Friday, October 31, 2014

Guest Poet: "One"


One cigarette never killed anyone
One drink never spiraled into an addiction
One cut never emptied a cardiovascular system
One skipped meal never lead to full starvation
Only one, I promised
Because even I believed my own lies.
© Ana Gregoria

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Women's Rights


This is not an official, scientific research based article. The majority of my findings are from my classes. I polled several classes to find out how many women (if the females are too young for marriage, I ask them to refer to their mothers) still do laundry, cooking, vacuum, and child care. The results are almost 90%!!!! The best part (or worse) - these women also hold jobs, if not full time then part time. Where did we women of the sixties go wrong? Did we slack off with our own girls? Did they drop the ball with their girls?

We burned our bras, raised our skirts, found our sexual voice, etc. etc. etc., and yet here we are fifty years later and we’re right back where we started from except now not only do we do the laundry, vacuum, cook, and take care of the children, but we also work full time!!! OMG! We’re still being paid less than men and we’re still being kept out of some “male” oriented positions like military combat. One of my students recently told me that when she was in the military, even though, the number between men and women was equal; the bathrooms catered to men not women. Really?

Ok, why aren’t things changing? I’ll tell you what I think. You can agree or disagree. I think  this younger generation is not willing to fight. Here’s one remark another of my students made, “Do you realize how long and how hard it would be to change the current trend?” Really? Of course I do. We did it in the sixties; women suffragettes did it in the early 1900’s till they won the right to vote in 1920. Change is never easy. Change takes sweat, blood, and tears.

I’m encouraging my students to speak up. If they want things to change, they have to voice their objections whether in the home, workplace, community, or country. Nothing is ever changed by silence, nothing.  

© Natala Orobello

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pasta with Ricotta


My father-in - law loved this dish. He would tell us the story of when he went hunting in the woods and got lost. When he was found, he was both hungry and thirsty. He ended up eating a pound of this pasta all by himself, and I won't tell you how much wine he drank. The poor man needed the nourishment after his arduous ordeal. This was during the month of November in Upstate New York, so you can well imagine how cold it must have been, and he wasn't found till well after dark. Anyway, we laughed a lot as he told the story, and to this day, we reminisce about dad and his stories when we eat pasta with ricotta.

Ingredients:

1 lb. thin spaghetti
1 small container of polly-o ricotta
3 tbs. grated cheese (or more for after)
1 cup hot water
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Combine ricotta and grated cheese, add salt and pepper to taste.  Cook pasta according to directions on box.  Drain all but one cup of hot water.  Slowly add water to ricotta and cheese mix.  When you have a creamy consistency, add to the pasta.  Stir pasta so all is evenly distributed.  Add more cheese on top and serve.

 © Natala Orobello

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Motherhood




This round bellied one.
The essence of motherhood
Springs forth a tenderness
With her eyes, her touch.

Her soft words lull the unborn
Toward blissful sleep.
Suckling thumb sweetened
By a mother’s prevederent love.

From her womb
emerges hope, conviction and faith,
A future only innocence knows
Only innocence can indulge.


                                                                                              © Natala Orobello

Monday, October 27, 2014

Always Time to Exercise

There are a billion and one reasons why people don't exercise. Karen Springen wrote an article about why people do not exercise. The first one is, "I don't have the time." This is the leading excuse for why people don't exercise. View the entire article by clicking on this link: "Top Six Reasons Why People Don't Exercise."   

There are many ways one can accommodate exercise into their daily schedule. It is important to realize the importance of exercise before you begin making excuses. Exercise improves overall health and may even counteract illness like heart disease and diabetes.. Exercise allows one to become more motivated. Believe it or not, the more you move, the more you will want to move. It's like that commercial on TV where an individual is sedentary, yet when he begins moving, he moves a little quicker each time.

Check out this health site for why exercise is good for your health: Health Care Coach



Don't expect fast results. Think small steps before you get to your goal. And, speaking of goals, make your goals reasonable. Up and down the block is better than not walking the block. The following week, try a little further and so on. Ask your doctor what is best for you and never begin a regimen without first speaking with your doctor. How To Start Exercise


I wish you the best of luck!!
© Natala Orobello

Friday, October 24, 2014

Let Children Be Children


Ny daughter Natalie has been taking care of children since she was twelve years old. She progressed from babysitting, to being a Au Pair and then teaching. She understands children better than anyone I know and children follow her as though she is the Pied Piper. I love this poem because it gives good advice to those parents who can't wait to see their child walk that first step, talk that first word, or loose that first tooth.

