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?