Archive for 2006

Little Boy and Tiger Wishes

Many years ago, I clipped from the newspaper one of my most favorite comic strips ever–a poem entitled “Christmas Eve” by Bill Watterson written for a little boy and his tiger, Calvin & Hobbes.

Silly me, I didn’t think to bring it with me to Italy to someday scan into my then-nonexistent blog. I even have a book that it’s in at home. Somewhere.

Anyway, the text was easy enough to locate, but the drawing with it made it all the more special. Unfortunately, the only image I could find is here, and it’s not the best scan. But I hope you’ll still appreciate the poem–makes me want to snuggle with my pooch.*

Christmas Eve

Leaves feathered patterns, crissed & crossed,
But in our house the Christmas tree
Is decorated festively
With tiny dots of colored light
That cozy up this winter night.
Christmas songs, familiar, slow,
Play softly on the radio.
Pops and hisses from the fire
Whistle with the bells and choir.

My tiger is now fast asleep
On his back and dreaming deep.
When the fire makes him hot,
He turns to warm whatever’s not.
Propped against him on the rug,
I give my friend a gentle hug.
Tomorrow’s what I’m waiting for,
But I can wait a little more.

*Also check out the Calvin & Hobbes Snow Art Gallery for some wintry laughs.

Cutting Corners

No, this isn’t a post about wimping out on Christmas obligations. I’m fully in the swing o’ the season and entering the homestretch, which will include a good amount of cooking in the next few days. More on that later though.

This is a post about an actual corner. The corner of my kitchen to be exact. It’s the only part of my house that is decorated for a variety of reasons–not the least of which is the reverse peer pressure of being in a place where most can’t be bothered to even string up a set of lights.

Bah humbuggers!

My grandmother used to go crazy with Christmas–red, green, gold, or white wherever you looked–including bathrooms. And I loved it. I’m getting all warm and fuzzy just thinking about walking in there after Christmas Eve mass, the warmth inside and only the lights of the tree lighting the way to the amazing smells in the kitchen.

Well, I don’t have much of a stash of Christmas decorations here in Italy, but give me time, my friends…and the food is forthcoming!

Anyway, I’m going to show you my decorated corner as I play along with something I saw a couple weeks ago on Mom O Matic:

Now, again taking Mom O’s lead, some random info about the corner:

  • This is the corner of my kitchen, which also serves as our living room for the most part (the TV is in another, far less pretty corner). To the left is the balcony door. If I were a better photographer, you might see the Ionian Sea through the window (and also *not* the reflection of the overhead light in the glass of the picture above the fireplace). Sorry.
  • Those blondies in the picture in the lower left corner? My niece and nephew. A good three years ago, but they’re just so darn cute in that shot, I can’t take it down. There’s a black-and-white of them, too, on the lower right side by the Christmas teddy (paw dated 2003), but you can’t see it very well from this angle. There are also individual pictures of them on the mantle in the off-white square frames. One could use the word obsession. I wouldn’t be offended.
  • I bought the 1895 map of southern Italy above the fireplace on Ebay for $2.99 (plus shipping) and got it framed and matted here for 20 euro. Many of the villages now on the coastline aren’t on the map because they weren’t built until after World War II. For anyone who hasn’t seen them, you can tell this from the concrete, institutional-like architecture that lines the coast. Very becoming.
  • My mom recently sent me the festive tablecloth and the basket that is sitting inside the fireplace (that woman can fit anything in a shipping box). These are the only new additions to the scene this year, but they really make it, don’t you think?
  • You already know a little about the heart on top of the tree.
  • That circular thing above the window? It’s a Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign that says “Bless this House.” My mom is Pennsylvania Dutch, which, if you’re wondering, is not remotely Dutch and is not the same as Amish, although many Amish are indeed Pennsylvania Dutch. Please research this one on your own if interested as it’s far beyond the scope of this two-days-before-Christmas blog post.
  • The orange splash of color on the table may be my favorite thing about the picture, but I had to throw out at least half of those lovely clementines. For a few days straight, I was greeted by two maggots on my table in the morning. Always two. Swiftly eliminated. Thank goodness I don’t eat risotto for breakfast or it could’ve gotten ugly around here. Even more disturbing was that I never found the culprit, and I sure hope I didn’t eat it.

Now, come on, fellow bloggers. Show me your corners!

This Just In: Santa Existence Can’t Be Ruled Out

Cecil Adams at The Straight Dope says:
the existence of Santa Claus “can’t be definitely ruled out.”

Yes, Virginia, there just may be a Santa Claus.

Worst Christmas Ornaments

Looks like I’ve found my angel for next year, but in the meantime, have a look at some more of the Worst Christmas Ornaments.

Almost Last Minute Shopping

Well, folks, I’ll likely be out and about most of tomorrow wrapping up (hee hee) some almost last minute shopping.

In my defense, this is because I need to buy what we’ll eat over the holiday weekend–we’re all about freshness around here, so you can’t go to the market too far in advance.

Right. And I have some other, um, stocking stuffers to get.

So, for those looking to waste precious holiday time learning useless information to impress your relatives/friends/co-workers, I’m your girl. And is your primary source.


  • Why do we deck the halls? Is it lucky to be born on Christmas Day? Time to sort out those Christmas Superstitions.
  • Yes, he’s the reason for the season, but was Jesus *really* born on the 25th of December?
  • They’re a quick sugar rush and a potential weapon if you lick one end to a very sharp point, but are candy canes religious in origin?
  • Simply a shortcut, or is writing “Xmas” offensive?
  • Because we heart our friends in Canada, Britain, New Zealand, and Australia, here’s some background on Boxing Day.
  • The great American soft drink can be found in nearly every corner of the world, but did Coca-Cola also come up with the image that we associate with Santa Claus?
  • Even after learning all of the above fun facts, do I *really* know enough about Christmas? Take this quiz to find out.

Ain’t Snopes grand?

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