Posts filed under ‘Canada’

Pumpkins and devils and Poncherello! Oh my!!

Ciao Bloggisti!

 

Just got back from a party with 20 preschoolers inside a cramped pub. And yes, that was the SCARIEST Hallowe’en I’ve ever had! But at least the kids had great time. Hallowe’en is relatively new to Italy but I’ve noticed that every year it’s growing in popularity. My son actually went trick-or-treating tonight. And to top it all off, some teenagers poured flour all over our gate and entrance because I didn’t open the door. Nice. How did they know I love to bake?

 

 

But not everyone here is in the spooky spirit. A girl in my daughter’s class didn’t attend her pumpkin and witch-themed birthday party because their family “doesn’t celebrate Hallowe’en”. Her mother explained to me how their priest is against this American celebration of witchcraft and all things evil. Then the other day the girl told my daughter that people who like Hallowe’en love the devil. What in the what?!? I almost did a spit take when I heard that!

Who knew that a simple holiday could cause so much pain and suffering? And yet this got me thinking about my own Hallowe’en agony. It happened many years ago and it’s something I haven’t shared but I think I’m ready now. I need… closure.

Picture it: Scarborough, circa 1984. I was super excited about the Girl Guides Hallowe’en party that evening. Even if I only had one stinking badge and feathered hair, I was going to wow them all with my amazing costume. I thought about something made out of a cardboard box, like a giant Rubik’s cube or a package of Kraft Dinner. It was going to be ironic and it was going to be AWESOME. That morning over breakfast I gave my father detailed instructions about what I wanted and how he could make the greatest Hallowe’en costume the Metropolitan Toronto area has ever seen. I could see his mind working and I was positive that I was going to be the corrugated belle of the ball.

I practically ran home from school to get ready for the party and, of course, to see my costume. When I walked in the door and didn’t see it waiting for me in all it’s boxy glory the living room I felt a sort of pang. I couldn’t quite place it, but something didn’t feel right. I called out to my father, asking him where my costume was. He came down the creaky stairs slowly, carrying something that looked unlike anything I’d ever seen before. Would that I could have unseen it! But, oh lord, it was too late!! He held in his hands my little brother’s CHiPs helmet with what seemed to be a paper beak, eyes and feathers glued to it. “Dad! What… is … that? And where’s my costume?!?” He proceeded to tell me that there was no boring Rubik’s cube for me. Oh no! He made his darling daughter a one-of-a-kind, 100% certified original “POLICE BIRD” costume. “WHAT THE HECK IS A POLICE BIRD?!?!?” He then started to explain how he didn’t have any boxes nor time to go out and get one. So he got the brilliant idea to make something so absurd, so nonsensical even Lady Gaga would be embarrassed to wear it. I mean, what kind of sick mind would morph Erik Estrada with a winged beast. Seriously, it was that awful. And I was going to walk into the Girl Guide party with that “thing” on my head. I was going to answer the many “What are you supposed to be?/Are you mental?” questions that were bound to come my way. Yes, I was a pariah and eventually had to leave the GTA (ok, the continent) to find a man. But it’s true what they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And this “police bird” flew like an eagle, baby!

 

Hope you all had an awesome Hallowe’en!!

 

1 November 2011 at 2:55 am 2 comments

Separated at birth, aloo gobi and doughnuts

Ciao Bloggisti!

What I’m watching: Just finished watching Vieni Via Con Me. Those of you in Italy know what I’m talking about. Tonight’s episode featured specials guests Gianfranco Fini and Pierluigi Bersani. Speaking of which, the leader of the Partito Democratico bears a scary resemblance to Dharma’s dad, dontcha think? Separated at birth, people!!

 

Pier Luigi Bersani

 

Dharma’s Dad

Music of the day: I loved Avion Travel‘s cover of the song Vieni Via Con Me on tonight’s show. Actor Toni Servillo (singer Beppe’s brother) guested on vocals.  And just listen to that guitar!

Best read of the day: I’m trying to teach my son the English alphabet and he’s making great progress with Thomas the Tank Engine ABC. It’s very basic but there’s something about trains that keeps Diggy hooked. Any other suggestions for teaching bilingual kids would be most appreciated.

What I’m eating: Yesterday I cooked up a storm: a bit of Indian and Italian. My husband bought some cauliflower so I could make aloo gobi.

aloo gobi

It was good but not quite perfect. I didn’t have any cumin and I was a bit stingy with the green chilis as I’m a milk dispenser now.  My husband did manage to find some coriander/cilantro in the garden, thank goodness. It’s so fragrant and really makes a difference. I also made chick pea and potato samosas (which the kids actually ate!) as well as a dish with borlotti beans, pancetta and red wine.

