Monday Listicles – The Spring 2013 Edition

I’ve written this before, Spring is a schizophrenic season, it can be gloriously warm, insects a-buzzing, flowers a-blooming, allergies abounding, and from one minute to the next the clouds roll in, the rain starts pouring, and all is dreary and bleak. I’m more of a Fall kind of girl, with the Fall I know where I’ve been and I know where I’m headed, in the Spring I get all confused.

So Stasha’s Listicle selection for this week inspired mixed feelings and mixed results, I’m not really sure where I’m at, so I’m giving her 10 things spring a slight spin:

10 things Spring, an ode to opposites.

1. Sunshine vs. Rain

2. Blooming Flowers vs. Allergy Attack

3. Longer Days vs. Stupid time change

4. Pre-Summer diet vs. Hoards of Easter Chocolate

5. Frilly dresses vs. Winter White Legs

6. Easter vs. Kids home from school (not sure which one is good and which is bad…)

7. Bicycling on Balmy Days vs. Fruitflies Flying up my nose whilst cycling in the sun.

8. Starting my Vegetable Garden! vs. Tending to my Vegetable Garden

9. Going out in just clothes vs. Going out in clothes plus a down jacket, hat, scarf, gloves (mismatched cause one is always lost), or just directly in a ski suit cause it’s that cold out, and once you’ve spent half an hour sweating while getting everyone dressed, one of the kids has to pee.

10. Playing Outside for Hours vs. ….

there is absolutely no vs. for this one!

Have a Happy Monday!

(p.s. just to prove how insane the weather is this morning at 8 it was 2°C (37.4°F) and rainy/snow slushing, at noon it got a bit warmer and started hailing, it is now 3pm and the sun is shining and it’s about 18°C (64°F). Now, I ask you, in these conditions, what is a girl to wear??)

Spring, Dinosaurs, and the Unrelenting Vise of the Female Menstrual Cycle.

So Spring has sprung. I’m ambivalent about spring, I love it and hate it, I love the sunny, warm, winter is over, burn the down-jacket, want to spend time outside on the lovely blossomy flowered fields days like today but I hate, hate, hate, the chilly, wet, dreary, windy days that show up every other day. Spring is a schizophrenic season. I never know what to wear!

I ditched the house today in favor of coffee with a friend. I felt bad about it, I even cancelled an appointment last minute (an appointment that I actually had completely forgotten about), I just couldn’t bear the thought of talking about anything construction related. It’s beautiful out, I needed a break. So I had coffee with a friend (after the gym, so I wouldn’t feel too bad about it) and then we went shopping for kids’ clothes. Shopping for my children is surprisingly satisfying, for roughly the same amount of money that I would spend on a single pair of (very nice) shoes for myself I bought each of them several really cute, springy, outfits.

Tomorrow we’re taking the kids to see the Walking with Dinosaurs show. It looks amazing, though I’m really worried that it’ll be too scary for them and the Husband and I will have to take turns standing outside with them… considering how much the tickets cost I’m seriously praying they’ll love it or I’m going to get an earful.

There’s no spring break here, so next week the kids are off for a very long Easter weekend, basically from Thursday to Tuesday (included), and since I just realized this I have organized not one thing to keep us entertained and not-homicidal. Also, my babysitter whom I love, whom the kids love, and who could almost always help me out in a pinch (like when the kids are sick she comes over in the morning even for just an hour so I can get out of the house and not go completely stir crazy) has managed to get her dream job (as a preschool teacher… to each his own!) so her available hours are now very limited. And I’m very sad. Obviously I was “completely delighted” and “so happy for her” when she told me, and then I spend the evening staring forlornly at my wine glass. The Husband went so far as to ask if she would be good as an assistant, so he could hire her mornings and I could get her afternoons… but she’s found her “dream job”… dammit!

