Monday, March 29, 2010


I took my car into the shop to get the bumper fixed where the man slammed me in the rear and an elderly man struck up a conversation with me. He was adorable with typical Italian teeth and told me the tale of his first car- the Fiat 500- the smallest car ever made. He paid 525,000 lire for it, which is about 250 dollars. He told me he paid in 10,000 lire pieces and the first thing he added to it was a cigar lighter. He then added a radio, which he attached to the back seat- kind of like pimp my ride in the 60's. He remembered his first license plate number.

I have no idea what the license plate was of my Hyundai Excel, I only know that my sister totaled it when I went to college:-)

Strange the things we remember. I hurt a couple of people by writing some of my memories, it was not intentional. Sometimes things from our past, events that we experienced serve as instruments for overcoming obstacles in the present. People we meet and relationships we have, the good, bad and ugly, teach us lessons to be applied to the next.

Someone wrote to me that it's the people in our lives who make us feel special. I disagree. It's the obstacles life throws in our path, how we hurdle such obstacles and the choices we make on a daily basis that help us to form our character and to feel special. Everything is a damn test and you never know what's coming around that corner. And there are moments in our life where we don't have the tools necessary to act...therefore we react.

And we try to do the best we can.

Sometimes the best isn't enough and something breaks.

You can sweep the pieces under the rug.
You can throw the pieces out.
You can try to reconstruct the same vase with that same broken piece.
You can construct something new and different...and solid..
using the pieces
that didn't break
and you can
use new tools.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Holy Water

A while back I posted that a friend told me we should consider the days of the week as wins or losses like in baseball and just set a goal of a winning season. That would be simple if my days could be considered wins or losses. In each and every day here in Tuscany, there are at least three different days: Morning, afternoon and evening- I'd add night, but I'm too exhausted to even consider that element. In the summer the longer days complicate the issue even more- neverending, really. And not in a bad way, good thing there's a lot of time because there's so, so much to do that each and every second counts.

Pediatric course number 3 was a success. I re-evaluated my approach, not my material. Somewhere the positive Jodi got lost in the daily grind and some of that enthusiasm disappeared, but the last course the groove thing came back and instead of sharing a negative experience of what happens when pediatricians don't listen to parents, I shared with them what happens when they do listen. When an effective process of a parent-medical professional collaboration exists from screening to habilitation, everyone benefits.

No train traumas...all went smoothly.

My weekend off was spent in Pisa, Rome and Viareggio expanding my mind. I'm living a period where I notice everything, absorb and reflect. I went to Rome on Sunday with an 80 year old legend. He is the grandfather of a deaf friend of ours who lives in Grosseto, and he paved the way for Jordan's journey. I spent 2 hours on a train to Rome with him where he shared his views on life, deafness and parental involvement. We talked religion and he is a non-believer. A week ago a priest came to bless his house and threw holy water in every angle, then said a prayer for Easter. He left a glass of holy water on the kitchen table to bring good fortune. My friend told me his wife happened to be cooking artichokes, when she called him into the kitchen. She needed some water and couldn't leave the stove. He noticed the glass of water on the table and handed it to her. She grabbed it without looking and threw it in the artichokes.

Two minutes later she screamed.


Spring Break starts right now in Tuscany...........Give me strength:-D

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Countess and I

A woman contacted me about three weeks ago asking me for information about the cochlear implant. She explained to me that her forty year old son contracted meningitis on January 1st, was in a coma for a period of time and was waiting to have his toes amputated as a result. He was left profoundly deaf. I talked to her about Jordan and gave her support. She knew much of what I told her and had the situation under control. She had already performed the exams necessary, which confirmed the hearing loss and had begun the process of exams pre-ci. She asked excellent questions and her voice wavered not once.

One week later she contacted me again to ask me if I could help speed up the process for personal motives which she explained. I made an appointment for her and her son at Pisa last Friday. I went to meet them there.

This woman is at least seventy years old. Her eyes are those of a twenty-four year old fresh out of law school. Intelligent. Kind. Determined. She floored me totally. They arrived at Pisa in an ambulance, I met her first at the entrance and then her son with two ambulance attendants in the waiting room. He had a magic marker and an erasable board in hand. After we introduced ourselves, he wrote "nice nails" to the ambulance attendant, who wrote back "nice everything."


I moved towards the window and the mother followed. She proceeded to inform me of the exams completed, the general state of the situation and how she hoped Professor Berrettini could help her. She asked about Jordan, I love when people I help ask me about Jordan. So, I talked about him and his life for a while.

We connected was something in her eyes. And her hands. She had beautiful, wrinkly hands, and well-manicured nails. The nails weren't long or polished, they were simple and her fingers were long and elegant. Her pale pink shirt collar was buttoned right up to the top and a gold cross rested just beneath the second button, her earrings were pearls.

She told me she lost her daughter when she was 19 years old.

Her son will be operated on next Tuesday.

She looked me straight in the eyes and asked, "How much should one woman have to suffer in a lifetime?"

