Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blank Screens

Here I sit. It's 10.55pm on New Year's Eve. I'm staring at a blank screen. It seems some what appropriate, ya know, in that symbolic kind of way. 2010 - a new year, a new decade in the new millennium, the start of the second decade in this Italian life thing, the start of the 4th decade on the planet....a blank screen.

So what's going to happen in 2010, I'm asking myself?

What's going to happen in this blog post, you're asking yourself?

Blank screens. And it's my choice how to fill them. Wow. What power. What possibility. What responsibility and pressure. What hope.

I'm choosing fireworks for both.

I'll keep you posted about the fireworks in 2010 as they go off. Until then, Happy Happy New Year to your house from mine.

PS. 100 POSTS! YEAH! I MADE IT! This bodes well for the new year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

ha ha ha

There's been some kind of cosmic joke and Casa Maberga is the butt.

Water has been falling from the Mabergese sky for going on 2 weeks now. So much water that it's been shape shifting just to keep life interesting. A couple of days we had solid water. A lot of days we've had liquid water. And then, tossed in every third day or so is a vapor day, like today. The fog is so thick today that going for a walk soaks you to the bone. I went for a walk this morning until I heard the hunter's first shot and figured, well, pea-soup fog and gun fire is not an experience I need to have.

Water has been running down the road like it were a river. The ground is so saturated it seems we've gone on holiday to the Everglades. The front patio has grown a velvety green fence-to-fence carpet of moss. Our roses are in bloom. Poor Mario down the road, you know, the guy with the wooden house, has had two-thirds of a very large stone wall on his property collapse under the weight of wet earth.

It's a lot of water.

Here's the punch line...two days ago we noticed that there was no water in our water reserve up on the land and that no water was coming into our vasca. There's water in the trees, there's water in the ground, and on the road, there's water running in under the door, and hanging on the clothesline, there's water on the cat. There's water everywhere - everywhere except in our vasca.

Isn't that funny?

PS. I know, I'm taking it down to the more day, one more post. Will I make it?!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Yeah, yeah, I know. I've only got 4 more days to write three more posts to reach my 100 for the 2009 year. So here I am.

I find it interesting how some of the regular OliveKnitting readers respond to my absences from posting. Mike in Boulder usually sends me a little email just to say hi or to share something he's recently found on the internet. I don't know if you mean them this way, Mike, but I read between the lines a gentle nudging, a little reminder that there are people out there who actually do tune into this blog and therefore I'd better post something. There's not as much subtly from Wayne of TFC, "LYNNA, HOW ABOUT A BLOGGA!" (Wayne and the other half of TFC, his wife Denise, visit Italy often. They like to think they speak the language.) Mette sends an email asking what I've been knitting, which obviously must be so cool that I'm not blogging. My parents' hints come separately. Mom's resembles Mike in Boulder's in that it's a gentle nudge concealed in an email about the weather in Wisconsin. Dad's has that more direct tone like Wayne's (except that my dad would never call me Lynna since he hates that name and cringes every time he's visiting and hears an Italian call me that.)

I know there are a few of you other readers, regular readers who don't say anything when a week or more goes by and you're staring at the same post. Feel free to let me know in whatever way you feel comfortable that I'm shucking my responsibilities as a blogger. I really buckle under peer pressure.

It's really time to post when my husband, who ISN'T a regular OliveKnitting reader says, "time to post a blog!". That must mean that it's been a really long time since I've written 'cause the dude doesn't check very often. Actually today was the first time EVER that he's said that to me. It's very possible that he has no idea when I last posted but rather he really would like me to get out of the same room that we have shared with the 2 dogs for the past 5 days.

Yep, Maberga house arrest 2009. I won't go into the gory details...mostly because I have a dinner party to go to in 20 minutes and I should have been writing about them whilst they were happening. Let me give you the haiku version of our Christmas week.

snow, mountain road closed
pipes freeze, rain, mudslide, road closed
more rain, more mud, closed

That about sums it up.

I've got more to say about the sweater I had to unravel, and how it's my blog-aversary today and everything like that but that haiku took most of the 20 minutes I had till that dinner party.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

This Life

I meant to write yesterday but David and I joyfully discovered podcasts of This American Life. It started with this one at about 10am and went non-stop until midnight when I fell asleep trying to squeeze in one more before my eyes closed. If you've never listened to This American Life, I highly recommend it. And I'm not just saying that because I got sucked into the first one by my pride of being from Wisconsin (that was sarcasm...which you would recognize if you listen to that podcast I linked to above).

Anyway, enough about that American Life, let's talk about this Italian life, shall we?

So, David and I had some really special plans for the weekend. I mean, so special that I've been living in anticipation for the weekend for over a week since we had made these plans. I was so excited that I couldn't even talk about them here with you guys, lest I jinx myself and the weekend outing would not come to pass. But now, since these much awaited days' events were cancelled, I can talk about them.

We were invited by a friend of ours to spend the whole weekend with her and a group of other friends....

are you ready????...

picking her olives.

"oh my gosh!!! Thank you so much for including us in this. That's awesome. I can't wait!"

I spent the week trying to catch a cold. Or break a leg. Or get diarrhea.

Ok. I must interject here, that I fully recognize that there are many many people, including many of you reading now, who would give their eye-teeth or just a lot of money to have a weekend on a mountain in the Alps, a view of the Mediterranean Sea in the distance, an international group of really funny and interesting people to chat with whilst hanging from olive trees picking their fruit. In truth, I realize that now but had forgotten it until I was complaining to Mette about the weekend plans and she wisely pointed this out to me.

