Today is an exceptional day for my family, because my father’s mother – the only living grandparent I have left – celebrates her 100th birthday.
An entire century of life! Can you imagine?
She was born in 1917, like the Russian Revolution, lived through two world wars and countless other political upheavals, gave birth to three children, and was one of the very first women to get a divorce as soon as it became legal in Italy.
One year ago I chose this date, my Grandma’s birthday, as the official beginning of my Artist Residency in Motherhood, dedicating it to her, wishing her to live to 100. She did, and I on my side have done my best to stand up to my self-assigned Residency goals.
Or – How To Set Your Throat Chakra Ablaze In One Easy Step
It’s a random Tuesday night, I put away the millet-and-courgette-and-other-stuff cassoulet leftovers in the fridge, make myself a cup of lemongrass infusion and sit on the couch. I’m not even that pissed about myself tonight, the first two days of this new week have been quite productive and I always get a dopamine rush at the feeling I’m keeping my shit tight.
I fire up my favourite SVOD channel and while I relax in my sweatpants and thick old socks, I notice I may have a bit of heartburn, cause a small acid pang somewhere at the bottom of my larynx. I make a mental note to choose peppermint for the next cup. Too much lemon juice in the lettuce? Perhaps.
But at the third episode of Grace And Frankie I know things are much more serious than I had suspected. The peppermint didn’t help at all, and what I thought was a tiny acid reflux is turning out to be a full-blown throat ache, of the kind which mean no good.
It’s the last day of this tremendous year, if you are reading this post it means you’ve probably managed to survive the 12 months’ worth of curve-balls we’re leaving behind tonight. CONGRATULATIONS. I thought this is a good occasion to have one last look back and pick out the best of what happened, to keep it in my thoughts as I hammer this door shut and move on toward – hopefully – bluer skies.
If you don’t follow me on Facebook yet, you probably should. Not only because this way you’ll always be up to date with what’s going on in my head, but also that’t the best place to have a closer interaction with your favorite blogger, if you’d feel so inclined.
On Facebook and Instagram I share little stories about my days, the small challenges they bring, the laughs, the sweet moments, the stuff that pisses me off too. I share plenty of photos, and I always respond to comments. Here are my favorite FB posts from last year, in order of appearance:
(1) That Time I Got Some Christmas Money And Wasn’t Sure What To Spend It On So I Asked You –
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have a dilemma. I must have been very un-naughty last year, because Santa brought me a nice…
I can get quite sentimental about objects. Maybe that’s because I’ve spent many years on my own, living alone, working for myself, travelling so much, which made me learn to appreciate the company and comfort certain things can provide. Not ALL things, of course, I’m not a hoarder and actually I have quite a minimalist approach to the owning of material goods, but there are a few objects I cherish, which have been through a lot together with me, which have stood by me and kept going even when everything else seemed to fall apart (like the water cooker that’s been with me 15 years now and has tirelessly boiled water for my cups of tea across 5 countries).
If I can consider these few objects my friends, then there is one among them which has been my absolute best friend ever since we laid eyes on each other. And, as it also goes with human friendships, for reasons hard to understand and as sudden as a chameleon snapping a fly mid-flight with its tongue, I lost it. Continue reading →
Going on vacation is no joke. Every year, when the time comes to start planning the when and where to go, we need to be really careful not to make our relationship (family) implode under the weight of this crucial decision. When you think that, in the 365 days that a year has, we can normally afford to spend 14 of those on our only vacation, you understand we really don’t want to fuck it up.
So many things we need to discuss – do we wanna fly, do we wanna drive, do we want to stay in a cheap accommodation, but for a longer time, or should we choose a better hotel and thus need to come home sooner? Do we want the beach, historic cities, museums, attractions for toddlers, decent ice-creams, or cheap booze? Also, do we want to be there with my parents, with friends, my sister and her two kids, random people we could find online in order to cut the costs and make our vacation so much more spectacular?
Because going on vacation IS a spectacle, and it IS a public matter. Once upon a time there were Continue reading →
August has been terrific – the best month of this whole Dutch “summer” of ours, by far. And it has been terrific not so much because of the few days of actual heat, and enjoying picnics at the swimming pool, and Martini-tonics on the terrace at sundown. But because it brought many small, almost imperceptible revolutions, like the flapping of butterfly wings which circle and grow, make waves, move waves, become hurricanes and landslides. The biggest, most significant magical shift in this rather demure lifestyle we lead, you see in this photo – yes, it’s a child (our child) sitting on a child seat on the back of a bike (my bike). Nothing special? Well, to me it is.
I’m sure we all have situations like this – this sort of roadblocks we plant in our own strides and then moan as the discomfort grows, but take months if not years to take a simple step, make an uncomplicated decision, and get rid of them.
For me, eating pizza is a lot like going on “vacation” to my parents’ house. The dynamic around the two processes looks virtually the same. First, I think about it – Hey! Why don’t I go get me some lovely pizza? It’s been so long since I ate pizza! Mmmmm, pizza! – which every time sounds like the best fucking idea, because pizza is so awesome! Everyone loves pizza, few things in the world are tastier and more comforting than good pizza, one of those made with the heartiest ingredients and baked in a real wood-oven like they do in the country I come from – Italy. Pizza is warm and soft, it smells like yeasty roasted heaven, and it tastes even better, that simple yet perfect combination of tomato sauce and melted cheese, topped to perfection by fistfuls of what your palate loves most – olives? rucola? grilled aubergines? salami?
Just please no canned pineapple. Canned pineapple on a pizza is some strange brand of heresy.
The problem between pizza and me, though, is in the mozzarella. I shouldn’t eat real, juicy mozzarella because I’m Continue reading →
The image you see was taken at the beginning of May in a very special laundromat in Antwerp, Belgium. If you look closely, in the top right corner you can see two of the many laundry machines lining the walls of this really hip joint, which also offered a wide choice of drinks and cakes and, obviously, had a piano too. We stopped there after spending the whole morning at the beautiful Antwerp zoo and then wandering for a good two hours across the city’s center.
This photo is very dear to me for multiple reasons, but let me just tell you about the two main ones. Continue reading →
April has been teary. There have been tears, small drops of salty moist, and there have been tears, slight rips in the structure of my emotional fabric. But also, there have been many rainy days. Lazy showers, thunderstorms, drizzles, hammering hail, and all other precipitation the sky can afford. Being stuck indoors with an electric Toddler displaying great appetite for turbo movement is not easy. Especially when it’s for days upon days and you’re too low to constantly come up with entertainment methods and time-killing techniques.
My beautiful child does not harbor much inclination for the fine arts. I gave him pencils and coloring books, he threw every single one of them down the stairs. I gave him play-dough, he rubbed it into the carpet so fervently I don’t think I will ever be able to get it out of its fibers. I gave him crayons, he ate them, I gave him chalks and a small blackboard, he crushed them into fine dust then rubbed it all over his mug. But then, by absolute accident, we discovered theater. Continue reading →
This past month has been rich in memorable events. The beginning of spring, crocuses and snowdrops under our feet, new haircuts and very wet out of town trips, head-colds, outdoor playdates, Easter with its many boiled eggs and slaughtered lambs, my parents’ (still ongoing) visit, days at the zoo. Also, numerous blasts of toddler emotions, an intensifying need for closeness, greater manifestations of naughty, the mind-blowing development of language which, in the past weeks at least, is nothing short of a true explosion. Colorful doodles on the toy kitchen blackboard, feeding ducks on chilly afternoons, reading books together wrapped in a blanket, on the balcony, in the gentle sun.
But the event that most made my month, this March, is something altogether else. It’s the story of me finally making my way to that corner Continue reading →
Deep deep down, at the very heart of my gut, I am a lone wolf. Before I had the blind luck to meet the man who dazed me with his love, made me a mother, and gave me a home, I spent seven years of my life (in a row) on my very own. But mind you, I was not a sad spinster and I have seldom been scared to face the world all alone. When I was on my own, I enjoyed each day by doing exactly as I pleased and I’ve never let the fact I was missing an entourage stop me from going wherever I wanted to go, even in the middle of the night. Continue reading →
One of the best teachers I ever encountered on my way to who I am now once told me that FAULT is the most important element of a language. FAULT comes from personality, cannot be measured, is the form in which unsolved human thinking presents itself to our understanding – as a crack in a structure. Through that crack, all what is the essence of humanity (emotions, inspiration, sensation, content) seeps into our conscious to captivate, unsettle, fascinate us. We need a structure not because we need a solid form, a mechanism that won’t let us down. No, we need structure so we can have FAULT. Continue reading →