She is the first Countess I've ever met.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Sometimes, Sofia gets the urge to play dress up and she likes leaving the house in her fashion statements. People turn, stare and smile.

Yesterday, Jordan decided to style his hair alà John Travolta with a touch of Elvis. I grabbed a handful of water to try to throw at that thing sticking up from his head, aimed and missed. He yelled at me..........he thinks he's cool with his new hair.

At the end of her playdate, Sofia must have taken the container of microwave popcorn and shot it off the terrace, because when I walked outside Brie looked up at me and smiled.

I screamed: Sofia, WHAT IS THIS MESS?????
Sofia replied with a grin: Mommy, it's SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I smiled.

Today is a beautiful, sunny day in Tuscany, but as you know one of those dark clouds could pop up overhead and storm away the sunshine.

Those clouds always manage to pass.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” - Howard Thurman

Monday, March 15, 2010

Barbies and Legos

Sofia: Mommy, can Federico come over and play?
Mommy: You mean Federic((((((A))))))), right?
Sofia: No, Mommy, Federic ((((((O)))))))!!!
Mommy: Oh no, Sofia, no BOYS!!!!
Sofia: Mommy, what's wrong with having a boy over to play?
Mommy: Um, nothing.

They are currently racing around the house as we speak...he doesn't do Barbie Dolls.

Give me strength.

Oh my, I just checked on them and they were watching tv. Federico was falling asleep. I called in Boy-Jordan with the emergency soldiers. Doesn't look like Federico will be returning unless it's to play with Jordan. Thank God.

I take it back. They are downstairs playing with the WII and ............................................L A U G H I N G!!!! (ACTUALLY, SOFIA IS............................GIGGLING!!!)

Monday, March 8, 2010


Ok. I'm on a regional train FINALLY heading home after one of the strangest days ever.
I had the second of ten Pediatric Courses, and right after I read the letter written by the mom who complains that pediatricians don't listen to parents when we express our concerns, a pediatrician took the microphone and started yelling at me...ME!!!!! Literally yelling things like "I don't need to sit here and be insulted by you, this type of presentation is useless and unnecessary.."etc. etc. I looked at him and calmly responded, but he pissed me off so much that I was tense the rest of the presentation- not sad... angry and amazed at his reaction. He left during the coffee break, during which time three other pediatricians came up to ask me questions and one just came to thank me.

Ok. I finish my three hour session and a wonderful friend takes me to the train station. I check the schedule and go to track number three to wait for my train. I ask a person waiting if this is the right train to go to Viareggio and he says no, it's that one. So, I hop on the train and ask the people on the train if this is in fact the right one and they say, no-it's the other one. I turn to leave the train and the doors slam shut. I'm stuck on the wrong train.

I ask for assistance and they tell me to get off at Lucca. The man who helped me got off at the next stop, so I'm left on the train alone. At the next stop, I peek my head out and ask the guy who gets off the train if this is Lucca. He says, yes. I see the conductor down the way- note the station is really dark and small, so I scream "Lucca!" and he yells, "Lucca!" This goes on for thirty seconds so I get off with the guy thinking it's Lucca.


It is a town called Porcari, the English translation of which is basically, "shit" and there I am wondering how to find my way home. I walk towards the station and a shady type sticks his head out of the two by four station.

I yell at the guy whose fault it is that I'm freezing my butt off in the middle of nowhere to stand next to me at all times.

He asks me if I'm Italian and I say yes. Only after he tells me that he's 18, running away from home with a guitar, a bag of clothes and books do I admit I'm American. He tells me his mom is English and an alcoholic and begins speaking to me in English.

Now let us recap a moment. There I am in the middle of nowhere, freezing my tights-covered butt off with James the 18 year old English speaking runaway. Who the hell runs away with books???? I ask him if he does drugs. He says no. I ask him if he's planning on selling himself. He says no, that's gross. I ask him if there is some reason he feels the need to run away during the winter, when it would be much easier to sleep on the street in the summer. I ask him five thousand questions and I don't think I've ever cursed so much in my life.

Then, my pediatrician calls to find out how the presentation went, and I curse some more, and explain the situation to him about James. He tells me that James is 18 and can run away if he wants. I say that is no help, so he tells me to tell James, "Go home, Lassie." I do. James laughs.

A train arrives and I try to get on it, but the doors will not open. Dris from Morocco tells me that that train isn't stopping at this station from hell, it is just passing. However, Dris from Morocco knows all of the times and stops and puts us on the right train.

I have no idea what happened to James. I only know that when I finally arrive at my destination, I miss my second train.

So, a group of Spanish and two Prostitutes from Senegal later, I am finally on the right train to return home.

And now...I'm going to try to sleep. Unbelievable.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sharks and Sunflowers

Language and relationships are funny things. Behind every language and person there is a history of people, politics, art, war, music, poetry and a desire to be "heard" in all senses. Before even touching the true depth of that culture or person, you must learn the language- and all of its subtleties. And sometimes...that language transforms you.