Archive for May, 2008

Done. Sort of.

May 31, 2008

20 diapers!

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

6 newborn prefolds.
12 small prefolds.
Let’s see. . . that’s 30 more newborn to make and 28 more smalls I have to make.
Not bad.
Well, ok, it’s pretty bad and even though I have roughly 5 more months to go, I’m daydreaming about fresh, new, white diapers arriving at my doorstep in a brown cardboard box. . .



May 29, 2008


Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

This is what happens:

In an attempt to use the old, random citrus fruits you have lying about in the kitchen, you are making black bean soup from the Moosewood Cookbook.

While cutting the orange, it suddenly strikes you as extraordinarily compelling (which it hasn’t in the last month it sat in the fruit bowl on the shelf), and you end up eating half of it.

While pressing the grapefruit and a remaining eighth of orange, you can resist no longer and drink all the juice.


It will be a rather bland black bean soup tonight.

Italian thrift

May 29, 2008

waiting to become diapers…

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

The rain let up for a couple days, as demonstrated by our eating on the balcony. I was also able to ride my bike over to Carvico, to the old villetta where Sandro and Francesco work every morning to prepare things that will go to their mission in Africa.

You may remember that Italy, or my area of Italy, anyway, is devoid of thrift stores of any sort. This is a cause of despair and agony for me. One of the great things about urban living in the states is the ease with which one can live with minimal impact: second hand clothes, household items, everything; farmers’ markets; public transportation and maybe bicycle lanes if you’re lucky. . .

Well, my partial solution to some of these challenges is Sandro’s mission work. People bring him almost ANYTHING and EVERYTHING you can think of, and the villetta on the edge of Carvico (donated space from the village) is a cornucopia of second-hand stuff, all carefully organized and neat as a pin.

So Tuesday morning after getting Ilario off to work and straightening up the house, I pulled my blue bike (salvaged from the metal scrap pile at Sandro’s by Francesco) out of the garage (newly fitted with huge wooden shelves, a combination of Sandro’s salvage, his brother’s welding skills, and Ilario and Francesco’s labor), and rode off to Carvico via the little side roads.

There I spent the morning sorting through dozens of boxes of used clothing with Francesco. Sandro’s mission has nothing to do with clothes, but folks don’t realize that and bring him tons which he then has to take to the donation centers, where there are groups that apparently deal ONLY with clothes. And I have become a little step along the way, sorting out cotton t-shirts and anything else that catches my eye, with the idea that if something is needed here at home, better that it be used here rather than sent thousands of miles away.

Sandro was refreshingly supportive of my making cloth diapers, or more precisely, of my intention to use them, taking the news in stride and nodding his approval. He seemed pleased and amused that I was riding my bike, too, something that people seem to take offense to now that I’m pregnant, even though I’ve only gained a couple kilos and certainly it does me good to be out and about. Not like I’m sweating up and down mountains on my road bike or anything, just a little jaunt to Carvico on the trusty blue, or the daily commute to the train station.

Anyway, I collected enough t-shirts for about 14 diapers, which I’m working on in the evenings after reading albums during the day. I guess I will be headed to Carvico several more times before November rolls around. . . 36 is the goal for each size. I also got 4 wool sweaters and have felted them; they will become more soakers. And last but not least, the cotton print skirt you can see in the “17 weeks” photos. Ahhhhh. . . Italy isn’t so bad after all.

al fresco

May 26, 2008

al fresco

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

So many things I have been wanting to write about but the rain just wouldn’t let up and I couldn’t get any photos AT ALL and so couldn’t write.

Thursday at the bakery in piazza a gypsy woman came in to ask for food. The owner politely greeted her and offered her bread. Civility reigns still in some parts of Italy, anyway.

Friday on the Metro in Milan, an old woman got angry when a young gypsy boy got on to play his fiddle and beg. She was complaining that we shouldn’t let him on, he shouldn’t be there, they were dangerous. I said the boy wasn’t a danger to us, and she got defensive, saying the television said we shouldn’t let them on the train. Ah, the television. . .

Saturday I went to Bergamo to meet with ten of the students and help them make a hypothetical lesson plan for a class. . . I have no idea what they think of me. . . probably all illusions of my wisdom are shattered. I suppose that’s a good thing.

Sunday we discovered a beautiful walk along our little local creek, the Buliga. Got turned around and ended up back at the house almost two hours after we left. Slept the rest of the day.

This morning I woke up and put the sourdough bread (that I had been waiting for a day and a half to rise) into the oven first thing. It’s really, really good, but, I mean, a day and a half? That’s a bit slow. Even for me.

Tonight we are having my mom’s version of eggplant parmesean, with spaghetti. On the balcony. Yes, I can now eat pasta, and sometimes cook. But this morning Ilario said “lasagna” and I had to run to the bathroom to vomit. . . only 5 more moths or so to go!

Home all day

May 20, 2008

First wool soaker, blocking

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

Rain, rain, rain… we seem to be having a monsoon season now as the rain just keeps coming.

I finally picked up the needles again after a looooong break, and finished my first wool soaker. It’s wrap-style and was super easy. I got the free pattern here

It’s been that and making bread, cleaning house, NPR and Democracy Now! all day. One of those.

