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]

46 Beans of Wisdom to “arrivederci august–and happy BlogDay 2007!”
  1. Debbie Egizio

    Hello Sognatrice. Thank you so much for mentioning me in your post. I’m so honored to be one of your five newly discovered blogs! Love your blog as well! I’ll be back to explore more of your adventures in Italy. Ciao, from one Italian girl to another!

  2. Taffiny

    I went over to The Child of the Universe, and I wanted to post, but was is all this email required stuff?

    I have come across it a couple of times lately (on non blogspot blogs), and it has stopped me from commenting on people’s blogs.

    Can you enlighten the dim?

    (may seem odd to ask you, but I can’t ask them without giving them my email address)

  3. jennifer

    I’m not a summer person either. I love fall and the start of school.
    Watch out for that Italian government concept. That may just twist your brain into spaghetti!

  4. ritu

    i love your name.. and your blog.
    love your country although one part that i do not know is calabria..
    Always end up being in Sicily.
    happy blogging..

  5. ritu

    my favorite 5

    1.African vanielje
    2.Journey of Wayward Chef
    3.The passionate palate
    4.Freedom of thought. since that leads to “finn at sound Cafe

  6. Farfallina - Roam 2 Rome

    Wow, just five?

    There are so many good blogs out there 🙂

    Okay, I’ll play… I’ll pick five and post them tomorrow.

    Hehe, today I’ve already made quite a post 🙂

  7. witnessing am i

    You are such a bright spot, Ms Sognatirce. Such a wonderful, wonderful bright spot in this bloggin’ world.

    My hat is off to you for taking the bull by the horns and making a huge effort to learn Italian better. That is great. Good luck.

    And I adored “Mia Rose and her stinky toes,
    Green/blue eyes, and button nose.” Loverly.

  8. The Late Bloomer

    Oh Sognatrice, thanks so much for including me in your newbie list! I know that my profile is perhaps a bit outdated at this point, but the “late blooming” part has always just appealed to me somehow… Of course, it seems like these days I’m taking a heck of a long time in coming around with my blooming (depending on how you look at it, but I’m really hard on myself!) but here’s hoping I can continue to improve in the months to come.

    It was so nice of you to think of me — I’m just discovering your blog as well, and I look foward to reading so much more in the future! I’ve added you to my Bloglines, so that helps me keep track of things. But how am I ever going to keep up with all these talented people?! 😉 And new blogs sprouting up around the expat blogosphere every day it seems like… I’m going to try to come up with a list of my own, you’ve inspired me! (of course, I’m notorious for discovering blogs that have been around for ages very late in the game as well!)

    I’ve seen Charlotte’s name around before, I believe on Wendy’s site at A Baguette on My Table, but I’m going to have to take some time to get to know her better. And your other selections look wonderful as well. Merci mille fois !

  9. The Late Bloomer

    P.S. ~ Good luck with learning the Italian; I’ve never been able to veer away from French, no matter how hard I’ve tried! My recent attempt was with Japanese, but as usual, I think I was putting too high expectations of myself…

    Now I’m trying to buckle down and figure out what direction to take in the future — I need to research having equivalencies done of my B.A. and find out how I can go about studying while working at the same time!

  10. Christine

    My goodness, last year? the year before? I was writing a paper on political corruption in Italy and the US and how they are remedied through legal procedure and treated generally…for this paper I tried and tried to figure out how the hell the government works, but to no avail. I have no flipping idea. There’s a president? and a prime minister? and a parliament? And who the hell knows how any of them get to office except for by paying people off? WHAT? I got an A regardless of how incomprehensible any type of explanation of their government was.

  11. sognatrice

    Ciao Debbie, I don’t even know if I ever commented at your place before, but you’ve been in my Bloglines 🙂 Piacere!

    Taffiny, I believe that’s something with Typepad/Wordpress blogs–they always ask email as far as I know. I suppose it’s to keep out spam, but unfortunately, it keeps out legitimate commenters too sometimes.

    My best advice if you’re feeling left out of comments for this reason? Get a gmail (or other free) account just for that purpose; that way you can comment, but not really have to worry about it being traced to your “real” account. If you’d like an invitation to gmail, btw, just let me know (this goes for anyone reading!).

    Jennifer, I’m afraid–very afraid–of all that government speak. But really, I just feel like such a loser. What better way to learn Italian better than through convoluted explanations of a confusing governmental system? Sounds like a great plan to me!

    Ritu, benvenuta! Hopefully you’ll get to know Calabria a bit better through my blog (also check out “My Bella Vita” on my sidebar, another American gal in Calabria). I already love 3 of your favorite 5, but that means I have some reading to do!

    Farfallina, I know it’s difficult to narrow down, but try to go with the ones you’ve discovered most recently–maybe that’ll help?

