Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sunlight Glows

Sunlight Glows
Originally uploaded by Catcher In My Eye
A Cottonwood tree glows in the morning sun next to our Oklahoma pond... a contrast to the Olive trees in Southern Italy...

Monday, August 9, 2010


Originally uploaded by Catcher In My Eye
I posted this a year ago on my flickr in a set, titled "Oh, The Places you Will Go". I took a few dozen of my favorite grandkid photos and turned them to black & white photos and borrowed Dr. Seuss quotes to caption my photos.
This photo was taken just hours after these 2 families of grandkids got together for the first time that THEY remember. Their ages spanned between 2&4.
The two dark haired grandkids were born and live in Italy. My two little blond grand boys live here in Oklahoma.
I am looking forward to us all getting together again in September and introducing new baby Maddy to her OKIE cousins!
As the kids did sat down to eat together for the first time at my new little table and chairs brought special just for the 4 of them, they did remember to stop and pray together.
I Am Thankful that their parents have raised them all to pray and to be THANKFUL that God has blessed us with a loving family.
I, too, am THANKFUL for a loving family.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Originally uploaded by Catcher In My Eye
This is another remembered favorite moment that I captured last year when all four grandkids got together for the first time. I took this at at train depot as all the kids sat on a baggage cart. The 2,3 and 4 yr. olds had a great time playing together! Great taste of what is to come! :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Smallest Bundle of Laundry

I noticed today that this adorable little bundle sleeping in a washtub has had 915 views!
I can't wait to see my newest grand daughter in a few weeks on her first trip to America!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Old Fashioned Fun

Old Fashioned Fun
Originally uploaded by Catcher In My Eye
I wonder if we will still be having a Farmer's Market in September?
Is there anything better that 4 grandkids eating honeysticks together?
Maybe!? I bet Grandchild #5 will like honeysticks this year with her cousins!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Salute The Italian Pizza!

On a trip to visit my daughter and her family on an Italian Air Force base, we were introduced to the Italian National Anthem for the first time. Many evenings we walked to the military base pizzeria around sundown for dinner. Coincidentally, on more than one occasion, about the time that the pizza was put on our table, the Italian National Anthem would blast from the military base broadcasting system.

One evening on a walk we decided to take the kids to see the lowering of the flag ceremony. Our three and four year old grandkids clapped their hands and cheered as the uniformed soldiers marched to the flagpole and lowered the Italian flag. Military jets happened to fly over, making it even more patriotic. The Air Force pilots saluted and proceeded to fold the flag. As on cue the National Anthem, FRATELLI D' ITALIA began to broadcast over the military base sound system. 

The uniformed military men procession turned away from the flagpole and began to march away. All of a sudden my two-year-old grandson, waved his arms in the air and yelled, "Come back! The Pizza is ready!" We all looked at the three year old questionably as he explained, "You have to go to the pizzeria now, the PIZZA SONG is over and the pizza is on the table!"

When I am in a foreign country, I am sure to obey the "No Cameras Allowed" rule. It was posted on a sign at the entrance of the military base that cameras were not allowed. For that reason I did not have a camera on me during the flag lowering ceremony that I wrote about.
 I chose these favorite photos of the first time my husband and I
visited an Italian military base with the grandkids and it was allowed to stroll and take photos. I had brought the kids Air Force pilot uniforms to dress-up in. The kids chose to wear the flight suits on that hot summer day as we toured the AF base."Poppy" holds our Grandson as the kids pose for their Gram to take their pictures.

A real Italian Pizza!

Be sure to click on this link to hear, THE PIZZA SONG! :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Family Legend

