"life in italy and beyond" or "the untitlable post" or "*****"

I've had this post in my drafts for some time now... I've finally found the time and the mental space to tackle it again after my dD partner Emily sent me this beautiful post about Home by Kate from >From Me, For You.

Over the last month I've been thinking a lot about how we find joy and maintain a state of joyfulness in our day to day lives. It's big challenge - and one that's become even more difficult since I became a mom. That sounds like such a ridiculous thing to say since I've found few greater joys in my life than watching Claude move through this world, but with all the challenges motherhood presents it's hard to stay in the moment- or allow yourself the freedom of seeing beyond it (should a massive fit be underway). But being in Italy for this extended period of time- in what is such a luxury, a gift of time and space, to be able to leave ones day to day for a while to experience something totally new- has opened up a whole bunch of new feelings about Home, Expectations, and Happiness. That list does need to be capitalized- These are big things.

 I've been a bit vague in my writing about how it has been to live here- it's hard to put it all into words especially while I'm literally in the middle of it (the half way point was last week). I feel like a foreigner for obvious reasons and there are moments when that's the best thing in the world: to watch- to be unknown- to be able to open up ones life and offer new rituals and experiences of chance to flood in. Then there are the times when I'm overwhelmed and exhausted by it all- when I feel like my foreignness holds me back from things. I suppose that's fear. A valid but unnecessary fear that I try to brush off with varying degrees of success. But all in all, with the massive amounts of good and the little but sometimes overwhelming bits of bad- this place has changed me. I feel like the solidness that I used to feel in my life in Minneapolis has thawed a bit (an unintended cold weather pun, but an apt none the less). Being here has opened my eyes to the every-changing fluidity of life. At any moment everything can change- for better or worse. This is a beautiful and scary thing, but ultimately it means that happiness is always available, change is always available- one is never truly stuck.

Jay and I have been talking about moving for years now. It's the conversation I think most people have: should we go here? or here? or here? is there a better place than this one- for me, for us, for our family? The on going search for "home". Being here has made me miss Home so much. The home that's in Minneapolis, the home that's just the USA, the home that's my studio and my work, the home that's having the space and time away from Claude to carve out my"self". It's less a place and more a feeling I miss... but I'm homesick without a doubt- that beautiful homesick that Kate so nicely talked around (can we ever really nail it down?). One of her commenters said: "New experiences change how you feel about old places, but sometimes the mind takes a little while to reconcile everything." I'm only beginning to see how this whole experience is changing me, but I can feel so many of the big walls I'd put up in my mind about what I did and didn't want, what I like and don't, what I expect- those are all shifting and becoming a little less hard. Life is always changing- and that is a very beautiful thing.

a photo from today


beautiful pattern from Citta Del Sole-

I've been walking all over this city for the last month and a half... in the search for new adventures. We've been looking for things to walk to, quick stops we can do with Claude and Citta Del Sole is one of my favorites. I can't remember if Kindra read about it or it's one of the places I'd been meaning to get too, but in the week my sister was here we ended up visiting 3 different locations. They have beautiful toys, books, and awe inspiring objects. Kindra gave us a gift from there and it came wrapped in what might be the best wrapping paper I've ever seen. Man that's good- I would take a whole wall of that pretty please. (ohhh and the contents was pretty great too- Enzo Mari's Fable Game!)


more books- Non Perdere Il Filo - by William Wondriska

Non Perdere Il Filo (Don't lose the String)- by William Wondriska an Alphabet Book.

Oddly all the words of the alphabet are in English- but all else (which there isn't much of) is in Italian...


handmade bug-

made out of grass- bought by Kindra on the street-

one of many... (beautiful italian books)

We've been amassing quite a collection here. We didn't bring much with us to Rome, including things for Claude to play with so finding so many beautiful books here has been perfect.
I Numeri by Luigi Veronesi


ohhh and the coliseum....

it really is colossal not to mention photogenic. I walk by it every couple days if not more often, as it's on my way to most everything. I have yet to grow even slightly numb to all it's grandeur. It's a power sight.

sisters... and a little bit of roman glory:

My sister is here visiting... we've been on so many outings, going places I'd been wanting to go in and those I see every day. Being someplace so beautiful is made more lovely by being able to share it with someone else... So happy you came Kindra. Here are a few bits for the last few days-


Handmade for Japan:

I haven't been living in the "real world" here. We have a very spotty internet connection, no tv, and only occasional radio (through the internet). So I haven't been following the news in the way I usual do. It's overwhelming when I check in- so much... too much to express in a short blog post.

But in times like these we all feel moved to help in any way we can- Ayumi Horie has organized a benefit for Japan with many talented artists... Read more about it in this NYTimes article, view the facebook page, and/or visit her website.


talk about playgrounds...

I wrote a few weeks ago about the challenge of finding a nice play space here in Rome that was near our house, cleanish, and well cared for. Thanks for all the tips and links from everyone- since we arrived we've found some really beautiful parks to visit.
Here's one of my favs. Love the Italian playground standards like this swing- what a lovely design... and Claude can't get enough of the koi pond. All around it's a hit.


yes yes yes- there's always a reason to celebrate.

here in Rome everywhere you look there are small reminders that life is good and every moment is the perfect moment to celebrate something. Why wait? People throw confetti for any number of reasons here- children bring it to playgrounds, it's tossed on major and minor holidays, because one is in love, because it's Tuesday- there is no good reason not to toss a little paper in the sky and be joyful.

Photos 2, 3, and 4 by Emily my very good friend and dullDiamond partner. Ohhh and we just opened up the shop again... I've been making a few jewelry pieces here and Emily having just visited brought them back home again. (thanks Em! So good having you here- miss you already.)


Barolucci's Beauties

This shop of hand-made Italian toys, clocks, and most notably Pinocchio dolls was such a lucky find today... I'd read about it but hadn't yet decided to find it in all of Rome. We came home with a little pack of small goods but I'm still thinking of heading back for a clock or doll. I'm a sucker for anything well made and local, but it was the displays that I was most drawn to- the objects in process. Who knows I might still come home with one of those beautiful Pinocchio dolls for Claude... or for myself.


from this week...

We have a bunch of friends in town this week visiting from home... it's so nice to have a little bit of normal in all this new. And even better to have someone to share our awe of this city with. Thanks B&M and J&E. So glad you came especially for this very very sunny week.


Spring in Rome- some beautiful things from this week.

(I took these with my mama and Jays Mom in mind- they share the same birthday- love you two!!!)