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Growing Up Italian

Growing Up Italian

 

  • The word calm is not in the Italian dictionary.

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  • Thanksgiving dinner included; antipasto platter, lasagna, meatballs. Turkey was a side.
  • I don’t want to be that girl, but roasted peppers, Nutella, pesto, deep fried zucchini was a staple for us way before it was trendy.
  • You learned how to make pasta before entering Kindergarten, and you didn’t practice with play dough.
  • When your friends came to your place to play, they were asked no fewer than five times if they were hungry.

 

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  •  We had gardens—not flower gardens. Huge gardens with rows and rows of tomatoes, along with peppers, basil, squash and zucchini.
  • We knew that the word “Latte” is an Italian’s way of saying, “You paid way too much for that coffee.”
  • It is drilled into your mind at a very young age how to make pizza, but if you have absolutely no choice then you know how to order pizza properly, asking for 75% less cheese than your non-Italian friends would order.

 

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  • You have multiple family members named Maria, Angela, Joe, Tony and at least two Uncle Mario’s.
  • You know how to properly pronounce “gnocchi,” “bruschetta,” and “tagliatelle,” which means you’re the spokesperson when out to dinner with your non-Italian friends and family.
  • Salad was always eaten AFTER the main course. (I still do this.)

 

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  • Chamomile tea cures everything.
  • Every Sunday afternoon lunch time with extended family started at 1:00 and ended at 6:00, and there was enough food for everyone to have a second helping and take food home for their week’s lunches.
  • Your Saints day is even more celebrated than your birthday. (Except for me, I don’t have a Saint’s day, but then again I was born in Canada, and that seems to be a loophole according to my siblings, which brings me to the next point).
  • If you were the first generation Canadian, your siblings convinced you that you were adopted.
  • Shocked when you heard someone’s last name did not end in a vowel.
  • Surprised to discover that wine was sold in stores. Wasn’t everyone’s basement a winery?
  • NO VOLUME CONTROL WHEN THE FAMILY GETS TOGETHER.
  • You know a lot of people who came from the same village as your parents or grandparents, they’re not blood related, but call them Aunt, Uncle anyway.

 

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  • Thought everyone got pinched on the cheeks and had money stuffed in their pockets by their relatives.
  • You couldn’t date a boy without getting approval from your mother, father, brothers, sister, a nanna and nonno if they are in the picture, and a few uncles and aunts, by that time, you didn’t have to worry about dating. Ever again.
  • You have at least one irrational fear or phobia that can be attributed to your mother, which of course you pass on to your own children when the time is right.
  • You know that it doesn’t matter what happens; loss of job, divorce, headache, flu, clumsiness….it’s all because you did not eat properly that day and of course, you didn’t listen to your parents.
  • No matter what city you are in, you need to go and visit their Little Italy.
  •  You did the dishes for Nonna or a Zia (Aunt) and got $50.00.

 

All this and more, but you love every minute of it, and look forward to sharing these traditions with the next generation. 

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Merry Holidays & Happy Christmas

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Sending you and your families best wishes for a wonderful Christmas and holiday season, and for those with an empty place(s) at your table, may you feel the love that surrounds you, and may you experience peace and the road to healing with the support of loved ones and the support of your own inner strength

Those who are no longer here to celebrate with us can never be more than a memory away, but as long as we have those memories they live in on in our conversations and hearts.

 

 

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May your gifts contain those three wonderful words: “No Assembly Required.”

May you sing along with your jingling bells–then upload it on YouTube.

May you spend your time with people who know when to go home.

May you never receive anything with raisins in it.

May you remember to wear pants when standing at the window.

May you be dashing through the snow (or sand or grass) with laughter and no holes in your shoes or boots.

May your homes be filled with warmth, love, laughter, books, lots of chocolate, good health, kindness, peace, and harmony.

May the holiday season and all of the new year find you in the company of people and/or animals you cherish and who cherish you.

May this holiday, magical season bring you and your families joy, blessings, good health & laughter. 

