Aja Lee

Blog Schmog

I got a text from a friend yesterday that read:


"I'm trading my money for dirt!"

My reply "Love this!"


So in explanation, I have spent the last few weeks in a class with my boyfriend about your relationship to money, I was learning so many hidden things about where we stop ourselves from doing what we really want, based on old stories we created from the past, ya know all that kind of stuff that doesn't make it into our daily radar system, but its there, showing up as feeling restricted, or annoyed, stuck, or afraid.

So we were at Green Gardens in PB getting some dirt and rocks for my baby Joshua Tree (of course right?) when I was loading the trunk with more bags of dirt I exclaimed "Wow I just realized that in this moment dirt is literally more valuable to me than my money..so I am essentially trading money for dirt..." And happily, I might add.

For myself, I guess that I learned there are so many times that we don't want to do something because we look only at the "loss" we will incur instead of what we will gain (that is not counted in dollars).  Maybe it's texting my grandma back and forth every day, reminding me how precious life is, either way, I have certainly found a new well of riches beyond money, and that is the people and things in our life that bring us joy.

Since it seemed to make an impression on my friends who now send me their updates on when they trade money for something more valuable than little green papers, I figured it might just be worth sharing with you (the world ) as well.

Happy Dirt Purchasing this holiday season;)


Yesterday was sunday I do know that, but im not sure what calandar day it is and I dont really need to, or care to find out, and this is how I measure if I've had enough time to reset.
Things are measured by meals here, and plans are made by the last time you saw someone and decide when to meet up again.
The festival is also still going and yesterday was eventful, not so much for the festivities but for the tempo, weather was extraordinary, which seems to be measured by how much, if any, water leaks into the house, forced in by wind and or sheer volume.
The heat has been so intense that heading outside around 4 was all you could bear, and even then it was a struggle that took an ice cafè with a little baileys to make the walk in the sun through the fields to get there.
The problem yesterday was a storm was moving in and i had even heard the word tornádo tossed around, so casually dispensed this word was, that I thought it may just be a bit of weather drama.
It has been so hot and i could feel the wind picking up, definite movement in the air, which was a welcome relief from the constant heat, day and night.
Once arrived, whilst grabbing a radler (special summer beer with lemon or grapefruit from slovenia) there was an undeniably ominous and low hanging darkness descending on the mountain. Everyone began to migrate from the top of the festival to the lower area where the large tent, for shade and meals, is kept.
After five festivals here i have never really seen this large crowd moving in unison with such swiftness, malto interessante, I paused one more time to look back at the heavy mass in the sky, fascinated by its presence, so low, so near... so, black.
Their were no drops this time, only the wind picking up, the crowds moved faster towards the massive tent and the workers began seriously zipping up the sides, also something i have not seen before.
Suddenly a great force came down, swirling and wrecking anything that was not cemented down, mountain bikers tossed their bikes inside for fear of them flying away, and my love of thunder storms was replaced by a small panic realizing, if there was a tornado we were all, for lack of a better word, toast.
As sudden as the wind full of festival laden objects had descended, the water fell from the heavens. There should be a word for when the rain falls in such a way that the sound is deafening and the onset is so.. immediate. I would call it not rain but, it was more "waterfalling".
So relieved to have the dry swirling wind replaced by rain, that oddly all was well, yells and squeals were replaced by conversations, beers were finished, and after 45 minutes the darkness ascended, the drops cleared and the sun came out, the damage for the campers was sad to see, tents were either strewn about, missing, or plucked up by the owners and taken home. Either way, the once boisterously filled fields, laid bare. Kiosks were shuttered tight, and a few carcasses of what had been decorated the sodden earth.
People emerging slowly, one informant came by to share that it was definitely over, pointed to the dark mass that now hung more west over the mountains on the other side where it had began, showing how it was leaving us. Then he laughingly added that if for some reason the winds turned it around and it came back to our mountain again it would be real trouble, and walked away. I couldn't really imagine what real trouble was and didn't care to find out. But a few stayed, probably the ones who had nearby non-tented homes to go to, and the final soccer match began, sun on our backs, the sidelines filled, and the game was finished before the next storm later that night.
The next day at the river I heard the paper wrote an article that in a slightly more elevated festival location in another village, there had been injuries and sadly even worse, reminding me of how different it is to live here with this weather it is truly unique in the mountains and foothills, I've lived in the deserts heat, and I've lived in the lake effect midwestern storms of blizzards, water spouts, and tornados, even the tropical wet heat near the equator is different than here, foothills of northeastern Italy seem to stand alone in many things, including in that their weather patterns.

