My Father

on Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My father died 25 years ago today. 25 years. He's been gone longer than the time I knew him. I was 14 years old. It was the worst day of my life. I've never felt so afraid and I've never felt so confused at the tilt the world took that day.


He was an amazing man with large brown eyes that when they smiled were brilliant and exciting, when at rest, gave you the most tender feeling of vulnerability and when angry were the scariest large eyes you can imagine. He was a loving man who put family before everything else.


I wonder, often, what it would be like to have him in my life now and how it would have changed so many things for me and my immediate family. I know everything happens for a reason, but 25 years of pondering hasn't given me a tremendous amount of insight. At 14, I was very clear that we are born to die and at the time I thought he was pretty old (he was 54 years old) and it seemed clear it was just the way things happen. As I'm quickly approaching 40 ...I realize daily how very young he was and what a loss this was for my mother.


Here's the tremendous part. This man who was my father, who loved me so well and taught me to value myself in a way only a good father can for his daughter...twenty five years later, I still think of him daily. He's still...alive...in so many ways...in my thoughts, in our stories and in my children. What a gift.

Score One for the Team!

on Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I'm basking in a victory.

Remember when I was freaking out about which Kindergarten to choose for my first child to be handed over to and ...molded. If not....go here.

Well....after much consideration, deliberation and angst we went with a private Catholic school. He started at the end of August with excitement and joy and more than a month in...he still likes it! Every encounter I have with the school underscores the feeling that we made the best decision for our family.

DO YOU KNOW HOW RARE IT IS FOR ME TO FEEL ABSOLUTELY AT PEACE WITH A DECISION OF THIS MAGNITUDE?

Well...pretty rare.

Remind me of this posts when they piss me off for the first time.

Anywho...we are taking Little Mr. Wonderful out of school to take him to San Antonio, TX along with little Miss and the Him. I have a business trip there that we are making into a Alamo and Riverwalk long weekend! Anybody have suggestions for must do activities in San Antonio? No pressure...but we leave tomorrow!

Lucky- Jason Mraz (10 Oct Hollywood Bowl Concert )

on Sunday, October 11, 2009

An afternoon at Pretend City with the kids was fantastic! An evening at the Hollywood Bowl with The Him and Jason Mraz was magical!

Pretend City - Pretend Blogger

on Saturday, October 10, 2009

OK. Here's the deal. My Guy has taken my Little Man and Little Girl to Little Man's Golf lesson. So since my "Captors" have left me to my own devices for an hour or so, instead of cleaning my bathroom, I will drop a note. I'm fine. My Captors are treating me well.

Life is good in captivity. However, captivity has not been good to blogging. So I've now realized I'm a PRETEND BLOGGER - I fantasize about what I'm going to write about...and even start posts.....but it's all a fantasy....

That being said.

I'm taking the little ones to Pretend City a brand spanking new Children's Museum in Irvine, CA. I'll let you know how it goes. Well...I'll start a post about it at least.

Hope you are all well!

Sometimes you just have to slow down

on Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We on the goo goo ga ga have been on the road quite a bit in the last 6 months. First was 3 weeks in Italy...then it was 2 weeks in Philadelphia. Then we took alittle trip recently to the land of horses, bowling, basketball and baseball bats...Louisville, Kentucky. I must admit that my first response to my wifes suggestion that we all follow her on this business trip was alittle tepid. After all...this concrete jungle, fast city life boy would be traveling to a part of the country that is second probably only to New Jersey in it's ridicule from around the country. Is it Looville...Loville...Loonieville?? We'll, can you believe, that this city boy was charmed by Louisville, Kentucky. I have a whole new respect for this part of the country. The people were great...except for the exchange on the street of a man singing his lungs out and a lady getting into her car across the street explaining in a most deffening shrill that she did not appreciate his tone ALL THE DAY LONG!! Me walking hand in hand with the little ones was alittle concerned as we walked by :)


I must say though that the slow down of the south did not start in the airport. Coming into Houston for our connecting flight we only had 50 minutes from the time we landed to the time we took off to Louisville. Unfortunately we had to, with little ones in tow, run it seemed like 2 miles inbetween terminals. Let me say...when they say everything is bigger in Texas...they mean....EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN TEXAS!! AND LONGER!

Fortunately for my wife and I this (below) is what happened to both of the kids on our puddle jumper flight to Louisville.

The same pose could be said for our son on this flight. To say that I was exhausted after just manageing to make this flight would be an understatement. We both needed a rest after that sprint through the Houston airport.

On this trip we did managed to do some of the touristy things in Louisville...Louisville Slugger facility...horsefarms in Lexington and yes...we did go bowling.

Churchill Downs had to be the favorite thing that we did though! Site of the most famous horserace in the world. We took a behind the scenes tour of the facilities and who do we stumble upon in the jockey lockeroom?? Calvin Borel....two time winner of that "most famous horserace in the world". Our tour guide told us that that just doesn't happen because these tours don't run when it's this close to race time. Just that day because it was the second time in history that they had night racing at the track. He was super nice. He picked up my daughter and we all posed for a family shot. The also gave the kids a pair of their riding goggles! Had to be the highlight of our trip. Even though horseracing is not something that my wife and I are a big fan of. We loooved it.

We ended our trip to the track by attending the first few night races. And yes...we did put a dollar or two on our new friend...ya know..the jockey who won "the most famous horserace in the world" Unfortunately he did not Win Place or Show in any of the races :(. In fact in one I think his horse is still running :)

I would just like to sum quickly because I'm posting more about the feel of our trip rather than what we did on it. Ya see this city boy got a taste of Louisville. As you can see in the title of this blog I mentioned slowing down. You might have thought that we traveled somewhere where it is slower than our fast paced life. And you would be right. But I came away thinking that maybe this is the speed life should be and not the speed that I'm use to. I came away from Louisville with a whole new respect for the region. They take their basketball and horseracing very serious but they do not let you know it....much :) You see it in how clean they keep their city and their farmlands. I have to say that I will probably never return to Louisville but I am so glad to have visited. It was a pure pleasure. One that I will never forget.

P.S. - The mint julips...if you ever make it to the south and have one...it is BOURBON!!! Don't let em tell you it has sugar and mint in it....IT IS BOURBON!!....lol...holy smokes...a few drinks of one and you can say bye bye. I managed to have just a couple of sips before I declined the rest...knowing that if I were to drink it all I would not be able to drive back to the hotel :) lol.

Another little P.S for all that follow our blog. We are here...we are healthy...we are raising our kids and having a blast doing it. We are though, unfortunately, spending probably way too much time on Facebook. :) Hope this finds you all well.


Where in the World Is the Goo Goo Ga Ga?

on Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Life on The Goo Goo Ga Ga Management Team has decided to go whole hog and totally bankrupt oursevles by going on vacation again for two weeks....we left on Friday....can you guess where we are?




Need more?


Know where we are?

My Wife has tagged me!

on Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This is my first go around on the tag wagon ...so here ya go...

1.What’s your current obsession?

Banking my sleep….I know..I know you can’t bank sleep but I sure try. One of the reason I had such a wonderful holiday weekend this past is because I woke up at 8 every morning and not 5. Then came the day to go back to work….I’m banking on my backup sleep to take me through the week….hmmm…not a bad day back at work….not too tired. Let see if it carry’s through to today….ummmm….NOPE…..DRAT! Needless to say I’m tired again…can’t wait for our vacation on Friday!

2. What’s your weirdest obsession?

Getting worked up about our jackass politicians that are sending our great state of California down the toilet….OH….that really isn’t weird isn’t it?

3. What are you wearing today?

Jeans, hooded high school sweatshirt over a teeshirt, tennis shoes …. It’ casual everyday here at work :)

4. Why is today special?

Every day is special…I’m in love. This is my wife’s but I am plagiarizing it for me :) I’m am madly in love with my wife and my 2 beautiful children.

