Monthly Archives: October 2011

Guardate!

Trans: Look! (second person plural ;) Pronunciation: Guahr-dah-tay

Yes, behold these Italian goodies. My leather purchase was a gorgeous notebook cover (whose pages are refillable) that they personalized for me with my initials. I’m completely in love with it and spend inordinate amounts of time gazing at it, smelling it, flipping through the pages, feeling the leather… you get the idea. Isn’t it beautiful, though? I’m not digging for compliments– just stating a fact. :) I’m also sporting my pair of fingerless gloves in the photo– my dad says they should have been half price because they’re only half a mitten. And my mom calls them “texting gloves” because you have use of your fingers! Aren’t they oh-so-clever.

And the other photo? You’re thinking… uh, there’s nothing Italian about a picture of you, Jane… but it’s the hair! I walked into a hair salon sans appointment bright and early Friday morning and basically said, the bangs stay, I want a significant trim to clean up my ends, but otherwise, do what you want! And I think it might be my best haircut, ever. I’ve heard it said that the best way to get to know a culture is to get your hair cut there, and that’s kind of true. Hair salons are more than just places that provide beauty services. The clients typically all know each other, as well as the staff, there’s gossip, there’s exchange of news, it has its whole own culture. Though I couldn’t pick up on a lot of what was being said at the place I went (Jean Louis David, right on the Arno), I certainly know that my hair salon in Omaha is a little world of its own (I’ve never had my hair cut in Davidson or Charlotte, isn’t that weird?) so I’m assuming there’s a similar phenomenon in Italy. Though both my parents and I have picked up on some unfriendliness from Italians, I’ve found that by going into their world with humility, trying my best to speak Italian, and letting them teach me, is how to meet some really sweet people. The idea of being open to another culture is such a cliché, and everyone thinks they are, but you have to give up some of your control and trust in strangers in order to make friends with them. Anyway, Mama, thanks for encouraging me to take the plunge and have my hair cut here! If only I was going to Paris in 6 weeks instead of one; I could have my hair cut there, too. :) P.S. Sorry for the quality of the second photo, it was on the iphone. Which I miss, wah, wah, first-world problems.

So this week, I had one tough 10-mile run after four days off, and one lovely 7-mile run two days later. I was kind of in a funny mood for the 7-mile run… I laced up my shoes with the attitude that I was just going out to move my body, shake out the tightness, and see the world. That’s the attitude I used to take to all my runs before I started following a schedule of distances, and I’m really looking forward to getting back to that after the race. This run, I actually stopped on Ponte alle Grazie (Bridge of Charms/Graces) to watch the light on the water for about 5 minutes. The gulls were circling and diving for their dinner, and they reminded me of when I saw Air Force One planes practicing touch-and-gos at some airport (Charlottesville?) a while back.

Now today, it’s 20 miles, and then I’m done with the really hard stuff. Amazing that it’s gone by this quickly and that I’ve actually stuck with it. I never thought I would be spending my semester abroad running double digit mileage every weekend, and significant runs on school nights, too, but I wouldn’t know Florence like I know it if I hadn’t done this. The need for long distance caused me to explore farther into the city than I ever would have on foot, and I feel more like a resident and less like a tourist because of it.

Off to get a pre-run yogurt and a couple bananas, and munch on them while I study for midterms a little more and wait for it to warm up enough to go run. Last time, I went in my half-marathon shirt and I think it brought me luck, so that’s what I’m gonna do again today. My Lululemon gear is gorgeous, but sometimes I need the shirt with sentimental value to give me strength.

Love to all. I’ll be sure to check back in after this run.

Jane

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Rainy Day Thoughts

It’s cloudy, cold, and drizzling rain in Florence. I think I’m going to skip my run today, because it’s only 3 miles, and I think 37 is enough for this week, don’t you? Of course, if it rains again on Sunday, I’ll suck it up and do my 20 miles in the rain, but today all I really want to do is make hot tea, have an early dinner, and curl up under the covers with a book.

