Monday, December 29, 2008

Time Flies

Happy Holidays from Siena. Since the Cornwell car was traveling this way, the dogs and I hopped in and came along for a little change of scenery.

Having been reminded on my first venture out in the city with the dogs on leashes that they are really WILD animals who have not had nearly enough time off the mountain and whose owners have been terribly negligent in training them, we have been spending quite a lot of time in the hotel room. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I'm rather enjoying the excuse of not being strong enough to walk my own dogs to spend my days in accommodations in which: 1. I don't have to carry wood or any wood product to supply the heat, 2. the water comes plentifully from fixtures intended to deliver water, as opposed to say the ceiling, no neighbor is competing with us for it, and it's hot ON DEMAND 3.there is one of those little black boxes at which one can stare for hours while knitting and not have to think about, well, anything (I'm pretty sure it's called a tv), and 4. someone else is vacuuming up the dog hair. All and all, it's really about as big of a change of scene as a Maberga girl could ask for.

As I sit here watching way more CNN than any one would need in a year, let alone 2 days, I'm thinking a lot about the passage of time. It is the new year and all, so it seems natural. And Siena is as good of a backdrop as I could ask for.

Let's time travel, shall we?

Go with me to the spring of 1989, place - Northfield, Minnesota.

I'm a sophomore in college. I've just declared economics as my major (don't ask). I've also just decided that I need some time "away". Try to forget the fact that I'm a very privileged 19 year old at a wonderful university with amazing people and experiences to stimulate me every time I turn around. What exactly I needed to "get away" from escapes my memory. Anyway, I go home for summer holiday from school and announce, make that, declare that I want to spend the fall semester in Italy. Being the supportive, cool folks they are, mom and dad say yes.

In August I find myself sporting a pair of overalls and a Carleton sweatshirt, carrying way too much luggage off a train and getting into a Fiat 500 heading to my new temporary Siena.

As I sit watching Obama accept the nomination for the 100th time on the 100th replay of the recap of 2008 I start wandering into the passage of time.

I'm not worried about getting old. I like to think that I'm embracing it. If fact, it fascinates and intrigues me. Who was that girl who got off the train and walked the streets of this city, being "cultured" through deep discussions (whose topics also escape me now) over cappuccinos and cigarettes, seeing art and architecture that I know she wasn't comprehending?

Last night I walked the same streets looking for a restaurant with my husband (of 13 years I met while teaching kindergarten in Denver) and visiting pal Jacopo (who we met on a Greek island almost a decade ago) I thought to myself "that girl was NOT me."

But, now while writing on this 3rd blog-iversary OliveKnitting, I know she was of course me. I think about the the situations I find myself in, the situations I throw myself into, the ways I deal with them, the way I dress for them and I realize the same girl who got off that train is the same one who now gets out of bed every day .... still trying to make sense of the world around her. Maybe the difference now is that I think also about how TIME FLIES.

Monday, December 22, 2008


I am happy, no, make that thrilled, no change that to ecstatic, exhausted and awed by the Florentino that I finished (on my self-proclaimed-Florentino-labor-day, by the way). With a little anxiety (and, I admit, more than a little reluctance) I brought it to its owner on Saturday, where I found, with some small miracle from the knitting gods, it fit her as if it was made for her...which, of course, it was (that doesn't always happen).

Wanna see the back?

I've also finished what I have come to refer to as the vanilla sweater.

Vanilla is for the daughter of the owner of the Florentino. She might have gotten a little gypped this Christmas.

Also finished are these heavy duty socks.

A matching set for a friend's parents who live in Florida. I thought the weight of them might be a little over kill for Florida residents but my friend assures me that her parents get cold feet. Don't we all.

I'm also pleased as punch to say that I'm finished preparing for Christmas. That's like two days in advance. Amazing. If you're not yet prepared, don't freak "to do" and "to buy" lists are rather short.

