Nonna Claus & 365 Ways to Cook Pasta!

Posted on September 6, 2011


Dear Angel Earrings,

How does this Nonna know what I want to buy next!?? Again “Mrs. Clause” gave me another gift…! She is so very sweet and thoughtful all the time. She found me so big angel earrings that actually match the necklace that my mother sent me from New York. I have been wanting to find some cute larger earrings but have not found anything that has caught my eye. She had found the right ones for me and told me that she knew that they would be nice with my beautiful long hair! They are my guardian angels and I cannot wait to wear them.

The boys and I are back in Tuscany with S’s parents (my two favorite grandparents besides my late grandparents of course!) I believe that we will be picked up Thursday but I heard today that now we will be picked up sometime Friday. I don’t really care as long as I get to spend time with them I am happy. Nonno and I are on our third bottle of wine since we arrived Monday. What can I say? He and I are long-lost drinking buddies. I love that every time that we take a sip he will say, “cin cin” to me or “salute.” Every sip starts to become a gulp so we can drink more together!

Leaving Sardinia was easier than I thought. It was a gorgeous time but I was finished with the sand and the sun. We boarded the ship at 8am and left the house at 7am after waking up at 6am. The best thing in the world that we witnessed was the sunrise ON the sea that early Monday morning! Stunning…I have pictures to share…but I cannot load them until I am back in Rome. Before we got onto the humongous ship S and went to get some coffee and cornettos and find a bottle of Mirto for me to take home to Reno. I don’t think that I have been up early enough to enjoy a HOT cornetto! Second best thing since the sunrise that morning! I had a sweet hot apricot filled (albicocca) flaky goodness for breakfast. I remember as I was walking back to the car and dancing for my food that in that moment…that was one thing that I would miss. The Italian breakfast. The one thing that took me forever to get used to…I will miss the most. Of course gelato is number one but I have come to prefer to eat a small pastry and have coffee early then before noon a snack, then lunch around 1 or 2 then another snack around 5 and then finally…dinner around 8. I think that it will take me about 9 months to get back into an “American” routine of protein drinks and big breakfasts and early dinners.

I was talking with Nonna and Nonno about “happy hour” and typical American dinner and lunch. My Italian has improved even more since last visit and speaking with them is easier than before. They crack me up that they think that dinner and lunch is something completely different from pasta, fish or meat. What do they imagine…? Nonna Claus makes the best dishes and everything is always super fresh and tasty. I have been reading a food magazine that has 365 pasta recipes and I was telling her that I really liked many of the ideas and she told me that I could take the magazine home! I was so excited!! It is an old magazine from 2001…the cost is still in LIRE on the cover!! It is awesome and I cannot wait to try the recipes out. I practice reading Italian with recipes….such a foodie. Once a foodie…always a foodie!! (or Snob…!)

This morning I was worried that Matteo would wake up at 7am and be calling my name but somehow I lucked out! It was not even 8:30 when I heard his little feet shuffling towards my bedroom door. When I looked up he was smiling in the doorway and told me a hushed, “good morning…” I told him the same and without hesitation he came in and got into my bed with me and curled up on my pillow. Awwww….my heart. Last night I was tickling his little back for him and telling him that my mother does that for me and it is my favorite thing in the world. He told me, “me too.” So I tickled his back a little this morning and then I had to get up to use the restroom and put on my anti-blinders (contact lenses) and when I returned to my room and I had both the boys curled up in my twin bed!!! hearts. They are so calm and sweet in the morning.

After we had breakfast we played outside before it got too hot. Nonna also remembered that I don’t like regular milk and had a box of rice milk for me…I swear this woman is the sweetest old lady in Italy. Before lunch we went out to buy some fresh fish and a few things. The kids always demand some game cards that are (in my oppinion..stupid and overpriced BUT that is what they are into) like Pokemon cards but some other strange phenomenon that got kids hooked like drugs. At the paper shop I saw one of those game sets with the tennis ball and velco sticky discs that you put on your hands! I have not seen this since I was in elementary school…it made me think of Koosh balls…man I am getting old. Nonna decided to buy it for them after I told her that I used to play with that when I was Tommaso’s age! I think that it is a perfect game for the kids to practice their coordination skills. We play “tennis” but lose around 6 balls per hour so I thought the idea of having the ball STICK was also smart. Turns out they are both pretty good. Matteo has a little fear and now has more reason since the ball has hit him in the head three times! I think that Tommaso would be really good at baseball but I think that the obvious sport in Italy is strictly SOCCER! I have not seen or heard anything about baseball come to think of it. Either way Tommaso told me that he is the “king” of all sports anyways so at least we know that his ego is large enough for all the sports he plays.

I did not think he was “king” of anything this afternoon…I thought that I LOST him! Matteo had to “fare la cacca” so I had to rush him to the nearest bathroom while we were playing at the park. I asked Tommaso if he wanted to come with us or wait at the park and he told me that he would stay at the park. And I believed him! Ooops. Never again. I was rushing since I didn’t think I had to consider which was worse: Losing Tommaso for ten minutes or having Matteo poo his pants! I think that pooping in the pants is horrible but I never want to leave Tommaso alone ever again. Lesson learned…HEY don’t judge me…I leave this month and this is the FIRST time that I didn’t know exactly where he was. He is a wanderer and his parents always warn me but I didn’t think right then. When Matteo and I came back to the park and Tommaso was MIA I panicked and started to walk towards home. Since Tommaso was no where I thought that he most likely started back to the house. I was right but I stomped along for a few minutes until I saw him crouched down near a dumpster! It sounds much worse than it was but he was torturing an ant hill…I didn’t even yell or go nuts but my heart was pounding and trying to escape my body, past my ribs and bust through my shirt. I told him that I was “very angry with him” and told him to start walking home. By the time that we arrived home I realized that we had forgotten the soccer ball at the park (Tommaso left it behind when he decided to leave) so I went back to get it. Solo. I could not wait to get a tiny run in to release the adrenalin that was still pumping. I found the ball and took my time walking home. I needed the “break” away from the children.

Once home I decided to do a short work out alone then take a nice hot shower outside. The shower outside at this house is my absolute favorite in all the houses of the family. The shower in Ovindoli is teeny tiny like a motor home size. Not a huge motor home. The small ones that you tow behind a truck small. And the shower at the house in Rome is my second favorite. The showers in Sardinia are mid-sized but the shower outside is strange to use since the wind blows the curtain at your wet body! I cannot believe that I am having a serious shower comparison right now. The fact that this family has this many showers…let me count…NINE showers in all FOUR houses is impressive on its own.  I will just stop now!



Posted in: When in Rome