Friday, December 28, 2007

snowy day off

it's been snowing all day here, big pretty flakes. this is the backyard around 1 PM.

Today and this weekend I'm focusing on organizing the house and cleaning things that do not regularly get cleaned. Hoping to start all fresh and clean for the new year.

I can't lie though, in between cleaning I played a LOT of Guitar Hero. I'm hooked.

So what was the bigger accomplishment of the day--sweeping and mopping the kitchen, or beating the Tom Morello guitar battle on Medium difficulty? Hard to decide.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Happy, happy Christmastime. The past few days have been so full of family and friends and nice quiet moments with Mike and the dog too. This is the little princess asleep in a sunbeam this morning.

The days have been so peaceful and I'm grateful and humbled by that, feeling so blessed. I strive for peace and seek it out, balancing myself by making art and saying small prayers and trying to live in the present, happy moments. Taking all these things and pondering them in my heart, you know, the true meaning of Christmas.

So today I have the day off work and am just puttering. I'm hoping to clean up the house a bit and send some things on their way to Goodwill, evening out the flow of new things into the house by sending others on their way out. Though I will say, I haven't done any of that yet since I always get distracted when I'm in the house. Taking a few photos of some recent art to share.

a new page in my art journal. and the journal, almost full. maybe I'll try to finish it in the next few days so I can start fresh in the new year.

larger sizes at my flickr.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Songs of 2007.

i did a little quasi-scientific research the other day to determine my favorite song of 2007. The research consisted of sorting my songs by play count on my itunes and ipod. so, here are some of the tops:

(fyi, i'm linking to myspace so you can enjoy some of these fantastic artists' sweet sweet tunes.)

plasticities, andrew bird

lake shore drive, the innocence mission

legs of bees, fruit bats

fake empire, the national

cast a hook, laura veirs. as you can see, there is a video with NARWHALS in it. of course it's one of my favorite songs of the year!

i feel it all, feist

myriad harbor, the new pornographers

empty hearts, josh ritter

two, ryan adams

every song from caitlin cary's "begonias" since i tend to listen to it obsessively when i make art or clean or whatever.

I also think i should add that "can you please crawl out your window," the hold steady and "ring them bells," sufjan stevens, both from the i'm not there soundtrack , probably deserve to be on this list. i'm way into both of these songs right now but since they were only added about a month ago the scientific itunes thing is kinda misleading.

and my number one most played song of this year? flossin', mike jones.

i like to listen to it on repeat at work. for like, hours at a time, no joke. i can't say i can really explain this. but it probably has something to do with my little brother.

Monday, December 17, 2007

if $130 fell from the sky right this moment

these would be mine:

michael kors shoes from zappos.

the dumbest part is, i barely wear anything other than my cowboy boots these days so they'd probably collect dust until the snow melts. but aren't they pretty?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

last december's book

december 6, originally uploaded by oltremare.

last december was a big month for me, a big transformation month. i made a book out of old envelopes, with collages on both sides, and then put journal entries or whatever ephemera I picked up during the day into the envelope. making a collage a day was really doable especially since I used the same materials over and over and just left everything out on the desk all month. it was a great project, one of my favorites, and I don't think I've ever shared it online. there are a few more pics on my flickr right now and I will try to add more soon.

i haven't made many collages lately. . . .I'm not sure why. I've been working on other craft projects, some holiday decorations and felt ornaments for gifts and things. the collagey inspiration just hasn't been around lately, which is too bad. i love looking at the old books I've made because they're sort of like esoteric scrapbooks, memory-evoking even if it's ambiguous.

Friday, December 14, 2007

friendship + darjeeling limited

So, first of all. Yesterday my best friend came to visit and I took the day off work, and it was pretty much the most relaxing day of all time. We sat around in my living room with the fire on and a teapot on the coffee table for about five hours. then thai for dinner and to the glen ellyn art theatre (totally cute and old-timey) to see The Darjeeling Limited. It's been a weird week around here so the uber-laid back day was appreciated. As is the friendship, of course.

