Another first.

Her first word was “button” (referring to those little things on a computer, not what helps you fasten a coat).

lulu walking

Her first steps were at Parc Georges Bressens  right outside our flat in Paris.


Her first day of elementary school was this September here in Arezzo, Italy. And now, Lulu has achieved the latest milestone in her life – getting her ears pierced!

Our daughter has been asking (otherwise known as clamoring, begging and cajoling) for the past year  – ever since her friend Cassandra got her own ears pierced.

Lulu and Cassie. Two girls with four pierced ears.

Since we’ve been living in Tuscany for the past two and a half years now, I really don’t know what all the  little girls in the United States are up to.  But here in Italy, while It’s not quite the tradition to get their ears pierced in infancy like some countries,  it’s no big deal for very young girls to be sporting small post earrings in their little lobes.  Probably, it’s great training for the long swinging chandelier earrings many of these girls will wear when they grow up to be fashion-conscious Italian belle donne!

Ma certo!  Italian ladies do like these earrrings!
Ma certo! Italian ladies do like these earrrings!

And so, finally, as a present for Lulu’s sixth birthday – which was officially yesterday – we walked down the Corso Italia to a nearby Gioielli (jewelry) shop for the momentous occasion.

Daddy and Lulu walking to the jewelry shop..
Daddy and Lulu walking to the jewelry shop..

I had already inquired about the process with  the charming older couple who run the shop.  They assured me everything was sterile and “pharmaceutical.”   Meno male (thank goodness),” I thought.

Lulu picks out her earrings from the shop's selection
Lulu picks out her earrings from the shop’s selection

The wife drew little dots on Lulu’s soft pink ears and her husband prepared the dart gun.  (What do you call it exactly?)


THOOP! The first teeny brilliant sparkly flower-shaped earring was in! Lulu shuddered and her eyes opened wide.


“Did that hurt?” I asked.

Un poco (a little),”  Lulu stiffly replied.

What our kind shopkeepers hadn’t explained to us -and what I hadn’t imagined – is the time it takes to load up the next dart gun can also become a time for the child victim, er customer, to reflect upon the pain.

Will she agree to the second hole?
Will she agree to the second hole?

“Sometimes the little girls decide not to get the second one done,”   the shop owner told me as he took the next earring shooter out of its plastic case.

“Uhm, Lulu,” I started, wondering how this would turn out, “are you okay to have the second one shot in?”

“Yes, of course!” Lulu looked at me as if I were crazy.  This kid had been asking to have earrings for the past year and she wasn’t about to stop at just one.

“Meno male,”  I thought.

And, then, with another quick THOOP!  it was all over.  Lulu had two little shiny flowers in her ears and we had experienced another first in her young life.

Ta-dah!  Another milestone achieved.
Ta-dah! Another milestone achieved.

Happy birthday, Lulu.

Happy birthday, Lulu!
Happy birthday, Lulu!

Although I confess I have the cartilage of my left ear as well as my belly button pierced (shh!), but – with the all the tongues and noses and eyebrows out there, I am crossing my fingers that Lulu’s first piercing will be her last – at least for a few more years!

Tell me about a recent (or not so recent) milestone in your child’s life.  Do you feel that mixture of joy and pang like I do during each of the steps along their way…?

Till next time,




Till Death Us Do Part

Gracie arrives on stage, breathless, her arms full with a lovely bouquet.

GEORGE: “I like your flowers.”

GRACIE: “Thanks, they were your idea.”

GEORGE: “What do you mean?”

GRACIE: “Well, I went to the hospital today to visit Aunt Alice and you told me to take her flowers. So, when she wasn’t looking, I did.”

* * *

If you don’t already know, the “George and Gracie” featured in this dialogue were actual people:  comedy duo and real-life couple, George Burns and Gracie Allen who were American entertainment stars of Vaudeville, Radio and early Television.  Their partnership on-stage and off ran successfully for more than 40 years until Gracie’s untimely death from a heart attack in 1964.

George Burns and Gracie Allen
George Burns and Gracie Allen

George’s witty and droll set-ups and Gracie’s illogical and loveable punch-lines made the couple’s routines legendary.  If you’ve never seen them before, they live on – on YouTube.