In northern Italy there is this spectacular river that runs thru the valleys and villages, fed by the alps and transformed from clear light blue in Slovenia to its clear crystalline green once it touches Italy, we visited a part id never been to before, it was so beautiful, down a long lush green flower covered path off the roadside you could hear the faint summer sounds of those who have retreated to the tiver, winding thru the trees there it was, amongst the usual mix of pebbles was a little patch of sand, flowers and trees scattered about, purple mountains in the distance, heavy heat from the sun sparkling the surface of the clear alpine water.
Butterflies circle about, dragonflies and little birds chirp accordingly, and the stream is full of little fish.
A shallow but sizable cascatina, rapids or wide baby waterfall, gave the loud sound of gushing water and as per usual at any river bank here, the local kids used the moss covered cliff as a makeshift diving board lining up in a small crowd circling around after drying off from the rocky climb up the cliff.
Everyone gathers here, usually in groups pertaining to how close the part of the river is within walking distance to your home, sitting in the rapids to talk, you bring some friends with and find more there, afterwards is the gelato shop for cold treats and then, oh my its time for dinner again!


Paris is so alive with so many ethnicities, it reminds me of san diego where there is no one kind of person, everyone seems to accept eachother and their differences of culture and style.
We picked up bikes again from here to there and there to here, stopping for walks and museums, coffees and rosés in between.
The morning was slow, the sun finally came to stay with us and the streets were filled a little extra for saturday, looking for one breakfast place just before noon, we found several others on the way and never made it to the original location, ending up literally one shop away, the windows of other boulangeries too amazing and tempting to venture any further no matter what the google and trip advisor said. Case in point when you see a beautiful glistening window of artisinal bread or crepes, look no further or suffer a fools lunch.
We couldnt decide so stefano had his espresso and pan au chocolate at one and i would go to the crepery after that. Only we ended up both eating at both places, in succesion, like dutiful foodies, no treat went untouched.
The boulengerie artisianal was so impressive i kept snatching up little snacks and "gifts" the longer his coffee took the more i was stuffing in my sack for "later" always being the thoughtful squirrel, hiding away treats in all bags for all moments of the day.
I had a very heavy dark brown bread with nuts that could easily be the best bread I've ever tasted, a little sour in the dough, chewy and soft. A box of macaroons for our host in Nice, one giant strawberry macaroon for myself and a fresh madeleine that caught my eye last minute from the register.
The bakery is truly bustling and some patrons are in a very serious hurry to get their bread so tickets and money and pastries are flying this way and that with virtually no line at all, i happily joined the group and let the chips fall, happy to not be rushing to the office, one man came in with a suit and filled a bag of bread more than half his size with about 15 baguettes, marching out as if his most important business transaction of the day had just been completed, and since its france and were talking baguettes that could very well be true.
Others were frenzied to get a croissant like it was the last seat on a plane home.
And i completely understand.
Now we were to make it next door to the crepery, the restraunt was cool and white with little plants hanging from moss and young servers in fine moods.
Parisians in fashionable outfits and mothers with children who looked like models with their silk dresses, mixed with lost looking tourists peeking in before passing, i ordered the common parisian menu choice of a sort of packaged breakfast, which actually doesnt really save much money but just lays out such a fortuitus course plan it seems the best way to have it all.
A salmon buckwheat gallete with creme fresh, followed by a dijon radish butter letttuce salad, some kind of hard cider (that or apple juice was the choice,,no contest there) that smells a little like kombucha but apparently light enough for breakfast- eh cest la vie!
And followed with a homamde chocolate, fresh cream, and little wild berries crepe.
The best way to describe it was that even though stefano had his breakfast already next door, he ordered just one crepe, then asked if he could upgrade to the package i had gotten after i had finished, the charming waitress replied in french in such a perfect way as if to say they were waiting for him to figure out that you have to have the crepe and the galette at some point.

