Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

So it seems my prediction to be minimally committed to this blog has proved thus far to be at least somewhat accurate. I can only offer the following excuse: life has been fricken busy as hell! I realized though that what I've been busy with is worth talking about, so here goes nothing:

1) "The Love Handles" enter as competitors in the CT Fitness Challenge.

As part of an ongoing battle with my body trying to undo the damage architecture school did to it in just five short years, I've decided to participate in a Biggest Loser style competition for New Haven county residents and have lovingly dragged two of my dear friends, Jeremy and Chauna, into it with me. It is a 12 week challenge in which the team who loses the highest percentage of weight wins $3000! Honestly, its not the money that motivates me! Those of you who know me know that I gained a good amount of weight during thesis, and then lost most of it, and have now gained about half of it back. I strongly believe in living a healthy lifestyle and I made the decision after architecture school that everything I did from then on would be healthier, whether it be physically or mentally, so now I'm attempting to keep that promise I made to myself. Eating healthily is not too hard for me (unless I'm attending a family gathering and there's baked brie or something just as deadly), but on a day to day basis, I'd say I'm really good at making healthy food taste fantastic, and I'm starting to master my portion control (thank you, Leah). Committing myself to exercising daily IS difficult though! Mostly because I have a million other things going on and I tend to put it low on the list of priorities, but that has started to change. I actually really enjoy exercising, the hardest part is making the decision to start doing it!

So, why am I writing about this? Well, partially as a way to "journal" my accomplishments and challenges, but more so to hold myself accountable!!! If I let it be known that I'm doing this, I feel obligated to succeed! I can't possibly let all my 3 or 4 readers down by quitting. So I'll hold myself accountable by reporting to this blog to record my success.

2) Vintage, reclaimed and broken objects have inspired Erin and I to start a hand made jewelry and housewares business, tentatively named "Attractive Reuse."

If you aren't involved in the architecture world, you may not get the pun, which is why the name is tentative. We're looking for a name that is consistent with our theme of reclaiming items and manipulating them to become wearable and/or usable. Our boss feels strongly that we should be named "Really Good Shit." I'm not convinced... any ideas???? We welcome suggestions!

So this was spurred by our addiction to Etsy. At first I was having serious problems with wanting to buy everything I liked on Etsy, now I've transformed that problem into inspiration for ideas of things to make. Much holiday gift shopping was done on Etsy, and credit must be given to Galina for introducing me to the wonderful site, and Holly Hawk, who I don't actually know but Erin and I check her Etsy store daily to see if there is anything new; we're slightly obsessed. Also, my incredibly talented mother has made (and sold) lots of gorgeous jewelry, so she too has been an inspiration (and once I recruit her, she'll be our mentor!) Oh, and I highly recommend browsing through Etsy, there's a lot of fantastic stuff, plus you're supporting artists and buying really unique stuff!

3) Watching, reading and conversing as history unfolds in front of us and we transition to President Obama.

This topic is meant to have is own separate post, which I feel like I've been drafting forever. (There's just so much to say!!!) But I think I will still devote a separate post to this, since its been brewing for so long in my mind. I have to hash it out and whittle it down and all that other good stuff.

The rest of the things I've been busy with are NOT worth talking about, so I'll spare you, but a few of them are worth mentioning.

4) Finally devoting time to my artwork. (crucial for my sanity!)

5) Cleaning out my house and changing my pack-rat habits.

6) The Dog Park, and spending time with my family.

7) Stonewall Speakers: Attempting to be an activist, but more importantly educating people.

8) Working... A LOT!

Support, comments, suggestions, opinions, ideas, criticism, help and pretty much anything else that can be offered is more than welcome for any of the aforementioned things that have been keeping me busy, particularly in regards to the name of our business and any contributions to being successful in this fitness challenge!! I need all the help I can get!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Nonna Lucy, In Loving Memory

I had no idea what my first real blog would be about, so this one being my first is kind of bittersweet.

Lucia Laudini, my Nonna passed away
this morning. She was a whopping 96 and she passed away peacefully with her family around her. Her daughter, my Grandma Nancy, held her in her arms and my Nonna Lucy squeezed her hand so she'd know that she knew they were there just before she passed. She was an inspiration to us all, probably the strongest woman I've ever known, and she will NEVER be forgotten!

I only knew her for about a quarter of her life but she impacted my life more than she probably realized. Though she was unable to go with me, I was fortunate enough to visit her home town of Trecastagni, Sicily for the first time while I was studying abroad in 2004 and again this past February with my entire family, American and Italian. It was so incredible seeing what her life was like there, even though she left over 50 years ago. Before she got too old, she and my grandparents would go as often as possible to visit the family over there. She was so amazing at keeping in touch with all of them, and it really showed in how much they took care of us there!

Her husband, my Nonno Joe, passed away about 15 years ago and to be perfectly honest I'm surprised she made it this long without him! They were soooo in love. I remember them taking Joey and I down to the park to fly kites on breezy autumn afternoons. She wore only all black for years after he passed away. The one great thing about going to the funeral on Monday will be that she'll be buried in the same plot as him, finally reunited! I believe her son, my Uncle Fred who passed away about five years ago is buried there as well, so she'll be with her son too. My Grandma told me this morning that they're all probably having a party up there without us!

Here's a picture of my Nonna and Nonno's house in Sicily. The photo is taken as we were driving down the hill from the church, which is directly behind us.

Here's a photo of their church. The woman in the photo is my Zia Anna, my Nonna Lucy's sister in law. She still lives in Trecastagni and took such great care of us while we were visiting! She really loved my Nonna.
Nonna Lucy was the matriarch of the family and always the life of the party! She loved the beach. She made the best pizza in the history of the world and she never let anything slow her down. She knitted the most beautiful, warm and cozy blankets. And she LOVED turtles! She had two little pet turtles that lived in her garden when I was a kid. Supposedly she smuggled them back from Italy in her bra! I really mean it, she loved turtles! She love all animals actually. She used to sneak Chase and Sydney pasta under the table and then mouth "shhh" to them with her finger to her lips.

I'm fortunate enough to have a very young family and have known four of my great grandparents. Here's a photo of four generations of women in my family: me, my Mom, my Grandma and my Nonna. It was taken about 6 years ago, doesn't she look fantastic for 90?!

She was always up for playing with her grand kids and great grand kids.
She had the best sense of humor, even when Luca strapped random things to her head! And every single birthday she was blown away by how old she actually was. It was kind of like she stopped believing the numbers. If you asked her how old she was she responded "49!" I think that was really her secret to staying so young until the age of 96. Here she is looking gorgeous on her 96th birthday, just recently on December 13, 2008.

She lived such a full life and has been such an inspiration, I can only hope to be half as amazing as she was. Nonna Lucy, you will live in our hearts forever.