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012503_real_home_loan-1Ok, so the title of this post isn’t exactly positive.  Actually, my last few posts on here haven’t been positive, which is not normal for me.  I’m usually a really upbeat person, and even though life isn’t always sunshine and roses, I try to see the best in each situation.  And, well, I guess if you read through the posts, you will see that even on a bad date, I find ways to make it funny.  Or, when dealing with bad neighbors, I try to see the silver lining in starting the home buying process.  So that’s a good thing – turning a bad situation into something positive is still in keeping with the way I try to live my life.

Last Monday I had an appointment with a lender that a colleague of mine is using.  He absolutely loves this woman, and couldn’t speak more highly of her.  The list of documents that I needed to bring with me to the meeting was daunting, to say the least:

  • teaching credential
  • employment contract
  • 3 months of paystubs
  • 3 months of bank statements
  • 3 years of tax statements
  • 3 years of W-2 forms
  • rental agreement
  • social security card
  • passport

Whew!  I had to bring the teaching info because I was trying to get one of the special loans that my city offers to teachers.  I found an accordion divider that held everything perfectly, and was proud of how organized I was.  There was a slight moment (or hour) of panic when I couldn’t find my 2008 tax forms, until I realized that I e-filed last year, and had it all on the computer.  I tore my files and drawers apart looking for it, but hey, at least those are totally organized now.  LOL.

So I walked into the office very confidently on Monday, knowing that my credit score was good(ish) and that I had all of the necessary documentation with me. The office isn’t too far from school, and although they kept me waiting 15 minutes, I still felt good about the meeting.  CM greeted me and apologized for the delay, explaining that she had been out of the office a couple of days the week before, and was trying to catch up with everything.  Not a problem.

We headed to her office and began the process of filling out the loan application, reviewing my documents, and seeing what type of loan I could qualify for.  All of a sudden CM says, “girl, you make too much money!”  WTF?!  I have NEVER, EVER heard that phrase uttered regarding my income.  I’m a teacher, for God’s sake.  Is she nuts?  When I asked what she was talking about she said that I make too much money to qualify for the teacher home buyer loans.  How the heck is that possible?  Yes, I finally earn a decent salary, but I’m not making the top of the payscale yet.  Something seemed strange.  Then she mentioned that I also made too much to qualify for my city’s new home owner loans, as well.  ???  I had never heard that those programs were tied to money.  You’re either a first-time home buyer or you’re not, right?  What does money have to do with it?  Does  this mean that doctors and lawyers wouldn’t qualify either?  Because I can guarantee you that they make more than I do in the first few years of the profession.  Again, this info made me doubt her.

She did say that I could qualify for one type of loan offered through the teachers’ retirement system in California.  Ok, good.  They could give $55K, but it required that I had at least $3K of my own money.  Why?  I had already told her that my parent said they’d give me $10K if I really needed it.  When I asked if the money had to be my own, or if it could come from my parents, she said, “no, it has to be yours.”  When I asked her what difference it made, she said, “well, they’ll know if it came from your account or someone else’s.”  Really?  If it’s in my account, I think it’s mine, right?

Then we came to the part of the application where they were asking ethnicity. Her computer was set up in such a way that she had a screen that she could look at, but she had a 2nd screen that was facing me.  She began to check “Hispanic,” and I immediately corrected her saying, “I’m not Hispanic, I’m Italian.”  And she said, “well, maybe we should keep it as Hispanic, because you might get more money that way.”  I was FLABBERGASTED.  I told her that I wanted her to mark Caucasian, because that’s what I was.  I mean, here is the same woman who not 5 minutes before told me “they” would know if the money was mine or my parents’ yet she was now asking me to falsify my ethnicity to get more money?  Wouldn’t “they” also find out about that?  While we’re at it, why don’t we just put down “Native American,” since there’s probably even MORE money for them.  It’s ludicrous.

At that point she’d lost me.

She ran my credit, and the score was a lot lower than the one that I had run on myself.  I guess my car loan finally showed up, and at the beginning of any loan, it lowers your credit, until you establish a good payment record.  She said, “boy, I wish you’d talked to me before you bought that car because I would’ve stopped you.”  I told her that even if I had talked to her, I would’ve bought the car anyway, because my lease was up and I needed a new one. At that point I just wanted to see what the numbers said.

