Friday, July 31, 2009

Foto Op Friday...

I've been trying to think of something to pontificate about tonight on this post...nothing came to me. I seem to be pontificateless at the moment.

How about a photo update instead?

Ok. Be sure to turn on your music accompaniment brought to you tonight by Wayne.

Let's go somewhere over Maberga...

Das Needles Ladies review:

I did bring you all with me to the Needles this week, just was a bit lazy in posting about it. Here you are driving down the mountain with me

And here we are meeting Christine at the bottom of the road

We also picked up Natalie on the way here at the usual place, where the giant mushroom meets the Studebaker

Yeah,'s probably not a Studebaker and, as an American I should know what that beast is, But still...

Back to Natalie and our date with the needles

This is Montalto where Mette lives. Well, actually here's the view from Montalto

Ok, skip forward. Here's the knitting

Umm, we actually had a lot more fun than that photo shows. For example, we all marvelled at the helicopter sweater in all its finished (Danish) glory

And another finished (Danish) masterpiece

Then we all went home. Christine took some of Natalie's bamboo home with her on her vespa (sorry, shitty photo)

Garden photo update:


Can anyone not grow zucchini? Me. Apparently I can not. See all those nice flowers up there? Not one zucchini coming. And don't tell me to be patient because I've had about 1 million of those flowers since I've started this whole exercise in futility known as my vegetable garden.


Who wants to volunteer to eat those beauties? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Should I kick this guy off my one decent looking tomato?

I'm happy to report that the cane that I used to build the fence to keep the dogs out is growing at exponential rates. I expect that it'll be a 6 foot privacy by September

(In case you're new to OliveKnitting or maybe an avid reader but a little dim...NO! I did NOT intend to have the cane sprout and grow...I cut it dead and used its dead can skeletons like a , umm, I don't know who uses skeletons, but that's what I did. That little segment I wrote there about it growing into a privacy fence... that was sarcasm.)

For my own self esteem, let's leave the garden and go to the studio and newly finished FOs (sorry for that bad wording...what I just said, if you don't speak knitiano was something akin to "here's a photo of my just born new-born"...yeah, you just don't say any language)

Beautiful white clean cotton washcloths

Don't you just want to wash your face?

I call these "Big Socks"

because, they are some big socks.

A couple of new hats

Which are always way more enjoyable to photograph on my own head than they are to knit.

Some blue socks

Which are, ..., blue.

And the mittens.

A blue one waving

to the orange/brown/rust/terracotta colored one

And here's a photo catching them both in action

(PS. You all need to be in awe of that last photo since it's my hands in those mitts, my eye behind the camera, and my big toe on the 'take picture' button of the camera. Don't mention it...I'd do just about anything for you readers.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

while you're waiting...

for me to write an actual post, enjoy this fun video sent to me by Mike in Boulder.

We should all have so much fun at a train station! Or even in our own kitchens.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

a new summer Sunday tradition...

As you readers know, or not, I've recently become a fan of the minor league baseball team the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Every morning I check their standing and stats from the night before. I subscribe to and actually read their newsletter. I'm going to go see one of their games when I go to the States in September.

On Sundays, when they play at 2pm Wisconsin time which is doable-listening-time in Italy, I listen. I fire up my high speed internet connected computer and pull up WNAM-AM out of Appleton, Wisconsin while humming the National Anthem in anticipation.

Game day: hot dog for dinner (with pasta salad instead of chips or fries or kraut - I'm in Italy).

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers vs the Peoria Chiefs

Scarpetta is pitching for the Rattlers. He's my favorite. He sucks but I like his name. I can't wait.

