Archive for 2009

2009 End of Year Meme

I first saw this Year End meme at Sundry Mourning, who originally copied it from Gwen’s Petty, Judgmental, Evil Thoughts back in 2004.

This year’s version follows, and you can also check out previous ones:

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before? Bottlefed a baby goat, raised another two baby goats besides, surprised my niece and nephew with a holiday visit to the States, was a finalist in the Bloggies, moved from my first house in Italy, got a blurb in a book, had my most successful freelance writing year to date, met several online friends in person! Yay!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Resolutions aren’t my thing, but I did well with my personal goals, particularly professionally, and yes, I’ll set more again.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes, a few. Welcome to the world, babies!

4. Did anyone close to you die? My 39-year-old cousin of cancer in April.

5. What countries did you visit? Italy and the US.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009? A completely furnished house.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? The dates we got the goats. Why? Because they’re my kids!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Once again this year, the expansion of my freelance writing career.

9. What was your biggest failure? Still not completing a novel. Grr….

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing too bad, I guess, as I don’t remember anything.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Aside from my plane tickets home, my glorious MacBook.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? P’s, for putting up with my six-week absence while dealing with dogs and goats and house issues, oh my!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Joe Lieberman’s.

14. Where did most of your money go? This trip to the US and the house.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Visiting the US!

16. What song will always remind you of 2009? Beyoncé’s Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer? Happier, fatter (definitely a few pounds more because of the US trip!), richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Worked on my novel.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Deciding whether to get a Mac. That should’ve been a no-brainer.

20. How did you spend Christmas? Christmas Eve at my dad’s house and Christmas at my brother’s. The whole family was at both.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009? One word: KIDS. Maaaaaaaa!

22. What was your favorite TV program? Uomo vs. Natura (Man vs. Wild)

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Hate is ugly.

24. What was the best book you read? Just one? The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Boh.

26. What did you want and get? To expand my writing career.

27. What did you want and not get? More of the house to be completed.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? The Men Who Stare at Goats. For obvious reasons, I imagine.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 33, and I think we were supposed to have a cookout but it rained. Maybe?

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Immeasurably more satisfying? Hmmm. I don’t know. I’m pretty happy with this year, although, again, I have to go back to having more of the house done.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009? Same as always but now with sheepskin boots!

32. What kept you sane? Furry friends.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Gotta be the Bear. See also #22.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Don’t get me started on health care.

35. Who did you miss? Whoever wasn’t near me at any given time.

36. Who was the best new person you met? I met two online friends in NYC–both are amazing!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009. Mindfulness.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Rise up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’ sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin’, “This is my message to you-ou-ou:”

Let me know if you do the year end meme!

Calvin & Hobbes Christmas Eve Poem

As I encourage you to do every year, please do check out my favorite Christmas poem:

Christmas Eve

by Bill Watterson

See words in larger print here.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!

And to everyone else, have a fabulous Friday!

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Chewy Coconut Macaroons

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, but believe me, this What’s Cooking Wednesday was worth the wait.

First off, see that “macaroon” in the title? We are *not* making macarons of the French variety. For those, check out my fellow expat Sara of Ms Adventures in Italy. She’s the expert!

Here we’re talking about macaroons with two Os, and if you love chewy and coconut and easy peasy, these are for you.

Now, if you’re a novice baker and are feeling a little nervous about the thought of beating egg whites till they form stiff peaks, I assure you: do not be afraid of this. It may sound intimidating (it did to me), but all you do is stick the mixer in the whites and let it do its thing. Seriously.

The prep time on these cookies is only about 10-15 minutes, and 20-25 minutes after that, you’ll have two dozen cookies. You can do it!

Chewy Coconut Macaroons

  • 2 2/3 c flaked coconut
  • 2/3 c granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

1. Lightly grease and flour two medium cookie sheets (or spray it with nonstick spray, which is what I did) and preheat oven to 325°F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine coconut, flour, sugar, and salt.

3. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites on high until they form stiff peaks, adding almond extract and beating it in just before they’re done.

4. Fold egg whites into coconut mixture and mix together till it’s all moist.

5. Drop mixture by rounded teaspoon 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets.

6. Bake at 325°F for 20-25 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

7. Let cool completely on a wire rack before storing.

Buon appetito!

Winner of The Go-Getter Girl’s Guide…and a Macaroon Teaser

After a weekend full of making cookies (14 different kind!) with my mom, I’m ready for a long winter’s nap. And yet today is the shortest day of the year. Doesn’t that just figure?

Anyway, do come back Wednesday for a recipe for one of my mom’s newest and most delicious cookie recipes ever–the Chewy Coconut Macaroon. She only started making these last year, and I wasn’t here for that, so this is my first experience with these bad boys. Whoa. LOVE.

But now, what you’ve all been waiting for. I’ve randomly chosen the winner of The Go-Getter Girl’s Guide by Debra Shigley, and the lucky commenter is:

Catherine of Passage to Italy

Congratulations Catherine! I’ll be in touch.

To the rest of you, get out there and get your copy for your favorite go-getter girl!

And come back Wednesday for those macaroons!

Santa Greeting from Snowy PA

I can’t even put into words how happy I am that we’ve had SNOW since I’ve been in the States. Yay! I love the snow!!!

Today we’re getting another storm, although we’re not expected to get too much snow (three to six inches is child’s play around here). Needless to say, I’m staying put all day long. As I took a break from making cookies with Mom to enjoy a bit of “The Holiday” (cute!) on TBS, I heard some fire engine sirens in the distance.

I peeked out the door to make sure the lights weren’t headed our way for a fire…and what to my wondering eyes should appear? Well, no reindeer, but…

Santa in the snow on Flickr

I hope you’re enjoying your Saturday as much as I am!

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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