Friday, October 28, 2011

Hello out there

Hmmm...not much to say these days, but I will say this:  I'm with the 99%!!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Che Settimana!

What a week! 

It started out on Monday with an uncomfortable twinge in my lower back that seemed to get worse as the day progressed.

On Tuesday, as I was taking my kids to swimming lessons, Julian noticed a huge poster outside the pool advertising up to 70% off, "everything must go", etc. at a lanificio in a nearby town.  I asked him what a lanificio was.  He said it's where they sell wool.  Makes sense since lana is the word for wool in Italian.  So I snapped a photo of the poster with my i-pod so I could look it up on the internet when I got home.

After the lesson, I entered the name of the store in Google, it came up with pictures of balls of!  It even said they spoke English there.  I looked up the address on Google Maps, saw it was at a shopping center I'd been to a few times before, but had never noticed a yarn store there .  The next day, I took a wad of cash, a list of yarn needs for future projects and a couple of bus tickets and went in search of fantastic deals.

When I got there, I saw that the store I wanted was all the way to the back.  Maybe that explained why I'd never seen the yarn--maybe I'd just never gotten that far in my previous explorations.  As I entered the store,  it was obvious from my first step over the threshold that, once again, there was a huge breakdown in my Italian skills.  There had never been one single ball of yarn for sale in that store ever.  It was all about t-shirts, pyjamas, underpants, casual wear, etc.  Since I was there, I had a look around but even with up to 70% off, it was still either too expensive, or just plain not my style.  At least, since I wasn't stressing for hours over which yarn to buy, I was able to get back home on the same bus ticket.  It always seems like a bonus to me if I can complete my business and only use one bus ticket (they're good for 60 minutes).  AND I saved 100% of my money, not just "up to 70%".

I need to look up this place's website again and see what, exactly, I didn't understand.

My back wasn't feeling too bad by then, by the way, but the weather was horrendous!  Cold and Italy!

Thursday evening I took my kids back for their penultimate swimming lesson.  I think they've learned to swim a little, at any rate.  Anyway, Veronica was so naughty during the lesson, she was kicked out of the pool for a spell.  From what I understand, the instructor told them to swim 4 lengths and after a while, he told them if they didn't finish, he'd kick them out of the pool.  My poison-tongued little princess told him she'd kick him out of the window.  Unfortunately, the scary-looking pool boss was there when she said that and he made her sit on the sidelines for a while and he told me what a little naughty she'd been after the lesson.

When we got home, as I was getting out of the car to open the garage, my back, which hadn't been bothering me too much, gave out on me.  It took my all to get the garage door open, get back into the car, maneuver myself out of it in the few spare inches there are between the car and the wall, get the garage door back down, and hobble up two flights of stairs.  I spent most of the rest of the night flat on my back since that was the only position that didn't hurt.  I've never had anything like this happen to me before and I can't guess what caused it, which is kind of worrying.

This morning I went to the doctor's office.  My doctor is away, but I was able to see another one in my medical group.  She said my health care paper had expired.  That was true, but I had gotten a new one months ago.  No idea why it wasn't showing up on her computer and I don't carry it around with me so as not to lose it.  (My regular dr. entered it into his computer so who knew I'd ever need it again.)  Since I didn't have it, she'd only give me a recommendation for some pain reliever.  She said if it's not better in a few days, to come back with my health care paper and she'll give me a prescription for an x-ray.  Whee!  At least the meds (with codeine) are helping.

It's supposed to rain all weekend.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Just who is this religious right and why exactly do Republican candidates make such hypocritical jackasses of themselves trying to court them?  Are they really THAT influential of a voting block? 

And, by the way, is anyone who voted Republican last time around happy with the results?  Have any of the newly-elected lived up to their promises?  I'm mainly referring to jobs jobs jobs and fixing the economy.

Quite honestly, I'm nauseated by the nasty nonsense I see going on around the country.  It looks to me like it's all about greed and pulling the rug out from under the people who need that rug the most.  Way to go, Repugs!

