Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Chiara’

I know it’s really getting out of hand this week!!  I’ve been receiving, reveling in and sharing videos of my grand kids who seem to have a groovy dancing gene.  My daughter sent me this one of Finley doing her own version of what may become the Clark family song;  By that I mean, she tosses in a few great gymnastic moves and stays with the beat and rhythm the whole time.  That gets a little tricky here and there because she is upstaged by little Fletcher who wants only to dance like his sister.

Turns out Fletcher is a real scene stealer so as the camera follows him around the room, Finley quickly moves to stay in the lime light.  I love her sense of stage performance!!  The music makes you want to just get up, shake your shoulders and swivel those hips.  Chiara has always danced around with her girls but somehow these latest moves look suspiciously like an MJ knock-off.  When Uncle Justin visits I’m pretty sure he gives the girls private lessons on how to moon walk

So here is Finley Ray and Fletcher performing to the beat of Michael Jackson’s SMOOTH CRIMINAL.

Read Full Post »

Many, many years ago I was invited to a neighbor’s house to celebrate Boxing Day.  I thought this was a bit odd since I wasn’t a servant and I didn’t have any servants.  I was soon introduced to an Americanized version of Boxing Day.  The premise here was to bring a gift all wrapped up that was actually something you had previously received as a gift and either a) you didn’t want it because b) it was ugly or useless.  Oh there were really some strange and odious gifts exchanged that day.  The gift-giving was done in the manner of a Yankee Swap;  You picked a gift and you kept it or traded it.  Well, anyway that’s how that Boxing day went down.

This is how we began Boxing Day this year!  We were all tired from the late night of Christmas Eve and the long day of Christmas night so everyone slept just a little bit later on Thursday morning.  But right after breakfast without any formal plan set, it just began to unfold….The day after Christmas could only mean one thing!  We MUST CLEAN!  Perhaps it is some genetic pre-disposition or familial personality disorder, whatever it is, this is what happened.

Joel got the vacuum cleaner out and he began vacuuming  the rugs, I took out the swifter and did the kitchen floor and the hallways and the foyer.  I used about 6 swifter pads;  There has been a horde of people going inside and out, through the garage, in from the pool and all about.  The house was recently renovated and all the floors  are now a white-washed wood and the swifter did its thing over and over again.  I left piles for Joel to swoop up with the vacuum.   Meanwhile, Chiara packed up gifts and swept up pine needles.  I tackled the stairs next and was quite pleased to see the white of the treads re-appear.  Elsewhere, dishes were washed, clothes washed and folded and the dishwasher emptied.  It was a glorious morning, the house had been reclaimed and restored to its pristine beauty and we had taken on Boxing Day and given it an Italian twist.

There would be a Yankee Swap later that night after dinner.  But first we had to do some preparing for tonight’s party. Oh yes, there WOULD be a party tonight, albeit not quite so large as yesterday but this one would be here!  Only 15 adults and 6 kids.  Chiara decided to make several baking dishes of Eggplant Parmesan, we would serve the pork loin left over from Christmas Eve and make a big salad and a bowl of quinoa.

Susan and JR were coming for dinner with their 3 boys, the youngest is Hunter who is a classmate of Finley’s.  Susan brought a huge spiral cut ham and it’s a darn good thing she did since the pork loin did not cook through and we couldn’t serve it pink and cool.  This party spread itself out through the house!  We had kids (big and little) watching Elf and a couple other Christmas movies, adults out on the veranda, a couple of us in the dining room dishing on everything and everybody, Finley and a couple of the boys had a bow and arrows and were shooting at the front door and lots of wine drunk in all the rooms.

