Sunday, August 31, 2014

Toilets, Peppers, and Circus Tents

So, our toilet seat broke, again.  You might remember when my dad and I fixed the toilet seat a few years ago.  I'm sure that's top on everyone's itinerary when coming to Italy - fixing a toilet seat.  Anyway, my dad was a great help.  Truth be told, I didn't even know one could change a toilet seat til my dad suggested it.  I had, of course, seen the aisle of replacement seats in hardware stores my whole life.  I'm not sure what I thought those were for, but it hadn't occurred to me in the first 6 years of living in Maberga with a broken seat that I could purchase one of them and solve my toilet problem.  Not until my dad suggested it. 

Well, turns out that the seat we bought a few years ago did the trick for a while, but then it too started sliding all over the place when you sat on it, just like its predecessor.   Remember that ride at the County Fair, the Tilt-A-Whirl?  Yeah, that was what it was like, a Tilt-A-Whirl built for one.

Whilst it's a bit unnerving to sit-n-slide on one's toilet seat, it's worse to sit and slide into a pinch, which is what you get when the toilet seat has a crack in it.  That's when you know that it's time to change the seat again. 

Nothing makes a girl feel more like a princess than sitting on a seatless toilet in her own home. 

Before any of you ask (dad and Wayne), yes, I did try tightening it.  For the past several months I've been using this tool more than my toothbrush.

That happens to be the super-awesome HANDMADE toilet seat screw tightener that my mechanic made for my dad and me.  It's a long story how it came to be that my car mechanic was making us a toilet seat screw tightener... The Self I went.  You may remember that The Self is "the world of DIY".  It's the Home Depot of Italy. Only it's neither of those things.  It sucks. 

Having done a google search about how to change a toilet seat, I knew what I needed.  You'd be amazed how much info there is about toilet seats!  go ahead, try it yourself -- google "how to change a toilet seat"....amazing, no?  I digress.

It turns out toilet seats come in round and oval (if you have an old toilet, if you have a new-fancy-smancy one it could be square....just like everyone's ass).  Dad and I put a round seat on our oval base.  Whatever!  The seat looked oval. Anyway, thus the tilt-a-whirl effect, the seat was too small.  So when I went to The Self that Sucks, I found a seat on the toilet wall that had all the right measurements, according to the tag that was on the demo (foreshadowing).  So I snatched that puppy up and home I went.  

Yeah yeah yeah, you can predict what happens.  I got home and that seat was another frickin round one....NOT the measurements that were posted on the demo at The Self that Sucks.

Blah blah, shouting at The Self that Sucks employee (who also sucked) blah blah blah, home with new toilet, blah blah blah...

Job well done.

Well, that was an interesting story.  How 'bout an up-date on the 2014 harvest....


 Lina gave us this great big needle for pepper stringing.  I have no idea what we will do with all these pepperonici when they are dried - that's David's problem.  I just like stringing them.

In other needle news...Circus top hats are rolling of the knitting needles.  And I'm selling them faster than I can make them.  Friends, I should have the money for that new house project any day now.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ol' 55

David had a birthday.

Lynn: "David, what do you want for your birthday?"

David:  "I want to see Augusto on a bicycle."

Lynn:  "you got it."

Here in photos we have an awesome day spent with some dear friends (one good athlete, one good can guess who is who) helping David be one year older.

 (Yes, that is blood.  No one's quite sure how that happened.  Bloody arm on a bike ride?)

 Well my time went so quickly, I went lickety-splickly out to my old '55
As I drove away slowly, feeling so holy, God knows, I was feeling alive.
Now the sun's coming up, I'm riding with Lady Luck, freeway cars and trucks,
Stars beginning to fade, and I lead the parade

happy birthday, Love. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Running errands

Come on along.  We're having some people for dinner and need a few things....

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I think they'd be happy

So the other day I was bending down to pick up a rug and my back cracked. I just doubled over on the floor, legs paralyzed in that excruciating pain that comes from the back.  Luckily I was in the bathroom, where I could crawl (using my arms....thank you pilates) to the basket on the shelves where we keep the medicine.  Some of you may recall that this happened to me once before so I knew that I had some kind tube of miracle cream that would ease the pain.  Sure enough, I found an entire basket full of tubes of miracle creams - all with medicinal (aka: not helpful) names and none with descriptions of what they are for.  Not knowing which one relieves back pain, I chose the tube that looked most familiar to me and hoped that I wasn't rubbing athlete's foot cream on my back.  Then spent the rest of what should have been a very productive and enjoyable Sunday shuffling from chair to chair with my book, trying to be comfortable.

And thinking a lot about my grandmas. You know, feeling old leads to thoughts of grandmas.

I had these two really amazing grandmas.   Both of them had a knack for taking nothing and making  something - usually, something beautiful.  I love that.  Maybe all grandmas are that way, maybe not.  Mine were.  Let me give some examples.

Grandma Moersch took her daughters' childhood dresses and made quilts.  For my 9th birthday she made me some down pillows using the mattress ticking and feathers from her parents' old mattress.  She used to also take a cow and make a lot of milk.

Grandma Serpe used to collect the empty flour sacks from her son-in-law's bakery to make sheets. My dad tells me they were the most uncomfortable things ever, but I still think it's totally cool. She also used to take half her back yard and make enough food to, when need be, feed a family of 7 for a year.

Skip forward to today...still shuffling, but mobile enough to make it to the orto to harvest these

Tomatoes for sugo batch 4.

And then, looking for things I can do standing up, I started cutting these squares for my next patchwork blanket.

Thanks for showing me the way, Grandmas.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tetris, Tons, and Tomatoes

Ever stacked olive wood?  Yeah, me neither.

I have, however, stacked a lot of wood since moving to Italy.  Not to brag or anything, but I'm pretty good at it.  It's like doing a puzzle.  Or rock climbing. Actually it's a lot like a life-sized, heavy, dirty game of tetris.

Which would explain my advanced skill level - I went through a tetris phase. I'm going to toss out a little theory here that says just about anyone who was in middle school in 80s would be a good wood stacker.

Wait, I'm a little off topic here, we were talking about olive wood, stacking OLIVE wood.

Maybe some of you have stacked Elm wood

or  maybe a bit of Oak wood

This would make you amateur wood stackers.  Babies.  Half-stackers. tee-ball stackers. Wanna enter the wood stacking big leagues?  Cut one of these gnarly bad boys into stove-sized pieces and start stacking

All I can say is.....who's your mamma?  I am.  I am your wood stacking mamma.

Ok, it's not so pretty but  it is 10 quintale (half ton) of olive wood in 4' x 3' x 6' stack.

David thinks that should keep us warm for about a week and a half.  So he picked up a little backup

Those would be small pieces of Brier wood from our pal Mimmo who has a business treating and cutting brier wood into pipe sized pieces to sell to people who make pipes - pipes for smoking, not tubes. I bet you never thought about where pipe makers get their wood, did ya?  Well, they get it from Mimmo.  And we get his left-over bits, in easy to stack bags.

Speaking of stacking, here's the stack of veggies from today's harvest.

As I type David is making our 3rd, THIRD, batch of sugo for jarring.

Umm, that doesn't look like much, it was just one batch.  Anyway...

Winter.  Bring it on...