Spaghetti al Bolognese

Imported Olive oil
1/lb ground beef (you can mix it with veal or pork in equal portions if you like)
1 small onion
1/2 cup Finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp pepper
1/8 chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 24oz or 32oz can of peeled San Marzano Tomatoes
6-8 fresh Basil leaves
1 TBSP sea salt
1/2 TSP sugar

1 lb of imported Spaghetti
1 TBSP Sea Salt

Pour olive oil into deep frying pan to cover the bottom of the pan. Heat it on medium to low heat. When oil is hot, add onions, celery and carrots. Simmer with top on until carrots, celery and onions get very soft and almost transparent. Add the ground meat and brown it with salt, pepper and parsley.

Let bolognese sauce (meat sauce) simmer on low heat for an hour or more.

Boil water in a separate pot. When the water is boiling madly, add the spaghetti and the sea salt to taste. Strain the pasta in a colander when it is al dente (not quite soft).

Serves 4-6 people.

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“Crazy cat ladies” are not so crazy

I am mother to two domestic house cats. I don’t call myself a cat owner because, let’s be honest, if you have cats, you know they own you. Cats, unlike dogs, are very independent, and like very few people, don’t need constant praise to be happy. I have to admire that in cats. They know who they are. My cats give me a lot of love, a lot of laughs and occasional agita when I have to scoop the poop out of the litter box, or worse, scoop the poop elsewhere.

That said, I don’t understand why single women with cats are so maligned. Women traditionally have been maligned for not being married over the years in many ways, so I shouldn’t be that surprised that society demonizes the typical spinster with two or more cats as a “Crazy cat lady”. Women didn’t always have the luxury of finding the right guy, and many chose to be alone. Some had no choice. Some are widowed young. Others are divorced and replaced by a younger model. Men ruled the world and dating until recently, and women had to find a suitable companion. No one calls a woman with too many dogs a crazy dog lady. So what is it about cats except that a disproportionate percentage of single women have one or more?

Now I agree there are cases of women with too many cats, and they are not running a rescue. In fact, those types of women may be in need of a little rescue. But in general, I find the epithet of “crazy cat lady” to anyone who has a cat demeaning to both women and cats.

So I am taking back the cat lady power by saying, I, Mama Mafiosa, am a cat lady, and there is nothing crazy about me! It is true that I often like my cats more than most people, and I generally like people. But, to be fair, a lot of people really aren’t worth liking as much at cats. There are a lot of stronzi out there, and therefore to say I like cats more than those people doesn’t make me crazy at all. In fact, it just makes me smart.

There are many benefits to having cats. They are great company. They lie next me to while I read or watch television. They are, in fact, sleeping in their tree next to my desk as I work on this post. They churl and meow, which is how they talk to me. And yes, I know what it means like a mama knows her babies’ cry. They amuse me with their play antics. One of mine chases ice cubes from my ice dispenser. Both of them adore the laser pointer. They know when I am sad or sick, and stay with me like the best of loyal companions. And when I want to be alone, they leave me alone. Cats know about “me time” better than any domesticated animal. Humans rarely understand it as well as cats. And, lastly, I can sleep in the same bed with my cats, and there are no bizarre, awkward strings attached. (Please keep your minds out of the gutter!) Besides, it is a scientific fact that single older people who have animals live longer, healthier, happier lives. I can see why many women find cats better companions than an marrying or dating a man for all the wrong reasons.

I applaud the independence of these women. We certainly don’t need a man to make our lives complete. Although finding the right one can be very rewarding. Finding the wrong one can be very depressing. No one makes fun of single men with dogs, and there are a disproportionate amount of single men who prefer dogs to a wife. Why doesn’t society demonize them? Why are dogs somehow cooler? Or it is that men can be single without a stigma?

So let’s stop demeaning women with cats, and demeaning women and cats. It’s just a preference. Some people like dogs, some like cats, some like both, some like prefer a furry companion to a human one. There is nothing wrong with that. Let’s reserve the “crazy” word for people who truly are crazy, like serial killers and people with severe anger management issues.

And if any of you call me a “crazy cat lady”, beware of the tiger inside me. You might find yourself ripped to shreds on my next post!

