Tag Archive | Life

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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Welcome to Who-the-F**K-Cares Town

Thank you for visiting our town, where the residents don’t give a rat’s ass, adhering to the law of the land, and manage to live as happy as each day allows.

WARNING: The “F” bomb is dropped quite a bit in this blog post, if this offends you, then please do not read on.

If you would like to read how the town manage’s inner peace, happiness and still remain relatively sane, please read on.

Continue reading

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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Popping the Book Signing Cherry

PLEASE NOTE: Re-posting this blog for the new followers and those who have not read this post before and also the fact that I am buried under edits and revisions.

I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

The Year I Popped my Book Signing Cherry

This was it—the print run of my first novel was hot off the press and it was time for some old-fashioned promotion. I headed for a vacation and a book signing in the state that gave us Mickey Mouse, the Golden Girls and hopefully the breaking story on the ten o’clock news of a Canadian author needing assistance for crowd control for the hundreds of romance readers, clamoring to get their own autographed copy of my book.

The latter did actually happen—in my dreams.

During the flight I had envisioned line-ups of avid and excited readers, chants and a harried book store manager in a panic, because we’d run out of books—all 1,000 of them. I had rehearsed my smile, my version of the royal wave and witty answers to the myriad of questions the readers were dying to ask.

Turns out the book store was a literary boutique located near a university and filled with sleek, stylish furniture, complete with a wine bar.

And NO romance section.

After a few anxiety induced minutes, I managed to crush the urge to run away and instead decided to make the most of the situation. I put on my game-face and mentally prepared to pave the way to lure literazzi type readers, Deepak Chopra and Anthony Robbins fans into the romance genre.

I know what you’re thinking—that I was in total denial to the realities of this competitive business. Denial gets a really bad rap by self-help gurus, but personally, I’ve found it helpful at times.

This was definitely one of those times.

I sat at a table near the wine bar and managed to sell four books to one customer—said customer happened to be an acquaintance of mine, but she did buy three extra copies.

Jacked up on a few ounces of confidence (and red wine) I submerged myself into the power of positive thinking and eyed my next challenge—a couple of women perusing the classic literature section, while sipping sinfully expensive bottled water.

I smiled.

They smiled back.

They approached my table. Both of them had a glimmer of excitement, sparkling in their eyes.

Ah ha. I knew it. I know that look. They had all the makings and glow of die-hard romance readers.

That look of high anticipation, salivating for something romantic to read. The feeling they had discovered a new romance author and couldn’t wait to talk to her, and flip through her book, perhaps read the first chapter and then buy a book for themselves and (fantasy still in full force) a few copies for friends and family.

Oh, yes, all the markings of readers, hankering for something to sink their teeth in…

Chocolate.

They had been ogling the gigantic bowl of Godiva sitting on my table.

I pushed the bowl toward them and told them to knock themselves out.

Since then I have armed myself with a more realistic approach to book signings. (I still have that crowd control fantasy going on from time to time, but hey, a gal has to dream, right?)

Fortunately, being better prepared and having learned through that first signing, I’ve had tremendous success in book stores—having done my research and homework, I made sure the stores had a romance section and I still do bring goodies to hand out.

During my later book signing adventures, I’ve met many men who’ve purchased an autographed book, claiming it was for their wives, moms, sisters, aunts—a lot of women out there named Tom, Dick and Harry.

I’ve met the dynamic duo. (not Batman and Robin) Buffy and Muffy who announced with pride that they could write a romance novel in a weekend…giggle giggle, as they sipped their double latte concoctions, flipping through tabloid magazines. I gave them my best smile and wished them luck with their writing and even volunteered to edit it after their weekend of just churning one out, because as we all know it’s just that easy. Of course I also told them, they probably wouldn’t need an editor, I mean writing a book in a weekend must be an amazing talent, and I’m thinking it would be ready for publication. Or so they made it seem when they giggled-talked about it.

One of my favorite encounters was a Masters graduate, (I know this, because that was the first thing out of her mouth after she asked me where the ladies room was located) who perused the cover of my book and said that she would wait until the movie came out, as reading wasn’t  really “her thing.”

At one signing, I overhead a conversation between two women who were browsing the store for a birthday gift. Multi-tattooed woman suggested to her equally tattooed friend: “Why don’t you get your old man a book?”

Response: “Nah, he’s already got a book.”

I also attended Word on The Street one year, an outside event in Toronto, where hundreds of authors line up and sign books. My table was next to another author who complained from the time we arrived 7:00 a.m. until the time we closed shop 6:00 p.m. For every negative comment, I came back with three positive ones and made light of things so she’d hopefully relax and have fun.

No smile. More complaining, grumbling and negativity spewing.

Another author on the other side had brought her dog. She had written a book on dogs, so bringing her beautiful Golden Retriever was a clever prop, in my opinion. The dog was well behaved, but at times, he got restless and would wonder to our area.

I would pet him.

Cranky author next to me said: “Don’t encourage that flea bag mutt, send him back over there.”

I ignored.

Dog lay down near our booth.

Cranky author said, and I quote: “If I had a pair of steel toed boots, I’d kick that bitch back to its owner.”

I smiled at her and said, “If I had a pair of steel toed boots, the puppy wouldn’t be the bitch I’d love to kick back to where she came from.”

