Ravioli Dreams of Nonna

My dreams of preparing ravioli from scratch are inspired by mother and brief memories–real and imagined–of my maternal grandmother. I grew up calling her grandma, but now I want to remember her as nonna.

Steph’s nonna

Nonna was born in America in 1913 of Italian heritage. Her mother from Abruzzo, her father from Calabria. She lived a life I know little about, yet her shy muted spirit lives in my heart.

My few memories of Nonna have the naive fuzzy edges of a six or seven year old. She had gray hair and carried the weight of her years in a barrel atop two short legs. She lived humbly, in a rundown home patched with corrugated metal and an outhouse, in a depressed community out in the middle of the desert.

Visits with Nonna were short and usually involved my parents bringing her practical items from our middle-class home. (If we got a new kitchen table, then we brought her our old one.) Our trips from the big city took most of the day, with our visit to be just long enough to unload the car and for my folks to address any familial matters. My limited time with Nonna was precious.

Mostly, I remember that Nonna couldn’t speak–Italian or English. Her vocal chords were irreversibly damaged as a young child. Yet the spoken word wasn’t necessary for her to be understood and endeared.

Her smiling eyes would light upon an item and her body would dance. My eyes would follow her movements and my mind would race. Her gestures and facial expressions could tell stories and demonstrate basic needs.

Nonna lifted an item, made some moves, and I understood. She showed me a bottle of milk and raised her hand to her lips. I smiled and nodded. She made me an egg (or was it bologna?) sandwich, and I watched her cook potatoes. Her kitchen was bare, but my belly and heart were full.

Rocco’s Homemade Cheese Ravioli

Unfortunately, I never learned much about her or even how to cook ravioli by watching her. But I liked to imagine the sound of her voice, the stories from her life, and the tastes from her table. Perhaps her voice and her ravioli were as endearing as those of the nonna from my dreams?


© Stephanie Abbott. Sunday, November 24, 2019. The photo of my nonna is from my family tree. The photo of Rocco’s ravioli was taken while I cooked dinner tonight. The memories I shared are inspired from my youth, the ricotta ravioli from Rocco’s NY Pizzeria (“Just like Grandma used to make!”), and the video, “Italian Grandma Makes Homemade Ravioli” published by Buon-A-Petitti at https://youtu.be/n68W0bVolmU.

Let me–Oh, Pine!

Nature is my balm. I yearn to study her random texture, learn her simple secrets, and lavish in her fickle gifts. Pray she heals me.

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My image: I took this photo of a pine tree as I passed it while #walking today.

My post: I wrote “Let me–Oh, Pine!” while on my phone, laying in bed, half asleep tonight. This is the last day for my personal challenge to create daily during the month of November 2018.

Also, November 30 marks the anniversary of the death of one my favorite authors, Oscar Wilde.

In light if this mundane factoid (about the date), I share these two Wilde quotes with a nod and a wink:

The more we study Art, the less we care for Nature. What Art really reveals to us is Nature’s lack of design, her curious crudities, her extraordinary monotony, her absolutely unfinished condition.”
-Oscar Wilde, “Intentions” (1891)

Most modern calendars mar the sweet simplicity of our lives by reminding us that each day that passes is the anniversary of some perfectly uninteresting event.

-Oscar Wilde “A New Calendar,” The Pall Mall Gazette (February 17, 1887).

Nightly Stella Mightly

Tonight, before brushing her teeth and going to sleep, Stella might:

  • Fix dinner, do dishes,  launder clothes, clean up, an prep for tomorrow.

Or, she might:

  • Order take out, be happy for an hour or two, toast to friends, enjoy a slice, watch an episode of retro noir on Netflix.

Hmm… What might you do nightly?

About this post: I wrote this on my phone, lying in bed, while watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch on Netflix tonight. I took the photo while walking past a unique shop earlier this evening. This is all part of a personal challenge to create daily this month. I am tired. Good night.

Losing Time

Dear Pulled Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps Silver Fox,

I am sorry. I love you. I miss you.

Respectively,

Your Acutely Aware She Is Not Perfect Middle-Aged Flower Child

#ItsLetterWritingDay #NaBloPoMo18 #Create30
#daddyissues #losingtime

Image: Photo of my secret garden from earlier this year.

Being Optimistic

Do you find beauty where others find ugliness? Hold on, because this quote is deep…

“I demand that the world be good, and lo, it obeys. I proclaim the world good, and facts range themselves to prove my proclamation overwhelmingly true.”

-Helen Keller

The World I Live In and Optimism: A Collection of Essays

https://books.google.com/books/about/Optimism.html?id=YrMcAAAAMAAJ

Personally, I demand for some young people to benefit from a law-related education and support Trial By Peers, a diversion court operated by the Clark County Law Foundation.

