Saturday, February 28


edited: The comments were so good, I had to move them up top.

In my house, there are no curtains.
No blinds or shades to draw
Nothing to obstruct the view
Of two punks, ma and paw

(Vodka Mom)
and so when I'm naked
for the world to see
there are no curtains
it's a show for free

We let it all hang out here, too
We let the world enjoy the view
The Unit, me and birdies three
Around these parts, the show's for free!

Oh, I must get in on the act;
I'll show myself here for a fact!
I'll throw the blinds and windows wide
and give a view of my backside.
(West Virginia Moon!)

It's way to early for me
A naked Vodka to see
I'll not take the chance
To watch her butt dance
While guzzling her vodka with glee

The world's a mess,
the outlook is bleak
But look at that window
If it's a smile you seek!

I like this post
da most!

Poetry without binds...! I mean blinds !:)

(back to me)
You never let me down
Or cease to make me smile
When I can't find the right words
You pull it off with style

And now that you've caused me to ponder
A horde of bloggers in the buff
I don't feel quite so exposed
When I strut my stuff

A horde of bloggers in the buff?
I wonder if Taye Diggs has a blog?
A sight to see, that is certain.
But this poetry thing is tough. :p

(Naperville mom)
I hope the window's foggy
for the backside's soggy.
I hope the dressers turn up to offer
blinds for free, for a sober loafer.

(Queen of Shake Shake)
Who needs their windows bare
to show their derriere
In a tank top, I work the garden.
Oops, said my nipple, I beg your pardon.

(Wild Child)
There once was a child from the wild
Whose behavior was usually mild.
But with one sidelong peek,
She washed her eyes for a week.
Then became the intrepid Wild Child.

Friday, February 27

new kid in town

First this:


I've made contact with a new kid in town. Fresh off the boat, a family of four from the good ole USA. So funny.

Wow, that was me.

Frazzled, hurried, listed and frantic. She went to buy some sheets. She went to the mall. "I was shocked by how limited the selection was.... are there any bigger shopping centers where I can find a better selection?"

HAHAHAhahahahah.... oh, I'm rolling. De-ja-(f-ing)-vu.

Listen my friend. First. Relax. All your decisions have already been made for you. Let them go. You don't really know what you want... the Italians know what you want.

Second, don't ever ask "why?" Right Braja?

Thursday, February 26

sun and shadows

When you've been home bound for days, you notice the emergence when you finally step out into the world. The echo of stone sidewalks and buildings. The sun and cast shadows.

Emerge, still foggy with flu, to take one strong son to school. One bright boy who is bigger and smaller than you realize. Blonde, shaggy teenager punk hair. This little boy who is almost 8. Remember 2nd grade? Remember math and sitting next to Matt Martin. Lying on the blacktop during recess to keep warm from the cutting midwest wind. This boy will remember this place.

Coming back home there are two stops due to a barren pantry at home. Cabinets that have nothing to satisfy the eminent hunger of one mother daughter pair. At the bakery choose half an olive loaf and four soft rolls. At the market, 3kg of apples, 6 pears, 4 kiwis, a bunch of celery and one of chicory. Chosen at random, guided by some underlying impulse, some unknown urge. They just looked good.

Wednesday, February 25

feeling better with The Doctor

My body has become an influenza war zone. All standard operating systems have been cut off. Even so, watching this, I can't help but feel joy. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, February 23


Pilgrams's Posture Pointers:

1. Don't wait two weeks and then spend the entire day cleaning the house.
2. Don't carry more backpacks than you have backs.
3. Become more ambidextrous.
4. Don't slouch to hear what people are saying. If it's that important, they'll speak up.
5. Don't slouch to avoid sticking your breasts into people's faces. They probably don't mind. Alternatively, you could wear 4 inch heels and just rest them on their heads.
6. Try some yoga... well you should at least be able to touch your toes.
7. Instead of sitting on the sofa, sit on one of those giant rubber balls. See how long it takes for your kids to bounce you off it.
8. If you want to relax, just lie on the floor. See how long it takes for your kids to start walking on you.
9. Just sleep on the floor too... don't worry about getting a flat head, that only happens to babies.
10. Don't sit and blog so damn much, your left shoulder looks like it's attached to your ear.

That about covers it... my neck/shoulders/back are killing me.

Sunday, February 22

so is it Fat Monday?

A little more about Carnivale. It lasts over a week, so what else am I going to talk about? There were a few questions from my last post, so I'll elaborate. Yes, it's the same as the celebration that they do in Louisiana... a last ditch celebration of our glutenous, sinful lives before getting our acts together for lent. It ends on Fat Tuesday (ie, Marti Gras... this finally makes sense to me! In Italian, Tuesday is Martedi' and fat is grasso. English really confuses things.), which is immediately followed by Ash Wednesday. Very Catholic.

Although scattered festivities have been going on since over a week ago, the big kick off was on Thursday, dubbed "Fat Thursday."

On Thursday, Punkette went to school in costume and had loads of fun. Some of the parents put on a play for the kids, I'm not sure what it was about. I stopped asking about what they tell her at school after she told me all about blue and green little ridding hoods... as in Little Red Ridding Hood and friends. It's just too much for my pea sized brain to take in.

Punkone didn't dress up for school because his class did not. I'm not exactly sure why (I must appear to be a very involved parent to you) but perhaps it was for the best as the kids are asked to change into their costumes at school. If I think about the problems that changing into gym shoes seems to create, I guess I do have a fairly clear idea as to why costumes were done without this year.

On Saturday, in our little city, there is the parade that you see in these pictures. The parade involves a shocking amount of confetti. They shoot it out in cannons, every man, woman, and child has a large bag of it and it is everywhere. Last year it was raining during the parade and we all looked like we'd been tarred and feathered. This illuminates why, even in September, I spot bits of confetti on the streets. Today, a full day after the parade, after shaking out coats, hair, shoes, and clothes, I went swimming. When I was rinsing out my suit afterwards, I found confetti inside my suit.