So short that this afternoon I also finished my annual disastrous christmas baking. I really need to vow not ever to do this again. Actually, I do vow that every year and then every year I say to myself, "oh, it's not that bad. Cookies aren't that hard to make." And I fill my head with images of these beautiful, over flowing plates of gorgeous, delicious treats that I can give to every neighbor, friend and person walking down the street (I really need to cancel my subscription to Martha Stewart). Then I spend an entire afternoon wasting butter, sugar, flour and electricity burning the shit out of tasteless blobs of crap. But it's done.

Sorry, no photos of disastrous cookies. When I'm really old and have lost my memory (more) I want to tell myself and anyone who will listen that when I was younger I was a great baker and made beautiful christmas cookie plates. I'm not going to create evidence now that will squelch my future memories.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Labor Day

Remember that baby that I'm making? This one...

Well, it's labor day. She's going to be finished. Like all expectant mother's, I'm ready for her to come out, be done. Although I've only been working on this for two months, which is really the gestation of a dog, it feels like 9.

So today, I'm going to induce. I need to get this thing off the needles. It must be done. I'm forcing myself into labor...all day...and night if necessary to get her off the needles. She's heavy and I'm tired of carrying her around.

Not to mention Christmas is in 5 days and I'd promised she'd be done.

Pictures to come after labor.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hi. I really wanted to write a nice long blog tonight. Maybe include some beautiful photos of our rosemary christmas tree. And some, well, other stuff, but it ain't gonna happen. Here's why:

1. It's raining. I suppose you might wonder why that would stop me from blogging. Well, I'll tell you...
2. It's very very cold. When it rains it's colder, seeing as some of that rain seeks shelter in our house.
3. (related to number 2, and I guess, number 1)It's so cold that really the only warm place right now is under the covers, completely under the covers - like my head and every thing under the covers. It's hard to blog from under there.
4. (related to numbers 1-3) It's so cold that my nose is running and dripping into the keyboard.
5. (related to numbers 1-3 but directly to number 4)It's so cold that every part of my body, based directly on their distance from my heart is losing feeling. I only bring that up to explain why my nose is dripping into the keyboard...I can't feel it.
6. The memory card on my camera is full. Full? Are you kidding me? How did that happen?! There must be like one million photos on it. Who's memory card gets full? Anyway, it's too cold to clean up that mess in order to make some photos in order to attach them to a blog that I'm not going to write because it's too cold.

Excuse me now...back to the covers.

PS. Is it raining anywhere else? It can't be. We're hogging it all.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Knitting...the mother of, well, everything

History says that the Tinkertoy was invented by by Charles H. Pajeau and Robert Pettit after they saw some kids playing with pencils and empty thread spools (at least history as told by Wikipedia here) but I know better.

They were invented by a knitter who had way too many stitches on 6 double pointed needles and who happened to have a few wine corks handy.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Maberga Tea Time, a little catching up

I think I've recovered now from my olive oil embarrassment. Thank you to all you encouraging people who think the story is just as good as the oil should have been.

While I was licking my olive harvest wounds, we had a spell of sunny weather here in Maberga. It's over now. In fact today is raining and cold. Actually, there were really only like 2 (two) nice days. They were a good couple of days though. That is if you like pig slaughters and bike riding (not at the same time).

1. Pig Slaughter. Yep. It's that time of the year. We've been attending this event for enough years now to know that we, David and I, really have no role. This year David took his camera and I took some knitting. No one seemed to notice or care that we weren't trying to help. Perhaps they were grateful. I've got one of a great pair of new boot socks and David has some amazing photos. Unfortunately for you, I've decided that most of the photos don't really fit the bill for that cozy, friendly, wooly, living room at tea time feeling I'm striving for here on OliveKnitting.

For example:

Cool photo, no? Doesn't really make you want to ask Aunt Mable to pass the biscuits though, does it?

This one made the OliveKnitting editing cut (after I cropped the bloody-used-to-be-the-head bit off the bottom of the photo)

If you can't tell, that's Lucca hugging the pig. That's nice.

2. Bike Riding. We've discovered the bike path. Ok, well, David discovered it a while ago, as did most of the rest of Liguria. I however, am a little slow when it comes to things like this - things like getting out of the house to do something physical. The new bike path is a, well, a bike path that was constructed where the old railroad track ran all along the coast. Monday was a beautiful day and a holiday here in Italy - I had no excuses to not try out the bike David gifted me.

