What The World Needs Now is Moms– Sweet Moms–That’s The Sort Of Thing…That There’s Just Too Little Of

Please hug a mom today– preferably your own. But if for some unfortunate reason she is not with you that she has passed away, like my own mom, or if she’s in jail or a customer service agent… please know that she is with you in your heart. Once upon a time, a long time ago before small claims court cases were one third  involving mothers bringing their children to court or vice-versa– lived a love so unconditional it was charged with more love and mothers gladly paid.

Once upon another time, robin hood was really mother hood, stealing from the rich and desperate housewives and not giving to smut TV. Wolverine step aside, mamas come equipped with that slasher thingee you pull out against the bad guys. With one hand we bake, with the other we slash to protect our children. All my oven mitts have slash holes on them.

Mothers didn’t swear, they didn’t smoke up, they didn’t go out for drinks with the boys, they didn’t take a day off from mothering, they didn’t lie, they didn’t cheat and they didn’t steal…much.  Mothers are people too, they just happen to be magical in the capability of making more people. Top that Bill Nye.

MY MAMA TOLD ME…YOU BETTER SHOP AROUND…

not necessarily for the right man…but more– for the right tax man. What my wonderful, Italian mother knew and passed on to us was that uncanny ability to question authority and never take no as the final answer if it wasn’t the answer we had been pushing for. She was un-politically correct to a fault and brave and permitted, hardly ever stopped from functioning in that ‘old world way’.  She crossed many a- red taped barriers which would have halted the average non-argumentative stickler for law abiding anything at face value. Ones who would flake at the first sign of no-trespassing signs and would actually not trespass. Ones who would pay full price without bargaining and walk away with that ‘I think I’ve been ripped off’ feeling’. That wouldn’t jive with our Italian mama.

She lived by the word “fair” or “justo” meaning don’t try to pull the wool over our eyes administrators–with your fancy titles and your departments to hide behind. Of course, it may just have been the fact she didn’t read English thereby avoiding too many tricky words to say the same thing…’you are about to get ripped off’. If that was about to happen, to cut out that bull#%$%, mama would whip out her, proverbially,  ever sharpened gardening sheers used for her backyard escarole like they were a 44 special on truth. No official died, maybe only died laughing and most certainly would have died smarter and less robotic..re-evaluating their automated and miserable lives-thus far.

Us kids, second-generation-ers, called it embarrassing then at times a little illegal…now that she’s gone, our memories of her funny antics stand as important guidelines to living less politically appropriate or ‘had’ and more authentic and ‘having’. Better than Google, when I have a question or come upon a pseudo sale or I’m double charged by the tax man… I ask ‘what would my ‘old-world’ Italian mother do’, and then I do it. Its fun, its called a ‘slick-move’ that nobody sees coming or sees me getting away with murder on politically-correctness… Thanks Mom.

CLICK OFF

Its a story or segment of gratitude isn’t it? And how some people have it, some have it at their end, some when they’re vibrant and some never have it at all.  But gratitude– if there is one more thing to be said about it, is that at any point in one’s life we have a choice to be and display it. Yes, it would be nice or surreal if we are all-gratitude, all-the-time, but that’s just TV.   It bears small potatoes as we beat ourselves up about not being as grateful as the guy who unfortunately got sick and now some media station wants to play on our emotions about how we should all be’grateful’ all the time.  It not only bears small potatoes this, it actually strips us back a gratitude layer or two.  We were doing fine. And who do you think is the most grateful…. for the ratings– not us.

I always said that one stations newsworthy topics are another stations bread and butter.  But at the end of the day or the 6 o’clock news an hour of our lives just went by listening to how we should be doing the right thing for others in need and not doing the right thing for others in need.

So do we feel badly about how someone got an incurable disease –of course.  Do we feel badly that we don’t immediately put on a super-gratitude suit and start giving away our possessions … nope. Do we turn the TV off with all of its fake altruism and ratings, forcing emotions down our throat– you betcha!

Its o.k., we did nothing bad.

Remember gratitude.  Humans have a short attention span. Be grateful we have a span to begin with and a remote.

R. Campese

Clicking Off

PRAY-ACTIVELY CORRECT

 

Nothing Like A Fine-Tuned Prayer To Get Us Through The Night … And Through Life

The Question: Is God a good listener? If so, then why does He need us to repetitively pray about it, night after night? Why does it seem that our wordy nightly prayers are not being heard?

The Answer: He doesn’t.

