fact that David is currently sleeping and I don’t know the sugar/water solution ratio, I’m just going to tell you… google it. Sorry, I’m really not a very good Frances Mayes.

3. Sunday is the annual Maberga mass. I promise to take many photos…which I’m sure will look a hell of a lot like last year’s.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

my head is full

So, I was leaning over the tub this morning, washing my hair in the 2 minutes I had before I had to hit the road to go to work when I realized that “my head is full of beads”.

No, of course not literally. It’s not like I heard some kind of jingling up there when I bent over. Or like a few came rolling out any of my cranial orifices.

More like this…

When I was just out of college and a mere 21 years old I took my first teaching job at an inner city school in Denver. It was a “progressive” school, trying to implement classic upper middle class liberal philosophies about ‘choice’ and ‘freedom’ with kids who probably couldn’t find one person in the history of their lineage for whom those words had any significance in reality.* Needless to say I was not the only young idealist on the staff.

At this time an artist called KiKi was experiencing some commercial success. One of her images, this one,** was being reproduced on t-shirts with the title “my head is full of children” written underneath. All of us new, young (did I mention we were young), open, loving, accepting teachers who were going to save the world one child at a time bought the shirt.

By Christmas, just 4 months later, overworked, overwhelmed and just a little disillusioned we would spot each other trudging down the hall, recognizing immediately in one another the reality of having your head “full of children”.

I realized whilst washing my hair that my head is full of beads.

A couple small, but important differences in my head being full of beads vs full of children:

1. children are children and beads are, well, beads.

2. Related to number 1, and yet qualitatively different… I leap out of bed to go work with beads. I can’t say that was quite true for children.

So, of course my point here is this:

If you have children, particularly in elementary school but really at any level, you better have gotten their teachers a really good end of the year present – really good. These people had your kid in their heads for 9 to 10 months straight. Perhaps something like a handcrafted beautiful Venetian bead necklace from Italy would be appropriate.

*for the record, I still believe strongly in choice and freedom for children – no matter who they are or what their life circumstances.
**The irony is not lost on me that, admittedly after only a little searching, the only place that I found an image of these shirts was on a place called "find-a-therapist".

A couple of updates:

1.thank you to everyone for the anniversary well wishes. To celebrate we gifted ourselves with a CD from a band of four old guys we stumbled upon playing in the Piazza San Michele in Lucca. They were really good! One of them could go back and forth between the clarinet and the accordion like nobody’s business! Talent.

2. Neighbor Augusto and Lina’s first granddaughter arrived today. Many welcomes to Camilla. Girl, I’m sorry your blanket isn’t done yet. I’ll get right on that.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Bad planning

When your clothes dryer looks like this you really need to plan ahead.

We’ve got a wedding to go to in Lucca this weekend. I don’t have any clean underwear. And it’s raining.

Necessity…they say is the mother of hanging-your-undies-on-a-candlabra-in-front-of-the-dehumidifier.

On a related but rather tangential note, Sunday happens to be David’s and my 12 year wedding anniversary. It’s also Father’s day in the US. As I will be on a train and unable to post on that day, I’d like to recognize these two celebrations now.

Dad, Happy Fathers’ Day. I’m sure this post about my underwear hanging in the kitchen of my dryerless little house in Italy was not really what you expected 12 years ago when you gave me away to that “crazy, old guy” who I wanted to marry. Thanks, from both of us, for all the fatherly love and support.

David, honey…what a long strange trip it’s been. Sure am glad to have you as my traveling partner.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Dear Evil People Who Create Spyware and Computer Viruses:

Perhaps you have already discovered in your multiple hourly invasions of my computer that there is NOTHING INTERESTING HERE! Nothing! So please, just leave my computer alone.

I don’t know precisely what you are looking for but honestly, there’s nothing here. Is it money you want? I’m really sorry to break it to ya, but I don’t have that much – I mean REALLY. Do you want to steal my original knitting patterns? You can HAVE them! I got plenty to share. Perhaps you want to see our family photos? Send me your address and I’ll email them to you – hell, I’ll even send you CDs of all of them, if you want. Maybe you just want to read my emails. Dudes, check out the blog…it says the same stuff.

Please, kindly take my name, address, birthday, cosmic sign, or whatever it is that has identified me, off your list. Trust me, it’s not worth your time or effort.


Lynn (you know which one I am…you’ve seen all my files)

PS. To those of you who are honestly reading this blog and not trying to hack into my computer...check these out!!!!

I don't know if we will reach 100% this year but we got fruit!!!

Saturday, June 02, 2007


Well folks, Casa Cornwell has been in heavy production mode!

I’ll start with the knitted stuff since this is supposed to be a knitting blog:

Project Washcloth – aren’t they great?
Those non-knitters of you who are looking at these little gems and thinking “what’s the big deal?” are OH SO wrong! Have you ever used a hand-knit washcloth?! Well, you SHOULD if you haven’t. Call your nearest knitter and ask them to make you a washcloth.

Those knitters amongst the readers will correctly guess that I must be totally exhausted from something else in my life if all I can cast on are washcloths.

Yep, I’ve also been working on some of these.
Ok, that’s a TOTAL understatement. I’ve become completely addicted to making jewelry. It seems that a bit of a cottage industry is developing for this stuff and I’m as pleased as punch about it.

And David, being the loving and supportive enabler he is, made a little trip to Murano in Venice – just to feed my habit.

David has been keeping busy with the cooker whist I pearl and purl. Some pals called for help with their cherries – they had too many so we took some off their hands. We took TONs from them and David made some jam – lots of jam.
It goes really well with his homemade bread which he has been making almost daily.

And THEN…the topper of it all…it’s limoncello season. If you’ve never had limoncello fatto in casa, that’s a shame. You could run out to the liquor store and get some of this dessert in a bottle but that would be the same as running to walmart to get a washcloth – you’d be missing my point, here.

You could try to make some yourself but you must have lemons that haven’t been treated with anything. Here’s how it works:

1. pick some lemons – about 7 or 8 good sized ones, more if they are little.

2. using a knife or a potato peeler, cut off the rinds – you really want just the yellow part, not the white stuff.

3. put the peels in a liter of grain alcohol in a container that is air tight.
4. put this container in a cool dry place for 15 days to steep.

I’ll write the follow up in 15 days when the steeped alcohol is ready for the sugar water part of the process that makes it taste so yummy and makes it not lethal! This is obvious, but still I feel the need to mention that you can not drink the lemon peel/ alcohol mixture by itself. It’s not cookie dough – for God’s sake it’s grain alcohol.

In addition to the people production, the garden has been hard at work with tomatoes, chili peppers, bell peppers, pumpkins, and tons of herbs.

The dogs, for their part, have been producing mountains of hair.