Best moment of the day: Playing in front of the mirror with the baby. She’s such a giggler now! Oh, cleaning out the lint filter in the dryer was also a highlight, albeit on a different level. Very zen.


Where I’d like to go: To Tim Hortons, baby! In one month I’m going to be in Canada and you know my first stop will not be my Mom’s place but Timmy’s, to get a chocolate dip doughnut and a double double of course.

 

16 November 2010 at 2:14 am 1 comment

Sorry, eh!

Ciao Bloggisti,

Yeah, it’s been a while. But I have a really good excuse. I’m working on a certain project which has temporarily diverted all my creativity into another worthy outlet. I can’t go into details right now but I’ll let you know soon enough ;).

But can I let something off my chest right now? WOOO HOOOO!!!! Here’s to my home and native land that did a SUPER job hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics!!

There were some weather issues, technical problems and tragedies. But Canada managed to overcome it all with characteristic hard work, spirit and sense of humour (did you see those inflatable beavers?). And we Owned the Gold, including the top spot in the hockey firmament! Because of Sid Crosby, Obama now owes Prime Minister Harper a case of beer. Hee hee! But our neighbours to the south did very well for themselves despite yesterday’s loss, earning 37 medals. The Russians, on the other hand, were still smarting from their less than stellar results when they bid Vancouver a “classy” farewell in this Pravda article: “Doesn’t it feel great to slam the door behind you as you walk out, stick up the middle finger using the palm of the left hand on the upper right forearm for extra leverage and blow a giant raspberry? That is exactly how it feels as Russia leaves Vancouver after disappointing Games with a question, was the Canadian ice hockey team on drugs?” Um, no, but perhaps the Editorial Staff of Pravda was.

But enough about them. What’s more tragic is the fact I missed my date with Clive Owen!! Well, I didn’t actually have a “date” date but he was in Milan over the weekend for Fashion Week and I had no idea till a few minutes ago when I read this! Does that man know how to wear a suit or what? And just look at those EYES! And where was I? Lying on the sofa watching the Canada vs. US hockey game in German. It was worth it in the end but “scheiße”!

What else is new in my corner of the world? It’s been a pretty busy year so far but we took a much-needed break over the Carnival period. We travelled to Liguria, the south of France and the mountains of Limone Piemonte where Bellie had her first skiing lessons. She was reluctant at first but was speeding down the slopes like a pro in no time. And here’s Diggy climbing his own personal Everest.

Limone Piemonte

So that’s what’s been going around here and in my mind. And what about you? I’d love to find out how your year has been so far and what you thought of the Olympics (or Clive Owen in a suit!).

Ciao ciao

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1 March 2010 at 10:50 pm 1 comment

Desperation Poutine

Ciao Bloggisti!

Well, here we are, week after my rant about Italy and I’m still peeved! This time for a problem at my daughter’s preschool. It’s a long and complicated story, too boring to explain in detail but basically they decided to close the school for three days because water was leaking from the roof. And even if my daughter’s class isn’t even in the same building as the school with the water leak, they magically found a bit of condensation in their classroom (it’s been raining non-stop here for four days straight) and the mayor declared their classroom as unsafe as well. How nice! Especially since there’s a long weekend coming up. That way the teachers can add three more days to their vacation!! The funny thing is, my son’s daycare is in the same building as my daughter’s class and they’re still open. Hmmm….

Ok, enough of my complaining! Let’s talk about something infinitely more interesting. FOOD! Since I’ve been feeling homesick of late, one evening I decided to make one of my favourite Canadian comfort foods: poutine. Quoi?? You don’t know the celestial concoction of  french fries, gravy and cheese curds? It was one of my go-to meals when I was a university student in Montreal as it was cheap, filling and the perfect cure for a hangover. There’s even a so-called Italian Poutine, made of fries, shredded mozzarella and bolognese sauce that you’d never actually find  in Bologna but which I didn’t disdain either.

