Monday, September 7, 2009

Girl's Night Out & A Contest

I didn't realise what a challenge this contest would turn out to be, and I'd like to thank all those who good-naturedly participated! In the end, determining the six nationalities was more of a team effort than anything else! So, for the sake of fairness, I pulled a name out of the hat at random.

And the winner is...Welshcakes Limoncello!

Answer: Ukranian, Bulgarian, Moldovan, American, Italian, Russian

One evening, not too long ago, one of my best friends decided to organise an evening in which she brought together all of her international girlfriends. We went out to the Creperia, a lovely restaurant in the historic center of a little seafront town down the coast a ways. We shared good food and lively conversation and I got to thinking about how fascinating it was that none of us came from the same country. Six different women, from six different nations, chatting away in Italian, and having a wonderful time together.

So, I thought I would create a contest in which, you, my gentle reader, have to guess which countries we are each from. And I even have a prize for the winner! The first person to accurately guess where each woman in this photo hails from will win a copy of Apulia - A Film Tourism Guide, a fantastic guidebook to this region, made even more fantastic because it was translated into English by little old me!

Good luck!

p.s. anyone who is actually in the photo is not allowed to participate, for obvious reasons!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Secret Admirer

So, I wake up the other morning, get ready to go about my day, and grab my cellphone as I go out the door. Oh, look! I have a message! That's always nice, let's see who it's from...

Message: Ciao

Just Ciao? From a phone number I don't recognize? Sent at 12:10 a.m.? Okay, must be someone who got the wrong number, but for curiosity's sake, I respond...

Me: Ciao, but who are you?

Immediately, I get the following message...

Person X: I am your secret admirer!!! So, I can't tell you who I am!!!

What? What's going on here? I don't really want to have a secret admirer, thank you very much. This must be a friend playing a joke on me. So I respond...

Me: Tell me who you are or don't write anymore.

My Secret Admirer: Well, I can tell you that my name is domenico, but you don't know me, and I'm a good friend of mauro p.

Me: Who is mauro p?

My S.A.: Mauro papagna (names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent!), don't you know him??

Me: The 12-year-old boy?

My S.A.: Yes, him!!

Me: And are you 12, too?

My S.A.: No, how old are you?

Me: Who do you think you are writing to?

My S.A.: To Sara, but anyway, how old are you?

Me: 47 and I'm Danny's mother.

Let us pause here for a moment to imagine the shock and subsequent panic that this poor little boy must have felt upon realising that he is trying to flirt with an old lady, and the mother of a friend of a friend, worse yet!

My horrified S.A.: And I thought that you were a pretty girl, from what mauro told me. That bum played a joke on me, just wait till I get ahold of him!! Please forgive me, I didn't mean to bother you, forget everything, pretend it never happened. See you later!!!

Me: Don't harm done. But tell Mauro not to give my phone number out to anyone else!

Just plain Domenico: Of course, I will right away. ciao

And so we ended up where we began, with a "ciao." And no secret admirer for me! LOL!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

On Being 12

Sometimes, when you are 12, those long, hot summer days seem to stretch on interminably. You and your friend have played basketball, soccer and swum in the neighbor's pool for countless hours. You watched a little TV, but there was nothing good on, so the two of you decide to just sit around out in the yard.

As with little kids, it's those overly quiet moments that a mother needs to worry about...

Out of sheer boredom, my son decided it would be a good idea to stick his foot down into the little hole we had drilled in the yard to search for drinking water in the underlying ground water. As you can see, it's really a little hole. Compare the size of the kid's shoe with the size of the hole and maybe you know what's coming next in this story...

F., my son's friend came running into the house, "Sara, Sara, Danny's foot is stuck in the waterhole!" Yes, he got his foot into the hole, up to his knee, but then could not get it back out.

We spent the next half hour and more trying every possible technique I could think of to get his foot out. We tried to pull him straight up and out, but he said it hurt. I lay face down in the dirt and stuck my whole arm into the hole to try to pull his shoe off, but it was on too tight. I tried to untie his shoe so he could slip his foot out, but, besides the fact that he had made double knots in his laces, there was just not enough room for me to move my hand around.

The next stage involved tools...
I thought maybe I could cut the shoelaces, but there was just not enough room to manouver down in that hole and I was afraid I might cut my son. I spent a lot of time and energy trying to widen the sides of the hole, but as anyone who knows Apulia can tell you, we have a very rocky terrain here. I was able to move a tiny bit of dirt and a few little pebbles, but not much more.

In the end, the combination of my digging and the help of Danny's friend, F., who is a very big and strong 12-year-old, did the trick. We tried our original "pulling him straight up and out while he pushed with his other leg" technique....and succeeded!

Never a dull moment around here, I'm telling you...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Care and Feeding of Boys and Other Animals

Our trip home to Italy went very well, travel-wise, and over the past few days we have been settling in to our old routines. Jetlag is a drag, as anyone who has traveled from the US to Europe can tell you. You're exhausted all day, but you can't sleep all night! Confusion! But each day things get a little easier.

The first to greet us upon our return were our 3 dogs, 1 rabbit and 1 hamster. We had 7 cats, too, but the feline population has thinned out around here. We gave away 3 kittens the day before we left, which still left us with 4 cats, but 2 seem to have moved over to the neighbors' house leaving us with just 2.

The first thing my sons wanted to do after greeting their four-legged friends, was to invite human friends over to play. They hadn't seen them for 3 whole weeks! And since I always say yes to having friends over, the house is full of 4, 5, 6 or more boys every day.

The thing about all these creatures, both human and non, is that they are all always hungry! Gone are the days of those little boys who picked at their food, or settled for an ice-cream cone for dinner. Seems like all I do is non-stop food and beverage service all day!

And that leads to a lot of dirty plates and glasses. However, the good news is that my sister-in-law is redoing her kitchen and has passed her nearly-new dishwasher our way. I have been the dishwasher in this house since our last mechanical one broke down and died three years ago. I haven't wanted to buy a new machine because of the expense, and the handwashing didn't really bother me. But now that I have this baby, I'm thrilled. What was I thinking of, handwashing for all those years? Never thought an appliance could make me so happy!