Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Supreme Macaroni Company - TLC Book Review

The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 6, 2014)

  • Summary from Amazon:

  • For more than one hundred years, the Angelini Shoe Company in Greenwich Village has relied on the leather produced by Vechiarelli & Son in Tuscany. This ancient business partnership provides a twist of fate for Valentine Roncalli, the schoolteacher-turned-shoemaker, to fall in love with Gianluca Vechiarelli, a tanner with a complex past . . . and a secret.
    But after the wedding celebrations are over, Valentine wakes up to the reality of juggling the demands of a new business and the needs of her new family. Confronted with painful choices, Valentine remembers the wise words that inspired her in the early days of her beloved Angelini Shoe Company: "A person who can build a pair of shoes can do just about anything." Now the proud, passionate Valentine is going to fight for everything she wants and savor all she deserves—the bitter and the sweet of life itself.

    Golden Lines

    "The big Christmas Eve moon appeared out of nowhere, like the diamond on my hand.  From the roof of the Angelini Shoe Company, as far as I could see, it seemed the world had stopped spinning." (1)

    "You would think after the Feast of Seven Fishes, sweet timbale, cannolis, and cookies that we wouldn't have any more room to stuff down one more bite.  But our family wasn't done eating until the overflowing nut bowls, nutcrackers, and silver picks had been placed on the dining room table.  Somehow, there was always room for nuts." (42)

    "I hope I wasn't too rough tonight.  I can be a little opinionated," Feen said in a rare moment of self-examination.  "You know I live alone and don't have anybody to talk to day in and day out, so when I get an audience, I don't modulate." (55-56)

    "I've noticed that in America you think you can have everything your heart desires on your own terms."
    "Isn't that the definition of happiness?"
    "In Italy, we look at things with a little more common sense.  A sense of reality, if you want to call it that..." (103)

    "It's in you, like it was in your grandfather and your grandmother.  Sometimes we forget that talent is a gift and we take it for granted.  But it's important.  You have a gift, and you should always be a guardian of your art." (136)

    "If that's what you want, then leave me now.  I don't want to be your butler, or your cook, or your tanner.  I want to be your husband.  For me, that means that I guard what you hold precious, I stand with you, I work with you, I make sure you have rest when you need it, I open the books and we figure out the finances, I build a space where you can create and I can help you get your creations out into the world." (163)

    "There.  He said it.  Italy was home.  Not Perry Street, not Youngstown's Main Street - but Arezzo in Tuscany.  He couldn't tell me how much he missed being in Italy, but he didn't have to - I could see it, I could feel it.  My husband wanted to take Angelini shoes back to Italy, but he wanted it to be my idea." (191)

    "What kind of factory was this?" I asked.
    "They made pasta.  It was called the Supreme Macaroni Company." 
    "I like it," I said. 
    "But you're not making macaroni, Valentine." 
    "It doesn't matter.  It's a place, not a product.  Besides, I like macaroni." (209)

    "...I have no desire to go anywhere else or do anything else ever again."
    "If only you meant that."
    "I do mean it."
    "Until your American ambition comes rushing back like a fever."
    "You think my ambition is a disease."
    "No, I'm proud of you.  But sometimes it overtakes you."
    "Not when I'm looking at the Mediterranean Sea." (242-243)

    If I had to go back and pinpoint the moment I fell in love with Gianluca Vechiarelli, I know it was for sure when I saw him press leather for the first time.  His hands smooth and drape leather skillfully.  He has a command of the delicate - he can do the smallest detail work - and yet he can lift and cut and press and roll with strength of purpose.  He's an artist. (274)

    Once family, always family.  And once a wife, forever one, even in divorce.  I had to share Gianluca with Mirella.  It was the Italian way. (304)

    "The only time I let go of the pain is when I'm creating." (319)

    What I Liked

    Culture - food, family, language, customs, dialogue, humor,'s here...all of it and more.  There were several times I laughed out loud at the dialogue.

    Aunt Feen - she reminds me of Stephanie Plum's Grandma Mazur...very opinionated, crazy, and verbal.  

    This family - they are what Trigiani does so feel as if you're at a family reunion...and that you've actually met these people!

    What I Didn't Like

    predictable - I felt like I'd read this story before...or at least parts of it :(

    wedding stuff - there were lots of chapters on wedding prep, honeymoon, and baby stuff ...meh

    The Ending - the house, the Bret foreshadowing, how everything seemed to fall together so smoothly despite enormous challenges?

    The pace - one of the fastest through the years books I've ever read.  I needed more...more detail, more time, more build up.  

    Overall Recommendation

    Because The Supreme Macaroni Company is part of a series, I certainly wouldn't skip it...but I'm not so sure it's one that you can read and feel a connection to the characters if you haven't read the others.

