Sunday, February 28, 2010

American Breakfast - part 1

I recently wrote a post on US food but I tried not to be too  hard in the first place because if there are obvious targets I could hit, there are certain other I don't want to hit.
One of this is the American breakfast - at least one style of American breakfast: that with eggs, bacon, hash browns, toast and - if there is still some room in my tummy - pancakes...
This isn't something I would have everyday, unless I want to run two or three miles up and down the hills around here; but I really like it once in a while.
I am not afraid of eating something savory in the morning or something more than coffee and croissant (I hear most Italian people have this habit - my mom was very impressed when I told her about the scrambled eggs).

After months we finally managed to go out to have breakfast - kids are part of the being lazy but sometimes it isn't fun when under your table lay two or more spoons, straws, jam boxes and you are responsible for this mess. Even less fun  it's when your baby doesn't sit quiet while everybody else enjoys the meal. Sometimes it works, sometimes it takes lot of diversion - crayons, color-books,  some toy - and patience (because it all follows the law of gravity and kids are empirical physicists in diapers).
This morning it worked pretty well, both kids were eating and behaving  so we didn't make a mess on the floor - I hate picking up stuff from a floor where hundreds of people put their shoes on...and picking up stuff in general while I should be eating.

Some friends suggested that we go to George's Kitchen in Sound Beach and  we found that it was homey with excellent food and the staff was very friendly  - which to me is the # 1 reason to go back to a certain place.
Thumbs up for this little American diner!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

and 6 degrees of separation!

Last night I couldn't sleep well: my nose was a bit congested and I had a terrible head-ache...so I got mad at myself about the last post.
It was the typical scene with a little angel sitting on one shoulder and a little devil sitting on the other one, arguing about this facebook craze.
The devil was right, asking "Why on hell would you wish to add another family member to an already large family?".
On the other hand the angel was also right, asking "Shouldn't we forgive, even if he voted for B.?".

Basically this is what bothered me most; in the end I decided to forgive - but not forget - and kind of forgive myself too, because I seem anyway to have the urge to find more relatives. 
Might it be that I am often around and feel a bit rootless?Whatever!I have a more fun story  about relatives.

This all started on our last Japan trip, to be correct at the welcome banquet that always takes place when one of Ralph's conferences begins.
At the reception we had to find my name on the participant list (which was not easy as it wasn't there) and - while doing this - one name popped to my eyes: that of a Greek man, at least with a very Greek name, and...my grandma's surname.
Background is that my grandma was born on a tiny tiny Greek islet - a Venetian colony then - and moved to Italy after the end of WWII. Her surname isn't common, so I got very curious about this guy and tried to find him but with more than 300 people and no clue how he should look like nor for which institution he was working for, I wasn't very successful.

You can bet I managed to contact him later and found out that he works in Sweden and he is originally from Albania.
He confirmed that his surname isn't very common and those who have it belong more or less to the same family; he then offered to be our guide if we ever decided to go to Sweden - this was very kind, wasn't it?
So, well, the world is small and not all relatives come to harm.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

FB

In times of social networking this title might sound obvious but I want you to push your imagination a bit ahead...
Did it ever happened to you to accept/confirm a friendship from someone you don't really know?
Most probably yes.
Me, I am very strict: either I had at least a cup of coffee with the mentioned person (or an ice- cream) OR we share the same surname. Which is wrong because the last isn't a guarantee for a real friendship or anything but I just think we are all a big family and we don't choose our relatives anyway!

But...what if then you find out that your "relative" is kind of an ass?Or that you don't share political views at all?You've incorporated another Mr. someone to your family and now regret it?

This is what happened to me, so I'll never trust family members again until they at least offer a cup of coffee - then I will decide.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fast food nation?

Most Fast Food Per Person and Other Food Facts | Daily Yonder | Keep It Rural

Just found this and wanted to share...
What is your opinion about American eating habits?And what is you general attitude towards fast food?
Is Michelle Obama in Mission Impossible?

More snow



We are confined at home these days, with Carlotta having a cold and the snow.
It is supposed to snow all day again so, let's consider shoveling a bit as a winter sport - if I practice enough I might make it to Vancouver!!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My funny Valentine

Definitely one of my favourite songs ever.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

After the snow blizzard

If I were a rich girl...

Last Saturday we had the very unique chance to be invited to one of Carlotta's friends' birthday party.
I say unique, because this was about the fanciest thing I have been in my entire life. One of the few.

A little wedding party - and although I have been invited to some weddings either I didn't show up because I couldn't or I was too far (or both) or the kids were too small or whatever.
I feel sorry for the couple that get into so many troubles to make everybody happy and ends up being exhausted and, in the best case, criticized (for whatever reason, don't ask ME).

Back to the birthday party.
The little one to be celebrated was a five year old girl and the invitation needed a RSVP: the setting was an Italian restaurant, about an hour away from here.
There were a DJ, a magician - who did the fire alarm trick so good he sent us all outside in the cold weather until the fire-fighters declared that the place was safe "again".
Who else was there apart from the 100 or so guests?Dora...Winnie the Pooh and some other character I just don't remember.

The buffet dinner was really good, we had a good time talking with another couple of pre-school parents and Carlotta had fun with some of her friends - they were all invited but not everybody was there - and I can only say it was a nice evening.

Sure, if you look at it from another perspective you might find it all weird and useless - why celebrate a five year old child's birthday (she has two brothers and EVERY year they celebrate in such elaborate way, I was told) with such an effort?
Why invite people you don't know and probably don't care about?