#lookingforflowers

#findinglife

#trialbypeers

#NaBloPoMo18

#Create30

#GivingTuesday

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About this post:

Image: Photo of an artichoke cactus I found among along a walk in downtown Las Vegas earlier this year.

Quote (above): I chose this quote for a variety of reasons, including my experience of working (briefly) for a woman who was both deaf and blind.

Today’s post follows this prompt: “Whether it is on a teabag or in a fortune cookie, tidbits of wisdom are everywhere. What is one you have read that was worth keeping? Share it with us. #NaBloPoMo18, Day 27”

————–©2018 Stephanie Abbott. All rights reserved.

Wait, Before you Go (Again)

Wait, before you go

Savor friends and sip of stress

Become family

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About this post:

The GIF photo is from a cup of coffee I had with a friend this morning.

The illustration and haiku are from a post in 2014. SeeWait, Before You Go.” This content was also reblogged in 2017. SeeWait, Before You Go, #WritingBravely.

Today, have reblogged this haiku (again), because I am exhausted. Mondays can be stressful, yes? I appreciate your understanding.

Also, I found it to be conventient for today’s #NaBloPoMo18 prompt: “Imagine you and I have met for a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine). What would you tell me if we were having a cup of coffee?” courtesy of the Reticulated Redhead.

————–©2018 Stephanie Abbott. All rights reserved.

Let it Go

Does your mind, heart, and soul move in concert to make your world dance on its axis? Or does your mind take over? Grasping to lead you towards an assumed position? Distracting you with each dip, lunge, sashe, twirl, kick, ball, and step? Tilting your axis only to wobble your will? Losing your focus finally to fall down?

Don’t get carried away. Learn to let it go.

Take a deep breath. Pull back, square your shoulders, follow your heart, and let your soul dance.

Or listen to a song that tells you to let it go. My favorite rock and roll song for that is “Jenny Says” by Cowboy Mouth. Check out their video on YouTube at https://youtu.be/NEfpoUuKFOY

These are my silly thoughts late on a Sunday before returning to the frenetic dance of the work week.

My thoughts are inspired by this quote:

“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning.”

-Lao-Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 48, as translated by Raymond B. Blakney (1955)

About this post: I am trying to create daily this month. Today, I followed a prompt posted by the NaBloPoMo Revival group on Facebook: “Choose a quote, picture, song, etc that you feel epitomizes something important to you. Tell us why.” I created this image using ArtRage a few years ago.

#NaBloPoMo18 #Create30

Still Window Shopping

She strolled the congested streets of her cluttered memory. She recalled plenty of perfect places to shop for the holidays. Her mind hummed with a variety of concerns as she browsed through windows.

“Should I bother to brave the crazy crowds of the big box store to shop for the holidays? Where in my area are there small shops to browse to find a unique item? Will I choose a trite trend or a brilliant gift?”

Suddenly, the house hushed. She looked up from her keyboard to find herself sitting alone. Her family had just departed to get shit done.

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About this post: I am creating something every day this month as part of a personal challenge and the NaBloPoMo Revival group on Facebook. This morning, I wrote “Still Window Shopping” before getting ready for a day of errands on the last Saturday of November. I limited the length of today’s story to 100 words upon inspiration from a piece of flash fiction posted at Failing Haiku. See https://failingathaiku.wordpress.com/2018/11/23/vengeance-ff/.

Years ago, I created this doodle of how I like to remember the small frontage of the vast cavern of a popular bookstore in Berkeley. (It doesn’t look anything like my doodles.) If you can’t pull away from your computer to shop small businesses locally, consider shopping a small business like Lynn Cobb Silver or Moe’s Books online. See my past posts related to this particular image (or Moe’s Books) as follows:

#NaBloPoMo18 #Create30 #SmallBusinessSaturday #lynncobb #moesbooks

————–©2018 Stephanie Abbott. All rights reserved

Surviving Family

Family expands and contracts throughout our lives. Some members saunter in as if they returned from running errands; others choose to leave forever without the courtesy of an explanation. Each member infusing life for us to accept, appreciate, and love. To embrace each other regardless of our current circumstances provides a relative rhythm for surviving family.

Surviving-Family-by-Steph-Abbott

About this post: I created this sloppy sketch of family using my finger on the glass of my mobile device using ArtRage app while sipping coffee this morning. I am creating something everyday this month. I created “Surviving Family” from a prompt I provided to the NaBloPoMo Revival group for November 23: “Tell me what you want but only focus on what you need.”

#NaBloPoMo18 #Create30 #FamilyDay

————–©2018 Stephanie Abbott. All rights reserved.