Storming weather…

…or, that’s what You calls rainy weather. The Italians, as a race and You is at the forefront, HATE rain. Even a drop of 02 from the Heavens Above threatens their benessere to a degree not seen in other peoples. Perhaps its their biblical fear of another 40 days/40 nights of flooding. Chissa? You is ALWAYS in a foul humour when any kind of precipitation is predicted or manifested. He demonstrated this just this morning, when I called to wish him a Buon Giorno. It was raining outside his hospital as we spoke. Frankly, I was surprised that he was even near a window. Eye doctors work in the dark. Well anyway, I talked, the other groaned. No storming here in Codiponte. Little sun, lots of water filled clouds racing by a 20 mph and that amazing blue sky of late, clouds etched with white, the black of the chestnut hills…

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Your just does not know what he is missing with his little fear of getting wet. Gads.

Our Oven..

Il Poggiolo has an oven. It’s the only one on Our Side of the village. Codiponte has three. One is in a courtyard of a house on the other side of the stream in a labyrinth of alley-ways, yet to be explored by Yours Truly. And the other is up at the Borgo Castello high above il Poggiolo. Geographically, too far away. Back in the olden days, neighbors would bring what was needed to be cooked to the nearest oven… from breads to potatoes to meat. The daughter of Our Sadly Deceased Neighbor told us that practically everything or anything could be pushed-in raw & pull-out cooked to perfection in Our Oven, well beyond the above mentioned array of meats & potatoes faire… from savory pies, to cakes, stuffed veggies, sausages and so forth.

This was Great News to You’s Current Codiponte Court. This font of folk-followers sprung spontaneously from a collective visit these Folk had made to said Doctor in his private studio up in Genoa one fine Saturday morning. Seven Folk suffering from one eye irritation, malady or another, seeking succor from il Dottore You. From that moment on, he was theirs. They were his. What bed-fellows. Let me say… if I haven’t before…

when you are IN with any or all Italians YOU NO LONGER BELONG TO YOUSELF. You’re their personal possession. Nothing more to do but let whatever flow…

anyway, the Folk’s affection does not include me. You’s un dottoreun essaltato dottore. I’m merely in the way. The Folk call me only to know when You will next be in Codiponte. The Folk call You to invite him to dinner one fine Saturday night and in the last seconds of the call haphazardly add that I would be welcomed too. I’d be less bent-out-of-shape if they’d just included one of The Dogs in the invitation over me. And, the Folk stop by to give me a plastic basket filled with some ghastly vegetable You said he adored, asking me if it wouldn’t be too much trouble to burden me with it. Seriously friends, I’ve serially risked the contemplation of dumping the entire lot in the river. So, you see, I am violently offended!!! Up until that one fine Saturday morning, I was the King of the Roost here. People sought me out and not Il You. I have been side-lined. It hurts. I am unused to these feelings. These Folk climb over me to get to You. I may resign. No chance of that though.

One special aspect of these Folk… all women and a few inconsequential men added for color & balance since, none can cook, clean, do ironing or, sew… LIKE I DO!!!… are nearly competition-level cooks. Another reality show in the making. When You invited the Team Leader Folk to make pizzas in Our Oven a month ago… BOOM!!!… she & her cohorts arrived pronto per farle!!!… the dough, the fix-in’s and the toppings too! The success of that evening spawned last Saturday night’s 2nd Invitation for A Pig-out At The Ol’ Poggiolo Oven. At six in the afternoon… I hadn’t even thought of taking a shower, much less thinking I’d see 9 persons gaping at me… and which, at that hour, I am normally foraging nel frigo for something to assuage My 6 o’clock Hunger Pangs, so conditioned am I from 30 years of living & eating in the US of A… Team Leader Folk and her two burly assistants & wives & children had arrived to begin shoving in… pork sausages, basted ribs… a pork roast!!!… potatoes, stuffed vegetables, savory pies… and lasagna… to pull them out an hour and a half later for a sit-down orgy of eating for 20 + children.

I can admit, You set a splendid table…here is a pre-orgy shot of You & a few Folk… please note The Dog Numero Uno spying the b-r-e-a-d… Oh! And You has already sent me a text message to remind everyone to pay special attention to il centro tavolo….


Being of minor importance, I was NOT ALLOWED near the Oven Work Zone so, the only thing I could ferret from the proceedings was that it is mightily important to keep the casings on the sausages, so the fats… I can hear My Mother grown… will burn off and the meat will set nicely. Personally, I HATE the casings and never miss a moment to cut & tear them off. Not anymore. There’s A Good Reason that they are there.

The food was spectacular. Nothing else to say except there was too much! And the desserts were equal to the taste, variety & quantity of the main meal… 2 ice creams & cookies, a semi-freddo, watermelon and a cake.

And, to add misery to injury, the Folk did an amazing clean-up job afterwards. I hardly lifted a finger. How pleasant it was to wake-up Sunday morning… birds chirping, puffy clouds moving towards Parma to dump their rain, motorcycles growling as drivers & their WO-MEN wove their leather-jacketed way up to the Carpenelli Pass, to know that there would not be a dirty dish or a bit of clutter to attend to. Maybe it’s not so bad to be over-looked? Gads.

