Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Light the blue touchpaper and retire, with grace

I am not the most observant of persons when I am busy. Quite often I am very busy when my children are at school, and quite often when they come home too, come to think of it. Nevertheless I notice a new development. I would be difficult not to notice. As I busy about, playing catch up, Nonna offers her assistance. Her assistance takes the form of presenting me with a wide variety of items that she has selected from the great choice available on the carpet and on various pieces of furniture.
“Wot shall we do wiv dis den?” she asks waving a palmful of sawdust, tracked in from the pen by Thatcher the dog.
“Er……..” I pause mid potato peel as I have yet to vacuum, “just pop it in the bin…..over there.”

I wait until the coast is clear to mop the filthy kitchen floor when Nonna peers cautiously around the door jam. “Wot shall we do wiv dis den?” I blink through blotchy bifocals, "um......is that your hanky or someone else's?" I lie and prompt. "Ooo.....is dat mine?"
"I think it is. Pass it over, I'll put it in the bucket so you don't break your neck."
"Break my wot?"
"Er.....slippy floor," I bellow. Her hands fluffy as she beetles off to safety.

As I bend over the toilet with the recently found plunger, she appears again. “Wot we do wiv dis den?” I pause mid dunk in the very crampt bathroom, brush my hair back from my face, “er……well he’s chewed it now……you might as well give it back to him so he doesn’t chew something else.”
“Oh alright…….do you know?”
“Know what?”
“You ave toilet paper and poo on your face?”

I dash down from the shower and a redress to bung on the next load of laundry when I skid into Nonna. “Wot we do wiv dis den?” I examine the Christmas tree bauble hook in her hand, “er……….?” I take it and pop it in my pocket as all the decorations have already been stored, in the attic.

I dash back into the house after clearing up doggy vomit where Nonna waits patiently, “Wot we do wiv dis den?” Her hand flaps with a single grey, solid sock, “see……..it is ard!”
“Bucket! Over there…….in the utility room.”

I rush out with the recycling before the lorry comes for the collection and then hurtle back inside where Nonna is poised with a pin prick of something or other, “Wot we do wiv dis den?”
“Wot? You can’t recycle it?”
“Er yes……give it here.”
“Urry…….dah lorry will be ere soon.”

I hover an the back door trying to decide whether to kill myself now or wait? Nonna opens the door, “wot you do dere den?”
“Er……breathing…….thinking…..maybe I’ll do some gardening?”
“Iz too cold, come in wiv your skinny bones.”
I submit and we do the soft shoe shuffle back inside, a clumsy two step.
“Well Maddy……I tink I rest now, ……I am a bit tired from all my work…….but as dey say…….wot is it……I ave to do my bit……..earn my keep!” she emphasizes with just the merest glint of sarcasm.

Bless her cotton socks, just shoot me now, wicked woman that I am.

The Good Neighbour

Every day it’s the same. Every day Nonna goes for a stroll to the local shops. Everyday she returns home exasperated as the location of the shops eludes her. Three laminated copied maps of the immediate locale are of no assistance, as the maps insist upon hiding themselves. For me, this was the solution, for her independence. For her, this was ‘dependent,’ writ large. It was a foolish and tactless error on my part, especially as I have no back up plan.

We whiz and plod through the daily routines. Whilst I hack onions I avert my eyes from Nonna’s little ritual, run the hot water to boiling point, half rinse the single breakfast bowl, wipe half clean and half dry with a hand towel, return mucky bowl to the wrong cupboard, replace wet dirty hand towel to further contaminate everyone else, nearly turn off the steaming faucet, completely ignore the dishwasher. I accept that it is pointless to attempt to change this habit. A habit of 80 plus years is ingrained. Far better to bite the bullet and focus on the far more important, back up plan.

My personal quality of life has improved greatly over time, as I have gradually learned to interpret and memorize the many hand signals, gestures and single word prompts that Nonna uses prior to word production. This in turn makes word production redundant which saves us both a great deal of time and frustration. We are now able to navigate the average day with a whisk of the hand here and nod of the head there, harmony enhanced. In fact, depending upon the time of day, I can almost guess the right conclusion as Nonna is a creature of habit, just like so many other people, who "thrive on routine."

