Andddd We’re Back…

After a lovely hiatus (which included a trip to Antigua, the acquisition of a husband and three months of generally screwing around), Nonna and I have finally reunited, worked through our separation anxiety and settled into a nice little routine which involves nightly post-work phone calls and bi-weekly visits.

As expected…things have changed.  So has Nonna’s level of craziness. Especially because now…”sex is legal.” Sorry Dad.  But Nonna now gives “extra special” marital advice.

Now, as I refuse to sink to her level and discuss her boudoir advice (though, men everywhere should rejoice as Nonna firmly believes women have a duty to put out…As she says “sometimes, you just need to lay there while the man do it”), I will share the recent dating advice she gave me.  Yes, the newleywed apparently needs dating advice (in case things don’t work out?)

Nonna: You know, I watchin all these shows and all these women lookin for men.

Me: Yea, you mean dating shows?

Nonna: Yes. The people looking everywhere for boyfriend.

Me: Yea, a lot of people are looking.

Nonna: I think these people should come over on my house and I tell them how to get a boyfrien.

Me: Oh yea?

Nonna: Yea, I gonna give you advice because you need it.

Me: Uh, why do I need it?

Nonna: Because, one day you might need a boyfrien.

Me: Well, I mean…I hope not.

Nonna: Even you married, you need to make sure the man like you so you husband don go no where.

Me: So I need to learn how to date?

Nonna: Yes it is. You gonna date my way.

Me: Ok. Tell me how.

Nonna: And you gonna tell your sisters and you friends.  You sisters no listen to anything that come out my mouth.

Me: Got it.

Nonna: The girls they need three things to gettin boyfriend.

Me: Oh God.

Nonna: They need beautiful shoes, the beautiful shirt and nice hair.  You don have nice hair you gonna fix.

Me: Ok.

Nonna: I think you look nice if you cut your hair short like mine.

Me: No thanks.

Nonna: One day you gonna do and you gonna say…I look beautiful like my Nonna.

Me: Sure. So, that’s all they need?

Nonna: The boobies they help too. (she lovingly strokes her boobs)

Me:  Uh, Ok.

Nonna: And another thing you gonna remember…man they don wan to marry no girlfriend. They want to marry a wife.  The girls today no remember this. They say I wanna purse, I wanna shoes, I wanna crazy crazy…but they forget the man they don want wife who is a pain in the ass.  They wan marry a girl who can cook and clean and shutup.

Me: So this whole women’s movement has it all wrong?

Nonna: Do they havin boyfriends?

Me: I’ll have to do some research (does anyone know if Elizabeth Cady Stanton dated frequently???)

Nonna: You see…you look around. The girls who know how to do everything nice they gonna find a boyfriend.

Me: Maybe you should write a book.

Nonna: Yes it is. I gonna go on this show and say to these girls “WAKE UP” you need to do the number one right thing like me.

Me: I’ll spread the word.

Nonna: And you remember too. You husband no gonna like you actin like a piece of shit.  Go fix your hair…you disgust.

Well, I guess I know my next project: “Marito” Nonna’s guide to getting (and keeping) a husband.

 

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Quiz – How Italian Are You?

When Nonna came “on this country” she became immediately immersed in American culture.  She celebrated Thanksgiving, Fourth of July and watched General Hospital.  Naturally, despite her American baptism, she  never forgot her original roots.

Whereas most New Jersey/New York Italians happily fist pump, gym, tan, laundry and eat their mom’s “gravy”…Nonna quietly (sort of) sits in judgment of them. To Nonna, there are “levels” of Italian… 1) Originale Italian 2) Italian Italian and 3) Italian  4) Italian person 5) Snooki (just kidding).

I know you all are wondering where you fit in…so we (yes, this blog has a new coauthor) created a quiz to figure out just how italian you are…

1) Do you have a beard?

This past week, Brittany and Nonna were driving home from the train station (Note – Nonna resigned as Britt’s chauffeur this week…). On their way home they passed by one of Nonna’s friends who was enjoying the gorgeous evening by going on a walk.

