Some things you simply don’t want to forget.

The past few days have just flown by, I know, cliché but it’s my life theme, no time, no time, no time! The kids are getting so big, so big! (And yes, I’m getting so old, so old…) So I’m going to start doing something I had decided not to do on this blog: write monthly or weekly (or possibly daily) about my children. About how wonderfully wonderful they are, about all the things that tickle me and make me laugh and piss me off to high heaven.  Things I didn’t want to write about, not because I don’t think they belong on a blog, because they do, they absolutely do, I love bloggers that post letters to their kids, they make me happy. But me, well, I have a language problem, because you see half the cute (and infuriating) things my kids do are things they say and how do I do that when 99% of my readers are English-speaking and my kids do funny things in Italian and Portuguese and yes, sometimes, rarely, in English. I’m not showing off, I swear, this isn’t a – aren’t my children gifted and special because they speak three languages – post (they don’t actually even speak one language fully yet, though, you know). I know first-hand how easy it is and well, natural it is, to learn a language when from the day you come out into the world you’ve got people speaking to you in different languages. So really my kids aren’t all that special. (Even though they are, they so are).

But suddenly it’s more important for me to record, to indelibly imprint on what has somehow become the official archive, repository, library or what have you, of human… well, everything,  all the things I really, really don’t want to forget than it is to write posts that actually make sense to everybody out there. So, forgive me, in advance, but I’m sure you understand, the things they do, the everyday things, the magical, recordable things, must be preserved and my once impeccable penmanship has gone the way of the cassette player, I’ve given in to the fact that I’ll never write, legibly or illegibly, with pen on paper quite as fast as I can type with finger on keyboard. So there you have it, my childrens’ journals, elegant black journals, lie unopened under many inches of dust with only a few entries to their name.

On Wednesday afternoons I take my kids to baby basketball (for three to five-year olds) they play together, the Boy started it in the spring and the instructor told me I could bring the Girl in September even though she’s not quite three yet. So they play together, but the first lesson, now several weeks ago, I was on pins and needles the entire time because the girl was so obviously little compared to the other kids. She made a massive effort, chasing after the ball, trying to follow the directions, and generally having a grand old time, I, on the other hand, was mentally fixated on the fact that she ran so obviously like a toddler, slightly knock-kneed, with her feet off at an angle and her entire body rocking from side to side. It was so damn adorable I hate myself for not taking video of it. Now, less than four weeks later she runs like a big girl, it took no time at all, she grew up in such an obvious way in no time it all it blows my mind. And I almost missed it, I almost didn’t even notice that she changed the way she runs. I read this post today, go read it because it’s good, but it made me think that we never really do notice the lasts, we only notice the firsts, but the lasts are just as important.

That day at basketball, was probably the last time she ran like a toddler and I noticed, and I’m so happy I did. So that’s why I’m going to make more of an effort to record what they do and you, dear reader, will just have to bear with me (or ignore me).

p.s. tonight we were talking about stink bugs, because we are surrounded by them, every year right before the first frosts, they set up camp outside and try their damnedest to come inside, where it’s nice and warm.  All day, I kill stink bugs. Tonight I had just about had it when a stupid bug made a beeline for my head (they love my hair for some reason) and so I yelled at the husband to come kill the stupid thing. The stupid bug is called Cimice in Italian and for half an hour after the fact the Girl walked around asking to see the cimida (rhymes with timid, shy, which it so is not!), where was the cimida, was it still in the toilet or did it go for a swim? She even took her brother to the bathroom to explore the toilet bowl in case it was still in there.

Did this little story make sense to anyone but me? Probably not, but I totally want to not forget it. So there.

(also, she says yayeio for aereo – airplane, I’m so going to miss this baby talk part of their lives, especially cause it’s sure to be followed, after only a brief respite, by the cursing is cool part of their lives).