Back to the bikes, passing by all the scenes, a small whiff of eucalyptus, a vagrant with a neatly packed guitar, children voices from a playground laughing always sound the same no matter what country, the beautiful breeze, the bushy fluffy green trees lining the city, their crunchy leaves on the ground, the pantheon and the awe inspiring focault pendolum swinging back and forth, the cold marble steps in the coolness, a little french girl of 3 sits next to me and sings to her stuffed bear, her father calls her name but she doesnt mind and just keeps singing and talking to herself, a greek cafe with dark stone walls and friendly owners, more biking and we take the metro to montmarte.
It is nearing 6 pm and we arrive in the swirling village at the top of the metro exit, a carosel, a familiar tiny sqaure, a guess and we take a walk in the best looking direction making our way upwards.
Up, up and a litrle more up, considered stopping halfway up fo a random cafe touting guiness, but sauntered on and came to the top view, filled with every kind of tourist and vendor imaginable. My cheese levels were dangerously low so we took care of that, and then made our way to the main artists colony square at the top, i had never seen so many artists walking around with their pads and charactures all lined up orderly maybe 40 of the them, showing their different styles and patrons all sitting still waiting for their turn, the museum dali, the garden of renior, i sat for my portrait drawing from a convincing artist and watched what an artists face looks like when they are creating, like a meditation, serene focused, nothing else in the world in their mind. I watched the artist next to us working furiously with a pair of scissors to make sillouettes, his shears going where i thought only pencil could accomplish.
Next was a jazz club that our friends had found the year before, bab ilo, it was a small door on a hill, some expats and frenchies were playing backgammon at tiny tables on an even tinier strip of sidewalk, we walked in and the friendly north african proprietors apologized for their english to whicb i replied, " no no, better than my french!"
There was one menu before the 9pm show and we dined on cous cous with a tunisian, algerian sauce called harissa, a wonderfully comforting red pepper sauce with notes i couldnt define, olive oil, and crispy grilled wild chicken i could eat every day.
The jazz group was bunped to 930, and arrived at 10, the crowd grew inside slowly, the owners set them up a full table and meal, the drummer left a peice upstairs seeming in no hurry,and the singer greeted all with gusto, the wine was poured and they had a relaxing meal laughing and joking, a small old woman seemed to know them all and sat at the bar waiting almost as long as we had, the empty place filled by then, and the red rope was finally let down around 1040, we all went downstairs for creole jazz.
The pianos top and front was off so you could see all the hammers dancing away, and the pianist was killing it. I could barely keep up with his ideas, melodies, riffs inside of the beat, pieces of different songs from Beethoven, flight of the bumblebee, and then back to a carribean riff and circling to blues again.
The drummer in the corner was happy and played with extreme skill, the standup bass rounding out the trio, the singer was quite the performer, talking, making noises, laughing, blurting out high and low one word melodies here and there, coming in on time after leaving the stage to go who knows where and back again, dancing, and adding some singing in for good measure.
I was tired long before the dinner was over and by now we still had to get to the metro and take it back to Paris, only to pack and leave early morning for our checkout.
Somehow it all happened because i am here
A few miles high on my way to the cote d azur, bidding farewell to paris in an early morning retreat to the slower pace of life in provance.

The pendulum of foucault in the pantheon, proving the earth rotates around the sun by the pendulum swinging on its own, it is actually not the pendulum swinging as it seems but the earth turning, pretty cool!

An adorable old "mini".

The rain was over and we took breakfast in the converted wine celler of the hotel de fleurie before heading out to the musee d' orsay! I put an exclamation mark because although the louvre is beyond impressive, i am in love with impressionistic art, all of its types and evolutions and was so excited to finally see al of them upclose .

