Temporary insanity due to extreme temperatures, or something along those lines.

Since starting this new blog I’ve been trying to flex my atrophied writing muscles by attempting to post at least thrice a week, which is apparently harder than it would seem, so I’m looking for inspiration out in the ether through some of my favorite bloggers’ weekly link-ups, and what better place to be on a Thursday than MamaKat’s pretty much world-famous writer’s workshop.

This week, one of the prompts was to “write about a time you stole something”, and a very old memory came to the surface…

When I was twelve my Dad decided to move us all up to Calgary (Canada) for about a year for work, as I was already an angsty preteen (i.e. massive pain in the ass) my parents decided to spare themselves the hell that would have been having me around for the move and shipped me off to spend the summer in Italy with my aunt. I had a grand time, I got to fly to Europe by myself, I even got to switch flights in Frankfurt, where, for some reason I wasn’t carted around by a flight attendant. In retrospect, I wonder what the hell my parents were thinking letting a twelve-year old traipse off to Europe on her own like that, but it was the eighties and everyone was more reckless.

But none of this is the point of this story.

I get back to Calgary after my summer on the Italian riviera, and the harshest of realities sets in. I’m away from my friends, it’s damn cold, the days start to get shorter and by the way my Mother loathes it there. And then it starts to snow. And snow, and snow, and… you get the point. Keep in mind that I grew up in Houston, Texas where cold is 65°F. I went to a tiny French school (tiny as in all of middle school fit into one classroom), so I resorted to making up an alternate Houston life for my new friends, in which I had a twin sister, who inexplicably was left behind to fend for herself in Texas, and a whole host of other inanities which I thought would make me seem more interesting in the circumstances. This entirely too long preamble to say that I wasn’t adjusting to the move very well.

Anyway, every day at lunch we were allowed to leave school and go to the nearby park, on the way we would stop at a small Korean convenience store for candy or ice cream or something. Again, not entirely sure why they let a group of thirteen year olds out of school unsupervised. And, I don’t know how it started, if on a dare or what, but every day we would steal stuff from the convenience store. A candy bar, a bag of chips, a soda… we would always buy something, but we stole more than we ever bought. We’d go outside and compare our loot and laugh at how unbelievably daring and cool we were. And the store owner knew. I still remember a look he gave me one day, I don’t know why he never said anything, but the simple memory of that look brings me shame to this day.

Soon after, we stopped going to that convenience store and maybe halfway into February when my Mother realized that the snow would just never stop falling and the days, it seemed, would never get longer, she threatened divorce and we moved back to Houston, to my old school and my old life.

I never, not once, stole anything again. I still wonder why I did it in the first place.

On a side note, Calgary is a lovely city, the weather is indeed abysmal but there are things that more than make up for it, but my Mom is Brazilian, she hadn’t even seen snow till well into her twenties, she simply isn’t built to live it subarctic climes.

Mama’s Losin’ It

The hours go slow, but the years they go so fast

Cliché, I know. But I hate seeing my kids growing up! I’m not in a big rush to let go of the baby, toddler, preschooler phase, I don’t mind diapers and bottles and late night calls for water. Well, honestly, at this point I could probably live with eight hours of uninterrupted sleep… but I don’t mind the little “annoyances” for lack of a better word, of having small children. What I do mind is this constant anxiety I have at the fact that every minute that ticks by they’re getting older and moving inexorably away from me. I can’t tell if it’s selfishness, insecurity or what that stems these feelings but I have them, I don’t want my kids to grow up. So I let them reach their milestones at their own pace, I found myself asking my three-year old if he was absolutely, positively sure he wanted to be out of his diapers already, I try to let them be babies for as long as I possibly can. The logical consequence of this reticence of mine is, of course, that they both do everything early, they walked, talked and ran early, they tried new foods and were ready for more grown up games before their time. So I guess the joke’s on me.

The years, they really do go by so fast, and the harder I try to hold on to them the faster they go.

