Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Politics as Unusual

Recently there has been a lot of hullabaloo about The Roma here in Europe. If you are not abreast- let me get you up to speed. The Roma are a group of nomadic people believed to be from eastern Europe but with origins in India. They do not live within the cultural norms. They don't work in legal jobs, the children often do not attend school, they live in camps- makeshift and ramshackle. They make money by begging, lying and stealing. And they are a burden on the societies in which they live. They are what is commonly referred to as gypsies.

Nicolas Sarkozy has come under some considerable fire for basically deporting hundreds of Roma from France to Romania. The EU is all out whack. No one can agree on HOW to deal with a people who essentially belong nowhere (they have no documentation or formal records) but everywhere (according to law, should be free to travel within the EU).

Last week, I read an article in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/17/world/europe/17roma.html?scp=2&sq=roma%20&st=cse) criticizing Sarkozy. Usually, I love the "Liberal Media's Heart of Darkness," (in fact my heart is also dark, and full of contempt for Teabagger Sarah Palin) but the article was way off the mark making the Roma sound like a harmless but victimized group of campers. But to most New Yorkers "Gypsy" is merely a Broadway Musical here in Europe the Roma are a real threat.

They are not harmless. To us. Or to themselves. They mame, drug, molest and beat their children. They rob, mug and vandalize. They manipulate charity and drain social services (see my archived Article in the American Magazine http://www.theamericanmag.com/article.php?article=1844). P.S. I am a registered Democrat and bleeding heart liberal who has a Communist for a baby daddy.

This morning I was throwing out my garbage. I approached the trash area on the street to find a 'zingaro,' (a male Roma) dumpster diving. He was literally standing inside the container rummaging through rubbish.   I stood and waited. And waited. It was really awkward. I couldn't even imagine throwing my garbage all over another human being, so I said, "Excuse me." Pause. "Can I?" Nothing. I asked again and then stammered a bunch of vowel sounds together which made me sound like a mentally challenged slash speech impaired kook (second Sarah Palin reference). I walked further down the block. Passing my Volvo station wagon, I admired myself in the reflection of the new glass (our windows have been bashed in twice this month) and made my way to the next set of trash receptacles.

Maybe we could send them all to Sarah's back yard. And I don't mean Russia.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bad Influence

I like to get down as much as the next Mommy. If not more. I am frequently known to shake my money maker (though when I do, I make no money). Usually, it goes down like this:  I am in my living room with my sons and I scream, "Dance Party USA!" I pump up the volume and drop it like it's hot. The toddlers at my side begin gyrating and slam dancing- sometimes simultaneously.

(Please note: This is different from "Kissy's Musical Review," which begins with some Candor and Ebb, a Fosse isolation or two, followed by a boisterous '5, 6, 7,8!)

This morning (instead of going to church) I threw one of my 'Dance Party USA's.' We were bouncing around like uninhibited American young hipsters who say no drugs but yes to MTV. "Like the way you Lie," with Rihanna and Eminem came on. I was playing the part of Rihanna (and doing really well with my upper register) and my sons were alternating with Mr. Mather's lyrics (which can be challenging if you are not yet fluent in English). I was singing and dancing and having a humdinger of a good time. Well you can imagine my disappointment when both my sons STOPPED dead in their tracks mid-song. The little one's double-chinned jaw actually dropped. They sat mesmerized. I stopped too. And turned to the TV- the video (which I had never seen) was disturbing for a Sunday morning discotech! That sexy Meghan Fox was being body slammed against a wall by the dwarf like guy from Lost. There was fire involved in the altercation as well (and I am STRICT about playing with fire). What the...?!? I turned the channel, making a mental note that this video was definitely not produced by Pixar or the like. Next channel.... 'Alejandro' by the Lovely and talented Lady Gaga. I am clearly lagging behind on my video watching. This one was new to me as well. And also not for children. What was a dancing parent to do?