Every time I catch myself cursing the absence of her “hearing aid” I remember that it doesn’t really qualify as aid in the true sense of the word. It is merely poor tool, that helps addresses some elements of "hearing impairment" but does not restore hearing loss.

When she sets off again, at one in the afternoon, without having eaten any lunch, I am powerless to prevent her. I debate. Should I phone her son? I never phone my husband at work, as he is only able to divert one brain cell to a conversation. I admit defeat, temporarily, and hope that we will merely repeat the previous days’ failures.

I spend the twenty minutes after two at the window, hoping I can catch a glimpse of her. Two twenty is time for the school run. I have twenty minutes to locate my husband’s mother. Each minute increases my sense of panic. As usual I am "torn."

There’s nothing for it, I gallop off to school and scan the locale for signs of Nonna.


We gallop home from school. We try to play ‘spot the Nonna’ en route but the resulting panic was entirely predictable.

At three o’clock I shut the garage door as the children tumble in the house. I check her room. I check for signs that she has returned, her bag, her coat?


I return to the window.


I dither. Who to phone? Personal search with children in car? I debate how to get the children back into the hated car? Since they are now undressed, unshod, un-snacked and pending homework this venture seems far too tumultuous for my tiny brain to fathom. A bolt of lighting hits me as I remember the new DVD, bribery in plastic wrap will save the day. I run around the house chasing my children with the DVD in my hand as there’s nothing like a real visual cue to prompt action.

“Yes dear?”
“There’s someone at the door.” I am not surprised that I didn’t hear the bell as the fire alarm clashes out at random moments to paralyze my brain and incite mass panic in small people. I dash to the door.

There she is! Nonna alive and well! I grab her for a quick bear hug, the kind you give to naughty children instead of slapping them up the head and back. I blink at the stranger by her side. Introductions are made. Nonna’s hand gestures are in full flourish with very little word back up. The stranger comes inside to explain what Nonna can not.

I am inclined to believe the neighbour’s description of ‘obviously flustered and confused.’ I am inclined to believe that Nonna would indeed be flustered and confused, if invited by a stranger into their home. Many thank you’s and breathless praise are foisted upon the stranger as she wends her way back to her own home.

Nonna exhales has she leans her back against the closed front door, “gawd! Wot is dah matter wiv dat woman?”
“I only asked er which way. She din ave to drag me into er ome!”
“Some people!” she beams, mystified by such hospitality.

For myself, I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

January Jaunty Jest

Have you read something during this month of January that made you laugh out loud? Was it something that might make other people have the same reaction? If so you may wish to leave a link to that post in the comments section here, or e-mail me or write a little note to "Jessica" over at "Oh the Joys" and her jolly good pal "Tania" at "Chicky Chicky Baby" for their "ROLF" award for January.

Maybe I could invite you to play along too?

As they say:-

'If you are willing, we'd love help spreading the word. Feel free to share the deadlines with your followers and friends on Twitter and / or Facebook .

Thanks so much!

Jessica & Tania'

I'd attempt the Twitter / Facebook option but sadly, technically challenged persons, such as myself are incapable of such feats.

What I'd really like to know is whether I can submit four suggestions or recommendations? I maintain four blogs, I read lots of other blogs. Some are quite hilarious, others draw me for different reasons. Surely I could provide four nominations, although I suspect that would constitute cheating?

Cheers dears

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Neither Agenda nor a bovverer be

Nonna is off colour, giddy and out of sorts.

Her son phones at frequent intervals for updates and progress reports throughout the day, in brief, as he has a busy schedule. My schedule is scrapped. No time to catch up after a long three day weekend in sole "custody" of "everybody."

I am keen that Nonna should revert to vertical as soon as possible and take great care to ensure that my wishes succeed, primarily because my worry timetable is already fully booked. My knowledge of diabetes and age related complications is sketchy. My knowledge of England in January is legendary.

