let the answering begin!

A few days ago, I asked you what you would like to know about me so I could fill out the 8 things meme that JennieBoo tagged me with, and you responded. Big time.

Thanks! And now I will begin answering.

There ended up being (as of this writing) 21 questions, give or take, considering some had parts a/b/c/etc. Crafty questioners!

In my ongoing anal quest for order, I have grouped them somewhat by topic, and I’ve decided that today I’ll post the first part of the answers–the non-Italy or non-blog-focused ones, essentially.

More answers will be posted as the week continues, so stay tuned!

I truly hope this re-organization doesn’t offend the early questioners, especially NYC/Caribbean ragazza who has been waiting quite a while already for her answer. Mi perdoni?

Here we go!

1. Erin, pulling out The Book of Questions (which, incidentally, I also have, and love, and had just packed away the day before), and asked “If you could have free, unlimited service for 5 years from an extremely good cook, chauffeur, housekeeper, masseuse, or personal secretary, which would you choose?”

Let me put them in order of my preference:

Housekeeper: Ding ding! We have a winner! This one I would *definitely* appreciate. Oh to never clean a toilet again!

Personal secretary: If this means I’d never have to see the inside of the post office, sign me up.

Masseuse: Mommy likey. Is Raoul Bova available?

Chauffeur: Would be nice, I suppose, but I don’t drive anyway, so I’m not sure that it would make much of a difference in my daily life. Unless s/he is paying for gas, that is.

Cook: I actually enjoy cooking and so does P, so this would be the least useful to me, although someone to simply clean up after I or P cooks would be lovely (back to that housekeeper thing, eh?).

2. Giulia asked if I have a deep, dark secret, and if so, whether it eats at me that I can’t spill it or whether it doesn’t bother me to keep it in.

Interesting question. I have two secrets, I’d say, and to be honest, neither of them really eat at me on a daily basis. I’m actually quite good at keeping secrets, mine and others’–I kind of put them somewhere in a safe place in my psyche and forget about them. I think, indeed, sometimes I literally forget them. So, in other words, I’ll never tell….

3. Giulia also asked what I thought of the Zapruder film, that of JFK assassination fame.

This one’s easy. I wrote a little about my feelings on this whole thing here, but specifically on the Zapruder film? I think it clearly shows that Lee Harvey Oswald was not only *not* the lone gunman but also that he was not even the man whose bullet(s) killed President Kennedy.

From the direction JFK’s body jerked after being hit (away from the grassy knoll, implying that a bullet came from that direction) to the “Umbrella Man,” there really doesn’t seem to be any doubt that there was more than one person involved in the actual shooting or its planning.

On a personal level, it makes me physically sick and teary-eyed every single time I see clips of the Zapruder film, for its gruesomeness, yes, but also for the fact that an American president was killed in the middle of the day in the middle of a city surrounded by Secret Service officers over 40 years ago, and we citizens still don’t know the truth.

4. Wanderlust Scarlett asks a rather straightforward, easy-to-answer: “What next? Do you want to keep things as they are? Do you want to do anything more? What dreams do you have for the days to come?”

Personally, I’d like to get settled in our new house and then begin thinking more seriously about children–hopefully to arrive within the next 2-3 years. Up until that point, I’d like to travel around Italy and Europe a bit. I’d also like to better my Italian and learn another language, possibly French, learn to knit and crochet, further develop some other artistic talent (painting, drawing, journal-making), and learn to play the guitar.

Just to name a few things I have in mind.

Professionally, I’d like to develop a few more long-term relationships with clients in my freelance writing pursuits as well as publish something book-length, whether it’s a novel or something non-fiction. Other business ideas (from internet café to raising rabbits) are floating around as well, although nothing is past the dreaming stage, so I’ll refrain from boring you with the (lack of) details.

5. Jennie Boo (bless her heart) threw me a softball with “What’s your favorite scent of shampoo?”

To be honest, now I use just about anything that’s on sale, but the old Salon Selectives’ apple scent will always hold fond memories of high school for me. I also really like Pantene.

6. Tui asked if my personal journal is paper or digital, and if it’s digital, whether I use journaling software.

I keep a paper journal, although it’s definitely been neglected since I started blogging. I don’t know that I’d really get into doing a digital one, as I like to look back on my handwriting in the old journals as well–tells me a lot about how I was feeling when I wrote. If it was steady and smooth, for instance, I was probably calm, but where it’s erratic, well, internally I probably was too. I also like to see how it’s changed over the years, becoming, scarily more like my mother’s every day.

Bonus factoid: I almost always use the same color pen (black) except for one SARK journal that I had in which I used every color pen and pencil imaginable. That was fun!

OK, that’s all for today folks.

Now it’s your turn–what are *your* answers to these questions? Don’t be shy!