Saturday, February 21


Punkette doing her part for that hole in the ozone layer (this is the one and only time of the year that I buy silly string for them).

Haha! When I see this photo now, it looks like he's not only walking on a ball, but also balancing a statue of Neptune on his head.

The bees were very festive... all 200 hundred of them! Seriously, I think they got a whole school to dress up or something.

Does this mask make my nose look big?

barking mad top posts

I'm not usually one to go after freebies, hell, we don't even have Target in Italy, but I really like the "to do" part of this contest. Getting to know the core of new bloggers I come across... after all, who has time to really dig into a new blog, months and months (sometimes years) of really great stuff.

So, Auds at Barking Mad is giving away 250 Target bucks to one person who lists their 5-10 favorite posts from their blog. Now, I've already done this on my sidebar to help you avoid the frustration I've been feeling on new blogs, so easy peesy. Mac and Cheesy (I do not like Mac and Cheese).

Here they are again:

beautiful noise
behind glass
simple things
zen and the art of grocery shopping

There you go. Hope you like what you see.

kitchen art

This piece of stained glass art sits in my kitchen. It's simple. Happy. And it is one of the few things that goes with me always.

In my early teens we spent a summer vacation at a Baptist family campground in Wisconsin. I think it was on Green Lake (sorry my memories are not more precise). We're not baptists, but we were a camping family and this site was nondenominational (allowed visitors from any denomination), beautiful and had lots of things to do.

Early teens... those years of balling up inside, criticizing everything, trying to figure out how you really feel about the world. The WHOLE world, all at once, and all of humanity and it's quirks and becoming overwhelmed and emotional and balling up more. I think it takes a clever parent to maintain a presence with a teenager.

That summer my mom and I each made a stained glass piece. This is mine. It took us about four days to put our pieces together and we did everything from choosing the pattern and glass, cutting the shapes and soldering them together. I remember us rolling our eyes together at all the biblical quotes one guy kept throwing out. "Let there be light!" Shifting through trays of colored glass; nodding to each other or pushing over a piece that we thought the other might like. It was a nice way to spend the week together.

At times my stained glass has been a sunrise and others, a sunset. Sometimes I'd stare at it and demand the answer, and it would just shine back at me. But always lifting me up and bring something that feels like acceptance. I've a sneaky suspicion that comes from my mom.

It used to hang in my bedroom window, but since I moved out it's been in my kitchen. My mom's is in her kitchen and I always smile when I see it there. It's a subtle connection that feels... good and strong. It makes me feel glad about who I am.

Friday, February 20

Market Days Meme

I think markets present us an interesting slice of society and culture. I'd love to see what yours looks like where you live!

This will be (I hope) a collection of posts that feature your local markets. Use a post on your blog to tell us about the sights, surroundings, and/or your thoughts about a trip to your local market. All types of markets welcome, outdoor, indoor, flea, farmer... and all types of posts... poetic, photo essay, commentary...

If you'd like to participate, just click on the Mister Linky image on the sidebar and tell us WHO and WHERE you are in the "Name" section, then add the link to your market day post. Also, it might be nice to link back here from your blog, telling people about "Market Days" to encourage a wider audience and participation. Feel free to use my "market days" badge in your blog.

This meme has no day or deadline as many markets around the world are seasonal. Contribute whenever you can.

Hope you enjoy this peek into your fellow blogger's neck of the woods!

Thursday, February 19

market day

Thursday is market day here. What to go check it out?

The streets are packed, rain or shine, hot or frigid. The markets are one of the things that I love most about living in an Italian city.

People get their shopping done at the market, but it's also fun to just see what you stumble on.

Yea, even underwear. Really good all cotton underwear actually, as market doesn't always mean bargain prices. Sometimes it means just finding things that you normally can't in the city.

Notice the woman in the back wearing her full fur coat. Fur coats are for everyday wear here. I've even seen women biking in their full length furs.

I love the colors of these sweaters.

This guy was selling old frames, but I loved the EuropeAmerica print.

Of course there is food. In addition to cheese you also find your fruit and vegetables, honey vendors, rotisserie chickens, sausage, fries, and fresh fish stands. I usually pick up a chicken so I don't have to cook dinner Thursday night.

Belts, socks, umbrellas...

This is where I buy my shoes. She's the only place in town that carries 42s. Good quality and good prices... Woo hoo!

Looking for a new bag?

I really like these colorful dish towels. I'm kind of into things that have Italian words written on them.

The same stand sells Espresso sets. Oh they have all manner of housewares... you just have to push over the old ladies to get to it

There are also about a dozen different plant stands... both silk and fresh flowers, indoor and outdoor plants, seeds and containers.

Stop and smell the roses where you are today too.

Wednesday, February 18

I'd like to burst your bubble

I'd gotten pretty good at the making friends gig. Between moving from one side of the US to another, I was always reading faces, always trying to gauge a person's willingness to welcome a new friend into their lives. Sometimes it's easy. Like when starting grad school. Everyone is in the same boat and most people are open to making new friends in that situation. Moving to a new town, slightly harder, but I started having kids about that time, so that became the new ice breaker.

When we moved here, I thought, ok... I'm in Italy, so I'm going to push myself to be with Italians. What is the point of moving abroad if I'm going to socialize in an English speaking bubble?

But my mission to make Italian friends has been tough. My main mode of contact is parents of kids that the Punks go to school with. While this worked fabulously in the states, not so much here. The adults are just in their own groove and don't see much of a reason to change it up with a new American friend.

just a scene from the street

And I've noticed that, although I had the objective of making friends with the locals, most of my friends ended up being people that have traveled/lived abroad or have also moved here from somewhere else. Even if they are Italian, generally they grew up in another region and also feel somewhat out of their element here. And most of them speak English, while the average person in this part of Italy does not.