Sold out crowd in Maberga for the game.

top of the first inning.... I cast on second sock of a pair, counting stitches and listening to the game, I manage to miss the Timber Rattlers' home run.

bottom of the 1st... change color in the sock, begin ribbing (the sock, not the Chiefs), still listening and manage to miss Peoria's two run homer.

second inning (top and bottom)...notice that the sky is pink, go outside to enjoy the evening, miss...apparently nothing.

top of the 3rd...come back inside, play a couple games of mahjong on the computer while listening to the game, and still some how miss the Rattlers' batting completely. Scoreboard says that I didn't miss much.

bottom of the 3rd...working down the leg of the sock and happen to hear that Peoria hit a grand slam.

top of the 4th...hear an announcement for the Fang soap dispenser give away (I missed the date when that game will be, make mental note to check the newsletter to see when this is and see if I'm eligible in absentia. Fang is, of course the mascot of the Rattlers), missed everything else that happened in this half of the inning.

bottom of the 4th... still knitting straight, no sock color change, but caught a Rattlers' pitching change. Rigoberto Almonte. Another great name (that's the name of the pitcher, not the color of the yarn with which I'm knitting. However, truth be told, I'd buy some Rigoberto Almonte yarn, sight unseen, just because it's a good name. As it goes, I feel the same about this pitcher). 6 Peoria runs score, and I get really far on the leg of my sock. Poor Rigoberto. Perhaps they should have stuck it out with Scarpetta.

top of the 5th...homer for the Rattlers! Yippee they're only losing 12 - 2 now. Oh, now it's time for Timber Rattler trivia in the 5th, I love this.

ooops, I forgot that I turned the water on to fill the vasca about 7 hours ago. The vasca would be full and over flowing by now (over flow happening probably even before the opening pitch)...time out Maberga as I go close the tap.

Shit. I missed the trivia question while tending to the water overflow. Back in time, however, for a another Rattler pitching change to some guy with such an uninteresting name that I've just heard it and have already forgotten it.

top of the 6th...At home listening to baseball via radio, I am missing the popcorn vendor and Scooter-the-BeerMan from Coors field in Denver. Thinking about Scooter, and Denver and popcorn and listening to the whole of the inning, I missed it all. It seems that neither team scored....nor did anything interesting happen.

top of the 7th...

7th inning stretch...

bottom of the 7th...

top of the 8th...I get an email invitation to dinner on Tuesday night, I write back, I miss the Rattlers loading the bases, and a run scored. Ok, now I'm listening...2 more Rattler runs score.

bottom of the 8th...Another pitching change, now the Timber Rattlers' shortstop Marseco is pitching, I love minor league baseball. 3 up, 3 down. Way to go Marseco.

top of the 9th...I don't mean to be pessimistic but the Rattlers are down 12 -5, it doesn't look good for the good guys. BUT, stranger things have happened in the minors.

Not tonight. Game over.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thanks, Earle!!!!

Being the tech savvy, digital genius I am, it's hard to believe it hadn't occurred to me that blogspot would have a built-in option for adding videos!

Thanks for the tip, Earle!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


(note: I"m starting a new thing today. I'll post a YouTube song that you can open in another window and listen to while you read the post...I thought it would add just another dimension to your OliveKnitting experience...ok, that's not true. I just like finding old songs that I like on YouTube. If you find this added dimension annoying, you can blame The Fun's Wayne's fault, or you can just read without music. Please send me links to songs you think would be fun to listen to while reading the posts because, I assure you, you will get sick of my music selections very quickly. Tonight's post's music companion is here

July 23, 8.30pm. I'm sitting at my computer with blood boiling wishing I had a cigarette hidden somewhere in the house. Another altercation with the neighbors about the dogs.

The dogs.

Pals Mary and Earle (aka: Earle in Denver) gifted us the book Marley and Me last time they came to visit. Being dog people themselves, they had read it and thought we'd find it funny.

Yeah, we found it funny.

When they gave it to us, we had just lost our "Saint Sparky". Mary and Earle knew us when we were Sparky people. When they came to visit we were getting used to a very young Ruffino.


While David and I did laugh aloud reading the book, we were laughing in irony or perhaps self pity. I think Mary and Earle found it funny that a dog could be so naughty. David and I found it funny that chronicling a dog's escapades as timid as Marley's would make a NYTs Best seller (and then a movie).

The world hasn't met Ruffino...nor his very keen apprentice, Q.

The neighbors have met Ruffino and Q. Let me tell you, ... they remind me every chance they get. Like tonight prompting my need for a smoke.

