Design or decoration… again

What I have learned in designing…

I was a footwear designer for several years. When I began, My Design Method was to make a base drawing of a particular shoe form. Then, I’d overlay pieces of paper on top and carefully draw-out ideas, options, developments. I thought this would save time. I needed to arrive at a shoe factory with a set of clear & accurate final designs. I was working like a robot and found the process to be dry, lifeless, though many of the designs were made into very commercial shoes. After a couple of seasons, as my confidence grew, I abandoned this process for free-hand drawing. I had a natural flair, once I trusted my hand. The creations were visually more exciting, the ideas more original, creative. The shoe designs simply grew from the pencil sliding across the paper. I could feel them out. And, I discovered I could save time and still present readable, do-able designs. Happily, the results were vastly more fashionable & successful.

Creating the interiors of il Poggiolo involved the same process… feeling, inventing, improvising, finding serendipity along the way. Perhaps, 5 % was sitting & thinking or sitting & drawing/planning. For example, in La Casetta, You & I knew we did not want white on the walls. We talked & talked about other options… beige, light grey, even shades of blue later used for the Appartamento Azzurro, etc. I would go with a fan deck, buy liter cans of a few colors, paint them on boards and place them in the spaces of La Casetta to see how each looked. One color, a light grey which, in the store appeared to be a light warm grey, took on a subtle Sage color in the apartment. We liked it but felt the color needed to be a bit more solidly Sage. And later, from leafing through art books to walking through palazzi with Sage… or, Salvia… on the walls, we were confirmed that oranges, blues, gold & silver… & black even!!!… practically anything looked good against it. We returned to picking various samples of a Sage… more neutral, a bit of yellow, more blue… to find what turned out to be the ideal Sage for La Casetta. The process just needed a bit of patience, time & trust to allow for those happy accidents… or, what I call Serendipity. And, the bigger surprise is the journey is a lot more fun. Gads?

 

 

 

 

Design or decoration…

Putting M’s S Episode well behind, allow me to turn to a more informative topic… a lecture, perhaps… on how You & I pulled off il Poggiolo Project. Sounds so American. Its interiors, then. So many of Our Genoese Guests at il Poggiolo Party 2012, who had ONLY heard brief communiques of Our Three-year Shebang , asked to know of Our Design Philosophy. Philosophy, yes. Design, no. I HATE the word.

In today’s world of interiors, the obsession of evidencing design has created only boredom… to me & You. So dull it’s akin to the worried question… Have folk forgotten how to read? Certainly numbed in how to look, with so much thanks to the dictatorship of the photo. But, I digress.

The other day, I bought You a copy of ELLE DECOR, the Italian Minimalist’s Bible. I must confess… I too can oooo & awww over slabs of rough-textured concrete interrupted by some nearly obscene piece of dripping abstract art. I can drool too. Conformity is a dreadful drug. Attached was a sort of catalogue of the latest in design from the big Milan Furniture Fair of last spring. Because I look at magazines from the back to front, I arrived first at a block-buster packed round-up of the Top In Kitchens. Lord! They all looked the same. The only differences from one to the other were material changes, strictly optioned. Pages of sharp, severely volumed cabinets & counters overlaying enormous empty spaces below. Yes, perfect for a 25,000 square foot loft with 1/4 dedicated to a kitchen. Everyone lives in one, don’t you know? By the way, You HATES to see kitchens. Prefers to have them hidden away in some corner of the house, as if to isolate the Guests from My Screams of Torture while I’m cooking up another dinner for six.

I don’t want to have design yelled at me, without any escape. I like to look & feel & smell other things. Off-beat color choices, funky furniture fashions, an unexpected array of accessories & artwork. If I must succumbe to design, then, let it be to decide where & what size door ought to go between one part of the house and the other, the arrangements of the bathroom fixtures so there isn’t a LA expressway lay-out below the terra-cotta tiles and/or to have a reasonable answer to The Question… Can we get two 200 x 100 cm sofas in there? After that, I want design to disappear. You does too. Is one party to the drawings underneath, a Michelangelo fresco? CERTAINLY NOT!!! Ditto for interiors. Design is for figuring out the practicalities of structures, assemblages, arrangements. Then… Bow out, please. Let’s move on to the Fun Stuff.

