Skip to main content

February 2-5

On Sunday the 31st we spent the early afternoon in Saint Peter's Square after taking it easy in the morning... sometimes you need to take the day off from sight-seeing! The line to get into the basilica was extremely long so we didn't even try to go in, especially since it was a Sunday so there was probably mass going on. We made meatball subs for lunch, which was an experience; we discovered that meatballs aren't just meatball-shaped pieces of ground beef but actually require seasoning. Next time we'll know better!

This week hasn't been too intense, although we have had a couple cooking failures. This week I printed a color relief print using plywood (see pictures below for pictures of my black and white linocut print also), saw five works by Caravaggio in-situ in churches around Rome (in Sta. Maria del Popolo, San Luigi dei Francesi, and Sant'Agostino), and with my Late Antique class, visited St. John in Lateran (the cathedral of Rome), and the remains of some Late Antique residences now underneath the church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo (Saints John and Paul). The Lateran was wonderful, especially since I've spent so long looking at images and plans of it; it was great to finally get to see it for myself. The original building is long gone but some important parts of it, the nave and aisle columns and columns from some of the interior decoration, have been incorporated into the current church building.

On the cooking front, we made a mushroom sauce that turned out well, and two things that didn't, something called a ricotta pie that's supposed to be a dessert but tasted more like a sweet quiche, and some white bean chicken chili that would have been good if I'd had all the necessary spices and had known that I needed to cook the beans in advance. We used dried cannellini beans that we had previously soaked, but I didn't realize that these beans need to be cooked for something like 2 hours before they're soft enough, while the recipe I was using called for canned beans. So I just put them in and had to wait for three or four times the amount of cooking time that the recipe called for before they were done; in the meantime I had to keep adding water so it didn't boil down to nothing. Oh well! It still tasted ok.

Some of the spices and foods I'm used to having around are hard to find here; we had to go to the outdoor market to find cumin, for example, and still haven't found oatmeal. That severely limits what things we can make! When all else fails, though, we can make pasta, because we're pretty good at that by now. I know my mom is worried that I'm not eating enough, so here's a photo of the results of one of our semiweekly shopping trips. We eat pretty well here!


Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: "Theory and Design in the First Machine Age"

Reyner Banham's Theory and Design in the First Machine Age (1960) is an engaging overview of the important theoretical developments of the early 20th century leading up to the "International Style" of the 1930s-40s.  Banham does a fairly good job, in my opinion, of avoiding excessive editorializing, although he has a clear viewpoint on the Modern Movement and finishes with a strong conclusion.  In opposition to his teacher, Nikolaus Pevsner, whose own history of modernism came out in 1936, Banham dismantled the "form follows function" credo that became the stereotype of modernism, arguing instead that formalism (a preoccupation with style and aesthetics) was an important, if not overriding, concern of Modern architects.  Two sections of the book struck me in particular: his analysis of Le Corbusier's famous book Vers une architecture (Toward a [new] architecture) from 1923, and his Conclusion (chapter 22), where he breaks the link between functionalism and …

Vertical Bike Rack

The work of our hands!

A little backstory:  We bought two bikes as soon as we could after moving here, so we could both bike to work.  After a few uneventful months of chaining up our bikes next to our car in the carport of our apartment building, Justin's bike was stolen.  (Mine was mysteriously left behind, together with Justin's pannier, which the thieves helpfully folded up and placed on top of my bike.  My only guess is that the chain holding my bike was harder to cut than the chain on Justin's.)  Since then, we've kept our bikes inside, hauling them up and down two flights of stairs to our third-floor apartment every time we take them out, which is usually a few times a week.  Ugh.  Better than buying a new bike every few months, though.

We needed a rack that would keep the bikes off the floor, off the walls, and in as small a footprint as possible, without requiring us to drill into or otherwise damage the walls (or floor or ceiling).  This proved a challenge t…

LEED Green Associate

Today I am pleased to report that I have passed the LEED® Green Associate exam, so I am now officially a LEED-accredited professional.  I have a few thoughts on this process that might be helpful for others looking into getting their own LEED Green Associate credential.  While I'm certainly in support of sustainable building practices, which is why I went to the trouble to get the credential in the first place, I don't think it's inappropriate to take a critical stance toward the whole enterprise in order to challenge the profession (and the industry) to be more self-aware.

The preparation: I passed the exam by using only resources that were freely available to me through my school library, including an e-book version of the LEED Green Associate study guide by Michelle Cottrell and the USGBC LEED Core Concepts Guide.  (Although I asked the library to obtain a new copy of the official USGBC LEED Green Associate Study Guide since the one they had was lost, they still haven&…