On rainy days, I think about three things: tea, reading, and writing. I can’t focus in class at all. I feel cold and unsatisfied unless I’m cozy at home. I crave soup. I really act like I’m sick with a cold when it’s raining out, even if I’m not. I want to take care of myself, and be taken care of. But it’s also a craving for solitude. Rainy days seem like the excuse I need to take an “introvert day,” not talk to anyone, and do exactly what I want.

(Source)

I also think about painting. I really want to have a room somewhere that I can go to, that is just my painting room. I haven’t painted in years, and I doubt I’m any good at it, but I read this interview with Richard Siken yesterday, and he talked about how he would write until his poetry would leave off, but he would still have more to communicate, so he would pick up his paintbrush and go on like that. I can really see how that would be helpful to the creative process, and also an extremely enjoyable outlet.

Until I get home, a couple of writing quotes, for thought:

“Carried by light,
images remain

while sensation
is so evanescent

as to be always beyond
belief.”

-Rae Armantrout

“The work of the poet
is to name what is holy”

-Diane Ackerman

Nice, no? Anyone else become totally reclusive and poetic when it rains?

If you’re sitting at home, too (or wishing you were sitting at home but required to attend another class, like me), here’s some reading material:

Stock up on your Monster Supplies.

Learn how to make apple cider doughnuts.

I love Anne Emond’s illustrations (ubiquitous in the blog world right now). Her website and blog.

Only the best thing I’ve ever seen: dedicated to women reading.

Speaking of reading, what are you reading right now? I read so many “classics,” and I’d like to dive into something more contemporary soon. Any recommendations? I always adore Ian McEwan, and Corinne gave me The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society; the book now feels like almost as good of a friend as she is. Also I’ve heard this is great, from several sources.

A really great phrase, one of my mom’s favorites.

This might be my favorite living room photo I’ve ever seen. As a design blog obsessor, that’s saying a lot. Big windows, French press coffee, lots of comfy pillows, simple palate, a globe… swoon. And this might be my favorite blog.

Enjoy!

Jane

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3-in-one Muffin Goodness

Got this recipe in an email this morning (thanks, Runner’s World!) and though it’s helping my withdrawals from that magazine, it’s making my sweet potato and pumpkin cravings so much worse!

I’m definitely making these when I go home for break, and doubtless many times throughout spring semester when I’m living in a real, live house with a real, live kitchen and can throw real, live dinner parties / breakfast parties / breakfast-for-dinner parties with my housemates when we move in! Can’t wait, Cait and Kaitlin!

*This recipe– and the photo– are copied and pasted straight from RW’s website, and I haven’t tried it yet, so I’m not responsible for damages! You can find it here.

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Muffins
2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour (preferably pastry flour)
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup pureed or mashed cooked sweet potato
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 375° F. Grease 12 muffin cups or add paper liners.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, and salt.

In a bowl, whisk butter, oil, sweet potato, egg, and buttermilk. Fold wet mixture into the dry; stir until just combined.

Fill muffin cups three-quarters full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Banana Nut Variation Reduce sugar to 1/2 cup. Replace sweet potato with 1 cup mashed, very ripe banana; add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts to the batter.

Pumpkin Coconut Variation Replace sweet potato with 1 cup canned pumpkin; add 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut to the batter.

CALORIES PER MUFFIN: 248
CARBS: 37 G
FIBER: 3 G
PROTEIN: 4 G
FAT: 9 G

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Wine, Leather, and Andrea Bocelli

I haven’t written a music post in a long time, even though I think of it every time I’m out on a run. Most of the music I would be sharing, if I should ever remember to write the post, would be American (or Canadian), so I wanted to make my priority posting a video of a very talented Italian, Andrea Bocelli.

