Becoming an Italian Citizen — Part 2 — “The Locals”

The first time I took Michael to New York to meet my family was on the occasion of Grandma Gallo’s 90th birthday party. “How many people will be at this party?” he asked. “I don’t know. Fifty?” “Fifty?”  “Well, her four kids, and their spouses. That’s eight. Then there’s sixteen of us grandkids. So now we’re…

Best Moments of 2015

I did this last year, and had such a good time doing it, I thought I’d do it again. So voila: the best moment of 2015 (in no particular order). With apologies for everything I forgot. It was an eventful year! The moment I booked my flight to Nicaragua. (That was a Monday. I left three…

On Teaching and Learning

Taking A Leap Anatomy and Physiology was my favorite course in college. After spending a semester elbow deep in human cadavers, I returned the next semester as a lab assistant and began tutoring the subject to underclassmen. So ten years later, when my parents saw an ad in the local paper for an A&P instructor…

Happy Moments in 2014

I read that happiness really comes in moments. Following fellow writer Tara Lynne Goth’s lead, I thought it would be a good exercise to jot down those moments in 2014. I thought I’d get to thirty and then have to check Facebook for reminders of my year. But I got to 56 without any prompting, and it…

A Gift for Me? Why–Thank You!

The most popular question I get these days is, “Where are you?” The short answer: Schroon Lake, New York. Learning, yet again, to accept the generosity of others. In this case, a rent-free home with more bedrooms than I have holes in my head (visitors are very welcome!). I know many of you marvel at my…

An Update and a Thank You

“I thought maybe I got off your e-mail list somehow,” my former piano teacher told me today. “But then I went on your blog and saw you just haven’t written anything in a while. ” This is true. I’m not sure why I haven’t written. Not for lack of adventures–that’s for sure. So here’s a little taste of what…

Travel–Times Two

In February, my mother called to tell me a surprise party was being thrown for my grandmother’s 90th birthday the following month. It was to take place in New York, where she lives. That meant, in order to attend, I would have to hop a plane or drive twelve hours. I called my boyfriend, Michael. “So Grandma…

A Belated Christmas Gift

Jessica was the second sibling to receive a hand-made crocheted blanket from me. As she pulled her Christmas gift from its wrapping, the family ooh’ed and aah’ed. “How long did it take you to make that?” Meg, my youngest sister, asked. “Forty hours,” I said, without hesitation. “How do you know that?” “Well, I timed how…

Me? An Introvert?

“Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?” he asked me. We met just three hours earlier, and already our conversation had covered religion and poverty, our life stories, and now personal reflection. But this happens all the time when I get in a conversation with the unconventional-traveler types: in this case, a couchsurfer….

Some Things Never Change. Need proof? Read your tenth-grade diary.

When my friend Carolyn first told me about Mortified I was intrigued – and just a wee bit appalled.  Basically, people go back and find things they wrote when they were kids – stories, diaries, letters, song lyrics – and read them on stage to a group of strangers.  It sounded like some odd new…