Tuesday, July 31

The Realm of Possibility

"The Realm of Possibility" is the kingdom where I dwell.
It is a place where injustice and discouragement do not exist. A place where people are honest and genuinely wish each other's best. I am a day dreamer, an eternal optimist and nothing seems to have stopped me from being so. When my mother was first diagnosed with cancer, I sat in the oncologist's study with her, my father and a doctor friend of ours. The oncologist was somehow brutal in his diagnosis of the case: two months of life expectancy if not cured, chemotherapy, nauseous states, invalidity, bone marrow transplant, more therapy, hair loss. Any sane person would have been disconcerted, to say the least. My dad grabbed my mother's hand and held it tight, mother had tears in her eyes, our friend asked loads of worrying questions. I sat in the corner, in my green coat; I smiled a reassuring smile. I smiled a reassuring smile knowing in my heart it was all going to be alright. The issue is that I smile all the time. I am no idiot, right? It is just that it feels like, in extreme situations especially, I am overwhelmed with an exceptional steadfastness and inner strength which enable me to react promptly and efficiently to the problem. When we were in Kenya last summer a friend of mine badly hurt his hand. Though a grown man, he got scared he may not be able to move his hand again… I got a little scared too. In a second reached him, pulled off the cloth that was over my shorts and rapped it around his bleeding hand. Held his hand and reassured him that ‘everything was going to be alright’. Eventually he was; so was my mother. And I wonder whether my great sense of Hope comes exactly from that sense of confidence in a divine providence whereby, even when the outcome of a given situation is not that we would have hoped for, I know there is a much bigger plan in a much wider spectrum of Grace. And on this warm summer night, I am well and truly into my anatomy textbook, carried by dreams of Hope, inspired by Grace, surrounded by Love in an unending realm of possibility where dreams, reality, impossibility, surrealism and, why not, a wee touch of madness create a unique mystic fragrance that makes me smile…even in a stormy day.

Sunday, July 29

C'era Una Volta..."Once Upon a Time" Does Not Mean "Happily Ever After", Right?

One week into my newly re-found Southern Italian life, I am already starting to notice the differences. Despite the sun, the good food, the relaxed attitude to life, the excitement of things to be and all that, I am beginning to being confronted with a new thing in a familiar place. The reality of being an adult and no longer the teen-ager who left home five years ago, it's truly starting to sink in. Last night I watched a repeat of my favourite television program from when I was in junior high, a political satire programme entitled, The Pippo Chennedy Show. When I was thirteen, it was iconic. We all watched it, the nation was in hysterics for its clever ridicule of the late 1990's society we were living in...with its faults and prides, idiosyncrasies and contradictions, common places and taboos. I used to laugh my little head off with my friends, or by my self. Last night I waited for the show with great anticipation: I sat there, sang along the opening tune (I was ever so surprised I could still remember the lyrics, one of those events that makes you giggle), listened to a few jokes (most of which were still, scarily, appropriate to the current government and political scene..) then got bored half way through. I was initially adman to resist all the way through the show, out of respect for what it once represented for my generation, then became sad at the thought of things that have passed, gone, belong to a time that is now past. Tonight I went to visit my younger sister at the youth camp she is attending this week. Loads of her friends were there (some of them are the younger siblings of my friends); many familiar places, many familiar faces..I even met this guy I used to have a major and I mean MAJOR crush on age 12!!! He had become fatter, shorter than I remembered him to be. As he came towards me I smiled (he must have thought I was nuts, but probably didn't have the faintest idea that what I was laughing about is the thought I ever even liked him!!!).
What I have realised is that you can't put new wine in an old bottle, clean clothes on sweaty arm-pits. You have gotta move on, and stay truthful to who you are.

Sunday, July 22

Spot the Difference...

A taste of my "old life" - The view from my bedroom on Tuesday 17th July 2007 at 12.29 pm.

Saturday, 21st July 2007 12.29 pm...what was in front of my eyes just yesterday...38°c..sunshine...the beach...crystal clear waters...ahhh!

