Beyond offended…

Many Moons ago… so many Moons ago, like way on the other side of that dreadful Crest of Annoyance, The Holiday Season 2012… and possessed by the novel idea… for me… of marketing Il Poggiolo to interior design & travel magazines, I was recently contacted by one from the list. The sender works for a LARGE, POWERFUL and, I might add, UBIQUITOUS travel journal, whether in print or on the Net. I was suitably impressed. Mostly that my photo-packed message via facebook… which, right there, shows even a complete ignoramus can make strides with activities preformed via the Internet… had hit such a target. The bull’s-eye… a writer, I suppose… expressed an interest in publishing an article about My Adored Abode, Il Poggiolo… still lately covered in a dwindling patina of crusty snow from last weekend’s 3 day bout of a blizzard. Great! I replied.

Since that moment, and up until yesterday evening, the writer & I were in a fluid exchange of e-mails negotiating an appropriate photo to grace the page or screen to accompany a text. Of the 6 most charming & indicative examples, the writer requested this photo…

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which, as you can see, has a relatively square proportion. Well, this writer requested it in a landscape and/or a letterbox format. She also added Hurry! What she was gainfully asking, however, would turn out like this… 

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Lovely.

In a tizzy, I called My Personal Tech-wizard, whose Expert Opinion CONFIRMED My Greatest Fear… the photo of this writer’s desire WAS NOT THE ONE!!!… dammit. Nothing left but to do as My Dearly Departed Father was always want to say… Fall back & punt! My Tech-wizard & I discussed… telephonically… cybernetically… and perhaps even telepathically… what might be Another Proposal to SAVE THE DAY!!! May I say? I feel quite embarrassed with My Tech-wizard. He has seen My Entire Photographic Oeuvre. Well, barring those pictures of me fat & naked in the bathroom mirror. And, Thank God! But, all Our Attempts flopped…

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I refused to concede Defeat. My last e-mail was to suggest a photo of an interior, ardently believing The Bust of Julius might tilt chances to My Favor…

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What I got for a response… three days later… was… Sorry. But I don’t think your house is luxe enough for our publication. If you decide to re-do the interiors, please let me know. We might be interested.

WHAT??? Come on now… let’s be honest… please. A proposed text… Sorry. It is so important for us to have a superb photograph to perk the interest of Our Readers for our published articles. Sadly, in your case, there was not a photograph to meet this requirement. If, in the future, you have the occasion to produce descriptive photographs adaptable to a landscape and/or a letterbox format, please let me know. Thank you. Better that than a lie, don’t you think?

As mentioned to You the condemnation of Il Poggiolo’s absence of luxe. He said… Oh, Thank God! Luxe is just another word for describing those Tuscan re-dos which make an old house built 400 years ago look like a motel! Bless him.

So, I promptly shot back… relatively offended to the point of infuriation… Dear… After what we have been through AND have spent in the last four years, I seriously doubt we will re-do the interiors or exteriors of our house any time soon. We tried. Thank you for your efforts.  

I now HATE the word luxe. Gads.

An afterthought… I could have accepted that the Commie House or odd lots of after-construction lumber in that photo might have been a discouragement towards publication. But, hey! There’s photo-shop!!!

 

You’s garden comments…

IMG_3339A black day in Italy yesterday. Well, more like the color of doo-doo… thanks to the Italian voters insuring a definitely hung parliament. They must like the sensation of being trapped on a sinking dingy. Anyway, the World still twirls…

and You came home to catch me in flagrante making the pastry shell for Our Evening’s meal before the TV News. I was diligently thinking of preparing a cauliflower, cherry tomato & bacon quiche accompanied by a small green salad and a Ligurian bean soup made the night before. He felt it was time to mention of his visit to this blog and the particular post about My Future Garden Plans. I was doubly dumb-founded… I had never in My Wildest Dreams thought Beppe Grillo… take a US Tea-Party-ier, give him/her/it a bad hair-day & up the volume on Anger and you’ve got the beast… would earn a +25% share of two days worth of VOTING… nor could I have ever imagined You’s admitting… circuitously though… that weeds, God’s chaotic flora, was A-OK by him where I had thought to put in box-woods, etc. His Piece stated, we adjourned to watch the dire news on the TV. Gads.