An old school friend recently found me on Facebook and after reading my profile and seeing my photos asked, “What is your connection between doing genealogy and the Italian Military?” I will try to answer that question.  
Yes, I do major genealogy work on all my family lines. I have gone back as far as the 1400’s on a couple of our family branches. I researched as far back as Earls & Dukes and royal bloodlines using only encyclopedias, before there was the internet! I followed family trees back to the Tudors and then read every book I could find afterwards to back my findings. I wrote letters to many government offices both in the US and in Italy and obtained all the needed birth, marriage and death certificates to claim our surname ancestry. I earned my family as well as myself, Italian citizenship for my hard work endeavors. It was quite the feeling of accomplishment to secure foreign citizenship thru genealogy. I was born with the desire to research and find my ancestors. So, when I married into my Italian family, I wanted to know not only bloodlines but who the ancestors were....
This is a story that ONLY close family members know. I live under cover as a photography enthusiast surrounding myself with flowers from my gardens and wild songbirds… usually I have a half-dozen German Shepherds protecting me at all times… my dogs bring me great comfort.
I found recently hidden in a long-lost, un-tagged web-blog: “HELP-WANTED! DO YOU KNOW THIS PERSON?” It read; ”Do you know this Italian Princess? " I had discovered that I was the sole, lost heiress of a Sicilian cannoli boss, that made his money under the guise of THE VIVONNI CANNOLI, The Best Sicilian Pasticceria (bakery) and Cannoli boss in all of Sicily! The bakery boss, Francesco Vivonni, made BIG Tube Cannoli vs. the small standard size tube desserts, so giving him the nick-name, (you guessed it) “The Grande Vivonni Cannoli!” After I married the Trapani's great-great grandson, Rossi Vivonni, the Italian intelligence sent out an agent to find me. The undercover agent was named CarloPier. He pretended to love my daughter, just to get to me! He married her at a big Italian wedding in our Oklahoma backyard! He took her away, where they had 3 little bambinos just so that I would come to Italy and visit them and hopefully claim my inheritance from the cannoli boss and continue the family business of The VIVONNI CANNOLI Pasticceria!
But alas, I could not leave my family here in the U.S. scattered about like overcooked penne pasta in Oklahoma & Arkansas... I am content living my life happily as a wife, mother and gram in OK/USA, (but with a constant craving for cappuccino & cannoli ! : ) 
In my blood, I believe there is a true connection between myself and England's royal bloodline still waiting to be proved. My genealogy endeavors will continue in many directions and I plan to travel to the places that my soul longs to see.
When I travel to Italy to visit my daughter’s family, living hidden away, behind a high wall of protection in the boot-heel of Italy, I watch from her many balconies the Italian Military jets fly over and wonder if they see me too?
But alas... I live disguised as an American tourist with a camera, a journal and a pen and a royal imagination! :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Don't AIR Your Dirty Laundry In Italy

After one of my daughters became engaged to an Italian AF pilot during his training in the U.S., she and I traveled to Italy for an extended stay. My husband and I wanted to get a comfort level for the lifestyle change our daughter was about to experience in Italy. Italian homemaking would mean living a culture that was less dependent on household conveniences such as a dishwasher, microwave or a clothes dryer. We found an apartment to rent in a small town close to her fiancĂ©’s base. Learning to use the wash machine to do our laundry was easy enough but drying our clothes meant hanging our wet garments on a drying-rack on the balcony. We didn’t like the idea of our new Italian neighbors seeing our “unmentionables” so we hung them to the back of the drying-rack. On one of our morning strolls to the open market, as we got to the main street we both gasped at the sight that blocked our path. There in the middle of the sidewalk, framed by her doorway was an old woman, seated in a dining room chair. Above her hung a clothes-pinned line with big white GRANNY UNDERWEAR waving like a billowing banner in the breeze! We had to assume that MODESTY had been thrown out like dirty wash water and that the saying, “don’t air your dirty, or CLEAN laundry in public,” was not relevant in Italy!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Visitor

I discovered a Cedar Waxwing bird on my screened-in back porch Friday afternoon. I was picking up the yard after this weeks Oklahoma storms. Rescuing the bird forced me into a much needed break and to take a breather as well as a seat. The Cedar Waxwing, being a favorite bird species of mine, made the challenge more appealing then rescuing a Crow or Starling (though they are God's dear creatures too). The beautiful little wild bird seemed eager for companionship as it flew from clutching a window screen above me, to perch instead on the back of a chair opposite me. He didn't seem to want the water and bird seed I gently offered but it did intently watch me prepare its bird snack and showed polite interest. After the muted watchfulness and calming sit, as if we were in a front room parlor, it seemed to know that I was not a threat . After awhile it flew to the cluttered end of the porch and perched on a package of replacement window screens. Without making quick movements, I picked up the porch broom that was standing within my arms reach and offered the broom handle to it to step-on to. He cocked his little head as if to say, 'is this what you mean for me to do?' To my delight, the wild bird took that LEAP Of FAITH step onto the broom handle. I slowly stepped and backed down the planked-wood porch and then slowly, very slowly, pointed the broom handle towards the propped open doorway. To my delight, it didn't fly away immediately even when an Oklahoma breeze blew through. Instead, it cocked it's little head as if to say, "I too will remember this day.' And then it faced the sun and flew off the yellow broomstick towards my Elm trees in my far back yard.  
From now on, whenever I see a flock of Cedar Waxwings, I will look and wonder, "is there ONE Cedar Waxwing that is looking fondly back at me too?"
And for the rest of the story ... you ask, WHO took these pictures? 
I did! :) 
I just happened to have my camera around my neck, as I picked up sticks in the yard, to take flower photos. I used my right hand to carry the broom and my left hand to awkwardly take pictures, not knowing if I had the camera pointed or even focused on the bird! But I did. Otherwise, I don't know that anyone would ever believe my story of rescuing this little Cedar Waxwing bird off my screened-in back porch. :)
By Deb V.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hump Day Frivolities