I was way pleasantly surprised by The Darjeeling Limited. I was pretty disappointed by Life Aquatic and was kind of feeling like maybe the Wes Anderson thing was over. But this totally redeemed him for me. It was definitely looser than his previous few films. . . just not so calculated. I mean, it was still like, fastidiously styled, but somehow not quite so uptight about itself. I really enjoyed myself and would actually go back and see it again in the theatre if I could find someplace still playing it.

And seriously, how can you go wrong with luggage and costume designed by Marc Jacobs? what a great partnership.

One of my favorite lines from the film:
Patricia (Anjelica Huston):
All right. Let's make an agreement: A) We'll get an early start tomorrow morning and try to enjoy each others' company here in this beautiful place. B) We'll stop feeling sorry for ourselves. It's not very attractive. C) We'll make our plans for the future. Can we agree to that?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


sad news! blueprint is done.

when i read this today I felt like I was punched in the gut. Over the past few months this has really become my absolute favorite magazine, and that's saying a lot since i LOVE the mags. A lot of others have kind of taken nosedives in my opinion (lucky isn't nearly as good as it used to be, i haven't read vogue in years). . . . Martha Stewart Living is still great, but a little stuffy. Blueprint was perfect though, the best mix of fashion & home with youthfulness. Guh.

I'll have to go through my tearsheets to find some Blueprint pages to scan and share. then we can all cry together. :(

Sunday, December 9, 2007

comparisons. and weekend fun to balance.

got it?, originally uploaded by matirose.

this is one of my flickr favorites, from matirose. I believe you can also buy a print here.

earlier today i was feeling not so good. just got into a bad mood, mostly comparing myself to others, and not in an honest way either. in the kind of way where I suck, and everyone else is talented and fashionable and also somehow able to keep a sparkling clean house. which I know isn't the truth, but it's hard not to see beyond what people present, online and in the real world.

after pinning this quote up on my corkboard and cleaning my desk, I felt a lot better. and basically all I needed to do was read my last blog entry. there really isn't too much for me to complain about these days. so I'm back to feeling grateful.

on a more lighthearted note! yesterday we went and played football with a bunch of mike's friends. even though it was freezing and i only caught one pass all day it was still great. here we are on our teams, enjoying a halftime beer.

just so you know, the socks in the pockets are our football flags. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

belated thanks

thankful list. 11/26/07.

as with most other things in my life, i'm less than punctual on this one.

I was going to make this a numbered list but it's hard. really there isn't a lot for me NOT to be thankful about lately: wonderful husband, nice house, great family, good friends, continually amusing co-workers, hilariously sweet dog. i feel really lucky.

other than that, the four day break is tops on my list of thankful. it was so nice to do the cozy homebody thing for a few days. made some christmas gifts and decorations (I'm finding hand embroidery really satisfying/relaxing right now). watched lots of movies; Elf, Chocolat, Don't Look Back (an old favorite). The fire was on most of the time. drank a lot of hot cocoa. made pumpkin cheesecake and three kinds of soup. GOOD all around.

all the best to you at the beginning of the holiday season. i really hope it's a bright and cheery one for us all.

Monday, November 12, 2007

weekend recap

max's apple tart, originally uploaded by oltremare.

as much as I love to bake, and love baking for other people, i very rarely have enough foresight to actually do it. this weekend I got ambitious and went for it, yay! so this is the little apple tart/galette I made for my friend max and his girlfriend. the recipe is from alice waters, via smitten kitchen.

it was a great weekend overall and I spent a TON of time in the kitchen. saturday I made chicken stock from scratch, which was pretty easy, totally rewarding, and made the house smell great. I went a little overboard, which is good since I'm freezing a lot to use later, but when it came time to find a place to store it. . . well, saturday night our frig was pretty much full of stock. i made the tart on saturday afternoon, too. then sunday morning was apple crisp, and chicken vegetable soup.

