Here's what confuses me about the concept behind Vajazzling: I assume a woman would get it in order to convince a man to have sex with her. But what man would want to get his "sensitive" parts that close to skin encrusted with rhinestones?
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A quiet house. I am in the unusual position of being alone and awake in my home. Possibly for the first time in months. I've been alone-ish and not awake, but to be by myself, with no child or family member wanting my attention, cuddles, etc. is strange and unbalancing.
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I reorganized our bookshelves today. In past moves, I always organized the bookshelves first. The rest of the house could be completely disheveled, but our bookshelves were neatly stacked with books in alphabetical order by author, seperated by fiction and non-fiction. This time, I saved the task for last, like not eating dessert until after dinner. And partly to say, that this house wouldn't fully be ours until the books were organized.
Going through the stacks of books, I found stack and stacks of paper journals. I read through bits and pieces of them, and rediscovered completely forgotten memories. It's strange, when I write in a journal, I sometimes feel silly recording the mundane, but then, six or seven years later, I truly appreciate finding it again.
There were scraps of half begun writings, plays, poems, stories. I'd more or less renounced myself as a writer, giving in to the ever present laziness, and succumbing to the rest of the trappings of living. But, some of it isn't half bad. Or rather, some of it could be interesting if I disciplined myself.
I'm in a weird in between space right now, and I find that in the in between spaces, the most interesting reflection occurs. Who knows how long this will last or if it will be fruitful. But there you go.
On January 20th, a marvellous day for obvious reasons, I recieved another piece of wonderful news, which I think shall also be ingrained in history: Chrysler and Fiat made a deal. Fiat gets 30% of Chrysler's holdings just for being allowed to make some of their cars in American factories, and for an exchange of information regarding their Multi-Jet Engine technology. DO YOU REALIZE WHAT THIS MEANS?? Cinquecentos!!!!! In America!!!! Cute, adorable little Fiat 500's that get about 40 miles to the gallon. I can feel a vroom vroom coming my way. First Cinquecentos, then Pandas and Puntos, then Bi-Power Multiplas! Tomorrow, the world.
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I have discovered a coctail that sets my heart aquiver: The Beautiful. Made up of Cognac and Grand Marnier, this beverage is the end to all other beverages. It is strong, that's the cognac, and it is sweet and orange-y, and you drink it from a Brandy snifter which makes you feel all sophisticated and grown-up. For those of you who have attempted to drink cognac before, which is totally classy, but been unable to stomach the rubbing alcohol flavor, try a Beautiful, which is almost as classy and infinitely more drinkable. The Beautiful, in my book, just barely beats out the Manhattan. Manhattans, for those of you not in the know, are made up of Bourbon, sweet vermouth, a drop or two of bitters, and I like mine garnished with an extra cherry . . .
Finally, a complaint. I justify this entry telling you all what car to buy and what drink to drink, because, apparently, I'm a trendsetter ahead of the game. "Nooo, Kat," you say to yourself, "You I-Pod-less, car-less, canvas messenger bag toting thing, you. You hated pointy toed stillettos until just after they peaked and then you bought a pair. You may be many things, but ahead-of-the-curve edgy-trendsetter you are not." Well, not anymore my friends. Last year, when I was planning my wedding, my chosen colors were lavender and pale green. My dress: pale green. Bridesmaid dresses: supposed to be lavender. My sister and I went everywhere last spring: Nordstrom, J. Crew, fucking Ann Taylor, and no lavender, no pale green. We made it happen because we are awesome, and online stores work miracles around the globe, but everyone we went to told us that pale green and lavender just weren't the colors of the season.
Now, this week, in the mail, I get a J. Crew catalogue (please don't hate me, I only buy their stuff on sale), and what do I see in their wedding section? Bridesmaid dresses. Pale green. Lavender.
In ten minutes, "The Road to Mecca" will be over, and I will have return to my duties, thanking our guests for coming, listening to complaints about the play, collecting lost items, and securing the doors. Until then, my duties are complete. A space to be filled has formed.