This article deserves to be read far and wide:

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Grand Day Out


Yesterday morning we set out on an adventure to try a particular restaurant (for a late Mother's Day lunch) which is situated across the road from a monastery we like to visit in Novalesa.  We were originally planning to do it on Saturday, causing my daughter to pass on a classmate's birthday party because lunch out in Italy is an all-day affair.  As it happened, the weather wasn't looking so great and the place we planned to go to was at a higher altitude than here, so my husband decided against it and my daughter still missed her party.  NOBODY was happy in my house on Saturday!

However, the weather was pretty nice on Sunday, although a bit windy, which is kind of rare here.  Dear husband agreed it was okay to go out for lunch, cheers all around.
Beautiful scenery

So, we left around 10-ish and got to the monastery in plenty of time.  Hubby thought it a good idea to stop in at the restaurant to see if we could get a table.  As luck would have it, we got a table for 12:45.  That gave us plenty of time to walk around the area and the kids got to play in the restaurant's little playground.  We also had time for the monastery's gift shop, where they both got a souvenir.

The weather seemed more autumnal than springy.  There was a strong, gusty wind that was quite cold but if you could sit in the sun, out of the wind, which I managed to do while we waited (good thing I brought my knitting!), it was quite pleasant.

The monastery off in the (center) distance
This monastery, Abbazia dei Santi Pietro e Andrea,  is an incredible place to visit because Charlemagne (Carlo Magno) and his troops lived there for some time way back in the day.  There is a chapel that they've partially restored to it's original state after he had made alterations for his living quarters.  (It was a few years ago that we did the tour there and it was in Italian, so I may not have that exactly right.)

There are also loads of fabulous frescoes in the various out buildings.

When we did the tour, those years ago, a family of wild boar came trotting past us in the field and the tour guide was rather surprised.  He said he'd never seen that before.  I was kind of scared, but I suppose everyone else was and  froze in place so the boars just went on their merry way.

Anyway...about that lunch...the restaurant is an agriturismo called C'era Una Volta (Once Upon A Time) and was one of the best meals I've had in quite a few years.  To start, we had a choice of several different types of filled pasta or a stream of antipasti. Our waitress (who may have been the owner) said the second course was a cheese plate with a selection of their home-made cheeses, so if we wanted meat (the traditional second course in Italy), we would get plenty in the antipasti.  We're not big meat eaters so we went with the pasta.  A wise decision

The kids had agnolotti Piemontese in a butter-thyme sauce.  It even came with an edible fresh thyme flower!  Hubby had pasta with radicchio and speck (a type of ham).  I had triangles filled with potatoes and leeks, topped with potato-leek sauce.  Every dish was outstanding and we all nearly licked our plates clean--we did the next best thing by using bread instead of our tongues to get every last drop.

On to the cheese platter...there were eight or nine different types of cow, sheep and goat cheese, all produced on-site, along with honey, chutney, horseradish, and a hot red-pepper sauce to go with.  We're big cheese lovers, but we couldn't even eat it all.

My son, by the way, is NOT a cheese lover so they were kind enough to give him a small platter of salami and ham of different types, including a salami made of ostrich which was really tasty.

The cheese maker came out of the kitchen and explained each cheese, salami, and ham to us.

We had also ordered a half liter of Bonarda, a red wine which is different every time I drink it.  It can be slightly fizzy or not, sweet or not.  This one was not fizzy and very lovely.  My mate thought it was sweet, I didn't.

After our cheese orgy, we were presented with the dessert menu.  They had cake-by-the-slice, but we decided to have their home-made goat yogurt specialty.  Husband had dark chocolate sauce on his.  I had dark chocolate sauce over profiteroles (tiny cream-filled cream puffs) on mine.  It was like nothing I've ever had before.  The yogurt was thicker than normal yogurt by a lot!  It would maybe be the consistency of frozen yogurt, but it was cold, not frozen, and really solid.  It also had that yogurt tang and wasn't sweet so with the sweet profiteroles and chocolate sauce on top and the tangy, thick yogurt on the bottom, it was a fantastic combination.  The kids were a bit underwhelmed by it, sorry to say.  They ate their sweet stuff off the top, but left most of the yogurt behind.