To my family and friends near, far, away and online; THANK YOU for the gift that keeps on giving—your friendship, your time, and your support throughout the year.

 

 

 

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Life Tips

1. Relationship Tip: Ask your significant other at 6:00 a.m. how they visualize porcupines making love. This will lead to an interesting conversation.

2. Mental health Tip: DON’T read a ton of news media links. DON’T read a lot of social media posts (I know, the irony). DO read a lot of fiction. I recommend romance, but it’s all good.

3. Anti-Wrinkle Tip: Sunscreen. That’s all you need.

4. Lip Tip: Coconut oil. Tastes good and makes that pucker so smooth.

5. When life hands you lemons Tip: Add another 11 to make a dozen. For water. For salads. For inexpensive hair rinse. They smell good. They clean windows and glass better than chemical cleaners. Also good with ice, Tequila, Vodka…any happy juice.

6. Social Media Tip: Let’s turn the phrase “haters gonna hate” (seriously overdone) to “bakers gonna bake.”

7. Baking Tips: Put a heat-proof bowl of water on the bottom of your oven when baking a cake, muffins, or bread, keeps the air inside moist.

8. Weekend Tip: Hang out with your loved ones, guaranteed they’ll make you forget to look at your phone.

9. Reduce Stress Tip: Have at least one day with no technology around you. No TV. No news. Laze around with music, books, your pet….whatever recharges your batteries.

10. WIN the Lottery Tip: People who have left a review of my books have won the lottery. Seriously. Try it. What have you got to lose? 😉

 

 

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Life Tips According to the Tao of Selena

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have read a string of tweets with the hashtag #TaoOfSelena also known as deep, philosophical thoughts (deep and philosophical is open to interpretation of course).

For those not familiar with my Twitter habits, I am pleased to share them with you here.

I hope The Tao of Selena changes your life—I know, that’s a bit dramatic, but as an Italian chick drama is a right of passage.

If my thoughts don’t change your life, my wish is that this blog post will grant you a smile or a chuckle. It’s why I love writing so much, in hopes that my musings will provide a few minutes of entertainment.

The Tao of Selena

Nothing brings a couple closer than having separate bathrooms.

Nothing in the world is impossible. Wait, flying on your own—that’s impossible. So do it with something that has wings like an; airplane, hand glider or a parachute.

A happy relationship is the union of two strong debaters.

When in doubt. Google.

Still in doubt? Check Snopes.

Treat me nice, I’ll treat you better. Treat my family, friends or me like crap—I know people.

Don’t ever argue with someone who has four siblings. They can go back and forth all day long. They’ve had experience.

Never get tired of teasing & making fun of each other. That’s what good relationships are made of.

Chocolate, music and cuddling are all cheaper than therapy and you don’t have to sit in a waiting room.

The grass is greener on the other side because it was watered, weeded & dog poop was picked up—all accomplished without complaint.

Winter really does have snow

Every woman needs that friend(s) who is the she in her nanigans.

Every man (even a bonified “Maverick”) needs a “Goose” wingman in their corner.

We’re not here for a long time. We’re here for an awesome time. So go awesomize the world.

When starting something new, and the challenges seem overwhelming, don’t place your faith in the “what-ifs”, pour all your faith in the “why not’s?” Remember all the challenges you’ve already conquered, and go forth and do it. Whatever “it” is for you.

 

 

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Creativity unleashes the child in the adult.

I recently returned from a week’s writing retreat with my critique partner, Nancy. This is something we’ve done for the past few years, and not only is it a week guaranteed to be filled with laughter, mischief, naps, swimming, walking, and great wining and dining, it is also a time to get deep into creativity mode without distractions.

The obligatory mani/pedi day was enjoyed before heading to the retreat.1A

 

We also took an afternoon to visit the local attractions such as The Collingwood Olive Oil Company. 

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This was nirvana for the foodie in me.

The Olive Oil Connoisseur who hosted our tasting was entertaining and had some great recommendations. We exchanged recipe ideas, and I walked out with three bottles of heavenly scented olive oil, balsamic vinegar, body lotion and lip balm.

