Ferns and studio

Up they come. Glorious. Mysterious. Reliable indicators of spring.

Been in the basement some. Piecing. Cleaning. Sorting. Installed two of my sister’s lamps down there and I love the way they look.

Basting and piecing and vacuuming. Only found two dead mice this time!

Omelets and character

“The way you make an omelet reveals your character.” – Anthony Bourdain

I make a decent omelet with a fair amount of finesse. So I can’t be all bad, right?

Pork sirloin w/ red onion relish & crispy bacon

I had some unbelievably good food in Italy and it turns out that I missed cooking. The restless way I felt at around dinner-prep-time was my clue.

Local greens and “burnt finger” lamb*

This morning, I took advantage of being on Europe time and went to the grocery store early. At 6:20, the place was gloriously empty!

Once home, I put up a batch of bone broth and made a delicious mushroom, cheese and scallion omelet. Yeah!

*”burnt finger lamb” so named because you won’t want to wait to pick it up.

Sunday Assisi Walk Part I

How endless the visual and historical delight is here! This morning I went back to visit San Rufino, a cathedral I’ve now been to seven or eight times. Since I went on the Roman Antiquities tour yesterday — an absolute subterranean wonder, medieval Assisi having been built on top of a first century Roman town– I paid more attention to what is under the Cathedral… the layers of civilization and time in plain view.

Above: the front rose window from the outside on Good Friday and from inside this morning, reflected in the glass flooring that’s been used in order to reveal Roman wall work underneath.

On one side of the cathedral, next to statues of Jesus, Mary, David, Isaiah and others, is a preserved arch opening into an ancient Roman space.

Here, a hokey inclusion of my own shadow to hint at the insubstantial brevity of this life.

Speaking of life passing, one of the blessings of being here has been distraction from the last months of my sister’s struggle. I’ve lit candles for her all over the city and shared a little about her with a new friend, but otherwise not much — not much memory or hand-wringing. This morning, I threw coins into a pool at Santa Chiara (my sister’s middle name being Claire, recall), one each for K, the boys, me, and her.

Not three minutes later, there was a beautiful and perfect feather in my path. Some say finding a feather means an Angel is near. I thought cynically, it also means pigeons are near. But then, not two feet away, I found a sticker emblazoned with a pentagram, a symbol important in magic generally and to my sister personally. And so, there she was. Hello, Noreen!

I took out the little owl that I’ve been carrying around in my pocket (one of hers) and photographed it near a new picture of Francis in her honor from my favorite perch of this visit — my chair by the windowsill. Need I say — I am a sucker for religious iconography?

I finished the first Assisi-inspired quilt (below) and am rushing to finishing another to give my host before I leave.

Didn’t get to share pix of the sweet cafe where I had breakfast or the many incredible street views returning home, but look how long this is already. I’m going to load some wall and door pix on Flickr and otherwise will be posting about this trip for weeks to come!

Home Tuesday. Apologies for not commenting on blogs right now. Can’t wait to catch up with Jude’s class and Happy Birthday, Nancy!!!

Fog and woods

We had a wonderfully moody day of fog a couple of days ago. This morning is crisp and clear again and even, a little hot. After a terrible night’s sleep, I set out to walk at around noon and found my way to the Bosco di San Francesco (the woods of St Francis). It was all down and then up hill, but walking on dirt not stone came as a relief as did birdsong. The clip (if it loaded) is from a drumming performance in the square. Such a thrill to stand there and have the sound enter the chest. A kind of masculine synchronized fury. Less thrilling: they wandered the streets and played until midnight (competing with the middle school hooligans). This morning I woke to the sound of recycling pick up. Imagine a truck that lifts a bin of glass and dumps it into a truck bed ten feet down, also full of glass. A crashing cascade. It sounds like the end of the world. I’m not complaining. Am I?

The door into the woods is in the middle of that long wall on the right (below).

An Assisi-inspired WIP. All hand pieced but with some areas of appliqué — what I call a hybrid approach. I got a little inventive to accommodate the design (and to work with limited scraps brought along on the trip), but also in response to having heard Jude say recently something like “technique is everything, really.”

Here are some shots of Saint Clare’s alb. Ssh! Don’t tell. Photos were prohibited there (you cannot believe what scant attention people pay to those signs, BTW). I did not use a flash.

There is some beautiful pull-work down the middle which you probably can’t see. I wondered if Clare had been a giantess, because the gown is BIG. But no, my host said the style was for cloth to pool about the feet. Perhaps, too, some length was cinched up by a simple belt.

This picture, from “The Little Flowers of Saint Clare,” tells of the time when Clare came up off her sick bed to raise the monstrance to pray for the sisters, who were defenseless to an advancing army of Saracens. She then prayed for then soldiers, too. A sweet voice came out of the object (“because of your love, I will watch over you and them always”) and the army changed course and went elsewhere.

Below is her cathedral. The alb is housed in a reliquary on the lower level. She’s buried on the level, too.

Can’t remember if I mentioned, but we attended a choral performance at St. Clare’s the first night here (below).

Assisi sunny Wednesday

Town is mobbed. Roaming packs of teenagers, hooting and hollering at all hours. Middle-aged tourists. Nuns and brothers. The daily walks produce one spectacular view after another.

This little alley (above) leads to my door.

Much ruthless editing going on here. Chucking a lot of shit straight into the “extras folder” (that is, the dust bin).

It is a relief to be somewhat away from the news, although I check online a few times a day. Impeachment feels more and more urgent. What say you?

Photo potpourri

Above: blessing of the food the afternoon before Easter. Interior shot of a Marist sanctuary. Interior of San Rufino showing the statues of Mary and Jesus back where they stay most of the year. St. Francis Basilica plaza and exterior (and drawing). Quilt WIP and Deb’s threads.

These pictures don’t get to yesterday, Easter Monday, which included a field trip and a visit with a journalist. Lots of thoughts. But after two days of activities and distractions, today I must work and so bye!