Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Do the Needful

I am going into my 3rd NYC office week and I realize from my last post that I need a serious attitude adjustment...I should be sketching away right now but I am tapped out, my friends. My creative juices are dried up. My joyful spirit is growing weak and the office politics and frantic energy of this place has taken it's toll. My team is coming down with nasty colds. They sit in front of their computers puffy eyed and dazed. I bought them fresh squeezed orange juice in an effort to say, "I acknowledge your weak states and hope this offering of immunity boost will keep you here until we finish these projects." It's bad. I should be sending them home and saving us all, but instead I bought a 200 pack of Emergen-C to push us through. I have also upped the caffeine factor significantly in the past 2 weeks. This has turned me into a total spazz. For instance, the other morning I was listening to my Ipod, jacked up on caffeine and just feelin' the beat. I bounced up the subway stairs, rockin' out a little on the inside, and busted some odd move on the final landing and just popped my leg right out of the socket and broke down to a deep limp for a good 7 blocks. Okay, so maybe I didn't exactly pop it out of the socket BUT I'm still aching in that joint area a week later.
It's just a hectic life that I chose and there was a time when I was in it to win it. Something about living in Italy has just made me soft. I can't entertain the crazy narcissists I once shrugged off with a giggle. Maybe it's my pasta habit. I haven't had a dish of pasta for lunch since I've been here. It's strictly 15 dollar salads and diet cokes. I miss bitching about lazy post office employees and scoring free dinner with my drinks...
OH, and about doing the needful...I have a friend who works with India often. They sign their emails, "Do the needful" meaning, there are a list of things that need your attention: attend to them. Just do it. Do the needful.

Monday, December 10, 2007

NYC:Take Two

It's impossible to just sit and write. There have been ten thousand things going on that deserve a good blog moment but the moments, they escape me. Even now, I continue to write this a good 3 hours after I started the first sentence. It's this frantic pace that has me in a state these days. Italy has it's dreamy aspects, no doubt but I am lucky enough to get my bacon from the states. Even with the dollar working it's way to toilet paper status, I still bring home the equivalent of 3 or 4 Italian households. At no point, will I be okay with working 40 hours a week for some pretentious Italian design house that will demote me back down to a designer level bc a director title would be beyond me (as mere common folk) and saved for some talentless family member. So, I exist in my home office bubble, working a job that is no longer the wonderful thing it was to me. I make my trips back to the states and do my meetings and office time, work with very painful personalities , still counting my blessings the whole way, bc I can have the best of both worlds.
I was actually in Florence for a full 3 months, the longest since I moved there over a year ago. I fell into a nice rhythm of morning walks, cooking lunch, simmering chicken stock, and tracking the next Sagra. I felt content, protected and even at peace. Yes, the post office still sucked, the yearing for thai food still crept up, but I did suddenly get this sense of maybe this is 'enough'.
Flash to me in NYC sitting in an office with women who wear diamonds the size of my face and have their assistants send christmas cards to their personal shoppers. A world where people around me are talking about how to furnish their second home and how I should just Fed Ex my luggage as it's such a hassle to deal with that baggage claim. Listening to how "my husband put 1000 dollars in my wallet on Weds. and it's gone (by Friday)" Knowing girl's who "work only for the clothing allowance" and lose their expense checks never to have one reissued (bc it's 'just a hassle to do that'). It's a bad teen movie staring adults. Obnoxious, awful and just plain ugly, right?
At the same time, in the past week: I have eaten too much, drank even more and bought about 4 bags full of cheap items that will inevitably end up as dust rags by the close of next summer. The days and dollars just seem to fall into this gaping, black, hole, that is never to be filled. Peace is an adjective that I have never found here. Fun, excitement,opportunity and worldly possessions, (clean hospitals with jacuzzi's for expecting mothers, I've been reading about you American pregnant women in Italy...) it's all here. Peace, not so much.
Yet, it is here that I can make a respectable living. It is also here that I have my mother, sisters and friends that could be my "village" when I have kids, yet it is here that I fear I will lose my life to that gaping, black, hole. I know, I KNOW...please, don't ask 'what about the suburbs?' I have great friends in the burbs, I went to a Christmas party this past weekend in the burbs, I am completely freaked out by The Burbs. So, as of today, I am consumed by the feeling of displacement. The lure of everything modern, fast and efficient seems like a dream....but the Hamptons and Jones beach just don't hold up to summers in Maremma...

Friday, December 7, 2007

NYC: The Life Consumer

This posting page has just been hanging out on the bottom bar of this screen for days. The minute I hit ground here, my life seems to belong to a force bigger then my little zen can handle. It's as if the floor of my cozy Florentine nest just gives way beneath my feet, leaving me to free fall, ground unseen.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Being Super

I wore this wonder woman bathing suit ALL the time when I was little. I would slap on those strappy, comfort sandals and be ready for anything. I remember how the bum of my suit would cling to cement; feeling all the little fibers being ripped from their weave. It suited me up for adventure and allowed for optimal spinning freedom. I was missing the Lynda Carter hair at the time (though, I am kind of working that look these days, now that I think about it) and the gold wrist cuffs were slowing me down (my mom's jewelry was more like artillery) The point is, it gave me that bad ass feeling. Like I could do anything and that super powers were not completely out of the question.

