Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What a Croc

Ok, I finally broke down and bought a pair of Crocs. In my defense, they are flip flops, but they are still Crocs. Now I know why people are so smitten with them. These may be the most comfortable pair of flip flops on the planet. Behold the Croc Capri in Charcoal/Sea Foam:
My feet have never felt so happy - and trust me lately they have been hating me and all of my shoes...even my beautiful Italian In Blu shoes do not make my feet happy anymore. Sigh...I hope once Simon arrives that my feet will go back to normal and I can wear my shoes again. Until then I can only look at my beloved Italian shoes and wear my Crocs. At least my feet don't hurt anymore!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Big Belly

My belly at 22 weeks...huge.
Here I am with my brother who just got home from Italy. Clearly I am huge...and I still have a long way to go. I am already having trouble sleeping because of the discomfort...what will happen in Nov?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The District of Crafts

So one thing I miss about being in DC is the amazing range of the people that I came to know and call friends. Not that my friends in Philly are not fabulous, they are, but the DC crew, while diverse, was an exceptional group of people.

Case in point, Karen, whom I met through my ex-roommate Gina. Karen is the proud owner of Ipso Crafto an adorable craft store on Capitol Hill. I am sad to say that I have never been to this store since I just learned about it...but if I lived in DC I would definitely have signed up for sewing lessons ASAP. You can also book parties and such - what a great idea and a great way to introduce crafting to your kids.

Karen in front of her store.

Karen is essentially living out one of my many dreams...owning your own boutique. This is something that I have always wanted to do. Seeing as I have ZERO business sense and maybe even less fashion sense I never really got past the daydreaming stage. Although when I sold my house I did for a brief second think about purchasing a franchise of the Italian brand Calzedonia which sells bathing suits, socks and pantyhose. Check out their website - their Summer 08 collection is amazing...sigh. Then I realized how much work that would be and I know that starting a family would take priority so I went back to school for teaching instead.

So for those of you in DC and looking for fabric and thread, stop by and say hello to Karen. Then buy some pretty fabric and sew me and Baby Simon something nice...just kidding...ok not really :P

Tomorrow we are off to Altoona, PA for Dan's brother's wedding...I will try to remember my camera and post pics - I got an amazing dress for only $9.99 at Motherhood Maternity which I am excited to wear with my new Guess shoes (NOT flip flops for once). Have a good weekend everyone!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Math for Dummies

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am taking a math class at Montgomery County Community College during Summer Session II. The class is a 100 level class for Freshmen. I am the second oldest student. There is another pregnant woman in the class but she looks about 10 years younger than me. Everyone else looks about 18 years old. One girl, the one who has "lost" her text and always shares with me is taking this class for the second time. A shocker since she is always blatantly text messaging while the professor is explaining things and then has no idea what is going on.

Why am I doing this, you may ask? Well, in order to teach in the glorious state of Pennsylvania you need to have taken 2 semesters of college level math at some point in your educational career.

Now most people that go to college take some sort of math or statistics or econ class. How did I get out of math you may ask? Well at Georgetown, as a language major, you can choose between math or science. A brilliant choice that I made wisely so that I would never have to deal with variables and equations again. Until I made a career change and decided to become a teacher.

Here is the dialogue between the Dean of the Graduate Program at Cabrini and myself during my admissions interview:

Dean: "So I was looking at your transcript and I don't see any math on here."
Me: "Well as a language major I did not have to take math. I could take science instead."
Dean: "I see. Well, you are going to have to fix that. You can't get your certification without 2 semesters of college math."
Me: "I don't understand, I am applying to the READING specialist program. What does that have to do with math?"
Dean: "Absolutely nothing. But even so it is the requirement in Pennsylvania."
Me: "Um, but I went to Georgetown. Doesn't that count for something?"
Dean: "No. It doesn't."

So now that I am almost finished the program and hoping to student teach in the fall of 2009 I need to get those math classes in.

Registering for the class was a trauma in itself. I faxed in the application/registration form and a nice lady from Montco Registration called me almost immediately to discuss why she could not register me. Apparently I had to take a placement test. I told her there was no way I would have "time" to come to Montco and take a placement test - what else could I do to register?

Registrar Lady: "Do you know what you scored on your Math SAT? Was it above a 550?"
Me: "Um, lady, I took my SAT's in 1990. It may have been above a 550 - it was a 1250 combined - but I am not sure about the math portion."
RL: "Well if you have an official copy of your scores you can fax them over. If not you can call the College Board and have them sent for a fee."
Me: "Fine give me their number."

Determined NOT to have to take a placement test that I would surely fail, I contacted the College Board. $70 later the girl on the other end...who may or may not have been born in 1990 assured me that my scores would arrive in a week. (BTW, I got a 590 on my math SAT - shocking really since my math skills in high school were borderline special needs).