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View from the resort’s balcony after a rainfall.

 

Whether your creative passion is writing, painting, music, cooking, daydreaming, sewing, knitting, olive oil tastings, wine tastings or coming up with new ways to play Boggle, it doesn’t matter, as long as when in the zone, you are enjoying it, and it fulfills a goal you’ve always wanted to accomplish.

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Three simple words that pack a powerful, exhilarating punch. Do it professionally, as a hobby, for family and friends only or just for yourself. The key here is to: Follow it. Do it. Enjoy it.

Enjoy a creativity retreat at home if it’s not possible to travel. Disconnect from the online world, from housework (dust bunnies are patient, they can wait to be tended to), make some meals ahead of time (that’s what slow cookers were invented for) stock up on supplies—chocolate, wine, tea, coffee, whatever your pleasure. Fish out the comfy clothes and enjoy a day, a few days or a week of creative endeavors.

 

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On our retreat we wrote most of the day, and at times, when we were on a roll, we would work late into the evening. We brainstormed plots, character traits, and talked about writing.

We also enjoyed other creative outlets when taking a break while listening to music, watching a movie, or catching up on a television program (Big Bang Theory back to back episodes were on), and still utilized this time to create.

Nancy enjoyed knitting (and she’s real good at it). When I knit, everything turns into a scarf, and I don’t have a clue how to follow a pattern.

I do love to color, and for my birthday my son gifted me an adult coloring book, and colored pencils.

One of my completed coloring projects. I'd love to get this on a T-shirt somehow. Something to think about.

One of my completed coloring projects. I’d love to get this on a T-shirt somehow.

 

Along with a wonderful imagination, and the passion to create, creative people tend to have self-doubt which interferes with motivation. Writers spend a lot of time in their own heads, and at times a nagging voice telling them it can be impossible to achieve what they are striving to accomplish. Hashing it out on paper, or with a friend or family member stifles the negativity. It will disappear as quickly as it appeared.

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Be the bad ass creator you were not motivated to be yesterday.

Go Kick a lot of creative butt.

I got this.

YOU got this!

 

 

 

I Shaved My Legs for THIS?

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Have you ever been on a date where there was too much back-story and the prologue so long that you didn’t think you’d last through the appetizer, let alone dinner, and you’re thinking,“I shaved my freakin’ legs for this?” 

Please welcome authors, Nancy LauzonRenee Wildes and Donna Alward as they join me in sharing a bad date experience. 

 

Selena’s experience:

Mine wasn’t really a planned date. It was foisted upon me by my brother (to this day, I still say in a dramatic way—”You sold me out for a ride in a fancy sports car?” (Yes, I milk my childhood mishaps).

I was fifteen at the time and I was at a big Italian wedding with my family. One of the guests was someone I knew from the neighborhood. Every community had one. You know the type, rich, popular, great hair…the Fonzie of the neighborhood. Except he never impressed me.

A. He was too full of himself and I was never one to follow a trend or the crowd…especially the group of girls who visibly drooled whenever he entered a room.

B. His family scared me. Especially his grandmother. More on that later.

1I’m pretty sure the only reason he wanted to ask me to dance was because I ignored him and didn’t salivate or swoon over him at this wedding.

Unknown to me, my brother made a backroom deal with this dude. My brother guaranteed Dude that I would dance with him if my brother got to drive his brand new sports car around the block. (16 year old’s with brand new sports car that daddy bought them, another reason not to like this guy). My brother to this day defends himself: “At least I didn’t sell you for a herd of goats.” (Like that even makes any sense or justifies his wanton greed to drive a sports car).

My brother then promised me he’d help convince my parents for me to go on a school trip, if I’d just dance with the Greek-Fonzie-Adonis for just one dance.

I thought, what the heck, one dance won’t kill me. No, it won’t kill me, but I just about killed HIM.

You see, Greek-Fonzie-Adonis was severely allergic to shellfish. I had just finished eating a shrimp cocktail.

We danced.

He went in for a kiss.