I don't mean to be unappreciative or ungrateful for the beauty of the opportunities that health, age, location, and general fortune have lain before me. I just don't like picking olive. If you are an anally retentive perfectionist (in recovery), seeing a tree with 1 million branches each containing 2 million olives that need to be picked by hand, it makes you want to curl up in a ball by the trunk and weep for your mother. I know this sounds odd coming from a girl, same aforementioned anally retentive perfectionist (in recovery), who knits. May seem odd that one who finds joy in creating a full-length wool jacket one stitch at a time would not find pleasure in the one-at-a-time-ness of the olive thing. I can't explain it. Maybe I like wool more than olives. Maybe I like sweaters more than oil. Maybe I like working alone instead of in a group. Who knows...let's just accept here that I don't like olive picking.

So Saturday morning I lie in bed, in anticipation of the day, doing a full body scan: bowels working just fine, no broken bones, not even a cough. Then I rolled over and saw this



I run downstairs to check for sure...

Can it be? Could it really be a ....

SNOW DAY!!!!!!!!!


Let me tell ya all something about snow days, they were awesome as kids but nothing compared to how they are for adults.

We played on the terraces with the dogs, I knit for about 20 hours, we ate homemade pizza for lunch and homemade chicken soup for dinner. We invited some neighbors in for a coffee who came up the hill on foot. And we listened to This American Life.

Snow days are awesome.

Oh, yeah, ok, so there are some minor inconveniences too. Like, ya know, water.

It seems that our water system has a hidden, double edged sword built in. We didn't even ask for that cut-us-coming-and-going feature, nope, it's just built right in. It looks like this: Do we keep the water running from the vasca so it doesn't freeze in the pipes, or do we turn it off so as not to waste the only unfrozen water we currently have which is that contained in the vasca?

Just a something to ponder on a snow day.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A rainy Wednesday in Maberga. A very cold rainy day in Maberga.

Doesn't that just make you want to potato print things? Yeah, me, too!!!!

1. Maberga Designs Christmas cards going out to a few special customers. Yes, thank you, I DO realize that Christmas is in one week and that they have a long way to travel AND I'll be utilizing the amazingly efficient outfit known as the Italian post. But what the hell? It's Christmas, if you can't have hope and blind belief at this time of the year, well, forget about if for the other 11 months, you're screwed.

I've hung a pair of earring on each card so they look like little ornaments hanging from that potato print tree. I doubt that the recipients will have nearly as much fun receiving them as I did making them. Too bad for them.


The keen observer noting the elephant printed on that sheet will guess that I've branched out from mere potatoes this time. Or the keen observer might think that I've really made progress in my skills with the exacto knife on a potato. Oh no, I haven't. That elephant stamp was a gift from pal Mette after she saw the star skirt last summer. That Mette...shucks. She's always so good at taking my craft to new levels. The big yellow blobs came from an apple. I was hoping it would look like the elephants were following a star but instead it looks like a bunch of elephants printed on a sheet with a bunch of big yellow blobs.

Well, that's all the news from Lake Maberga where the woman is nuts, the man smokes a pipe and the dogs are above average.

PS. With today's, I will have posted 96 times this year to OliveKnitting. I'm shooting for 100. Think I can do it? That's just four posts in like a couple weeks - NO PROBLEM!!!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

olives and holidays

Since I've been a little, umm, shall we say, umm, ABSENT let's do a little catch up. (Catch up is a blogger's trick employed when we really don't have anything witty or deep or interesting to say. Oh wait, in case you didn't realize, everything I post here is either deep, witty, or interesting.)

Catch up 1. Thanksgiving.

Great food and great company at pals Christine and Valerio's house.

We had all the proper thanksgiving foods which is not easy to do in this country. Cranberries just don't exist here. Sweet potatoes...forget about it. Christine brought all the necessary goods all the way from the States. Now that's a hostess with the mostess.

And, for the knitters reading this knitting blog (both of you)...if you've ever wondered what to do with all those little things you knit while watching movies in the evening, I've found just the thing! I mean, come on, how many hats and socks can one family wear?

White Elephant! (if you don't know what that is go here)

Just wrap those suckers up and voila! Instant party game with entertaining photo ops.

Catch up 2. The olive harvest.

Yeah. Whatever. We didn't harvest. I didn't pick one olive this year. Wait, not true. I did pick a few while we were up cleaning the land to throw at David. I don't think we can really call that an olive harvest. But don't fret! We will be getting oil from our own olives! Perhaps you're wondering how that can happen? Well, I'll tell you. Being the clever Tom Sawyer Americans we are, we "let" the neighbors pick them for us! Brilliant. I don't know why it took us 6 years to figure this out. The way it works: you give your olives to someone else, they pick them and give you half the oil. Half the oil from our olives is a whole lot more oil than we would have gotten had we had to pick them ourselves.

Here's a photo of the neighbors doing our work for us.

Yeah, I know, that photo sucks. I was trying to take photos without the neighbors seeing me hiding inside the house.

And speaking of taking time to learn things, check this out:

See that blue stick thing that looks like a broom handle? Well, it's NOT! It's a generator-powered olive picker! Those neighbors cleared all our trees in a morning! And it only took 2000 years for the Italians to invent that. I bet DaVinci had a drawing for one of those 500 years ago, he just never got around to making one.

Catch up 3. Tis the Season. David picked some olives this his usual way - with the saw. Now we have a Christmas tree!

So, if you'll excuse me now...that puppy needs some lights!

Caught up.