I had to take Q in today for a routine thingy. We went to a different vet than the 'weeds in the eyes' incidents of last month. When both the doggies were young and had a propensity for puking in the car so we took them to this place which is really nice AND a short drive. But as soon as they could handle it we started taking them to the 24 hours joint (I'll admit it. I liked going to this other vet just because it is open 24/7. That's pretty much unheard of Italy - for anything. Sometimes you just need that rush of being the only person in the Home Depot at 2.45am.).

It's been over a year since either of our pair have been to this clinic Q and I went to today. There are 4 people on staff at this place. We got the new girl, the only of the four who didn't know either of our dogs. Hmm? 25% chance that we would get the new girl...and we did, weird...I should go to Vegas...

The facility is a small one. I can't quite explain how this is possible but every room is connected to the other resulting in everyone (2 and 4 legged) passing through everyone else's examination.

Today, as each other member of the staff passed Q they said, "hello, Ruffino." Each time I said, "Ah..yes, almost...this is Q. The daughter of Ruffino."

"Ah, si si, certo. La figlia nera" Of course, the black daughter. "Ruffino e' biondo e un po'..."

"Yes, Ruffino is blond...and, yes, a little..." None of them finished the sentence. Neither did I.

Thousands of animals pass through this little operation in a year. Thousands. And all the staff remembered our dogs.

I felt really special. Then...

I got to thinking - wow. That's really amazing that they remember the names of all the animals. I've seen fewer than 100 English students in my time teaching and I couldn't tell you the names of even a quarter of them if they came back to the school for a visit.

The quarter I do remember fall into one of two camps 1) the students I got on really well with or 2) the pain in the asses. I always remember the P in the As, even better than the really nice students.

So I got to remembering the last time I brought Ruff to see these people when they had to put a muzzle on him...a muzzle is not, in my definition, "getting on really well". Thus, we can only deduce that Ruff falls into the second camp - he's one of the P in the As.

But wait...

They didn't remember Ruff. They confused Q for Ruff. Small, black female - big, blond male. Hmm....that's a tough confusion. It was then it occurred to me.

They didn't remember the pain in the ass dogs....they remembered me. Hmmm?

So this evening I'll do a little remembering. The P in the As of my life as well as the ones I've really got on with. As I think about it, the people I remember the most fall into both camps.

I'm sure that's what happened today at the vets' with the dogs. Yeah, I'm sure.

I'm sure that's the way it is for neighbor Franco, too.

I probably don't need that cigarette after all.

Ps. For those of you looking for photos of David, I don't have any. You can go to YouTube and search "Duvine Tuscany" or "Duvine Piedmont" or "Duvine Ireland" or "Duvine Puglia" and you'll find the slide shows he does for his clients. Usually there's a photo or two of him hidden in there somewhere.

Pss. I did eat the black peppers. I didn't die. Thank you, Carrie. The tomato was, as Earle said, not edible. Wood. It was shrivelled, orange wood.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How big are YOUR tomatoes?

Mine are small...and a little shrivelled, if I'm honest.

My first harvest:

Ok, I know. It's not very impressive. And if I hadn't asked for advice yesterday, I would have left these veggies on the vine waiting for them to, well, become more impressive. Z and Carrie from the comments convinced me they should be picked.

It's a little difficult to tell the size of the fruits of my labors from that photo above. I made some photos to give you a little perspective:

That's a kiwi there next to my vegetables. Hold on, that's probably not helpful since kiwi are not of a standard size. Yeah, ok most kiwi I've known have been about the same size but I don't know how big the kiwi have been in your lives. Just in case you've never seen an Italian kiwi, they are not extraordinarily large...let's try something else.

That's my shrivelled tomato next to a key. Keys are of a relatively standard size, so you can see there that my tomato is on the smallish size. Hold on, keys are only standard depending on how old it key is. For example if I had put the tomato next to my bedroom key

well, it would be hard to tell anything about the size of my tomato...or my key.

Let's get perspective from something even more standard...

That's a 1 euro coin. All 1 euro coins are the same size. This, of course, means nothing to you if you've never seen a 1 euro coin. Here's some perspective on the size of a 1 euro coin (for those of you who live or have visited the US)...

