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

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

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Thoughts on Flying

I am not a fan of flying, so when my husband thought it would be a great idea for me to accompany him on his business trip to Las Vegas, I was tempted to make excuses. But over the years I have learned to deal with this fear...sorta.

To begin with, I simply pretend I am fearless. As I walk through the airport in my trusty danskos, wearing my dark jeans (not these jeans since I do need to sit) and pulling my cute, red laptop tote on wheels, I almost convince myself that I am not anxious.

Which actually works, right up until the moment they announce our flight.

Once we are in the air, to stop myself from analyzing engine noises (like I am such an expert on what an engine should sound like), I stuff ear phones into my ears and listen to the airline music playlist.

This time I find some Broadway tunes...okay, then. I decide on Wicked, and select one of my favorite songs from that musical: Defying Gravity. Thirty seconds later I am mentally yelling at myself: What the heck? Defying Gravity? That's the song you want to listen to while flying in a tin can???

I move on to reading, but the novel I brought requires more concentration than I can summon and, besides, it's hard to read and analyze engine noises at the same time. When I reach into the seat pocket in front of me searching for lighter reading material, I accidentally pull out the laminated pamphlet diagramming emergency exits. I stuff everything back into the pocket.

The television monitor does help a little, and I measure time by watching episode, and I mentally mark off thirty minutes. Two entire hour has gone by!

Things are going just fine until two things happen: the seat belt sign comes on, and the pilot announces that we are going through some rough air (i.e. turbulence).

Now I don't -- can't -- listen to music, read, or watch television because I am too busy praying. I scrutinize the airline attendant's face to see if she looks worried...but she seem pretty calm, so I figure things are okay. I remember to breathe.

Eventually the four hours pass, and when we land I feel exalted. I go on to have three wonderful days with my husband...three days of dining in fine restaurants, walking in the evenings, talking about anything and everything, listening to Singin' in the Rain playing at the Bellagio fountains, seeing Jersey Boys, and eating pistachio and hazelnut gelato at the Venetian.

No, I may not like to fly, but I will do it. You see, when I weigh wonderful life moments against fear, I'll take the wonderful life moments every single time.

The Bellagio Fountains

The Venetian

Friday, February 19, 2010

What am I going to do?

On Monday my husband has to go visit a DOE (Department of Energy) facility in Las Vegas. He will be gone Monday through Thursday; actually, I should say we will be gone Monday through Thursday because, yes, I am going with him.

And here is what I am wondering . . .

Whatever am I going to do for three nights and four days with nothing to do?

What am I going to do with no meals to plan, no laundry to finish, no articles to write?

What am I going to do during the time I would normally run carpool?

What am I going to talk about with my husband when it's just the two of us?

Really, what am I going to do?

Sigh. I'm sure I'll figure something out.

Like maybe this . . .

or this . . .

or this . . .

I am kidding about the last one. It's a Vegas joke . . . a joke, I tell you!

Good Grief.

But really, whatever am I going to do?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

These Forty Days of Lent (previous post)

Previously posted 2/6/08

Growing up, I tended to dread Lent because it usually meant 40 days of no sweets, or dessert, or television. I was expected to pray more, be nicer to my siblings, or stop being such a procrastinator. It was never fun, and I counted down the days until Easter Sunday.

Only in the last few years have I really begun to understand what this liturgical season offers. Just like I appreciate January 1st and the promise of a New Year, I like how Lent offers me the gift of spiritual renewal. I realize that we should strive for spiritual growth on a daily basis, but on a basic human level I need the emphasis and reminder that Lent provides.

During Lent I am more aware of trying to pray more, or attending daily mass, or spending some time in the adoration chapel. And yes, observing Lent also means offering up little sacrifices.

Why sacrifice? In today's world of instant gratification, giving up a luxury or a meal is a reminder of our many blessings. When we fast--from food or a certain behavior--the deprivation keeps us grounded and helps us not become too attached to worldly things. It also serves to reminds us that what we do without for just these forty days is, in fact, a way of life for many.