I found the word Our Philosophy in the Apple Dictionary… serendipity. Yep. That captures it for You & me. But more on that in another blog. You weren’t thinking I was going to divulge all in one shot, were you? Silly notion. Gads.

 

 

 

Poisoned into silence…

How innocent Codiponte looks from a distance.

Up close, not so. The village has had a checkered history with poisons. Rife with the stuff, apparently. The word of Moses’ Strychnine Episode has tainted every corner of this little community and beyond. Folk… many faces I recognize and some I don’t… have come up to me expressing their kind sympathy and to recount stories of their unexpected poisonous encounters. Dogs & cats struck rigid to a dreadful & premature Death…

My sister’s German shepherd barked. Dogs bark, no? Someone threw into her yard a piece of meat laced with poison. Dead…

Ran my dog down to Acqua Paradiso (a local natural spring within a 15 minute walk from Codiponte). He ate something poisoned and was dead on the spot. It’s happened twice. Then, the man made a gesture with his upraised arms to show me what I had spent 4 days suffering through to avoid…

My two dogs and some cats poisoned right here in the village…

My daughter’s bastardino… or, mutt… died in her arms on the way to the Vet’s from eating a morsel full… just full… of poison and right behind our house!!!…

and so on and so forth. Makes one’s spirito e anima reel. How silly of me to think that Moses’ scrape with strychnine was an isolated, extraordinary event.

What is it with A World keen to resort to poison as a solution to anything? The Vet said what he saw with Moses was a delinquency. Oh? Well, that to me is not showing up at school at 8:30AM, spray-painting fuck-you on a wall… which in Italy can be mis-spelled… or, stealing a car’s hubcaps. Leaving a salami saturated with strychnine in the garden of a home… NEXT DOOR TO OTHER HOMES & GARDENS… in broad day-light is nothing less than thuggery.

The Regional Police are due at my door on Saturday morning to make their report of the incident. And, I will have to be vague… indeterminate… divulging as little info as possible. You said I must. Repercussions, you see. The perpetrator of this crime… thug… delinquent… or, what have you… lives & breathes amongst us. I have no proof but I sure as Hell know in what sector of Codiponte Moses snatched at Death. I cannot say. Scarier than poison. And, so dreadfully Italian. If I were in America, I’d point, state, express, explain to encourage a squad-like assault on the area in question by the Health Department to detect other insidious examples of what almost KILLED My Dog. What I AM ALLOWED to do is appreciate that Moses isn’t Dead. Shit happens and move on. Still, My Pet. Chew on that for awhile and let me know how it tastes. BItter-sweet, I bet.

As you can tell… I’m pissed. Gads.

 

To fence or, not to fence…

More Post-Poisoning Fall-out…

an English friend here in Codiponte, a long time resident of the community for the past 20+ years, explained over coffee this morning that the locals HATE dogs that roam. Wild creatures to fear or avoid. The folk prefer dogs… or, any animal for that matter… to be securely confined inside a fenced compound. Their sense of Security knows no end when signs are posted stating… Attenti ai cani… or, Beware of the Dogs. What fun. Thus, their World can turn safely Defined, Controlled, Regulated.

This is an odd commentary of how we foreigners might view the Italian Peoples. We are erroneously led to believe… thanks to Italian film comedies & trite tourist tomes of 175 pages or less… that the Italians are steeped in Confusion, Disorganization, Disruption… Chaos. Not so. Our Italian Friends MUST HAVE Order, Specification, Commandments, etc. Is this perhaps the fault of The Church? Be forewarned, in any case, that Italy has more Laws, Rules & Regulations than 10 USAs or UKs put together. The I-peoples are content, secure to play their extra-legal games while knowing what holds them tight. Yet, not before they have sounded out others before doing so. Gaps shown are a green light to take advantage of weaknesses of the Ls,Rs & Rs to blow off from their self-induced regimentation. Ugh.

