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Comeback Story

This is really messy, so in an effort to organize it a little more, I split it into parts. It really didn’t change the fact that none of this makes sense in the same post, but whatever.
Part I
I have returned to the land of the passive-aggressive, and it feels so good. I had my first class this morning, and I am actually really looking forward to puttin it to the grind stone and banging out an amazing semester. I am going balls to the wall and trying make this semester academically perfect and trying to stay healthy while doing so – that means a lot more sleep and working out and a lot less bullshit. Three cheers for less bullshit. On all accounts.
I am currently sitting in the Starbucks on West Bank. It’s a really cool place – two of the walls are glass and it’s on the top floor of a building, so it has a cool view and tons of natural sunlight, which is something I crave (especially when it feels like -29F outside (I’m not kidding)). There are these three seats in this Starbucks to the left of the door, and literally every single time I have come in here they have been taken. While waiting for my tall soy vanilla spice, I would stare longingly at those three golden seats, imagining how it must feel to have the cozy chair that everyone desires. And today, ladies and gentlemen, I scored one of those seats. And it feels glorious.
I sat down and sunk my teeth into a tomato and mozzarella panini, and the chick next to me was eating an apple. She took a bite, and I am not exaggerating when I say that the juice from her apple sprayed my ear. It literally travelled like 4 feet through the air and squirted the side of my head. It was an incredibly strange experience and reminded me of this.

Part II
For Christmas, my dad bought me framed pictured of Bannerman’s Island, the Hudson River, and the Clearwater, as well as a glass Clearwater and a glass bird from Hudson Beach Glass. I hung them all yesterday, and it makes my room feel so much nicer. I hung the bird and the Clearwater from a chain of paper clips because I couldn’t find a string thick enough to support them, and it actually looks really cool because they are hanging from the Christmas lights above my bed. I also have this green Swarovski crystal that Yulia gave me a few years ago that I hung on our window, and the way it casts light around the room is beautiful.
Part III
After having spent so much time with people that truly understand me and mean the world to me over break, I realized what a high standard I put on the relationships in my life. I don’t have room for friends of convenience or anyone who causes me problems. I can be such a bitch. Really. I can be unbearable. And while I do have control over myself and I try to not be a psycho bitch most of the time, the people who make a mark on my heart are the ones around whom I don’t have to try to control myself because I feel nothing but love for them. The people who make me feel so thankful for their existence that I never have the desire to be anything but the best version of myself around them. Those are the people who make it into my book of “Yeah I’d take a bullet for you.”
My great grandfather said (well, my father says he said) to only befriend people who are better than you in some way (I am assuming there is a substantial amount of paraphrasing here), and I have to say that those words are pure gold. I look at the people who have stuck around – the ones whose friendship has lasted the test of time, distance, or disagreement, and they are the ones who I can learn from. I have to say though, that this advice can only be used by a specific kind of person. The kind of person who has not only the ability to teach someone a thing or two about how to better their existence, but the kind of person who is still humble enough to be able to accept that they themselves have a thing or two to learn from others, and can work toward becoming that better version of themselves. I’d like to think I fit the bill, as do any of the people that I have the honor to call a friend.
Part IV
Yulia travelled 9 hours from Rhode Island by bus, train, foot, and car, to spend 18 hours in NY. I met her on 85th and Lex, and I saw her fountain of blondness from a block and a half away. We went to Mike’s basketball game, and it was weird to think that my little brother goes to school there. He commutes, every day, to go to high school, when he could have very easily gone to Lourdes or even Arlington. Then I thought about my academic track record, and I think it’s cool that we kind of seek these opportunities. I think it says a lot about us. Granted, none of it would be possible without my parents’ help (financial and otherwise), and they never hesitate to remind us of that, but we are still the ones who seize these opportunities, and I’m really proud of that. After his game, Yulia and I went to dinner at this restaurant near Gramercy. 

