Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Life is neat

I wanted to know the right fancy word for winter depression so I entered 'winter depression' on wikipedia and it spat out the Seasonal affective disorder entry. Neat. The entry said that moving south helps but it somehow forgot explain why the hell I feel like shit here, in Florence, Italy. Back beyond the Alps, there's snow and light, here it's dreary, grey and uninviting outside.

I had my first exam today, Swedish. Not technically the very first but first after the procrastinating due to my winter depression (vinterdepression. Neat, too). I mentioned it after blabbering something incoherent and the professor recommended me seeing a shrink. Also neat; my insurance wouldn't cover it and I try to avoid shrinks since that incident when one caused me a false pregnancy by trying to cure my sick stomach with antidepressants.

I had a list of things I wanted to do, like, buing a perspex bracelet if I pass, buying a blossoming camellia, asking at the tourist information how do I get to I Tatti, signing up for language course, buyin g yarn for Sue's sweater, buying food and quite probably something else. Yeah, going to Riccardiana. I passed, bought that bracelet in one shop in via Ginori where I had seen it weeks ago (it was twice as expensive as I expected but bite it), went to Riccardiana which is almost next door and made a total idiot of myself there. It's not only the library in the building but also some municipal offices and I asked the receptionist where do I get the card. We had a meaningless exchange and then she probably got the point - a crazy person has to be going to the library and told me where it is. I found out that my presentation letter is neat, too, but il professore forgot to sign it. I must however say that it's a library up to my taste, it smells of old books and has chairs upholstered in pink velvet. Not that the pink velvet was that important, grey twill would do, too, but there are nice soft upholstered chairs.*
The tourist office lady was an idiot. She did manage to google Villa Berenson or I Tatti or whatever, including the address. I have a vague idea that it's somewhere in the general direction of Settignano but the address of via Comecavolosichiama didn't ring a bell. And, it's technically in Fiesole. The woman found it in a map - the street is off via D'Annunzio so towards Settignano indeed, as the map showed, but since it's listed as Fiesole (no I don't know and I don't want to know who invented such catastral divisions), I was told to take the #7 bus to Fiesole and ask someome there. And possibly walk five kilometres. I didn't argue, I was too tired but I saw on the map where the place is - my city map ends two blocks towards the city centre. Via D'Annuzio goes all the way to Settignano, #10. I wanted to go there straight away but I missed the bus so I went to sign up for the courses. I was there early so I went to Campolmi's to get the yarn. I hit the lunch break so I went home instead.
It is actually really warm. I'll paint my toenails and start wearing Birks again. Not as good as spring but better than nothing. I could use some lighter sweater, I felt too hot even in the hoodie.
I wanted to post some kitschy Florence picture but apart from not being able to do anything but rot at home, I wasn't able to focus properly when I was doing a bit of photography that month ago.
Maybe I should have a nap.
*Note to self: I have to note in my last will that my book collection be presented separately in a reading room with comfortable furniture. I hate my ass being pressed flat by all that oak and plywood and whatever crap they use so at least this way I could do something nice for the posterity

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

And now about something superficial.

It's a less known fact that I'm a fragrance lover. Sometimes, I go sniffing. Usually, I'm bored; most of the readily available fragrances are somewhat boringly floral with an undertone of soapy indefinable Let it sell well. I love Le Jardin sur le Nil - maybe it's the lotus in it. I love Dolce Vita, that's flowers who do not care that they may offend anyone by smelling too loud.
I do like Emilio Pucci's design. I read somewhere that he was one of the first fashion designers to use abstract patterns for his fabrics. The bottle of Vivara uses one such pattern. I didn't like the fragrance too much, it seemed vague to me. The Silver Edition... well, I didn't expect anything. It just was on the shelf and I wanted to give it a try.
The top notes hit my nasal mucose with the power of paint remover. I found that it should be orange blossom and neroli, not acetone and who-knows-what. After a brisk walk outside, I smelled old melon peels and my eyes started to water. Even later on, the middle notes evolved to a fruit salad of no longer definable fruits that lay too long on the bottom of the fridge. Now, it needed to be served so it was covered with lots of whipped cream and those little coloured sugar thingies that look like dirt on LSD. And lots of sugar. A block farther, the scent hit the bottom of the olfactory pyramid and a warm, wet, ugly smell reached what remained the inside of my nose. I had always imagined that bad sex would stink this way.
I took back streets on my way home - I smelled like an itinerant bordello and I didn't want to meet too many people.

