Friday, October 9, 2009

Beauty school dropout

posted Fri, 24 Sep 2004


Jenny is dropping out of language school. She skipped class on Wednesday, saying she was too tired, which is entirely possible as she has been determined to extract every drop of touring from her trip. She has discovered that travelling in Europe is work.

She came to class yesterday, but left after the first half. “I’ve been in school for two years,” she declared. “I am on vacation. I am supposed to be having fun. This is not fun for me.” I had to try to explain – in Italian – why she wasn’t there. I tried to think of a good excuse, but finally decided just to tell the truth, which I have discovered is the best strategy in the long run anyhow.

If you tell someone that you don’t want to go out on Friday night because you have other plans, what can she say? “Cancel them?” I have discovered that sometimes it is better not to explain that those plans are to stay at home and read a book. It is not so acceptable to be alone, it seems – the legitimate reasons seem to be those that include other people.

School is fun for me, though. I haven’t been in school for 12 years, so I am delighted at the chance to do something where I actually use my brain. I don’t get so many opportunities at my job to exercise any intellectual facility.

Anyhow. Other things. I saw a hand of Fatima on the walk to school yesterday. I didn’t realize they had them in Italy, but I guess there’s no reason they shouldn’t be here. Those Arabs got everywhere in their glory. Fatima hand door knockers are all over southern Spain. I have one that I bought 17 years ago, but have not found the proper place to mount in my my M’town house. They go on the front door, but my door is glass, so there is not a practical place to attach the knocker.

This is a hand of Fatima door knocker. To see a better image (it’s copyrighted, so I didn’t want to post it here), go to Lowenthal.

Hmm. I just found this:
“The hand in the Barcelona picture is the hand of Fatima. Associated in Islam with healing powers of Fatima, Prophet's daughter, and therefore regarded as bringing luck. The hand of Fatima is favorite motif for pendants, door knockers, hinges, etc. in Morocco and all Maghreb and Middle East. Such door knocker is believed to guard people and buildings from bad luck. You should never buy one for yourself, a friend should do it for you.” Glasgow West End.

I didn’t know I was breaking the Fatima rules. It looks like I need to give my Fatima hand to a friend and hope to get one as a gift. They don’t tell you these things when you are shopping.

Last night, we made

· Pizza pie: one with eggplant, basil, tomato sauce and mozzarella, the other with endive, pine nuts, raisins, capers and olives
· Pasta al forno, which was just baked rigatoni as far as I could tell. It had rigatoni, tomato sauce, b├ęchamel sauce, and salchicha, which is a kind of sausage. I have discovered I really don’t care for the meat here, so it’s been easy to pace myself with any carnirore foodstuffs.
· Meatballs with tomato sauce
· Torta de mil hojas. Yes, that’s Spanish, but I can’t remember the Italian word. It’s puff pastry with custard sauce, whipped cream and fruit.

My sister is lactose intolerant, so Chef Biagio, the most Casanova of the Casanovas, has been making non-dairy versions of everything for her. He is a big flirt who doesn’t like skinny women. When we want to sample as we are cooking, he says, “Mangia, mangia! Eat, eat!” and then hands us even bigger portions of whatever we are trying, like fresh buffalo milk mozzarella or meatballs or foccacia just out of the oven. What’s not to like?

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