When he walks through the door at the end of the day, I am all over him, like a rash. We huddle in the corner to scheme and plot and foil poor Nonna’s plan to return home. Independence is all well and good, but safety is a priority and trumps freedom every time. On completion of the debate, I then launch into my own agenda, tact, persuasion, consideration and most of all, kindness and patience. It’s a tricky one. Nonna is his mother not mine. They have their own relationship with a long and well worn history. It’s not easy to turn the tables from Mother and son, to adult man and intermittent frailty.

We wait until dinner time, when we are all at the table together. I prod him into speech. Thereafter follows a lengthy diatribe outlining the copious logical reasons why it is best that Nonna remains in permanent residency. At the end of his speech he pauses, slightly breathless with a smear of food at the corner of his lips.
“Well wot?”
“Do you agree?”
“Agree wiv wot?”
“Agree that it’s better for you to stay here………with us?”
“Why I stay ere?”
Much eye rolling and sighing ensues. A brief recap of the pertinent points are bellowed at poor benighted, overwhelmed and outnumbered Nonna, but she rallies.
“Look ere! If I woz at ome…….in bed all day……den der would be no laundry, no washing up and no mess……..I would be just fine……I am just fine on my own…….no bovver to anybody.” She beams, lifts a quaky arm, extends a shaky finger and dabs his mouth, “butter! You mucky pup!”

Sunday, January 18, 2009

An American doll

I heave 41 lbs of inert puppy into my arms, baby style.
“Wot you got dere den?”
“The puppy……..Thatcher.”
“Wot you do?”
“I’m taking him out to the pen for a piddle.”
“Potty time!”
“Why you are carry im?”
“Because he won’t go on his own.”
“Of course he won’t go on iz own………ee is asleep!”
“I already know that!” I hover by the locked door with my load, as Nonna bars my exit.
I nod towards the door handle, slightly breathless as I’m out of practice at carrying half a Shetland pony.
“Wot you want den?”
“I wondered if you might be able to open the door for me, please?”
“No………..put im down.”
“Coz I’m going to elp you.” I plop a liquefied puppy carcass back onto the floor.
“What do you suggest?”
“We will wake im up first.”
“I’ve already tried that, he’s dead to the world.”
“Well we’ll ave to work someting out den coz soon ee will be too eavy to carry.”
“I don’t know what to do with him, even after having read the book.”
“I read dat "book" too you know. Dere waz nothin in it about carrying.”
“Hmm maybe we should check the index.”
“Wot you suggest we look it up under………..?”
“Haven’t the foggiest.”
“So Maddy………..?”
“Does ee do it yet?”
“Do what yet?”
“You know…….shake ands…….shake paws den?”
“No, the children are still working on that one.”
“You know…….I don’t tink dey should teach im dat?”
“Really? Why?”
She does her side step swing shuffle dance of the squirmingly uncomfortable, that exactly mimics her inner mental turmoil, otherwise know as cognitive dissonance.
“Because it’s so……such an……English gesture. Don’t you tink?”

Two minds as one.


"Trish" over an "Another Piece of the Puzzle" and at "Autism Interrupted" and updates her "Twitter" more frequently than I can manage and at "5 Minutes for Special Needs Mums".......... and who knows wherever else she manages to put her mark[!] what a busy body she must be[!] has given this blog it's first ever blog award! Thank you so much for including us. I feel the need to share this event with Nonna, without whose co-operation.......or non-co-operation, this blog would not have been possible!

The rules are as follows:-
'Copy, save and add the blog photo to your blog, share the love with 7 of your favorite blogs and be sure to mention who gave it to you (ahem…that would be me…)'

Firstly to "Sandra" at "Add Humor and Faith" who always lifts my spirits even though her humour lacks a 'u.' I think I shall probably be de-listed if I mention that I'd kill for a favion like hers.

Then to "Aspie Mom" at "Aspie Days" yet another body that needs a tutorial on the art of the use of 'u's........