[tags]jfk, john f. kennedy, president kennedy, conspiracy theories, zapruder film, goals, personal goals[/tags]

27 Beans of Wisdom to “let the answering begin!”
  1. Cherrye

    Very interesting questions, those blog readers had…

  2. Antonino Condorelli

    Excuse me ladies, you know i’m not English native, and i’m not a genius in english so could you explain to me what’s the meaning of this expression? “In my ongoing anal quest for order…”.
    thanks and sorry

  3. Kristen

    That was a great approach to this meme!

  4. Paolo

    Antonino, the term “anal” comes from Freudian psychology – in modern American English we use it (usually humourously) to mean someone who is obsessive or picky about details.

    I felt like jumping in here because I had a lengthy dialogue with a friend about the (quite vulgar) term cacacazzo, which I interpreted as “anal,” to my friend’s utter confusion.

    A very comical and scatological discussion ensued.

    Freud would have a field day with the modern American and Italian people…

  5. Giulia

    OMG, I spent my teenage years using Salon Selectives and Rave! 🙂

    I too, would want a housekeeper over everyone else.

    Thanks for answering my questions. I only just downloaded the Zapruder film around a week ago. I don’t know what set me off on the search, but curiosity got the best of me. I honestly don’t know what to think of it. It was a bit grainy, so I couldn’t figure from looking at it that there is a possibility that there was more than one shooter. There was a point that I played it over and over again because my mind just couldn’t grasp what I was watching.

    Like you said, the fact “that an American president was killed in the middle of the day in the middle of a city surrounded by Secret Service officers over 40 years ago, and we citizens still don’t know the truth,” is quite sad!

    Good to know that you are good at keeping those secrets. 😉

  6. anno

    Interesting questions… and equally ineresting answers. I’m with kristen: this is a great approach to this meme. And I am so with you on the housekeeper/secretary thing. If I never had to file another piece of paper or pay another bill, I’d be ecstatic!

  7. JennieBoo

    I think I’ll post my answers on my blog, SOGNATRICE-style!

    Hope your having a great Tuesday!

    ps: I like apples, too! 😀

  8. sognatrice

    Cherrye, and…your answers are being prepared???

    Antonino, no need to apologize! I’m glad you asked. It’s not every day a discussion of “anal” comes up on my blog 😉 I see Paolo has explained a bit, so I hope that helps. I’m guessing “anal” was the problem there, right? There’s also a definition here (2b). Other than that, you could just say that I’m a bit obsessive about keeping things in order, at least as that order makes sense to me 🙂

    Kristen, thanks…have any questions? Comments are still open on that other post!

    Paolo, thanks for stepping up, and I completely agree about Freud.

    Giulia, funny that Rave came up in my memories as well…Jersey ain’t too far from PA, eh? As for the Zapruder film, have you seen JFK by Oliver Stone? He uses the cleanest version of the film in it, and you can see things a lot better than what I’ve seen on the Internet (of course you also get a lot of select interpretation, but the view of Zapruder is superior IMHO).

    Anno, life is pretty grand, bout wouldn’t it be even grander without all the paperwork (and cleaning)?!

    JennieBoo, woohoo! See, these questions are too good to pass up 🙂

    (And I have a style. I’m verklempt.)

  9. Frances

    I’m definitely getting in on this one.
    Love your take on it.
    Ciao Bella,

  10. Figs Olives Wine

    Sognatrice, I love these answers. It sounds geeky to say, but I love how up front you are about this stuff, and it’s so satisfying for your readers to feel they know you a little better.

    On a lighter, less touchy-feely note, that apple scent is like liquid high school to me too: hormones and jean shorts and josh benn…oh my! PS. It’s also fab for covering up the smell of butts…I’m just sayin’

  11. somepinkflowers

    this is so good—
    posting AND comments! WOW!

    and it covers everything
    from the JFK MYSTERY
    to explaining ~~~anal quest~~~

    now i wish i had asked
    about Roswell & aliens….

    all i wanted to know
    was how does a person decide
    what to move to italy…

    how lame!
    i should have asked
    ***What is the Meaning of Life***


  12. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    this is such a great idea.

    p.s. I forgive you. 🙂

  13. Rebecca

    Just read your two posts about how you met and about P…so me thinks I will have to buy a jacket at the Gap next week in Canada..maybe it will bring me the same kind of luck!!!!

  14. stefanie

    I sort of think it’s unfair when two cooks get together. Makes it more likely that I’ll end up with a guy who is as uninterested in cooking as I am. I am similarly annoyed when very tall guys date or marry very short girls. Short girls are supposed to leave the tall ones for girls like me! 🙂

  15. Calabrisella

    che interesante!
    to bad we’re a world apart…i could teach you how to crochet & knit ( im trying to finish a blanket-its taking forever-no time.)…and play the chitarra (Nico taught me last year- i am not half as good as him though-i try.)

    Oh! before i forget…do you have any ideas to give me for Nico’s compleanno?