5. What would you like to learn to do?

Play the piano…. I have a secret passion to do this but fear it too late …I know I know…It’s never too late….but I for now will just have to play air piano on the center arm rest of the car :).

6. What’s the last thing you bought?

A number 10 breakfast at Mickey D’s …. You asked :)

7. What are you listening to right now?

The buzzing of the lights above me

8. What’s your favorite season?

Summer …. I love the long summer days.

9. What’s your most challenging goal right now?

Most immediate challenged is trying to not spill this Mickey D’s coffee on me :) But seriously folks….It has to be…and my wife might concur….Getting our son to LISTEN!! He lost his Wii priveledge last night because ….He didn’t listen once…twice….three times. We felt so bad when the tears came…but our challenge is to stick with the parameters we set….we are not so fearful of the everyday 4 year old not listening…it’s the IF WE SEE A PERIL in front of him and try to warn him that he will just continue to walk….arghhh.

10. What do you think about the person who tagged you?

Ummmm….I love the person who tagged me:) That tagger would have to be the girl of my dreams….the girl that changed my life…the one person that opened up a 40 year old’s eyes. I see a whole new world since I met my wife.

11. What's your favorite guilty pleasure?

Paying a babysitter so my wife and I can go to a movie … It even becomes more guity when our kids the next morning wake and instead of saying “Good Morning Mommy or Daddy” it’s….”Ummm….where is (insert babysitter’s name).

12. Favorite vacation spot?

Anywhere with my wife …This last Italy trip was by far the best vacation I have ever been on…and I would do it over and over again. I will carry with me forever the feeling I had walking at night from the Colossium…by the Roman Forum…all the way to the Trevi Fountain…with my sleepy daughter on my shoulder the whole way…I wanted to call someone I felt so good that night.

13. What would you like to have in your hands right now?

The Deed to a certain Cape Cod home overlooking a certain peninsula

14. What would you like to get rid of?

My Allergys … what I would give to be able to garden our home without fear of the insueing headache that always rears it’s head.

15. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?

I’d go to lunch at a little restaurant in a little town called Roggiano Gravina in Calabria, Italy with all of my cousins. (I’m copying this one of my wife’s…that lunch was spectacular…I will always remember that day in Rogginao Gravina)

16. What bad habit do you have that you would like to terminate?

PROCASTINATION! Don’t we all suffer from that? :)

17.What super power would you like to possess?

Would have to be….”leaps tall buildings with a single bound

18. What is the one thing that you have done in your life that you are the most proud of and if you had the chance to do it again you wouldn't change a thing?

Asking my wife to marry me on the boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey…on a cold moonlit night…my wife shivering with her hooded sweatshirt covering her head….ferris wheel spinning in the background…and me on one knee :)

19. What’s your favorite piece of clothing in your own closet?

Ok ok…I’m a guy…but I am wearing my favorite piece of clothing…my high school golf tournament sweatshirt.

20. What’s your dream job?

Doesn’t seem as dreamy anymore, with the advent of Expedia, but I always wanted to be a travel agent…traveling the world…telling people where to go.

21. If you had $150 now what would you spend it on?

Dinner and a movie with my wife!

22. Do you admire anyone’s style?

Yes, I admire quite a few people for different reasons, fashions sense, composure, kindness etc.

23. Describe your personal style:

I am a quiet and unassuming guy….that is my style

24. Who’s fashion show would you want tickets to?

My wifes :)

25. If you could slap one person with no repercussions, who would it be and why?

The Terminator up in Sacramento....(see weird obsessions above)

26. What are you most proud of?

The life I’ve helped to create with my wife.

27. If you could choose one person who has passed to have lunch with who would it be and why?

John Adams…would love to know what he thought of the country today that he helped to create 240 years ago..

It's all about....The Me

on Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cheryl over at A peek into my life: I've been TAGGED!! has tagged me for a MEME.

So. Here. We. Go.

1.What’s your current obsession?

Peeing. Chalk this one up as too much information, but People….I hold it in….all day long…all night long. My excuse during the day is that I can’t seem to actually make it to the bathroom. I try….I make the effort…but since my attention span seems to have diminished with motherhood…as soon as I head down the hall…I notice something that I should have done 20 minutes ago and I go do it…you know…put laundry away…fold laundry…remind one of the kids that they shouldn’t be playing with the toilet water…manage a current dispute among the offspring…eat a cup of pistachios that happen to be along the way…take a phone call…do my work….field a question from the offspring…and give in to their request to play for just a few minutes on building a marble maze. You know…important stuff. My excuse at night is simple…if I’ve been blessed enough to be in bed and not to have been disturbed by anyone else’s needs…my errr..needs can WAIT! However, my fear is that I will get my youngest out of diapers only to put myself in them.

2. What’s your weirdest obsession?

The peeing thing wasn’t weird?

3. What are you wearing today?

Jeans, flip flops, and a breast feeding blouse in a lovely shade of lilac. You know which ones I mean…easy in and easy out? OK….I know…I haven’t breast fed in almost 2 years….I know I know…however, I’ve convinced myself that this particular blouse hides a multitude of flaws and I. Will. Not. Give. It. Up. ...not until I’m a size errr…single digit.

4. Why is today special?

Every day is special…I’m in love.

5. What would you like to learn to do?

I’d like to learn to base all of my decisions on faith rather than fear.

6. What’s the last thing you bought?

Ridiculously expensive hair care products…but don’t tell HIM!

7. What are you listening to right now?

The sounds of my children avoiding sleep. The dishwasher running. The grumblings of aftershock earthquakes.

8. What’s your favorite season?

Spring and Fall – the Awakening and the Slumber.

9. What’s your most challenging goal right now?

To stay in the moment and not think about the next thing I need to do.


10. What do you think about the person who tagged you?

I like Cheryl and her blog – I like peeking into her life and finding a real person with real joys and real problems. Thank you Cheryl!

11. What's your favorite guilty pleasure?

Going into the bedroom to fix the bed/get the laundry/find something/some great act of sainthood, but instead, grabbing a book and laying down for a few minutes of literary pleasure. Oh yeah…I’m a bad girl.

12. Favorite vacation spot?

Anywhere with my guy is pretty spectacular. And Italy is always my number one spot…however…a vacation in Santorini, Greece that I took a few years back stays in my memory as one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever been. I’d like to go back and spend a few weeks with him there…and the children…enjoying the life.

13. What would you like to have in your hands right now?

4 tickets to Santorini, Greece along with three months paid vacation. Is that too much to ask?

14. What would you like to get rid of?

I’d like to get rid of all the anxiety that I’ve quietly and insidiously taken on in the last five years.

15. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?

I’d go to lunch at a little restaurant in a little town called Roggiano Gravina in Calabria, Italy with all of my cousins.

16. What bad habit do you have that you would like to terminate?

I have so many that it seems disingenuous to pick just one…and counter-productive.

17.What super power would you like to possess?

I am a woman – I already have super powers – I just need to cultivate them.

18. What is the one thing that you have done in your life that you are the most proud of and if you had the chance to do it again you wouldn't change a thing?

Hmmm…this is going to sound ridiculous to most of you…but breast-feeding my children for over a year each was one of the most challenging things and one of the things of which I’m most proud.

19. What’s your favorite piece of clothing in your own closet?

A summery, crocheted black blouse – it’s crocheted on the top and on the bottom is a silk piece of colorful material that looks like a party. I wear this top with a pair of black pants and it looks like I’m ready for anything…especially a mixed drink!

20. What’s your dream job?

To be a writer. Ummm…a paid writer. OK. A very WELL PAID writer.

21. If you had $150 now what would you spend it on?

Books.

22. Do you admire anyone’s style?

Yes, I admire quite a few people for different reasons, fashions sense, composure, kindness etc.

