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So look who finally rode into town.

Rick called me from the Bari airport and this was our first Italian exchange.

“Ciao bella,” Rick says.

“What the hell Rick? Why didn’t you call me?” I respond.

Rick and I had a piccolo miscommunication. I thought he had international service on his phone. He did not. So when he didn’t call me during his five hour layover in Rome, I was completely, irrationally panicked.

Damn – I just knew there would be some kind of fish food poisoning incident on the flight over. I just knew it. And now I don’t know how to reach him and how the heck do I call the U.S. Embassy and they are totally going to turn this into a Lifetime movie and it will probably be called something like, “The Airline Fish Disaster” or “American Missing in Roma” and sure there will be royalties but I really just want my husband back and –

What? He’s totally fine? Oh, thank goodness. Welcome to Southern Italy honey!! Let me show you around.

Rick is adjusting quite easily to our life on the Adriatic coast. We immediately started introducing him to our possie… like Russ.

Russ is originally from Queens but married a nice Italian girl and now he runs a very popular gelateria here. He even gave me his password for his gelateria’s WiFi as long as I promise not to go on any porn sites. Ok Russ. I’ll really really try. But no promises.

Since Russ seems to be the guy in the know or at least the guy I can understand…. I was curious about something. What do Italians eat when they have a hankering for something other than Italian food?

Like I don’t know… maybe some sushi. Or a bit of pad thai. Or a turkey burger.

Russ says when he gets sick of Italian food, he just eats more Italian food.

Or a couple times a year, he flies back to New York and immediately grabs a corned beef sandwich.

So there you go. That Russ is a wise one. Or a former wise guy. Or perhaps both.

Meanwhile, we are loving each and every ridiculously gorgeous day here.

the fountains…

the piazza…

the tush…


Where is my husband? I’ve been waiting for days for his arrival in Italy and he’s just not here. In all fairness, he’s not actually supposed to fly in until Saturday. You know, something about work and all. Ok… I just miss him. And my New York Post. But you know, mostly him.

We are now settled in lovely, beautiful Polignano a Mare, an ancient town, originally built by the Greeks, on the Adriatic coast (Yes, I’m also writing travel tour books while I’m here.).

My dad and I have decided to absolutely take up smoking. It’s very cool here. Really, everyone is doing it. And no nasty U.S. stigma to worry about. And I’m guessing trans fats are running wild in these parts too. Although I bet New York City Mayor Bloomberg could get this place cleaned up in a couple weeks.

I’ve kept the girls on New York City time so they basically go to bed around midnight local time. Dylan and Summer can’t believe they are hanging out in the piazza, looking at the stars and dancing in wine bars late night. Italy is definitely working for them.

When Dylan’s not parading around the ancient streets of Polignano in her princess heels….

she’s taking her shoes off. In fact, Dylan and Summer are relentless in their distaste for footwear these days.

So we are doing an enormous amount of foot washing.

Oh, and the gelato thing is a bit out of control. The girls had gelato for breakfast the other day. I’m not sure how it happened. They were tired, one of them was crying and of course, there is a gelato place like every point four kilometers. And damn, it just makes them so insanely, immediately happy.

Plus, doesn’t “gelato” sounds so much more nutritious than “ice cream?”

My dad and I did bring along some yoga DVDs but so far I have not done one downward dog on Italian soil. With all the eating, drinking and smoking – honestly, who can find the time? So now you understand why I had so much luggage. Yeah, the yoga DVDs took up an incredible amount of room.

You know I’m not really smoking, right?!


Well, I was looking for a little adventure. And I got it. The trip to Southern Italy was a tad stressful with two very weepy, exhausted girls. O.K., make that three. I was dragging a bit myself.

I couldn’t sleep one minute on the overnight flight to Rome because I like to be ready and alert in case the pilot passes out from food poisoning and the crew suddenly needs my assistance in the cockpit.

Hey, I’m not naive. I saw the movie “Airplane.”

Once we arrived in Rome, we had to switch planes. It was a bit of an ordeal because we had to pick up and recheck our luggage. I was so grateful that I had thought to bring a sherpa along.

It’s so weird how much that guy looks like my dad.

Despite my sprightly and helpful sherpa, we missed our connection. While we waited for the next flight, Dylan passed the time playing cards and Summer mostly just ate chips.

We finally arrived in the city of Monopoli, only to find that our accommodations were absolutely not going to work because the place turned out to be a child danger zone… with an incredible amount of dark, narrow, stone staircases, without any railings. I am absolutely sure it looked sunny and safe in the snapshots.

So after nearly 24 hours of traveling and night approaching, I started melting down. Not laid back Italian style. Hard core Manhattan style. With a ridiculous amount of tears.

And then the universe (along with some very kind Italians) delivered…

A perfect hotel room. A trattoria for dinner. And 12 hours of sleep. Oh the happiness.

I took a few Italian language lessons before the trip but so far no one seems to understand a darn word I am saying. I guess because I’m mostly speaking in English and Spanish. I really don’t remember my Spanish being this good when I lived in Madrid.

But I’m learning a few Italian words. I quickly learned the word for “dad.” Since I’m traveling with my father, everyone just assumes he is my husband. Kind of, sort of, definitely icky. So I like to clear up that misconception immediately.

And I do miss my husband desperately. He’s meeting us here on Saturday. But with incredible food, wine and young strapping Italian guys… oh, I guess, I’ll manage to keep busy. Here’s the hotel desk staff at night… seriously.