Ironically, though, the days, they go so slow. And I get frustrated and upset and irritable just like any other mother. It’s infuriating. Here I am not wanting them to grow up, but rolling my eyes at their tantrums, yelling at their messes, sighing in frustration at their fighting. Probably not enjoying their childish antics as much as I should, or could. In fact, as I’m standing over them pissed off for some reason or another I can see my future self regretting the stupid little things that so make me angry now but that are indelible signs of their babyhood. And I wonder why does everything have to be so fraught with contradictions? I wish I could just let go and enjoy the moments that I have, that I could shut off my brain, that I could look at the present without all the baggage from the past and anxiety for the future.

The years, they go so fast, as for the days though, I wonder if their going slow is just an illusion because we’re so caught up in living life we don’t see it slipping through our fingers. These small people we’re entrusted with turning into adults, they are little for such a short time…

Linking up today with Shell at Things I can’t say.

Monday Listicles – Home sweet home

I’m at a bit of a loss with Stasha’s listicles this week, ten words that describe your home… because we just recently bought what will someday soon become our very first home that we own and not rent. But right now, it’s not much of a house. So do I describe my future home, now that I’m a proud homeowner, or do I describe the house I’ve been renting for the past six years, where my kids were born and that is currently my “home”. Hmmm…. Maybe a little bit of both….

First a look to the past:

1. family – the house we live in now is where we started our family

2. bittersweet – I’m a little sad that this house that holds so many memories isn’t our homestead

3. adulthood – though the husband and I had lived together in two other apartments prior to this house, this is the one we actually tried to turn into a home, our first home as adults (took us long enough!)

4. fear – though this house is in no way to blame, we’ve lived some wonderful and some terrifying moments in it, so I hope that leaving it behind will also symbolically mean leaving behind the husband’s illness.

5. leaky pipes – I’ll be very happy to forget all about them!

And then a look to the future:

1. Very, very old stable cause that’s what my future home is today, built in the seventeenth century it was a house for horses, and the top floor was a house for stable boys.

2. ruin – like the ancient ruins, literally.

3. blood, sweat and tears – which is actually three words but it’s the idea that I’d like to convey of what it’s going to take to turn it into a home.

4. dream – the Husband and I have been looking at houses/apartments/land to buy for the last 10 years but never found anything that suited us.

5. compromise – because this house won’t be the perfect house, our quest for the perfect house has ended, now we own an actual, real house (or we will once we’re done renovating.)

Link up for Monday listicles!

The consequences of Procrastination. Lesson 1

You may have noticed I refer to this post as a lesson, it’s not because I’m trying to teach you anything, rather it’s a reminder to myself, as a serial procrastinator, how often I fall back on the same stupid mistakes. And also, I have the feeling this is the first in a long series of lessons learned the hard way.

My motto has always been: why do today what I can put off till tomorrow, or preferably next year. It’s a stupid motto and I’ll tell you why: a year or two ago I noticed a cyst on my back, it looked like a pimple that wasn’t ready to show it’s true colors yet. (Oh, by the way, this is in no way a tragic, have a tumor post, so no worries, it really is just a post about how stupid I am sometimes.) The cyst took up residence on my back and since it was pea-sized and hardly noticeable I promptly started ignoring it. The husband, as those who’ve followed me over from my old blog know, had leukemia (twice) so my attention was pretty much otherwise diverted. Fast forward to two weeks ago.

I noticed the cyst was itchy and feeling uncomfortable, but still totally ignorable until one morning I wake up with a golf ball on my back. Huh? So I go to my GP, she says we need to remove it but no hurry so go ahead and go through the hospital (free national health system in Italy, takes longer but did I mention free?). But then I start worrying about having a big ole scar on my back and I call a friend who’s a plastic surgeon (thank god for vanity) who sees me last week and yells at me awhile. When he got done yelling he put me on antibiotics (did I mention the cyst was egg-sized at this point?) and scheduled the “procedure” for this week.