Nonna- That lady has a beard…
Brittany- well that’s not very nice
Nonna- I know but its true. If I hada one I shave. I shave my whole face if I have to. She italian italian though
Brittany- Italian italian? What are you?
Nonna- Originale italiano
Brittany- Is there a difference?
Nonna looked at her with a face of disgust.

Nonna: WHAT YOU MEAN??? Of course there a difference, whata you stunad?

Clearly, what seperates the original italians from the italian italians is facial hair…

2) Were you born in Italy?

(Note: if you were born in italy but are a woman with facial hair…you are still italian, italian…)

Naturally, the “originale” italians are born there…however, this is really confusing because my dad was born there…but apparently he’s not originale italian….as she explained to Brittany:

Nonna- Honey, you haveta understand these thing because its who you are.
Brittany- okay so explain.
Nonna- see your food, no one but origionale italiano can make for you.
Note- she was eating salmon, grilled veggies and sweet potatoes. No pasta. No eggplant. No cheese or sauce on anything. Aka terrible example…
Nonna- my friend with the beard she italian italian because she born there.
Brittany- so dads italian italian?
Nonna- no its not because he live there for one year.
Brittany- but he was born there.
Nonna-okay fine so he is italian italian

So now, if you are a man who was born in Italy but only lived there for a year or a woman with facial hair who lived in Italy her whole life you are only italian italian.

3) Were you born in America to a originale italian and are you fluent in Italian?

If so…you are “Italian.” Read: my uncle frank.

Brittany- So….what’s uncle frank?
Nonna- italian
Brittany- Why? he’s fluent in the language.
Nonna- Because he born in america…

4) Were you born to an italian italian and an Irish woman and lived in Italy for four months?

If so…you are Italian person, like Brittany.

Brittany- So…what am I?
Nonna- a pain in my hasso
Brittany- am I italian italian because I lived there?
Nonna- no
Brittany- so I’m just italian?
Nonna- no its not. You italian person because you still irish or something like that but your last name is your blood.
Brittany- ok this doesn’t make sense
Nonna- yes it is.

5) Are you not Italian, but married to an Italian?

What does this make you…? We don’t know…

Brittany- what’s aunt jackie?
Nonna- that’s a good question. Non lo so.

Since Nonna can’t figure it out…using the quiz above…it appears Aunt Jackie is closest to an Italian person as she does not have a beard, nor can she speak the language…

6) Are you snooki?

Me- what’s snookie?
Nonna- che?
Me- who’s snookie, ya know from the show on tv.
Nonna- oh she number one stunad.

True, but she makes for a great halloween costume.

Driving Miss Nonna

To be sure, driving with a senior citizen can be challenging.  Driving behind a senior citizen…troublesome.  However, if your elderly is Nonna…it can be downright aggravating.  For years, my sisters, cousins and I have made fun of Nonna’s driving skills…First, she drives slower than tree sap falls in the winter. Second, she has this bizarre habit of shaking the steering wheel as she drives – where normal drivers only turn the wheel when they encounter road curvature, Nonna tends to move the wheel right and left to ensure all road changes – however slight – are accounted for.  Third, she never drives more than five miles (but for her trips to see my uncle) away from our home – which is ironic because she is fully capable of traveling far distances.

These issues aside, Nonna also has serious mental issues while driving.  Not only does she use any time in the car to lecture her passenger (side note: she does so with Catholic chanting in the background), she also has uncontrollable road rage…

Take this story…as told by Brimmo…

My days of job searching (and serving as Nonna’s personal assistant) have thankfully came to an end in recent weeks. Last week, I started working in NYC. Like any suburban Jersey resident, I embark on a less than desirable commute into the city each morning.   However, this commute is only made more arduous by my recent discovery that with a roommate/chauffeur at the prime age of 75,  an extra 35minutes of travel time is needed to ensure I make my train. As you know, living the good life with Nonna definitely has its perks – Laundry on the daily, breakfast waiting on the kitchen table when I’m finished getting ready, lunch packed up for me ready to go and a delish meal served once I return home. None of this should come as a surprise to those of you following the blog since its inception as Nonna lent the same services to my sister during her time on the ranch.