... can you spot the difference?

Sunday, July 15


A dear friend wrote me these words recently: "Yeah blogs are great, I just wish mine would kind of update itself as I cant seem to find the time!! haha, but yours is excellent, we love reading it... for me it shows how you have changed and grown so much since I first met you, but how at the same time you always remain the same Ivonne we have always known and loved... the same but different, I guess most of us are like that!" I think that is such a beautiful yet truthful reflection. We change. It does not matter how old or young we are, we all change. It is so funny to look back at life. It is like when you get you hands on some old journals and fathom thoughts of old which now cause you hilarity. What's really funny is that, at the time you wrote those things you now laugh or cringe about, you actually used to believe them, they were you. I am reminded of a delightful love poem by Turkish contemporary author Nazim Hikmet; I have never read it's English translation so my translation from Italian will have to do..

"On this autumn night I am full of your words
Eternal words like time, like matter
Heavy words like a hand, sparkling like the stars
From your head, from your flesh
From your heart your words have reached me
Your words full of you, mother
Your words, love
Your words, friend
They were sad, bitter;
They were joyous, full of hope
They were courageous, heroic.
Your words, they were men."

I am also reminded of Kierkegaard when he expressed that "life can only be understood by looking back but only lived by looking forward" - words were never truer. There are times when things happen and you can only scream why. You are angry, outraged, in despair. People telling you that is going to get better suddenly become unsympathetic enemies. No-one understands. Six months ago, I was ready to give up, to run away, to hide, disappear because the pain was too much to bear. Everything I ever loved, everything I ever wanted was being taken away from me. My safe mansion was becoming a sand castle blowing in the wind before my very eyes and it hurt. You sing songs of despair, pull your hair out, find yourself crashing on the kitchen floor, sobbing, in the middle of a working day..No strength to look at yourself in the mirror, no real urge to get out of bed in the mornings..sadness being your daily bread. Then you look back - this time a content sweet smile crowns your relaxed face. Outside is raining in the middle of July, but your heart is pounding with excitement. Excitement for possibility. Faith: being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Jolene, originally interpreted by the lady at the top of the page, Ms Dolly Parlton, was majestically interpreted by the White Stripes (material to give you goose-bumps guaranteed). That song at one point became my song of despare, painfully encompassing my suffering (even if on different and diverse levels). Now it is the wonderful Jolene by Ray LaMontagne that, together with "Chicago" by Sufjan Stevens, accompany me on a journey of re-discovery, beauty, love. Here is one for you, my dear readers.

Saturday, July 14

Public Service Announcement

I am currently out of office and unexpectedly surrounded by a myriad of cardboard boxes.Please leave a message after the tone - will be back as soon as I manage to surface again!!! - 4 days to the big day.

Tuesday, July 10

A Better Way?