Anyway, back to Easter, one of my sisters has an apartment in Berlin, which she rents out to tourists and in a kismet-y turn of events the apartment is free and some friends of ours are going to Berlin for Easter weekend so I figured we could go as well… if only I could find a way to get there without having to take out a loan (flights to Berlin are more expensive than one would imagine) or drive for 15 hours…

I’m in the middle of one of the most painful periods I’ve had since I “became a young lady” back in the late eighties. The Husband yesterday was found muttering something along the lines of he doesn’t understand how women don’t admit they’re pms-ing while they’re pms-ing and only apologize for it later and what the hell good does that do… or something along those lines. What he doesn’t understand is that the feeling of having one’s uterus in an unrelenting vise, while feeling faint, headachy, and just generally disgusting, is not conducive to accepting male wisecracks of any sort, in fact my gut (ha, ha) reaction is to slam his balls repeatedly with a bat or other such object.

Lastly, I want a new car. And though I realize that buying a new car (and by new car, I actually mean used car) when in the middle of the longest, most expensive, god-awful house renovation of all time is probably not my most genial idea, still, I want a new car. I now have a Prius, I love it, I’m happy with it, but I need a bigger car.  We just don’t have much choice as far as “mom cars” are concerned, here in Italy. I like the Renault Espace, it’s a seven-seater, it’s big enough but still park-able. Now if only I didn’t have to rob a bank to buy it…


Ok, I’m done with the weekly ramblings. I apologize for my overly enthusiastic use of quotation marks in this post, and though I should also apologize for the excessive use of alliteration, I won’t, cause there’s little  I love more than alliterating when I write.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Monday Listicle – The oh my husband is so wonderful Edition

Hello friends, happy Monday! It’s Listicle time! This week’s topic is courtesy of yours truly, thank you Stasha for picking my suggestion! I’ve been meaning to dedicate a post to the Husband for some time now, but something always gets in the way (namely my erratic posting habits), so guilt-ridden after my Valentine’s day fiasco I suggested ten ways my partner’s awesome, because, of course, he is (I picked him, didn’t I?) and I would do well to remember that! It works out ever so perfectly because tomorrow is father’s day here, in Italy it is always celebrated on St Joseph day, March 19th, which is one of the many holidays I routinely forget about as it is the “wrong” month (as far as I’m concerned!).

Anyway, repenting my many sins in the spirit of lent (even though I’m not catholic), I give you, ten ways The Husband is awesome:

1. He’s married to me, I’m awesome, ergo he is awesome by association.

2.  He gives me regular foot massages or back rubs (and not always with an ulterior motive)

3. He’s a wonderful father

4. He’s the friendliest guy I know

5. He’s also the nicest guy I know, an example: when he was in the hospital in Houston one day he was being taken to get a test done and the girl pushing his bed was training, so it was her and two other women (and me, he looked like he had some sort of weird entourage…), anyway she had probably just started because she was not very good… in fact, she kept banging him into corners and it took forever to get in and out of the elevators… standard fare for a beginner, but she was obviously getting flustered as he was obviously very uncomfortable, anyway all of a sudden he turns to her, touches her hand, and says, don’t worry, you are a good driver this has been a fun ride. In any situation when he could possibly have the option of complaining, or being an asshole, or being stern, he’ll always choose to be nice. I really hope my kids take after him.

6. He’s thoughtful.  A few months ago I had a movie night with the girls and last minute we had nowhere to do it cause all our husbands and kids were home, so he set us up in his office, he took time out of his day to organize a big screen tv and comfy chairs and everything I would need to connect my ipad so we could watch the movie. He even left us drinks… and he doesn’t have a lot of time to take out of his day.

7. He can fix or rewire anything in the house. He’ll bitch while he’s doing it, and I need to be around to hand him tools and stuff, but he does it, and he does a damn good job of it too.

