Melanie and I had a good morning. I picked her up after I dropped off Anna. We went in her car to the Lidl which was right next to a McDonald's with a play area. I must make a mental note for the future!!
The Lidl was fun. I didn't know what to expect. It's German so therefore better than anything Italian in my eyes. I bought a bunch of stuff and didn't end up spending a lot, either. First, though, we went to coffee. There was a cafe and I'm always up for a cup but now I'm a little awake. Anna is awake in her crib these days. It's impossible to get her to sleep and then it's impossible to get her to wake up. Yesterday afternoon, she didn't go to sleep until 3:00 and then I ended up waking her up at 4:00 pm. I ended up just skyping with mom and dad in the living room. I was nervous about Anna going to sleep at her usual time, but it wasn't a problem. I put her in her room with some stories on repeat and she loved that.
Finally I got her to sleep at 2:00 pm. It's cold around here. It's sunny and bright but the wind is strong and cold. It's rattling the shutters. Giovanni is going to the states on Saturday morning. He says it's like a holiday for me.

Cute Anna

This morning, while I was putting a fresh diaper on Anna, she was babbling as she typically does when she said, "Non nella bocca, Francesco!!"

When I went to the daycare, Monica told me that there was, indeed, a kid named Francesco and he does put things in his mouth!!


This morning, I had to go to the bathroom, so I made a BIG DEAL about sitting on the potty and making faces, etc.

Anna came running up and said, "Spinge!! Spinge!!!" (push! push!)


Had a good morning. It was short and sweet. Anna had daycare but I had no school. It's a holiday so the schools are closed. Thank God Helen told me that at my Birthday party on Sunday (that went very well, thank you).
This morning, I dropped Anna off at 8:50 and then picked up Melanie and her son, Julian, at around 9:20. We were running late because Anna did a poo right as we were about to walk out the door.
We drove to Collegno where the subway ends and parked the car; there's a ton of parking there so you don't have to worry. We took the subway in and then took a bus to Piazza Solferino? to a French Market that's there at Christmas, too.
It was just getting started when we arrived at 10. Almost no one was there except for the vendors so we were able to look at all the things without too much bother. We bought some stuff. I bought some smelly stuff for the bathrooms: a vanilla cat for Giovanni's bathroom and a little green Verbena turtle for my bathroom. Let's see if they stink up the joint. Probably not. 10 euro down the drain.
Then, Julian wanted to go to the main Piazza so we walked over there, but we stopped for a cafe on the way and took some pictures. It's really great to walk around Turin and I'm more in my element when I'm in a city. Although Turin is nothing like New York. It's an old city and it was still pretty quiet.
We went to the main Piazza where I bought some postcards. Then, it was time to get back on the streetcar and metro and come home. I was just in time to pick up Anna at daycare.
I think I'm going to record a couple books for Anna. Last night, to put her to sleep, I put my recording of "Green Eggs and Ham" on in her room on repeat. She likes that. It didn't put her to sleep, however. I went in there and got it out and she didn't protest. She loves the "Say! In the Dark? Could you would you in the dark?" I guess I had a particular way of saying it and she repeated it like that one day. So now I go over the top with it and even let her read that page when we get to it. My God she's so great. A pain in the tukhes no doubt but just great. This morning, we read "Goodnight Moon" and she knew some words.
No plans for this afternoon although I probably should clean up this place. Giovanni cleaned up after the party. He was really a great help. He insisted on using real glassware instead of the phoney baloney plastic cups that I bought at the Auchan. He was right; it was more classy. I should buy some at the consignment shop.

This morning, I had an espresso instead of a regular coffee and maybe I should just do that from now on. Maybe the Borg is sucking me in.