Also for "Chris H" at "Diet Coke Rocks" as her irreverant brand of humour is right up my street, even if I prefer a lightly chilled Chablis. Cheers

Then to the thoroughly gorgeous and highly prolific "Angela" at "Memoirs of a Chaotic Mommy,"
who spends an inordinate amount of time whizzing around the blogosphere providing "Inspiration", "assistance" and "support" in oh so many different flavours. Another one that can't manage a simple 'u.'

Also for the tantalizing "Tanya" at "Teen Autism," if only she'd adopt that tagline who knows how many followers she might lure[?] or maybe not? Anyone who can mother teens and still have the face of an angel is someone I refuse to share my cream with......there again, Vaseline isn't everyone's first choice in the beauty department.

Then to "Anne" at "Anne's House" as she has almost as many peeves as me but is a more willing sharer, whereas I just keep grumbling.

Also for "Jewel Girl" at "Sandwiched Mom." What can I say? I know that there must be millions of people out there who are similarly situated but so far we are very few and far between.

Then to "Osh" at "The House that Osh Built," paving the way a few miles ahead on the bell curve, blazing a trail and leading the way.

Also to "Tut tut" who blogs at "Inside the Shell" . Whilst as she says herself, her postings are 'occasional' they are certainly worth waiting for.

And lastly to "Joker" at "The musings of a lurcher," who has experienced ever such a troublesome year and so hopefully will enjoy a far better one this year. You never know, "Thatcher" and "Joker" may become pen pals!

Cheers dears

p.s. I would have loved to have included all the 'anonymouses' but sadly you have not made yourselves know to me.

Best wishes

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The wrath of Nonna

To be fair, I would have to say that for an Italian she is a remarkably even tempered woman, but every once in a while something sparks her ire.


It's late in the afternoon when I toss frozen peas into boiling water with my back turned away from the turmoil. Supper is a fiasco since the play dates have over run. As I scurry around the kitchen with Nonna’s assistance, I hear the familiar puffing sounds prior to word production. I catch sight of her out of the corner of my eye, wooden spoon flailing the air in time with her left arm, circling and flapping. I squeak as she taps me on the bottom, more from surprise than any pain, “look at dat!” she growls.
“What?” I follow the spoon’s quaking line. Outside in the garden I see my cat cornered under a lounge chair, backed against a wall. He hisses and spits in response to repeated pokes with the end of a broken fork, I drop the spatula and make for the door but Nonna’s ahead of me, yelling and marching full steam ahead, “wot you tink you do! Hey! Stop dat right dis minute.” I watch from the door way as Nonna charges towards the child still clutching the wooden spoon, valiant defender of all creatures, both great and small. It’s difficult to describe his facial expression, blanched in the shadow of Nonna, in the early evening of twilight.

Now that’s one child that won’t be invited for a return visit.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cluck, cluck, cluck, playing chicken

We suffer yet another mishap with our Safeway delivery. Safeway tell me in turn, that it isn’t really a hic-cup, merely a cock up, because I have a Mac rather than a PC, although their comment is far more PC than my translation. It has taken me many days to complete the order, always dashing away from the computer to tend to some domestic crisis or other. The lap top has remained permanently open and subject to all kinds of mischief from several different contributors. Nonna’s Mac lesson has meant that use of my laptop has become a free for all. Until recently no-one dared to touch it, but the visual cue of Nonna's usage was noted by one and all. Once seen, the witnesses never forget, because they are quick learners.

I learn that it is unwise to combine on-line shopping, teaching a family game of Scrabble and menu planning.

As a result, my daughter is delighted by the windfall of white flatulent bread, the type that never graces our wholesome home, where whole-meal is de rigeur and enforced with rigour. I also cannot account for the duck sitting in the fridge, since I ordered chicken. I can’t even remember when I last ate duck or how to cook it come to think of it? I can only assume that I hit the wrong button in haste. We now also have enough salted peanuts to see us through to 2010.