I told him he’d lose an arm, leg or whatever necessary part he loved, if he tried to kiss me.

He didn’t believe me. He planted a big one on me.

First his tongue swelled.

Then he gasped and fell to the floor.

His mother came running over with an Epi pen.

His grandmother pointed at me, gave me the “Evil Eye,” said a string of things, while shaking her bony fingers at me in Greek and then in broken English told me she put a spell on me for trying to kill her oh-so-sweet grandson.

And the band played on. . .

I shaved my legs for this? by Nancy Lauzon

My worst date happened back in college. I had a crush on some guy who was a friend of my roommate’s boyfriend. He was very quiet, so I couldn’t tell if we had anything in common or not, but he was so good-looking I didn’t care. We went on a double date to a local amusement park. Things were going pretty well, until half-way through the evening, my date disappeared.

1That’s right, he disappeared. I can’t remember the exact details. Maybe I went to the restroom or maybe he left to get cotton candy. All I know is, he vanished into thin air. My roommate and her boyfriend looked everywhere, but he was nowhere to be found. Needless to say, it was quite a blow to my ego. To say I was embarrassed would be putting it mildly.

I was almost hoping he’d been struck dead by a runaway roller coaster car, but alas, that was not the case. He never explained himself or apologized to me. His official excuse — sent via my roommate’s boyfriend — was he’d suddenly forgotten he had to be somewhere, and couldn’t find me to explain. R-iiight.

I shaved my legs for this? by Renee Wildes

1I grew up a tomboy and I’m still not a girlie-girl, but even I have my limits. I agreed to go camping with…Grizzly Adams, I swear to God. I was thinking tent and Dinty Moore and s’mores. But noooo…

It rained, the tent blew down and we had to do laundry in a RIVER. With leeches. Seriously, THAT’S what the salt was for??? Eww. Stupid me thinking it was for Margaritas! He wanted to show me this cool cave. Really cool – until a bat pooed on my head. Tried drying the darn clothes on a tree branch – I fell out of the tree. Everything smelled like mud and smoke and…trout guts. I can’t eat anything with the eyes still looking at me, people. I was starving when I got home! I took a two-hour bubble bath and pigged out on fried chicken and Haagen Dasz.

I shaved my legs for this? by Donna Alward

When I was fourteen I experienced the sweetest, most romantic moment a fourteen-year-old girl could hope for. I was sledding with friends over the Christmas break and the whole week I’d had a thing for my friend’s cousin. He was 16. We were at the top of the hill, lying in the snow looking up at the stars, and a shooting star went zooming across the sky. And then he kissed me.

You’re all sighing right now, right? And you’re thinking, Hey, Donna, this is supposed to be a BAD DATE story. What the heck?

Fast forward about 4 years.

I’m going to university an hour or so from where this guy lives, and he calls me up, asks if I want to go out. Now bear in mind after a few months of cute letters back and forth, our brief romance kind of died off. But…good memories, right? So I say sure. It’s just a movie after all. And I’m curious.

1He picks me up in his old pickup, which isn’t that big of a deal. None of us are driving anything new, we’re struggling students. Except he’s not alone. He’s brought a friend along. ON A DATE. And while I did my hair and dressed cute and all that stuff, he had on an old paid of jeans and a T-shirt and a ball cap. And not the cute kind of ball cap either, more the “I got this for free from the local garage” kind of ball cap, complete with nylon mesh. I’m already thinking this isn’t the most promising start.

The movie we go to see? The most romantic movie of all time, of course! TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES. The three of us. Then we went to a Chinese place for something to eat…let’s just say sitting there with two 20-year old guys being, well, GUYS…. (need I say more?)

To be honest, I was really disappointed. I have some very good memories of times spent in their neck of the woods and it was like he was a whole other person. Then again, maybe I was too. But I never understood why he asked me on a date and then…that was his idea of a date?

I don’t remember if he kissed me goodnight or not, or if he even tried. But I do remember being relieved when he was gone, and sad to have that teenage bubble of sweet memories popped by a pin of reality.

What is your bad date story?