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Pinta, about 20 hours old

The Annual Year End Meme: 2010 Edition

I don’t remember being this excited for a new year in a long time — probably 10 years ago when I was entering my final semester of law school and would finally, finally be entering the “real world” in a few short months. I feel that same kind of anticipation now in the early days of 2011. This past year was one of growth, learning, and clarity for me, and I truly can’t wait to see what 2011 brings.

I first saw this Year End meme at Sundry Mourning, who originally copied it from Gwen’s Petty, Judgmental, Evil Thoughts back in 2004. This year’s version follows, and you can also check out previous ones: 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.

Pinta, about 20 hours old

Pinta, about 20 hours old

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before? The biggest one that sticks out in my memory is delivering a baby goat – yes, with icky, gooey hands and all. In another huge milestone, I earned more as a freelance writer in one year than I ever have in my life. We also produced our very own olive oil, and I became an Eye on Italy podcast co-host, visited two new-to-me regions of Italy (Lombardia (Milan) and Piemonte (Acqui Terme)); met several online friends in person; trimmed goat hooves; made yoga a daily practice (had dabbled before but never with such regularity); participated in 750words.com, and I’m sure many other things I’m forgetting as it was really a full year.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don’t do resolutions, but I’m happy with my year overall. For next year, I have a new plan – and I will tell you about it shortly. Stay tuned!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes, all my goats and several friends, including one on December 21. Welcome to Calabria, Baby Max!

4. Did anyone close to you die? No one in my immediate family or friends, but an old high school friend.

5. What countries did you visit? Stayed in Italy this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010? A book deal.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Pinta’s birth (March 22) because I’ll never forget my first goat midwifery experience.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? More than doubling my freelance writing income from last year.

9. What was your biggest failure? Unfinished manuscripts…AGAIN, but I’m already working on that. For real!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? A really nasty cut on my right middle finger knuckle, right down to the bone, all healed now. Also a cold upon coming back from northern Italy — my first in several years!

L'amaca in campagna

L'amaca in campagna

11. What was the best thing you bought? Our campagna! And my iMac, which despite looking like it had died has rebounded wonderfully.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My dogs, who accepted a cat into the house with very little to-do.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Most high-profile conservative politicians in the U.S. and Berlusconi.

14. Where did most of your money go? Our campagna!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Our campagna!

16. What song will always remind you of 2010? Bad Romance, particularly this version:

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer? Definitely not sadder or poorer…not sure if happier, thinner, fatter, or about the same. Eh, I’m happy. That’s plenty.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Various personal projects.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Wasting time.

20. How did you spend Christmas? With P’s parents.

21. Did you fall in love in 2010? Yup, with Pinters Magooch a million times over.

22. What was your favorite TV program? I liked several: The Good Wife, Brothers & Sisters, and Being Erica are probably the top three — ah and Lost, may it rest in peace.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? I don’t do hate.

24. What was the best book you read? Voices by Dacia Maraini.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? See #16 (hint: not Gaga).

26. What did you want and get? An actual work space.

27. What did you want and not get? An actual kitchen.

Letters to Juliet on Amazon

Letters to Juliet on Amazon

28. What was your favorite film of this year? Letters to Juliet in all its cheeseball glory, although in my defense, I didn’t see many new movies this year.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 34, and we had a quiet dinner at home.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? See #6.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010? Comfort and goats first.

32. What kept you sane? The girls – goats and dogs.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Gotta be the Bear (same as last year).

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Probably health care once again.

35. Who did you miss? Same people I always miss.

36. Who was the best new person you met? I met several online friends in northern Italy in November. Yay!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010. Simplicity (I’m still learning).

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

There’s a song that they sing when they take to the highway
A song that they sing when they take to the sea
A song that they sing of their home in the sky
Maybe you can believe it if it helps you to sleep
But singing works just fine for me.

~Sweet Baby James, James Taylor

Please feel free to fill out your own end of year meme and post the link in the comments!


2009 End of Year Meme

I first saw this Year End meme at Sundry Mourning, who originally copied it from Gwen’s Petty, Judgmental, Evil Thoughts back in 2004.

This year’s version follows, and you can also check out previous ones:

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before? Bottlefed a baby goat, raised another two baby goats besides, surprised my niece and nephew with a holiday visit to the States, was a finalist in the Bloggies, moved from my first house in Italy, got a blurb in a book, had my most successful freelance writing year to date, met several online friends in person! Yay!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Resolutions aren’t my thing, but I did well with my personal goals, particularly professionally, and yes, I’ll set more again.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes, a few. Welcome to the world, babies!

4. Did anyone close to you die? My 39-year-old cousin of cancer in April.

5. What countries did you visit? Italy and the US.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009? A completely furnished house.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? The dates we got the goats. Why? Because they’re my kids!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Once again this year, the expansion of my freelance writing career.

9. What was your biggest failure? Still not completing a novel. Grr….

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing too bad, I guess, as I don’t remember anything.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Aside from my plane tickets home, my glorious MacBook.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? P’s, for putting up with my six-week absence while dealing with dogs and goats and house issues, oh my!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Joe Lieberman’s.