So you can see that my tomato is slightly larger than a 1 euro coin or a quarter, or a key,unless the key is my bedroom key then the tomato is notably smaller, like the kiwi.

Um... I suck at this perspective thing. Just trust me that my vegetables are small, shrivelled and their colors are a little off. Now I'm going to go eat them. If I live (Carrie, I'm trusting you that I can eat a black pepper), I'll let you know about it tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

a question...

Look at my peppers.

Are they supposed to be turning black like that? Like, are they on their way to becoming red? In my spectrum black doesn't come between green and red but perhaps it does in the pepper world?

Or is this more like when a tooth goes black - really NOT good news?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

comings and goings and some staying

I'm sitting alone in my newly rearranged, freshly cleaned kitchen with a new hair cut.

And a new fridge.

Yeah, David left again today.

That has nothing to do with the fridge but it can explain the sparkling and newly ordered kitchen and my new pixie-do. It's always the same on day he leaves... a big row in the morning as our tensions are running high in anticipation of separation, a kiss to make up, another to say good bye, then my home alone routine. It goes like this:

1. nap
2. rearrange furniture
3. clean the house
4. give myself a hair cut

I can't explain why have the need to do all these things...ok, the nap and the cleaning are obvious...but giving the house and my hair a new look? Whatever. Let's not examine it too closely.

His was a short visit but not an uneventful one.

Just to make him REALLY feel at home, the fridge broke down the first day. I couldn't have planned that so well. There are minor inconveniences and then there is your fridge on the fritz in mid-July in the northern hemisphere. Particularly so if you've grown very fond of your old fridge which was a lovely shade of blue and you live in a small, coastal town in Italy.

Ya know how hard it is to find a blue refrigerator that can be delivered the same day? Or month? Yeah, YOU CAN'T.

So we spent a lovely and rather smelly week with the old fridge and whatever of its contents we thought we could still possible consume scattered around the counters amidst piles of David's laundry in various stages of washed-ness. Truth be told, the fridge could have gone out a day or so before David came home and I didn't notice which did a lot for the fresh smell hovering in our cave like kitchen. Again, let's not examine too closely my in-ability to notice that I was drinking warm milk.

So about 5 minutes after the pre-departure row and 5 minutes before the post-row kiss, the new (white) fridge was delivered and the (beautiful blue) old one was taken away.

This week, in addition to the great excitement of a new fridge, we celebrated an anniversary of sorts. On July 14, 1999 David and I started what was then our year long sabbatical that now marks the start of our new life.

A decade of comings and goings and staying...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

David's home so we've all been pretending we're on holiday on the Italian Riviera.

Today we went swimming in the river.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The mystery continues...


They've been returned.

Or maybe they've never actually gone missing.

This is possible. I'm not known for being the most observant human on the planet.

Actually, I surprised myself a bit by noticing the gates were gone in the first place.

So, let's ponder what's happened here.

FACT: On Thursday July 2, Lynn notices that Cornwell gates are no longer attached to Cornwell posts where they'd been standing on Cornwell land for 6 years.

FACT: On Sunday July 5, Lynn has lunch with neighbors Augusto and Lina and mentions the "missing gates".

FACT: On same Sunday, at same lunch, Lynn asks Augusto if she should try to retrieve her gates by "asking around" the other neighbors. Augusto replies, "No. That shit's gone." (that, of course being my translation of what he said.)

FACT: Augusto and I were in agreement that there's only one suspect (and NO, it wasn't the neighbor I argued with about the water and the tubes, we both had a different gentleman in mind)

FACT: On Thursday July 9, Lynn notices that the gates are propped up against the walls on Cornwell land. Actually, only the bottom half.

FACT: On same Thursday, Lynn walks the Cornwell land looking for clues but can not get far because of 4 foot tall grass and brambles.

Now...what could have happened?

There are two possibilities as I see it:
A. They were stolen and returned.
B. They were never stolen, just taken off their posts and set aside.

Ok, so, if they were (A.) stolen and returned I can only see three explanations for this:
1. Word got around that I was blabbing my mouth about my gates being stolen to Augusto (who is respected by more neighbors than just myself) and the thief didn't want to have "brutta figura" (lose face) with Augusto so he returned them. Possible, not probable but possible.