We were standing in front of the theater with two hours to spare, so we Yelped the best restaurant in a 10 block radius and found this place called Maialino. We had risotto croquettes and tonnarelli a caccio e peppe from the bar menu, and it was fabulous. In that moment, sitting in a restaurant in NYC with my best friend in a ridiculously sparkly red dress, glass of wine in one hand and iPhone in the other, I thought about how lucky I am and how good life has been to me. I thought about how happy I am that I basically cracked at 16 and had no problem getting up in the middle of morality class and playing the crazy card to get out of class, and that I decided to move to Minnesota, of all places, just to try something new without the direct access of my parents, and that I understand exactly how dumb and irrational I am sometimes, and that I can admit when I am wrong and that I am capable of changing. In that moment I felt privileged and like I didn’t deserve to have such a magical existence, but then I pulled myself from the depths of my mind because that’s a bad neighborhood.

Yulia came for the Augustana concert at Gramercy, and ohmygod. I don’t know what combination of Dan Layus, live music, NYC, sparkly dresses, alcohol, Yulia, and an accordion made that concert feel so magical, but it was an experience like no other. Sometimes I get this feeling during a song that I can’t explain. It makes me feel like something beneath my skin is moving. Like something is shifting. We’ll call it a songasm. I have never seen anyone else try to explain this so I don’t know if it’s a normal thing, but it has happened a few times before, most notably during Rufus Wainwright’s live performance of Hallelujah. Anyway, most of this concert created that kind of a feeling. When Dan started talking to the audience, he apologized for going on and on about his life and other things, but I had to use every ounce of restraint within me to not beg him to keep talking, because his voice is just so mesmerizing. Well done, Augustana. Well done.
I could not have had a better last day in New York. Alas, I am now back to negative temps, dorm living, and lots of work, so the fun from that last night in New York will have to last me a little while. Until next time.
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Christmas Season 2010

This year, I have once again failed to post about the Christmassy things that I did during the month of December, but I figure it’s better late than never, eh? Yes, yes it is. So, lezgetstahted babayyy…

One of the first Christmassy things we did was making gingerbread men =]. I did this with Nonni every year since I was 3 years old, and she even brought some of the necessary ingredients to Lugano so we could make them with her there. This year, however, was the first year we could make them with Catherine and Joe. Nonni made the dough ahead of time, and then us three helped her roll it out and cut the shapes and bake them, and then when Catherine and Joe arrived it was time to decorate. Nonni made the lemon icing as usual but this year we had a special request for purple icing, so I used my kindergarten color mixing skills and made some purple icing. It was…purple. Very, very, purple.

Opa was always the best decorator by far. He would patiently place every sprinkle on the cookie and they would look awesome. We, however, couldn’t care less and we just wanted to eat them. This yeas was different though. Sam actually had basketball practice, so only Mike, Catherine, Joe, and I decorated the cookies. Joe would eat as he decorated, so he was done pretty quickly. Then Mike got bored so he left, and Catherine and I were left to decorate. She has an incredible amount of patience for a little kid when it comes to decorating cookies, though. And I must add that my cookies were AMAZING. I made the sickest candy canes, trees, sleighs, and people. They are my favorite =]. I made a Katy Perry gingerbread woman…she was HOT. Hahaha. Since Sam wasn’t there he asked me to make him a ginger, so I did for him. And I made a beautiful red sleigh with little white sprinkles lining it. I even broke out the tweezers to place every sprinkle. OH! I also made a really cute snowman =]. HE WAS ADORABLE. Okay, I’ll stop now. Then, of course, we had dinner and it was a lovely day of Cookies with Nonni.

Another Christmassy thing we did is going to see the Nutcracker. I went with Nonni, my mom, my aunt, and Catherine. First we went to brunch at this really nice place in Poughkeepsie (to be abbreviated as “Pok” in the future) and then we went to the show. In case you were unaware, I was really into dancing until I was 12 years old and I quit. I loved it, actually…it just wasn’t right for me anymore. That’s actually the age by when most girls quit because either it will become your entire life, or you drop it. Most people don’t do it for fun after that point- it becomes mostly people who plan to either major in dance or to become dancers as a profession, and I was obviously not good enough for either of those things, so I quit. Anyway, Nonni had taken me to the Nutcracker every year since I was 3. We usually went to the Bardavon, but we went to the NYC Ballet a few times.

