Because, my friends, I’m nothing if not rational and there’s little I love more than teaching a good lesson.

Yesterday I participated in one of MamaKat’s pretty much world-famous writer’s workshop, and one of the prompts (that I didn’t do) was write an open letter to a man. One of the many bloggers who followed this prompt DeanaBo brought up the fact that when you send a man to the store they often come back with something similar to what you asked for, but not exactly what you asked for, and that prompted one of those light bulb above the head moments for me.

I cannot count the number of conversations I’ve had over the years with countless women about this very subject. Just a few weeks ago, in Houston, one evening my mom was positively hysterical (and not in a oh, she’s so funny way) because she sent her husband to the store for “some garlic” and he came home with a gigantic tub of peeled garlic. My mom hardly ever uses garlic. Seriously, they haven’t been married that long, but it has been three years, what on this green earth did he think she was going to do with a tub of garlic, ward off a vampire invasion??

I don’t get it. There are times when I ask The Husband for a couple of lemons and he comes home with exactly two lemons (really? does he think that warrants a trip to the store?) at other times, to the same request, he responds by returning with an exaggerated amount of lemons. What goes on in their heads?

No, it’s not a rhetorical question. I really want to know what the hell they are thinking when they go to the grocery store. The Husband is perfectly rational in other aspects of his life (well… he does seem to have a flashlight fetish, he can’t walk by flashlights at the store without buying one, but that’s pretty minor, right?) what can possibly be going on in their brains when they enter a grocery store that turns them into complete morons.

A few years back, when I was pregnant with The Girl I couldn’t eat meat. I don’t know what happens to me when I’m pregnant, any other time in my life if you present me with a steak and any other food, whether it be pasta or cake or cookies or pizza or any other delicacy, whatever time of day, I’ll pick the steak. When I’m pregnant I can’t even look at cows.

But for some reason, with the girl I could eat cheeseburgers, probably cause they were so loaded with stuff that I couldn’t see the meat. Anyway, I get a craving for cheeseburgers and I send him off to the butcher to get the meat so he could grill them for me, and remember now, I was pregnant, so this wasn’t an oh I kind of feel like a cheeseburger marijuana induced craving, this was a full on I will massacre you with my bare hands until you are but a bloody, pulpy mess on the kitchen floor if I don’t get a damn burger craving.

He comes home with chicken breast.

Yes, you read that right. I mean, it’s not even in the same category. What the hell am I saying? It’s not even in the same universe as a cheeseburger. What was he thinking?? I never got the chance to find out because the sheer volume, the actual decibel level, of my shrieking was so loud that dogs for miles around our house covered their ears and cowered in fear. Obviously, he went back to the butchers and came back with hamburger meat. But, honestly, wouldn’t it have been easier to just get it the first time around?

Next time, just for fun, when he asks me to buy him something specific I’m going to buy something similar, but not exactly what he wants. I can’t wait to see his reaction to a tube of say, hair removal cream, when he asks for razors…. Then maybe he’ll understand, and learn… I mean seriously… Chicken breasts. Sheesh!

The heart of the home


As I may have mentioned a time or twenty, we bought a “house” (i.e. very, very old, falling apart, structure that vaguely resembles something one might one day live in) last year and are in the very long and articulated process of renovating it. And, though I’m very happy to finally call myself a homeowner at the ripe old age of ahem… mid thirties… I’ve recently realized that I’m going to miss the house we’ve been renting for the past seven years. Our first actual house, with a yard, where our two kids were born (one almost literally), where they learned to crawl, and walk, and talk… so I’ve been thinking about documenting it, for posterity, room by room, maybe a couple of posts a months from now until we move in to the new place. And in one of those lucky twists of fate that happen once in a blue moon MamaKat’s prompt: “show us your kitchen”, called to me like a much needed bell toll to get my procrastinating self into gear.

So here you have it, as the first post of a long goodbye to the house we’ve called home for seven years, my kitchen:




I have a love hate relationship with this kitchen. In Italy, when you move into a house all the rooms are generally empty, there’s no kitchen, no closets, the bathrooms come with the bare essentials plumbing, toilet, bidet, sink and shower or bath, nary a cabinet, mirror, or light to be found. This is so even if you’re renting, unless the house is said to be partially furnished (meaning it has grandma’s old kitchen from the 1940’s – with the original appliances). When we moved in we bought the kitchen and a few other things from the previous renters. I didn’t really like the kitchen, I’m not a huge fan of the red, I didn’t really like the layout, and I hated the counters, stove, and sink (I changed the last three), but we got it for a bargain and we didn’t know how long we’d be here so… eh…

Seven years later and I really, really, hate the red.

In fact, if I may presume to suggest anything to anyone, if you’re renovating or building, get a kitchen in the most neutral color you can imagine (I’m partial to white) and then just paint the walls, you can change the color of your walls however many times you want for a fraction of the cost and hassle of changing the color of your kitchen cabinets.

