Valentine’s Day and the Naked Sauna

Valentine’s Day and the Naked Sauna

Sometimes February gets a bad rap. I remember my Seminary teacher telling us one gloomy February that more Seminary teachers commit suicide in February than any other month. I still wonder if actual studies have been done on suicide rates among Mormon Seminary teachers, although I realize now that she was probably just making a point about how much she was not enjoying getting up at 5:30 every weekday morning to teach grumpy, sleepy, inattentive teenagers.

Still, February isn’t the most advantageously positioned month. It’s cold, dark, and dreary. All the nice things about winter, like endless cups of tea or curling up by the fire or wearing cute hats and scarves, are getting old, and all the nasty things, like lack of sunshine, excessive precipitation of whatever sort, and being sick, are feeling interminable. In fact, since the beginning of the year almost everyone I know here, whether at work, home, my kids’ school, or just random acquaintances, has been sick at least once. I had a cold that lasted two weeks, and left me hoarse and coughing for another two. read more

Getting Stuck with Needles for Fun

Over the past couple of years, I’ve done acupuncture several times for anxiety and insomnia. It’s extraordinarily effective. But we always seem to move after a couple of treatments. Not strange; we move a lot. But acupuncture is most effective when you have several treatments close together to deal with the acute problem, and then taper off slowly to ensure long-term effectiveness. So this has become yet another plus side to living somewhere for more than a few consecutive months.

For my latest foray into acupuncture, I looked up providers covered by my insurance. There were two within 100 miles of my house. One 45 minutes away, and one an hour and 45 minutes away. So I picked the one that was 45 minutes away (toward downtown Orlando). It was totally worth the drive, especially since our insurance paid the whole thing, even covering the copay. read more

The Joys of a Liquid Diet

As I mentioned in my last post, I had jaw surgery two and a half weeks ago. No, I don’t really want to talk about it, since thinking about what my surgeon was doing while I was out still makes me queasy (if you’re absolutely dying to know, you can look up orthognathic surgery on Wikipedia and learn all the gory details. There, I just taught you a new word). Nor did I take pictures of myself after the surgery, when I looked like a cross between a gigantic chipmunk and a basset hound. Because some things are just better left to the imagination. read more

On Wheels

We had another marathon market day in Cuneo yesterday. It was made longer by the fact that the 1:30 bus inexplicably never came, which left us stranded till the 2:45 bus. The bus schedule is exceedingly complex. Some busses come only on weekdays, others only on weekends, others only on school days during the school year. There are a few other nuances we have yet to understand completely.

However, in the intervening time we found a local beekeeper selling honey and pollen. The pollen comes in a jar, and it looks just like those little yellow balls of pollen one sometimes sees on the back legs of bees. Because you see, it is! Supposedly, the enzymes in bee pollen (along with the trace minerals, vitamins, and essential amino acids) are what cause many beekeepers in Georgia (that’s the country, not the state) to live well past 100 years. It’s worth a try. And the kids love it. read more

More Raw . . . . (no, not milk)

We found raw honey two nights ago. It was easy to find, just like everything else here (well, no, not everything. Not coconut oil or books in English). We just popped in at a house down the street with a sign that says “Miele.” They had three kinds on hand: castagno (chestnut. a very strong flavor, and one that we’ve been enduring since I bought a kilo of chestnut honey in Saluzzo months ago), dandelion, and melata.

Coincidentally, I was just reading about melata honey the other day when I was researching apitherapy (healing with honey and other bee products). We’ve done a few rounds of royal jelly, but I wanted some unprocessed stuff straight from the farm. That’s the way I like everything. Straight from the farm. Melata is acquired by the bees from secretions of some other type of insect, and not as nectar from flowers. It has a sweet, wild, mysterious flavor, like flowers opening secretly in the dark. I love it, although I feel a little ambivalent about something that’s been through two sets of insects. Best not to think too much about it. read more

Buttermilk and Bees

Carla is in Rome for the week with Rebecca, so we invited Giorgio over for dinner on Wednesday. I made him peach crisp for dessert, since he couldn’t make it on the 4th of July when we had Carla and the missionaries. Just before dinner, Tony went out on bicycle to buy gelato to go with the crisp. As he left the house, he noticed that Giorgio was just behind him on motorcycle. In fact, he seemed to be trailing him. They drove all the way through town, with Giorgio just behind. As Tony reached the gelateria, Giorgio veered off in the other direction. read more