Ok, maybe I’m a little cranky.
Well… do you feel it?
The end of summer blues.
School starting up, vacations suddenly behind us and a certain clear crispness that is beginning to permeate the air. Yup. I can definitely feel fall waiting in the wings, all ready to pounce.
So, quite predictably, I’m already dreading that evil, bitter, icky, long winter. Apparently, it is possible to obsess over winter in August.
My friend Julie is the one who pointed out that I get all panicked like this every year. She’s obviously right.
Last winter, I was so grateful because I met another mother in my building. One that was cool and awesome and normal. We would pass the dark, cold afternoons chatting away as our kids played together in the lobby.
And she just announced she’s moving to the SUBURBS.
In October. Damn, that’s before the first winter chill.
Crap. I’m happy for her. But crap. So we immediately bought a house on the same block as hers. No, no… I won’t stalk her to Westchester.
Instead, I’m just trying to appreciate every moment of these glorious, sunny, perfectly warm August days.
I’ve been taking my kids for gelato in the afternoons… an attempt to ever so slightly extend our Italian holiday on the streets of New York.
Summer insists on strawberry ice cream EVERY TIME. Look, I certainly support her individual choices but I’m the one who has to keep licking it so it doesn’t all end up in a puddle on her lap. And strawberry is just… I don’t know… really totally not chocolate chip.
Dylan, who misses her nights out in the piazza, keeps asking me, “When do we get to go out at night again?” Somehow books and songs are just not measuring up to sprinting down the quaint, stone alleyways of Polignano in her pink, plastic, princess heels.
Oh girl, I promise before I have to throw a jacket on you, I’m taking you out at night. Maybe a little ice cream underneath the city lights. Dylan’s favorite flav is chocolate which, by the way, totally kicks strawberry’s arse.
For all of you who love strawberry ice cream, please don’t be offended by this post. Although I may not understand you, I certainly respect your ice cream choices. And if you ever want to explore some other, less gross flavors, I am here to help and support you.
So if you saw Michael Phelps on the cover of Sports Illustrated…
…did it remind you of former Olympian Mark Spitz (as intended)?
Or instead, did it remind you of actor Jim Carrey, in Jenny McCarthy’s bikini?
Because at first glance, I thought Michael Phelps was wearing a women’s bathing suit. But maybe I’m just weird. That’s definitely a possibility.
Meanwhile, how do people figure out that they are good at sports like pole vaulting and discus throwing? I mean, it’s not like their mom thought, “Hey, Harry could use an activity on Tuesday afternoons. Maybe I’ll sign him up for javelin throwing at the Y.” Or is that how it indeed works?
And finally (I do realize this is enormously shallow with the depth of the athletic talent and commitment on display at the Olympics) couldn’t they have designed cuter outfits for the women’s gymnastics team?
I guess if you win a gold medal, who gives a crap what you’re wearing? My apologies for my superficial comments, I just caught up on my “Project Runway” episodes and fashion design is obsessively on my brain.
By the way, when are they going to kick off… I think I have impeccable taste but I really don’t… Daniel? I just can not watch his sad, brown, weepy eyes as he gets completely trashed by the judges again. And Keith with the crazy thick bandanna around his head? I mean, why? Why is he wearing that?!
Ah… after three weeks in Europe, U.S. pop culture never felt so good.
mama bird notes
We have a new contributing mama, Karen Palmer Bland, and she is hilarious! And I’m not just saying that because she was my college sorority big sister (yes, seriously). Click on contributing mamas to read her insights on finding the perfect, most definitely overqualified babysitters.
You know how much I love Pingg (the most fabulous, gorgeous alternative to icky evite). Well, Pingg just gave me a new reason to adore them. Now for your next shindig, you can create an invite with the mama bird logo!! I mean, can your life get ANY better than that? Here’s a sample! Yahoo Pingg!
And finally, I want to thank Erin at Follow My Folly for saying such sweet things about me and giving me this very lovely award. I truly enjoy her blog and I hope you’ll run over there and give it a read.
I’m writing this from the balcony of our Rome hotel. And by Rome, I kind of mean New York City.
And by balcony, I sort of mean living room.
Yes. We’re home. Not that anyone cares with that attention hogging Michael Phelps around.
We spent our last night in Rome, gorging on heavenly pasta.
We even gave the girls a quick peak at the Roman Colosseum.
“Dylan, this is one of the most famous buildings in the world,” I explained.
“Is it new?” she responded.
“Oh no. Very very old. It dates back to – Well, it’s super old,” I said.
“Do people live here?” Dylan asked.
“No. It was used for shows. Like “Sesame Street Live” only sort of more geared for adults. Adults who dig gladiators,” I explained. I really am so good at this parenting thing.
Then we hailed a cab and told the Italian driver, “The Holiday Inn near the airport.”
And he apparently heard, “Airport.”
Because 25 exhilarating minutes later (holy crap, they really drive THIS-IS-GOING-TO-SHORTEN-MY-LIFE-FAST), we were delivered to Leonardo da Vinci airport… which was totally perfect except that we had no luggage and we were about 14 hours early for our flight.