But I also love this kitchen, because the kitchen, often, is the heart of the home. And a lot of things happened in this kitchen.

Food gets cooked in this kitchen:
pasta stracotto  ravioli strudel

dishes and stuff get washed by little hands


and things get baked (by short people…)


birthdays are celebrated






and silliness happens

silliness happens

Turkeys are carved


and cakes decorated

car cake

children eat politely. yes, even that happens! (rarely, so rarely in fact three different moms ran for their cameras)


and old friends get togetherfriendsmingle

I may not like it anymore, and I may not want to admit it, but I’m going to miss this little red kitchen, a lot of heart happened here.

Linking up with MamaKat’s writer’s workshop.


Mama’s Losin’ It

Monday Listicles – The Closet Edition

I’m back! Back home, after a nightmare vacation, and back to the listicles, yay!

This week Stasha asked us to list 10 things in our closet. I haven’t got my act together enough to actually have pictures, but I’m betting no one really expected me to. Plus, I’m still unpacking so my closet is a complete nightmare right this minute. Also, I’m still jet-lagged and my kids have been up from 2am to 4am every night since we arrived from Houston. It’s a miracle they’re still alive, in fact.

So here goes, ten things in my closet:

1. four pairs of identical slippers, in different colors. My favorite slippers have become hard to find, for once in my life I managed to plan ahead and bought all the ones I could find. Clearly, slippers are important to me.

2. 23 pairs of jeans. Only 4 actually fit me.

3. 53 t-shirts. I’m not kidding. 53 actual t-shirt, this does not include long-sleeved t-shirts, tank tops, or other types of short-sleeved top. I may have some sort of undocumented t-shirt addiction.

4. 7 coats, a very long grey one, a black one, a purple one, a navy blue one, a lovely red one, a snowy white one, and a Jacqueline Kennedy-esque pink and white one. It’s cold where I live, which is why I hardly ever wear coats, I wear big, bulky, Michelin man, down jackets. And yet I have 7 coats.

5. Three drawers full of socks.

6. One drawer full of clothes I’ll never fit into again, but can’t bear to part with.

7. 12 evening gowns. From before I had children.

8. A gym bag, which is finally seeing some action this year, and my yoga kit.

9. Presents for the kids’ and husband’s future birthdays. The most obvious place, hence the only place no one ever looks. I’m a genius.

10. And a partridge in a pear tree. (not really – just lots, and lots, more clothes and bags)

My shoes, which I haven’t mentioned as you may have noticed, reside elsewhere. And probably deserve a post of their own.

I’m so happy to be back to the listicles and my very normal, mundane life!

Just call me Grumpy


I’m in a phenomenally bad mood today. Likely, this is due to the fact that I’ve been stuck in this stupid hospital for almost a week now. You want to know what the biggest difference between a hospital in Italy and a hospital in Texas is? Everyone here is polite. And you have to be polite back. The entire day is punctuated with Hi, how are yous, you have a good day nows, cheery alrights and thank yous.


You’re constantly greeting people, and smiling at people, and no, no go on aheading at people. Yesterday, during the attending’s visit she was saying how the infection that the husband has is very severe, that it could lead to a rupture in the gut, which is why they’re keeping him under such strict control, that he does have a little GVHD but it’s just a level 1 out of 4, so not worrisome at all, and one of the fellows, I swear to God, clapped her hands excitedly and said Yaaaaay! Seriously, stop being so flippin’ cheery.

In Italy, everyone is much less polite. You don’t aknowledge people in the elevator, you pretend you’re in there alone. Despite the fact that most of the time you’re packed in like sardines. The doctors and the nurses don’t give a shit how you’re doing, unless you’re the patient and are answering specific questions. And no one, no one, would ever get excited about a diagnosis or prognosis or whatever. I used to hate that about Italy. Everybody’s so grumpy. But this morning I kind of get it, I’m tired, I’ve got cabin fever from being stuck in this room for so long, I’m running out of ways to entertain the husband, and I really, really, miss my kids, so I kind of resent having to expend even the minimal energy required to enquire about the nurse’s well being today. I don’t care. Just leave  me alone and let me sulk in peace.

Unfortunately, I grew up here, and apparently it is physically impossible for me to enter an elevator, or get in line, or walk into a waiting room, and refrain from asking everyone around me how they’re doing and talking about the weather. It’s a little like having Tourette’s, I imagine, but without the satisfaction of pissing off everyone around me.

It has finally stopped raining, the sun is out and instead of lifting my mood it’s actually made it worse cause now I really want to be outside! So just call me Grumpy today, and when I ask how everything’s going, keep your answers short and to the point, cause I don’t really want to know. Harrumph!

