arrivederci august–and happy BlogDay 2007!

Again I’ve waited until the last possible day for my Monthly Musing. What can I say? I’m just not a summer person, especially when summer equals over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit for more than half the time.

Go ahead, smart aleck–ask me why I live in southern Italy. I know you want to. But that’s a post for another day.

The month of August gets a reprieve from my otherwise lukewarm (hah!) feelings, though, because as you’ve seen, it has given me two of the most precious people in the world to me, my niece and nephew.

My childhood best friend’s birthday was yesterday as well, and one of my best friends from college turned another year older on the 23rd–indeed, the last couple weeks of August are packed with celebrations of the birthdays of those I love…new friends included!

And then there’s a little matter of school starting up, which I always loved so much. Yeah, I was a geek like that.

In fact, starting Monday (a holiday to you in America, but not to me!) I’m starting my new regime of taking the next step in learning Italian. I have some grammar books, yes, but I also acquired a high school textbook (from two of the cutest 17-year-old boy twins you’ll ever see) on what I’d call “government and civil law” or something similar in America—I’m ready to learn about Italy’s governmental structure (sorry, I don’t get the Parliament thing) and what it considers basic human rights.

You know, all that knowledge you take for granted because you grew up with it *and* had to learn it in high school?

So I’m starting school with many of you, but before I hit the books, I have time for one more silly haiku (there’s always time for haiku, right?):

Heat, humidity,
Mosquitoes, sleeping is rough–
Sticky, sweaty, blech.

And now on to BlogDay 2007, a day on which all bloggers are encouraged to find and publicize five new blogs. I was tipped off about this by Sara of Ms Adventures in Italy, and I thank her kindly.

Here are five great new-to-me blogs for your enjoyment:

(1) Vanielje Kitchen: I’ll let the author describe this blog–”The kitchens of my childhood reflected my heritage, loud, boisterous, always full, the air thick with laughter and spices, a simmering melting pot of cultures and influences, French, English, Dutch, Malay & African, and underpinning it all a deep reverence for family and food, and the smell of home: vanielje.” Great stuff.

(2) The Late Bloomer: An American living in France who calls her blog “The Late Bloomer” not only because she finds herself blossoming in new ways into her 30s but also because she started blogging late in the game–only a month after I did, though! Charming, witty, just fun to read.

(3) Charlotte’s Web: A South African mom, wife, writer, editor, reader, traveler, dreamer living in Germany. Makes you want to get all tangled up in Charlotte’s Web. *groan* But seriously, on my first visit, I spent quite a while looking through archives. A true pleasure.

(4) A Child of the Universe: Dana is a nutritionist and herbalist in California and often writes things that I wish I would’ve written myself. Seriously. She uses the words “wanderlust” and “vintage” in her profile and talks of her dream of having a farm/B & B in Italy and taking lots of wonderful photographs. Are you starting to realize why I like her so?

(5) Debbie Egizio: An artist and designer whose blog really is her playground (she even says so in the blog description); it’s so much fun to wander around there and see her creations–and I have my trusty bloggy-friend somepinkflowers to thank for leading me to Debbie’s place. Thanks somepinkflowers!

So what are your five? Come on, you know you want to play!

Happy Labor Day weekend to my American readers,
and arrivederci agosto!


[tags]BlogDay 2007, august, haiku[/tags]

buon compleanno mia!

Mia Rose and her stinky toes,
Green/blue eyes, and button nose.

Princess gowns, tiaras, and sparkly heels,
Cheerleading skirts, bracelets, and ear-piercing squeals.

Cornsilky blond hair pulled back in a pony,
Your birthday dinner will be delicious with Nana’s macaroni.

Eight years you’re here, from baby to young girl,
They’ve passed like a blur–an awesome pink whirl.

I wish you many happy things for the coming year,
That breeze you feel? It’s me–I’m near!

My favorite niece you’ll always be,
Even though they say you’re just a little pujie.*

(drawing by P’s niece, Sara, age 9.)

Happy, happy birthday and first day of school!

Baci e abbracci
Aunt Shell

*Family joke. My grandmother used to call something smelly a “pujack” which she told us was a smelly goat; it’s been shortened for Mia, because, you know, she’s little and all.

