I Coulda Beena Contenda- but She Actually is One


Trinity University (Texas) women's basketball ...

Trinity University (Texas) women’s basketball team, 1915 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My daughter stayed home sick yesterday with a cough and scratchy throat. She is pretty tough as sixth grade girls go, so when she does complain that she’s not well I take it seriously. My husband, upon getting home from work, suggested that Julia get ready for basketball practice that evening. I began to protest, saying that she felt better but questioning his judgment.

They are going over plays for the tournament this weekend. Even if she doesn’t play, she should be there to listen, he said. When I crinkled my nose, his response, though not shocking, got me to really thinking.

“She’s an athlete,” he said. “She’s a competitor, and she wants to be there.”

My daughter is an athlete. It’s official. She is an amazing basketball player, really. Those who have seen my brags, or as my friend Leslie termed them, my ‘shares’ on Face Book already know how good I think she is. Her strength, endurance, and talent amaze me. A gifted athlete. She’s also a gifted singer, actress, leader and writer. Many things that, at one point or another in my life, I thought I’d choose to be. Recently she took one of those occupational IQ tests at school, and got matched with one of two careers – teacher or clinical psychologist. Just like me when I was in Junior High during the Stone Age.

The biggest difference between my daughter and me, aside from our height and hair color, is that instead of just daydreaming, she is doing it. She has so many doors opening to her, even at the young age of 12, that it’s mind-blowing. The times we live in provide young women with so many opportunities. More than they did 35 years ago when I was her age? Yes, surely. And way more than my mother had back in the 40’s.

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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.

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No Offense Intended, but I will be Strong


strength (Photo credit: S.H.CHOW)

I have been thinking a lot about ideas for my next blog post. Funny how things fall right into your lap.

This past week has been full. I’ve been editing the book, A Girl from the Hill . After my friend Lisa took the time to edit and proof the manuscript, my mother-in-law has kindly taken a second pass for me. Since I’m self publishing I’m not getting any formal editorial services. But with Lisa and Judy I have more than enough expertise and experience, not to mention heart, to get this book ready. I will sit with my mother tomorrow, hopefully, and start selecting pictures. Then we’re done. Fini.

I have been working on this book nearly every day for the past two years. It started out as a rough idea, and became a journey. I got to have some meaningful conversations with my mother, my sisters, my family. I learned a lot about my mother’s life, things I was too young for, or not even born for, for that matter. I learned how much we are alike, and realized how much I do love her, and myself.

A Girl From the Hill is my first public writing experience. It’s taken me my entire life to get enough confidence and strength to do this.  Saying its a labor of love sounds trite, but all my love for my family and the journeys we’ve all taken is woven into this work.

Writing has provided me with a safe haven from the stress of my daily grind, from a world where I don’t always fit in. I’m like my mom, Auntie Phil, Auntie Alice, and my grandmother Maria. I want people’s happiness more than a person should sometimes. I’m a people pleaser. But I am trying, harder each day, to please myself first. It goes against my grain, but if I don’t do it I’ll get eaten alive, I’m sure of it.

You may notice that some of my posts, my excerpts from the book, are no longer posted. Please know that it’s not because I want people to buy the book when it comes out. While I’d love everyone to buy it in tribute to my mother, a money-making venture this is not. But because I don’t want to offend anyone mentioned in my book, and on this site, I’m taking down any potentially offending words.  And I also must consider editing the book further, so that no feelings are slighted.

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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.

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Beautiful Sadness

As I commented on the Red Tree Times blog post, I always equate 19th century photography with horrendous civil war victims or cowboys without smiles.

But take a look.   The real beauty of  this image is that it portrays both beauty and sadness simultaneously.

Similar thoughts went through my mind after scanning some 20th century pictures for the book, A Girl From the Hill.  My mother-in-law stated it accurately as she looked at some of the old pictures with me.

“You can see that this face is different.  Still beautiful, but she’s lived through something, and it shows.” Pictures of my mother.

What do you think when you look at her as a young girl of twenty then an older woman in her 30’s?  Does this happen to all of us regardless of the trials we endure?

Young and in love 1943

Testa’s dining room on Dover Street late 50’s  – My mother on the far left

The Pizzelle Lesson

Pizzelle in a loose stack.

Pizzelle in a loose stack. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I spent Saturday afternoon with my mother making pizzelle.  I have always been fascinated with the pizzelle iron as a child.  My mother got her iron forty three years ago on her 25th wedding anniversary as a gift from her mother-in-law, my Grandma Jennie.  I told my mother that when she croaks I get the iron.  I talk in this ‘tough egg’ manner when I don’t want to confront the thought of ever losing her.  It beats the alternative of feeling weepy at the thought of my mother not being there when I call her, of no one to tell me when I’m acting ridiculous, or hugging me gently on the way out the door and calling me a scallywag, whatever that is. Continue reading

Happy birthday, Mama! Happy birthday, me!

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy birthday, Mama! Happy birthday, me!.

Deborah is such a wonderful writer.  She found her voice chronicaling her mother’s life and challenges, and what’s resulted is a real love of writing.

I have always loved to write, but writing my mother’s stories has given me the confidence and strength to actually let other people read what I write.

Mothers are such a source of inspiration in so many ways- I would love to know if you agree, or if there is another source of inspiration for you as a writer, a painter, a whatever it is that brings you joy.

Happy Birthday Deb!