Up until September, I let My Adored Canines Run wild, run free.

The writing was on the rock wall though to My Laissez-faire Attitude to Canine Freedom… or, do I mean License?… way before The Moses’ Poisoning Episode. A month before Codiponte’s 1st of September sagra… or, festival… devoted to a local variety of apple, a person went to the police and lodged a complaint about roaming dogs. She/he/them were particularly incensed about the solid waste donations deposited on the by-ways of Codiponte. My Two Dogs were mentioned. There were other dogs nominated or even photographed. A policeman called… the very one who constantly tells me to move the AUDI illegally parked against the Medieval bell-tower of Casola while You & I are in The Bar for breakfast, on a Saturday morning, in Italy, for cryin’ out loud!!!… to caution me in friendly tones to keep My Dogs confined to Our Garden and absolutely leashed when out for passeggia… or, w-a-l-k.

Up until a week ago, I’d pile The Dogs into whatever vehicle was at hand and drive them to some country-back-road to let them Run wild, run free. Then, last Thursday happened.

Our English friend finished by saying it might be The Time to seriously consider fencing in Our Garden.

Yuck.

Her reasoning came in two parts… Part #1, The Dogs will be confined without my worrying where in the Hell they are or what they are licking, etc… and Part #2, a fence would give me Privacy by keeping Other People & Animals o-u-t.

Less yuck, but still.

As I have said, the Italians love fences… tall & tacky affairs standardly built of green painted metal stakes with a tightly woven green metal wire fencing strung between them. Then, they let have it with some plants which are green year round to grow an indomitable green wall 3 meters high… at least!!! Here is a neighbor’s example… and though cleverly hidden by all that green stuff, there really is a fence in there. Oh! By the way, You despises it. However, he puts A Positive Take on it by adding that the green wall does adequately hide the neighbor’s eye-sore of a yellow house…

Here is Option B for fencing all’italiana… the draw-back of this type is the necessity of a paint-job every four or five years. I can safely say that neither You NOR I will do that…

So now, admittedly, this is NOT the best example to show but, if You & I are forced by Our New Circumstances to erect a fence, Our Thought would be to follow a typically contadino solution involving heavy wood stakes… perhaps, staining them in Our Signature Rusty Color… and stringing an equally rusty colored & heavy gage chicken-wire fencing between them. Hate to think of the Cost & Work to synch-in the perimeter of Our 20,00 Square-foot Garden. Anyone good with Math? Here is a shot of a remnant of a contandino recinzione from il Poggiolo’s Past-History…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, I know. Maybe I should just keep The Dogs on real long ropes. Gads.

 

 

Hiatus aftermath…

An afterword about The Dog’s Poisoning… and, I dare any of you to top this… the Vet wanted no money for saving My Adored Dog’s Life. He did it on Moral Grounds AND NOT on Monetary. To Our Vet, Moses, You & I were victims of an uncalled for Criminal Act of Delinquency. Sounds better in Italian. Nevertheless, A Sizable Donation was given. I am so grateful to Our Vet.

You’s Family are due to descend on the 6th of October for A Poggiolo Party 2012 Bis, since You had struck them from the Original Guest List of the September 8th party. Then, My Brother & Wife are due-in towards the middle of October. A very belated honeymoon. Once they have set-off for Firenze, I will clean & shut up il Poggiolo. It has been quite a Summer… Guests Galore… an extraordinary Heat & Humidity… a seemingly endless list of tasks to fine tune House & Garden… an anxiety-laden array of Party Preparations for il Poggiolo Party 2012… the unexpected loss of the car key… AND, THE WEIGHTIEST ITEM OF ALL = Moses’ Poisoning. Have I missed anything? Exhaustion has set in. I am ready for a Fall/Winter in Genoa. Cannot say how long the sojourn there will last. I HATE eating dinner before a TV. Gads.

