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

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

Saturday, January 30, 2010

What's the lesson here . . .

for the young athlete who shows up for each and every basketball practice, but doesn't get noticed?

for the parents who cheer from the stands, clapping at each and every basket . . . none of them the young athlete's because he's sitting on the bench?

for the young athlete who sits on the bench, high fiving subs as they come in and out of the game?

for the parents who smile, painfully aware that the young athlete only played a minute in the first quarter, four minutes the entire game, or not at all?

for the young athlete who really is quite good but, for whatever reason, is never allowed to prove himself?

for the parents who contribute to the coach's gift, despite the fact he never gives the young athlete a chance?

for the young athlete who, after celebrating with the team, gets into the car discouraged and feeling inadequate?

for the parents who don't know what to say to him?

What's the lesson here?

If you have one, tell me, because I surely don't know.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

An Early Morning

This morning I got up early . . . very early. One minute I was asleep, and the next I was totally wide awake.

And excited about something.

But I didn't know why.

I put on my powder blue flannel nightshirt that, because it is over-sized and reaches to my ankles, I wear as a robe. My mother-in-law made me that nightshirt, and if there were a word whose definition included warm/comfort/love/home, all rolled into one, it would be my nightshirt.

Walking downstairs, I felt the excitement of children on Christmas morning seconds before they round the corner to storm the family room and see what Santa brought.

I went outside to get the newspaper.

In the middle of the driveway, in my over-sized flannel nightshirt, I gloried in the crisp, cool, fresh morning air.

I gazed at the midnight blue-black sky, liberally sprinkled with stars as far as the eye could see.

The streetlight cast a light so gentle that it was like a whisper.

I marvelled at the stillness of it all.

And I had one of those moments . . . you know, the kind that come out of no where.

The kind of moment that isn't planned, or thought out, or cluttered with the craziness of life.

The kind of moment that is a gift so pure it simply requires you to reach out and take hold of it.

The kind of moment that makes you happy, gloriously happy, that you are alive.

No wonder I had been excited.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesdays with Nonna (part 2)

Tonight is Jonathan's turn.

Breakfast in a Cup

Last Sunday we stopped to get gas on the way home from church. My sons noticed an advertisement for breakfast in a cup, and they thought it the coolest idea ever.

Now, let me say right here and now that we are a cereal-granola-yougurt-fruit for breakfast kind of family. On weekends we might have muffins, but for the most part we get a good portion of our fruit, whole grains, and dairy servings for the day with this one meal.

The thought of breakfast in a cup -- scrambled eggs mixed with sausage pieces, all served in a leeching styrofoam cup with a plastic spoon -- made my skin crawl. And the fact that it was cooked and served in a gas station gave me indigestion.

I mean, ewwwww. Yuck.

But the boys talked about breakfast in a cup all. day. long. At noon, they suggested returning to the gas station and having breakfast in a cup for lunch. The subject came up again at dinner. Really, I was starting to feel like a mean, bad mommy.

So, this morning the boys came down to this...

Breakfast in a Cup, (the Mom version)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sometimes One is not Enough

boys' school schedule, boys' sports schedule, dental appointments, social inc. schedule, joe's travel schedule, kindergarten volunteer schedule, birthdays, anniversaries . . . there just wasn't enough room on one calendar anymore.

so, i added another bulletin board and filled out two calendars: one for the boys' school/sports schedule, and one for everything else.

i even used color-coded pens (insert wink).

and that's what makes my monday: getting organized.

now go visit cheryl for some more makes my monday fun!

-grazie, jill, for the italia calendar
-grazie, dami & irene, for the canadian calendar!

Friday, January 22, 2010

My Husband Wants His Wisdom Teeth Pulled, Too

...especially when he saw this homemade card that Nonna and Nonno gave Nicholas post surgery.

Note reads:
Poor Nicholas! Ouch!
Sometimes Pain Pays!
Nonno and Nonna

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I was once in Haiti

When I was a senior in high school, one of the teachers at our school was part of a medical mission trip to Haiti. I was one of five students chosen to go along with this team of doctors and nurses. Here are some of my memories...
After arriving in Port-au-Prince, we boarded one of these trucks (called a tap-tap) and traveled 18 hours through desert, jungle, and mountains to reach a small village called Jean Rabel. Along the way, long after the sun had gone down, our tap-tap got stuck in mud. We unloaded much of our equipment in complete and total darkness, and between rocking and pushing the truck we managed to get it free.

