Archive for the ‘meme time’ Category

2008 End of the Year Meme

It’s time for the end of the 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. I filled it out in 2006 and 2007, and now here is this year’s version:

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? Read several books in Italian, knitted with a loom, wrote 50,000 words in a month, visited Palermo, Messina, Savoca and Tindari (including the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna), ate spleen, wrote a weekly column, went to an Italian dentist.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don’t really do resolutions, but I did make a list of goals, and I did pretty well with them. I’ll do it again for next year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Quite a few expat bloggers had babies, but no one in my immediate family or circle of friends, no.

4. Did anyone close to you die? My neighbor from back home passed away recently, but no one else, thank goodness.

5. What countries did you visit? Only Italy.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? An all-expense paid trip to the States.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? November 4–Gobama!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? The expansion of my writing career and writing 50,000 words during November.

9. What was your biggest failure? Not completing a novel (yes, I have 50,000 words written, but there were others I could have worked on before November’s NaNo).

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Another nasty stomach virus this year. Seems to be a tradition according to last year’s answer.

11. What was the best thing you bought? I would love to say these boots, but they haven’t arrived yet. Damn you Poste Italiane! These are my Christmas and birthday presents to myself! The items I got from Saponissimo are pretty darn amazing as well…who knew you could love soap this much?

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My mom! She came to visit me!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Could it possibly be the Bush administration for the third straight year? Yes, I believe it is.

14. Where did most of your money go? Bills and groceries. Boo.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? My mom coming to visit, going to Sicily with Cherrye, and going to see the Sex and the City movie with the girls.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? TI’s Whatever You Like, because of this stunning performance by the students of Ron Clark Academy: You Can Vote However You Like. H/t Paul.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer? I’m pretty happy, probably about the same as last year, a bit thinner (see #10), and richer for sure. Woohoo!

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

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Huh. I don’t know. Let conservative people annoy me?

20. How did you spend Christmas? As I’m posting this before Christmas, I’ll just have to say with P. That’s a given.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008? Yeah with the usual suspects, P and my girls.

22. What was your favorite TV program? House, Sex and the City (yes I’m a bit behind the times).

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Takes too much energy to hate so I avoid doing it.

24. What was the best book you read? The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? I’m changing this to literary because I don’t think I made a musical discovery…Paulo Coelho.

26. What did you want and get? More writing work.

27. What did you want and not get? A visit from my whole family.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? Well it’s not the best film but I sure had the most fun watching it–Sex and the City.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 32, and we had a fabulous dinner of grilled tuna and homemade french fries. Yum!

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Same answer for the past two years: if someone in my family or close circle of friends from home would have visited or if I would’ve been able to go home.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? Long live the track suit!

32. What kept you sane? My pooches and the magical world of books.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I’ll be honest here. Hugh Laurie is really growing on me.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? What political issue *didn’t* stir me this year? Hmm….

35. Who did you miss? Other than the usual suspects, this year I really missed one friend from college in particular. I’ve thought about our 8-hour car rides to and from school quite a bit, and I wish we had just *one* more Christmas break to go back to school from.

36. Who was the best new person you met? All the girls in Calabria and Sicily.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. Relaxing is good.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. The Beatles’ classic, Let it Be. Did you know that “Mother Mary” is acutally Paul’s mother, who passed away when he was young and then appeared to him a dream? And did you know my mom’s name is Mary? I love this song, but it’s especially applicable this year:

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

Let me know if you do the year end meme!

interactive friday: blog my blog III

Guess what time it is…it’s time to blog my blog!

What’s that? You don’t remember how we play? As a reminder, here is the first edition, here is the second, and here are the official rules:

Taking direction from Kailani of An Island Life, here’s how it works for those who don’t remember:

1. I start with a question/phrase.

2. The first commenter answers that question and leaves a new question for the next visitor to answer. It could be a general question, fill in the blank sentence, a “tell me about a time when,” etc.

3. The next commenter answers the new question and provides a question for the following visitor (i.e., the third commenter).

4. And so forth until you’re all bored to tears. Yes, I expect actual tears before we stop (photographic evidence will do).

5. Note: I reserve the right to delete or modify any questions that, you know, rub me the wrong way. Ahem.

6. In a situation where two commenters have answered the same question and you’re next to answer, please either choose one of the questions or answer both; if you don’t answer both, you are free to pass along the question you didn’t use or come up with a new one.

The first question:

What is your favorite apparatus on a playground and why?

Remember to check out Cherrye’s My Bella Vita for this week’s La Buona Cucina Americana recipe: Mexican Tortilla Soup.

hi, weird? it’s me…random!