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The new year brings hope for the chance to start over, to renew our resolutions to be better, exercise more, be kinder to our fellow humans, fix our flaws inside and out and basically delude ourselves into thinking we will. By February, we are usually back to our old flawed, undisciplined selves again, laughing at the gagdets, gym memberships and other things we bought or subscribed to in order to feed our delusions of self improvement. But why do we fall down so fast?

The truth is we all have hope, we hope for the chance to make things better every January 1st. It is not our hope that is flawed. It is our execution. Once reality becomes more apparent than hope, the fantasy of somehow shedding 15 pounds, being nicer to your parents or children or whatever you resolved sets in, and we give up because it becomes difficult. Why do we magically think that somehow this year it will be easier to achieve our goals? That’s where our delusions set in. Che stupidagine!

Without the resolve to complete your task, however difficult, there is no chance of success. Nothing is accomplished by giving up when the going gets tough, and the going always gets tough. That’s life. As the French say, “C’est la vie. C’est la guerre.” (That’s life. That’s war.) Meaning, life is a constant battle. Success is only achieved by a determined “stick-to-it-iveness”. If you don’t stick to it, you won’t achieve it. Period.

My resolution this year is to lose 10 pounds, to write more posts on this site, and to have more patience. I always have trouble with the last one. I am, after all, Sicilian. But one can never have too much patience in life, so I figure, no matter how much I have improved, I can always improve more.

I plan to stick to my resolutions this year. How about you?

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Beauty and the beast inside

Beauty is a blessing and an asset, but sometimes it can be a liability. I’ve noticed that in today’s superficial, beauty obsessed society, beauty has more importance than intelligence, class, grace, compassion and talent. Just look around at all the “It Girls” with K’s in their first names and socialites who have no talent and less intelligence, making money hand over fist because they are beautiful and in some cases, mean. The beautiful bitch is celebrated in our society and it causes people to misplace their priorities and sense of proportion.

Frank Sr. used to say that a woman who was “too beautiful” was too much work. What he meant by that is that they are unreasonably demanding because they are used to getting their way and getting things easily. This is true for men as well. What they don’t realize is that with time and age, external beauty fades, but ugly inside is forever. If you allow the beast inside you to grow unchecked, over time, your external beauty fades away and the internal ugly is all that remains.

My daughter Francesca just had a situation with one such bestial beauty. Francesca is a newly wed and quite happy. For the most part, she really enjoys her husband’s friends. About a year ago, she became friends with one such girl, Sofia. Sofia, a stunning model, seemed to be bubbly, warm hearted and generous. She and Francesca became friends one rainy afternoon when Francesca came over for brunch. They cooked together, sipped bellinis and laughed for hours. More than any other friend of her husband, Sofia, was welcomed as a part of their lives. They often went out, the three of them together. Francesca listend to Sofia’s man woes and offered her best impression of me as advisor and shoulder to cry on. Francesca helped her with some of the professional aspects of her job, and even helped her book a lucrative commercial by calling the commercial’s producers and clients. Sofia was reciprocal in her generosity by paying for dinner and other nice little thoughtful gifts.

Francesca had been hanging out with Sofia and another friend, Blanca. Blanca and Francesca knew each other for many years. Blanca was also a young model, doing quite well for someone just getting started. Francesca had also helped Blanca get her first job, a small job, but nonetheless, a good first step. Blanca was always reliably there to watch Francesca’s cats or help out in other ways. Although she is much younger than Francesca, she always seemed to be mature beyond her years.

Francesca organized a girls’ night in with Sofia and Blanca, dinner and a movie at home on a Saturday night. Francesca calls Saturday, “Amateur night” and prefers to go to dinner or see a movie rather than prowl the town. Francesca is not a club hopper or a party girl. She prefers good company to trendy atmosphere and would rather go to the opera than a night club. She goes to clubs for special occasions or for work, but generally finds them to be ridiculous, overcrowded, a most recently found herself caught in the middle, hiding behind a post when a fight broke out between two drunk idiots. Glass and liquor were flying, as were the punches. I could tell she’s not anxious to return to a club anytime soon.

