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

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

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Can I tell you how much I loathe going to the dentist?

Okay. I loathe, loathe, loathe going to the dentist.

The thing is, other than a little gum recession here and there, I have great problems. But the thirty minutes in which I get my teeth scraped, polished, flossed, and poked is Hell on Earth.

The dentist...ick, ack, blah, patooey.

(And who knew I could find some fine art dealing with the subject of dentistry?)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

One Word

The title for my New Year’s Resolutions could be this: Ditto.

There. All done. No sense in re-writing a list that is the same year after year . . . ditto covers it all.

Then e, from Mrs. Paproth’s Barn, shared something that got me thinking. She wrote how she whittles down her New Year’s Resolutions to one word. That’s it. One word to live by during the brand new year. She mentions “forgiveness” or “slow” or even “security” as examples.

The one word idea intrigued me. I am a big list maker: daily “to-do” lists, grocery lists, spring cleaning lists, vacation lists . . . the list goes on. Unfortunately, I am also a list ignorer; just because it is written down doesn’t mean that it gets done. Honestly, I have grown tired of lists.

But one word, something that I could carry with me during this year . . .

The hard part was finding that one word as there were so many possibilities: faith, an area I could always improve in; music, to inspire me to pick up my neglected guitar and join a folk choir again; writing, to remind me get up early in the morning in order to make time to write.

While reviewing the past year I began to realize something about myself: it seemed that all too often I didn’t fully appreciate an event or a moment until well after the fact.

It wasn’t until I was telling someone about our summer vacation did I truly realize how much fun we had; or only upon reviewing Christmas photos did I think, “Wow. Having the entire family together was such a blessing.”

It bothered me that many times I didn't fully appreciate the moment in real time.

I remembered a weekend I once spent with my Nonna when I was a little girl. We had just gone shopping together, and when we returned home she pulled out a brown, paper bag containing the reddest, ripest, juiciest tomatoes. She picked one up, and holding it like an apple she bit into it. She closed her eyes in bliss as she chewed, and when I giggled, she opened one eye, looked at me, and took another huge bite.

She was so completely in the moment, and that is something I understand only now, as an adult.

So my word, my single, solitary word that I am going to live by this year is embrace. I didn’t choose carpe diem because the word denotes certain desperation, that you have to seize the day while you can, grab it, hold on to it because it could be gone in an instant.

No, instead I want to embrace the moment . . . to welcome it with open arms . . . to savor it . . . to be fully present in the moment with no conscious thought of yesterday or tomorrow.

So, whether it’s reading a book on a quiet Sunday afternoon, or listening to the conversation between two four-year-olds, or running my hand over my son's new haircut, or smelling the aroma of freshly ground coffee beans, or even eating a vine-ripe tomato I want to remind myself to be aware and embrace the moment, right here and now, with my entire being.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

And so I shall . . . a New Year, a new word, a new beginning . . . I embrace it all.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

All in the Family

Meet the newest altar server, our family giggler, who giggles at absolutely everything. I hold my breath during Mass that nothing will set him off...because once he starts he cannot stop.

He joins his older brother, who really, really likes to light the candles. And he's very professional about it...notice how close he's holding that flame to the box of tissues.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Vegas Vignettes

Well, I have returned. I got a total of 8 hours of sleep the past three days, but it was oh! so worth it. Here is the whole gang at Piazza San Marco at the Venetian.

Cell phones are a must:

There is no doubt about it, if you go to Las Vegas you will get lost...not in the city, but in the casinos. You never exit the same way in which you enter, there are mirrors everywhere, and the casinos do this on purpose so you wander around, get lost, and spend more money. So, when you are trying to find a member of your party, cell phones are very helpful.

For example:

Where are you?
Oh, I'm over here standing by a slot machine.

Uh, could you be a little more specific?

You see? Very helpful.


What are the odds?

My sister-in-law and I decided to play roulette at the Bellagio. We played twice. The first time we each put our $10 on black. We decided on the same color because we thought we'd share in each other's joy if we won, or console each other if we didn't...we're nice gamblers. The ball landed on red.

We played again. Using the $10 minimum bid, this time we spread the money all over the board. We had a strategy, folks. For example: $1 on number 13 because my son just turned 13; $1 on number 14 because that's my age backwards (no 41 on the board, you see). Using this strategy, it took us ten minutes to place our bets. When we were done, we had that board covered. The ball landed on the only green slot on that huge wheel.

You know that saying what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas? It's true...because our $25 definitely didn't come home with us.


Dinnertime Conversation:

One well-placed, thought-provoking question can stimulate both conversation and laughter: If you had to choose, would you rather wear a helmet for the rest of your life, or eat a puppy?
(Thanks, Mary!)

You do meet famous people:

Who did we bump into?

Baseball legend Pete Rose (not terribly exciting...but our husbands were impressed). Oh. And then there was Nicolas Cage.

Finally, some words of wisdom:

Just because you have a large bosom doesn't necessarily mean you have a nice cleavage. Enough said.

Sorry, no photos available...use your imagination.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Vegas, Baby

You will not believe this
but I tell you it's true...
I'm off to Vegas
so I bid you adieu.

My sister-in-law is fifty
she's celebrating in style;
a weekend with nine ladies...
I'll be gone for a while.

We'll talk, we'll shop,
we'll see all the sights;
we probably won't sleep
until well after midnight.

So please say a prayer
that all will go well,
and when I come back
I'll have so much to tell.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My "I"signment

Our favorite Catholic School Teacher gave me an assignment to write about the letter "I" (and here I was worried she would assign me the letter "X"). Well, here goes...

I is for ITALY, a country which is boot-shaped...which makes me think of ITALIAN SHOES...that I like to wear to L'Arena to listen to an ITALIAN OPERA...which makes me think of my ITALIAN NONNA...who cooked ITALIAN FOOD that was molto delizioso.

"I" is for my favorite name: Isabella. Not Isabel. Isabella. And I liked this name waaaay before Isabella Swan even existed. So there.

"I" is for ice...which I do NOT like in my Diet Coke. I like my soda cold...with no ice. I get a lot of weird looks from waiters.

"I" is for ice-cream, which is okay. But it makes me think of gelato, ITALIAN ICE-CREAM which is molto delizioso.

"I" is for Italian word that has crossed over into the English language. It is a much more elegant way of saying "entanglement" or "disagreement". Which sounds better... The two men got into a barroom brawl over a girl? or Their imbroglio involved a woman?

Finally, "I" is for Improvise:

There once was an Idahoan who had an Idiosyncrasy about Ignoring his mother-in-law. That was not a good Idea. It made her Ill-humored and she thought him Impertinent. But he was Ignorant and Immature; he even Imagined that she would one day leave him an Indeterminate amount of money. Indeed, he was an Idiot. The end.

Monday, January 12, 2009

conversing with myself (i.e. not listening to myself)

Bia, you have 30 minutes to get dinner know how you are and you'd better not turn on HGTV.

I'm just going to see what project they're doing.

Consider yourself warned...

Oh. They're remodeling the family room. That's what we need to do. Let me see what ideas they have.

You really don't have time to watch this.

I'm just going to watch until the next commercial.

You need to defrost the chicken.

I'll just microwave it. How are they going to make that color work?! I don't see how that's going to work.

You really need to go start dinner.

The BIG REVEAL is next. That's it, I have to see how it turns out.

You have five minutes...


Papa Johns Pizza? I'd like to place an order . . . delivery, please.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Embarassing Moment #5400345

I am a light sleeper, so when nature calls in the middle of the night I stumble to the bathroom with my eyes half closed. The idea is to stay half asleep because if I wake up any further then I'll never go back to sleep.

BUT . . . last night he-who-must-not-be-named left the toilet seat up.

Ugh. Ick. A rude, rude awakening.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Girls' Night Out

Tonight I went to see this musical. The only words that come to mind are Mamma Mia! . . . it was that much fun.

(And who were those people in the audience dancing along during the numerous encores? I have no earthly idea. None. Whatsoever.)

Morning Cappuccino with Friends

I have been a bad hostess. Really bad. So many of you have been checking in lately, leaving nice comments, and I haven't even offered you a cup of coffee.

So, let me make amends . . .

How are you? It is so good to see you! Please. Come in.

Did you have a nice Christmas? Despite a rainy Christmas week (which, as we know, causes my hair to frizz), it was wonderful.

Here. Have a seat. Can I offer you a cup of coffee? Make you a cappuccino? I have soda, tea, and wine, but it is a bit early for that.

Cappuccino? Wonderful! I make a mean cappuccino.


Here you go. Please, try these cookies . . . they're perfect for dunking.

Oh! You don't have to leave yet. It was so lovely chatting with you.

I know, let's do lunch sometime. We'll talk soon. Ciao, Ciao!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Popular Science

Getting my boys to wear a coat is a struggle. I suppose that living in the south they get a little spoiled by the mild weather, so when it does get cold they don't have a concept of jacket use.

(definitely not my son)

Yesterday, when the upteenth argument ensued after telling them to put on a jacket, my middle son set me straight.

Mom. Don't you know science? Boys have these particles in our bodies that go crazy and keep us warm when we play outside.

Oh. Well then. By all means. I sent them and their particles outside . . . without a jacket.

Who am I to argue with particles?