    David, thanks, although you should talk to me come September 30 and see how well I’ve done 😉 Glad you liked the stinky toes poem–it’s not often in life you get to use that phrase, is it?

    Bloomer, it does get overwhelming sometimes with all these new blogs appearing all the time–and, like you, I tend to be late in finding the established really good ones too…a constant effort!

    I’d love to study as you suggest (getting the degree equivalent, etc.) but it all sounds like so much work…before the courses would even begin! Perhaps someday….

    I’m sure you’re doing swimmingly with Japanese–keep it up! After I perfect (hah!) Italian, I’d like to move on to French…so if I need a tutor….

    Christine, very funny, and I can completely understand. I was hoping that this stuff would just sink in from living here, but it’s been 4 years, and I still don’t get it. At all. Time to hit the books! If I figure anything out I’ll be sure to let you know…although I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you!

    I’m just thinking that your ability to dance around the subject of Italian government and manage an A was firmly paving your way for success as a lawyer 😉

  12. Jeni

    Thanks for posting intros to other blogs. I love blog referrals and have found some really great spots for enjoyable reading – and viewing great photos and such – through many other bloggers introductions like that. Study hard now too!

  13. Beth

    I was a geek like that too! LOL. I love back to school season. Just wanted to pop in and say hello – and I FINALLY got here!

  14. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    I too cannot wait for fall! Bring it. This year I will be in a place where there is actually a fall season.

    Thanks for the new blog suggestions.

  15. Dana

    What a wonderful surprise to be included in your top 5 blogs! It’s quite an honor because I love your blog and check it daily, even when you were “in ferie”! 🙂

    That’s fabulous that you’ve signed up for a class to improve your Italian, although I’m envious of how fluent you already are, living there!

    I’m signing up for an Italian class myself at UCSD this semester to refresh what I learned and continue learning, so that I can be fluent when I make the move over there and own that B&B. 🙂

    I’m with you about summer. I’m not a summer person myself, even living in Southern California most of my life. I’m more of a fall, love wearing sweaters, curling up with a good book under a blanket kind of gal.

    I know you talk about being shy and an introvert, but I have to tell you that everything you write shines with love and joy. You exude fabulousness my dear! 🙂

    On a side note, Taffiny, I’d have to ask my bf, who set the site up, but I think Sognatrice’s right, that it’s for security purposes. I’m sorry I didn’t get to read your post! If you feel like e-mailing me directly, mine is

  16. sognatrice

    Jeni, I love finding new blogs through other blogs I like as well–saves a lot of random, flipping through the blogosphere time 😉

    Beth, hello! Glad you made it! I know how hard it can be to keep up with all that a blog entails, so I do appreciate your visit 🙂

    NYC, lucky you! I hope you’ll wear some sweaters for me, because I don’t know if I’ll get to break them out much before December with the way things are going….

    Dana, well my class is nothing formal–just me and a book!–but I am setting aside an hour a day to actually sit down and try to glean something from the books I have. We’ll see how it goes!

    Congrats on your Italian course! If you ever want to practice, we could do emails in Italian 🙂

    As for the sweaters and blankies and books…aaah! Take me there now!!!!

    Thank you so much for your kind words; writing this blog really does allow another part of my personality to come through, and I’m glad some people actually enjoy reading it 😉

    As for the email address commenting thing, unfortunately, it seems like one of the best ways to keep out spammers, although nothing is fool-proof. Hopefully it doesn’t prevent too many people from joining the dialogue though 🙁

  17. Frances

    Happy Blog Day to you too.
    I think it’s awesome that you are taking your Italian to the next level.
    Good Luck.
    I loved those birthday posts of yours.

  18. african vanielje

    Wow, I feel so honoured to be part of your list. I’d just discovered Charlotte’s web but am going to have to try out the others. There are so many out there and I’m such an infant at this that recommendations really help to discover people you may like to read. I’m so surprised to hear that you consider yourself shy. Your writing is so joyous and confident. But then that’s what I’m so loving about this blogging thing, people are so friendly and unrestrained, and reeally, really encouraging. Why aren’t people like that in real life. Perhaps the distance allows us to open up a little. I know I find it liberating. Once again, at the risk of gushing ( a very un-British thing to do) thank you, and I’ll be back to visit soon. If only for some sunshine which is in pitifully short supply this side of the channel.

  19. sognatrice

    Frances, heh, talk to me in a month or two about my level of Italian; I have a way of starting gung ho and then…well…isn’t *that* a much more interesting book over there? But I’m hoping for blog buddy pressure!

    AV, I love your almost-gush 😉 I’ve always been able to express myself more freely in writing, but yes, the encouragement from others really helps a lot too. And feel free to come here anytime you need a little sunshine…just make it before rainy season begins!