23. Describe your personal style:

I like to wear versatile solid pieces and flavor them with good shoes and accessories.

24. Who’s fashion show would you want tickets to?

Anne Klein, Versace

25. If you could slap one person with no repercussions, who would it be and why?

Myself. I need a wake-up call most days.

26. What are you most proud of?

The life I’ve helped to create with my husband.

27. If you could choose one person who has passed to have lunch with who would it be and why?

My Dad. He died when I was 14 and I miss him. I want to have lunch with my Dad, my husband and my kids and I’d love to hear their conversation and enjoy the joy.


Now the rules of this tag:

1. Respond and rework: answer the questions on your blog, replace one question you dislike with a question of your own invention
2. Tag 7 other people you would love to learn more about. Here’s mine:

EVERYONE WHO READS THIS - PLEASE leave a comment and answer these questions on your own site - link back here so that I can go read them! Thank you again Cheryl!

****I invite The HIM to do the same!****

Mama, You Scream Too Much

on Thursday, May 7, 2009

While driving my 2 1/2 year old Little Girl to our Parent Participation Preschool Program (Hurrah for alliterations!), and searching songs that were being requested from her memory bank of fabulous songs, she dropped the following bomb, casually....


"Mama, you scream too much."

My heart stopped for just a fraction of a second and all the breath got sucked out of my body.

"What did you say, Sweetheart?" I asked gently....hoping she'd say "Mama, you mean so much" or "Mama, you clean too much" (yes..I know...reaching)



"Mama, you SCREAM too much", she said clearly.



"I do?" I asked. "Yes, you do!", she responded. "You scream all the time." she explained further. Matter of factly. Bluntly. Openly.



Tears filled my eyes.



"Daddy scream too much, too." she complained. "Nonna scream too much, too." she continued to rat us all out...with a shout out to her brother to end the outing. "Tonio scream too much too".



I asked gently, "Do you scream too much?" to which she replied...."Yes Mama, I scream too much."



I wanted to be thrilled that everyone else in the house had been implicated in the screaming, but the reality is that I am aware of my Dragon Mom status and that the bellowing starts at the top and screeches it's way down the totem pole.



  • I'm Italian - loud voices are normal.

  • I scream so that I can be heard over the kids screaming.

  • I scream out of frustration.

  • I scream out of habit.
  • My speaking voice kinda sounds like a scream?

I always feel bad about it. (Does that make me human or a rationalizing bastid?)

I wanted so badly to pull over, shine a light over my angelic little curly tops head and ask my little one to DEFINE screaming, you know, in her opinion. But I didn't want to alarm her and I was kinda hoping she'd forget about it before we arrived at the Child Development Parent Participation class and told all the other mothers my dirty little secret.

I honestly want to be the Mom who calmly intervenes when she spots the children pulling the dogs ears in seperate directions and hanging on to the tail as the poor animal is running for safety, but I tend to be the mom who inhales as if she's witnessed a drive by shooting and I start to yell.

I long to be the Mom who calmly goes to my 4 year old and gently hugs him after he's slapped the crap out of another kid and asks what he was feeling and what made him do that. But my honest to goodness first reaction is to quickly assess and bellow from where ever I am, "Knock it off!"

I honestly feel bad about my nut job reactions to the 6th time I've told one of the kids to stop whacking the other, through clenched teeth. I mostly regret my incredulous, bombastic intake of breath as one of my kids overflows the toilet. And I almost *GET IT* that screaming doesn't really do anything to change the behaviour but only serves to hurt and alienate my children.

And I guess it really isn't the big deal moments that cause me angst...it's the repetative small things like the constant nagging (me, not them) about washing hands, or the mind bending requests to pick up toys ...it's in those moments that my voice reaches it's highest decibals.

In my defense, I come from a family of screamers. In fact, I must be a push over because I would have never had the nerve to tell my Mom or Dad that they were screaming too loud....the fear errr..respect level was too high.

Anyway, I promised her that I would try very hard to control my temper and not scream. And I even meant it.

Any other screamers out there?

Looking for the Grotto Esmerelda!

on Monday, April 13, 2009

I would like to start out by saying that The Me and I both apologize for not giving our loyal readers much to read of late. We've been..as you all have, I'm sure...been busy. The days seem to just roll into each other sometimes. Our son is playing teeball now. We are still....hosting "those dinners" :) My wife has taken on a new business....Needless to say...our life is full. Let me also say that we are having the time of our lives even in the midst of the insanity. We are having a blast raising our kids...they are so much fun. We actually have to pinch ourselves sometimes just thinking about how lucky we are to have them in our lives. It is an awesome responsibility taking care of these little people.


With that being said...our family has been back from Italy for sometime now. We have not blogged much about it much mainly because we've been so busy with family life. Never the less....we have stories...one in particular will go down in the annals of our family travel history :)

It starts out as a drive on the beautiful Amalfi coastline (I being from California describe the Amalfi coast as Big Sir on steroids). The Amalfi coastline is beautiful!! Enough said. This story also involves 7 of us in a minivan (one cousin, one nonna, one friend, 2 little ones, my wife and me). It involved tight roads...shear cliffs...white knuckle driving by me...did I mention....it's stinkin BEAUTIFUL??!! (see above) It unfortunately involved the gas station below and an attendant named Nino (see below).

Let me set the day......

Breakfast was great. The little ones enjoyed their Italian latte's and toast. We our espressos and sweets. Lot's of laughs and an anticipation of the day.....

My wife's dear cousin from the area wanted to show us the Amalfi coastline in all it's splendor....Amalfi, Positano, Ravello. Our first stop was to be The Grotto Esmerelda. Problem was that we could not find said Grotto. Our cousin raved about it. We drove back and forth. We asked for directions...we still could not find information on it. After some time we settled on just heading toward Positano. It was after this decision that our day took a turn of great proportion....no one died...no one got hurt....let us just say that our plan of filling the memory chip of our camera did not occur.

Ten minutes down the road we came across the aforementioned gas station and Nino....who we now just refer to as Jackass...and that is probably being kind. I'm sure our Italian cousin was calling him much worse in the following six hours. As you can see from the picture above...this gas station was fairly isolated...out there! It had a great view...but it was isolated...meaning help was not close at hand.

Anywho...We pull into the gas station. Most gas stations do not let you pump your own gas in Italy so we let Nino pump it for us. "Diesel Per vore" I exclaim! He pumps the gas...I pay the bill...we are on our way right? Well...we got about 100 feet out of the drive before the car began to sputter and died. Fortunately we were on an incline and were able to coast backwards back into the drive....with alittle help from the attendants we were able to push it back into the gas station..you can only imagine our confusion!

Needless to say this event kind of sparked some interest in the other attendants at the gas station, namely the gas station manager. He asked Nino what gas he put in the tank....after the verbal dressing down he gave Nino we learned that he had put the "wrong gas" in our car!! What could they do?? We are on a picture taking adventure here!! We need to get going!! How does this happen??!!! Well...I've mentioned we were in these bozo's company for six hours! Here's alittle run down...

Hour 1

They decide that they need to syphon the gas out of the tank...this process takes close to 45 minutes to accomplish. In the meantime...crackers are handed out to the kids...we try our best to keep them entertained...ya see, we made the decision that they were not to leave the car because leaving the car would have subjected them to the danger of the speeding cars that wizzed by us every so often...all you had to do was to step 15 feet from our car and you would have become part of their windshields!

After they finished taking the "wrong gas" out of the car, we pushed the car into the lane for the "correct gas"! They filler up and test it out. Well...the test didn't go very well. It managed to sound worse than when we coasted back in to the station :). On to hour 2!!

