Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Paolo Sotto Voce

"Sotto Voce" just came to me...I suppose he is beneath the voice of the piano, if anyone were to be playing it. And to get the picture I had to be very quiet, because he does not like cameras. If he hears the turning-on sound, he generally makes himself scarce.

In this case maybe he would not have, because he was working hard on his rawhide treat, and it's pretty hard to get his attention away from that! Which made it a good time to take the picture.

And I just think it's funny. I didn't grow up with dogs in the house, so to have one chewing his rawhide under the piano and bench is just funny to me.

Maybe one day I'll get a completely silent camera with no flash and get some decent closer-up pictures of him.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Eleventh Day: Pandoro instead of Pipers

For whatever reason, panettone (a cake with little pieces of dried fruit scattered throughout the batter) shows up in displays all over the place in this city at Christmastime. Well, maybe not all over the place. That would be overstatement. I haven't seen it in Superlo or Kroger or in lots of other places. But in the stores that are likely to carry an imported cake from Italy, panettone is what appears on the shelves.

And you'd think I'd be excited about a cake imported from Italy. But, no. Panettone does not appeal to me in the least. I can't stand the little dried fruit pieces, and they ruin the whole thing, at least for my taste. Obviously, others have a different subjective experience. Or else a whole lot of panettone is being bought and given and not eaten. I don't know.

Another cake was always on the shelves in Italy, though. Pandoro, literally "bread of gold" (pane di oro.) I liked it so much, I tied one to my backpack and carried it all the way home the first time I went home for Christmas. The customs officers looked at me funny, but it was worth it.

A shop called Mantia's used to carry pandoro, though they never had as many of them as they had panettone. Still, if I got there early enough in the season, I could usually find one. But Mantia's closed two or three years ago (written sadly, with a sigh), and we haven't had pandoro since then.

This year, as a shot in the dark, I asked the chef at Fratelli's if she might have any idea what pandoro was and where I could find it. I say it was a shot in the dark because, despite the Italian name of the restaurant, the owner is not Italian but from northern Europe, and I didn't know until I just now looked her up that she studied in Italy.

Anyway, my intuition must have been in good form that day, because it turned out she knew exactly where to look for pandoro. I never would have thought to try TJMaxx, but that's what she suggested. I had never even been to a TJMaxx before, but I made the drive down Summer Avenue to the closest one, and sure enough, amidst about 50 miniature boxes of panettone, they actually had four boxes of pandoro. The real size, which is enough for about ten servings.

I bought three and left one, in case someone else like me came there just in search of this golden treasure.

And so, we finally had pandoro for Christmas once again, and opened it for the first time with friends from Italy who just happened to be in town for the holidays, along with espresso from Italy.

It's another of those things that are not official Christmas presents, but something I will treasure about this particular Christmas season.

And if you want to read a funny post about panettone from someone who dislikes it perhaps even more than I do, go here. You have to read the comments for full effect.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

On the Tenth Day of Christmas...

...I am finally able to post some pictures of our Christmas decorations, as my true love sent them to me on the ninth day of Christmas.

I already miss the scent of the wreath when coming and going. (It's still up but has pretty much lost its pungency.)

I still think it's funny that we have a dog bed under the piano. I wonder how many pianos have that. It's like a cave for them.

Wish we had a real cello in the house....

One of my favorite pieces of furniture from Grandmother's house.

The two little cornhusk angels were Grandmother's, too. One is singing and the other playing cymbals. Seems there was a third one at her house, but I don't know what became of it.

More autumnal than Christmas on this end of the bookcase. But I just love those leaves and other tree-ey things.

Hmmm. I don't think I realized how many musical things we have around till just now. The little piano was a gift from dear friends some years back.

Wow, just as I was saying...Here's a horn in great need of polishing and a new red string.

And Santa Claus, also from Grandmother's house. I can't figure out just what he was made to contain, but he sure is cute with an orange on his head.

Not exactly decorations here, but in case anyone was curious about the book, here you can see enough information to look it up for yourself. We've really enjoyed it. And while I don't know why my true love decided to take this picture, it is kind of neat that my Bible is red and goes so well with the book. It's the Bible my daddy gave me when I was five. He also sent it to be rebound for me several years ago when it was ailing from age and many page turnings over the years.

Well, I didn't have any pictures of lords a-leapin'. Maybe next year.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Light Year

We moved into our house two years ago yesterday. On New Year's Eve. Not because we wanted to, but it was the way the contracts on the houses worked out.

So for nearly two years I dreamed of painting walls. Many of the walls of the house were, and some still are, a dark brownish color. People have called it khaki, but it reminds me more of the darker areas of shitake mushrooms. In full sunlight it looks nice, but once the sun starts setting and the artificial lights come on, it just looks dark. And in hallways it was terrible, like being in a cave, unless you wanted to turn the light on every time you walked through the hall. And it seemed that at least half the light was absorbed by the color, so it was still darkish.

Well, even though it wasn't officially a Christmas present, I say the best Christmas present for me this year was that my brother came and painted two rooms and two hallways, and that my husband had the idea of asking him to do it. I felt so blessed, not just in getting the rooms painted, but in being able to come home between errands or appointments and converse with "the painter" about childhood memories, or how my nieces and nephews are doing, or projects we are working on. It was fun, unlike the usual experience of having workers in the house.

Light cream and light yellow now brighten what were the darkest areas of our house. It's wonderful! A perfect way to celebrate moving into the house two years ago and to bring in a new year.

The new light in the house has gotten me noticing sunlight on the walls in these newly painted rooms, but also all over the place. Today was an especially beautiful sunny New Year's Day, so I decided to take some pictures as part of the celebration.

Happy New Year! May it be filled with light!