four Wednesdays hence

… I will be wishing I could get comfortable in my cramped Lufthansa airline seat so that I could sleep away the 10-hour overnight flight.

Lufthansa long-haul flight

I will also want to stay awake to watch icy white Greenland slide along below us, 41,000 feet under those wings.

Four Wednesdays hence I will be living my dream of spending a solo month in northern Italy.   I have the round-trip ticket, I have registered for the 5-day classical mosaics class in Ravenna on the east coast, and I know where the flight sets down outside Bologna, but I still don’t know where I’ll lay my jet-lagged head the first night or nights thereafter.  I don’t know if I’m renting a car at the outset or at all.

I do know I will be celebrating my 55th birthday in Italy.  Cinquante cinque ani!

This dream of going to Italy has haunted me for years.  Perhaps once I’m there I’ll be able to articulate the tremendous magnetic desire to be in that tiny country.  Life experiences to now have narrowed like a funnel to point to the concluding reason for the disparate events that all seem to make sense now:

Mom had us studying Latin when we were kids and I continued to study in college.  Gaudeamus igitur, etc. and so forth!

We lived in Taranto way down at the heel of Italy when I was a wee thing and apparently my brother and I spoke conversational Italian to our housekeeper, though we apparently refused to speak Italian to our parents!  Dov’è Laurio?    Andiamo bambini!

The Ancient Italians, those amazing, warring Romans, have had my attention for decades.  They knew how to use concrete as well as any modern concrete contractor!  Amazing!  Underwater!

Some years ago I wanted to learn mosaics, but since I wanted to do outdoor installations, I stopped what I was doing with mosaics to teach myself about concrete as a substrate for those mosaics.  I love working with cement!  I love the smell of admixture in my cement and sand mix in the morning!

Four Wednesdays hence, as I fly to Italy, it will be two years ago almost to the day that I was laid off from a quite fine job, a job from which I believed I would retire with a nice little 401k.   I at least have the little 401k!

These last two years have been an exploration, a rediscovery of the guts I possess that have allowed me to simply try something!  How hard could it be?!  

In an effort to become employable once more, I studied landscape design, but after the third quarter of commuting to school in unfathomable traffic, I called Uncle! and stopped.  Simply stopped.  Panicked.  Didn’t panic.  Wondered and thought and pondered in that nonmoving space and time.

Recovered from the exhaustion brought on by being caught up in the too many people in too-close quarters driving aggressively at 70 mph!   As I came out of the exhaustion, I returned to my spot in the garage and poked around with my concrete stuff again.  Created some oddball stepping stones.  Became inspired, at last being rested and refreshed after a difficult 1-1/2 years, to work on mosaics along with the concrete.

Full circle.  I know concrete as a substrate for outdoor installations.  I learn mosaics in leaps and bounds, absorb knowledge and wisdom from the teachers who have written books.  Knew I wanted badly to go to the seat of Byzantine-era (around 600 CE) mosaics and learn at the feet of master mosaicists.

Still have to earn a living and wondering what in hell to do at my age when I’ve effectively been shut out of the job market.

Boing!  Clink!  Bing!   I shall be a concrete and mosaics artist and I will call the business Concrete Couture (TM).

Four Wednesdays hence, I shall be on my way to Italy, to tie together those disparate experiences, to bring to the fore all the courage I’ve ever had, to try something new, to take a leap of faith, the only net being the Universe, which has cared for this Earthling all these years, kept me alive and showed me how to thrive.

© No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

29 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. heretherebespiders
    Jan 24, 2012 @ 23:32:04

    I’m not awake enough yet for a proper response: but I’m thrilled for you and can’t wait to hear all about everything!


  2. Debra Kolkka
    Jan 25, 2012 @ 03:05:03

    I am leaving for Italy next week, 5th Feb. I will be in Bagni di Lucca from 9th Feb. Will you be coming my way?


  3. Kathryn McCullough
    Jan 25, 2012 @ 05:12:13

    I am so, so incredibly excited for you! I can’t even begin to tell you what a huge deal this is, as I ADORE mosaic. I have NEVER done it, but have always wanted to. I want to hear all of the details. I want to know it all. Can’t wait to take this journey with you–assuming you will be blogging from Italy!

    Goodness–way, way cool!



    • lahgitana
      Jan 25, 2012 @ 09:23:23

      Thank you, Kathy, for sharing my excitement. This has been not an easy decision, the working without a net, but hell, everyday I work without a net and I may as well be in Italy on the tightrope ride! Even the Big Mister is delighted for me, which makes US happier!

      Yes, I will be blogging from Italy; I haven’t figured out HOW yet because I’m not taking a computer, but it will happen–or my head might explode! >:-D

      Kathy, do you know Isobel over at IsobelandCat, She introduced me to a paper mosaicist at I think your brain NEEDS to do mosaics. Mosaics is a taking apart and putting together, of creating beauty from bits and pieces. My life is like that now and I grasp the idea and hang on!


      • Kathryn McCullough
        Jan 25, 2012 @ 10:11:07

        Wow, Laurel, I check out both blogs, which I love. I have done something myself that would be akin to paper mosaic, I suppose, but what I thought of as collage.

        Yes, I love the notion of taking apart and putting together–assembly and disassembly. You are correct, my brain needs that process of deconstructing and reconstructing. I think that’s part of what I enjoy about incorporating potential trash in my art–upcycling, I guess it’s called.