Hour 2

Did I mention that is was stinking beautiful here?? It is in the second hour that we become concerned not so much with getting the car fixed, but with keeping the kids entertained and happy. My wife and I, being the communication junkies that we are, had our Iphones at the ready...loaded with Mickey Mouse cartoons and a couple of movies. Let just say by the end of our ordeal our kids became experts in manipulating our phones :) We did not have an infinite amount of power in them though and no way of charging them since the car was dead. We at this time did not think of that because we still thought we might be out of here soon.....HA!

As far as the pit crew at the gas station was concerned...they popped the hood and began to "work" on to the problem....well..they worked on the problem for all of hour two!....On to hour three!!

Hour 3

It is here where the owner tells us that he needs to call a mechanic in to look at the problem...it is about here that we know that we are not going anywhere soon and our day in Positano is probably not going to happen. He mentioned that he could be here in 20 minutes...we at this time had a real feeling that it was going to be more than 20 minutes....we just kept our fingers crossed.

It still is beautiful here!!....the crackers and snacks are startinig to be depleted though. How much longer will the Iphones hold out? How much longer can we keep the kids happy?? The clock is ticking on their patience!!

We did occasionally take some pictures. But how many pictures can you take of a gas station, a road and a fence ..... a beautiful flowery fence (see above), but a fence non the less that blocked our view of the ocean to a certain degree. It was near the end of this hour that my wife's cousin very boldly got us an invite to a home on the other side of that fence...she just asked and the owners were very nice and accomodating...maybe they knew Nino too and felt sorry for us :) Anywho ..this home had a beautiful view of the ocean (see below)... It had 100 steps down to the water down below...we loved it!! We also learned that they did rent it out occcasionally! It is here where we started to devised a plan for our return :).....did I mention that the mechanic still hadn't arrived?? On to hour four!

Hour 4

It is in this hour that the mechanic did arrive....not the 20 minutes that the owner said (to our shock!)...but more like an hour and half later!! He now begins his surgery on the car......

While waiting, I found one the ironies of the afternoon. While mindlessly looking through our telephoto lens I came across a sign about 50 yards up the road!

Can you even believe it??!! Four mindlessly spent hours later we find the first direction towards our intended first stop...the Grotto Esmerelda!! On a bus sign!! We'll we know it's on our way back if we ever get underway again.

Alittle later, and just into hour 5, we came across the...as voted by the stranded 7... the funniest moment of our adventure to Amalfi...as in the previous....on to hour 5!

Hour 5

Hour 5 begins with the mechanic looking alittle frustrated...alittle shorthanded...he looked like a guy that really craved getting this car back to his shop...me working for a machine shop know the advantages of having something at your shop instead of in the field. Me being the guy that didn't understand much Italian kept prompting my wife to asking him questions...he just kept shaking his head...still trying to figure it out....it was after one of these promptings that he came back with..."there is water in the gas"....you notice I didn't use exclamation points on his response...it was rather reserved. Me on the other hand was thinking "THERE'S WATER IN THE GAS??!!!" I was dumbfounded...how in the world could this happen...the mechanic...not trying to point any fingers just looked at the pump in the gas station...it was then that we knew that we needed to point the finger no further than at......you know who...Jackass!!!

Now it comes to the funny part...it was moments after this discovery that an eldery couple came driving into the gas station...the older man got out and proceeding in our direction....nosiely sticks his head under the hood and asks of the mechanic..."umm...what's the problem?" Our mechanic in his unassuming voice just mumbled..."they have water in their gas"....lol...well...this older man whips around...yells at the top of his voice "FERMATE FERMATE!!!" (For those of you that are Italian challlenged...that means as you can only imagine "STOP STOP!!!") He then strides over to his car .... yanks the gas nozzle out of his car and Jackass's hands....proclaims to all in the station that "THIS GAS HAS WATER IN IT!!". The local Cabinerri that just happened to be handie came over and tried to calm the situation....we witnessing this ... even in the midst of our dispair.... had to laugh! :)

It is after this that the mechanic has to recommend that we call our rental company. He said he could tow it back to his shop and fix it but it would take overnight. We took his advise and called Hertz! We think Hertz...they will take care of us!! Ya know...OJ running through the airports!! They have the Neverlost system !! They will help us! Well...they did...sort of. They told us to stay put.. that they would send a tow truck. When we asked when our replacement car would arrive, they said, that we would have to go to Naples to pick it up. NAPLES!!! You mean two hours away Naples?? You see where this is going. This not only was a 6 hour stay at Jackass's R US...it turned into another 6 hours till my wife and I were back at the hotel with our party. Ya see we had to...after the taxi took us back to our hotel 20 minutes away... take said taxi over the hill to Naples that was almost 2 hours away.



The picture above was one of those shots we will remember. We have to give props to our taxi driver Dominic....a nice older man that knew the area quite well. In fact on our drive he specifically stopped at the above pictured location...not the greatest of pics but you can only imagine how great a view is was....Salerno below and Mt. Vesuvius in the background.

It is here were I will wrap up quickly. It was indeed as you have read...quite a day for us. A beautiful day on the Amafi coastline. Too bad we had the same view for a good part of it :) Dominic got us to Naples and the Hertz dealer. We managed to find our way back out to Amalfi and our hotel. We got to bed around midnight and had to pack up the next morning and head out.

I don't want you to feel though that we did not get our fair share of pictures of the coastline though. The next morning we did pack up all our luggage and passengers and headed out for a day of picture taking in the city of Amalfi and Ravello....and yes....we did fill our memory chip :) Maybe someday, when we get around to it, we will just post those pictures...no words would be needed :)

Musical Monday: Non Ti Scordar di Me - Pavarotti

on Monday, March 9, 2009

Musical Monday


I am a first generation Italian American, which is to say, that both of my parents were born and raised in Italy. I've had the privilege and opportunity to visit and travel throughout Italy quite a few times: as a child, as a young adult, as an single adult and now as an adult with my own family. I have been truly blessed to visit and partake in the vistas that my parents enjoyed as they grew and helped to form them. There is a sense of familiarity with the land itself, with the hospitality of the people, with the beauty of the arts and oh, lets not forget the food.

Growing up, I listened to all sorts of music with my parents with equal measures of Italian and American fare, but this one song always filled me with magic as a child and now fills me with the joy of my Italian heritage.

Just like the country and her people, my choice for Musical Monday pulls at me and moves me in a very profound and emotional way. I hope you will turn up your volume, close your eyes and let the music take you on a journey.

Non ti Scordar di Me: Luciano Pavarotti



Here are the words for you - first in Italian and then a translation:


Partirono le rondini
nel mio paese freddo e senza sole
cercando primavere di viole
nidi d’amore e di felicità.
La mia piccola rondine partì
senza lasciarmi un bacio
senza un addio partì.
Non ti scordar di me
la vita mia è legata a te
io t’amo sempre più
nel sogno mio rimani tu.
Non ti scordar di me
la vita mia è legata a te
c’è sempre un nido nel mio cuor per te
non ti scordar di me.
Non ti scordar di me
la vita mia è legata a te
c’è sempre un nido nel mio cuor per te
non ti scordar di me.


Do Not Forget Me

The swallows have left
my cold and sunless land,
to seek the spring among the violets,
love nests of happiness.
My little swallow has flown,
without leaving me a kiss,
without saying goodbye.
Do not forget me,
my life is joined to yours.
My love for you will always grow,
you will always be in my dreams.
Do not forget me:
my life is joined with yours.
There’ll always be a nest in my heart for you,
Do not forget me!
Do not forget me:
my life is joined with yours.
There’ll always be a nest in my heart for you,
Do not forget me!
What's moving you today!? Please go check out Jori & Diane's Musical Monday and share your own!

Martha Stewart, meet Cruella De Ville

on Monday, March 2, 2009

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but I say it’s paved with at-home dinner parties… specifically MY HOME dinner parties.