An avalanche of other protections…

various types of security fencing

I am heartened by how many of you have rallied with Your Support over those recent & unwanted intrusions down in Codiponte. Facebook was rife with them. Thank you! So many clever anti-theft suggestions…

security lighting of blinding intensities and activated by sound AND movement… alarms of various sorts, ditto for their activation, and connected to the Carabinieri, which might just frighten those men in uniform… bells & whistles, and not forgetting the horn section too… massive bull-mastiffs to ferocious attack Shih-Tzus… Saint Francis of Assisi feeding the birds as a bid for Clemency & Forgiveness for those creeps… a Madonna, and not that vecchietta who sings in a leotard… and many, many other terrific ideas. I will gladly submit them all to You for his importantissima consultazione!

Keep them coming in! Gads.

 

 

 

Saintly protection devices…

The telephone rang last night, while You & I were watching a relatively entertaining German comedy on the only channel NOT BELONGING to Mr. Berlusconi OR, The State. It was too bad the wonder of their collective digital TV kept coming & going. We missed parts. It was My Mother calling, again…

Let me get right to the point… And, a Good Evening to you too, Mom… Not here, it isn’t. Forrest, I’m not sure a Virgin with her hands clasped with a housing is enough protection for you in Codipunt… Codiponte! And yeah, she probably has those hands full, what with the Pope fleeing… Exactly! A rat from a burning ship?… OOOOO, OUCH!!! I see you are still able to maintain a strict anti-Catholicism… Well, they make so easy. However, if the truth were to be known, I am not keen on the Episcopalians either, Dear… Sooooo, Mom, what’s on your mind?… I have decided to send you the Saint Francis bird-feeder. You need all the protection you can get. He’s lonely out in the garden. Don’t worry about the expense, Dear. I’ll take care of everything… I won’t, since you ARE NOT SENDING it over, thank you very much… He’s missing an arm… All the more reason to let him be where that Shih-dog roams… You mean My Precious-thing?… Oh, is that what you are calling the delinquent these days?… “The delinquent”, as you have so disdainfully referred to, happens to be A Superior Watch-dog! He hates garbage-men… Oh, well, in that case, send him on over instead!!!

Gads.

Garden assaults & plans…

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Makes a whole lot of sense, doesn’t it? Well, it does to me…

Once we have said Arrivederci!!! to February, and personally, I cannot wait to do so, The Dogs & I will saunter on down to Codiponte way in Dr. You’s Beat-up AUDI… and now even more so since, Il Nostro Dottore lamented the fact of missing the flip-over of 200,000 kilometers on said automobile. Apparently, this ocurred on My Watch, so to speak, and am now held to blame for not witnessing & remarking upon this hallmark. Uffa!!!… to begin the initial assaults on The Garden.

We will stay for awhile for there is many labors to attend to. An After-Winter Clean-up being Tops On The List… cutting, raking, blowing… and in that order too.

Yet, My Vital Juices… and, I Thank God, I still have some left… are coursing through My Creative Systems with plans for The Slope. The Slope? Yes. The Slope. That nether-land above those scrawny fruit-trees and below the upper-most grassy terrace… green only when it rains… which, for the past four years, has been let to overgrow with much wild flora. You’s term is different. Weeds. And, very lovely weeds they are too!

So now, The Universe needs to support me on these plans. Vim, Vigor & Money are requested. The effort will require much monetary investment, back-breaking toil & sweat and, probably, a few arguments with You. However, before we are reduced to such litigating circumstances, let me explain what I have in mind…

I am going to create rectangles & corner quadrants with borders of boxwood… sounds like a name for a pub… on said Slope. And, inside them, I will plant a riot of lavender, salvia, rosemary and other complimentary bushes… YET TO BE DETERMINED, since I have not put foot into a nursery since September last… and even taller stuff in the corners… for height & privacy…

but, on second thought… I might just put in the borders of box-woods to coral the existing flora, sow others from God’s Weed Category and say… ‘Tis done! A Proverbial Plan B. One which I envision will assuredly knock off much Toil & Sweat though perhaps loosing a few of Winter’s extra kilos might be desirable. Gads.