The Friday night before girls’ night, Sofia decided she would rather go clubbing on Saturday night, “We’re comped at the hottest club in town!” Francesca said she’d prefer to stay home. “Your husband has robbed you of your party side,” Sofia quipped. Francesca wondered how she could make this comment since Sofia never knew her before she met her husband, and if she actually knew Francesca, she would know that no man would change Francesca into a boring, no fun, wallflower. Francesca knows exactly who she is and has no need to prove it to anyone.

Francesca ignored the slight and told Sofia to go have fun, no big deal. Sofia asked about Blanca and Francesca told her to ask Blanca, that she would not be offended one way or the other. The next morning, Blanca texted Francesca wanting to know if Francesca planned to go to the club. Francesco told Blanca she would rather stay in and see the film however, Blanca was welcome to join Sofia. Blanca preferred a quiet night with Francesca over the club as well.

A few hours later, Sofia texted Francesca, and Francesca met Sofia’s inner beast. Sofia asked rather accusingly, “What did you say to Blanca?” Francesca replied with the facts. Sofia became incensed. “She is such a flake! First she said she was coming and now she wants to stay home with you! Well, I can’t do as much for her career as you, so if that is how she is, then fine.” Francesca took offense to that comment. It insulted both Blanca and her because it accuses Blanca of using Francesca and it means Francesca is too dumb to know it. She opted to let it go for the moment because she could see Sofia was upset and probably not going to listen anyway.

Francesca, attempting to diffuse the situation, gently reminded Sofia that she had in fact “changed plans” and that Blanca was simply sticking with the original plan. Translation: “No Sofia, you’re the flake.” Sofia wouldn’t have it. Sofia began insisting that Blanca had flaked on her many times and cited many instances. Francesca had always found Blanca reliable and told Sofia as much. Sofia continued to insist and actually had the nerve to say, “I’m just letting you know so you can be warned about her.”

Francesca is way too smart to get wrapped up in anyone’s manipulations. She saw what was happening. Sofia turned out to be the only one jumping ship on the plans, aka “flaking”, and not wanting to own her guilt, she attempted to deflect it on Blanca. Francesca defended herself and her friend, Blanca, while being respectful to Sofia, mostly out of respect to her husband’s friendship with her. They had known each other since their teenage years. But as the conversation continued, Sofia grew more and more insulting and indignant.

Francesca found a way to end the text conversation politely. Later that night, Blanca came over and Francesca asked if she might review her texts with Sofia. Sofia tends to make plans and talk via text only. It is rare that she actually picks up the phone, a curse of many young people today. None of the instances of Blanca’s so called flaking that Sofia cited had actually occurred. She was flat out lying about Blanca to malign her. This really upset Francesca. “Did I get in a time machine and go back to high school?” she asked while recounting this to me on Skype.

It seems Sofia might have been the one stuck in the high school time warp. She had suddenly turned into one of those high school “mean girls”, you know the ones, the pretty ones who think they rule the school because they are more beautiful and more ruthless than other girls.

Many beautiful women buy into this principal, that they are entitled to more because they so often get more of everything, more attention, more perks, more forgiveness, more tolerance because they are beautiful. If they combine that with cruelty, they can be dangerous. Not all beautiful women are beasts inside, only the insecure ones. They are insecure about their looks, their bodies, their talent, their intelligence and their ability. Most of all, they fear being left alone for the rest of their lives, unloved and uncared for.

Ironically, when they allow their inner beasts to rule their behavior, they create a self fulfilling prophecy.

Francesca opted to just ignore Sofia for a while, but that night, while she and Blanca were watching a movie, Sofia sent a dozen texts about some guy cheating on her, a guy who Francesca had told her was not worth thinking about because he wasn’t showing he was serious about her. Francesca had no patience for this. First Sofia tramples all over her feelings over a stupid club and now she expects Francesca to lend an ear and a shoulder over some guy she went out with twice and broke her heart?

Francesca politely told her that she was sorry that she had been hurt, which I think is big of her, showing concern for Sofia’s feelings when Sofia showed no concern for hers. But she also said, “It’s hard for me to be your shoulder tonight because I’m upset with some of the things you said today. I’d like to talk to you about it face to face because I respect you too much to talk about this over text.”

