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So my dad has hightailed it out of here.

Actually, I think they had to pry the cappuccino cup out of his hand as he boarded his flight from Rome to New York.

He was sad to go and the girls already miss their Tommy-Tom. Yes, my dad passed over “grandpa”, “gramps” and “pop pop” and instead asked to be called “Tommy -Tom.” At least his real name his Tom. Because if it was Bart, then I might have balked at the request.

It’s definitely not the same around here without our Barty-Bart, I mean Tommy-Tom.

My dad is the kind of guy who travels with bungee cords and a flashlight (you know, just in case). I had a laugh over that until we had an extended black-out in our little Italian town the night AFTER he left. Rick and I used the DVD player (with the Elmo DVD on mute) for light. Yeah, that flashlight would have been totally helpful. Why are parents (ours, not us) so smart like that?

Meanwhile, I am completely fascinated by Italian toddlers. First of all, their Italian is better than mine which sort of irritates me.

Secondly, they are so damn calm. And well behaved. They just chill out in their strollers while my kids tear around the piazza like gelato fueled wind up toys.

Are Italian children just more mellow? Are they drinking wine? Are they depressed? I just can’t figure it out.

And they look so pressed and clean.

My American girls? Grubby, grubby ladies. Happy. But very grungy.

I was hoping little Miss Summer might start to embrace the joys of cleanliness over here.

That girl is not a lover of grooming.

She hates baths. Despises showers. Dislikes hair brushing. Abhors nail clipping. Dreads diaper changing. She’s even protesting her pony tails now.

I know it’s all just a phase but I keep telling her, there are better things to sob over than clean fingernails.

And that’s not the only poignant tidbit I dolled out recently.

I offered these wise words to my girls tonight.

“Never eat anything you find in some random basket.”

Turns out Summer was just munching on some very old fusilli (she found in a random basket). But still, I think it’s sound advice for anyone.


Buon compleanno to my husband Rick who celebrated his 39th birthday this week.

My dad asked for ten candles and well, the very sweet Italian woman who made the cake thought we wanted candles in the shape of a “10” so we pretty much ended up celebrating Rick’s 10th birthday.

A kick arse 10th birthday indeed.

For his gift, I gave Rick an all expense paid trip to Southern Italy, which I thought was very gracious of me. Of course, he may need to chip in a little.

His real present is the endless number of beautiful Italian women, with incredible bodies, prancing around the beaches. A lot of breasts. A lot of exposed bums.

Yeah, it’s my blog. I don’t have to show them.

I’ve started to notice that the Italians (whether skinny, big or in between) are very very comfortable with their bodies. Much more so than Americans. In fact, the Italians barely have a need for clothes at all. I’m starting to feel like a Sandra Dee prude with my one piece and habit of never smoking.

The banana hammocks or marble bags, as Kristen hilariously calls them, are rampant here. Like… um… check out this typical Italian (and I had a plethora of snapshots to choose from).

Yes, he shaves his legs. And his chest too. Can you imagine how long it takes this guy to get ready in the morning?

Umm… no… Rick won’t be wearing one of these tiny weenie bathing suits. But Allison T, thanks for the excellent suggestion.

After our days at the beach…

the girls nap and then we head out to the piazza for the nightlife. And you knew it would happen eventually… a unexpected brush with Italian celebrity. Imagine our delight to stumble upon the great Peppe Voltarelli in concert right here in our little Polignano piazza. And then to score a photo with the singing sensation!

Ok, we don’t know who he is either. But we like him because he sort of looks like the long lost Italian cousin of our LA friend Eric Wasserman.

Lest you think I’m getting too fancy, hanging out with Peppe and men who shave their legs, I just want you to know that it’s not all glamour over here. I had to wash all the kids’ laundry by hand a few days ago which definitely does not remove chocolate gelato stains. Or maybe I needed a washboard or something.

But every day, Rick and I are constantly amazed at the kindness of the Italians, the beauty of this country, the awesomeness of the cappucinos and just how unbelievably tiring it is to travel with young kids.

But it’s a good tired. A very good tired.

mama bird notes

My access to the internet is very slow and very limited here, so my apologies for not reading your blogs while I’m away. I miss them and so look forward to catching up when I return. But I am truly loving your comments.


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.

kelcey kintner