An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Monday, August 13, 2018

The story of a fountain

Two years ago I wrote a post entitled, The Fountain in the Piazza. It was the story of one fountain in Verona, and the generations of my family who have posed in front of it. Last night, I found a photo of my father, in front of the same fountain ...

clockwise from top left:
my mother (left) with her sisters
my father, 1966
family in the piazza, 2010
with my mother, 1967
me, 2015
our sons tossing coins in the fountain, 2010
with my aunt Paola, 1967

Friday, August 10, 2018

Weekend to-do's

To do or not to do?
That's what weekends are for.

~golf with Joe and Jono
(should I lose?) (on purpose? ;-)
(after what happened to poor Timo two weeks ago when -- GASP! -- his mom beat him in golf?)

~prepare Sunday lunch with the Nonni (what to fix? what to fix?)

~shopping with Jono (heaven help me)

~make homemade ice cream (stracciatella, cookies & cream)

~three workouts (two cardio, one weights)

~continue with Hamilton (now on page 639!)

~watch Sherlock with Jono (season 4) (our thing)

~work on book edits ---------- > ---------- > ---------- >

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Life Lately: Smart Men Who Do Stupid Things, Stupid Math, Espresso with a Kick, and a Selfie)

So school happened this week and you know how it triggers mixed emotions -- you hate for summer to end, but you also look forward to some semblance of a routine. And because we are all over the place here you go, a hodgepodge post for a hodgepodge week ...

~1~ Still reading

I'm on page 536 of Chernow's book, Hamilton. Let me just say that this isn't light reading. The words are many (and tiny) and the details are exacting (and excrutiating). The first part of the book was fascinating, the middle was slow because it was all about Hamilton's financial and central banking plans (yawn), but it's starting to pick up again because of the Reynolds Pamphlet. (If you don't know what that is, Google it. Dirty politics with a capital D and P. You can file it under Smart Men Who Do Stupid Things.)

~2~ Just in case your morning espresso needs an extra kick (grazie Benedetta!) ...

~3~ If you read yesterday's post, then you know my bambino started high school. How can this be when THIS just happened yesterday?

~4~ Timothy told me he had analytical geometry first period.Immediately I thought, "What an AWFUL way to start the day." But I didn't tell him that. Instead, I showed him this ...

~5~ I also showed him this, but he didn't get it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018


Lots of changes over here.

First day of high school. I liked still having a child in grade school. It made me still feel like a young mom. Now that Timothy is in high school ... I don't know what to feel.

First day of a new high school. As many of you know, we have decided not to send Timothy to Aquinas. There wasn't one particular reason for doing so, and the older boys had wonderful experiences at Aquinas, but there were enough little reasons to try something new. So when Timothy was accepted into the IB Programme at Lakeside, and once we toured the school and Timothy shadowed for a day, we decided to give it a go. So it's a first day of a new high school for all of us.

First time not wearing a school uniform. Honestly, I didn't like giving up the school uniform, but it is what it is.

First time we had to buy back-to-school clothes. Without the uniform, Timothy needed clothes.

First time with Life Teen. We are still members of St. Mary's, but we signed up Timothy for the Life Teen Youth Group at St. Teresa's. I've written many articles on this ministry, it is a well-thought out, organized program, and he is excited to try it.

First time joining the Italian American Club. My parents are members, and because we've accompanied them to various functions over the years we already know many people. This fall, though, we decided to make it official.

First day home alone in FOREVER. I mean, I can hear the refrigerator humming.

First cappuccino of the day coming right up ...

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

When I was Princess (a Once Upon a Time story)

Once upon a time we were sitting around the dinner table when I asked each of my boys (big and small) for one word that described me. I'm not sure why I did this, and in hindsight I see how this could have gone very badly, but I found their answers delightful. (Even Joe's. Compared to Joe, the ENTIRE WORLD procrastinates, so I didn't take offense. My husband gets things done yesterday).

How my boys (big and small) described me ...

Joe: procrastinator
Nicholas: Italian
Jonathan: helpful
Timothy: a princess

For the record, I liked Timothy's answer best of all.

Then, a few weeks later we were driving to the beach when I had the following conversation with Timothy:

"Are you a princess?" he asked me.
"Well, actually I am a queen and Daddy is the king," I replied.
"A queen?!" he was indignant. "That's too old. Nope, you're a princess."

And there you have it. A princess. It may have been Once Upon a Time long, long ago ... but still. Once a princess, always a princess.

That's how it works in fairy tales.

Monday, August 6, 2018

The Fine Art of Potty Words

Last night during our second walk, Timothy and I were talking about high school. We discussed homework, organization, school sports, bullies, and how to find someone to sit with during lunch on the first day of school.

"Let's stop talking about school," he said abruptly. "Let's talk about rainbows, unicorns, and fluffy bunny rabbits."

Oh, he gave me a good laugh. Just like when he was seven years old and taught me the fine art of potty words ...

"Mom, how do you spell Mississippi?" asked Timothy, as we are driving to school.

"Let's see, M-i-s-s-i-p-p ..." I began, only to be interrupted.

"Ha! Ha! You said a potty word. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!" laughed Timothy. And he laughed and laughed and laughed.

Apparently I was set up.

And so it continued until we arrived to school. As he got out of the car I thought, "Oh, those poor teachers."

When I got home, I headed straight for my espresso machine.

"How do you spell cappuccino?" I asked myself, as I scooped coffee grounds and steamed the milk.

"Let's see, c-a-p-p ..."

and I laughed and laughed.

a cappuccino in positano, italy

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Speak to Me Sunday, vol. 17 (This is why we go to art museums)

During our travels last week, I got more than a little grief for dragging poor Timo to not one, but TWO art museums -- The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, both in Kansas City, Missouri.

Even MY MOM commiserated with her poor suffering grandson who, she emphatically declared, is surely marked for sainthood after dutifully following his mom to stand in front of masterpieces by Monet, Cézanne, Roudin, and Caravaggio.

Now, I will admit that Timothy would much rather go zip lining (which we did), and that just driving to the museum made me feel as if I were escorting him to the executioner, but ...


If we hadn't gone, how else could we have done the following?

~1~ For five minutes, we stood in front of Raphaelle Peale's Venus Rising from the Sea -- A Deception  and discussed the realism of this linen cloth. I mean, we wanted to pluck it from the frame.

~2~ Learned how Van Gogh's energetic brushstrokes evoke the sound of the wind rustling through the leaves in his painting, Olive Trees (1889).

~3~ Dabbed in front of The Crying Giant.

~4~ Purchased these fun miniature sets of colored pencils.

~5~ Enjoyed an elegant lunch in the museum courtyard.

~6~ Made our own art. Inspired by Korean artist Kimsooja in her work To Breath -- Zone of Nowhere, we used designs, icons, and colors from all of the world’s national flags, without hierarchy or political prejudice, to create a visual canopy where national differences exist on an equal plane.

~7~ Walked around the giant shuttlecocks scattered on the museum lawn.

~8~ Finally, this happened at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Four years ago I stood in front of one of their prized paintings (a Caravaggio) and decided to organize a trip to Italy. Here I am standing in front of that same painting -- four years TO THE DATE (thanks Facebook Memories!) -- and just days away from announcing another trip. #serendipity