I do it almost weekly. I speak with a friend(s) or a family member(s) and I enjoy the conversation so much that I follow it up with a heartfelt and slightly delusional, “Why don’t you all come to dinner this weekend? What date works best for you?” If he’s around, I always glance at my husband and see the glazed over deer-in-the-headlights look that always overtakes his face. I’m always surprised by it. He always enjoys these effortless social experiences. If he’s not around, I always call immediately and make sure he hadn’t planned a jet-set getaway to Paris for us….err..no. I always sincerely ask him, “Does that work for you, Sweetheart?” and he always fumbles and mumbles his reply. “Sure, Honey….if…um…it works for you.”. I always feel really good about the whole thing as I’m inviting. Ahhh, I say to myself…this is going to be fun! Tra la la! Then the real joy of the planning begins. Hmmm…where should we eat…inside…outside….should we add twinkly lights outside….hmmmm..what should I make….cheese fondue and filet mignon….pasta and a roast…ohhh…that dessert I saw in that magazine…yes….it must be that dessert…..what music should I play….ahhh…the MAGIC is in the details! I always picture my home, not as small and cramped, but as warm and cozy. I never picture our backyard as ravaged by the war between beast (my Labrador) and man (my 4 year old and 2 year old) but as a charming oasis of peace in a hectic world.

OK, just so you have the timeline correct….let’s say…Monday, the invitation is made…the die is cast, as they say, and Saturday night is our quiet little event. Let’s be clear….the amount of time in between the invitation and the hosting is really not what’s important here…whether I have a week, a month or 6 months to prepare...it always ends the same. Here’s what happens in between:

Monday: Casually invite friend, family member to our home. Happiness and anticipation abounds.

Tuesday: I start thinking of what we should make for dinner and where we will actually sit down to eat. Somehow, doctor appointments, school and other social engagements start filling in every afternoon and evening leading up to our dinner. I start to worry. I push the worry aside and continue on.

Wednesday: I get a real clear look at my house and it needs a thorough cleaning and/or demolition.

Thursday: I plan when I’m going to go to the store on Friday and start mentally making a list. I don’t need to actually write anything down. My mind is a steal trap. Beyond that, I start saying that I need to clean the house. I say this to everyone who is within hearing distance and I even call a few people.

Friday: I start feeling pressure. I haven’t cleaned the house. I haven’t gone grocery shopping. I am working a full day and have a play date scheduled for the kids as well as a social engagement I can’t get out of that night. I start wondering how I’m going to get everything done. I mention this to my husband and he soothingly tells me not to worry, that we should go out , eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow will take care of itself. He gives me a pep talk on how we are a team and that he will help me clean whatever I want later on that night. Around 9:30 I’m still complaining that things aren’t cleaned. My husband tells me to relax and that tomorrow morning will bring fresh energy and a clearer picture of what needs to be done. I’m consoled and I sit down to watch a movie with my husband. Isn’t he great?

Saturday Morning: “This is a mistake!” I scream. “Why do I do this?”, I wail. “What business do I have hosting 10 people in a house the size of a mouse trap?!” This is all said as I’m clearing the kitchen counters of all of the clutter that has accumulated from my previous dinner party. I start throwing out orders and doing what I do best. DELIGATE. Husband – grocery store run. “Please bring the kids with you!”, I beg. I have already forgotten the simple elegant meal I had planned and suddenly 13 course elaborate meals seem more appropriate. It takes a bit of time for my husband to talk me off the ledge and to talk me into making one of his favorite dishes. Done. My mother, God love her, quietly melts into the background dusting everything in sight and cleaning the guest bathroom.

Saturday Afternoon: “Why did we buy such a small house?”, “Who leaves all this stuff around?!?!” I’ve now managed to clear everything from the dining area, living room and kitchen area and pile it precariously in my office. Quickly, I close the door and pray that no one walks into the room accidentally. I next cordon off almost half of the rest of the house to walk through traffic. If people feel they need to use the other bathroom, they will have to exercise their control muscles, because there is no way I’m going to allow it. Husband returns with the kids and groceries and I begin to put together this incredible meal while juggling tasks and setting the table, putting fresh flowers through the house and idling threatening my 4 year old and 2 year old against putting any toys on the floor. We wouldn’t want anyone to think that kids actually play here. Throughout this whole experience I make my kids cry at least once through my hysteria, my mom tremble with annoyance at least twice and I break down crying at the very least three times. Usually about 10 minutes before people arrive I have a
Sophie’s choice experience deciding whether I’m going to put finishing touches on the meal or whether I’m going to shower.

Saturday Evening: The guests arrive, my hair is partially damp and my blood pressure is causing a little vein on the side of my head to start throbbing. I start passing out beverages, my great husband perfectly hosts and we begin the evening…..and halfway through the meal…. I relax. And a beautiful thing happens. I remember why I do this so often. It’s fun! Setting the stage for a wonderful meal and conversation with friends and family IS fun…and NEXT TIME, I promise myself, I will get myself together sooner and not leave things for the last minute!

Sunday Morning: I get a call from friends that I haven’t seen in a few weeks. We talk about how great things are when we get together and I casually mention that we should get together for a meal. “What are you guys doing next weekend?”

Musical Monday - Alain Clark: Father & Friend

on Sunday, March 1, 2009

I was recently watching an Italian Musical Festival Extravaganza!!!!, Festivale di San Remo and caught this father son act from the Netherlands. I LOVED IT immediately and wanted to share it with all of you!





This song is what's currently moving me on many different levels....I love the obvious love and respect between father and son and I enjoy the idea of that love and respect being passed on to future generations. It makes me think of the special relationship between my husband and son.

What's moving you? Go check out Jori and Diane's Musical Monday and share yours!


Musical Monday

Partisanship Begins At Home

on Tuesday, February 24, 2009

We just walked in from having dinner at a local restaurant, you know, doing our part for the local economy and getting me out of having to cook dinner tonight. A win win. We walked in and I was reminded that our President is addressing the Congress tonight. So I quickly went to the TV, tuned into ABC and was gratified to hear my 4 year old son say, "That's Barack Obama, my President! I voted for him, Mama. Why is he on here?"

I explained that he was talking about all the good things that are coming for our country and all the things we need to do to help our country move forward.

He looked at me and said, "I think you voted for John McCain, didn't you, Mama."

I said, "No...didn't you go into the booth with Daddy and vote for John McCain?"

He said, "No Mama, not me, I voted for my President, Barack Obama"......in a whisper..."the winner."

Cracked me up.

Crikey - She's Barking Mad!

on Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Auds at Barking Mad is... truly barking mad! She is giving away a $250.00 Target gift card in honor of, well... she's barking mad!

Jori-O, of Musical Monday fame, turned me on to this insanity and when I win the $250.00 gift card, I'm going to pick up a thank you card and express my appreciation!

Here's Aud's deal....you need to highlight 5 or 10 of your own favorite posts! And to that I say" Only 10???"..(cough, cough)...but then I remembered and decided it'll probably only be 6.

Ok...so here it goes!

OK! Now let your fingers walk you over to the Barking Mad lady who is giving away all this crazy money and show us your favorite posts!

Musical Monday: Tell It Like It Is

on Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hot on the heels of a Valentine's Day full of great old movies and equally great snuggling romance I MUST choose Aaron Neville's Tell It Like It Is for Musical Monday!

OK. Let me coach you on how to get the most out of this song. Please follow these directions EXACTLY. Turn the lights down in the room you are in. Turn up the volume on your PC. Push play. Close your eyes and let the beginning strains of the music and Aaron Neville's super sexy voice reduce you to puddles.

(sigh)




This song is equally effective when you are feeling put out by your lover and are driving to ...say...the grocery store. Even in a mini van - this song played at the top decibel and sung at the top of your lungs will help heal whatever ails you. Aaron Neville is killer good stuff!