  16. Shan

    Okay I am so with you on the black pen thing. Another blog post, another thing in common. Loved the answers, thanks for sharing.

  17. Wanderlust Scarlett


    21 questions?!!?!! How does that adage go? Ask and ye shall receive?


    Hey if you aren’t going to use Erin’s cook, would you ship the poor fool over here for me? Please? With all of your recipes?

    I’m not discussing Kennedy, or my all time hero Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., those murders make me physically sick.

    You can have bebe’s, knit and crochet for them, and sing them to sleep with French lullabye’s! Or Disney.
    la la lu… la la lu… little soft, fluffy sleeper… (from lady and the tramp).

    I also use only pantene, have 8 years worth of paper journals (super picky about selecting them too), and I am a black ink snob – minus the one pen I swiped from a kid that had multiple colors and wrote rainbow ink. I was completely entertained and wrote till it was empty. And then I bought the kid a new pen.

    Have I mentioned I speak Sognatrice? Except for the kitchen… but we won’t go there. The only reason I go there is for tea and firemen. ;o)-

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

  18. Bongga Mom

    I love how you made this meme so interesting to read! But then you do that with everything you write about 🙂

  19. Karen

    I’m impressed by the questions everyone came up with, and of course, enjoyed all your answers. Can’t wait to read more!

  20. Antonino Condorelli

    OOOKKEY, Right now. Thanks to Paolo and Sognatrice.it was just to clear. Thanks for this new English lesson.

  21. traveller one

    HI there!
    Thanks for discovering and visiting my blog across the Adriatic! Yours has so much to read and I’m getting right to it tonight! I feel like I will know you like an old friend in a very short time. Watch out– soon we may come for a visit! He he!

  22. sognatrice

    Frances, can’t wait to see your answers!

    Figs, I don’t think that was geeky at all–rather sweet in fact. Some things are off-limits as far as blog fodder, but when I choose to open up about things on here, I write pretty much how I’d write in my (paper) journal. And I’m assuming you’re talking about cigarette butts because I don’t like the mental picture I’m getting of the other kind 😉 Anyway, I hate smoke, so this was never a good use for me–although one of my heavy smoker friends also used this shampoo, so I think you’re onto something.

    SPF, glad you enjoyed! And don’t worry, I have a feeling you’ll get your chance again. I could talk about aliens for a very long time….

    NYC, thank you 🙂

    Rebecca, while you’re there, if you think of it, mention my story to them and tell them I’m free for advertising campaigns! And best of luck 🙂

    Stefanie, I understand your concerns, but at least I didn’t take one of the tall guys (even though that’s the kind of guy I always liked despite my 5’2″ stature). P’s kind of tall for a southern Italian, but I’d say he’s about 5’9″ maybe a shade over.

    Calabrisella, maybe someday we’ll be closer for a few months and you can get to work. Birthday gift…hmm…I’ll have to think about it. Would he like a nice CD of Calabrian folk music? Hee hee.

    Shan, good to know there are more like me out there. Very comforting 🙂

    Scarlett, you *do* speak Sognatrice! Black pen lovers unite! And I *love* Lady and Tramp; I have a little figurine from the Disney store of the famous spaghetti scene here with me in Italy–one of those things that actually made the cut in the move over, so you know it’s important to me 🙂

    Bongga Mom, what a sweet thing to say, thanks 🙂

    Karen, I’m very impressed with the questions–some are requiring full posts, indeed. And I love these random ones as well since you can learn a lot about someone even from these silly things. More answers forthcoming!

    Antonino, now you can’t say you’ve ever wasted your time over here 😉

    Traveller, I was so happy to find your place as well; I look forward to going through your archives and getting to know you better–and the more the merrier in southern Italy, so come on over!

  23. chris & erin

    yeah, I might sign up for the masseuse if it was Raoul as well 🙂

  24. Calabrisella

    Funny you say that… i just bought a CD my nonna suggested “Italian Treasury: Calabria” by Alan Lomax and Diego Carpitella …. Very intresting (it has songs from Cinquefrondi!)
    … the zampogna a paru is such a beautiful instrument!
    Maybe a CD from Frosinone will tickle his fancy ….

    any other ideas!?
    thanx 🙂

  25. sognatrice

    Erin, I wouldn’t mind if he didn’t actually know how to give a massage…he could learn, right?

    Calabrisella, what a coincidence! I guess my best advice is to think of all the things he likes or likes to do and then figure out something that coincides with those things–and also something that he probably wouldn’t buy himself for whatever reason. I always love gifts that are something I like but I think are too frivolous (not necessarily expensive either!). I’ll think some more though…how many days do I have?!

  26. Calabrisella

    LOL…thank you! his bday is this saturday july 14th, bastille day!
    in my blog is what i have so far…

    Ci vediamo

  27. sognatrice

    Oh dear. That’s soon! I’ll email you if I come up with anything else interesting!

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