One line good, two lines less good…

I had a bit of a scare today. One of those “holy hell I need to take a pregnancy” test kind of scare, and mostly, it’s the iPhone’s fault. You see, now I use an app to keep track of my period, whereas before Apple took over my life I used to just make little red cross marks on my day planner (remember those?). My day planner never once sent me urgent messages rife with exclamation points to tell me my period was one day, two days, three days late. In fact, when I got pregnant with the Girl it took me a week with what I thought was the never-ending stomach flu to realize I was maybe just a little late.

So, I’m only a week late but I had to go get the pregnancy test, despite the fact that we are insanely diligent now about protection and the Husband’s swimmers are 98% no longer working (chemo, radiation therapy and the meds he’s taking now, in case you’re wondering why) because the stupid phone kept obsessing about it. This little exercise in futility, made me sit and mull over a couple of things: first off, even though I’m not sure I’m ready to be done with babies, I’m absolutely, positively, not ready to deal with all the issues that would inevitably come up if I actually got pregnant “accidentally”. Because the likelihood that a baby conceived at this point of the husband’s recovery is healthy enough to get to term is pretty slim, and who wants to knowingly put themselves through that? I’m not ready to deal with the fact that I may have to terminate a pregnancy, or raise a child with severe health issues. Also, I’m not sure I’m ready to start over right now, I mean, I do want more children, but right this minute I need to enjoy at least a few months of uninterrupted sleep at night, and I need to get some of this “first two babies” weight off, because if I put a third baby’s weight on top of it I may never recover (from having to throw out all my lovely clothes!). That’s why we’re obsessive about contraception, and that’s also why a week of the stupid phone’s constant reminders that by God my period wasn’t coming kind of freaked me out. Hence the pregnancy test. So clearly, you all agree that my day was stressful and it’s all Apple’s fault, right? Maybe I should sue for damages…


Oh, and p.s., in case you’re wondering, the test was negative. Now I just have to figure out why I’m late!

Coffee and Chit Chat

Hello dear friends, and welcome to coffee. If we were really meeting for coffee, I’d tell you about the last few days.

I’ve mentioned before that I have some really good friends here and the more I talk about it the more proof I have that it’s true. Last week we organized a girls’ movie night, one of our friends is going through a really crappy divorce (I know divorce is always crappy, but sometimes you luck out and the person you are divorcing is a mature, compassionate, sensible and responsible human being, in this case however he is an immature, irresponsible, arrogant, inconsiderate, piece of horse shit), so she needs regular distractions from her situation. So we decided to go see Magic Mike (which was still on at the theatre here). And why yes, we wanted to go see it for the articles.

First a note about the movie itself, for those who haven’t seen it: It was generally pretty horrific. The men though hot, were not really sexy… I don’t know, I just can’t get behind the whole man in a thong thing (pun intended!) and the parts where they aren’t stripping are pretty boring, so it’s basically the movie equivalent of Fifty Shades, that said, we had fun.

Seeing the movie itself was not without its obstacles, we decided to go see it last Friday, and last Wednesday they took it out of the movies. So I downloaded it on my ipad, but obviously, we couldn’t all watch it off an ipad. The only one of us (the soon to be divorcee) who didn’t have kids or a husband at home, didn’t have a tv built in the last century to which we could hook up the ipad (guess who took her new tv…). It took awhile, but we finally found a place to go laugh, and whoop, and act like drunk college students (or cougars, whichever you prefer), the Husband’s office. (He gets his own post about what a wonderful husband he is later in the week). He set up a big screen in his office, hooked it up for us, got us comfortable chairs and left us with the keys and the “don’t get too drunk” speech.

Today, another friend gave me an awesome belated birthday present, she invited me to her house for coffee, but was waiting for me outside, got in my car and directed me to an undisclosed location – her beautician, of whose massage skills she’s been waxing poetic for months. So I got a wonderful surprise massage instead of coffee today, and then we had a quick lunch. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world! (Also, the most relaxed)

I would like to go on, as I haven’t done a virtual coffee in a long time, but nap time is almost over so my time’s up. I’m going to try and get back into the swing of virtual coffee every week, I’ve missed it, and it’s a great way to catch up!