Suddenly everyone is hell bent upon sandwich making, self initiated by the visual cue of fluffy white dough. Lashings of peanut butter and jam, slather the kitchen and the children when Nonna appears in the kitchen. “Ooo are we going to feed the ducks?”
“Dah white bread….isn’t it for dah ducks?”
“Not really……it’s for the children……a snack.”
“Wot appened to dah ducks den?”
“What ducks?”
“Dah ducks? Dah ducks you used to ave?”
“We’ve never kept ducks……or any other fowl for that matter.”
“No……not real ducks………doz other tings?”
“Which other things?”
“Oh……you know…….ducks…….yellow…..”
“Plastic ducks? Bath ducks?”
“Yes! Ooo you used to have hundreds of ducks. Where are they now?”
“You know……..now that they’ve all learned to swim, we don’t need the ducks to entice them into the pool any more…….I gave them to charity.”
“Ooo dats sad…….so are you going to cook it den?”
“Cook what?”
“Dah duck.”
“How did you know about the duck?”
“Well…….I order it for you…….on dah computer.......make a nice change from chicken don’t you tink?”

Note to self:- save time, cancel the Mac lessons, she’s graduated.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What a wit!

I sign the PC&E forms and chat to the chap collecting the dead fridge.
“Your rebate in maybe......…four to six weeks.”
“Super. Thank you so much.”
“Ave a nice day,” he beams to reveal his lack of dental insurance.
“Have a better one!” I hope, as I wave. I dash back into the house with soggy fluff muffs where I greet my bedraggled, dozy, unemployed daughter in the kitchen.
“Have you fed "Thatcher" yet Mum?”
“Fed, watered, walked, pooped, pooped again, poop cleaned up.”
“In addition I’ve got them all off to school on time, washed the floor, completed three loads of laundry, changed one wet bed, made supper and pudding for seven, run through Nonna’s check list of the day, updated the school’s ‘I love to read’ programme for three classes, phoned mum and I’ve just signed off the fridge, at last.”
“Blimey……..and it’s only just gone ten.”
“Still that’s one less thing.”
“What’s one less thing?”
“The fridge.”
“One less thing on Nonna’s check list for you to run through every day.”
“Good point.”
Nonna times her arrival to perfection, “look at dat,” she says waggling her arm towards the window.
“The fridge?”
“Yes, they collected it this morning, at last.”
“They collected the fridge today?”
“They did.”
“Ow many days az it bin den?”
“Only ten days.”
“Ow we manage wivout a fridge den?”
“We have a new one, one that works.”
“Where is what?”
“Dah new fridge.”
“There in the kitchen, next to the big cupboard.”
“Ooo, is dat new?”
“Ow new it is?”
“10 days old.”
“Ooo dats nice. Where is dah old fridge den?”
“They took it away, this morning.”
“Who took it away?”
“PG&E, the utility company.”
“Why dey take it away?”
“It was broken.”
“You pay dem?”
“No they pay us, $35.00 to recycle it.”
“Ooo dats good den. Was it old?”
“Ow old it was?”
“What it is?”
“Friday the 9th of January 2009.”
She pauses and rests an arm on the counter which is just as well because I’m feeling pretty dizzy myself.
“So Maddy……….?”
“Ow much?”
“How much for what?”
“Ow much you pay?”
“For the fridge?”
“No…….......….ow much you pay to ave me recycled?”

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Regrette beaucoup – a stitch in time

My childless day is interrupted by the presence of Nonna and Thatcher, the dog. I find it difficult to be productive with their added responsibility, ever present. The sewing machine seems like a bad idea, as Thatcher is at the chewing stage of puppy-hood and Nonna is at the helping stage of any project that is allowed to see the light of day. Whilst I’m tempted to hide from them both and steal half an hour in the garage to use the pottery wheel, I know that the step may prove hazardous to my followers and that the interior of the garage has yet to be puppy-proofed.

