Back in Valdobbiadene and Veneto

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Just about a month ago we were still in Italy and were returning to Valdobbiadene to visit family and friends. Oh how I miss Veneto!

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Valdobbiadene is the town to the far left.

The drive was scenic (as usual) and I was thrilled to have a brand-new FIAT Abarth to drive. Whoa! Those things go fast and I certainly made sure that ours worked properly. We arrived on market day and I was happy to see plant venders and flowers. By this point I was beginning to miss my garden, plants, and cats a lot. IMG_1086
Happily, there was another van vending the most incredible handmade pasta. The hole there in the middle with an egg is where the trofie pasta was before my husband bought it all. You can see the stray ones scattered around. Despite what you might believe, not all of Italy is full of well-dressed beautiful women. Here at the market I found my typical work clothing, and again, I felt a bit more at home. Moving along we saw more flowers, and of course, they were colorful. There were seeds, herb plants, a man in a Nike sweatshirt (which made me miss home), and of course there were many other vendors, but I didn’t want to go on and on. Around the corner from the market I found this lovely garden. Like many smaller Italian gardens, it was in a charming state of disarray.

The ever-present Asparagus fern and succulent combo.

On our way to eat lunch with John’s cousin, I stopped so that I could take a photo of this house and windowsill. Right after that I saw this great back garden with its great outdoor oven. It too was colorful, and I loved the palm and mismatched tulips fluttering here and there. Lunch was wonderful and did I mention that Italy is colorful? I think John’s cousin thought I was a bit odd taking a photo of her tabletop but I think you might see why I did it, right? Look at those adorable chickens—and that red! Oh how I love red!
The red Dianthus, with the orange curtains, and the orange drain pipe. Ahhhhh, once again, color.  There are olive trees and palms everywhere. It’s kind of a Mediterranean thing. But that lion up on its pedestal, isn’t he adorable?We stayed in the same apartment we stayed in 2 years ago. Owned by a family friend, I love the view looking out at the vines. IMG_1127We also ate at the same restaurant as we did during our last trip. Pizzeria Caravaggio is fantastic and I really enjoyed eating there again. This time I ordered a pizza though, and was thrilled that they served it the way I like to eat pizza at home. I love nothing more than a cheese pizza covered in arugula. IMG_1131.jpgThe next morning we awoke to a sunny day and again I relished the view from the veranda as I drank my morning cup of coffee. This is the day we drove to Verona, and here I am putting on my game face. Not to go on and on with another back story, but I’ve been hearing about driving fast on the autostrada since I was a kid and whenever I’m in Italy I like to drive fast. This car helped me to fulfill the need for speed and as far as we know I still haven’t received a speeding ticket in the mail like I did last time.

With this kind of success, I think that next time I will wear driving gloves. I’ve earned them.

And next time we’ll talk about the amazing garden, or maybe it will be the post after that…

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Not sure what this adorable little window box plant is but I admired it at our host’s house.

Wordless Wednesday: While some things change, others remain the same…

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Iris suaveolens.
Muscari macrocarpum ‘Golden Fragrance’.
Adiantum venustum.
Bergenia cordifolia.
Happy Macavity the Cat.
Vinca minor.
Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’.
Ranunculus ficaria ‘Brazen Hussy’, Helleborus orientalis, Doronicum orientale.
Fritillaria meleagris.
Narcissus. 
Acer.
Pregnant Helleborus.
Fritillaria meleagris.
Spathiphyllum.
Mona waiting for the sun to return.

Narcissus and Echo (Flower Myths and Biases)

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As I walk the path of divorce I never expected to take, I find myself looking at plants, blooms, and nature (in general) in a very different way. I am sure that the therapy I’m going through has a lot to do with this, as does the experience of separation and divorce itself, but it also has a lot to do with a return to myself as I continue to feel healthier after being prescribed a medication that has pushed my swelling disease back almost all the way into remission.
It’s been about 10 years since I’ve been able to take such long walks, often for 5 miles at a go, and Portland is an amazing place to wander around. Somehow my mind has been wandering back and forth in time as I’ve walked block after block, between now, and back a decade, back to who I was before I met my soon to be ex-husband, and that’s added a different layer to what I see and how I filter it through my mind.
The stories we tell ourselves—about ourselves, and those around us—can be deceptive and I see that now more than ever. The honesty necessary to keep these stories alive, and to live in an honest fashion within them requires a type of strength and bravery I didn’t understand until recently. Somehow though, the common Daffodil is there to remind me of my own myth deep inside of myself. We all create these stories about who we are and they often help us through troubled times. They can help to explain experiences, and help us to find meaning when we need to find it, but they don’t always help us to move forward.

As I walked, I thought a lot about my current dislike for the Daffodil bloom and it made me smile a bit. My myth is moving inside of me right now, something is budding, but my old myth is still there, the one from long ago. She will always be there sadly, for she is Echo.

Echo & Narcissus

I’ve been Echo. I’ve felt like Echo for a very long time. For some reason, I’ve never liked Narcissus blooms, but I simply cannot imagine why…