        • lahgitana
          Jan 25, 2012 @ 12:44:50

          Yes, that’s what I was thinking: sometimes just a re-framing or re-forming of an experience is healing and the mosaics is like that for me….. Using the disparate parts to create beauty!

          I KNOW you will enjoy Isobel–and her adventurous ginga ninja cat who live right in London! And yes, collage, is what I was thinking about. I’d like to hear your impressions, Kathy.

          I have found objects, too, that are waiting for the right project! Yaaaaay!


  4. nadbugs
    Jan 25, 2012 @ 06:01:38

    Gaudeamus gaudeamus doing the gaudeamus dance over hear Lahggie! How totally BOSS THRILLING!!!!! I had a Religious Experience looking at the mosaics in Ravenna!!!! I remember it like it was yesterday and it was so not yesterday, my friend. Tell me when you get there: Do you still have to feed coins in meters to get the lights to go on so you can see the ceilings, something metaphorical about that but actually I’m in concrete (har) reality here — The light, for the appointed time only and it was pretty brief and then back to the meter, would reflect off chips of gold in the mosaic, or maybe that was just The Light in a metaphorical sense, you have to tell me about that too. Plus I remember something about Dante in Ravenna, perhaps his tomb there? That memory is less clear but still pretty clear. Oh man, girl, I’m just over the moon with excitement for you. Andiamo and you better make sure we get andiamo’d along with you or I shall never speak to you again I want a full and I do mean full and I know you know what I’m talking about when I say FULL REPORT of everything you see, do, eat, sleep, and I also want to know if Italian men have grown up a little since I was there or do they still make comments and worse on one’s anatomy. Course I was very young then. Wonder what would happen now. TELL bambina. Immediamente it happens. WHOOT.


    • lahgitana
      Jan 25, 2012 @ 09:29:03

      I know that the glinting you saw in those metered moments WAS gold! I will add your impressions to those that must be addressed! Your Religious Experience comes through loud and clear, A-Bean!

      I do plan to blog while I’m there. As I was telling Kathy, I don’t know how yet, and I certainly don’t know about uploading pics to a computer at an internet cafe!

      Since I do tend to go on and on, you shall hear the details! (This makes me want to quickly buy an iPad so I can write at will at great speed instead of cramping my hand with my spidery handwriting!)

      Thank you thank you thank you for sharing your own excitement for your time there and for joining in with mine.

      Do you really think Italian men could have grown up? >:-D


      • nadbugs
        Jan 25, 2012 @ 16:19:23

        No. It was just a random thought. You never know, though . . . . Oh come on. Can you say Ber-lu-sconi?


        • lahgitana
          Jan 25, 2012 @ 16:38:54


          My Mom still talks about being pinched–that was in 1960. I doubt Italian culture has moved that fast in 50+ years! I’m hoping to repel them from a distance with my purple hair and raccoon stripes! (Be vewwy vewwy afwaid!)


  5. heretherebespiders
    Jan 25, 2012 @ 11:02:34

    Can I just steal what Bean said? Except for the part about having to be Italy? She’s much more adept at expressing happiness and excitement than I am!


  6. David Seòras
    Jan 25, 2012 @ 23:02:00

    Wow… You know you’re not gonna want to leave Italy once you get there…
    Can you blog from a smart phone to WordPress? I know you can with Blogger, would be a lot easier too.
    Looking forward to your thoughts on Italy


    • lahgitana
      Jan 26, 2012 @ 06:32:02

      That is the risk my husband and I have discussed. At length! We’ve agreed that I can stay longer than the month, especially if I get a job in a mosaics workshop, but I can’t stay a year! He understands the depth of my desire for Italy….

      Have you been, David? That sounds like the voice of experience!

      Thank you for chiming in!

      Best, Laurel

      PS. I do a word puzzle called acrostics and in last night’s puzzle there was a clue about the name of the mountain range in Scotland with the highest elevation! Thought of you and your travels immediately!


  7. IsobelandCat
    Jan 27, 2012 @ 14:02:41

    A lovely, warm, solid post, full of hope and happiness.
    I know you have a sense of humour, so I want to ask if you have read Bill Bryson’s book about Europe, Neither Here Nor There. I read it after a friend told me how Bryson had described Rome.
    “I love the way the Italians park. You turn any street corner in Rome and it looks as if you’ve just missed a parking competition for blind people.”


    • lahgitana
      Jan 27, 2012 @ 15:31:49

      No, I haven’t read the Bryson book, but that would make a good airplane-ride book!!

      That is hilarious, that quote! I hope my Mom sees that quote, Isobel! She will remember her days in Italy and getting stuck in a roundabout in Rome, going round and round!

      I saw a parking effort in the big city here that horrified me but made me howl with laughter: it was a Mr. Bean episode– one guy pulled into a tiny spot and moved back and forth to park, hitting the car in front and then the car in back. TWICE each!


  8. minlit
    Feb 12, 2012 @ 11:31:49

    Have you got a travel checklist? Don’t forget warm socks. Overnight / long haul can be pretty nippy round the feet. Also, either wet wipes or some kind of water spray – otherwise, you will shrivel up and die. Or your nostrils will at least. Bon Voyage!!


    • lahgitana
      Feb 12, 2012 @ 12:02:44

      Check! Have warm slippers packed. But I may get add some long fluffy socks that will really keep out the cold. (Worn over the compression socks!)

      Will prolly like to have my nostrils shrivel up and send the snot-ola whence it came!

      Thank you, minlit!


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