JR took the boys home, eventually both the girls went to bed and the die-hard game players gathered round in the living room to play some games.  Joel had gone out with Chiara in the afternoon to buy some new games.  Tonight we were going to play Quelf and Loaded Questions.  We are hardcore, laughing, yelling, arguing and all the time playing to win!  The wine kept flowing, there was some other mind-altering substances and as they say, “Let the games begin”!  Quelf was hysterical as we watched Joel stand and try not to bend his arms and legs, Dennis had to sit on his hands, Justin did the color for a basketball game in the voice of a parrot as well as mind-bending tasks, some which were subject to group analysis.  Overall one might observe it as familial blood-letting!

Loaded Questions is an adventure in delving into your fellow players psyche.  Since I’ve already portrayed our family as the crazy bunch they truly are, you can only imagine how this game was played!  I’d love to tell you about it but like the New York Times only all the news that’s fit to print.  And on that note I think it’s time to close the chapter on Boxing Day with the Bertis/Clarks/Presses and Pucci’s came to an end.

Except for the Yankee Swap which was wildly funny as the swapping, trading, stealing took place.  Those that participated seemed to have a grand time and I think perhaps the $50 bill was the prize of the evening!

English: Gift ideas for men - wrapping paper e...

English: Gift ideas for men – wrapping paper example. Please source http://www.giftideasformen.com (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Read Full Post »

Christmas in the post-War United States

Christmas in the post-War United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let me clear up something from Christmas Eve.  I thought Laura and Jim and their two girls were coming to dinner, however, I was wrong.  Last night’s open house also included Laura’s sister Sarah and Jeff, Laura’s friend Sarah and Jim’s parents, Jim and Jenny.  And then, as the evening wore on, a couple came bearing champagne and children but they stayed just long enough to say hello and good-bye. Then two more couples came and about that time, Peter and I had finished washing all the platters and were working through the glasses and so we beat a retreat upstairs where the silence was blessed.

I‘m mentioning the number of people because I assumed that on Christmas Day we would be with Laura and Jim and their family, as we knew it.   Turns out we were going to a huge house and a lot of family and friends.   Supposed to be there at 3:15 and transporting everyone actually required 2 cars and 4 trips.  It does sound bizarre doesn’t it?  You know what the real problem is? CAR SEATS!  If you’re a follower of this blog, then you know about my misadventures in October with the black tractor-trailer they call their car.  The thing is enormous but in actuality only the driver and two adults can ride in the car!  3 kids = 3 car seats.

 Laura and Jim’s house should only be described in superlatives!  First we passed the Guest House and the gardener who was vacuuming up leaves. (I thought seeing the gardener on Christmas Day was unusual).  It was stunning with a wide-open floor plan and a chef’s dream kitchen.  Later I learned that the gardener comes every day and not only cleans up the yard, he also restocks the bar refrigerator and anything else that needs attention.

I met Steve and Amy who are the Captain and crew for Jim’s 106 ‘ boat.  Steve was saying how the boat would leave shortly for the Caribbean where it would remain for the winter months and the family would fly down for some long weekends.  At one point I thought he said something about the boat being out of water for several months and so I asked him who else did he captain for and his response was “No one, Amy and I only work for Jim”.  Welllllll ok then.

 I spotted two men dressed in black and sure enough they were servers and very efficient too.  Some day I’m going to throw a party where someone else serves the food and cleans up. My Trifle was a big hit but I think the pumpkin chocolate tiramisu needed more sugar.

 I walked to the edge of the property backing up to the Intercostal Water Way where yet another of Jim’s boats was stored out of the water.  Across the canal was an extremely wide stretch of property; If this was New York, you would only wonder when will they build a high rise?  This being Florida, chances are they won’t build a hi-rise apartment building but they could build a few houses.  Jim bought the property and has guaranteed his privacy and his view!

 It was getting dark and all of a sudden a parade of naked little girls streamed into the pool  (which is kind of an infinity pool).  They had a blast – who wouldn’t running naked in and out of a pool, shrieking and splashing.   Watching them enjoy themselves is proof you can take pleasure in another person’s fun.