I wasn’t sure how I would enjoy it now that I am a bit older and I don’t dance anymore, but I loved it just as much, if not more. There is just something about watching the dancers tell stories with their bodies that is so beautiful to me. Especially since the only dancing you see most people doing nowadays is in a club after a few drinks. It just made me feel so good, you know? Also, I saw a ton of dancers in the production that I actually danced with when I was younger. Most of them are actually younger than me, and they are incredible dancers. So, I enjoyed it VERY much. I was a little disappointed though to see that Catherine didn’t like it quite as much. I guess that we are just different people who appreciated different things at the age of four. Like, we are raised very differently. It’s okay though- to each his own. After the Nutcracker we went to Nonni’s house and met Opa, my dad and brothers, Uncle Tony, and Joe there. We then had dinner and it was so nice. =]

There was a random day somewhere in December where it barely sprinkled snow outside, but we had a 2 hour delay. My dad told us we could stay home, but Sam wanted to go to school because he had a basketball game that night. Mike and I stayed home and we broke out the Christmas music and hot cocoa and decorated the entire house for CHRISTMAS. I love love love Christmas decorations. AHHH I love them. Our manger was broken though, it was pretty sad. I even set up Mom’s little village that lights up and where the little people skate on the ice rink, and I sprinkled fake snow all over it. I am, as my dad calls is, a Christmas purist. I don’t like purple Christmas trees nor do I like opening a single present before Christmas (I actually get a little upset if I even SEE a Christmas present before Christmas…). It’s a little strange, but it’s me. The Christmas purist. So we decorated the entire inside of the house, and sometime that weekend we went TREE HUNTING. We used to go to the same tree farm every year but the place started going downhill and my dad like Canadian trees better (they smell nicer, apparently) so we went to a cute little place on the side of the road. It took maybe 45 min to find our tree, which is pretty good for us.

Our tree then sat idle in our garage for a few days (without water, which resulted in needles all over the place) until we decorated it. I think Mom and Sam were sick that night so it really was just me, Mike, and my dad but it was still nice. AND, I basically got to decorate the tree however I wanted this year, which made me happy =]. I really dislike blinking lights (and other things that blink, drip, click, tick, etc…including this damn cursor in MS Word. ehhhh.) and I prefer white lights, so this year the tree was only white non-blinking lights! YAY! I love it. And, I eliminated the peanut and macaroni Jesus ornaments that we made in nursery school from out collection. We also donated the purple and grey ones because they don’t really go with the vibes in our living room at Christmastime. I also really don’t like tinsel, so there was no tinsel to be found this year (although I always thought that if I got a tiny black dog I would name it Tinsel. I think it’s cute =]). I also think only certain people know how to use beads and garland without it looking tacky, myself NOT being one of them, so we didn’t use either this year. Our tree was is perfect. =]

After that I went shopping at the Danbury Mall with Nonni for my Christmas dress. I got it from Express…I LOVE IT. It’s so cute =]. And it’s black…so I can kind of wear it whenever I want. Nonni also bought some things for me at Charlotte Russe, and they had AMAZING sales. They had corduroys and almost all tops for 50% off or for $5. Seriously? That was awesome. I also got a skirt for $15 and two sweaters for $15. I felt like I was stealing something. But, they all looked really nice =]. THANKS, NONNI!

The week before Christmas Mrs. DiSalvo and Maria came over to Nonni’s house and we had a Cookies with Nonni lesson in Florentines (aka lace cookies) and Linzer Tarts. It was a lot of fun =]. Then Marielle came over to Nonni’s house and we made Mexican Wedding Cookies. I’m not sure what makes them Mexican, but they are delicious. Pretty much everything after that is on my Christmas 2010 post, so…yep! Happy New Year!

Christmas 2010

Christmas 2010 was FAN FREAKIN TASITC. Seriously, it was one of the best Christmases that I can remember. I was trying to figure out why this Christmas was so awesome, and this is what I came up with:

1 We were able to see both families before Christmas. When I was younger we would spend Christmas with my dad’s family, and then the day after Christmas with my mom’s family (which is also my Grandma’s birthday). For the past few years we actually left my dad’s mom’s house pretty early to get to Long Island Christmas night but we were always so tired that it wasn’t so great. This year, however, we went to Long Island Christmas Eve and then we spent all of Christmas day with my dad’s family.

2 Nobody fought. We have a very unique family dynamic, thus we fight a lot. We love each other very much and that will never change, but the five of us usually have five different strong opinions so that results in fighting. There was also no family drama on either side. That in and of itself is a Christmas miracle.