Of course the orsay itself is amazing, inside of the old train station in paris, but the aire inside is amazing, it just feels like it is full of people who love art, the louvre has a sort of disneyland feel with people clamoring around you with selfie sticks, queing up to take a million pictures of the mona lisa for a tiny glass covered exposed picture with what they will do with later i do not know.
The orsay is so peacful and laid out in such a wonderful way, there is no crowded feeling and everyone flows to and from the rooms, the audio guide is a must if you love art or history:)
You can see the paintings right up close!! Every brush stroke, color daub, whether the artist used a dry brush, whether he painted to the edge and trimmed or left the edges bare in the case of the water lilies by monet, the blue dancers, a portraint of monet by renoir, le tours lifelike impressionism steals your attention, vangoughs self portrait in brilliant yellows and pinks, the neo impressionists tiny to large daubs of isolated color choices,oh the sheer glory of it all!
We digressed to the outside stairs to have a passion fruit i saved from the morning market and make our way to lunch, the effiel tower on our minds.
I am not a fan of heights, so it was with reluctance that i got tickets for the top "summet" with stefano, who would like to climb to the top lf every highest peak and clock tower no matter where we go, unlike him i would like to stay at the bottom and have another rosé, maybe write or record, think about how many kinds of chocolate there are in the world and other important things, but as travel companions go stefano is always generous with my suggestions so it seems only fair to acquiesce and i made the line and the ascent. I am so glad i did as it is facinatimg to see the engineering inside, the weight and pully hydrolic system catridges as large as one of those "tiny houses" in bright yellow moving up and down slowly, to get the tippy top you actually have to, to my utter dismay, get out at 2/5th of the way up, get out (no thank you!) take another seperate smaller car, and then make your way to the tip, all of which require line after line after line.
The view made my hands cold sweat, but it was worth it, just about as high as the umpire state building but the difference being its a tiny metal cagelike structure not a solid brick building and to my limited amount of architechtural knowledge it just made me feel as we ascended thru the clouds onto a windy bendy layer of scaffolding, BUT! Did you know they serve champage at the top! My dear friend brittany had told me about it and its true! If you go outside on the edge and up one more flight of stairs to the very very top(yes suddenly i would brave the worst part of it all for some bubbly, edging around on the smallest tallest little outdoor balcony there is a man serving champagne, and in different types!
This made it all worth it and the ascent was lovely, glad i had done something i wouldnt normally but ready to receive the precious terre.
The large lawns in front of the Eiffel are full of every type of person, a group of friends on a blanket sprawled out with a giant hookah, children playing at dusk, music coming from the waiting rickshaws, a million languages, and the one place possibly in the world where the litter consists of not beer, but discarded champagne bottles, strewn about like it was new years eve at times square.
We got some velibs, a lovely mode of public bike system where you can electronically check them out at different stations around the city, and peddled our way throught the streets of france at dusk.
Weaving our way through the parisian traffic is so much fun, up and down old sidewalks, everyone was mostly congregating for dinner at this hour so we had some freedom in the streets, there is usually a lane for bikes, unfortunately the bike lane is also marked to share with hastily driven cabs and goliath busses, but it seemed they were no where to be found and we glided happily thru the evening with our little pedal powered lights.
Down the siene, weaving thru the nightlife at the rivers edge, it was fascinating to watch as we coasted by, happy to see and even happier to not be in it. My thoughts on more of a long, wine induced, fine french dinner. My list of culinary items had not yet been matched.
The air in france is nice and the bikes were a godsend, we had traveled quite far and our phones thus maps and addresses, were all quite dead.
Home at last we prepared to find somewhere amazing to dine, and at 1030 pm on a friday in paris, this is actually still feasable (did i mention how i love europe?)
We headed for cezzanne which was tricky to locate and down a secret dark corridor, a lone parisian pointed us along, but alas their dinner was thru being served and we trunched on, no longer with energy and desperate to find better food than our earlier "emergency" lunch by the eiffel.
And then we stumbled on Precope.
The first night i had actually researched and picked this brassiere, but stefano was not in the mood for snails that night and we forwent our excursion for safer ground.
But let me say, le precope was a paris dining dream come true.
It is the oldest consecutive operating restraunt in paris since 1862.
It is medium small with a grandious feel, deep red walls and gilded blue celings, velvet roped chandeleirs, paintings of the famous patrons who used to go there in the 18th and 19h century.
Waiters in full tux, silver heavy in your hand, and beautiful creative takes on the innevitable daunting french menu.
Charlotte potatoes, herts vericots crispy and green, cold lobster, fresh garden parsley, pink grapfruit, hearts of lettuce, bordeoux, oven roasted large shallots with buttery insides, and lemon merengue in a very large flute, little bits of french merenge atop sour lemon sorbetto layers of the "crust" that must have been pure butter cumbles, and lemon custard that brought a tear to my eye, that i proudly ate in its entirety as my travel companion so *sadly seemed to be full.

*the statements and sarcasms of this blog are subject to the writer and are not meant to offend anyone including said travel companion.


