Saturday, October 29, 2011

My eldest made burgers! And what do you suppose they're made of? Sugar, and spice and all things nice ... with a shovelful of food coloring for good measure.

Radio-Active Burgers made to order!

In case you're wondering, they taste as good as they glow.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Raking fall leaves with papa turned out to be more of an exercise in creativity than a lesson in the satisfying rewards of hard work.

In essence, he raked while they went behind him and made lovely yellow paths all around their imaginary world with the leaves he'd just piled.

I personally witnessed the paling of his face as he murmured, astonished, "They took my leaves and spread them all back out!"

But who can deny the beauty of a carved mini-pumpkin placed strategically among fields of gold? I saw his eyes crinkle at the sides and his heart melt into a warm cup of cocoa. No anger - no reproach.

A dream father, he is.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Beer Mitts* are done - finally and after taking them apart four times to completely rewrite the pattern. I'm no pattern genius, either, but these were just out-of-this-world complicated. My version is much more user-friendly for basic knitters like me.

After about twenty photo ops to find just the right angle, the Russian got out his weights. I asked him if all this yarn was challenging his masculinity. But alas... his idea was a simpler one: take every opportunity you can to show off your muscle mass. ;)

* original name and pattern by Stitch N Bitch

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Before I end my Tuscan reverie, I thought you should see how locals look at life, see the windows through which they watch the world go by.

Beauty overflow...

Tiny hobbit hideaways...

And a patio for the most wistful of dreamers. As I stood and admired the laundry hanging among old stone walls, I was relieved to feel myself longing for home. Perhaps the dreamer in me begins to realize that beautiful places are transient to the heart that has found true love.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Some people don't believe how utterly allergic I am to tall mountains.

"You live near the Swiss Alps! That can't be true!" they say incredulously.

And yet...

My daughter caught this picture on her ipod driving home from Tuscany. It was the first time I had manifested so decisively against Alpine Oppression. Out of the Italian fields we drove, away from the wide open sea toward the Ticino Alps of southern Switzerland. And as we passed into the narrow mountain passes (that granted some say are breathtaking), I craned my neck to look out the front window.

"Ah yes...there's the sky...way up there...just a little patch...if I squint I can make out an inch of generous of them. For crying out loud!"

The car fell silent. All eyes on mom.

To my credit, I remained calm as I reached for the roll of paper towels. The Russian barreling down the road at 104 km an hour, I carefully ripped a strip of towel from the roll and tucked it behind my glasses.

"There. You see? Now I don't even have to look at them. Everything is as white as heaven. How serene. Don't mind me... carry on, carry on!"

I left my alp-protectors on until we pulled into town. And if you don't believe me by now... you never will.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Looking out toward the sea, the day will come when each of them sails away into the unknown. I told them to stand there while I immortalized their silhouettes.

"What for?" they whine.

Because you are all that is beautiful, I command.
Because you are my heart, and my life, I order.

Sometimes mom-love is militant, and while it inconveniences them in times of ease, it comforts when the storm rolls in.

We walked home through the forest in comradery after that, lugging all the things we had brought with us, when suddenly the boy-man folded his hand over mine and took my heavy bag from me.

"Let me carry your bag, mom, it's heavy."

And the comfort during the storms of life comes crashing back my way... If only I could take a picture of that, my heart sighs.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

We pulled over in the middle of fields to inspect a row of olive trees. Fall is here, and the farmers had left an abundance of them to dry on branches or rot in the dirt below.

We picked up a few and carried them home - a bit of Tuscany in our pocket.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Walking by the sea will clear your mind. How can it not? There is nothing else to see but a clear blue line on the horizon and a wide blue sky above.

That's if you're looking up, of course, and feeling optimistic.

But my head hung and drooped as I walked along, and what I saw was beauty in death.

"Why are you photographing dead fish, mom?"

Perhaps it was because I have felt like them: half-eaten, rotting on the shore among objects more beautiful than I. Shells, textured sands, soft wood worn by the rolling of the tide.

The day comes when each of us must swim alone in life, lie alone, die alone.

How will the sandy picture of my life look when I'm gone? What will be seen when others stumble upon my memory?

I tucked the camera away and sat back down on my beach chair, half staring out toward the west, half watching the children frolic here and there.

A sigh.

And then I picked up my needles once again, and began to knit mindfulness back into my world; for what you give away in love is the flowing seaweed that adorns the picture of your life.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My German friend says that this sea town is a jewel in itself.

She was right.

Castiglione della Pescaia boasts plenty of romantic alleyways,

Vespas or your own two feet for transportation,

And snapshot views your mind will never let you forget.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Evening falls on Castiglione della Pescaia - a small and graceful town on the Tyrrhenian coast.

Here we ate pizza on an outdoor terrace with local wine and plenty of Italian sounds to quiet the blaring noise of our own innate stress. This is what a vacation is meant to be!

With nary a tourist in sight (whoops, except us!), the town offers a genuine sense of local heritage.

And tomorrow you shall see the old town!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I stood or sat and gazed for hours at the Tuscan light.

All around were wide fields and warm wind, bathed luxuriously in sunshine. Deep sigh of relief and comfort -

here it is easy to see.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tuscany and its doors!

This one leads into a cathedral...

...a quiet sanctum of darkness and opulence where the faithful leave candles of prayer burning to the Holy One.

Perhaps an Italian Mama lives here and prepares pasta al pesto for those she loves. (Side Note: if you are ever in Tuscany... order that!).

If you could pick, which door would be the one to your house?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

First stop PISA

The leaning tower was much more magnificent than I ever thought it would be. It is an architectural wonder whether it leans or not.

The Russian... no comment. ;)

Tuscany pants color, and the Italians wield their artistic flare masterfully. Warm hues and an excessive attention to detail pour over eyes like wine, relaxing and embracing.

The shot of wonder to please the man...

In the piazza, worlds of ancient beauty had my head spinning. Cafe anyone?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

We've been in Tuscany -

alone and roaming the countryside -

and I have postcards for you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Time for a vacation - be back soon!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Though withered and scorched, grasses that bathe in the sunlight are beautiful.

Never forget ... so are you.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

We were sitting on tree stumps having lunch in the forest when little hands made offerings of a dessert.

She claimed they were shelled hazelnuts, something her hard-core tarzanian father had taught her to do early in life. The rules in his book are simple:

1. You can live twenty-five days without eating.
2. You can go without drinking for three days before you die (the key word here being die, of course).
3. The land will always feed you.

With dessert now looming before him, he was obliged to pop it in his mouth.

"They're acorns," said this Hollywood-bred Jane.

"No, no, she's got it right - they're hazelnuts. You can live off the land."

Surely you can guess the end of this story. For once Tarzan was thwarted, and spat his protégé's masterpiece into the grass... "They're ACORNS!"

And so it begins...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My very first friend lives 5,258 miles away. But there was a time when she lived just down the street; when we would run through town in our bathing suits, and had our own restaurant in her front yard, which served a vegetarian menu. In today's world, I suppose our ice-plant salad would be considered chic gastronomy.

And here we are, nearly forty years later, sharing life through a wire that wraps a world 5,258 miles wide. I wish I could crawl through that wire and share a glass of apple wine with her, that I could somehow step through the webcam for lunch.

Today is a word for my very first friend. The day we met was the first day of kindergarten, and here she is in a classroom all her own, describing her love for education at the primary level. She is inspiring.

Learning to be me :

After forty years, Debbie, I still want to be your friend. xo