However, what the former roomie never experienced was depending on Nonna to drive her to and from a train station at 7am. ( Please note this woman has got it all together, which is why I feel no remorse encouraging her driving skills twice a day).  Now before you all start calling me ungrateful, this drive is approximately 7 mins long, taking into account traffic lights, and other morning commuters. With Nonna, this drive has upped to 16 minutes. Seriously. I keep track. Why does it take so long you might wonder? Well….

1) Inability to drive faster than 8mph

Nonna’s increasingly decreasing speed has become troublesome each time we make the trek to the NJ Transit station. Each day it seems as if we are going slower and slower, as if this was humanly possible. I am concerned that eventually, we will be rolling in reverse.

2) The inexplicable short cut…

As local residents will agree,  driving to the area train station, one should realize that it doesn’t make any sense to cut through our town shopping center to get to Route 1. For any other competent human being, it doesn’t make sense to cut through a shopping center, period.  Ever. But to Nonna, this is the ultimate shortcut.   Though I point out that it adds on several minutes to the morning, she cares very little as  it gives her extra time to listen to the rosary via her cassette player (didn’t know new cars even came with cassette players).

3) Road Rage

The  third and final reason my commute takes longer than Weiner’s decision to resign is because of Nonna’s absolutely hilarious road rage. Each morning as the drive to the train station takes a little longer, I’ve noticed it’s because Nonna hates when people tailgate her. (Maybe if she wasn’t driving at a walking pace we wouldn’t have this issue.) Instead of allowing them to pass her, she slows down. These poor people are going to be late to places because at 7:10am she is trying to teach them a lesson. For example, this morning, Nonna was driving approximately 12 mph in a 40 zone.  As a result, a build up of cars was accruing behind her.  One particular woman got too close for Nonna’s comfort.

Nonna: What a butana, why she so close to me? Its a like she wanna be in my hasso.

Me: Well probably because you’re basically driving backwards.

Nonna: SHUTUP, you lucky I no makin you walk.

(Rosary plays as background noise)

Nonna: WHY SHE SO CLOSE!

Me: Nonna you’re literally driving so slow right now I would be doing the same thing.

Nonna: NO IS NOT. I beautiful number one driver, everyone should wanna drive like me.

Me: Not unless they want to get anywhere.

Nonna: I hopa you miss your train. I HOPA THIS BUTANA MISSES HER TRAIN TOO. SHE TOO CLOSE TO ME. I beta she curse at me in her car. Calling me a hold lady. Butana.

Luckily, I was dropped off as the train was pulling up. The “butana” definitely missed it though, and I guarantee Nonna was more than happy about her well taught lesson.

Moral of the story? I need to suck it up and buy a parking pass…or get a xanax prescription…

Wedding Antics

The weeks, days, hours, minutes have dwindled…the great wedding event is upon us…well, on Saturday.

Naturally, the approaching has been quite exciting for fiancee Chris and I…but the closer the “big day” comes, the stranger Nonna gets.  Let me recap some of the crazy antics I have experienced in recent months.

The RSVPs

No surprise, as the RSVPs started coming back, Nonna watched the mailbox like a trained secret service agent. Each day, as the mailwoman approached, she would fly out of her house to ensure all RSVPs went straight to her hand.  On the days we received more than 5, she would call me at work and report. Then she would hold the RSVPs up to the light to ascertain whether it was a yes or no and then separate them into their respective boxes…unopened…

Each time someone said no (unless they were from Chris’ family), she would act truly insulted.  For days following a completely understandable family/friend “no” she would ask questions like “why they say no” “why no they call” “whats a matter with these people” “you insult them? why they no come” “I no gonna do anything for them no more”  I found the trick to dealing with this was to agree with her.  After agreeing with her, her tune changed…”These people have things to do. The world no stop because you getting married.”

