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

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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Where's the Candy?

Exactly one month ago our membership at Sam's Club was expiring, so Joe and I went one last time to stock up. After a serious discussion, we decided to go ahead and purchase two bags of candy ... each one weighing over five pounds. The plan was to simply hide the candy until Halloween.

So, over ten pounds of candy was secretly stashed in a galavanized tin on a high shelf in the laundry room.

The only problem with hiding the candy was that I knew where it was. So, yes, one rainy day I was cleaning the house and an image of a box of DOTS popped into my mind. I was cleaning toilets, I was making beds, I was making dinner ... I deserved a treat!

So, I climbed on a kitchen stool and poked a teeny, tiny hole in one corner of the bag. The hole was big enough to pull out a box of DOTS ... and a tootsie roll, and a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and an Almond Joy.

And because I'm smart, I hid the wrappers. No clues left behind.

Then, this past past Saturday I pull down the tin only to discover this ...

Over ten pounds of candy down to five. EVERYONE (with the exception of sweet, innocent Timothy) was guilty. Next Halloween we're purchasing candy one hour prior to trick-or-treating.

Next year, someone please remind me.

P.S. There's more ...

1. Want to know what NOT to eat for Halloween? Click here.

2. Our favorite Halloween costume? Mona Lisa and Leonardo DaVinci

Shaggy and Velma,
Mona Lisa, Da Vinci.
We are all adults?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Stay Tuned ...

What's up this week?

MONDAY: Just in time for Halloween ... an empty bag of candy

TUESDAY: Recognizing Saints

WEDNESDAY: A "Naughty" Italian Joke

THURSDAY: Vomit, Fever, Diarrhea ... You are NOT sick

FRIDAY: A Bleach story, Heaven on Earth, and Seeing Red ... in 7 Quick Takes

SATURDAY: A Bishop's Walk

SUNDAY: Before and After ... The Story of a Wardrobe

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

...and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Dear Jonathan,

For your Confirmation, we wanted to give you seven books representing the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. As you read these books, pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal his gifts so they will help you to grow in your faith.

1. The Gift of Wisdom gives us the desire for the things of God.

2. The Gift of Understanding enables us to know more clearly the mysteries of faith.

3. The Gift of Counsel helps us to see the difference between right and wrong.

4. The Gift of Fortitude strengthens us to do the will of God in all things.

5. The Gift of Knowledge enables us to know oneself and to know God.

6. The Gift of Piety gives us a deep respect for God and for the Church.

7. The Gift of Fear of the Lord enables us to recognize an all powerful God.

Be a gracious receiver of these gifts! St. Teresa of Avila said, “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours; yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion is to look out to the earth; yours are the feet by which He is to go about doing good; and your are the hands by which He is to bless us now.”

Jonathan, allow the Holy Spirit to work in you and watch in amazement as God works through you, with you, and in you.

Mom and Dad

Jonathan Peter
Confirmed in Christ

When Nicholas was confirmed two years ago we presented him with seven literary classics, each one representing a gift of the Holy Spirit. This would not have worked with Jonathan since he would rather play basketball than read. In the end we looked for sports books, and instead of assigning each one with a gift of the Holy Spirit, he has to look for the gift as he reads. He took Glory Road to school this morning ... I think this just might work!

Jonathan's Books

Brian's Song (William Blinn)
Glory Road (Coach Don Haskins)
Unbroken (Laura Hillenbrand)
Through My Eyes (Tim Tebow)
Champions of Faith: Catholic Sports Heroes Tell Their Stories (Thomas O'Toole)
Holy Bible (w/ Jonathan's name engraved on the front)

*we are still looking for book #7 ... any suggestions?

Jonathan, Confirmation Candidate; Nicholas, altar server for Confirmation Mass; Timothy, baby brother

Thanks Aunt Laura and Uncle Patrick for being such great Confirmation Sponsors. And Patrick ... you were the youngest Knight by far!!!!

After Mass, cake and presents at home.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Potty Words Make My Wednesday

A seven year old's joke sets the tone for my day ...

"Mom, how do you spell Mississippi?" asks Timothy, as we are driving to school.

"Let's see, M-i-s-s-i-p-p ..." I begin, only to be interrupted.

"Ha! Ha! You said a potty word. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!" laughs Timothy. And he laughs and laughs and laughs.

Apparently I was set up.

He is still laughing when he hops out of the van; on the other hand, I do not laugh because I am too busy mentally preparing myself for a trip to Toys R Us.

Now, before I continue let me just say right here and now that Toys R Us is linked up there with WalMart and Sam's Club in my List of Stores I Absolutely Will Not Enter Unless I Absolutely Have To. NOTHING ever goes well when I enter any of these stores.

This time, however, I survive. I waltz in, find the perfect gift for my two year old nephew, and waltz out. The entire shopping experience takes 10 minutes.

As I am driving away I am congratulating myself. I am even giddy because I have conquered Toys R Us. I think back on Timothy's joke and laugh. I laugh and I laugh.

Then my Mom happens to call, and during the course of the conversation I realize I had purchased a gift for the WRONG NEPHEW!!!!

