Love You, Not Your Decorations

I was talking to my sister-in-law, Patty, who is on crutches this holiday. Nothing makes a woman crazier than not being able to whirl around in a frenzy of Christmas preparation insanity,  so she was already apologizing for her house probably not being up to snuff.

I told her not to worry, I’m not coming to visit the decorations or the house. I’m coming to see my family.

As my mother so eloquently put it: “Wenna you’re dead a da house will steel a be dorty. Da hell witta da housework!”

Dear God, the woman was brilliant. Continue reading

Christmas Miracles

You can either live life, or write about it. This year for Christmas, I lived it. The great thing about living is you notice things like little Christmas miracles you might have overlooked. (The bad thing is your blog is late.) Continue reading

My First Christmas Eve Away – How I Survived

I just read an article in the LA Times about an Austrian chef who re-creates Christmas dinners like those in his homeland because he has such great memories. I loved that, instead of sinking into a depression over what he’s missing, he’s re-creating it with braised duck and roasted chestnuts.

My nephew, Marc being blindfolded for the taste-test. We take our blind tasting very seriously.

My nephew, Marc being blindfolded for the pasta sauce taste-test. My brothers often do a blind tasting to poll whose sauce is best – not that we’re competitive or anything.

I remember forcing myself to do that the first year I spent Christmas Eve away from my large, lunatic Italian family.
I didn’t think I’d make it, but it was my second year of being married and I knew it wasn’t fair for us to always go to my family and not his, so we started alternating; one year we flew back, the next, we stayed. Continue reading

Win Something From My New Online Store!

I love you guys — for reading these posts, responding and telling me how much you enjoy my stories and recipes. You’re all awesome and, if I had the time and the money, I’d bake biscotti for every one of you.  I can’t do that, but I can give you a gift from GettaSommaDis, my new online store!  Go check it out right now!

Here’s a link:*

This will require a teeny bit of help from you, but not much.

I’m holding a Grand Opening Contest!  (It’s shameless, but if Kroger and Chik Fil A can do it, so can I.) This couldn’t be easier.  Here are the rules:

1. You go to my website and click on the link to my new store called, GettaSommaDis, and take a look around. Love everything and be really excited about it. 

2. Then tell ONE friend about it, ask them to look at the store and become a follower of my blog.

3. Email me the name and email of the person you referred, (who is now following me) and in that email tell me what you’d like to win from my store. (If you’ve been reading but haven’t been a follower, then follow me, send me your info and you could win too.) Please include your contact information including address and phone number so I can have it shipped to the correct place. Please include details and  size of the item so I am sure which one, especially if it’s a clothing item.

4. The person you referred must sign up to be a follower by midnight , Thursday November 13th, 2014 and I must receive your email by midnight, Thursday,November 13th, 2014.  (Don’t just respond on my site, please email me. My email is:  This is the only email account I’ll be checking for this contest.

(Obviously, you can refer dozens of people if you want, but you only need to refer one to be in the contest. If you refer five or six, then email me the info on each person. I’ll enter your name for every person you refer, who becomes a follower) And will love you even more.

4. I’ll enter all participants names in a drawing the morning of  November 14th and I’ll post the winner Sunday, November 16th by 6 p.m. Pacific time.

Yes, it’s a shameless marketing ploy, but you could win one cool free item from my new online store and there are items in there worth close to 50 dollars. (I think.)

Who else would sell sweatshirts, baby clothes, t-shirts, keychains, towels, cups, aprons, (and much more) that say things like: My Sauce is Better Than Yours, Suffering Mediterranean Woman, Finely Honed Revenge Gene or Mix Truthfully?   There are even Italian curse word wine charms.

You have to see this stuff.  It’s perfect for a unique holiday gift! Plus, if you see a design on a shirt that you’d want on a cup or a hat, you can design your own! I will be adding more stuff as time goes on.

4. Again, my email is:

And if you just want to write and say hello, I’d love to hear from you.  I always try to respond to everyone who writes. (Since we’re revamping a lot here, bear with me if there is a glitch.)

Also.  let me know if there’s something you’d like to see in the store that I don’t have. Your wish is my command. I’ll be adding more items as time goes by and will let you know what’s new.  Happy browsing, happy holiday shopping, and Good Luck!



Nurse Doll Hell…A Christmas Story

Fran as Nurse Doll with awkwardly twisted leg.

Fran as Nurse Doll with awkwardly twisted leg.

My most vivid memory of my mom takes me back to Saint Joseph’s Elementary School and the cultural event of the year, the Christmas play.

In first grade, Jan Rigatoni (not her real name) got to portray a “cute toy doll” sitting in Santa’s lap. She wore a beautiful light blue dress with a big bow in the back and a very fluffy petticoat AND she had a speaking part.  She got to say, “Mama.” This may have been the beginning of my suspicion that cute girls with blue eyes, straight hair and pretty clothes got more attention than those of us with frizzy brown hair, brown eyes and three dresses for the school year. Continue reading