On Sunday night I briefly scanned through a couple of channels. On "Come Dine With Me" there was a vegan contestant who challenged a carnivore contestant to take up a vegan way of eating and life style. It was so compelling: I mean, the guy obviously fancied the red-head-vegan lady,but it was incredible to witness to a blatant example of positive peer-pressure. You see, the guy was astounded to hear for the first time in his life about animal cruelty, vegan cuisine, Mr McDonald's destroying acres and acres of valuable forests to create green pastures for his soon-to-slaughter cattle..not to mention the farmer's families who, for little money's gain, are forced to flee the countryside, populate the already over-crowded cities to become then unemployed, unresourced, under-skilled and often homeless, in need of aid. Oh, and don't come and blame him when your house gets flooded in the middle of July.. I must say I never was a big meat-eater (blame it on my grandma chasing me around the place in an attempt to force-feed me cow's brain and lamb's liver..) There are still stories being told about me, aged 7, sitting around the dining table, opposite a solitary sole for over two and a half hours. Going into my teen-age years I chose I would become a vegetarian..experience which lasted a mere two years, led me into anorexia and amplified my issues on control. Things then begun to pick up when I realised that all is good in moderation. I would love to share embarrassing pictures of me at a Carnivore dinner at a renown carvery in Nairobi, Kenya, where I scoffed off the equivalent of half the Kenyan fauna. On my healthier days, I am a very conscientious eater. Like you have heard me ranting about a few days back, I try really hard to lead a good and righteous life - I would feel hypocritical and discontent if I had it any different. However, I often consider whether I should be doing more to be truly ethical. Unlike other groups, vegans seem to live up to what they preach. I like that about them: they are integral. Last night I had a bit of a moment. As you all know by now I am cat sitting for my friends' hairy cat. On my way back from the gym I stopped by to feed Mr Cat. As I walked in I noticed an unidentified object on the floor. After a close inspection I discovered that my worst fears had met their day: it was a featherless baby chick, cruelly murdered by the assassin cat. Despite my notorious nick name, the wee Italian chick, and my celebrated fearlessness to blood, human disease and other nasty phoenomena, I have an unexplainable phobia of birds. I hate pigeons, I hate birds flying low, I feel squeamish eating chicken and please don't mention where the egg came from when I am eating it.. All this is giving me space for considerations.. Today I have submitted my proposal to make the Learning and Skills council a fair-trade/ more environmentally friendly institution. What if veganism was the next step? We'll see.

Friday, July 6

Gimme the Week-End! (I've got a whole week to get over!!!)

Hey, Folks! It's ten to five on a gloomy Friday afternoon! I sooooooooo wanna go home and sleep but, hang on, I haven't got a bed and the house I am house-sitting at the moment is infested by evil cat hairs...no rest for the wicked!?! (sorry, I am incredibly sleep deprived, need a break!) and guess what the weather forecast for the next week is? Rain and more rain! Have a lovely week-end, xx

Thursday, July 5

Freedom Is...

When my mom and dad first started dating in the late 1970's, they used to write each other cards representing a semi-naked chubby character (cupid-like) who made statements such as "love is.." (Nothing kinky relax - I promise I will scan some of them in as soon as I get back home). Must admit it was a bit of a shock when, age 9, I found those cards in a box at the bottom of mommy's wardrobe (not to mention my dad's personal journals...) - do you think one goes to hell for nosing into their parents journals?! Anyway. All this just to explain the title of my post! Also it has just occurred to me that writing kinda runs in the family.I wish I could say "we don't talk much", hence we write, but that would be a blatant lie. What can I say: we are just a communicative type of family, that's all... This morning I was reading the Metro on my way to work. In front page an article about Alan Johnston, the BBC journalist freed after being held by Palestinian militants for 114 days. On being free he rather articulately stated, "You want to do everything at the same time, to read books and papers, go to the movies, beach and sit in the sun, and eat and talk and all the rest of it." But is that really what freedom means? I am intrigued. Karen recently introduced me to a new American slang expression, "to check one's vitals",to check your email, myspace, facebook, blog, and/or any daily essential websites. Check your vitals. For example: "Get off the computer, whore. I need to check my vitals." "Hey, wanna go get something to eat?Sure, but lemme finish checkin' my vitals first." I mean how free can one truly be when the indication of their freedom is judged against their ability to possess a certain knowledge, communicate interactively, access the right facilities. The idiotic former Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, once stated, with regards to the "War on Terrorism" that the Eastern world is an uncivilized world. He is an idiot and there is no doubt about that, however, how often are many of us guilty of considering, more or less consciously, non-Western civilizations less erudite, cultured and, let's face it, 'civilized'? In Italy we have this Encyclopedia called "Treccani" - the whole collection costs an average of £20K (that's, of course, without the dictionary and the additional supplements..) I know because my dad very generously bought me the whole thing when I was about 12. Along goes the opinion that if you don't have one of those, you are a nobody. What?! That's outrageous, isn't it? What about those who use the public library? (after all the fact that you possess an encyclopedia does not automatically imply that you read it) Moreover, who decided what "civilized", "cultured", "hip" is? How free we really are if our lives are so much dictated by the gym we go to to get the body magazines impose us to have by eating/not eating the foods we are told are "good for us", listening to the music we are told to listen to, watch the movies we have heard about and read the books of the moment? I am sick of the package holidays. Sick of doing the things everybody else does without even questioning them. But, for all of my talk, I am caught up in this huge spiral deeper than I ever thought I could be. Make up, wax, scrubbing, moisturising, tonic, three liters of water per day, 5 portions of fruit/veg, exercise at least three times a week (anything less is sloppy), walk instead of taking the car, buy organic and fairtrade, take your own recycled bag to the supermarket, buy "Word" magazine once a month and, when no-one is watching, get "Glamour" too (just for the little free gift, of course), skinny-sugar-free-fat-free-heck-taste-free fairtrade drink...ENOUGH!