So domestic, but what else are you going to do on a chilly weekend? I mean, besides watch America's Next Top Model marathons on VH1 for hours on end.

anyway, visiting Max was great since I don't think we'd seen each other in like three years. Old friendships are the best though. I know it's cliche, but I honestly feel like no time had past.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

holiday season inspiration

holiday season inspiration, originally uploaded by oltremare.

usually I'm not the kind of person that starts thinking about christmas in november, but this year is different for some reason. I'm really excited to decorate the house and make gifts and be festive.

I LOVE flickr favorites because it gives me a way to map a general visual style. for this christmas I'm thinking: homemade, natural, sparkly, somewhat vintage, icy blues and cherry reds. these photos give my ideas some substance.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

art + time

i don't know why it took me 27 years to figure certain things out. maybe that shouldn't surprise me as much as it does. but. music and art and literature have been incredibly meaningful to me lately and I've been feeling a little baffled by it. like, where did this all come from?

last night I watched a documentary I'd recorded on PBS (side note, i have turned into the kind of person that records documentaries on PBS) about art in the twenty first century. it was later in the evening and I've been going to bed so early these days so I was a little zonked. i was drifting off to sleep to the voice of Jenny Holzer talking about horses and her hope for her art to be "lovely and exacting." that dreamy feeling put my mind on this track.

the novel about grace changed the way I think about nature and the world, all the glorious/mundane ways the world works. infinite jest, well, that's enough for another post, but it sparked so much in me. i think about the Ghent Altarpiece almost every sunday when i go to communion. even music makes more sense. after owning blonde on blonde for half a dozen years i think I'm finally starting to "get" it.

ghent altarpiece: adoration of the lamb, jan van eyck + others

so again . . why would it be that NOW, of all times, when I'm not taking classes and learning and seeing new things all the time, that I would finally get hit over the head by all this?

last night i had a little mini revelation about it. right now there is not really a lot to ponder in my life. i make coffee, go to work, make my logos and text changes, come home, read, cook, watch tv. It's stable, comfortable, unchanging. So of course now, when my mind isn't filled up with looking for a new job or boyfriend or neighborhood to live in, there's plenty of room to really let things soak in. It's a nice feeling, especially because I know I will not be young and childless and have plentiful free time forever. I'm enjoying it and feeling really happy.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

+ / -

November 1. It is finally appropriate seasonal weather outside, chilly in a real, winter coat kind of way. It's nice, but not really. Today I am cold, grouchy, bored at work, and I have one of the most depressing songs ever stuck in my head. (he stopped loving her today, george jones.)

I'm trying to look on the bright side though:
+ project runway starts in two weeks! once again, meaning and order will return to my life and my weeks will rotate around wednesday evenings at 9 PM.

+ my mom is coming to visit this weekend.

+ have I ever talked about how igoogle is the greatest thing of all time? I know I say a lot of things are the greatest thing of all time, but this one might really take it. everytime i open my browser i'm presented with my gmail inbox, my calendar, the weather, an image of the Biblical Art of the Day, and a Wikipedia search box. This is everything I ever needed and more.

+ also, late this afternoon, I did my little parlour trick for my co-workers: drawing things on command in illustrator. I made this snowmen and then we dressed him up. "do an elvis!" "a ninja!" etc. Here's the carnage from my illustrator pasteboard


a nice bright spot in my day

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

late october

saturday afternoon mike and i walked our bikes to the nearest gas station since both our tires were low. i brought my camera along with the intention of taking some fall-y pictures of the neighborhood, but this was the only one I took. oh well.

it was a really pleasant weekend. took a few walks, made granola, cleaned my art desk up a bit. i also made apple turnovers from scratch, including the puff pastry. super yum. And the puff pastry-I think I'm addicted now. It's really fun to make and tastes about a thousand times better than the frozen stuff. So of course I started thinking and had a little daydream this morning about becoming a pastry chef. All this from one batch of turnovers! But you know I get lofty goals sometimes.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

$1000 shopping spree. . . .