So here I find myself home on a Sat night studying for my first math test in 17 years. The material is not so bad - basic Algebra and Linear Equations - but I am still nervous.

The moral of this post is...be careful when you take the easy way out...you never know when it will come back to haunt you.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Franks and Beans

We had our ultrasound today.

It was very obvious that we are going to be parents of a bouncing baby boy!!!

Baby Simon at 20 weeks.

Here he is. I spared you the anatomy verification picture. Why embarrass him in utero. I have plenty of time to post embarrassing pics after he is born.

He was VERY active all throughout the ultrasound and was hanging out with his hands above his head. At one point he even made a "hang 10" sign with his fist. Then he preceded to yawn...maybe we were boring him? I am happy to report that he looks healthy and is growing on schedule. I cannot wait to meet him in November - our very own little Thanksgiving Turkey!!!

We have settled on the name Simon Patrick - not my first choice but Dan hated my other choices so we compromised....I get to name the next one no matter if it is a boy or a girl. We will call him Simone (pron. See mo neh) when he is Italy and Simon here...that way my Nonna will be able to pronounce his name.

Now to pick out the bedding...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Verdi Cries

I finally finished my memoir for my writing class which ended Friday. I was unable to share it with the class on Friday so I think I will share it with you all here. On Friday I was fortunate enough to hear some of my classmates read their memoirs out loud. They were really well written one in particular made me cry. I was so thankful that my classmate trusted us enough to share some very dark moments in her life...I feel the more richer for having been a part of the community that got to share in her pain.

Anyway, I should be back to regular blogging this week - starting tomorrow with the results of our ultrasound.

Feel free to leave any feedback about my memoir in the comments section below.

It was the spring of 1990. It was official. I was a student of archeology. When my Latin teacher, Ms. Reidel had told me about the Summer Classics Program (SCP), I was a bit hesitant. I was only a Junior. Did I want to give up one night a week to schlep down to St. Joe’s University to take a night class for college credit? My schedule this spring was already a bit tight. Lacrosse, stage crew, Lit Mag and SAT prep left me with little time after school for much else.

“This is the first year that they are opening it up to girls,” she said. “There are only four spots and I want you to have one of them.” Then she mentioned the “on site” component. At the end of the semester the group would spend one week in Rome, two days on the island of Capri and five days in Sorrento.

Two weeks in Italy? Without my parents? With twenty guys from the Prep? During the World Cup? (Italy was hosting that year.) I looked at this opportunity with the practical eye of a 16 year old girl who attends a same sex school. Aside from our professor, I would be the only one on the trip that would speak Italian fluently. These twenty boys would NEED me. I saw myself surrounded by handsome young men, all vying for my attention as I helped them order a gelato or translated for them at a bar while we watched a soccer match. Italy was such a magical place there was no way that these boys would NOT fall in love with me. By the end of the trip I would have a boyfriend for sure. At the very least I would have my pick of them for a senior prom date. I told Ms. Reidel I was definitely in.

We arrived in Rome on a hot June day. By then, I had met the boys that I prematurely decided would escort me to the prom and realized that there were only a few acceptable candidates. My roommate was to be a girl from my high school named Eva. There were two other girls from my high school on the trip as well. My odds were looking good. On the plane I planned out the strategies that would have these “chosen” boys fawning over me by dinner the next day.

Then a funny thing happened. As soon as I set foot on Italian soil these potential escorts took a back seat to the magic of the Eternal City. I had visited Rome before with my family but never as a student of archeology. Our fearless leader, Dr. Bender, was a time wizard. With every lecture at every site we were drawn back into the past and soon we felt like we were actually living in the time of the Caesars.

If I had lived 2000 years ago would I have been a slave girl worth practically nothing and looked down upon by those I served? Perhaps I would have been the daughter of an aristocrat, married at age 12, mother of many children one of whom would become a senator. Dr. Bender gave us a truly special look into this timeless city. A place that would live on long after our footsteps and daydreams had passed through.

While our days were filled with time travel our nights were filled with soccer. Hosting the World Cup had transformed Rome that summer. Some of the games were even being played at the Stadio Olimpico right there in Rome. Azzurri fever was sweeping the city and we gladly let ourselves get caught up in the tidal wave.

Three days after my 17th birthday we visited the Capitoline Museums. It was late afternoon and the museums were already closed for the day. Dr. Bender, who by that time we had dubbed Caesar himself, had managed to find a way for us to visit the museums after hours.

The origins of these museums trace back to 1471 and Pope Sixtus IV who donated a bunch of valuable bronze statues to the people of Rome for exposition. Almost 600 years later the collection contains mostly pieces from Roman antiquity, possibly the largest collection in the world.