The Seating Chart:

By the grace of my roommate, Chris and I were able to get OUR seating chart done in 20 minutes.  Only to find out that Nonna had her own seating chart – which she made herself without regard of who RSVP’d yes. Apparently, we were supposed to consult with her before making this chart.  She reviewed our seating chart and nodded, with pursed lips, as I explained to her that…quite frankly…her seating chart was inaccurate.  Five minutes later, she started questioning whether I loved her.

McDonalds

You may be wondering what this sub-topic is doing here.  When we were little, Nonna used to take the VICs (Very Important Cousins) to McDonalds after school ended.  Nonna recalls these times with much fondness.  So much so, that her “one-a request before marry” is to go to McDonalds with me.  Now, there are probably 400 things I would rather eat than McDonalds (except their french fries), but…I guess if it makes her happy?  When I got coupons in the mail for McDonalds…Nonna though of it as a sign.  Obviously we will be consuming some golden arches this week.  Hopefully my wedding dress is forgiving…

The Baptism

Yesterday, Nonna asked Chris and I to sit on her basement floor. Concerned at what was to come, Chris and I nervously obeyed.  Nonna emerged from her bedroom with holy water from Jerusalem.  And then…she poured it on us.  Straight poured it on us.  While saying, I bless on you on the name of the Father and the Son and Jesu Cristo (yes, the Son and Jesus Christ are the same).  She then turned and poured it on Brittany and her best friend, LJ (an athesit). She turned back to Chris and I, and shook the bottle in front of our face saying, “I save of the rest of this for your baby.”

This is really going to prove to be an interesting occasion.

I’m a firm believer that laughter is life’s best medicine.  Which is why, when it becomes difficult to find things to laugh about we are facing our truest challenges.  So many of you have been curious as to why my blogging has decreased in recent months – no, I did not become some whack bridezilla and no Nonna did not give up being funny for lent – it was because laughing itself was a very difficult task for my family in recent months.

Two weeks ago today we lost my great uncle to cancer.  Nonna’s brother and the closest man I ever had to a grandfather.

He was, in short, the source of eternal laughter in my family.

Though I typically use this forum to communicate the crazy antics of my grandmother, my uncle, the supporting actor to her starring role, deserves to take center stage.

My uncle was a barber since his teenage years. For so many, the lasting image embedded in their mind of my uncle is him behind his barber chair.  For me, however, it is him sitting just left of the head of the Christmas dinner table, next to his wife and across from my dad and my godfather.

It is no surprise that I was a nerd when I was younger.  A typical head in a book, glasses far too large for the face, crooked bangs nerd.  At family gatherings, particularly in my awkward pre-teen years, I was quiet and reserved…but observant.  So observant that my uncle would often notice me listening to inappropriate conversations, trying to piece together the rapid Italian with the broken English.  He never ushered me away or silenced everyone, he simply winked his infamous wink and smiled a knowing smile.  And nearly every year…he told me I should write a book about what I observed that year.

He had a knack for making people feel special and welcome.  And he did so by finding humor in nearly everything.  Though my uncle himself was hysterically funny…what made him such a joy to be around was his laughter.  His laugh rang out during every gathering – small or large – and was the type of laughter that made your troubles feel so far away.  He poked fun without hurting feelings, and made sure that, if you were down, you’d be laughing with him in short order.  He was an infectious personality.  He created happiness wherever he was.

And the people that made him the happiest were the women in his life.  My aunt, my cousins and (most of the time) his sisters.  He was the type of husband, father and brother that nary a man could even aspire to be.  He was affectionate and loving without being overbearing, considerate but masculine.  He was one of those few men that struck the balance between hopeless romantic and a guy’s guy.  Certainly, he was difficult to take care of, as he truly enjoyed being the caretaker, but he was loving and tender all the same.  To the men in my family he was a role model, and to the women, he was what each one of us hoped to marry.  And to my grandmother, he was the world.