But honestly, I really can’t wait until Rick gets here. I hope he knows about that food poisoning thing for his flight over. I just know the crew will be counting on him.


I probably would have spent the past couple days stressing about packing, traveling without Rick (he’s meeting us in Italy) and 14 year-old pilots. But instead I spent a whole day in the ER because nearly 4 year-old Dylan ate an entire bottle of Hyland’s homeopathic baby teething tablets for breakfast.

I really wish she had just had a bagel.

Unfortunately, these teething tablets (which have no child safety cap) contain a tiny amount of a toxic ingredient called belladonna.

Belladonna sounds so pretty and lovely, doesn’t it? According to Dylan’s ER doc, not-so-pretty.

Except for some flushed cheeks, Dylan is quite perky and a-ok at the hospital but they want to monitor her vitals. Dylan is certainly doing a whole lot better than the guy across from us who had some kind of altercation with a co-worker earlier that morning.

And he has knife wounds to prove it.

And he is handcuffed.

And three cops are questioning him (No, they are not particularly hot. Well, one is ok.)

I am trying to keep Dylan very entertained and distracted while this guy explains to the police that the knife fight at his workplace is so not his fault. I actually sort of believe him.

We witness all of this because the pediatric unit is under renovation. Thankfully, a very nice nurse quickly moves us to a more quiet, less knife focused part of the ER.

Cheery Dr. Chris (last name omitted so he doesn’t google himself and find my blog) explains that we will be here in the hospital for the next 6 hours. And that’s when I realize that I really, really need a tampon.

“So I’ll be back to check on Dylan in a little bit. If there’s anything you need, please just let me know,” Dr. Chris says exhuberantly.

“Ok thanks,” I reply. “Umm… well there is one thing… I could really use a tampon,” I ask in my very hush hush tampon voice. Why am I so embarrassed? Don’t these doctors perform rectal exams while drinking their morning coffee? I can’t imagine that the idea of a woman having her period is really going to send them into a nervous frenzy.

“Let me see what I can do!” Chris responds with a bit too much enthusiasm. And he dashes off to hunt for tampons.

Turns out, there are no tampons.

Just maxi pads in this hospital.

But I’m informed that the nurses are asking around. And before long, two nurses hand me a couple tampons. I am so ridiculously grateful. Dr. Chris even stops by to make sure I’m “all set” with the “issue” we discussed. Yes. Yes. All set. Got my tampons.

Meanwhile, Dylan is rocking the ER… grilled cheese, french fries, toys provided in part by the Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation and videos. Except for the EKG, she is loving this place.

By 4 pm, cheery Dr. Chris gives the allclear and we head home. Rick and I promise to never again leave any kind of medicine within the kids’ reach. Dylan promises to lay off the teething tablets and stick to more traditional foods. Hope the girl likes pasta and paninis.

Quick Note: My dad is flying to Italy with me and the girls. I didn’t want you to think that I was completely insane and traveling there on my own.

I am preparing for severe Blackberry withdrawal symptoms.


Sometimes things go your way (“Project Runway” is back on the air! Thank you fashion Gods!) and sometimes things don’t (“Swingtown” looks like it’s headed for cancellation. Boo! Hiss!). If you haven’t tuned in to “Swingtown” and apparently not many people have, it’s an entertaining drama about suburban swingers (that’s couple swapping for all you innocents out there) set in the 1970s.

Damn. Rick and I are about to lose our role models for our sexy swinging disco life.

You know that’s a joke, right? Yeah, we’re way too tired to swing. But disco dancing? We’re always up for that.

I guess the show isn’t doing well in the ratings. Maybe that’s because you don’t get to see a whole lot of actual swinging going on. And the program has no reality competitions (maybe couples should swap partners for prizes or something).

The absolute best part of “Swingtown” is Jake from “Melrose Place.”

Look at the bad boy, all grown up and no longer working at Shooters (Thank you Wendi for reminding me about Jake’s glory days in MP). Now he’s a pilot! Jake – you’ve come a long way baby.

Not that Jake isn’t super skilled behind the controls of a jumbo jet, but I’m kind of glad he’s not flying my plane this weekend. My family and I are headed to Italy and once again I have pre-flight jitters. Of course, if Jake wants to rub my shoulders throughout the flight, that might actually help.

Cat suggested the homeopathic medicine, Calms Forte, to reduce my anxiety. And I also do a little investigative work on my own, to quiet my nerves. As I board the plane, I pretend to chat amicably with the flight attendants. But what I’m really doing is secretly peering into the pilot’s cabin. I like to confirm the following:

1. The pilot is not 14 years-old.

2. He or she is not drunk.

That’s pretty much the extent of my investigation.

Now those of you who know how to fly or who are married to pilots are thinking, “Kelcey, flying is completely safe. If you want to be more careful in life, stop crossing the street, while pushing a double stroller, drinking a latte, filing your nails and talking on your phone.”

Yeah, yeah, I get your point.

mama bird notes

Hey, do your kids hate dogs? Mine, too!! Click on New York City’s Moms Blog to read my latest piece.

Contributing mama Daphne Biener has a hankering for some shirtless farmers, I mean, berries. Click here to read more.

And my love-hate relationship with Abby Cadabby aside, check out these cool Sesame kicks from New Balance in drooling over this.

kelcey kintner