And I wonder why that is. Even with the desire to integrate, I've found myself surrounded by a group of internationalists. Like myself. Not that that's bad, I just find it curious. I can strike up a conversation with someone who's lived here their whole life (at Punkette's school 90% of the parents of the kids were born here) and it seems to peeter out quickly. Never getting beyond the weather or school activities. But yesterday, I started to talking to the woman that works at a gelateria close by (they've reopened for Carnivale!) and we chatted for over 20 minutes. I learned she is from Colombia, she has an older daughter that wants to return as soon as she is finished with high school and a son who just turned three. I learned she's lived here for 12 years and is married to an Italian. And we just had a comfortable time chatting with each other. I think I may go invite her to our next dinner party.

I guess it's not surprising that you end up hanging out with people who have common interests or experiences... I am just surprised how strong that push is. Becoming one with a new culture must be nearly impossible, because we're always in the bubble of our own experience.

Monday, February 16

Hiking close up

A butterfly enjoying the landscape patch of velcro on my pants. I like these pants for hiking with punks because of these pockets at the sides. You know how punks are... always finding, always needing, always giving and holding on... you need pockets for this kind of journey.

And the rainbow in the background is the rainbow wrap skirt, wrapped about Punkette. Punkette who loves rainbows and wanted a rainbow skirt. This one is meant for one much bigger than someone who's name ends with "ette." But we just wrap her up twice.

Thanks Ponderings of a Porcupine for giving me a poke to ponder the 6th photo in my 6th folder. That was a joy. Nearly as delightful as weaving through your blog.

Get on over there! Pick a post (maybe here, or here, or even here) and get lost for a while.

And I'm going to tag TypO at Wandering the World... she's been gone for too long! Maybe we'll get a peek at what she's been up to.

Sunday, February 15

The Doctor

Just a nightmare, Reinette. Don't worry about it. Everyone has nightmares. Nothing to worry about. Even monsters under the bed have nightmares, don't you?


Aka bakery... it's easy to remember because it breaks down into pane (bread) and ufficio (office)... panificio.

I go to the same bakery everyday. It's on the way home from Punkone's school. There's another but it's bigger and faster. There's a man with a dog that camp out in front of mine. The dog was wearing a person's vest for awhile then one day he had on a propper dog coat. The bakery is on a stretch of the street that has a covered walkway, so it's probably a dry spot to sit if you haven't got anywhere else to go.

The bread is separated into bins along the wall behind the counter. There are bretzels (the b is right) and grissini too. On the counter are all the cookies and sweets, a few slices of pizza, some olive bread, donuts and croissants. They call the donuts krafen. The smell of cumin lingers.

Buona sera! With a smile. How nice, buona sera with a smile.

There are two different women who run the bakery, equally nice. They smile at my rough Italian, correct me if I ask, humor me when I need to rely on hand waving and pointing. Once in a while they add a pack of cookies or some sweet bread to my bag. They ask about the kids if they don't come in with me. They wish me a good Sunday on Friday, just in case they don't see me before then.

There are so many different varieties of bread, it's taken us more than a year and a half to decide what our regular favorite is. I just try a different one every time and note how fast it disappears. Well, it's all good, so we were on a rotation of sorts. Finally, I had a whole loaf of a bread that was light and dense at the same time, a light crunchy crust and Matteo said it was awesome. Bingo! Those are the words I need to hear.

So now I know what I want. I usually buy the whole loaf. Still haven't figured out the name of it. But it's always at the end, so I just ask for the bread at the end. That makes them smile and I'm not quite sure why. Sometimes fine, finito, can mean dead if you use it with the wrong verb. Maybe I'm saying something that sounds strange. They'd never tell me so.

I'll add a piece of the bread with cumin if the smell gets me to craving it.

There's a small cooler for eggs and butter, milk and yogurt. I grab a liter of milk while she's weighing the bread. I keep the change in my pocket for the guy at the corner who plays the accordion.

A fine life, this one. I mean yours too ;)

Saturday, February 14

how did I get here?

Where do you want to start?

Back in high school, I'm getting my hair cut by a witchy-woman (aka my brother's long time best friend's awesome mom) and she drops the comment "I picture you having adventures all over the world, maybe marrying some sexy Italian..."

No, I don't have enough time to start that far back.

When I married MM (Mediterranean Matteo), there were ideas that we would move to Italy one day. But first we moved to California.

We looked for work in Italy and at one point, I had a very nice offer from a place in Bologna. Matteo had something in the works in Milano. We were doing post-docs (underpaid PhD slaves) in the states, and these jobs in Italy were more of the same. Three year contracts. And we also had a baby who seemed to be allergic to air blowing on him from the wrong direction. We were new parents, new PhDs and we decided the stress of those positions was just too much for us.

But we kept asking, what if, and if only, shoulda-woulda-coulda...

So we sat down and figured out "what would it take for us to move to Italy." We realized that we needed a job that was a step up. Something that will amount to something in the eyes of future employers. We weren't willing to throw two PhDs into a tail spin to spend a couple of years having fun in Italy. We didn't want to be stuck in the situation where we'd have to come back and start over.

Well, it looked like that was never going to happen. We settled down, bought a house, and dove into our jobs and life in Ca. Life was really good for the most part. We saved Italy for vacations and retirement.

After a few years, MM was job hunting. His feelers were out. Head hunters, job search engines, etc. All bay area though.

Well, he got called by the Italians. As strange as this sounds, I've met another family here, also from the bay area that got this call. I think it's a new mafia operation.

He asked me: "I got called about a job in Italy. Should I do the interview?"

My reply was, "Hell yea do the interview! Do it with bells on! Knock their Gucci's off!"

Never mind that I was a year into my dream job at a non-profit. Never mind that I'd made friends there that I can't live without. Never mind that we just finished making our money pit perfect; bamboo floors, an office, a beautiful kitchen.

