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

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

Monday, September 26, 2011

Shopping 101

*Note: Everything I am thinking appears in italics.

Last Friday our eldest son pulled out a pair of jeans for the first time since last winter with the intention of wearing them on a field trip with his AP Environmental class. The jeans were at least two inches too short.

A few days earlier he had pulled out a dress shirt, tie and khakis, the standard uniform for a school Mass. The shirt sleeves were at least two inches too short.

Please, please, not another shopping trip.

Most of the time I am used to the fact that I am surrounded by boys; stinky clothes, footballs in the house, mind boggling appetites, toilet seats, caveman tendencies . . . all these things I take in stride. But it always takes a shopping trip to remind me that, yes, I am surrounded by boys and that, yes, Purgatory does exist.

"Shopping? Today?! But that's going to ruin my entire Saturday!" moans Nicholas, who would rather be drawn and quartered than go shopping.

Listen here buddy, ol' pal . . . it's no picnic for me, either.

We go to Kohl's where I leave him in the men's section to look for a pair of jeans. Fifteen minutes later I find him wandering aimlessly. According to him, there were too many selections and he didn't see anything he liked. A wall of jeans, and he finds nothing.

Isn't shopping an inherent skill? He must be missing a gene (ha! a pun!), or something. I mean, really, who needs to be taught how to shop? Well, obviously my son. Shopping 101 ... let the class begin.

We find a pair of jeans and two dress shirts but, just to be sure, I insist he step into the torture chamber known as the dressing room. He is grumbling the entire time; according to him, it's a lot smarter to try everything on at home and just return anything that doesn't fit.

Smarter for me to get this done right here and now because I'm not coming back with you. Ever.

He actually likes picking out two ties and is even a little adventurous in his selections. Progress?

A cute 17-year old girl is at the register.

"Wow, you must have a lot of nice places to go," she says to Nicholas, while folding his shirts and coordinating ties.

Nicholas laughs and says it's just a wardrobe update. She asks what school he goes to, what grade he's in, they talk about the friends they have in common . . . yadda, yadda, yadda.

When we walk out of the store Nicholas is grinning; in fact, he's happy. An hour and a half of shopping, and he's happy?

Shopping 101 . . . CLASS CANCELLED.

I don't think I'll be needed anymore.

Page 109: Girls

Friday, September 23, 2011

And He Comes Bearing Gifts (a 7 quick takes post)

Oh where, oh where have I been?

Not here, obviously. I've been neglecting this little space, and I've missed it. And you.

But here, in 7 quick takes, I'll bring you up to speed what has been going on around here ...

~1~ Monday: Joe left for California. While I don't mind that he has to travel occasionally (hello? fequent flyer miles! hello? Marriott points!), this time when I dropped him off at the airport I was a little bummed. Joe: sunny California, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Hollywood. Me: rainy Augusta, carpooling, afternoon practices, cooking, laundry, deadlines.

~2~ Tuesday: Went with the little guy to our school's Book Fair. He wanted a Captain Underpants book. I said no. He wanted a boxing poster. Again, it was a no. We finally settled on a book on animals that came with a DVD. But his mind was still on the boxing poster . . .

Sigh. Now he is in training.

Doesn't he look ferocious?

~3~ Tuesday night: Joe called from California. He explained how the fog along the coast isn't called fog, but marine layer. He told me he saw the Hollywood sign. And the weather? Couldn't be more perfect. Huh. I ignored the pile of laundry waiting to be folded and called my best friend to make a lunch date.

~4~ Wednesday: Met my friend at P.F. Chang's AND I even ordered an appetizer.

~5~ Wednesday night: Joe called from California where it was sunny and beautiful. Here it was raining . . . a lot.

~6~ Thursday afternoon: Jonathan had to serve detention for being tardy to class. Not a big deal, but very inconvenient for Timothy and me since we had to wait for an hour. So, we waited in Dairy Queen. That's a great place to wait.

~7~ Thursday evening: Picked Joe up from the airport. He scooted me out of the driver's seat and handed me a box from the Nordstrom's in Santa Barbara. Joe: smart man. Me: his happy wife.

*Today's post is sponsored by Jen over at Conversion Diary. Go and visit.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

In which I more than earned my morning cappuccino

Our 2nd grader has to complete a family tree project which includes a small report describing his family, as well as a poster containing photos of our family. The poster has a spot for each person, which means group shots wouldn't work.

The project is due tomorrow, so this morning I grabbed my digital camera to get separate head shots of the boys. What should have been a five minute chore was anything but ... and it was all Jonathan's fault.