I am emotionally exhausted from too much news and meditation and probably hormones, too. Thank goodness for the 7th playoff game tonight between San Antonio and New Orleans… what would I do without the NBA? Or rather, what will I do without the NBA come June? Oh, yes, I will go home for a month and a half. That should help.


May 16, 2008


They didn’t wait long…the new goverment’s approach to change and some people’s enthusiastic participation should fill us all with foreboding for what is to come. As the Independent’s article states “…the first act of ethnic cleansing in the new Italy passed off with little fuss.” Well, maybe that’s something of an exaggeration as the media is all hyped up about it. But inside even my closest sphere of folks, the atrocity is viewed sympathetically, as though the alleged kidnapping of a child by one individual, or years of irritating theft and beggary warrant the incredible physical and psychological violence of bombing people’s homes, risking dreadful harm and death to the victims as well as the devastation of what little material possesions they have with which to anchor their emotional lives to this earth. Their HOMES.

I watched a lot of television while I was laid out flat for two months or so, and the unveiled hostility towards people with leftist politics and immigrants with or without residency is terrible. And I consider myself jaded. The bombardment of viewers with images that bear no relation to what is being said, combined with inflammatory remarks should make folks laugh with disdain at such callous attempts of manipulation, but instead it seems to find a sympathetic and even eager audience. Like the population has been waiting, thirsting for someone to make public our darkest and ugliest thoughts and feelings. To bless our fear and anger and sanction violence in all its forms as the only possible solution to remedy our worst weaknesses.

Fear is so much at the root of it. Fear of differences, fear of change, fear of the unknown. I am not one to try to dismiss these fears; I see Italy as being fully engaged in a cultural revolution of enormous proportions and change on that scale cannot be but frightening. And what is happening here is but a microcosm of the world. My struggle though is to not to succumb to my fear, to not allow myself to be manipulated by those who have means to gain from my fear. I am trying to see beyond what frightens me, to understand where my fear comes from, what circumstances surround it, what the other aspects are involved. Only then is there the possibility to find the correct path, the just and peaceful actions that will help us all adjust to the changes now overwhelming us. To act in fear is to give up hope, to stop believing that life is beautiful, to condemn humanity to behavior that can only be reactive rather than proactive.

My beets that sprouted early in the Spring died because we forgot to water them. I was sort of down about this as I had chosen them as my metaphor for a fragile but tenacious hope. I planted seeds again, and I have three pots of beets on the balcony now. But I didn’t take a photo of them today because I think my perennial strawberries make for a better analogy. Make what you will of the analogy/metaphor, maybe you like that they continue year after year, or the startling fruit they make that seems so out of character with the humble greenery, or the runners each plant sends out in search of fertile soil which will then make a new plant… probably there are other helpful behaviors that strawberries engage in. I am too tired to write them out for you.

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana


May 14, 2008


Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wholewheat bread.
Sliced carrots.
Sound familiar?
Or how about:
Breakfast cereal with fresh fruit and whole milk.
Hard cheese with whole wheat bread, always the sliced veg and a peice of fruit.
Nuts and fruit for snacks.
Hard boiled eggs with salt.
Hummus and pita bread.
Does this remind anyone of school-days’ food?
The only things that work for me are uncooked, cold, fresh food.
And water, water, water.
I couldn’t drink water for a month and a half, but now that I can I can’t get enough.

So what is it about these foods? Are they simply so familiar to my body after an entire childhood spent eating them, that despite a break of many years they have re-established themselves as a kind of comfort food? (Not that I ever stopped eating fruit, but definitely I was much more into green and non-sweet veg as an adult) Or are these foods so simple and non-threatening that my system feels safe and accepts them?

Nothing much else will stay down for more than a few hours. But honestly I am not worried anymore because while I definitely ate a good cooked dinner every evening as a child, I do believe these staples are enough. I FEEL good, and I just plain don’t when I eat vegetables, meat, pasta, etc. Gotta listen to the logic of that, now don’t I?

Bike Ride in Bergamo with children

May 11, 2008


Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

I am finally emerging out of the dark place I’ve been in for the last three months. Tentatively at first, at the end of April, but now with increasing confidence and enthusiasm.

I have left the tv behind, although not quite the bed (it still holds me close for a good part of most afternoons), and am starting to DO things again. Clean up the plants on the balcony, buy some flowers for the railing boxes, clean the house a bit, eat at the table with Ilario… small steps.

I need to do some serious meditation about food- so much of my attention and energy has gone into figuring out what I can eat and how to get it. Next time.

This morning in Bergamo with all the family and their young children was fabulous. I have to admit the balloons and copious quantities of other throw-away crap like plastic UNICEF flags was distressing (why must children always be associated with brightly-colored junk?), but the event itself was great. We passed other children on the sidewalks with their parents, green with envy, and made many many adults smile. The kids were hardcore, and the smallest (maybe 4 years old?) impressed me the most, working so hard to move her bike over the cobblestones of Borgo Palazzo.

It was so refreshing to see so many folks who think riding bikes with their children is not only really fun,but totally possible. Loved it.