Mother Protectress…

IMG_2750My Dear 84-year-old Mother called me yesterday. She likes to “hit base” on a Sunday afternoon. Normally, the telephone rings while I am in a nose-dive into a profound & nourishing afternoon n-a-p upstairs from the telephone. Lucky for Dr. You… he has a door to shut out The World. Shhh… he also uses ear-plugs!!! Whereas, I have 1,800 square feet of unprotected loft-space to hear the thing’s SQUEAL!!!

Mom’s Standard Procedure for a Sunday Call is as follows…

if her hip isn’t bothering her, the dog IS eating or, she’s just back from some Highly Successful Sojourn West of the Mississippi then, she just rings my land-line a few times, hangs up and that’s that. She’ll get me later with a… I tried calling you but you didn’t pick up!

if her hip IS bothering her, someone who knew me when I was 5 and called me Frosty died three days before or, the animal… a stupid Shih-Tzu… shat on the Den rug then, she calls my land-line, letting it ring till blue. Remember, I am upstairs on the bed in a deep afternoon REM sort-of sleep. This is followed by attempting communication with her First Born Son by ringing my cellphone. Naturally, it’s far, far away from my 110 kilos seeking a well-earned rest on a Sealy mattress. Ditto for it… until blue. She counts to twenty and starts all over again. Oh, well, I guess a 9 minute nap is sufficient, I suppose.

now, if her hip AND knees ARE bothering her, several persons who once called me Frosty have pushed-on AND that Creature has decorated both the Den AND Living Room’s carpets with several donations of solid waste material, then, she calls every damn number she has for me AND Dr. You too!!! You could gladly do without this sort of attention on a Sunday PM. He requires the rest more than I do.

All that last stuff was yesterday’s episode. However, My Dear Aged Mother needed to express a concern…

Pronto… This is Your Mother speaking… Well, hello Mom!… I’m worried, Forrest. Yes, worried… Worried? About me? That’s novel… Do NOT joke with an old person. Your Mother wishes to express her concern about all those robberies down in Codi-whatever… -ponte, Mom, Cod-i-ponte. Is are Es in… Oh! Never mind. How do you know about the robberies? I haven’t said a word to you… I got it off your blog, dear… YOU READ MY BLOG???… Well, actually, no, I don’t. BUT, I have friends who do. By the way, Lee-anne Miller & her daughter, Suzanne send their love. Anyway, they & others who do read your blog keep me informed… Spies?… ESPIONAGE!!! Forrest! I think those Codi-people are out to get you!!! I had a dream about it. So, I want you to be very, very careful… Is that it?… No, but I don’t think you’d like any of My Suggestions… Such as?… GET A MADONNA!!!

Gads. 

 

 

 

Marketing? Yeuck…

 

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IMG_0050It must be the after-blizzard air of mid-February and that it is also the rank Series C- festa of San Valentino does not help…

Tug at that barge, lug that darn bale… I am still marketing Il Poggiolo as A Perfect Spot to rest one’s yearning-for-a-vacation Body/Mind/Spirit for a 3 night minimum in the Lunigiana. It ain’t easy. The computer work is excruciatingly time-consuming, whether it’s uploading the our-clients-love-lots-of-photos, rewriting the blurbs into refreshingly zippity-do-dah medleys of superlatives, monitoring the calendars at the five sites carrying an ad, to the oh-too-few requests. They’re dillies… of illiterate urgency, off-beat necessities, and all demonstrating a skewed lack of reading what’s up on the screen. Yet, what is more worrying, say, after spending 45 minutes pounding head and the keys on My Apple to REPLY, none bother to respond in kind. Hey! I can take it. It’s OK you’ve decided not to rent at Il Poggiolo. I don’t need the specifics. I would, however, like what I was taught to be Common Courtesy of a response. Nope. Apparently, it not possible to be polite & considerate. EXCEPT… when I SEND a little note to My First Ever Paying Guests, a lovely couple from Cairns, Australia… never got the hang of a proper pronunciation of said city… I get a little note back. Now that is what I call Human Kindness, Thank you. I so hope for more like them. Gads.