 Above the Musee D'Orsay and below the Jardin Luxemburg


From car to train to bus to plane to railcar we made our way from udine to venice to "pariii!"
Once on the train we opened our panini livia had packed us in the early morning and both exclaimed despite heavy experience in panini, This was the best one we had ever had;

Panini di Livia:
Fresh bread rolls
Mozerella fresca
Grilled and salted garden zuchinni
Speck(smoked proscuitto)

By night i was introduced to paris, we popped out at the city center like two rabbits from their hole- heads sticking out from the station below to have a look at where we had tunneled to for the last ten hours.
The glory was immediate, with the stately Luxembourg gardens to the left and the adorable streets surrounding from all angles, our walk to the hotel de fleurie was an unending treasure trove of shops and architecture amidst cobbely streets and daring cross walks.
Some places are even more charming after a day of rain, so the weather had no effect on the impressiveness of paris, the fashions of the people, the tidyness of the shop windows, a smorgasboard for a wandering asthetist, a veritable holiday of taste and pleasure.
Our hotel was directly off a quite rue, the front green and brass shiny doors with the fleurie inscripted gave notice to a charming little antique lobby and our first parisian, the hotelier was so friendly, when we asked him if he needed our passports he simply shook his head, "non" and signaled all was well after a simple hello and gave us our keys, the quickest and most relieving checkin of my life which comes not only as a surprise anywhere but is well received after a 12 hour travel day from door to door.
Our room was the perfect vision of classic french, what i hoped for over any places that looked to be so modern and thus would ruin the fantasy of staying in france in some earlier time, the way i always imagine paris, between the 20s or 40s.
Beautiful dark blue wallpaper made of fabric and even darker blue silk brocade curtains pulled back with oversized bronze hooks the size of a dinner plate, the valance ballooning out in an arch in front of the window making the curtains look like a ballgown under the slanted ceiling, the view of the street a framed story of paris, 5 floors up with all the french facades all the way down- the air was nice and there was the sound of parisians strolling about in the evening, the restraunts were a buzz, and dinner was on my mind.
We walked not even a block away, thru the still wet streets and twinkling lights of the night, stepping into what looked to me like a parisian christmas train station from 1929, the old chandeliers light bounced off the vintage mirrors, walled and shellacked frescos set over mixed painted tiles, a giant gold victrola set in the center and the waiters in suits.
We sat in the window next to an amiable and jolly couple from boston who seemed to share the charm exactly as we were.
The tables of course, were covered in heavy white cloth and had silver blue cloth napkins that i thought would make an excellent pair of city trousers they were so shiny.
We ordered a half bottle, no glasses in most of france!;) of some kind of Bordeaux, one beef tartare and one duck with apricots.
No time for starters it was late and i was keen for some famous french duck.
The tartare was so amazing we played with how to make it at home and concluded it was made of raw beef, dijon(horsradish for sure) fresh green onions and a mild sort of pepper spice.
The duck was served with the creamiest potatoe mash and the apricot sauce was hiding all kinds of chunks of the fruit which was quite perfect together- the bread was crusty and chewy, my favorite kind, and as with any great meal no room for desert and we hobbled off to bed with discussions of whether to "louvre or d'orsea" tomorrow morning.


I awoke to the sounds of paris right before a rain, the early morning botiques first lights twinkeling in the dark morning.
So many cafes to choose from we settled on one where many artists and writers including hemmingway and picaso frequented, a charming old building choc full of mirrors and brass, waiters in suits all over the place serving you like you are the queen of england- the yogirt came in a little glass with gold foil and the crusty baguette was served with fresh butter wrapped up like a peice of candy in a foil wrapper, mt tea on a silver tray, the feelkng of paris in every sip.
The day was in fulm swing, fresh paint on an old door made me imagine how fun it would be to repaint an okd apt here, people chat quitely at cafes and walk neatly to their places, tress line every avenue and there are vibtage book sellers all along the siene.
I grabbed a carrot a passion fruit and two dates at the market and headed to the louvre.
The rain had stopped and i spent four hours looking af every brushstroke and color pallette, imagining just how much paint it would have taken to do such large works, back the , davinci, michelangelo, etc, they would have used natural pigments from the earth, mostly quarries from italy, and band blended them with mostly walnut oil, thinned with lavender oil and thickened with limestone powder, just to make a small painting is alot of work, and these vibrant masterpeices (the natural pigemtns last hundreds of years and much longer than synthetic oil paint) still jump off the wall with their vividity 500 years later is astonishing in its own rite.
Lunch atva place our friends brittany and lorenzo reccomended called yamtcha, japanese french fusion, thag was to say the least 100% impressive in its pure and simple cuisine all inside of a rustic minimalstic tavern with raw wood and lots of white everywhere, everyone aits at a low communal table and they serve up world class tea (oh joy!) a 15 hour cold brew red leaf with citron and a hot pu'er, with 5 kinds of bao (little types of buns/dumplings) from seshwan tofu to english stilton inside, and tuna tartare with black rice, tasted of yuzu and green plants.
I couldnt leave just yet so i ordered two more dumplings of chocolate and peanut apricot.
After notre dame and a rosé we fell asleep without dinner after walking about ten miles or so That seemed the right way to end the day.



