Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Leftover Ham




April 22, 2014



"Do you think a ten pound ham will be big enough?" I remember asking that last week as I was buying it for Easter dinner. I'm sure there was an Easter miracle here, somewhat like the fish and the loaves, because I still seem to have at least 20 pounds of ham left over in my refrigerator! I had a few slices in a sandwich last night when I got home from work but that didn't make a dent in the pile left over. I remember worrying about the amount of food...will it be good, will there be enough variety, but most of all will there be enough? Even after Annemarie said, "It's a mid day meal not the last supper." The anxiety that every Italian woman feels when preparing a meal for her family... I even considered getting a tray of eggplant form my neighborhood Italian deli.



But when I woke up Easter morning and started cooking I felt strangely calm. And happy. Of course there would be enough food. All the "kids" where bringing dishes. How did they get old enough to do that? How can they be in their late twenties when I feel like I'm only in my thirties?!!! And Jocelyn, I'm officially handing over the mac and cheese to you. It tastes so much better your way! From the huge antipasto to the delicious desserts and the warmth of family it was a perfect afternoon. Even the weather cooperated. And as they say in the Master Card commercial having Margo cleaning in the kitchen was priceless!







                                       
                                             My beautiful Easter gifts, including a whimsy!
                                         

                                                       Margo in the kitchen! Love You!
                                    

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Eating Our Way Through Florence



April 17, 2014



I have been so busy these past few weeks. I've been working a lot since I returned from vacation.
Eating, drinking and traveling in Florence, Italy. A place I have always wanted to visit. Two years ago I was lying, prostrate on my bed, crying that I would never leave my house again. Never go out to a restaurant, let alone go to Italy. I'm so happy I was wrong about that!


My trip was fantastic. My memories will last forever. And I hope Josh and Jocelyn will always remember the fun we had. The two gelatos a day, the cappuccinos at breakfast, the happy hours in our apartment and the very late dinners. And all the wine, and the strawberries and the Italian potato chips with the cat figurines that I collected and are sitting on my bulletin board now. Our own special grocery store and the Pitti Palace right down the street. Federico our landlord and Martin, our tour guide. The bus trip to Sienna and the lunch we had there outdoors on the steep street. The cooking class in Federica's apartment, with the view of the Duomo from her daughter's window. The churches and museums and paintings and sculptures. And for Josh the medieval manuscripts and buildings. For Jocelyn, all the craftsmen, especially Giuliano Ricchi who took us through his workshop and proudly showed us his handiwork. My little upstairs room where I went to sleep and woke up to the sound of church bells. The tiny kitchen where I made Italian coffee every morning. So many wonderful moments that I will treasure.                          

 
                                                                  Lunch in Sienna

                                                       

                                                              Our Apartment

 

                                                            The Produce Stand
 


                                                                   Our Market
       


                                                        The View from the Duomo





                                                             Federico, our landlord

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tax Season





March 28, 2014




It's been a very busy couple of weeks for me. Last weekend my nursing organization held a conference in Farmington. Since I am the treasurer I handled the registration. All of the officers did an outstanding job. The conference was a big success but time consuming for all of us. I did spend the day before shopping in West Hartford center with Jeanne and the afternoon following shopping with Annie. It was even sunny and warmish.


I spent the following week getting ready for my trip to Florence. No complaints there. But in between all this I also paid my taxes. Wow. I didn't realize all the money involved in that endeavor. First let me start by saying I forgot to pay my January taxes on both the house and the cars. They were there in the folder marked taxes and on the calendar where I clearly marked, PAY TAXES. And I did pay taxes in January. But it was the tax on my alimony. Which was right in the folder with the other bills which I never even looked at. I still don't understand why I have to pay the taxes on that and HE gets to count it as a deduction. Anyway when I got the delinquent notice I immediately ran to the tax office like a criminal.


A few weeks later I received a letter in the mail from the City of New Haven. They apparently contract with an agency called Municipal Tax Services. This agency goes around at night taking pictures of license plates in the city and tries to collect taxes on vehicles they claim are "garaged" in New Haven. What a rewarding job that must be. Needless to say I was not happy to receive this in the mail at such a busy time. It identified me as the "plaintiff" and stated I had the Burden of proof. But criminals like bank robbers and murderers don't have to prove anything. Somehow that doesn't seem fair to me. Which I let the gentleman from that agency know. A law abiding, tax paying, working, productive member of society has the burden of proof for a car?!!! Why doesn't the city have the burden of proof? Show me a picture of the license plate with proof that it was taken in the city of New Haven on a certain consecutive number of nights.


