Thursday, March 30, 2017

From the Archive: Mommy's Book of Moods

I feel sometimes as though I could write an entire book about my moods. Is everyone this way?

Join me as I indulge this fantasy.

I could write it along the lines of Bridget Jones' Diary, but oriented, in my case, for the older mother of a toddler (ahem). OK, here's a good day -- a really good day:

Sleep: 7 hrs, 45 min sleep
Caffeine intake: 1.5 caffelattes
Time to write in the morning: 1.5 hours solid work
Mood as of 8 a.m.: "It's A Wonderful Life" (last scene, obviously)

Now here's the night-time edition -- as in, I'm still in an amazing mood:

Sleep: 7 hrs, 45 min sleep
Caffeine intake: 1.5 caffelattes
Total time writing: 4 hours
Exercise: Ran three miles
Book I'm Reading: Henry James' "The Portrait of A Lady"
Alcohol in-take: Two glasses of red wine 
Wine quality:
 We were drinking aglianico so fan-fuckin'tastic
Funny things Leo said: "Whatta happened?" and "Look at that Mommy face!"
Mood as of 8 p.m.:
 This feeling should be illegal

OK, reality check. The day for this first entry happens, oh, maybe once a year. What about “The Book Of Moods” entry for the bad days? Here it is. Call it The Scary Mommy Book Of Moods entry, for days when I’m just barely able to do any kind of mothering that doesn’t include videos.

Sleep: 6 hours, 15 minutes
In one long stretch or two sittings? Slept 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., then 2:45 a.m. to 6 a.m. SUCKS!
Caffeine intake: 2 lattes, plus a little bit from my partner’s cup. And an Excedrin. Shh!
Time to “write”: 1.5 hours, spent mainly on Twitter
Soundtrack: “No Government” by Nicolette on the way out of daycare, and I’m ready to do an Angela Bassett to the car
Book I’m Reading: Can a magazine be like a book? If so, I'm reading my alumni mag (I cannot believe the number of people who have named their kids Cumberpatch), Travel & Leisure (ogling nice vacations I’ll never take) and Parents (I’m planning to cut out the pictures of the perfect little parents featured and throw darts at them while I down a margarita. At lunch.)
Mood as of 10 a.m.: I can sleep standing up. In fact, I am sleeping standing up. Right now.
Funny things my son said: “Why you not turn right back there?” Except it wasn’t funny. The first time or the eighth time. I didn't turn right because I missed the turn -- isn't that obvious, Lil Einstein?
Mood as of 10 p.m.: Need to start looking for a full-time work. A job would be way easier than this.

Just me? Or is anyone out there ready to pre-order? Bulk discounts will be available.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Atlanta's Italian film fest -- my pick: "La Scelta"



Every year I attend the Italian film festival in Atlanta (at the beloved Plaza Theater) and each year I mean to handicap the festival for Italophiles and folks who love Italian film....but half the time, I plan the post without ever writing it.

This year, I'm getting myself organized early, as you can see since it's still a month away.

I don't know how film festivals work but my guess is the answer is: not like Atlanta's Italian film festival. In other words, the movies at this "film festival" are not new (to wit, my recommendation, "La Scelta," came out in Italy in 2015), although they may be looking for foreign distributors.

In some ways, though, that critique is besides the point. The festival is most likely featuring films most of us have not seen. I mean, I love Italian film but don't really get a chance to see many movies, period, much less those from Il Bel Paese.

One other critique I have of the festival is that it now tends to favor comedies oriented around the lowest common denominator (in earlier iterations, it focused more on serious dramas).

Also, there's always a film missing from the lineup. This year, I would say it's "Perfetti Sconosciuti," ("Perfect Strangers") an interesting film about what secrets husbands and wives are hiding on their cell phones (texts from an old boyfriend, say).

OK, but this film appears to be worth seeing, "La Scelta" ("The Choice"), if for no other reason than Raoul Bova is in it. Longtime actor who happens also be bellissimo! Check it out!

More info at the link at the top of this post. See you next month al cinema!

Friday, March 17, 2017

The story of us -- with noodles

Last night, Leo says to Mike over a dinner of spaghetti (which falls under the amorphous category of ‘noodles’): 

“You were in Italy and you were looking for another noodle lover and then you found Mommy.”

He went on, with our encouragement and word suggestions, saying “And then you decided you needed another noodle lover and you had me and now we are three noodle lovers.”

Yup -- that's the story of us, in noodle form.