The entire time I was pretty relaxed, though annoyed at the stupid itchy, painful hump on my back, I figured I’d go to his office, he’d put an anesthetic cream on my back, cut it out and off I’d go. (HA,HA, HA, snort)

So Tuesday I go to the private patient wing of the hospital and that’s how I found myself a few hours later on the operating table of an honest to goodness operating room, covered in green sheets, attached to a host of machines, with three people working on my back. The cyst is being biopsied, I’m positive it’s fine, but I kind of feel like an ass. First of all I’m in a certain amount of pain right now, with a drainage tube and stitches in my back, second of all I can’t lean back on anything bed, car, couch, so I’m pretty cranky and uncomfortable, and lastly I have to listen to repeated renditions of the husband’s variations on “didn’t I tell you, you should have gotten that looked at sooner?”.

The consequences of procrastination are annoying, sometimes painful, and often a bit humiliating. Also, I wouldn’t have had a scar on my back had I done this two years ago, and the husband wouldn’t be gloating. I really hate it when he’s right.

The lazy-ass approach to child rearing

I have two kids of four and two. My kids still occasionally drink from a bottle. GASP!

They also started drinking from a proper cup when they were one year-old, they learned quickly and there were few accidental spills, though, truth be told, there were many purposeful ones of the I wonder what happens if I overturn the cup on the table? The couch? The rug? The stairs? My shirt? variety. I chalked it up to scientific experimentation and was always to be seen with a rag at hand.

In my opinion, my children will likely not be permanently damaged from this protracted bottle use as I have otherwise kindly been informed, I have the evidence of my own pictures at four and five with a bottle hanging from my mouth and no evident scarring.

They will let go off the bottle whenever they see fit, or their friends start teasing them about it, whichever comes first.

I have the same laissez-faire attitude to potty training. My four-year old decided one morning, right after turning three and just in time for preschool, that he was done with diapers and thus consequently had a grand total of two accidents and was well on his way to adulthood. Much too my own chagrin. With the girl I’ve had to be more proactive (due to some diaper rash issues) but she seemed ready and I don’t pressure. (I believe my own mother was more of an overachiever than I with respect to the diapering, but it was the seventies and disposable diapers where rather expensive if you had access to them (in Italy) so I can see the logic of abandoning them sooner rather than later and, of course I was exceptionally gifted).

This no pressure attitude towards reaching developmental milestones works for me. In my heart of hearts I don’t want them to grow up too fast, I don’t mind washing bottles for a few more years (or, sob, months) or changing a diaper here and there. In my mind, they’re little for no time at all. And I wonder how this is anyone’s business but my own. And when did child-rearing become a competition? How is the manner in which I raise my children anyone’s business but my own? (and occasionally the husband’s…). So I beseech you, stop with the unsolicited advice, they are happy and healthy and well-adjusted that is all anyone but the parents should care about. Parents have so many more important things to worry about, like keeping these children alive, on a daily basis, and well on to adulthood, like raising them to be happy, emotionally sound adults, like making sure they always hold their own in life, that they never back down when they’re in the right and that they apologize when in the wrong… (I could go on and on here but you get the gist) it boggles the mind that a bottle or a diaper even registers as one of the things we really need to be expending energy over.

So please, when you see my two-year old contentedly drinking her evening bottle, soothing herself into bedtime mode and my four-year old right beside her with his own bottle cause more likely he needs the comfort of knowing he’s not such a big boy yet, well, just avert your judgmental gaze and mind your own fucking business.

Linking up today with Shell at Things I Can’t Say for Pour your Heart Out

Cactus, cacti – penis, peni?

My little brother came to visit last week, my little brother who’s thirty-one years old and like six-foot three… maybe I should have started this sentence with my adult younger brother came to visit last week. Anyway, he may well be an adult, but he’s still my little brother, and when we’re together we tend to revert to our teenage years. Together we’re teenagers who can legally drink. And so I spent a very satisfying week just laughing, drinking, smoking, eating out, and watching idiotic movies. Many, many idiotic movies. And let me tell you it feels wonderful to put aside our responsibilities and adulthood every once in a while and just relax with someone who knows and loves you and who snorts and doesn’t judge if you fart in front of them.