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Yesterday, I sat down and read all of "The Enchantress of Florence" by Salman Rushdie. A true pleasure of a book, from the delightful typeface, the smooth pages, the vibrant cover, to the extraordinary world within in it, a world that can contain both Machiavelli and a Mughal emperor who calls into being his own dream of a woman. Even the buying of the book was pleasurable. I bought it on a day off. I was returning a rented car downtown, and walked home via the Stadium District. Since I was passing by King's Books, it didn't seem to do any harm to go inside and have a little looksie, and walked out with Steve Martin's "Born Standing Up" (another delight to read) and the above mentioned book. After my purchase of luxury, I walked through Wright's Park, stopped at the Conservatory, where Mr. Chihuly had immersed some of his more organic looking artworks among the fig trees and orchids in celebration of the Conservatory's 100th Birthday. And all this will always be a part of my recollections of this book.
Domanda/Question: What is your earliest memory of pleasurable reading?
For those of you who know Whiskey Bear, aka Tyger, Troush, or Ancestral Sage King, you may tell me if this is at all amusing:
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Sis, and I, and the Ancestral Sage King were beering it up at the Five Spot; it is Oregon themed and we all lived in Oregon at one time or another. I was drinking a delightful Shakespearian Stout, Virginia had an IPA of some sort, and I cannot recall Whiskey Bear's poison of choice, but you can bank on it being a high quality, Oregon micro-brew, worth being snobby about. We were discussing Jane Austen, I can't imagine why, possibly to make his Highness uncomfortable, and I, in a slight beer haze, joyfully blurted out: "Tyler! I'll read a book of your choice if you read one Jane Austen novel!" Imagine, if you will, his deep hearty laugh, as if to say, "Oh Kat, you really can be such a fool." He suggested that I ought not to read a book of his choice for the purposes of a bet, but because the books he suggests are important and worth reading.
I taunted him, to see if I could knock him off guard with irritation: 'I've never read Catcher in the Rye," I teased, "I've never read Slaughter House Five." He squirmed with discomfort, as the thought of a human being who dared to have studied Literature in college had lived 28 years without the benefit of having read those books. "Frankly, Kat," he said, "That just disappoints me. You should be ashamed."
"Well," I said, "You ought to be ashamed yourself. How can you not have read a single book by Jane Austen."
He demured, suggesting that Ms. Austen wasn't necessarily worth reading, as those books were.
Virginia stepped in, defending the Great Austen's wit, and satirical quality. (Qualities which Virginia is in abundance of.)
I supported her argument, "You should be reading Jane Austen because she has keen insight into ridiculous social conventions; she wittily analyzes human interaction; AND she has great insight into the minds of females, which, let's be frank, (I leaned in) you don't know that much about."
The Ancestral Sage King laughed again, this time, not so much in merriment at my foolishness, as in a bit of discomfort. I feared I had stepped too far.
"Ha ha," he chuckled, "I guess if I were reading Pride and Predjudice in a coffee shop, I might pick up a chick."
And so it was settled. I must read Slaughter House Five, and he must read Pride and Prejudice. And we must compare notes.
Well, my dear Journal, I can't help but think that when one writes in you, one is self-creating the person they want to be/be seen as. Who is it that I want to be seen as today? Certainly this new icon is helpful: cigar wielding, sultry smoke breathing, elegant clothes wearing, with a single delicate scratch on the chest (from kittens actually, but could suggest so many interesting things.) Affectionately called "Dollface" by Italo-Americano cousin Joey Pappadopoulos.