Instead I opt for mass food production in the kitchen where well wishers and scavengers are expected, although which is which, is debatable. Nonna and Thatcher graze and nibble collectively. Food scraps and dogs could be a slippery slope, but for the time being they are both content. I suspect that there is some un-written rule that permits grandparents to take liberties with household pets as well as their grandchildren. We trot through her traditional enquiries:-
“Where he is?”
“Where dey are?”
“Where are dah cats?”
“Wot day it is?”
“The 6th Tuesday, January and now we’re in 2009.”
“We ave had New Year den?”
“Did we ave fun?”
“Lots of fun. You had a little nap but we were all awake for the first time ever, all together.”
“Oh……dat’s alright den.”
We reach a natural pause, it’s the pause we have before we cycle through them all again. I grit my teeth in anticipation and attack the potatoes. The evidence of her restless night lies in the overflowing coffee dregs.
“You know………..I tink I go for a walk.”
“Really? Which way do you want to go?”
“Just up dah road………to dah shops and back.”
“Great idea.” I know that my agreement is far too enthusiastic but I also know that it will take about half an hour before she’s ready to go. There is an even chance that by the time she is ready to go that she’ll have forgotten that she planned to go anywhere. Either way this provides enough time to finish off preparing dinner and be ready as a companion, as well as walk Thatcher.

When she appears in the kitchen with one glove, I kick off my slippers, dash to retrieve the rest of her belongings and bellow over my shoulder, “hang on a minute, I’ll come with you.” I return with all her mislaid items to hand to her, including the little address card with all our pertinent details. As she takes her things she flutters, “no………I go on my own………you get on with your sewings and tings.”

I am immediately riddled with guilt, that she has read my mind, rebuffed. I try to think of what to say, something that isn’t condescending, something reassuring and genuine. “It’s o.k. I was going to walk Thatcher anyway, we can go together.”
“No, no, no…..I go on my own. Bye bye den.” She turns on her heel to leave, pauses and then heads off in the other direction to take the front door route. I rub my palms on my trousers. She’s an adult. At home she walks for miles on the beach, alone. How tiresome to have no independence. As the door clicks shut I glare at the sewing machine, my secret undoing. My mind is too muddled to sew, so instead I tidy Nonna’s room, which bears a strong resemblance to that of a teenager.

Only a few minutes later I hear the door click and dash to see what is amiss. Nonna rests on the door jam clutching her gloves. “Are you o.k.?”
“Yes……..I am too tired to walk today.”
“I am going to sit down.” She steps unsteadily towards the table and plops into a chair to pat the sewing machine lightly, repeatedly, rhythmically. “I’ll get you a coffee.” I watch her out of the corner of my eye, from the kitchen, count the breaths of asthma. I put a small biscuit on the saucer of the diabetic. Her hand moves to the plush toy on the table, “wot’s dis ting den?”
“Webkinz,” I bellow.
I return to the table to join her. An espresso cup for her, a vat for me. I loathe that downcast look of defeat.
“I think I’ll get on with this sewing pattern……..I don’t suppose you’re up to tackling the Webkinz for me?”
“I hate hand sewing.”
“The Webkinz……he’s sprung a leak. The seams bust on his tummy and I hate mending.” I push the bowl of threads towards her. She chuckles as her fingers run over the spools, “you’re not fooling me Maddy.”
“It was a very small Biscotti, probably worth six or seven stitches.”

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A walk in the park

Young "puppies"
need supervision, training and lots of luvvies. With all the children at school, I decide to make a start, one on one.

It’s a dampish day but nothing by comparison to England.

At the door of the garage I pause. Maybe it would be good to give Nonna a breath of fresh air at the same time? Should I really rouse her from her morning nap? I pout as I already know that this will mean a considerable delay. I unhook the lead to let Thatcher free in the house and go to Nonna’s room. She agrees with alacrity.

Although she is already dressed, we both know that she prefers to change her clothing to meet the public. I remind her about the cold, to dress up warmly, lots of layers and gloves and hat and scarf. She shoes me away, pesky annoyance that I am.

I sip coffee, menu plan and make a wide variety of phone calls to leave messages. By the time she reappears I am already half way through my to do list.
“Do you want to go and get your gloves?” I bellow, nodding at her bare hands. She returns some while later, still without gloves.
“Shall I go……..” I give up, walk past her to retrieve gloves, hat, scarf, glasses, bag, sunglasses, emergency pill pot and a hanky, thus saving considerable amounts of time, confusion and irritation for us both.