I'll admit it to you...I was a little snotty and ungrateful about the bike when David first gave it to me. I thought that if I ever got a bike it would be something like the Wizard of Oz Wicked Witch style with a nice basket.

I did just fine with this one though.

It's hard to be ungrateful for ANYthing in this setting.Thanks, David.

Now, if you'll excuse me. I have two crying doggies who want to go play in the wet, cold night.

Oh yeah, one other happening...speaking of doggies and licking wounds...everyone please send positive healing vibes to Ruffino who lost his nuts yesterday.

More biscuits, Aunt Mable?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Hi. I've been avoiding you. It's the olive thing.

Here are the results of the olive harvest.

Ok, now I'm lying to you. Well, not technically. That is the result of AN olive harvest, but not ours. Some pals brought that to us as a gift.

We have no results from our olive harvest. There, I've said it. We have no oil.

Here's the story...for what it's worth...

So, we had picked all that we were going to pick. Since they were wet I had carefully spread them out on a sheet in the bedroom to dry. Very responsible of me - we wouldn't want our precious olives getting moldy. Once dry, they were neatly and gently poured into a burlap sack so as not to damage them and set by the back door ready to go to the press.

One day passed, in which, for some reason I can't remember now they didn't get taken to the press AND in which a few ants appeared on the burlap sack. Ok, it wasn't an infestation or anything - just maybe 15 or 20 were sniffing around on the outside of the bag. Unsure of whether they were on their way OUT of the bag or on their way IN, but not actually caring which direction they were going since the sack was in my studio and I didn't want ants going in ANY direction in there, I put the sack outside.

Then it started to rain. It rained and it stormed and then in rained and then it hailed. Look, I'm not making that up. See...

The olives stayed outside. They've been outside in the rain and hail and rain and storms for a week now.

It's safe to say that they are now moldy and damaged and way beyond a trip to the press.

That's the story. Now I've told you. This blogging thing can be a little embarrassing sometimes.

For those of you who show up to this blog because of the knitting and don't care about my olive oil production, here are some photos for you - I've finished these

Surely you knitters can understand the ant thing. Right?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Olive Harvest: Part III

In which I realize this little job has been dragging on way too long and if we don't finish today, it won't happen for another week...thus, we decide to get serious and be done with it.

As so often happens to the Great Procrastinators that we are, we made this decision just a little too late.

Here's a photo of the mountains up the valley...

Yep. That's snow there on the top. Of course that is much higher than we are, we didn't have snow. But, it is an indicator as to what's happened to the temperature in general. It fell much faster than our olives did. F$%^&ng cold. Brrrrrr....

Let me remind you what the weather was like when we STARTED this project...

No one to blame but our-lazy-selves but it still hurts.

Of course, I must add here again that cold is pal Jay in Minnesota spent his weekend putting an ice skating rink in his back yard. Different kind of cold.

Back to Maberga...

SO THEN, last night there was a rain storm to end all rain storms. This has two implications for the olive harvest:
1. The trees were covered and dripping with ice cold rain water this morning, making the one by one, individual picking that much more enjoyable (sarcasm).
2. Whilst picking the ice cold dripping wet olives one by one, individually the mind wanders to what would have happened last night in the wind/rain storm had we had nets under our trees. Yep, mother nature offered to do most of the work for us...had we done that prep-work. Realizing this adds to the picking pleasure (more sarcasm).

Oh, I forgot to mention (what should have been "Olive Harvest: Part II.5" had I written it yesterday), that the chopping limbs off to pick them didn't really work as planned. (No, Mette, David didn't cut down the whole tree - however, as you mentioned in the comments, that would have made the picking much easier next year). The chainsaw method would have worked like a charm had we actually picked the olives when we cut the branches off instead of putting them on the side of the house where they sat for four days with the olives shrivelling up. I'm no expert on these things but common sense would tell me that shrivelled olives render less oil than non-shrivelled ones. I did include the few I picked yesterday in with all the you think the people at the olive press will notice?

