Saturday, January 29, 2011

Das Needles 2011

It was a big day at the Das Needles' gathering.

One of us entered the wonderful world of sock knitting...

One of us cast off an awesome poncho...

One of us had a birthday...

And we all got gifts...

As the Danes say, "it wasn't so bad".

Thursday, January 27, 2011

So, last night I was driving home from a lesson and I got stopped by the police. Not THE police, just one guy who happened to be standing in the middle of the road I happened to be driving on who happened to notice that my lights weren't on. Lucky for me, I DID see the man in the middle of the road, despite my lack of light.

I must interject here that I know this cop. Well, I don't KNOW him but I've seen him around a lot. He closes off the road in front of the elementary school at pick up time at the close of the school day. One day I was there to collect a little friend of mine and I saw him at work. A young woman on a vespa had the gall to drive right through the blockade for the school pick up, ignoring all warnings that the road was closed to motor traffic. This diligent arm of the law went running after her screaming "THIS (the blockade)! THIS! THIS IS NOT AN OPINION!!!!!" Dude really does his job and takes the rules seriously. You gotta respect that.

"Turn your lights on", the Policeman shouted at me.

I politely responded to this man who takes the law (like driving in the dark with lights) seriously, "They are on.".

"No they aren't," he shouted back. "Pull over!".

The policeman had me check the lights, and damn if he wasn't right. No lights.

Funny thing is that the lights icon on my dashboard told me that my brights were on (I love Fiats). A funnier thing is that I believed the dashboard and not the reality of my total lack of vision in front of my car.

Luckily I was about a half of a block from my mechanic's shop.

"I'll go directly to my mechanic now."

"Not in the car you won't."

"But it's just around the corner."

"Nope. Too dangerous."

So I walked the half of a block, after parking my car illegally and saying a little prayer of hope to the car-god that my mechanic would still be in his shop at 6.30.

Let's all say a prayer of thanks to the god-of-long-lunches who gives mechanics working hours in the evenings.

"Ciao Domenico!"

"Where's your car? What's happened?" I guess people don't usually WALK to the mechanic shop.

"The police stopped me because my lights don't work."

"Where's your car?"

"Parked illegally in front of the Post Office."

"The post office? The one that is a half of a block away? Why didn't you just bring it straight here?"

"yeah. The cop wouldn't let me."

"oh, ^$&*^%^&*! Let's go."

Walking to my car Domenico the mechanic said, "so, where've you been? Did you go to America?"

"yeah. I did. 3 weeks!"

"&&%^%^! No! I was just kidding!"

In two seconds we were at the car, where we then stood outside of the car for about 15 minutes while I heard about Domenico's visit to the States several years ago...which I've heard about just about every time I've been to his shop in the past 4 years (which has been often. I love Fiats). Domenico drove from coast to coast. In case you were wondering, his favorite place was Las Vegas and he lost 10 pounds during that trip.

We drove to the shop, with the flashers on, and on the way we saw the cop -- who we promptly saluted with hand gestures hidden in the car that said "$^&%%&". Once at the shop, Domenico promptly changed both bulbs and then discovered that I'm actually American and not English. Which, by the way, he's known since my first visit to see him.

"*%%&*&&%! I thought you were English!"

Playing along, I said, "$&*&^*! I'm not ENGLISH! I'm american!"

This might explain his surprise that I had actually been in the States when he jokingly asked me.

So I gave him a few euro and went on my merry way to pick up some pastaccini and David for the dinner we had been invited to at Augusto and Lina's.

I told them my story.

"Was it the police with the light hair and the red face?", they asked me.


"Ah. Well..."

Apparently that explained everything.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I've been wanting to learn German for some time now. You know, for all those dinner parties I go to here in Italy...where the predominant language is German.

So anyway, David got me a German workbook for Christmas (along with Michel Thomas' language cd's - if you want to learn a language and don't know Michel, you're missing out). We had a German friend over for dinner the other night. I told her about my plan to learn German and showed her my book, as if I needed to prove to her that I was serious. Here's the book...

She just laughed and said, "ahhhh, 10 minutes a day. But it doesn't say HOW MANY days!"

She's got a point there. For the rest of my life is probably the answer.