Inside the tap-tap. Believe me, after 18 hours of being jostled, not only were we incredibly sore, but every crevice (eyelids, ears, etc.) was filled with a fine layer of sand and dirt. We were crunching on sand for days.

Jean Rabel. This hut was typical of housing. We slept and held clinic hours in a church.

The first morning was spent sorting supplies: medicines, vitamins, and baby formula.

By the second day, word had spread throughout the area that we were holding a week-long clinic, and before sunrise there were over a thousand people waiting outside the doors.

Anyone who wasn't seen that day spent the night so they could be the first in line the next morning.

A man with elephantiasis. There was nothing we could do for him.

As a student, one of my duties was to wash infants and toddlers, getting them ready to be seen by the doctor. This baby was suffering from pellagra, a vitamin diffeciency...

...and I fell in love with her.

Afterword: My trip to Haiti was the first time I witnessed extreme poverty. I didn't think things could get worse than that.

Then came the 2010 earthquake...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Answering my Nephew's Email

my dear favorite nephew christopher,

first of all, you are my favorite because you read my blog. your MOM doesn't read my blog. NONNA doesn't even read my blog. but left me some comments...i like you...a lot!

and yes, nicholas did get his learner's permit. he was so nervous, but he passed and now thinks he's something special.

but i put him in his place...when we were walking out of the building i was looking at his provisional certificate and i said, "oh no! they have you down as an 'f' for female". i was joking, but he almost had a heart attack. then i started laughing like crazy (you know, the kind of laughing that annoys your mom).

so, he can't wait to get behind the wheel...but it won't be this weekend because on friday he gets ALL FOUR WISDOM TEETH SURGICALLY REMOVED and it's kind of hard to drive with your mouth stuffed with gauze and your cheeks puffed out to the curb.

well, got to go...i have to go stock up on ice-cream, yogurt, bananas, pudding, and mashed potatoes.

bia, your favorite auntie

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Message from Nonno

Uh, this is Nonno. This message is for Nicholas.

Congratulations on passing the test for your learner's permit. But listen, if you would be so kind as to let me know when you're going to be on the road...I'll just keep my car in the garage.

Ciao. Love you.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Waiting for the End

Towards the end of Mass today our five-year-old, who up to that point had been fidgeting, suddenly became very still and tilted his head toward the altar as if listening for something.

Then, at the moment the priest announced, "The Mass has ended, go now in peace", my son pumped his arm and whispered "Yes!" (and let me just say right here and now that when a five-year-old whispers, it is still loud).

I was mortified...but the people behind us thought it was funny. They laughed.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

There's snow...and then there's snow

They are calling for snow tonight.

Who are they?

They are local weather forecasters who are hyperventilating because it might snow in the south.

Here, there is talk of schools closing just because of the probability of snow.

Of course, snow in the south means something entirely different than snow in the rest of the country.

Case in point . . .

(h/t my brother-in-law, Patrick!)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Believe me, he wasn't smiling two seconds ago...

in fact, he was having a major meltdown. It was early in the evening, he was tired, he was hungry, and dinner was still fifteen minutes from being ready.

So, he planted himself at the table to wait...he was that hungry.

And the meltdown continued.

When I took out the camera to take a picture of all that five-year-old-end-of-the-day drama, he started laughing and couldn't stop.

Crying, laughing, crying, laughing, crying...tonight, early to bed.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Embracing Something New

Last year at this time I started a new tradition: instead of making a list of resolutions, I would pick one word to live by for the coming year. Last year's word was embrace.

I selected that word because I wanted to teach myself to embrace love a moment in the present without borrowing from the past or looking to the future. For me, it meant savoring a moment in real time.

After living with the word for a year, I learned that embracing a moment leaves no room for anxiety, or regret, or even stress.

This year, after a few days of soul searching, I finally selected a phrase that (and this is a little embarrassing) I heard in the Twilight sequel, New Moon: "Learn to love what's good for you."

Removed from the context of the movie, I realized that I could apply this to my life on so many different levels.

Physically, this means that every time I choose to walk, run, lift weights, or eat a healthy meal then I am loving what is good for me.

Emotionally, when I love, forgive, or show compassion, then I am loving what is good for me.

Spiritually, when I choose to find the time to pray, read something inspiring, or see the good in others then I am loving what is good for me.

Intellectually, when I appreciate a good book, listen to good music, or create something artistic then I am loving what is good for me.

So this year my goal is this: not simply learn to do what is good for me, but learn to love what is good for me.

It's an idea I think I'll embrace.