My reply was, "Blow their socks off. Let's see if we get an offer we can't refuse."

Well, three interviews later (one in Italy) that's exactly what happened. Be careful what you wish for, right?

fun if you're a moose

It's cold. I'm loosing my happy happy joy joy attitude. I think I shivered it out. Today was a clear sunny day. And FREAKING cold.

OK. I've known colder. My dear parents used to live in Minnesota. O. M. G. When the weather report includes the number of minutes before your nose will turn black and die, well, that's just too damn cold. When in Minnesota during the winter, I am completely at a loss as to how it is that there is civilization in that state. I get that now people survive there. Emphasis on survive. And now. But how in the heck did they do it 100 years ago? And if anyone did managed to survive a winter, why in the hell did they not pack up and run for their lives at the first sign of spring?

So, I admit, it's not all that cold here. I think this Celsius hoo haa is messing with my bio-rhythms. When I read -5 degrees on the thermometer, I get the shakes. I pull on the long underwear, the scarves, the hat with the ear flaps and the frigging face warmer. And I feel like it's -5. My body doesn't care when my brain tries to reason that it's actually 23 degrees. I remember being excited by anything over 20 degrees. 23 degrees was just about balmy. Well, my body ain't buyin it.

I experienced a good dose of this crisp weather today because we went to the mountains. This is a special event requiring renting of the car and packing of the snow gear, the medicine, the extra clothes. Hauling of the sled and booster seats. Stopping for the snacks and fresh air and the potty just 20 minutes into the trip. And a map too. Discussions as to where it is exactly that we're heading because Matteo and I are the two most indecisive parents in the history of procreation. I don't know how the punks can stand it.

We did in fact arrive at a patch of nicely groomed snow designed for little punks to play on without risk of getting run over by a stray skier or being swept away in an avalanche. Mediterranean Matteo stayed in the car. He's from Rome, people. Cold makes no sense to him whatsoever and he was having no part of it.

So I jam the punks into snow pants, snow boots, mittens and scarves. I threaten and curse under my breath (I'll have to bring you up to speed on my darling Punkette and how much fun she is to dress appropriately for cold weather). I haul the sled, cause, damn it, we are going to go play in the snow. And it's going to be fun.

And it really was. The place had some fantastic tubing runs that we managed to do in our plastic bob sled. Tunnels in the snow. Tepees and stuff to slide on. We had a blast, even without fur covered bodies.

And ooh, the big pay off, for me... stopping for hot chocolate ... and, get this.... a huge warm slice of apricot and ricotta strudel.

Oh, life is so good.

Friday, February 13

sweet dreams

I had a weird dream a few nights ago about a close friend of mine. It's always a little awkward when you have dreams about friends, isn't it? Anyway, I was looking for this friend, I'll call him Mike, after Mike Rowe from Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs... because Mike Rowe is hot, it's my blog and my dream, so why the hell not.

So, I was looking for Mike Rowe and I was wandering through a place where Mike and I both work at, but since I've been in Italy for two years everything's changed and I'm very disoriented. Anyway, I finally send some newbie to go hunt down Mike Rowe for me and I sit down to rest my weary head.

When I look up, I see my good friend Mike heading toward me, but he has his shirt unbuttoned down to his waist. And it's wide open. I laugh at him. I say, "No wonder the women here have been throwing themselves at you." He's very embarrassed, buttons up. We hug hello, and everything is hunky (emphasis on the hunk) dory.


Anyway, I relay this dream to my friend, Mike Rowe, and he wants details. How exactly was his shirt unbuttoned? He's thinking maybe the top was buttoned and he was going for some kinda gansta look. I guess he's thinking along the lines of Guillermo from the show Weeds. Nice, but no.

So I go looking on the web for an image that can accurately describe my dream to Mike. Now keep in mind that I've never seen Mike's chest (nor have I plans to), so I have no idea what it actually looks like.

I come up with this

Nice. This is close, but in my dream, Mike's shirt was tucked in. And he wasn't wearing chaps.

Then I found this:

Ok, what can I say? The shirt is unbuttoned, open, and tucked in. But what the hell is up with those pants? Is it just me, or is he pointing out how squished his balls are?

Then google pops this image up:

We're back in the garden with Mr. Roth. David, what are you doing? Come on, you really don't need to try so hard.

And there's another one of Andy:

He's doing that thing with his crotch again.

This is hopeless. I'm starting to notice that the whole shirt unbuttoned to your waist hasn't really been done since the late 70s/early 80s. What's up with that? Come on guys! Bring some sexy back!

Speaking of sexy, guess who was also in there:

mmmm... of course... you're not sick of him yet?

So Mike, I don't know what to tell you. Just imagine an unbuttoned crisp white shirt on this guy:

I'd like to go back to sleep now.

Thursday, February 12

100 things, the end

You asked for it. Well, some of you did. If you didn't, please come back tomorrow for a real (and much shorter) post.