14. Where did most of your money go? This trip to the US and the house.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Visiting the US!

16. What song will always remind you of 2009? Beyoncé’s Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer? Happier, fatter (definitely a few pounds more because of the US trip!), richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Worked on my novel.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Deciding whether to get a Mac. That should’ve been a no-brainer.

20. How did you spend Christmas? Christmas Eve at my dad’s house and Christmas at my brother’s. The whole family was at both.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009? One word: KIDS. Maaaaaaaa!

22. What was your favorite TV program? Uomo vs. Natura (Man vs. Wild)

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Hate is ugly.

24. What was the best book you read? Just one? The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Boh.

26. What did you want and get? To expand my writing career.

27. What did you want and not get? More of the house to be completed.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? The Men Who Stare at Goats. For obvious reasons, I imagine.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 33, and I think we were supposed to have a cookout but it rained. Maybe?

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Immeasurably more satisfying? Hmmm. I don’t know. I’m pretty happy with this year, although, again, I have to go back to having more of the house done.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009? Same as always but now with sheepskin boots!

32. What kept you sane? Furry friends.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Gotta be the Bear. See also #22.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Don’t get me started on health care.

35. Who did you miss? Whoever wasn’t near me at any given time.

36. Who was the best new person you met? I met two online friends in NYC–both are amazing!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009. Mindfulness.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Rise up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’ sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin’, “This is my message to you-ou-ou:”

Let me know if you do the year end meme!


Some Fun with a First Meme

one is the loneliest number by horizontal.integration on FlickrI saw this fun “first” meme over at the Facebook page of Anna l’Americana of  Only in Maine.

I promised to steal it, so here it is.

Feel free to fill out your own and post it wherever you like, even in the comments here…if you’d just like to pick out your favorite firsts from the list and share, please do!

1. Who was your FIRST prom date?
My first and only prom date was named Brian, and he recently threatened to post photos on Facebook. Despite that, I still think he’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever known.

2. Do you still talk to your FIRST love?
Occasionally.

3. What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?
Probably peach schnapps with my mom on some New Year’s Eve during my teens.

4. What was your FIRST job?
Waitress at a drive-in (no roller skates or movies involved). Best skill learned: how to make the swirly tops on a soft ice cream cone.

5. What was your FIRST car?
Never had one as I don’t drive, but if I get one, I’ll let you know.

6. Who was the FIRST person to text you today?
No texts. Hardly ever any texts. I rather hate texts.

7. Who is the FIRST person you thought of this morning?
Not a person, but a kid. Pasqualina.

8. Who was your FIRST grade teacher?
Mrs. Casari. Loved her, and loved going back to see her when my nephew was starting school.

9. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?
Raleigh-Durham, NC from Harrisburg, PA on my 18th birthday (back to Duke after Fall Break).

10. Who was your FIRST best friend & do you still talk?
A fun gal named Heather, and sadly, we haven’t been in touch for about 10 years.

11. Where was your FIRST sleep over?
Heather’s. Her house had mirrors that covered most of the living room walls so we always played Bloody Mary and scared the bejeebers out of ourselves. Fun times!

12. Who was the FIRST person you talked to today?
P, but it was quite limited. He’s not a morning person.

13. Whose wedding were you in the FIRST time?
My cousin Debbie’s as a flower girl/junior bridesmaid. I remember big glasses and a big hat. No, you will not be seeing photographic evidence.

14. What was the FIRST thing you did this morning?
Put on my sheepskin boots!

15. What was the FIRST concert you ever went to?
Aw geez, probably something at the Bloomsburg Fair.

16. FIRST tattoo?
I’ll keep you posted.

17. FIRST piercing?
My ears when I was probably 12 or 13 years old. Piercing Pagoda baby!

18. FIRST foreign country you visited?
Italia.

19. FIRST movie you remember seeing?
ET, twice with my feet sticking to the floors of the old Victoria Theatre (no longer there) in Shamokin, PA.

20. When was your FIRST detention?
Boh.

21. What was the FIRST state you lived in?
Pennsylvania—the second state of the union, incidentally.

22. Who was your FIRST roommate?
Kristin at Duke, and yes, we’re still in touch.

23. If you had one wish. What would it be?
That I’d have the power to teleport myself here, there, everywhere. P.S. I don’t know what these last three have to do with firsts, but I’ll still play.

24. What is something you would learn if you had the chance?
To play the guitar.

25. Who do you think will be the next person to post this?
You! Consider that a dare.


finding inspiration from charlotte’s web

Charlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteEveryone have a nice weekend? I spent a lot of mine working, which is fine as I enjoyed the work, but come time to blog and, well, I was in desperate need of inspiration.

Growing up, one of my favorite books was Charlotte’s Web. It is the first full-length book I remember reading, and from that point on, I would scribble stories that happened in my head into my notebook. Not only did E.B. White turn me on to reading, he also turned me on to writing.

And now what a coincidence! One of my favorite blogs is Charlotte’s Web, written by Charlotte, a self-described “transplanted South African living in Germany, land of rules, orange tans and cheesecake.”