 Unplanned events for a day are sometimes better as then there are no great expectations...
Being Irish through my Mom's roots (I don't mean the dark kind that you have to color), I always wear green on St. Paddy's Day as well as cook corned beef & cabbage and drink Guinness beer. With these things in mind, I began my day yesterday like any other weekday.
For the past few years, my daughter, Natalie, has been my side kick to find lunch in a pub or go to local town festivities. You could say that she and I are both full of blarney and both of us carry the gene for a wee bit of  Irish mischief. Costumed in green beads and green silly hats I have always enjoyed for a day boasting our Irish pride together.  As March has turned into a busy month for our family with changes-to-come happening everyday, Natalie and I had both agreed to make plans later in the day...
As the TODAY SHOW entertained me with the Irish RIVER DANCERS, I, still dressed in my flannel pajamas, comfy robe and a scraggly ponytail, stopped in front of our big screen TV and joined in with the RIVER DANCERS as if I was part of their dancing line!  I jumped up and down and kicked-up my crew-socked clad toes, leaving out the twirling part of the dance so that I wouldn't miss a step as I participated too!  I lasted most of the lively tune feeling quite happy about the work-out.
As NO ONE in their right mind would ever admit to these things that we do when we think we are alone and that no one is watching, there is a point to my admitting to my self indulgent entertainment!
Most of you have been to our home and seen my beautiful hand-made front doors. The carpenter that my talented husband is, constructed our double doors with five foot glass inserts so that I could face the day each morn and greet the sunshine (my words, not his :)  The windows are covered with roman shades and like clock-work each morn I walk around our home and open each and every window shade to let in the morning sun in.
As I applauded for myself right along with the TODAY SHOW "Live" in Time Square audience,  I finished the Irish jig,  turned to pick up my laundry basket of clothes to be folded and then dropped the basket to the floor again as I spotted my little, Fed EX delivery man standing embarrassed at my front doors, clip board and package in hand!
A real Irish wench might have roared with laughter and asked if he wanted to join-in with my gaiety but flustered and embarrassed, I just held out my hand for the clip board and said nothing. I signed for the package and he handed me the envelope without saying a word.  I closed the door as he got back in his truck and watched as he backed out of our driveway. As he steered to face the road and saw me still petrified standing at my windowed door, he honked and waved with a huge grin on his face and I motioned a wave back, shocked back to reality and laughed too!
 I puddered around finishing my morning chores, and found my CELTIC WOMEN cd's and sang right along with my Irish kinfolk as well as toe tapped to the lively music not afraid of who might see me next!
Strangers may have thought me a crazy Irish lush but hopefully my kind, shy delivery man was reminded of the awkward moment many times during his day and enjoyed an occasional giggle at my expense as he worked.
I was happily surprised late afternoon by a invitation to eat dinner with Natalie, Keith and the boys at our new nearby LOUIE'S GRILL. Natalie and I enjoyed a BEVERAGE  that was as green as lime kool-aid but colder and a lot more stout! I enjoyed the company of two grandsons that sat on either side of me sharing french fries.  I surprised them by pulling out of my 'Gram's Bag' new critter boxes for each with neon green plastic snakes encaptured and I told them the story of a preacher man named St. Patrick that prayed the snakes out of Ireland a long time ago. This was just the perfect toy for a two and four year old boy to play with at the table as we waited for our dinner.
David surprised me with a "RAINMAN" moment  guarding the known number of french fries in his corn-dog basket and 2 year old Drew amazed me as he played with a toy laptop recognizing all his alphabet letters while man- handling my fingers to punch the correct letter in his game. I left happy from the fun as well as giddy from my green Irish Stout!
An every day hump-day Wednesday, turned out to be full of surprises and well worth kicking up my heels for! :)