I can't say.
I don't know these people well enough to decide if this has a special reason or if it is just very normal for them - it is certainly not the usual American celebration.
Apart from that I can confirm our kids will not have such a birthday: they can have their party at school and this is fair to everybody since we don't get to decide who's invited or not and if they want to have someone at home, they might have to pick four or five friends for whom I'll be glad to organize some games and bake a big cake - even use frosting if it's necessary - but that will be it.

What is all the fuzz about?

What do kids need more that this?To be cool?To find their place in high society?
Please, don't tell me I am wrong again.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Kittychan


In front of Lever House, in NYC

I am an Hello Kitty fan, so what?
There is one thing that warms up my heart in the last days: one of Bastian's new words (after poo and no) is: KITTY.
Sometimes he would say KITTIKY, which is fun, but he really likes this cat too and steals his sister's stickers or books with Kitty and friends.

How blame him?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hair salon - pride and prejudice




Am I desperate or do I just look like as if I were?

Yes, I finally went to have a cut. I was mentioning yesterday I should - have long ago - and I did it.
Many of you people out there may think "so what is the big deal?".
The big deal is that I sort of...have a problem with hair dressers. Is it prejudice or just pride? Maybe both.

I am very motivated and well intentioned and ask - beg - for a cut, nothing special just "stop this mess, I don't have time to wash my hair" (which usually takes more than half an hour, with the drying, plus vacuum cleaning and it is stressful because Bastian would usually start crying in the middle of everything so I just have to hurry and be half as happy with the shampoo session - let's leave the conditioner for another time and let's leave a bit of wet hair, so tomorrow I can have terrible neck pain and so on...).
Hair salon is the solution, even if, as I mentioned, it takes a lot of lowering my pride just to make an appointment.

But then I think, hey, they cut MY hair, so I should be thankful and think they are nice people. They probably are. Probably.
This morning, as I sat on the torture chair, there were three or four hair fairies dancing around, chatting about (guess what?) hair color "I don't like that maple leaf brown on X, she looks older or maybe it's because she was always blond" "Yeah, she should try dying her hair velvet red" (I am making this up, because it's Valentine's day soon and because I didn't honestly follow the conversation).

The other thought I had was "too good these guys are not driving around and just stay in their salon", 'cause they smelled of alcohol and I do NOT mean alcohol like that in hair spray or product.
A bit unusual for an hair salon.

Conclusion: I tried my best, but they failed.

Oh, I am not talking about my hair, it looks pretty fine, washed and trimmed and tidy - for a couple of days at least - just you know, if you had a water gun and you would have to choose someone to get completely wet...whom would you choose?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Beauty salon

So, today I was - in spite of the snow - driving to this place to get an ointment and a new tape for Bastian's lip, since the old one was coming off last night and I was told by some surgeon's secretary "not to touch, remove or apply anything, just come here and we'll do it".

Driving half an hour isn't as terrible as it used to be some times ago and the snow had left almost no trace on the streets BUT going to the surgeon, filling some forms in the hope that someone is fixing the problem and then getting two small packages of ointment ("do you have this at home?" you think if I had this at home I would have come all the way to a facial treatment spa with two kids to make an ass of myself?Excuse me, but no.) was as ironical as it sounds. When I finally get to go to an hair salon, it will be enough beauty.

Then, I took the kids for a stroll in Port Jeff and went to the burrito bar, because we wouldn't have time to cook and there were no left-overs.
I fancy spicy food and am a very big fan of chocolate-chili ice-cream (I should convince the Mc Nulty's people to make this flavour for me, they offer this kind of service) that's by the way a perfect mix to convince your kids not to eat chocolate anymore!!!Wasn't the book I started writing titled "101 best parenting advice"?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February...quite contrary

How do you survive tiredness?
Lately I really feel sleep-deprived and still I can't sleep during the day, I am too nervous and keep thinking and I don't get things done, especially after Bastian's small accident - his pretty upper lip got cut and he had a stitch so I kind of guard him - I feel absolutely unable to do stuff AND keep an eye on him.
He doesn't sleep too well either, and sometimes he's unhappy so that I am not sure if his lip hurts or he's just tired...
No, there is no way I can change, when people I love suffer, then I suffer too.

It has always been that way and now I am too old to re-program my brain.

Then there is this thing that I finally got used to life here and half year is gone, and when I see in the news that Berlin had a specially cold winter I just don't want to go back, but move to a warmer place. Plus, I don't feel like I belong anywhere and anyone, as if home was the place I want to go away from, not the place I want to live. A safe harbor, but...you don't want to live in a harbor I guess.

Maybe Carlotta is kind of home-sick, mostly because she doesn't like the house we're living in: it's a pretty house, but I agree, it's not our stuff, so she wants to sleep in her bed, to open our drawers, to play with her inflatable horse Rocco...
I miss our bed too - that's one thing I hate when being away from home: beds. American beds are too high and I LOVE low beds.
Yeah, these are small things and bed is not what it is about, it is the temporary that bothers me. It's not like Ralph's approach to that, probably: he's got a work related project, some dead-lines but when he'll be back he will keep working on that; for us as a family it's a bubble-like experience that might lead to nothing - of course we get some new friends, new experiences and it is great to be here all together, but then?
Then we might have to start over again. And miss the friends here.

Guess I will eat some more of the chocolate waffles I bought only for me myself and I.