She  told me that I’d have to come with $20K of my own money and that I qualified for a $325K loan.  Now that may be a lot where you live, but in the Bay Area, that’s nothing.  Seriously, I can’t get a nice condo for that amount in any part of the city that I’d want to live in.  And I don’t want to downgrade where I live and find myself in an unsafe situation.  There are problems with where I live now, but at least it’s safe.  And I don’t own it, so there’s no long term commitment.  Plus, the mortgage payment would be $2100 (including $300 in HOA fees), which is a lot.  If I’m going to pay that much on a mortgage, I want to live in a really beautiful place.  After she told me this terrible news, she also said that because of my credit, I’d need to buy $13K in points to cover the closing costs.  Ok, so I have to come up with $33K of my own money on a $325K loan?  That’s 10%.  These days, people are putting 3% down.  Where are those loans?

I left her office telling her that I wanted to wait. That I didn’t have the kind of money she was talking about, and I needed to discuss all of this with my parents.  But really I just wanted to get out of her office.  She seemed so shady and I really wanted nothing more to do with her.  At all.

So here’s where I am: I’m going to stay here for the next several months and pretend that I’m paying $800 more in rent than I am.  I’m going to put that $800 in my savings account and save up some money.  Plus, it will mimic what my mortgage payment would be like, minus the HOA fees.  It will be good for me to see what my lifestyle will be like with that sort of mortgage payment.  I’ll be able to realistically see if I can really afford to buy something.  I know that by not buying this year I’m losing out on $8K in tax credits, but that’s the way it goes.  Maybe there will be a tax incentive next year, too.  And if not, so be it.  This is not the type of decision that I want to rush into.

By waiting for a while I’ll also be able to build up the credit a bit more, which will help with the amount a bank is willing to loan me.  I also want to consult a few other lenders/mortgage brokers to see if what this woman was telling me is accurate, or if she was out of her mind.  I want to make sure that I go to someone who is trustworthy and who has integrity, neither of which I felt in this woman.

They say that everything happens for a reason, and I think it’s better for me to wait right now.  I don’t want to move around the holidays.  Also, I just found out that I can’t get out of my 1-year lease, so I am stuck here until next October, unless I break the lease.  Which I’m totally willing to do, but I think I’d rather not have that added stress during the holidays either.

So, for now I’m still a renter.  Still dealing with noisy neighbors, but things have calmed down next door a bit, so I think I’ll be able to live with it, for now at least.

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I’m not sure if I mentioned it on this blog or not, but a couple of weeks ago, I signed up for eHarmony (again!).  Third time’s the charm, right?  I paid for a 6-month subscription because I figured that I should give it a good shot this time around.

This first dating update is actually about a date I went on with someone an acquaintance of mine set me up with, so he wasn’t someone I met through eHarmony.  Our mutual acquaintance thought that S and I had a lot in common, similar backgrounds, etc. and thought we’d really get along.  She asked us both if we were interested in meeting, and we connected through Facebook.

That was back in April.  S and I exchanged a couple of emails, but he never asked me out, even for coffee.  I wasn’t overly thrilled with the idea of going out with him because he wasn’t attractive to me, based on the pictures he had of himself on his profile.  Also, he and I have different political philosophies, which is a pretty important thing for me when looking for a serious relationship. At this point I should mention that the acquaintance thought we’d have lots in common because we both went to the same Catholic grammar school, were both Italian, and both had weight issues.  The stuff great romances are made of, right?  I seriously don’t know if I should be insulted or not, because this guy is definitely not what anyone would consider remotely good looking.  Which  may be completely superficial of me, but while I have a ton of weight to lose, I know that I’m a pretty girl, and I’m not as desperate as this acquaintance seems to think I am.

But, regardless of the misgivings I had, a couple of weeks ago, right after I signed up for eHarmony, actually, I decided to contact S one last time just to see if there was anything there.  I sent him a quick and very direct message on FB asking him if he was still interested in seeing whether or not our acquaintance was right in thinking that we’d have a lot in common.  He responded fairly quickly to say that he would love to, and suggested that we meet for lunch or coffee sometime.

We met on Tuesday at a Starbucks that was close to each of our houses, because Starbucks is such a safe first meeting place.  A cup of coffee can’t last that long, right?  Tuesday just so happened to be my first day of school, so I thought that I’d have a few funny stories to tell in case there was a lull in the conversation.  Little did I know that there was no need for me to worry about adding to the conversation.

