Monday, July 23, 2012

Anniversary weekend

Nine years ago I became a Mrs.  My Mister has made me the happiest lady in the world.  I can't imagine my life without him.  He has provided me with so much love and friendship, always staying my side, and the fact that he is so darn good looking helps too ;)
When Wyatt turned 1 and I stopped nursing him, I asked Anthony to take me on a weekend getaway.  I wanted a full nights sleep and a couple of days of just the two of us. 4 1/2 years later we finally took that trip!!!  It was our first romantic getaway, one of many more to come.  It took me finally booking a room and planning it out myself but that's ok. 

 As we approached the windmills I started getting really excited.  It brought back many wonderful memories of driving through the desert to get to Lake Havasu, my happy place.

 I brought my own handsome bellhop.  (Just so you know, my bag is the small one)

 View from our Villa

 View from the camera lens

 A little night swimming to cool off from the 110* heat.

 Whoa, I even drank when we were there.  Bar tender was overly kind and kept giving me refills.

The weekend was wonderful!!  The heat, not so much.  Turns out when the doctor told me I had heat intolerance, it meant that my body can't tolerate the heat.  I didn't believe him because I spent so much of my life enjoying extreme heat and not having a problem.  Oh well, things change, you move on. I spent a total of 2 hours the entire weekend outside and once the chest pain started and I couldn't see straight, we retreated back to our room.
Happy Anniversary Babe!  Looking forward to many many more years together with you by my side.  I love you more each day!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Arriverderci GG

Nancy M. Giannuzzi
November 17, 1920 - July 6, 2012

Nancy Giannuzzi, a beautiful Italian women who had an incredible adventure with 91 years worth of stories to tell.  

My mother-in-law, Madalyn wrote this eulogy:

What a Life!
What a Character!
The quintessential Italian momma.
Nancy, Momma Mia, Mom, Sis, Giannutz, Grandma and Gigi.
She answered to all of these titles and had a personality to fill her assorted roles.
Her most recent nickname, Gigi, came about as a result of becoming a great-grandma – the G.G. stood  for Grandma Giannuzzi as well.  It just seemed to fit her 4'6” frame.

Think of how the world has changed in 91 years.
Gigi spent her childhood living near her grandparents farm on the island of Ischia.  It was a happy time.
She spoke of the vineyards, the chickens and rabbits as fond memories.
She recalled her grandmother baking bread every morning and preparing the noon meal for her husband and their workers.  They even had a horse drawn cart.

Happy times for Gigi but not so for her father, Ernesto.  Work was scarce and he knew that the dictators Mussolini and Hitler were power hungry.  He looked to America as a brighter future for his family.  It took him eight years to get everything in order to bring his family along.  In those years, the family only saw him occasionally.

Gigi never received a formal education.  She went to school in Italy, but, the focus was placed on domestic duties.  As a result, she became a fine seamstress and cook.

In 1936, Gigi, who was seventeen at the time, her mother Angelina and two younger brothers Ernie and Frank came to New York.
They didn't enter through Ellis Island, since they already had their paperwork in order.  They were docked nearby.  Gigi recalls seeing the throngs of people entering Ellis Island.  A younger brother, Anthony, was born in America, in 1939.  My uncle Frank is now the only one remaining and he resides in Florida with his wife, Emily.

Ernesto attained the American Dream.  He ran a little candy store in New York and the family lived above it.
One day some men paid him a visit and commented on his large picture window – they told him that he needed to buy insurance just in case the window was ever broken.  He sent them on their way and, a few days later, his window was shattered.  The men returned and said he needed them to insure that his window would not be broken again.      
This extortion continued until Ernesto just couldn't take it anymore and he eventually moved the family to Connecticut.
My grandfather had an expression:
He would shrug his shoulders and say, “What are you going to do?”

Gigi was married and divorced twice.  So, as a single mom she raised, Rudy, myself and Angie with the help of her mother, Angelina.  She worked assorted jobs as the years progressed.

In the spring of 1956, the family moved to California and settled in Torrance where the three of us kids grew up. 

We eventually met the Scotto family.  Tom & Nancy used to raise rabbits in their backyard and my mom and grandma became regular customers of theirs.  Some of my earliest memories are of us running down the aisles of rabbits in their pens.

Gigi and Nancy Scotto became fast friends – and they , also, got into the best shouting matches.  One of them would say to the other, “Oh, shut up.” – the other would respond with, “No, you shut up.”  And back and forth they would go!

It was always on the tip of my tongue to say, “Maybe you should both shut up.”  But, I was just a kid at the time and after all – as pop would say, “What was I going to do?”

When Gigi was 51, she met and married Bill Giannuzzi – her knight in shining armor.  They lived happily for 16 years until he passed, in 1986.  We all loved him and miss him dearly.

You, all, honor us with your presence today.  Many of you have traveled hundreds of miles and I can't tell you how appreciative we are of your efforts.  Your sentiments have really bolstered us.

Our friend, Anna made arrangements to have a candle lit at an Italian church near Tuscany, Italy.  Mom would have loved that!

I want to thank my family for their unwavering support.

I also want to thank Rod and Teme Christiansen who have been Gigi's caregivers for the past 15 months.
Because of their efforts, she was able to attend Michelle & James's wedding.
She couldn't get up and dance on her feet anymore, so, she danced with her hands.
At  Anthony & Karen's wedding she attempted to catch the bouquet.
And, at Dominic & Julie's wedding she danced as much as possible.

