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

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

Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Panera Adventure which Inspired a New Year's Post

Early this morning I rolled out of bed and decided to surprise everyone with cinnamon crunch bagels from Panera.

This is what I was wearing when I walked out our back door: my pajamas.
Yes, indeed.

My nightgown hung below my coat, but I hoped people would think it was a tunic. I was wearing my pajama leggings, but I slipped on my mukluks in an attempt (a rather feeble one) to go for a ski resort effect, or something. I coiled a scarf around my neck for good measure and wore my biggest pair of sunglasses. My hair was in a ponytail; I hadn’t even looked in the mirror.

The only thing going for me? I was color coordinated with varying shades of black and grey (no lectures, please).

Fifteen minutes later I was walking into Panera and here were my thoughts: Please, God, don’t let me bump into anyone I know. Please, God, don’t let anyone recognize me. Please, God, don’t let a camera-yielding reporter from the Augusta Chronicle be here asking everyone for their New Year’s Resolutions.

And then this happened:

“Welcome to Panera!” boomed the chirpy Panera employee. “Wow! Don’t you look nice and put together this early Saturday morning. I just love your outfit.”

She was totally sincere.

Everyone turned to look at me – EVERYONE – and while my initial reaction was to melt into a puddle of embarrassment, I instead decided to fully embrace the moment by giving everyone my biggest, brightest, most all-inclusive smile. And people smiled back.

I'm back home now, and as I eat my cinnamon crunch bagel and sip my frothy cappuccino, I have decided to put aside my original New Year’s post (which, by the way, was appropriately introspective and nostalgic) and instead go with my Panera Adventure which, as it turns out, yielded some beautiful lessons: life is messy and full of the unknown but that messy and unknown can still be good; that sometimes we need to step out of our head and just be; that many times how we perceive ourselves is not how people see us; and that sometimes we just need to be present in the moment and roll with it.

All lessons that can be resolutions.

And so from someone who is still in her pajamas, I wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Nonna to the Rescue

Yesterday Timothy was following me around the kitchen, worried.

"I think I've been MOSTLY good. I mean, sometimes I wasn't, but MOSTLY I was. Do you think I've been good?" he asked.

"I think that worrying about this on December 23rd is a little late," I replied.

Timothy stopped pacing.

"That's it," he announced. "I'm calling Nonna."

And after he finished talking with Nonna, he handed me the phone and I got a lecture.



Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Good Man

Last night I was sitting in the van with Nicholas in a not very nice section of town. Our reliable (at least until that moment) Neon had quit while on the drive home from work, and I had come to pick up Joe and Nicholas. It was dark and cold. We were watching Joe, across the street, call the insurance company, arrange for a tow truck and then, over an hour later, help Wayne’s Towing Service load our Nissan onto the bed of the truck. All while this was going on I thought over the past couple of days when Joe helped the boys order their books for next semester, fixed the garbage disposal, reviewed Timothy’s math homework, investigated a fraud alert on my Costco credit card, and bought me a dozen roses for our anniversary.

“Your father takes such good care of us,” I said softly to Nicholas. “He is a good man and works hard.”

And sitting there, in the cold and dark in the not so nice part of town, my heart was full.

Happy Anniversary, Joey. Twenty-six years and counting.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Life Lately: A Week of Quick Takes


Morning cappuccino with a friend. Great way to start the week.
cappuccino and girlfriend talk


Done, done, and done. Christmas shopping, that is, and so I spent the morning listening to my Pandora Christmas station and wrapping presents. Before you get mad at me, just know that I was able to do this for two reasons:  1/ we keep presents to a minimum and 2/ most of my shopping is done online. Amazon Prime is my best friend. So is the mailman. I still have to get a few things (stocking stuffers, for example), but nothing that will necessitate me going to the mall or Toys R Us on a Saturday afternoon (the very thought makes me shudder).
Christmas tunes on Pandora


Christmas Bunco: What can I say about a group of friends who have gotten together once a month for the past 15 years for dinner, Bunco, and good times? Sometimes the only words are those engraved on the heart.
Christmas Bunco 2016


A Night on the town: I went with some friends to Aiken for The Night of 100 Lights complete with luminaries, carolers, festively decorated stores, and free samples – cookies! wine! shrimp & grits! Did I mention the free wine?
Aiken, SC
Night of 1000 Lights


A perfect evening: A Christmas tree, three boxes of ornaments, and all the boys home. This mom’s heart was full.
Decorating the tree