  20. Giusi

    Hahahaha! You do realize that we have more than one president here, right? One is not allowed to be political and the others are all politics all the time. Can you imagine a world in which both Bush and Rove are presidents and also Tom Hanks?

  21. sognatrice

    Ciao Giusi, well, I’m aware that there’s a President and Prime Minister, but I’m not really clear on what it is each of them do–and how governments seem to fall so easily here. I have to say, though, it seems like just about *everyone* in Italy is political, so that part now confuses me too 😉

    But Tom Hanks for President? Yeah! I don’t even know what he stands for, but at least he can form complete sentences in English (a step up from what we have now in America IMHO) 😉

  22. Gil

    Officially studying Italian and Italian government! Could someone be interested in an Italian law license or running for office? Good luck in all you adventures.

    I think the blogs that require email addresses in order to post comments won’t show your email address to the public without your permission.

    You don’t need an invite to sign up for gmail these days.

  23. sognatrice

    Gil, if officially studying means I now have a book, well, then I’m officially studying! Interested in more than a view from the sidelines, though, no thanks–I just feel so clueless on the basics, and it’s not a fun feeling. I can’t remember feeling like this in the US, when at least I learned about the theory of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches when I was my nephew’s age!

    Good point about the requirement of an email address on some posts; I didn’t even think that some people might not realize that the address isn’t actually shown to the public, only to the blog administrator.

    And I had no idea about the easy access to Gmail now either–always thought that was a rather strange system when it was free anyway and no one (at least I didn’t) got kickbacks for referrals or anything. Grazie 🙂

  24. JennieBoo

    It’s been hot here, too (southern U.S.).

    But it won’t be over until…oh, mid-October or so. Goodie….NOT!

    Enjoyed your list and the entire post!

    I even liked the haiku!

    Ciao for now!

  25. Carole D.

    Ciao Sognatrice,

    welcome back! I didn’t think you could stay away for as long as you did, but you did it! I hope you enjoyed P’s family and tutti le feste.

    You could add me to your friend’s August birthday month. Mine was the 20th.

    I’ll be interested in hearing about the Italian government, I need to be educated and updated as well.

    Arrivederci e felice mese di settembre!

  26. Taffiny

    Thank you Sognatrice, and to all the others who helped answer my question.

    Hi Dana. (I’ll see if I can set up a gmail, emailing you directly sounds so bold to this chicken; thank you for the offer)

    Spam is the reason I don’t like to give it (oh the awful spam we get already) (also personal info can be found out through it)

    I will look into the gmail thing.

    Thanks again.

    I am forever spelling sognatrice, wrong, because I say it songnatrice in my head. It is great that you recommend other’s blogs. All the blogs I go to, I found through other blogs, either through suggestions, blogrolls, and going to see those who left comments. Witnessing I am/ Good Thomas, was the point of origin/entry to my wanderings.

  27. Jen

    These look wonderful! I’m behind on reading tonight, but I’ll definitely check them out tomorrow. So, does this mean you’re back to blogland? I hope so. You’ve been missed!

  28. Shan

    Welcome back, I missed you! Thanks for the new blogs to check out.fvwbx

  29. Charlotte

    Thanks for the mention, Sognatrice. You’ve given me some new blogs to go and take a look at. I agree with African Vanielje that the blog world is generally so kind, generous and friendly. It’s astonishing really and that’s what keeps me going.

  30. JoAnn - NL "My digital eyes" :)

    I sognatrice,
    I just awarded 10 bloggers, for their always nice reactions:
    Rebecca, Julie, Ruth, Moi, Neva, Jayne ,Anna P., Fenix, Ginnie ,Northbay,

    But there are a lot of blogs I like, they will be nominated later.

    I like your blog also , mine is started in Juli=y for the public and before only fmily was reading my blog. I like it better to share with many others, its very facinating how people’s life is their photograpy and stories and therefore I like blogging…

    Its almost a ‘job’ to do and it takes a lot of time to do it right.

    🙂 Have a good weekend 🙂 JoAnn

  31. MB

    I’m with you on wanting to learn about the Italian government. I want to understand how it works and what the ramifications are when I’m watching the news and they report on different political items. The whole deal with Prodi having to resign because he lost some, seemingly insignificant, vote, left me scratching my head. Especially when a day or two later he was back in office! I’m going to have to try to find one of those books.

  32. sognatrice

    Jennie, we usually get somewhat of a reprieve in early September, another heat wave in late September, then the rains start in mid-October or so…I could do without that wave in the middle 😉

    Jen, I suppose this means I’m back to Blogland…sort of 😉

    Carole, happy belated! I’ve never had one to remember on the 20th, and now I do–just about filled in those last two weeks of August now…anyone else? Speak up!

    As for the Italian government, I suppose it’d be a true test if I could actually explain it someone else when all this is finished…kind of like my self-imposed final exam? We shall see….

