Woman of the Year.

Welcome back readers!! Happy Wednesday, Happy 2019, and Happy Everything!! I’m proud to say the first draft of the “Who Stole My Cannoli” book is almost finished, which means I can devote more time to the blog! I’ve been away from this space for a while and I could share a sad story of how I’m making a New Year’s resolution to focus on this blog but I won’t. In fact, simply put, I’m getting off my fat ass to do what I love and see where it takes me. As many of you know, my life is filled with crazy stories that have shaped me into the food loving, pleasantly plump, family man I am today. So if you will, take a minute to dive back into the “Who Stole My Cannoli” blog and give yourself a break from the world you live in.

During a recent daydreaming session, I was reaching back in the folds of my brain and reflecting back to a time when my biggest worry was how much sweat I was producing in the Florida sun. You know, like every other kid. No? Just me? Anyway, the first thought that came into my head was of my Nana, who happens to be one of the most important people in my life, especially during my childhood. Below is a picture of her on her wedding day, which is one of my favorite photos of her. Here is a woman who was a pioneer of her time, demanding that she wasn’t someones property and would live her life and raise her children the way she wanted. Coming from, and marrying into, a traditional Italian home, her way of thinking caused some waves but to be honest… it was her thing.  And still is! Nonetheless, to better give you an idea of what a typical day with Nana was, we must start with a rotisserie chicken.

Why this story came to mind tends to be a little hazy, maybe it was the cream puff I had just ate or the soft ticking of time that made me wonder back in the past. Honestly, whatever the reason, my brain was racing to get this down and share this gem of a story. 

Food is at the epicenter of our family and what would any day be without it. However, true to form, my family takes it one step further. To set the stage, picture a slew of Italians in the local grocery store taking up the aisles, speaking in tongues, and practically hand-assaulting passerby’s as we talk to each other in the loudest voices possible. Scary huh? Well just wait, there’s more! My mom, Nana, and I end up by the deli where they had a giant rotisserie oven roasting about 14 chickens, which is very pertinent to the story, so remember that number. Nana’s turn at the deli counter comes up and she says to the clerk “I would like a pound of salami, a pound of provolone, and all of your rotisserie chickens.” “All of the chickens?” the deli clerk responds. Nana snaps back, “Yes, ALL of them.” At this point the clerks eyes were wider than the state of Texas as she claps back, “Well I’m sorry but you can’t have them all.” That’s when the hole to hell opened up and I made the sign of the cross because that woman’s soul was about to be in peril. Without hesitation Nana exclaimed, “Excuse me!? I will ask you again… I would like all of your chickens and I would like them now, please.” To my Nana “asking” was really more of a polite demand and I mean, she did say please. Then, as if out of thin air, we heard a beeping coming from behind us as if a small truck were backing up. As I spun around an elderly man, about 200 hundred years old, came slowly creeping in his scooter and stopped right next to my Nana. In between oxygen tank-laden gasps, and big sad eyes, he says, “Ma’am, do you think I could have a chicken to take home?” And as if time stood still for a second, we all held our breaths, while Nana looked down and sternly, but somehow politely, said, “I’m very sorry but you’ll have to get your own.” With that, my mom ran over and started scolding my Nana telling her that she didn’t need all that food and asking who she was planning to feed with all the chickens. Nana simply responded that she “Needed to have backup food in the freezer for when family or unexpected guests visit and if there’s an emergency.” A pile of rotisserie chickens are essential in a pinch. Sounds legit, right?  Eventually my mom convinced Nana to part with a chicken but to add insult to injury, as we walked away with 13 rotisserie chickens, Nana looks at the frail man and says, “You’re welcome sir!” Nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes when I see a rotisserie chicken, I can hear the soft sounds of pumping oxygen and the faint beeping of a grocery store scooter.

As it was in most of my childhood, the community may not have known my Nana but they sure never forgot her after the first encounter! So I say, who else better to be named Woman of the Year but the one who sacrificed a single rotisserie chicken to answer the plea of a scooter-bound gentleman. Don’t get me wrong, my Nana is one of the best souls on this earth and would move mountains for her loved ones. Although if you ever plan to dip into her food reserves, you might want to think that one through.

Stay tuned for another installment of “Who Stole My Cannoli?” and please follow and share this blog if you found it as amusing as I find my life!

