Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Finally something else- Finalmente qualcosa di diverso

Lately I've been feeling the urge to make something with paint, paper and glue again - the last time I did was in June of last year - but I couldn't quite get past setting out the boxes of supplies on the floor next to a table covered in paperwork. All of my stuff is still in such a mess, and I can't seem to find a place for anything. As much as I don't want to, I will probably end up having to buy some furniture. Here it's not like in the States, where you can find stuff in the street or at the thrift store. Nope. You have to buy it, and it's way expensive too.
Anyway I ran out of space in my little lined notebook, where I jot down a dream here and there, expenses, thoughts, etc., so I bought a new one. On the first page, as I was watching my two hours of evening TV, I started doodling eyes. One thing led to another and I started reaching into boxes and pulling out whatever was closest to the top. Then I couldn't stop.
E` da un po` che ho di nuovo voglia di fare qualcosa con la pittura, la carta e la colla - l'ultima volta e` stata a giugno dell'anno scorso - ma fino a ieri sera non ero riuscita a fare altro che collocare per terra, vicino a un tavolo coperto di documenti vari, le scatole con il materiale necessario. Tutte le mie cose sono ancora sottosopra e non mi riesce di trovare un posto per tutto, anzi quasi per niente. Anche se proprio non vorrei, mi sa che mi tocchera` comprare qualche mobile. Qui non e` come negli States, dove puoi trovare roba per strada, anche in buonissime condizioni, o nei negozi dell'usato. Niente affatto. Devi comprare tutto e costa pure tanto. 
In ogni caso, era finito il piccolo quaderno dove scrivo ogni tanto un sogno, qualche pensiero e le spese, quindi ne ho comprato uno nuovo. Sulla prima pagina, mentre guardavo le mie due ore di televisione serale, ho cominciato a scarabocchiare degli occhi. Uno scarabocchio tira l'altro e mi sono messa a rovistare nelle scatole, tirando fuori quello che era piu` in cima. E poi non ho potuto smettere.
Isn't it funny? At the apartment in the San Francisco I had carved a work space out of the hallway, because there was no ideal place. Now I have all the space I could possibly need and more and I can't get organized. 
Non e` buffo? Nell'appartamento a San Francisco mi ero ricavata uno spazio nel corridoio, perche` non c'era un posto ideale. Adesso ho tutto lo spazio che mi potrebbe mai servire e di piu` e non riesco ad organizzarmi. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Meanderings of the mind in an unusual time in my life

Yesterday I was looking for a recipe I had posted a couple of years ago here on my blog and I noticed that my life seemed much more interesting, or maybe I should say varied, back then. Lately all I photograph are trees, fireplaces and dogs.

As some of you know, in November of 2010 I quit my job and moved from San Francisco to a small town here in southern Italy to try to repair my parents' home, which had not been lived in since 1987, and to see if I liked living here again. After just a month and a half the meniscus in one knee went bad, then about 3 months ago the other one. After seeing 4 orthopedists, I am now getting Tecar treatments (a therapy invented in Spain) and have recently been to an osteopath twice. Neither knee has healed yet, but one or both of these treatments seems to be helping.

Of course this health problem had a big effect on everything having to do with life here. I spent more than I should have to fix the house and, although there is a lot more that could be done, I'm stopping here, because I have to. Almost 3 months ago I moved into the house, which is in the countryside about one kilometer from town, with no car an no heat, except for a big fireplace and 3 heaters fueled by gas tanks spread around the place. Even though the house is big, I am mostly living in the largest room, where I sleep, watch tv and have my computer. My days are filled with tending the fire, letting my dogs in an out of the house, trying to keep a pack of 9 strays from getting too cranky, looking out the window at the beautiful trees, trying to figure out what to cook, and listening to interviews on The Winter of Wellness with healers and teachers of all kinds.

I'm thinking a lot these days and I know I am going through an unusual period in my life, but if I try to give it a name or a description that fits, I can't really come up with anything satisfactory. Is this a pause, a transition, a hiatus? A reflective time in survival mode? These two adjectives, however, don't seem to go together very well.

I'll try to describe it, and maybe that will help me name it, categorize it. I guess I am not one who can just "be". I need to know what I am "being".

First of all I have figured out that this is not home. It was home at one time, but not now, maybe it will be, but it's not at the moment. The thing is, though, that there is no where in the US that I consider home either. There are places I like, where I imagine I could be relatively content, but they are not home. Seattle would be one of those. Can't really think of another one.

I want to start a spiritual practice that I can stick with, but there are so many interesting paths, that I can't decide. I have about 20 unread books on spiritual themes, but there they sit. I feel like making mixed media art again, and all my supplies are in boxes next to a table for art-making, right here near the one with this computer, but I can't quite reach for the brush or glue or paint. What I would much rather do is watch videos of people creating a mixed media piece. You know, those speeded up ones? I love them.