Charlotte is a freelance writer and editor and visiting her is always a treat, even when she does memes like this one that I’m borrowing:

1. My uncle once: let me have most of his old photos from his European tour of duty in World War II.

2. Never in my life: have I smoked a cigarette nor would I.

3. When I was five: I was probably being told off for being too sassy.

4. High school was: best experienced in memories.

5. I will never forget: the day I got my acceptance letter to Duke.

6. Once I met: Brian Williams (really we just exchanged smiles).

7. There’s this girl I know: who loves to talk on the phone and say random Italian words to me.

8. Once, at a bar: P and I had our first unofficial date, playing cards and talking.

9. By noon, I’m usually: wondering what happened to the morning.

10. Last night: I slept very well, thank you.

11. If only I had: a free round-trip ticket to the US to see family and friends.

12. Next time I go to church: it will probably be struck down by lightning.

13. What worries me most: is losing people I love.

14. When I turn my head left I see: a blazing fireplace.

15. When I turn my head right I see: P, asking me what I’m looking at.

16. You know I’m lying when: my voice gets a higher pitch.

17. What I miss most about the Eighties is: my innocence about the world and the players in it.

18. If I were a character in Shakespeare I’d be: Viola in The Twelfth Night.

19. By this time next year: I’ll be 33 years old. Thanks for bringing that up.

20. A better name for me would be: Michela since people here would know how to spell it.

21. I have a hard time understanding: war, especially “holy” ones.

22. If I ever go back to school, I’ll: study Italian literature.

23. You know I like you if: I respond promptly to your emails and phone calls.

24. If I ever won an award, the first person I would thank would be: Mom and Dad.

25. Take my advice, never: touch the inside of your oven door after it’s been on for an hour; third-degree burns are likely to ensue.

26. My ideal breakfast is: pancakes, bacon, two eggs over-easy, toast, apple juice, and coffee at Perkins Restaurant.

27. A song I love but do not have is: Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel.

28. If you visit my hometown, I suggest you: plan something else to do with the rest of the day–there are only two streets.

29. Why won’t people: live and let live?

30. If you spend a night at my house: you may have to share your bed with Stella; she’s a cuddler.

31. I’d stop my wedding for: a natural disaster.

32. The world could do without: celebrities.

33. I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: eat the belly of a cockroach.

34. My favourite blonde(s) is/are: my niece and nephew, although he’s less blond by the day.

35. Paper clips are more useful than: safety pins if your goal is to bind papers together.

36. If I do anything well it’s: procrastinate.

37. And by the way: if you do this meme, let me know so I can read your answers!

And be sure to check out Charlotte’s Web !


easing into the new year with a 5 things meme

Number 5 on Flickr by always13Hello friends! I hope you got to have a nice break over the holidays. I sure did, and it was fabulous. The past two weeks have been spent hanging out with P and the girls, reading, organizing the house, catching up with online friends, and best of all, next to no work.

I had a couple deadlines today so I had to get back to the old grind before the rest of Italy, but that’s OK; I’ll have off again tomorrow for the Epiphany, which I’ve written about at Happy Befana! if you need to refresh your memory on La Befana, the Epiphany witch.

Now to ease us all back into the blog, here’s a quick 5 things meme to get the wheels turning. This comes from Yankee in a New World:

1. What are 5 things you were doing ten years ago?

  • Starting my second semester of law school.
  • Living in a high-rise apartment on the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia.
  • Finishing up the first holiday season without my grandfather.
  • Thinking about summer employment.
  • Already dreading how boring and awful Civil Procedure would be (and I was right).

2. What are 5 things on your to do list for today?

  • Walk the dogs a few times.
  • An Italian grammar lesson.
  • Search the freelance writing job boards for anything that looks interesting.
  • Spend an hour working on my NaNo novel.
  • Do research for a query.

3. What are your 5 favorite snacks?

  • Pretzels (and ice cream, especially).
  • Chocolate.
  • Apples or bananas and peanut butter.
  • Yogurt (pineapple and coffee are my two current favorites).
  • Cheese.

4. What would you do if you were a millionaire?

  • Visit my family much more often and fly them here too.
  • Get a huge chunk of land in the Calabrian countryside for P to grow and raise things.
  • Pay off student loans.
  • Travel more, especially to meet blogging buddies.
  • Donate money and time (assuming I wouldn’t have to work as often) to charitable organizations.

5. Where are 5 places you have lived?

  • A cute, boxy white house built by my family in rural Pennsylvania.
  • A dorm room with a gorgeous bay window in Durham, North Carolina.
  • The aforementioned high-rise apartment with enormous windows lining one side in Philadelphia.
  • An adorable rowhome with a fabulous inside staircase, loft, and huge brick wall in Philly.
  • A 500-year-old three-room stone house in southern Italy.

I won’t tag anyone, but if you’re in the mood for a meme, please feel free to play along in the comments or on your own blog and let me know where to find your answers!

So are you ready for 2009 or what?


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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Recipes

 

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