Archive for 2007

year end meme

In Thinking of You by Jack Vettriano

What’s the end of a year without a little reflection on what’s happened, where we’ve been, and what we’ve done?

Well over at Sundry Mourning, there’s a little tradition of the Year End meme, first copied from Gwen’s Petty, Judgmental, Evil Thoughts back in 2004.

I filled it out last year, which you can find here, and now it’s time to look back on 2007.

Feel free to play along and let me know where to find you!

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before? Raised puppies from birth, dyed my hair, made Christmas cookies on a wide scale, used a cookie press, slept in a bed & breakfast (Hi Cherrye!), made money from my blog, became a professional blogger, sent out Italian Christmas cards, made hummus, made bagels, acted as an interpreter, wrote 25,0o0 words in a month.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Don’t make ’em; can’t break ’em. I might make some this year, though, just to mix things up. We’ll see.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? No family or close friends, but some blogfriends–and a whole lot of expats in Italy are preggers now, quite a few due any day!

4. Did anyone close to you die? My great-aunt’s daughter Jeanie as I wrote about here and my mom’s friend Kitty who was like a grandmother to me and who I wrote about here.

5. What countries did you visit? Just Italia.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007? More writing gigs as always, and a book contract wouldn’t suck either. Ooh, and a real vacation.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? October 20 birth of the puppies. I think that’s all.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Probably the development of this blog and its amazing community. I’m also pretty proud of losing more weight and maintaining it–aah, and finding a pair of pants in Italy that fit me and that I like! Woohoo!

9. What was your biggest failure? It’s not really my personal failure, but I had hoped to be in the new house by now.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Only recently with a nasty stomach virus followed up by a sinus infection. Love being sick over the holidays!

11. What was the best thing you bought? My ADSL contract with Telecom (although it *does* have its issues).

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? I said my doggie Luna last year, and I’m going with her again but for different reasons. This year she accepted a new dog in the house followed by six puppies–all in stride. She’s such a trooper.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Going with the Bush administration again on this one. Can’t wait to have a new administration to be appalled and depressed by.

14. Where did most of your money go? Internet and phone bills (but so worth it), just like last year.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? The camera from Salena–I’m *still* really, really, really excited about that.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007? Geez probably the theme songs from, The O.C., Gilmore Girls, and Veronica Mars since they’ve served as my background noise most of the year.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer? Hmm, I’d say happier, a few pounds lighter, and there’s money in the bank–I’m richer (although “rich” is a strong word).

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Yoga and fiction writing.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Anything other than fiction writing.

20. How did you spend Christmas? With P and his parents for the first half and then cradling my throbbing face for the second half. Fun times.

21. Did you fall in love in 2007? Have you seen the puppies?

22. What was your favorite TV program? Lost.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? I don’t hate the players, just the game sometimes.

24. What was the best book you read? Ooh, tough one. Eat Pray Love sticks out.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Adriano Celentano although it’s not so much a discovery as a more intense dedication. Love that voice.

26. What did you want and get? An expansion of my writing career.

27. What did you want and not get? To be in the new house by Christmas.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? Haven’t seen anything new in a long time. Favorite new-to-me film? Pirates of the Caribbean. Just when I thought I couldn’t love Johnny Depp more.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 31 and honestly, I don’t remember what happened–a sure sign of getting old as it was only two months ago.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Same answer as last year: 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 2007? Comfortable is key.

32. What kept you sane? My doggies, the Internet, fellow expats, blogs, emails, phone calls, and my writing.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I’ve enjoyed Milo Ventimiglia despite the fact that P won’t let me watch Heroes. Have to get my Milo fix via GG.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? The concept of universal health care versus how it’s carried out in certain (ahem) countries.

35. Who did you miss? My family and my girlfriends from home more than ever.

36. Who was the best new person you met? Lots of online buddies, of course, but in person, one of my students who has become a friend.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007. A positive attitude positively makes a positive difference.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. With the risk of getting (a lot) sappy, it’s hard to put into words how much this past year of my life has been enriched by all of you who take the time to read, comment, write, and share your lives through these Internets. And so, from Natalie Merchant:

You’ve been so kind and generous
I don’t know how you keep on giving
For your kindness I’m in debt to you
For your selflessness my admiration
For everything you’ve done you know I’m bound
I’m bound to thank you for it.

And how was your year?


[tags] year end meme, memes[/tags]

warmest holiday wishes

May your holidays be full of love,

White puppy eating out of the palm of my hand (or is it the other way around?)
tante belle cose,

White puppy with red bow; I'm holding out the camera with the other hand
and quiet moments to reflect on all that is good in the world.
Seriously how cute is she?

Wishing you all the very best this holiday season–
why not start with a little Harry Connick Jr.’s When My Heart Finds Christmas?

little boy & tiger wishes

I’ve decided to start my own Christmas Eve tradition here on the blog, and it involves my very favorite Christmas Eve poem.

I know a lot of people will be reciting ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas tonight, but a few years ago I found myself enchanted by some lesser-known holiday verses that warm my heart each and every year.

For the handful of readers that were with me last year at this time, you already know about “Christmas Eve” by Bill Watterson, creator of the Calvin & Hobbes comic strip.

This year I’ve managed to find a scan of the original page with the drawing to go with it:

Calvin and Hobbes Christmas Eve by Bill Watterson

Gah! I just love it!

If you can’t read that, here’s the text:

Christmas Eve

On window panes, the icy frost
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.

I hope you’re snuggled up and warm this Christmas Eve too!


Do you have something you read every year at this time?


[tags] calvin & hobbes, christmas eve, poems[/tags]

Weekend o’ Cookies II: Butter Cookies and Michigan Rocks

You’ve now seen four of the six types of cookies I made this holiday season. What? No you haven’t?

Well go here to see the thumbprints (with recipe!), here to see the kolaches, and here to see the chocolate chip and ricotta cookies.

Here are the final two starting with the scene of making the butter cookies:

making butter cookies

And here they are after baking:

butter cookies

And, last but certainly not least, Michigan Rocks full of dates and walnuts:

michigan rocks

And here’s a tray ready for delivery:

tray of cookies

Well really a red plastic plate covered in blue plastic wrap, tied together with a gold bow. It’s easier to see the cookies through the wrap in person by the way.

And now I ask you:

can anything else say “AUGURI!” like a plate of American cookies?

I didn’t think so either.

By the way, if anyone would like recipes for these, just send me an email.

So is everyone ready for Christmas or what?

Weekend o’ Cookies: Ricotta and Chocolate Chip

Last weekend was spent baking cookies, and this weekend is being spent delivering them to their new homes. So far all of the Italians have expressed nothing but love for the American biscottini. As if we had any doubt, right?

So as I’ve already shown you, I made thumbprints and kolaches.

Now here are the ricotta cookies:

ricotta cookies

and my favorite, the chocolate chips:

chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven
stacks of chocolate chip cookies

Does this look like anyone to you?

personable chocolate chip cookie

More cookies tomorrow! Stay tuned!

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

Calabria Guidebook

Calabria travel guide by Michelle Fabio



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