    The Author

    Other Stops on the Tour

    Tuesday, May 6th: More Than Just Magic
    Wednesday, May 7th: Bibliotica
    Thursday, May 8th: nightlyreading
    Friday, May 9th: Literary Lindsey
    Monday, May 12th: The Infinite Shelf
    Thursday, May 15th: Books, Books Everywhere!
    Monday, May 19th: Books on the Table
    Monday, May 26th: Calico Critic
    Monday, June 2nd: Open Book Society
    Thursday, June 5th: Jo-Jo Loves to Read!
    Friday, June 6th: Peppermint PhD
    Monday, June 9th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A New Beginning - Day 3

Day 3 was a more ways than one!

Middle daughter and I started our day off just the same...with her dragging me out of bed.  
Every year I question my sanity for signing up to teach Kids College, which means I have to get up early the 2nd week we're out for the summer.  
I'm a late sleeper from way use pretending otherwise.

We finished off our supplements, Spark, and Meal Replacement Shakes, packed our perspective bags, and headed to the college, me with my PE coach's whistle and middle daughter with her Accounting book.  

After quite an eventful morning...a kid caught in a rolled up cheerleading floor mat and a bat in the gym, we played basketball until 12:30.  
Sure did.

I snacked on a banana and some grapes while slurping my water as instructed by the middle daughter.  
I felt a little yucky this morning; I think that fiber drink is doing a number on my belly...Oy.
Cleaning out the toxins ain't a lot of fun.

For lunch I ate a spinach salad with carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, 2 boiled eggs, and homemade vinegar and oil dressing.
Supplements, water, yadda, yadda, yadda.

After a quick nap, shortened by the 10 year old and 20 year old yelling at each other about a Harry Potter wand (don't ask),  off we went to a nearby city to get the middle daughter a new pair of running shoes.  
No more Chacos!!! (for running anyway)
I took my Spark with me :)
Runner's High is a locally owned shop where you can get a gait analysis and one on one talk with the owners as far as your needs, your activity level, your history...etc.  
This couple also participates in and encourages community events, races, celebrations, kids activities (this weekend they're having a Tri-Athalon camp for kids!!), and running groups.  
A small store with a lot of character and the best customer service ever!
Oh, and the shoes are fantastic!!!  
I'm sure they talk about me when I leave...the lady who's too busy looking at the pretty colors to pay attention to what she actually needs :p 

Home again and fixed a simple Asian type marinade and threw some sliced pork loin into the bowl...threw that into the fridge, and put on our running shoes!

Today was a little tougher for the daughter.
New shoes always hurt my calves the first couple of times I run in them...and hers did too.
We kept moving, and I preached the old mantra, "it doesn't matter how slow you are...a 16 minute mile is the same as a 6 minute mile."
She was very tired afterwards but I think very proud of herself for being so strong. 
A good long soak in the tub and water, and she was talking about our next meals and workouts again.
This kid inspires me. 

The pork loin was fan-freaking-tastic...
At my house, very seldom do I fix anything that everybody likes.  This recipe made it into the record books at our house, so go on over and take a look!

We served this with fresh veggies (corn and limas) on the side.
Supplements and Water...yeah, yeah.

My snack tonight was a rice cake with natural peanut butter.
I've given rice cakes a hard time in the past...I really have.
But, y'all, with peanut butter, they're not half bad!!

I needed a little time to myself tonight, so my Layla and I set off on our own.  
I wrapped her leash tightly in a loop/pulley type way around my waist (sorry if that makes no sense).  
We've been having to work on pulling again, and I know that I need to reinforce to her that I am in charge.  
With a calm but assertive mind, I walked her at a heel all the way around our biggest block.  She was exhausted (in a good way) when we returned, and I treated her to a quick swim and then sitting in first dark for a bit...just she and me.

I have to carve this time out for myself. 
I have to take care of myself and my kids.
I have to keep my mind busy, and focus on the positives in life as much as humanly possible.  
This old world will drag you down in a heartbeat if you let it.  

I'm ready for Day 4 :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A New Day - Part 2

My daughter is much better at getting out of bed in the mornings than I am, so as I was reaching over to push the snooze button again, she opened my bedroom door with a towel on her head and said, "Here's your Spark, Mom."


Like yesterday, we started off with our Catalyst tabs, Fiber drink, Water, and Meal Replacement Shake.
I didn't have her this morning at Kids College to remind me when to drink my water or when to eat my snack, so I was forced to remind my ownself...which was interesting indeed.

About mid-morning I snacked on a banana and some previously frozen peaches.
I was disappointed in the peaches.
My daddy grew and sold peaches from his own orchard for several years, so I'm a hard peach sell anyway, but these peaches had been frozen and sold as a fundraiser last year...I bought them without any idea of when they were picked, how sweet they were, etc.
Needless to say, I can't wait for the Farmer's Market this week, so we can have some fresh produce!!

I made it through the morning and headed home...hungry but not starving.
For lunch I had leftover spaghetti...only a few noodles but a lot of sauce...and a piece of toast and my Catalyst tabs again.
Oh, yeah and don't forget the water...bc heaven forbid, if I didn't have to visit the bathroom every 15 minutes. :p

The youngest kid had a dentist appt. mid afternoon. 
So, I took a short nap :) and we headed out again.  

