Archive for December, 2007

My own personal newspaper

December 23, 2007

clippings

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

A great thing happened yesterday: the postman came with two big envelopes from my mom. I had been waiting for these for a month and a half and written them off as stolen.

The rage and frustration this caused me was enormous. Being so far from my family feels tolerable when communication of all kinds is easy and frequent. The difficulty involved in shipping presents, and the COST is all bad enough, and then to think that someone has stolen something is heart breaking and overwhelming (and there are other packages that have never arrived in so many years).

But then the postman showed up on his scooter, a young, intense guy. I shouted with joy when I saw the envelopes/packages. He said they had actually been at the post office for about a week, but I was never home when he passed by.

Then he said he could drop them by my in-laws if anything ever arrived and I wasn’t home! I was so surprised that I didn’t understand a first; it took me a moment to realize he knew who I was , and who my in-laws are and where they live. Ah, small town life! I readily agreed and thanked him. Probably all our mail will end up going over there now.

I rushed inside and opened them up. The cards mom printed for me that now I will have to use next year, two quilting books, and the stuff in the photo. Yep, newspaper clippings! The best part. Like my own private newspaper, with all the things that really interest me. If they had been stolen, can you imagine the face of the thief when he opened the envelope?

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Ready.

December 22, 2007

our christmas tree

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

This, for those of you who don’t know yet, is my first Christmas in Bergamo. And I don’t know what to think about my husband and the things he tells me, because it is every bit as important as at home.

Our holiday festivities started with our trip to the O bei! O bei! market in Milan, and decorating our tree, etc, as written about previously. Last week we began a round of socializing that is picking up speed and shows little sign of abating until after the new year!

This afternoon we took the train into Bergamo for another dose of city-ness (it may be small, but compared to life in Terno it’s VERY exciting, especially in the late afternoon on a Saturday). We shopped a bit for the presents we decided at the last minute we needed to buy (next year I will work on making them myself), squeezing through the crowds and maintaining a cheerful attitude that only needed bolstering once at a bar where we stopped for tea (me) and coffee (Ilario). We bought the requisite torrone (almond candy) and panetone (Italian Christmas cake), then caught the train home.

I feel perfectly ready for the holidays- I got off the Italian cards this morning, and have received confirmation that my packages arrived safely in the states. Happy happy.

Off for pizza at friends’!

knitting in the round

December 20, 2007

knitting in the round

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

Rounding up the required tools for a project is not always easy here in the Bergamo area; any project usually requires several weeks of trips to various shops in various locals- remember I live in the boonies and am always hoofing it about.

BUT: I have learned to knit with four needles!

This is thanks to the internet, and all the videos available for free showing one how to do incredible things with yarn and needles.

I look a bit awkward I’m sure, all elbows and needles sticking out and yarn trailing everywhere, but I’m adjusting and have become obsessed. I neglect other things that need doing in favor of sitting for hours and knitting. There has been A LOT of basketball the last few days, to say the least.

Actually, it’s a small project, a baby-something for my friend Anu who is expecting her second in June, but it’s taking hours, because, well, as I said, I am a bit awkward. And had to start over. Maybe I will finish tonight.

making brownies (and other things)

December 17, 2007

making brownies

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

Making brownies to take to a potluck means using:

0. the inspiration of my Italian friends who have only tasted them once and are already asking for them (expecting them?)
1. the New York Times cookbook Brennan gave me
2. the measuring cups and spoons Brennan gave me
3. the sauce pot and spatula our friends gave us as a wedding gift
4. a spoon and knife from the cutlery my in-laws gave us as a wedding gift
5. the bowl Brennan gave us as one of many wedding gifts
6. the whisk and pan I bought for myself

Like so many things, my brownies exist because of the efforts of folks in my life, with only small contributions of my own.

star banner

December 12, 2007

star banner

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

The banner is finished and up.
I like my home even more now.

Today I

December 10, 2007

star banner in process

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

Read albums.

Went running.

Made brownies.

Sewed a bit.

Ate brownies.

Cleaned the bathroom.

Will watch a basket ball game and crochet.

That’s all.