. . . . I wish.

BUT I did just finish a small freelance project and have some "fun" money." this is what I've been looking at blowing it on:

j. crew sweaters and skirts

these adorable shoes from zappos

also this sweater from anthropologie that I can't seem to save a photo of. you should look at it though. the magic is all on the back.

j.crew has a great lookbook up right now, too. i think the purpose of really great fashion photography and wardrobe styling is to make you want to overhaul your whole life on the basis of one photo. such as this:

well, i'm off. . . . it's time for me to move to scotland, get a bike with a basket, and start wearing argyle.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

movie film

this weekend one of my coworkers is making a short film. and i'm in it. it was actually pretty fun this morning. plus we've all been talking about the project for so long that it's good to actually get it going. and tomorrow there's more. It's been an interesting diversion. plus also, my character wears some sweet vintage shoes that are definitely going into my personal rotation after this.

After filming, spent the late afternoon painting and collaging, listening to wilco. seriously. . . . the less i watch TV the happier I am. working on that a lot these days.

Lately I feel like I'm improving myself by really TRYING to overcome some of my shortcomings. I made a chore chart, and I almost wish I were joking about that. Something about this has an adverse affect though, in that it really highlights all my other junk I'm not figuring out. The essence of most of it? I need to spend less time thinking and more time DOing. I'm also kind of a sloppy perfectionist, if that makes any sense. But I realize I've been dealing with this most of my cognizant life, so it's not going to go away just by writing a list and doing daily chores. Or will it? Hmmm. . . . Small revelations.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Boston '07

right up next to the green monster!

Last weekend we went to Boston for a short trip. It was a nice time, very baseball-centric. (Obviously.) We ate great seafood and walked around in the park. Saw some historical stuff and some cool art, ate gelato. Can't ask for more.

This wasn't my first time in Boston, I was there once, for one day, during the summer I worked at a camp in Connecticut. The strange thing is, it felt totally different this time, like my memories were of an entirely different city. I can't explain it but it kind of weirded me out the whole time.

Also. I've been rereading Infinite Jest this summer. I get really into the books I read and this one is, of course, no exception. So the whole time we were in the Boston MAMA I kept expecting to see like Don Gately on the T, or some ETA kids running around. We did see a lot of questionable people on the streets so I guess that satisfied me to some extent.

And on that note. . . I finished IJ this weekend and almost cried. It felt like losing a job or a best friend, I've been spending so much time with it in the past two months now I don't know what to do with myself. I guess it's time to start reading another 1000 page, unbelievably engrossing novel. Any suggestions?

Monday, September 17, 2007

in my dreams

in my dreams, originally uploaded by oltremare.

another flickr love-fest.

my nighttime dreams have a few repeating themes. there's this gauzy half-real destination that i return to again and again; a partially crumbling european city set in the water. kind of like venice, but not exactly.

so, searching for pictures of venice on flickr a while ago, i realized i could create a more tangible representation of this through my favorites. what you're looking at right now is pretty much where I go at night. isn't it lovely? this has made me really happy.

it's also made me realize i should visit croatia at some time . . . apparently my dream world looks a lot like croatia.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

fashion week: hats

it's spring/summer 08 fashion week and you know what that means! i've wasted at least an hour a day online looking at clothes I'll never be able to afford.

there's a lot of stuff I'm liking, and for some reason, one of the things is: seriously nuts headgear. next spring you can either look really chic, or like a half insane vagrant, depending on how you style yourself. check these out:

"spare some change?"

detail shots from proenza schouler, marc by marc jacobs, and 3.1 phillip lim.

seriously though, i kind of love it. i mean honestly. you have to be pretty daring to wear hats like these in a non-marching band / community theatre public situation. i give props to anyone who actually pulls it off.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Feist - 1 2 3 4