8. He’s an optimist (most of the time). When I met him he was the poster boy for positive thinking, he gave my dad (the most optimistic person I had known till I met the Husband) a run for his money. Obviously, the leukemia changed this about him, not the first time around, the first time he was Mr Positivity, there was always a doctor or a nurse in his room just to have a chat, that’s how pleasant he was to be around. Of course, when the leukemia came back that changed his attitude a lot, he was a lot sicker, he was out of strength (mentally and physically), he had probably reached his limit, so he turned into a very negative, pessimistic version of himself. But you can’t fight nature, and I see some of the light coming back…

9. He likes to dance. He’s not always … er… Fred Astaire… but he’s always up for going dancing, so can’t really complain, now can I!

10. He’ll always cut the chicken or raw meat up for me to cook when it grosses me out. And he cooked it when I was pregnant and couldn’t look, smell or eat meat of any kind unless it was properly camouflaged in the form of a very loaded burger or sandwich.

11. He sends me flowers. He sends his mother flowers. He always tries to make me happy. (and it mostly works) – I added this one because #1 doesn’t really count…

12. he is a wonderful lover ;P

Well, rereading this, he is pretty awesome… and now I have something to go read when he does something that makes me want to rip his head off (which is likely to be daily).

(#12 appeared after I wrote the list and left it for him to read… though I have no evidence, I believe I have a pretty good idea as to who could possibly have added it.)

Monday Listicle – The fragrant edition

Hello dear friends, and happy Monday! It’s listicle time once again, and this week Stasha’s assignment was prompted by Kerry at New2Two: !0 Fantastic Smells. Smells of all sorts are pretty much the theme for me this week, as we’re mapping out the air circulation system in the new house and all we’ve been talking about is which areas of the house smell dirty (i.e. bathrooms, closets, laundry room, kitchen) so we need to pump air out and which smell clean (bedrooms, living room etc) so we need to pump air in… I know… mind numbingly boring, and frankly, more complicated than one would expect!

I have the feeling the renovation is going to be taking over this blog for awhile… thanks to those who commented on last week’s post on the guest bathroom, you’ve really helped me narrow down the choices! If you’re interested in being my virtual (unpaid) interior designer, on Thursday I’m going to put up another reno post asking for opinions. (Just thought I’d mention that).

Anyway, now let’s concentrate on the listicle, 10 fantastic smells, in no particular order:

1. spring showers

2. grilled meat

3. freshly brewed coffee first thing in the morning

4. The Boy

5. The Girl

6. carrot cake in the oven

7. my lavender plant in the sun

8. the Husband

9. sun dried laundry

10. tomatoes fresh from the garden

Help me out of the sink-ing ship!

So I’ve mentioned how I bought a house last year, right? And I’ve been knee deep in toilets? Well now, I’m drowning in a sea of sinks, bathtubs and showers. Everyone keeps saying this is the “fun part” of renovating a house… though it really seems more of the “water boarding part” of renovating a house. I spent all morning yesterday at a bathroom store looking at sinks, and faucets, and cabinets, and… oh my GOD the tedium! They were all wonderful. Almost every single thing in the store was great. Which makes me want to shoot my brains out all over everything because how am I supposed to decide?

Which is where you come in… I need your opinion, so go ahead, weigh in! We’re starting with the powder room today. I want the wow factor in this half bath and since there’s only so much wow you can elicit with a toilet I’m thinking the sink is where it’s at (we’ll be discussing wall paper and floors next).

So what do you think of these, love, hate or what the hell is she thinking? (Excuse the images, but I took pictures of the catalogues with my phone… not my best work…)


I imagine this with a rococò gold swirly wallpaper background.


I found the perfect newsprint tiles to go with this, can’t find the image now, but I’ll post it as soon as I do. Just imagine newspaper cutouts on the floor with the occasional, small, colorful, butterfly… flying around.

the handle is encrusted with tiny, diamond-like, swaroski crystals

the handle is encrusted with tiny, diamond-like, swaroski crystals

espresso cup sinks!

espresso cup sinks!

coffee cup sinks!

coffee cup sinks!

Fancy coffee cup sinks!

Fancy coffee cup sinks!

So what do I do, WHAT DO I DO??!!