    Taffiny, no worries on the name spelling–it doesn’t just roll off our native English tongues very well 😉 I love Witnessing Am I, don’t you? I’ve found a lot of great blogs through his blogroll as well 🙂

    Shan, thanks! I think I’m back anyway….

    Charlotte, it’s a pleasure to see you here 🙂 I’ll probably make a nuisance of myself at your place before very long…as soon as I catch up in the blogosphere, look out!

    JoAnn, yes, blogging can take a lot of time depending on what you want to get from it–and it’s all worth it, IMHO 🙂 I’m so happy you chose to participate in BlogDay!

    MB, a head-scratcher to be sure. I certainly don’t get it. But maybe in a few months I will. You know how I came across this book? I was waiting for the bus one day when I saw one of the local boys also waiting (I was in the town where all the liceos are); he had the book in his hand, and I started asking questions–then he offered it to me once he and his twin took the exam in July. So I’ve had it since about the 15th of July–it’s just daring me to open it. Monday is the day. Really.

    Anyway, at that point, it occurred to me that hitting up some local high school kids/recently out of high school kids for books (to borrow!) isn’t such a bad idea after all….

    Let’s just see how my Italian works out!

  33. Taffiny

    Thanks for the kind advice.
    I am under the impression that I just succesfully signed up for gmail.
    (Honestly I would not have thought to do this myself, not knowing what gmail was and all).

  34. -Suzie-

    Ciao Sognatrice,

    I am so glad we found us! I love your blog and must read more more more… I will link to you and come back regularly.
    I am not yet living in Italy. So far it is still China. But we are close.
    A presto
    Suzie from PalazzoPizzo

  35. sognatrice

    Ah, Taffiny, also–if you want to remain anonymous with Gmail make sure your name on file isn’t your real name; for instance, I use “Bleeding Espresso” as my name for correspondence with the blog so that when people get an email from me, they know where it’s coming from. If you need to change it, go under Settings in the upper right corner, then the Accounts tab, then the second one from the bottom “Google Account Settings.” On the next screen, you click on “edit” after Personal Information and you can edit your name.

    Suzie, glad to e-meet you! I couldn’t believe it when I saw that you were working on a palazzo in Pizzo; can’t wait to learn more 🙂

  36. kissa

    So you are going to learn some more Italian. Great. I went to a short course but although we learnt some phrases we seemed to spend most lessons eating one Italian treat or another endng with a superb meal to close the course. Great fun.

  37. alicia

    I completely missed out on BlogDay 2007. I had so many things going on I haven’t kept up with anything blog-related. *groan.*

  38. sognatrice

    Kissa, your course sounds like a lot of fun! I’m afraid mine won’t be quite as exciting since it’s just me and some books, but I’m trying to find some great books to read to at least keep my interest. Yeah, I’m guessing the government thing will only be fun for so long 😉

    Alicia, I’m granting you permission (as if I have this to grant) to post whenever you like for BlogDay–better late than never, right?

    Besides, busy is good!

  39. Calabrisella

    Man this year IS flying by :-/ … but your right, i am creating wonderful memories …
    ‘nu bacio grande a tutti!

  40. Wendy

    There are so many blogs out there, it can be a little overwhelming. Always appreciate recommendations. Thank you. 🙂

  41. Scribbit

    Love The Late Bloomer too–I’m a sucker for expat blogs.

    And hope you’re still getting some nice summer weather, even with school going now.

  42. sognatrice

    Calabrisella, can you believe it’s already September? Keep those photos and tales coming!

    Wendy, happy to help!

    Scribbit, our weather cooled off yesterday, but only in the sense that it’s not 100 degrees anymore–absolutely beautiful this morning, thanks 🙂 School here doesn’t start for a couple weeks yet (although my self-imposed lessons are about to start any minute) 😉

  43. Dana

    I would love to practice Italian with you via e-mail! Let me brush up a little bit so I don’t feel like a total dork and it doesn’t take me an hour to write a coherent thought 🙂

  44. Taffiny

    Thank you again Sognatrice, how oft of late I have repeated the refrain, feels like the chorus to a song.

    Good point, when I went to check my account, there it was my whole real name, which I changed to totasteapeach, which I guess works out to Totastea Peach, or Tota Stapeach

  45. somepinkflowers

    so glad you discovered debbie egizio!


    she is quite the artist!
    and her shop looks
    so yummy there on her blog
    that i want to go visit…

  46. sognatrice

    Dana, fun! Send me a message when you’re ready! Don’t be shy, though–my Italian is *far* from perfect.

    Taffiny, too funny! I think it’s even funnier that when mine comes up for people after we’ve already exchanged one message in a “conversation,” I’m “Bleeding.” Tragic!

    SPF, definitely! Thank goodness for the Internet!!!!

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