Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom, my own personal angel.
I totally lucked out when God gave me to you. Thank you for teaching me to love unconditionally, to be loved, and to love who I am. Thank you for teaching me about perseverance and how to dust oneself off when life knocks you down. Thank you for teaching me about joy in the simple things…Like fresh picked strawberries, or swimming out to the deep end, even if you’re scared, because the water is cooler there, and there’s nothing like floating on your back in the middle of the ocean.
Happy Mother’s Day to my Grammie, who listened to me tell stories where Princesses rode giant panthers through dense forests, and for helping me spy a leprechaun when out for a walk. Thank you for always having an ear, or a story to tell of her own.
Thank you both for teaching me to always find time to dance – to throw up my arms and spin and it’s OK if you’ve got two left feet, there’s Grace in that.
After about five years of being a red head -or some variation, I’ve decided to go blonde -well mostly, I’m getting highlights. I was planing on getting it done prior to leaving Miami, but just didn’t have the chance.
Fast forward a few months and I still have that desire to go light. However, I’m in Italy now and I swear, like 90% of the population here is blonde. When we go out and about in town the number of women I see with blonde hair far outweighs that of black hair or brunettes. Forget about red, I think I’ve spotted about 3 red heads since I’ve been here and they’ve all been on base. I’ve not travelled farther than Venice yet, so I can’t speak for the rest of the country, but here in Northern Italy, the women love to be blonde.
So I’ve compiled a few of my favorite blondes via my Pinterest board “Oh so Pretty Hair” as a bit of hairspiration for my stylist tomorrow (which oh my gawd – am I hoping she is awesome!)
Have I mentioned how much I miss having bangs? I do, but I’ve spent 9 months growing those bad boys out – I won’t be going back into bang territory for a while.
This is sort of my hair goal. Long, all (mostly) one length. I also like the darker roots which is why I’m opting for highlights.
Cameron Diaz. Love her.
This is a great highlight/lowlight.
Is there nothing more quintessential and classic-glam beauty than blonde hair with red lips?
Last night while my husband and I were tidying up after supper I remarked, “If I could sing, I wouldn’t speak. I’d just sing.” It’s something I’ve said, here on this blog a few times, I’m sure and in passing to friends. My husband was tolerating my choice of tunes as he isn’t a big fan of Lana Del Ray. But to my ears her voice is like like liquid amber and the way she can mix the melancholy with the sweet is so lovely which is what sparked my comment on this occasion.
I can not sing. I mean, I can. I do. It just doesn’t sound very nice.
Then my husband said something to me, that to my tone deaf ears, was sort of profound.
He said, “Nicky, you may not be able to sing, but you can write. So by your account you should be writing all the time, and you’re not doing that.”
With his sagacious words I had a moment of clarity.
He was absolutely 100% right. So profound was my reaction to his observation I became very still and quiet-the proverbial deer in the headlights. All I could do was stand there in the middle of the kitchen with a dishtowel in my hands. After about a minute all I could utter was “wow”, which by the way is the exact same thing that occurred the night I met him.
I guess I never looked at my writing as a “talent” like singing. It was and is simply something I must do.
Therefor by my own account, I’m not using my talent as I would have myself do.
Sure I’m constantly “writing” in my head, or making little notes on my iPad or journals, I have my manuscript, and a few other stories I’ve written, and I can’t discount this blog – so I’ve never – not written- but even my blogging over the last two years hasn’t been what I would call prolific.
By my account my talent has been neglected. I should be a prolific writer and I’m not.
I have only one thing to do, write. Write so that should I one day loose the ability to speak, my voice would continue to be heard.
Oh and in case you were wondering, we were listening to Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Ray.
I really wish I could’ve skipped the entire experience.
I enjoy these exams about as much as going to the dentist or that other annual exam I wish I could ignore.
You know the one ladies, as it also involves one of those crinkly paper hospital gowns–that are about as useful as a flashlight is to a blind man. (God knows they provide about as much warmth as one.) Which of course leaves one freezing, waiting for the doctor, because let’s face it, I’ve never walked into a hospital or doctor’s office where the thermostat wasn’t set to sub-zero temperatures. Which of course meant that I was all goose-flesh when it came time for my exam.
Thirty minutes later I had a diagnosis of “this mole doesn’t look right we should have this biopsied” scenario.
All I could think was, “here I go again”.
I’ve been cast into that slightly uncomfortable, I just want to have this be over spot, I like to call, The Waiting Place.
Basically it’s Purgatory here on earth.
As I walked to my car despite the overcast day, I could feel the threat of skin cancer blaring down on me like the midday sun.
My heart felt heavy, and I’m pretty sure my eyes got all teary as I gave myself just a moment to accept that this is happening again.