So, like something out of a nightmare, I drive back to Toys R Us, wait 15 minutes in line to return the gifts, look for a gift for a FOUR YEAR OLD instead of one for a two year old, and then stand in line for ten minutes to purchase the items. I really, really don't like that store; furthermore, they don't even know how to spell.

Things continue to go downhill.

Back at home I make the final arrangements for a beach photo for our Thanksgiving family reunion in Hilton Head. Photographer, date, time, exact beach location ... it's all set up. I confirm everything with the photographer, and just as I am congratulating myself on a job well done it hits me: I just made arrangements to have a photo taken AT THE BEACH.

THE BEACH! What was I thinking? This is a cruel joke because EVERYONE knows how my hair is at the beach. EVERYONE! It's a family joke! Evidently my role on this earth is to make everyone in my family look good. I do all the arranging AND I get to look bad. Great. Just Great.

That's it. I know just what I need ...

"How do you spell cappuccino?" I ask myself, as I turn on the espresso machine.

"Let's see, C-a-p-p ..." and I laugh and laugh.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Sounds of Saturday

As I type this I am listening to sounds riding piggyback on the breeze coming through our open kitchen window. The drone of our neighbor's weed eater, the rasping of a rake, and the sputter of a lawn mower are some of the busy sounds I associate with Saturday morning. After a week in which houses are vacant for most of the day, these are the sounds of a neighborhood coming to life.

On Saturday, yards are played in, garages are tinkered in, and homes are lived in.

I always thought of Saturday as making its own kind of music, and in our family it always began in the kitchen with pots rattling and dishes clinking . . . noises which meant our mother was preparing a delicious home cooked breakfast. Apple pancakes sprinkled with cinnamon, waffles dripping with syrup, or homemade raisin bread with honey butter beckoned us to the kitchen, and it was a good way to wake up.

Of course, all that nourishment and comfort food were meant to prepare us for tackling our Saturday Morning Chores, so after breakfast the sounds of industry could be heard in the snapping sheets hanging on the line, the whirring vacuum cleaner, the whispering dust cloth, the swishing washing machine, and even the pounding hammer coming from my father's workbench.

Lunchtime marked the beginning of the second half of our Saturday, a long, glorious afternoon in which we were free to do whatever we wanted. It was a quiet time - peaceful - and even the sounds changed. The air conditioner humming, pages rustling in a book, and a football game droning in the background were softer noises which contrasted starkly with the sounds from earlier in the day. It was a time for napping, or cutting out paper dolls, or curling up with a good book.

Today, as I type this while sitting by an open kitchen window, I realize our Saturday routine hasn't changed very much. Right now Joe and Papa are working in the garage building two Adirondack chairs for our backyard, and I can hear drilling, hammering, and sawing. The older boys are cleaning their room and Timothy is picking up his legos. The sheets have been changed, the dryer has just buzzed, and as soon as I fold the clothes I'll start preparing lunch.

Which means Saturday afternoon is just around the corner . . . and I like the sound of that very, very much.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Italian 101: The Art of the Interrupting

Recently we attended a party at my parents’ house. It was a large gathering of family and friends, and with so many Italians present conversation was both loud and all over the place.

At one point I happened to glance over at my eldest son who was sitting (trapped?) between two Italian Nonne, each of whom asked him question after question between pauses in their own conversation. He had a dazed look on his face.


I remembered when I first introduced my husband (we were engaged at the time) to our big Italian community. Complete strangers grabbed him and kissed him; women in aprons shoved heaping plates of food in his direction; men refilled his wine glass before it was even emptied; and everyone fired questions at him so quickly he didn’t have time to answer any of them. He basically ate and nodded. He later confided to me he had wanted to participate in the conversation, but no one stopped talking long enough for him to say anything.

My poor husband. He comes from a polite family in which there are few interruptions and voice levels are moderate, so it’s no wonder he was totally unprepared for my Italian family where conversations overlap, interruptions are the norm, voices get louder and louder, and chaos can reign supreme.

And now, years later, the same thing was happening to my poor son. I knew it was time for a lesson on the art of interrupting, which is crucial in Italian conversation.

I first explained to him the importance of being vigilant for pauses. Even if it may seem as if there is no cessation in speech, there are in fact moments to speak such as when someone takes a sip of wine or takes a bite of food. Seize these opportunities to jump in the conversation, but be quick because other people will also be looking for them.

I also told him how it’s impossible to address the entire group; instead, address the person sitting next to you. Talk fast, though, so they can’t interrupt.

I then pointed out the necessity of going with the flow. With so many people talking at the same time, shifts in the conversation occur at breakneck speed. One minute the topic might be the recipe for Nonna’s minestrone, but the next it’s natural childbirth. Transitions often don’t make sense, and that’s okay.

Finally, I assured him, when all else fails do what a lot of the men in the family do: when you can’t get a word in edgewise . . . sit back, listen and enjoy the show.

You’ll have the best seat in the house.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I don't know what's more funny ...

(A) That these flag football plays were given to our second grader to learn.

(B) Or that our son took one look at all the X's and O's and said they looked like treasure maps.