It's my sister's birthday today. I'm not on Facebook so I can't wish her Happy Birthday there. I sent her a card through my mother. I hope that she gets it today (probably). Who knows what they're up to today. I'm one of those jerks not on Facebook so I don't know what's going on in peoples lives.
Yesterday afternoon, I took Anna over to Joleen's house. Basically Via Buttigliera Alta but on the other side of town. They do that here: have a billion different names for the same damn street. Whatever. As long as google maps has it figured out.
She has a lovely house that is pretty big and well furnished. Turns out, like everything else in Italy, it belongs to her MIL but her MIL moved to another apartment to give them space. So Joleen had very little to do with the interior and its look. They have a sidewalk that goes all around the house so we did a couple laps following Anna. Anna had a great time with Enzo and Linda's toys and they were pretty good about sharing and not getting in her way. First, Anna just played in the yard which was all enclosed like all yards in Italy. She had a good time getting into everything and looking at the beautiful flowers.
Then, when Joleen's MIL showed up  with the kids, we all went into the kitchen and had nutella croissants. Joleen's kid speak Italian and Chinese so I couldn't speak much English with them like I can with everyone else's kids. So it goes. They're adorable, though. Joleen's English is pretty good so we had a good time. She showed me where thieves tried to break into their house by beating on the bricks with a hammer. Yikes! This country!! It's because Italians have so much cash laying around their houses. I guess it's worth it for the thieves.
She invited me to a puppet show today at the Oratorio. I'll probably go but Anna probably won't sit still. I learned my lesson during "Toddler Time" at the SF Park Branch library. *sigh*
This morning there was school and it was Lino's birthday. Giovanni took the day off in order so we could all go fireplace shopping across town.
I sent Lino a message telling him I wasn't going to be there but Helen called me anyway from class asking me if everything was okay.  I don't think that anything was resolved at the fireplace store but I got a better idea of what it's going to look like and not look like. I thought it was going to be flush with the wall, but it's not. Because we don't have a chimney like our other houses. *sigh* So we're going to have a big fireplace that protrudes into the room. Phooey. I said it's not going to work well with our enormous couch and Giovanni said we'd get rid of the couch and my heart broke into a million pieces because the couch isn't perfect but it's our couch and we had it specially made so Giovanni could lie down completely.
I just sent Giovanni an email saying we could put our enormous couch up on the second floor. I have no idea how the hell our house is going to shape up. It's not a money pit, but it costs money!!
Anna was okay last night but not great. She had some nasty coughing fits after I put her down to sleep that made her cry. They sounded horrible but she managed to sleep pretty okay for the rest of the night and we all got enough sleep. She doesn't have the nasty coughing fits during the day.
Not much else to report. Giovanni is going away for a week and is preparing himself for that. I made chili last night.


I get this feeling that I'm not in charge of my life anymore, but it's just about daily pleasures. I have no career goals anymore; that's out the window. Forget a career as I know it and I haven't had any calling here in Italy at all. My Italian is still terrible and I have little to no excuses after a year and a half. You get out what you put into it. Of course I compare myself with women who have Italian husbands who probably speak Italian to them all the time. I compare myself to women who have been here for decades.
There's a roundabout right near the daycare that is being worked on. They have temporary traffic lights installed. It's weird that I live in Italy. I wish I lived in a more metropolitan area. I wish Giovanni and I could go out to eat every night like we used to in Manhattan and Jersey. I liked that. There's a big difference between going out to eat every night at a restaurant at 8:00 and having to cook dinner for someone else at 8:00 every night.


Giovanni took the day off and is now at Yoga. He called me to tell me that he may have gotten a speeding ticket because he got clocked going over 100 km an hour on Corso Susa. He has a lot of points on his patente, but it's not good to lose points.
This morning, I took Anna to daycare a little late. I was pushing 9:30. Then, I drove to pick up Melanie. She had bags full of old clothes and things she wanted to sell at the consignment shop. I wanted to see what there was.
We found the place and parked. It's in the same building as the lazer tag place; her Scottish friend, Jennie, and her husband own the building. Or her husband owns the building; it used to be a factory and was empty for a long time before the lazer tag place. Melanie was able to sell some stuff but not half as much as she would have liked. It was interesting to see the array of things they had for sale. They had two Barbies in the original packaging for 10 euro apiece which is really startling as you can get brand-new Barbies at the Auchan for less than that--or at least these boring-type Barbies.
They had furniture and decorations and plates and housewares and everything. I took pictures of all the things I liked and ended up buying an old colander in great shape, a wicker basket to put diaper stuff in, and an old bundt pan. I need to bake a cake for my birthday next week.
They had a lot of wall mirrors and maybe I'll just do that with my new house: just put mirrors everywhere. Everyone loves mirrors. I know I love looking at myself. It started to get cold in there, so I suggested coffee. I also needed to go to the bathroom. I really need to become Italian and just drink a tiny espresso in the morning instead of an enormous cup of black coffee.
We found a generic Italian cafe across the street, ordered our drinks (caffe lungo decaffeinated for me) along with a doughnut for me and a cookie for her. The restroom was about as expected; biggest toilet I'd ever seen and no seat. I had to squat while my thighs rested on the bowl itself because there was no way to avoid it. How far we have fallen, as my old friend would say.
At least they had soap and water and hand towels to sanitize myself with afterward. After coffee, we walked to the panettiera for bread for her and then back to the car to leave. When I got home, there was no one here. I put a load of laundry into the wash, did a little housework, and then it was time to go pick up Anna at daycare.
I double parked on the street and went inside to get Anna. They're always ready for me when I get there: they must look out the window to see. I'm glad she's having such a fun time.
When we got into the car, we had to go a different way back to the main road to get home. They were working on the road. I still, for the life of me, can't find the dump. Giovanni and I drove there once and I've never seen it again--even though there are signs posted. I'm lost!

