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

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

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Secrets

This afternoon I dropped off our little guy at a friend's house for a sleepover, and as I was talking to the mom she asked me if I had lost weight. When I hesitated, she wanted to know how much and how I did it.

I quickly made a mental list:
  1. I was one of 18 people who accomplished the monumental feat of eating 500+ tortellini in two days.
  2. I ate tiramisu ... three times.
  3. Santa brought the boys Kinder chocolate. I love Kinder chocolate, and all three boys were feeling the Christmas spirit and shared their loot with me.
  4. And just this morning ... I had a cappuccino with 1% milk instead of skim.

So, how to answer her question? In the end, I simply smiled.

After all, who am I to ruin a good thing?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas 2013*

‘Tis one day before Christmas, and all through our house,

We’re ready for Christmas, of that there is no doubt.

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care,

All that’s left are the homemade tortellini to prepare.

At Clemson University Nicholas is filling his head,

But likes to come home and be properly fed.

Classes with numbers, equations and math …

He’s following Joe’s footsteps down the engineering path.

A junior in high school Jonathan’s not shirking

And this past summer, he also started working.

Great student, hard worker, a high basketball scorer,

“Welcome to Arby’s can I take your order?”

Timothy is Timothy, and to our dismay …

The baby of the family, the things he does say!

 “I’ll go to confession exactly on Christmas Eve,

Which should cover me with Santa, I do believe.”

Joe has been traveling … 18 trips this year!

Airports and Marriotts welcome him with cheer.

But lest you think that it’s all about work,

On a golf course his energy he still exerts.

As usual Maria has been busy writing,

Published articles, stories – it’s been so exciting!

But sometimes she comes up with a questionable idea …

This poem, filed as “Very Bad Poetry by Bia”.

All kidding aside, we’re ever mindful of the reason,

We gather and celebrate during this Christmas season.

Remember to keep your many blessings in sight,

Merry Christmas to you, and to all a goodnight!

And yes, Virginia, it does occasionally snow in Georgia.
December 2008

*from the files of very bad poetry by Bia

Friday, December 20, 2013

Follow the Leader (just don't follow me)

Two nights ago my mom, sister and I spent a lovely two hours taking a candlelight tour of the Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina. We had one of the last tour times, so by the time we finished it was almost 10 p.m. when we pulled out of the parking lot and started driving down the winding, two lane road that would lead us off the estate grounds.

During the day, that two lane road is so incredibly beautiful with lush woods, stone bridges, and breathtaking views. But at night, that same drive is very, very dark. There are no street lights, and  our only illumination came from the almost full moon directly overhead. Still a beautiful drive, but one that required my full attention.

At one point I glanced in the rearview mirror and realized that since I had been the first to pull out of the parking lot, I was driving the lead car. I hate when that happens. There were 12 cars behind me, all of them depending on me to follow the exit signs and be on the lookout for deer.

And there were deer. At one point I came to a complete stop, my headlights illuminating the four deer standing in the middle of the road. A family, with two babies. The 12 cars behind me also came to a complete stop, and we all resumed driving only after the deer ran off into the forest.

I was doing a good job of being the leader. Really.

But then I missed a turn. Well, then. No problem. I drove a little further until the road ended in a little cul-de-sac,  and as I was turning around we started laughing -- howling!-- because all 12 cars were circling right behind me.

Was it my fault? Who knows. But you would have thought that ONE of the cars would have seen that sign instead of blindly relying on little ol' me.

Sheep, all of them.

But, I got us -- ALL of us -- out of there.

Good shepherd that I am.

Antler Village, Biltmore Estate
(This was before the wine tasting ... there is no after photo,
and of that you should be grateful.)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Kaopectate for Santa?

I'm in the middle of an article, and Timothy wants to discuss what snack we should leave for Santa. Every year he is worried that Santa is tired of cookies, so he likes to come up with something different.

"What should I leave Santa this year?" he asks. "I know, how about a bowl of cereal!"

"Well," I say. "The only problem is that we don't know exactly when Santa will come, and the cereal might get soggy."

Timothy nods in agreement.

"I know!" Timothy says. "How about a grapefruit? He might like that!"

"That's a good idea," I agree. "A nice, healthy option. Mrs. Claus would approve."

"Actually, maybe that wouldn't work," Timothy says. "It might give him diarrhea, and that wouldn't be good at all."

Sunday, December 15, 2013

To My Math Man

A Mathematical Equation by Bia

31: our first official date, December 31

6: the number of months we dated,
the number of months we were engaged

15: our wedding day, December 15

136: the street number of our very first house

10: the number of months we lived in Santa Fe, NM

506: the street number for our adobe home in Santa Fe

1995: Nicholas is born

1996: Jonathan is born

3479: the street number for the house we built

2004: Timothy is born

5: the number of stockings hung by the chimney with care

3: God’s gifts to us: Nicholas, Jonathan, Timothy

23: the number of years we’ve been married

Add them all together,
and you have 10, 209 reasons why I married Joey.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

And to all good night . . .