Sofia responded, “I am not interested in your abuse, now or ever! Happy Holidays!” Translation: Vaffunculo!! Apparently, calling Sofia out on her insensitivity was abusive to her. Che arroganza!

Francesca shocked, tried to keep her cool and responded, “I am sorry this was your choice. I really did want to try to discuss this without any anger or hurt feelings on either side.” She got no response until a couple days later, Sofia wrote out of the blue, “I love you very much.”

Francesca wondered if Sofia was either on drugs, bi-polar or just completely nuts. After behaving like such a stronza, how could she possibly expect Francesca to believe she loves her?! If it was her way of saying I’m sorry, she still needed to own up, at the least to being insulting and hurtful to Francesca, nevermind telling lies to destroy her freindship with Blanca. Just saying “I love you” doesn’t mean “I’m sorry”.

Francesca did not respond for a few days. She finally sent her an email quoting the more offensive comments and asking Sofia why she felt the need to be so hurtful over something as trivial as attending a club with her. She offered her another chance to discuss it, but Sofia never responded. So much for “I love you very much.” Translation: “Saying I love you is easier than admitting I was a stronza, and hopefully you’ll just forget about it so I don’t have to deal with my bad behavior.”

Francesca decided Sofia had ended the friendship rather than deal with how she injured it. Francesca’s husband found Sofia’s behavior so outrageous, he doesn’t want to talk to her anymore.

The beast inside will destroy all beauty. External beauty is temporary, but the beast inside is ugly forever.

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My shameless self promotion…

Buon giorno!!

For all my readers and fans, I wish to thank you for making this blog a success. I have hundreds of readers from all over the world, and we now have over 24,000 hits. So I created some Mama Mafiosa merchandise which you can find on

– An apron:

– And a t-shirt:

I’d also like to take the time to plug my friend, Jimmy 9 Lives and his documentary. Jimmy was one of the old school neighborhood mobsters. He used to eat in our restaurant and he and my husbank, Frank, were friends. I knew Jimmy was a mobster, I mean with a name like Jimmy 9 Lives, how could you not know? But I did not know about my husband’s double life until after his death.

Jimmy was always good to our family, and in this documentary, he gives you some chilling insights into mob life.

You can download his documentary at

And you can buy Jimmy merchandise at:

I hope you’ll support this blog and my film. And if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at

Mille grazie!

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Fuckwits, look in the mirror!

Have you ever had a guy or girl treat you with such disrespect that you stopped answering his or her calls, emails and texts? Or have you found that person’s behavior so reprehensible and hurtful that you asked him or her not to contact you anymore? Have you also had that same person send you a nasty text, voicemail or email telling you what a horrible person you are and that you deserve to be alone?

My daughters and I refer to these people as fuckwits? Or FWs to be polite. Recently, my daughter Federica’s friend, Melinda, got such a message from a guy who she was seeing casually. They had been friends before and had become friends with benefits. She went out of town, home to see her family for a couple of months and upon her return, asked him for a ride from the airport.

His response was shocking, “You are so demanding and such a diva to expect me to pick you up. I thought we understood each other, but I guess you have crazy expectations. I don’t have time for this shit.” Couldn’t he just have said he was busy?

Melinda recoiled in pain wondering why he would need to be so cruel. She called Federica who called me. I explained to her, “Upon your return he wanted to be sure you had no expectations in the relationship. Of course, he handled it like a stronzo. There was absolutely no need for this kind of cruelty. If he doesn’t call to apologize soon, forget him.”

A couple days later, Mr. FW asked if he could come over that evening. Melinda, thinking she would give him a chance to apologize said yes. After all they had been friends first. Around 5pm, Melinda texts him asking when he planned to stop by and he said he was busy and didn’t have time. In fact, he was quite flippant about it. Melinda decided to heed my advice and forget him.

Mr. FW left a few messages that Melinda ignored. Finally, annoyed that she didn’t decide to jump with joy and respond after he behaved so disrespectfully, he left the following text message, “I left you some messages that you have ignored. Thank you for making it clear that we are not friends. I am so glad I bothered to ever be nice to you.” I’m sorry, did Mr. FW think his recent behavior was nice? Did he honestly think he deserved a response? No, of course not. The fact that he lashed out at her proved that he knew he had been uno stronzo. It gets better… or rather worse. In a last ditch attempt to make amends for his callous behavior, he texted her, “happy birthday” on her birthday. The next day, having gotten no response, he sent the following text, “You are a piece of shit who was alone and will always be alone. You had better change your ways because you are going to end up alone the rest of your life!”

