Friday, October 31
Tuesday, October 28
In the first place, it is autumn in Italy. The trees are alight with color; vibrant yellows, golden orange and brilliant reds dot the ends of wily, dark branches. These, the last vestige of the prior season dangle precariously, seemingly reluctant to make departure from their perch, and make way for the season to come. This serves to provide the perfect backdrop to the homes of this area. Multi-tiered villas painted in sunshine yellow, mustard yellow, pale yellow, burnt orange, terracotta, red!, sage, blue, ecru, tan, and muted khaki.. The foliage is a perfect echo of the neighborhood palette.
We are in farmland and the vast fields which just weeks ago must have held startlingly tall corn stalks have been mowed clear, leaving only a trail of broken, dried stems marking the sharp, straight rows planted last spring. Weaving among the rows are scattered the empty cobs of bird consumed corn which remained after harvest. Breathtakingly hopeful, side by side with the decay stand new shoots of green pushing upward from the earth in brave innocence.
In other fields, now empty, the grain sits rolled and ready for transport and the earth is turned and tilled, resting until planting time after the winter.
In the second place, this land is so quiet. Rural Italy has a personality and a timing all its own. Away from the tourist bustle, this seems to be the place to witness Italy the way its lived daily. Having spotted (more than one) 'Nonno' with black fisherman cap tipped forward on his head, cycling down the roadway, trench coat billowing in the breeze, a gathering of villagers engaged in passionate-hand-waving-in-your-face-conversation and dark haired lovers in endless embrace as they wait for the local bus to arrive, I feel like I have been treated to a backstage pass to the quintessential Italian life.
Our "vacation house" is an amazing structure which sits on the estate of Tenuta Castel Venezze in Rovigo, Italy. It is house enough for the five of us and then some. The truth is, I think we all feel this place could work for us in the long term, it would merely require the small sacrifice of chucking out most of our "things" (we have too many anyway!). Imagining a long term life in vacation mode is certainly appealing and I for one, have not excused a single thought along these lines as frivolous or idealistic in the least.
The villa is fully equipped with a lovely sitting room, bedrooms, bathrooms (with bidet!) and a kitchen at least ten times larger than ours at home. We shop in a local supermarket (also ten times larger than what we have at home) and pour over the various pastas, cheeses, meats and breads--making instant menu decisions based on the beautiful things we find on the shelves.
Italian life doesn't seem altogether much different to our own and the kids seem confident that they could adapt to life here without a hiccup, which certainly points to the compelling, romantic, magnetic draw Italy has.
I am snapping hundreds of photographs in the attempt to record the nuance of feeling here. The peaceful residence we share this week, complete with the intoxicating smell of fall flowers on the garden hedge (I desperately wish I knew what it is called. But me and the bees? We adore it!)
Recording by pixel if not by memory I am cataloguing the days in neighboring towns and cities including the epic journey by boat to the city of Venice to walk the streets of that most romantic of destinations.
I understand that I cannot capture all of it on camera nor can I record the thoughts and impressions fast enough to keep them all but I am giving it my best and for what my heart and mind (and my memory card) can't hold I will carry home souvenirs.
Because in the third place? Nothing says Bella Italia like a pair of leather boots.
Monday, October 27
Sunday, October 26
Saturday, October 18
Catch you at the end of half-term break.
Internet willing, there may be photos betweeen now and then...
Friday, October 17
Wednesday, October 15
-Passing 'last hope'
-On the road to 'what next?'
eVeryone here is watching, waiting,
-Expecting. But I would guess mostly hoping.
-Reaching out should be more natural for
-Those of us on the upside of the line. Because it is me and
-You they are watching, waiting, hoping for.
Reach out won't you?
Find an organization here.
Tuesday, October 14
A motherly tone " So then, I guess you are all done with the big "I am going to clean my room today" project?
A daughterly tone "Uh, yeah, well kind of."
Mother tone "Oh, what happened to the whole "I'll see you later I am off to clean my room!"
Daughter tone "Well, I worked for like an hour up there!"
Mother "So is it clean?"
Daughter " Not exactly."
Fatherly tone joins "What does that mean 'not exactly'"?
Daughter "I really worked up there for like an HOUR!"
Mother "So, it's really not clean, right?"
Indignant Daughter tones "Whatever. My room has character!"