3 It was in our own house. The past two Christmases were pretty strange because for the first one we were alone in our apartment in Lugano (although it was after an amazing vacation through Bavaria, it still was pretty sad and lonely) and for the second one we were kind of homeless so we just stayed in Nonni’s and Grandma’s houses. But this one was just like the best Christmases that I can remember.

4 THE PRESENTS. Okay, this is of course the selfish aspect of the “best Christmas” but we all got some pretty sick presents this year. My favourite are my custom Converse and my cutom Flip Mino HD (a tiny digital video camera). Sam’s favourite is probably his iTouch, and although Mike got some pretty awesome presents himself, the one he has been spending the most time with is his rubix cube lol. He’s solved it like 6 times so far I think. (EDITING NOTE: He just broke it lol)

5 Midnight mass was wonderful. We usually go to midnight mass every year (even in CH we went to the basilica) but in NY we went to St. Denis. This year we went to St. Columba and it was so nice. It was so CHRISTMASSY and it was really special. And…this is what surprised me the most…I actually paid attention to the homily. I usually try to pay attention but I end up zoning out, but at midnight mass it was a really good homily and I didn’t TRY to pay attention, I just did. So that was nice.

On Christmas Eve I actually babysat for a few hours. Nothing wrong with picking up some extra cash =] I was done by 2 and then my dad picked me up and I showered and got ready for Christmas Eve in Long Island. My mom got home from work at about 3:50 and we were on the road by 4:15. And guess what…I drove. The whole way. To Long Island. It’s not the amount of
time that impresses me, it’s simply the fact that I drove a fairly populated route on CHRISTMAS EVE without killing anyone. It was pretty stressful though…but I did it…and it was fine. We finally arrived at Aunt Pat and Uncle Brian’s house at around 6:30pm and it was nice. My mom’s family was all there as was Aunt Pat’s family. We had dinner and it was nice and then we did the Secret Santa. The way we do it is everyone picks a name out of a hat and the only person you can’t get is yourself or your spouse. I had my dad, and I bought his present with his credit card because I had to order it online but no one knew who I had or what I got (besides Michael). On Christmas Eve we were wrapping our presents and I am a terrible wrapper so my dad helped me. I put tissue paper in the box and put about a roll and a half of tape on it to make sure it wouldn’t open so he would see what it was. So my dad wrapped his own present. haha
When we actually did the Secret Santa, we had a countdown and then we all ran to the person who we were giving the gift to at the same time, and my dad and I had each other! It was pretty cool. My grandma and Mike also had one another, and my mom has Uncle Brian who had Uncle Jeff who had my mom…so that was cool, too. My dad got me a CD I wanted (Cake), a book, a fleece jacket ,a hat, and maple sugar candy (which was originally for Grandma but there was no room for it in her present lol. I didn’t mind =]). I got him a Starbucks rewards card and an L.L.Bean coat that he wanted.

After the presents we said goodbye and went to Grandma’s house for a few minutes and then we drove to St. Columba for midnight mass. Four of us were actually thinking about just going on Christmas Day to noon mass but Michael wanted to go so badly. I said, “No, we have to go to midnight mass. We can’t let Mike down.” Then Sam said, “Why not? I’ve done it before?” Hahaha it was so horrible but so true. It was hilarious. We decided to just get it over with and go to midnight mass, but as I said before, it was beautiful. And I paid attention-always a plus.

After midnight mass we went home and crashed. I vowed to take a shower before I went to bed, but I looked at my towel hanging on my door, and then at my bed, and there was no way I would choose to shower at 1:30 am over going to sleep. No. Way.

When we were younger, my parents would set a time limit as to how early we could wake up on Christmas morning (usually between 5 and 7) and we would sit at the foot of their bed waiting for the digits on their alarm clock to read that magic hour. This year, my dad had to wake us up at 8:40 because people were going to start showing up at 9. Then we opened our PRESENTS. Ohhh my God this Christmas was epic. Although we didn’t get a ton of expensive techy things (i.e. laptops, cameras, iPods, etc…) we all got so many great presents. My Converse are epic, and my Flip is going to serve me well in LUGANO. I also love my hat…I got a white Mad Bomber hat. Very excited about that.