He’s pretty famous, so a lot of you have probably heard of him, but I hadn’t and hearing him in the car one night this weekend kinda changed my life. His voice is so beautiful. I like this video because a couple is figure-skating to his music and he sings with a young lady who’s also very talented.

So, here’s “Vivo Per Lei,” trans. “I live for her”

Now a few images of my weekend with my mom and dad in Chianti.

And a preview of the best thing I’ve bought in Italy: it’s something leather. The reason I’m keeping you in suspense is not just to be maddening, but because I only have a photo of it under lamplight, and I want one in natural morning light tomorrow. It makes a huge difference, trust me. Can you guess what it is? (Mom, Dad, Katie, and Jeff, no spoilers!)

Venice is off this weekend, but it’s just as well because I have a ton to do regarding midterms and fall break/marathon travel preparations, as well as a haircut and a touch of shopping. As long as I stay away from downtown during the worst tourist hours Saturday and Sunday, it should be a delightfully low-key weekend.

Love to all, thinking of my mama and daddy as they arrive home and head back to work…

Jane

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Off My Game

:(

Yeah.

I was out of town in the mountains with my parents this weekend, and I just knew a long run wouldn’t be possible. My philosophy this semester is to keep my priorities straight– they can get all sorts of wacky and off-balance when I return to Davidson, but not now. And family and friends definitely come before running. The only down side to that is that there have been a lot of family and friends around precisely when I’ve needed to do a lot of running.

Long story short, I missed my long run (18 miles) entirely this weekend. (Surprisingly to me, I say “missed” in the sense of skipped, but also in the sense of being sad that I couldn’t do it.)

Also I twisted my ankle on a hole in the sidewalk yesterday (curses, Florence, for not paving) and am definitely taking today off too, to be on the safe side with injury. That will make four days in a row off, and I don’t dare take more than that. Dean Hurley said he would pray with me through the computer, and I’d appreciate all of your prayers as well!

But it’s not the end of the world, I know many runners of my level have run marathons on less training than I’ve done, and that it’s about the journey and the learning. The race itself is like the after-party, as Emily says. What I think I’m going to do is run 10-12 on Wednesday to at least approach the idea of a long run, then my other two regular workouts Thursday and Friday, then leave for Venice Friday-Saturday. When I get home to Florence on Sunday, my only priority during the day is to do my last super-long run, 20 miles, and then happily begin the taper period. I could shorten my taper by a week to do both the 18 and the 20, but I’d rather show up at the race a little undertrained and excited than burned out, you know?

Off to shower and get ready for la scuola. Many things to accomplish today:

-Turn in my Art History midterm paper

-Take quiz in Italian on irregular verbs in the past tense. Hmm.

-Meet Mom and Dad for lunch at the Oil Shoppe and visit Florence’s oldest perfumery and pharmacy together

-Book a hostel for Laura and I in Venice

-Book a flight from Paris –>Madrid –> Granada (this is getting down to the last minute, eep)

Talk to you later!

Jane

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So Much to Talk About

Gosh. I’m going to be a very good blogger for the next few weeks because there isn’t that long until the marathon and I haven’t checked in with you guys lately! Where to begin…

I ran 20(ish) miles on Monday. I happen to know it was a little under because I checked my route against google maps, but I’m counting it, because the run was extremely strong and I could have kept going.

I had the best recovery meal imaginable after class on Tuesday, which was: a grilled cheese sandwich from The Oil Shoppe (semisoft pecorino, sauteed mushrooms, and truffle oil, + 2 fried eggs and pesto on whole wheat bread) and a smoothie from Lovelife juice store, containing dates, mangoes, almond milk, and yogurt. They called the combination: The Marathon. I had no choice but to get it, especially considering my day had no calorie limit. :) I’ve missed my almond milk. I’ve stopped reading a lot of my favorite fitness blogs because of foods I absolutely can’t bear to look at without being able to obtain, actually. I would do anything for a soy or almond milk latte from Whole Paycheck and a bowl of pumpkin oatmeal with raisins and walnuts right now.