This place even has a tiny shop where we bought some goat cheese to bring home.  I wish I could have gotten some of that goat yogurt!

By the way, the place was quite tiny.  There were six tables in all, although one table had a large group of about 8.  There were people outside waiting to come in when we left.  That is a bit unusual here, most restaurants have one seating per meal because meals last so long.  I don't know how long it took us to eat, it was quicker than average, but not at all rushed.  Our waitress also gave the kids little activity kits, which was a nice touch.

They had a pig-pen out back, next to the playground, and several donkeys.  I think they have outdoor seating, but it was too cold and windy for that yesterday.  They had their wood-burning stove going in the restaurant which lent a cozy air.
This is what we looked like eating our fabulous lunch!

This is our new favorite restaurant and I think we'll be going there again before too long...maybe in July!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Latest Fashion News from Italy!!!

Clutch your pearls, ladies and gents, I'm happy to announce that silk scarves are back in style!!!  Be still my heart.  Those who know me know that silk scarves are NEVER out of fashion in my house, but sometimes it's a little difficult to update my (extensive, you say?) collection.  Well, this past Friday whilst perusing my weekly open-air market, I spied several tables laden with silk, or silk-styled, scarves.  It took me by surprise because I don't recall seeing them for the past couple of years, then all of a sudden they're everywhere!

No, I didn't buy any...this time.

But I am reminded of a funny story from my working days before I moved to Italy and became a bon-bon nibbling, chaise-longue lounging, espresso-sipping Italian matron (not really, folks!!!).  A former co-worker gave me a large pile of faux silk scarves and said she bought them when scarves were in style and that I could have them now.  Ouch!!!  However, they all looked like they were from, oh, around the 80's and not a one of them adorned my neck.  Not even once.  Seriously, who among us wants to wear a clunky hunk of polyester under their beautiful face?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sad Days

I'm sorry but I just can't think of anything happy or upbeat to talk about these days what with workers' rights being stomped on in so many Republican-led states, human rights being stomped on around the entire globe, Japan getting whupped by Mother Nature and the successive nuclear meltdown of our worst nightmares. And on top of all these mostly man-made disasters, it's been raining non-stop outside my window for days.  Even the grocery store I shopped in this morning was flooding on one side. 

I am feeling really low down and there ain't nothin' for it.  If I had a guitar and a broken beer bottle neck and any musical talent at all, I might be able to come up with something for how I'm feeling.  Since I don't, I just have to content myself with my knitting.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Winter Photos

Sorry for all you folks back home, but we really only had one day of snow...yet...this winter.  I'm not hoping for more at this point!

My kids were so thrilled to wake up one Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago to find their world buried  in white stuff so we had to bundle up and spend some time playing in it.

Unfortunately, it was completely gone by the next day, but we had our fun.  My son said it was the best day of 2011 and yes, he's anticipating it'll be the best for the entire year, poor thing.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Things I Worry About...

Sometimes I wonder if we knitters will ever run out of new designs to knit.  After all, there are really only 2 stitches in all of knitting land with slight variations on the two.  So, how many combinations of the two, with various other design features, like sleeve length, rectangle vs. triangle shawl, etc., can there be?  Will the designers eventually have to stop designing for fear of copyright infringement?  I'm always amazed by the vast quantity of patterns, each one unique, that are available through Ravelry.  Add to that all the books and magazines and pamphlets and blogs and so on that are constantly being cranked out...whew!  Is there no end to knitting patterns???

I also wonder the same thing about music.  There are only so many notes in an octave and a possibly finite number of rhythms.   How can they keep coming up with new music after all these years?  Especially pop music, since it relies on many fewer notes and rhythms.  I remember hearing Quincy Jones say in an interview many years ago that all hit songs use the same melody but with different rhythms.  I've never been able to discern that for myself but it has stayed in the back of my mind.  Do you think it's true?

I know, I know.  I might have to seek professional help these worries of mine.