No, it’s not what you might be thinking – that we had such great rapport that we didn’t have any lulls to worry about.  It was that S talked and talked and TALKED the entire time.  I’m talking literally for 1 hour straight!  And not about something that was interesting, but complaining about family politics, bragging about how much money they had, how he’d had weight loss surgery (but still needed to lose about 75 pounds), and then saying that he was glad he’d never finished his undergraduate degree because he didn’t even need it.  Um, hello?  I’m a teacher. Do you think I might put a value on education?  Instead of impressing me, he was a complete turnoff.  The entire time he was ranting and raving about himself and his family, I just kept wondering how long I’d have to keep this up. I didn’t really say anything the entire time we were having coffee, which is incredible if you know me, because I can talk to anyone about anything, but he simply never stopped talking long enough to give me a chance to share a thing.

Then, just when we were going to leave, he said, “say, do you want to grab a bite to eat at that restaurant right there?”  At this point I think that something took over my mind and body because I actually said, “sure, that would be great.”  WTF?  Why the hell did I just agree to spend more time with this self-involved bore?  What the heck was I thinking?  I’m convinced it was penance for some past indiscretion I’ve committed.

We made it through dinner (which was way more calories than I should have eaten, and is probably the reason the scale showed a 2-pound gain this week), but not before he started bragging about his mafia connections.  For some reason he thought it would be impressive to say, “you know, in a snap of a finger, I could ‘get rid of someone’ if I needed to.  I know who to call to get it taken care of and I know just where to put the body so that it would never be found.”  Way to smooze the ladies, S.  Puleeze.  The thing is, my family actually had some organized crime connections, although we don’t really discuss that too often, so it was hilarious to me that this guy was such a poser.  I can almost guarantee you that he didn’t know any local mafiosos, mostly because my family knows who they all are.  In any case, there was absolutely no point to him saying any of that, whatsoever!  Was I supposed to feel safe that he could have someone “taken care of?”  I’m still not sure what his point was.

Now, beyond his looks, it was truly his attitude that left me wishing I could click my heels 3 times and teleport myself out of the restaurant.  He was smug, fake, a braggart, and one of those people who make themselves feel better by putting other people down.  Such a sign of insecurity.

So, the date finally ended with a quick hug.  I told him to have a good night and he mentioned that he hoped to see me at an Italian festival that was happening this weekend.  Ugh.  So he was obviously hoping we’d see each other again. And why wouldn’t he?  I was a great listener!  LOL.

When he called on Saturday to see if I wanted to meet him at the festival, I let it go to voicemail and didn’t call him back.  Rude, I know.  I felt a bit guilty this morning, so I sent him an email through FB letting him know that I was really busy yesterday and didn’t have a chance to call him back or go to the festival.  Then I told him that while I thought we had a ton in common, I didn’t feel the chemistry was there.  He responded saying that he agreed about the chemistry (right, man, that’s why you invited me to go out with you again), but that he hoped we could be friends.  I haven’t replied.

It was definitely one of the worst first dates I’ve ever gone on, and I’m hoping that the next date (whenever that happens) will be much better now that I’ve gotten a bad one out of the way.  There’s only one way to go from here, right? 😉

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41T0kiR6-2L I just finished one of the best books I have read in a long time.  It’s called I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci.  I could relate to everything in this book – the bad dates/relationships, the love of cooking, the Italian-American (half Sicilian, mind you) culture – all of it.

The book is a combination smart chick-lit, recipe book.  The pairing works fantastically well, as do the menus she provides throughout the book.  Anyone who knows an Italian will tell you that one of the ways we show our love is through food.  The idea for the book was inspired.

Melucci’s style is a great mix of sarcastic, self-deprecating, and so, so humorous.  Her down-to-earth style reminds me a bit of myself.  This is the type of book I would have loved to have written.

The recipes in the book sound divine, and I’m definitely going to try many of them out.

I just found out that Giulia Melucci is going to be giving a book signing in SF on July 11th, and I’ve made plans to be there.

Here’s a little bit from the author, just to entice you:

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Last night I went to Bingo with my cousin FMG and 3 of her friends.  (FMG is actually my cousin’s cousin, but in Italian families, everyone who is even slightly related is considered family).  When FMG first asked me about going to bingo, I wondered what my social life had come to if I was going to spend Saturday “girls’ night out” in a room where the next youngest person would be more than 20 years older than me.  But then I said to myself, “it could be lots of fun, and who knows, you might even win some money?”

Plus, I love hanging out with FMG and knew that her friends would be a kick because that’s the type of people she attracts.  I wasn’t wrong.

