Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!! 2012...Sounds Good:-)

Today I took 40 minutes and went to the beach.
Just me, sunshine, the sea and my boots stuck right in the sand.
I sat, stared and gave thanks.
I breathed in the fresh air and exhaled.
Sofia Madyson was born 9 years ago today.
Yesterday over a cup of hot chocolate and a brownie, she said, "Mommy, go ahead and tell me your most intimate secrets!"

I do believe my mouth dropped.
I replied, "Drink your hot chocolate, Sofia".

Sofia received a lotttttttttttt of presents for her birthday, but when she woke up this morning she asked if I had made her a card.
I said, "No".
And felt like the worst Mamma in the world.

So, today after the beach I went to the mall (there's now one in Grosseto) and bought her a book. On the inside flap I wrote her a long letter.

And I shared my first intimate secret with my 9 year old daughter.
I told her about the time I got in trouble for kissing a boy on the cheek during a game of "Truth or Dare" when I was 9 years old. We had to eat the rest of our lunch at the "punishment table".

I hid the book under her pillow, so before she goes to bed she will find her last birthday surprise.

Happy New Year to all...I hope it brings more love, Newborn Hearing Screening in Italy, passion and an infinite amount of "Wow...that's amazing!"

Friday, December 30, 2011

Sometimes the things we can't change, end up changing us

2011 has come to an end.
2012 is about to begin.
I am having an emotional breakdown.
No idea why, but the tears just will not stop streaming.
I have the sensation that I have just completed an enormous project and that what is staring me in the face is five times bigger.
To not become completely overwhelmed, I look to the simple, the easy, the beautiful.

My kids.

Sofia will be 9 tomorrow and she amazes me every single day.
Jordan is 15 and we fight at least once a day.

We are building something together and maybe one day we'll be able to sit down together and discover what exactly that is...together. I imagine they'll reach that age where they see me as a person and not a mom and hope that while they yell and complain that I was on the computer too much, they'll smile as they remember a neighborhood watergun fight at midnight on a hot summer night.

Have you ever been totally conscious of every single step you take as you are climbing a staircase- because you're afraid you'll trip and fall and break an ankle?

Try smiling and looking the person coming down the staircase in the eyes, noticing the color of the painted walls, clenching tightly your children's hands so they don't fall as you climb and planning your day as you are being totally conscious of every single step you take....and not pass out when you reach the top.

And if you do reach the top without passing out, you just may cry.
As you realize that another flight of stairs awaits you.


I think it sounds kind of important.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Hollow Christmas Tree with the Angel on Top

Christmas is so very strange this year.
Something is missing in all the festive cheer.

Perhaps the times require that we dig a little deeper....
Past the lights, the balls, the texts and the you've got mail beeper.

I believe that people have realized that they will never have enough...
and that video games, ipads and name brands are really just a bunch of materialistic stuff.

I cannot be the only woman that feels Christmas is empty this year,
Even when listening to Michael Buble, there is an echo of fear.

Christmas may ring hollow, but people are more aware...
United by a common sense of despair.

This year, the simple things have been a lot easier to see,
Just like the angel smiling down from the top of the Christmas tree.

-Cookies by Debbi:-)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chinese Bamboo

I joined The Emotional Intelligence Network on Linkedin and this was the question asked: Which emotions would motivate a person to overcome obstacles to achieve a challenging goal that is outside their comfort zone?

An article just came out in the Italian equivalent of the New York Times: Corriere della Sera about the work we've been doing. This is the second article drawing attention to the need for a National Newborn Hearing Screening mandate in Italy.

Four years ago the healing process began. Three years ago, we began working. It was all about riding the wave- couldn't stop if I tried- a series of coincidences motivated every action and reaction. Sometimes life happens to us, and we don't ask for the journey, we just walk it. There are potholes, mountains, sewers, tidal waves and storms to overcome, but when you focus on the see only that light. And God is good, because every now and then you find a fresh-water spring in your path.

Jordan was born deaf.
I stayed at home with him for eleven years and taught English lessons on the side.
I had a wonderful husband and a perfect family.
He had the surgery for the cochlear implant.
Our lives changed.
We grew and realized that we had to share our experience.
My husband and I grew apart and then came together in a different way.
Obstacles to overcome involved public speaking, media interviews, exposing raw wounds.
The sharing required creating and using a voice that I had to discover and mature.
I still have a lot to learn and so many obstacles to overcome.

My answer is love.
Love is the one emotion that will motivate you to overcome any obstacle in your path.

The ENS- NAD equivalent, that has been battling to have Italian sign language recognized as the "Language of the Deaf" contacted one of the researchers quoted in the article. They would like to open a dialogue to see how they may be incorporated in our projects. Three years ago when I contacted them to request their assistance on these projects we were creating, they never replied.

Change and evolution are never easy processes. I'm reading the new Paulo Coelho book, Aleph and in his second chapter he explains that chinese bamboo grows in a very unique way. A tiny shoot grows shortly after a seed is sown and remains the same size for five years. During that time, this tiny shoot grows a complex root system that goes deep into the earth to support the shoot later in life. Suddenly, almost magically, five years later, it shoots up 25 meters at once!