51. I played basketball in high school.
52. I wasn't very good.
53. In fact, I sucked (HA! bonus points for working the theme in).
54. Case in point... During a tournament the coach surprised me by starting me in the second half of the game. I thought, "here's my chance. Do something great!" Jump ball, I tipped it to a teammate. She passed it back to me. I was open, so I took off down the court. I was untouchable. The other team seemed stunned by my awesomeness. I could hear my team cheering wildly. As I approached the hoop, I was so focused, the rest of the world faded away. It was just me, the ball and that hoop. "Don't blow it, don't blow it," I prayed. I had to make that layup. I missed, but I didn't give up!!! Rebound, and BAMM! I scored! I actually scored! As I turned, shaking off my glory, my team was yelling. Wait... Coach was really yelling. I forgot that we switch goals at half-time.
55. I love Klimt but hate how they crop out all the sadness from his paintings.
56. I don't watch regular TV anymore because I can't stand the news or commercials... and most of the shows.
57. I have lived on a boat and would love to do it again.
58. I like backpacking and am looking forward to doing it with my family when the kids get bigger. You have the best conversations when you're backpacking.
59. I also like canoeing... Matteo and I canoed in Algonquin about 10 years ago and I would love to do that again, but going before the mosquitoes so we could get more portages in. It was a meditative experience... even swimming in the icy waters!
60. I used to climb at a 5.8/5.9 level. Rock climbing is another thing that has been on hold since I was pregnant with Punkone. They're just about ready for some top rope I think (I wonder if my paunch will get in the way ;)
61. I sing every single day.
62. I used to work at a chemical plant in college. The best part about that job was that we had to walk around with radios so we could talk to each other at any moment. One Friday morning, everyone was particularly groggy and I was bursting. I was struck by the inspiration to sing the line "the stars at night, are big and bright..." into my radio (my lil'bro was a big PeeWee Herman fan). To my joy and surprise I got the reply "deep in the heart of Texas" and a lot of cheering. My boss was in a meeting with a client and came out into the lab laughing, and asking if I had lost my mind. But I was bombarded with requests to sing in the radio again on Monday morning. Literally begging me, people. I struck a magical balance (between keeping my fans happy and not getting fired for inappropriate use of the radio) and created "the Friday morning wake-up call" and sang into the radio every Friday for the rest of the summer.
63. I know how to (safely) operate a fork lift and a cherry picker.
64. I try to say yes as often as possible. You only live once.
65. My grandfather was born in Italy but moved to the US when he was 6... same age Punkone was when we moved here.
66. Grandpa is 50 years older than me. Same difference in age as Punkone and his Grandpa.
67. Grandpa has 49 grand and great-grandkids (one more due this year). He sends every one of us a card on our birthdays.
68. My grad school group liked to go out for DimSum on special occasions. I once asked one of my friends to order her favorite dish for me. Something she would eat in China. She ordered me chicken feet. I chewed on a chicken claw for about 10 minutes and I still haven't figured out if she was messing with me.
69. I hope my kids are learning that you can still have fun even if you wind up somewhere you weren't planning to (cause Mom got us on the wrong bus, off at the wrong stop, at the wrong address, etc.)... what's that expression? "Life is what happens when you're making other plans." That a good one. Might be my motto.
70. What's a motto?
71. Nothin. What's a motta wid you?
72. I like corny jokes.
73. I drink mostly water. Exceptions are: Once a day, a cappucino. Once a week a soda when Punkone and I go out for lunch together. And a glass of wine on the weekend with dinner. Everything else is a rare occasion.
74. The water in Italy is SO good. Especially from the fountains (if you can't drink it, there will be a sign telling you so).
75. I've enjoyed every place I've lived. US, east coast, midwest, west coast, and now northern Italy. I won't move back to the midwest though because I'm allergic to it.
76. I have to wear a bunny suit at work.
77. My son knows how rainbows are formed.
78. He also understands how the body digests food. It's a favorite topic of conversation when he's doing his business.
79. The more I know about science, the more I believe in the miracle of our existence.
80. Books for a deserted island:
Inferno, Dante
The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
Dracula, Bram Stoker
The Second Sex, Simone De Beauvoir
Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison
Strange Pilgrim, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Baron in the Trees, Italo Calvino
The Blue Flowers, Raymond Queneau
Immortal Poems of the English Language, Oscar Williams (ed.)
Still Life With Woodpecker, Tom Robbins
81. Music for a deserted island:
Syd Barret
Herbie Hancock
David Byrne
Gogol Bordello
Bright Eyes
Nina Simone
Bob Dylan
The soundtrack to "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert"
and ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky"

82. I'm usually the whitest chick on the beach.
83. The scariest movie I ever saw was "When a Stranger Calls" (1979)... a friend's mom let us watch it when I was there for a sleep over. That movie haunted me for years.
84. That girlfriend and I got in trouble for marching in front of her house, topless, waving signs at cars that said "no shirts for girls" and chanting "if boys don't wear shirts, why should girls!" I still think we had a valid point.
85. Despite my adult based issues with the message of mass, I enjoy the rhythm, the sounds, and the smells of it.
86. I keep my finger nails short and unpainted.
87. I don't wear makeup or wash my face with soap. Whenever I pay closer attention to my face by applying makeup or cleansing it, I break out. I've learned it's better to just leave it alone.
88. I have yet to figure out the point of g-string underwear. I think it's another one of those sick male inventions designed to torture women.
89. Like pointed toe shoes, body tape, and 4" heels.
90. I like my silver hair. It's really been coming in lately.
91. I'm not so crazy about wrinkles, but it's all part of the package of gaining wisdom, right? Right?!!? Tell me there is wisdom coming.
92. I miss my job in the US. The friends there most of all. Can't wait to dole out the hugs next time I see them.
93. Best bumper sticker ever: "If you lived in your car, you'd be home by now"
94. Last movie I watched: My Blueberry Nights... really great
95. Last book I read: Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
96. Last song I listed to: You and I, by Ingrid Michaelson
97. Last thing I ate: a chocolate croissant
98. Wearing: (in addition to undergarments) brown leather knee high boots, jeans, black t-shirt, and the bunny suit.
99. Jewelry: None today... rushed this morning. Usually a couple of rings.
100. Feeling: Just fine.

Wednesday, February 11

almost 100

I've been debating about whether or not to post 100 things about me. I hit the 100th post mark tomorrow. On the one hand, I like to write with enough empty space left so that the reader can fill it in with pieces of their own stories. Take what I'm saying and see it in the light of their own lives. I feel like if I fill you in on who exactly I am, there's no empty space left. On the other hand, I've enjoyed reading these lists on your blogs. There are always at least one or two things that strike a chord with me and make me like you a bit more. Also, can I really be summed up in just 100 blips? Not even close... there will still be lots for us to learn.

