Archive for April, 2007

silence for victims at virginia tech

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Happy Birthday Mom!

Prompt #57: Wings

Cheesy as it sounds, the first thing that came to my mind when I read this prompt was Bette Midler’s song, Wind Beneath My Wings. And my next thought was of my mom, because, well, that’s what she is to me, and that song always brings tears to my eyes because it makes me think of her. Doesn’t hurt that today just happens to be her birthday as well.

My mom is truly my best friend, *the* one I turn to in times of happiness, sadness, and every emotion in between, and she has always, always, always been there for me. She’s never disappointed me. Not once. Ever.

Is she a saint? Well, sometimes I think so, but as far as I know, she hasn’t performed any miracles. Well, other than managing to remain a kind, loving person after what one could only euphemistically call a rough childhood.

But that’s her story, and certainly not mine to tell here.

What I can tell is my story, or rather ours from my perspective. How I became best friends with my mom through weekend and once a week visits. How she sacrificed custody of my brother and me when she left my father because she knew that’s what was best for us. We had already been growing up in a house with my father’s family; she saw no need to pull us from the stability. Besides, she was working the 3-11 shift at a hospital a half hour away–not the easiest hours to maintain when you have a 2 and 8 year old.

Of course I didn’t know any of this until many, many years later. But oh, how I appreciate it now. I marvel at the strength it must have taken to do something so unselfish, and I only hope I’ve inherited and/or learned half of what she’s exhibited.

And so, during my formative years, we got the best of the mother-daughter relationship (shopping, intimate chats, watching stand-up comedy into the wee hours of the morning on HBO, trying all the new restaurants) without all the daily annoyances (curfews, how much time we hogged the bathroom, begging permission to do things). Who woulda thought I would’ve ended up with such an idyllic childhood after my parents divorced when I was so young?

Now a lot of the goodwill that sprung up between us came because my mom let me be my own person, within boundaries of course. Controlling and domineering, she’s not, but she’s not a complete pushover either (although even she would admit to being more of the latter when it comes to her kids).

One of the stories she loves to tell, and that I have come to admire, is that I was always allowed to pick out my clothes–from the choice of a few pre-selected outfits. That way, she reasoned, I had the feeling that I was in control and making my own choices but at the same time didn’t leave the house in horribly mismatched, embarrassing outfits. Genius!

And that’s why I love my mom. She guides without pushing. She listens without judging. She loves with all her heart without taking.

And sometimes I think she’s more than the wind beneath my wings–she just may be my wings themselves.

Happy Birthday Mom.

And thank you. For everything.

you make me think, i give you a rose

And an award! Don’t forget about the award!

In my absence from the Internet, I was named by the lovely Bella at Public Musings of a Mama as a Thinking Blogger.

Grazie! Grazie! Thank you! Thank you!

Now what’s this all about you ask?


There are 3 rules:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the “Thinking Blogger Award” with a link to the post that you wrote.

So here are five bloggers that make me think, and that I highly suggest you visit as well:

1. Sara at Moving Right Along. Sara writes beautifully and honestly about tough and light-hearted subjects alike, all while keeping a fantastic sense of humor.

2. Corey at Tongue in Cheek. Corey shows us France, California, and wherever else she lands through gorgeous photos and words.

3. Judith at Think on It! Whether it’s about food, fashion, culture, or anything really, Judith truly does make me think on it.

4. Ninotchka at cease cows, life is short! Ninotchka always has an awesome photo and story to share about her life, husband, children, and Charlie the Chocolate Lab.

5. goodthomas at, well, goodthomas. Beautiful writing mixed with unique, thoughtful observations–can’t ask for more in a thinking blog.

Honestly, it was difficult to narrow this list down to five; I could’ve given out many, many more of these awards. In fact, if you see them in my sidebar, they make me think. So take some time and visit those folks as well, would you?

Ah, I promised flowers! Here are 5 shots for the winners to share, and also for all of you to enjoy–we’re all winners today!

My roses as seen this morning.

Have a lovely weekend, and keep thinking!


[tags] blogging awards, thinking blogger, roses, flowers[/tags]


adoring april

Time for my April Monthly Musing seeing as we’re only a weekend away from the end of these lovely 30 days.