“Back to Fat: Tales of the Fat Voice Inside Me. Vol 1” 

So here I am again, back to a time where I can accept the reality around me. As I stare into the mirror, it’s reflection mocking every slice of pizza I have consumed, I’ve realized it wasn’t the washing machine shrinking my clothes. Nor are tiny leprachauns sewing my pants smaller as a I sleep, dreaming of italian sausage and pepper subs. No I have entered a wonderland, the dark abyss of “fat land”, where the voice of my inner chubster reminds me that my man-boobs ( or moobs as I just learned) are still my closest enemies. A pile of adipose tissue makes up a high precentage of my molecular body mass, basically rendering me a package of bacon. Which is, coincidentally, a versatile ingredient that compliments many dishes in all sorts of cusine. So I guess I’m a large slice of bacon, with moobs, that just so happens to love food so much it consumes every ounce of my being.  What am I to do? This is when the battle in my head begins… 

“Maybe I’ll just try a diet cleanse and exercise until I drop dead from exhaustion and lack of calories. No, you’ve tried that and you just end up falling hard off the wagon and landing into a pile of donuts! Ok, how about low carb and allowing myself a cheat meal? Nope, wrong again! Last time cheat day turned into cheat week and you found yourself depressed and eating an entire chocolate bunt cake while watching Golden Girl reruns! I give up! Just give me a burger please and I can start my diet tomorrow!”

It’s a vicious cycle but this is what goes on in my head each time I notice my stomach covers the view of my toes. However, I’m at the crossroads and on each path is the defeat I´ve suffered from the “War on Food” I’ve waged.  The choice is, which one am I willing to travel back to and will it lead to failure? Well I’ve closed my eyes, finshed my chocolade glazed eclair, and let my food spirit guide me. Actually, more like guide me to the Asian buffet a mile down the road which, might I add, is a great deal during lunch hour. But I digress. Within the last few minutes I’ve already taken a food trip around the world so I’m sure you can see the problem. There is always some distraction or catastrophic event that sucker punches me right in the stomach and derails my journey. For example a few weeks back our basement flooded, AGAIN, for the third time! We had a huge storm role through and there was so much water our sump pumps couldn’t keep up so the basement became our new indoor pool. At one point I had went down stairs to check the outside drain and everything looked fine. After about 25 minutes I noticed our cat, the household detective, going up and down the basement stairs. Mind you, the last time water came into the basmenet he was the one who discovered it. So I firgured I would investigate his behavior. Low and behold, I stepped into inches of water and just froze. I started running around splashing the water between steps, trying to figure out how to stop the water from coming in. With each step the floors moved in a wave like motion and I could hear the “squish” sound each time my foot hit the ground.  Everywehere I turned water was rushing in through the seam between the floors and wall surrounding the basement. I don’t know why, but I kept running around the basement screaming for my wife and breathing heavily like a piece of cake was dangling in front of me. All we could do was wait for the rain to stop and by that time boxes from the storage closet were floating past as we stood wadding water. We eventually called the insurance company and they scheduled a clean up crew for the next day. After the nights festivities settled, I looked my wife in the eye and asked, “What should we eat for dinner?”.  Needless to say, my inner fat voice won and I ate my sorrows away… it was wonderful. 

This “War on Food” is really just a mind game that we engage with oursleves but somewhere along the lines we lose. If I can just trick my mind into the idea that eating healthier will benefit me in the long run, I would be golden. Unfortunately, my brain battles with what is best for me at that time and all self control goes out the window. On trips to the grocery store I will sit waiting in line and stare at the king sized reese cup and argue with myself why I should or shouldn’t have it. Then I usually buy it and try to devise a plan on how to hide it from my wife. In a recent similar episode, I stashed a king sized reese’s cup in my work bag and hung it on our dinning room chair, that we never use. I knew she wouldn’t see it becasue my bag is full of work stuff and why would she need to look in the bag. This is when the food gods didn’t smile in my favor, infact they basically left me to die. Out of all the days my wife just happened to walk by my work bag, it was this day. She caught a glimpse of the bright oragnge wrapper shinning bright from the bottom of the bag and looked at me as if I had just cheated on her. True I did cheat, just not on her, but on my diet. Now if you’re thinking of how horrible I am, then let me just tell you this… I enjoyed putting that king sized beauty in my cart and I don’t feel guilty hidding my secret chocolate escapades. I would do it again but maybe try it with not only one king sized reese but with two! 

Yes, I have a problem and I like to consider myself a work in progress when it comes to my chronic food obsession. I don’t think you’ll see me on the cover of “Men’s Fitness” or in a cover shoot for “GQ” but I do look pretty good in an apron, flexing my plump physique, while handeling a batch of pasta dough. This may not appeal to everyone but I wasn’ put on this earth to be the next David Beckham. I’m here to bring you stories of my life in hopes you might get a good laugh, at my expense. With that, I’ll see you next time I hear the fat voice inside me call.