The flu, gay families, and other thoughts

The flu this year is a bloody nightmare. I’ve had it twice now. And no, I don’t get a flu shot. Incidentally, I was totally amazed at how commonplace the flu shot is in the US now (not so when I was a kid), every drugstore has the “flu-shot available”, “get your flu shot” signs out, even the pediatrician asked if my kids had had their flu shots… why does everyone in the US need to get a flu shot? (Also, the chicken pox vaccine… what the hell?)

We have a great family doctor here, who comes to the house and everything, so we saw him this week as we’ve all been felled by the flu, and I mentioned the pervasiveness of flu shots in the US, and he said something to the effect that he’d recently read a study about how, statistically, Americans are less healthy than Europeans, so maybe that’s why. Sweeping generalizations aside though, I don’t get it, in Italy mostly only the elderly, the very sickly, or people who work in healthcare or childcare positions get flu shots, the rest of us just either get the flu and get over it or don’t get it at all. Anyway, I had it twice this year, felt like death run over, survived both times, and am now hopefully done until next winter.

I recently started reading this blog: Mommy Man: adventures of a gay super dad, which, incidentally, is just more proof, if more proof were needed, that a two dad family, or a two mom family, or a mom/dad family, or a just one parent family, or a two parents plus multiple step parent family all really just sound the same when talking about their children. Anyway, Jerry wrote this post: How to talk to your children about gay parents, by a gay parent. It was a good post, nothing earth shattering, just a lot of common sense, which, alas, is apparently lacking in a lot of people.

And I’m not even talking about the far-right, ultra-conservative, don’t believe in evolution and God speaks to me directly whack jobs that we wish were just a figment of an overly-zealous Hollywood writer’s imagination, I’m talking about otherwise reasonable people. This piece has been published in quite a few places, and the comments on it just blow my mind, I don’t know how the author keeps his head from exploding, seriously, exploding brains all over his computer screen. Even the respectful comments, most of them run along the lines of great, I’m sure he’s an awesome dad, but kids need a mom and a dad, gay families are actually harming these children because they’re not giving them something intrinsically, atavically important, which are the biological parents. Or something along those lines anyway.


Can we all agree, first off, that children mostly just need to be loved? And that, frankly, there are more different combinations of families out there than most of us can even imagine. Cause there are kids being raised by single parents, and kids being raised by grandparents or other family members, and kids being raised by step parents, and by the state, there are also kids being raised by complete assholes whether they be biological or not, and any of these combinations are pretty much acceptable and accepted (even the assholes) but for some reason two same-sex parents is just more than our minds can conceive?

I was talking to the husband about this once and I was surprised to hear him say that ideally kids should be raised by a mom and a dad. But then I thought about it and, sure, ideally, kids should be raised by a mom and a dad, ideally the mom should stay home and take care of the family and be happy while doing so, the dad should make a comfortable salary and always be home in time for dinner, ideally they should all be happy and healthy and vacation at the beach every year. But we live in the real world, not in a sitcom set in 1958. There is no ideal, there’s just several billion people on the planet trying to live their lives to the best of their abilities, and some of them are gay and some of them want to raise families and so some of them will adopt or find a surrogate or a sperm donor and start a family, and this affects me and my life not even remotely.

And it is no harder to explain to a child than a hundred difficult situations, if done with a little common sense.

Personally, I’m not a gigantic fan of surrogacy, because there’s a lot, A LOT, of kids that need families and should be adopted, but adopting is a long and difficult process, even for a “traditional” family, and some people just have a very strong pull towards the biological imperative of genetically reproducing themselves, so who am I to say that they shouldn’t? I did (reproduce myself, that is).

So as long as they’re loving their children, and raising them, and just generally doing their jobs as parents, what do we have to be so judgy of? After all, we’re all going to manage to screw up our kids one way or another, right?


And on a conclusive, and completely unrelated note, does anyone else watch White Collar? Because, Matt Bomer is unequivocally hot, but doesn’t Time Dekay also have a little “je ne sais quoi…”? No? Just me?