Courtesy of Mrs Karen Cool Daze, http://karennkool.blogspot.com/2007/07/what-hll-does-that-mean.htmlkool.blogspot.com/2007/07/what-hll-does-that-mean.html

Soooooooooo Funny!

Tuesday, July 3

Reaching for the Sun

Raaaaaaaaain..RaIn...rAin...and more RAin!!! Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! I am going mad!!! I keep on reminding myself there are only two weeks to go until my return to sunnier shores..THANK GOD!!!!

Monday, July 2

Yes, You're Pretty Good Looking (for a girl)

1959 is not only the year my mother was born in. My mother, in fact, shares her birthday with another modern blond icon, the Barbie doll. For all my feminism and strong sense of idealism, I used to love playing with barbies up to the age of 10. I had loads of them and I used to love to mimic their lives as independent career women who magisterially juggled life, work, family and relationships always looking pretty as a picture - invincible, strong, sensitive, intelligent, opinionated, outspoken and beautiful modern women... That is what I aspired to be for most of my childhood and adult life: intelligent, successful, beautiful, always with a smile on my lips and a kind word to say. I am not quite sure on whether I did succeed in that intent, but I can say with confidence that in life I have no regrets because I have always given it my best and my all. Another thing that I am sure of is that I am not cut for fitting into the stereotype of a barbie doll : dumb, hare-brained, hollow and blond. Quite frankly, I am nothing like that and I will never be (not even for the love of a man). Maybe I am the only person who has ever felt like that - I don't expect everyone to understand - but it frustrates the life out of me (strictly speaking) when a. some women allow themselves to be considered as silly barbie girls, mere fashion accessories beside a weak man who expects to look better, cleverer, more macho beside a woman who is only good to look at, talk at, use. b. Men who, for all of their talk, are truly insecure, manipulative, gutless idiots who haven't got the balls to stand up to intelligent members of the opposite sex?! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! That issue really bothers me. In the same hand though I can somehow understand why the postmodern Man may feel emasculated by his contemporary allegedly impeccable bionic women. As most of you know I have been living in Manchester for just over two years. Before I moved here little did I know about the vibrant homosexual community who predominates the city. I have said it before that my encounter with the Mancunian gay community has been a massive eye-opener for my rather traditionalist views. Especially amongst the gay women I noticed a high professionalism, stead-fastness, loyalty and strength at various levels in life. Amongst the gay women I also observed a great sense of loneliness, insecurity, weakness, confusion, disillusionment. Nonetheless, it is interesting to observe how most heterosexual men would judge those women: all they can see in them is their unfailing confidence, like as if they never had a moment of weakness, a care in the world. It takes a truly extraordinary man to love a confident woman and allow her to release the beauty and affection within.
*** The title of the post is the title of a song by The White Stripes***

Sunday, July 1

Life Is Beautiful

Meet beautiful baby Daniel Kenshi McKee born on June 29th,2007
My 24th Birthday
The Sinivirta family with gorgeous baby Saku Luucas, 15th June 2007