However, the other evening I wanted the real thing. I happened to have some leftover homemade chicken gravy and decided it was the perfect time to take a walk down Canadian culinary lane. I wanted to do things right so I fried my fries instead of baking them in the oven like I usually do. The only problem was that I didn’t have cheese curds. Hmmm, what would be a good substitute for curds? Why Asiago, of course! So I carefully assembled my Desperation Poutine: first the french fry base, then the Asiago and finally the piping hot gravy. I closed my eyes and took a bite.

poutine

My first thought was, “Meh”. After all that work, all the expectations, my poutine was a bit of a disappointment.  As you can see, the Asiago didn’t melt, which is what happens to curds upon contact with the hot gravy. Perhaps the cheese I used was too aged or too cold. But that stringy, cheesy goodness which is essential to the whole poutine experience was missing from my invention. But I haven’t given up hope. Now I have to try and find cheese curds here in Italy or book a flight back home asap!

Help a Canuck girl in need! What Italian cheese would be the best substitute for curds?

1 May 2009 at 12:11 am 12 comments

Blogiversary and Book Giveaway!

Ciao Bloggisti!

It’s a very special moment for me. This proud mammina is thrilled to celebrate my baby’s 1st birthday with y’all.

cake-2

Yes, Milanese Masala is a year old! Well, to be honest, the actual blogiversary was a couple of weeks ago but (surprise, surprise!) I didn’t get around to writing this post till now. Maybe it’s the change of season, maybe it’s my latent narcolepsy waking up again. Whatever it is, I’m just too exhausted to stay up late and write like I used to in the early days.

In honour of her birthday I’ve decided to give the old broad a facelift. It’s just what best friends do. You like? It’s still a work in progress but I think it’s much easier to read. I plan on improving my photos and start putting myself on a stricter schedule but I ain’t making no promises!

I guess now I should take the customary stroll down Blogiversary Lane,  look back, take stock of the past year, etc, etc. What have I learned? Well, that I’m a touch crazy to have decided to embark on a blogging career considering that a) I already have a full-time job b) we moved into our new house 2 years ago and still have a garage full of boxes to unpack and c) I have two little ‘uns, one of whom is a terremoto toddler who leaps small cabinets in a single bound.

So why in the hoo ha did I start blogging in the first place ? Truth be told, despite my busy life, I really love writing and I thought what better outlet to spew my senseless ramblings in than a blog. Plus, it would get me in the habit of writing regularly (or so I thought). I was also muchly inspired by my pal Joanne at Frutto della Passione. She’s taught me so much and helped this tech numbskull out on many a occasion. Thanks Jo! And of course, there’s a great community of expat bloggers that I wanted to get to know better. I “met” so many cool people because of my blog and for that I’m grateful.

Now, on with the shoe…

To celebrate my blogiversary I wanted to subject you to a meme that I did on FB. Some of you have probably already read this but for those who haven’t, it’s a way for all you newbies to get to know me a little better. Here are 25 Random Things About Me:

1. I believe humour and music can save your soul…

2. … so at the ripe old age of 30-something, I’ve decided to learn to play the guitar! Funny, eh?

3. I am slow at everything except driving.

4. Yet I was picked to be a part of a 4×100 relay team in Gr.8

5. I’m crazy for cats. They are the smartest, coolest, calmest, most beautiful animals in the world.

6. I’m a plant killer. I love flowers and gardens so I’m hoping to change my homicidal ways.

7. There’s nothing sexier than talking to a man who’s actually listening to you. A sense of humour don’t hurt either.

8. It’s terrible but I love gossip, from reading it to doing it. All harmless but it’s a bad habit I hope to kick.

9. I’d like to be a writer. Of some sort. I think.

10. I used to throw cutlery from our 6th floor balcony when I was a toddler.

11. My 2 yr old is obsessed with dinner knives. Coincidence?

12. I once sang The Greatest Love of All in an audition for a high school musical. I vaguely remember people chuckling during my heartfelt performance. I didn’t get the part.

13. I’ve had a love affair with the city of Paris ever since I first went there at 16 and did everything possible to live there, which I finally managed to do at university.

14. I think dictionaries are cool

15. Is there anything better than hugging a baby/child who’s just woken up, all toasty and warm?

16. If you want to ride in my car you have to listen to music. My music. Unless you’re a kid which means you can choose from either Raffi or Sharon, Lois & Bram.

17. If I had the chance to meet one famous person it would have to be Paul McCartney.

18. I’ve been married twice. To the same guy. Still waiting for that engagement ring, though.

19. I’ve been to India five times.

20. I used to have straight hair when I was a kid. My hair started going all wonky at puberty. I was so desperate to fix it I even had two perms when I was in high school. No joke.

