Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hunger, Games ...not necessarily in that order
This week T ended up not only being taller than me, and lending me her striped shirt, but also being more mature than I am. Gasp! Her friends were annoyingly selfish and she ended up not getting the room assignment she wanted for her class trip to Torino next week. When things like this happen our family takes certain precautions. F, on his part, bought Oreos, a very delicious brand of cookies, for example. T held her head high, went right back in and talked it all out.  And I am keeping my mouth shut. Why wasn't I cool like that in seventh grade?

F blow drying T's off the line shirt onto me. Desperately missing the clothes dryer, people.

Also T managed to find us the HUNGER GAMES online, so if it works out we won't have to wait until May when it comes to theaters here. She has already read, or should I say devoured, the book, but I am going to find it in Italian so I can kill two hungry birds with one stone. Wow, that is not an expression vegetarians use very often. Sorry about that, bird lovers.

Everyone seems to be very exhausted by the thought of Spring coming, and those that don't have allergies have a bad cold. I have been taking loads of stinging nettle tea/ortica which helps enormously, but F has been sneezing his head off. I want to publicly thank Tony, a loyal blog reader, who recommended that I take Allimax, a natural garlic pill to fight off the mosquitoes. I could only get Amazon Germany to ship it to me here due to the usual Italian over regulation of everything good, but I am hopeful it will help keep those little noisy vampires away from my L'oreal hair sprayed ponytail -- which they seem to think is near to nectar of the gods.

Since the choreography to Single Ladies was not the hit I wanted it to be, I am starting to choreograph my own stuff. This week I am using the song Fallin' for You by Canadian Idol winner Eva Avila. Here is the song:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Cultural Exchange
Me: Hey Mauro, what time do you think we should close the door to the classroom if I don't want to be devoured by mosquitoes.
Mauro: Well, the rule is while it's daylight, technically they should not really be biting. (what????)
Me: Oh because I'm really allergic.
Mauro (with eyebrow raised): Oh you are really allergic? Really? So you don't like mosquitoes?
Me: Um no.
Mauro: Because we Italians love mosquitoes. We love how they buzz around our heads at night. It is like music to our ears. And then when they bites us we are like - more, more, more. Take my blood. I love it.
Me: I just can't sleep at night after they bite me.
Mauro: Oh I sleep better when they bite me. But if you want to close the door, go for it. I mean it is suffocatingly hot in here, but if you're allergic and sensitive and all. . . It's up to you.
Me: Maybe I'll just wait till you're done in here and then. .
Mauro: Well . . . maybe that's best.

Later . . . I catch Mauro and his personal training client looking at me strangely.

Me: Am I in the wrong place?
Mauro: Well, you have little diamonds in your headphones and little diamonds in your ipod. And your whole demeanor. So, yes, there is a good chance that you are in the wrong place. Either that or we are in the wrong place. It is actually possible that you are in the right place and all the rest of us are in the wrong place.
Me: I'm like one of those little bugs that like sparkles.
Mauro: A firefly?
Me: Yup my daughter says if you overdo it, it is not elegant.
Mauro: Let me get this straight. Your daughter is more restrained in this regard than you are?
Me: Yes. . . Um there is bit of tension in the house.
Mauro: (Finally laughing).

Monday, March 26, 2012

Stuffed and Basted

We had the honor of having lunch with my friend Bianca's parents. They are lovely and generous people. He gave us one of his paintings, she gave us an apple cake, a panettone, three bananas, and a tub of chocolates. The food was fabulous and also plentiful in an ridonkulous way. They made bruschetti, gnudi, pasta ai porri, two savory vegetable pies, frittate, insalata, and i dolci. Clearly they think that vegetarians don't eat enough. Twelve courses later I had the odd experience of knowing exactly what a turducken (a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken) feels like. Even though we knew we would get caught in the thunderstorm, F and I  felt we had to limp quickly around the loop of the walls afterwards just to burn a fraction of the calories we had consumed and so that we could get in fighting shape to then serve up a Thai dinner for ten later that night. The dinner was of course just a ruse to introduce Bianca who is single to Angelo who I hope is also single. I can't help it. They look so cute together, don't they?

Her dad collects owls, champagne tops, horror movies, stamps, and, well, he is a collector.

He is also passionate about art.

Suo Babbo.

