domenica 16 maggio 2010

Cortona's Got Talent!

Congratulations to our friend Francesca Pallini! It's always a pleasure when someone's dream comes true and eight year old Francesca has taken a big step forward toward her dream to be an entertainer. This winter Francesca participated in a talent competition organized by our local television station Teletruria called "Talenti alla Ribalta". She had participated the year before, had fun, but failed to win. This year Francesca triumphantly swept away all the awards.

There's always been something special about Francesca since she was a tiny little baby who would sing along with her mother as she strolled along in her pram. The choices of songs for the competition are hers and they surprise the judges and public because many are popular Italian songs which harken back to the 40's or 50's. One of her favorite artists is Renato Carosone who made "Tu Vuo' far l'Americano" popular in the fifties. I am going to post here a link to videos from the transmission of Francesca performing "Io, Mammeta e Tu" which is a comical story/song about a man obliged to bring his girlfriend's mother along on their dates as a chaperone. This song was sung both by Domenico Modugno of "Volare" fame and Renato Carosone.
The second link is Francesca's interpretation of Renato Carosone's "Torero" in costume!

Brava Francesca!! May all your dreams come true!
Click on or copy the links below to your browser, one at a time, to see Francesca's performances. "Io, Mammeta e Tu" and "Torero"

sabato 8 maggio 2010

Viva la Mamma!

Many of you already know about the biggest news in Casa Chilenne for 2009. It was the arrival of 4 pups on October 22. Carlotta bravely brought 2 boy and 2 girl puppies into the world. More bravely she diligently cared for them and raised them to become healthy and hearty pups who have gone out into the world with new loving families. The exception being the runt of the litter, Daisy, who has firmly instated herself in Casa Chilenne as the Queen of Everything. Carlotta is loving, patient and kind as any model mom would be, she doesn't break the bubble of illusion that Daisy has surrounded herself with.

Daisy proclaiming herself the queen of everything to her baby sister Gioia.

The first puppy to make his way into the world was a little boy. He arrived feet first and just couldn't seem to make his way out. Jeanette watched as he struggled to free his head and his little feet wriggled, then slowed as he fought his way out to face the world. Miraculously his head finally appeared, he needed some massage to get him breathing properly and get a healthier pink color to his tiny body with relief we heard a bleating cry, all was well, he had blazed the way for his siblings and during the time we had him we called him Scout.

Thinking the worst had passed it was evident that we would need to hold our breath again as another even tinier pair of hind paws appeared. The tiniest pup had started her way into the world, again, this one was determined to hit the ground running. Little Daisy was born at 4 pm, 40 minutes after her brother and weighing in at a miniscule 126 grams !

She was followed by an enormous head that belonged to a whopping 156 gram puppy boy Jake who followed and another half hour later the last girl puppy, arrived head first. Before she had been fully delivered she latched on to start nursing and we knew then that the best name for her was Gioia for the joy of life she was already demonstrating.

To announce their arrival we proudly (and a bit ironically) displayed the blue/pink/blue/pink ribbons outside our door and were surprised by the steady stream of visitors who came to visit Carlotta's pups with flower homages!

For over two months we watched in wonder as Carlotta cared for her puppies and they grew and flourished.

Soon Jake was twice the weight of Daisy yet they were inseparable. Daisy would nestle for her naps a top her big baby brother and growl and yap him into shape when he disobeyed her orders. Our vet was amazed at how well Carlotta did at nourishing them and her puppies continued to grow and flourish.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were especially joyful as our little ones filled the house with good cheer.
When the holidays were over they went to good, loving homes and received new names as well. Jake is now Pato, Scout has become Lapo and Gioia has a new name Jolie.
Probably the hardest part was saying goodbye to our pups. They are all in loving homes where they bring joy to new families. We wanted the best for Carlotta's pups and worried that she would suffer when she was separated from her offspring. But again we learned something from the animal world, the greatest satisfaction for a mother is to see her children go off into the world and thrive, it is the affirmation that even without an instruction manual that she has done her job right! Happy Mother's Day to mom's all over the world who give their love, care and nourishment to their children so that they may become thriving adults. Son tutte belle le mamme del mondo.

martedì 20 aprile 2010

Chicken Little

It's important that the skies be safe to fly in before planes take off. We are experiencing a few postponements of visits due to flights being cancelled from England and Ireland, otherwise life here as been pretty much "as usual". No need to worry about lack of food or supplies, nor mass exodus on our commuter trains which bring people from Florence or Rome to Cortona. No air quality warnings, there is calm- and Spring though a bit fickle this year about making a definitive commitment to staying, has been gracing us with visits. Nothing which sells newspapers and fills television news space has been happening so far.

Life is almost excruciatingly ordinary as we await visitors who will come to enjoy Cortona. The skies were blue and the sun started to warm the stones of the piazza today and it took a bit of coaxing to get Daisy (Carlotta's six month old baby!) to continue moving along without throwing herself down in Piazza della Repubblica to soak up some early spring sun. The swallows snuck up on me again this year (drats!) ; I missed again the exact day of their arrival.

Our little corner of paradise is being transformed by Spring- we're ready to welcome you home.