Anyway, we finally got it straightened out. My insurance agency clarified it but not until after I was asked to send proof that I owned my home. What did that have to do with the car? So, thank you, City of New Haven, where crime is rampant, for using tax payer dollars to harass law abiding citizens from other towns and adding just a little more stress to my life.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fortune Cookies





March 17, 2014





"The axe soon forgets, but the tree always remembers." I usually laugh at my fortune cookie fortunes. They are usually whimsical and far fetched. I really like the ones that say I will come into a lot of money or will travel the world. But this fortune was too close to home.



Yes, time helps. But it doesn't necessarily "heal all wounds." The wounds will always be there, it just becomes easier to bear. Living your life helps. Being with other people helps. Knowing that you are stronger than your problems helps. But as I've said before there are always the "sucker punches" waiting where you least expect them. This week it was in a fortune cookie.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Banning Bossy




March 14, 2014



There is apparently a movement to "Ban Bossy." You might ask what that means. Well as far as I can tell from the story on TV  there are some girls who are intimidated by being called "bossy" by their classmates. I'm going to assume that is mostly male classmates. They are not perceived as "feminine." So Sheryl Sandberg, the CEO at Facebook has started an awareness campaign to ban the word "bossy." And it is endorsed by Beyonce! They claim that girls will not show their leadership potential if they risk being labeled as bossy. Bossy, not assertive or intelligent. Bossy.


Really?!! This week I went to a reunion planning meeting at Sacred Heart Academy, my all girls high school. The four of us there talked about how "quiet" we were in high school and how we didn't become "bossy" until we started working. All those wasted years! I noticed the really popular girls were not at this meeting. And all of us there are successful women. Successful, in spite of being bossy. Imagine how far we could have gone if we WERE bossy in high school!


So boys can be bossy and its called leadership but when girls are it's bitchy. Have we come this far only to slide back to the 50's? Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, where are you? I have always encouraged my daughter to stand up for herself and in spite of how quiet I was in high school ( yes, I know how hard that is to believe) I am proud to be called bossy. Even if, in couples counseling, I believe I was referred to as domineering. Not so flattering but I hope just one person's opinion of me!


So Sheryl and Beyonce I ask you, how did you get were you are without being Bossy? It will take more than banning a word to change society. How about teaching our children to respect each other as individuals instead of stereotypes. That is the real issue here.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Pre Divorce Maintenance Top Ten





March 10, 2014




In the months leading up to my divorce I received some much needed advice from one of my very good friends. After crying with me over the emotional wreckage of my marriage and family she composed a list of practical things I needed to accomplish. An "Angie's List" of divorce preparation. I decided to follow her advice since I was still in possession of the joint credit card. I'm sure I've missed a few things and added a few items of my own but here it goes.




10. Make a walk thru of your house and list needed repairs.


9. Get the furnace serviced and ready for the winter.


8. Check the air conditioning.


7. Clean the chimney and vents.


6. Get the cars tuned up.


5. Replace old window treatments.


6. Redo the master bedroom.


5. Buy a new appliance or two.


4. Spruce up the yard. Tree trimming and mulch.


3. Open your own bank account and credit cards.


2. Organize important papers.


1. Treat yourself to something nice without feeling guilty.




Monday, March 3, 2014

Over The Rainbow





March 3, 2014




I didn't see many Oscar movies this year,. I'm not sure why. I think I'll blame it on the cold, snowy weather. But I did get to see the whole Oscar show. I wasn't on call AND I didn't have to work the next day. Of course I did nod off a little but luckily Hilary woke me up by screaming, "MOM, you're sleeping," right before Pink went on. Thank goodness. I would not want to have missed her performance of Over The Rainbow.


Dressed in a sparkling red gown that perfectly replicated the ruby slippers I was so in love with as a child. I remember buying Hilary a pair of sparkly red shoes when she was little. I wish I had saved them. I LOVED those shoes. Yes Margo, I should have been more sentimental. But anyway I do remember singing Over the Rainbow. Where troubles melt like lemon drops and bluebirds fly. And with Judy Garlands' children in the audience and clips of the movie on the screen. Perfect.



And what can I say about Bette. Another favorite song from one of my most favorite movies. She is simply a classic. I wish I could see her in person. I know both she and Pink are fabulous performers. If only they would perform together. What a fantastic show that would be to attend.



The gowns were beautiful. Every one of them. And lots of actors brought their moms. I REALLY loved that. I'm still holding out hope that someday Josh will be up there and I will be sitting in the audience. Maybe way, way in the back but I'm sure I can yell loud enough to be heard!