Tonight I will sleep.

I won't be listening for odd noises, or getting up to make sure windows and doors are locked, or have a sleepless night like I do when Joe is out of town.

I won't wait up listening for Jonathan's car to come down the driveway after his shift at Arby's.

I won't stay awake thinking about Nicholas who is away at Clemson.

No, I won't do any of those things because tonight ... we are all home.


And tonight I will sleep.


Friday, December 6, 2013

The Story of a Sweater

In early November I was at the mall when I came across a cobalt blue sweater at New York & Co. that I really liked. As someone whose wardrobe color palette is in the brown/black/neutral category, the fact that I was even looking at a bright blue sweater was big. HUGE.

But, it was $49.99 and I knew I could get it on sale. Eventually. If I were lucky ... and patient.

I checked back a week later, no sale. The week before Thanksgiving it was on sale at Buy One Get One 50% off, but let me just say I hate those kind of sales. I just wanted one.

We were out of town on Thanksgiving, so I pretty much gave up the idea of ever getting that sweater. I mean, what were the chances my sweater would survive Black Friday and all the post Thanksgiving sales?

Yesterday I had an errand at Barnes & Noble, and because New York & Co. is just across the way, I popped in to ... you know ... just in case. I didn't see the sweater hanging anywhere. Darn. But then ... THEN ... I walked by the clearance rack and I saw ONE blue sweater left.

 In my size.

It's as if everything fell into place. I mean, I was destined to have that sweater. And the best thing of all? Well, just look ... and score one for me!


Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Sound of Music (kinda, sorta)

Tonight I will be watching Carrie Underwood's live stage version of The Sound of Music and, needless to say, I've been humming the songs all day long. I've also been thinking about this little incident ...

In college I had two friends (both guys) who were annoying, funny, quirky and irreverent, but I put up with them mostly because they played on my sympathies. They were not church goers, and they teased me about going to church and being so involved with the Catholic Center, but for some reason they liked to come visit me and talk. (On a side note, I did once get one of them -- a fallen away Catholic -- to come with me to confessions during Lent.)

Anyway, one Saturday night, long after I had gone to sleep, I awoke to the most awful racket. Standing outside my dorm window (I was on the first floor) these two slightly inebriated knuckleheads (just being honest here), were loudly singing, How do you solve a problem like Maria? They sang every verse. At the top of the lungs. At two in the morning. And if they couldn't remember a line, they just made one up.

Did I mention they were annoying?

But it did make me smile. And it still does.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Asante Sana, Sister

I knew the day was coming, but it came too quickly.

Sister Gaudiosa -- my sister in Christ, my Tanzanian friend, my inspiration for all that is good -- is returning to her native country. I cannot express how she has touched our lives, and I still marvel at the miracle which brought together two women from different countries, who grew up in two very different cultures, both of them living very different vocations.

After I heard the news, I knew I wanted to give her something, but what? She can only take back with her what she can carry; in fact, in the past two weeks she has been giving away all her possessions. In the end, I gave her the only thing I could: I went through my blog and printed out all my "sister stories", I made copies of articles I had written for Canticle Magazine and the Marianite which were about her, and I put all these in a packet and mailed them to her. There were a lot of stories.

She leaves this week, and in a recent email she said she has nothing to give me but her prayers.

Only her prayers, she says. To me, that is everything, and I am richly blessed.

Asante sana, dear Sister.

Hello Maria,
Happy Thanksgiving. My goodness you suprised me  when I found all the stories about me. I spent a lot of time reading and laughing.  You are a good writer. It was a long journey where I came from. I do remember the first time I came to visit you. Timonthy was like two years old. He crawled and hid himself back to the coach for few minutes, and then he came to me with a big smile and he started playing with me and we became friends.
You will be in my memories and prayers. I hope I will  see you again. Nothing is impossible to God. I appreciate for your gift. I have nothing to give you expect my prayers and just the words, Asante sana. Karibu Tanzania.
Lala salama or usiku mwame.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

The first fire of the season

The first fire of the season is always detrimental to our health because the first fire of the season means opening the chimney flue and having a wasp nest fall KERPLOP! right into our roaring fire.

Some of the wasps kindly expire on the spot, but some heartier ones survive to fly around in a smoky stupor.

After several years of this we all know the routine: the first fire of the season means that when the fire starter (Joe) reaches for the chimney flue handle, the rest of us vacate until it's safe to return.

So, as I am typing this I hear the fire roaring in the family room. I also hear a lot of THWAKS! as Joe does battle with yet another flying intruder. This year the battle seems particularly fierce.

And as long as those THWAKS! continue, you know where NOT to find me.