Thursday, July 20, 2017

(Virtual) Corleone

Corleone (these days) is best known for its setting in the film "The Godfather"

Actor Al Pacino (film non-withstanding) actually traced his familial roots back to the tiny hard-scrabble hamlet.

And the sign at the town's border kind of made me wonder WTH?

( horns...???)

Located 1,778 feet above sea level, Corleone is home to a little over 12,000 people. And yes, Corleone was home to several very real Mafia Bosses well  before the ficticious Vito came to pass. In the 1980's and 1990's the town gave  rise to The Corleonesi who were considered the most ruthless and violent clan to ever take control of the organization.

The CIDMA in Corleone

Mafioso aside, Coreleone has been occupied since the Neolithic and Bronze era.

Tour of Corleone

Along the roadside from Corleone to Ficuzza is The Gorges of The Dragon.

The locals call deep holes in the limestone filled with water "Giant's Pots".

The Ficuzza Forest is filled with flora and fauna of the region. Mulberry trees, oranges, figs and pomegranates thrive attesting as a living history when this area was once managed by a mill.

 And no...still trying to find out what the big deal is  about the trumpets. One Sicilian speculated it meant "no horns" as in auto...while driving. Another simply played the first few bars from the Godfather score guessed it...a trumpet. 

More anon...

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Bannera de Sicilia...The Trinacria...and Painting Sicily

The Flag of Sicily is bisected on the diagonal with the colours red (signifying Palermo) and yellow (for Corleone).  The Trinacria.pronouned: Tri-nacree-ah (which was also the Ancient name of Sicily) in the middle is made up of three bent legs signifying the triangular shape of the island...three heads of wheat as a nod to Sicily's agriculture...and Gorgon (The Winged Medusa Head) signifying the Protection of the Island.

It became the official flag of Sicily in 2000.

The Trinacria image is found everywhere. On trinkets sold to throngs of tourists. Even tattoos.

So many things left to see on this rocky island, but I have already made my choice for my painting. What says SICILY to me.

The Olive Groves.

It will be a variation on this

 with more of a morning light feel and definitely older ( gnarled and twisted) trees.

When I look at these centuries-old olives I am reminded that like Sicily herself...who has been conquered over and over and still managed to hold tradition and sense of self...these groves are survivors. Perhaps not classically beautiful...more gnarled and twisted...but rooted deep and still standing for the better part of a thousand years.


These Olive Groves ARE Sicilia.

The painting...little more than a morning sky currently.

Personally,  I blame Salvo Montalbano.

Since finding 26 Episodes from Europe's MZT...already I'm hooked on Sicilian TV.   Not binge-watching...but I have been doing one episode a night since I found it! Completely in Sicilian with an all Sicilian Cast it is thankfully closed-captioned in English.

Already, I am recognizing phrases and often repeated words.  Much like reading Burgess'  A Clockwork Orange...and then realizing, by the middle of the book, you are no longer flipping to the back to decipher the Russian Slang...but have come to read and understand it.



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Novel-The Plan: Detective Brinks/ The Cat

Less than a month before, Mark was on the other end of the phone in his office rambling incoherently ( a French whore...his mother would have said. Gertrude always did have a way with words.) until his sudden disconnect.

Now, his calls are completely focused on Doctor Troy.

Since the General's untimely demise it has helped, actually. Although Brink's is sure that The General was involved in some way.

"No need to muddy the waters"

That is how the Prosecutor sees it. And Brink's agrees.

"We want a clean, clear conviction. No reasonable doubt."

So Jerry's death will not be re-opened either.

Officers and detectives have arrived like gnat swarms descending on the remote cabin, outbuildings and Sarah Troy's grave site.

An order to exhume has been signed for today.

The team moves slowly and methodically layer by layer.

Then a cry of

 "What the HELL is that?" 

At first thinking the tightly wrapped bundle is an infant; two of the Latino Catholic in their crew are backing away and crossing themselves.

The mostly decomposed skeletal remains of a feline has been buried only a foot or so in- over her grave.  Rolled and tied into plastic tarp.

Its skull appears to have been crushed repeatedly.

A large stone is also buried with the rotting remains of cat.

Brinks vaguely remembers Steve's story about "Baby".  A Siamese that he supposedly gave Sarah before her death. 

And he realizes he helped convict and execute an innocent man.

It fans the flame that has been smouldering just beneath the surface from all those years ago- when he was ordered to stand down.

"Bag them both. They're evidence"

"And keep digging" he adds gruffly.



Monday, July 17, 2017

The Sicilian Kitchen...Marketplace and Cuisine...and Books!

A "Sicilian" day at the market...buying my supplies to discover new recipes!

Fresh garlic,tomatoes and onions, fresh herbs from my patio basket. Good Olive Oil. Wedge of Parmesan. Chunk of Feta. Fresh loaf of Italian bread. Italian Sweet Sausages. Zucchini. Eggplant. Lemons. Peppers. Green Olives. Figs and Honey. Chocolate Mini-Eclairs. Pistachios. Sea Salt. Prosciutto.

I have Oregano Honey (to try) and A Black Truffle on the way (direct from Sicily)

So whether it is a small anti-pasto

with bread for dipping in warm herbed olive oil.

Or a Mediterranean Dinner Plate

Complete with home-made, refreshing, frozen Lemon Granita

I've got this!

Put some traditional Sicilian Folk music on in the background

Fried peppers and zucchini with Italian sausage and Parmesan (large grate) and a handful of fresh herbs.Fixed flat bread with Rosemary and oregano in olive oil and fresh Parmesan.