Wow! That will really get her to say thank you! Thank you to fuck off, maybe. Last time I checked, there is no requirement to answer happy birthday wishes, especially not in the first 24 hours!! Melinda called me quite upset. She was so upset that she was ready to pack her bags and go home for good. I told her not to let one fuckwit ruin her life. He is lashing out and probably should have been texting himself while looking in the mirror. This is how he feels about himself because she rejected his feeble attempts to make amends for his disrespectful acts. She does not owe him anything but respect and friendship, which she gave him until he proved unworthy of both. Still you took the high ground and chose not to engage in a text war of insults. You simply walked away with your head held high. He couldn’t stand the fact that she was not at his beck and call. So he decided to punish you with insults because he felt you were punishing him. Truthfully, he was simply stating his own fears about himself, that he is a piece of shit who will always be alone because he does not deserve to be loved. And frankly, with his current behavior, I would have to agree.

Melinda asked, “Do you think he is on drugs. He has had a problem in his past.” It’s possible, but I don’t wish to let him off the hook that way. Drugs or no drugs, he was cruel unnecessarily. It is especially foolish and insensitive given that Melinda and Federica have friends in common with this FW. Federica wanted to slap him in the face for his behavior. Instead, she gave him a slap in the face by showing the texts to FW’s former roommate and her dear friend. He was shocked and appalled. He did not take the usual, all guys stick together tack. Instead, he said that his opinion of him had been lowered.

So Mr. FW has not only lost a friend in Melinda, he has also lost respect with Federica and his former roommate. I am sure that this is not the last time he will behave so foolishly, and if so, he will truly end up alone. Perhaps he should look in the mirror and change his own ways.

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Small minds make for small hearts…

I don’t take a political point of view. My advice blog is not going to tell someone who to vote for or how to decide issues in any particular country. I am more interested in advising people on how to be good people to each other and themselves. My father in law, Orazio, used to say, “Be gentle people.” And he was right. Not to say that Orazio wasn’t a tiger when it came to defending his family or himself when people crossed boundaries and showed a lack of respect. But mostly Orazio had a simple philosophy which I adopted too, live and let live. I take no interest in people’s personal decisions that only affect them. I do not care what religion you subscribe to, as long as you don’t use it to discredit others and discriminate against others. I don’t care if you are gay or straight, but I do expect you to comport yourself with dignity and respect for others, particularly those who have chosen to be in monogamous, happy relationships. I believe in equality for all people and a moral responsibility to each other. I believe that some people should agree to disagree because there are some things people will never agree on.

Basically, I believe in the Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I believe selfishness is the defense mechanism of small minded people who refuse to see the other side of issues. If you can’t relate to it, how can you possibly understand it?

One could relate all of the above to politics, but more important than politics are relationships. I frankly find the world has become more selfish and narrow minded rather than open minded. With all the information out there, people seem to want to cling to their bubble rather than try to understand the other side of anything they do not understand or like. This causes a sense of indignant, self entitled behavior that loses all sense of perspective, empathy and compassion for anything other that one’s own concerns.

There are times as a friend when seeing the other side is necessary. Among spouses, it is not only necessary, it is also a required element of a successful marriage. Regardless of your issue or problem, it is always important to try to see the other person’s side of things and be honest and willing to work things out rather than cling to a principal of right or wrong.

I have often counseled my daughters when dealing with friends to do just that. Even when the friend’s issue was petty, I advise them to acknowledge it and show some understanding that they are hurt and that you did not intend the hurt. At that time, it is the friend’s duty to do the same if the friend wishes to repair the rift. However, a small minded friend will not do that. She or he will either ignore you, a passive aggressive form of Vaffanculo (fuck you) or she/he will simply respond only dealing with her/his hurt and disregard your acknowledgement or need for theirs.

This person not only has a small mind, but also a small heart. I do not recommend continuing a close relationship with this person at all.

