Monday, September 29, 2014

Sweet 16

Here are some shots from Lucia's friend's sweet 16 party - since we seldom dress up anymore, I couldn't resist the photo op.  I hope to add photos of Lucia and the birthday girl once I get permission from her family.  Special note:  I'll bet you can't guess which outfits come from our local rummage store! Also note that my purse belonged to the mother of my mother's dear grade school friend, Peggy, aka "Pea". Apparently Jackie O favored the brand.  Thank you, Peggy!

My Mom (Nona) made Clara's shawl.  You can't see the sparkles, but they are there!

Monday, September 22, 2014


"Mom, you're such a bad actress.  You know, the questions that you're trying to make seem really casual?  She half smiles.

We're occupying the front seats in our cavernous mini-van, headed to the local mall we visit about once a year. Her glare has softened - when we first got in to the car, with arms firmly crossed, I considered aborting the mission.  This is what I get for offering my Sunday afternoon to the gods of consumption? Note to self: teenagers need prep time for transitions, just like grade school kids. Especially when interrupting a movie. With classes and crew practice six days a week, she has earned a little down time, that's for sure. 

I whip my head around and meet her gaze.  

"Ok, I'll give you, how often do you guys text?"  

"Oh, not that often, he's busy with school, like me. He hates school though.  It's all boys.  Says they spend half the time talking about following the rules."

"Sounds tell me, are the boys at school really immature?"

"Well, they kind of fall into four categories.  There's the cute ones that all the girls swoon over.  There's the nerds.  Then there's the decent looking ones with the squeaky voices, and then there's the not so good looking ones with the nice voices."

And that boy you were telling me about the other day, the one who has chickens?  What category does he fall into?

"Well, I'm not sure...he's a bit heavy."

Monday, September 8, 2014

Too Much for One Week!

Lucia certainly fit a lot in to her first week of school - from showing up at the right class at the right time, making friends and trying out for the novice crew team, to class Saturday morning followed by a Black Belt test, she managed it all with aplomb. The whole family, including Nonna and Toto, as well as family friends and fellow athletes, showed up to support her as she was initiated in to a new stage of her Tae Kwon Do career. 

Here is what her "sensei", or instructor, said about her during the ceremony:

"Lucia is a freshman at --- school here in---.  She has been practicing Tae Kwon Do for four and a half years, with the last two years as a brown belt.  Lucia enjoys rowing, reading, drawing, writing poetry, and taking care of her family's chickens, when not attending class".

He further explained the significance of obtaining a Black Belt:

"It is said that out of every 100 students who begin training, only five will make it to black belt.  Many people believe that black belt is the end of their training, and that they mastered the art.  In fact, it is only the true beginning of the art.  They must now walk further on long paths which will hopefully lead to mastery of the art and enlightenment of the self".

Congratulations, girl, we are so proud of you!

Breaking boards.
Happy family!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Chickens and Golf

Summer came and went!  Here are a few highlights, with a short Q and A for each photo.

1. What do chickens and golf have in common?  
Not much, you would say.  Except that our neighbor is a backyard chicken farmer who also happens to coach golf.  Claudio casually mentioned to him one day this summer that Clara was interested in learning how to play. He insisted that both girls attend the golf camp he runs each summer, free of charge, since we are his go-to chicken care takers when he goes on vacation.  How cool is that?  The girls had a fabulous time.  Clara missed week two because she was in Chile with Claudio, the lucky duck.   Let's hear it for bartering, or being friendly neighbors.  You never know what adventures may be in store!

2. Who are these hotties?  
Melanie, my dear college friend, came to visit while Claudio and Clara were away in Chile.  We had some much needed girl time.  This brave woman recently completed a degree in interior design, many years after receiving her undergraduate degree in art history.  She likes this painting by Claudio's Spanish friend and former colleague. 

3.  How's that book?  
We took Melanie to Princeton for some ice cream and window shopping.  Eva was drawn to this sculpture on Palmer Square.  As she was trying to discern the print on our character's page, I lamented, out loud, that I did not have my camera with me.  A kind young man, who happens to be a photographer, offered to take a photo and send it to me.  We have a joke in our family that my father has a habit of inviting strangers over to dinner.  Well, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  I invited him and his girlfriend over for dinner and they will be coming next month, after their trip to Turkey, where he plans on shooting lots of photos.  

4.  Did you clean out any closets or otherwise complete an item on your "summer home improvement list"?  
Oh yes I did, thank you.  I overhauled Clara's sewing area behind the couch.  No more scraps sticking out of wicker baskets.  She hasn't asked where they've gone so I won't tell. 

5.  Was it a sweet return?
Clara and Claudio were in Chile for nearly a month.  Her best friend went along with us to pick them up at the airport and the reunion was more than touching.

6.  Daddy's little girl. Need I say more?

7.  Who are these crazy ladies?
Old school friends.  I mean, we're not old, we just have known each other, well, since about 6th grade.

8.  And these princesses?
Our children.  They played together like they were old friends too.  This only strengthens the bond we moms share.  Special note: See how that tiara keeps changing heads?

9.  More of the princesses.

10. More of the princesses