I guess I'll hope for that.

I've been adding things to this list as they occur to me over the past few weeks, so it's a bit random. And I've only made it up to 63 so far. So, I'll post the first 50 today and finish up on my actual 100th post which is tomorrow.

Here goes...

1. I love the rain. I mean really, euphorically, love it.
2. When I run, especially if I'm running west, I imagine that I'm trying to stay on top of the world as it's spinning past under me. I can never keep up.
3. No, I don't do illegal drugs.
4. I once went streaking. I had a boyfriend at the time who had a habit of streaking parties. We'd be walking though town, see a party and he'd just randomly decide to make a detour... naked. My roommate and I decided to join him once. You know, change it up a little.
5. My eyes changed color when I was 34.
6. I once nursed both punks at the same time at a park when they were about 1 and 3 years old. And no one gave a rat's ass.
7. I am perhaps too empathetic.
8. I enjoyed going to the dentist until I went to one in Italy and they sandblasted my teeth. Seriously. It was the most painful thing that's ever happened inside my mouth.
9. I used to walk to my car with my finger on the trigger of my pepper spray. I now believe that you can be too careful.
10. I broke my left pinky finger playing basketball. I had surgery to reset the bones and they put a half cast on my hand... plaster on one side, but wrapped with a soft bandage. While it was healing, Punkette fell off the structure at the playground and I caught her. It hurt like HELL. When I went back to have it checked, one of the bones had been knocked out of place. The surgeon was pissed. So he put a full cast on me. The full cast made me crazy... full on panic attack. I couldn't close my eyes and had to watch movies all night to keep from hacking the thing off with a saw in our garage. The next morning I went back to the surgeon and begged him to take it off. And I really had to beg. Tears streaming, hyper-ventilating begging, because I was really worried he wouldn't do it. But he did.
11. Rather than claustrophobia, I have a fear of being trapped. For example, I found I could sleep in the coffin like berth on our sail boat, but only if I was closest to the exit (it was a double bed but you could only get in from one side). Apparently it also applies to casts. I am sure that if I am ever unfortunate enough to require a full body cast I will have to be sedated heavily for the entire 6-8 weeks. BAAAH! I can't even think about it.
12. My circulation is very slow and as a result my extremities often feel as if I am dead (as told by my hubby).
13. I don't like the blog world name "hubby" for my husband, but I've yet to come up with a better one. Maybe I'll just call him Matteo.
14. Gregory Harms (see side bar) is a dear friend of mine and nudged me toward the road to where I am today. He wrote a kick ass book designed to bring you quickly up to speed on the Palestine crisis. He also plays guitar. He has graciously entertained my repeated Daniel Ash requests (I love it when he sings Closer to You) and nick-named me "maw." I'll love him forever.
15. There's almost nothing better than a circle of friends playing guitar and singing around a bonfire.
16. I was sweet 16 and never been kissed.
17. I lost my faith in religion during a catholic alternative spring break.
18. I do believe in god.
19. The question "do you love me as much as I love you?" bugs (the hell out of) me.
20. Love some stale peeps.
21. I'm a lefty.
22. I don't mind getting my hands dirty. Actually, I enjoy it.
23. I like soup. All kinds.
24. Since I left the US, I really miss Thai, Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, Cuban, Indian, Afghan, and Ethiopian food.
25. I have a selective memory... bad goes out, good stays in.
26. I wonder about the threads of sanity that keep so many people driving on the proper side of the road.
27. My worst imaginable death would be being buried alive.
28. I used to look for four leaf clovers when my then boyfriend asked me what I was doing. I told him "looking for a four leaf clover" and he bent down and plucked me one.
29. I hate the BBC TV schedule... the wait for Doctor Who is killing me!
30. I like dog people but I don't ever want to be one.
31. My arm goes numb when I sleep flat on my back, but not if I sleep on top of it.
32. My joints crack loudly when I walk... people often look at me and wince.
33. My second toes are as long as my pinky fingers.
34. My uncles used to ask me if I could pitch a base ball with those toes.
35. Also if I had forgotten to take off my skis.
36. Or why I needed skis at all... you get the picture.
37. I love the scene in "Stranger Than Fiction" where he's playing guitar after dinner and singing really softly and she comes in watching him in awe, and he glances up at her as he is singing, and she jumps on him... there have been a few times I would have liked to throw myself on a guy playing guitar, but never have.
38. Now you know how to get me to swoon... play guitar and sing softly.
39. If my kids wake up in the middle of the night and can't sleep, we all go out for donuts at "The Donut Wheel".
40. I wouldn't mind being pregnant again but I don't want to have to take care of another infant. Maybe I'd be a good surrogate mom.
41. I was most affected by the movie "Female Perversions." I couldn't come up with a more accurate description of my psyche.
42. I also like the movie Orlando... another one starring Tilda Swinton... love her.
43. Punkone got his (real) name because I met two different Italian men with that name during my first trip to Italy. Both of them had a very genuine quality about them. Like you could just immediately get a sense of their core. Also, I went rock climbing with one and as we were hiking up to the pitch I slipped off the trail. I was literally hanging by a couple of bushes. He bent down and lifted me back up to the path. My hero.
44. I tend to relate more easily to men.
45. I was born in Fort Knox.
46. That means I'm solid gold, baby!
47. I don't shave my armpits when they don't show. For awhile, I didn't shave them at all, but I got tired of it being my defining feature.
48. I once had a pet gold fish that I bought out of a feeder tank when I was in college. I got him my freshman year. His name was Shirley. Shirley had some bowl mates that came and went, but I stopped buying them because I thought it made him sad that his friends kept dying. I got him a plant instead. Shirley lived in a bowl all during college. Every year I'd get him a slightly bigger bowl. Every summer I'd dump out half the water and put him in the back of my car and slosh on home with him. Every winter we'd slosh back to school. After I graduated, I drove across country with Shirley for a 4 month internship. When it was finished, Shirley and I drove back to the midwest, and then on to the East coast for grad school. In grad school, I had a month off for Christmas break, so I put the bowl on my desk and asked one of my lab mates if he could sprinkle food in the bowl once every day or so. He said "why don't you just flush it and buy a new one when you get back?" I flipped out. I'm sure he thought I was nuts.
49. Gross things make me laugh.
50. As do stressful situations.

to be continued...