Pergola in progress…

While Our Bean Man, Tonino, is erecting his bean-patch architecture, You has commanded me to do a bit of ours up at Il Poggiolo. Architecture, that is. I don’t do beans. From some source… I believe it was our sadly gone neighbor down below us… from whom he had heard of a once-upon-a-time pergola built above the ramp leading from Il Poggiolo’s aia… or, courtyard… up to what is now the Appartamento Azzurro. Seeing that our architectural material of choice is iron rods, You spoke… Let there be an iron rod pergola!!! The Word given, I had to leap into action. The iron rods are quiet long… 6 meters long, to be exact, and we would need nearly that length to construct the pergola over the wide grassy ramp… and yet, too long for carrying them back home even with the top down on my ancient FIAT Barcchetta sports car, the rods straddling the twink car from the front fender to the back. A local builder kindly brought them for me from the ferramenta… or, hardware store and The Most Wonderful One In The Whole World too… down in Gragnola, literally. You came to supervise the pergola’s construction. But, he was just a bit too bossy for my tastes and, during the ensuing argument, I inadvertently bent two of the iron rods, and thus, striking them from use. I have not had the heart yet to pull them up. Please note the catty-whompus ones in this conveniently provided photo documentation…


And, that is as far as we got. Afterwards, You drove off for Genoa during last Sunday’s afternoon thunderstorm. I trudged up the hill in the downpour to La Concia to watch the 6PM World Cup Soccer match between Holland & Mexico. Half the assembled were Dutch. Blessedly, their team won.

So, when I feel like bending iron again, I will return to finishing the project but, not before. Gads.


Convalescing with Dogs…

I don’t know what it would be like for invalids elsewhere but, here at La  Grande del Poggiolo, convalescing means to be attended by two very spoiled Weimaraners. Il Salotto resembles un campo profughi… or, refugee camp. So says You. He complains there’s


no-where for him to comfortably sit. Tut-tut, I say, C’e’ un divano-letto alla tua completa disposizione, caro! You hurrumps back of wanting to atterrarsi… or, land oneself in one of those Italian wing-backs he bought for Euro 35 ea. at the flea-market located just across the street from the hospital where You works to save folk’s eye-sight. As is shown, they are both happily dedicated to The Dogs.

I think You is jealous. But why? Moses & Nina do not climb up onto to his divano-letto. Why should he have the same Right on their poltrone? So, they got First Choice. The early bird catches the worm, dear You. Fair is only fair. Perhaps, that is not a concept known in Italy. This does not surprise. The Italian’s legalese states, La Legge E’ Uguale Per Tutti… is this a gelato flavor?… but, instead, it means, The Law is Equal to All. Seems impossible for them to maintain it, in light of recent court decisions. Oh! There are exceptions. That’s it. Gads.

My Desk before & after You…

A weekend with You at Il Poggiolo traditionally requires inviting folk for un pranzo, una cena, un picnic or anche un aperitivo, though he only sips water, while the rest of us gulp white wine. He suggests persons to invite and I make the phone calls. Then, I cook, You sets the table & decorations and we both clean house. This is dangerous with You. He HATES Disorder, Clutter or Messes of others, mine, in most cases. His Disorders, Clutters or Messes are exempt. We both swear our separate DCM’s are contained. However, the collaboration stops there. Though I rarely enter his Kingdom, i.e. his Bedroom/Bath AND I NEVER touch His Stuff, this does not apply to You with My Stuff. For instance…

IMG_3706My Desk. Here is the scene before last Saturday night’s we-were-six-for-cena… the MacBook, the Hospital Folder for the upcoming hip operation… LATE BREAKING NEWS!!!… scheduled for Thursday, the 26th of September, the two flea-market Sicilian candy boxes holding Important Papers and a gift from You to me, another gift from You to me of a freebie plastic paper-clip dispenser from one of his ga-zillion and a half update seminars of last Fall, the 1 Euro rubber dish with odd keys to Il Poggiolo, the sterling silver dish with The Keys to Il Poggiolo and The One to My FIAT Barcchetta Sports-car… which, I lost at some indeterminate point last week and then, days & days & days later, found it last night hidden in the rubber water-catch of the washing machine. I’ll let you all do The Math as to the why it ended up there… the morning’s coffee cup, the bronze frog holding down letters to answer, an engraved crystal box with business cards inside and assorted dishes with this’s & that’s. By the way, all are necessary for the proper functioning of My Life at Il Poggiolo. May Peace & Tranquility shine.


My Desk after You had laid his hands on My Stuff. Yes, a cleaner look. Fine, but, most of Sunday was passed on a Search & Find Mission to hunt down My Stuff removed, as per You’s want. It exasperated nearly the entire day. It would be so helpful, if You were to put all My Offending Stuff in one convenient location, rather than distributing in various hiding-places, reasonable ONLY to him yet, ones thoroughly NOT TO ME!!! Gads.