Friday, March 30, 2012

Photos, Again

Here are the photos again.

Kibbitzers in Lucrino.  Our old frail neighbor supervises the men making the handicapped spot.  Jack parked there to load the truck and the old man kept yelling at him.  He pretended not to understand.

Abigail eating her maple teething biscuits that Nonna brought her from NY.  Yummy!

Friends for coffee in Lucrino


The dining room.

Jack's study.

Our bedroom.  Abigail is there temporarily.  

Big bathroom. With fabu shower.

Living room.

Kitchen pass-through to living area.

Living area.

Pantry.  Delight.

Entry way.

My favorite room.  The laundry room!!!!

Hallway to bedrooms.

We are SO happy to be on base.  It was a great decision.  Tobi is more relaxed.  We are more relaxed.  We have eaten on our balcony every night this week.  I insist.  Even if we have to bundle up and shiver through the end of the meal.  

More AFTER pics, when there is an after to show.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Itinerant AGAIN

 I have been buried under all of our worldly goods.  Thankfully, my Mama came to save the day.  She seems to show up at exactly the right time to help me move, no matter where I am in the world.  Here is an email she sent home last week.  

wide awake on Friday and ready to boogie


a big event: painting handicap lines on the street, lots of kibbitzers

She just loves her organic maple teething biscuits.

Better water in Lucrino makes for curly hair

Jessica and Connor at the Breezy Bar in Lucrino


Abi's room

Where I sleep (in Abi's room) note hot water bottle

Jack's study

master bedroom

Abi's place, probably temporary

The small bathroom with stall shower

big bathroom with tub on the right, sideways

what the living room looks like today, Monday

the kitchen: these are sideways because I couldn't see the screen when I was sitting outside

the kitchen side of the living room

the living room

the living room viewed from the entry

Anna is happy to have a pantry.

the entry way

laundry room

hall with Jack's study on the left, master bedroom on the right

I'm showing you the before unpacking scene so when Julietta and Anna and I attack the chaos, you'll know where we started.  Right now we're happy to have Julietta here to bring fresh energy and her good eye to the situation.  

Friday, March 2, 2012

Decisions, decisions...

We've had a week full of decision making, introspection and honesty.  It is tough work.  But in the end, the actual decision wasn't that hard to make.  We have decided to move again.  NOT move from Italy.  This isn't a move that has been ordered by the NAVY.  No, it is self directed.  We are moving house.

We have decided to move onto Base.

And as these things go, it is bittersweet.

Our little seaside town, tucked away on the Bay of Naples, is just too far from the small, tender shoots of a social life that we have been able to cultivate here.  We live in probably one of the nicest areas around. It is beautiful by Naples standards.  That means that there isn't too much garbage piling up on any flat surface, that the stray dog packs stick to the lake.  There are some sidewalks--albeit in sorry states of disrepair and only once a week or so do we see the shattered and scattered proof that someone's car has been broken into/stolen outside our house.  I make it sound pretty awful, huh?

I can see our friend, who is Naples biggest champion, fuming at that last paragraph.  So, I will add.  The shopkeepers around our house all wave to us and demand that we stop so they can oggle Baby when we pass by.  We have a nice market, and our favorite restaurant and cafes.  It has been home.  It is the house to which we brought our Baby Bee home from the hospital.

I feel like we are moving away from ITALY.  But then, I haven't been totally thrilled with this part of Italy myself. I also feel entitled to say that as I have spent the better part of the last six years living in Europe with a few months spent in Japan for good measure.

It isn't that we don't love it out here in Lucrino.  It all comes down to one simple yet weighty factor.

I am lonely.  Miserably lonely.

I spend my days wrangling a baby, reading blogs and drooling over Pinterest.  A thrilling existence.  My big outing is when we go to the Commissary on Sundays to food shop.

So, off we go.  Decision made.

A grown-up decision that will benefit the entire family.

Now we just have to pack.  Good thing my mom is going to be here.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Snapshot From a Sunday

I have been eagerly looking forward to participating in Snapshots from a Sunday that is hosted at Clan Donaldson.    Check it out.  It is really lovely idea.  

I was musing about all the cool things I could write about being in Italy and all that jazz that people find so unique, exotic and impressive...but when we actually were awake at my assigned time slot of 3:00-4:00 AM, Jack snapped this wonderful (bonus of being married to a photographer) photo of Abigail and me.  

I chose this picture over the photographs we took later of us getting coffee and walking in our neighborhood.  I think that while the subject may not be unique, exotic or impressive, Abigail and I awake in the middle of the night honestly reflects the rhythm of our lives here.  