Recently Veronica and Federica each had issues with a friend. Federica followed my advice, and the friend who had blown things out of proportion, realized that Federica cared, had always cared for her for years and perhaps this was all a grand misunderstanding. She wisely chose to put an end to the drama and not only thank Federica for understanding, but also apologized for getting so worked up about it. That is a friend worth keeping, one who is not only mature enough to resolve things reasonably but also one who really valued the overall friendship enough to see the big picture.

Veronica did not fare so well. Veronica’s friend, who has a history of blowing things out of proportion and a hard time seeing anyone else’s feelings but her own, recently laid down the ominous text message of, “we need to talk.” This is usually most people’s code for, “I am about to make a big drama out of something, and you had better give me what I want out of it or else!” Anyone who truly wants to work it out would not take that tack. It is certainly not advisable because it puts people on the defensive instead of in a receptive frame of mind.

Veronica had an unusually difficult couple of weeks in addition to financial problems. I was so worried about her, I had threatened to get on a plane from Sicily and visit because I felt she needed TLC. Her nerves were raw and she was genuinely scared for the outcome of a deeply personal and difficult odyssey that had been part of her life now for some years.

Veronica wrote this friend an email explaining just that. She also cited that she was aware her friend was obviously unhappy with their last couple of conversations. She asked her friend to please be understanding as it wasn’t a good time to talk about it, and that she certainly meant no harm or offense. Knowing that this girl has a penchance for drama, she asked her to put it in perspective as well.

I maintain after this incident that this girl wouldn’t know perspective if it hit her in the face. This is the same girl who called Veronica during the lead up to her wedding with one drama after another, some worth getting upset over, but many totally self created. She once called Veronica hysterically crying because her Aunt was taking a cruise on the same cruise line three weeks after the girl and her husband to be were going on their honeymoon. “My honeymoon is ruined! It’s not going to be special because she is going on the same cruise!” she complained.

It’s not like it was the same boat!! Who cares? Why was she being competitive about it and who could possibly compete with a honeymoon? Talk about spoiled and entitled! Even Veronica’s patience wore thin on that one. But Veronica realized she was stressed from planning the wedding and just tried to calm her down. She explained that a honeymoon is special because of the two people involved and nothing else matters. Where her Aunt vacations is irrelevant and will never be as special as her honeymoon.

Seriously? Isn’t that kind of obvious! She calmed down but continued to complain and constantly compete with her Aunt, “We know the Captain, and he invited us to his table. I told his wife not to be so generous to my Aunt.” Veronica shook her head and told her that she shouldn’t bother even thinking about it, but that fell deaf ears.

Veronica worried that some day, this girl might turn on her and create a drama over some minutia. I told Veronica that if she does it with others, that Veronica would not be immune either. Eventually the day came…and after the girl’s summons by text, “We need to talk”, Veronica painstakingly wrote an email to try to smooth things over and explain that she herself was going through a difficult time, that she was scared and that she was worn out by it all. This girl did not have the decency to even respond. At the very least, as a friend who cared, she owed Veronica a reply that acknowledged Veronica’s attempt to smooth things over, Veronica’s situation and an ounce of empathy for it.

Ten days later, still nothing. Veronica became indignant at this passive aggressive and punitive behavior, and rightly so. She let this girl know that after all the times she listed to her dramas and showed empathy, the fact that she had not responded showed a total lack of empathy. She deeply hurt Veronica acting as if she did not care. Finally the girl responded to this only to acknowledge Veronica’s situation as a reason why Veronica should not have done blah blah blah, which amounted to that fact that this girl felt in their last conversations that Veronica had acted as if only her opinions mattered. Veramente? (Really?) Chi se ne frega! (Who gives a shit!)

Could she be more petty and over focused on only her feelings? Here Veronica was facing a possibly bankruptcy due to a drawn out legal battle, and this girl was busting her chops saying, “You think only your opinions matter, and that doesn’t sit right with me.” Veronica had already tried to smooth things over, shown humility and practically begged her to be understanding. She apparently did not want to be understanding. She just wanted to be right.

She proved to have a small mind and an even smaller heart.