I got to the bingo hall first, and was slightly disappointed with what I saw.  The entire room seemed to harken back to the days when you could buy a soda for 5 cents at the local Woolworths.  The people I saw were in sweats, at best, and I felt majorly overdressed in my jeans and nice top.  I felt completely out of my element, but got over it as soon as I saw FMG and her friends arrive.  They too had “dressed up” in jeans and nice tops, so we were the glamour queens for the evening, I guess.  (I know this makes me sound like a snob, and I’m ok with it).

We settled down at a table next to a group of older ladies who took bingo seriously.  I had no idea how much effort bingo takes.  We mistakenly purchased two books, each with 9 squares on them.  When they started calling out the numbers, it was more stressful than anything I’ve done in a long time.  The “caller” was whipping out numbers at a furious rate, and I couldn’t keep up.  It’s a lot harder than it seems to scan the sheets in search of B-10 or O-69.  Finally, I decided that I could only handle one book at a time, but even then, I couldn’t figure out the different configurations of bingo we were supposed to be aiming for.  A 6-pack?  A 3-way?  What kind of bingo game was this?  And any time we laughed loudly at ourselves we were quickly shushed by the ladies next to us.  I’m sure they thought we were “loud, obnoxious young people” every time we burst out laughing at our inability to follow the game.  They say that it’s good for older people to play crossword puzzles to keep their minds fresh, but I think bingo is the game that really helps keep them sharp.  I felt like such a dummy the entire night.

Then we discovered the magic that is Pull Tab Cards.  The cards are like lottery tickets, except instead of scratching them off, you pull the tabs (hence the name) to reveal whether or not you’ve won.  The odds are a lot better than with lottery tickets, as two of the girls I was with won $250 each just minutes after buying $20 worth of Pull Tabs.  !!!!  These Pull Tabs are addictive!  I had the same feeling I get when I play slot machines, that need to keep playing and spending with the hopes that the next Pull Tab was going to be the big winner.  Luckily, I only spent $40, which didn’t put too much of a strain on my budget.  I myself didn’t win big, but I did win enough to keep me getting more Pull Tabs all night long.  It was so fun!

We’ve decided that next time we go to bingo, and there WILL be a next time, we’re going to buy the electronic bingo machines and play Pull Tabs all night long.  We’re going to pool our money so that we increase the odds of winning.  The electronic bingo machines do all the work for you, all you have to do is hit “enter,” and if you’ve won that game, it will display ‘BINGO’ in big letters for you.  Easy-peasy.

I haven’t laughed that much in a long time, and it was so fun meeting some new people.  FMG’s friends were a riot, and I’m looking forward to hanging out with them again. And who knows?  With any luck, I’ll come home with a little extra money in my wallet.

This is just one small pile of the pull tabs

This is just one small pile of the pull tabs

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Last night I attended an Italian dinner dance at the Peninsula Italian American Social Club in San Mateo. My mom’s uncle is one of the longtime members of the club (for over 30 years), and he had purchased a table at the benefit. (The funds raised were going to benefit the Italian school (scoula) associated with the club).

When my mom first mentioned that I had been invited, I wondered what I was going to wear. I wasn’t sure how dressy the event was going to be, since my aunt said that people go in everything from pants to glitter. I found a really charming a-lined, 50’s-esque dress that was black lace over a black satin slip dress. It accentuated my waist, and flared out over my hips and butt, which is a perfect style for me. I paired it with pearls and red lipstick, completing what I thought of as the 50’s theme of the outfit. I got lots of compliment on the dress, and I just felt good wearing it. I love it when that happens.

We arrived at the club and I found that many of the people in attendance had dressed down, although everyone at our tables were dressed well. I mean, if you can’t dress up at a dinner dance, when can you? We made a night of it, and enjoyed the Mardi Gras theme.

The best part of the night was the dancing. They played a lot of old, Italian songs, including a few polkas. Who knew there were Italian polkas? I certainly didn’t. I danced with my cousin, a few girlfriends (for the faster, non-polka songs), and my dad. By far my dad was the best dance partner. We polka’d, we shimmied (to a 50’s tune no less!), and we danced. It was so much fun! I found myself laughing while we were on the dance floor from the pure joy of being with my dad and having such a great time. My dad is probably very sore this morning, since his dance card was full all night between my mom, me, and the aunts and cousins he danced with.

Another nice perk of the evening was that I knew many of the people there. My cousin, FavoriteCousin, had her own table, filled with many of the ladies who go to the dining out dinners. It was great knowing almost everyone at the table. A new face in the mix was a guy that FavoriteCousin knows, L. L was not only personable and talkative, but a really good looking guy. Hmmm… I have no idea if he’s single or not, but I would be very interested in finding out. I think he’s around my same age, and he had a lot of interesting things to say last night. Who knows if I’ll see him at an event in the future, but I hope so.