La Mamma.
Here is what happened. She brought her ex's sister and her husband who I had never met before. Angelo brought us another bunch of gorgeous live flowers, not knowing that as soon as they get a good look at me they will die like all of the other potted flowers he has so generously gifted us. The intended couple, with a bit of prodding, sat next to each other, but then hardly made eye contact even when they were talking directly to one another. We stole about six recipes from Jamie Oliver's Thirty Minute Meals (season two, episode two, parts one and two) and the food was one delicious exotic bite after another. F made sweet and spicy mushrooms, green thai chili, pad thai, spicy slaw, sweet chili dipping sauce for rice crackers, and we had Bianca's momma's cakes for dessert.  Everyone stayed until almost midnight. I can't imagine teaching the dance to the Single Ladies song tomorrow. Not even in my most food driven restless night of the time change where you lose an hour dreams.

Yum! Thai food.

Bianca's friend had hair Rappunzel would have envied.

The Alessandros.
Empty plates all around

. . .

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Here is T proving that she did indeed study for her history test:
T-- the rock star of Lucca and her new hair color.

I'm not shrinking. She's just GROWING.

O Solo Mio Trio
Yup. Lots of bread today. Few people. It was a turnout that can only be described as pathetic: only two students and one really fast talking, funny eight year old boy showed up. Matteo. He was hilarious. He asked for some of the chocolates that he brought with him as a house gift; he opened in the window in the bathroom because he was worried about stinking up the place; and he did a mini stretch class with me to kill some time. His mom was really worried that if I didn't have enough numbers at Olympia Club, they would fire me. She said she hoped I would consider teaching on Saturdays when other moms like her have time to take my class. Then my favorite college girl showed up, which was really sweet of her since it was a beautiful sunny day and everyone else was out sunning themselves. Except us.  It turned out that she is studying website design so she was very interested in F's work. She may have to leave the gym soon due to her school schedule, but I sent her some Internet links and gave her some ideas of how to continue her workouts.

Me improvising with the very lovely Lara.
Nice weather trumps a work out of any gym related activity every time in Lucca. Drat!
It was a pretty wacky time we had while we were waiting around the pristine house with the decked out table. At a quarter past four, T said that it was officially when Italians start to feel like they are on time. It was then that  I started to hope no one would come. At twenty five minutes past four o'clock, T said it was now that Italians would officially acknowledge being slightly late, and that if they didn't arrive within the next five minutes there would be guilt involved and lots of hand gesturing. T was making the ticking sound on the clock like it was a game of Jeopardy or something. It was an awful wait. And then the bell rang. My heart lifted and sank and I forgot how to speak Italian. Again. At least, I had fun with the kid. And his mom is right that they should have babysitting at the gym. And maybe I should consider teaching on Saturdays, but I am so tired and the thought of running after Elena to beg her for the chance is beyond exhausting. Luckily at the age of 42, I also feel that as someone who has to teach the Single Ladies dance by Beyonce` all next week, I have been around too long to care what certifiably insane people think of me or my class. What was that movie with Robin Williams and Baryshnikov? No, wait it was Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines. And Isabella Rosellini. White Nights. Remember that 1980's dance flick? Olympia Club and I are just like that famous escape scene where the defecting dancers escape from the video surveillance and wire taps to make a break for it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Maybe, Baby.
You know, I finally figured out what the Olympia Club in Lucca reminds me of. It reminds me of Soviet Russia. Every time I stop to chat with the women (once about an exercise and once because I wanted to make sure they come over tomorrow for a Metamorfosi class party) Rocco comes strolling in, as if by chance. I guess he just watches my class the whole time on the telecamera and monitors me. It pissed me off to such a degree that I have made a game out of it. I am now going to start pretend chatting and count just to see how many seconds it takes before he comes authoritatively strutting in. Rocco is probably around 30 years old but his face is usually expression-less and so it seems as though he is an older lady who has received a ton of botox/botulino. His humor is served up dry and with a twist. His lips hardly ever turn upwards, and when they do, it is a rather satisfying tooth baring snarl. Imagine Frank Sinatra mixed with Joan of Arc. That kind of a deal. Anyway, I have rather low expectations regarding the turnout to this shindig and am expecting three to five people. If I'm lucky.