My grandmother and uncle (and their younger sister) had a special relationship.  Undoubtedly, they saw much tragedy in their lives – the type of tragedy that makes you lose your faith in humanity and God.  But together, they forged an alliance that was unbreakable – even as we’ve learned, by death.  My uncle was the only person who could heal my grandmother’s heart from pain and also, speak straight to her when she was out of line.  He is, I truly believe, the only person who could put her in her place.  This blend of friendship and family often inspires me to be there for my own sisters beyond the bloodline.  Of course they shared stories and memories and so much laughter, but it was their ability to share these stories without speaking a word which made their relationship so special.  The type of sibling relationship which is inspiring but also leaves you awestruck.

When cancer decided it was my uncles time to become God’s barber, he was surrounded by all the women of his life – physically and spiritually.  I like to believe that in leaving that way he was able to leave a piece of his heart with all the people that he loved.  He made his quiet exit from this world to the next peacefully, without too much pain, and surrounded by love.

And he sure as hell got the last laugh…his last words to my grandmother were “Maria, leave me alone.”

For the rest of my life, I will carry his special Christmas Day wink to me in my heart.  The wink that made me feel important and the wink that told me it was okay to be who I was.

Uncle…I promise…my first book will be dedicated to you.

No Rest for the Weary (and unemployed)

There are many things I miss about living with Nonna…freshly laundered clothes… an unbelievably clean house… good family gossip.  However, I do not miss living life as an indentured servant.

While Nonna is one of the most generous people I’ve ever met…her generosity comes with a price.  Any thing she needs done must be done when she says it, how she says it, where she says it.  For example. if she needs you to get eggs you cannot simply go to the Acme which is 1/4 mile from the house after you go for your run (note: she asked you to get eggs while your headphones were on).  No.  You must go to her dairy farm which is 4 miles from the house because you can get the eggs for 30 cents cheaper.  Forget the rising costs of gas. Forget convenience.  Eggs must be purchased at the cheapest price.  Or if she needs her bills paid, the check must be written at the exact minute she decides, regardless if you are eating spaghetti and meatballs and can’t understand why you are writing her third quarter tax check three months before its due.  In her point of view…you owe her for all the beautiful things she does for you from the bottom on her heart.

The only way to get out of her beckoning is to inform her that you are working.  Now, don’t get me wrong, my job requires me to work a little bit at night on occasion…but, in Nonna’s eyes…I work non-stop.  I only stop working to work out, feed and spend quality time with her.  Then…like clockwork at 9:00, I must return to work.  She admires my hardworking tenacity…and declines to give me her beckoning due to my ambition.  She doesn’t want to stop me from “being somebody.”

Now before you all start telling me I am ungrateful and I should be so lucky to pay her back for all the things she does for us…let me share a little tid bit from my currently unemployed sister.  Perhaps this will enlighten you as to why I often chose pretending I was conducting research when I was actually watching Modern Family…

(Brimmo’s Life)

It goes without saying that Nonna loves to be in control. Whether its controlling what she is making for dinner, or the remote (or depending on the time of day, remoteS),  my social life, and more recently… my conversations.

This morning I woke up at 10am (sorry for those of you who are employed).  After enjoying my iced coffee (freshly brewed by the little Nonna), my entire day was taken from me within minutes.  Between the hours of 6am and 10am, Nonna determined my schedule of events for the day.  First up: I drove her to a neighboring town so she could pick up a check, from Italy.  Then,  I came home mowed her lawn (in the rain), paid her bills, and attempted to balance her checkbook. After that, I believed I was entitled to a break.  So, I told her I was going to the gym.  She handed me envelops. Was I actually getting paid for my services in something other than coffee and dinner? No, instead I was asked to drop off more bills at the mall.
Prior to leaving I offered to stop at the dry cleaners, where Nonna keeps herself entertained by sewing alternations.  Naturally, she thought it was a brilliant idea. Particularly because the man she works for is Indian, and listened to Nonna talk about all of my adventures over the year. Nonna was excited by the chance for us to converse (and for her to brag a little extra about how wonderfully conversational I am…as Nonna says I have the gift of (points to tongue)).