You want to know what we watched? Because the list is impressive considering I still had two kids, a husband and a household to run…

Forgetting Sarah Marshall, 500 Days of Summer, You’re welcome America, She’s out of my league, The Tower heist, Zack and Miri make a porno, The forty year old virginX-men First Class, and most of Breaking Dawn part 1,

You want to know what most of these movies have in common? Male nudity. More specifically asses and penises. I’m serious, I’ve never seen so many male asses and penises in such a short period of time. And, other than from a couple of scenes of “Zack and Miri” there was not a breast to be found. How bizarre is that?

You know, it’s funny, I’ve never liked Italian comedy, I always thought it was stupid and made no sense, but now I realize that comedy is intrinsically tied to culture and heritage. I don’t get Italian comedy, but I get and enjoy American comedy, the stupider the better (as you can tell from my list of movies). And it’s refreshing to watch a movie with someone who laughs at all the same parts, who makes the same sarcastic comments and who quotes back the same lines endlessly.

So, if you don’t know what to watch this week and are in the mood for some mindless laughing I suggest any one of the movies above with a special mention to Forgetting Sarah Marshall and She’s out of my league, and, why not let me also add: Talladega nights: the ballad of Ricky Bobby (which is one of the best movie titles ever!), Date night, and Crazy, stupid, love which we would have watched had we had time.

What are some of your favorite comedies? I need more stuff to watch in the next few weeks to get me over missing my brother too much!

Also let me leave you with this little gem from one of the above movies, we cracked up over this repeatedly over the span of several days… although it may be a case of you had to have been there…


Ten things husbands should do

I’m joining in with Stasha’s listicles today because the subject intrigued me… 10 things husbands should do… My first thought was: only ten? But then I started really thinking about what I should write, ten things I want my husband to do that he doesn’t? ten things I think all husbands should do? ten things my husband does that I think are wonderful? (snort). And then I decided I was totally over-thinking this and wrote down the first ten things I came up with.

Oh and also: Though I use “he” our “you” I’m not referring to anyone in particular, just a generic “husband” any similarity to persons alive or dead is purely coincidental.

1. I take care of the house, you’re in charge of anything on wheels. (this includes, but is not limited to: washing the cars and getting them detailed, taking care of all car bureaucracy, putting air in the tires – of cars, bicycles, motorcycles etc, getting oil changes, changing snow tires, and making sure all insurance is up to date.)

2. The killing of insects and removal of their carcasses. (I cannot stress the second point enough)

3.  Taking over child management duties on the very rare occasions the wife is ill.

4. Dealing with the mess of wires behind the tv and household desks.

5. Doing the house perimeter check when the bloody house alarm won’t come on because one of the “barriers” is “active”, invariably at night.

6. Scraping the scuzz of the hot grill before I have to wash it.

7. Putting your own clothes away. (a girl can dream…)

8. Actually listening when going over the family schedule for the week, or alternatively, not going over it at all and just remembering to check the very large and color-coded calendar in the kitchen. (Room where one cooks).

9. If one of the kids has been screaming bloody murder, for over 30 seconds and no one’s intervened I’m probably in the bathroom. Go check on them.

10. Occasional foot and or back rubs, like once or twice a month, it could really be beneficial for both parties, gratitude can go a long way… just saying.

I know I made a mess of pronouns on here, but half the time I wasn’t even sure who I was talking about. Although, to be fair, my husband is rather good about several of these… and the ones he needs to work on are pretty obvious.

What do you think husbands should do? I’d love to read your opinion in the comments, or if you’re up to it join in with the linky at Northwest Mommy!

Toodles, M

One plus one is two, I am me but who are you?

