Posts Tagged ‘Italian’

Peter Woytuk sculpture, 72nd and Broadway

The Valley is filled with former New Yorkers and it seems that almost everyone I know goes to the City on a regular basis. A lot of our friends grew up in New York or Long Island and still have family to visit or a place to crash. Even more folks have spent creative time in the City for college or after. We don’t have connections such as these, which is probably the main reason we rarely go to New York. It costs a pretty penny to stay in Manhattan. I’m not complaining. I realize how lucky we are to get to do any of the things we get to do. Very grateful to live so close.

This being my eldest offspring’s birthday week and her requesting a trip to the Met (ropolitan Opera, that is), we went Tuesday night to see Don Giovanni. My mother loves the opera and she gave us tickets as a birthday present.

It was truly thrilling to see an opera again. I do wish the whole production were about a half-hour shorter (‘GADS, I know that is a taboo admission) and I didn’t love everything, but dang it all, it’s the MET, so dislike is relative. Everything is big and fabulous, including the patrons. The set was amazing; the costumes were decent, though not particularly unique. Our Don Giovanni was excellent–his theatricality, his physicality, his voice; Leporello was great, though he seemed to tire toward the end. I loved the story, the orchestra, the Mozart score, the libretto. Some of the singers were outstanding; some not quite as good. This was my first DG and if I ever get to see it again, I hope to be more familiar with the text. Favorite line? He likes them plump in the winter, thin in the summer. Or maybe that was the most sexist line?

I did get a little crush on Don Giovanni (a rapist and murderer, WTF is wrong with me?) and his servant, Leporello, the more witless but noble of the two. Of course, DG, aka, Don Juan, is presented as a rapist in a couple of scenes, but he is also so charming and talented that he counts his “conquests” into the thousands.

It’s all pretty sick, the culture of rape and the celebration thereof, but DG does use masterful flattery with at least some of these women and who can resist the promise of skilled lovemaking? Surely not I. Hence the crush. Oh, and those billowy pants and shirts, long hair and feathered hats, leather boots and sword play.

But opera is not just for women. Something to please even Hubby, the Commendatore scene featured actual pyrotechnics. FIRE on stage in a Met production! Drag me to hell with Don Giovanni, please, or leave me on stage cowering with Leporello. Either would be fine.

By my next Don Giovanni, I hope to have mastered Italian, but rather than actually taking a course, I wish to wake tomorrow morning with the gift of it flowing from my tongue and spilling out of my mouth, like honeyed nectar (I threw that in because I just read that the Italians love their similes. Who cares if mine is sucks?).

de rigueur photo of me at Lincoln Center

What other fabulous things did we do in the city? One highlight was visiting a couple of old Ohio friends. We don’t see them enough though we live much closer to them here than when we were still living in Kent, O. We only see them about once every 3 years (city folks are harder to get into the Valley than the other way around).

We, at least my youngest and I, loved seeing the sculptures by Peter Woytuk along Broadway. I think we caught about 6 of them.

I really liked a little “French” restaurant we popped into for lunch one day. I put French in quotation marks because it was French more in its desire to be French than in its execution. It did have a lovely tiled floor and lovely studded chairs made for tiny French butts. However, the eggs they served were made without, wait for it


The horror! Since when don’t the French use butter to cook their eggs? This was an outrage, but judging from the neighborhood, the public must have demanded it. All jogging pants and yoga mats and expensive bikes and thin and nannies…

Here is a display of chocolate bars in the pastry window

Here is the wicked cool garbage can in the bathroom

Here is me in the bathroom. Not the greatest bathroom I’ve ever peed in, but rather fun

I do try to avoid pimping Hubby and the kiddies by putting photos of them on my blog, but I’m allowed to pimp myself to my captive audience, oui?

Celebrity sightings? I am appx 88% sure I saw Ellen Barkin and sadly (to me), she was Botoxed and plastic-surgery’ed, at least her lips. Why why why?

Here’s the famous Commendatore scene from Don Giovanni, in case you don’t believe me about the fire. This Commendatore was not the same as in our cast (nor is this DG or Leporello–I liked the two from our cast better than these two). This Commendatore is GREAT. Ours was not as strong in presence or voice.

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(Buckle in, it’s a long one….be brave, take your time, know that if you make it through, you’ll be blessed with knowledge of an Italian song so romantic, you will be able to woo and win over even the most unshakeable heart)

In spite of the overabundance of rain (and dampness and cloud-cover), I do like to look out my smallish kitchen window at the leaves. Perhaps the most tolerable thing about all of this rain is that the leaves’ colors are more intense when they are wet.

Cat update: I have switched to a grain-free canned food (they had been on kibble) based on a recommendation from an alternative-medicine vet (I’m not kidding, people, this is the Happy Valley after all). And guess what? It is dramatically improving my fat black cat’s coat and demeanor. The other cat, Willow, well, she’s as sweet as pie and seems simply hungrier for her food than before. They both apparently love their new food and seeing them eat with gusto is satisfying. Now sometimes I wonder if I could just feed them rabbit and chicken meat (and livers and what all other organs). It would all be locally-raised and the money would go straight into the pocket of the farmer, right here, right now. Hmm…..