-30-

Thursday, March 16, 2017

"Was I supposed to comb my hair?"

Entry #1:

"Was I supposed to comb my hair?"

File under: Titles of memoirs I could write.

-30-

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Japanese art, brisk walks & other joys in Hartford

Was it that I had slept well? (OK very well). That it was sunny, with a dry kind of cold that's tolerable (even pleasant!) if you've layered up and are engaging in a brisk walk?

Was it indeed that brisk walk, a rapid tour of West Hartford on a sleepy Sunday morning at 9 a.m.?

Or the injection of art, occasioned by a visit to the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford?

Perhaps my reverie owes itself quite simply to the Wadsworth, which insiders surely know is the very definition of a gem, an old world artifact that has miraculously survived into our present age. Or maybe it's the joy in general we humans take in beautiful objects, exquisitely presented. And the small treasure of a museum that turns out to be not so small after all (in any way, given the museum's staggering collection of 50,000 works of art).

I cannot tell you precisely what lifted me up off the ground Sunday and seemed prepared to send me into orbit, I only know the look of pure wonder on my face as I walked through an exhibit on Kitagawa Utamaro's art was genuine.

Indeed I can only say that after walking quickly through the Japanese art exhibit following a tour of the permanent collection, I returned to Mike and Leo and I said, "Quasi quasi sono sopraffatta." Meaning: I'm practically overwhelmed. On top of the museum being positively crammed with art, the exhibit on Japanese ukiyo-e works was so well-done, so engrossing that I instinctively grasped the fever some Westerners feel for Japan and other Asian cultures (I'm thinking especially of some Italian friends who are enamored by Asian imagery and cuisine).

Some of these notes I scribbled while Mike and Leo made their own ukiyo-e landscape prints at a D.I.Y. station for kids beside the exhibit.

As I watched the two at the drawing table, I scribbled about the museum and I scribbled about the mental attack I was having. Of course "attack" doesn't sound like the right word but I felt almost besieged by happiness! Besieged by creativity and possibility!

At the risk of repeating myself, I guess I could write out a recipe (or a prescription). Take one night of 8-9 hours of solid sleep, add one cup of Southern Italian coffee (I recommend Caffe Kimbo or Guglielmo or if you're visiting Puglia, buy Quarta caffe), an hour of writing, breakfast with Super Boy, and, wait for it, wait for it, an hour's brisk walk (in this case, around West Hartford) on a cold but sunny Sunday morning.

But back to the museum: What a treasure. In some rooms, the paintings are stacked one on top of another -- like Palazzo Pitti in Florence -- comprising every genre and era.

In a rather unscientific summary, can I say there appear to be an insane number of masterpieces for a "small" museum?

Obviously, cognoscenti do not consider the Wadsworth Atheneum a small museum. But nonetheless it is not always spoken of in the same breath as the Met or the MOMA or the Art Institute of Chicago.

Still for me, it joins a small list of lesser known museums -- like the Museo del Novecento in Florence -- that can entice you to while away the hours of a Sunday again and again. Because the hours spent among these masterpieces will turn into entire days of reminiscing with wonder and joy.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

"Tomorrow's tomorrow"

That's how he says the day after tomorrow.

Leo, of course. My little linguistic research subject.

And two days from now? He calls that tomorrow's tomorrow's tomorrow.

You know, like, if tomorrow had a baby, it would be tomorrow's tomorrow.

It reminds me of how Italians express the same concept: domani l'altro. Literally that means: the other tomorrow. [Or really literally, tomorrow the other].

And the day before yesterday? Yeah that's l'altro ieri in Italian. The other yesterday -- of course.

I like to say language is capable of an alchemy that can't be explained. Why am I so enchanted by tomorrow's tomorrow or the "other" tomorrow?

Shoot, I don't know. Maybe they are just intrinsically enchanting? As in: super cool, no matter who you are.

Also, you have to hear the way he says tomorrow's tomorrow (I could argue the same thing with the Italians. The way they say things has mesmerized me for years!). He's completely confident that it's the correct way to say it. Confident that everyone knows what he means.

Well, I do. And it's one more little phrase to savor. One more little phrase that's bound to vanish one day, and whose very disappearance will result in some kind of grief on my part. (You know where this is going. And if you don't, please consult my essay in The New York Times!)

Language. Absolutely stunning in all of its forms.

Foreign languages. Baby languages. My baby's language, which sometimes is like a foreign language that I am fluent in.