Nurses make all the difference and a tangent on America

We’re obviously still in the hospital. We’ve been through a lot of nurses since we’ve been here, day nurses, night nurses, nurses’ assistants… the doctors pretty much stay the same, but the nurses change almost every day. We had a great nurse for two days in a row, Jan. She was a very sweet, mothering type, which promptly sent me over the edge. I’m fine as long as no one is acting concerned about me, but the minute they start asking me how I’m doing I completely lose my shit. There was some crying. Plus, we had an unpleasant visit in the Eye Center, yesterday, that left us a bit deflated. The Husband’s been having problems with his eyes, his vision is blurry, foggy, his eyes feel grainy, and it worsens as the day progresses. Obviously this has all gotten worse since we got here due to lack of sleep, the dry hospital air, and some anxiety. The eye doctor wasn’t a very nice person. Which is fine, because, in my opinion doctors need to be good at being doctors and their personality is secondary to that. Of course, in an ideal world, all doctors would be great at their job and have fantastic bedside manner, but I’m not an idealist. But the husband got very anxious, and a bit depressed, and when that happens it becomes really hard to get him out of his downward spiral. Jan helped with that a lot.

Nurses have a thankless job, in my opinion. They do a lot of cleaning up after patients, of measuring disgusting bodily fluids, of coddling people who are ill, and cranky, and unhappy. They have a lot of paperwork, they have to always be attentive cause a mistake could be fatal, and no one really thanks them for it. When people get better they reference the doctor, oh, so and so doctor was amazing, he saved my life… but what about the nurses? And it’s harder to establish a relationship with them cause their shifts are all over the place. Generally, you see the same doctor or two every day, so it’s easier with them, nurses come and go.

We have another great nurse today, John. The first thing he did this morning at the beginning of his shift was come in and say that he was Italian too, by his great grandfather or something like that. He immediately tried to establish a connection. And I guess it worked cause both the husband and I like him quite a bit. Of course, it made us laugh because he’s about as Italian as my knock off, made in China, Prada, but he’s a great guy, he made a point of trying to make us comfortable.

Also, and I’m off on a tangent here, I love that in America everyone (or rather, many people) have a sense of their roots. I’m Italian, I’m Irish, I’m Chinese, you hear from these people who have been living here for generations, who’ve never set foot in their countries of “origin”, who have none of the original traditions left other than what has evolved within their own families to give them a sense of who they were. This is just so quintessentially American to me. An Italian would look at this guy and be like dude, you’re so not Italian man, you’re the typical American (which, incidentally, is what the husband and I were doing in our bitchy heads this morning), but he still has a sense of belonging to a culture that he only knows second, or rather, third and fourth hand. And I imagine that this connection that he feels to his roots is probably what his great-grandfather would have wanted to preserve when he took that difficult and lonely boat ride across the Atlantic to an unknown place in search of a better and more optimistic future.

So the nurses here, they are great, and I just thought it needed to be said.

How am I feeling, facebook? You really want to know?

I’ve been on Facebook for years now, can’t even really remember how many. I’ve never gone off it, I have no strong feelings about it either way. I don’t feel like it’s invading my privacy, or that it’s covering a broader, hidden, conspiracy to deprive me of my civil rights. I just enjoy seeing what my friends and acquaintances are up to, being nosy about their lives. Plus it’s a fast and effective way to communicate what’s going on with me. I used to like the original third-person prompt for the status update “Bonny is….” it was kind of fun talking about myself impersonally and it made for some hilarious reading what with everyone screwing up their personal pronouns (myself included). Lately though, Facebook has started getting a little too touchy feely for my taste, a little too new agey bullshit…. The prompts now are “How are you feeling, Bonny?”, “How are you doing, Bonny?” “What’s going on…:”.

How am I feeling, Facebook? Do you really want to know? Cause that’s going to make for some pretty disconcerting status updates.

But since you ask, I’m pretty fucking tired, Facebook. The Husband is still in the hospital, we’re getting some more tests done, we’re not really sure what’s wrong with him. My kids, they’re pretty upset. The day before yesterday I left the Husband in the late afternoon, so I could spend some time with the kids, and the Boy had a massive meltdown. “Why is my daddy sick, no one else’s daddy is sick”, that broke my heart. I’m also pretty pissed off at the universe right now, Facebook. And yes, I know, things could be worse, they could be harder, we are pretty lucky, but I’m going to be pissed for just a little while longer ok? I’m going to throw a small, internal, tantrum, and shake my fist at fate, because I am sick and fucking tired of this. I’m tired of having to manage everyone, the kids, my mom, the Husband, his mom… I’m tired of having to be apparently calm and level-headed, of making decisions, of reassuring people, I’m tired of running around from hospital to home, and home to hospital, eating a bite here, taking a quick shower there, dispensing hugs and kisses, playing, entertaining, feeding, hand-holding and coddling, constantly in my practical, comfortable, t-shirt and yoga pants, so I can sleep in my clothes and not look like a complete fucking mess all the time.


