One of my best friends in the whole world is having a baby. Just four years ago we were listening to Portuguese marching bands and hopping random trains to Amsterdam, and now we’re both going to be parents. Crap. I fear for the future.

With the help of the wonderful Kristi Kay and my gorgeous mother-in-law, I threw a ducky themed baby shower (based off this shower on Hostess with the Mostess) for my dear Abbie this past weekend. After the guests had left, I took some quick photos of Abbs with her big ole belly. Taking pictures at events like these always makes me yearn for a new lens. One that possibly doesn’t suck and that can actually handle high exposure. The grass is always greener, I suppose.

For the entire set, click here.

This is a post about Anna Banana

Sitting on the steps of the duomo in Florence, waiting to for the rest of the group to arrive. Not realizing that this was the most amazing meeting place on the planet.

Il Duomo at Night

The train ride through Tuscany to the beach.

Anna al Lago di Garda

That first night in Florence, when we went for a walk in the rain and two young, Italian guys in full suits ran by us, stopped and said “che bellissima” and kept running.

Anna Waits Patiently

Throwing up outside of bars and being called idiot americans.

Our Last Thursday

Our matching tube tops.

Professore Mario

You teaching me about art.

The Baptistry Ceiling

The bartender at Dolce Vita that turned out to be extremely short and hid it by standing on a platform behind the bar.

On the Way to Cooking Class


A Windy Evening

Riding home on the back of mopeds in the middle of the night.

Atop San Michaelangelo

Trips to the market to buy expensive beer because we missed home.

Il Centro

Trips to the cigarette machine down the street.

Bad Italian Habit

Smoking on the balcony overlooking the city with our fashion school roommates.

Bella Anna

I miss you, Anna Banana. Happy birthday. I hope Japan is as wonderful as Italy. And I hope you’ve found everything you were looking for.

Remember when I gained 25lbs in 3 months?

You should, it was well documented on this site. I was in Italy and afraid I would never again get the chance to eat gelato with reckless abandon, so I ate 3 delicious ice cream treats each day to make up for it. And I ballooned. It was truly frightening.

Since then, I’ve “tried” to be a little better about my obession with sweets, ice cream in particular. I’ve cut down quite a bit, I think. My husband would disagree. But he also owns a Quake t-shirt and used to attend LAN “parties” in old warehouses, so, really, who is he to question me?

So yesterday, when I checked my work email in Iowa and saw that we were having an ice cream social at my work (yes, I work at one of those places that has random ice cream socials), I didn’t curse or scream or throw a fit because I was out of the office. But when I got in today and received an email about how there was leftover ice cream in the upstairs kitchen, I tried to stay away. I succeeded until about 8:30 a.m. Then I ate this:

Stomach Ache

And now, I may vomit.


I just got off the phone with a friend of mine from Italy (Hi Anna Banana!)who had been surfing my site at work. She said she had been looking at my pictures from last summer and she got extremely emotional and just wanted to hear my voice. I could only talk for a few moments (work calls unfortunately), but I understood exactly where she was coming from.

It’s strange to live in a place where reality is really a fantasy. Where you’re living a life that will only be yours for a short time. Time seems to stand quietly, letting you believe that this fantasy life is truly yours. Only to sneak up on you and snatch it all away in one quick (well, not exactly quick) plane ride. Then your dropped back into whatever mess you’ve left behind. All of the problems and fears you had run off to escape are right in your face again, and it’s a test to see if you’re strong enough to handle them.

When I returned from Italy, I didn’t think I was strong enough. In fact, I thought my life was over. I wasn’t sure I could fix all of the things I’d screwed up. I wanted to go back to Italy, where things were ‘easy.’ I was depressed, lonely and deeply afraid that my life was crashing down around me.

Today, one year after my Italian summer, things are very different. I’ve gone through so many changes resulting from that trip and my subsequent return to life as I know it. But yesterday, I realized something. It hit me several times during the day. As I ordered Mexican food to feed my hangover. As I snuggled up to Trent to take an early afternoon nap. As I was covered from head to toe in 4-year-olds who felt I was a human jungle gym. As I went to a movie I’d been wanting to see with a group of friends. And as I drove home from that movie with a cool summer storm enveloping my car. Steam rising from the roads. A new CD blared. And I thought, “Holy shit, I’m happy. I’m truly, deeply, strangely happy.”

That’s what came from all of that fear. I faced it. I was actually strong enough. I still can’t believe it. I have no idea how I got here. But I’m here. That’s what counts. Now I can look back at those pictures from last summer and smile. And miss those times. Those people. That life. But I’m not sad. And I don’t have regrets. I’m happy right where I am. So. Very. Strange.


I’ve had a few requests for more pictures and less jibber jabber on this site. Apparently I’m neither witty nor humorous. Or maybe people are just Paris Hilton whores who like to see pics of themselves online. So here are a few more pics to tide you all over. Of course, non really have people in them. But plants! And food! Ohh..ahhh….

My Herb Garden Pre-Death

Sadly, these beauties are no longer with us…

Bruchetta from the Italian cooking bonanza (honestly, I didn’t have much to do with them, but I thought they were yummy looking).

My Contribution to the Italian Cooking Party. Cheese and meats. Organized on a dish. Notice how its not very attractive. That was my special touch.

Stuffed Peppers alla Maria Pia, the greatest cook alive!

Rabbit ears on our TV because we refuse to pay for cable. Doesn’t it look snazzy with all the high tech sound equipment. I thought Trent was going to cry. I’m evil. I know.

OK, and for anyone who had the patience to look through all of these, I’ve uploaded some more Italy pics. Click here if you want to check it out. If not, I suppose I can deal with that.

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