April, 2006

This Used To Be My Garden


You will not believe what Luca did the other night. He ran into my mini-garden and knocked it over!!! aghiahgaihgai!!!! My poor little plants! *SOB* Instead of a vegetable garden I now have a vegetable burial ground. *SNIFF* The parsley plants were completely wiped out–they were too delicate to withstand the fall and then Luca’s brutal sweeping back into the pot. And at least 15 of my zucchini plants are no longer with us. The zucchini were a little more robust and so I managed to save 4 seedlings, but we’ll see if they actually survive more than a week…

And to top it all off Luca didn’t even tell me the extent of the damage when it happened (granted I was half asleep). So when I awoke yester morning to discover my little babies crashed to the ground and smashed into pieces you can imagine what a shock it was. And to top it all off, when I called Luca to yell at him he said “They were all going to die anyway.” ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?!?!

He did finally offer to buy me fully grown plants when it came time to plant the garden, but it’s not the same thing!

Secreteria Telefonica

I got an answering machine yesterday! I know that international calling can be scary — there are so many numbers to dial and what if you dial the wrong number and some strange person answers in a language you don’t understand?! AGHIAGHAI! Anyways, there’s no need to be scared anymore as my trusty automatic secretary will respond in Italian and English.

We went to IKEA yesteray (in Italian pronounced EEE-KAY-AHH). We had to take back a piece of furniture that had a broken part. It’s a good thing we did too because they told us that that piece of furniture consisted of two boxes of parts and we had only picked up one! We had lunch at the Ikea restaurant (I got the manager’s special as usual) and picked out a bed and two nightstands.

It’s rainy and gray today. My chives finally sprouted last night. *What a relief* I was getting nervous because they’ve been underground there for at least a week.

Ciao, Ciao

Luca bought me a combination microwave/toaster oven last Sunday! Woohoo!!! The real oven in my apartment doesn’t work and is a pain to get fixed, so we’ve been eating non-baked meals for the last six months. I’m soo happy to be able to bake again! Even if it doesn’t work quite like a real oven, it comes pretty close and is SO handy for warming things up quick. I didn’t realize how much I missed having a microwave.

Looking like it’s going to be a quiet weekend here in Verduno. We don’t have any guests at the inn, so I’ve been working on the website and cleaning lots.

Progress is coming along nicely in our new apartment (the apartment we’ll be moving into in June hopefully). Now that all the pavement is in and the dry-walling is done, work should move more quickly. I’ve been scrubbing the wooden ceilings with SOS pads in preparation for varnish. Next week I’m painting the doors and windows which should be fun! Luca sanded and varnished the loft a couple of days ago. Inside there’s basically just a lot of cleaning to do–Luca wired the whole house and installed the outlets and light switches a few weeks ago. Outside the big guys still need to run electricity to the building and put in the water and sewer systems.

We (ahem…Luca…but I helped choose!) bought a hot black leather couch last week. I think we’re going to put it in the kitchen (it will go nicely with the stainless steel appliances and wooden ceiling). When everything is done all of you who are reading this realize that you’ll need to come and visit me, don’t you?

I Love Schiuma!

I bought a milk frother a couple of weeks ago. Froth is one of the best inventions ever, don’t you think? I don’t drink coffee very often because it stains my teeth and upsets my stomache. But if I have to drink it, it might as well be a svizziossissima something! (i.e. something really good and special). So I make cappucino instead of regular coffee now. The frother works really well for hot chocolate too! Just froth part of your hot milk. Ding!

Never Too Old To Hitch Hike

I went to the public market this morning and to run some errands for Rosana (Luca’s mom who is still unable to leave the house –three months after the fact–due to her broken foot!) The market was a little skimpy because the carnival is in town until Easter and they’re taking up all the parking space. But I still managed to get my artisan veggies fresh from the countryside! Dandelion greens have just started to sprout and are really good right now. That’s right, you know those yellow flowers that we all consider weeds in the US? We eat them here. Just the leafy part, not the flower or stem. I zii (uncles) (my neighbors; everyone calls them aunt and uncle–really the uncle of Rosana) went dandelion green harvesting two days ago and finally got around to eating the greens today. They’re a little bit of a pain to clean, but worth it in the end. (Hellow, free salad!) Try to find the small baby ones as they’ll be the most tender. The bigger ones are also good to eat, but you’ll want to boil/steam or cook them because the more mature they are, the tougher they get. I was reading an old Martha Stewart the other day and she had an article about unique lettuces–one of which was dandelion greens. It kills me that Martha’s latest fad has been the Italian people’s way of survival for hundreds of years. At least she caught on!

At the macelleria (butcher shop) I go to sometimes there is a guy my age that works the counter. We’ve talked a couple of times about the weather, etc. Today he noticed that I got my haircut (it’s short like my mom’s now). He also found my pronunciation of “perfetto” and “quattro” absolutely hilarious. I’m talking pee-your-pants, laugh so hard you cry and your stomache hurts funny here folks.

I was offended because my accent isn’t even that pronounced anymore! (Or at least I didn’t think it was…) Butcher dude obviously thought otherwise because he kept repeating the words under his breath in an exaggerated American accent and laughing out loud!!! I didn’t find the situation all that amusing. And from a guy who thinks that Canada is a part of the United States and didn’t realize that New York is a state and not just a city, I didn’t feel that he had the right to be laughing in my face. Maybe he was just nervous because of his obvious crush on me and didn’t realize he was making a major faux pas.

I had just gotten into my car after the encounter with the butcher when I heard a tapping on the window. I looked over to see a seventy-something year old lady staring me in the face. She asked me for a ride to Pollenzo. She seemed a little confused and very agitated, practically in tears for not knowing what to do. Apparently she had recently gotten over a traumatic four month stay in the hospital and had taken the bus into town that morning for a check-up. But her kids and relatives were all too busy to pick her up and so she was stranded in Bra until the next bus came late that afternoon. (More than a five hour wait…)

And that’s how I ended up picking up an old lady hitch hiker this morning. It turns out that she lives in Rivalta, the little township closest to Verduno. I dropped her off at her front door and she made me promise that I would come to visit her in June so that she could give me ripe apricots to make marmalade with. She told me that she used to sell her fruit at the public market, along with eggs freshly produced by her hens. But she doesn’t go anymore because of all the new sanitation laws and because her children sold all of her chickens. (These kids sound like real winners…)

Can I just say that I never want to be that kind of daughter. Who doesn’t have time to take their mother to the hospital?? I also hope that I never am that mother: old and alone, confused and without even one of my children to look after me. I am definitely going to go back and visit her this summer, not just to get free ripe apricots, but because I sort of understand how she feels. When you’re living far away from home there are times when you feel alone, confused and a bit desperate. (Luckily I have all my online MoltenChocolate fans to keep me company!)

My Garden

My indoor garden is growing furiously!

The zucchini and parsley are doing particularly well.

I planted two types of tomatoes, hot peppers and chives a couple weeks after the zucchini, parsley, basil, & lettuce. The tomatoes are growing already, but the others haven’t popped out of the ground yet. Eventually I’ll transplant them into the garden at our new apartment, but it’s still too cold outside. I also procured a raspberry bush and a rose plant that’s yellow with pink edges. I’m trying to decide what to do to hide an ugly fence that borders one part of the garden. I’m thinking of planting either bushy flowers (like hydrangeas), a wall of sunflowers that will grow nice and tall, some sort of pretty grass, or a couple of grape vines that I could attach directly to the fence. I’m going to put in some strawberry plants too. Yumm! I can’t wait for summer!