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.

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


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.








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.

Interviewing The Candidate

Steph: Hello. How may I help you?

The Candidate: I would like your vote.

Steph: Really? Why should I choose you?

The Candidate: Because I am the best. Believe me.

Steph: Are you really? I am unaware of your qualifications. Who said so?

The Candidate: I am telling you to believe me.

Steph: Hmm… Will you work to help improve ABC or XYZ?

The Candidate: Perhaps, if it those things are in my best interest.

Steph: How do you consider the opinions, needs, reality of your challengers? And those of their supporters?

The Candidate: I do not agree with them. I will not consider their needs. I will ignore their reality. They will bend to my will and feed my appetite for glory.

Steph: What do you plan to do if you are elected? Do you have a plan to achieve your goals?

The Candidate: Of course. I plan to do lots of things. Of course, they all may not be of concern to you directly.

Steph: Of course. Tell me about your plan. Does it include ABC? Have you considered XYZ? What sets of data did you resource for your study? When? How? Why? Who? …

The Candidate: Oh, well, we don’t need to go into such detail. You just need to trust that when I get into office, I will work to protect the interests of my constituents.

Steph: You will? I am one of your constituents. Will you work to address my concerns?

The Candidate: Well, I can take your concerns under consideration. In the meantime, how much can you donate to my campaign? May I count on your vote?

Steph: Nope, bloodsucker.

The featured image for this post is a sketch I created for one of my posts written in 2011. Read “Sideburns are dark, scripted comments about character.

© 2017 Steph Abbott. All rights reserved.

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6. Day 6 of the Write Tribe Festival of Words #6 and today’s prompt is: Feature a guest – a guest post / an interview. While I did not secure a guest writer or interview a real person, I outlined the high points from what I perceive the eternal interview with the candidate from hell. #writebravely #writetribe #festivalofwords




Strolling the Land of Dragons to #WriteBravely

Weekend road trip to California with the family? Sure. Let’s escape the heat.

California and Nevada. Image courtesy U.S. Department of the Interior-Bureau of Land Management © 1988 Department of the Interior-Geological Survey, Reston Virginia-Public Domain-Note: This particular image was found on the website of the Mount Diablo Surveyors Historic Society.

This past weekend, I traveled from the scorching desert in Las Vegas to the cool coastline near San Diego. A highlight of this trip was my stroll through LEGOLAND® California Resort. For those who live under a rock, without kids, this place is filled with virtual world of miniature cities, models, and replicas built with the famous colored plastic bricks and designed to reflect the spectacular to the mundane.

I found it to be quite surreal. And, on this particular day,  I felt like I may have entered a dreamlike state.

I walked and envisioned, “this is where I could build a castle with rooms for all my family and friends. I would include a magnificent kitchen for us to enjoy meals and drink wine. Maybe even decide that I was the best ruler in all the land and never want to leave?”

My dream continued, because why not?! I am in a place designed to foster the imagination.

“Of course, I would need a moat and a titan to protect my perfect world. And what about that smoke dragon? Perhaps I should build a wall around it all?”

After a few minutes, I remembered that I was sober and decided to leave the childish dreams (or paranoid delusions) to others and continue my stroll to check out the mini cities, landmarks, and moats on display that were made to entertain and enthuse.

What is it about those bright interlocking blocks? Alone they are boring blocks made of cheap plastic. Yet give a bucket of bricks to someone with an imaginative mind and a
reasonable block of time, and voila!, they have created a castle with a crazy king to defend and a smoke dragon to defeat.

Yes, my inner child jumped for joy while at LEGOLAND. Yes, I care that plastic is killing our planet. And, yes, I care that LEGO plans to change their brick baking recipe to a more sustainable material. See “Why Lego Is Spending Millions To Ditch Oil-Based Plastic” by Adele Peters (Fast Company, July 7, 2017) at https://www.fastcompany.com/3048017/why-lego-is-spending-millions-to-ditch-oil-based-plastic.

Copyright 2017 Steph Abbott. All rights reserved.

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6. Today’s prompt was to “Feature a map and write about a place either real or virtual.” #writetribe #writingbravely #festivalofwords


Appreciating My Treasure and #WritingBravely

Beheld by their splendor, I sat still, gazing at my treasure. Though not mine to truly possess, each provided me with an innate value and enduring promise. Their inner light danced in the summer sun just to catch my breath. My gale swelled with love for these smokey sapphire and golden-flecked gems. As their eyes met mine, my rich soul beamed back. Family is truly a treasure.


This passage and image were inspired by the prompt, “write about a treasure you have.” I wrote this piece and created this image using my smartphone while riding with my family through the Mohave desert. Copyright 2017 Steph Abbott. All rights reserved. #writetribe #writingbravely #festivalofwords #ArtRage

Continue reading “Appreciating My Treasure and #WritingBravely”

Morning Muse

Good morning, Monday. I know we are friends and all, but why am I looking for your the sunset already?

©2017 Stephanie Abbott. All rights reserved. I wrote this after waking from a deep sleep and exercising this morning. I doodles the image last night using OmniSketch. Hugs to Corinne from #WriteTribe today. #mondaymusings #motivationmonday #coffeetime #fitbit #weightlossjourney



When She Found Me

When​ ​she​ ​found​ ​me,​ ​I​ ​was​ ​skipping​ ​rope.
​​Whoosh,​ ​jump,​ ​snap.
With​ ​each​ ​turn​ ​of​ ​the​ ​rope,​ ​I​ ​glimpsed​ ​key​ ​features.
Her​ ​locks,​ ​dark.
Her​ ​eyes,​ ​bright.
Her​ ​mouth,​ ​agape.
My​​ ​​eyes​ ​darted​​ ​​away,​​ ​​for​​ ​​fear​​ ​​of​​ ​​her​​ ​​catching​​ ​​my​​ ​​gaze.​
I​ ​skipped.
She​ ​found​ ​me.

©2017 Stephanie Abbott. All rights reserved. I wrote this piece in response to a prompt in the post “Loving In The Face Of Fear #MondayMusings” by Corinne Rodrigues. #WriteTribe