Yes, we may be in Italy.  Yes, we may be able step out of our door and get amazing gelato and espresso.  But we are new parents raising a baby across an ocean from our families.  That is what colors our life now.  Having a baby changes one's perspective.  Things that seemed to be necessary and important before are instantly banished to the bottom of the totem pole.  To me, being able to step out of my door and be in Europe was very important.  Postpartum, being able to step out of my door and drive to my mom's house is my fervent dream.  

So, this is us.  An American military family awake at 3:22 AM.  Stationed overseas.  Home, yet away from Home.

My new plants

Rosemary, funny miniature tree thing, spider plant.  

We bought the rosemary and the tree thingy today.  

The spider plant was acquired...

The lovely nonnas in our apartment building have beautiful hanging jungles draped over their balcony railings.  Huge pots filled with palms, geraniums, spider plants and hens and chicks balance precariously over the railings. The trailing fronds tickling the windows a story below.

Rosario's plants are the most beautiful.  She has the most wonderful sing-songy voice. She talks to her grandson, possibly the most beautiful little boy in the world, and her voice wafts into my kitchen window.  Whenever we go out and she is pegging out her wash, she leans over her plants and asks me, " come sta, Anna?"

She makes me turn around so she can see Abigail.  She claps her hands and laughs gleefully when Abigail sees her and smiles

On Tuesday we had a roaring, raging storm.  Here in Lucrino, next to the water, we get major winds--winds that blow windows open, and rattle the Persian blinds so hard that they set the security alarm off.

One of Rosario's pots blew off the balcony and met its fate in a heap of soil on the drive below.  I had to get out of the car on the way into the garage to haul the thing out of the way of the car.  I got into the car and leapt out on a whim before Jack started off again.  I went and pinched a few baby plants to plant.  

I doubt Rosario will mind.  

The pot is still sitting where I left it almost a week later.  I wonder if she is going to reclaim it.  Maybe I need to start my own hanging forest?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Too much information...?

I came across this review on Amazon while looking for enamel paints for a DIY project.  Feel free to read it in its entirety for the full effect, or your could skip to the highlighted sections.

"I have used Testor's enamel paints, for the past ten years, for painting inscriptions and for painting miniatures. I do my paintings on compact discs and on cassette tapes. For these efforts, I use the smallest brush available from the local art store.

Here are some inscriptions that I painted directly on my compact disc:

1. Mozart K513, 2. Schubert Schwager Kronos, 3. Au Privave Sonny Stitt, 4. Ronnettes Be My Baby, 5. Temptations My Girl, 6. Laika and the Cosmonauts.

One might wonder why I put such a hodge-podge of recordings on one disc. The answer is that these are digital recordings of my parakeet chirping to these particular compositions. In other words, after three months of experimentation, I discovered that my parakeet responds most vigorously to these particular compositions. Now regarding the Testor's enamel paints, I painted all of these inscriptions using cursive writing.

For each word, I used multiple layers of paint, for example, a blue undercoat of writing, with a narrower violet top coat of writing. (Of course, you need to wait a couple of days before playing the compact disc in the player, otherwise you will risk ruining the player.)

On my compact discs, as well as on my Maxell UDXLII cassettes, I also frequently paint paisley designs with the Testor's enamel paints. My paisley designs involve multiple layers, often four overlapping layers of enamel paint. I like to build up the layers so they have a 3-dimensional effect to the touch. On one particular composition of bluegrass music, I painted a fiddle. The fiddle was made of multiple layers. With the Testor's enamel paint, it is easy to mix together the colors to get exactly the desired tints and hues. The colors also can be easily used to paint a graded effect, as in the wooden parts of the bluegrass fiddle. Most of my recordings contain music by Brahms, Schumann, Jennifer Higdon, Aaron Kernis, Bartok, and Prokofiev (not parakeet chirps!). One word of caution -- once you open a jar of Testor's enamel paint, and use the jar on three or four occasions, the remaining paint in the jar will harden on its own within a couple of months."

Is it me or is it strangely humorous and endearing, if not a bit sad?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Compulsion or Highly Developed Sense of Aesthetic?

My Tita's Cabinet.  
 I tease my aunt and my mother that I can determine their stress level by looking into their kitchen cabinets. If mother and aunt are feeling particularly stressed, their Fiestaware will be arranged in some specific manner.  They mostly lean toward color blocking or separating into warm and cool colors.  The effect?  Beautiful.  Pleasing.  Soothing.

I consciously coordinate the color of Abigail's baby spoon with whatever food she is sampling.  Sweet peas, purple spoon.  Sweet potato, turquoise spoon.  The effect when feeding baby? Beautiful...maybe that's a stretch. Pleasing--yes. Soothing. Definitely.

My question:  Is this a compulsion or just a highly developed sense of aesthetic?  I know what I think. What things do you do that could fall under this category?  Is it compulsion or just a highly developed sense of aesthetic?