Nonna: Honey, what are you gonna say to my frien?
Me: I don’t know, probably just ask him if he has anything for you.
Nonna: NO IS NOT. He is my FRIEN and he indian, don you hava no respec?
Me: Well no? But I don’t really see why I need to think about it now.
Nonna: I thinka you should practice.
Me: What?
Nonna: You gonna tella me what you gonna say.
Me: No I’m not.
Nonna: YES it is!

Unlike my sister, who would have allowed Nonna to dictate what she would say..I just left. Its one thing to schedule the amount of things she needs me to do in a day… but just because I was in Asia for a year doesn’t mean I don’t know English… Last I checked I could talk to a brick wall, without her help.

When I got home, she wanted to know what I said…I kept my mouth silent.  A little mystery goes a long way with her.

In the future, I will probably just start telling her I am babysitting for the day.  At the very least, it might get me out of mowing the lawn during rain storms.

Same same…but different.

As so many of you know, the past few months have been particularly chaotic in my family – the wedding is just around the corner, I’ve (sort-of) moved out of Nonna’s home…and Brimmo has returned to the states.  Naturally, there have been lots of hilarious moments…but as I am no longer THE roommate…I’ve decided to turn this one over to Brittany:

I’ve planned my first meal home from the moment I arrived in Bangkok.  So, when I landed on US soil on April 25, Nonna used my homecoming to showcase her culinary talents – and truly establish why she is a stellar roommate. As I flew into JFK the day after Easter (so my homecoming would not be overshadowed by the resurrection of Christ) I officially missed every holiday of the year, or so I thought..

At 930am, jetlag in full swing, I walk into my house to see this…

Every single holiday displayed on the kitchen table. Thanksgiving turkey (literally), christmas tree, nativity set, easter basket, easter ham, and other meals usually found during a major holiday. Naturally as a true italian girl, my first meal in America was pasta with meatballs (at 930am).

Needless to say, I existed on leftovers for the remainder of the week.

Though there are significant advantages to living with Nonna (see above), there are some…slight…disadvantages to living with a 75 year old woman.  Now, I haven’t lived with Nonna for any time longer than a college break for about 3 years. When I reminded her of that, she cried. “Honey, you don hava no idea how happy I am. But pleas maka your bed.” No problem.

However, as the weeks have gone on, the rules have accumulated. Being the original nonna roommate (yes I lived here before my sister) I have usually just disregarded any and all of her rules.  However, because my sister lives a life only slightly more exiting than a geriatric patient, Nonna is becoming increasingly stern as she has the comparison of my sister to hold onto. I hear at least 5 times a day “Nooo your sister she no do it like that with me.”

To make her happy, and to reserve any sanity I may still be able to salvage , I oblige by her rules. Until she decided I owe her rent.
Yes. Rent.

I am now expected to start paying her $50 a week. As if college loans weren’t stressful enough, I now have a 75 year old crazy telling me on the daily I owe her money.

Good thing I have a lawyer handy…

Anybody have a job for me?

Gaga Ooh La La

Even though Lady Gaga makes (according to her) a mean meatball (though, you would never tell with that waistline…) Nonna no like.

Why, you ask?

Nonna: SHE NAKIE ALL THE TIME.

Although fiance Chris is bawling his eyes out because Nonna hates his idol (no lie…he has a bigger crush on lady gaga than pretty much anyone I know), Nonna has sufficient justification for her dislike.

Nonna: This woman come on the stage and she shakin her boobies and she make people stare at her but people never see her face.  If you gonna show your boobies you gonna show you face. Be proud on yourself. She hide because she know her mother no like her boobies.

Me: Its a statement. Not embarrassment.

Nonna: You know who this girl remind me of?

Me: Madonna?

Nonna: No. I don’t remember Madonna being nakie (what!?).  She remind me on Cher.  Remember that woman?

Me: Yes. I sorta see what you are saying.

Nonna: That woman walkin around with this (points to vagina) everywhere. I surprise she no pregnant.

Me: I mean…just because its out, doesn’t mean something is going in.

Nonna: All this sex drive me nuts.