OK. Now it's your turn! Go over to Jori or Diane's and join in Musical Monday. Link up and tell us what's moving you!


Musical Monday

Current Status: Bathing Optional

on Friday, February 13, 2009

There was a time in my life when I showered daily. I would wake up from a full 8 hours of sleep feeling refreshed and excited about the day to come. I'd get in the shower enjoying the warm water and fresh smell of soap! I'd then take time to dry my curly head of big hair. I'd apply makeup and look like...well...a girl...a freshly scrubbed, twinkle in my freshly mascara lashed eyed, bright cheeked woman! A fresh smell and a bright smile my signature. (yes..I brushed my teeth a few times a day too!)


Oh, those were the days. I remember it like I was yesterday...but it wasn't yesterday...it wasn't the day before, either. That's my point. I'M NOT BATHING DAILY!

Don't judge me.

When, exactly, do we as women and mothers abdicate our rights, yeah...I said it...RIGHTS to shower daily..and when do we start believing that being clean is a luxury rather than a necessity?

I know women talk about bringing a new baby home and not finding time to shower...it didn't happen quite that way for me. Sure, it was hard to find time when I brought my little guy home, but I took the time to take care of myself and showering afforded me not only cleanliness but a few minutes to myself. No, for me it didn't start right away, the transition was quiet, insidious...a choice. It was when the little lady made her appearance and two kids, full time work (from my home office), playdates, parent participation preschool, doctor appointments, breakfast (every morning), lunch (every afternoon) and dinner (every freakin night) kinda became more important than...umm..well...bathing. It became a feeling of...well...I can either get to the doctors, feed the family, sleep...or I can shower and coif.

It's like a perpetual stinkin camping trip...and I'm really roughing it!!!! (I'm really a concierge level, 5 star hotel kinda gal)

I've made many attempts to reverse this madness. I've made promises. I've taken small steps. I've promised my spouse. This week...I am going to shower. every. single. day. It's bad enough to disappoint myself, but to see the sorrow in his eyes (I need to take a moment)

(deep breath)

I've made promises...and I've broken them. Every vacation I swear that I will jump back on the daily showering wagon only to fall short of my goal and go back to the smelly depths of my despair.

Well, tomorrow, as they say, is another day.


Authors Note: As of the posting of our story, our damsel in smelly distress has managed a shower, she's powdered and coiffed. She's entered a 12 step program and is promising to stay on the bathing wagon. We will check back with her occasionally to check her progress.

Chicken Mystery: Solved!

on Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My four year old son explained the magical mystery behind getting chicken on our table.

Here's some back story to our own family nightly ritual....our own little version of Groundhog Day!

I make dinner....always something I know the kids will enjoy. My son has a lapse in memory and starts convulsing before he gets to the table demanding that he be heard:"I WILL NOT EAT THAT! EVER!" I explain in my calmest Italian American fashion that in fact, he has eaten this particular meal before and he loved it. I insist that he sits down, he insists that he will not be seated at a table that is hosting such a disgusting meal. His manners go from bad to worse and he is asked to vacate the premises and go warm the stool in his room. He cries. We wait. He calms down. He's invited back in the room. He tries the food. And he smiles and says, "Mmmm...this is good. My favorite. Mama, did you make this just for me because you know I like it so much?"

This is the point where I realize that God make children to be so beautiful and charming because if he didn't....they wouldn't make it past the age of 4.

I'm exhausted by the whole exchange and he's ready to open a bottle of Chianti and settle in for the night with a good meal.

So tonight, I decided to cut out the middle man when he approached the table. In an effort at a premptive strike I told him that he's eaten the meal, I know he thinks its vile, but in an effort to move things along...could we please bypass the bad manners and trip to his bedroom and just try the freakin chicken!?!?! He smiled and complied. And he said, "Mmmm...this is good. My favorite. Mama, did you make this just for me because you know I like it so much?"

Not having wasted all that time...we had time for some good conversation along with the Chianti. Here's how it went:

Little Man: Mama do you know how Chicken gets to our
table?

The Me: How, Babe?

Little Man:

Well, the Chicken Rooster spits out chicken.

Then the farmer mixes the chicken and puts it on a train.

Then it goes on a boat.

Then it goes on a truck.

Then it goes on another truck.

Then it goes into a store.

Then we go buy it.

You cook it.

Then we eat it.

Just like that.

The Me: Chicken Rooster, Babe?

Little Man: Yep, a Chicken Rooster spits it out. Mmmm..this is good.

Musical Monday: At Long Last Love

on Monday, February 9, 2009

OK, Kids! Here's an early Valentine for you on this Musical Monday!

Musical Monday


I was born in 1969...I'll wait while you do the math...and grew up loving all kinds of music from classical to WHAM! to U2, but my parents are the ones who tutored me with the classics...Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima and all the other greats. (do you see a nationality trend with these guys?) What feelings the strains of these songs evoke...usually happiness...sometimes longing for days spent with family as a child and always, always, joy.

My song to share today is Frank Sinatra's "At Long Last Love"! This is a song that my children ask us to turn up in the car and causes them to jump with joy at the bursts of the horn section during this classic. For me and My Guy...this is a song we dance to whenever possible, sing to each other and remember how lucky we are to have found each other...with JOY! Thank God it was AT LONG LAST LOVE!

Now...turn up the volume on your PC....sit back...and enjoy....listen to the whole song...it gets better and better!



Ahhhh..that's what moves me! Now go check out Jori-o's and Diane's pick on this beautiful Musical Monday! What moves you?

The Best Kind of 30 Minute Meals

on Wednesday, February 4, 2009

This post it for all the people that struggle with Rachel Ray's 30 minute meals (that includes The Wife).

I was thinking of this the other day while I was playing with play dough with my daughter. You see play dough is one of her favorite pastimes of late. I being the ever available sous chef to my daughter's expert cooking prowess managed to put together what I have determined is the ultimate 30 minute meal. THE PEPPERONI PIZZA!

You start with blue play dough...my daughters favorite after pink. You roll it out thinly and then proceed to carve out a large circle (10 minutes). Then you need toppings for your pizza, namely pepperoni colored. You then smooth out a thin layer of red play dough and then shape out the appropriate sized pepperoni (10 minutes). Your final process involves naming off family members as you apply each pepperoni....ie..."this one is for nonna...this one is for momma.." etc (10 minutes). Nonna will be glad to find out that she received the most pieces of pepperoni in this process.

Being my daughters sous chef was the thrill of the day for me. How could Rachel Ray beat this experience and our record breaking time? :) I'll bet she would have never thought of the Mickey Mouse pepperoni!


Kindergarten: High road or low road

on Monday, February 2, 2009

We are in the process of choosing a kindergarten for Little Man, my 4 year old. Without putting undue pressure on us...this is the single most important decision we will every make for him barring any other. We could, by choosing incorrectly alter the course of his life and put him on the path to mediocrity - or by choosing correctly encourage and nurture the man who will cure cancer, or become a train conductor. (he's already promised to let us sit in the front car with him...at least once.)


Is that undue pressure?

(insert scream here)

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE? Private? Public? Catholic? Homeschooling?

My husband was a "public" as they were dubbed by us "privates" (being called a private doesn't sound very inviting now that I see it in print). He claims to have had an "OK" experience in school and doesn't feel it hurt him in any way. He's not quite sure it helped him, but it certainly didn't hurt him. I, on the other hand, was given the "greatest gift a parent can give " (this is a direct quote from my mother) by receiving 12 years of Catholic schooling. I can honestly say, all joking aside, that I do appreciate that my parents made the supreme financial sacrifice of putting me and my siblings through private school. To this day, my handwriting is better than any "public" I know. Beyond that, at the time I was in Catholic schools, Catholic schools in my area were head and shoulders above a public school education. But not only that, it was important for my parents that we were getting religious education every day of the school week.

