Sabato sera – and Switching Gears

OK, I think we have the internet problem temporarily solved, but not completely, but I am SO done talking about that. Aren’t you glad?

My feet, however, are a different matter. When I am in this much pain, all I can think is that someone somewhere should be feeling some of it too. As I plodded along today I numbed myself to the agony as usual, because I have to go on or else, and it occurred to me that I left for Italy 3 weeks ago today. How wonderful is that? It is such a luxury to “have a vacation” and just keep going.

BUT – shouldn’t my feet and legs be building some tolerance by now? I’ve not let up since I’ve been here and it isn’t really getting any better. Today I had the thought of rechargeable batteries – the kind that are wearing out. You’ve used them and used them and after a while, they still work but not so well. You can charge them up, but they keep wearing down faster each time because they don’t hold a charge.

That’s how my feet are. Every morning I put on bandages, good cushy socks, expensive walking shoes with top-notch inserts and they don’t feel so bad for the first ten minutes. Then it starts. The feel of pliers clamping down on my toes, the pains shooting up my shins – and later into the thighs. Soon I am watching every move on the uneven cobblestones and bracing myself for the shock wave that every step brings. I will myself to keep going forward.

So far I am succeeding. And I am so glad I am here in Italy now. Had I waited any longer, I might not have been able to do it. As it is, I probably waited a tad longer than I should have, but I am still mobile with a lot of determination. And yes, I do have a diagnosis of these blasted feet: hereditary neuropathy, which means genetic nerve damage in my feet. I’ve known about it for years, but living with it now is another matter. I always hope I didn’t pass it on to my kids, but I have a sneaking feeling that Ellyn might be touched with it. And I might just take a day off from walking tomorrow and give it a rest to see how that works.

At any rate, that’s that for feet. I really will try to suck it up and quit complaining. Ugh!

ImageNow… here was the bedtime crowd outside my apt last night! Those church steps might be sacred at morning mass time, but late at night they are a hangout! A loud one. I closed all the shutters, turned on the fan of the air conditioner and didn’t hear a thing…

ImageAnd here is probably the most photographed church in Lucca – San Michele – named for the archangel Michael. It has a huge facade that was never finished because the money ran out. It looks like a frosted cake and it is exquisite – supposedly the wings of the angel on top are articulated so that they move with the wind. I can’t really see high enough to tell if that is true.

What I do know is that this amazing feat of architecture is a mere two blocks from my apartment and I walk by it several times a day. The other night I was walking home while eating a gelato and stopped to gaze upward. I felt overcome by the grandeur of the whole thing and tears streamed down my face.

Never in my life did I think I would live and work two blocks from such an ancient wonder. It is just stone, but it is one of the best things man can achieve. Surely when Jehovah brings the new system we will see what we are capable of, but for now, this is an awesome sight.

And speaking of walking by things – it was Saturday here in Lucca and the streets were packed. My goodness, if this is the “off season” I wouldn’t want to be here in a high season. It would be unbearable! But as it was today, the markets were going, the shoppers were out and the musicians were entertaining.

ImageThis group was in the San Michele square putting on a show for donations. They were quite good and I saw many many people walk over and toss 1 and 2 euro coins in their tray. And about an hour later they had moved down to the steps of the San Paolino church, which is next door to me. I opened the window and watched for a while. They looked up and saw me and sang to me for a bit. Quite fun.

ImageAnd then, on a quite different note, this band was performing near the main square later. Boy were they good! Lots of horns and lively rhythm. Even when they broke up and started to leave the city, they played and played as they walked. People were dancing in the streets and following them all the way. I was right there with them as I was on my way to my wi-fi restaurant for a session and they went right past there. What fun! I wish I had a sound recording to share with you – they were infectious!

ImageSo that’s it for today. Except for this bike pic- I’m always seeing a new photo-worthy one and I can’t resist. But after my bike adventures of late, I will just appreciate them from afar.

And… coming soon will be more sketches. I HAVE been busy with the sketchbook – just haven’t organized it to share. So that’s next. Also painting. I got the rest of what I need today so paintings are coming up. Not sure what or when but I have some ideas.

Stay tuned! I really am switching gears and want to take advantage of this rare time in my life where I am living in a different place and time. And my landlady really is doing her best about the internet thing. I thanked her profusely today and she commented that when you are in a place where you cannot understand things or speak the language, it can be overwhelming. And that is true. But she said she understood and that she wanted to help because she knew that is the thing that will make my heart feel better.

And it did. And it does…

Buona notte!

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jeanie Ader
    Oct 06, 2012 @ 18:48:37

    Your landlady sounds like a peach. I was thinking this morning how scary and exciting it would be to stay in a foreign country – like Greece, for me – where everything is, well, foreign. Heh. I was also wondering and worrying about your feet. I think giving them some rest is a good idea. Blisters are not good at all, and they need to heal. One day won’t do it, but I understand the need to walk NOW and not in a week. I do hope it helps. Have I mentioned how much I enjoy your writings? Very muchly! 🙂


    • thesketchylife
      Oct 07, 2012 @ 02:58:24

      Thank you Jeanie! And you really should start planning your trip to Greece. I’m so glad my friends and family rallied round me to encourage my trip here to Italy. It is scary and exciting but so wonderful that I will be able to re-live it the rest of my life. It doesn’t get any better than that!


  2. the smarter billy...
    Oct 06, 2012 @ 21:38:30

    maybe your feet… like your friends… are telling your heart to paint…


  3. Nicole
    Oct 07, 2012 @ 13:04:32

    A tip to heal your soles! One thing you may want to look for is moleskin. And no this is not your creative artistic journal mole-a-skin-a, but rather the good ol’ rootin, tootin, southern sounding moleskin padding. Yep, sounds too good to be true right? Trust me, this stuff is a miracle wonder, never went backpacking without it. And since your backpacking with art supplies in tow…searching for that perfect spot to perch upon to sketch an awe inspiring sunrise…this stuff may come in handy, and be just what the doctor ordered. Hope this helps to sooth your weary soles!


    • thesketchylife
      Oct 07, 2012 @ 16:40:00

      you know, I did read about this stuff before I left but didn’t get any. I bet I can get some in the farmacia down the street. Thanks, Nic! i’ll let you know how it works!


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