Tuesday, February 10

senza ombrello

The headline read
Cold and a little humid... perfect for the super flu
Could have said,
The perfect weather to stay in bed
Or hide under your umbrella
Or the thoughts in your head
Whispers of snow
Breaths of ice
Wet the tracks, white the ties
Falling gently like rain, but lighter...
Lighter in layers
Of silk cotton and wool
Pulled from their beds
Spun woven and wrapped
Just to lift you up
When you find the weather
Senza ombrello

Edited to add: please send these thoughts to Australia

Monday, February 9


When we had kids, we decided to talk to them intelligently. Using the proper names for things and actions and avoiding all that sickening baby talk. There was no "boo boo, or wee wee, or witty bitty tooties. Nope, just the straight dope man.

gratuitous Doctor

So, this morning, when my daughter delared she "Fato uno puzzetto" (I made a stinky) I was crushed by the sudden realization that we speak Italian baby-talk.

This is what happens when you put the kids in charge. I've been basically learning Italian from them. My daughter wears a "grembrulino" (a whittle-apron) to school. My son has a pisilino (whittle weewee). They "fanno i ninne nanne" (something like nighty-nite) and give me a bacino (whittle kiss) before going to school. And, apparently, make puzzetti (stinkies).

I have to stop translating myself before I gag.

Sunday, February 8

The Doctor and gelato

Mmmmm. Gelato. One of my very favorite things to, well, suck (just sticking with the theme) here in Italy. Nociolla. Ciocolato. Nutella, cafe, vanilla... or strawberry, banana, or cherry. Ooh, and Ahh.

My favorite of all time gelato is gelato riso at a little place just off Campo di Fiori in Roma. Yea, rice. It is SO very much better than it sounds. You can also have it with cinnamon. It's a stop-you-on-your-ass and melt-on-down-through-the-bench-slats good. And then go get another, cause, how often are you in Rome, right?

Mmmm. And licking David Tennant, uh, I mean him.. licking gelato. Really, this is right in there with this post. Plus he's singing The Gambler which kicks ass.

Wild Child suggested I do a David Tennant theme. Sure would help me get though this month until Doctor Who starts in March. I'll see what I can do...

Saturday, February 7

these boots...

Tried on some boots today. I wear a 42 (12) but occasionally a 41 will fit. Generally shops only carry up to 40, but I found one that had a few 41s.

I can't get my foot inside and I don't want to damage the zipper. "It's too tight" I tell him.

"No. Push your foot in there. It's not too tight once you have it on."

I jam my foot in. "Too tight," I tell him.

"That's impossible" says he. "41 is perfect. They're very comfortable," he insists.

I laugh at him. "Nope. Too tight," as I struggle to get my foot out.

"Oh, this one. This one is very comfortable. 41. Look how beautiful" as he presents me another.

Again, too tight. "No," I wince as I step in front of the mirror.

"But that's impossible," he repeats.

"I have a big foot... generally I wear 42... It's not impossible," I explain. I jam my foot into another he offers.

"But don't you see how comfortable they are! Look how comfortable!"

I smile. "Yes, they look nice, but they are too tight. I would need a 42."

"It's impossible!" he retorts.

Laughing now, I put my size 42 boots back on. Ah, now these boots are made for walkin.

Friday, February 6


The mountains have an amazing cloudy swirl about them today. It's raining. I love the rain. Euphoria. And seeing the tops of the mountains poking out over the white haze is really amazing. Frankly, my life doesn't offer a whole lot to complain about and even if it did, I generally find these things amusing. Things take us new places. The asshole my son has for English is teaching him to value his work independently of what others think. The bully kids are teaching him to stand up for himself and to lead by example. A stressful call to another parent ends up building a better friendship. Life and all the crap that goes with it is GOOD. Real good.

And I've been feeling down trying to come up with something witty to say about things that suck. First off, I'm not witty. Second, I've a nice long list for sure, but really, the things on the list don't suck enough to warrant all the energy required to write a post. The best ones are things I like to suck. I'll write those up, because they make me happy... But my point is that I'm not going to stick to this "suck it" theme. If something comes up that's worth ripping on about (like that freaking gardener last week), I'll be sure to let you know, but otherwise... I'll just get back to enjoying the clouds, conversation, and observations here in this strange place.... or maybe it's just me.

p.s. happy birthday Mom!


Yesterday Punkette's nun wanted to speak to me after school. She wanted me to talk to Punkette about something. Apparently, she had been asked to speak on the phone with a perspective parent that didn't know Italian. The nun explained that they asked her to do this favor for them but when they handed her the phone, Punkette wouldn't speak! And could I please convince her to help the teachers in this way in the future.


Poor kid. She has a hard time talking on the phone to people she knows. And they expected her to talk to some stranger. More than talk, they want her to translate. I'm glad they think her Italian is so good, but that's quite a lot to ask of a little kid.

I smiled and said I would talk to her about it. Then suggested that they could have English speaking parents call me in the future. I could tell them what wack jobs the nuns are but that Punkette is very happy there. At least when they're not tucking in her shirt or forcing salad down her throat.

Then I told Punkette she kicks ass and next time to tell the nun to "suck it."

Thursday, February 5


I had fantastic experiences nursing my punks. They nursed often and grew well. I didn't have to worry about preparing and cleaning bottles or where we were going or for how long, and probably a whole long list of other things that bottle feeding requires that hasn't occured to me. It just worked really well for us.