Today we had front tickets to see sting, in cividale Italy (5 min from the house !) with friends from across the street- the day was clear and blue all was well, a man from the bar mentioned it would rain despite the evidence, and it did. Pouring at the last minute i all but gave up my dream to finally get to see sting. We left the house anyway, umbrellas, shoes, windbreakers, scarfs, not your typical summer night.
Once arrived there was a surprisingly cold wind but it seemed to be the last bits of rain, getting slightly better!
We arrived and walked about ten paces and besides a bunch of confusion at the gate about who to let in (as if holding tickets was a secondary reason to consider) we were let in and free to roam around. It was all beautiful mountainside grass staked out with little chairs and hand printed numbers, the food trucks were piled high with panini of every sort and all the typical festival beer, there was a lone vendor walking the isles, a young guy with a homade cooler using a ductaped towel as a strap and a cardboard sharpie sign indicating colas and beer, unsponsored in any corporate way making his rounds quietly, a fanny pack full of cash.

Since there were only folding chairs stuck in the grass there was no formal isle and no secuirty so we all gathered at the top of the stage to watch the sound check and see what instruments they were all playing tonight.
Stings son opened and it became immediately clear that vocal folds are indeed, hereditary. It was uncanny to hear him- and still even with a younger tonally and stylistically similar voice, sting is sting.
All i can say is that he still sounds absolutley amazing, its like the record from 20 years ago playing as loud as the volume would go on the old stereo when no one was home, after a long day of 6th grade, still sounds the same.
There are some songs, some music, that must be heard live once they mean something to you, somethings that must be done in ones lifetime, and sitting in the toe numbing cold drinking freezing beer meant for the summer weather, just to warm up our insides, while all of northern Italy sang along, was well worth it.

Home to pack and a trip to Paris via Venice in the morning!

Yesterday, i was planning to read outside for much needed fresh air, i had been doing morning yoga when the jetlag gripped me, causing me to fall asleep straight on my matt after breakfast.
As i stepped out the summer rain drops began to fall, so i said goodbye to the little dog bellow me, so excited to have a potential friend, and took my book (a year in provance reccomended to me by owners of a house in france, and not in the least bit dissapointing) and brought my things inside, yesterday had been a psudo storm but this one was certainly upon us.
The storms in the north of italy are full of energy and gusto, and although there can be signs of their approach, must be taken seriously or one risks a very wet house indoors depending on how many windows you have to close when it ascends.
Ive seen a few but this one was particularly swift, the direction of the rain going up down sideways and i was drenched from closing only one upstairs window left ajar, the sill and bed boasted a small lake- all within one minute.
I was happy to have a cozy place to read my book, stefano was working down the street using the internet at the bar and it was livia sergio and i in the house- the storm provided a nice backdrop of nature sounds until it became so dark i had to turn the light on(in the middle of the day) which was promptly cut as the electricity went out and i went in search of a brighter room for my book.
I started counting the seconds between lightening and thunder, reminding me of when i was a little girl in Michigan tornado season, holed up in the hall closet with my little brothers and the weather radio. But this was different, the lightening strikes grabbed my attention, i realized not only was the timing synchronized making the storm directly on top of the shaking house, but i have never actually heard lighting "cracking", not like this. I do love storms, but these loud cracks were circumferencing the house and louder than the thunder themselves- even sweet livia came down to ask me if i was afraid- all of it happening with the thickness of the rain turning the landscape to a grey sheet outside the window and a few shutters blew loose flapping hopelessly in the wind, with no chance of being reattached until it was over.
So my trip to gain internet for the day was somewhat interrupted, but it all ended with a cozy dinner of minestrone made from wild beans and herbs, blocks of cheese from the latteria, hot crusty loaves of bread, and fresh salami before all turning to bed. Today marks the beginning of our adventures for the month, and i am elated to prepare for both a Sting concert in cividale(!) about 15 minutes from the village, and a trip to france in the morning!