The kitchen sounded, looked and smelled like a trattoria!

I enjoy the total immersion approach to virtual travel and have ordered a cookbook 

and the best seller

It arrived today.

Also found this at my local library.

A new book by the prominent Sicilian Author: Andrea Camilleri

 continuing the Salvo Montelbano Detective Series, which I am now reading.

The detective has actually been transformed into a very popular television show in Europe.

I am not sure, yet,if I can access this in The States.If so,I would love to see what they have done with it. 

Addendum:  The Amazing You-Tube

An overview

and all 26 episodes. 

Episode 1...Season 1

More anon...

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Kaylee is 12...Bloomington...The Farmer's Market and Snocolate

My Kaylee-Bug has turned 12. My eldest Granddaughter. That's it. I'm officially! 

Seems just yesterday she was

Told her that this was her last year of Kaylee-Bug...since she will be 13 next year. We are shortening it to KB and she will be my KB forever! Going to find her a heart-shaped locket and have it engraved before then and slip this inside

and maybe this

Busy week!  

The first couple of day...spent leisurely basking on North Patio Beach

Until Tuesday when the MONSOON hit...and everything was pretty much underwater.  Okay, I'm exaggerating. But only sightly.

(...strong currents and under-tow warning...)



Diane and I went to Bloomington on Wednesday and plundered Red Lobster together and The College Mall. She has found her perfect summer hat...I am still looking. Loretta couldn't make it this time...recovering from eye surgery. She'll be with us in August, though.

Thursday we celebrated Kaylee's 12th birthday with candles,cake and such.  Found sparkler candles for next year!

And today, my friend John and I did an early morning trip to the Farmer's Market here on the Square for zucchini, onions, peppers, cucumbers, jams and jellies (oh my). Listened to the street musician, and had the most amazing Alfresco Brunch at Almost Home.

Came home and was even able to cajole Shelby into sitting out on the *gasp* patio for a while with us on TWO separate occasions!
You're a "cat whisperer, John...

And Seriously...hasn't The White House seemed like a terrible parody of The Keystone Cops this week?

It would be funny...if it weren't MY government and Country. is kinda like that.

Also learned about a new FAD that has been sweeping Europe for....oh...the last TEN years.  

The Colonies are always the LAST to know.

I'm talking about "Snocolate"

(...if you have never heard of this...please Google it before reading any further...)

Yes. Snorting powdered chocolate.

Who knew?

I mean besides half of Europe?

One entrepreneur in Florida has finally introduced it to The States marketing blends of mint and ginger...under the name of Coco Loko.

He says he tried to incorporate chili powder but that was...and I quote

"A REALLY bad idea."

Ya think???

And anyone who knew me in the early 80's would know that after researching this ( has been around in Belgium where it originated since 2007) and looking at the pharmacological effects of cocoa in the body/brain

Natural Stimulant

Mood Enhancer

Endorphin and Dopamine Releaser

(...and completely legal..,and natural)

that yeah...I had to try it.  

Just because.

So yeah...cutting out lines of cocoa.

So obvious.

How the HELL did my Generation miss THIS one.

Talked to my oldest who said...and I QUOTE again

"What the hell,Mom???? If you get some massive sinus infection don't be calling ME...okay???"

 You are so CUTE when you are "ADULTING", honey.

So...yeah...I managed a couple of lines of 100% pure cocoa.

And...they are right.

There is an immediate rush and an over-all euphoria that lasts...oh...maybe 20 minutes or so.  A definite increase in heart-rate. An immediate wake-up/alert feeling (probably related to the increased blood flow)...and a good taste/smell for maybe 45 minutes.  And then it is over.

No harm.

No foul.

Overall, probably a lot less toxic to my sinuses than what they survived well over 35 years ago.

No need to ever try it again. And no way in hell it will ever replace a gooey brownie, or a hot fudge sundae.

But I have now experienced "Snocolate"!

No $109.00 kit necessary.(although the catapult shooter spoons are kind of  cute)...just a 2.00 can of Hershey's Pure Powdered Cocoa...a credit card to cut it and a rolled dollar bill.  

Old School.

More anon...

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Saracean Olive Groves

In Sicily Olive trees are often referred to as Saracean Olives.  A nod to the 9th Century Arabs (and numerous others) who invaded these lands and brought with them many varieties of olives.  Many of the larger olive trees are hundreds of years old.

Even the younger twist and turn and give an enchanted appearance.

The Olive was the first cultivar of Sicily and oleasters (the wild olive trees)
have been around as long as Sicily.

Olive Oil is the life-blood of Sicily.

Exported...Used for food preservation, cooking, lotions and soaps...Bottled and Canned...Both Bread and Babies are dipped in it. The bread for the amazing taste it imparts. The their Christening. 

Olives here are still picked by hand...and shook into widely spread nets on the ground...though the pressing is now mechanized.

The oil is usually greenish, or in some cases golden.

Cold Pressing (no heat involved) results in Virgin or Extra Virgin Olive Oil. also known as EVOO. Olive Oil that is called REFINED is  obtained after the first press from the crushed olive leftovers. The oil is extracted through heating. The lower the acidity...the better or higher quality the olive oil.

The olives themselves firm and greenish with a tangy bite. Some are stuffed with pimento or (my favorite) Feta Cheese.

The bite of the olive compliments the saltiness of the Feta perfectly.

Tour of a Seggio Sicily Olive Grove 

Olive trees are surprisingly a member of the Evergreen family.

More anon!