There is this Italian response to an invitation which takes a little practice to interpret. The answer is maybe and it sometimes takes the form of the words "forse" or "magari," but more often it is a lack of eye contact and a brief lift of the eyebrows which is the international symbol for "If you think I'm going to a stranger's house on a Saturday afternoon, you are drinking before noon." Otherwise, it takes the form of a long list of possibilities: "If my husband would pick up my young son from catechism class, I would gladly come to your party." (Read between the lines: I have the will, but there is no way. Seriously NO way.) I, as a socially optimistic New Yorker, always used to interpret this as "Great! See you Saturday!" but now I just interpret it as "Aw. That sucks. I'm going to clean the whole house Saturday morning, and no one is even going to appreciate it."

Friday, March 23, 2012

Energy, underarms, and various alignment difficulties . . . 
 (sounds like a bestseller, folks) 

I am back to giving Bioenergy treatments and this week I am treating two different clients from LIFE gym. You never know if passaparola will pick up and more clients will come, but I hope so. Gemma, one of my bosses at LIFE, has given me her energy treatment twice so far and advice to help me with my alignment. She likes the exercises of this Frenchman Mezieres. Gone is my cool dance bag and a backpack will be taking its place. Who did I think I was to sling my Danza bag on one shoulder like some teenager anyway? Gemma has been a great model for how to be no nonsense about the giving of this kind of treatment and handling the business side of it. She doesn't mind at all that I also help clients from her gym which is very cool of her. 

This is where F waits to pick T's backpack up from school and chat with Fabio and Paula.

Oh and here is why I am going to win the scema/dope of the year award. I am pretty sure that the weird crystal things that were coming out of my facial pores for the last three years and causing all of this angst and red marks and stress were from, wait for it, the antiperspirant I was using. So that ten hours of Internet research which caused me to conclude that I was allergic suddenly to milk products or that I had to reduce my calcium or my uric acid intake or that my kidneys were failing was for nothing.  I now think that the Certain-Dri antiperspirant which has aluminum chloride as an ingredient and stops you from sweating for 72 hours, yeah it seemed too good to be true, is not a good idea at all. I think some kind of salt has been coming out of my pores as a result. Now I will smell worse and have more underarm stains, but my complexion should be lovely and smooth. In Italy everyone uses these crystals that are all natural. I can't imagine it is as pleasant as a roll on or spray, but maybe it comes with a genie and a wish. What do I know? I thought I was dying of antiperspirant related causes.

In other news, T is going to need braces. We managed to get her to the orthodontist appointment in Prato and the fashion show at her favorite store in town called Subdued all in the same afternoon. The nice, young sales assistants had her and her friend try on a bunch of outfits and took photos of them, which is girl paradise. I wonder if after the braces make space up there she will finally be able to roll her R's. If she does, I will owe her fifty euro from a bet we had four years ago. Kids are expensive -- especially when you use bribery as a parenting technique.
F thought this was a "cute" photo of T. He is so weird. p.s. Does your orthodontist wear stilettos?
The orthodontist's office is in the middle of nowhere. We hope they need a website.
F got two new jobs with the company he works for called Formetica teaching English in Prato. He will not be able to have lunch with us for a couple of months, but it is good that he found something extra just as my fitness lessons will be winding down. Yay English! Boo cereal for lunch . . .

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Bricioli
Tonight in my stretch class a girl came in bragging about the great sex she had on Friday night, but after I got the knot out of this other student's shoulder blade she turned to the first girl and smiled, saying, "I feel now like you felt Friday night." Priceless.

Also there is an ongoing joke that I killed Michael Jackson because every time I play music from a great artist and make them work hard, the artist tends to die. After Michael it was Whitney.  Today my private student got a terribly pained look on her face when we were doing some rather difficult butt exercises and the others chimed out, "Watch out, Alessia, you could be next."

I ended up going to the beach with Laura today during the intervallo on the grayest day ever. I fear it was not the cure all that she wanted, but I think I was a good sport. She claims never to have been in a car accident, but I was in fear for my life several times. I don't drive, but I am pretty sure you shouldn't go around making U-turns on the autostrada.

I forgot to give you this link to the best movie I have seen in like ten years which was called Quasi Amici here, but in English I think it is called Untouchable even though it is a French film.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

On the go go go/ (cioe' "Via")

The maximum number of classes a fitness instructor is supposed to teach a week is fifteen.  Last week I taught thirteen, but I don't know how to factor in that I often have a mile and a half to walk each way to each of three different gyms. Today I taught four lessons and did half an hour of massages for a group of six people plus walked six miles to and fro. Some lady walked out during the cardio segment at the last class of the day because she felt I didn't explain the routine well enough, even though right beforehand I said that it would just be ten minutes and they should just try to sweat and hang in there. It was just a horrible moment. She missed out because afterwards I invited them all over to our house for Saturday to try to create a united group before people start heading off for the summer. Can I just tell you how weird it is to warm up in the classroom and momentarily forget about the camera situation and then have people make comments on my dancing as I am on my way out? I thought to myself wow I am glad you liked my choreography, but what did you think about when I dribbled all that water from down my chin when I was drinking from the bottle and when I tripped over my dance bag as I was leaving? Also, shouldn't I get paid more for all of these guest appearances on their surveillance films?