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Reality: works as an Audience Services Manager at a prominent Theater company.
never makes own art
is in a monogamous and legally/religious sanctioned partnership (loves it!)
owns a home
owns a 1987 Volvo
has FIVE cats, cleans up their shit from kitchen floor regularly
rarely cleans out actual litter box
converted to Catholicism, had a moving baptism in Italy, has not been back to church since, not even to the hippy catholic one
is still Pagan at heart, sees no problem with the two religions co-existing
is dreadfully organized at work and dreadfully unorganized at home
wakes up at 10:30, catches the bus to work, arrives 2 hours later, returns home at midnight thirty
cuddles on couch with partner and watches a Netflix movie afterward
does not have: internet, television, air conditioning, a working dryer, a land-line
does have: a sweet ass bicycle, a messy kitchen, a backyard with no lawn, just dirt, a closet full of books, but not enough bookshelves
also has: a full set of Ralph Lauren hammered flatware, a full set of Noritake earthenware, a full set of Circulon pots and pans, all thanks to Macy's registry.
also has: 28 years to her name
And now, for some keen observationing:
I'm the theater's representative this evening for a rental in one of our spaces. The performance: a campy rendition of Reefer Madness The Musical. First observation: I am House Managing this show as if it were one of our normal productions catering to 50 something Baby Boomers. "Good evening," perkily, "Are you here for Reefer Madness? Enjoy the show!" There is something a bit off about that. Second observation: Some of the audience members are a bit counterintuitive for a play of this nature. For example, a wholesome looking student teacher type led her grandmother by the arm to see the show, and Grandma could barely walk and had to rest every so often, and pull out a Kleenex mid-way down the lobby. "I'm here for Reefer Madness," she says assertively. Third observation: Some of the audience members are totally stereotypical for a play of this nature. The totally baked guy that can't find his way back to the theater from the restrooms. The totally bakes guy who can't figure out how to follow the arrows pointing the way to the theater. The unfortunately NOT baked guy arriving in a beret with feather, a Hempfest t-shirt, a utilikilt, and lace up suede leather boots with fringe.
Salad for lunch today, with onions and salt, and a little bit of brie for protein, which goes lovelily with marsala wine.
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Thanks to Martha Stewart I presented Giampaolo with a delightful handmade gift and saved a great deal of money. I made my own chocolate truffles dusted in cocoa powder, presented in an old box wrapped in paper that I made myself, fotocopying rosemary branches and a rose to make a lovely black and white pattern on violet paper. I honestly thought it was a bit of a failure, the truffles had too much cream and were too soft, and I didn't have time to write anything, but he seemed to like it.
This interview was given to me by Joey. If you want an interview, leave me a response and I will give you five interview questions. Groovy?
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1> You are given an extra large kiwi fruit, a hatchet, a bucket of sawdust, hair clippings and a used copy of "The Outsiders" that has every fifth page torn out. You are mandated that you create art with these objects, what do you do?
First and most importantly, I eat the kiwi fruit, because kiwi must be eaten, always. I take a shower, but do not dry myself, and roll in the sawdust and hair clippings. Then, I go to the glass bridge in Tacoma, stand in front of what I call the Wall o'Phallus, i.e. the venetian vase wall, and recite what is left of the outsiders in a loud, irritating, Tyler Roush sort of voice. I continue to recite even as they arrest me.
P.S. This would all be even more fun if they gave me a fatty joint before mandating that I create art.
2> Gimme an embarassing childhood story (you may choose to involve Virginia if you want)...
I may want to include Virginia, but she would never forgive me if I post something contrary to her approval on the internet. SO . . . This is hard, because what I continue to feel ashamed about are things that most people wouldn't consider embarassing. OK No this is really embarassing, but this is middle school: I decided I really wanted to do something for Valentines Day, that didn't involve candy hearts and Scooby Doo valentines, so I wrote an awful poem and had a friend give it to a male friend that I was having mixed feelings of possible attraction for. I tried to keep it all secret, but that evening, his mother called my mother (they were friends) and asked, "Is your daughter in love with my son?"
3> What is your favorite saying in Italian and what does it mean in English?
One: Non mi rompi i coglioni. Translation: Don't break my testicles.
Two: Quando cresce la pancia, cade l'uccellino. Translation: When the belly gets bigger, the little bird falls. This makes no sense until you understand that the little bird is a penis and when a man gets fatter, his little bird stops flying.