Back home, while making coffee, I wanted to was the damn thing off. The ordinary and cheap kitchen detergent and the kitchen scrubber didn't help. I still stank like an itinerant bordello. I adopted a sophisticated approach and used a decadently and strongly scented Luxe Noir body scrub from Sephora which should take away the layer of the offending fragrance and whatever may remain would be covered by the other scent. After vigorous rubbing, I gave in being afraid that I might hit the artery. The result was itinerant bordello gone two streets away.

At the end, I had a long hot shower. I made a good guess that Le Jardin sur le Nil could cover the worst, very fresh scents are often able to cover hardcore crap, and left the sweater in the hallway.
I perused fragrantica.com to check what is the thing made of and found out that I happily own and use fragrances with all the ingredients listed there; I obviously like them, too. I guess that two evil things combined: allergic reaction to one of the components and the thing that sometimes happens - it reacted with my skin to create a foul smell.

I suppose the sweater is mothproofed until 2025.

Shopping and hunting

Lousy picture, great bag. I bought it with a green-loving friend on my mind.
I set for the trip a bit late so the shops started to close when I was still in shpping rage but there will be more coming.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Back from holiday.

So, long-promised travel stories. One, to be exact.

Fellow travellers may be normal but sometimes they are weird. Or annoying. Or just anything. The woman was of the weird and annoying sort.
After the steward announced to me and the Asian nerd in the compartment that there'll be only one more person getting aboard in Bruck an den Mur, a big fat ugly crone arrived. She was wrapped in an ugly coat and umpteen layers of something that was macerated in mothballs for longer than polite. As it showed a while later, she was Romanian and travelling to Rome. She looked like one of those beggars that are to be seen even in Florence but I didn't ask about her job. I wanted to knit, read and later on, sleep.
Alas, Ms. Mothballs wanted to communicate. I tried to politely hint that I do not want to talk. Apparently, I should have shouted and hit her. She asked where am I from. Finland. Full stop, evil face. She wanted to know where I'm going, Rome, too, eh? Grunt, unfriendly look. She said I was pretty and wanted to pat my chin. I made a very unfriendly look and hid behind my book. She wanted to see my knitting and when I decided that I speak only Finnish and two extinct languages of your choice and didn't react. She grabbed the hat I used as a pattern for the mitten pattern and started to inspect it saying that the pattern is ugly. As if I asked for an opinion.
I settled to sleep. Or to pretend to sleep - I was watching the snowed caps of the Alps in the moonlight. Ms. Mothballs was rustling her lunchbag and munching whatever she had, at least it was not matured cheese.
In the morning, I woke up because Ms. Mothballs was making sounds. Cough, cough, gurglegurgle, spit. Repeat a lot. Yikes.
In Florence, I shot out of the train as fast as I could. Got a ticket to Reggio Emilia, went home, dropped the suitcase, checked the internetz, went to the station... and the brain caught up. My diary is not in my bag - I don't remember taking it out - where is my diary? Left on the train. I asked the personnel as for what to do and was told to go to Rome and ask at Lost and Found.

Here I need to declare that I officially love Ravelry. I called out for help because going to Rome... well, three hours on the train, if nothing else. Fellow Ravellers went and checked - too bad that my diary wasn't found. I suspect the Ms. Mothballs but it might be anyone, after all, it was a diary of 2008. But, the people tried. Things work.