An Afternoon trifecta: a basketball game, Mass, and dinner at Arby’s.  All in a row, one after the other. Oh, and Jonathan’s former co-worker was working behind the counter so he treated us to milkshakes and turnovers.
basketball, Mass, Arby's ...
in that order


Lunch with i Nonni: Despite a lunch of Tuscan pork tenderloin, garlic mashed potatoes, dumplings, and apple/cranberry salad, the ONLY compliment I received was for these hideous cookies. Go figure.
These cookies (snowmen that look like ghosts and Christmas trees that look like arrows)
 are proof as to why I love to cook ...
but hate to bake.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving Full

Thanksgiving is, without a doubt, my favorite holiday. It's an uncomplicated holiday -- one that is simply about sitting down with family and friends and breaking bread together. Really, it doesn’t get better than that. This year Thanksgiving was extra special.

Thanksgiving Gathering

It’s all about family

And lots of it. Although we were hosting for Joe’s side of the family, because my parents live locally and I have siblings nearby, Thanksgiving was a coming together of both sides. Joe and I are very blessed in that not only do we have wonderful parents and siblings, but our families know each other and get along.  I love, for example, that my brother-in-law went fishing with my father and that my sister-in-law was helping my sister bargain shop for a Nespresso machine.

Taking it outside

From the moment we started planning, I knew that we would be dining outside under a canopy of red, yellow, and orange leaves – the bounty of family and food nestled within the bounty of nature.
Twenty-two around the table.

Thanksgiving Day Weekend

With family arriving from Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, Thanksgiving was a weekend affair. And we kept everyone busy . . .

Wednesday night: the Novajosky Soup Kitchen (soup, salad, fruit salad) officially opened for anyone who rolled into town at any time.

Thursday: Thanksgiving dinner
Give Thanks (printed from Pinterest)

Place settings (harvest leaves also found on Pinterest)
The buffet line.
Cousins waiting for the dinner bell.

My sister made the most decorative pumpkin pie.
We could not have asked for more perfect weather.

Thursday night: S’mores, wine, conversation, and laughter around the fire pit.
There is something magical about gathering around a fire.

Friday: Picnic at Hamilton Branch State Park with fishing, boat rides from Nonno, cornhole, and golf. Golf?!?  Why yes, golf.  With an island just offshore, Joe brought clubs and a box of 150+ old golf balls and challenged everyone to hit “closest to the pin” (a marker in the middle of the island). I can’t say for sure, but a LOT of balls landed in the lake.
1. too far away  2. a little closer   3. perfect distance
Will and Matt heading out with Nonno for a boat ride.
Closest to the pin.
Hamilton Branch State Park
(for the picnic, our number grew to 27 when my brother's family joined us)
Friday night: the girls attended The Nutcracker at the Imperial Theater.
My sister-in-law saying hello to James Brown before heading to the
The Nutcracker at the Imperial Theater.
Saturday: visiting Aiken
Aiken was bursting with fall colors.

Football and Shopping

From the moment we parked in downtown Aiken, there was a problem. What to do with all the guys while the gals explored the stores along Laurens Street? THE SOLUTION: park them in the upstairs sports bar of the Aiken Brewing Company. With a gazillion televisions broadcasting every football game known to man, and fortified with a hearty lunch, the guys were perfectly content to stay right where they were and the gals were free to explore and shop.
Aiken Brewing Company for Papa and the guys.

Thanksgiving Full

By Saturday evening everyone had gone. Our driveway, which had looked like a car lot for three days, was empty. When Joe, the boys and I came home from Mass, we sat around the fireplace and shared memories from the weekend. It was all so very good.
And then there was one ...
I'm not going to lie. Sunday I was tired and stayed in my pj's all day,
but it was a good tired. A contented tired. A grateful tired.
And I would do it all again.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Story of a Vote

               Last Saturday my husband and I voted, which just happened to be the day after the FBI’s announcement concerning Hillary Clinton’s emails. But the headlines weren’t a factor in us going to vote; simply, for several weeks the date had been marked on our calendar with a smiley face and the words Go Vote! written in cheerful purple ink.

                But that morning as I inserted my ballot into the machine I was anything but cheerful. And I wasn’t smiling. This entire election season has weighed heavily on me not only because of its contentiousness, but because our two eldest sons would be voting in their first general election and I was viewing the entire process through their eyes.

                “Our first time voting for president and these are our choices?” asked one son.

