Tuesday, March 17, 2015

And it begins again....

...the application for my Permesso di Soggiorno (permit of stay)

I can't believe that the 5 year one that I got is already expiring.  It sure doesn't seem like it's been 5 years since I got it.  That is, of course, because it hasn't been five years, it's been four.  By the time the application process was finished, one of the five years had already passed. 

So here we go again

I've already been to the office once to inquire what I need to do to renew.  A surprisingly happy and nice policeman (it's a branch of the police that deals with us foreigners) told me that all I have to do is collect the above listed documents, make two copies of them and they'll give me a permesso for LIFE.  I will never have to go through this again.  AND, once I've collected all these documents, I can CALL and make an APPOINTMENT so I don't have to wait half a day in the sea of humanity to get my turn. 

Papers collected, copies made, appointment scheduled.

Actually, I called today and got an appointment TOMORROW. This is weird.  It's all going a little too smoothly.  In fact, I feel like with every word of this post that I type I'm jinxing myself just that much more.

Just to be safe, I'm bringing this

I've seen the video.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

So, I was driving up the road the other day and I saw a couple of people walking.  People don't usually walk up our road, so I took notice.  I noticed that it was the local kabab shop owner.  Yes, in the land of the most amazing food on the planet we have kabab shops. 

L: Ciao!  Che ci fai qui!?!  (Hey, what are you doing here?!)
KSO: we're asparagus hunting, of course.  And you should be too.  You know there are a ton just below your house!

At this point I pause for a second....how the f$%^ does the local kabab shop owner know there are wild asparagus growing below my land?  Ok, whatever.  I grew up in a small town where everyone knows everyone else's business.  Why wouldn't he know this. Better question...why didn't I know this?

I wish him well and good luck in the hunt and high tail it to my house to get the dogs to go for a "walk".  Yeah, dudes, we are hunting asparagus and we're going to get them before our turkish neighbor does!

Ever wonder why asparagus is so expensive?  Yeah, let me tell you.  Ever tried looking for it in the wild?

Here we go....

first, you find a plant that looks like that one.  And then you look under it.  Which looks something like this

Yeah, that's tough.  Lots of thorns.  Mental note:  next time bring leather gloves.

So we walk on.... oh look, someone has landscaped the road

Lovely little voilets.  that's nice.  Still no asparagus.  Let's keep walking.

Oh!  Another asparagus shrub. Great!  And below....

More undergrowth and thorns!  Awesome. We're doing well.  Still no asparagus.

Keep walking.  Keep looking.  Keep thorning.  Awesome.  Actually, this sucks.

Oh look,

Discarded frames from bee hives.  Fantastic!  No honey for me, but obviously someone has some.  And well done to that person, for just leaving those frames on the side of the road!  I'm sure someone will come by and pick those up.  Someone who ventures up the road to .... say....look for asparagus. 

Monday, March 02, 2015

I love my job....

And the coming of spring.

Thursday, February 26, 2015



I love running errands....now.  I used to hate it.  

An errand, by Webster's definition, is " a short trip taken to attend to some business often for another".  An errand, by my definition, is "driving around to odious places, where people work who are completely miserable for the purpose of giving them money for things you need but don't really want".  Yeah, no fun in that.  

So the other day I had to run some errands.  The main one being to pay the car insurance.  Yes, I physically take my body to the insurance office to do this.  And yes, there do exist online insurance companies here in Italy, which are actually cheaper than ours but as I said, I like running errands.  

Pressed and dressed I headed out to San Remo.

Image result for san remo

Nothing odious in that.  I went to see Maria Pia

That is a photo of her off duty at this festa a few years back.  But I can tell you she, her two sons and her husband all have that same smile when I walk into their office. Maybe she's smiling because I remain loyal to their family company when I could get my policy cheaper elsewhere.  I like to think she's just happy to see me.  Either way, that's really not the smile of a miserable person.  

After that errand is run, I took advantage of being in San Remo.