Maybe it's a case of winter hibernation. When the weather warms up I'll pull out the packets of seeds, the paint brushes, and maybe I'll even put away the stuff that arrived a year ago and most of which I haven't even unpacked. When spring comes I too will wake up to from my sleep.

And just so no one gets doggy photo withdrawals, here's one of Cirillo getting puppy kisses, to which he responds more or less the same way he responds to my petting.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A little alchemy - Un po' di alchimia

Tonight I made myself a little aromatherapy potion for my various and persistent aches and pains, due to arthritis/rheumatism, cold damp weather and a very long period of inactivity from a problem with the meniscus in both knees. Several years ago I took a few aromatherapy classes and, of course, bought numerous books on the subject and a large supply of essential oils. Some have deteriorated, but surprisingly most are still viable so every now and then I use them to add a different and uplifting note to the air or for small ailments.
To create my blend I added a few drops of Eucalyptus citriodora, Lavender, Wintergreen, Rosemary, Wild Chamomile, Immortelle, and Vetiver to Jojoba and Sweet Almond oil. If I had had essential oil of clove I would have added a drop or two of that as well. I don't know if it will help the joint pain, but just smelling the different scents in the air and on my hands has a very positive effect on my spirit. It is in fact said of aromatherapy that it acts on both the emotional and physical level.
The sweet creature watching over me from my computer screen in the photo above is my beautiful Asha, who was with me from 1996 to 2009.

Questa sera mi sono preparata una piccola pozione di aromaterapia per i vari e persistenti  dolori che ho da qualche tempo a questa parte, dovuti all'artrite e ai reumatismi, al tempo freddo e umido e ad un lungo periodo di inattivita` per un problema al menisco in entrambe le ginocchia. Qualche anno fa ho seguito qualche classe di aromaterapia e, naturalmente, ho subito comprato tanti libri sull'argomento e una buona provvista di olii essenziali. Alcuni si sono deteriorati, ma sorprendentemente la maggior parte sono ancora ottimi per cui ogni tanto li uso per aggiungere una nota un po` particolare all'aria o per raffreddori, sinusiti e altri piccoli malanni. 
Per creare la mia miscela ho aggiunto qualche goccia di eucalyptus citriodora, lavanda, gaultheria procumbens, rosmarino, camomilla selvatica, helicrysum italicum e vetiver a una base di olio di jojoba e olio di mandorle dolci. Se avessi avuto dell'olio di chiodi di garofano avrei aggiunto anche qualche goccia di questo. Non so se aiutera` il dolore alle giunture, ma di sicuro solo sentire nell'aria e sulle mani il profumo di tutti questi olii mi solleva lo spirito. Si dice infatti dell'aromaterapia che agisce sia a livello emotivo che fisico. 
La dolce creatura che veglia su di me dallo schermo del mio computer nella foto sopra e` la mia bella Asha, con me dal 1996 al 2009.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

No dog photos.....niente foto di cani!

Just so you don't think all I do is look after dogs, here are a couple of photos of recent work done around the place. Of course I didn't do any of it myself!
Affinche` non pensiate che non faccio altro che stare dietro ai cani, ecco alcune foto di lavori fatti recentemente. Naturalmente io non ho fatto nulla personalmente!
The hedge before - La siepe prima
and after - e dopo
Don't worry it grows like mad! Non vi preoccupate, cresce molto in fretta!
Behind the storage building before - Dietro al deposito prima 
and after removing rusted metal, glass, dirt and ivy - e dopo aver tolto pezzi di metallo arrugginito, vetri, terra e edera.
Retaining wall rebuilt around the Thuja. When a tree was planted by your father 40 years ago and its other name is Arbor Vitae (tree of life), you need to take care of it! Muretto riparato intorno alla Thuja. Quando un albero e` stato piantato 40 anni fa da tuo padre ed e` anche conosciuto come Arbor Vitae, ne devi avere cura!
The wire is temporary, just to keep out the wild pups until the cement dries. Cement is not traditionally used in these walls, but when dogs run all over things sometimes it's necessary.
La rete e` temporanea e serve solo a tenere lontano i cuccioli selvatici finche` non si asciuga il cemento, che in genere non si usa, ma che diventa necessario quando ci corrono sopra i cani.

I lied, here's a photo of the three wild pups.... ho mentito, ecco una foto dei tre cuccioli selvatici....
Photos of them have been posted here and there in hopes that some kind soul will adopt them. In the meanwhile my saintly neighbor is taking good care of them. Le loro foto sono state postate qui e li` nella speranza che qualcuno li adotti. Nel frattempo un mio angelico vicino se ne sta prendendo cura.