4> The earth is gonna blow up, Oh noes! You're in charge of one rocket to escape the planet with and go to a lovely bubble colony on Venus. This spaceship has twenty seats on it. Who do you bring with you to this exotic new world?
various other friends and family members that would be boring to you to list (10)
Isabella Rosselini (because she's hot! and a great actress and we will need art on our Venesian fantasy land.)
Bjork (because her music will be most appreciated by the native Venesians
Louis de Bernieres (because he's one of my favorite living writers
Salman Rushdie (same reason, plus he can interpret the wierd happenings of Venesian life as he has astral travelled there in meditations, which is the only explanation I have for some his writing.)
5> You are allowed to condem five people to stay on Earth and suffer the fate of the expolosion. After George W. Bush, who are the other four? The two irritating 892 guys who do the commercials for the new info line on TV (unless you've seen it, you can't understand.)
The current CEO of McDonalds, damn them for ruining local culture!
We began the olive harvest yesterday. I went with Giampaolo to the olive grove, and the two old men and Giampaolo's nephew had already begun. They were laying out the nets under the trees, three big nets, that extended to three trees each, and, because the grove is on a hill, they placed stakes at the bottom and hung the nets on the stakes, so the olives would catch there instead of rolling off down the hill. To collect the olives, we each had small hand rakes, and with one hand we grabbed a branch and pulled it down toward us, the with the other hand, we raked downward, forcing the olives off the branch and sending them cascading down onto the nets. You could also do this by hand, grabbing and thrusting downward, but with rakes you don't get purple juice on your hands. To reach the olives on the high branches, the old men had a ladder and would go up and send down a rain of olives and every now and then change positions; but Giampaolo had an electric machine with a long arm that would agitate the branches enough to shake down the ripe olives.
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When we had de-olived the trees surrounded by nets, we would gather the nets up, collected all the olives in the center. Then we'd pick out the leaves, and pour the olives into big plastic crates that we picked up with the tractor at the end of the day. Then, leaving the crates behind, we moved the nets down another three trees and began a new rain of hard black fruit.
In a week or so, we will have fresh virgin olive oil, a bright green color because it is new, and a slightly fruity taste. I am so happy.
We had a dinner party, and I, feeling very much like Mrs. Dalloway, bought the flowers myself. I chose white and violet colored mums and a salmon colored Lily, which, sadly has not held up well. The buds that I'd hoped would bloom after a few days, have instead fallen off and disappointed me extremely. Giampaolo cooked dinner, I did a chocolate cheesecake, as part of my plot to educate Italians on the subject of edible desserts, and we put together a good antipasto layout as well.
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But now! . . . Your first installment of The People In Kat's Italian Neighborhood!!
Little Old Lady Down the Street.
She comes up just barely past my waist, and has a face like a raisin, can't hear but asks questions and pretends to understand them. She raises pigeons and chickens and you can see her walking around sometimes with a plastic bag full of struggling pigeons that she delivers by hand to the various houses. She has a sweet scratchy voice, and carries sadness in the kerchief over her hair. I asked her how she was doing the other day and she said, "I don't know, something is the number of years I've lived, something is the people who have died, and something is just what life does to you. Not so good." And then, she just started to cry, there in the middle of the road.
The Moro Brothers
One is the ex-owner of the bar my friend Gloria bought, the other doesn't appear to work since he spends practically all day everyday hanging on the corner of the piazza. Both are in their mid forties, but the seemingly unemployed one is famous for being the ugliest man in town, and the other one is famous for showing up at the bar drunk and getting beligerent when people explain that he gave them the wrong change. Giampaolo calls the Ugly One Il Brutto, which means The Ugly One, and when I was confused about who he meant by Il Brutto, he said, "Imagine the point from which Ugly begins, he is that point. From him, everyone gets progressively less ugly." His father was heard to say, while playing trumps on the Old Man Corner of the Piazza, "I've done a number of things in my life; but I've got to say, I sure made a hell of an ugly son."
