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.