21. I love lists. I love it when a plan comes together. I absolutely hate it when they don’t, especially if it’s due to somebody going back on their word.

22. I’m a terrible procrastinator. I really should be doing something else instead of writing this list.

23. I used to collect dryer lint.

24. My people can’t dance. Well, that’s what my father used to say.

25. I really wish I could have heard him say that to his grandkids.

I am also commemorating the blogiversary by doing  my very first giveaway. Yes, you read right! I am giving away an autographed copy of renowned novelist and translator Tim Parks‘s latest book, Dreams of Rivers and Seas.

bmimg_123291_9781846551147l_th

As Jane Shilling of the Sunday Telegraph says, Dreams of Rivers and Seas is “a love story (or rather several love stories), an oblique and engrossing mystery, but above all a story about language and its limitations.”

If you want to win a copy of the book, all you have to do is post a comment from today (17 March) till Thursday 19 March. You can leave any comment you wish (be nice!) but it would be nice to hear  about your experiences with language limitations or even read what you have to say about the meme or even do your own. The winner will be chosen randomly from all those who posted comments. I will send the book anywhere so all you international lurkers can start speaking up for a change!

Can’t wait to read your comments!

p.s. Don’t forget about the Ultimate Blog Party 2009 at 5 Minutes for Mom from 20-27 March. I’m doing a giveaway there too!! Yes, la sciura è impazzita!

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17 March 2009 at 1:57 am 10 comments

C’è Crisi???

Ciao Bloggisti,

Sometimes I like to read CNN.com to gawk at Anderson Cooper but also to get caught up on U.S. and international news. Except for one story on Canada’s Hot Spot (a joke, right?), today it seemed like it had one issue on the brain: the financial crisis. Here are just some of the headlines: “Madoff – I operated a Ponzi scheme“, “What to do if you’re laid off“, “Democrats to Obama: Hurry up and fix economy“, “Artists face tough economy“, “Track unemployment and foreclosures“. Pretty grim stuff.

The Italian papers are just as pessimistic, even if Berlusconi insists that the media is exaggerating the importance of the current crisis. Is he right? Is he messing with us? To be honest, I really don’t know. What I do know is that times are tough for everyone. There are people here who say this is the worst the economy has ever been but others who are confident that the hard times won’t last long, that the banks are strong and our money is safe. I am no Alex P. Keaton so I can’t say who’s right.

Perhaps Bugo‘s C’è Crisi holds the answer. It’s a tongue-in-cheek song about the financial crisis and what we should do about it. Should we be angry and scream about it or simply… do nothing?

Have you been feeling the crunch? How should we act/react? Is the media exaggerating?

12 March 2009 at 11:38 pm 3 comments

Do Over Day

Ciao Bloggisti!

 

It’s a day late but I just wanted to let you know about this revolutionary new holiday that was celebrated in Canada on the 26th. It’s called Do Over Day and it was founded by a guy called Reggie (?).

 

It was initially created for Canadians, considering our polite yet passive-aggressive nature tempered with “a collective deep sense of embarrassment about our many flaws”. But I think it could work on a world-wide level.

 

The idea behind it is fantastic. Basically, it’s a way of reliving the most significant moments of your lives or going back to undo something you really regretted. As they say on their official website, “Imagine re-enjoying your first kiss, the birth of your first child, or even your first marriage. Picture yourself re-experiencing the fabulous meals you’ve eaten, the exotic lands you’ve visited, the epic raves you cannot recall attending. Conversely, visualize yourself making amends for your life’s imperfect moments – the time you made a pass at your wife’s sister and got caught, or the night driving home from the pub when you accidentally ran over your neighbour’s shihtzu…”. It’s like travelling back in time, righting wrongs, undoing the woulda, coulda, shouldas that burden our daily lives. Now who wouldn’t want a second chance?

 

There are some videos on the  site but I think the best “do over” in cinematic history is in Superman. I’m pretty sure you all remember this scene, when a distraught Man of Steel discovers that he’s too late to save his beloved Lois. I still get goosebumps when I watch this, and not because of Marlon Brando’s giant head floating in the sky:  

 

 

Sigh! Now that’s love!! 

 

So now I’d really love to hear what you’d like to do over. As for me, I really wish I could go back to the time I tried out for Jeopardy when I was in high school. I would just love the opportunity to tell Alex Trebek what I really think of him.

 

Ok, so get your regret caps on and start thinking!!

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27 February 2009 at 12:57 pm 3 comments

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