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

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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The year in review and a sneak peek ahead

January: I meet Nicholas Cage during a girls' weekend in Las Vegas.

February: Off with their heads

March: Five families celebrating the Feast of St. Joseph

April: the post that drew the most sympathetic comments.

May: something new that got old fast.

June: the most interesting visitor

July: confessions of an altar server.

August: the Mad Hatter Dinner Party

September: My baby goes to Kindergarten.

October: Nicholas receives the Sacrament of Confirmation.

November: food, food, and spaghetti in your face!

December: the Christmas miracle that brought Sister here for the holidays.

...and coming up in June 2010: A FAMILY TRIP TO ITALY!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Don't you think I should get a free pair, or something?

So, I've been noticing a lot of traffic lately from people researching Dansko clogs . . . now I know why:

go here.

P.S. My Dansko shoe size is 39 (European size).

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Finally...a compliment!

It began with a surprise email from my nephew, Christopher . . .

is this nephew? are you emailing from your own computer, or something? or is this your own email account?

Yes it is your nephew. It is my own email account. I am emailing from my new iPod touch that I got for Christmas. I'll show it to you later when we get there. I might have to use your computer to charge it. May I?
From Christopher

well, well, well. a new iPod touch. i got an iPod, too. but it's just a regular one...not a touch and i can't send emails with it. BUT it is a pretty, bright orange. so, you may be able to email with yours...but i bet it isn't orange like mine.

and yes, if you're very, very, very nice to your favorite auntie...AND if you tell her that her new orange ipod is smashing...AND if you tell her that she looks very, very, very skinny...THEN i might let you charge your ipod on my computer.

I'm sure your iPod is charming! It is very very very very skinny!

not the ipod skinny...ME, ME....YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO SAY I'M SKINNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok the iPod is skinny AND you are too.

Me, shamelessly enjoying Christopher's compliment...and the fact that I asked for it doesn't matter whatsoever. I'll take a compliment any way I can get one.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An Italian Christmas Carol

Buon Natale! Merry Christmas!
Blessings (and a Christmas carol) from our house to yours!

Tu Scendi dalle Stelle

Tu scendi dalle stelle
O Re del Cielo
E vieni in una grotta
Al freddo al gelo
E vieni in una grotta
Al freddo al gelo.

O Bambino mio Divino
Io ti vedo qui a tremar,
O Dio Beato!
Ah, quanto ti costò
L’avermi amato.
Ah, quanto ti costò
L’avermi amato.

A te che sei del mondo,
Il creatore,
Mancano panni e fuoco,
O mio Signore.
Mancano panni e fuoco,
O mio Signore.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Perfect for the Holidays: Food Fight!

Sometimes you come across something so inherently dumb. Something so silly that you do something truly ridiculous and buy the thing.

Case in point: Meet Alfredo.

Alfredo spins around on top of a plate of spaghetti. His tray, hat and apron are made of velcro.

Then, four pretend chefs vent their frustrations by using fork catapults to launch spaghetti and meatballs at the revolving Alfredo.

You get so many points if your meatball sticks to his tray, hat, or apron; but you get a gazillion points if you manage to land a meatball on his mustache.

Of course, some over-zealous launchers manage to catapult their meatballs right over Alfredo and into the face of the person (i.e. a brother) sitting opposite.

Spaghetti in your face . . . ahhhh. That's amore.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why I Married this Guy 19 Years Ago

Since I do all the cooking, he cleans up afterwards.

He has a mesmerizing baritone voice over the phone . . . the first time he called and asked me out I mentally said "I do."

He is very, very good in Math (and I am not).

My Mom likes him better than she does me (but it is all good because his Mom likes me better!).

He eats french fries with a fork (quirky, but cute).

He sent me and my best friend to Rome, Italy for my 40th birthday while he stayed home to babysit.

We met at a church spaghetti supper . . . very apropos.

After the birth of each of our sons he took a week off work to stay home to help me.

He folds laundry while he watches Penn State football.

The first time we went to Italy together he spent months studying the language.

He is a great father. He is a great husband.

And I'm one lucky girl.

Happy Anniversary, Joey.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

These Jeans Are Made for Walking

I have a pair of Gap jeans that I only use for special occasions. They are dark, dark blue, and when paired with black, high heeled shoes they are dressy in a casual, but elegant way.

Very European. Very Town & Country.

This past Saturday night my husband and I were invited to a Christmas party, and casual elegance was the attire of the night. I reached for my black tuxedo-style jacket, pulled out my high heeled black shoes (for one night, I would put beauty before comfort), and then reached for my Gap jeans.

