Mamma Mia! Let’s Celebrate our Love for Italy!


Today is Columbus Day.  The day in which we remember Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas.  In honor of this great day and this man whom came from Italy, I’m celebrating everything Italian today.  Italy, with its great vineyards, amazing food and rich history, seems to be a heritage that we are infatuated with.  Who doesn’t love all things Italian?!

 The Top Reasons why we celebrate and Love Italy.


 The Pizza

You can eat it daily.


The Spaghetti

You can twirl it like nobody’s business.


The Wine

It’s guaranteed that you get this fruit group into your daily diet.

And, good wine is more important to you than a pile of money.


 Italian – the universal language

You’re really good at talking with your hands.


Grape Juice

You know exactly what cherished Television show this scene is from.


The Produce

You could spend hours wandering the open air fruit and vegetable markets.


 Italian Men & Women

You’re pretty sure the Italians were first in line when God was handing out looks.


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It’s your dream to drive a little car.


Or maybe even a scooter.



Frolicking in vineyards has always seemed like your calling in life.



The Easy Life

You really just like to relax and hang out wherever!




Your day is not complete without a little coffee.



You’re pretty sure the window boxes everywhere were hung for you.



You know all the words to THAT’S AMORÈ



Since your early days of finger-painting, you’ve dreamed of becoming an artist in Italy.



Uhm, ’nuff said


Italian Desserts

Leave the gun, take the cannoli


what’s your muse telling you?

beach-readsOne of my dear friends won a writing contest.  An actual contest for showcasing her fabulous and gifted work.  As a result, she has been printed.  No, wait.  Not printed.  Published.  What an honor! Congratulations to her!!

Lesley is an inspiration to me.  She is a gifted writer.  She writes in a way that is mesmerizing.  You start reading her words and you can not stop.  Her writing is like a good,  gooey romance novel.  Only better.  Or, a good mystery novel when you get to the part where they are finally going to reveal who did it. It’s hard to put her writing down.

This is exciting!  I can say I actually know someone who has been published.  Well, I actually know 2 people who have been published.  My cousin Matt wrote a book.  I was thrilled for him the day his boxes of printed books arrived at his home.  He snapped a picture of himself standing over the opened box.  Or, maybe it was just a picture of the box.  Side flaps peeled back.  There they were.  All stacked up.  Beautiful and new.  He had followed his muse and he was looking at the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

A muse?~ you ask.  When I use that word I mean some kind of spirit that dumps creative inspiration into the mind.  The source of an artist’s inspiration.  A prompt.  Kudos to Lesley and to my cousin, Matt, for following their Muse.’

So how is following your muse different from following your heart or the secret wishes of things you’d like to do in your life?

After my dad passed away, my mom and I got close.  She started to visit me more often.  She comes for long weekends.  We spend time shopping or going to movies or going out to lunch.  And traveling.

I remember vividly a conversation I had with her one day while we were making dinner.  We talked about regrets.  She told me she was sad that she had not traveled more in her life.  That there were places in the world that she wanted to see.  Italy.  She wanted to go to Italy.   My dad was not a traveler.  Therefor, my mom did not travel.  She felt it was too late.

c1dd542c8dab1157e9fa2cb2af367a3fThe week after she and I had that conversation, I was with a group of friends at a meeting.  Out of the blue, one of them said to me that she was traveling to Italy in the fall.  She was going on one of those organized bus tours and they had a few spots left.  Would I be interested in going with her?  I smiled to myself and thought, wow, what bizarre timing for that offer to be given to me.  Fate?  Absolutely!  Wasn’t I just discussing this with my mom?

At that point in my life I had never traveled out of the country before.  I rushed home and phoned my mom.  (Well, first I called my Hubs and told him about this great chance!!   I had shared with him ~ and he knew of my mom’s dreams of traveling.   He encouraged me to go on a trip with her.  “Maybe she’d like to visit Michigan or Wisconsin with you!!”  Ha!  I had bigger plans!!)

I told my mom about my girlfriend’s fall plans and about this great opportunity.  Within hours we were scheduled for what would end up being the first of many trips together.  Overseas, no less!

That day, my mom grabbed on to an opportunity and it opened up an entire new world to her.  Like her daughter ~ me ~ she has a passion for traveling and embraces it whenever the chance arises.

My mom and I are close.  We’ve grown closer through our travels.  We have a wonderful relationship.  Somewhere along the way it changed from mother/daughter to a sincere friendship. Oh, I still look up to her with the respect a parent deserves.  But, we can sit and visit, whether on the phone or in person, and talk for hours like two little old ladies.  There is true joy in visiting with her.  We laugh together.  A lot.

Have you ever caught yourself saying, “I regret I did not do that!?   We all have regrets.  The beauty of these missed opportunities is that it is never too late to do something you have secretly wished of doing.  To follow a dream.  To right a wrong.

What’s your “muse” saying to you?  When was the last time you sat down and thought about what you really love in life?  Are you where you want to be?  If not, What are you waiting for?

On a side note ~ I find it oddly comforting that today of all days I think about my friendship with my mom, the travels we have shared and the close bond that has formed since my dad has died ~  I find it strangely wonderful because it was 15 years ago today that my dad passed away. (15 years!  How can that be?  I miss him so much. )  I know he’d get a kick out of knowing that her travel horizons have broadened so widely.