Veronica, so injured by this response, had it. “Mama, if I can’t ask her to put her petty differences aside and just be a friend at this moment in my life, when could I? Never! So, I just told her we should take a break. I deleted her from my Facebook and deleted her from my life! Basta!!

The girl of course, had to one up her. She blocked her on Facebook and then wrote a little jab on her blog about Hollywood people being egotistical, clearly a jab at Veronica who is a writer. I find that ironic since it was this girl’s ego who made such a mess of things. Her sense of self entitlement and need for ego fluffing was as big as any ego maniacal Hollywood stereotype. And it cost her a good friend. Che Stronza!

Being Sicilian, and a Mama, I just can’t let it go. Maybe she’ll read this and get some perspective. Maybe she won’t. Maybe she’ll figure it out one day. Maybe she won’t. But perhaps you can learn something from this. Assess the situation and if someone is going through a lot of stress and hell, cut them a break. And if someone routinely expects you to cut them a break and won’t do it for you in return, cut them out!

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Smiling is the new black!

When my kids were little, I took them to Broadway to see “Annie”. My daughters, particularly Francesca, loved it. Francesca was so in awe of Annie that she wanted to be just like her. She had the sailor dress, wanted a dog like Sandy and she and Veronica would make Frank Sr and me hold a flashlight on them as their spotlight as they performed the songs, “Tomorrow” and “You’re Never Fully Dressed without a Smile” from the show together.

This was one of my favorite fazes in my daughters’ lives. Also, it was one of the easiest. Because Francesca wanted to be like Annie, and Veronica wanted to be like Francesca, I could get them to do anything by saying Annie would do it. “Annie would eat her vegetables.” “Annie would listen to Daddy Warbucks, so you should listen to your Daddy.” “Annie would stand up to the mean kids in school.” “Annie would share her toys.” “Annie would learn Italian.” Ok, the last one, I had a little trouble selling.

Looking back, I am grateful for that show. Annie was a great role model for my children, and someone from whom even adults could learn something. Annie was an eternal optimist and grateful for what little she had. She was an orphan who always believed her parents were coming for her despite the years that had past. She was grateful for her friendships in the orphanage and loved all the girls there, even the whiny one. She stood up for the weakest girls and showed courage in the face of oppression and cruelty. She inspired the people around her with her sunny nature and refusal to accept defeat. She charmed the coldest of hearts and taught Daddy Warbucks who seemingly had everything, that he was missing the most important thing in his life, love. She opened his heart so wide, he found room in it to love all of Annie’s orphan friends. She taught the millionaire how to be truly generous.

Annie’s generosity, sunny optimism and gratitude during the worst time in American history, the Depression, is something we should all try to emulate. Her songs, “Tomorrow” preached that each day brings a chance for things to change for the better. “The sun will come out, tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there’ll be sun…” It’s not about the weather, but about being grateful for life because everyday that you’re alive is a day that could bring you change. Things will get better, just believe it. The other song, “Hey hobo man, hey dapper dan, you both got your style, but brother you’re never fully dressed without a smile…” preaches that no matter how little or how much you have, you should be grateful and happy. A smile is the best accessory.

I think about these things because so many people I know are going through tough economic times these days. Even my daughters have felt the pain. I remind them that Annie would be optimistic, grateful, strong and not give up the fight. They laugh at me for being such an Annie fan all these years later, but they understand what I’m trying to say.

I don’t understand people whose lives are basically good who gripe about little petty minutia all the time, the ones who thrive on problems, think that somehow the world owes them something and who create drama over minutia instead of letting the little things slide. These people look for other people to make them happy and find unhappiness in the smallest actions of other people, always judging everyone else’s slights to them and never having any perspective other than their own. They forget that we decide to be happy, we make our own happiness, and no matter how hard the situation, the sun will come out tomorrow. It doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to get frustrated, angry or have a good cry if things are truly difficult. But you do have to get up, move forward and focus on being grateful for what you do have and what is going well. If you have the most important things in life, if you are alive, if you’re healthy, have a roof over your head, food on your table and someone who loves you, you are so very rich. I pity people who don’t understand that.

Annie barely had those things, and yet, she believed that someday, things would get better. She managed to find joy in the smallest things. Some people look around and only see what is wrong with their lives, not what’s right. Maybe they never saw “Annie”. If it ever comes back to Broadway, they should. And if they do, I hope they want to be just like her.