Me: Probably because you are jealous.

(Nonna hysterically laughed for a straight minute)

Nonna: You probably right I think.

Me: Well I like Lady Gaga…

Nonna: I figure. Tell me one thing…why she come in on that show in the crazy egg?

Me: (no possible way to explain this to her…) I dont know.

Nonna: She come out of the egg and people go crazy.  But, she no better than me…when I make the egg people go crazy.

Me: Good one.

After a few minutes…with timing only Jesus himself could create…the news runs this clip:

Nonna: SEE! (laughing so hard) YOU SEE! WHEN YOU WEAR BOOTS AND NO CLOTHES YOU FALL DOWN. GOD PUNISH ON YOU. YOU WEAR CLOTHES NEXT TIME YOU SING.

Then…Jennifer Hudson appeared on DWTS with a short dress.

Nonna: Disgraziata. These women come on my house. I will fix on there ass.

This reminds me of the time my grandmother altered a dress of mine in high school without my consent…I had recently developed breasts and wished to wear a semi-low cut dress to a dance.  Nonna felt this dress was too low cut and cut off the bottom of my dress and made the top go straight across.  Not only did she ruin my chances of dancing with a senior…she ruined my new dress.

As I write this story…I’m becoming increasingly anxious about her doing the alterations on my wedding gown…

 

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Taj Mahal

Sister Brimmo is on the last leg of her year long adventure in Asia.  (Wow, that year went quick!)  During her last month, Britt has opted to go beyond the borders of Thailand once more and see some wonders of this world.

Her first stop? India.

While Nonna is always curious where Britt is, given the recent seismic activity in Japan and Myanmar, she pretty much wants an hour by hour itinerary.  This evening, over dinner, I was informing Nonna that I heard from Britt and that she arrived in India safely.

Nonna: What she doing? Where she is?

Me: She is in India.

Nonna: Why she go over there?

Me: She wanted to see the country.

Nonna: What does the country have? Some nature beautiful?

Me: Well, right now, she is headed to see the Taj Mahal.

Nonna: She go see a CASINO?

I actually uncontrollably lost it at this point (to the point where I knocked over my water).

Nonna: What!?

Me: The Taj Mahal is not a casino.

Nonna: Yes it is. I see it on Atlantic City. The Taj Mahal. I think the “You fired” guy ownin that thing.

Me: That is true…there is a casino in Atlantic City named Trump Taj Mahal.  But the actual Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Nonna: Why. What is it?

Me: Its a mausoleum.

Nonna: (in a reverant whisper) REAAAAALLLLY.  So tell me one thing. Why they make a casino after that place.

Me: I don’t know, probably because its so beautiful and they want people to think the Casino and hotel are beautiful like the actual site.

Nonna: No. You tellin me its a mausoleum.  The one over Atlantic City too? Its no casino, its a mausoleum?

Me: No. No. The one in Atlantic City is just designed to look like the one in India kind of. The one in Atlantic City is a casino.

Nonna: You been over there?

Me: To Atlantic City?

Nonna: Yes.

Me: Yes. (Duh…what self respecting girl from New Jersey hasn’t put on a sparkly dress and drank rum and diets by the $10 black jack table).

Nonna: You gamble?

Me: No I watch people gamble.

Nonna: I don like these things.

Me: I’m sorry.

Nonna: So when your sister go over these places, she gamble?

Me: Where? When she goes to Atlantic City? Or India?

Nonna: India.

Me: No. She can’t even drink there.

Nonna: Oh praise Jesus. (Italian prayer) Oh thank you. Thank you Jesus.  I so happy she no drinking over there. For the first time in my life I no worry that any of my grandchildren drinkin.

Me: What about Lauren? (Lil Immo)

Nonna: MY LAUREN DON DRINK.

Me: Okay.

Nonna: You think she drink?

Me: No. Definitely not.

Nonna: She work so hard that girl. She never drinkin.

Me: Yup.

Nonna: So Brinny (Nonna still can’t pronounce Britt’s name correctly) seeing dead bodies?

