January 5, 2016

Only Five Days New

picture of Iceland Blue Lagoon

Before venturing into 2016 it’s important to recognize the year behind. 2015 was good to me. I’m especially proud of hitting several milestones, goals that could not have been reached worrying over what everyone thinks.

A second epiphany came to me when my husband handed me a phone—technology that makes mine look like a walkie talkie.

“This will change my life,” I told him. “CHANGE MY LIFE.”

I will now be more productive. I will be connected to today’s youth and yesterday’s wisdom. I will respond to life’s changes faster. Opportunities like 2-for-1 hotdog deals at Ikea will not pass me by. I will be flexible. I will no longer waste an extra five minutes for the bus because I have no idea when it’s coming. Instead of spending an hour with the neighbour and her dead gerbil, I can text her my condolences and keep to a daily work routine I haven’t yet started but which is necessary to achieve my goals. 

This phone will change my life. I will drink less coffee. I will look more stylish in sweat pants. I will appear popular and competent. People will take me seriously. When I say I need to pee, they’ll know I really need to pee. I will read more and get up earlier. I will run with the blind and donate bone marrow. 

This phone will change my life. But first, I need to shop. Because a phone like mine will need a pretty new case.

December 15, 2015

The Best Kept Secret

I was born the Year of the Dog. We'll call it a Lagotto Romagnolo. Why? Truffle season has come to Europe and I’m on the scent like flies on…

picture of black truffle being washed
carefully cleaning the truffle

Occasionally referred to as diamonds of the kitchen, truffles are a symbiotic fungi that grow at the root of trees, such as Oak or Pine. It takes several years for them to mature, and when they do, they are hunted down by a special breed of canine, the Lagotto Romagnolo. Female pigs were originally used because they can detect the scent, which resembles the sex pheromone of a boar, but unfortunately pigs would also eat them. Maybe I should have been born in the Year of the Pig.

picture of thinly sliced truffles marinading in olive oil
truffle pasta sauce based in olive oil

The black truffle harvest begins mid-October and continues until February. Italy hosts a huge truffle festival, The Alba International White Truffle Fair, where one can spend enormous bucks on fungi. But we are super lucky to know the offspring of a veritable French truffle farmer who gets us freshly dug truffles, on request. We don’t actually know where ours came from. The location of truffle forests are kept secret. Think the Knight’s Templar.

picture of truffle pasta
dinner. Yum!

They start out looking like hard pieces of turd but with a little olive oil, garlic, parmesan and pasta, they taste terrific. The only problem is that ours will start to mold after 10 days. In the early 1700s truffle turkey was a big delicacy. Maybe we’ll bring that back this year. 

October 15, 2015

Au Revoir Ma Voisine.

‘She’s hot’ is what I tell people. But better to look at and not to touch. 

Black hair, slender neck, creamy skin, wide eyes, full lips and a heart-shaped face. Russian. I've seen her shopping in sweatpants, doing laundry in a bathrobe and unpacking the car in a negligee. I've minded her son, lent her money and given her Internet access. But she makes bad decisions. 

She choses cigarettes over food, Gucci scarves over peace of mind, and suitors over family. The electricity goes on and off, employment comes and goes, and boyfriends move in and out. She's 37. At any given moment she is either proud or in despair. Lessons go unlearned and that’s what's so tragic. 

On a good day she holds her shoulders back. On a bad day she strokes her hair. She talks for pity and listens like she's fulfilling community service. She's never once asked about me. Untrustworthy, and yet it's hard not to feel sorry for her. She’s disabled in the most obscure way and one gets the feeling she always will be.

Good-bye my neighbour. Good luck in that fascist country and shotgun marriage. Try not to forget the good things you had and left behind: a safe home, a faithful husband, glamorous job, and a son. Regrets are not always a bad thing. Sometimes they're the only way to grow.