and the last special character of today is:
Giampaolo's Zia (aunt) Anna Maria
Not to be confused with Zia Anna, who has a bottom like a television box (same size, same shape), nor with his sister Anna Maria, nor with his sister-in-law Anna Maria, nor with his nephew's other aunt Anna Maria. This particular Anna Maria is notable merely for the fact that she shaves, and has a remarkable stubbly growth of facial hair. She carries a very severe expression, and I don't recall having seen her smile. But she will praise Giampaolo like he was blessed by the Gods, so she must be alright.
I ordered Martha Stewart Living by telephone the other day. A full year's subscription. Please don't hate me now, I really do understand what a bad thing it is to be Martha Stewart dependant, but I can't help myself. I will break myself of this when Giampaolo quits his ciggarettes.
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We also went to Ikea, I'm becoming a terrible consumer, and bought some really nice things for our house, which has been somewhat shabby for a long time. We purchased:
Blue and Green striped throw rugs for the bathrooms
A floor lamp
A rice paper lantern for our bedroom
A tea kettle
A twelve piece set of silverware
A wine bottle rack
A bathroom rack to store towels and cleaning supplies
We are going back next month for a bookcase and a dresser. First we must paint living room walls.
In other news, although I was thinking about how little I wanted to acknowledge this whole marriage thing, I find myself happily referring to Giampaolo as my husband as much as I possibly can. It just sounds so nice on the tongue. "Sorry, I have to go, my husband is sick and I'm going to make him some tea."
"My husband loves wine too!"
"I'm a teacher, but I also work with my husband at his restaurant."
We are also the worst kinds of newlyweds, telling eachother how much we love each other innumerable times in a day, as though it were the most profound thing to escape our mouths, making love like rabbits and not quietly either (but our neighbors take thier revenge by doing self-remodeling at 7:00am on Saturday morning), and at the slightest change in demeanor we become concerned, "What is it? Is something wrong? Tell me what's bothering you?"
I recognize my encroaching conventionality, and yet, I'm at a loss to stop it, in fact, I'm even enjoying it.
Saturday, an average day in my Italian Wonderland.
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Having worked until 2am on Friday evening, and having worked two different jobs that day, I sleep in until ten thirty, and then come downstairs where my beloved has fallen asleep on the couch watching TV. I turn off the television. I make myself a breakfast of pancakes with Trader Joe's Morello Cherry Sauce and a glass of Chai (courtesy of my family and part of my birthday present which arrived a month and a half after my birthday thanks to the Italian Postal System). I feed my cat scraps of suckling pig from the restaurant, and think about how it must be somehow against nature that my little cat, afraid of other cats smaller than him, can somehow be eating an animal that could easily eat him as a snack. And yet, Artù doesn't mind one bit, and I'm sure, is free of these philosophical musings, especially considering that suckling pig is his favorite breakfast. I curl up next to Giampaolo and he slowly starts to wake up. We chit chat a bit. I play with the hair on his chest. We make love. We lie naked on the couch and talk about our upcoming trip to Paris and Amsterdam. I tell him I want to rent bicycles and ride around the town. He plucks some of my grey hairs and squeezes out a few of my black heads. I pound his chest and scream and threaten his delicate parts if he doesn't stop. He laments that he never studied to become an estetitore (the person who gives facials and exfolitations, etc.) At one, we finally get up. He goes to the cemetery to put flowers on his mother's grave, and I wash a few dishes. We cook spaghetti with shellfish and white wine, finish off the bottle of Grechetto and, then, with full bellies and contented dispositions, we take a nap on the couch. At five o'clock we go to the restaurant, and work for a good nine hours. His sister comes while we are preparing tables and offers to take me to the beauty parlor before we get married in the courthouse, and also offers to take me shopping for a dress. I want to cry, because none of this is what I wanted this go around, and I feel like everyone expects something of me as a "bride," and I hate trying to live up to those expectations. There is a buffet for a girl's birthday party and I help put out the flowers, and then a million other people come without reservations and we run run run and tables get forgotten and its the worst chaos I've ever seen, and in the end, I finish off my night with a small glass of Montenegro. Giampaolo promises I don't have to buy a dress, but he wants to wear a three piece suit. I feel better. We come home and fall immediately asleep.
