Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Weird, in a good way?

So, I've received a few emails about my last post. The predominant reaction was "hmmm? that was weird."  Good weird or bad weird?  Whatever, it doesn't matter because it wasn't weird at all for me to wake up with a children's rhyme in my head.  Not when you compare it to this weird....

Now that's weird.  No, I didn't make it.  I could have done but then I wouldn't be including it in a weird-themed blog.  It wouldn't be weird if I made that because I make stuff like that.  It's weird because it was a gift to me from David's barber.  Yep, David went to have all the hairs from his neck up trimmed and came home with that origami dragon, made by his barber. 

Let me back up a little....

A few weeks ago we had a forno aperto with about 15 people.  Among the 15 where Pino the Barber and his wife, who had walked (4 hours over the mountains) from the next village up called Badalucco.  It was the first time the Barber and his wife had been to Maberga.  Wandering through the house Pino stumbled upon my papier mache (probably quite literally since it is currently consuming all available house space).  He got inspired.

Last week we were at a birthday party lunch and who shows up but Pino the Barber!  Ok, that's not a big surprise since Badalucco has a population around 1200, of which only about 200 are under 70 years old**...so the chance of our being at the same birthday party are pretty high.  Anyway, Pino the Barber says to me, "I made you something!"  And then we proceeded to discuss paper mache recipes throughout lunch.

Ok, I don't know if that's weird or not?  Maybe everyone's barber is into arts and crafts?  Yeah, ok, it's weird.  But it certainly is good weird.

**I totally made up all those statistic.  That's just what it feels like.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ya know, I really couldn't live here, on top of a mountain, in a country that is not mine by birth, in a country whose mother tongue is not english, if it weren't for the internet.

This morning I woke up with the line of a song on replay in my head:
   She swallowed the spider to catch the fly

So while I was doing my pre-turn-the-computer-on routine that involves cajoling the embers in the wood stove back into fire, letting the dogs out to pee, and making my coffee, I was thinking about that Old Lady.  What did she swallow to catch the spider?  a mouse? a snake? a shoe?  Then David came downstairs.

L:  David, what did the Old Lady swallow to catch the spider?
D:  good morning to you.  ummm, I think a mouse because she swallowed the cat to catch the mouse.  But I don't know the rhyme.
L: It's maddening not to remember.  When that annoying song is first burned into your brain you think, god this thing is going to take up precious brain space for the rest of my life.  I"m never going to forget it.  And then one morning you wake up and you can't even remember the third verse.  I mean, the Old Lade and the Fly is nothing like the 12 days of Christmas.  That one is impossible to remember even though you hear it or sing it at least once a year.  11 Lords a Leaping but how many Maids a Milking?!  And 10 , 10, 10 what?  And 12, we should be able to remember that one because that means that the long-ass song is almost over.  12 what?  See, that's nothing like the Old Lady.  12 Days of Christmas is just random.  there's no reason that he gave her 2 turtle doves instead of 10.  But the Old Lady, that has some logic.  There's the whole food chain progression to it - or at least animal size progression.
D:  I'm pretty sure we can look it up.

Phew, thank god for the internet.  If we didn't have the internet what would I have done?  What did any of us do before the internet?  I guess I would have started asking everyone I saw what caught the spider until I found someone who remembered.  Not very likely found in Italy.  Or maybe I would go to the library or a book store and look in the children's section.  Again, tough to imagine finding here.  I could have called a family member or friend in America, but with out skype that would be some expensive research for a pointless factoid.

So, let's all thank Al Gore for having invented the internet.  And you all can thank me for putting that song into your head first thing this morning.  Have a nice day.

It was a bird, by the way.  No mouse.  She never swallowed a mouse.



Thursday, January 15, 2015

Better late than...

It's another late-themed blog post.  It doesn't bode well for 2015 that everything I'm doing is late.  Or maybe, another way to look at it is that 2015 is not "the late year" but rather "the year I get shit done".  Yeah, that's better.

I've just finished the ornaments for our Christmas tree



They are little papier mache birds, painted and repainted. I think they are lovely, but then I would...I made them.

That tree that they are posing in was not our Christmas tree but rather one of the many olive trees in the Lane Olive Orchard.  Remember the Lane Olive Orchard? Of course you don't because I said in that post 2 years ago that I'd tell you more about that later.  Well, I guess now is later.... Anyway, the Lane Olive Orchard is the new collection of olive trees gifted to us by my auntie and uncle as a big thank you to David and me for hosting their daughter's wedding.  How cool is that?!  Very cool, is the correct answer.  Thank you thank you thank you to my thoughtful aunt and uncle.  You'll get the first bottle of oil, which you will probably receive on Bump and Dong's 20th wedding anniversary.*



Over the holidays we planted our fava beans (aka: broad beans.  totally delicious eaten raw with salami and a glass of red wine, also consumed raw). 










 I think we were only 2 months late in getting that job done. 

Remember when all the shelves in my pantry fell down when my parents were visiting?  Yeah, probably not because that was 3 years ago, which makes this the "better late than..." winner.  When I cleared away all the shit that had pulled down the shelves, I found one of our steps with a huge chunk broken off.  Imagine you chip one of your front teeth, say, on a beer bottle.  Then imagine that you don't go to the dentist for 3 years to get it fixed.  You don't fix it even though you see it 10 times a day when you look in the mirror, and think 'I need to fix that.' You don't take action even though you have to delicately brush it twice a day, and think 'damn, I gotta fix that'. You don't fix it even though you run your tongue over all day everyday for 3 years all the while thinking 'dentist dentist gotta go to the dentist'.  Yeah, that was our step for 3 years.  


