This picture was in the Dover Art Sampler I get in my email about once a week. The theme was 1930’s depression era. Specifically the Caption says: Dorthea Lange. Migrant Mother  Nipomo California 1936. What strikes me most about this photo is her face. She looks beautiful but tired. Concerned but maybe also relieved? Has she traveled far to get where she is now? If you look well she has three babies with her. Two on either side and a little one in her lap. I didn’t notice the baby at first.

What is she thinking? Is she alone? Did she live on?

She did.

Sometimes I feel like maybe how this woman felt. She is just a hard working woman. Caring for her children, facing whatever may come next. Sometimes I feel nothing like this woman and to even look upon her maybe insulting. She’s hardworking, doing best with whatever is in front of her and not thinking that she wishes this or that. She doesn’t have time for self-doubt, or self-pity.

A Rough Day

I’ve set the date for this letter to match the date it was written, actually published on November 23 2010


Yesterday was rough. I’m sorry for that. Yes I have a cold but I was impatient. I wasn’t mothering. I was short-tempered. My only saving grace is that you as a baby wont remember even though it will weigh heavy on my heart for some time. Today was better. Probably because I felt guilty for yesterday. I still don’t feel well. This cold is really taking a toll on my reserves. Its especially difficult since I don’t get as much sleep as I would prefer to. I do enjoy having you next to me though. To see your little face through the bars of your bed while you sleep. I wonder what you might be dreaming about.


Eventually we will move you into your own space. I promise you that. Its all I have wanted since before you were born. To provide everything that I can to make you happy. Not just happy but satisfied and a whole child so that you might be a whole adult when you grow up. Its not easy for me. I have no idea what I am doing or even how to do it.

Its funny. Shortly after you were born I had the intense desire to go to church. I still feel that sometimes. I’ve often thought about asking your grandma to take us with her when she goes. But my insecurities stop me. I am not overly religious, honestly I’m not even sure how to be religious. I just know that I need to believe that someone is watching over us. Watching over you. I can only protect you so much and I worry too much probably about all the other things I cant protect your from.


Like when you had a cold before we left the US. I could hold you in my arms so that you could sleep. But I couldn’t make the cold go away. That had to pass on its on. Or now when you sometimes refuse to eat. Yes even that worries me. I guess I will always be worried about you getting enough. Ever since my milk didn’t come in right away and we had to supplement you with formula. I’m sure all mothers though worry about their child eating enough. You do eat though. I love watching you smack your lips whenever someone is eating around you. Nosey child that you are.

I don’t know


Little Flowers

Like most women expecting a child, my mother held a baby shower to celebrate the upcoming arrival of Isabella. It was very nice. We had lots of good food (self-catered), lots of family friends and lots of fun.

My mother put together a nice array of party favors also for the guests. One of these party favors was a wild flower seed packet from the Rosemary Company. Not all of them were taken by the guests and I managed to save a few for myself. I brought them with me to Italy with the intention of finally planting them and I got to it the other day.

I have a thing for duckies..

When we were cleaning out some of the cabinets in the living room we found these pretty little flower pots and I thought they would be perfect for my seeds. Nico got me some dirt and I planted them. After just two days they were already starting to sprout!

They have been growing for probably about a week now and the little green shoots are too cute. I put one seed packet in between these three little pots and it was probably a good idea. Just look at how many of them there are! And aren’t the pots pretty? Two of them are the same with a green leafy looking plant. The third one has pink and green leaves.

I can’t wait for them to flower 🙂

We inherited a lot of indoor plants when we moved into this house. I am glad to be able to add in some of my own in the mix.

Wine Season – The Grapes of Wrath (Harvest Time)

It’s wine season around here and my husband and the in-laws have been super busy harvesting and pressing the grapes to make wine in the coming months. I stayed home with Isabella (cause who needs a teething tenth month old at 6am) but I sent along the camera and got LOTS of pictures.

For two days Nico and his family got up early to go to the vineyards. Or at least that was the plan on the first day. The first day the Ape (pronounced ah-peh) wouldn’t start. The Ape is a wonderful little Italian alternative to a pick-up truck. Sure its not gonna haul too much heavy stuff (although it did pretty well with 20+ crates of grapes). But it can handle its own. The best part about the Ape is the way you drive it. It has a steering wheel like a bike. A new battery and it was ready to go!

Doesn't the Ape look like it belongs to 50 years ago? It just might be that old...

They arrived at the first vineyard about 10am instead of 6am. This was ok except Nico didnt get to sleep anymore (cranky baby) and by 10am the sun is a little higher in the sky and its a little warmer out making the work a little harder. Still the view isnt bad.

They spent a couple of hours harvesting grapes and managed to clear one of the vineyards. My grandfather in law has several pieces of farmland. Two serve as only vineyards and the third has a small section for grapes and is also where he grows everything else from potatoes, fava beans, almonds, citrus trees, olives, artichokes – so many good things!

Here you can see one of my sister-in-laws getting ready to cut a bunch – don’t the grapes look fantastic? The grapes are so purple they seem blue/black.

They harvested only these this time around, most of the white grapes werent quite ready yet. But they make both white and red wines normally.

And the wine – its good, I’ve used some of the white from last year in my cooking. Its quite nice to not have to spend money on wine!

Here some shots of the vineyards themselves.

I like this shot, below, I aged it using photoshop of course, but you can tell that the land, the practice of growing and harvesting grapes is essentially the same it would have been 50 or even 100 years ago.

Harvesting grapes is a family affair. Had Isabella been a little order we would’ve been out there too. Nico and his sisters grumble about having to go out there. They’ve been doing it for years. However I am still in touristy-so-thats-how-you-do-that-oh-my-gosh-I-live-in-Italy mode where all this stuff is new and exciting to me.

I never thought of grape vines being so tall. Sardinians are traditionally short in stature but these are a little under 5 feet tall (I think).

After cutting all the grapes they load them up in the back of the Ape (see small but mighty, much like the people of Sardinia.)

Speaking of small but mighty people, below is my mother-in-law Anna and Nico’s grandfather.

Nico’s grandfather is also called Nico (short for Nicolo’) Don’t you think he also kinda looks like a much older version of Patrick Stewart

Check out Anna. Would you take her on in an arm wrestling contest? I wouldn’t!

Harvesting might be done for now (they may have to go back to harvest the white grapes later, hopefully they turn out well) but wine season isn’t over yet. They sit in a shaded space before moving on to the next process – sorting and pressing the grapes!

Even though I was stuck being spectator for this grape harvest it was still amazing to see all the wonderful pictures. I have a lot more that I wasn’t able to fit here. Check out the rest over on Flickr (you’ll even get a sneak peak at what’s to come!) :).

Some of My Favorite Reads

Photo by Andy Piper

There are quite a few different blogs I enjoy reading. They fall into several different categories too. Like most people I’m interested in a lot of different things. For me the easiest way to read a new favorite blog is to subscribe by email. Sadly I have found a couple of blogs that I like but didnt have an email option. I try to remember to go back but it doesnt always happen. I’m sure I have some kind of feed reader installed but I never look at it. Email is the best option for me and is a welcome change to the constant spam I normally get. Here are some of my favorites :

Chatting at the Sky
This blog by Emily is simply beautiful. And simple. And the way she writes oh my goodness, the prose is beautiful. I subscribed via email after reading this post and I continue to be inspired and just feel at peace when I read her blog. She has a couple of books coming out soon, one for teenage girls and one for grownup girls and I want to buy both. Even from Italy. The teenage girl book I would love to give one day to my daughter and the other, well I know I need it for me. / Simple Living Network
Tsh at SimpleMom is the kind of organized person I wish I could be. Kinda. I mean I dont know what I would do with myself if I could get myself that well prepared at handling homemaking. I have a hard enough time making sure I wash the dishes – good thing I’m not cooking that often yet and can I say my excuse is I dont have running water…in the kitchen? Some of my favorite things over there are the Daily Docket and just everything she suggests about creating a Home Management Notebook. The other great thing about Simple Mom is that Tsh created the Simple Living Media which houses information on Eating, HomeSchooling, Kids and Living Organically – theres just so much available.

Get Rich Slowly
Get Rich Slowly is a blog by J.D. Roth that I started following forever ago but didn’t really take to heart until Isabella was born. But I was always inspired by how J.D. takes things as complicated as personal finance and breaks into human-minded manageable bits. J.D. is like you and me, having dug himself out of a huge debt, quit his day job and makes an income from doing something he has become very passionate about; living life frugally but well.

The Pioneer Woman
This list would be incomplete if I didn’t include The Pioneer Woman. Ree has been a source of laughter and pictures and burping and food since I worked at my 9-5 the first time before I left for grad school. And thank goodness I found her, that job could be so boring! Her ‘Black Heels To Tractor Wheels’ is her personal story of how she met, married and moved out to be a rancher’s wife in the country. She also provides step-by-step photo graphical instructions on some absolutely delicious foods, and recently published a cookbook. She also shares photography, information on homeschooling (along with some guest posters) and Home and Garden information. Ree also launched Tasty Kitchen which is a go-to source for recipes by people like you and me, along with some of the bigger names in food blogging.

This list is by no means exhaustive, these are just the ones I normally cant wait to get into my inbox. As you can see the list ranges from brand new to been reading for years. I check out a lot of blogs (too many sometimes) but it takes a clean design and good content to really make me want to read more. It these blogs that I want to see in my own. And like the diversity you see in this short list here, thats the diversity I have within myself. We all have so many things we are interested in, and we can also see a little bit of ourselves in each of the blogs we choose to follow. SimpleMom may seem to have it together, but she knows she has days where nothing seems to get done and I can relate to that. J.D. is following something he found his passion in and Ree is the kind of person I wish was my next door neighbor mixing up margaritas, while Emily is the kind of someone I would love to confide in. The best part is these people tend to also exist in our real lives too.

I love finding new blogs. If you have one please share the link in the comments – I would love to see it!