Time to head home.  Try to visualize Ed carrying Fletcher in cradle seat, Chiara, Finley and Frankie in second seat with Juanita driving, Linda seating on the console and me in the passenger seat (which I ‘m supposed to share with Linda).  Our very own clown car la famiglia style!  Getting everybody in was a feat in itself but backing out of a narrow curving driveway that had trees and rock islands proved to be an exercise in misdirection and miscommunication!  Dennis was directing from the front, Joel was in the back guiding us past the rocks and when I looked out the window and saw we were headed towards the rocks, I screamed!  Poor Juanita, everyone was shouting directives…. Dennis, the I’ll take charge guy told Juanita to get out and he would back out.  Mind you the car does have the back up map displayed as well as a beeping system that warns you as you are backing up into an object.

 If you thought that was the end of the evening, you don’t know the Berti’s.  Led by my daughter Chiara, fueled by my nephew Justin and instructed by my son, Joel, we all settled into the living room to play a game.  Well, not everyone-the little girls were put to bed, some of the adults opted for TV and the rest of us (the competitors) delved into Cards Against Humanity.  A modern day board game that involves picking an answer to some really sick questions, which meant the answers were sometimes quite disgusting.  The game is self-described as:   Unlike most of the party games you’ve played before, Cards Against Humanity is as despicable and awkward as you and your friends. HO, HO HO, I remember when after Christmas dinner we would all sit down and play Monopoly.  I know what you’re thinking…how dull, times have changed.  HA HA HA, you never played Monopoly with the Berti’s!!

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Finley Ray following closely in the footsteps of her athletic Mom is now playing soccer!  And she’s taking tennis lessons at age 5!?!?  I didn’t think there were racquets that small.

Oh Yeah!

Oh Yeah!

Read Full Post »

That’s right, it’s over.  I had such a delightful time while staying with Chiara and Tom and the two girls;  I wish I could have spent more time with Finley which is what they expect me to say.  However, I spent considerable time with Francesca;  We read, we drove to school, we looked at 245 Halloween photos three times.  I made her a rubber band bracelet, dressed her, undressed her and brushed her teeth and hair. We had several chats about this and that and silly questions were answered and I have been trying all day to remember what some of her destinations and professions were for “This little piggy…”, because they were clever!

I had to blow a kiss goodbye to Chiara because she was in bed and insulated with baby on her left and a crib and cat on her legs.   Last night was a rough night for Mommy, Fletcher did not want to go to sleep!  It might have been the birthday cake!  

I left Tia in charge and headed off to the airport with Tom and the girls.  Good thing I packed last night!  We made it to the airport in good time;  Tom had checked me in last night.  I mentioned that maybe I would check my bag  outside but Tom quickly dissuaded me with the tale of Chiara’s missing sunglasses.  When we got to the airport, I noticed Tom was heading towards Terminal A to drop me off – No, he was going to premium parking and he and the girls were going to walk in with me.  Everybody out and we are in a part of the airport, I’ve never seen.  We’re headed up the escalator to the concourse level and Tom asks me if I just have these two bags? Two bags? NOOoooo, I have 3 bags, where’s my computer? In the car….YIKES!  Tom says, “no worry, I’ll get it”.  He directs me to turn left at the top of stairs and head to what I think is going to be the Jet Blue counter.   

I have a suitcase, handbag and two little girls in tow and walking and walking and walking.  Francesca is distracted by the gift shop that is selling Minnie Mouse dolls and the fountain with the Lion’s head spouting water.  I am wondering why I’m passing restaurants and stores in an area where the check-in counters are?  The answer is you are NOT in the area where the check-in counter are, you are now at security.  I only have to wait a few minutes before Tom shows up with my computer bag.  I tell him that we’re at security and I wanted to check my bag in.  He says, “Why, you can take this one onboard”.  “I can’t because then I have 3 bags and I can only get with two”.  Tom: “They won’t care”.  Lori: “Yes they will, they are very strict about this”.  So Tom says: “Well put one of those bags into the suitcase”.  So typical of a man, just solve the immediate problem.  I’m concerned my glasses will be crushed as he jams my handbag into the suitcase.  It’s getting hot in the airport or I’m getting stressed and sweating.  I think it was the latter.  

