Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Man #1-- "Do you know where I can buy a battery?"
Andy-- "What kind of battery are you looking for?"
Man #1--" I don't know. It is for this blood pressure machine."
Man #1 and man #2 take a blood pressure machine out of the small box and look for the battery casing. Man #1 reads instructions while man #2 pulls on the machine with no luck. Roles are reversed. Now man #2 reads the instructions and man #1 attempts to open the battery casing. They ask Andy to read the instructions just in case they have not read something correctly. Andy reads and man #1 and man #2 alternate in the attempt to open and reveal the battery. This goes back and forth and on and on for 15 minutes.
Andy gives me a look and I say that I don't want to be breaking anything.
Man #2 drops the thing into a chair.
So I approach the chair and look over the b/p machine and voila...yessiree open the casing right away. I don't take any personal credit for this as it is something any red blooded American woman could and would do.
What is very Italian man like is that they hustle right out of the shop so that they would not have to spend an extra minute in front of me. Not a peep of gratitude.
Story ends with this question. How many Italian men does it take to open a battery casing?
The answer is none....ask a woman!
Friday, January 26, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
The first time I saw this painting was during an end of the year theater performance at the Media School. Each class was putting on a play and some art work had been put onto slides for between scenes viewing. I think the kid is talented and the colors and art work deserved the round of applause it got. I am his mother and it is my job to think my kid is especially talented. He doesn't need me though as he is talented on his own.
When the show concluded and we were ready to go home I asked my son where this picture was. It was the final day of school and I did not want it to get lost. He showed me where they had put it on the wall and that he was not allowed to bring it home. Ok! But that did not mean that I wasn't allowed. I removed it from the wall and brought it to a framer who framed it as it looks today. It hangs in my kitchen and we enjoy it every day.
Monday, January 22, 2007
From 1992 through 1998 this man was my very best friend in the world! I would look for him every morning and miss him terribly on Sunday. When I first met Postino Mandolia he rode a bike. He has a loud voice and you could hear him before he got to the house. I had mail the very first week I arrived. I think I mailed something to myself and had asked my daughter to send me mail. The mail I received those first years was fantastic. My sister would decorate envelopes with rubber stamping and art work. Each time the art work topping the letter before. The stamps would send the postino over the top. Some packet envelopes would be covered with stamps. His daughter collects stamps so we had a great thing going. I even bought rubber stamps myself and used them on out going mail. I have a great one of an erupting volcano. Add a little color to these things and they are spectacular. One day Postino Mandolia came to the house bearing a special mail bag from the USA with a secure lock on it. Looked like a bag that would be sent to an embassy. Opening it revealed a collection of books sent by a young guest that had stayed with us on his world travel tour. The postino told us to make sure this sack was returned to the post office as it had to be sent back to the USA. This was a first for me and a first for this town. I have since received a second one with those very prized books inside.
So what has happened to this relationship. He still delivers the mail and now rides on this motorcycle with helmet and official uniform. I still have high regards for him but alas...the computer has taken over the communication spot. I still get mail but lots more email than the envelope kind.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Friday, January 19, 2007
There are several markets of this type in town and each catering to the folks who live close to the store. When I was a kid this was the type of store that you would find in neighborhoods. A store where kids can go buy a sandwich or an ice cream bar. Where housewives could go and buy fresh bread and vegetables. I imagine there aren't many of this kind of shop left in the USA any longer.
Most local women shop daily for fresh ingredients for the day's meal. It amazes me that refrigerators and cabinets aren't stocked. We are used to buying in bulk when the prices lure us into the larger stores. It isn't unusual for our home to have 20+ kilos of pasta. Now, here is an interesting fact. I would guess that a good percentage of shelf space is dedicated to PASTA of all shapes.
You can also purchase beer and liquor at these local shops. The Little Market also sells bottled gas used for both cooking and heating units. We have one of these heaters in our kitchen and it is the best. Altho, the town now has a gas line many still opt to use these *bombolas*. The shop owner will deliver and set up the bombola.
Outside the Little Market is a bench under a tree where folks sit and chat or just watch the scene in the street. This time of year the scene is tranquil but just wait till the summer. Lot's of tourists to watch and the proprietors of the shop have scarcely a moment to themselves.
The BEST thing about the shop is the big smile you get when you come into this store.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
When I IM with my daughter I am always hoping she comes up with a new Web Site. I heard about one this afternoon that gives free instructions on how to use an iPod or MP3 player. I am thinking about getting one of these. The site is Makaucorp.com. Check it thru Google. It was hard to get into probably because it was given out on a TV news channel.
Happy birthday Rachel.......
Monday, January 15, 2007
Since I already had a cup of coffee in hand I popped one of these donuts into the toaster oven and felt like I was back in the good ole USA.