We (ha ha) are planning this Thai dinner just because I want to play matchmaker between a girlfriend of mine and this man who I hope to good green goodness is single. Oops I just thought that out loud. Shoot hold on. F just told me that I am crazy number one and then he amended it that I am crazy number one through three. While you are reading this I called Mr. Right's and my mutual friend Laura the erborista to see if he is single and all I found out is that he is divorced, he is not engaged, and he is very private. Oh well. Then it ended up that I need to go to the beach with Laura tomorrow at one because I said something poetic about wanting to see her relaxed and at her favorite place and she said the same to me. This, my friends, is why I have a weird life.

 And here is a video of T and her friend Chiara and some chickens. No really it is. I told you. Weird.

Monday, March 19, 2012

No rest for the weary
Olympia Club
Bright and early this Sunday morning, I FINALLY got sala zeus, the biggest classroom at the Olympia club, even if there were only 18 of us. It was a Sunday and the sky was threatening. Some of the ladies stayed afterwards to ask me if I would teach on Saturdays. I might have to do it because, scemina that I am, I didn't realize that I will be mostly out of work most of the summer because Italian ladies don't go to the gym during the summer. They go to the beach to tan themselves to a crisp. This, ironically, gives them the sense that they are even skinnier than they already are, in some cases, or that they are less rotund, in others. All without ever having to lift a finger. This is especially true since they use no sun protection at all whatsoever.

Yup, my daughter does avoids being seen in public with me.
T had a sleepover with Natasha and they had dinner with two other friends of theirs. Our friends Adonella and Carlo introduced us to their close friends Maria and Nicola and their handsome sons, one of whom played tic tac toe, soccer with a wine cork, treasure map, and checkers with me -- and that was just the antipasto . . . The food was a scrumptious array of vegetarian pies, sformato, and Tuscan specialties including broccoli rabe with garlic, grilled radicchio, melanzane stuffed with goat cheese, not to mention several desserts.

I am a champion thumb wrestler.
This is why they invented cardio.

Qua si mangia bene.

In other news, T is the same exact size as me and we are sharing clothes. That is not the scary part. The scary part is that when she outgrows them, I will inherit them and we will have to buy her a whole new wardrobe!

Hmmn. Nine courses. I wonder if I made enough. . .

Yes, in my spare time I am a human card sculpture.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Honey, we're not in Park Slope anymore
Today an older gentleman pulled up his car next to me as I was crossing the railroad tracks on the way to the gym. I imagined F being very disappointed in me if I got myself into a sticky situation by entering the car of someone I don't know. Of course, ten minutes later I found out he was an esteemed client of my gym and I excused myself explaining that I am from NY. He giggled and formally introduced himself so that the next time I can catch a ride. Anytime I even thought in getting in a unlicensed limo in Brooklyn, I had flashes of myself on the cover of the Post the next day.

Another sign we have left America. This morning  Gemma, one of my bosses at LIFE gym, gave me an energy treatment and she made the leg that is shorter the same length as the other one without ever touching it. We bonded over how energy work has changed our lives and it was great.

Then on a more me note, I thoroughly scandalized my Italian students by playing the song Too Drunk to F**K by Nouvelle and doing a little dance ala Pulp Fiction and then proceeding to translate the lyrics word for word. Oh yeah, honey, we live here now.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The expert, the prodigy, and the weirdo

Today F finished the website for Osteria da Rosolo -- and they just loved it! It is so elegant.

T learned how to skate backwards today and also made fudge cookies with Natasha.

