not that i’m encouraging slacking off at work but…

I don’t work in an office anymore, but I do remember what Fridays used to feel like. I always had the best intentions of finishing off projects, and sometimes I did–if there wasn’t a whole lot left to do on them anyway.

The internet was my best friend that last work day of the week more than any other day and that’s why here on some Fridays, I like to provide links to other places you should go.

After all I wouldn’t want you to get lost in the internet. Remember to always carry a flashlight!

For those of you like me who work at home (including stay-at-home moms!), feel free to utilize this list of goodies whenever you feel like it. These links aren’t going anywhere.

Shameless Self-Promotion in Two Parts:

(1) Over at She Who Blogs, I’ve written about The Top Five Things I’ve Learned From Having a Blog.

Be sure to check out more member posts while you’re there–She Who Blogs is doing NaBloPoMo too, so there’s something new every day.

Our fearless leader Frances, by the way, is not only taking care of NaBloPoMo for She Who Blogs but she’s also posting every day this month on her own blog, Blogjem (check out her fabulous family memories!) *and* she’s doing NaNoWriMo.

Be amazed. I am.

(2) For some light Friday fun, why not have a Fred and Ginger moment by watching the classic “You Say Tomayto, I Say Tomahto” scene? I wrote about it over at Tomato CasualTomato Casual and discovered lots of interesting tidbits about that song.

Of course if you’re at work, turn the speakers way down. And if you can’t have them on at all, well, Fred and Ginger knew how to dance a little too so enjoy the footwork.

Feel free to look around Tomato Casual while you’re there. I won’t mind.

Semi Shameless Self-Promotion in Two Parts:

I am honored to have been one of the entries in a wonderful blogging event:

Apples & Thyme You can read my entry here.


Run by two of my very favorite bloggers, this event captured the hearts and memories of many fabulous bloggers and you can find the round-up of entries in two places (half are listed at each blog):

African Vanielje

The Passionate Palate


No Self-Promotion, Just Some Damn Good Reading

Blogging friend -R- of And You Know What Else came up with a fantastic idea–an anonymous blog swap. It gave participants a chance to blog about things they normally wouldn’t at their own blogs (for whatever reason) and the results were phenomenal.

Below is a list of the participants, and believe me, there’s not a bad post in the bunch. (I may or may not have spend most of yesterday evening reading these.)

After you read the guest post, please take time and look around the host blogs–all fabulous standing on their own.

And You Know What Else
Bright Yellow World
Confessions of a Novice
Everything I Like Causes Cancer
Face Down
Liz Land
Muse On Vacation
Nancy Pearl Wannabe
Not What You Think It Should Be
Operation Pink Herring
Red Red Whine
Reflections in the Snow-Covered Hills
Sass Attack
Stefanie Says
Thinking Some More

Happy reading and buon weekend!

30 days of thanks
Today I’m thankful for:

The opportunity to work at home. I know some people would hate it, working alone in the same place they eat and sleep, but I just love it and don’t think I could go back to working in an office. Sure it takes a lot of discipline, but I’ve always been good at getting things done when they need to be done, and the transition from many years of higher education to this really wasn’t too difficult.

Read: I always have homework.

I love the freedom of being able to choose when I work, read, cook, walk and play with the dogs, watch an old episode of E.R. or Gilmore Girls, do laundry, run errands, etc., pretty much when I want to. For me, there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to force things when they just aren’t coming, so working at home really benefits me both professionally and emotionally.

There are downsides, of course, like others’ not taking my time seriously or assuming I don’t have a “real” job, but it’s all about making boundaries–something I didn’t use to be good at, but I’m getting better.

Part of it is my own fault, I know, as I don’t often outwardly show stress in front of people I don’t know well. I’ve been told I make things look easy, but I think that’s only because I’ve always had the idea of the Italian bella figura (making a good impression/looking good) in my head.

Or maybe it’s just that old Dry Idea deodorant commercial: “Never Let Them See You Sweat.”

Either way, I don’t see how it helps to get others worked up about whatever is going on in my life–except for those closest to me of course. Everyone needs a sounding board or five (I’m grateful to have those people too!).

Anyway, I know I’m extremely lucky to have the opportunity to work at home, and I’m very, very grateful for it.


[tags]working at home, nablopomo, 30 days of thanks[/tags]

24 Beans of Wisdom to “not that i’m encouraging slacking off at work but…”
  1. Anonymous

    Hello Sognatrice, long time, no hear. I’m not a big compliment slinger, but when we saw you in Oct. I thought you looked very healthy, happy, and as lovely as ever. However, when you wrote that you’d lost 30 pounds, I have to be honest, I thought you looked just as great when we met you the first time as the second. The picture of us (with Domenico) at the restaurant from 2005, your hair’s a lot longer, but you look basically the same. 30 pounds is a good amount of weight – I guess I’m *trying* to say, I didn’t think you looked in the least bit heavy in 2005 and I’m amazed that you look so good 30 pounds lighter. Italian livin’….I suppose. Ciao, WD

  2. Roam2Rome

    Uh, working from home is a joy!