At around 10 Mr. Zeigler, Sarah, and his son Ricky showed up and right behind them was Nonni, Opa, and Uncle John. Then Papa showed up and we had Christmas breakfast. It was a little bit more formal because we had fewer people this year, but it was still really nice. And DELICIOUS. Did I mention how amazing our Christmas breakfast is? It’s incredible. I like it better than Christmas dinner.

Once everyone left we 5 just chilled and then Uncle Tony, Aunt Margie, Catherine and Joe showed up. Catherine brought her music box and Joe brought his dragon…they were so cute =]. Then I showered and got ready and we all went to Nonni’s house.

At Nonni’s we opened presents and did the Secret Santa, and then we ate dinner. It was so so good. Like, too good. Nonni makes manicotti every year for Christmas and that’s the only day of the year that we have it, so it’s kind of a big deal. After dinner we chilled for a while and played with the kids and then we had dessert. Nonni made 15 kinds of cookies this year. She’s insanely amazing. My favourites are the black-bottom cupcakes, pignoli cookies, and Florentines. mmmmm =] Then some of us played Mad Gab and then we just chilled because we were so full. Everything was so delicious though.

After we left the boys and I got into our pajamas and watched Inception, but I fell asleep after about 10 minutes. When the movie was over the boys woke me up to let me know it was over but I just slept on the couch. Our couches pull out very easily and we were watching the movie on them already pulled out and I was nice and cozy in a sleeping bag, so I just spent the night on the couch. It was nice.

This morning we all woke up and had the Christmas Breakfast leftovers and then I cleaned the kitchen and organized everyone’s presents while the boys and my dad made a hug fire in the backyard to burn all of the boxes and paper from Christmas. It was massive…then my dad drove my mom to work (she’s working the night shift tonight so she can have off on New Year’s Eve) and we all checked out our new things. I then showered and got dressed and we drove to Nonni’s for dinner in the snow. It had snowed maybe 4 inches by that point and getting up her street was tricky, but we did it. Then we had dinner and it was nice, but the drive home was the best. It was kind of scary trying to get down Nonni’s street because of all the snow but we did it, and then my dad did donuts in a strip mall parking lot. We then began driving home, and he did more donuts in the A&P parking lot. It was pretty cool. On the way home we played the only CD appropriate for the occasion…Scottish Bagpipes.

OH SIDENOTE: The CD player in the Sentra won’t eject the only CD in there, and of course it is the Scottish bagpipes CD. I’m thinking I should paint the Tartan plaid pattern on it and make it into t a true Scottish mobile. Then maybe I can have some serious work done and switch the passenger and driver sides. Hahaha that would be incredible.

Then we finally got home and I am sitting here typing this as I listen to some Edward Maya on my new headphones. Getting these headphones was like wearing glasses for the first time…I never knew that I wasn’t hearing my music clearly until I got these headphones. I don’t know if I will ever be able to use Apple ear buds ever again.

GOOD night everyone…here are some of my favourite new tunes. I know that the songs are old, but my obsession with them is fairly new. I got these CDs for Christmas and I am now obsessed. But…you know. “It’s okaYY.”

(FYI- you can click them to hear the song…)

One (Your Name) [Vocal Mix] -Swedish Housw Mafia

Stereo Love- Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina

You’ve Got the Love- Florence and the Machine

Wait It Out- Imogen Heap

Sex and Candy- Marcy Playground

The Vampires of New York- Marcy Playground

She’s So Lovely- Scouting for Girls

Jar of Hearts- Christina Perri

Snowmobiling/Dance!

I went snomobiling over the weekend with Calri, Erin, and Casey for Carli’s birthday! We left Friday, went snowmobiling Saturday and Sunday, and came home late Sunday. It was sooo much fun! I’m not gonna give you a blow by blow because I’d be blowing till I was 50, and I have it all in my head. Trust me, I’d never forget this. It was awesome!!!

The St. Patrick’s Day Dance is on Friday. I’m kinda excited because something is going to happen but I can’t give all the details until afterward. Sorry. I’ll totally fyi afterward. Promise. And I got a new outfit: a super dark-wash mini demin skirt, white tank, cool green shirt with these cool pocket thingies, and I already had all the jewlery and my boots (with the fur! lol). So, yeah. Oh, and Mrs. Carolei is picking up me, Erin, Nicole, and Casey from drama early to go see the baby goats, then we’re going to their house to get ready. Yay!