 

My latest hiatus…

Sorry for My Long Absence; I’ve been terribly occupied. May I do the explanation in the reverse? Let me start with The Frightening to the Absurd, finishing with A Happy Event…

last Thursday morning, about ten minutes after concluding Our Morning Constitutional around Codiponte, My Adored Canine, Moses, reared-up from his bed bolt rigid & eyes bulging our of their sockets. I knee-jerk thought it was either a fit or poison. I immediately called Our Vet to alert him of Our Fast Arrival. A trip which normally takes 20 minutes was done in 12. Dott. Tognari… A Fine Man, An Excellent Human Being and A Superb Veterinarian… knew exactly the situation upon seeing Moses. How many times in 30+ years of practice has he seen the signs of strychnine poisoning? 60 liters of water later and massive doses of a counter-acting series of drugs, were we able to flush out of Moses’ stomach the bits of adulterated salami and its casing saturated with the deadly AND highly illegal poison and attempt to maintain some control over the convulsions. The rest of the very long day was spent dealing with these… the very thing which could’ve KILLED MY DOG!!! You drove down from Genoa to help. By 11PM, The Dog was released from any further convulsions though he was running a terrific fever and his breathing was labored. You & I finally transported Moses home at 1:30AM. Friday & Saturday were spent back at the Vet’s to continue the therapy of Drips & Drugs, fighting to save this creature’s Life. I saw my Dad pass away. His death-rattle was atrocious but, nothing compared to the violence of what I say Moses suffer. May the person or persons… and I have my suspicions of who committed what is on the Italian Law Books as A Criminal Act, but, sadly, with No Proof… BURNS IN HELL on the Broil setting.

Before this dreadful event, I managed to loose the only key I had in Codiponte to My FIAT Barchetta. I looked everywhere for it… inside the 5,000 square feet of House… or, should I say, Houses?… the 20,000 square feet of Garden and the 5,382,000 square feet of Codiponte WITH ABSOLUTELY NO LUCK. I fell into an abject Depression. I also turned to white wine with little solace. On Day 3 of being way-laid in Codiponte… which is fine, if you can flee every now & then to Sarzana or Home. It’s terrible when one’s Automotive Freedom is given the chuck. May I say… I was a tad lazy. I wanted You to come on the weekend with extra keys I was sure were housed in a plastic envelope inside a binder in our apartment in Genoa. Naturally, they weren’t there when looked for. This meant leaving My Adored Canines, Moses  & Nina, with a local, hire a cab to drive me to the nearest station to catch a series of trains for home to search myself. Then, God intervened!!! Out with The Dogs on Our Morning Constitutional, I happened to see AND flag-down Our Local Mechanic. I asked him if he could forcible enter My Car. I had a weird idea that some faded document might have The Code for making a copy of the lost key. In less than a jiffy, the Deed was Done. And… LO’ & BEHOLD… inside the document folder were not one… not two… not even three… BUT FOUR EXTRA CAR KEYS!!! One for me… one for a spare in Codiponte… and two for Genoa. How ridiculous, no? I immediately drove You & myself to have a celebratory cappuccino in Casola.

The Party Preparations for il Poggiolo Party nearly stressed me into Oblivion… and Old Age, thanks to the impending arrival at 60!!! Not a waking or sleeping moment was lived without worrying about how we were going to pull this thing off. The very last of the episodic invitations… the latest indications for a safe arrival in Codiponte… caused an avalanche of last-minute cancellations. Many odd to weird excuses when previously there was only definite enthusiasm to show-up. Che sara’ sara’. The Body Count dove precipitously in a matter of a couple of days. We had too much food… too much drink… and not enough invitees to consume the stuff. I persevered and continued to work My Scottish Butt off in the Kitchen with a couple of knowledgeable friends. The day arrived. The guests arrived. WE AHD A KICKER OF A TIME!!! The ingredients of Our Success were… too much food… too much drink… too cute a singer… so many sparklers… two surprise birthday cakes… and all The Right Guests. Thank you. Now, folk are calling You to say they had heard from so-and-so of Our Fun Festa and how they wished they had been invited!!! Gads.