Saturday, July 25, 2015


What does it mean that I am still wearing my young son's first bathing suit shirt with the fishies on it? It says "Oversized Fit," but the manufacturer would probably be surprised to see it being worn three decades after purchase by a kid's 68-year-old mother. 

BTW, she's still wearing his adult cast-offs for gardening, not to mention her own deceased father's socks.

But fortunately I married a non-harder and I am proud to have raised a non-hoarder, so maybe there's hope for me. 

On the other hand, it's pretty clear that my precious relics will go down with me. As I write this, I'm wearing a favorite (hand-dyed by me) flapper-style nightie from a tie-dye party we had circa 1969. That supremely comfortable nightgown, once a pallid yellow, is now a much more spritely mauve embellished with fuchsia and purple snowflake-like patterns that will never go out of style. Never mind that I keep having to re-sew a tear in the seam. We are in this for the long haul.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


How to know if you are dead? If your name is posted here, things do not look good for you. 

Instead of the obituaries that appear in American newspapers, in our Italian neighborhood, the name of the deceased is noted on posters like these. But it's unusual to see, on the same billboard, a notice about upcoming Festas or Zumba lessons. 

While visiting the lovely city of Amelia, I was surprised to see this juxtaposition of death and Zumba fitness lessons early in the afternoon.

But when I passed by after lunch, the colorful festival poster had been replaced by another notice that was not related to the funerals of those who had passed on. 

Although many of us think of death as being rather final, I had heard that burial in Italian cemeteries might be anything but permanent. Apparently buried coffins are stacked, and after a pileup of ten or so, you reach another expiration date and it's your spot that gets passed on. 

Maybe a few of those Zumba lessons that got the boot from the billboard would forestall the literal passing-on of passers-by? 

If you want to find out about the lessons, however, you've got to carpe your diem and note the time and location before the info gets plastered over. Hmm...I wonder what Zumba lessons are like in Italia. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015


1. Even when it's 97 degrees outside (which it is right now), in here it's still kind of cool.

2. We've heard that there are some big bad wolves in our Umbrian neighborhood who are gobbling up the sheep. But if one comes around here, he can huff and puff all he wants, but our house will probably NOT blow down. 

To have two grandchildren under the age of 2.5 can get you thinking in a different way about stuff you may have had in the back of your mind since you yourself were a toddler. For example,  I never would have guessed I'd find "This Little Piggy Went to Market" coming out of my mouth. But in terms of the delight it continues to bring, that rhyme has as much staying power as a stone house. 

Is there a moral to this piece (or musing or whatever it is)? The point of departure was my appreciation of our resurrected Italian stone farmhouse on a very hot day. In trying to follow that thought, I see that I've managed to conflate three different things: a fairy tale, a nursery rhyme and a popular proverb. Then, what's left of this nonna's mind came full circle to rest on Philip Johnson's Glass House (definitely not built for hoarders like me) in her other home state of Connecticut. 

The hair on my chinny chin chin and I thank Wikipedia for helping make this journey. 

"Little pig, little Pig, let me come in."
"No, no, not by the hair on my chinny chin chin."
"Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in.."  

"Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones" is a proverb used in several countries, including England, Italy, Spain and Germany. It means that one should not criticize others for having the same fault as themselves.

This little piggy went to market 
This little piggy stayed at home 
This little piggy had roast beef 
This little piggy had none 
And this little piggy went 
Wee, wee, wee, all the way home!

The bottom line? Be it made of straw, glass or stone, there's no place like home.