So, seeing how wonderful all this was, I became a big supporter of breastfeeding. I scowl when I see bottles used as a symbol of motherhood or infancy. I cheer when I see moms nursing in public. I made a point of choosing a pediatrician that didn't hand out formula samples. I don't buy bottle oriented gifts for pregnant friends. I even hand out breastfeeding information if they're interested.

But I have a big problem with a fraction of the "ban-the-bottle" culture. The anti-bottle-feeding-mom people. It is one thing to try to change the culture of breastfeeding where you live, quite another to scowl and give dirty looks at a woman just because her baby is sucking a bottle. That's just simply mean and judgemental. No matter what her story, even if she just simply decided not to nurse, for whatever reason, she doesn't need that kind of crap. Mothers are entitled to make their own choices for their families. It agonizes me to hear about mothers ridden with guilt because they feel like they gave up or made a bad choice. Guilt is not something mothering needs. Guilt is not something babies need to feel. Assume that every mom is doing the best. The best for herself, her family, her time, and her culture.

Wednesday, February 4

card shark

I introduced the punks early to card games. I come from a card playing family and I think it's a fun way to spend time together. Plus, it taught them their numbers and strategy.

But I think I've created a monster.

Punkette has become a card shark, with her big brown eyes and chubby baby cheeks. "Do you wanna play?" she sweetly whispers to her next victim. WHAM!!! She is soon rolling with laughter as she cleans house. Even now that I've pulled out all the parental stops, she still kicks my ass plenty.

Today the game was Uno and she won 10 games out of 15.

It's also a way for her to break the ice. She and I made a trip back to the states last year and she challenged every relative in sight to a game. And I think she beat them all. You should have seen the smug look on her face. She especially likes playing against Great-grandpa...

And she's always interested in learning new games. Last summer solitaire was a favorite on the beach and now she's hooked on some game called spider that I've never even played.

Her all time favorite is probably a game I found in Italy, but the instructions were all in German. It's something like crazy 8s but with fewer cards and we learned the German names for all the face cards ... most importantly: Der Boob, and Das Ass ... we're all in giggles as the kids get full liberty to say boob and ass as much as their little hearts desire, as long as it's in a bad German accent.

I figure a couple more years and I can take her to Vegas.

html SUCKS!

Sorry for the chaos while I work out this new template. I'm not even sure I'll keep it. The real post for the day is coming soon.

Sorry about that... too many kinks to work out. I'll be tweaking it out on a test blog until I get it figured out.

Monday, February 2


I've never been much for vodka, nor rum, no gin (yuck)...
But a tequila (or two) I'll take

cool and green
on the rocks
I'll suck it through the salt

or perhaps
a salt rimmed neck
straight shot
suck a lime wedged kiss

Exactly the kind of drink that makes me want to go here. Or even our favorite Mexican taqueria back in Cali... Los Caporales. Oh god, their burritos are so damn good!

this photo makes me more than a little home sick

And although I enjoy tequila now, there was a time I did not. The time lasted about a year and was after I stupidly challenged a 250 lb linebacker into a drinking contest. Shot for shot, of tequila. I think we made it to 16? Sure was fun, for about 2 hours. Then, not so fun.

Mellow Yellow

Mellow Yellow Monday! Woo hoo! Even though this is my "suck it" month (see the official "suck it" post below), I'm still entitled to Mellow Yellow Monday, right? Especially because Punkette is sick again (I really hope it's not another bladder infection, this could be very bad. More than suck. Yes, please just be the flu). And for years and years, yellow was her favorite color.

my beaming punk

Also, along the yellow theme, I stumbled on these old pictures from a visit to a California gold mine, back in (dear god has it been that long?!?!) 2005! I was a super sneaky mamma and had scattered fools gold along the mine shaft for the punks to find.


Cacio e Pepe

Don't like cooking out of a book? List in hand, scouring the markets for fancy ingredients? Dirtying every damn pot in the house? Turning out dinner after two hours in the kitchen only to hear "what is that?!?!"

Me either. As far as I'm concerned, hoity toity gourmet cooking can suck it.

Here's my summary of a no nonsense gourmet meal (because of the fancy-ass Italian name, of course):

Cacio e Pepe

olive oil
grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook the pasta "al dente" which means make sure there is something left "to bite" when it's done. Don't leave it boiling and go surf the web.
2. Strain it (duh).
3. Put it in a big fancy bowl.
4. Pour some extra virgin olive oil on it...don't drowned it... just enough to keep it from sticking.
5. Mix in the cheese. As much or as little as you want... for 4 servings I usually use a cup.
6. Pepper to taste. If you want your kids to eat it (without screaming), wait and pepper individual dishes as desired.

DONE! Takes, what, 20 minutes? If you want to be all industrious, you can even fix a salad while the pasta is cooking. Won't win you any points with the punks though.

Sunday, February 1

my shower

Oh, sweet shower. My retreat, my refuge. Drowning out the incessant complaints, the continual queries. They stop at your doors, my protector from punks. There is so much you give me. So much more than simply time and a (very) little space.

My shower.

You know me so well, you fresh fellow. The acrobatic contortions required to wash my hair without knocking out the plastic doors have given me new flexibility, brought so much awareness. And I've never experienced such intimacy with a shower, usually so stiffly standoffish, never reaching out, never touching, as I attend to my knees, my feet...

And as your spray of water refreshes my face, I quietly contemplate the horizon of death. Perhaps death by water heater. Crushed in this plastic coffin when the two hundred year old iron tresses finally succumb to the weight for which they were not designed to bare. Weakened by the last decades of heat and steam, unforeseen. Or perhaps electrocution as condensation covertly connects the flooded basin, along the walls, to the so conveniently located 22o V socket.

And passing through your plastic doors, through the baptismal waters that have flooded the bathroom floor, I'm new. The whole world is sparkling new.

For some reason, this post is dedicated to Pearl.