Flash forward 20 years after I left the halls of my last Catholic school and new we have all sorts of options as far as schooling our children.

  • We can homeschool, if we are so inclined. There are so many resources out there for the homeschooling Mama that it doesn't even really seem like homeschooling...but a kinder, gentler, organic and exciting way to learn. Pros/Cons - Sounds wonderful, but the reality is that he would basically continue to have me as a teacher and quite frankly...he deserve more.
  • We can choose a non catholic private school, which with a hefty price tag will tailor the learning experience to your children's likes and dislikes and encourage their passions. That sounds really good. Isn't that what I've been doing thus far at home? Pros/Cons - we get to spend what we were planning on spending for their entire college education on his first year of Kindergarten.
  • We can go totally public and send our child down the street to the corner school, which has it's benefits and which has a GATE program which promotes and supposedly teaches to your child's level. (Isn't it obvious that any child of mine would be in a Gifted program???? :) ) Pros/Cons - Most people we know are going this route...but I have no faith in the public school system.
  • Or we can go Catholic, which is where my comfort and safety level lead me. (12 years of Catholic school also lead me here) But will he get good academic training along with religious training? I don't necessarily want a man who has FAITH that his future is secure but can't read past grade level 3. For my parents, it was important that prayer be a part of our day and that faith be taught. The schools I attended did their job, as did my parents, because a foundation of faith is important to me, too. Pros/Cons - If we send him to Catholic school, my mom will stop giving me dirty looks every time we discuss sending him to public school but I will have to start a daily novena that we have made the right decision.

I'm so confused. We want to give our son the best academic experience available. We want his opportunities to be abundant. WE DON'T WANT TO SCREW IT UP.

We've already signed the little man up at our parish Kindergarten. I've also put his name on lists at public schools in the area. September is looming. (OK, yes, I know that it's only February...but it feels like it's LOOMING!)

***UPDATE****CLICK HERE****

Writing Exercises - 28 Day Program

Once again I am taking the NABLOPOMO challenge. 28 days - 28 posts.

It's all about discipline.
(I can't even type that without smiling and laughing at myself.)

Let's see how it goes. OK. Good luck, everyone.

Musical Monday: What If I Loved You?

on Sunday, February 1, 2009

Not exactly the question you want to be asking on your wedding day...but you know...the song was swinging so we went with it!



Musical Monday


When I married My Guy, it was a bit of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" meets every heart wrenching farewell scene in every cheesy movie you have ever seen. We married on one coast with my big fat Italian family and I moved to another coast. ALONE. Err. With My Guy. But ALONE! In my family, if there aren't 10 random cousins in your house. YOU ARE ALONE. Anywho, as far as wedding songs went, the last thing I needed were a series of wedding songs that would tear my heart out. Soo.....we went with an upbeat song that was sweet enough to melt our hearts everytime we watched "Return to Me" ONE OF MY TOP 10 FABU ITALIAN AMERICAN MOVIES OF ALL TIME! But the melting was not a cry...it was a smile. So we moved around the dance floor with the three steps we learned at our one dance lesson and WOWED the crowd...err..or at least ourselves.

The following is the only clip I could find....

So, ladies and gents, I give you our wedding song "What if I Loved You" by Joey Gian from the movies "Return to Me".


I still get teary eyed every time I hear it and remember that sweet day!

Now go check out Jori-o's picks at Jeff & Me + Three and show us what moves you!

You Prolific Bastids! I love you!

on Thursday, January 29, 2009

OK. I'm not telling you anything you haven't already figured out....we are not daily bloggers. The best I can do is feed and water my children and family daily. In fact, if you could see the way my scale keeps inching up...you'd be sooooo proud - I'm excelling in this department...but that's another story.

Anywho, we went away. We had good intentions about posting daily from La Bella Italia, but you know how that went. Then we came home. We HAVE SO MUCH MATERIAL. But do you see it? No. We have TONS of great pictures. Do you see them? No. We have two children who give us more daily material than you could possibly believe. Do you hear about it? Ummm..no. We should be posting every other minute...but we don't even post every other day. I'm on my knees confessing over here!

(deep breath)

OK...so we are basically blogging deadbeats. However, you prolific fabulous bloggers, aka Prolific Bastids, who give me so much daily pleasure in reading about your lives and viewpoints have gifted us with two awards. I should be thanking you and you guys gift us with awards!?!? Talk about rewarding bad behaviour! I LOVE IT!

Noah's Mommy, who does not have one, but TWO, fabulicious blogs gifted us with The Fabulous Blog Award!

If you haven't been over to Noah's Mommy's blog...make a bee line over there right now! She is one of the people that you wish lived next door so you could drop in regularly for a cup of tea and her funny take on life. Via blog...we can...so do! Thank you Noah's Mommy...you are a sweetie!

With this award comes responsibilities...I must pass it along to 5 other FABULOUS blogs, but I must list 5 addictions....and to that I say...ONLY 5????

Ok...here we go:

  1. The Him/ The Husband/ The Dad's Kisses! Killer good!
  2. The Him/The Husband/ The Dad's Hugs! He's tall. He has long arms. Do I have to say anything else. Talk about enveloping hugs! LOVE IT! Addicted!!!
  3. My daughters penchant for calling her big brother " My big Sister" Let me use it in a sentence for you: "Mama, don't talk to My big sister like that!" picture the hands on hips!
  4. Jane Austen MOVIES whenever possible add in a comfy chair, blanket and QUIET...ahhh...I need a 12 step program.
  5. A great romance novel or 5000! Ala Julie Garwood, Ala Julia Quinn.

Ok...did I make you sick!? LOL...good!

I now pass on The Fabulous Blog Award to the following FABU blogs and Prolific Bastids!

  1. Adlibby on the Loose! - smart and hilarious, deep and fabulous
  2. Jeff & Me + Three - sweet and funny, bubbly and heartfelt
  3. Pearls of Wisdom - Pearl's endearing humor will keep you coming back for more.
  4. Cucinario di Nonna Ivana - OK...it's in Italian. The pictures alone will keep you coming back for more but the recipes, are. to. die. for. She is an absolutely lovely lady and understands and writes English as well. Go over. It's killer.
  5. Decisionally Challenged - Georgie is DA BOMB (can you even believe I used that phrase) Her confessional alone is worth the price of admission...err..it's free!



Now go forth and frequent these blogs!




Ok...the second award comes from Rhaingel at Penpusher, a blogger who I suspect will become a great writer, screen writer and director. We will be seeing her life on film some day. She is poetic, lyrical, deep and very wise for one so young. I believe she is a wonderful find and a great read. Somehow, this young prolific bastid returns the lovely compliment of frequenting this fuddy duddy (can you believe I used that term on myself?) blog and gave us the Lemonade Award! How sweet is that?


Here are the rules:


1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

But I say do whatever you want :)

Here are 6 blogs that make Lemonade Beautifully!

  1. Two Redheads and a boy-le
  2. Sarah's Blogtastic Adventures
  3. The Wind in Your Vagina
  4. Food, Glorious, Food and life in general
  5. Blok Thoughts
  6. Blog Stalkers Unite

Thank you, thank you, thank you....and I hope these awards bring you the smile that they brought the whole crew on The Goo Goo Ga Ga!

Musical Monday: Sleeping Beauty - Once Upon A Dream

on Monday, January 26, 2009



Jori over at Jeff & Me +Three has been having Music Memory Monday for quite a while....but now, with a bloggy friend, has made it official! Musical Monday!

Wow...what a production! Congratulations to Jori and Diane!