I want to be able to relax, for just five minutes, I don’t want to worry about the husband, or the kids, or the state of the world economy, for five freaking minutes. That’s my goal this year, five minutes of just absolute peace and contentment.

And also, I need half an hour to wash and dry my hair. How’s that for a status update, Facebook?

Swimming upstream and other things

Sometimes things don’t go as we would have liked. I feel like that is a lesson life is determined to teach me over and over again. This Houston vacation we are on… not so much of a vacation. We arrived day late, I got sick on Christmas day, the Girl got a little sick, I was in bed for a week, the Husband managed the kids. New Year’s it looked like we were all getting better, and then I got sick again, the Husband started feeling unwell, with a completely unrelated problem, I got better (ish), he got sicker, he spent a week in bed, finally I had to take him to the hospital. We are now at MD Anderson Cancer Center, trying to figure out if he has a virus, if he’s feeling ill because of one of the many consequences of the transplant, if we’re going home as planned on Wednesday (if he can even fly)…

The kids, they are being wonderful, my friends here are being amazing at keeping them entertained, my mother is really doing everything she can to help out… but a vacation it is not.

The Husband jokes that now we’ve gotten first hand experience of the American health industry, which in Europe is often viewed with a certain degree of curiosity and awe, but that’s fodder for another post. Personally, I would’ve done without this insight, but at least he’s staying positive.

I, on the other hand, am a little deflated, I always have such high hopes for my time at home. But, I don’t want to be a total sourpuss, not at the beginning of a new year. There are lessons to be learned in this experience. We can’t control everything or anything really, we can’t count on things going the way we want. I’m not being negative, I’m just trying to keep things in perspective. Our expectations often get the best of us, our ideals, our wishes, wishes that we invest so much in that we start thinking of them as facts, as law, but things don’t always go as we would like and there is no point trying to swim upstream sometimes. The biggest lesson I need to learn this year, I think, is to relax and go with the flow, which for a neurotic control freak is a very hard lesson indeed. But, stranger things have happened, so, I assume, there’s hope for me yet.

For now, send us happy, positive, upbeat thoughts, if you can, and soon enough we’ll all be heading home. Wherever the hell that is!

Another day, another year.

2013. I don’t know what to think anymore at the beginning of a new year. Used to be I’d get excited, or depressed, thinking of the endless possibilities or the hardships ahead. Now, well, I’m not so sure what my attitude should be. It’s just another day. Another year. Much like the day before, the year before… the one before, and the one before that. It’s so arbitrary, the new year, isn’t it? The Chinese don’t even celebrate it till weeks after we do. Yet, here we are, every year, doing something on the night between December 31st and January first, doing something or nothing, purposefully, intentionally, willingly. But what, exactly, makes this day, this night, anymore special than the one before, or after? Kind of like starting a diet on Mondays, diets started on Sunday or Tuesday are just as effective. The point is starting.

I woke up with a headache today. The last week of 2012 was terrible, comparatively, as a first week of vacation. I was horribly (survivably) sick, I went through two courses of antibiotics, steroids, and loads of other stuff, I’m still not great, but the minute I was up again the husband got sick, in one of those cruel parenting turn-taking jokes of the universe. We’re all sniffely, not able to really enjoy our vacation, to see our friends, to get our shopping done, to go eat at the restaurants we dream of all year. When you live so far from home so much expectation rides on these fleeting trips home that being felled by the flu feels like something akin to tragedy.

This week we’re going to make the best of it, try to make it to the Space Center, to a couple of restaurants, to some stores, I’m hopefully doing a cake decorating course I reserved weeks ago, see some friends… But the New Year? No sir, no ma’am. I’m not ready for the hopeful, exciting, new beginning.

So this year I’m celebrating the new year when we get home, somewhere around the tenth or eleventh or so, when I’ve recharged my batteries. And I’ll be celebrating the ordinariness of my very mundane life, cause that’s the one I live everyday. Cause this year my life is not going to be about the one, special, out of the ordinary day, the New Year’s Day, the anticipated trip home, the once in a lifetime occasion, the extraoradinary, this year I’m celebrating my every day, day after day, with the sniffles and the disappointments, and the anger, and the unexpected joys and surprises, the laughter, the tears, the yelling, the fighting and the joy.

I’m sick of the specialness of special occasions, I’m ready for the ordinariness of ordinary life. Maybe I’m at the brink of middle-agedness, and that colors my outlook on life, but I figure I have many more ordinary days ahead of me than extraordinary ones and I should make them all count.

Another day, another year, that’s special enough. Isn’t it?