So we cleared up the confusion, made our way to the Holiday Inn and paid him copious amount of Euros for our little unintended excursion.
The next day, our flight back to New York was 9 hours and 20 minutes.
Our portable DVD player battery ran for 3 hours and 0 minutes.
If you rock at math, you’ll easily understand that we found ourselves with 6 hours and 20 minutes to fill with the kids. I’m not really one to talk to strangers on planes but by the end of the flight, in a desperate attempt to just pass the time, I found myself interrogating the lovely Houston couple next to me about their lives.
But finally we landed. And it really felt good to be home.
Now I hear there has been some kind of big, fancy, international sports competition going on. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? I’m totally going to go check it out. Give me a couple days and I promise I will have resurrected my desperate desire to be a professional gymnast.
Ok. There’s no denying it. This is my last post from Italy.
Well, unless there is some kind of European airline workers’ strike which forces us to savor the delights of this land for a few extra days. Hmm… how do I get one of those started? Please tell me if you know a guy.
Despite the required Italy obsessions (you know… espresso, wine, gelato and orecchiette), Rick, Dylan, Summer and I all have our own individual passions here.
I’m obsessed with watching “Larry Sanders” on DVD. Did you ever catch this HBO show staring Gary Shandling in the 1990s? Nothing Italian about it. It’s a sitcom about a fictitious late night talk show. And it’s completely hilarious. I also watched it when we were in Tuscany a few years back. Apparently, I really really like Gary Shandling on Italian soil.
Rick is crazy about the same thing he loves in the United States… chicken. He found his fave chicken guy in Polignano a Mare and visits him and tasty birds faithfully.
The guy finally asked Rick, “Don’t you have chicken in America?” Or at least that’s what we think he said. Shockingly, our Italian is still a bit rusty.
As for Summer? Well, that girl can’t get enough of Andrea Bocelli. And in particular, this one song, “Con Te Partiro,” which he sang on an episode of Sesame Street. We have it on our iPod and Summer wants it played over and over again. Endlessly. Which I guess is a whole lot better than “The Wiggles” or something.
And Dylan’s obsession? Bringing new fashion trends to Italy, of course. Sure, Europe is usually on the forefront of cutting edge style but there are a few looks I’m sure they haven’t seen. Dylan INSISTED on wearing her pajama bottoms under her sun dresses. Every. Single. Day.
She even brainwashed me because I started calling them leggings.
And well, you can’t look all fancy in your pajama leggings without a proper headband.
And if it’s 10 million gazillion degrees outside (and that’s Fahrenheit, not Celsius), you should definitely wear a sweatshirt.
Oh, and make your sister wear one too.
But we are most obsessed with the Southern region of this country. Polignano, we will miss you.
And Summer will especially miss playing with the salad spinner in the bidet.
Oh, come on! You try keeping your kid away from the bidet.
So at this point you may be wondering two things.
First, is Kelcey ever returning to New York City?
And secondly, is the girl ever going to stop rambling about Italian toddlers and Barty-Bart and finally show us some highlights of Southern Italy? And when I say highlights, I’m not talking about my hair – which happens to desperately need some fresh color. Of course, that will have to wait until we are back in the U.S. because despite my adventurous Italian spirit, I would never have the balls to highlight my hair in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language.
I know, I’m such a wimp.
But yes, I am indeed returning to NYC this coming Saturday.
As far as Southern Italy, we’ve taken some awesome day trips… to the magnificent, speedo-filled beaches and also to little towns like Ostuni and Alberobello.
Alberobello is famous in Italy because it’s filled with little dome shaped houses called Trulli.
The guide book says it looks like a Disney flick, and it really is super movie set cute except for all the endless drek. Every few meters, you pass a little dome shaped store selling tons of colorful junk that you definitely don’t need but you absolutely can’t keep your kids away from.
And Italian drek is still drek. So the girls did a lot of whining as we ushered them along, despite my proclamations that THERE IS NO WHINING IN ITALY.
Apparently, there is.
“Wait, I just want to see this for one second,” Dylan cried, talking about the millionth plastic horse attached to the millionth plastic handle.
“It’s the same toy you looked at two minutes ago at that other place,” we would explain. It was futile.
Oh, and you might be wondering one more thing. Well, I’m sure you aren’t but I’ll share anyway… Is Dylan using her portable potty in Italy? Not all that often. She’s predominantly using the plethora of clean, easily accessible bathrooms.
Tell me again do we only have stinky, wretched Starbucks bathrooms in New York?
But Dylan did adamantly refuse to use this one…
You know, the European kind with no seat, no toilet, no nothing but a hole in the ground and two places to put your feet. She opted for her porta potty. I wouldn’t have minded using her porta potty that day, either.
It’s just weird to squat over some hole. And if you have to go number 2, well, my gosh, you need some divine intervention to help you do that.
Dylan and Summer’s absolute fave activity is still running around the piazza at night. Everything feels so safe here, with so many children and families gathering each night to play, socialize and connect.
Of course, we can’t understand a damn word anyone is saying, but it’s still so lovely and sweet.