Anyway, back to Part III -

David decided to employ the "beat the tree" method today since I was on the only ladder and was wearing the only work glove I could find in the house (NOT the only PAIR, just ONE - luckily it was the right hand. Honestly, some times I wonder how we are able to feed ourselves). Also known as "the big stick method", the "beat the tree" method is the one where you, well, beat the tree with a big stick.

Then the olives come tumbling down into your neatly lain nets, and there you go!

Olive harvest finished!

Can't wait to see how much oil this will get us. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Olive Harvest Part II: Day 3

In which David joins me in the trees....

Over breakfast I laid it out straight for David, "Dude, are you going to help with the olive harvest or not? If the answer is no, I'll just stop working myself now because doing it alone, the olives will go rotten before I'm able to pick them all."

David, "yeah, ok. I'll help."

As EarleinDenver astutely pointed out in the comments yesterday, nets usually are involved in picking olvies. For the past two days I've been picking the low hanging branches, thus being able to stand on the ground (no ladder or tree climbing required) holding the basket in one hand directly under the branch (no nets required). But today, David and I were going to have to go up to find olives.

We debated the nets and decided it was time to lay them.

Neither of us like the nets. They are unwieldy and get stuck in every thing. Ours also have lots of big holes, rendering them, well, useless. Plus there's that allergy that David and I both seem to possess for prep-work. You know, like taping the trim and laying plastic before painting or knitting a swatch before starting a sweater.

Our neighbors don't seem to suffer from the same affliction...

Check that out! I've never seen such neatly places nets.

Here's what David and I did..

Let's look at the neighbors again...

That's just incredible. It seems that they believe, like EarleinDenver that the olives magically fall into these nets because after spending the morning placing them, they left - no picking. If this works for them, I'll do the net thing better next year.

At about noon, after recovering from the astonishment of the neighbors nets and realizing that even if the olives just dropped into our expertly placed nets I'd still be picking the olives individually but from the ground, I climbed into the tree. I wasn't that high up so I still held the basket, still picking the olives - individually, by hand, one at a time, still trying not to think about how long this was going to take.

David rambled out and joined me. He climbed up high with a basket and started picking - each olive individually, one at a time, by hand.

We weren't really chatting, we were just picking - each olive individually, one at a time, by hand. After about 20 minutes David hopped out of the tree. Saying nothing he headed for the shed.

He must have been, like me, calculating the time this was going to take, pondering alternative methods to get this done. Because he came back from the shed with

his chainsaw.

Dude knows how to get the job done.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Olive Harvest

After weeks of rain which was sorely needed, has made everything green and fresh, and has restarted the spring (aka: our water supply), we are having glorious weather. Blue skies with a warm sun and just a bit of a chill in the mornings and evenings...perfect autumn weather.

And, like some kind of divinely orchestrated plan this weather coincides with the exact week the olives are ready to be picked. Yep, it's that time of the year when we get to be in the fresh air, hanging from the trees harvesting baskets, buckets, burlap bags of beautiful olives that will become golden oil that will make every meal we prepare delicious.

Sounds romantic doesn't it?

Yeah, well, it's not. The romance is gone for me.

Here's the reality...When the sun has taken the chill out of the air you go out to the nearest tree with some form of a receptacle and, well, start picking. There are different ways to coax the olives from the limbs into your basket. Some people bang the branches with a big stick then collect the fallen fruit off the ground - imagine it's your turn at a huge pinata filled with just one kind of candy that you can't eat. Some people rake the tree - imagine brushing burrs out the long hair of an enormous child. Personally, I perfer picking them one at a time.

45 minutes worth:

It's a slow process. Very slow. It's one of those experiences I have (rarely these days) when it's painfully obvious to me that I'm not from around here. I don't know how to relax, enjoy it, appreciate it, understand it. I find my brain doing American mental gymnastics. I try to stop it but I just can't.

"There must be a more efficient way to do this. There MUST be. People have been doing this for millenia, hasn't anyone found a more efficient way to do this?!"

"If I pick 5 handfuls a minute. And it takes - wait, how many handfuls to fill that bucket? Ok, a guesstimations, roughly ONE MILLION handfuls...let's see..that means it will take roughly...F#*&^^! A LONG F)&^&* time to fill that bucket!"