                Yes, indeed. After a primary season of drawn battle lines and hurled insults, after more qualified candidates were ignored or forced out, and after the dust finally settled, like it or not, these were our choices for president. And just when we thought it couldn’t get any more sordid, it did, and the entire nation entered a political season the likes of which will be talked about for generations.

                As a writer, I haven’t been shy about sharing my struggle about this election. During the primaries this past March, I wrote a guest column for The Augusta Chronicle in which I listed all the reasons why I could not vote for Donald Trump (One key question canhelp us recognize our role in the political arena, Sunday, March 6, 2016). At the time, I honestly thought that out of so many qualified nominees, there was no way he could win the nomination. Boy did I get it wrong.

                So like many voters, I was in a bad place. I strongly disliked Trump, and I felt the same about Clinton. In many ways I was very bipartisan in my inherent distrust of both candidates. I suppose the pollsters would have labeled me an undecided voter, but I wasn’t so much undecided as disgusted. What to do?

                There was no end to the advice – from family, friends, talk show hosts, political pundits, and experts.  Many cautioned to think long term; that is, ignore the candidate and vote on a single issue or strictly for the party’s platform. In theory, a single issue vote made sense – and for me that would be the Pro-Life ticket – but in reality it would mean casting a vote while holding my breath, pinching my nose, and ignoring the elephant in the room (no pun intended). Figuratively, I’d still be standing next to a person I didn’t believe in.

                Voting third party, then, was another option. This was new territory for me, which was daunting only because I was starting fresh. I had to learn, read, and investigate my options.

                Then there are those who advised me to brandish my vote like a weapon to stick it to the other side. I admired these voters because they were so sure, but in their single-minded quest to keep out the other candidate they ignored any scandal, FBI investigation, sexual assault, or outrageous video that put their candidate in a bad light; furthermore, when their candidate did something wrong they’d protest how the other candidate did something even more wrong.

                It’s funny (but really it’s not) because all I could ever see were flaws – serious ones – on both sides.

                What ever happened to casting a vote for someone?

                Maybe I’ve been too idealistic, but in past elections I always thought of my vote as an expression of what I am voting for; in other words, a vote was my way of saying I believe, hope, and trust you; here is my vote because I have every confidence you will lead our country well, with honor and integrity, and that you will be a role model for our children.

                Except this time I can’t say any of that about either candidate. I cannot extol their virtues, sing their praises, or put them on a pedestal. Neither candidate is worthy of my vote, but one will get it because despite all the mess, I will vote. Too many have sacrificed so I can have that privilege, and I will always honor that gift.

                So I went to vote last Saturday, and standing next to me was our twelve year old son who, along with his older brothers, is learning that sometimes a leader is not a role model, sometimes life gives us choices in which there are no clear answers, and sometimes we need to struggle to do the right thing.

                “I insert the card here,” I whispered to my son. “Then I go through each page and check the boxes. And look, here on the last page, it says ‘CAST YOUR BALLOT.’”

                And so I did.

                In the end, what did I decide? Well, I’m going to leave it there, preferring to let that question mark represent all who struggled, like I did, with what to do.  And hopefully the openness of a question mark – an unknown future, if you will – will lead us on a pathway to something nobler because, as a nation, we can do better than being forced to make the best bad choice.


Monday, October 31, 2016

Seeking Sympathy

"Nonna, listen to this. We went to church this past Saturday night, like we always do. Then I will go to church on Monday because that's when the seventh grade goes. Tuesday I go again for All Saints' Day, on Friday we have our all school Mass, and then we'll be back again Saturday night. That's FIVE times in eight days. You need say a prayer for me so I'll survive."

~Timothy, in a voicemail to Nonna who is always the recipient on any news related to church or church attendance.


Friday, October 28, 2016

When to be Sweet as Pie

Poor Joe. He doesn't know what awaits.

As I write this I am waiting for him to come home after running a quick errand. He promised me that today -- his day off -- we will hang a few pictures in our rec room.

But by "we" I mean him, and by "a few" I mean ... more than a few.

And it's going to involve much more than pounding a nail. My "few" items are oversized, heavy, and will require some drilling. He's going to have to find studs, anchor screws, and be very precise.

So, here is a graphic on what the next couple of hours will look like:



I'm going to be sweet as pie and not even mention the two lighting fixtures we need to hang in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

It's Fall, Y'all (Actually, It's Not)

Here we are at the end of October, but it doesn't feel like October should feel. At all. The temps through the weekend are going to be in the mid-80's and, I don't know about you, but that totally depresses me.

