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

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

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Well, that got my attention ...

Outside the rain is falling and it's still dark . . . a perfect morning in which to sleep late.

But our little one has other plans when at 6:30 he trudges into our room and climbs into our bed. He rolls around. He climbs back and forth over my husband and me. He jumps up and down. We totally ignore him, we are that tired.

Then (are you ready for this?) he leans close to my face, pats my cheeks with both hands, and says very sweetly and matter of factly: You blithering idiot.

My eyes pop open. Did he just . . . ? Where did . . . ? Who taught . . . ? How? When?

Slowly a memory surfaces of Captain Hook calling Mr. Smee a "blithering idiot" in Disney's Peter Pan.

Oh. Well, then. I feel so much better. And even though I had in fact been blithering, I am no idiot. It's raining, it's dark, it's early . . . I roll over and go back to sleep.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Buon Natale a Tutti

A Merry and Blessed Christmas from our house to yours.

(and yes, Virginia, it does occasionally snow in Georgia.)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Opera in the Kitchen

Tomorrow is the day. The boys are home. Joe has the week off. And Nonna is beckoning us to her kitchen for our annual tradition of making homemade/handmade tortellini. E' un tradizione Italiano.

We make 500 of at a time.

Why 500? Half we eat in a bechamel sauce on Christmas Eve, and the other half we eat in a delicious broth on Christmas Day. And, yes, they all get eaten.

Here's what they look like as they dry on the counter:

It looks like a lot of work, but it really only takes a few hours. The best part is that every year during this time my sons (and truthfully, my husband) get a lesson, compliments of Nonna, on a different opera.

My mother is from Verona, which hosts a huge opera season every summer in L'Arena (an open-air Roman colosseum) so she is well-versed on Puccini and Verdi.

L'Arena di Verona

So far, we've done Turandot,

Madame Butterfly,

and Romeo and Juliet (which takes place in Verona).

This year Nonna has planned Aida.

Let me tell you . . . opera is not boring. Oh, my sons could do without the "mushy stuff", but there are plenty of swordfights, suicides, murders, infidelities, betrayals, and deaths to thrill any boy.

Believe it or not, operas make good stories.

The only problem is when Nonna starts singing . . .

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Note to self: "Tape" it easy

Today is the last day of school for my boys. In a panic, here is what I am doing before they are home for vacation: sorting, wrapping, tagging, and hiding.

And I'm on my last roll of scotch tape.

I have plenty of glue sticks, though. Think that will work?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Angels in the Mall

I went to the mall yesterday, and as I was wandering through a department store I kept hearing these unusual groans and loud outbursts. Eventually I realized that a group from a facility for the mentally disabled had come to spend an afternoon at the mall.

These were men curled up in wheelchairs, most of them in their 80's, wearing bibs and shouting out occasionally. Each wheelchair was pushed by a healthcare worker. I could tell these men were well taken care of . . . they all sported bright Christmas sweaters and it was obvious that the healthcare workers were trying to make things as festive as possible for them. Some of the wheelchairs were even decorated.

As I was standing in line to make a purchase, I noticed that some people were uncomfortable with the outbursts these men were making. I also noticed that some were even annoyed, rolling their eyes and sighing at the disruptions.

I looked at those healthcare workers caring for those poor men and thought that they were a living example of what Christmas is all about; they deserved better than the dirty looks they were getting because, heaven knows, they were doing a job that not many of us could do. I know I couldn't.

So I got out of line and walked over to the group standing nearby. In a voice that carried back to the register, I touched one of the workers on the arm and said, "You are angels, every one of you. I think it is so wonderful that you bring these men to the mall and let them experience a little holiday spirit. Really, God bless you."

To be honest, I was really nervous, but when the healthcare worker looked at me and gave me this warm smile . . . it was so worth it.

"To love another person is to see the face of God."
Les Miserables, Victor Hugo

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Gingerbread Man: not your usual bathroom humor

Yesterday I picked Timothy up from school and he told me that during activity time he had to put his flower in the weed bucket (a disciplinary chart: good behavior, flower in the basket; bad behavior, flower in the weed bucket).

Since this was his first time, I was very curious as to what he did.

Evidently he and two friends were saying "poopy words".