I had never been in a museum when it was closed. Without the tourists and general crowds the place was transformed and held almost a sacred quality. Our footsteps resonated through the ancient halls with nothing but statues and pieces of antiquity to muffle them. Dr. Bender explained statue after statue and again we were teleported back to a time even more ancient then the Caesars.

We were introduced to Romulus and Remus, twin brothers who were abandoned then taken in by a she-wolf who fed them and kept them alive. Romulus would later found the city of Rome. We had studied this ancient bronze back in our classroom at St. Joe’s. Now we were standing in front of it looking it at with our own eyes, connecting with a part of history that was older than time itself. As had already happened several times since arriving in Rome, I was overcome with emotion and an incredible sense of how immensely lucky I was to be standing here in this moment creating my own memories and my own history.

As Dr. Bender led us back out to the main entrance we passed a lone security guard huddled around a black and white TV set. Italy was playing Team USA that night at the Stadio Olimpico here in Rome. No wonder Dr. Bender had been given permission to let us in the museum that night. No one would be out on the streets. Every single person in Rome would be at the stadium, which holds 80,000 people or glued to a TV set or in one of the many piazzas that was showing the game on huge screens set up for the occasion. Rome’s antiquities were in no danger of being compromised that night. Our guard was so caught up in the game he did not even realize that we had left the building.

The outside space in between the museums is called the Campidoglio and was designed by Michelangelo himself. Dr. Bender led the group to the top of the courtyard. As we looked over the railing the Roman Forum sprawled out before us. It was dusk and the soft purple light made the ancient ruins look enchanted. We were all silenced by this magic and as we looked over the timeless columns and stones, we allowed what Dr. Bender had been telling us all week to just sink in.

Suddenly a collective cry arose from across the city of Rome. It started out softly but immediately grew into a loud and joyful noise. Startled my classmates looked at each other. I smiled. What else could possibly wake the Eternal City from its slumber?

“Gooooooooaaaaaaaallllllll” screamed the security guard running out the door of the museum and in our direction. We were the only ones around for him to share his excitement with. It did not hurt that Italy had scored against Team USA a fact that I am sure was not lost on the security guard that had the bad luck of having to baby sit a bunch of American students on the night of a world cup game.

Knowing the chaos that would ensue if Italy won the game, Dr. Bender wisely corralled us back to the hotel with strict instructions not to wander outside. Luckily for me our room faced the Via della Conciliazione, a huge main street in Rome which leads to St Peter’s Basilica. I invited a bunch of the guys back to our room and from our open window my classmates and I were able to celebrate Italy’s victory from a safe distance. It had been an incredible few days and in the morning we would be leaving for Campania where the next phase of our trip would begin.

When all was said and done I was escorted to my prom by one of my SCP classmates. The trip had not produced the boyfriend I had so desperately wanted. Instead it gave me the gift of a best friend, Ed, who in the end was gracious enough to escort me to my senior prom when no other prospects were in sight. Ed and I lost touch after college but I will always fondly remember those two weeks in Italy where as Natalie Merchant in her song Verdi Cries so wisely sang “All is memory, taken home with me.”

Eva and Paola, Rome, Coloseum, June 11, 1990

Sunday, July 06, 2008


I deeply apologize for the lack of posts. Last Monday I started up with grad school again and this one particular class "The Teaching of Writing" while enjoyable is grueling. Since we meet every day for 2 weeks we have a semesters worth of reading and writing to do in 14 days. It is not easy, especially when you struggle to keep your eyes open during the readings. I had to take a break and blog so that I would not fall asleep.

We went out and bought a scanner/copier/printer today so on July 14 when we have our next ultrasound we will be able to share a picture of our little one with the world. I really hope that baby is in the right position to see the gender...I don't know if I can wait until Nov to find out. The baby has started moving around now and I can feel it. It is such an odd sensation, like little hiccups or flutters in your belly. I didn't even realize that it was the baby moving until it started happening every day.

I have officially become and emotional mess as well. We had our lit circle in class on Thurs. For those those not in the know, a Lit Circle is like a well organized "book club" for students. Each student is assigned a role (Discussion Director, Word Wizard, Illustrator, etc) and then the book is discussed with each person contributing their share. The book we discussed was Miracle's Boys by Jacqueline Woodson. It is a pretty emotional book and I cried like a baby while reading it. I also burst into tears during the lit circle much to the dismay of my fellow lit circle members. It is awful how little it takes to set me off and I never know when it is going to happen. I suspect this is why I have been a recluse these past couple of weeks, not leaving the house and watching far too much television.

Ok, I guess I should get back to reading. I have to start working on my memoir as well which is due on Friday. Tomorrow night I also start my Math class at Montgomery County Comm College...don't even get me started...there will be a huge post on the evils of math soon enough.

A dopo.