Miracles do occur:-)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cochlear Implants and Music Appreciation - Video

"Great lecture from Dr. Charles Limb, a cochlear implant surgeon, who spoke at a TED conference."
 Posted By Prof. Todd Houston

Monday, December 12, 2011

Life in a Cup of Coffee

Order a cup of coffee.
Refuse the sugar.
Refuse the artificial sweetener.
Drink it just the way it is supposed to be and taste the bitter.
Feel your mouth automatically crinkle up.
And smile

Taste life in all of its many flavours.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I Must Know..

When troubles cloud the way and block your vision with walls, stop and look around.
Consciously make the effort to notice the weather, a yellow leaf, two birds flying the same pattern side by side.

If you take the time to look at the people around you, you can usually separate them into two categories: dead eyes and bright eyes.

The bright eyes fascinate me. The heart behind those eyes beats quicker than the average, the mind works faster and curiosity overcomes me.

For a long, long time I was completely unaware of life evolving around me.

Everyone has a story to tell.
When I find those bright eyes, I stop and ask the person to share their life with me.

And strangely....for a brief moment in time, they do.

When you're a child, you share your pbandj sandwich.
When you're an adolescent, you share your ipod.
When you're an adult, you share yourself.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Day the Bully Ate Dirt

I've been debating about whether or not to blog this, because...well, my mom reads my blog and I'll get the worried Grandma phonecall.
I'm a big girl, so here it goes..

A bully has been messing with Jordan for two years at the bus stop.
When your son is in high school, it becomes a little more difficult to deal with bullies, because:
1. I can't call the bully's mommy;
2. I can't show up at the bus stop to defend my son.

The first year, Jordan would come home tired and if the bully had annoyed him, stressed.
This year, there have been less episodes, but the bully was still around.

Yesterday, Jordan came home from school and went straight to bed. I followed him and found him on his bed. He wouldn't look at me. The night before we had had a fight that lasted to the morning before he left for school, so at first I figured he was still mad, then I realized it was something else.

I tried to ask him to talk to me, but he told me to leave him alone.
I didn't. I just sat there.
After twenty-five minutes, he told me that he got into a fight with the bully.

After another hour I managed to get the whole story:
The bully put a pack of cigarettes in Jordan's knapsack. Jordan took out the cigarettes and threw them in the bully's face. The bully kicked Jordan's knapsack.

Jordan turned around, grabbed the bully and threw him on the ground. From what I understand, there were three rounds and in the end Jordan's friend separated them, Jordan got on the bus and came home.

He told me he didn't start it and he didn't punch him in the face. He told me that he was still upset about our fight and that he had reached his limit.

He looked at me waiting for my reply.

I looked at him and said, "I'm sorry that our fight caused you to reach your limit. And you know I am not violent and I don't condone violence. But

There comes a point in all of our lives when we reach a limit and we are forced to defend ourselves.
Bullies beware of a deaf child wearing a cochlear implant who will take no more shit.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Italian Shade of Grey

“Everything tells me that I am about to make a wrong decision, but making mistakes is just part of life. What does the world want of me? Does it want me to take no risks, to go back to where I came from because I didn't have the courage to say "yes" to life?”

― Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

Busy, the theme of the period is completely and totally busy.
And for some reason, when people meet me they see me as a priest and proceed to confess.
I went to a shop last week to buy a pack of gum.
I smiled at the guy behind the counter: balding, 65 years old, yellow teeth.
He looks at me and says, "It's a really bad period."
I asked, "Why?"
He said, "Yesterday morning my woman of ten years left me."
I said, "Oh, I'm really sorry."
He said, "Then, my friend of five years left me in the afternoon."
I hesitated, uncertain, and asked, "So, you had two women?"
He replied, "Yes."
I looked at him and said, "Poor man."

“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It's one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it's another to think that yours is the only path.”

― Paulo Coelho

Then, I was coming back from Parma on the train two days ago.
I tend to meet interesting people on the train.
I was reading the new Paulo Coelho book, "Aleph".
The man across the aisle said, "Excuse me, Miss. Who recommended that book to you? It's for intelligent people, not young ladies."
I looked at him, kind of shocked, yet curious at the same time. He was about 76 years old, bald, wearing a non-matching sweatsuit, yellow teeth.
Ok. I'll admit it. Curiosity got the best of me- if he thinks it takes an intelligent person to read a Paulo Coelho book, then he must be intelligent and he must have a story to tell.
And when you read a Paulo Coelho book, it's all about the journey and who you meet on that journey.
I got up, crossed the aisle, sat down across from him and said, "Okay, tell me your life story."

So, he did.
He spoke for one hour and 40 minutes about his life, his father who was a CEO of Exxon, the tire company he created himself in Genova, his two kids- one of whom is some important financial person in Italy, his three airplanes, his three wives- the first one who left him for an American sculptor is 65 years old and on her 65th boyfriend - and all of his mistresses throughout the years because he was never a saint. At one point he looked at me, told me his second wife- the neuro-physicist once asked him to go to the wine cellar to fetch a bottle of wine for dinner; he didn't like being ordered around, so he left her.

As the train reached his destination, he looked at me with a sparkle in his 76 year old eye and asked me, "So, do you think we can meet again? One thing could lead to another and you never know..."

I wished him luck and told him he was too young for me:-)

Give me strength.

“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.”

― Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die