Musical Monday

So...musically speaking...here is what is currently moving me on many levels! ;)


This is a song that was not on my radar as a child. I don't remember it at all. It is a song that has become a beautiful part of my children's lives. Until LG (little girl) came along LM (little man) ruled the roost along with the movie and music selections. We all enjoyed the CARS soundtrack, I promise. Little girl cheered him on with every song played. We went through the MULAN soundtrack, most recently the WALL-E soundtrack and with that...HELLO DOLLY. As soon as Little Girl saw Sleeping Beauty she became mesmerized by "Once Upon A Dream" and was immediately transformed into a Princess! She sings the song from the moment she wakes up to the moment she goes to bed and in recent days has even suggested that I sing the Prince part of the song because she's the Princess part. She IS the Princess part. I love it!

The lyrics of the song are very simple and seem to, every day, become more fitting for what I feel for my two little little ones. Carrying them each around in my belly, knowing them so well...loving them so well....before we met.

I know you
I walked with you once upon a dream.
I know you
The gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam
Yes, I know it's true
that visions are seldom all they seem
But if I know you, I know what you'll do
You'll love me at once
the way you did once upon a dream



Go check out Jori and Diane and experience your own Musical Monday!

Why do 30 Minute Meals take me 1 hour and a 1/2?

on Friday, January 23, 2009

Dear Rachael Ray,

I really like you. In all honestly, I kinda liked you better before you had your own talk show and I didn't have to listen to you.... ummm...well....talk so much...but all in all...I really enjoy your goofy little stories about your family and walking with your dog Boo. I enjoy your quirky, sentimental good-naturedness...and I adore the way you are making cooking for your family seems like a joyous adventure and symbol of familial adoration rather than a tedious, looming everyday annoyance. In addition, the meals that I have made from your book, TV show or Food Network program (all the 30 minute meal brand) are usually very delicious. However, they do NOT and I repeat, DO NOT take 30 minutes to make.

This whole 30 minutes meal fabrication has got to stop! The myth that you are perpetuating is making me feel...well...inadequate. I know that your show is filmed in 30 minutes, but either you are bringing in a team of helpers during the commercials or you are lying. Now I'm not saying that ALL of your recipes aren't standing up to YOUR test of time, but most of the recipes I've tried are at least double the time.

So, just to prove the point, I challenge you to come to my home and prepare one of your recipes...I'll choose. Then I will blend into the background and watch you preform. Here's the catch...you must prepare this meal with the same joy and challenges the rest of face when preparing one of your so called 30 minute meals from home. You have to juggle at least one child around the age of 5 and hmmm..let's say, another child around the age of 2. You'll need to be fielding phone calls from your land line as well as your cell phone. A nice added touch would be having your 2 year old have a breakdown of some kind (maybe low blood sugar) and have your 5 year old keep asking when the meal will be ready. They should probably be playing a game in the room and of course, occasionally squabbling.

Keep in mind you will need to continually reference the recipe to keep the experiment and challenge authentic.

Doesn't that sound like fun?

So, c'mon...just between us...you know these recipes require a bit more than 30 minutes. Truth in advertising would dictate that you title your show and books "30 minute Test Kitchen Meals /90 Minute Real Home Meals", but I'd settle for you coming over once a month and cooking the meal. :)

Your Friend and Fan,
The Me

Pompeii...the circus clowns would be proud :)

on Monday, January 19, 2009

I titled it this way because it felt like a circus when we left Pompeii. You see we had a non US sized minivan that we were about to fit 7 people, 3 large suitcases, 3 small suitcases and 8 pieces of various sized carryon items (ie...audio visual bag...diaper backpack...etc...). Circus clowns could not do a better job of packing than my new found Italian cousin. I'm including pics along the way with this story so pay attention ;)



It was after we met my wife's cousins that the fear started to set in. My wife, I could tell, was wondering how in the world we could fit one more body and luggage into our car. We didn't have the heart to tell the cousin with the small travel bag that we didn't have room. After all, she was hosting us at a hotel on the Amalfi coast for 2 days. We couldn't....You just don't do that to family!! What were we to do?


Well...this feeling persisted the rest of the afternoon. It was after lunch (check out that antipasto dish!) that we had the bright idea of trying to find an auto parts store that sold luggage racks for the tops of cars. We did find such a place but to no avail....they didn't have one. One of my wifes cousins..the one helping us with directions around on our walking tour of the ruins....told my wife not to worry.... that she was an expert in packing cars....it would get done!! On the rest of our tour of Pompeii , we had to be safe in the words of my wifes cousin. Ya see she is very happy that Obama is the new US president and she took every opportunity to recite the Obama slogan of...."YES WE CAN!!"


Well it was getting alittle late in the afternoon. The sun was down. It was my job to tend to the job of packing that 7th person's luggage into the car while still making room for her :) My partner in crime on this mission was non other than my new YES WE CAN cousin. Let's just state beforehand that I know very little Italian and she knows not much more than "YES WE CAN" I say this all with loving terms because by the end of this trip I learned to love these new cousins of mine as my wife has for many years. They are beautiful people! That being said....we proceeded to after taking all the luggage out....piece it all back together. Hand signals were a must...pointing was imparitive....smiles and gestures included. I had my doubts. We barely got 6 people and all our luggage in the minivan...how were we to stuff a 7th. Here we are in a dimly lit parking lot next to the ruins...all the luggage out...and amazingly we were able...with a very strong shoulder press on the hatch....to close the car up. It was at this moment the high fives of "YES WE CAN" rang out and we had mission accomplished.

The workers on the side of the parking lot were probably getting a big chuckle out of our circus. But in the end, this tall blond American man and that short gray haired, bigger than life, Italian woman were able to do the unthinkable. Next would come the piecing all the bodies into the car..it was like a car version of Twister but in the end...all were belted in and all were secure. It was now on to the Amalfi coastline for us all!! Ciao Pompeii!!

Our First Day In Rome

on Thursday, January 15, 2009


It was a beautiful day to be in Rome...of course anyday is a beautiful day to be in Rome. We ventured via train to the center of town. (Our son loved the train ride!) We then made our way towards the Colosseum via The Trevi Fountain and lunch. Lunch was great! We found a little place right next to the Trevi Fountain that served great pasta dishes and more importantly they made up some "chicken cutlet" for the kids which they loved along with their many bread sticks :). Didn't have the heart to tell the kids that their cutlet was veal and not chicken :) Shhhhh!

After lunch it was off to the Colossium. The Colossium is just one of those places that just makes you pinch yourself. Here is something that the residents probably don't even pay attention to on a regular basis...but if you just stop and look at it ... the history behind it...it just makes your jaw drop.

We met my wife's cousin for espresso and sweets at a cafe... need I say... Right across the street from the Colossium! It was right behind my daughter who was enjoying a delightful Italian sweet. This was a fun first day to be sure. I will have a post on this same structure when it comes to the last night of our trip in Rome... One of my favorite nights of the trip.

After our reunion we were off by bus to try and find the Hertz car agency. It was quite an adventure! One that took us by the Spanish Steps even ... Funny how you can be looking around a town for a car rental place and right around the corner is the Spanish Steps...well ..that is Rome!

As you can see it is getting a little late for the little ones. The wife and I are busy with paperwork and car seats at this time. It is not too much longer till we are packed up and ready to hit the streets of Rome with our self named navigator Penelope ... Miss Neverlost from Hertz!

Well... We weren't more than 500 feet up the tunnel from Hertz when I discovered that Penelope was looking at the stars in sky instead of finding us a route. She could not find us!! It was then that I pulled over and the slightest amount of fear crept in. It was dark by this time. I knew if I ventured onto the upcoming roundabout that we might be in roundabout hell for the foreseeable future. I also knew there was no way to drive back into the tunnel that was Hertz. Well...after what seemed like an eternity...Penelope did finally acquire us and we were off onto the streets of Rome....WOW! I can safely say that we and Penelope did make it to the hotel. We turned a half hour ride into close to an hour one...but we did make it. Penelope only had to "recalculate route" a few times :)

Day one is ended! It is off to Pompeii domani!!