Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day memories

On May 28, 1984, Mike and I got married. It was a warm day with a little rain which we were told would bring us luck. As we celebrate our 28th Wedding Anniversary today, we were witness to the Memorial Day ceremony here at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery. It rained during the entire ceremony which was small sacrifice when looking out over the grounds and seeing the almost 7,900 crosses/stars of David on the graves of those who were loyal to their country and paid the ultimate price, their lives for our freedom. The sailors and soldiers who participated stood out in formation during the entire hour and provided a visual reminder that we continue to have those who serve their countries faithfully. The bands (Italian and American) played music befitting the occasion and stirred the hearts of all attending.

Remembering back to our wedding day when our family and friends gathered to witness our marriage, we knew little of what our lives would bring. We've already had many adventures and have lived in many States and Countries. Mike continues to serve his country, not it in the military any longer, but in the service of the U.S. Government. We have the honor of living in places of beauty in Europe and are able to share experiences in visiting places quite unlike our hometown in Pennsylvania.

Today, following the ceremony, we were invited to attend the luncheon hosted by the Admiral of the Navy from Naples Naval Base. It was in a small, intimate restaurant at the Port of Anzio. We had a perfect view of the small boats going and coming. The preparation of the food was done in front of us by a talented chef. Handmade pasta, beautiful seafood (straight from the fishing boats), ending with handmade pistachio gelato (it tasted a lot like peanut butter which Mike and the rest of us found amazing!). We drove back to Nettuno (10 mins. away) and Mike continued his visit with one of the Commissioners of ABMC by taking her and her mother on a personal tour of the cemetery. Our Anniversary will end like all of the Memorial Days have since Mike joined ABMC in 2001 -- with us happily sitting in the living room with our feet up giving thanks for a day well spent.

Before we embarked on this second career/life, I have no memory of Memorial Days during our marriage. I do, however, remember marching with the West York High School Band in the Memorial Day parade that ended at the VFW. I remember that well and knew how special it was to honor those who fought for us in the wars. My father, adopted father, and uncles served in the military and fought in WWII. They all survived the fighting and came home to their families. God bless them for their service. They are all up in Heaven and I hope they are looking down on these ceremonies and cemeteries with pride for their sacrifices during their service. We will not forget. The Greatest Generation will not be forgotten.

Taps was played during our ceremony as it is at all Memorial Day ceremonies at our cemeteries. 
And we will rest...

Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest
God is nigh.
Fading light dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar, drawing near
Falls the night.
Thanks and praise for our days
Neath the sun, neath the stars, neath the sky
As we go, this we know
God is nigh.

                                 By Horace Lorenzo Trim

Friday, May 25, 2012

Optimism - Seize the Day

True Story
(Picture from Facebook "A Beautiful Mess Inside")

I was born in the late '50s and grew up with a mother who lived through the Depression, World War II, the death of my father in the early 60's, and ensuing life events. The life my mother lived was much like others lived at that time. She, however, never was able to look forward and have a positive viewpoint. It shadowed our lives. She repeated stories about things that went wrong in her life and in the life of those she loved. It was rare that she was happy, but, when she was, I so enjoyed being able to share that with her. I grew up feeling like I had the possibility to be anything I wanted to be. Optimism was my point of view. This made our relationship strained because it is difficult to have a happy relationship with someone who is your opposite. I always hoped that things would get better, that I could do something that would change her outlook.

Now that my mother has passed away, there are many days I wish I could talk with her and share how I feel. I miss her! Having a daughter in college who lives away from us part of the year has shown me the loneliness that she felt when I married and moved from home. Now I just look to Heaven and think these thoughts and hope she is looking down and is now in a happy place and all of the unhappiness has been washed from her.

Life is a present, enjoy it to the fullest each day! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Vet Clinics in Italy

We are very fortunate to have a wonderful Veterinary Clinic not far from our home. The fact that they are open 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm is so very helpful since everyone knows that our animals are like our children and they never get sick during times the Dr. is available or when Daddy is home. They even have someone there all night long in the Pronto Succorso (which actually is like the ER but also serves as a follow on clinic with Vet Tech. assistants who can give shots or administer IVs, etc., and by the way is not pronto/fast). I bet you are wondering why I am going on at length about the virtues of our Vet we have found?  Well, Muffin (our dear big black dog) starting vomiting on Saturday evening and then again on Sunday morning (at 6am on our king sized bed/quilt which doesn't fit in our washing machine). So I had the fun of taking her to the Vet to be checked. I walked in and hopefully walked towards Dr. Gandolfo's door only to find that there was no appt. sheet on his clip board on his door. To explain, there are no appointments, you just walk in and sign up on the sheet of the Dr. you want to see. Then begins the waiting... If your Dr. is the popular one, like Dr. Gandolfo who is the Director of the Clinic, you may wait for a long, long time. Oh, by the way, he speaks a bit of English so that is a big plus for us! But, on Sunday, I encountered that scary situation of which Dr. to pick which I don't know and probably doesn't speak English  to put my name on their clip board... I chose Pasqualina and then sat there for about 30 minutes or so coming up with the Italian words to explain why we were there. Remember that I haven't taken the time to learn a lot of Italian much less medical terms to describe Muffin's malady!

Finally, she opened her door and it was our turn. I immediately asked if she spoke English and she said "poco" which, of course, means little... to which I replied I spoke Italiano "poco." We were quite a pair. Even though I told her I spoke little Italian, that didn't stop her from quickly rattling off an explanation of what she thought. Needless to say, I got the point across and she decided the best course of action was to give Muffin anti-nausea medicine along with some fluids. Their chosen method of doing this is by IV (which always seems to me that they are really bad off and very sick - but does not mean that every time they do it). The part you will be surprised with is the fact that she did the first treatment there in the office but sent me home with the bottle complete with tubing and NEEDLE!!! to continue treatment at home for two days. Did you read NEEDLE???  I was supposed to poke that thing into Muffin's back and give her this medicine at home by myself!!! Now I can list "able to administer IV medicine on dogs" on my resume along with legal secretary, substitute teacher, cash cage clerk, professional volunteer and homeschool teacher! God only knows (literally) what I'll be able to add to that list next! Oh, and by the way, Muffin never vomited again after those times on Sunday morning (SIGH)...

Ciao until next time!

Pronto? Hello! Pronto?...

When our phone rings, there is a good chance that it is a wrong number. Well, this morning the phone rang and I jumped up to see if it was a "real" phone call or a peddler (as Mike's Daddy likes to call them) or perhaps just a wrong number. So gamely I answered the phone "Hello" and immediately they responded "Pronto?"  I repeated "Hello" and they repeated "Pronto" and this happened yet one more time. I guess I really wanted to ask them "What part of Hello did you not understand, the "Hell" or the "O!"  Maybe they were just hoping that I'd miraculously turn into the person they were trying to call by magically uttering the word "Pronto" again and again. Alas, that wasn't to be. They muttered something else at me and then hung up! Ah, the joys of living in a small town in Italy and being American! I could have replied "Si!" but then I would have been deluged with probably too many words rapidly fired at me in Italian and then I would have hung up!

This was definitely more amusing than the telephone calls from the peddlers when they are trying to sell us some sort of wonderful plan for our phone, internet, electric (which we don't personally pay), etc. Some actually speak a little English and yet others are just recorded messages which I really, really do not like. I'm pretty sure they don't have a "Do Not Call" list here in Italy!

Pronto? I always thought that just meant fast... But then, again, "piano" has way more meanings than a musical instrument or a dynamics marking in music. I'll save that for another day... Ciao!