Feist, 1234, from youtube

i'm obsessed with this video. seriously. everything about it is perfect. I can't remember the last time i loved a music video this much. (I'm assuming it was mo money mo problems back in 1997? ten years man.)

anyway, part of the reason i love it is that the song is tops on my list of Tracks to Listen to on Repeat. Runners up include Roscoe by Midlake and Myriad Harbour by The New Pornographers (fyi, links go to myspace and the songs are there, DO IT, listen). I estimate that about half of my music listening in the past five days have been just these three songs.

oh yeah, and PS: in case you're wondering, the answer is YES, i am already teaching myself the dance to this video.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

gourdy howe

gourdy howe, originally uploaded by oltremare.

this past spring i noticed some strange foliage in the flower bed in front of our house. i put two and two together and realized it was a pumpkin. . . last fall our halloween pumpkin had fallen apart, and apparently its seeds were really tenacious, since a pumpkin started growing seven months later.

i loved the pumpkin growing. i named it gourdy howe. sadly, gourdy's life ended a few weeks ago when I pruned a little to hard on his vines. this is how big / orange he got. not bad for a volunteer pumpkin in a tiny patch of dirt.

Monday, August 27, 2007

the latest. . . .

the latest. . . ., originally uploaded by oltremare.

i've always loved flickr, but in the past few weeks i've been crazy obsessed. my favorites are growing by leaps and bounds. i LOVE looking at my favorites; i really love seeing how my tastes and preferences change from week to week. this week it seems like i'm all about the muted/natural/organic.

other positive things
+ going to the white sox/red sox game with my husband yesterday. fun times, good game. it was actually a bit surreal; on the red line down to the game about 75% of the el car passengers were wearing red sox gear. boston fans travel well, apparently.
+ right now i'm listening to midlake on myspace and they're gooood. also, hello. . . . why have i not heard of this band? i think there's a theme developing, i'm about a year behind on new music. oh well. late than never, etc.
+ i ate an awesome peach today.

among other things. it was a good day.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Last night I had a dream about Tiny Showcase. I was visiting rhode island and was having a really in depth conversation with the guy that runs it, jon. We talked about art and artists and how I have never managed to successfully buy a print before it gets sold out. Also, I told him that I really miss Slatch.

It’s clear to me that I have been spending way to much time on the internet lately. Work is sloooooow.

Now I’m reading old slatch via the wayback machine and it’s making me intensely nostalgic for the internet of 2003, it sort of gives me flashbacks to my first job out of college. It’s also making me laugh out loud inappropriately in my quiet office. I miss slatch so much. Is it pathetic to actually miss a website?

Thursday, August 9, 2007


it's almost 100 degrees out these days but of course my obsessive zappos searches are for winter boots. stupid august!

i'm looking for some mythical combination of dressy/work appropriate and cowboy-ish. these are the front runners so far:

the last pair are the least fun, but i'm kind of leaning toward them. maybe my look for the fall will be "classy cowgirl."

Monday, July 30, 2007

five minutes in my head

things that are making me happy. august 02 07 edition.

about grace by anthony doerr is absolutely killing me. LOVING it unlike any other modern novel i've read in a long while. it's changing the way i observe the world. when i read it i feel like i'm grabbing hold of a thin string that's attached to something momentous and REAL about the world. isn't that what a novel is supposed to do, ultimately?

more obsessions, musical: "boxer" by the national. i can't remember the last time i was this overtaken by an album. i'm getting that sick addicted feeling for it. like everytime i turn on my ipod or get in my car, i think, "i can't listen to this anymore or I'll ruin it." and then i turn it on and find more to love. also, this summer is the first time I've heard of them. where have i been for the past few years? the national is great.

mike and i went to the county fair the other night and I could just watch the goats for hours. we watched a pen full of young males, all careening around and jumping and headbutting each other. i think goats are climbing the ranks of my favorite domesticated animals. watch out, llamas.

i've been feeling lucky/blessed these days. work is slow so i get home by 5:15 or so and actually have time to do some housework and make dinner. is there anything more satisfying than cooking a square meal which features vegetables one has grown from a seed? the answer is no, my friends.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Caffé Sospeso

a definition from wikipedia.