I, on the other hand, was in motion metamorfosizing all the live long day -- a day which culminated in the mortifying decision to use a stretch ball on the floor of my boss' Elena's office while she was on the phone in the hopes that she would look down at me and think it was a good idea to buy 20 of them and give me a new course.  It was my fifth time trying to have a minute and a half conversation with her and the fifth time I had to lug the ball with me to demonstrate. In reality, she thought that I am so weird as a person that I just strut into her office and began stretching myself for no good reason at all. Inappropriate. Bad. I waited like a shamed school girl outside of her office for 15 minutes after she told me to be patient. Then I told several people including, her assistant, her person in charge of instructors, and her brother, who is also a manager, that I could get people's neck knots out in less than two minutes guaranteed using just this ball. Her assistant promised me that if she had a free minute she would call me over before class, but that never happened. After the lesson her brother Andrea took pity on me and led me into speak to her and I tried to sell her on both the balls and the trampolines and she said something to the effect of she was more interested in buying 7 euro balls instead of thousand dollar trampolines, but she never actually saw me do the demonstration unless she was watching the closed circuit television on which I gave free massages to two of my students. I only had six students today which is sad because I usually have 18 or so and they are really number obsessed at Olympia. I hope it was the nice weather, but it could have been the stomach bug that I also succumbed to last night for several hours, or, I don't know, my weird sweating issue that only shows itself when I have cameras pointed at my ass while I try to cram an hour's worth of class material into forty five minutes.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Staff Meeting -- Italian Style
It started out that the outer gates to the Olympia Club were locked. One of my coworkers who I had never seen before in my life invited me to wait in her car. Ten minutes later there was a line of cars behind us and lots of hand gesturing into the rear view mirrors until someone got hold of the telecommando to open the entry way. When we got down the driveway to the club, our leader Elena was waiting for us wearing a tailored white button down shirt, short black shorts, nude stockings, and motorcycle boots. She was very enthusiastic in greeting us and looked almost relaxed. For once.

She then got down to business and told us that we could not yet enter the gym so about ten people with the exception of me, Elena, and my new friend Ilenia took out cigarettes and filled the front doors with a billowing cloud of toxic smoke. Then Simone who looks like an NYU drop out reluctantly took down all of our cell numbers and email addresses. About 15 more people showed up and finally we were allowed to go upstairs to Sala Zeus where the steps were set up as seats with out names on them.  We started out the meeting with a mandatory display of the human wave like the kind you see at a Yankees game. Then Elena gave an inspiring speech about getting to know each other, human relationships, responsibility, honor and, oh yeah, statistics. They just love statistics at the Olympia Club. They have like 800 members if I understood correctly and they are constantly polling and competing for numbers from one class to another. Elena called out some of us by name and told everyone what kind of numbers we were pulling in and then people reluctantly applauded one another.

Horror of horrors it was then time that we each had to stand up in front of the group and answer six questions about ourselves. In Italian. There were about 25 of us, and because this is Italy, it took no less than three hours. There was not one person who did go up and really perform the hell out of their turn. I wore my expensive converse with the studs in them because after all that rebounder practice I did not see myself streaking across town in my heels, but trust when I say that all of my female coworkers sported stilettos and sprayed on jeans. About half of them looked like they were in a legitimate annoressia competition. There was the one not nice person from a previous post who is a hundred percent total witch. She did not stand up because she preferred to get attention for not talking. Elena had only nice things to say about her because the statistics show that she can sell the hell out of a membership what with her skeletal physique and learned snottyness. I did the best I could. People were not so interested in Metamorfosi but very interested to hear my age. They actually let their jaws hang open which was nice of them. It all comes from eating occasionally and not smoking. Elena told the story about how I got hired and how she liked my voice on the phone and added that they had let me have a second lesson a week due to popular request.
F after an unfortunate moment with our food processor and some pesto.
At the end we had to hold hands and do the wave again. I was so tired that I messed up the flow of the wave in both directions both times we did it. Go team! At the end of the night I was bleary eyed and starving, not to mention dehydrated and having to pee for the last three hours (the changing room was locked). Stumbling out into the cold dark night, I find out that I was the only one without a car and I had to stand in front of my long line of coworkers who now actually could identify me a line up and wait for someone to go get the telecommando again to let us get the f out of there.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Lady & the Tramp, pt. 2

Despite the fact that today is Sunday, I and four of my fellow instructors, well one of them was either sick or pretended to be sick so she didn't have to jump, spent four more hours learning the theory behind jumping up and down on the trampoline. We learned about gravity and the force of 1G. In practice, you have to push your legs down harder than you would want to and bend forward a bit. Here are the figures you need to know: Rebounding is 68% more efficient than jogging; it is 78% lower impact than jumping on the floor; you can burn 405 calories in a half hour, and it takes only one really large jump backwards if you want to crack your head open.