I’m starting to get a little worried, back when nobody had smart phones I used to have a decent memory, I no longer do. Case in point, an old friend was visiting recently and we were talking about people we both knew and I mentioned a friend of both our dads who had passed away recently. She was shocked, I hadn’t told her about it. I’m pretty sure that when I found out I said I’d call her and her family to let them know, but I forgot. To add insult to injury, the Husband then said I hadn’t told him, so I started questioning the facts, had this person really passed away or had I just gotten mixed up? I distinctly remembered the phone conversation in which I found out, but what if we had been talking about someone else? What if I had just imagined it all? So I called the person who had originally told me and had to pose the silliest question I’ve ever asked someone: Hi, is so and so dead?

The answer was yes, and I was reminded of the circumstances and everything came back to me in HD color, but frankly I’m a little worried. I’m 36 years old, how on earth is my memory so foggy that I can’t remember beyond the shadow of a doubt being told that a friend of the family had recently passed away? How did I forget to inform my friend? Why didn’t I tell the husband? There is no earthly reason for my memory to be so bad.

How do I relate all of this to smartphones? Well, I used to have to memorize numbers, I knew all my friends’ and family’s numbers by heart, I knew all the numbers of businesses and restaurants I normally went to, I had, literally, hundreds of numbers in my head. I could remember my appointments weeks into the future with absolute precision. Nowadays I need my iphone to remind me of my weekly pilates class, I can’t even remember my own home number.

Is it the pregnancies and childbirth that sucked my brain dry? Impossible, I’ve only got two kids, if I had even one more at this rate I wouldn’t remember how to go pee. What is happening to my mind? Is my attention span worse than a two-year old’s or is it something more that I should be worrying about?

I probably need to start doing those brain power building Nintendo something or other games. If only I could remember to….


Toodles, M

Motherhood unplugged

Mama, you smell delicious!

I love you miles and miles

Mama, I’m lonely, will you lie in my bed?

I’m not friends anymore!

Mama changes!

Mama bottle!

Mama kissy!

Mama, I’m sad can I have a Spiderman band-aid?

Mama, lap?

Mama, read!

Mama, sing!

Mama, I’m done!

Goodnight mama, I wuv you

Mama, pee-pee, run!

Mama, why’s your belly so big? Because I eat too much. No, Mama it’s because I lived there and so did sister.


Because paying 50% taxes on our income is money well spent they say.

Can I just say that the fact that the inhabitants of the Italian peninsula have been here for well over two thousand years is a complete and utter aberration of all that is logical and just, and also, that the ancient Romans, if they were still around today would kick modern Italians on their completely irrational and frankly, lazy, asses.

Can you tell, by my opening paragraph, that I’ve been once again banging my head against that play-doh-like wall that is Italian bureaucracy?

We’re buying a house. The husband and I decided upon marrying that we would assume the “separation of assets” state because it suited our own particular needs. This basically means that everything that was ours prior to the marriage (not much) remains the sole asset of the original owner, if we inherit our inheritances are our own, and we can buy property with our own money in our own name without having to be co-signatories.

And yet, for reasons that defy our understanding, despite the fact that we’re buying the house together, in both our names, the notary overseeing the purchase needs a document that states that we have in fact decided on the separation regime. This shouldn’t be too hard, there’s an office that gives you these documents. The problem arises because, well, I can’t really explain why without being unnecessarily rude to Italians, so let’s just say that the bureaucracy here has the sole purpose of driving otherwise normal and calm people completely bat shit crazy.

The husband and I were married in Rome, when we were married we resided in Milan, we now reside in Cuneo. I can get this document in Rome, I can get it in Milan, however I cannot get it in Cuneo. How is that possible? If I could only get it in Rome it would be insane but it would be completely within the boundaries of what is considered normal in Italy in 2012 where we haven’t yet fully realized that this is, in fact, the age of computers and the internet, but if I can in fact get it in Milan, where I no longer live, but where apparently they can communicate the necessary information from Rome why can’t I get it here?

They can do a whole host of other documents online, but not these… why? WHY?

It is a miracle, that as a people, Italians have been around for as long as they have, it makes me want to challenge all of Darwin’s theories regarding evolution because if it really was a question of survival of the fittest they would have become extinct sometime right after the Renaissance.