Last weekend we spent three days in the mountains where I felt like I could finally breathe. Deeply. Crisp mountain air, clear skies and low temperatures made me feel energized ... alive ... healthy.

And then we came home to more of the same old, same old.

So today, I decided to put up some autumn décor in a feeble attempt to at least pretend that it's fall. I planted flowers, spray painted flower boxes, hung up wreaths, and decorated the front porch.

And sweated the entire time.

So even though it's October (but not fall) I'm going to be Scrooge (even thought it's not even December) and say, "Bah-humbug."

It's just all messed up.

Front Door

Front Entrance

They may not be terribly sophisticated, but yellow pansies make me happy.
(I spray painted the flower boxes a nice brown for fall.)

Back Door

Thursday, October 13, 2016

It Began with a Little Box of Hair Color

This morning I had an appointment with a little box of hair color which, after the application, shampoo and styling, made me feel like a new person.

In fact, with the new hair color and the perfect (read: not humid) weather, I was on track to having a good hair day.

And anything is possible when I am having a good hair day. So with a spring in my step I headed out to run some errands, none of which were exciting -- bank, Costco, Office Max -- but the day was bright with the sunshine of possibility.

Then I made an impulse stop at a furniture consignment store.


As you may know, I have been re-doing our rec/entertainment room and scouring the internet for various items: farm table, lighting, accent lamps, and two parsons chairs. The chairs were suggested by a very talented friend who thought that Parsons chairs would add a little contrast/color to the wood farm table and chairs. I liked the idea, but didn't like the prices I found at Pier One, Wayfair, Amazon, or Joss & Main (prices ranged anywhere from $80-$160).

But in that consignment store this morning, I stumbled upon two BRAND NEW Parsons chairs. For only $27 each. Including the beautifully custom designed chair covers.

And my day kept getting better: Joe arrived home safely after being gone all week, no school or work tomorrow means a three-day weekend for all, Georgialina Billiards (who has rescheduled their appointment twice) is finally here changing the cloth on our pool table, and I lost five pounds.

Okay, kidding about the five pounds. I think. But clothes are fitting more loosely, so I'll just go with it.

I'm telling you ... a little box of hair color. That's all it takes.


Monday, October 10, 2016

You Can't Fool Me

"Oh no. You can't fool me. Timothy's class just read Rudyard Kipling's Rikki Tikki Tavi and the evil Nagaina laid 25 snake eggs. Twenty-five! How do you know we don't have 25 snake eggs under our porch steps?"

~Me to Joe, who tried to reassure me that the not-your-garden-variety snake he just killed at the bottom of our porch steps was the only one.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Of Two Minds

Of Two Minds
It could be.
But it’s not.
Be happy with your lot.
It could be.
But it’s not.
Try and give it a shot.
*from the files of very bad poetry by bia


Friday, September 23, 2016

Hello Weekend

Benjamin Moore first stop of the day
Paint to channel my inner Monet.
Interviewed a priest from the mid-west 
Post office, Publix, carpool … I’m stressed! 
Then homemade chicken nuggets to dine
Later, this poem. Do I have the time?!
But the setting sun’s just ‘round the bend 
Two days to unwind … hello weekend. 
*from the files of very bad poetry by bia

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Revolution of One

Once upon a time someone accused me of being prejudiced.

I had recently graduated from college and was teaching Spanish and English Literature at an inner city public high school. It was not an easy year, but I learned a lot working with students from every race and ethnic background. Paradoxically, most of what I learned came from the problem students, and I had two of them in my Study Hall.

For thirty minutes every afternoon those two arrived in my classroom with no intention of studying. One student was black, the other was white, and both had reputations which meant that both spent a good portion of their high school career either suspended or in detention. Together, they were Trouble.

One day I walked into the room after the bell rang and announced, “All right people. Let’s settle down and open your books.”

All of a sudden, the black student stood up so quickly that his chair scooted back and hit the wall with a crash.

“What do you mean by people?” he demanded. “Are you talking to the black people in here?”

Outwardly I remained calm; inwardly I was stunned. The class, which up until that moment had been filled with the noise of 17 students settling in their desks, was now deathly silent. Nothing had prepared me for this, but as I looked at that student standing defiantly in the aisle, as I heard the white student snicker, I instinctively knew that I would not, could not allow him to pull me down that rabbit hole. So I calmly told him to either sit down or go talk to the principal.