Now I'm at the computer. Giovanni just got home. I have nothing for us or him to eat. Why is it up to me, anyway? He has the day off. Why can't he cook? I made myself a little cold cut sandwich with cheese. I needed some protein in my system because I had too much sugar and it was making me a cranky bitch.
This afternoon, we're going to the fireplace store to get an estimate to put in a fireplace at Via Benetti. We'll see.


I made the same mistake today that I made on Saturday. I had less caffeine this morning. Not my usual American coffee but just a small Italian caffe. Not enough caffeine and now I'm out of sorts and sort of down--even though it's a beautiful day. A lot of clouds in the sky.
Anna got up with a cough; she had a cough all last night but didn't complain. But Giovanni wanted to give her something this morning so I said, "Sure, go ahead!" So he gave her a spoonful of the "cough" syrup for babies (which doesn't exist). He got some on her sacco di nanna, even though I told him not to do that in retaliation.
Dropped Anna off at daycare where I was told she has to wear knit pants and not the cute tights and skirt I put her in today. Oh, stuff it lady. All I ever get is grief.
Just realized that it's mom's birthday next month. Oh boy, I better get my cards in order. I have to send one to Laura, also. Mom must not have herself down on Facebook; that's where I looked yesterday. I think I have enough cards. Mom says she's sending more.
Yesterday afternoon, I didn't do anything. Anna and I just hung out here at the house. We never ended up going to the park. Anna needs a little more rest in the afternoon now that she's going to daycare. She doesn't get to sleep until 1:00 pm and then when I try to wake her up at 3:00 she's a cranky mess for a long time--almost an hour. She's growing and playing and having fun.
I've been reading the book "Capital" which is a British book and I'm enjoying it so far. It was recommended to me by Betina at the ladies' library morning. I said I wanted something not heavy or about the Holocaust. It was a good suggestion and now I'd like to read more books like it. I'm learning things, though, which is nice. I'm also reading a Topolino comic book which really helps. I understand a lot of it. I went to class this morning and sometimes I understand a lot and sometimes I don't. Seems like everyone understands a lot more than I do. And I can't help myself from being  a smart ass in class. This morning, Lino gave me something about Bernie Sanders being a socialist and I said that "Socialist" was a dirty word in America. The Russians in the class said there was nothing wrong with being a socialist. I said in America there's no difference between being a communist and a socialist--they're equally bad. I know I heard the difference once but I forget.

I just got the bell that Anna is ready to be picked up in 10 minutes. I set an alarm for 12:20 so I can go to the bathroom, grab my keys, and go.
Last night, she was watching videos and I let her watch some in her crib with the volume way down low. She liked that and I didn't think much of it but then realized she might get used to that. So I went in and got the tablet and she was still awake but didn't put up too much of a fuss.