Do You Hear What I Hear…sings Vanessa Williams

Prayer is a two part deal.  Pray in information, receive information back.  We usually don’t like the answer we’re getting back if we don’t find a yacht in the yard the next day and thanks a yacht!  Here’s why it doesn’t work that way.  If we’re repetitively uttering the same empty and meaningless set of ‘needy’ words night after night in prayer such as please, give, and me…well… He’s heard quite enough. You probably have as well.  We lose an audience this way. God already knows what we need, the real question is –do we and the answer is almost never –money.

Prayer is the act of finding that out for ourselves through hearing ourselves talk not hearing ourselves talk on. God is not Santa Claus, nor is the New York lotto. He gets a little upset when we mistake Him as such. When we ramble on in prayer about what we think we need, this would be the very point He sticks headphones on and zones out.

Instead, systematically repeated and simultaneous felt words such as thank you, I, am and grateful– more words such as how, could, I, be, of and help, used in the act of prayer will maintain both His and our  attention. Now He’s listening, so are we because  we’re not wincing yet after hearing ourselves pray a ‘more stocks’ prayer or that ever popular ‘please sir more bonds’. 

Answered prayers leave us feeling like we’ve been heard, pro-active and smart for getting the right answer because now we have a workable plan of action forward where we ourselves are working the plan forward. Fine tuning our prayer separating worthy words from the whiny ones and giving Him upstairs and ourselves an eternal break already. Now He could remove His earplugs and we could do something useful with our time here on earth– maybe become better listeners for somebody else…help someone out which is the master plan.  The trouble starts when we stray from this simple plan, this holy and simple plan.

Who knows, you may just find a yacht docked in your yard when you wake up some morning, maybe even a ‘sea’ to go with that yacht.  

ROMANCING THE STOVE

My boyfriend gave me flours for Valentines– whole wheat and spelt. I’m a cook– the gift meant a lot to me. Romance is good in moderation, like a moderately hot oven for baking. Too hot and both love and cookies burn — not hot enough and well…you know the cold deal there.

Why I Love Being Italian Summed Up In ‘Due’ Words

 

The food. Born in Canada to an Italian family who immigrated here from Italy many moons ago, I’m honored to be so close to an Italian kitchen everyday. Like Italy lives there– in the kitchen –beside the Kitchenaid stand mixer and the Keurig coffee maker. Both of which Italian grandma’s refuse to figure out their usage as though they’re some maroon colored alien landings from a space lab. My mother would say that the hands are the best tools for mixing and coffee has to be espresso or not at all…, but grazie.

Understanding why authentic Italian food is so good is the key to reproducing it. The women of Italy had to do wonders or magic with the few ingredients they had. Italy was impoverished so the imagination needed to take the lead…hence delicious food was created. They made it work.

We see a bottle of olive oil, some course salt, breadcrumbs and garlic– Italian cooks see…dinner. We see pine nuts, egg white, sugar and flour–Italian cooks see desert. Imagination trumps poverty –every single time.

Anytime you ask Italian Grandmas where they’re originally from – they’ll not only say Italy, but for a brief moment they embody and represent the proud heritage. As though they’re soldiers heralding the news that the war on ‘tasteless’ had been won. They’d laugh in the face of margarine and tell boxed mashed potato powder to ‘come at them bro’. And McDonalds,…forgetaboutit!


 

Don’t try stopping the Japanese Bow

The Japanese bow means never knowing when to stop saying thank you. Closer observation would tell you that the thanker and the thankee here look like they’re involved in some kind of squabble to outbow one another. Don’t try to stop them–what they’re doing is more than legal, its mesmerizing.  The Japanese bow is a merry dance of gratitude, yet in motion. Its where head meets heart and visa versa for a number of undetermined series of bows in a row. Its the spin-the-bottle-ish, anybody’s guess game as to who wins by stopping first.

This may look like it goes on forever, in reality, it’s a Westerner minute, minute and a half by our cell phone digital time, where we just tweeted our remote thank you to someone who is on their way to somewhere and probably didn’t get the message. Our way of thanking is a reflection on our way of thinking… a fast ‘thanks ‘,or ‘hey’ or, ‘ I owe you a solid’, is the western civilization mode of appreciating.  A million hanging  ‘thank yous’ drifting in the air, and an even sorrier million ‘you’re welcomes’ back.

However, this time consuming act or time well spent related to the Japanese bow praising system comes with its own set of problems. Just where exactly is the  cut-off bow and is there such a thing as one bow too many and the bow that tipped the scales.  Studying the bow from this hemisphere tells us that while there seems to be no fast and hard rules, the thanking bow stops once the message is transmitted and reciprocated; once the message is felt rather than just heard, or at the sound of snapping vertebrae.

Thank you, … No, thank you… No, thank you…