At some point, that suit was riding so far up my ass that my mother could no longer let me outside in good conscious. I pleaded and begged her to over look it. I even cut the straps in the back and tried to just halter it in the front (a born designer!) it just resulted in a fierce camel toe and my mother yelling "Basta! Daniela, Basta!" I had to let her go....Luckily, it was only a few years of substituting Liberace inspired dance recital costumes to having my mother sew me one fingerless, lace, glove complete with wrist ruffle. (Uh, Madonna, Lucky Star anyone???)

I guess my point is, I miss that Wonder Woman feeling. I had a house Tiara, (just put it on while folding your laundry, it takes off that 'average girl' edge off) I have a "Keep on Keepin on" playlist; complete with Marvin Gay's "Got to Give it up" and more recently Britney's "Piece of me" (Don't you judge me... there are some talented people behind that messy mamma)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Things that Bite

WHAT is with the mosquitoes that NEVER seem to go away? I wake up with bites EVERY morning. I have to remember to plug in that gadget that burns those blue discs to stink those suckers away (and probably poison me, oh so slowly all the while). It's maddening. I finally found an Italian living thing that finds American eats more delicious then Italian.

Second thing that bites: The plane ride back to NY. I am in complete denial that I am leaving this Sunday for over a month! Being back in that NYC office, back in the cold, back to spending too much money on dinners and drinks (though, I have to say Florence is just not that much cheaper). I spend so much time in my house, I don't even know how to dress myself anymore. It doesn't help that I have spent the past 2 weeks eating whatever my heart desires. All my pants are feeling a bit snug. This is bad because I find in my line of work, everyone is much more adoring towards you when you are looking slimmer. That is an awful thing, I know, but it's the truth my friends. The welcome is much warmer when the hips are swingin' with that trim grin.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Keeping Up

I love Itunes because it gives me a direct link to the sensory pleasures of the states. The 2 greatest things it has to offer are absolutely FREE! These being RADIO and PODCASTS. Radio is so old school yet such a wonderful thing to have when you have exhausted your playlists and yearn for that element of surprise. Itunes categorizes stations by musical tastes and even gives you a brief description of each station. Letting me have a day of classical or changing it up for a disco day.

Now, the Podcasts are endless. I have yet to scratch the surface. I download: The American Life (out of chicago,) , NPR (frm NY) and This Show Again (www.thisshowagain.com) which stars comedian Tom Kelley (a friend and my former VP of LI Lutheran High School!). You can subscribe to these casts and they'll download automatically to your Itunes. It's good company and good listening THOUGH, I am finding keeping up with actually listening to all the episodes is getting difficult. It's hard to actually LISTEN to them while I'm working so I pause and save for a time when I can focus on listening a bit better. I have to say, they are back logging on me! BUT I figure I will catch up on the left overs on my long plane ride back to the states this weekend.

Speaking of which..I am somewhat dreading the trip. It has been nice to be home here in Florence for more then 2 months, a record since I moved here!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why do we Blog?

I moved to Florence over a year ago and it wasn't until another new American girlfriend of mine shared 'some of her favorite ex pat blogs' with me that I even delved into this whole world. I loved being a voyeur, reading up on everyone's personal experiences. I also admit to keeping a little journal myself, tucked away in files under files on my computer for the past year. Today I decided to officially begin to spew out whatever it is that runs around my head for whomever stumbles upon this to read. Surely, I may bore the hell out of most of you, but what fun to create a bubble of your own where you can choose your own fonts and colors!

I think this blogging thing is going to make me accountable for all my mental round ups. I have been home in Florence for more then two months straight and this is the longest stretch of time since I moved here! I ended up traveling so much for work, I had one foot here and another still in the states (and on occasion China here and there). So, in this time of calm, I have been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting on life here vs the US. It's truly exhausting me and I am practicing my new philosophy of "it be what it be".

Moving here I discovered my inner chef, how can you not cook with all this great fresh food around you? Working from home also allows me to simmer stock for 10 hours. Which I have found is the most gratifying thing I can do for myself these days. After reading everyone else's blogs I admit to feeling completely inadequate as a cook and a lost cause as a baker. I would feel so accomplished to make just one loaf of fantastic bread! Need to write that down as a goal for 2008.

FASHION: Being in the industry I just cannot help but harp on the insane accessory habits of the Italians (or anyone for that matter) Please join my plight in finding the reasoning behind the endless love of the overly, decorated, stiletto, cowboy boot. The man and I have a theory that those girls are just aging some fine cheeses in those things (i mean they'll wear those puppies all through summer...)

FLORENCE/LIVING ITALIAN: Flo is a small city. A really small city...but I adore her all the same. I didn't land here as a complete fish out of water(more like a fish out of ocean and into fishbowl). I had been here a few times, mostly to shop (which just isn't what I remembered it) I am first generation Italian (both parents born down south), I never quite picked up the language at home; mostly bc I just wanted to be American bc we were so NOT American. One of my rebellions was to never speak the language. The outcome of that was a working use of the present tense and an ability to understand about 70% of what I heard. So, this made it easy for me to appear ignorant to all the witchy things the girls would say about me when I first arrived here. That was fun, I still play down my comprehension just to invite people to conduct otherwise private conversations ;)

OH...TV: (this is my moment for a personal confession) I watch too much tv and indulge in American celebrity gossip more then I am proud of. (www.perezhilton.com) It's my escapism and I cannot shake it. I spend way too much money on Itunes and live for my sky....which always has nothing but the simpsons and gilmore girls BUT always comes through with that travel discovery channel. (When oh when will I have that serious cash to build that dream house...)

Wow, I didn't realize I had so much to talk about...