Upcoming Events – I Miss You!

Trudy Clare Mitchell,   Official Blog Mascot

Trudy Clare Mitchell, Official Blog Mascot

Before you say anything, the answer is yes, I know I’ve been the absent blogger these days.  And yes I do miss not only my blog and its followers, but also catching up with my new blog buddies and commenting on them on a regular basis.  Life is very busy  – good busy – and keeping up with blogging and writing has been a challenge.  Excuses, excuses.Therefore I hereby commit to providing blog updates every Sunday at a minimum,  so please stay tuned and don’t forget about pattytmitchell!   I am looking forward to getting back in the saddle, and interacting more with all of the great writers out there that I have come to know and admire.

For local folks, I have a few events coming up where I will be promoting A Girl From the Hill and offering copies for sale and signing.

  • October 23rd 6PM – Barnes and Noble in Smithfield, RI.  I am absolutely thrilled about participating in their Local Authors Night. Some  other area authors will be there too, so if you can stop by to say hello, we all could use the support!   http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/4611236

 

  • November 19th at 6:30PM – I will be at Marion Mohr Library in Johnston, RI for a reading and book signing. I believe they are having a genealogy and Italian Heritage series during that week, so check out their site for more events if you’re interested. http://www.mohrlibrary.org/images/programs/mitchell.pdf 

I’m trying to drum up a few more appearances in the coming months, so I’ll keep you posted.  Bad pun, sorry.  (Inserting Shameless Plug Here) Just remember that ‘A Girl From the Hill’ makes a great gift, on Thanksgiving for a special family member, or for Christmas.  Whether you are Italian American or not, everyone has or at least knows a Mom. Or two …

Feeling Special

 

Special Olympics 2012-05

Special Olympics 2012-05 (Photo credit: pennstatenews)

Despite the 90 degree heat today, I haven’t felt this exact type of warmth since last Christmas, after spending time with family and friends and just experiencing all the reciprocal love and positive energy rebounding back and forth between us.

I spent this morning volunteering for the Special Olympics at the University of Rhode Island in North Kingstown.  It’s been about 25 years since I volunteered, and then it was just in the communications booth.  I never even got to see any athletes up close.   What an amazing bunch of people.

Amateur athletic events and I are old friends by this point in my parenting career.  Jules is quite the athlete and she has played basketball, softball  and/or soccer in some combination or another since she was four.  And she was dancing and acting at age three.  So I know what those types of competitive gatherings are like.  Well, I thought I knew.

Today there was no pushing, shoving, squeezing to get in the prime spot, to take the prime picture.  No video cameras in front of your view, not a hostile word, thought, or deed.  The athletes were calm, patient, living in the moment and enjoying it all, win or lose.  No one crying because she couldn’t  live up to unattainable expectations.  No injuries that swiped everyone’s breath away in a giant gasp.

I had a very tense ride down, and almost all the way back home, and then back again, and thought, shutting off the car, that maybe I wasn’t meant to be helping today.  (We will refer to that as the husband lost the car keys crisis, but then found them after I came all the way home).  That left me a bit cranky.  And after all, what could I do to make a difference today? 

Well I didn’t do much, seemingly.  But I felt.  I cheered.  I smiled till my face hurt.  I gave lots of high fives and pats on the back.  I handed out and collected towels from the athletes.  As  soon as I got my sweaty self out of the car the joy in the air nearly knocked me over.

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Feeling Good about 2012

Generations 1 and 5 together on Christmas Eve

Generations 1 and 5 together and 3 in the background this Christmas Eve. Photo courtesy of another 3, Dawne O’Brien

I hope everyone enjoyed Christmas, I sure did. I had a festive Christmas Eve full of fishes (4 of 7), family and fattening desserts. Squid salad, scallops wrapped in bacon, shrimp cocktail, my mother’s fried smelts and my sister Donna’s broccoli rabe. Decadent desserts that I simply gorged upon. And my family, who I am so proud of. We had five generations together laughing, eating, and being merry.

On Christmas Day we celebrated with the Mitchell/Naughton side of the family. I was a little more sleepy and stuffed than I should have been, but felt warm, comfy and cozy with my in-laws, who have welcomed me into their family and provide me with so much love and support, I can’t help but be thankful every day.

For what, you may ask? Well, there’s my husband, who keeps me from going crazy on a daily basis, and indulges me as I try to express myself through writing. My Julia, who is beginning her teen angst and attempting to drive me crazy on a daily basis. But she is strong, smart, beautiful, and rivals Andrea Boccelli at holding a note. It’s hard not to love on her too much now, as she tries to figure out who she is. Sometimes I can’t believe I helped make her. That we made her together. But she is both of us. The best of us both, really. And yes, she’s stubborn and emotional too, as she can’t have just our best qualities. She’ll have to learn how to balance her positive and negative energy, like we all do.