Socks. This is one of my great weaknesses. I love socks. I love all sorts of them–cotton-blend, merino wool, little short sport-socks with a pink collar and plush terry-cloth interior that I pad around in on the cold (and dirty, it is true) floors of my kitchen, the discount wool-and-synthetic blend ski socks I find every fall at TJ Maxx, the hand-knit socks made of bamboo that I bought at an art fair in Maine in the summer, the Sock Lady socks I bought 3 years ago at our school’s annual Holiday Fair (for my mother who didn’t like them, so she gave them back to me) made from mohair wool which comes from angora goats that the Sock Lady and her husband raise. We call her the Sock Lady and I mean no disrespect because I actually know her real name (Cynthia) because I’ve interacted with her quite a bit over the years, but really, the people who have been at the school for years and years and years and into a decade or more simply call her that because they love and crave the socks she sells. They are warm, they are colorful, they have a beautiful sheen to them, they last and last as long as you don’t wash them on hot or dry them, they make you feel heavenly because you have seen the beautiful black-and-white photos of the goats that the wool comes from and you know how much Bob (the husband) appreciates the goats and how much he loves his wife (by all outward appearances).

I like the discipline it takes for me to NOT plug in my computer on occasion so that the battery can almost run out of juice. You have no idea how compulsively I would like to plug it in and how delicious when I accomplish this goal, as per recommendations I’ve found on the internet.

Loving being involved in the Occupy movement and love watching it evolve via an email list I’m on and the weekly gatherings I attend. Democracy in action. DAMN it’s good, deep down inside.

What the hell’s a stornelli you ask? I can’t find out much more than that it is some sort of traditional Italian song played in a drinking establishment and they all seem to have a similar tempo and similar style of guitar strumming, but I did find some stornelli on youtube that weren’t even played on guitar. You can see the whole stornelli concept could be moved to a Music Monday post, but I love this so much, I couldn’t wait.

I’ve had the song for many years on the soundtrack to “Big Night” (a twinkly favorite and highly recommended). I listen in my car, melting, trying not to cause accidents due to being swept away so fully.

I found a translation for about half of the lyrics, but couldn’t find anything more all over the g-damn internet. I don’t know who wrote the song. I don’t speak Italian. I am so not Italian it shocks even me. But I sure wish I could understand the words to the rest of the song. Being somewhat familiar with many Latin roots and knowing a little bit of French like I do, I can piece out little bits, the moon, and thoughts and breath and song and the four winds, but I could also be wrong, as I am wont to be. Although it may seem like it, I’m not really a fan of Italian culture, but how can you resist quattro venti? Even italicized is Italian. Such beauty. Sigh.

E’scritto nel tuo cuore
Il mio destino,
Anche se l’esistenza m’avvelena.
Anche se l’esistenza m’avvelena
Voglio restare sempre a te vicino.

Per quella bocca rossa
e bella profumata
Ci perdo volentieri la mia vita.
Ci perdo volentieri la mia vita
Per poter dire al mondo l’ho baciata.

Se tu fossi regina
Ed io regnante,
Ti colmerei di perle dell’oriente.
Ti colmerei di perle dell’oriente
In cambio del tuo amore affascinante.

It is written on your heart,
My destiny,
Even though its existence poisons me.
Even though its existence poisons me,
I will always be near you.

For that beautiful and fragrant red mouth
I will gladly give my life.
I will gladly give my life
To tell the world I kissed it.

If you were the reigning queen
And I like a prince,
I would cover you with pearls of the Orient.
I would cover you with pearls of the Orient
In exchange for your enchanting love.

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Perhaps you watched this when it made the rounds on Facebook; 8 millions hits don’t lie; then again, it’s not 25 44 million like those talking babies, but I like it better:

I poked around for more, and found this, which is perhaps a bit more telling of their talents:

I was still curious about the song from the first video and I found that the original that the Yolanda Be Cool and DCup song samples has its own wiki page. AWESOME!

These guys rock out! I sure wish I could parlare Italiano!

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“the spider spins a web each day”: Kate Richardson’s daily artwork–a small drawing or painting (sometimes rubber stamps, too!)–which you can see at eyespider. I have purchased 2 of her pieces (at reasonable prices). The last was the drawing she did on my birthday (this was coincidental, but I love the coincidence). Poke around, click on a picture, be amazed.

My Casabella pink rubber gloves. I don’t have a mirror in my kitchen, so I’m not sure, but when I wear the gloves, I suspect my lips are as pink and youthful as the woman’s on the box. She’s Italian, you know, and her lips match her kitchen gloves, all the while protecting her delicate, yet strong, world-wise hands from dangerous hot water and soap. When the gloves are new, they smell like vanilla, not crappy Yankee Candle fake-o, headache vanilla, but like genuine pink Italian vanilla. Bueno!

time for a dance interlude since we’re all in the kitchen doing dishes


put your high-heeled sneakers on, don on your favorite pink gingham apron, and turn it up!

The unripe quince I picked from the neighbor’s yard. The shrub seems terribly neglected, but I have noticed it over the years and have seen fruit on it many times. The funny thing about quince is I have no idea how I know it. I remember walking in Ann Arbor, Michigan once and seeing a quince bush (is it a bush? should it be a tree?) and maybe my knowledge stemmed from that one time, before google, before I could have seen a photo on a website. Anyway, the mini-fruit is rotting now, though it was never full-bloomed yellow, only light green, on my credenza (yes, I said credenza!), but it smells heavenly–spicy, bright, and warm. I pick it up and smell it once in a while and will do so until mold forms, then pitch it into the compost bin. Fall is upon us.

sleep, which I’m staying up a bit too late to get enough of…

(okay, I’ll admit, in hushed tones, that maybe the gloves aren’t really Italian, but they are manufactured in the EU–says so on the box–and they are as stylish as all things Italian and don’t worry, I never pay full-price)

oh, if your pee is jewel-pink, don’t freak out! you probably ate roasted fall beets for dinner and simply forgot!


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