Once we are all in the car, two of us are strapped in. I remind Nonna about the current legal status and safety issues, a variation on my son’s theme, every trip, every time. I have great experience in the field of unwieldy seat belts, unco-operative catches and motor co-ordination, both fine and gross. I lean across her in the passenger seat as her hands flutter ineffectually, “there! All set now?” I check, just in case there are any other last minute matters.
“Ready!” she beams back.

I check the whimpering back seat of the travel sick hound. Small and frequent town trips will hopefully help him acclimatize, given time, exposure and gradual de-sensitization. Nonna chats during the journey. She covers her familiar topics thoroughly several times. I focus on driving but keep tuned in to the vomit machine in the rear. Are the seats really covered completely? Will he manage to dislodge all the old towels? He’s already managed 7 minutes with his breakfast intact.

On arrival I park at the curb and ease my passengers onto the sidewalk, one reluctant, one unsteady. Nonna has abandoned the use of a cane, as a cane is only for elderly and infirm persons. The snazzy stick-come-crutch, left over from a skiing accident, fails to tempt her. She’s not fooled for a moment, wise to all manipulations and manouvres.

We progress up the incline of the bridge. Thatcher, a country born dog, is also learning about fearful things, skateboards, cyclists, traffic and strangers. With a firm grasp on the lead we tread forward and upward, I hope. Nonna begins to huff and puff, not because she is tired but as a pre-cusor to word production in the wrong language. If you think and speak and are Italian, then sometimes automatic translations into English need lubrication to switchover.

“So……wot you tink den?”
“About what?”
“Dez tings,” her hand gestures and body posture lead me to look down, at her feet. Her feet are sockless in a pair of backless clogs.
“Where are your socks?” I ask rhetorically.
“I din’t know we were going for a walk,” she states. My exasperation is outweighed by the need to protect diabetic digits from the cold. “Come along!” I link arms with her as we swing back towards the car, dragging Thatcher in our wake. There is no point in pursuing the matter. Better to quit whilst we’re ahead. Nonna beams amiably, “so den Maddy?” I am beyond grumpy.
“Wot you say to dat den?”
“Say to what?”
“Your nice life ere?”
“Yes………I’m very lucky.” We have already had this conversation many times, how fortunate I am to be graced by children and an exceptional husband, not necessarily in that order.
“I tort young people knew about such tings.”
“What young people?”
“What things?”
“Birth control.”
“Now you ave such beautiful children instead of your freedom.”
“That’s not my fault it’s his………your son’s fault!”
“I tink you were a co-conspirator.”
“Me? Never. I was asleep at the time.”
We chortle together as we stride down the hill.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Knit wit

I sit on the sofa knitting for the few moments prior to the arrival of the boys, first thing in the morning, whilst the kettle begins to boil.

Knit one, worry two.

The BBC News tells me of the woes of the world. It’s the changes, however small that I need to note. Until recently Nonna was up for breakfast every day amid the mayhem, another body in the way of progress. Her days ended around nine, just like most good Americans. More recently she has failed to surface until 9 in the morning, sometimes as late as ten. As soon as light falls just after 5 in the evening, there are mutterings about bed time. I know she reads. I know she needs some quiet time away from the chaos. I suspect she sleeps fitfully. In the mornings my suspicions are either confirmed or dismissed.

We have two scenarios:-

“Good morning. How did you sleep?”
“Me? I always sleep well thank you.”

“Good morning. How did you sleep?”
“Me? I never sleep, it’s my age.”

Like I say, it’s the change that is worrisome, but when a slightly dazed Nonna appears at the door jam, I am not particularly surprised.
“Wot you do?”
“I’m knitting and watching the news,” I bellow.
“Wot you do ere in dah middle of dah night?”
“I’m waiting for the boys, they’ll be here any minute.”
“Wot time it is?”
“Late…….5:35…….in the morning.”
“Wot day it is?”
“Gawd……..” Nonna watches the subtitles roll for her benefit on the screen.
“Wot it is?”
“The Gaza Strip.”
“Ooo dear me, dah troubles of dah world. Good night den……..I’ll see you in dah proper morning.”

It would appear that someone has more than acclimatized to the status quo.