La Mancanza della Pioggia (The Lack of Rain)
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Remains of squashed toad, lured
Toward the invitingly damp asphalt
Accidentally convinvced the hard surface
Helf greater prospects than
The soft mud and concealing weeds.
That is rain, our false friend,
The great evener renders city,
Forest, and bog alike
To the same soothing swamp,
Until comes the car,
And renders us
Bright green and pink
Across the black concrete.
La Tempesta in Estate (The Storm in Summer)
Our clothes hand damp on the line
Heavy with moisture in the air;
A pair of lovers trapped in bamboo,
Frozen in a forest of green,
Hover on the television screen.
Mosquitos, escaping the imminent thunder,
Find refuge on my skin, and happily suck
Sweet sweet blood from my veins.
You come in.
You throw off your clothes,
Having rescued your open car
From the deluge.
You nestle in,
Your head on my lap;
I stroke your hair.
"You smell like rain,"
My cat has eaten a goodly portion of the yellow carnations I bought two weeks ago. I adore him for it.
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I have not been writing. I have all these opportunities and I am doing very badly. My sister, who is my current editor, is quite displeased. Graduate school applications could be potentially uncompleted by deadline should I not do some follow through. I just need one more one-act. How hard can that be?
The neighboring village is having their festa this week. I am sitting alone in my kitchen, at least a half hour walk from the village, and yet I hear the music of thier Ballo Liscia as clearly as if my neighbors were hosting the party on thier terrace. Oh for the gentle sounds of the accordion and electric piano! How I wish that I too could be drinking wine from a spigot and dancing the polka!
No but, seriously folks, tomorrow night, the town of Grutti is putting on their Medieval Night, complete with a performance of some kind of Commedia dell'Arte. Theater major hormones kicking in! Commedia dell'Arte, in Italy, live, following the traditions of several hundred years of local village festas! I shouldn't get too exited. The other night, Giampaolo and I went to Todi because I saw an advertisement for a Chamber music concert: clarinet and pianoforte, playing Schumann, Schubert, and Brahms, and I was so thrilled to finally hear live classical music again. Sadly, the clarinetist turned out to have been trained as a jazz sax player (soprano sax) and played the classical clarinet with all the delicacy of a chopping block. In addition, he completely lacked any form of breath control. It was strange, he had this resume of having studied with all sorts of maestros, and performing all over Europe and then he can barely keep in tune or hold a steady low note below forte. I kept trying to listen to the pianist, but he was so distracting. I wanted to cry. I wanted to shout, "Hey! My brother's high school orchestra plays better than this! Who are you to charge six euros for a crappy performance that shouldn't leave your living room!"
And then, the worst of it all is that, in Italy, encores are naturally expected, as though they were part of the program. Performers (actors, musicians, etc.) wait for the applause to get really loud, and then, even if it peters out, even if people are already starting to leave thier seats, up goes the curtain again! Here comes another bow! Here comes another piece, handily prepared for just this situation! and then, the bows wear out thier welcome, your hand gets tired, you start thinking about how it wasn't all that bloody good, and you get up and leave before they've finished thier moment in glory.
When I put on a play or two out here, I guarantee that I will follow these American guidelines:
The bows are for the audience, not the actors. An audience needs denouement.
Bows must be short, fast, and full of energy.
Bows for the entire cast should not last more than thirty seconds.
An encore bow comes if and only if the audience is literally begging for more.
Actors may not decide when to do an encore bow. Only the stage manager or director may do that.