"There must be a more efficient way to do this. Why hasn't anyone found it yet?"

"If I get roughly 5 liters of oil from a burlap sack of olives, and it takes roughly 10 buckets to fill the sack and it takes roughly A MILLION handfuls to fill the bucket, and it takes roughly 12 seconds for each handful...that means the 20 drops of oil that I dribble on one piece of bruschetta takes roughly...OH MY GOD! WHAT AM I DOING?"

more ruminations about the olive harvest to come...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Check this out! Can you see it? That's the view from out patio looking up the valley. There's a rainbow in there. I had a puzzle exactly like that when I was a kid. Weird, huh? The real thing is better.

A little shameless self-promotion...if you find yourself in the southern Wisconsin area any of the weekends between now and Christmas, do stop by The Christmas Barn.

It's an artisan fair highlighting the work of "local" artisans. Among other hand-crafted treasures you can find maberga designs jewelry. The nice ladies organizing the event stretched their definition of "local" to include a girl living in Italy, making jewelry with glass beads from Venice. I guess they figure, as I do, if you've ever lived in a house in Elkhorn that was t.p.ed*, you are dubed a local for life no matter where you go or how long you've been gone.

Buy a lot of stuff - good folks making some beautiful stuff. They even have yarn - beautiful Alpaca yarn. I know because I have some of it. I've even met the alpacas it came from. Nice alpacas.

* for you second language English speakers, "t.p" stands for "toilet paper" - normally it is a noun, but can be used as a verb when it invovles teenagers throwing it in the middle of the night in the trees of a friend's house.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

It's finally happened...

Maybe with that title some of you are expecting a blog about our new president in the US? Sorry. I'll leave discourses about that for others who are more eloquent and better able to capture the significance of the this event.

Instead, I'm going to write about these

Any of you who've known me in the last 12 years will recognize them as my prefered winter footwear. That's kind of a gentle way to say that I've been wearing these boots every day October to April for the past decade (plus 2 years). I love these boots. Love them.

At about year 6 I started asking myself when I dug them out for yet another season, "should I retire these? I've been wearing them every day of every winter for 6 (7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12) years." Then, every year, I'd put them on and say "f^#& no! I love these boots." When the boots celebrated their 10th birthday I asked myself, "10 years, a decade, wow. Are they out of style?" My response, "who the f$&^ cares! I love these boots."

Some of you readers may remember when I thought about putting them to rest after a young Ruffino decided he loved these boots, too...

But again, "f*&^ no way! I can deal with that little chewed bit. I love these boots."

The last couple of years I haven't even bothered to polish them any more.

Doesn't that scuffed look just add to the beauty? These are good boots.

So, last night I got all dressed up to go to a dinner party. It's been so easy for the past 12 years, no fretting about which shoes to wear! Just like every other evening for all these years, I put on my boots and ran down the stairs ready to go.

Hmmm...something doesn't feel quite right...

Oh drat! It's finally happened.

PS. I finished this...

it's beautiful. the yarn is awesome and soft and a wonderful color. The neck and the sleeves are just as I like them...long. And, it's going to friend Ellen. That's ok, it's my pattern, I can make another one. (If any of you want the pattern, just ask.) Wouldn't it look great with my boots? Oh, wait...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Truth be told, I'm a sort of Ebenezer Scrooge of Halloween. I've never liked it that much. As a child I wasn't really into candy, I didn't like wearing costumes (except that beautiful 1800's dress that my mom made me one year). In Wisconsin the weather was always crappy on Halloween so even walking the neighborhood wasn't fun, I didn't really like the begging part, and I really hated being scared. The only enjoyable part was getting home after the whole trick-or-treating ordeal was over, sorting my candy (I loved sorting anything) and then using it to bribe my sister for future favors (I suppose this was the precursor to my brief career at the Chicago Board of Trade).

My Halloween experiences as an adult haven't done anything to change my mind. I spent years in elementary any of you non-teachers have ANY clue what it's like to have a room full of 30 5 -7 year olds hyped up on pillowcases full of colorfully wrapped sugar, wearing costumes that ALL involve face paint, glitter, and some form of hand held instrument which ALL in the end become swords no matter the original intended purpose? It's not enjoyable.