Let's look at a few other things that can be done in just 10 minutes a day...for the rest of your life:

1. Cleaning the terraces.

In anticipation of David's return home from his summer season of work, I had asked Augusto to "clean the terraces" for us. I thought it would be a nice little gift I could give David...the gift being my not nagging him all winter to go clean the terraces. I also thought that with a couple days work Augusto would weed whack a bit and voila! No no no. I should know Augusto better than that by now. I should also have known better what the state of our terraces was.

So Augusto has been working, well, a lot. I've seen him taking machinery up to our land that I didn't even know existed in an effort to tame the wilderness that we've allowed to grow there. He did weed whack...where he could. He also cut down a ton of our trees that were either dead or so overtaken by weeds that they would be dead soon.

Then he said, "so now you guys got a little burning to do." That's like the understatement of the century. And then he said, "and you've got a lot of nice wood for your stove." Yep, we sure do. Except the "wood" is still in tree form that all needs to be chopped before we can even start the burning.

Bottom line is that I've given David (and myself) a really nice gift that keeps giving...just 10 minutes a day for the rest of our lives we'll be cleaning the terraces.

2. Mette's new shawl.

Yep, Mette's back which means the knitters are back together. She got this beauty from her husband as a Christmas gift.

No no no you non-knitters. He didn't give that shawl. He gave the PATTERN and the YARN to make it herself. What a guy!

Look at that thing! Makes me dizzy just thinking about the work that's going to go into that puppy. Mette, just 10 minutes a day....

and last but not least...

3. My new peasant dress.

Another Christmas gift I got was this awesome hand knit creation from my mom.

Can you believe that she made that for me? I'm sure THAT will totally put her at the top of the list for Mother of the Year this year.

And I'm sure she just had to work on that for, well, like 10 minutes a day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


So, I've recently reconnected with one of my old friends on that wonder of internet networking/great time-sucks known as Facebook. After the usual recapping of 20 odd years in 3-4 sentences, my old pal asked me this:

"Lynn, what is a girl who graduated with degree in economics from a rather prestigious school doing on the side of a mountain KNITTING?"

Well, Tommy (that's not really his name, by the way) here's the answer:

I'm working on this *

while I listen to this.**

*For you knitter/crocheters: if you aren't into animal hats, or maybe develop an involuntary nervous twitch to anything Martha, Lois (from comments fame) has this great project -- a perfect quick one for working on whilst listening to a radio play.

**For you non-knitter/non-economists: this is a very enjoyable explanation for the terrible state of the world's economy. And if you don't think you have the 45 minutes to listen to it, just don't get on Facebook tonight. Grab a glass or mug of your favorite beverage and settle in.

Friday, January 07, 2011

So I just got an email from Wayne (of the comments fame) telling me, and I quote, "Let's get up off of the couch and get back on that blog!!"

In fact, the couch is exactly where I have been. I can't help it, I've been digesting. And I find that's easier done in the horizontal position, preferably with a book or a movie.

A few nights ago we were invited to dinner for panini fritti. Yep, they are exactly what they sound like -- deep fried sandwiches. Whoa. I don't know if TNT tastes as good going down as panini fritti but the end results of the two is the same.

And yesterday was the Befana (aka: the epiphany, to Christians). Happy Befana. I've never really understood the Befana holiday. I guess I still don't. Befana is a witch. She comes on the 6th of January to bring presents to kids.

This site is kind of helpful for some Befana background. But I have my own theory which is that the Italians wanted to extend their Christmas holidays for yet another week after New Year, so they invented another holiday. They decided to make the mascot a witch because, apart from the gifts that she brings the kids, ya know what she really brings?

The end of your winter holidays. That witch.

So we were invited yesterday to celebrate the befana by, you guessed it, eating and drinking.

Pork was on the menu.

Are any of you who've been following OliveKnitting for awhile worried about the pig population in this country?...I'm starting to be concerned. Yesterday we had the usual 6 course meal. Of the six, only 2 didn't contain a pork product...those of course being the fruit/nut course and dessert. There were 5 pork dishes in the antipasti and 3 in the secondo. Oh yeah, and the primo piatto was ricotta and bacon stuffed cannelloni.

That's a lot of pork.

Just in case you were wondering, here was yesterday's Befana (or her husband) with the dessert....

Just a little tiramisu.

Today David and I did some grocery shopping. We've never bought so many veggies at one time. I should be off the couch in no time at all.

Happy New Year, Everyone.