Their brand of humor was so funny and endearing  it served as the starting point when my husband Scotty Walsh began preparing his final performance required to wrap up his Master of Fine Arts program here in Tuscany. (It’s this program that brought us to Italy, in case you didn’t know.)

So! Scotty conceptualized, wrote, directed and starred in a one-hour comedy magic show he titled, “MEET THE SILVERSTONES” – and, in a moment of inspiration or impulsiveness, he cast me as his on-stage partner!

The Show poster
The Show poster

Although we’ve been married for many years, this became the first time we ever actually worked together toward a performance.

It wasn’t always easy.

My husband is an artist. A perfectionist.  He looks at a draft of a script and sees a million different directions it can take.  He examines a prop or a bit of business and considers a myriad of subtleties.

Maybe because I worked for so many years in the fast-paced, deadline-driven world of TV News,  but I am a quintessential “thin-slicer.”  I go with my gut. I make quick decisions and never look back.

Needless to say, these two working styles sometimes resulted in the teensiest bits of tension during the two months that we worked together.

But last night’s first performance here in Arezzo before a standing-room only crowd, culminated in a wonderful evening.  The audience laughed in all the right places and the applause was heart-felt.

Tonight we have our second show and I think I can safely say, that while we may never become the next  Burns and Allen (although we did adapt their adorable “flowers” bit), we managed to work through our differences and create something to be proud of.

Scotty Walsh and Gina London - new comedy duo?
Scotty Walsh and Gina London – new comedy duo?

Thank you, Scotty, for this opportunity.  Another lesson that most things in life –take work.  And a little love and patience, too.

Have you ever worked with your spouse or partner? How did it go? Would you do it again? Do you still work with your spouse or partner?   How is it going? What do you do to make it work?  And it isn’t just working with loved ones that may prove challenging, is it?

Every work environment presents different styles, personalities and approaches.  What must you do to help make your next project a success?

Till then,


And P.S. When we get the video of the show back from our photographer, I’ll definitely post it for you!

Gratitude: A Good or Goofy thing?

One Thanksgiving Day, I asked everyone gathered around the table covered with turkey, wild rice stuffing, green bean casserole and both mashed and sweet potatoes, to say one thing they were thankful for.

Rockwell, Thanksgiving.jpg

“Awww, No.  C’mon.”

“This is cheesy.”

“Let’s just eat.”

Although I was met with immediate resistance, finally, reluctantly, my request was fulfilled and each person seated at the heaping table named one thing for which he or she was grateful.

But I wondered.

Why was giving thanks considered “cheesy?”


Was it the call for public declaration? Is it perceived as too soft or weak?  Is it embarrassing to utter thankfulness? What?

I don’t know. Maybe it was a combination of those things.

But, don’t worry.  You won’t have to interrupt your Thanksgiving meal – or if you’re not American, you won’t have to interrupt any meal, because I won’t be making this table-side request again.

Gratitude is personal and something you can only freely give.

I am in no way a perfect person, and admit there are times when I am grouchy and not at all grateful.  But right now, during November – when the US sets aside a day to give thanks – I would like to list just a few of the things for which I am thankful.

  1. Family – My daughter Lulu and my husband Scotty are here with me and I get to enjoy them  every day.  The rest of my family I see only occasionally through visits, Skype or their words on cards and letters. They all mean so much to me.??????????
  2. Italy – This wonderful country has welcomed us with open arms and given us a seemingly unending stream of enriching experiences including food, culture, music, language, and red wine!???????????????????????????????
  3. Friends – Italian, expat American, British, Romanian or Czech. You know who you are and I love each and every one of you!

    My friends are not limited to the "squadra" but I love these girls a lot!
    My friends are not limited to the “squadra” but I love these girls a lot!
  4. Clients – A job I love and clients who grow and become friends is truly a rich
  5. Health –  If you have your health, you have everything.

    healthy and happy!
    healthy and happy!

That’s only my top five. The list goes on and on.  Every ancient door I see in Arezzo‘s medieval town center.

Basilica San Francesco

A smile from a dog each time I pass by.

Before the smile..
Before the smile..

The sun on the duomo as I walk home in the afternoon.


In short: I am grateful for life!

And this month especially, I am not too shy or eager to dig in to the turkey (which is a few weeks away anyway), to let you all know!

With gratitude,


P.S. If it’s not too much trouble, tell me, what are you grateful for this Thanksgiving season?