I feel blessed with so many friends, old and new. The old ones go back as far as Kindergarten, who know me good bad and ugly and still love me. The new ones from as recently as a few days ago, as I connect with writers and bloggers continually through pattytmitchell and other venues.

I know I am gushy now but I can’t apologize. This year has had its ups and downs, but I have learned from my downs, really. And I hope I’ve given something to others in return for all I have received.

The snow is falling gently here in Smithfield and I feel, at least for tonight, like I live in a snow shaker, the kind you buy in the Christmas department at Macy’s or some other big store. One that is so big and full of beautiful scenery, and iridescent crystals shimmering and floating around, with no particular destination. There are times when I have felt like those crystals, but not today. Today I am cozy and warm and reflecting on how fortunate I am, and just enjoying it.

I’ll be spending the next week going through the very thoughtful editing job that my friend Lisa made to “A Girl from the Hill.” I hope to have a final draft to the publisher before the end of this year, which is only a few days away.
Hope you all enjoy the rest of 2012, and I’ll be posting again on January 1, 2013. Till then, Peace and Love.

Riu Riu Chiu

Oh I love the Monkees. I was about 3 when this first aired. They are much older now, and Davy is gone. But I still love them, and they bring me to a place where at least for me, happiness and peace were abundant. Thank you Redtree Times. Enjoy!

Redtree Times

Monkees' Christmas 1967I was flipping around the channels last night, the final Christmas specials winding down as the holiday came to an end.  I ended up on an old Christmas episode of The Monkees from around 1967.  It was a show that I had loved as a kid of 8 or 9 and it had Butch Patrick, the kid who played Eddie Munster on the also adored The Munsters TV show, as a guest.  How bad could it be?

God awful. That’s how bad.

Luckily, I came in near the end but was amazed at how utterly terrible it had been  put together, almost to the point of being unwatchable.   The writing was bad and  the schtick, worse.  I began to wonder if all of those other things I loved as kid had aged so poorly.

But just as I was about to flip to anything else, the band came…

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Christmas Angels

christmas paint

christmas paint (Photo credit: cassie_bedfordgolf)

Each year, Christmas Spirit enters into my soul and settles, like a cool mist on the hard winter ground. Always a little different, depending on the state of my life. Christmas gives me something every year, but I am only able to accept what I’m ready for in my heart.

I’ve spent many Christmases feeling sorry for myself, alone and pitiful. I used to wonder what my purpose is, am I fulfilling it, am I a success, a failure, how can I improve myself so that I will be happy.
As the years pass, my concerns are more for others than myself. How do I give my family a happy pleasant day, and carry it through the year? Who can I help that needs help? How can I spend my time to make the world a happier, more peaceful place – whether it’s just my little corner of Smithfield, Rhode Island, the nation, the world?

I’ve witnessed many random acts of kindness this past week, more than the obligatory letting cars pull out in front of you at the Mall on Christmas Eve. I believe it’s a result of those horrendous events in Newtown, Connecticut. How many parents are holding their children closer, being a little more patient, living in the moment a little more? I know I am.

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Struffoli – Italian Christmas Candy to Me

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/struffoli-recipe/index.html

English: Struffoli made in the traditional way...

English: Struffoli made in the traditional way from Sorrento. Marble sized dough balls covered in honey, citrus peel and hundreds and thousands. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My mother didn’t have the recipe written down for this one, so I’ve attached Giada’s here. I trust her, and her method seems closest to my mother and Grandma Jennie Testa’s. My mother told me to just use Wande dough for this but there are so many specific steps that I wanted to make sure that I captured them correctly.Italians make all kinds of wonderful desserts at Christmas. The cookies alone are of such great variety that I think one could really do a whole cookbook of them.Stuffoli differs in that it’s not a cake or a cookie, but these awesome fried balls of dough  molded together with honey and taste like candy. My Grandma Testa used to make these and so did my Auntie Dot, and I looked forward to getting a chunk, and chewing into the gooey honey and smacking my lips like Winnie the Pooh as I ate. My mother said Grandma, and her mother too, would shape the struffoli in the shape of a wreath and bring them to friends and family as gifts. Auntie Dot continued her mother’s tradition and would often make one just for me.

Struffoli does take time and focus, neither of which I have much of this holiday season. But I vow to make it next year, and deliver a wreath or two of honey balls to my own friends and family. And one for me too.

Disney's adaptation of Stephen Slesinger, Inc....

Disney’s adaptation of Stephen Slesinger, Inc.’s Winnie-the-Pooh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lindt Ball Muffins – it’s not like they’re cupcakes…

Muffins

Muffins (Photo credit: firewave_fr)

http://thecookingchook.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/one-is-never-enough-lindt-ball-muffins/comment-page-1/#comment-382

Doesn’t this sound absolutely wonderful?! I love chocolate, and the muffin aspect helps one feel that these aren’t just pure decadence- though we know better.

I would love to try this for Christmas breakfast with coffee…unless someone wants to make them for me!