I realize I'm a bit pissy about this, I am a sour old scroungy wet blanket. But goddamnit, I expect quality and professionalism, none of this ridiculous orgiastic ego frenzy.
Speaking of orgiastic frenzies, Giampaolo and I are going to have a little document signing party on either the 13th or 14th of September. The document being something that will legalize me in the country. This particle document is also known as a marriage license, but I really choose not to think of it that way. Not that I'm not committed, its just, we plan on having something more like a marriage in a year or so, when we've saved some money up and can invite our friends and family. This is really just a document signing party. And then, afterwards, we're going to go to Amsterdam and take advantage of the assets there: a museum of pornography, marijuana, and Van Gogh. I see all the makings for something quite quite glorious.
1.) Let Your Father and Brother Be In Charge.
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2.) When they need help, do what they say.
3.) Learn key phrases: Starboard (pronounced starbird), Port, Bow, Stern, Mainsail (pronounced mainsil), Genoa (also known as Genny), Jib, and Bowlain (pronounced Bolin). Definitions in order follow: the right side of the boat if facing front, the left side of boat if facing front, the front of the boat, the back of the boat, the big triangular sail that hangs from the mast and hooks up to the Boom (something you should always duck to avoid), the even bigger sail that hangs from a string (better known as sheet) hooks to the Bow, like a Genoa but smaller, the all important knot that cannot slip or come undone and only becomes tighter when pulled on, unless you know the trick to untie it.
4.) Don't get scared when the boat leans (lists) because that is actually a good thing.
5.) Don't get impatient when there is no wind, there will soon be lots of it and more than you can handle.
6.) When people yell at you to fix the thing that you don't understand, start fixing the closest thing to you until they yell at you that you went for the wrong thing. Then, they will fix it themselves.
7.) Entertain fantasies about being a fantastic seasoned sailor, while fumbling around to keep out of people's ways. Cook really yummy meals and pretend your twenty six foot boat is a fifty foot yacht. Serve wine.
Today, I created a giant pot of spaghetti sauce to freeze for our sailing trip, and then went to an orchestra concert.
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Recipe for Kat's Ragu
Get really big pot, with thick bottom so nothing sticks and burns.
Cover bottom of pot with olive oil (pref. extra virgin and young enough to be a delicate green)
Crush three cloves of garlic and allow them to simmer in with the olive oil.
Add crushed and dried rosemary, parsley, basil, oregano, sage, and thyme.
When the smells awaken your nostrils and childhood memories, add thinly sliced mushrooms.
Let the scent of earth inspire the addition of a generous amount of hearty red wine.
Add a red chunk of ground beef. The redder the better.
When the blood runs, and everything is on its way to being cooked, add canned crushed tomatoes.
Add tomato paste and put in enough water to keep things from burning and getting too thick, but not so much that it won't cook off.
Simmer and boil and stir and stew for several hours.
Get hot, steamy, and desirous as sauch simmers boils and stews.
Shed a few tears and salt the pot. Spice things up with pepper if necessary.
When the moment is right, and you'll feel it, your ragu is cooked. Pull everything off the heat before it starts getting worse instead of better.
Consume as needed.
Flew home Wednesday and Thursday (my low airline budget tends to make my flights a two day process), and am settled in to my parents house ready to celebrate little sis's college graduation!!
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Am brain dead and readjusting to English.
If you live round about here, give me a ring, eh?
Pronunciation in Italian can be a wee bit tricky. They have this thing about double consonants, things like maggio, pappagallo, cappello, etc. You have to pronounce a double consonant differently from a single consonant. Anno and ano are not the same thing: one means year and the other means anus. In English it isn't such a big deal, and in American English, we barely pronounce single consonants, let alone doubles. Just for a little test, say the word butter out loud, right now.
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You just said budher didn't you? Try Seattle.
There was a delicate tapping of the toungue on the roof of the mouth between ee and ull wasn't there? (If you are British and reading this entry you don't count. You Brits pronounce butter properly, I know.)