Upon further questioning it seems that at the time they had been making gingerbread...with each child given a chunk of brown, lumpy dough.


And I'm thinking: if you give a boy something brown and lumpy, it's just a matter of time before the "poopy words" begin.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Little Christmas Cheer

don't you just love his expression...

(This one is for suburbancorrespondent who
has been having some Christmas/Chanukah woes.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm not getting paid for this endorsement

Look what my sister Laura (a medical/information specialist) and my brother David (a doctor) co-authored! (Did I mention that I do not get paid for this endorsement? But Christmas is coming...hint-hint Laura and David!)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Advent Season: The Second Sunday

"Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope...

It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope."

-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Seek that Which is Above, 1986

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

An Email Kind of Day

Cast of characters:
Bia: sometimes writer, best of the bunch
Ua: medical librarian sister
David: doctor brother
Patrick: brother-in-law, the tax man
Leah: sister-in-law

Guest Appearance:

It all began innocently enough...

Ua: Get your Christmas hats on and be ready for a FUN Christmas celebration at our household on Sunday, December 14th; show up anytime after 8 am. I might look a little scary that early, though, just a warning.


David: And maybe for Christmas someone can show Bia where the Caps Lock key is.

Patrick: She’s just used to shouting…

Bia: EXCUSE ME? I EMPHATICALLY (good word there...I'll have to use it in an article) DO NOT SHOT...I MEAN SHOOT...I MEAN SHOUT!


Mom: For whoever has drawn Dad's name I have a suggestion: A paper shredder....a "modern day" pajama (size large)...

Bia: Uhm, what's a large paper shredder pajama?

David: I’ve found the Large Paper Shredder Pijama and tried them out. I’m still nursing a few injuries in key locations.

Leah: I must be the only one working around here!! Raising two little angels--I barely have time for anything else (like sending emails)--sniff, sniff.

Ua: We’ve probably already crashed Mom & Dad’s email system...

Later in the day....

Dad: I am confused. I looked at about 12 of these back and forth one-liners and have determined that all of you have way too much free time. Get a job!!! There are FOUR PAGES OF THEM ON MY SLOW EMAIL. Nonno

Bia: Now who's yelling?

Mom: Quando il papa` ha aperto il computer questa sera mi ha chiamato subito tutto preoccupato perche` ha trovato 2 pagine intere di messaggi che , a prima vista, sembravano tutti gli stessi. Abbiamo un VIRUS ha esclamato ! AIUTO! Cosa facciamo adesso? Per fortuna io ho suggerito di incominciare a leggerli e abbiamo cosi` visto che invece era la vostra corrispondenza. Avete propio lavorato molto quest'oggi!

Translator: When Dad turned on the computer this evening he called me all worried that he found two full pages of messages that, at first sight, seemed all the same. WE HAVE A VIRUS! he exclained. HELP! What do we do now? Fortunately I figured out that you were emailing eachother. I can tell you have all been working hard today.

And we all were working hard, kinda sorta.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Timothy's Post

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tim o thy m ommy dad dy tra i n

Monday, December 1, 2008

Alone at Twilight

This past Saturday I did something I had never done before: I went to the movies all by myself.

Over Thanksgiving my sister had given me all four of her Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer, and I finally caved in and read them to see what all the fuss was about. Then Saturday night, since the little one was in bed and the boys (big and little) settled down to watch some football, I thought it would be fun to see the movie since I had just finished reading the book.

It was too late to call anyone, but heck, I decided to go alone.

So, there I was, at the movie theater.


On a Saturday night.

A date night.

To see Twilight which was, really, a teen movie.

There was one middle-aged couple...and me. Everyone else was younger and on a date.

But as I looked at all those young kids I had a revelation: I like who I am right now at this point in my life, and although I was a little nostalgic for that young freedom, I wouldn't want to go back to those years.

I like being 41.

I like being a wife and mother.

I especially like the fact that I didn't feel embarassed about sitting in the movie theater all alone.

And, I enjoyed the movie. I really did.

The only thing that showed my age was that once the lights were lowered, instead of a $50 snack of popcorn and a soda, I slipped a granola bar out of my purse.

Hey, I have three sons that need to go to college.