Monday, December 31, 2007


It's New Year's Eve here in Naples and but for a few practice fireworks, all is calm. It is sunny and warm and our doorman has posted a sign on the elevator that states, "Happy New Year. Beware of fireworks. Even the stupidest people can cause a disaster."

La Bimba is sickie, so I'm making some chicken soup. The Husband is out catching our New Year's dinner. He wishes he were fishing right now! Hah! No, he's just at the fish market.

I am a little sad, a little cranky. End of the year blues, perhaps.

It is good to be back in Naples after 24 wide-sidewalked days in Brooklyn. Though I had already called a motorist an asshole within 2 minutes after leaving the apartment, I am feeling fond of the city and its rowdy inhabitants. It will be sad to leave in June, but we are so ready.

Anyway, auguri, happy new year, and hope to be blogging in a big way in 2008. Baci!

Monday, December 10, 2007

In da house

Greetings from Brooklyn and from an American keyboard, where you find the @ sign above the 2, a mere pressing of the shift key rather than the digital gymnastics required to effect it on an Italian keyboard, like those crazy chords on the piano, always too big for my 9-year-old hands.

Now La Bimba is tinkling the ivories here at the nonni's house. Boy, is that piano out of tune.

I have already gaine a kilo being here, stuffing myself with stuffed derma, corned beef and pastrami, Thai food, Vietnamese food, chicken feet. Though it is refreshing to be tasting spices other than basil and oregano, I am going to let you in on a little secret: having access to unlimited food variety is not required for happiness. It is possible to live a totally fulfilling and fully filling life eating only Neapolitan cuisine. In fact, it is nice not having to have that horribly annoying conversation every night:

mom: what do you want for dinner?

dad: I don't know. What do you want, S?

me: I don't care. Let mom decide.

mom: I can't decide.

me: okay, Japanese.

mom: I don't care much for Japanese.

me: Chinese

dad: we had Chinese last night.

I will spare you the rest. It more or less continues in that vein for about 20 minutes until my father decides to order pizza.

So, I took the GRE and almost fell asleep doing so. What a boring exam! And with jet lag...mamma mia. You are not allowed to bring anything into the test with you, including your scarf. They wouldn't tell me why the scarf was prohibited, something, perhaps, about crocheting crib notes. The new, computerized test sucks because you can't check your answers or skip questions and go back to them. So, you sit there staring at a parallelogram for 20 minutes and then realize you only have 5 minutes left to do the remaining 25 math questions.

My friend's 15-year-old daughter came over to tutor me in math the night before the test. She brought over waffles, bacon, cookies, and a calculator, none of which you can bring with you to the test. She was great. I would say, "I can't do it. Forget it. Let's skip this question and move on," and she would make me understand. My score went up 100 points due to her endless patience. We also had a nice conversation about maple syrup:

Teenager: You eat the waffles without syrup?

Me: I don't like the syrup my father buys. Aunt Jemima.

Teenager: I love Aunt Jemima!

Me: It's not maple syrup. It's sugar syrup.

Teenager: What, you like that stuff that comes out of the tree? Gross!

La Bimba is having a blast with the nonni. She loves her new toys and books, all the music boxes and Russian matrioshka dolls, and goldfish, the cracker, not the animal. She likes roast beef, but not sour pickles. She likes corned beef, but not pastrami. Mostly, she wants pasta. She already knows that the key to happiness has nothing to do with food variety. She's so smart.
p.s. I have no idea what that blue car is doing in the upper left corner of this post. I meant to upload a picture of La Bimba, but this is what came up. If you have an idea of what this might mean, please let me know.