As always, I held my breath as I started to put them pound in the wrong direction and they wouldn't fit.

I also held my breath because that's the only way to zip them up.

Not only did they fit, but they also looked good (my husband's words). AND I was actually having a good hair night. A wonderful life, indeed.

But like Cinderella and her ball, I knew I had to follow a very simple but important rule when wearing these jeans: any function I attend while wearing them has to be a stand up affair involving walking around and mingling.

In other words, these jeans are not made for sitting; if I do...buttons will pop, zippers will unravel, and seams will burst.

Imagine Bruce Banner's clothes when he transforms into the Incredible Hulk.

So I wore my Gap jeans to the party. I walked around and mingled.

And after a couple of people asked if I had lost weight (I LOVE those jeans!), I didn't even mind all that standing.

Sheesh. Who needs to sit, anyway?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Santa's New Year Resolution

Ho, ho, ho, ho . . . oh!
Santa stuck in the chimney.
No kidding. He’s stuck.

What was the problem?
Cookies and figgy pudding
And lots of whole milk.

Rudolph’s nose won’t help
But a wider chimney will
And a diet, too.

Do you Haiku? Go see Laura!


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

All he wants for Christmas . . .

Yesterday I was talking with two mothers with children in Timothy's class. Mind you, that would be KINDERGARTEN.

So, we were talking about Christmas, and what Santa was bringing.

One mom: Johnny wants an ipod shuffle.

Huh???? My son wouldn't know an ipod shuffle if it bonked him on the head.

The other mom: We're probably getting Betty a know, one of those notebooks for $200. She's really been wanting one.

Huh?!?!?!?! While my son likes to visit and play Diego's African Safari, he does so on the family computer (which, I might add, is in full view for supervisory purposes).

There was a pause as both moms looked at me expectantly.

Me: Uhm, er, my son wants a fire truck.

And that's exactly what he's going to get...the perfect Christmas toy for an innocent little boy.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Our Very Own Christmas Miracle

This is a true story . . .

When Sr. Gaudiosa visited us this past summer, she happened to mention that last Christmas she spent the holidays alone. With the university closed and the two elderly nuns she lives with gone to stay with family, Sister was by herself the entire time.

So we told her that this Christmas, if she was alone, we would find some way for her to come spend the holidays with us.

Just before Thanksgiving I remembered my promise and knew that I had to inquire about her holiday plans.

But, I had some reservations. First of all I was a little embarrassed. You see, while we don't go overboard with gifts, by no means do we have a Little House on the Prairie Christmas. My boys get more than an orange, and knowing how she comes from a small village in Tanzania I was worried about the comparison.

Then there was the cost of the plane ticket. My husband accumulates frequent flyer miles through his business travels, but at the moment we have zero. And tickets during the holidays aren't cheap.

My husband and I talked about it and realized that inviting her was still the right thing to do...despite our reservations. We emailed her an invitation.

The Monday after Thanksgiving two things happened:

First, my husband called from the Atlanta airport to tell me that he was bumped from an overbooked flight, and that Delta was going to issue him 200 Delta dollars as compensation. When I told my husband that this was a sign, that this meant Sister was coming, he was a little dubious. Besides, he noted, this was the price of only half a ticket.

Then, thirty minutes after he called, I received an email from Sister accepting our invitation.

And here is the real the half hour between my husband's phone call and sister's email, my husband was at the Delta counter waiting for Delta to print his voucher. Due to some computer glitch, the computer kept changing his 200 Delta dollars to 400 Delta dollars, and after working for a few minutes the Delta representative couldn't understand why.

But we do. You see, the 400 Delta dollars my husband received is almost the exact price of Sister's plane ticket to come spend the holidays with us.

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's never too early

Set out by Timothy just before Thanksgiving...yes, that would be mid-November.

All because you-know-who might come early, you know.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It began with a wooden star

This year I decided to change our fireplace mantel for Christmas. I knew I wanted it to be woodsy, with greens, browns and reds, and that I wanted it to feel welcoming.

So, I started with a small, red star and decided to make it the focal point in a giant frame.

But, with 10-ft ceilings I needed a big frame. What to do?

Amazingly, I found an ugly, ugly painting with a damaged frame in the clearance bin at Bed, Bath & Beyond (really, with a coupon it was practically free). Using wood filler and black paint, I fixed the corners of the frame and covered the ugly, ugly painting with burlap.

My Dad (a very talented carpenter) cut out a larger, wooden star out of plywood, which I painted brown.

I centered the stars (embellished with greenery and a burlap ribbon) within the frame, placed my topiaries from last year on each side, hung up our stockings...there...done.

Now, on to baking, shopping, wrapping...