Wednesday, May 25, 2016

These Guys NEVER Go On Strike

You can Count on US!
A Bugler's Job is Never Done

Trieste Doesn't Have Snow Days So Thank Heavens for Strikes!

The most God-fearing Faithful Children in Wisconsin utter this simple prayer before bed:

Dear God,

Please let there be a BLIZZARD that lasts ALL NIGHT so that the STREETS CANNOT BE PLOWED IN TIME AND THE BUSSES CANNOT GET THROUGH and we DO NOT HAVE TO GO TO SCHOOL.

Amen.

The God-fearing Faithful Children in Trieste have this one:

Caro Dio,

Please let there be a SCIOPERO GENERALE so that my Teachers will stay home and I CAN TOO!

Amen (same word).


Not that You Asked for This

His friends get the top floor of some of the most beautiful buildings in Trieste.

This guy gets to oversee the nether regions of the Grand Canal in Trieste.

And I was doing JUST FINE before I noticed him. The problem is...now that I have, I can never go back! Dear Me!

I know you didn't ask, but I thought I would share anyway.

You are welcome!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Don't Worry!

The cats have been replaced by hysterical dogs. And when I say hysterical, I DON'T mean, like, funny ha ha. I mean like yippy and stressed out. Trieste is full of dogs with owners who treat them like stuffed animals. The little yippers don't know who the Capo Branco is, so they freak out. The smaller they are, the more they worry, I think. Poor dogs.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Rise & Fall of Kitty City

Trieste used to be a Kitty City.  I remember it so clearly. There were Cats everywhere, little communities of them nestled into man-made (never by men) bora-proof cat hotels hidden in nooks across town. There was one in the courtyard of my apartment building and another down the steps in the public park below. These little communes were a collection of kitty carriers lined up next to each other and on top of one another. Inside them there were blankets and/or pillows to keep our local felines comfy. They slept there in shifts.

In the same little cat-friendly zone there were bowls of dry cat food and cans of expensive cat food licked clean. Sometimes you would see one of Trieste's many "cat ladies" unloading her grocery bag with 10 cats taking turns walking past and rubbing up against her legs, meowing for her to hurry it up!

Not everyone liked Kitty City, though. Those same sweet cats found their way into our parking garage, where it was warm, especially on blustery nights. They slept on cars, scooter seats, they weren't picky...

On any given morning, it was commonplace to find your car full of kitty footprints. If they peed on your car anywhere near that vent between the hood of your car and the front wind shield, the inside of your car would reek for weeks and there was No Arbre Magique on the market that could do anything about it.

It was said that cats were afraid of shiny things, so people put 1.5 liter water bottles full of water on their cars and motorcycles to keep them away. I don't know if that worked.

There were lots of them, but I always saw the same cats. There was the one who would come out to greet me on the way to the bus stop, and others whose glowing eyes I would see when I peeked into their carriers.

Then, Poof!

The Kitty communes disappeared. One day the carriers just were not there. The crumbs were swept up, the whole area raked clean.

Who did that?

I still see cats sometimes, but I no longer know where to look for them. I keep hoping they will reappear at some point, but so far they have not.

Yesterday I came to the full realization that Trieste is no longer Kitty City. I was coming out of the parking garage and saw a disturbing sign on the door on the way out.

BEWARE. RATS FOUND IN GARAGE. 

This is not a good thing. First, because rats are gross. Second, because Rat does not rhyme with city. I want the cats back. I can't vote for the mayor because I am not an Italian citizen, but if I could, I would vote for the candidate who would bring Trieste back to it's heyday of cat greatness. It is the only issue I truly care about in the local political scene.

BRING BACK THE CATS, TRIESTE! 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

End of the Year Recitals are Not Just for Dancers

The end of the school year/sports season is rife with open-to-the-family "spectacles" to show what your kids have been up to this year. Every activity seems to have one.

Ours is today. We had a swimming meet yesterday (Did I mention she started participating in swim meets when she was FOUR years old? Is that normal??) and we will be back there today watching what every level of swimmer learned this year.

Don't get me wrong. It is joyful watching your kid splash around like a pro from the stadium seating of the Bianchi diving pool. I do enjoy it, but, man, can I tell you something? It is freaking hot in there!

That, and, I can't stand other parents. I mean, it's okay if I get up and block everyone else's view and take low quality video with my phone that I will probably never watch again because I can't tell which little dot is my kid, but I can't stand the other ones who wave and try to get their kids' attention, and stand up right in my way and take THEIR videos.

I mean, really! They exasperate me.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Mixed Messages We Send Our Kid

Situation 1: Kid is at a restaurant with elbows on the table. 

Two different approaches to the same problem. Same Outcome.

American: 
Get your elbows off the table, get your hands out of your hair! We just washed it and now you're putting your grubby hands in there.

Italian: 
Do you see anyone else in the restaurant putting their elbows on the table, in their hair? Then you shouldn't either.

Situation 2: Interesting piece of garbage on the ground that kid picks up to examine. 

Different approaches. Different Outcome. Moment of Origine for Childhood Trauma the Professionals will take years to untangle in adulthood...

American: 
Good girl. It is right to protect the environment and pick up the garbage even if it is not yours. Now give that piece of chewed gum in a piece of shiny paper to Mommy and I will put it in the nearest garbage can! Thanks for being Green!

Italian: 
SCOVAZZE!! Drop it! Put it DOWN! It is dirty! It has probably been peed on by 18 dogs!! Take this kleenex and we will run home and wash your hands. Don't touch anything!!!

Situation 3: American mom wants to teach her kid the alphabet before she goes to school. 

American friends: 
That is a great idea! As an emerging reader this will give her that little extra advantage when she gets to school! Hopefully she will be the best in the class right away! Good job!

Italian friends: 
DON'T DO IT! What is she going to DO those first weeks of school! She will be so BORED! How can you do that to her?? Leave it to the Professionals!


Situation 4: American parent wants to send kid to Slovenian school. 

American Parent:
We are so lucky to be on the border with another country, why not take advantage? Less students, better teacher to student ratio. Like a private school but it's public! Another language will benefit her in adulthood and ward off neurological diseases like Alzheimers! It is a different language family, so it will open the door to other Slavic languages, maybe even Russian, and German will seem EASY in comparison! It's easier to learn as a kid, she's like a sponge! She will have more options for university and eventually working for an international Entity, becoming rich and supporting her mother who will never be able to afford to retire!

Italian friends:
Yeah, but how are you going to help her with her homework?

Situation 5: Snack Time. Kid wants an apple. 

American:
Washes apple well, dries it, hands it to kid.

Italian :
Peels the skin off as it is full of Chemicals.

Kid: Doesn't care. Just hungry.