I wend my way through the zig zag maze of stanchions and black tape up to the first checkpoint, dropping my scarf along the way (thank you sir).   As soon as I get to the counter I realize I don’t have my photo ID.  It is in the g__d purse which is in the suitcase.  Flushed with stupid embarrassment, I tell the Officer that I forgot it’s in my handbag in my suitcase.  I plop the suitcase down on the floor and fumble with which end the zipper pull is at since it is one of those which open at either end!  The lady behind was NOT happy.  The gods must have been smiling down on me because I was able to unzip, reach into the handbag and actually put my hand on the case with my license. Check!  Next, off with the shoes, put the computer in one bin, the case in another with my scarf, and shove the suitcase up onto the conveyer belt.  I have to tell you I DO NOT LIKE putting the computer through the scanner and then finding out there is only ONE line going through the body scanner.  I am straining to lean over and keep an eye my stuff, “Please raise your arms over your head”!  I step out and am about to go over to pick up my computer when one of the TSA people say, “Excuse I have to pat down your shoulders, please put your arms straight out”.  My shoulders? I don’t even had shoulder pads on!  

When you’re already stressed and sweating you can rest assured that the Gate you’re supposed to go will be the farthest one   away, the last one in the concourse and of course mine was!  Did you know that the Starbucks in the West Palm airport does not carry those very important green picks?  The ones that protect your hand from being burned by hot coffee as it bounces out thru the sip top while you are walking the mile and half to your gate?  Yes it’s true.

Aha there was an upside to this long walk.  I figured out way to get my suitcase checked in.  The seating area was filled and there was no one at the Jet Blue counter BUT there was a man at the entrance of the jetway and I marched right up to him and threw my son-in-law under the bus – Sorry Tom I had to do it.  I told the man that my son-in-law thought we were late so he got us to the concourse instead of check in to save time but I really didn’t want to carry on this suitcase, can you help me (big smile)?  Of course he could and probably would have done so even without my fabrication.  Again, sorry Tom!  

Finally at the door to the plane and what do I see but this very tall man dressed in a ground personnel uniform standing there with my suitcase.  I ask him if that bag is going to be checked and he asks me if it is my bag? I say yes and he tells me I can take it onboard if I wish – NO I do not wish!  THEN he asks me what I have in the cup and immediately I wonder if one is not allowed to bring coffee onboard.  I look a little startled and say: “Coffee” – he smiles and says: “You could have gotten Dunkin’ Donuts coffee onboard and for free”. Music to your ears, Tom?

Dunkin Donuts logo

Dunkin Donuts logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Read Full Post »

From the title of this blog you might not think that things are winding down, but today it does seem like they are.  Of course not having to start the day with the hectic madness of school clothes, hair brushing, breakfast and off to school, does make a difference.   When I went to bed last night which was REALLY early for me, I was looking forward to sleeping in this morning.   First of all , I figured the girls would sleep late because we didn’t return from the Ocean Club till about 9:00pm.

Last night we went to a Friday night buffet and pool party.  The kids had a blast jumping in and out and swimming and jumping off the diving board.  I wish I could have taken a picture of Francesca jumping off the diving board.  Unbelievable!  And this was not one of those diving boards that you step onto, this was one you had to climb up to.  I have never seen a child that small actually jump off a diving board and she didn’t even hold her nose.  Anyway, the party was a throwback in time for me. OMG it was retro to the old GCA; Golf Club of Avon.  Even the characters were the same.  We sat under the stars and brightly lit half moon that just hung in the sky over us all.  The weather was warm, the drinks were cold and the food was plentiful.  So familiar…even Chiara said, “I’m living your life all over again”.