Doing okay today; slept well last night. G and I watched some of Star Wars The Force Awakens last night. He'd fallen asleep during it a couple nights before so he wanted to watch from where he'd fallen asleep. That was a first--Molly continues to watch a movie while G falls asleep. It's 99% the other way all the time. But he'd already seen the movie in the theater so he knew what was going to happen but I did not. I really enjoyed it so was willing to watch it again--but this time I put it on Italian with Italian subtitles. So, I knew what was going on. I understood some Italian but not all of it. I'm still dismayed by my terrible Italian even though I'm leaps and bounds ahead of where I was a year and a half ago.
Today, I had to go to the bank to drop off some paperwork. I was able to accomplish what I was there to do, but there was definitely some miscommunication on both sides. She spoke very fast so I had to guess what she was saying and I probably guessed poorly. Melanie said in those situations she just keeps asking "A posto?" if she thinks everything's done. Then, if it's not, they say one thing and if it is they say Si. Facile!
Took Anna to daycare this morning and told the daycare lady, Monica, that Anna had put away all her toys in the toybox on Saturday without being told or asked. All the while saying "A posto! A posto!" I knew she hadn't learned that downstairs!! I passed on a compliment. When I returned to pick Anna up, however, Monica told me that today Anna did not help clean up at all.
Anna is not a brava bambina. She's not a bambina cattiva, but she is far from brava. She's very independent and I'm probably an overly permissive mother who lets her get away with a lot of stuff. She's well on her way to being a spoiled brat if she's not already there. But, in other ways, she's a great kid: she eats, sleeps, and poops well. Even when she's sick, she's pretty easy. In that sense, she's very easy. Very brava.
At 1:30, I'm skyping with my friend k. I should probably eat something beforehand so I'm not shoving sandwiches in my face as we speak. Although I don't think she minds, much. I was able to get some housework done this morning uninterrupted. As I told m, cleaning the house on the weekend while my husband is home is like shoveling the drive during a snowstorm. Best just to wait until Monday morning.
Yesterday was fine. I don't think we did much. Saturday night, I met s and her family at Kirby Grove for pizza at seven o'clock. I got there too early--even before they'd fired up the pizza ovens. I hate to say I'm getting used to Italy and things only being open 3 hours a day. I can't believe I come from a place where you can get a full dinner at 4:00 in the afternoon if you want. I used to do stuff like that all the time. Why not?!! Maybe I want the Enchilada platter at 4:00 in the afternoon!!!
Yesterday, I went to Auchan after Anna woke up from her nap. It's a mixed bag whether Anna will be a good traveling companion or not. She was okay, but didn't like being in the cart much and kept trying to climb out. I don't know where she thought she was going to go!
Tomorrow I have class and then Wednesday morning m and I are going to this chick Margaret's house. I guess there's just an enormous coffee group who just go around and have coffee all the time. And now I'm on the list. m still isn't on the list but I keep being told I can bring her.
Maybe I won't get to 750 words today.
This afternoon, I don't have any plans yet. Maybe we'll go to the park if it's not raining. Anna and I haven't been there in a long time. Tomorrow morning, I have class in the morning and then who knows what I'll do after class. g comes tomorrow afternoon to clean the apartment.
Wednesday morning it's coffee at Margaret's who is right near the swimming pool where Anna and I are starting lessons this Saturday morning. I should probably make sure the swimming suit still fits her!

April 14, 2016

One year ago, I was pregnant (or thought I was), studying for the patente, and at war with my in-laws.
Two years ago, I was in New Jersey with a new baby and I was nervous about moving to Italy. Also excited.
Three years ago today, I was living in New York City, going to grad school, volunteering at a counseling center, working at Intermix, about to turn 40, and dating the hottest guy I'd ever met.
Four years ago, I was in my second semester of grad school and just starting to see the hottest guy I'd ever met. I'd never been so thin in all my life.
Today, Giovanni and I woke up together at around the usual time. He went to do yoga in the ingresso and I went to turn on the hot water for my coffee. I make my coffee with coffee filters mom put in a box and sent to me. I can't find them here in Italy. I then took my coffee and my itouch and went into the dark to listen to a 20-minute playlist of Italian mp3s I've made for myself. They do help my pronunciation. An old therapist told me I needed to meditate in the morning, or at least try, but that never worked much. I just had too much going on in my head. So I decided to try sitting in the dark listening to the mp3s while sipping coffee and that works really well. I don't know if it brings clarity but I enjoy it so much I do it every day.
After the playlist finishes, I tend to check the NY times online to see what's going on in the world. I'm really trying to cut back on my news ingestion because I fear it's making me anxious. I'm also doing a Facebook and twitter fast for April because I was doing too much comparing and despairing and trying to control everything. And it exhausted me. So I need to try to jettison that for awhile. So far, so good. The only thing I really miss is my expats in Italy Facebook group. I've found that's a great support network for me that I'm cut off from for now. But it's a huge time suck. And I have so many other things I could be doing.
I also need to train myself to check my whatsapp app on my iphone because I discovered yesterday a whole bunch of messages that I never got notified for.
Anna woke early this morning; typically I have to go in there and poke her around 7:30 but she was yelling for stuff starting at 7:00 am. She wasn't crying, just trying to get our attention from the crib. Maybe Giovanni had turned on the hall light. She cracks me up all the things she says. She's a little chatterbox. Like her mom.
I took my shower. Yesterday, I tried to wash my hair and realized, in total straniera move, I'd bought conditioner instead of shampoo. In frustration, I just threw the bottle away. I never use conditioner! I'm still making stupid mistakes like that which drives me crazy. A couple weeks ago, I'd bought a sweet cream LIKE ricotta instead of ricotta. So I made a very sweet lasagna that I didn't tell Giovanni what was wrong with it. And he didn't notice. Or if he did notice, he didn't mention it.
While I was getting dressed, Giovanni and Anna were playing with her toy cars. Anna saw me senza pants. She laughed and said, "Change your pants, mamma!" We're always changing her pants. She's very much in love with routine, which is very normal for a two-year-old.
This morning, I made her the oatmeal that I bought at the COOP in Rivoli with Melanie. I'd taken a list for the Auchan and tried to find all the things I wanted at the COOP and it was a no go. Instead of quick oats, all they had were slow-cooking oats. Ugh.
She's used to having a big bottle of warm milk in the morning, but I want her to have some food in her stomach before she goes to nido so she just doesn't spend all morning begging for food. Every time I pick her up, they tell me how she ate everything (tutto). Yep, that's my girl. She's a good eater. She took to daycare like a duck to water and I'm so glad she's seemingly having a good time. 


The baby is sleeping: blessedly. She had a cranky yesterday and a cranky morning. Nothing would please her this morning: I changed her diaper, gave her food, put her in the walker, on the floor, toys, etc. Finally, when she started to rub her eyes, I nursed her to sleep. Let's hope it works a little.

I'm sitting here with wet hair; I need to do some things while the baby sleeps but I also wanted to do a little writing. So much going on. So much to beat myself up over. The nonni went to Menton this morning for a couple days. They'll return on Thursday evening. So, it's just me and the baby like old times. We've gotten out of sync. I've forgotten her schedule and she's not used to seeing my ugly mug all day long. Watching a baby is like spinning a top; you can only do so much before you have to go over and spin the thing again. I can do some housework and things while watching the baby, but when she's fussy like this morning: forget it. I can only deal with the baby.

My house is a little messy; we just got the amazon package from the post office. That reminds me that I have to buy some special mailing paper if I can. So I can write letters. I can't go to school for three days: which makes me sad. Not that I'm crazy about school, but I need to learn Italian and I need to get out of the house and I need to socialize with other people besides Giovanni and his family. I'm lucky enough to have skype in order to talk to my mother for a good hour or so every other day if not every day. I need it. Perhaps I'm not practicing Italian enough. Some days it seems like I'm really on the ball, and other days it seems like I just spit out random words that don't string together in a sentence. I told Giovanni last night and he knew what I was talking about.

It's nice that he went through all this first so on one hand he's very sympathetic to my plight: on the other hand, he came through on the other side, so suffers from hindsight bias. He got through it, and he didn't think it was that hard, so I should be able to do it just as easily. We forget how difficult things were when we were going through them. Just like we forget what it's like to be hungry when we're full and likewise.

We quarrel about little things; the electricity is higher than the states, so we can only run washes at night and off hours. This morning, when the alarm went off, I raced over to the washing machine and did a load. Giovanni didn't like that because it wasn't full but it's his thing that we can't do it in the middle of the day so we'll just keep fighting about it I guess. We both want things done our own way and there's little compromise. Or, it always seems (to me) that I'm the only one who compromises.

Poor me! After a nursing session, I can really get angry and down. I have to run into the kitchen and have something sugary to eat. But I have to keep asking myself: what would my life be like if I'd never met Giovanni? We were discussing it last night at the dinner table; I have no idea why my husband still loves me much less talks to me it always seems like I'm a raging bitch. I might still be at 3609 Broadway. Probably. Probably! In that shitty apartment! I'd still be doing online dating! Oh God. Yuck. Online dating was such a necessary evil; I hope I never have to do it again but I'm only one ski accident or heart attack away from it.

750 Words still thinks I live in New York and am doing this at 4:22 in the morning. Oh well. I suppose I could change my preferences. They're all over the map depending on what website I'm on or what app I'm using. Maybe today I'll make some fudge. I need to try that recipe from the New York Times. I can't make mom's fudge because it calls for marshmallow fluff. Something impossible to find in Italy or I could find it at great cost.

I'm glad for this moment of calm.  I hope after her nap the baby is better.