I still don't like candy. I've done a lot of therapy to learn to be myself and not to live in fear, so the whole costumes and scary stuff is (still) out and I got that Board of Trade thing out of my system a lot of years ago (Laur, if I had a bag of candy now I'd just give it all to you, if you let me sort it first). And the straw that broke my Halloween back (or, as it were, the final nail...), my dear first dog Sparky died three years ago on Halloween. Suffice it to say, I'm still not fond of this holiday.

But, having said all's been a perfect Halloween day here in Maberga. Interchanging waves of fog rolling through the mountains engulfing the house and pissing down rain.

Not wanting to impose my biases on my impressionable dogs, I let them go trick-or-treating. Yeah, ok, I just let them run around on the mountain because I didn't want to stand out with them in the pissing down rain.

Q got this goody from neighbor Giuseppe.

I'm pretty sure Giuseppe didn't answer the doorbell and hand this to Q but rather left a bowl of them on the front stoop.

Want to see a close up of that one?

Now I'm going to put on a movie (not a scary one) and finish this

while I wait for all the trick-or-treaters to come to the door. I hope there aren't many, all I've got is a half eaten chocolate bar in the fridge.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

it's going to be a christmas baby...

This morning I experienced a sensation that will (most likely) be the closest I ever come to the anticipation of a pregnant mother ... followed immediately by intense sadness and doubt of same mother who has decided to give her child up for adoption.

Here she is...

As you readers know, this sweater was planned. It's not like I got drunk one night with some really soft, gorgeous wool and thought, "what the heck, let's cast on!" and then had to figure out what to do with what I started. It was nothing like that. An unfortunate friend of mine, who is unable to cast on and carry to completion sweaters herself, asked me to do this favor for her. Feeling as strongly as I do about the pleasures of having and caring for handknit-wear, I was totally sympathetic to her situation. No one should be denied the handknit experience, so I said, "yes, Marina, I will make your sweater for you."

So now, day by day, I am creating this baby. Stitch by gentle stitch, row by beautiful row, she is getting bigger.

It hasn't been an easy incubation, I'll admit.

The first few weeks I was really unsure about my decision to take on this responsibility. I had my doubts about my abilities to carry it off. I wasn't sure about how she was looking. What defects would she have? Would she be beautiful? Would she be big enough? Too big? Too lumpy? Too loose? Would the arms be long enough? Too long? From day one my whole body has had aches and pains in places I didn't even know I could have aches and pains, particularly my back. I've even quit drinking until she is done for fear that one glass too many will cause me to miss one of those little stitches and ruin her for her whole life.

Then this morning, I got a glimpse of her future. I could see how totally beautiful this little creation was becoming. I felt so excited and anxious for the day she will be finished. I saw how her pattern, her features were developing into a gorgeous whole sweater. How perfectly her little hem lies, how the decreases of the neck hole will hold her big full collar.

Then I remembered, when she's done I have to turn her over to someone else.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

the slow life movement celebrated a birthay

Some of you might be familiar with the "slow food" organization. If not you can read about it here. As the name implies, it came about in response to the fast food. If you ever have a chance to go to a slow food event, GO! I promise you will eat well, meet some interesting poeple doing amazing things with food, slowly.

Yesterday I went to a lunch party with a group of folks who, for the most part are participating in the "slow life" movement. We didn't fill out an application for this movement. We don't have a website or a logo. We don't charge dues or have a mission statement. We've all just found ourselves choosing to live life, well, slowly. Like having 5 hour lunches whenever possible.

Yesterday's party was in celebration of this gal

You might recognize her from das needle club. She's my friend Natalie.

Gathered around her table were these folks

If this group had a founder it would be Natalie. I realized half way through the lunch yesterday that all my friends at the table (and most of the rest that weren't there - Italian, german, english, american, dutch, danish, hungarian) I had met through Natalie directly or indirectly. Natalie knows everyone in the valley. And I'm very pleased to be one of them.