Me: No. She’ll see tomb.

Nonna: (hyena laughter) I hope one wake up and say BOO! GO HOME TO YOUR NONNA!

Me: You are too cute.

Nonna: I try the best I can.

What happens in Vegan…

While I think the title of this blog entry would be a great name for a blog (don’t steal it)…it  is actually referring to my new lifestyle choice.

Yes. I am a Vega-talian. And Gluten Free. And totally pissing Nonna off.

While I give kudos to Kris Carr (www.crazysexylife.com) for inspiring me to take a plunge into a never-ending pile of spinach, kale, bok choy, and all things nuts (that’s what she said), Nonna is becoming increasingly confused/concerned and annoyed. I am on day 3.

When I announced that my diet would now be free of all animal products, Nonna appeared disconcerned:

Me: Nonna, from now on…no animal products.

Nonna: Ok. So what you eat?

Me: Vegetables. Nuts. Fruit. Things like that.

Nonna: You eat pasta?

Me: Not regular pasta, for a little while I am trying pasta with no gluten.

Nonna: Oh ok. I think I see over aldi.

Me: Ok that was easier than I thought.

Nonna: Honey. If it make you feel good doing whatever you want.

I walked upstairs shocked, even a little disappointed.  I was hoping for a quality reaction.

The next morning I walked downstairs to the glorious smell of coffee.

Nonna: Honey you want milk in you coffee?

Me: No, I told you no coffee and milk is an animal product, so no milk.

Nonna: WHAT?

Me: Yea, dairy is from an animal…

Nonna: So you telling me no milk?

Me: No.

Nonna: Then why I buy this thing on milk?

Me: I don’t know, I’m sorry.

Nonna: And why no coffee?

Me: Because I am trying to treat myself better…

Nonna: So you say no to my beautiful coffee??

Me: Yes.

Nonna spits at me…

When I emerge from the shower, Nonna asks me if I want eggs for breakfast. Now this is getting out of hand…

Me: Nonna, where do eggs come from?

Nonna: The ass-o the chicken.

Me: Right. So can I have eggs?

Nonna: To me. Yes.

Me: No, they are animal products. So no.

Nonna: Ok. I understand. You eat vegetale only.

Me: Pretty much yes.

Nonna: Can you Salt?

Me: Yes.

Nonna: Can you eat olive oil?

Me: Yes.

Nonna: Can you eat rice?

Me: Yes.

Nonna: Can you eat hamburg?

Me: No.

Nonna: Can you eat chechere (chick peas)

Me: Yes.

Nonna: Ok. I go shopping and remember this.

Today, I came home after the first outdoor run of the season (glorious!) to find Nonna making corned beef and cabbage…WHICH I HATE.

Nonna: I make corned beef and cabbage.

Me: 1) corned beef is not vegan. 2) I hate corned beef.

Nonna: Ok. I eat for you. I also making stromboli. Only vegetale.

Me: Nonna, that is really nice of you, but I am staying away from flour.

Nonna: I only use a little flour. Only one pound.

I mean…how do you respond to that?

Nonna: And only vegetale!

Me: Did you use eggs?

Nonna: No.

Me: Butter?

Nonna: Only a little.

Me: Did you use cheese?

Nonna: Yes.

Me: I can’t eat cheese either.

Nonna: WHAT. NO CHEESE. HOW YOU GONNA BE ITALIAN WITH NO CHEESE.

Me: Nonna, I’m italian because of my decedents, not because of my love affair with cheese.

Nonna: How you gonna eat no cheese for the rest on your life?

Me: I’ll take it one day at a time nonna…

Nonna: Honey. Maybe you want to change your mind?

Me: Nope.

Nonna: Fine. I save all this food for Chris and he gonna eat it in front of you.

Me: You are really supportive.

Nonna spits at me again. Then hugs me.

Nonna: You crazy but I love you number one.

Me: That’s funny…cause you told me you liked Michael best yesterday.

Nonna: That’s true. I like you number two. My Michael eats everything I make on him.

Sigh….