Offering up a sacrifice is also an excellent means of learning self-discipline...especially for children. It's good to learn that we can't have everything we want anytime we want. And by learning to say "no" to the little things, maybe it will help with bigger temptations.

During Advent we witnessed the joy of Christ's birth, but during the Lenten Season we are called to actively participate in Christ's life.

"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23). With those words we are called to walk in His ways, and our little sacrifices enable us to participate (in a very teeny, tiny way) in Christ's suffering as he headed to that cross on Calvary.

Easy? Not for me. But Christ's ultimate sacrifice led to His glorious resurrection, and I know that by participating in these 40 days of Lent I can better appreciate the fullness of the celebration on Easter morning.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Giddy over SNOW!

Yes, Virginia, it does (occasionally) snow in Georgia!

Living in the south . . . and we actually owned some
snow pants!

Snowball fights + wrestling in the snow =
fun, fun, fun!

He may be small . . . but he was mighty and held his own!

Meet Mr. Snowman (not an original name, but the
little guy insisted!)

And the great thing about living in the south? The snow comes, we enjoy it, and in 36 hours it's gone.

Really, I had forgotten how much work a snowfall can generate: getting dressed to go outside; losing and searching . . . and losing and searching . . . for five pairs of mittens; getting wet, coming in to dry off and take a hot shower, then going back out later to begin the cycle again; dripping puddles and puddles of water on the laundry room floor; and feeding hearty appetites resulting from all that outdoor air and exercise.

Sigh. It was so much fun. And I can launch a snowball with the best of them!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Arrivederci Ronald McDonald!

How about a McItaly for supper?

The new burger, introduced at a McDonald's restaurant in Rome near the historic Piazza di Spagna, features Italian beef, Asiago cheese, and an artichoke spread.

But I'll have to take their word for it. Going to Italy to eat at McDonald's...why, that's sacriligeous.

BTW, this very same McDonald's restaurant, with its columns, marble floors, and Roman statues, was voted the most beautiful McDonald's in the world by the Travel Channel.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Forty-One Days after Christmas

Okay. My loving, kind, dear sweet zia Tiziana is going to kill me. She is, really.

Every time my sister and I visit, we insist on looking at her and zio Luciano's wedding album. She hates her wedding photos, and here I am posting them on my blog.

And what's really annoying is that I am doing so to honor her birthday...except that it isn't her birthday.


You see, last year I wrote birthday posts to honor my zia Paola, my zio Silvio, and my zio Luciano. Tiziana did not get a birthday post because her birthday very inconveniently falls on the day after Christmas. I don't know what my Nonna was thinking.

Tiziana probably thought I forgot but, being the quiet person that she is, was probably also somewhat relieved.

But, fair's fair and this is her birthday post.

It is a well-known fact that I have hair issues, and as a little girl I was always envious of Paola's Cleopatra hair and Tizi's hair, which was a delicious strawberry blond...something my sister and I liked to point out to her all the time.

Us: Do you know what color your hair is? It's...
Tizi, interrupting with a sigh: Yes, yes I know. Strawberry blond.

And then we would sing Strawberry Fields, Forever to her, which was terribly annoying.

When I was pregnant with our first child (Nonna's first great-grandchild), my husband and I visited Italy during one of the hottest summers in history. We stayed with my aunt who, in spite of the tremendous heat wave, cooked us the most delicious meals. Later, we found out that during the entire time of our visit, my aunt also was pregnant...and she never said a word.

Today, I have a cousin that is my son's age. Pretty neat.

The most interesting thing about Tiziana, one that you don't at first notice because she is, after all, married to crazy zio Luciano, is that she has a wonderful sense of humor; really, she leaves me the funniest comments like this, this, and this. She even wrote a fantastic poem about Nutella.

Buon Compleanno, Tiziana! Next time you come, I'll show you our wedding album...bleck, ick, patooey.

And to make it up to you, I am also posting a photo of me...with you on your wedding day, which is cheating, I know. To be clear, the fashionable bride is my aunt, the cute blond is my sister, and I am the terribly awkward-looking one with the dark hair.