I know I do.

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You’re not funny, just stupid.

I’ve been watching the news in the US lately, rather appalled at what I am seeing and hearing. Basketball sensation Jeremy Lin has broken records and splashed onto the courts in ways that make the all star players take notice, admire and hate him all at once. Somehow, instead of the media lauding his achievements and this underdog story as the example of perseverance and believing in yourself, I have heard what I once thought were reputable media outlets resort to terrible headlines and comments such as ESPN’s “chink in the armor”.

A Los Angeles radio show, upon the tragic demise of Whitney Houston, called her a “crack ho'” and another radio station tried to defend the DJs behavior, dismissing the term as “a common slang term for someone addicted to crack”. Even if it is, which my children seem to think it is not, it shouldn’t be. And this radio station should not perpetuate it. If someone, even a celebrity, is addicted to drugs and dies, it is a tragedy, not something to be mocked outright, particularly when that person made such a great contribution to society in his or her chosen field.

So, I have to ask, what happened to class? Have Americans lost all sense of it?

It seems to me that everyone is trying too hard to be witty and out shock each other to the point that all sense of class, sensitivity and diplomacy have gone out the window. Triste! (How sad!) One would think that a journalist on ESPN and its producers would know better than to have run the headline “chink in the armor”. There is nothing funny or witty about it. It is degrading to Chinese people to use that pun in that way. ESPN is also not a comedy show. They are, or were, a respectable news outlet, and they should have showed more decorum, more sensitivity and in a word, class. Cretini! (Cretans!)

The DJs in LA, are a comedy show, but mocking someone after death is about as disrespectful as one can be, not just to the dead, but to the grieving family and friends. It is fair to discuss the tragedy and state that Whitney Houston chose to do drugs and that choice destroyed her career, her family and ultimately her life. It is also fair to say that given her prolonged usage of drugs, that her death was not a great shock, but to refer to her as a crack whore is to diminish her contribution as a great singer and performer and to diminish the tragedy of her choices and ultimate end. These DJs were not only not funny, they also showed no sensitivity to Whitney’s family, particularly her daughter, who apparently was so distraught by her mother’s death, she had to be admitted to the hospital.

Since when has being cruel and having no class been so cool? Why are the media working overtime at being offensive? In trying to be so witty and shocking, all the media is doing is showing the world that these individuals have no sense of class, no sense of boundaries and no sensitivity. Sure it is your first amendment right as an American to speak freely, but the Constitution does not say that in speaking freely, you should abdicate your ethical sense of right and wrong. It also does not say that you should abdicate your responsibility to being a constructive member of society. One can argue what that means exactly, but we all have certain lines we should not cross. People should have a sense of boundaries and show respect for each other rather than work overtime to show disrespect. It’s not about political correctness, but rather about human correctness. No Constitution can legislate that. Only our conscience can do that. Believe me, these media members would not have liked it if others had shown such cruelty to them. And that is how you decide. Think about how you would feel in that person’s shoes and then decide if you want to be so offensive, demeaning and cruel.

If you do, it doesn’t make you funny. It just makes you a classless jerk.

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Get real, Hanna!

This is in response to a viral video:

Dear Hanna,
“The cleaning lady” is payed for by parents for their convenience not yours. She is there to help them do their chores, which includes taking care of you. Your chores are to teach you to be responsible and to help your parents, who obviously both work so that you can have things like a nice roof over your head and a computer to complain on FB. You have no idea how hard it is in this society to make money, own a home, put food on the table, cloth and feed two children and give them extras like computers, ipods, etc. When you have a real job, you might understand that, and that is possibly why your parents have asked you to get one, so you get a clue.
Here’s the reality of life: No one owes you anything in life. It is up to you to make your life interesting and that is only accomplished through education and working hard. I applaud your parents for trying to instill some wisdom and a work ethic in you at such a young age. With so many children running around these days, and this includes your friends, thinking that the world owes them a living, and parents doing nothing to quell this, I think your parents are heroes.
The bottom line is, get real, Hanna, and get a little humility and gratitude. You’ll be happier and so will your parents.
Mama Mafiosa

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