You see, Jonathan eyes are very light sensitive, and if he knows a flash is coming he cannot help but squint; in fact, he is so sensitive that the last time he had his eyes checked he would not/could not cooperate for the glaucoma test. After repeated attempts the technician taped his eyelids open. I had to leave the room I was laughing so hard.

Anyway, this was the first photo of the morning:

"Can you at least try to keep your eyes open?" I asked, with more than a hint of exasperation in my voice.

This was him trying:

After ten more attempts which the exact same results -- same closed eyes, same expression, same pose -- I had had enough.

"I'm telling you what, you'd better keep those eyes open or else," I threatened ... mean, mean Mommy that I am. And seriously? I was wondering where the scotch tape was.

So THIS was what I got:

Sigh. In the end, THIS is what we settled on:

Believe me ... I more than earned my cappuccino this morning!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The best laid plans ...

Yesterday I was going through some photos and found this one from our family trip to Italy last summer. It reminded me that no matter how much we plan, there are always unknowns ...

QUESTION: What went into this rental van for the 2-hour trip from Rome to Naples?

ANSWER: Four adults, two teens, one six year old, six pieces of luggage, six carry-ons, and two purses.

QUESTION: How were we going to survive the 7-hour trip up to Verona a week later?

ANSWER: We weren't. Enough said. We rented another car.

And it was worth every penny ... I mean, euro.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Menu planning this week was both easy (Monday was a freebie due to Labor Day) and a challenge (busy week ahead). But the planning is done, and my mind can rest easy. For more great recipe ideas and links, check out Mary Louise's blog as she hosts her Weekly Supper Menu Challenge.

Tuesday: Seafood Night (check seafood counter at store); bruschetta; fresh fruit

Wednesday: Chicken Jambalya; Hearts of Romaine salad

Thursday: Pasta al Tonno; garden salad; grissini

Friday (football): Chicken Caesar grilled panini; Cape Cod chips; banana pudding

Saturday: Cauliflower Risotto w/ mushrooms; homemade Italian bread

Sunday dinner w/ Nonna & Nonno: Veal Scallops w/ Prosciutto & Sage; Tuscan beans; ciabatta w/ Italian seasoning; strawberries & lemon sorbet; espresso

dining al fresco
Sorrento, Italy
June 2010

Saturday, September 3, 2011

This really is a G-rated blog ...

but tell that to the pizza dough I left to rise on the counter. The older boys snickered, Joe grinned, and Timothy looked confused.

"Why is everyone laughing?" he asks, in all innocence. "It looks like a heart."

Of COURSE it's a heart, and if you thought otherwise ... SHAME ON YOU!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Are You Blog Worthy?

So, today a series of family emails were flying back and forth between my sister, her husband, and my brother. My sister started it when she kinda sorta was making fun of her husband ... in a loving way, of course.

By the time I jumped on board at lunchtime the topic had inexplicably switched from my brother-in-law to ... me (btw, when does a librarian, a tax collector, and doctor work? Evidently, never ... but that's another story).

Specifically, they were making fun of the way I laugh.

I have what I like to consider an infectious laugh; they, on the other hand, describe it as the evil laughter, a witch cackle, Bia's annoying laugh, and a few other things that aren't quite as nice.

Today they even went so far as to call me Nelson, and someone -David?- said I even looked like him. Because I didn't know what in the heck they were talking about they enlightened me via email:

But wait ...

THEN (and this is soooo bad) David actually thanked Patrick for deflecting [Bia's] blog from me to you! (his very words). Was that an insult? I mean, don't they realize what an honor it is to be considered blog worthy???

So, today dear Patrick and David, you are going to be soooo blog worthy.

Insert Bia's cackling laughter right here.

1- David likes to eat box turtles. Yum. Yum. AND he likes Sponge Bob ... really, really likes him. It's kinda weird.

2- David's high school prom date wore the SHORTEST dress ... or was it a shirt? My parents were horrified.

3- When Joe and I were first married, we came home one afternoon to find David sitting on our front porch. He was mad at my parents and had decided to run away from home. We drove him back the very same evening.

4- Patrick doesn't throw ANYTHING away. Really. He's also really good in traffic circles and has a cell phone with a rotary dial.

5- I can't be positive, but I'm pretty sure Patrick loves duct tape.

6- Patrick (the tax collector) has to oversee a group of women ... women who cry a lot ... women who cannot make a decision on their own. He tells funny stories about these women.

7- And just so we're clear who I am talking about ... photos.

Cue Bia's evil laughter again.

DAVID (my brother)

PATRICK (my brother in law)

Bia's cackling laughter.........

**Today's post was hosted by Jen at Conversion Diary. She is always blog worthy in the best way possible.