    How dooo you find time for all these interesting projects? Ah, that’s right, time stops in Italy πŸ™‚

  3. qualcosa di bello

    here’s to working at home!!! i love love love it! i have even been slowly educating myself for a complete career change (from before-children career to empty nest, which is almost upon me) in order to work independently~ my very best stuff is done this way. i really didn’t buy into the whole telecommuting thing when it was first mentioned. as a people-person, i thought it would be a very lonely thing to do. not so, if you don’t want it to be. even if i weren’t homeschooling my children, i would still build time in my day that was a balance of being alone & being with others. like you said, the freedom not to force things like creativity is such a blessing!

  4. Anonymous

    “Ah, that’s right, time stops in Italy…”

    Idyllic and starry-eyed views of Italy such as this one always make me wonder if I’m just living in the wrong part of the country!!

  5. jennifer

    I’m also incredibly grateful to be able to work at home. You forgot to mention not having to “get dressed”. That was the worst thing about working out of the house… not that I’m naked, but PJ’s sure are comfortable!

  6. sognatrice

    *WD, ciao! I thank you much for the kind words–especially the ones that said I didn’t look so bad a couple years ago πŸ˜‰

    Actually I was probably already down 15 pounds or so by the time we met up in 2005, and I’m guessing I’ve lost another 15 or so since then. That, plus the fact that I generally “carry my weight well” (it’s pretty evenly distributed), may be why I didn’t change much for you. My clothes sure noticed πŸ™‚

    And, also, I’ll just assume I didn’t look two years older either πŸ˜‰

    *Farfallina, well time certainly does work differently here–you just have to learn to work *with* it instead of against it. I can’t tell you how many blog posts I’ve written while waiting in line for this or that….

    *Qualcosa, I hear you! And you’re right–working alone doesn’t have to be lonely if you don’t allow it to be.

    And anyway, now that we have the internet and all these wonderful blogging relationships, the chance of really feeling lonely is so much less for me.

    It’s so great to be able to take a break from work and actually do something else productive like spend time with the dogs or clean or do laundry–a little at a time; if I were in an office, when I need a break, I’d be forced to just, I don’t know, go bother my co-workers and chat. I did that a lot in case you couldn’t tell πŸ˜‰

    *Anonymous, I think Farfallina’s comment was a bit tongue-in-cheek but in any event really referring to how time moves differently here, which is undeniable. Quindici giorni anyone?

    But if you live in a city, then my personal opinion is that you probably *are* living in the wrong part of Italy to enjoy the “dolce vita” of films and books (not that it’s how I’d describe my life either, but it’s not too far from it…but I think this is also about attitude/choices as well).

    No city in the world will allow for as much quiet, relaxing, and make-your-own-time kind of living as smaller towns, but there are certainly trade-offs that we all must make.

    If you *do* live in a smaller city/town, then I’m truly sorry you don’t seem to be enjoying life here. Life’s too short to be unhappy, and I hope you find your happy place, so to speak πŸ˜‰

    *Jennifer, *excellent* point. I do generally get somewhat dressed (meaning warm-up suits mostly) because I have to take the dogs out first thing in the morning (and you *know* how the neighbors would talk if I didn’t put on real pants), but it’s so nice to not have to worry about actually looking presentable.

    Did you guess that I’m not one of those fully made-up women at the grocery store?

  7. Stefanie

    Blog share was so much fun! R should totally be proud for orchestrating such a great idea.

    Love your list of things you’ve learned from blogging–especially #1 and 5. I’d agree with those completely.

  8. Roam2Rome

    Awwww anonymous, Sognatrice got it right! honest!

    It really was just tongue in cheek, a light chat here in her blog… using a phrase I’ve heard often to tease her a little for how much she manages to cram in a day, which I can’t seem to do, noooothing more.

    Your comment sounds very familiar, though…

    Weell, with all the — I’ve seen in life, I think a light attitude is healthy, and I wont apologize for it.

    Ma infatti quello che mi dispiace Sognatrice is that this is your pretty blog… ooops! Davvero.

    Maybe I should just keep my head in my books…

  9. Sara

    Oh, yeah, working from home.

    I spent 18 years of my life as a legal secretary/office manager/paralegal-type person, and then another five doing office work as a temp here in Boston, and I think I at least thought of killing myself rather than going to work almost every single day.

    I am thankful for my true love, who makes my current rather spoiled lifestyle possible.

  10. Geggie

    I’m with ya, sister! I don’t think I could ever go back to working in an office! I love my autonomy oh so much!

  11. MB

    Ah, another silent sufferer. I too tend to internalize the worry and stress. But then, at least I’m only driving myself crazy, not everyone around me. Of course, my stress here is pretty limited. Working at home is fantastic! Like you said, you can get things done as they need to be done. I hate wasting time, so working while the washer’s running, or the food’s cooking is perfect for me.

    Have a great weekend.

  12. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    I work from home two days a week and I love it. My non-writer friends say “how can you? don’t you get distracted?” For the most part I don’t. I am very discplined so I do get things done.

    I could not imagine working in one of those cubicle type situations. I would go crazy.