The mole in question is in the same spot where I had a-typical cells during my last skin cancer biopsy which, I subsequently had removed. So if something’s grown back, I mused, It can’t be good.
To be honest, I’m feeling much more anxious about having to have this biopsy and the results this go-round. All I could keep thinking about where the statistics, as a Melanoma survivor, my risk remains higher that I can get it again, which is why I must be diligent about my skin examinations and use of sunscreen etc.
I’m trying not to think about it. Or talk about it. But it’s my skin. It’s kind of hard not to think about it, when you have no other choice but to live inside of it.
Still…My biopsy isn’t for about two weeks, so I’m certainly not going to go around moping or freaking out as that would do me about as much good as that paper gown did, but until I actually get the results it will be there, lingering in the back of my mind.
If you’re new to my blog or would care to read some of my other posts I’ve written on my experience, thoughts, products I use for my skin, and the topic of skin cancer, Melanoma, in general here are a few:
Last weekend we planned on going to Venice. We awoke early and just kept getting delayed. The biggest delay coming from our youngest son who got car sick a block away from the train station. We returned home of course and cleaned him up. We then had some lunch and meandered around our TLF for a bit. Around three o’clock we ventured out again. We drove around familiarizing ourselves with the area some more, we visited a local grocery store (our first time) where I found the most delicious cookies, and then got back into our rental car and just drove around some more. When we found ourselves in the exact spot where Evan had thrown up all over the place-thus halting our trip. My husband turned to me and said, “You’re gonna see Venice today.” He then turned his head and said, “Boys, I promised your mom I’d take her to Venice, and we’re going.”
I was less than compliant because it was already so late in the day nearly five by then and the forecast called for rain in Venice that evening. Not to mention my “maybe all of these hiccups today mean we’re not supposed to go” argument. But my protests fell on deaf ears and before I knew it we were all aboard a train to Venice. The city I’d dreamed of. The city I longed to see for so very long.
We arrived at twilight as a light rain began to fall.
My husband snapped as many photos as he could before night fall.
I was simply trying to soak it all in. Even as the rain began it’s more persistent fall that would last through out the night.
We walked around for a few hours and when the kids began to complain a little too loudly we stopped in a cafe for pizza. After which we ventured out into the wet cold night, which in a city like Venice, made it much more ethereal to me despite the bustling of people. We ventured into the maze of buildings, following the echoing of church bells, found our way out and treated our boys to gelato.
We all ended up with soaking wet shoes save for my husband who’d worn his waterproof hiking boots. We were cold and chilled to the bone, but still we were in Venice and knew she would be but a train ride away.
On Monday we decided on a house and in the excitement and desire to just be settled we made sort of a spur of the moment decision on car in the freezing cold rain.
Test driving and deciding on a car while your teeth are chattering is never a good idea. Trust me.
It was a ’91 BMW that was priced right as it’s owner was scheduled to PCS (i.e. leave) our base in two days time. We thought it too good a deal to pass up and began the process of purchasing the car.
A few hours later that decision began to not sit so well with me. One because it was a manual transmission and my husband doesn’t know how to drive a stick-shift. The thought of teaching him didn’t freak me out or anything like that. I’m sure we probably would’ve gotten into an argument or four along the way, and I was sure I could teach him in an afternoon. However when I really began to think about driving this vintage-behemoth (behemoth around here anyway) I began to think perhaps we hadn’t made the wisest of choices.
Because of the age of the car it also didn’t come with things I’ve grown accustomed to in an automobile. Things like ABS brakes and air bags to name a few or even cup holders as they are an up grade when purchasing BMW’s here the original owner decided he could do with out. Clearly this person didn’t have children who had an affinity for sipping their juice boxes while driving.
Yesterday morning around one I woke up with a gnawing in my stomach. That car was not right for our family. I tossed and turned. Switched on my iPad and began looking for other newer cars. Yes we’d have to spend more but having a good safe reliable car was the important thing.
I was able to get passed the glove box not working properly or the fact that in order to lock the driver’s side door I’d have to use the trunk. I liked that it was in pretty good condition and that the owner had put on great tires and upgraded the sound system. What I didn’t was the driver’s side window wouldn’t go completely up. Leaving a space about a half inch wide. I’m cold here in our rental car with the heat on. I figured that would be an added distraction. When you add that and the manual transmission, plus the way my Italian neighbors drive and the small narrow roads I figured we were asking for a collision.
We cancelled that purchase and bought a car ten years younger. It comes w/ air bags and ABS brakes, and windows that close completely. I forgot to look to make sure it had cup holders, at least I know I wont freeze while driving.
Now that I’m on the topic of purchasing a car I thought I might share some information we learned for those who are PCS’g here.
I honestly think it would be easier to buy a house in Italy. In order to purchase a new car we’d have to wait about 8 months for it to arrive as we’d have to order it with the specifications we wanted. Furthermore military members overseas can only finance new cars though their banks like USAA.
Purchasing a used car was very simple as we used a local dealer who is well established with the base and all the regulations they and Italy require. Selection was very slim as automatic cars go quick and are few in number as most people here drive manual transmissions.
However if you plan to purchase a vehicle from an Italian dealership there are some rules you need to follow and should make sure you use a dealership who is familiar with the process to ensure things go as smooth and as quickly (hahahahahaha) as they can.
All of the rules will be explained to you in detail when you in-process and the information is readily available from the Pass & Registration office. If you have any questions feel free to ask and I’ll answer them to the best of my knowledge or at the very least point you in the right direction.
We’ll get our “new” car in a week after all the paper work has been filed and officiated. Until then we’re driving a rental.
Just over a week ago I learned about your “squatty-potty” from our sponsor when out for dinner at a local restaurant. The very description of it sounded completely alien to my ears. “A toilet, that’s basically a whole in the ground.” I imagined a dirt floor and a hole. I was a little unnerved and so had to go and take a peek at the time even tough there was no real “need”.
I’d heard about horrible public restrooms in places like China, but never in Europe. The only thing I’d heard was that one had to pay to use them here-which I’ve as yet, not encountered.
When the “squat-toilet” was being explained to me I was told that for “numero uno” you should face the back and for “numero due” you should face the front. When I got in there that made no sense to me. My advice, should I ever need to share the mysteries of your public toilets to the unaware would be to roll up your pants at the ankles if you’re wearing them and find any sort of moisture on the floor. Plant your feet firmly in the center, there are grooves there that will keep you from sliding. Pull down your pants and squat low. The squatting low is key to not getting dripped on. The first time I used one I easilty went into my softball catcher’s squat and it worked great. So far I’ve been lucky in that all of the public restrooms I’ve encountered have been clean. Even the one on the train to Venice was not horrible. Though there was no soap, there was paper and luckily I always have hand sanitizer in my purse. I am a former Girl Scout after all Italia.
Since my first encounter with your squatty-potty, I find myself acting like a four year old when it comes to your toilets. I’m curious, and feel more than a little compelled to go in and have a look around. A novelty I’m sure will wear off eventually.
On my way to the toilette I secretly guess what sort of commode I’ll encounter. Either way you’ve usually decided that squatting is the best way to go about a public restroom since most of your more standard toilets don’t have a seat on them. Which leaves me no place to lay my delicate derriere should I so wish; and lets face it, I never really wished to in the States, so why would I here? A fact I’m very glad for now because my disdain for sitting in public has led me to develop excellent squatting capabilities which I was forced began to hone during my freshman year at college. My dorm had a common bathroom on our floor, so I squatted a lot that year perfecting my “technique”.
Flushing is another matter I find rather confusing. All of your toilets seem to have a different flushing mechanism. It’s taken me a few moments sometimes to figure them out. Also, if there’s a basket in there I should put my paper in it. Shouldn’t I? I suppose doing so is way better than finding out too late a toilet doesn’t flush too well.
I’d also like to comment on the closeness of the male and female restrooms. I understand space is limited here. I get that. I also understand that most of your buildings were born before indoor plumbing. I will just need a little time to get used to having the men pee at such a close proximity. In one instance the men’s stall was right next to mine in the same room. I thankfully had only ventured in to take my son to use the facilities. I can’t tell you how quickly I high-tailed myself out of there. Call me a prude American if you wish Italia, but this girl like’s her privacy when toileting. Also, why do you leave your doors to your restrooms open? I don’t want people (I mean random men) to see me washing my hands, or adjusting my smeared mascara at the mirror. I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to that. But I’ll keep you posted should I begin to. Promise.
I was still very surprised to discover a toilet in the floor. I mean what if I had to sit? Like what if I couldn’t stand? What would I do?
I still haven’t answered that question, as none of the toilets I’ve visited aside from those on base have a disabled stall. Which led me to pay attention at other public places. For instance at the train station where I had to climb down and then back up a ton of stairs. I spied no elevators at any of the three train stations I’ve visited so far. Which gives me pause to wonder what does one do when one can not walk on their own here? I’m still investigating that, but if you could help me figure it out without having to ask a native I’d really appreciate it.
I never imagined I’d write about toilets…Prego Italia for the experience and opportunity to ponder these differences in culture. I’m embracing them. I really am, though I can’t promise a bear hug in the toilette any time soon!
Italian words used:
numero = numberuno = onedue = twoprego = thank youTi amo = I love you.