Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pasqua 2014

Just 'cause I don't have anything else to write about I'll share some Easter photos. 

Ok, that was a lie.  I do have stuff to write about but I'm feeling a little lazy. 

Ok, another lie.  I'm not feeling lazy at all.  In truth, I'm back on the smack...granny smack

And I'm really anxious to get back to it.

So here is a photo post from two weeks ago.

this is what dogs do in italy on easter.  Actually, that's our dogs on Easter.  I have no idea what other dogs do on easter.
 antipasti and a zia
 Augusto sitting down to dinner with a bit of flair
 Nonno, the host
a random photo of the table
 a photo of the underside of my plate, and my spoon looking a bit larger than it was
 primo, seafood pasta
 this is dessert and cheese, obviously I lost a few hours and courses between the pasta and this...
 le nonne
 a really enormous lemon that turned out to be, after sniffing, not a lemon
 and then the fave and salami

 the cook and her mom
Well, that was fun.  Now I'm off to my hook and smack.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Road to Paradise is long and rough...

I said to my mechanic today.

"And it wears out your car."  he replied.

Yep.  Sure does. 

I didn't really mean to go to the mechanic today, it was just a by-product of the errand I went to Taggia for.  I had to go to the bank with the new president of the Maberga Consortium to change signatures on the consortium account.  This is the second time we've tried to do this.  Last time we didn't have the right documentation.

I was a little early for our appointment (one of those American quirks I haven't yet shaken) and the mechanic is across the street from the bank, so I stopped by.  I have been meaning to go to see him since my speedometer cable broke about a month ago but, well, it's the speedometer not the brakes so I've been putting it off. Coincidentally he had the cable AND some time to change it this morning while I went to the bank.  Whoa, what luck.  So off to the bank I went leaving my car in the good hands of Domenico.

At the bank, no such luck.  The director wasn't in and the vice director (or whatever his title is) said that we still didn't have the right documents.  Actually, he laughed at what we showed him.  He took some photocopies of the funny papers we had produced, as well as our identity cards and the phone number of the president.  While photocopying my id card he noticed my last name and quickly concluded that it would be better to have his director phone a Baesso than a Cornwell, so he didn't bother with my phone number. We left the bank needing to wait for the director to phone and then we'll go back to try again.

Meanwhile back at the mechanic's, the speedometer cable he had ordered didn't fit so I'll have to go back next week for that but he did notice that my brake pads were completely gone.

The road to paradise is long and rough.  It wears out your car and often your patience.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Maberga Spring Retreat 2014

Which is a fancy way of saying that I'm home alone with nothing scheduled for 3 days and will  therefore not leave the mountain.  I bought all my favorite foods, got a new book, stocked up on magazines, yarn, paint and hair removal wax so, pretty much, I'm set.

Also in preparation, I made myself a little framework to organize my time.  Actually, it was an hour by hour schedule of what I'd be doing for 72 hours. I don't want to waste my time and, if you are not in the practice of relaxing, it's not easy.  Blogging wasn't actually on the schedule for today, but after dinner is "free time" so I'm using it to write. Yes, you should feel honored, and also a little concerned about my control issues...but I digress.

Day 1:

Got a good jump on the day (though I threw the schedule off before even getting out of bed) by waking at 6.15 before the alarm which was on the schedule for 7.  By 6.30 the dogs and I were off on a pre-sunrise walk.  We went

Obviously, by the time I got back to the house and took that photo, the sun had risen.

Next, baking a little banana bread for breakfast and my daily journalling.

After breakfast there was a rather messy and unsuccessful (and very painful) first try at waxing my legs.  Actually, I only got to about a quarter of one leg before I gave up. Um, yeah, no pictures of that.  

By 10.00 the dogs and I were off again, this time to the orto.  I find picking stones out of dirt very relaxing....more so than plucking hairs off my body.

Our rocky orto
The 2x3 meter plot I picked stones out of for 2 hours
I didn't have anything to plant in it, but it's ready now.

While I was picking stones, Ruffino decided his retreat included a mud bath treatment

And Q went, well, wherever Q goes to find shit like this
which of course is some kind of furry bloody mangled animal remains.  Q wasn't carrying it on the shovel.

By noon it was back to the garden for some sun and a little bit of crafty time including this

Which then made me want to do some of this
Which got interrupted by a visit from some of these
which are of course 3 Maberghine women...a few of the last to actually live up here full time...except for me.  We drank water and ate homemade cakes and canestrelli.  Then we all went up to the old village of Maberga. They told me stories of being children up there, stealing figs from neighbors for entertainment, and carrying food to the 3 young Maberga men who hid in the forest when the Germans came during the war. Even this control freak can recognize a lovely diversion of a schedule when it comes.

Half hour of Pilates (Pilates sucks)
Dog baths
Lynn Bath

And here we are enjoying my "free time". This retreat is just so relaxing. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.  No, actually I don't wonder.  I've got it all written down and posted on the fridge.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

You can just call me Signora Secretary

Yep, by unanimous vote at a meeting of the consortium of Maberga land owners, I am official charged with the shittiest job of the board.  My responsibilities:
1.  collect the annual dues from all members
2.  take notes at the meetings.

The latter being completely impossible.

Most people reading this blog have been to meetings, have organized and run meetings, even.  Personally, in a previous life, I had a job in which all I did was go to meetings.  In fact, at that organization, we had a meeting every Monday morning so we could all inform each other of the meetings we were attending that week.  We did meetings well... it could be questioned how much we accomplished, but the meetings were done well. I suspect most of you know what a well run meeting looks and feels like.  Picture that.  Now, picture the exact opposite.  Welcome to the Maberga Consortium.

Yeah, pretty much as a group we hit every meeting-no-no that exists...
--no agenda
--everyone talks at the same time
--no rules of order
--everyone talks at the same time
--no one listens
--everyone talks at the same time
--people come and go
--3 different languages are spoken ... at the same time

For about half  the meeting yesterday I had one guy, we'll call him Bepe speaking in my left ear in Calabrian dialect and another guy, we'll call him Nino speaking in my right ear in Ligurian dialect, neither of which I speak.  During the whole meeting about 5 people were yelling at each other in a mix of the two languages, plus a little Italian.

This is why I might have some trouble taking minutes at these meetings.  The other reason being that I am basically illiterate in Italian.  No one asked me if I could write when they made me secretary.

That was yesterday, today was considerable more enjoyable...and peaceful.

We throw open the door of our locker ...

And got to it...

We planted tomatoes, acorn squash, zucchini, cucumbers, cilantro, parsnips, and a raspberry.

 I'd like to present the Cornwell Orto 2014

 We still have a little ways to go...