The night was so much fun, and filled with lots of new memories.

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I have been looking forward to this February break for longer than I can tell you (Ok, probably since we returned from the long weekend of Semester Break in late January). Things have been moving very quickly in my life, and I needed some time to just stop, relax, and get to all of the things that I’ve been putting off.

I want to savor each day of this vacation, and not let it slip by without feeling like I’ve truly enjoyed it. I’m kind of thinking of it as a practice-run for my summer vacation.

I know it’s only February and it seems silly to think about the summer now, but I’m really looking forward to taking the whole summer off.  It’s been years since I did that, and the one summer I did, I had a really short vacation – I finished up at one school in mid June, moved back home (from San Francisco), and started at a new school, which began in early August.  So really, I only had about 1 month off, and I spent a lot of it moving, setting things up, etc.  This summer the plan is to spend the days riding my bike, swimming at the pool at my parents’ townhouse complex, and reading books while lying in the sun.  Oh, and a few movies, I’m sure.  No stress, no pressure, just moving my body, getting healthy, and enjoying life.

But back to this February break.  The weather has been pretty awful – tons of rain (almost 3 inches in 2 days!), gray skies, cold, howling wind – not a lot of motivation to go out and make it a great day, if you know what I mean.  Which is good, because there are a lot of things for me to do in the house that I’ve been meaning to get to but haven’t had the time.

Some of my plans for the week:

  • Give the duplex a good, deep cleaning.  It’s been weeks since I’ve mopped the floors and it really shows.  Having a clean and organized apartment really helps me feel organized in my life, so this is a top priority.  In fact, I’m not going to do anything else today until I get this done.
  • Take a few long, luxurious baths with the new bath items I got from Hydra a few weeks ago with my sister.  My bathtub is rather shallow, and due to the fact that I’m rather large (ahem!), I don’t always think of taking baths because I can’t sink down and feel completely submerged in the water.  But I’ve decided that I’m not going to let that stop me from enjoying baths right now.  I can still get the aromatherapy benefits, the soft skin feeling, the bubbles.  So what if I’m not completely submerged in the water?  I can still enjoy it.  Plus, there’s nothing better than just letting all the stress go while you soak in a warm tub.
  • Get a pedicure. Originally I had planned on taking Neece to InSpa for her birthday gift (about a month late, but we’re busy women), but because the weather is so yucky right now, she said she’d rather wait and go when the weather was more flip-flop friendly.  I also told myself that I wasn’t going to get a pedicure until I hit my 5% with WW, and use it as a reward.  I haven’t gotten a pedicure in months, to safe money, and because it’s winter time, and I haven’t been showing off my toes anyway.  But I have an even coming up on Saturday, and I’m going to be wearing peep toe shoes, so I NEED a pedicure.
  • Hit the treadmill to start on my OYO (on your own) trainings for the half marathon.  I’ve been really bad about going on my own to do my practices, but I know that if I’m going to improve my time and my stamina, I have to get these OYO workouts in.  Plus, I haven’t listened to my iPod in a really long time (I’ve been doing a lot of at-home DVD workouts), so I’m going to look at it as a chance to listen to some great music for an hour while I improve my walking.
  • File taxes. Ugh.  This one is never a pleasure for me.  I did my taxes last weekend, and while I’m getting a small amount back from the federal government, I owe twice that amount to the state.  Dammit!  I really think that until I own a house (not sure when that will happen, if ever), I’m going to have to resign myself to the fact that I’m going to owe the state money each year.  I think I’m on some sort of hit list with them, ever since I owed taxes from my dot-com stock option days.  On the bright side, I don’t owe that much money, compared to previous years, so I guess that’s a blessing.
  • Add some pictures to the many frames I’ve bought. I have three really nice picture frames that I’ve purchased recently that have spaces for multiple pictures that still need to be filled.  I’m not sure what’s taking me so long add the pictures to the frames, but now that I have some time, I’m going to work on them this week.  Two of the frames are really cool shadow box types that have multiple layers; for those I want to use pictures that I took in Italy in 1995.  I have to make a trip to my parents’ attic to get them out, but it will be worth braving a little dust to make these picture frames finally look finished.
  • Spend some quality time with family and friends. Yesterday I got to see my sister and my nieces at my parents’ house, which was so fun.  My mom’s birthday is on Wednesday, and we all wanted to get together to give her our gift – tickets to see Wicked in SF and happy hour at a posh bar in the theatre district afterward.  My mom was thrilled with this gift, and I can’t wait.  We’re going to go March 29th.  My sister and I had seen Wicked before when it came to SF before it hit Broadway, and we loved it.  I know that the three of us are going to really have a ball that day.  I also have plans to hang out with a friend from high school whom I haven’t seen in almost 20 years.  We reconnected on Facebook (gotta love that site for those great connections), and have been meaning to get together.  She and her friends go to a local bar for karaoke on Thursday nights, and I keep telling her I’m going to join them.  Since they don’t get there until close to 10pm, I can’t go when it’s a “school night,” but since I have Friday off this week, I can definitely make it this Thursday.
  • Enjoy a good book, or two, and maybe a few of the magazines I have backlogged. I’m an avid reader, but I find myself in the familiar situation of having lots of magazines on the rack that haven’t been read.  I also have a few library books that are about to be overdue that I want to finish before I return.  I want to carve out a few hours (maybe later today or tomorrow), to sit and enjoy some quiet reading time.  I’ll make sure to update my GoodReads page so you can keep up, if you’re interested.
  • A bit of school work. A week before the break, I gave an assignment to my at-level juniors to write a “tall tale” in the vein of Mark Twain.  I asked them to use several comic devices in their writing.  They had a really fun time coming up with outlandish scenarios, so I’m looking forward to reading these.  The smart thing I did was make it a group assignment, so rather than having 35 stories to read, I only have about 15 or so.  I also have to write a syllubus for a “summer school after school” class I’m going to be teaching when school resumes.  It’s actually really cool curriculum that I’ve used with my juniors, so it should be an easy class to teach.  I decided to take on this extra assignment because I’m adamant about not working this summer (see above), but I want to make sure I have some extra money for a down payment on a new (to me) car.  My lease is up in August, so I’ll be car shopping.  I’m getting $2900 (before taxes) for 60 hours of work, which is a little over $48/hour – not too shabby.  Plus, because this class is geared towards seniors who have failed the first semester of English but need it to graduate, the kids should be very motivated to pass.  All in all, not much work to do, which is so different than February breaks in the past.
  • Attend an old-school Italian Dinner Dance. This one should be a blast.  My mom’s aunt & uncle belong to several Italian associations in San Francisco, and often buy whole tables for different fundraising events.  This Saturday one of their organizations is throwing a dinner/dance and we’ve all been invited.  I bought a really pretty party dress (I’ll post pictures later) and can’t wait to get all dolled up for the event.  I have a feeling there won’t be too many people my age at this party, but I don’t mind filling my dance card with dances with my dad, great uncle, and cousin (among the other gentlemen who might be there).  It should be a lot of fun, and it’s something I haven’t done before, so I’m looking forward to it.
  • Watch the Oscars! I love the Oscars – the gowns, the accolades for fine film making, the gossip – it’s always a fun event.  Once when I was living in SF, one of my friends threw a fabulous Oscar Party and it was so much fun.  In recent years, I’ve watched the Oscars at home by myself, which is also fine by me.  This year, I’m going to my parents’ house to watch it with them.  I’m hoping that maybe next year I’ll be able to have a little Oscar party at my house – I love getting together with friends, good food,  and strong drinks while dishing about the show.  Sounds like a plan in the making, right?

So there you have it, lots of plans for a great week off.  I’d better get started if I’m going to get it all done!!

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FavoriteCousin invited me to a show coming up in September at Bimbo’s in SF. I was intrigued by the performer – Carmen Consoli – who is a Sicilian singing sensation. Apparently she’s won a lot of Italian MTV awards, as well as their version of the Grammys.

I love going to shows at Bimbo’s and even though I don’t understand Italian, I love this woman’s voice, so I’m looking forward to the show.

I’m trying to convince LC to go, because she could actually understand the words to the songs. It’s hard for her to go to a weeknight show, with the kids and work and everything, so I decided to entice her a bit. I bought three of Carmen Consoli’s albums from iTunes, burned copies, and sent them to LC in the mail. Hopefully she’ll love her voice so much that she’ll agree to go to the show. See, I’m good at persuasion.

I think Carmen’s voice sounds like Natalie Merchant on some of the songs. There’s a haunting quality to it. Very beautiful. Or as my Sicilian relatives would say, “beda.”

See what you think for yourself: The song is called “Eco di sirene.” It’s a bit more “pop” than some of the songs I really love that she sings, but I love how she looks in this live clip.

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