 My favorite moment was when the instructor named Roberto defined shkip (skip in Napolitano) for me in English. Shkip means joog. What? Shkip mean jug. What? Shkip means to, you know, jog. Oh! Gotcha. Then we had to take turns teaching the basic steps to our fellow instructors which included the following fabulous classic moves in no particular order: the basic out, the basic in, the shkip, the twist, the forward, the straddle, un quarto di giri (quarter turn), the military press, the jumping jack, the slalom, the sci/ski, and the sprint. Dude, I just saved you six hours and 75 euro. Also there was a slide show with cartoons. My favorites were the happy cell who had just been exercised and the phallic looking illustrations of your arterial valves which had traffic signs in them. At one point during the slide show there was a photo of a drunk girl in London riding ass down in a shopping cart because, a quanto pare, the trampoline is an excellent cure for a hangover. I kid you not.

Lady and the Tramp
Today after a good four and a half hours of sleep, I did what I only do in emergencies -- I drank coffee. Thank goodness that only my four favorite students came to the Intensivo this morning. It was madness. I went caffeine loopy. My ladies wanted to do the J Lo cardio a thousand times and then we added in Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire and Dance, Dance, Dance Zumba-- which is the corniest, fun thing ever. Alessia baked the best nutella brioches ever made in the history of chocolaty pastries and Laura brought the orange juice and even the cups. At a certain point we all had a sugar high and instead of stretching they made me do another half hour of the cardio at the end. Pazze/Crazies! It was lovely.

Then I took a twenty minute nap and went to my trampoline training for which I paid 75 euro. As I feared, these guys from Napoli could fill up actual hours talking about a piece of fabric and some springs -- a device which we have used in America for over 15 years now-- like it was the 31st flavor of Baskin Robbins.  I am pretty sure that even the cavemen took like a deer skin and put it over a few rocks and started jumping up and down and doing the same five steps we did over and over. It was almost worth the money to hear this hunky guy from Napoli give out the commands in English but with a Napolitano accent. Every time he told me to shkip (that is skip) I almost wet my pants.  My coworkers were confused about why I seemed more solemn than usual, and this mystified me since they knew I had only had a few hours sleep and had been in the Emergency Room the whole night before.

Then I took my third shower of the day and went out to pizza with my new friends Serena and Bianca who are probably the best people on earth. We had pesto pizza and I mentioned T's friend from AR-Kansas -- Greta and her family's names at their favorite pizza place and received the royal treatment immediately afterwards. I'm guessing they ate there a lot.

Arrivederci, Brooklyn!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Freaky Venderdi
He had a better day than us.
Today I taught a massage class for three now very relaxed women. Then I taught a double lesson of Metamorfosi that was perfectly flawless at Olympia Club and no one I think even appreciated how fantastic and balanced and in time we were. Then I went home for 15 minutes to grab my palle ritmiche/ stretch balls so that I could be the entertainment for my friend Monica's pizza party. She and her husband work at the Giusti bakery and so we had not just pizza but also four kinds of pastries afterwards. In Italy people eat these fairly large individual pies and they think that we in America have portion issues! We didn't have the right mats and so people were slipping and sliding all over the place and their necks were so filled with knots that it was 10:30 at night before I realized that F had never come to get me. I checked my cell phone only to find that he had taken T to the pronto soccorso/ emergency room for an ear/tooth ache.

Circus mother.

Monica's lovely sons took me to the hospital. They guided me through the deserted labyrinth of corridors to find the pediatric unit. They carried my multi colored stretch balls for me. "Oh great," I told them. "Not only am I going to be the crazy American mother at the emergency room, but I am going to look like I came straight from the circus." Hospital humor. So I found T and she was already doing better after the Ibuprophen that F had given her. They had been waiting an hour and then we waited another hour and a half or so. I tried to flag down one of the three nurses that were buzzing around helping the three kids with much worse emergencies that were ahead of us. In my exhausted head I worried that they would forget all about us.  I also kind of hoped they could just take two minutes to look in her ear so we could go home so I stalked the hallways until I could get one's attention. The nurse, rightfully so, pretty much murdered me with words about how the more serious cases take priority and so I slunk back into the waiting room. I later told her she was absolutely right and thanked her profusely. I think they don't get as many thanks as they should because everyone we thanked looked shocked. T's Italian was flawless and I didn't do too badly which was a big difference from the last time I was at the Emergency Room. In Italy there are no receptionists or anything, but on the other hand, you don't pay a dime. In the waiting room there was an Italian version of Elmo. Instead of saying, "Elmo loves you." He just says, "Elmo wants you well." Also instead of a high-pitched squeaky voice, he had a smoker's cough.