Luckily, my boys' father woke and saved me from my parenting debacle. He suggested we go to a local park with Kiddie rides. My sons' innocence had been restored as they went round and round on a cute little truck built for two.
But as we snapped a picture... I noticed something almost as disturbing as Lady Gaga's 'choreography'....
The truck was a rolling advertisement for CAMEL cigarettes whose license plate also read HI- 069.

It wasn't yet noon and my kids been bombarded with: re-enacted domestic violence, simulated sex,  cigarette endorsements, drug references and math related sexual positions.

Next week, maybe we should consider church?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Edible Adventures

I used to be an emotional eater (Don't knock it. Look at Oprah). Now I am too busy to eat! I jest.

Living in Italy with two toddlers, a lanky man from Lazio and a foreign language poses it's problems. But cooking is not one of them.  Both preparing and devouring my concoctions give me a great satisfaction and almost instant relief to life's little stressors. When all else fails in this wacky foreign place, I rely on the comfort of food (and a bit of wine) to bring me down off the ledge.

Yesterday, my Sicilian-actor friend Vito came for lunch. (NOTE: He is gorgeous, so I always get the fish eye from the neighbors. Which is funny because I am not his type. Because I do not have a penis).
For Vito, I doctored up an involtini recipe from Sicily and paired it with a bottle of Nero D'Avola I bought for three bucks at my local vegetable and fruit market. Nero D'Avola is a great Sicilian wine- grab it if you see it on the shelves of your local stores. It's versatile- goes with any meal. If you like a Syrah- you'll go for this too.

Sicilian Eggplant Roll
(I have converted from metric. This constitutes as higher math for me. You are welcome)

10 oz flour
5 oz ricotto (fresh. I used sheep's ricotta)
warm water (a cup or less)
tsp sea salt. 
2 tbs olive oil 

two eggplant
6-8 small tomatoes (roma, cherry, etc)
1 onion
1 garlic clove
2 cups milk
sea salt to taste
8oz smoked provolone (or any harder smoked cheese avail)

combine flour, salt, oil on counter surface. With hands make a hole near the center of the mix- add ricotta and start working. Slowly add water (as needed) to mixture until dough is mixed well and formed in to ball. Let rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375
Cube eggplant, provolone and cut up tomato. Slice onion.
Soak eggplant in milk for five minutes (takes away bitterness).
Set provolone aside.

Heat a pan with olive oil and garlic clove.
Add onions. Saute until translucent
Add eggplant and saute.
After approx 2 minutes add tomato.
Saute until vegetables are cooked through. Add salt to taste. 
remove from heat and add cubed provolone

Roll out dough in a circular form. 
Add the eggplant mixture in a horizontal line though the middle of the dough.  Fold the dough over to close (like a long envelope).
Bake for 25- 30 minutes.

*** There may be filling left over. If so, marry it with a tomato puree. Blend and heat on stove for about 10 minutes on low heat. Now you've got yourself a tangy eggplant pasta sauce as well.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hi there. (Whoever you are.)
As I embark on the international Internet world of blogging... I hope to parlay a sense of hope (not an Audacity of Hope- because that would be plagiarizing) and humor to anyone who is currently involved in a relationship that involves co habitation and a shared set of keys. Cat's don't count. Sorry feline lovers.

Domestic life is up and down; it's in and it's out. Did I just quote Katy Perry or her producer?
Anyhow, it isn't easy. But it is rewarding. And funny. And tragic. And sweet. And stressful. And full. And so there will be a lot to share. Potential topics may include but are not limited to: recipes, unsolicited opinions, potty training tips, travel do's and don'ts,  arts and crafts (when I am feeling crafty), hatred of Sarah Palin and Tea Baggers, photography, The Performing Arts (capitalized for their importance), personal victories, Domestic Fashion (or lack thereof), inappropriate details about my familial relationships, product endorsements and scribings (plural) that sometimes border upon mental illness.

And we're off....