A tradition in the cafés of Naples is to order a caffè sospeso – literally, a coffee "in suspense" – as a sign of your good fortune. When a sospeso is ordered, the customer pays for two coffees, but only receives one. That way, when a person who is homeless or otherwise down on their luck walks into the café, the person can ask if there are any coffees held in suspense, and can have one as a courtesy of the first customer.

i wish there were more things like this in the world.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

been away.

checking back in, it's been months hasn't it?

more photos + commentary to come, but the past month and a half has been filled by:

- spending the last near two weeks at the national conference for my work. i wore a giant foam star costume every day and it was totally awesome. but it made me feel so removed from everything--my house, husband, dog, email, real food, real life. . . . it was so groundhog day ish. it was fun but i'm also sooper glad it's over with, back to real life now.

-a lovely wedding on lake superior in northern wisconsin. magical friendships that haven't changed in years. raspberries picked and immediately eaten. many beers. fun. and more fun.

-a short trip to northwest iowa and southeast south dakota. back to the tiny tiny town i spent my young youth in, which seems so much smaller now after the years. and my grandpas farm. it felt so natural.

- also. the garden growing. eating food i grew from a seed will never cease to amaze me. spent an hour or so weeding this afternoon, working up a sweat. it's really satisfying.

-other stuff. good books: about grace and four seasons in rome by anthony doerr. the girls by lori lansens, seven sisters by margaret drabble. i've been reading a lot actually. and music: feist, spoon, ryan adams. these words and music have been the steady undercurrent of all the craziness lately. so that's good.

i think that's it. i honestly feel like i've lost myself over the past few weeks, working hard at work and then being so removed at conference. i'm getting back into my life and trying to get every backward thing righted again.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

two years

according to wikipedia, the second anniversary is the "cotton" anniversary. but apparently in our household it's the tennis racket anniversary.

anyway, yeah, we've been married for two years. it hardly feels that long... it was a good night tonight though. we had a nice dinner out and afterwards walked down to the county fairgrounds. the circus is in town tomorrow and we caught a glimpse of some of it. it was a nice evening.

may is such an excellent month for us. really, the past few weeks have been nothing less than perfect springtime.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

old littlebook

December Little Book Cover, originally uploaded by oltremare.

i've been busy. i wish i had more time for ribbons and scissors and glue. it will be a few weeks though. I was thinking about how thankful I am to have co workers i like, since i spend an awful lot of time with these people.

someday there will be new art. sooner rather than later, let's hope.

other than that, things are excellent: arcade fire "intervention." these sweet spring days. reading lucy grealy's "autobiography of a face" in the five minutes before i fall asleep/pass out every night. and watching my seeds in their peat pots growing every day. i love the month of may.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

once again

"I am happy here: when I or other have bruised my life, I close my eyes against the hurt and think of Rome; as possibility, and hope. And I feel more related to my environment and to my circumstances in Rome than I do anywhere else on earth; I am blessed, intensely delighted, satisfied, and reconciled. The world is lovable when the world is Rome. Everything good in my nature is nourished here. My body feels safe here. When I love the space around my body, I love my body. For the rest of my life I will love Rome and think better of my life for having known Rome. Rome, rooted and ethereal, stretching from earth to heaven, casts aside so little and embraces so much--there's room for me. It is everything; it is elegant, robust, common, spectacular, vulgar, exquisite, and above all rare...

Rome is all things high and low. It is like God, it accommodates so much."