Last year was a particularly rough one for Gigi.  In March, she fell and broke her left hip and arm and then in November she fell and broke her right hip.

The skilled nursing facility had a name for patients like Gigi.

They called them Falling Stars.

So, as the song suggests, I will catch her falling star and put it in my pocket and never let it fade away!

 Aunt Angie got up and spoke and emphasized the love G.G had for everyone and the warm greeting she always gave.  She mentioned they were not rich monetarily but they were certainly rich in love.

I didn't take any pictures inside the mortuary but I snapped a few at the mauzeoleum where she was laid to rest. 

Dominic(Anthony's twin), Kevin(cousin) and Anthony were pallbearers.  

After 2 days of stormy, cloudy weather, we were greated with a beautiful sunset as the family all gathered together at an Italian restaurant for dinner after the funeral.

Here is the video slideshow I put together for the memorial service. 

I'd like the memory of me
to be a happy one,
I'd like to leave an afterglow
of smiles when life is done.
I'd like ot leave an echo 
whispering softly down the way,
Of happy times and laughing
times and bright and sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun,
Of happy memories that I leave
When life is done.

Arriverderci G.G, you will be missed!!
Thank you for all of your love!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

there's a pony in there somewhere

I went out to get the mail and became so excited when I saw a package with my name.  I opened the box and there was a gift inside.  It had this lucky horseshoe charm attached to the outer box and when I opened the box I found the most beautiful pony made out of stone.

This is 'Flame' (Red Jasper)
A fiery symbol of health, hope, and resilience.

I was immediately brought to tears.  Not a huge surprise to most. :)  I was overwhelmed with gratitude that this person thought of me when they saw this.  I can't even tell you how much I love it!

Inside with the pony was a card that read:

"There's A Pony In There Somewhere!"
Once there were five-year old twin boys, one a pessimist and the other an optimist.  Wondering how two boys who seemed so alike could be so different, their parents took them to a psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist took the pessimist to a room piled high with new toys, expecting the boy to be thrilled. But instead he burst into tears.  Puzzled, the psychiatrist asked, "don't you want to play with these toys?"  "Yes," the little boy bawled, "but if I did I'd only break them."

Next the psychiatrist took the optimist to a room piled high with horse manure.  The boy yelped with delight, clambered to the top of the pile, and joyfully dug out scoop after scoop, tossing the manure into the air with glee.  "What on earth are you doing?" the psychiatrist asked.  "Well," said the boy, beaming "There's got to be a pony in here somewhere!"
author unknown

Another card explained about the pony:
The pony has been our family's talisman of hope and healing (with a dash of humor) for generations.  We hope this pony will do the same for you.  Hold it.  Embrace it.  Tuck it in your pocket or purse.  Enjoy it.  Never forget that pony's in there somewhere, no matter how deep the pile!

"Always remember, no matter how much horse manure life throws your way, there's gotta be a pony in there somewhere!"

This gift couldn't have come at a more perfect time and from such a beautiful person.  I love what it stands for, and I love his name.  It has so much meaning to me.  I will keep it close and cherish it forever with the prayer of health, hope and resilience!

Thank you to my very special friends!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

lunch date

Alexis and Anthony both love sushi.  Wyatt and I... not so much.  Alexis and Anthony love their lunch dates, uninterrupted by the little brother and mom.  They took off to a local sushi joint, sat at the bar and had star treatment.  It is so special for the two of them to have this time together and I hope they continue these dates forever.

While they were on their date, Wyatt and I kept it classy and headed to Taco Bell.  Bean and cheese burrito, no sauce, no onion please.  Same order, every time.  I hope he'll continue to go on dates with me... even when he's a teenager and being seen in public with mom is embarrassing.

I hope everyone enjoys celebrating Independence Day today!!!  BBQ's, sunshine and fireworks... my kind of day!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

i said i wouldn't

My brother, sister and I were laying on the carpet hands holding our chins up as we were watching Different Strokes.  We were just about to find out what Willis was talkin' about when my dad said to turn the t.v off, we were going out to dinner.  All three of us simultaneously whined and said no.  NOT something you should ever say to a parent.  Our t.v privileges were taken away.  I don't even know for how long but this happened close to 30 years ago and I still remember it very clearly.  At that time, I vowed to never, I repeat, never take the t.v away from my children.  7 1/2 years after having my first child, the remote is hidden and they can't watch t.v anymore.  I totally went back on my word and became my parents.  The kids were glued to the t.v and when a commercial came on they would whine about how bored they were.  I listened to them for the 3 minutes of commercials when they would run back to their worn out spot on the couch to watch the rest of the episode.  I was not met with the same resistance that I gave my parents but they were not exactly happy to be told no more t.v.  Their behavior changed immediately for the better.  No more crappy kids shows teaching them it's ok to sneak out of the house or talk back to their parents.  I am now making a new vow to myself to monitor what is on and for how long.  I am not taking it away permanently but I get a say as to what they watch.  The only downside to taking away the t.v is the mess from all the toys but that's ok.  I would much rather their minds have the ability to create on their own than be brain washed into watching 4 hours of a Spongebob marathon.
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