April? Is that you already?? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN???
Today was SO much better than yesterday! I ended up going to bed late because of the concert, so sleep was again seriously lacking in my life. I pretty much made a beeline from the classroom back to my bed and was gone until almost 1 PM! I swear, this is the effect pre-bedtime yoga has on me. It's incredible. I'm still pretty tired even now though, so I don't think the nap was a bad thing.
We got up and went to lunch at Mario's, a Florentine institution right near the market. It was a bit of a wait, but we distracted ourselves with the pet store next door that had BUNNIES!! Aaaah, so freaking cute!! There was one on particular that I would totally get - he/she was lying on its back in the corner of the cage, paws in the air, just chillin'.
I'm a little in love.
(photo credits to Alaina)
When we were finally called in, we quickly decided it was worth the wait. The restaurant is one little room crammed with tables where everyone sits with everyone else. The three of us were seated at a table for four, and the empty seat was quickly filled by one of their many regulars, a real estate guy named Stefano. He was really cool and chatted with us - and me in Italian a little, which always brightens my day! The atmosphere in this place was just so fun, so busy, so...Italian. Best word to describe it. And I haven't even gotten to the food!
There were hand-written signs posted above the windows that let you see into the cooking area that stated
1) They never use frozen foods.
2) They never use cream or bouillon cubes.
3) Asking for ketchup is strictly forbidden.
I ordered the ribollita, the traditional Tuscan bread-based soup (more like a thick stew). It was awesome; I really need to try to make this again with more success! I didn't get a picture because a) I was hungry and b) I didn't want to freak out the poor stranger sitting with us, but it looked pretty similar to my first bowl of ribollita, perhaps this time a little smoother. Either way it was perfect and delicious and we are SO going back. Hasn't quite stolen my heart from Sergio's, but we're already regulars there! Mario's, however, was staffed by some reaaally cute boys...hmm....what a dilemma!
After lunch we came back and chilled. The weather is still quit indecisive - it downpoured with lightning and some earth-shaking thunder for about 30 minutes, and a couple hours later the rain came back despite the sun shining...come on, Florence. We've talked about this.
After some lazing, lounging, and looking up things to do on our adventure planned for Saturday (to be revealed, all in good time), I threw - quite literally - a salad together:
Messy picture, but it tasted good! I just loooove veggies :)
And look at my pretty tomato color spectrum!
Alaina also made pasta all'amatriciana and I felt obligated to sample, you know, to build up my food critic skills *winkwink*. She did a maaahvelous job! It's basically pasta tossed in tomato+olive oil+garlic+parsley +pancetta with parmesan cheese. She also added some sage, which [we think] added a nice hint of sweetness. Yes, it is as good as it sounds. [Click her name for pictures!]
Tonight was concert #2: Vivaldi's 4 Seasons and his Gloria. The solo violinist for the Four Seasons was absolutely incredible. As in, I kept expecting to look up and see smoke coming off her bow. I also learned that in Italy they do not give standing ovations, they just clap. And clap. And clap. I think she gave 5 bows! But she very much deserved them! Plus, the Four Seasons is just a fun piece to hear. And it was easy to see that the musicians were enjoying performing it! The Gloria was good, but nothing jaw-dropping. The choir was a little sloppy with their entrances and diction, which gets to me a little because all the choirs I have been in have been intense about everyone singing perfectly together. But the alto soloist's voice was amazing. It was so thick, rich and a little dark, like really good fudge (yes, I can and do compare everything to food.). I do love a good concert!
On my way back tonight, I decided it was gelato time. To Grom it was!
Caffe + "Crema di Grom"
Their caffe is suuuper strong and espresso-y, which I adore. Crema di Grom is basically a creamy, kind of vanilla base studded with dark chocolate slivers and some of kind amazing cornmeal shortcake biscuit. Gelato is always worth it.
Hearing concerts with singing always makes me yearn to sing myself! In case I haven't mentioned it, I am a music minor and when I got to college I changed my instrument from flute to voice and never looked back. Singing is such a liberating activity for me, and always has been. In fact, when I get really worked up, the best way to let off some steam is belting out some Broadway tunes or some of my favorite Italian arias. I have noticed in the last half year or so that I have had trouble breathing; sometimes I feel like I have to remind myself to inhale. It's quite odd. I do attribute a good bit of it to yoga, which I started practicing almost daily this fall. Yoga increases self-awareness like WHOA, especially where breath is concerned as it is such a major aspect of practice, so I know that my increased work in yoga has increased my own awareness of my body in general, which is definitely a good thing. What is not so good is that it has lead me to suspect that one of the big reasons I seem to have this breathing issue is my almost unconscious need to suck in my stomach, one of the many lingering side-effects of my brush with ED (eating disorder). It pisses me off that I am still so anxious about my physical appearance that I would subconsciously deprive myself of air to "look thinner." Um, thinner may be considered more attractive, but turning blue from lack of oxygen? Not so hot. But to go back to singing (I swear, my ramble has a point), I was thinking tonight that I did not have this breath problem when I was practicing singing more often; it was more automatic to me to breath "correctly" because that is about 85% of what singing is. So, all this to say, I am going to start practicing again when I come home to see if my hypothesis that singing=better breathing in general is right. I hope my household likes my voice!
I'm very excited because tomorrow I am going to a farm in San Gimignano for my cooking class (hence the lack of class today)!!! We will be there for lunch, and you can bet that Frida will be coming along for the ride. Not entirely sure what to expect - but that makes it all the more exciting, no?!
P.S. If you love peeps [like me!], you MUST see this: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/gallery/2010/03/29/GA2010032903934.html?sid=ST2010032904380
Too. Effing. Cute.