Till next time then, for now, toodles!


The, the more things change the more they stay the same, Monday Listicle

Hello friends and happy Monday! It’s time for Stasha’s Listicle and this week it’s a really hard one: ten ways I am the same or different from my younger self, courtesy of Christine of Random Reflectionz. I’m not quite sure how to even approach this…

I don’t want to be too obvious, like I was thinner, younger, blonder (in every way)… eh, let’s go with the old standby of winging it and see where it takes us, which should be interesting as half the time I’m not even sure I can make it to ten with these listicles (and often don’t). So ten things ways I am the same and different from my younger self using the comparatives more and less.

When I was younger:

1. I was more arrogant, I thought I knew it all. Now I actually know it all, but in a completely non-arrogant way.

2.  I was less head-strong. In fact, I used to let everyone around me influence me. Now I don’t really care what everyone around me thinks. This is both good and bad because consequently:

3. I used to take more care of myself. When I was younger I wouldn’t leave the house unless my hair was done, and my nails manicured, and my skin as smooth as a baby’s behind. Now… well now I’ve got kids, so if my teeth are brushed I’m good to go.

4.  I used to be less discerning about men. Back then I had a crush on Luke Perry, who no one has ever seen again after 90210, now I have a crush on Matthew Perry who keeps doing awesome shows. (if you haven’t seen it, check out Go On).

5. I used to be more adventurous. The sky was the limit. Literally. In fact, the only thing I regret not doing when I was younger that I really, really, wanted to do is skydiving. There is no way in hell I’m going to do that now, because… well, I’ve got kids. Also, I’m now a scaredy cat.

6. I had less fun. Yes, this one is a little weird, but I used to have fun more often but less intensely because:

7. I was more self-conscious, and I embarrassed much, much more easily. Then again I hadn’t given birth in front of what felt like the entire hospital staff plus a few students.

8. I had less to lose. Which kind of explains the adventurousness. I guess the older we get, the more we appreciate the things we have and the more conscious we are of how easy it is to lose it all.

9. I have more love. I love more intensely, yet less dramatically.

10. I have less time. This one is really true, yet really hard to swallow, and also the only one I’d really change (along with the effects of age on my metabolism, and gravity on my body). I used to have all the time in the world, summers were endless, fifty minute class periods were excruciatingly long, now the years fly by at a steadily increasing pace and I can accomplish unimaginable feats of organizational prowess in only fifty minutes. So sometimes I’d just like to stop time for a moment and be able to simply sit and think, remember, and record, the sensations of a specific moment, to savor it, and really enjoy it, live it, before it’s gone forever.

Girls’ night out – a post where I prove once again I have no concept of brevity

So I’m trying to organize a night out with the girls. I’ve mentioned before that I have a great group of friends here. In fact, I’ve found I’m pretty lucky in the friendship department. I still have a few good friends (some even amazing friends) in Houston though I haven’t lived there in many years now, I have some great friends in Milan, and now I have some awesome friends here. Even though when I came to this tiny rural town seven years ago (my God has it been that long?!?) I thought I would never again make friends like the ones I was leaving behind. In fact, I remember clearly stating to my  best friend in Milan that I would never find such good friends again, that at thirty, working full-time, in a company where, for all intents and purposes I was, not only the boss, but also the owner’s wife, I would never find the time to make friends and I couldn’t befriend my co-workers.
And instead, here I am, seven years later, two kids, no longer working full-time, and with some fantastic friends. As I said, lucky.

Amazingly, most of my girlfriends here are from English-speaking countries. I don’t know if I can fully convey how incredible (literally as in hard to believe) this is, we live in a mountainous area of northwest  Italy specifically known for how closed off the general population is and yet I’ve managed to find a group of girls my age (take or leave a few years) from the US, England, Australia, Canada, South Africa… and this fact, isn’t just surprising from a statistical point of view, it’s actually been a lifesaver for all of us. It’s hard living away from home, it’s hard always being a little bit foreign no matter how integrated you are. I’m Italian, but all of my childhood experiences, all the things that speak of “home” to me, many of my best and oldest memories are “American”, and even though I speak perfect Italian my first language is English.  Being around other people who feel just as foreign, who gripe about the same things, with whom I can, jokingly, rag on Italians without fear of offending anyone is liberating, it gives me a feeling of belonging.