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Robbery attempt redux…

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This has to be The Philosophy of the Thieves who, for the second time in as many weeks, have forcibly broken into & entered the esseccatoio of My Adored Home. Too much adoration? Maybe. In the meantime, a lot of annoyance.

These delinquents… I would use another term but, it’s a bit crude though highly descriptive… also paid visits to several residents in Our Little Community of Codiponte. The fantastic nonagenarian, la Signora E, her neighbor La Sig.ra S from Milano and her now-lives-in-Australia-brother had their homes & cellars disturbed up in the borgo… or, stone village above Il Poggiolo at the foot of the Castello di Codiponte. No better isolated spot for theft besides Il Poggiolo.

And, they pick their times well… during storms of rain or snow or both. No right minded person would be outside in such weather but thieves or, so said il nostro marasciallo dei Carabinieri up at Casola in Lunigiana on my visit to him yesterday afternoon. We are nearly on a First Name Basis!!!  Normally, Our Local Marasciallo is employed as most Italian are accustomed to seeing… participating in road controls. Ugh. Car documents, insurance papers for the last twelve years, animals behind bars… yes, well… the last time You & I saw the Carabinieri engaged is such public service, we received a 100 buck fine for not

having the prescribed-by-law fencing separating Animals from Humans in a vehicle. I paid it though I had to suffer You’s growling for the next week. By a tacit arrangement, these sorts of catastrophes are All My Fault with Rights to Complain held by Dr. You.

I found Our Marascialo in a co-ordinated black PUMA track-suit. Naturally, he cuts a better figure in his Carabinieri uniform. He seemed friendlier though in his nylon & white stripped attire. We discussed the situation. My Message was… Please pass The Word about these thieves amongst Your Esteemed Carabinieri Colleagues. His Message was… We will keep our eyes open but, in cases like these, it’s improbable we would see, much less ever apprehend such malviventi.  Fine. I had expected as much. I then invited Il Nostro Marasciallo to pass by Il Poggiolo, when next out our way in Codiponte. Maybe for a glass of an excellent Lunae Vineyards white wine? Ben volentieri! You got to luv ’em. Would you dare to do that with an American cop? Gads.

A world of winter white…


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All the Capitani del Tempo

not all of them are associated with the Italian military, as the Weather-men of RAI-TV are. As for those who are not and, instead, belong to Mr. Berlusconi’s TV empire, I must say, someone on that man’s team ought to seriously consider hiring… A) a clothing consultant, one hip to the fact that Doo-doo Brown is NOT an appropriate two-piece suit color for TV and B) a speech consultant to eliminate those annoying problems of squeaky or lisping voices for the weather-men AND gals!!!…

said SNOW!!! for Monday last and, by-gum, in blew a blizzard!!! Not quite at the level of what hit the NE US or the UK in weeks past, but, nonetheless, a tempest of white stuff it was. Off the autostrada at Aulla and the World there resembles Alaska. I LOVE it when it snows. I HATE it when it has. Driving to make an inspection of Il Poggiolo after a second attempted robbery at My Adore Home… more on that in another post… it was unsettling to drive in between walls of dirty, ugly plowed-snow along my route to Codiponte. Like driving through a canyon of guck. Yuck!!!

Many locals brought me up-to-date of the two-day isolation of our neck of the Lunigiana woods. The roads were impassable by Noon on Monday and remained so until Tuesday AM when, lo’ & behold, the forty snow-plows stationed in Massa-Carrara, where it DID NOT SNOW, arrived to deal with where IT HAD!!!

What I saw yesterday was a glisteningly blue sky. The village’s silence gently disturbed by the tinkling of snow off the eaves & gutters. The olive groves mottled by solid banks of white, the leaves sparkling like silver paillettes. Birds chirped & flew here & there. My spirits lifted, though weighted by My Task, to see a pristine whiteness around Il Poggiolo…

Caear’s wife with a little cap of snow on her head, bushes hidden under the crust of two night’ worth of sub-zero temps, the many angles roofs of La Casa Grande under a thin veneer of corrugated snow…

then, to the Inspection. Gads.

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