That last photo is just one stall, my favorite, in the big food market.  I like this stall because a)they sell cilantro, and b) the owner always gives me recipes for the veg I buy.  This time he told me how to cook some cima di rapa (aka: calabrian broccoli)

He said that the way he prepares it is so good that  his pregnant daughter ate 3 bowls of it last time he made it.  Hmmm...did the daughter eat so much because it was so good or because pregnant women tend to eat a lot?

Off to the gommista to get some new tires.

"Torno subito"- "be back soon".  That's not a good sign to see when running errands in Italy.  "Soon" is a relative word, it could mean 5 minutes, after lunch, or tomorrow.  Instead of sitting in my car waiting to find out the gommista's definition of soon, I went to the yarn store (duh, what else would one do if they have some time to kill?).

Awesome.  Her sign said "open".....only, she wasn't really.

Back to the gommista, who actually had returned subito for the new tires that make my Fiat 500 drive like it's a Ferrari.  Ok, maybe not a Ferrari, but it does seem that new tires give power steering to a car that didn't previously have it.

Errands done.  Home again.  The cima di rapa was delicious, even if you're not pregnant.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

If you lived here

I don't do many birthday posts any more.  I've pretty much told you just about all the nice things I can about people I know.  BUUUUUUTTTTT today I took a walk with the dogs to Maberga Soprana, which happens to be where cousins Bump and Dong got married.  This got me thinking about them.  And lo and behold, today is Bump's birthday and Dong celebrates the big 50 on Sunday.  So, here we are with a birthday post for Bump and Dong.

Dear Bump and Dong,  Happy Birthday.  It's never too early to retire. And if you lived here

or here

you'd be home already.

You'd actually probably have to spend your birthdays at home because in February sometimes we get snow like this

See that? Here it is drifting on the road

But this wouldn't be a problem because if you lived here you'd probably have this

filled with wine.

Happy Birthday, cousins.

xoxo, Lynn

Monday, February 02, 2015

the giving trees

Here in Liguria they call the Chestnut tree "the tree of life" because of its multi-uses.  As it was explained to me you can built a house with it, heat the house with it, use the leaves to stuff your mattresses, eat the nuts, grind the nuts into flour for bread, and....it seems like there was more that I've now forgotten. 

We have a house, and a mattress, and flour so for me the Olive tree is the giving tree. 

Last year was such a great olive season that this year the trees just needed to rest.  Ok, that's technically not how it works.  But it is true that harvests tend to skip a year.  This is an off year.  So instead of rolling up nets and taking burlap sacks of olives to the frantoio now, everyone is pruning.  No oil this year, but there is wood for the fire and lots of sticks for kindling.  We used to just burn all the branches we pruned in a big bonfire but, by watching and learning, we see that that was very wasteful. Ligurians are very efficient and frugal people. Now we cut, trim, clean, and prepare the branches for the fire to keep us warm in the house.

That shit could keep us warm for days!  And it's only part of what David's been cutting down.

Division of labor (and skills with power tools) dictates that David does the log cutting and I'm responsible for the kindling.

HA!  Yeah, I WISH that was my work.  That's how the neighbor makes kindling.  Here's mine
I might need to do a little more watching and learning.  For example, it's useful to remember to keep the sticks that grow at a 45 degree angle apart, so you can place them at the corner of the crate and thereby increasing the efficiency of your kindling stacking.
That is, of course, assuming that you have crates and are not using grocery bags that you found in the back of your car.

Just in case any of you come here to see some knitting, here you go
That's a sweater that I've knit for a friend of mine.  DONE!  well, except for blocking and weaving in all the ends and that pesky stuff.  By the way, this friend of mine has a daughter who is an author and a crocheter and has a very cool blog.  Go check it out here. (she writes in german AND english).

And just because it's beautiful, here's a photo of our almond tree, already blooming. 

Um, ok, that's another of my famous "really, it's beautiful but that's a shitty picture" pictures.  Maybe if enough people ask in the comments, photographer David will make a proper photo of it and put it up on his blog.

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.