Went right over her head of course. It takes all kinds to make this world a diverse and interesting place, so they say. (During yoga I often wonder who “they” are that say these things, but I digress…)

All in all, ninety percent of the people I’ve met at book signings are courteous, pleasant, fun to talk to and have a passion for not only reading, but for the romance genre. The above mentioned characters stand out, because they are the exception.

My favorite encounter at a book signing was when I asked a woman walking by my table, “Do you like romantic comedy?”

Flushed and weighed down with a briefcase and diaper bag she said, “I don’t have time to laugh!”

While chewing the inside of my cheek like a chipmunk on steroids to keep from laughing at her serious expression, I thought to myself, that this stressed out woman could be immortalized in a poster with the caption:

“I am woman. I am invincible. I am pooped!”

 

What do you think? Could you relate? I know there are days when I certainly could be the poster child for that caption.

 

Antioxidant Little Pricks

PLEASE NOTE: I’m still buried under a lot of writing related projects and things should get back to normal (as normal as I can be) in the next month. In the meantime, I am re-posting this blog for the new followers and those who have not read this post before. I hope you enjoy it!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADuring a trip to Sedona, AZ a few years ago, my husband coaxed me into going on a hike. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love beautiful scenery, going for long walks with my husband and Sedona happens to be one of my favorite places to visit. However, hiking in the hot desert wasn’t on my list of things to do. Seeing as my husband didn’t wince, complain or roll his eyes when I dragged him  through more than one craft, jewelry and pottery shop in Sedona, I agreed to the hike.

We joined a group led by a tour guide. Allegedly this guide told everyone to be careful of the cholla cactus that surrounded the trail. Allegedly the guide made it clear that should a person be stuck by a spine from the cactus it would be incredibly painful. Allegedly the guide also said to not go wandering off by ourselves and to take extra caution when taking pictures, so one does not fall into the cactus.

I say allegedly, because I don’t recall all these instructions.
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I admit, I wasn’t giving the tour guide’s speech my full attention. It wasn’t my fault. This guide had a monotone voice—-the same kind my high school math teacher had—–which had me excelling in daydreaming 101 and summer school for math. The guide also didn’t speak loud enough to drown out the characters that reside in my head, who were telling me to dig out my mini-tape-recorder and record notes. Writers are notorious for note taking. We like to keep these memories on paper, in case we can work them into a novel.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Admit it. How many of you REALLY pay attention when the flight attendant is giving all those hand-waving instructions on the plane? Are you really listening to everything the tour guide says in a museum? Your mind wanders and you’re thinking of how to plot a murder, interesting places to hide a body, or what kind of clothes a hooker in the 18th century would have worn at the location you’re visiting, right?

Okay, maybe it’s just me. But I digress.

I was chatting with my husband and with other people in the group, but I kept getting shushed because everyone wanted to listen to the guide drone on about something or other. I decided to take a slight detour so I could take a few pictures.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI backed up, because I wanted to get a shot of the scene up ahead on top. I heard my husband calling my name and telling me to come back and to…WATCH. OUT.

Too late.

I fell backward and landed on my behind on top of a  cholla cactus plant.

Pricks.

I screamed as if I were going to audition for the next Chucky Horror movie. The pain. Was. Horrific.

And this coming from someone who has a high pain tolerance.

My husband came to help me up and then said we needed to get down the trail as fast as possible. Fast? He wanted me to rush down the trail with these little pricks stuck in my ass? I just wanted to pluck them out.

He told me we couldn’t do that, because as the guide had said at the beginning that if someone were to touch the cactus and get stuck with a needle, the person removing the needles needed to wear gloves.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Obviously (and thankfully), my husband paid attention to the initial instructions.

Loudly cursing in a few different languages, using words I probably wouldn’t even write, let alone say out loud, we made our way to the bottom of the trail, arriving at the Ranger’s station.

My husband rushed in, explained what had happened to me and asked if there was a private room available and some rubber gloves.

The woman inside was chuckling. Even though I was in pain, traumatized and knew that sitting down wasn’t an option, thanks to the little pricks, I was lucid enough to clearly hear the laughter in this woman’s voice.

Bitch.

There was no where for me to strip down, there were no rubber gloves available.

Now, I ask you, if this is a concern in this area, wouldn’t they have a private room stocked with rubbers for all those pricks?cholla

 

 

 

 

 

 





I had to lay down in the back seat of the car, face down, until we got back to our resort.

I didn’t look up at the ceiling for a few days. I prefer laying on my tummy anyway, and eating standing up isn’t such a bad thing for a day or two.

Yup, it’s all part of my journey in life and as my husband likes to say….I love Lucy moments.

Prickly Pear Banana Smoothie

In spite of the pain those little pricks put me through, I fell in love with Prickly Pears. I’ve always loved them before, my mother used to cook them around Christmas time, but never had them in a smoothie.

The prickly pear is chock full of antioxidants, delicious, refreshing and if you want, you could even add some vodka or gin to the juice for a healthy cocktail…well, healthy, depending on how many you throw back.

smoothie-1Ingredients:

1 Banana, cut in half

2 Prickly Cactus Pears, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup orange juice

1 cup water

1/2 pint frozen vanilla yogurt

1 cup of ice cubes

Directions:

Put the banana, cactus pears and orange juice in a blender and puree.

Then add the frozen yogurt, water, ice cubes and blend until smooth.

Most prickly pears you buy in the store will already have the spines removed, but in case they don’t, here is a link that will explain how to do it.

http://www.wikihow.com/How-to-Eat-Prickly-Pear-Cactus