Here in Italy, the American liberty with double consonants doesn't fly. While I am happy (try saying that one out loud, the Italians will go crazy with confusion) to allow my words flow out of my mouth as they choose, the people around here are quite strict about differentiation.
For example, I asked my boyfriend the other day, "What's a capellone?"
He nearly choked on his grappa.
"Where did you hear that?" he asked me.
"I saw it spray painted on a tunnel outside the city. It said, 'Il mio ragazzo è un capellone,' (My boyfriend is a capellone.)"
"To clarify," he asked me, "Did it say cappellone or capellone?"
I couldn't remember, honestly. "Maybe it said cappellone."
"Then," he said, "It means her boyfriend has long hair."
He finished the rest of his grappa.
Although long hair is not a common trend in Italy right now (although MULLETS! are for some reason), I didn't think the fact that a girl has a long haired boyfriend would be sufficiently interesting to warrant spraypainting the fact on a tunnel wall.
"And if it had one p?" I asked.
He sighed. "Then it means her boyfriend has a very large headed penis."
All this is very important because, besides the fact that lazy American tongues might accidently out thier boyfriends as supreme pleasure givers instead of merely tranquil hippies, I find it a delightful thing that in Italy there is even a word for someone who has a penis with a very large head. I mean, what is the equivalent of that in English? Seriously.
As Mr. Danielson so loquaciously pointed out, March 8th was Internation Women's Day, or in Italy FESTA DELLA DONNA!!!! What began as something serious (albeit a bit politically hazy) has become here in Italy an excuse for GRRRRRRL POWER! and lots of women/girls going out dancing, to pubs, or to judge drag queen shows?! without thier boyfriends. And to get drunk. During the day, women wish each other Auguri! (Best wishes, which is also said at Christmas time, on Birthdays, and other fun holidays) and men are supposed to also wish thier women Auguri. Then, come nighttime, si truccano (put on tons of makeup) si stronzano (bitch themselves out) and escono (get out of the fucking house).
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The history is actually really interesting: On March 8th many years ago (I don't know when) in England; there was a clothes making factory with almost esclusively women employees. Somehow a fire started in the factory, and the owners had not complied with building codes, and almost all the women were trapped inside and died. There was a field nearby with a bunch of mimosas (little yellow flowers like baby's breath) and when people came to the site to pay homage to the dead, they picked the mimosas and threw them over the ashes. On March 8th, the streets are filled with dudes selling bunches of mimosas.
I went with my boyfriend's sister and some of her friends to a concert by I Nomadi a Communist (self-defined) rock band from the 60's-70's and then to an American Bar. The concert was really good actually, the dudes totally rocked, even if they were the slightest bit heavy on the synthesizer (but then, ALL Italian music is heavy on the synthesizer, its like thier drug). In the audience, instead of a proliferation of marijuana, there were tons of banners with pictures of Che and Hammers and Sickles, and several Rainbow Pace flags. Instead of girls throwing underwear at the singers, people set bags of clothes, boxes of food, school books, etc. on the stage to be donated to third world countries (and THAT made me want to throw my underwear, it was so sexy!)
I have to say I don't really like the concept of Women's Day, especially as a.) there is no Man's Day, b.) What? we get one day?! c.) I don't like it when people say, "Hey congratulations today! You got born a woman!" Why make an entire country celebrate the fact that I'm a woman? I can understand Women's Liberation Day, or Women's History Day, or a day dedicated to a feminist leader, because that would actually be celebrating people who DID shit. It would be like, instead of having Martin Luther King Day, we had Black People's Day. And one night in January, all the clubs banned Eminem rap from the discography, and fried chicken was the main course at all the restaurants and every black person you see on the streets you say, "Hey congratulations man! You're oppressed, but I think you're just the greatest!" Isn't that just the slightest bit denigrating?
As a final note, I took the opportunity to go the gyno's on Women's Day! And I am happy to say that my vagina is in good working order Woo HOO! but my uterus needs modifications if I were to want to make offspring there.