Saturday, November 22, 2008

The fog is lifting...(I think)!

Aside from the foggy humidity we've had outside the past day or two (which has given us a welcome relief from the constant picking and time to clean the leaves and sticks out of the crates of olives and steam clean the stainless steel containers) I've noticed my brain feels foggy!

I've noticed that I struggle to concentrate when teaching.  Day to day here at the house I don't notice anything much different (except I'm light-headed), but loading and unloading the dishwasher or hanging up the clothing doesn't take much mental effort.  Teaching the future perfect and comparing it to the future perfect progressive (don't ask!) does.  What gives?  

I'm in my mid-fifties.  Isn't it too early for "cognitive decline"?  I mention it to the doctor and he prescribed something natural to help me sleep (melatonin--which I have used in the past) and a supplement of vitamins that I'm supposed to take for 20 out of 30 days a month.  Now I DID run out of vitamins a few weeks ago, so perhaps I am missing something important?  Who knows.

In any case, I've discovered a great website to exercise the brain in the areas of attention, processing speed, and memory.  It's called Lumosity and it's won web awards and gotten lots of media coverage.  lt's a lot of fun to work on your own "personal best"(or invite friends/family to try and beat your scores) and they offer a 30-day free trial.  If you check it out, come back and let me know what you think (and when I stop playing, I may even check my blog for comments)!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New-oil bruschetta!

Would anyone like some? It's delicious, great with salt on toasted Italian bread.
Last week two women (I was not one of them for more than a half-day) picked enough olives just from the trees around our house to make more than 150 liters of oil! Pay is five liters of oil per day's work, but because there is just so much we'll be giving them six liters per day. By the time we're all done we'll probably have more than 500 liters. Pio's brother will be taking quite a bit of it back to the States in January...and we'll have more than enough to last us through another year (or three). The trees are making up for last year's meager harvest when we got 150 liters from 400 trees...this year from less than 50!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween in Italy

Halloween in Italy is mostly a big nothing. It's discussed in English class (Dante's class had to memorize "Trick or Treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat" as homework this week) and the international schools may do something, but out here in rural central Italy, it's a quiet day, as usual.

We've given two Halloween parties over the past three years, but this year I just didn't feel up to it. I still haven't fully adjusted to working (and still being able to do anything else!), so the idea of 35 nine-year-olds running in and out of my house just didn't appeal. Plus, the bilingual woman and her teenage daughter who helped me last year run the games and prepare the food moved back to Toronto. It just seemed like too much work right now.

Luckily for D. and his friends another mother volunteered to host the Haloween party this year and the kids had a chance to run around in their Carnival costumes a few months early, eat a lot of junk food and tell scary stories. A light drizzle didn't put a damper on their fun. In the photo are just a few of those who arrived early.