About fitness bloggers… I’ve noticed that they occupy a very specific demographic. College-educated, white, mostly women in their late twenties or early thirties, married or in committed relationships, with dogs, often went through some sort of weight loss / healthification process during or after college, most vegetarian or quasitarian, obsessed with pumpkin, and now, many are about to have babies. This is not fair– I can relate to the love of exercise, quasitarian-ness, and pumpkin addiction in the fall, but the rest of it is just not where I am in life right now. Where the heck is my generation? Besides, of course, the Healthy Hipster, who is fabulous. (And her tagline is genius: “too much Pabst makes you feel like crapst.”

Anyway. Other thoughts. Why has Lululemon not yet colonized Western Europe? This seems like an obvious one, folks.

My host father is singing in the living room right now, and the cat Marcello is sitting high up on a bookshelf and looking very cute. Just another day in the Bulli household. And yes, thank you news channel, in case anyone thought Italy was no longer in a crisis, you’ve set us straight– Italy is still very much in a crisis.

I found peanut butter in Florence!! Not just any old peanut butter, but organic peanut butter, and organic chestnut honey to put on crackers as much-needed fuel before my runs. Happy kid right here.

I’ve got a lot to do over the next few weeks, both in preparation for the marathon and in general. I’m spending this weekend with my parents, heading to the Biennial Contemporary Art Festival in Venice the next (!), then midterms, then fall break which I’m very excited about, then the race is the weekend after that! Can you believe it? I’m a little stunned myself. Two more long runs (18 and 20), then 3ish weeks to taper. I’ve read a lot of things that recommend getting new shoes and breaking them in during your taper, and I’m thinking that would be a good idea. I bought my shoes at the beginning of this summer, and they look like they’ve not only pounded out 500 miles, but also spent a week at the bottom of a lake and been dragged behind a train to dry off. You get the idea.

This post is very rambly, but I wanted to check in. Florence is still beautiful, especially in the evening. I ran a 7-mile hill workout today and took a Lit exam, which went pretty well, I think. I’m always nervous about the first test with a new professor. I came up with a brilliant topic for my Lit paper and my Art History paper is looking to be not too shabby, either. Tomorrow my goal is to write even a few lines of poetry. Perhaps even tonight, though I’d have to stay up until 2 to hit my productive zone again… not happening.

How’s the past week or so been for you? Any revelations, epiphanies, or discoveries? Any particularly notable Scrabble words you got to play? One of my favorites ever was “glial” as in glial cells, yes I’m a big dork, and Joe was impressed, but still managed to beat me that game. I could go for a good Scrabble showdown right now. Or Bananagrams.

Anyway.

Ciao,

J.

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Recently

  • I ran 18 miles in Florence. If I can do 18, that means I can do 20, which is happening most likely on Monday.
  • Corinne came into town! I showed her all around Florence, and most importantly we got to spend quality time together, even if just for one day.
  • I found the address of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning’s apartment in Florence. I see an excursion in the near future.
  • I’m on the search for gourmet hot chocolate. Hemingway bar seems promising, as does Blu Bar back up in Fiesole.
  • I bought another notebook. I’m using it as an incentive to fill up the current one! I haven’t been writing nearly as much as I want to.
  • I’m always hungry at the wrong time of day in Italy… around 3 or 4pm, too late for lunch, but way to early to start thinking about dinner.
  • I walk past the Duomo without looking up, but the view from Piazzale Michelangelo (above) never fails to take my breath away.
  • Went to the Accademia yesterday morning and saw the real David! But my art history class didn’t look closely at the other sculptures or other exhibits, so I’m planning a visit back really soon.
  • My mom and dad get in this afternoon!
  • Just when I think the honeymoon is over, Florence reminds me how in love with it I am. A downpour during my run, followed by bright sunshine over the whole city and the wind blowing the first fall leaves around my feet was Florence’s gift to me today.

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