Yes, Sharon...there is a Santa Claus!
I really miss Starbucks coffee. I like strong coffee lightened and no sugar. We buy coffee beans and grind them to make USA type coffee and it is fine but nothing like drinking Starbucks. I used to be a Dunkin Donut fan but got introduced to Starbucks at my daughter's in Ohio. It never fails. NEVER!
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Friday, January 12, 2007
Business is different in Italy than in the USA. One difference is the men are shorter so the barber's arms don't ache so much. Men tend to get more shaves here than in the USA. The Barber Shop also becomes a hang out in the winter time. Men tend to stand in the streets waiting for noon time to roll around and when the weather is bad the chop is warm and dry.
This shop has a wall for photos of young boys who are good in the barber chair. This really works. One boy told his younger brother that they would take his picture down if he did not sit still. Kids and adults have a choice of "calcio" team colored drapes. Most like yellow and red which are the colors of Messina's team. Others like the blue and black of Inter or the red and black of Milan. You have to be very alert with these choices as the barber will try to slip the black and white drape which are the colors of Juventus!
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Perhaps these new flags would have been put up without me but a little part of me wants to take some credit!
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Growing up in Maine and living there the better part of 18 years did not prepare me for the winter cold in this town. Not that the temperatures drop to below zero like Maine temperatures do but that cold gets right into the cement walls and attack old bones. Probably attack young bones as well but mine aren't young any more. Before we moved here in 1985 we had air conditioner/heat units put in almost every room. These units are high up on the walls and you know that heat rises. I suspect the installers think we might need the ac more than the heat. But, they don't know me very well. I really do not like to be cold. I'd rather be sweating. Each room is heated separately which is a savings on your electric bill but going from room to room is like going from Florida to Alaska in a matter of opening a door. The damp is another thing. Our bathrooms are the rooms that do not have heaters and we have learned to keep the windows opened just a crack to avoid the dreaded mold on the walls because of built up humidity. Cold seating...that is all I will say about that!
Two items are saving me from the cold. The first was a suggested item by another American living in this town, a long sleeved undershirt. This undershirt has a woolen outer side and a cotton inner side. I wear one of these until the end of March. By then I am so tired of all these layers but I cannot live without it.
The second life saver vs the cold is a HOT WATER BOTTLE. Or more honestly several hot water bottles. My younger sister is a hot water bottle *maniac* and she clued me in to these. If I sit on the couch one of these is keeping me company. The hot water bottle does not come without risks. We put a couple in the bed before going to sleep to warm it up and a couple nights ago had a surprise leak...more than a leak ...the thing had burst and now there is a problem. OK, I can deal with this but I would not be without either the undershirt or hot water bottle! We bought a couple more and I am knitting a new sweater for the new *heater*!
Monday, January 8, 2007
Sunday, January 7, 2007
My friend Angela invited me to accompany her and her two daughters to Mazzara'Sant'Andrea for the 12th night Christmas Presepe. This is a village showing what Bethlehem would have looked like when Jesus was born...live presentation. It is a drive up into a mountain village where the old part of the town was transformed into streets of Bethlehem. We walked the narrow steps which formed the narrow street. On both sides you could enter small houses which held village homes and various shops. In the small squares artisans showed their skills and wares. We met up with a cheese maker, cobbler, shepherd, bread vendors, skilled embroiders, pasta shop, a family cooking soup...fishermen..and several others including the mayor, carpenter and a mercato. The walking route was lit by candles and pots of simmering apples in water over open fires. Check out the picture post.
Saturday, January 6, 2007
The *fun* is for the kids who will be getting a gift from La Befana. The commune gives out gifts to the school kids grades 1-5. Of course parents will give the kids (who are good) some candy and a gift. More fun is husband working 1/2 day. Italians do have so many holidays. Today is Epifinia.
Not so good part is NO MAIL and I am waiting for Christmas packages sent to me from the USA to arrive. A friend told me that her sister in Genova is experiencing the same delay. After Christmas extras are nice.
Friday, January 5, 2007
Thursday, January 4, 2007
For this first post I offer a gift. It is a recipe that was shared with me by my friend's mother-in-law for Limoncello. There are many recipes for this drink on the Web but this is how she has made it for over 50 years.
1lt 90% alcohol
1 and 1/4 lt water
Wash and peel underripe lemons. Use of a potato peeler is a great idea as you don't want any of the pith( white of the lemon). Add lemon peel and alcohol to a glass jar. Simmer water with sugar to dissolve. Add sugar water to the jar and store for eight days in a dark place. Drain and bottle.
Many recipes suggest adding the sugar water after the eight days but I am sticking with her recipe on this.
I made it yesterday and will let you know next week how it tastes.
So welcome to my blog...come back often.