Tis’ the season

December 9, 2007

paper snowflake

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

Despite all the effort she put into cooking, making Christmas ornaments with us when we were little, baking cookies for neighbors, and other countless things I’m sure I can’t remember, my mother has always insisted that she hates HATES the winter holiday season.

So it’s my dad I’m mostly thinking about these days, as I prepare for my first Christmas in Terno, and my second Christmas ever apart from my parents (the first was some years ago while I was in Alaska).

It’s my father who has always loved any kind of holiday, all the opportunities to do elaborate things like walking to get a Christmas tree when we lived in Brooklyn and didn’t have a car yet (or maybe it was broken?), then dragging it back with the “help” of his four or five year old daughter (my sister).

Or, covering the tree with “snow” in the most labor-intensive way possible: Soap paste made from laundry detergent (gorgeous and fun for kids to do).

Or, waiting until we were asleep on Christmas Eve, and planting candy canes all over the tree, along with fruit, nuts and presents from Santa.

Or, not grumbling at all when we woke him up at the crack of dawn to open presents, and maintaining a semblance of order to the mayhem by insisting that we open one present at a time, properly registering it on our list so we could write thank-you-notes later.

Not to mention, Christmas music while decorating the tree, seasonal drinks and foods like nuts (which I am only just now beginning to appreciate as an adult), going into Manhattan to see the window displays, taking us all to see the Nutcracker ballet… I could go on and on. . .

Saturday we got out our small (very small) collection of holiday decorations and laid them out. We decorated a bedraggled ficus because Ilario doesn’t want a dead tree and I don’t want a fake one. Last night we cut paper snowflakes to put on the windows (Paolo helped, too), and today I made a banner to cross the room of stars.

Miss you, Dad.

Heat

December 8, 2007

three bags

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

Shhhhhhhh! Don’t tell, but these are the three bags I made for my two nieces and one nephew. I finished them awhile ago, but am only now getting around to posting the photo. Sorry the photo quality is so poor.

It’s been rough the last few days, adjusting to our cooler apartment: we got a thermometer so I can make soap, and so accidentally discovered that we were keeping the house much warmer than we thought.

The thermostat is a joke, maybe 4.5 degrees off (that’s Celsius, folks, so 40.1 F). Instead of keeping a steady 19 C (66.2 F), we were sweating at 22.5 (74.3)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank goodness we discovered this, as gas prices are scheduled to rise in January. Needless to say, I am wearing another sweater and often have a blanket wrapped around my legs. No complaints, though.

O bei! O bei!

December 7, 2007

O bei! O bei! Ilario and fritella

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

We took the train into Milan for some city-time. Ilario had the day off because it’s the holiday of Sant’ Ambrosio, the patron saint of Milan. So we joined about half of the population of Milan to cruise the streets and shop at two big markets- one called “O bei! O bei!” (Oh beautiful! Oh beautiful!) that’s been going on for more than 700 years, and another at the exposition center that’s a little more recent.

This photo was taken before we succumbed to the stress.

We did see some beautiful handmade things: some jewelry, clothes, ceramic, knits, wood, and felt. These brave souls were virtually overwhelmed by the booths selling junk, and each one had a small crowd at it- they were like roses in garden of weeds. I took photos of the felt booth, which are in the flickr box.

Oh, and while we were waiting in the morning for the train to Milan, there was a serious CROWD of mothers with small children getting on the train to Bergamo to visit Santa Lucia…

What I really do at night

December 6, 2007

first “dishcloth”

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

The big secret is that I am becoming a basketball addict.

It started out just being a space in time in which I could steadily knit, uninterrupted, with company. That company being Ilario, not the basketball teams. I don’t really like to knit alone, weird as that may sound. I sometimes listen to National Public Radio and Democracy Now (or more accurately, sometimes I knit while I listen because in actual fact I listen to the radio almost constantly, but I’m not always knitting). But then I discovered that Ilario would sit with me if we watched a game.

And the other night, when he declared himself sick of basketball, I watched a game ALONE!

This was so shocking that I took a break last night.

But I finished the above dishcloth (which is actually the second I’ve made, but the first of which I took a photo of. I’m part of a group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MonthlyDishcloths/) and am itching to work on a sweater I started in October, so we’re on again tonight…