Anyway, getting back on track (it’s astounding how I always manage to take off on a tangent for half an hour), we try to organize an evening out a month (it doesn’t seem like much, but just try organizing ten to fifteen women almost all of whom have kids and/or husbands, it’s like  trying to organize scattering ants) and at least one coffee a week. This week we’ve decided to ditch our husbands home with the kids on Friday night, right at dinner/bath-time so we can go out to the movies and possibly grab a quick bite first.

We need these girly nights, in fact we deserve these girly nights. We usually go out to eat somewhere nice, where the wine flows freely, or we (rather more rarely) go out for drinks, or dancing, but we’ve never all gone to the movies together. It should be fun, and er… funny… most likely. And now that I’ve hopefully got your curiosity a little bit peaked I wonder if you can guess what could possibly grab a group of thirty something women’s attention away from the wonderful dinner with free-flowing wine we normally would be having, diverting it instead to an evening of candy-smacking and popcorn-crunching at the movies.

Those who guess will be named my new super-duper best friends on the internet!

The if you can’t say something nice… Monday Listicle

Happy Monday. I’m late posting today, I’m a little tired, and my allergies are just plain trying to kill me, so no long preamble for me.  So, as per Stasha’s instructions here is a list of ten (actually nine) compliments.

The ten most bizarre compliments I have ever received.

1. you have the most beautiful hands, are you a hand model? This was a pick-up line by a sleazebag in the center of Rome. I’m pretty sure that, had I let him, he would have segued straight into: why don’t you come up to my apartment so I can take some pictures of your hands… and then quite possibly try to molest you.

2. hmmm, you smell like hay. Hay? Seriously?!

3. you have great teeth. What am I, a horse? And also, I don’t have great teeth, I have straight teeth thanks to my orthodontist, but my teeth are pretty average.

4. you’re so quiet and reflective. I am, indeed, both quiet and reflective, no one could ever possibly accuse me of being the life of the party or a prima donna, but as this was said to me at a dinner party, I’m assuming they meant boring and spaced out.

5. your cooking style is so eclectic and interesting. i.e. gross and inedible. This was said to me by an Italian friend of a friend who only eats Italian food, ideally cooked by her grandmother, not an adventurous person to say the least. That day we had grilled meat, which, though it can be “interesting” at times, it can hardly be called eclectic. I had made a regular lettuce salad and a tomato and mozzarella salad, as well as baked potatoes, we grilled steaks and sausage, I’m not quite sure what she expected to eat at a barbecue.

6. your feet are so big! This was said to me with, I kid you not, a hand clap and squeal at the end. Now, I’ve got, as my mother would say, a very stable base, there’s very little risk that I’ll fall over, my roots are well spread out… my feet are, in fact, on the larger end of the scale for someone my height. That said, they’re not freakishly large or anything, it’s certainly something no one has ever noticed before. In any case, I’m not quite sure exactly why she was so excited about the size of my feet, as far as I know, there’s no correlation between a woman’s feet and the size of her… well, anything in fact, that could possible elicit that much glee.

7. This is the best glass of water anyone’s ever poured me. Truth be told, I’m not quite sure if this person was complimenting me, the glass, or the water therein, in any case, it’s altogether too much complimenting for a glass of water.

8. You write divinely. Well, this one just kind of pissed me off. There’s really no need for hyperbole, I may or may not write well, but divinely? I think not. In fact, I know not, because if I did in fact write “divinely” I’d be a published author now wouldn’t I? Or a very, very religious or illuminated person. I’m none of the above, and frankly I find this misrepresentation of something I actually care about a bit insulting.

