Strong Men Make Strong Women, and Baritone Barbies

Every Father’s Day I think of my only favorite Wayne Newton Song- Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast.  And there were a few slow walking Daddies around this weekend, for sure.  But for what they lack in speed, they more than made up for in strength.

English: Barbie Portrait

English: Barbie Portrait (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My gratitude is soaring out the window tonight, as I think about the weekend, the day, the great people I’m surrounded by.

I enjoyed a weekend of  basketball and sweet little 12-year-old girls jacked up on candy.  Girls who are really just little girls, but play basketball with strength, heart soul and determination of a platoon of Marines.  Did I mention that they love each other like sisters?  They do.  So cool to watch my girl band with a bunch of other talented beautiful tough ass girls.  I already thought she had a great gang of awesome friends before this. And nice parents.  These girls are so lucky that they can live strong and beautiful simultaneously.  Happy and proud of my girl – of all of the girls.

Continue reading

Sometimes You Hurt the One You Love – Or You Just Make Them a Bit Snippy

3/4 front view of a female snapping turtle (Ch...

3/4 front view of a female snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina), taken near the St. Lawrence River in northern New York state. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes, worry can totally consumes the Crow.  She doesn’t get out of the house much these days, and with all the rain she can’t even sit on her deck and soak up some sun.  That just amplifies her stress levels.  Today she was worried about a change in my Dad’s meds.  I had all the info, but in addition to calling me about the changes, the doctor’s office also called her.  This is a mistake, because my mother often gets confused and is so worried about potentially getting the instructions wrong, that she invariably will. So she wanted to call me to confirm what she thought she hear about my dad’s potassium dosage.

Except with the Crow, if she calls you and you don’t answer, she just doesn’t leave a message.  She keeps calling you until you pick up the phone.  It doesn’t matter if it’s important or not.  If she wants the answer she will not relent.  So she didn’t.

Sitting in sort of an important meeting I let her first call go.  The second one I began to panic myself: is this an emergency?  I always forget about her compulsion to know the answers when I see that number and “Mom and Dad” come up on my phone more than once.

So I snapped at her a bit. “Mom, you can’t keep calling and hanging up when I don’t answer.  Leave me a message and I’ll call you back as soon as I can.”  It’s awkward taking calls in a very quiet meeting where my boss is presenting important information that I cannot afford to miss.

She snapped back “I won’t call you at work any more then.”  All or Nothing.

Continue reading

Life is What Happens…

John Lennon's quote in a Nepalese Bookstore, &...

John Lennon’s quote in a Nepalese Bookstore, “Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans.” Boudha, Kathmandu, Nepal (Photo credit: Wonderlane)

Wow, it’s been too too long. Happy week after Easter everyone. As I gear up and put the last edits on ‘A Girl From the Hill, I wanted to send a message out to anyone who is still tuning in – I haven’t forgotten you, so please don’t forget me!The book is in its final stages and will most likely go to publication in late May/early June if all goes well. I have found that the editing process takes forever, and I’m constantly finding things I did wrong and/or want to change. Between tonight and tomorrow I draw the line and just get this suckah out there. Editing OCD is not fun.  But I feel like I’m pushing a baby out of the birth canal, and trying to make every push and pant count.  This from a woman who has only given birth via C-Section.  Perhaps this is why it doesn’t come easily to me?

I have also been spending lot of time with my parents these past few weeks. My mother fell in February and dislocated her shoulder. Thankfully that was the extent of her injuries, except for a very bruised leg. She is amazingly strong and heals so well. It’s been hard for the Crow to clip her wings these past weeks, but she never gives up. I know where my daughter inherits her strength from.

Continue reading

In Honor of Valentines and My Parents, a Love Story

I love you

I love you (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

I know this is a little late for Valentine’s Day, but it is a love story nonetheless.My father, the Old Man, has been taken out of his home by stretcher twice and my mother, the Crow, has been taken out once in the last three weeks.  Thankfully they will be fine, but both have a long road of rehab and reality ahead of them, and they will fight it with all the emotional strength they can muster.  But a time will come when they run out of unreasonableness, and will accept the present, and its ever increasing limitations.

But they still have each other, and they still have us.  Being together and loving each other is what makes this bearable.

Continue reading

Today’s Pictures: A Pretty Girl and Her Lasagna Sweater

Dahlia Lydia Fiore, Junior High Graduation

Dahlia Lydia Fiore, Junior High Graduation

I originally wanted to use this picture of my mother graduating junior high school as the cover for the book A Girl from the Hill. But technically it’s too small to use – if expanded it will lose its focus and become blurry. I may use a group shot from my mother’s class pic with her picture circled on the front cover instead.
I need for people to see this close up though. It’s the only childhood picture I have of my mother.

Continue reading

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!