We have struggled with her dental care over the last few years.  
Shocker of all shockers, she has some anxiety issues.

The dentist horrifies her and always has.  
4 years ago she had to have dental surgery just to have all the routine work done that she needed :/
Today was her very first time to actually have a filling filled in the dentist's office.
She said her arms tingled (from the gas)
and she felt like a chipmunk after...but she did it! Without surgery! $$

On the way back from the dentist, I snacked on an Advobar bc I knew I was pushing it time wise for snack.  
I was a little panicky about possibly panicking like I did yesterday. 
The Advobars are not my favorites...I hope there are other flavors bc it definitely hits the spot in a pinch, but I don't want to make them a daily thing.
I still want clean eating to be my main diet once we get passed this Cleansing Phase.

Today was one of those days where everything just seemed to overlap...the cable company was coming, I had to pick up a foster cat, fix dinner, and needed to do Day 1 of C25K with the middle daughter....somehow all before 5 p.m.  
Exercise with middle daughter won out...the other tasks were completed as well...but not before 5.
Middle daughter needs new running shoes...she ran in Chacos today...
**slaps head**

By the time we were done, and I started cooking dinner, I knew it was time for my 2nd Spark...I was beginning to droop.
My grandmother used to call that a Sinking Spell :)

I've read a lot of things about biggest fear was that it would make my heart far it doesn't.  I don't feel hyper or anything like that.
On the contrary, I feel more focused for some reason.
I have missed my morning coffee...but not as much as I thought I would.
Never thought I'd say that.

Middle daughter had to work tonight till 12 so she took over the panic in worrying if she would make it through till midnight.  
I delivered her supper: grilled chicken breast, salad with lots of veggies and a drizzle of Italian dressing, homemade hummus with 2 rice cakes for snack later, and a fruit plate just in case.  

I spent the rest of the night settling a foster cat back in and answering emails from online students (classes started yesterday).
A few minutes ago I started wondering why I felt so achy...but just typing all this up makes me realize I am achy because I. am. tired.

I snacked on a handful of peanuts and a few grapes before taking my last set of supplements.

Day 3 will be here before we know it!

Monday, June 2, 2014

A New Day

My last post was April 1.  
Today is June 2.  
I think that's the longest "break" I've ever taken from blogging.  
The break was accidental.
I'm not ready to tell the story, and I'm not sure I'm ever going to be ready. 
For now, all I know is change is a must.  
And, it starts today.

My kid and I started the Advocare 24 Day Challenge today. 
I'm not an Advocare Distributor nor do I aspire to be.  
I just aspire to be healthy...and to rid my body of all the crap I've been eating and drinking...all the toxins that I've willingly let into my life.  
Yes, that's dramatic.
Get over it.

I knew the first ten days would be the toughest.
A year or so ago when I switched to clean eating, I experienced the "withdrawal" that comes from no sugar, carbs, and dairy.  I'm looking forward to getting past that stage and not even wanting that stuff anymore.  I'm going to do better this time at keeping myself in the wagon.
One step at a time.

My kid is doing this with me for the same reasons above as well as some other reasons which are not my story to tell so I won't tell them here.  Leave it to say that discussing, researching, planning, and finally getting started on this challenge together has been incredibly special so far.

Here's what we've done today:

6:15 a.m. - Mango-Strawberry Spark (instead of coffee) - Holy Smokes...I. love. coffee.
3 Catalyst tabs
6:45 a.m. - Fiber Drink 
7:00 Chocolate Meal Replacement Shake
7:30 Pick up friend kid for Kids College
7:45-12:30 Kids College (I teach PE every year :)
10:00 a.m. Banana (I forgot I could have two fruits...Oh, I won't be forgetting tomorrow!) 
12:30 p.m. tuna (with no mayo :0( , cherry tomatoes, carrots, 1 slice toast (We were starving)
3 Catalyst tabs
3:00 p.m. - Mango-Strawberry Spark and rice cake (Who likes rice cakes...really??)
5:30-6:30 Yoga 
7:00 Turkey Spaghetti with whole grain noodles
3 Catalyst tabs
8:15 - BC powder bc my head hurt like a Mutha (no coffee, alcohol, sugar or carbs)
8:45 Advobar
10:00 3 Herbal Cleanse Tabs

I have never in my life consumed so much say that I went to the potty a lot today would be an understatement.
Supposedly I'm cleaning out my liver and kidneys...and bladder :p 

All was well until was time for a meal and I was hungry...the class was a little more challenging than the first, and my headache was setting in.  
I began to panic.  
It probably didn't help that I forgot to get my anxiety meds refilled before we went on vacation last week.  
One of my goals is to eventually be able to taper off some of my meds, but obviously one should not taper quit meds cold turkey while also quitting everything else.

**Smacking head**

Here's hoping tomorrow will be better :)