9. Mama, you’re so old. This was said with love and something akin to pride in his eyes. I’m perfectly aware that to my four-year old being old is the absolute best thing that you can be, as a lot of the cool things he really wants to do will happen when he’s “older” (like “when I’m older I can ride my bike to school by myself” which gets repeated approximately every hour on the hour at my house) but honestly, there’s no reason to ever say that to a woman. Even if she is your mother. I’m just saying.

I’m capping it at nine cause I can’t remember a tenth. Forgive me?

A little of this and a little of that

WordPress is driving me insane. My old blog was on blogger and though missing some of wordpress’ more interesting features, most of which I do not use as I’m neither curious nor computer literate enough, blogger had a fantastic widget for blogrolls. My blogroll automatically updated each blog’s new posts so I always knew when to go read them and could conveniently click on them directly from my homepage. I didn’t need to check my reader, my email, and my carrier pigeon, it was all in one place, sorted by most recent, the pinnacle of convenience.

Word verification irritates me. I understand that very, very popular blogs need some sort of filter to minimize the amount of spam they have to deal with, so they make their readers register. Fine. But these blogs are few and far between. Regular blogs can probably do without this, and those blogs with 20 followers and no social media anything probably don’t get all that much spam to begin with. So, why, why make us jump through hoops to leave a comment? I hate word verification. I hate having to try and decipher the stupid letters that look nothing like letters that spell out words that don’t exist. And half the time that isn’t even enough, I have to put in numbers too, or worst of all, do math. Gawd! I mean honestly, isn’t the pleasure of reading your readers comments enough to justify spending a couple of minutes erasing the crap in your spam folder?

I don’t know what to watch on tv lately. Italian tv, even Italian satellite tv, is just abysmally terrible this year. I keep downloading stuff on itunes, but it gets expensive. Also, most of my favorite shows are over (permanently) so I don’t know what to watch. Any suggestions on this front would be greatly appreciated.

I would like to find (or put together, though it’s quite possibly more work than I can handle right now) an honest to goodness book club for me to join. One that suggests a book, gives reading assignments so everyone is always on the same page (double entendre intended), and moderates regular discussions on the book regularly. Is there such a thing? Where might I find it? Also, I’m on goodreads, if anyone would like to befriend me…

I’ve been going to the gym regularly (almost every day) for three weeks now. I’m pretty upset that I have lost not one kilo. Though my jeans are starting to fit a wee bit more comfortably. Apparently, this is a good thing, though honestly, I’d like some reassurance from my scale.

I have a very, very, sweet husband who is a very, very good guy, and I’d do well to remember this fact more often. I’ll tell you why in the next post. (or rather the next, next post as the next post will likely be the Monday Listicle). Creating some suspense….

Okay… all done with this week’s inanities. Leaving you with some stuff to read:

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to

October 3rd. It’s my 37th birthday today. Normally I get very excited about my birthday, I love birthdays and celebrations in general. I’ve always believed that the older we get the more we should celebrate our birthdays because there are fewer and fewer of them ahead of us. Macabre, maybe, but true. We should take advantage of them, make them special, get excited, like when we were kids.

This year, however, I’m not feeling it. I don’t know why. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I feel like I’m going to be disappointed, in fact, I am disappointed, preemptively, which makes no sense at all. (What am I, twelve? ha, I could only wish!)

In any case, I’m done with all the mental masturbation (please forgive the vulgarity, but there’s no better word for what I’m doing right now… oh, I wonder what’s wrong with me, let me think back to my childhood and analyze every single significant moment in my life to see if there’s any connection with this current bout of mal de vivre…). No sir, I’m done.

I’m un-excited, I’m disappointed? Who gives a shit? Is what I’m telling myself this year. So I’m going to get excited about doing something nice for someone else.

I’m not sure what exactly, but I’ve got all day to figure it out. In fact, if you’ve got any suggestions I’m all ears!

(Isn’t that the most ridiculous expression ever? Who came up with that, Dumbo?)