So I didn’t think it was too far-fetched to think that after hours of swimming and eating (a lot of sugar), those kids would sleep late and so would I.  And that Daddy was home so he would entertain them in the morning.  At 7:20am Francesca came into my room.  She climbed up to be with me, but not for long because the purpose of her visit was really to get me out of bed and into the living room where Daddy was laying down on the couch to watch cartoons with them.  I saw that there was little to no chance of me remaining in bed so I got up.  Tom proposed we go out to breakfast and then pick up Tia who was arriving this morning.     I didn’t think we had that much time; Tom thought she was arriving at 10:30 but I knew it was 9:30.  So Tom and girls headed  out to the airport and I stayed behind to make Chiara a really good breakfast, something she has been sort of skimping on this week due to Fletch’s feeding schedule.  I’m going to post the recipe which came from Confessions of a Pioneer WomanRee Drummond‘s famous blog.

We spent the afternoon at the Ocean Club, hence the SUN and SAND which was plentiful.  Lunch at poolside and once again I was taken back in time to Avon.  The kids spent time in the pool and then we went to the ocean.  The sun was glorious, Tom signed up for a surf board and Finley and two friends spent 2 hours getting up and falling off the board!  Finley did stay up long enough to float into shore – Uncle Joel and Uncle Justin take note!  SURFERS in the making.  We wound up the afternoon at the pool with a SANGRIA Blanco, NICE!

Tonight we are going to have a mini-birthday party for Francesca who turns 3 on Tuesday.  Since I’m leaving tomorrow, Chiara decided we could celebrate with dinner and invited her best friend who has 2 children fairly close in age to Finley and Francesca and so we had 4 kids plus Fletcher and 6 adults (you can get the picture).   The kids had pizza and we had SALMON!  And cake of course! Francesca had a ball opening gifts.  It wasn’t the gift that actually seemed to thrill her but rather the opening of the gift.  We had to hold off the older kids who so desperately wanted to help her.  Several threats of no dessert, a time out and the possibility of going to bed NOW were all invoked to keep the other 3 away from the presents.  Tia came through for them all;  She had assembled Halloween goodie bags for all 4 kids which amused them and held their attention for all of 2 minutes.

Well as you can see, things really have wound down.  There wasn’t any high drama today, there wasn’t anything too unusual going on around here, it was simply SATURDAY!  There was a very funny moment this evening when Chiara was discussing with Tom what Halloween costume would they wear when they went to a party with the theme:  Enchanted Halloween.  Ki has been online searching for appropriate attire and came up with a fairy-like outfit adorned with leaves.  Since they want to match somewhat, what does that leave (no pun intended) Tom to dress as?  The suggestion of stump came up but that was quickly withdrawn.  Chiara found a sort of shawl and hat that looked medieval and after ALL of the laughter died down, we all began firing out suggestions;  Maybe he could be a wizard, or a gnome or The Grim Reaper which put Chiara into hysterics, not to mention Tom who was more hysterical at the thought!  How about a Leprechaun? 

Pasha was quite evident tonight.  Wherever Mommy went or the baby, Pasha was soon to follow. Did you know that in Egypt Siamese cats were used to guard the throne of the King of Siam?  Pasha stands watch over our Prince.

Pasha Guards Fletcher

Pasha Guards Fletcher

Mommy, baby Fletch and Pasha

Mommy, baby Fletch and Pasha

It’s a wrap tomorrow morning!  I’m flying home, Peter will pick me up in Newark and we’ll head down to the shore.  LIfe just won’t be as exciting or as interesting to read about as it has been these past few days!  Oh well….

Read Full Post »

I thought my 5 hour walk down Table Mountain in South Africa was one of the greatest feats of my life.  Truly, it was an amazing experience fraught with anticipation, anxiety, fear, determination and adrenaline.  I’ve just had my second life-altering experience.

Let me just fill in a few back-story details because I do believe lack of sleep exacerbates every other emotion.  I woke up at 5:50am – God only knows why?  And then I couldn’t fall back to sleep…I knew I had to get up around 7am to make sure the girls got up, brushed their teeth and got dressed and fed.  Well sometime around 6:45am I heard screams!  I also heard heavy footsteps above me so I didn’t jump up.  Regardless, the idea of a 10 minute doze was out of the question.  Turns out Finley decided to lock Francesca in the room.  Of course, she screamed, poor thing!

