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

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

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A little (or a lot) off the top

This morning our local paper featured the boys in our school sporting their new buzz cuts in support of a 1st grader battling leukemia. It may just be me, but I think they all look very handsome.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lenten Spice

Do you have a Family Honor Program in your parish or school? They have wonderful programs that help parents and children discuss the sanctity of life in God's gift of creating us male and female.

This evening we attended the Changes and Challenges session with our 6th grader. While they go over some basic information on how the body changes during puberty, and yes, how life is created, they also explain how our personalities are composed of many sides, each one needing to be developed and nourished.

All of us have a spiritual, physical, intellectual, creative, and emotional facet to our personality (SPICE). God created us wonderfully complex and completely unique, but to find self worth and self esteem we have to nurture all of these areas.

For the boys, they explained the concept of SPICE using a bicycle wheel. Each spoke represents a different area, and if you negelect one area the wheel won't roll correctly.

There was more, but this is the idea that will be with our family during Lent: that we will strive to be that complete human being that God intended when he gave us the gift of life.

Spiritually, physically, intellectually, creatively, emotionally . . . we're going to put a little SPICE in our life.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I just want to know . . .

Why is it that I won't get up early Saturday morning to work out, but mention a yard sale and I am up at the crack of dawn?

Why do dust bunnies collect on each and every step leading upstairs? Do they breed?

Why do I throw a load of clothes in the wash, forget to put them into the dryer, and then don't realize it until someone mentions they don't have any underwear or socks . . . two minutes before we have to leave for church?

How come the minute I congratulate myself on losing a few pounds, my Mom brings over some leftover cannoli that she made for the Italian American Club Pasta Festival? And how come I am the only one in the family who likes them?

How is it that I get inspired to make some pane toscano from scratch, and when I have all the ingredients lined up I realize I am out of olive oil? What Italian runs out of olive oil?

Why am I watching the Oscars when I haven't seen a single nominated movie?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Real? Estate

Consider the panic if you heard a branch crack.

No way. My hair would frizz . . . big time.

Not during hurricane season, thank you.


Long climb after a hard day's work.

Don't want visitors? Just unhook the cable.

(Thanks, Cheryl H.)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Valentine Comedy

The Kids: What are we doing for family night?

Me: Oh, something for Valentine's Day. For dinner we'll have Chinese takeout...

The boys: What does Chinese food have to do with Valentine's Day?

Me: Nothing. But we'll eat it picnic-style on the family room floor.

The boys: What do picnics have to do with St. Valetine's Day?

Me: Nothing. But we'll watch a Valentine movie.

The boys: Yeah! Movie night. Which one?

Me: The most perfect movie for Valentine's Day...wait and see.

So, we set up our picnic, say our prayers, eat our Chinense food, and put on the Valentine movie...OUR WEDDING VIDEO!!!!!!

The Boys: What kind of movie is that?! (The best kind) How long is it? (Long enough to toruture you all night long) They had video cameras back then?! (Look. Just how old do you think we are?)

So we watched it. Little did I know our wedding video was such A COMEDY.

They laughed at Daddy with no goatee; at Uncle Dave (the Doctor) who did a reading and because he hadn't yet gone through puberty, his voice sounded like a baby's; at Nonna's curly hairdo; at the impromptu opera that was sung as we left the reception; at the getaway car, decorated to within an inch of its life; at the story of how someone dumped a cupful of crickets inside the car and how the chirping coming from the air conditioning vents serenaded us the entire time we were driving.

The best part for me, though, was when the four year old asked, "Is that you, Mommy? You look pretty."

But for some reason, his older brothers even thought that was funny.

Revenge is sweet though: the very minute any one of them gets engaged . . . out come the baby albums. So there.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Guest Poets: My Mom and Tiziana

Ode to Nutella.

Nutella mixed with peanut butter
Nutella mixed with ricotta
Nutella mixed with sour cream
Nutella over strawberries
Nutella and Oro Saiwa cookies
Nutella and fresh, crunchy bread
Nutella for breakfast
Nutella for lunch
Nutella for snack
GOOOOD NUTELLA

NONNA Massimilla
(Thank you)
(comment from yesterday's post)

Then this, from my Aunt, Tiziana:

Piange a urla il tuo bambino?
Puoi mangiarne un cucchiaino!
Stai passando qualche guaio?
Prendine subito un bel cucchiaio!
Torna a casa il marito nervoso?
Un cucchiaione e un po' di riposo.
Se sei triste o ti fanno arrabbiare
la NUTELLA ti può consolare!

translation (although it sounds better in Italian!):
Is your child crying?
You can give him a spoonful!
Are you going through some troubles?
Immediately grab a spoon!
Does your husband come home all grumpy?
A spoonful and a little rest.
If you are sad or someone makes you mad
NUTELLA can comfort you.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Where's Mom?

Answer:
Sitting on a stool in the pantry
and eating Nutella straight from the jar.
Just a Mom moment ...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Off With Their Heads!"

WHAT IS IT ABOUT DECAPITATION IN OUR HOUSE?
THIS . . . YESTERDAY.

THIS . . . A FEW MONTHS AGO.

