Le mie passioni, parte I: European dream

(Le Mie passioni, Italian translation of “my passions,” is a an occasional series of things I really, really love.)

I have been working on the Conversations about Mother cycle these past few weeks, only to find that I am emotionally drowning. The entries are all over the place, heavily bloated and I’m finding it difficult to make cuts and edits where there should desperately be cuts and edits.

I should have made an outline. The whole purpose of this exercise is to get rid of the pent up energy that prevails about my family, it is a “them vs me” moment, and yet this time the “them” is the words themselves. In addition, someone very important to me stepped back into my life after some time which pushed my heart beyond capacity. But that is another story for another time. Many of you may already know that I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in 2003-4ish.1 One of the techniques for managing BPD is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and one of my favorite DBT tricks, as it were, is self-soothing. The idea is to create an environment, a safe haven, of things that feel, taste, smell and are visually pleasing to me. I’ve decided to step that up a notch and create a visceral list of things that soothe me. To remember, to remind, to help whenever I feel like I’m in crisis. Additionally, I decided that it may be time to infuse a little frivolity into my writing and this blog, to take the pressure off the Conversations about Mother cycle and the heavier stuff. I’m not writing because I’m mopey about the cycle and when I’m mopey about a cycle, I’d rather discover 15 new ways to reinvent the wheel then write. I also realized, after wandering around the blogosphere as of late, that sometimes the very best writing comes when we’re not taking ourselves so seriously. And if there is anything I have learned about myself in these last few years, sometimes the stick is wedged up my arse a tad too snugly.

Forthcoming is a list of things that are capturing my heart at the moment, one per blog entry to keep it on the lighter side. In no particular order, things that I’m passionate about as of late:

castellonelborgo
Castello Nel Borgo, Terni, Umbria, Italy

.EU Vacation Home
If you’ve been paying attention (and I know you have), the headers that rotate throughout my site are all images taken by me from trips across the pond. Paris, Rome, Edinburgh to name a few cities, I’ve been to eight countries in the .uk and .eu since 2004, with TheHusband and I planning on visiting more in the future. While TheHusband and I do not typically agree on a lot of things (music, books, film), we do agree on lifestyle choices. We’re both desperate to shed our American lifestyles and head across the pond, permanently. Our goal is to accelerate payments on Throbbing Manor (payoff in under 15 years), fast pass student loans (payments currently set so the final payment is to be made in 2021) and continue to save money in our villa fund. The ultimate goal, if all goes to plan, is within a decade we’ll BOTH be debt free and have a good chunk to put towards our vacation/European home.

But where to move to? My desires to live in various places is always dependent on the moment: When watching Doc Martin, I was desperate to move to Cornwall and open up a B&B. Then I’m reading P.G. Wodehouse and M.C. Beaton and I want to be in the Cotswolds, in a thatched little cottage while creating merriment and havoc around the countryside, while hilarity ensues. Again, while running a B&B or a used bookshop. Or I want to be in the Highlands, own a sheep farm while spinning my own wool. I’ve got dreams! TheHusband is much simpler, he just wants land, fruit trees, and a bubbling brook. In seriousness, we’re looking at places in Italy for our future dream/vacation home. Why? We love the culture, the food and the people. Italy is essentially the Detroit of Europe, therefore real estate is cheap. We’ve been to the south (me in Rome) and the north (TheHusband in Milan and Florence).

It’s fairly centrally located to most of mainland Europe. I have a huge art history boner for Baroque, specifically Caravaggio and want to see all of his works in person, at least once. Italian is a romance language and my sketchy French would help me tremendously to learn it, and it would be wise for me to have another language proficiently under my belt before we moved. While I could be happy just about anywhere across the pond, and so thus would the TheHusband, right now Italy calls to our soul. After we settled on Throbbing Manor, we started looking at Italian real estate. Right now, it’s Umbria. Other days, it’s Abruzzo. Who knows where the wind (or in this case, the olive oil) may take us?

1. Part of the hiccup with writing the Conversations about Mother cycle is that I need to delve into BPD and discuss it. It’s one of the most misunderstood mental illnesses and I should be bringing a voice to it – problem is, sometimes my heart breaks and I just do not feel strong enough to do it. But I have to and, I will.

Morris Street Project: May 14, 2011

Morris Street Project, Week 9

Nothing earth shattering to report in the world of our gardens this week other than everything is blooming within an inch of its life after the recent rains, including all the fucking ivy and creepers that keep coming back though I seem to spend a gazillion hours pulling, chopping and murdering anyway I can. We’ve also planted some of the vegetables and began plotting what to do with the rest of our lot as either the former owners or the flippers laid out and landscaped the plot to an inch of its life but did not do any upkeep in the interim until we bought it. This means that various ivys, nettles and creepers have taken over controlled areas and we may end up tilling most of our front and back yards back to soil and starting anew for next year. TheHusband grumbles that our city lot is much harder to tame then if we had bought the damned 22 acres in Ada with the bubbling brook simply because we could have just let everything gone wild. His consolation is that our dream of buying a ruin villa in Italy for our vacation home means that he can get his goddamned bubbling brook with olive trees aplenty. That is until we both see something of a modern condo layout in which, all plans are pulled from the table on the goddamned bubbling brook.

But I digress. In other news, the excavation company has not been working on our street all week, so what you see below has not changed since the image was taken. The talks from the crew that our street will be “finished” by the end of June seems to be a lot further away then they make it seem. I’d just like to point out that since we moved here in January, there has not been a week a port-a-potty has not been installed somewhere on our block. I’d like to think that with this being a historical neighborhood, that is not necessarily “period.”

Morris Street Project: 05/14/11
Morris Street view.
Morris Street Project: 05/14/11
Throbbing Manor view.
Morris Street Project: 05/14/11
Drainage ditch across the street from our house.

Morris Street Project: May 7, 2011

Morris Street Project, Week 8

At first I was going to comment that I wish I had some torrid or interesting tale to tell to accompany this entry when I realised that I already forgotten about Conversations With My Mother (part i), which events occurred over the weekend. Forgotten is probably not a good word, “choosing to ignore” is probably better.

Mother’s Day weekend was almost too beastly hot in addition to the blinding sun which meant TheHusband and I spent most of the weekend in the gardens. I shot loads of images from around the gardens, which are far more interesting then the same street view and Throbbing Manor view I’ve been shooting almost religiously with my iPad2, but I still need to process them and I’m feeling lazy.

The images taken below have a washed out look to them, which I attribute to too much sunlight and I was not able to really color correct. I kind of dig the washed out look, so I’m okay with that. This weekend is such a contrast to last (blindingly sunny and hot, droopy with rain and cold) that the images taken from today (May 14) are looking much more lush.

I have been uploading all the images to a Flickr set and the transformation of our street is much more remarkable when you run it through a slideshow rather than the weekly installments I’ve been dishing out.

Morris Street Project: 05/07/11
Street view.
Morris Street Project: 05/07/11
Throbbing Manor view.

Ciao,x0x0x