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

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

Friday, June 21, 2019



sometimes i have a thought
plucked out of the air
thin and wispy
which poof! disappears
where does it go,
this thought that was but no longer is?

sometimes i have a thought
a cloud-like puff which drifts
to my hands, my legs, my heart,
the words I speak 
propelling me to
create, help, console, dream.

sometimes a cloud thought
is dark, thunder-like
raining seeds of paralysis –
self-doubt, insecurity,
unworthiness, fear.

today i had a thought
i need a thought-weatherman
to herald clouds –  
the wispy, puffy, or thunderous
because sometimes
I can’t tell them apart.

*from the files of very bad poetry by bia

Thursday, June 20, 2019

A Bookstore on a Rainy Afternoon

One rainy afternoon.
A used bookstore.
And I find this ...
which puts me in my happy place.

Road to Rome
(An Artist's Year in Italy)

Travel the road to Rome in this extraordinary illustrated journal of watercolors by 
Marlene McLoughlin. As the artist journeys from Florence to Rome, she captures with 
pen and brush the light, the land, the food, and the character of one of 
the most beautiful places on earth. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

raindrops of many

(To friends who are facing some challenges. You are not alone ...) 

raindrops of many
~from the files of very bad poetry by bia 

reaching forward
and back
joined hands
as one
moving together

and seeing
things unseen
and listening
to words unspoken

through tears
through smiles
elbows linked
and tissues shared

one as two
all as one
the rain
of single drops
water the parched earth

Friday, June 14, 2019

At the Kitchen Table

... Sometimes, in the middle of a loud discussion, or during that lull when everyone takes their first bite of homemade tortellinni which renders them speechless, or when the boys cheer because we're having polenta (which they could eat by the bowlful), or when Nonno is telling one of his corny jokes, I look down the length of the table and want to freeze-frame that moment which seems to hold all the yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows of our family ... (An Ocean, an Airplane, and Two Countries full of Kisses)

During last Sunday's lunch with i Nonni, we managed to beg, plead, cajole, and bribe Jonathan into performing a Billy Joel song on the piano. So while we sat in the kitchen enjoying our post meal espresso, Jonathan entertained us from the dining room with The Ballad of Billy the Kid.

As he was playing I looked at everyone seated around the kitchen table--at Nonna bursting with pride, Nonno grinning from ear to ear, Timothy smiling in disbelief that we actually got Jonathan to play, Joe listening attentively--and captured this moment so I could one day revisit it and experience it all over again.

With a flourish, Jonathan finished the song and was greeted with cheers and rounds of applause. He was a little embarrassed at all the attention, but his dimples flashed as he smiled.

As we were commenting on how remarkable it was that he could play the music from memory, Nonno announced that just the other day he thought of an old song he had learned in grade school, and even though he hadn't thought of that song in over fifty years he can still remember every single word.

"It was called The Arkansas Traveler," he explained. "And I'm going to sing it for you right now."

And he did. 

I've written before how, in the hurricane of our busy lives, this weekly tradition of Sunday lunch with i Nonni is the eye of the storm that keeps us grounded on the things that matter. Faith. Family. Laughter. Tradition. Good food. Music.

Right there at the kitchen table. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

He Came Bearing Gifts

Last week our eldest son returned from a two week trip to Japan. A wonderful merging of schedules brought our older sons to Atlanta at the same time, so my husband and I (along with their baby brother) picked up our international traveler from the airport, checked in to a nearby Marriott, and stayed up late into the night hearing about his travels.

The mini, impromptu family reunion at the Renaissance Concourse Airport Hotel turned into Christmas in June because he came bearing gifts--architecture books, Japanese Pokemon cards, anime and manga collectibles, baseball hat, golf towel, and Japanese legos.

I was presented with a handmade Japanese cooking knife, engraved on one side with the name of the family-owned store, and on the other with NOVAJOSKY in Japanese characters.

As you can tell from the text I sent him yesterday, I love my gift.

Travel weary after a 16-hour flight.

Monday, June 3, 2019

The Little Leather Shop Around the Corner (a La Dolce Vita Travels story)

This past Saturday I was sitting at the Arrivals Terminal at the Atlanta airport when I reached into my leather cross-body bag and noticed this label on the inside ...

Borse in Pelle
Made in Italy

Maybe it was because I was in an airport, but seeing that label brought back memories of the day I purchased the bag during our first Girls' Trip to Italy my sister and I organized a few years ago. Twenty-three of us had just landed in Rome, and because we couldn't yet check-in to our hotel we took the opportunity to explore Piazza del Popolo just a few blocks away. 

As we were wandering around the piazza taking photos, my sister discovered a tiny leather shop around the corner. The shop was so tiny it could barely accommodate all of us, so we took turns going in. 

Which is how, within just TWO HOURS of landing in Rome, many of us walked back to our hotel with red shopping bags containing leather handbags, each one with an interior label stamped ...

Borse in Pelle
Made in Italy