I KNOW THREE LITTLE SOMEBODIES
WHO ARE GOING TO BE IN BIG TROUBLE
IF THIS DOESN'T STOP.
I'M JUST SAYING . . .

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Motorcycle Memories

I have a thing for motorcycles. Not the big bikes, but Vespas . . . the quintessential Italian scooter perfect for cobblestone streets and winding through the hills of the Italian countryside.

I have my Uncle Silvio, il mio zio italiano, to thank for this.

When I was a little girl he had a beautiful burgundy Vespa, and with my sister standing in front and me sitting behind, he would take us on afternoon rides through the farmlands of San Martino. Sometimes I would get a special trip when we snuck out without my sister (sorry Ua!) and I would then have my zio (and the vespa) all to myself.

Occasionally we would venture into downtown Verona, going through the city’s big, stone archways, weaving in and out of traffic, and then climbing Salita XX Settembre to visit his parents.

And every excursion would involve a stop at a bar for a popsicle, un ghiacciolo.

At different times of my life I have had the opportunity to revisit those childhood Vespa rides so that now I have several motorcycle stories. My favorite one involves an Italian college student and a sunny day in Spain . . .

During my summer study abroad, our final two days were spent in Barcelona. The problem was that by then we were all BROKE. We had no money for transportation, entrance fees, or even food. One meal was a shared jar of peanut butter, all of us huddled around it with spoons . . . we were that broke.

That night, however, we met a group of Italian college students who were spending the summer driving through Spain. They very graciously volunteered to drive us around the next day. Since none of them spoke English, and I was the only one in my group who spoke Italian, I was the official translator.

The next day we met the Italians in the lobby and we divided into groups. The organizer of their group asked me to ride with him, and I just about fainted when we walked outside and I saw his motorcycle. Gulp.

All my friends were squished into cars, but I got to ride on a motorcycle holding on tightly (well, he did take sharp turns) to a very cute Italian guy.

I don’t remember much of what we saw that day, but I do remember that incredible feeling of freedom and youthful abandonment. I also remember my friends teasing me and telling me to quit smiling or I was going to have gnats embedded in my teeth.

But that smile on that sunny afternoon in Barcelona was an echo of my smile on those first Vespa rides with my uncle.

Grazie Silvio. Buon Compleanno.



Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Family Night

Using our formula of faith, food, and fun here was this week's family night:

faith: read about St. John Bosco (even though his feast day was January 31st, we were busy last weekend and had to wait until today)

God of mercy, You called St. John Bosco to be a father and teacher of the young. Grant that, inspired by his ardent charity, we may serve you alone and never tire of bringing others to your kingdom.

food: pizza (he was from Italy) and ice-cream (in honor of his work with boys)

fun: since St. John Bosco entertained children with juggling and other carnival acts, we put on a puppet show. We selected a parable and divided into teams to act it out (my husband and I did the Feeding of the Five Thousand; the two older boys did The Good Samaritan)

The Feeding of the Five Thousand
(my husband drew Jesus and the disciples . . . the boys couldn't stop laughing.)


The Good Samaritan
(guess which character was robbed and beaten?)


The Parable of the Four-Year-Old
(we're not sure what parable this is, but he did say "Jesus" a lot)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I Know Nothing

I mentioned in yesterday's post a kindergarten buddy named Eric Butterball. His name has been part of our family history for years . . . Bia's "first boyfriend". Just mentioning him always generated some good-natured laughter.

Apparently, the joke was on me.

Yesterday my Dad, ever so calmly and matter-of-factly, left a comment informing me that the name wasn't Butterball, but Butterbaugh.

Well. WELL. All this time I thought my family was laughing at this cute little redhead with the cute little name who had this cute little kindergarten crush on Bia. But noooooo. They were laughing at me.

For 41 years I thought he was Butterball . . . actually, make that almost 42 years . . . today is my birthday.

But then again, maybe it isn't. What do I know?




Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Way Back When-esday

Call me a copycat. I saw Laura's old school photo and just had to post mine: Miss Rosnow's kindergarten class in Darmstadt, Germany. (Both photos are from the same time period . . . oh, those 70's colors! But, isn't it peculiar that our teachers look very similar?)

I am the tall girl in the middle row with the red tie (HUH?!). My best friend, Sissy, is the cute one with pony tails. The only other person I remember is the redhead boy on the last row . . . his name was Eric Butterball (and no, there is nothing wrong with my memory; that so was his name).

My one and only distinct kindergarten memory is of throwing up in the hallway outside the principal's office. Niiiiiice.

Check out Laura and Cheryl for some more Way Back When-esday fun.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What's a Girl to Do...

...when the men in her life are watching the Superbowl?

announce she's cheering for the Steelers when everyone else is going for the Cardinals

set up a card table and work on a 500 piece puzzle

watch the commercials

bring out some snacks

put the little one to bed

watch some more commercials

finish the boarder of the 500 piece puzzle

watch the halftime show (Bruce Springsteen: Sigh.)

after halftime ask, "What's the score?" and pretend not to understand why everyone is grumpy

make herself a steaming cup of tea

call her sister

and as everyone heads quietly up to bed refrain from asking, "So, who won?"