2. The thief was not a thief at all, merely a borrower. In this scenario, he just had a little project for which he needed a couple of gates for a few days, noticed that we had just the right gates AND that we weren't using them. So he borrowed them and brought them back when he finished. Possible, not freakin' likely but possible.

3. The thief had had his eye on our lovely gates for years, after watching and waiting and being ever so patient for (as I said) years and finally convinced that we were never going to use them - he nicked them. He had them in his shed on his land for a week, spending hours every day cleaning them and admiring them and loving them. And spending hours every night awake in bed, in a cold sweat, completely remorseful that he'd taken those beautiful gates from his really kind American neighbors. After 7 nights of this, he couldn't take it any more and brought them back., this is not possible at all.

Since these explanations all failed, it's very possible the gates were never stolen. So let's look at (B.) in which the gates have been there the whole time, just not in the place where I left them.

There's only one explanation I can think of for this:

Since the gates were attached here,

like this,

and only the top half went up and down (which are still missing - piss me off), one actually had to go OVER the gate to get on our land.


Someone wanted to get something (or someone) on my land that can't lift a leg over the gate.

Now we're getting somewhere...the mystery continues.

While my brain ponders this, my hands will ponder this:

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

I can't believe he's gone...

Ok, truth be told, Michael never really did that much for me. I've always loved watching him dance but his music...well, I was in high school in the mid-80's, what choice did I have.

I've just been having a bit of a back and forth with my folks about Robert McNamara via email. I was asking for their thoughts about him...they were telling me their thoughts about him.

I found that, in the last email, I had ended by asking them if they thought that Robert McNamara would be buried in a $25,000 gold casket and be celebrated at the Staple Center stadium. Obviously with a little attitude.

Then, feeling a little damned by dissing the dead by being so disrespectful, I went to YouTube to have a quiet moment alone with Michael.

I went here. (Feel free to go there now and watch it, then come back. Those of you in the States might be sick of seeing this, I imagine it's been played a bit in the past week. It's not "Thriller", by the way.).

Ok, I admit it. I was laughing hysterically, crying a little and absolutely singing A LOT. That dude was a genius bringing all those people together like that. Come on. Who would put Dionne with Willie? Or Kenny with Paul?

And not just that, he included Steve Perry. Even gave him a solo line. That Michael must have had a big, generous heart.

Yeah, ok, he might have had a little help from Quincy, Lionel and Bruce on this song. But maybe this was his genius. There's no doubt the man had some kind of genius - people will debate what it was forever...well, or for a long time... or at least for the next couple of weeks.

A little note here to Michael (you guys can read it too if you want):

you were a great dancer. I loved that song "Beat it". You make me feel really old by dying just now. All the same, that was really nice of you to include Steve in "We are the World".
See you later,

Monday, July 06, 2009

It had a lot of the same elements of an American 4th of July celebrations, but also a few extras...

Just like folks all over the USA did on Saturday, pals Christine and Valerio opened their home to, well, a lot of people to celebrate Independence Day. Here are those hosts...

Small difference is that their home is in a country that is neither the country that was seeking independence nor the poor country that lost that revolution.

There were some Americans...

Unlike other parties celebrating the 4th, those were the only five Americans at the party of about 50 people. And one of those 5 is actually an Italian who is an honorary American having lived in New York for 35 years.

New York was almost as well represented as, well, the USA...

Like gatherings for the 4th EVERY WHERE there were grilled burgers and rain.

But Christine and Valerio's party also had ...

a Brit and a Hungarian husband and wife team patting the patties.

a 73 year old retired English farmer eating the first burger of his life.

And ...

A full, double rainbow with an Italian in a funny hat enjoying it.

Like many a good party, we had some kareoke...

And a retired British opera singer.

Also like all good parties, there was a guy from the Philippines who pulled up behind the wheel of a Honda Civic with New Jersey plates...

And of course, dancing and decorations...

(sorry about that photo. the decorations went way beyond those cool red, white and blue paper chains you see there...for example Christine spray painted stars all over the the patio - way cool).

Thanks Christine and Valerio.