The morning symphony initiates with the bells of the clock tower and the rooster clearing his throat. Together, like when you taste the marinara di mamma, you know you are truly in Italy. 
There is an art to living the Italians have and it is ever so addicting. 
There's a way in which you move about your day, not complaining or exclaiming the amount or type of things but more with a long string of treats and celebrations. The day begins with the gift, not chore or in some cases the abstaining of what we truly want to eat in the morning, but with the utter enjoyment of fresh briouche(in our case walked over fresh from the bar by livia in the early morning and left on the breakfast table. ). A large cafe with local milk, maybe a breakfast cake and assorted biscotti, the brioche can be chocolate fruit or creams inside, and it seems each time I think of this in the states I decide not to eat them for breakfast the next year- but each first morning in Italy I confidently, change my mind. 
But again back to the idea of the never ending cele rations of each hour of life here in Italy- it is truly a sight to behold in action, after breakfast happy and full, the mamma di casa starts on the washing for the day, preparing for lunch, scrolling out the table cloths from breakfast, gathering from the garden, feeding the chickens and checking for eggs, hiding shoes from the dog, running laundry and rugs in at the threat of summer thunderstorms like a human barometer and pretty much dancing from one meal to another with great skill and cheer until it is simply time to regenerate for the next beautiful day. 
If one sleeps in in Italy, the previous meal time will collide with the next and you will end up like me, choosing between both a brioche and a pasta at two different tables at the same time, this is quite perplexing to the rest of the diners and even though it seemed clear I was assumed to want the brioche at lunch time before moving on to pasta, I broke the expectation and had the pasta for breakfast, no regrets as I had been dreaming if the first pasta  all year. there's something about the pasta here where your stomach sort of melts into Italian mode, the appetite comes alive and everything falls into a sweet tomatoey calm- the stomach purrs and even seems to be speaking Italian words to me, like "ah yes we have arrived , nothing else to worry about now, mangia mi"
The dance continues like this all day, sprinkled with visitors and family coming in for meals or coffee breaks but this is the pattern of life, lots of talking lots of sharing laughing eating cooking clearing and cooking again, and you know what? Somehow it absolutely works like a charm. 
Hello you have found my blog!
Every summer for the past five years I have the privilege to travel to Italy and surrounding countries, this is where I keep In touch with friends and family on such a long trip with no phones (part of the vacation!) and most often no wifi since I will be in the countryside most of the time;)
Welcome to the next 30 days of my adventures in italy, this year I will also visit france for the first time!
in this blog I will post live recorded songs, paintings, photos and stories as I go along with my faithful travel companion and Italian citizen Stefano!
please scusi typos and enjoy! prego!
The night is calm, the air in Venezia was heavy and still hot from the day, once arrived in the cloak of night this time, udine was much cooler and the Italian crickets are cricking away outside the window. 
Giovanni always greets us with such an enormous warmth and geniousity, I practice listening to italian conversation for two hours in the car while they catch up with each other so I can get ready to speak and hear only Italian for the rest of my trip.  
I felt even more excited to arrive this year even though it is my fifth trip in a row! I think now I have begun to know the people more here and there is a whole other element that is so beautiful now about coming - they have treated me as family each and every summer, and truly spoiled me at that!
I hear the magical church bells toll I think it must be 2 am here. 
The most beautiful sight I've ever seen was Stefano running from the car, all 39 years of him, to catch his mamma in his arms and hug her so tight, reminds us how precious life is. We must embrace each other with each moment we have the chance!!
I will sleep now, it's been three nights with minimal to no sleep In order to get our internal clocks adjusted- tomorrow I will awaken to the usual first day of feasting- it begins and flows from each meal until we leave, in 30 days:)
Good night. 

Looking at a piece of sheet music, over and over again, is like looking at your street when it rains.  One day the same thing you have seen over and over has a different hue, a different smell, a different light, and for a brief second you can be lost, what is before your eyes almost unrecognizable, and then all of a sudden you see something you've never seen before, as you gaze at the very thing you've seen a million times.


RSS feed