I was tagged recently by Salena of The Daily Rant to share seven weird and random things about me.

Here are the rules:

1. Link to Highway Hags and list the rules on your blog.
2. Share seven facts about yourselves on your blog — some random and some weird.
3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their name as well as links to their blog.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

I’ll end the suspense here and tell you I won’t be tagging anyone, but if you’d like to play along in the comments or on your blog, I’d love to read all about your weirdness and randomness!

Now, I’ve done a few of these in the past and also generally shared a lot of strange stuff about me, so I’m going with a theme here–something I don’t think I’ve covered.

Weird or random food combinations that I enjoy:

1. Chicken (noodle or rice) soup with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I have no idea where this one originated because neither my mother nor my grandmother would ever have given me something so odd together. I’m guessing this one came up early on during my college years when beggars couldn’t be choosers.

2. Peanut butter and banana sandwich. I don’t think this one is *so* weird, but I know it’s not exactly normal either. In any event, it definitely comes from childhood because I’ve been eating these as long as I can remember. Here is my method: peanut butter spread on one slice of bread; banana cut in half and then sliced longways; the two pieces are placed on the side with peanut butter and then covered with another slice of bread.

Yes, you could slice the banana, but my way gives you more banana for your buck with each bite, IMHO. And yes, then I usually eat the other half of the banana.

3. Tuna salad sandwich made a particular way. And the way is this: tuna, mayonnaise, sliced hard-boiled egg, and chopped celery on toast with lettuce and tomato. If I don’t have one of these ingredients, I won’t even make tuna salad. Seriously.

4. Cheese sandwich with ketchup and mustard. I know this sounds disgusting. I thought so too before my childhood best friend convinced me to try one at her house somewhere around second or third grade. It’s become a strange comfort food for me-just a squirt of ketchup on one slice of bread, a squirt of mustard on the other, and a slice of cheese in between. Easy cheesy.

5. Bagel sandwich with thinly sliced provolone, honey dijon mustard, and lettuce. Perhaps this is the grown-up version of #4, and not all that random or weird, but I don’t think it’s a very common favorite sandwich, so I’m including it here.

One day when I was just off campus during college, I was starving and didn’t have much cash on me (we mostly used “food points” to eat plus see #1); I went to my favorite bagel place and realized I had enough money for *some* sandwich, but nothing with meat. So I went with this one, and wow, it’s been a favorite ever since.

6. Wendy’s french fries dipped in a chocolate Frosty. I’m not sure I need to explain this. Just. Yum.

7. Sauerkraut, German sausage/pork/hot dog, mashed potatoes, and applesauce. What’s so weird about this? Besides that it is our traditional New Year’s Day meal where I’m from (no matter your ethnicity), it’s the fact that when I eat this, every forkful must contain some of each of those items.

So there you have it.

I have a weird (or is it random?!) feeling that someone else tagged me with this or something similar. If it’s you, please leave a note in the comments, and I’ll link to you and offer my sincerest apologies for not bookmarking your tag.

What’s weird and/or random about you?

Do you like strange food combinations?

what and how do you write?

Over the past couple years, quite a few readers have asked me to talk, er, write more upon my writing process.

There’s really nothing magical about it, I don’t think, but I do promise that I’ll write something more in-depth sometime soon to give you an idea of how I work on both freelancing assignments as well as budding novels.

In the meantime, though, I’ve filled in this writing style meme from Janie’s Colloqium, and if you’re so inspired, please do the same, and let me know you did so in the comments!

1. Do you write fiction or non-fiction? Or both?

Non-fiction to pay the bills right now, but I dabble in fiction on the side. Remember NaNoWriMo? I’ll be doing it again this year. Paul of Crazy Like Whoa has jumped the starting gun by a few months, but won’t you join me in November?

2. Do you keep a journal or a writing notebook?

I have many journals from over the years, dating back to when I was, oh, probably 14 years old or so. I don’t write in my journal nearly as much as I should though.

As for a notebook, I keep a little one in my bag at all times just in case things strike my fancy, but in all honestly, I’m a scrap of paper kind of gal. Mostly backs of bus tickets. Have tons of them. All over the place.

I do, though, use regular-sized notebooks to write down all my research for nonfiction projects–I don’t rip anything out to file it, so I have several notebooks full of research for assignments over the years. Kind of a professional journal, I guess.

3. If you write fiction, do you know your characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts before you start writing or is that something else you discover only after you start writing? Do you find books on plotting useful or harmful?