He chose to go talk to the principal. And on the way to the office he ranted to everyone he met how I had singled him out because he was black.

Now, no one took him seriously. Not the principal and not the students in that Study Hall. Still, as unfounded as his accusations were, the words had been hurled into the air to scatter like confetti and that bothered me.

It bothered me that he labeled me in such a despicable manner and that nothing I could ever do or say was going to convince him otherwise. He had taken the very essence of who I was – the ideals and beliefs upon which I stood and taught – and reduced everything to the color of my skin. And the color of his. How could I defend myself from what he chose to believe about me?

The fact is I couldn’t. He believed what he believed. The only thing I could do was continue to teach my students with love and example. I would not let him change who I was and, most importantly, not allow him to change how I saw others. 

A few months later I had an opportunity to address this issue when I overheard some of my students in the hallway laughing at another teacher's quirky character trait. When class began I drew a blob-like design in the middle of a large piece of paper and went around the room asking everyone what they saw. Some students saw a circle, some a black hole, while others said it was a planet or a man’s profile. I asked every student in that room and not one single person – not one! – said they saw the piece of paper.

When I pointed this out to them they became quiet. They had been laughing at the very same teacher who stayed after school to help them with their homework and who checked on them when they were absent. Some of the students looked embarrassed, but just as I had refused to let the actions of one student define all others, I wanted my little lesson to be a reminder not to reduce the whole of a person to one, limiting label.

The school year ended and I never saw that black student again. I don’t know what happened to him, but I often think of him. I wish I could invite him over for dinner, or introduce him to my sons and watch them play basketball together in the driveway. I wish he could meet Sister Gaudiosa who has stayed with us over summers and Christmas vacations – a nun from Tanzania who is a sister to me in every way but blood.

These past few months, as my husband and I watched the horrific events unfold in Dallas and Milwaukee, as images of angry protestors marched across our television screen, as two presidential nominees continue to accuse one another of being racist, I often think back to my first year of teaching.  If there was one thing I learned that year it was this: people are people and ultimately – in all the ways that matter – we are more alike than we are different. It sounds so simple, but if we can embrace that one fundamental truth and see Christ’s presence in others, then it’s impossible to go to a place where you can’t see past someone’s race, ethnicity, or religion.

Change is not easy. We can fight racism in the courts, condemn it from the pulpits or broadcast its effects in the news, but ultimately it’s up to each and every individual to decide on whether to include or to exclude, to respect or to resist, to accept or to condemn. It may seem terribly elusive, but to see a change we have to be the change.

Think of it as a Revolution of One in which we all play a part.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Worst Week EVER

"This has been the worst week ever," announced Timothy when I picked him up from school this afternoon.

"Worst week ever, EVER?" I asked.

"Ever." he said.

"Of your entire life?"

He nodded.

Oh boy. He's only 12 and it's only Wednesday.

So on the way home he told me about this and about that. There wasn't one specific thing, just a bunch of little things that, when added together, did indeed make it seem like the worst week EVER.

And in listening to him, I realized I had forgotten how rough these middle school years can be. It's a messy, confusing time. A time in which sometimes kids need to figure things out by themselves.

Joe and I have always said that one of the hardest things about parenting is finding the wisdom (and courage) to step back and allow our sons to work things out on their own. Our son had a bad day, I knew that, but I also knew there was nothing I could do to fix the problem. Offer words of encouragement? Yes, of course. Try to make him laugh? Sure. Pray? Yes, often and sometimes desperately.

But fix the problem? No, not all the time.

So I listened to him, gave him some advice, told a corny joke, and assured him that things always look better the next day.

Then we stopped at McDonald's because, you know, sometimes French fries help, too.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Pep Talk in the Mirror

Here's what I like to do: after a gym workout I walk in the locker room and look in the mirror --  not because I look good (believe me, I'm a hot mess) but because I like to take in my sweaty red face, my sweaty hair and my sweaty workout clothes, and know that I worked hard.

This morning, after an hour and a half, I was beyond frightening.

And that's a good thing.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Story of an Afternoon

With my Math Man out of town, guess who has to help with math homework?

Yeah, you guessed right.


After an hour being surrounded by variables, distributive properties, associative properties, and algebraic expressions, Timothy and I were like this ...


So I decided to cook fish for dinner. Brain food. We needed it. And after eating we were like this ...