Insightful Father tones " Yes, I've seen that character and I believe his name is TEMPLETON"
Monday, October 13
I have to be bluntly honest here and admit from this venue, that there are many, many things from my own culture which I do not miss in the least.
And yet, some of it seems to follow me in spite of my best efforts to ditch it at the library and go hang with the cool kids at the mall.
Here I speak of things like the stereotype of we Americans being a little on the loud side, a lot on the over-emotional side, totally in the depths of the gushing praise over mediocrity, and a far shot away from the self discipline other cultures of the world tout as crucial to civilization's decorum.
And yet, fast as I try to run from the bits of it which lock us into a stereotype as a nation there are parts of it, the culture, which seem to be stalking me.
This in particular friends:
BARNEY has come to The Netherlands.
London, July 2, 2008 –
Global pre-school channel JimJam... is set to launch on the Netherlands’ largest cable operator Ziggo...
The new Netherlands launch will take JimJam, the first dedicated pre-school channel in the region, into approximately 400,000 additional households. Combined with recent launches on CanalDigitaal and UPC, the channel will soon reach almost one million subscribers in the Netherlands, making it JimJam’s single biggest new market at present... Ideally suited for children aged between 1 and 6, JimJam offers a fantastic mix of new and classic programming designed to engage, educate and provide a safe and trusted viewing environment for young children. The channel features some of the world’s most beloved and trusted shows including....Barney & Friends...
And so I say to the children and parents of The Netherlands. I am so, so sorry.
Barney is not actually my friend.
And to those who feel I might be reacting a bit strongly, I give you
Now, just imagine it in Dutch.
Saturday, October 11
Memory lane beckoning you too?
Leave your link if you've got a word today.
Tell me if you recognize anyone...
2. Flower Child
Friday, October 10
I sit here typing
somehow conned by my daughter
"please mama" she says
I still remember
asking the same of my mom
when papers were due
Though working on word
is wholly more forgiving
than a typewriter
My fingers fly quick
when I'm done her work begins
She tells me "Oh wow"
And "Thanks, you really type fast"
"Man, I love you mom!"
Her profuse thank yous
Make me pause and wonder now
If I said the same
Way back in the day
when mom rat-a-tat-tatted
those old sticky keys.
Thursday, October 9
Dear Them of the Internet;
Makers of Games, quizzes and other time wasting goodness,
Whoever you are and whatever it is that you do which causes you to clearly have too much time on your hands, I salute you.
Because this? This is just what I needed.
Most sincere thanks,
Jenn--who has been a little stressed out of late--in Holland
Wednesday, October 8
Tuesday, October 7
I've been without reliable internet service for a couple of weeks. (A handy cable plug in provided by my handy husband has resolved that issue now) Instead of surfing, reading and writing in the blogdom of my life I have been *ahem* accomplishing other things.
For instance the ironing basket now stands empty and the closets are full of freshly pressed clothing. (I am kind of thinking no one should wear any item of said pressed clothing, since it all looks so nice in the closet. Also, I am thinking of imposing a moratorium on further clothes getting dirty and thus needing washing and ironing...)
Also, in my web-less time away, I have been reading.
Mmmmm.... reading, reading, reading.
3 novels to be exact. 2 which I thought were good, 1 which I felt was phenomenal.
And? I have devoured cover to cover, 3 hand-me-over New Yorker magazines sent in a care package by a wonderful friend in the states.
The recovery from bronchitis (two-rounds of antibiotics later) seems to be nearly complete. Of course, as it seems wont to do in this house, my return to health is echoed by Andrew's descent into CAMP ILLNESS (where, let's be honest, he is a frequent visitor) and just yesterday afternoon as we waited in the doctor's office I discovered his body was covered in itchy-burny-angry-red-rash. In addition to that apparent viral infection he's fighting there is also the set of infected ears, a ruby red throat, and a chest infection! (Is there a prize for most infections when you see the doc?)
So, we are home together this week. (While I find it a point of pride to press forward and work through my own sick days, when my baby is sick, it's a different story.) And the good news? It looks like we may be joined soon by sick Emma and sick Ian.
Because sharing is what this family is all about.
Saturday, October 4
You connected? Tell me so.
Be sure to link if you are playing today.
|1. soccer mom in denial|
2. Kate Forsey
5. Dave Hampton
6. Flower Child