I came to another realization about 3/4th of the way through lunch...I didn't know the last names of anyone at the table except Natalie despite the fact that I have spent THOUSANDS of hours with them sitting around tables talking.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hello. I'm a little upset right now. I was just about finished with a post about the new electrical set up in my house and, then, with really quick and magical fingers I managed to delete the whole thing. The whole text and all the photos went highlighted blue...and then went...away.

Looking on the bright side of this blogging catastrophy, I might be coming to a new level in my blog posting. The post that I had swiftly deleted was written in an oliveknitting-formulatic way. Those of you who have been reading for a while are familiar with it (this, of course excludes you 7 people who tuned in for the last post and decided to use oliveknitting comments as a way of conversing amongst yourselves). The formula is something like this: something breaks in Lynn's house + she writes about it = a bit of a laugh at the non-country-girl American living in a foreign country. Nothing complex in that degree from the Carleton of the east needed to understand it.

When I realized it was gone (no "undo"ing possible) I considered recreating it. The thought of rewriting what I had just written brought an overwhelming boredom over me. It was then that I thought, if it wasn't good enough for ME to read (write) again ... I'm getting boring.

My mother once told me that only boring people get bored. I'm not sure how that relates to this but it must, some how.

Sooooo, whilst I search for a new formula, let me tell you, with some serious exhuberation, when I walk through my front door I can turn lights on with a switch (for you 7 folks from the comments of the last post, that's a new thing for Casa Cornwell). The lights over the stove are now switch controlled as well. No more plugging them into an extension cord that was strategically placed over the gas tank for the stove.

And, just in case some of you haven't gotten sick of the old formula yet (or hadn't figured it out yet) are some photos...

That's Luciano, the 4th electrician in Casa Cornwell...unforunately, he probably won't be the last.

PS. If anyone needs an extension cord we are having a buy one get ten free sale. Offer good as long as supplies last, which will be a while.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

a note to readers and parents (mine)

Today I made pancakes for breakfast.* I had coffee with some friends. I gathered water from the town fountain.** I made soup. I watched a movie. And I knit. That's all I did. I wasn't capable of more. My parents wore me out. For old people***, my parents really know how to GO!!!****

How is this possible? I mean, I'm HALF their age, well actually we've passed that point where I was half their age a lot of years ago. But still, I was ready for WAY more naps than they were. Again I ask, how is that possilbe?

Of course, I'm just kidding. THEY didn't wear me out...all the dinner parties with friends here who wanted to extend their hospitality to my folks wore me out. I go to a lot of dinner parties, but not usually one every night in one week.

Too bad for you readers, I didn't bring my camera to all the parties. Except for this one with pals Augusto and Lina

I did however make some photos last weekend in Florence.

David met us in Florence and toured us a little with some nice people we met who just happened to be from the same town as my parents!!! Just kidding. Those are mom and dad's pals Barb and Pat. It was planned.

Then David took us to an amazing place in Montefalonico where we had a dinner that can't be explained...over the top in every way.

That's us in the kitchen with the owner/chef...she's the one not dressed like an american, because, well, she's Italian.

Ok. My photos are, shall we say, a bit spotty from this visit with my parents. I could write more, but without photo evidence you might think I'm making shit up. So, I'll just end with a note to mom and dad:

Mom and Dad, you guys are champs! I don't know how you did it. I hope you didn't sleep through your boarding call today. Thank you so much for the visit. This post could have easily been titled "not only Italians esagerare the generosity". Thank you for everything, but above all your time, your energy, your company and your love.

much love from, your aging daughter (Lynn, not Laurie).

*It was the first time I've ever made pancakes, truth be told. And more truth is that they were really mini cake-bricks. Any pancake making tips are welcome. In case you were wondering, I smuthered them with some Mrs. Butterworth that I had in the fridge from god-knows which visit home and they went down like butter....buttered cake-bricks.

**Of course, Casa Cornwell is without water...I had guests visiting, didn't I? See! It doesn't just happen when those folks from San Diego come to visit(HELLLLLOOOOOO Denise and Wayne!!!).

***Of course, I mean "old" in a relative way. Older than me but not as old as, say, her.

****Dad held his own and keep up the pace for dinner parties...could have beeen his new trainers.