I made it to 5:12 a.m. this morning and feel triumphant! Then I realized it was daylight savings,* so the jet lag beast has been tossed a scrap and is still pacing a bit around the room. No more middle of the night pancake dinners/breakfasts though, but the last one was quite tasty with the last of our White Mountain edible souvenirs.
My brain is still buzzy and unfocused and my body mildly flu-like. I came home with mountain legs as firm as two well-aged prosciutti, but now they’re returning to their younger non-dead jiggly piglet state. My body and mind are out of synch with my reality and just want to put one foot in front of the other until a pleasing distance and vista and lunch spot have been reached.
I know it is incredibly pretentious, but I feel more culture shock returning to the U. S. rather than being outside of it (at least in the European bits). Americans weigh too much, they are sick, they are loud, they drive enormous machines, they wheel enormous luggage, they can be demanding of bedraggled clerks and service workers, their children are wild, and worst of all, they build and live in suburbs – vast expanses of land without sidewalks or farms – utterly purposeless and ugly.
But this is where I was born and legally reside and thanks to N we can leave it once in awhile.
But I’m also just another American wishing she could eat, pray, love (mostly the eating part) under the Tuscan (I’d prefer Abruzzo) sun. But there are a few things in Italy (and probably Europe in general) that are downright magical that even more increase my desire to stay.
Dairy. I have dairy issues in the states – I don’t know if it is lactose or casein or something else, but even when I get the organic grass-fed hoity-toity localish stuff here, I can have problems. I can tolerate milk, ice cream, cream, etc., about 15% of the time here, so I usually just forgo anything not aged or fermented – cheese and yogurt are ok-ish. In Italy, I have about a 99% tolerance rate – the only bad dairy experience I’ve had there was from a mediocre cream-based pasta sauce at an even more mediocre tourist trap restaurant in Rome a few years ago. So I load up on the stuff while I’m there – cappuccino, gelato, cream sauces, oh yeah! And of course cheese – I especially love the sheep and goat stuff – pecorino dolce, ricotta di capra, caciocavallo etc., etc., etc….
Allergies. I barely have them there, and leave behind my constant ropey mucous companion dangling down my throat here. That probably has a straightforward reason about the different climate and fewer useless expanses of lawns and less proliferation of non-native species with their companion herbicides and pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
So now that I’ve established that my brain is broken, my body atrophying, my nose dripping, and I’m suffering from a vague yogurt induced gut cramp, I must mention fiber – specifically my travel knitting.
I started the first pair of socks since my sock knitting debacle months ago. Again, my sock mojo is off – I used a bit bigger yarn on my preferred shorty wood needles with my 64 stitch vanilla pattern, thinking it would firm things up and be ok, but they’re big – baggy ankle big. But I don’t give a damn and still have to finish the leg parts, so I can firm up the upper ribbed section. I’m constructing them in a strange fashion, but it makes sense in my head and should allow me to use up all the yarn. I’ve dubbed them my “Nostalgia Socks” as the color reminds me of old quilts, 1970s sweaters, and now my trip.
The colors in this pic are wrong, but accurately portray the weak blue light that just barely stretched down to our nearly subterranean Italian apartment.
And remember my giddiness over Pigeonroof Studios Mimsy BFL roving? And even more over the Hitchhiker pattern? I can call it a finished project now since I shoved it in my bag at the last minute. It was one of those that ended sooner than I was ready to finish, and previously I only let myself knit a few rows here and there as a reward for meeting some goals on my portfolio pieces. Ok, I may have over-rewarded myself, but this is my favorite handspun yarn to date – the softness and drape are wonderful (if I do say so myself) but most of that is due to the inherent qualities of the fiber itself.
My yardage was less than the suggested amount and I used bigger needles, so I didn’t quite make it to the original 42 points. Mine is 41 1/2 – instead of a half a point, I just made the last one wider. I watched 42 on the plane over and hoped I could have that numerical reference as well, but I didn’t quite make the team.
I finished it in the first few days we were there, so I was able to wear it again and again and again – it’s finally taking a rest drying from a light blocking to stretch it out a little.
As for acquisitions, I bought some cheap (but ugly) sock yarn, and some cheap (but lovely) mohair in the market.
But of course I bought more of the real thing.
It deserves a post of its own next time.
* Daylight savings happened in Italy last weekend. We spent a day wondering why none of the cafes were opened when they should have been, rushed to return the rental car when we didn’t have to hurry, and even left for the airport an hour before we needed to – but none of it was the problem it would have been in the spring.
** I love this picture that N took – in the camera it appeared that I had been steamrolled, but now it looks more like a Nancy Drew book jacket for “Murder on the Mountain.” I love sleeping on mountains – some bedroom designer should get on that – forget beds – rig up a soft inclined meadow and mimic warm sun and chilly breezes in a room instead.