I’m up and not in a good mood at all, tolerance level way below normal so any long-winded whiney discussion about hair bows or outfits was going to be cut short.  Finally with everyone fed and ready to roll, we left for school drop-offs and Belle came with me.  First bit of drama was that usually on Fridays, Finley wears her dress uniform and we see lots of girls going into school wearing dresses (and you know how much Finley likes to dress up) and Belle is saying “uh oh” because she thinks we made a mistake. NOT – Finley already had a dress-up day this week when she went to the museum.  Dropped Frankie off, no problem. 

Image representing Siri as depicted in CrunchBase

Image by None via CrunchBase

I’m off to Starbucks to get coffee for Chiara and me. God, do I need caffeine!  Note: Since I’ve been here I’ve had to up my intake – It’s no longer Grandé Americano with a light splash of steamed brevi – NO, it’ Venti now!  I turn to the GPS so Siri my new best friend can direct me to Starbucks but Siri is silent!  Yesterday Chiara turned off the voice prompts and I can’t figure out to get them back on.  Ok, so I’ll try to follow the map which might require taking glasses on and off which is never a good thing when you’re driving.  I look to punch in the Starbucks location which Tom had programmed for me and that’s gone too!  Yikes!  Belle assures (as best she can in a language I don’t understand) that there is  no problemo.  Really?  

Belle is directing me where to turn and when to go straight and I mention to her that this is not the way Tom and I went to Starbucks.  Again, no problemo.  She says in English, “Atlantic Avenue”.  OH NO! I know Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach.  It is the main commercial thoroughfare.  Yes there is a Starbucks there BUT where do you think I can park the car?  Again, no problemo.  I look at Belle and with hand gestures and some Spanglish I inform her that of course it’s no problem for Belle, Belle is NOT driving!  Sure enough we get there and she points to a parking space and I shudder no.  I head for a parking lot that I know is down the street and I don’t mind walking and remember that Chiara parked there once.  However, I see the sign as I pull in that clearly states this a RESERVED ONLY parking lot and ALL OTHERS WILL BE TOWED.   Naturally, being half-German,  I turn around and leave, I’m not parking there.

We are now headed back to the Starbucks we passed and sure enough, there is a parking spot just near the store.  It’s a PARALLEL PARKING spot!  “Si, si, ”  Belle points to the spot.  Are you f________g kidding me?  I’m not going to park there!!!! Apparently I am 😦  – I have no choice but to bite the bullet so to speak.  This is a horror;  there is a car in front of and behind the spot.  17 ‘ long 7’ wide and sitting up a mile high on the opposite side of the car from the curb.  I try to back in and end up parallel but about 4′ from the curb.  I see in the rear view mirror that the car behind me is going to pull out.  I just sit there.  He just sits there.  He is waiting for me to pull out, I’m waiting for him to pull out.  I look in my rear-view mirror and he’s staring at me. Finally, he pulls out and stops alongside to give me a dirty look.  I don’t care, I’m so happy he moved;  Now I gingerly move the car backwards trying to trust the electronic back-up guide and not my instinct which is to look over my shoulder.  Actually you have to both but the latter is so hard to do considering the car has 3 rows of seats!  I’m pretty sure I’ve backed in close enough to the curb and not hit the tree so I pull forward and stop.  BREATHE, I’m exhausted and literally a bit shaky.  Starbucks here I come, I need the caffeine to calm me down, the parking was enough of an adrenaline boost!

I don’t think it was my imagination but there were a couple of men sitting at table outside of Starbucks and they all looked at me when I walked past them and into the store.  No, NOT that kind of look;  more like why is this lady driving a car she can’t park and why is someone this old driving a Tahoe??

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »