Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Party of One, Here I Come

 Breakfast is fresh fruit, cottage cheese topped with walnuts and real maple syrup, and cardamom tea.
These days I'm up earlier than usual.  School is almost out and my anxiety is rising. Heading for the back porch with my breakfast, I spend time just trying to calm myself down.  Summer brings a whole new set of parenting challenges.  But for this very moment I just want to focus on three things I won't be missing this July and August.  Making lunches...making lunches and....making lunches. No sandwich or any other healthy, and hope-they'll-like-it meal packaged in Tupperware can ever replace the taste of a fresh bowl of pasta with chicken, veggies or black beans on top.  I need summer so I can come back from the dead-lunch-ideas nest I've been roosting in since April.  This alone is reason to celebrate.

Looking at my long list of must-do's this morning, my anxiety is getting the best of me.  My party is unraveling.  I think it's because I stopped living in real time somewhere in the 90s.  Somewhere between the rise of Britney Spears and the day skank officially became a word, I entered a time warp. What happened was, I had a heart attack while I was driving my oldest to dance one night. I'm pretty sure it altered my brain permanently.  

That was the night I saw my first three-inches-above-the-lowrise-jeans thong and almost hit the car in front of me.  I felt my foot lose control of the gas pedal.  Next thing I knew, I had to slam on the breaks.  Holy Mother of God, who is walking on the sidewalk over there and is this what Nonna meant when she used to bite her hand and then wave it at us yelling Mannaggia al'America! when we wore tank tops?  Though in that first-thong-view moment I have to admit my silent thoughts went all Tony Soprano on me. WT#!!!

Lunch is anxiety served with a black bean salad that includes celery, green peppers, and lots of balsamic.

How on earth could I raise these kids in an age gone all sexo techno?  I'm not saying I want to go back to the days when we feared our parents and Nonna hovered over us praying  Dio t'aiuta e la Madonna t'accompagna--  may God help you and the Madonna walk beside you--  every time we walked out the door.  But isn't watching pop stars and their wannabes letting it all hang out about as crazy as the days when we had The Strap?

I will take wisdom wherever I can find it.  Life is complicated and who am I to judge?  I found comfort in the words of TV mob boss  Tony Soprano when he told his daughter Meadow:  "It may be 2001 out there but in this house it's still 1956!  Capish?  2001...1956."  

Those words--  and Carmela's long and often lonely hours in the kitchen--   carried me a long way.  My husband (Mr. BBQ) and I decided that for some things, it was going to be 1956 in our family. Which reminds me.  Here's something else I won't miss when school's out:  dropping off my kids  in the morning while listening to don't-hold-back pop stars like Bruno Mars singing about a day of doing nothing while having his hand in his pants.  Really?  Did you know we just had our breakfast?  I don't react. I am, after all, an older mom and there have to be some advantages to having your kids later in life.  I often push the button, though, so Mr. Mars can enjoy his hand in his pants in private.

Here are my three wishes for summer:

~ that children everywhere will be safe no matter where they roam
~ that someone somewhere would market a T-shirt that says: We could learn a lot from the 50s (or something similar) and
~ that this piece of writing can contribute in some small way to the idea of bringing back a portion of the world's lost dignity.  Are you with me on this one?   If so, please share this post with others.

Here's to finding the middle ground!  I think it's somewhere between the 50s and where we are today.  To ease my anxiety this summer, Mr. BBQ and I will be spending a lot of time just hanging out with our kids.  I have a playlist of both Italian and English songs from a time when the world had a lot more class and they'll be playing in our backyard. There are current pop songs with lyrics worth singing, and I've included a couple of those here, too.  

Summer Playlist (Part One)
1.  Come Prima-  Mario Marini
2.  How Fragile We Are-  Isaac Hayes
3.  Ciao, Ciao Bambina-  Domenico Modugno
4.  My Life Story-  Gladys Knight and The Pips
5.  Gloria-  Umberto Tozzi
6. Price Tag-   Jesse J.
7. Rose Rosse-  Massimo Ranieri
8. Sail Away-  Styx
9. Parlami d'Amore Mariu-  Mario Lanza
10. This One's For the Girls-  Martina McBride

Black Bean Salad
Two to three cans of your favorite beans (I use mostly the Black and Red Kidney variety).  Rinse well under cold water and place in large bowl.  Dice and add the following: two to three ribs of, red or green onion to your taste, a large green pepper, some red or orange pepper, and balsamic vinegar to taste.  Refrigerate for an hour before serving so the flavors mix together.  Serve on a bed of mixed greens with cherry tomatoes, your favorite cheese and a few olives on top.  Tastes great with a piece of grilled bread!

What Oldie Goldies are on your summer playlist?


  1. What a funny post! The black bean salad looks delicious, and what a great summer playlist. Can't wait to see what you post next.

  2. I've been trying to remember this song ever since I read your post...

    In the Summertime by Mungo Jerry
    More favourites:

    Under the boardwalk by The Drifters
    Summer Breeze by Seals and Crofts
    Summer in the City by The Lovin Spoonful

    I haven't heard many of the songs you've suggested. I'll have to try to find them. Thanks.

  3. I've heard the argument that when young women expose their underwear and body parts it's a sign of liberation and equality...why shouldn't they be able to do whatever they want with their bodies? Having been witness to the women's liberation movement during my youth, I have trouble buying that argument and believe it does a disservice to the advances women have made. I'm not calling for a return to the power suits of the 1980s (horrors), but like you I come down on the side of some dignity and decorum. And songs number 4 and 6 on your list -- magnifico!