  13. The (Mis)Adventures of a Single City Chick

    I must admit I’m one of those who needs to physically leave the house and go to an office every day or I’d go stir crazy. Probably why I don’t mind too terribly much being out of the house for nearly 13 hours a day. Although, that’s probably the reason I tend to stay close to home most weekends to recover. πŸ™‚

    FYI, I just tagged you for a new meme over at my blog! πŸ™‚


  14. witnessing am i

    Working from home has it’s own obstacles, of course, so it is nice to be thankful for that. I worked from home for a while and found it very, very difficult. Granted, it was doing unfuflilling work at the time, that I was eager to put off by doing laundry or . . . anything. It was also the best time because I was able to walk my eldest son to school every day. No big deal for him but a complete joy for me.

    Heck, it is nice to be thankful for being thankful. I know that sounds a bit silly, but it is easy to take things for granted, even the things we feel we are “owed.” Thank you for the reminders.

  15. cheeky

    Thanks for all the wonderful links.
    I admire your time management skills to work at home. It definitely requires discipline. It is nice to have that flexibility.
    Everyone does need a sounding board or five. LOL TouchΓ©!

  16. ViVi

    Oh my gosh, I thought of the best question and I don’t remember it being discussed! Do you have distant relatives living in Italy and have you either made contact or keep up with them?

  17. Andrea

    I work form home too πŸ™‚ wee hee! and I am currently slacking off. I also got tagged for a meme and I put you on the list as one of my favorite reads! Now you have to tell 7 random things about yourself and tag 7 more people πŸ™‚

  18. Sauntering Soul

    I wish I could figure out a way to work from home. I say that as I’m sitting in my cubicle looking at a pile of cardboard boxes…

    I loved the blog swap yesterday too! There were some incredible posts.

  19. Wanderlust Scarlett

    Ahhh… living in Italy by the sea and working from home with puppies by your feet.

    Not at all jealous. Nope, not even a little bit.

    Quite happy here at my desk by the wicked witch of the office.



    It’s Friday.

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

    PS ;o) I am very glad for you that you are blessed with these things! It’s so cool. You are an inspiration!

  20. sarala

    How’s Nanowrimo going? Are you happy with your progress to date? You are definitely doing a better job of keeping up with your blog than I am.

  21. MyMelange

    Wow!! Thats alot of homeowrk you left us….I can only hope to one day *work at home* And one day have Italy be my home!

  22. zandria

    These links look really interesting! I’ve bookmarked this page so I can come back and look at them when I have more time. Hope you’re having a good weekend. πŸ™‚

  23. odessa

    i’m so jealous that you can work from home, although i don’t think i’d be able to get anything done if i was in your situation…i’d be daydreaming and walking around your lovely little village all the time! =)

  24. sognatrice

    *Stefanie, blog share was truly amazing; perhaps I’ll give it a go next time. And thanks for clicking over the read my blogging lessons πŸ™‚

    *Roam, by no means should you keep your head in the books. And I applaud what you’re saying once again πŸ˜‰

    *Sara, your true love is truly a wonderful person as are you, you animal-sitting machine πŸ˜‰

    *Geggie, autonomy is a lovely thing πŸ™‚

    *MB, “But then, at least I’m only driving myself crazy, not everyone around me. Of course, my stress here is pretty limited.” Exactly πŸ™‚

    *NYC, I know you just keep thinking “Office Space” like I do….

    *Christina, I’m such a homebody that I *still* like to stay at home on weekends too; I try to create a different atmosphere for the weekends, do more fun projects in the house, and unfortunately it’s also when I end up cleaning and such anyway….

    I’ll be right over to check out that meme!

    *David, I do think the work you’re doing makes a difference; I wasn’t excited to get up every morning and study while in law school, for instance. It’s nice to find the balance though. I wouldn’t hate going to an actual place of work once in a while, but I suppose I’d like to pick when, where, and who’s there…too picky?

    *Cheeky, I can’t tell you how nice it is to see you around here. Really.

    *Vivi, excellent question! I’m on it!

    *Andrea, the ability to slack off is also a nice thing about working at home, so long as it’s in moderation, right? Another meme? Oh dear.

    *Sauntering Soul, if it’s meant to happen it will. Have you given names to your boxes? When I used to have boxes of files in my office, I found it helped to introduce them to one another, move them nearer and closer depending on their moods πŸ˜‰

    *Scarlett, I wish the doggies would stay at my feet–they’re too comfy in their doggie beds πŸ˜‰

    *Sarala, well, I’m definitely behind on NaNo. It’s still doable at this point, but I am pretty happy with what I have considering I only had a vague idea, no outline, no real plan. One part of the book, at least, requires a lot of research that I haven’t done, so I’m not even touching writing that yet. All in all, yes, I’m pretty happy. I *never* would’ve gotten that much written in this period of time without NaNo!

    *Robin, wouldn’t it be just lovely?!

    *Zandria, I’m glad you bookmarked! I hope you enjoy πŸ™‚

    *Odessa, one good thing is that I’ve been here 4 years already so the village doesn’t hold as many new discoveries as it used to, but there are still plenty of walks (the dogs have to go out of course!).

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