Eleven Years Ago Today…

I was working at a certain family amusement park, passing out laser guns and explaining why it’s not appropriate to hit people in the darkness of the game room, when from the corner of my eye I noticed my brother–in blue hospital scrubs carrying something blue in his hand– and my mother–bearing fried food–approaching.

I knew this surprise family visit, capped by my brother’s beaming (and I do mean *beaming*) face could only mean one thing:

I had a nephew.

My sister-in-law had called the night before to say her water broke and that she was going to the hospital, but that bouncing baby boy didn’t make an appearance until after one in the afternoon the following day.

And since then he’s provided countless smiles, laughs, hugs, and kisses as well as the all-important concept of “hugging you down,” a bear hug/tackle best carried out on the floor and with a running start.

Some of my fondest memories involve my nephew, my now-deceased grandfather, who was sure that he was the only one that could get the little guy to sleep (he was right for a while there) and Kit-Kats, which Pap insisted were not candy because of the wafers involved (that made them cookies, and OK to give him darn it!).

I can’t believe eleven years have passed since that wonderful day when you taught me that I really was a “baby person” after all. Amazing what a cooing smile can do.

And so to Michael, my favorite nephew, I wish you a happy, happy birthday and a year full of joys, big and small; I only wish I could be there to share this day with you (except for the getting braces part–you’re on your own there).

I miss your hug-me-downs terribly.

Happy Birthday Michael!
And don’t let Manny do this to your cake!

Baci e abbracci
Aunt Shell

bella bags contest winner!

Two weeks, many gorgeous bags, and 91 (wow!) comments later,
we have a winner in the Bella Bags E-Party and Contest!

Bella Bags winner

Congratulations Robin!
I’ll be in touch shortly about your bag.
And you can thank P as he’s the one who drew your name from the basket.

Thanks *so* much to all of you who participated by commenting and/or buying a Bella Bag–and special thanks to Marcía, the wonderfully talented bag lady (hah!) who made all this fun possible.

I’m off to bed now my peeps (it’s after midnight where I am!).

A presto!

What’s That Saying About Wild Horses?

Right, um, I know I said I wouldn’t be around, but I have some things to share:

1. Want to know more about life as an expat? Check out my post, Top 5 Hidden Advantages of Being an Expat, over at

2. Looking for a quick end-of-the-summer getaway in which there will be flying fruit? Put on your best Gallagher plastic and read my post, The World’s Biggest Tomato Fight: Bunol’s La Tomatina at

3. Hankering for a bag o’ books and bath goodies? Head on over to Welcome to My World of Dreams where you could win such a bag (if you’re a US or Canada resident) or a $30 Amazon gift certificate if you’re international like me–I didn’t read too closely the first time around, but Judy Thomas was lovely enough to come over here and point out that we’re *all* invited to the party celebrating the launch of Long and Short Reviews no matter where we live! Woohoo!

4. Missing What’s Cooking Wednesday? Here are two food-related sites that I found recently and have fallen in love with: and The Traveler’s Lunch Box. Seriously. LOVE.

5. And finally, have you reached the end of the Internet? Don’t know what else to read? Here are five posts/blogs I recommend:

  • Introversion at Crazy Dust in My Coffee. Being quite an introvert myself, I love how Ally Bean broke this down so that even the most extroverted of extroverts can understand–or at least I hope they can because I don’t think it can be explained much better.
  • The Seven Virtues: Charity at The Verge. I could link to any one of former-Italy-expat Jennifer’s posts and sing its praises, but since I love this particular one so much, here you go. I’ve never seen another blogger who incorporates fine art so seamlessly into her posts. It’s too beautiful for words, really.
  • Mysteries of Life at Burnett’s Urban Etiquette. This post is from a while ago, but I adore it as I do all of this Miami Herald contributor’s stuff. James Burnett has a knack for pinpointing exactly what I want to say about a given topic *or* giving me a new perspective that I hadn’t considered. I think that’s cool, so you should read him.
  • Also, my naval is pretty at The Moon Topples. These are Maht’s (grudgingly given) answers to a meme about what he likes about himself. I just heart the way Maht expresses himself through his various creative mediums, and I think a lot of you will too. If his answers to a meme made my recommended list, you know he’s good.

OK, now I’m really vacationing from the blog. If I ever have children, you think separation anxiety might be a wee bit of a problem?

gulf of squillace, montepaone, calabria, italy

Still wishing you were here!

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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