I love April, second only to October, my birth month. Makes perfect sense because if you mapped out the year, they’d be on opposite sides of the scales, balancing out the coldest of the cold and the warmest of the warm with their usually pleasant although often unpredictable temps.

And if I’m about anything, I’m about balance, being a Libra and all.

April is special, though, because it gives me a bit of warmth, a glimpse at the months to come, a feeling of being more alive and wanting to get out and feel the sunshine on my cheeks again–which is saying a lot for someone who really, really doesn’t enjoy baking in the sun. Needless to say, the SPF always comes first.

I didn’t use to get Spring Fever when I lived in the United States, and maybe that’s because where I lived, the weather never got spectacularly warm until Julyish, so what was the point anyway…but here…I have felt my entire mood shift in just a month.

I find myself getting up earlier and earlier, not being able to fall back asleep once I start thinking of getting up and out and walking with Luna and getting so warm that I have to take off even the lightest of jackets. I feel more energized, wanting to clean out all the must and dust of winter, smelling the freshness of flowers mixed with cleaning solutions as they waft out of the window and balcony door, which, thankfully, I have been leaving open all day now.

Not even sending off my American taxes in the middle of all this can spoil the mood.

April also marks the beginning of Spring Cleaning down at what we call “il giardino.”

It’d be safe to assume that P did the majority of the work as I was busy taking photos; bless his heart, he actually told me I could bring a book!

Here’s part of the area after many hours of P’s hard work:

And here are two of our new little friends:

Now go check out Cheeky’s thoughts on April, and then get out there and enjoy the final days of this special month.Don’t forget that you, too, can appreciate each month as it passes by recording your thoughts–and letting me know so I can link to you.


[tags]april, gardens, calabria, lizards, snails[/tags]

love thursday: an illicit affair

I love strawberries. And I know I’m not the only one.

Last week at the Friday market, I bought a case of them (I have no idea how much they actually weighed) for 5 euros, and believe me, it was a deal. Just two little containers of them can run you 2 whole euros, whereas the case holds 10 containers.

And if you’re unsure of my love of strawberries, let’s make this clear–P doesn’t eat them, so that entire case was for me, and was gone by Monday afternoon.

My strategy is to clean two containers at a time, stir in some sugar, and let them sit until they are in a gooey, teeth-curling sweet syrup. Don’t worry, I eat some sans sweetener along the way as well.

On Friday afternoon, when I was elbow-deep in strawberries, P rescued this one (yes, it’s just one) from the line of fire, providing me with a perfect Love Thursday photo:

I didn’t end up eating the entire 10 containers of strawberries myself, though, as I shared a few with neighbors. My Aussie friend and neighbor returned the favor by inviting me over Sunday morning for breakfast, and this was the main dish:

 Strawberries with fresh ricotta cheese drizzled with honey.

The flavors mixed together amazingly, and since my friend is also a restaurant pro, she even threw in a sprig of basil once she saw I was pulling out the camera. And yet again, we have a dish with the colors of the Italian flag; anyone else, expats or otherwise, find it odd how often that happens? All we ever had in America was that Fourth of July blueberry and strawberry flag cake, I think, which for the record, I’ve never made or eaten.

I really do love strawberries, but I appreciate them even more because here we eat everything only when in season. Sure, maybe an odd strawberry would’ve been nice in January, but that’s not even an option, and I’m glad it’s not.

My body is adjusting to seasonal eating, and I like it–it starts knowing what it needs just about the time it’s coming into season. I found it this past year with artichokes, chicory, and, of course, my beloved strawberries, and it will soon happen with figs, peaches, cucumbers, and fresh, juicy tomatoes.

The mouth-watering anticipation makes everything I like just a little more special when I can finally have it. Or, absence apparently does make the heart grow fonder.

And so my illicit affair with strawberries will be in full force for a little while longer until all the 5 euro crates slowly disappear, and my obsession is put on hiatus once again.

Until next year.

Happy Love Thursday everyone!


[tags]strawberries, ricotta, ricotta cheese, honey, love thursday[/tags]

Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake