Friday, October 22, 2010

I Can't Believe It Myself
T's favorite store in Lucca without a doubt is Stella Z, an inexpensive, but chic, accessories store that she burns out her paghetta (allowance) on every week. The owner, Monica, has adopted us as friends and we are very lucky she has. Monica is a jazz aficionado, a gourmand, a lover of film noir, and above all a feminist. She is the author of a noir detective novel set in Lucca with a female protagonist that was a great read, even if many of the words she used were not in my medium-sized Webster’s Italian/English dictionary. She has also had published a book of interviews with great literary and artistic minds of Italy and their feedback on the articles of the Italian Constitution. She wrote the latest one with her partner of many years, named Luca. I was happy to hear her book was getting published this same month that she and Luca were to be married, but I was shocked when she invited us all to the wedding. It was a civil ceremony at the very elegant Palazzo Orsetti, which was dripping with crystals and velvet and gold. She made me get in the middle of almost every wedding picture which pissed off everyone of her girlfriends and the photographer and made me feel like I was having one of those naked at school nightmares even though I was covered up in my blush toned top. She, feminist that she is, appeared in film noir style black pencil skirt, ten inch heels, a plunging jacket and 40's style hair and makeup with enough lashes to generate a breeze with every coquettish wink of her eye. It was quite the shock. Her mother was a mirror image of her, in an even more miniature version and with red hair, instead of black. The party or festa was at a place outside of the walls that looked very much like the Blue Bay diner in Queens, and the cake was an enormous confection that was the equivalent of a Bill Cosby having a torrid affair with Sara Lee and coming out with a Jell-O type half frozen vanilla sheet cake that stuck to the teeth just slightly before being rinsed down with frothy prosecco.

While we went to the festa T hung out with G her new 17 year old mentor who is a career student at the Liceo (High School) Classico where she studies Latin, Greek, and speaks French, Italian, and English and volunteers in her spare time on the ambulance when she isn't studying violin. We were afraid she might be a really preppy geek, but then in turned out that she is the coolest girl on the planet with a stunning fidanzato, an adoring group of friends, and a past internship at Teen Vogue.

T was invited to a birthday party of one of her classmates on a night when we had both dinner plans with Monica and Luca and a house guest from Brooklyn named A. A had sweetly agreed to pick up T after the party at a neighborhood pizzeria, but we called her twenty minutes into the party when the boys apparently had started spitting at the girls and threw a plate and generally became scatenati (wild). The funniest thing was that after a gadrillion squilli of our telefonini during Monica's six course dinner, A found T outside of said pizzeria playing soccer with all of the previously wild boys while her more docile female friends watched on from the wings with a mixture of consternation and awe on their little rosy faces.

In the meantime, F has picked up several new jobs including baking his wildly popular gorgonzola bread on consignment for a neighborhood store and doing a new website for our friends' agriturismo, including a whole host of video segments.

In order to avoid the civil war that ensues when T and I dive into her four hours of homework we have begun frequenting the bars in the afternoon where she eats nutella torta and I drink vanilla tea while we bicker quietly until we can shop.

A new family in town that just moved here from Arkansas are even braver than us because they don't even speak Italian. They have boy and girl twins T's age and a five year old. They somehow got a residential visa even though they don't know if they are going to spend more than a year here. The husband is a sculptor/painter and the wife quoted Oprah and Elizabeth Gilbert at me, which shocked me to no end for some reason. She reminds me of Ellen DeGeneres if Ellen were straight and was hyped up on way too many cappuccinos and nutella tortas. T was slightly offended when the professors who had sworn they spoke no English began all of the sudden to speak it fluently. Also they seemed to forget T was also American and T had to sign out in sign language something to the effect of "What am I, chopped liver?" T asked me why I wasn't relaxed and smiley like the new golden haired mom and I paused and sucked in my cheeks before retorting that if I were that relaxed, her father would be wondering around the city in his underwear and that's why. I know I am awful, by the way.

T has somehow gotten great grades on her last two quizzes and we have a friend/teacher/mom of two teens named Antonella who stops by on Mondays to help her with Italian. I have given out copies of “eat, pray, love” or “mangia, prega, ama” to at least half a dozen female friends because I feel that if they read it, they will understand something about me that I still don't know how to say in Italian. I want to tell them something like it took a lot of crying and mostly wasted hours of therapy and begging of bureaucrats but finally I am really comfortable somewhere inside and outside of my skin and so if you think I'm really weird I don't care even though I hope we will be great friends. Breath. Plus F and I started jogging. And my thighs feel like Kathy Griffin's post liposuction minus the thinness.

Monday, October 11, 2010

In honor of Coming Out Day, here is Tiziano Ferro who has recently announced to his millions of adoring fans in Italy, the US, and the Spanish-speaking world that he's gay. At his best, he's got a rich and expressive voice that transcends the fact that many of his songs are a bit soggy. He also sang the official song of the 2004 Olympics.


Each Tear--Mary J. Blige feat. Tiziano Ferro

Official website (English)
Official website (Italian)
Official website (Spanish)

Buy Tiziano Ferro at Amazon