Ciao. I'm Elmo.

At about midnight my boss at Happy Gym sent me a message saying please respond immediately to this message. She wanted to know whether I could make it to the training on the mini trampoline now that they had suddenly decided to change the time to 5 pm Saturday. Davvero?

My brave girl.

Some weird pediatric Dali art.

In the end T got some ear drops and some codeine and is doing great. Non preoccupatevi/ Don't worry.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Smoky the Bear and the White Rabbit

T had one of those moments we all had at her age where sugar cravings get the better of your good judgement, but she handled the whole thing so incredibly well. She and another girl went to a friend's house where at first she thought there was going to be an adult at home, but at the end there wasn't. They were all excited to make s'mores and the girl whose house it was said she was allowed to use the stove by herself (even though she knows this is not allowed at our house) and so they did. When I got a phone call from one of the other mom's who discovered what they had done and asked T about it, she immediately saw the error of her ways and apologized and wrote eloquent apology letters that she composed by herself to both of the other mothers. I am so thankful that she got this fire safety lesson the easy way instead of the hard way. On my part, I am going to make sure that I always know if she is going to be at a friend's house where there are not adults present. Crisis averted.

In other news, I am pretty sure that the head of the Olympia Club is also the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland because short of having a pocket watch and a fuzzy tail, she is always disappearing and running around saying the Italian version of "I'm late, I'm late, I'm late" which is similar but has a lot more "cazzo/dicks" in it. I have no idea how to have a decent conversation with her, and the one opportunity I had was when she was half naked in the changing room and I completely panicked. I told her assistant that I might need to do a Michael Jackson at the Pepsi commercial and set my hair on fire, but she assured me there was probably a less painful way.

Why didn't you tell me? I feel like a total idiot because all you have to do is use the name of a song with the word "zumba" after it and ten thousand videos magically appear with all the easy choreography you could ever want. No more watching the MTV versions over and over again until I magically come up with ways to dilute them into repeating sequences that people without dance experience can do. And the students eat this stuff up so it is worth it I guess to have to count and memorize because it gives them a sense of control and mastery. Plus once they learn it, they can really work up a sweat. As long as you don't choose the choreography from one of the silver sneaker classes or small town YMCAs where there is very little actual moving of the lower body, that is. Some of those videos are very heartwarming, though. They make you want to cheer. Go Irma!

That's me in the background giving a "massage."

 People at the gyms have started paying me to give them private session massages despite the fact that I keep assuring them that I am not certified in massage and only know what I wish people would do to me. This week, after giving a massage for a whole hour I ran out of body parts and had to rub this signora's toes. Ironically, the only cure for the balled up muscles in your own fingers, hands, and neck after giving a massage is getting a massage.

Meanwhile this weekend is shaping up to be a logistical nightmare. Happy Gym wants me to pay 75 euros to become certified in rebounding which is the same as hopping on a mini trampoline. The course lasts eight hours! What??  I am pretty sure there are only two dozen things you can do on a trampoline and I think I have done them all. Then LIFE gym wants me to pay 95 euro to become certified in Pilates and work all weekend. I don't have any assurance from anyone that I will get new courses i.e. money from doing this and I also find that Pilates hurts my hips, knees and back. In Italy lots of people who enjoy lying down take these classes in the hopes that it will make them skinny, but I am pretty sure that even if it increases their flexibility or betters their posture they have burned about 3 calories by the time it is over. Anyway, both of these options are a problem because I am supposed to both teach a 2 hour intensive class of Metamorfosi on Saturday morning and make it to a staff meeting at Club Olympia at 5 on the dot, and, even then, I am blowing off the staff dinner afterwards because I don't believe for a second that anyone will actually talk to me.

In the midst of everything F's mother fell down in California and broke her neck and needed a nine hour surgery to put her back together again. She is thinking about moving from her large and unwieldy house to a more manageable space with some on-site assistance, but there are many details to be looked into and lots of consulting and general stress involved on everyone's part. Among other decisions, she has made up her mind not to go anywhere without her deaf dog Sally and her grand piano. Amen.