I would say I know some of those things some of the time, but never all of those things. I usually have a basic plot in mind, but, as happens with many fiction writers, my characters often surprise me. I find plotting ahead of the time can be helpful, but not necessary and definitely changeable.

4. Are you a procrastinator or does the itch to write keep at you until you sit down and work?

Ooh, I’d have to say procrastinator considering that I’ve started a few novels now and haven’t finished any. Lots of ideas though! In my head, on paper, everywhere but, you know, in the computer.

With my work assignments, I’m much more disciplined. Thank goodness.

5. Do you write in short bursts of creative energy, or can you sit down and write for hours at a time?

Both have happened, and both are lovely and well-received.

6. Are you a morning or afternoon writer?

I’m much more productive in the morning than in the afternoon, which is why I hate when I have to run errands in the morning. It’s *very* difficult for me to get my concentration back after goingin giro” all morning.

I’m also great later in the evening, from 9 pm on, but since that’s when P and I have time to hang out, I don’t usually write then unless he’s out with the boys or extra tired.

7. Do you write with music/the noise of children/in a cafe or other public setting, or do you need complete silence to concentrate?

I usually have the TV or music on, but I can work just as well in silence. Idle chatter, though, annoys me, and I’m not sure I could write in a cafe. I used to have a horrible time trying to study among people in college and law school, if that was any indication.

8. Computer or longhand? (or typewriter?)

Mostly, nearly all computer, but if I’m out and about and the mood strikes, I’ll longhand it.

9. Do you know the ending before you type Chapter One? Or do you let the story evolve as you write?

So far I haven’t known any of the endings, and perhaps that’s part of my problem….

10. Does what’s selling in the market influence how and what you write?

In my nonfiction writing, of course, because I do a lot of topical stuff. For fiction, I write what I feel like and I figure I’ll let my (as yet to be found) agent sort it all out.

11. Editing/Revision – love it or hate it?

Honestly? Kind of love it. I rather enjoy perfecting things in general, so it’s not surprising to me how much I enjoy perfecting my words. I find it challenging, exhilarating even, to pinpoint exactly the way I want to express what I’m trying to say. The pleasure I find in finding the right word is really indescribable. How’s that for irony?

So, what and how do you write?

Books, Books, and More Books

First I want to thank those of you who took the time to read some of my writing mentioned in Friday’s post; it reminds me again what a warm, fuzzy place the blogging world can be.

Now let’s keep the reading thing going and talk about one of my favorite things on this planet or any other: books. It’s been a while since I’ve done a meme, but when I saw this one on books at Chel’s Chasing Contentment, I felt some meme withdrawal and had to fill this one out.

Apparently books make me do strange things.

Speaking of which, remember you can always keep up with what I’m reading through the books link on the navigation bar above.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White1. One book that changed your life: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. This was the first book of any real length that I ever read, and I’ve been writing stories trying (in vain) to live up to E.B. White’s legacy ever since. I *so* wanted to be Fern and play with Wilbur, Charlotte, Templeton, and the g-g-goose. Love. This. Book.

2. One book you’ve read more than once twice: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. A few Jane Austens as well, but Catherine and Heathcliff are my all-time favorites. A more recently published favorite that I’ve read a few times is Chocolat by Joanne Harris.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: William Shakespeare Complete Works. How could I ever get bored?

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde4. One book that made you laugh: OK trying to think of an answer here was far too difficult, so I definitely need to read more funny books. Feel free to leave suggestions. Oh! The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. Hilarious!

P.S. I wish I could answer Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs here since the book blurbs describe it as “screamingly funny!” and “funny as hell!” but I found it quite disturbing. I mean, it was good, but “funny” certainly isn’t a word I’d use to describe it. Anyone else have an opinion on this book?

5. One book that made you cry: Most recently, Resistance by Anita Shreve. This is the first Shreve book I’ve read, and wow. Grazie mille Qualcosa di Bello!

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss6. One book you wish you had written: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. I love how she weaves together the stories of characters from different generations around the core of love—two of my favorite themes.

7. One book you wish had never been written: Now that’s not very nice. I’m no player/writer hater.

8. One book you’re currently reading: The Italian translation of Paulo Coelho’s By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept. Judging from the Italian version, I’d say the English one would be pretty good too. Have I mentioned how much I loved The Alchemist (in Italian at least)?

Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light–and I can prove it as it’s been on my Amazon Wish List since it came out! I was raised Catholic, so Mother Teresa has always had a special place in my heart. This book is said to give greater insight into her as a person, including her fears and doubts, rather than treat her as simply a persona. Has anyone read this? Opinions?

Looking forward to your answers fellow booklovers!

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