-barbara grizzuti harrison, italian days

a slew of emails in my inbox from my rome classmates, among other things, brought me back into the reverie today. some days it's like treading water in memories.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


april 21: inaugural bikeride of the spring. woo woo! it's not even 1 PM on saturday and already this weekend is shaping up to be excellent.

I rode my bike to Target to make prints of our Rome photos, and on the way I saw my favorite bird for the first time this spring. inaugural favorite bird sighting! it's some kind of heron that lives in a pond near our house. i honestly have a crush on this bird, when I see it I feel all fluttery inside.

last night mike and I had buffalo wild wings for dinner and had excellent conversation. and tonight I'm going to visit valerie in the city and eat indian food. plus, it's so warm that maybe I will get to plant some seeds and stick my hands in the dirt this weekend.

seriously, YAY.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

wants and needs

things i have had cravings for recently:
+ v-8
+ perrier*
+ laura veirs "bright glittering gifts" played on repeat ad nauseam**
+ a real simple-style home with either no clutter, or rather-- gorgeous, art-directed clutter.
+ a sunny weekend morning to buy seeds and stick my hands into the earth

obviously some of those are easier to achieve than others. but there's a theme of sorts. i am craving a little sparkling, wholesome, pretty austerity. rome and working a lot put my schedule out of whack and life without a routine makes me a little antsy. hence the need for simple clean things.

* i'm now addicted to sparkling water. it's true. i have a "con gas" problem. and I love it.

** speaking of laura veirs. the new one, it's so good. the lyrics are perfect, the music has that laura veirsyness. i can't put my finger on it. it's like being alone on an ocean liner in the the middle of the night, the middle of the pacific, every star visible in the sky. it has that celestial coolness. so it comes highly recommended from me to you.

laura veirs and saltbreakers

plus, i feel really connected to her since I read something where she said she dreams a lot about whales. swoon!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Rome O Morte

people keep asking me what was my favorite part of the trip to Rome. what a loaded question. my favorite thing? just BEing there. walking around. the street signs and cobblestones and graffiti, just the physical geography of the place itself, tiny streets and the hills with their poetic singing names, janiculum, esquiline, capitoline.

despite the fact that I have not been there in more than five years, i barely needed to consult a map. i remember those streets, feel like I remember them somewhere deep inside me, as if my arteries had rearranged themselves into a map of the tiber, via del corso, the lungotevere. . .

anyway, it was a good trip. our apartment was perfectly located in the dead center of anywhere we wanted to go. i discovered the most perfect gelato combination (caffe and bacio, coffee and hazelnut/chocolate). bought pretty paper at the lovely Fabriano store. visited the caravaggios at San Luigi dei Francesi and Santa Maria del Popolo.

we rented bikes at villa borghese and raced around with my mom and little brother. we ate some of the best sandwiches, seriously, the sandwiches: breathtaking! stood in line for hours at the vatican museums talking to a pleasant retired couple from canada. i bought red shoes, and the ruffliest blouse you've ever seen, and a watercolor from a street vendor in piazza navona.

my italian improved daily. we learned to navigate the idiosyncratic roman ways of life, the giving of correct change, the proper way to cross a street. i was disappointed at how crowded it was, but the people-watching was phenomenal. i had the chance to spend some good time by myself, drawing at my favorite fountain, shopping, taking pictures in the early evening post-nap.

the last day I woke up early to photograph the ponte sant'angelo, and it was just me and a streetsweeper and the misty sunrise tiber. so maybe that's my favorite part of the trip. just me and the city.

I honestly feel as if I'm wading and dreaming through all of this. it was so charged with emotion before during and after that the actual experience feels cloudy. returning home was a rude awakening and I was surprised at how hard I cried. and it hasn't helped that I've been working 12 hour days this week, and we woke up to two inches of wet snow this mid-april morning. just feels like everything is floating around me. I'll get over it, I know, and part of me appreciates the feeling. but it's hard to reconcile the two worlds.

it was great though. having been back gives me a peace I haven't felt in a while.