It's a bit ridiculous that it took us so long to call the step dentist because in 2 hours it was done.
Yeah, it's a different color than the other steps but, well, it's like that chipped tooth - you can't expect the enamel filling to match your beer stained original tooth.  Nor can you expect the filler to make all your other teeth any straighter.



* we've been told that it will only take a couple of years for the trees to produce olives.  This is hard for me to believe, but then, a lot of things I don't believe actually happen.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

a little late

Oh...is it New Year already?  Happy New Year.  I'm a little late.  Or maybe I'm early for next year.  I didn't say which new year I wish you happiness.  Like that stale, yet painfully true Italian joke about tradesmen:

man A:  my plumber said he'd come to do the work on Tuesday.  Today is Saturday and I still haven't heard from him!

man B:  ah, but he didn't say WHICH Tuesday.

If you're wondering where I've been for the past month since it's obviously been better than hanging out on a computer blogging, I just have two words - pizza oven.

We've revived an old italian tradition (or is it a custom?  I always confuse the two).  In the olden days, each little mountain village had a communal wood oven for baking bread.  It would be fired up once a week and everyone brought their bread to bake.  David's been playing around with tons of new bread recipes and he thought this sounded like a good plan.  Forno Aperto we call it -- open oven.  In the past month we've had 3.  An Open Oven day goes something like this:

For several days before the event, David makes pizza dough, just a little.  (yeah, I way oversimplified what David does to prepare dough, but that's his story.  He can post that on his blog)


On the day of, people come with their dough to prepare....



while someone (usually Gino and David) prepares some farinata (a kind of pancake made from chickpea flour, baked and covered with olive oil, salt and pepper).  
So we start eating, and maybe have a glass of wine (or two)
Then everyone has to chip in.  The pizza dough comes out and one by one everyone makes a pizza with all sorts of toppings of their choice.






And we eat them.  Once everyone has had enough, then it's time to take the coals out of the oven and put the bread in.

Some people just stand around and watch at this point...
Then we have the obligatory hang out time whilst the bead is baking
And then,  ecco ci qua


bread.

So that's where I've been.  That and, well, the whole Christmas thing happened which looked like this





Yeah, ok, crappy photos.  Sorry about that.  Except for that one of Lina with the homemade noodles.  That's a cool picture (David made that one).  Great noodles.

Oh we also had no internet for almost a month.  The internet people said they'd come on Tuesday....





Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ya know, blog fodder is hard to come by.  That's why it's been over a month since my last post. 

Yeah, ok.  That's a lie.  Blog fodder is everywhere, everyday - one just needs to observe the oddities of life and jot them down.  I've been lazy, that's the reason for no posts.  Had I not been so lazy, you might have seen something clever written about the traffic jam we had in Maberga the other day.


Or something philosophical about teeth chewing teeth

(yeah, that's a bad picture.  it's Q chewing on the jaw bone of some unidentified animal)

Or about how rainbows in the valley just never get old



Or maybe there would have been a nice photo album of the Thanksgiving we hosted this year
(but I was lazy so there are no photos)

Or perhaps I would have shared some photos of the baby sweaters I knit for a soon to be granddaughter of a friend of mine.

Remember this idea?

Well, I certainly haven't forgotten it!

In fact, I've started one of those goal thermometers to measure my progress.  Here it is...





note:  the number has changed slightly from my original calculation.  Bad math (or poetic license) Gosh, we won't even need half what I'd originally counted.  All 12 of you readers just have to tell 4,167 of your friends to go to my website and buy something and we're there!



Sunday, October 26, 2014

I think David likes his new pizza oven



Here's how I know:

1. since the day the first stone was laid, he's spent 20 hours a day with it - looking at it, photographing it, videoing it, talking to it.  Its first 3 weeks of life are better documented than any babies I know (even the first born ones).  He uses the other 4 hours of the day to research recipes and general cooking tips for pizza ovens.

2.  when he's standing in front of it, a strange grin comes across his face and then he makes a noise something like this




3.  For the first time in 10 years he's cleaned the space on the side of the house (where the oven is)



yeah, ok, well, you should have seen it before.

4.  He's built it a little friend for it with the left over fire bricks - just to keep it company.



5.  And if all of this wasn't clue enough that David likes his new pizza oven, he did this yesterday

He rearranged all the patio furniture so that when sitting you no longer have this view

or this one



but rather this one





Wednesday, October 22, 2014

guns, needles and pizza

When I was teaching at an elementary school in Denver, what now seems like a lifetime ago, I had a reoccurring nightmare.  In this dream someone comes into my classroom with a gun and shoots me in the neck.  This was pre-Columbine and my subconscious wasn't so fucked up that any of the children were shot.  Only me.  Right in the neck. In that little indentation, you know, just under the adam's apple, rendering me completely incapable of calling out for help. 

Have a dream like that a few times and you reconsider your career choice.  The job might have been stressing me out a bit.

And then last night, death by knitting needle.  In this dream a troubled young man was watching me knit, admiring my work.  I set the needles down just for a minute to count my rows.  I was knitting a 6 foot long rug...had this been a horror movie we'd all have known already that something bad was coming.  The dude picked those needles up (#9, straight, extra long....I was knitting a 6' rug) and stabbed another young person right in the gut who was just sitting there.

I don't know what happened next because today is Wednesday which of course means that the hunters arrived at 6am with their guns and trucks and dogs, causing our dogs to go completely ape-shit barking, causing everyone within a 5 mile radius to wake up.

If I have this dream another, say, 10000 times, I might have to reconsider my knitting career.  Or just never set my needles down.

In other Maberga news....it won't be long now




Someone added a little cupola art







Can't you just taste that pizza




Viva Maberga