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Truth or Dare: in which we (mostly) tell the truth and (mostly) perform all dares

When Timothy came home from school last Friday, he went looking for a snack and emerged from the pantry holding a fistful of green straws. GREEN STRAWS! He was so excited. Then he gathered paper, markers, and an entire roll of scotch tape and made giant dice.

Of course, now we had to come up with a game just so we could use the dice. So that night while we were watching the Olympics we rolled the dice to play Truth or Dare – an even number meant a dare, and an odd number meant a truth.  

We played during commercials, and because there were LOTS and LOTS of commercials, there were plenty of opportunities to play our own version of Truth or Dare in which we (mostly) told the truth and (mostly) performed all dares.  

The Truths

Me to Joe: What is the most annoying thing about me?
Joe: Your procrastination.
Huh. I KNEW he was going to say that.

But later he redeemed himself:

Me to Joe: Do you find me as attractive now as the day we first met?
Joe: Even more so!


Me to Timothy: Which girl do you like best in the seventh grade?
Timothy:  ------
He got all red, and he was all smiles, but absolutely, unequivocally, steadfastly refused to answer.
Darn. I was hoping to get the scoop.


Timothy to me: Who is your favorite son?
Me to Timothy: Because you’re right here, right now, right in this very second … you.


The Dares

While the dares I issued were all about stuffing 10 potato chips in your mouth or waltzing with me for one minute (I got my guys to dance!) Timothy and Joe were all about timed sprints up and down stairs, the number of pushups in under one minute, or races around the house.

I’m telling you, with commercials popping up every 8 ½ minutes we got a workout.

But here was the BEST dare of the night.

Timothy to Joe: I dare you to read the first page of this book out loud.

Then he reached blindly into our bookshelf and handed Joe a book. But not just any book. He handed Joe THE SONNETS, poems of love by William Shakespeare. So Joe began reading …

Joe to me: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day …

And during all 14 lines he was laughing, Timothy was groaning, and I was like …


Friday, August 19, 2016

The Blue Pillow

Men are basically uncomplicated creatures, but I still can’t figure them out. Honestly, I don’t have a clue.

Take their powers of observation, for example. My guys don’t notice when I rearrange furniture, place a new quilt on their bed, or fix an elaborate meal. When I ask if they like my haircut they are puzzled: “You got a haircut?”

Really, not the most observant creatures.

But then something like The Blue Pillow happens which just confirms their alien-ness.

So yesterday, up to my elbows in a deep house cleaning, I decided to place this blue pillow on our reading chair in the family room. I thought a little pop of color would be nice.

And one by one, that blue pillow stopped my guys in their tracks.

 “What’s up with the blue pillow?”

“Where did you get that blue pillow?”

“Why is there a blue pillow on the chair?”

Well. It’s as if the tectonic plates in the earth’s crust shifted, or the stars aligned in some fantastical way, or the events in Area 51 really happened because that blue pillow crash landed in their consciousness.

Folks. I literally walked that blue pillow 20 feet from the rec room to our family room. That blue pillow has been around since the older boys were in grade school. That blue pillow has been used for pillow fights and indoor forts.

And they act as if they've never seen it before.

Like I said, mind-boggling.

The Blue Pillow

Men are basically uncomplicated creatures, but I still can’t figure them out. Honestly, I don’t have a clue.

Take their powers of observation, for example. My guys don’t notice when I rearrange furniture, place a new quilt on their bed, or fix an elaborate meal. When I ask if they like my haircut they are puzzled: “You got a haircut?”

Really, not the most observant creatures.

But then something like The Blue Pillow happens which just confirms their alien-ness.

So yesterday, up to my elbows in a deep house cleaning, I decided to place this blue pillow on our reading chair in the family room. I thought a little pop of color would be nice.

And one by one, that blue pillow stopped my guys in their tracks.

 “What’s up with the blue pillow?”

“Where did you get that blue pillow?”

“Why is there a blue pillow on the chair?”

Well. It’s as if the tectonic plates in the earth’s crust shifted, or the stars aligned in some fantastical way, or the events in Area 51 really happened because that blue pillow crash landed in their consciousness.

Folks. I literally walked that blue pillow 20 feet from the rec room to our family room. That blue pillow has been around since the older boys were in grade school. That blue pillow has been used for pillow fights and indoor forts.

And they act as if they've never seen that blue pillow before.

Like I said, mind-boggling.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Maria's Bruschetta

Bruschetta ... so many variations, so many wonderful combinations!

Today I used toasted flatbread, tomatoes, endive lettuce, fresh mozzarella, sea salt, pepper, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar from Modena.