Do not rush the children
they are young only for so long.
There will be plenty of time
spent worrying and working.
But there are only a few years
enjoying the beauty of the rain,
the plight of the caterpillar
the glory of running free
or the building of a sand castle
before the wave.
Remember~
They are only children
and for now
That is all they need to be.
© Natalie Orobello

Thursday, October 23, 2014

To Vote or not To Vote? - That is the Question!

A great number of my students are not voting! When asked why, they respond, "It's all rigged anyway," or "My vote doesn't count." Of course there are many other responses like, "I don't have time. I am too busy." All these excuses worry me. 

I believe we live in the greatest country, yet many take our freedom for granted. They complain about nothing being done or our leaders don't represent us, yet they say and do nothing. Ask them if they have written their representative, and they'll respond, "What for?" I don't know why we have such distaste for our government. Have these individuals lived in other places that are better? Maybe a trip abroad would solve some of the apathy and disgust they show in the states. 

Yesterday, I asked my students to find at least five reasons why people should vote. I wanted them to understand how and why our vote makes a difference. I think every student should have to take Political Science in order to know the type of government we have, how it works and why it works. We are not a perfect country. But, we can complain, voice our grievances, march on Washington, and speak to a multitude of people at any gathering.

Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech may not have been possible in another country. I understand that we don't have the type of equality we deserve, but it's up to us to bring about change. Women can demand change in salary, health care, and working conditions; blacks can demand change in a police system that may be biased or prejudice, and workers can demand higher wages and better benefits. But, if no one speaks up, if no one votes, then we have no one to blame but ourselves if nothing changes. Voting gives each and everyone of us a voice by choosing the best candidate who will represent our needs.

  © Natala Orobello

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pasta Carbonara


I first learned of pasta carbonara from my sister Maria who learned the recipe from her mother in law, Mrs. Carri.  I remember when she would bring the delicious pasta to Jones beach. Those were the days we would spend an entire day at the beach swimming, eating, and singing as dad played the guitar! We spent the morning cooking, preparing, and then packing all the goodies. Seriously, those were the days of wine and roses.


Ingredients for Two
3           slices of bacon, fried and crumbled
½      lb. spaghetti
1           egg
½      cup cheese

Directions:
Boil water and cook spaghetti according to package.  Drain but not too well (you want to keep some moisture).  Beat egg and mix into pasta; add 2-3 tbs. bacon oil, add crumbled bacon and Cheese. Cook in baking dish for 10 minutes.
© Natala Orobello

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Brooklyn Girl or Any Girl


Brooklyn Girl or Any Girl

Jane’s story is not for the faint of heart nor is it for those who believe that “it” can’t happen to them because the truth is, it can happen to anyone.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Set time aside for things you like to do


How often have you said, “I would love to have time for…”? I bet you’ve said it many times in your life, and yet you have never found the time to sew that dress, knit that scarf, paint that masterpiece, or create_____. You fill in the blank. I’m here to tell you that you will never find the time unless you make the time!

There are twenty-four hours in a day. Everyone has the same number of hours, yet some people manage to do it all and some barely do anything. Why? I’m not sure, but I can speak for myself. I found that I can stretch my day only so much, but what I can do is schedule my days, so I accomplish what needs to be accomplished and still save some time to do some things that are fun, like writing this blog or walking my dog after dinner. How do I do that? I plan.

I know I can’t write for my blog every single day of the week, and I know I can’t write very long posts, so I write five days a week and write short posts. I love taking my dog for a walk after dinner, but we don’t walk for miles; instead, we walk about one mile. We’re together, he’s happy, and I feel good about spending time with him.

We don’t have to dedicate hours on our hobbies. There’ll be plenty of time when we retire, but for the time being, we can still spend some time having fun doing something we absolutely love. Don’t deny yourself the pleasure. Get as much as you need to get done, and then take a breather and start that masterpiece.© Natala Orobello

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fortune Cookie



A fortune cookie brought me
words of delight
for the news it said
was clear and right ~
a journey to take place
with positive outcome
bringing happiness to our
family -
A journey to a distant land.
How did MY fortune cookie
know? Never before such
fortune given - foretold
yet today, a premonition
by a cookie that crumbled
and tasted so very good. 
© Natala Orobello

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Being Italian Means Loving Meatballs


I love food. Who’s munching non-stop? Me. I not only love to eat but also love to cook. Some of my favorite meals are from old fashioned recipes. I collect these recipes from my family and from close friends who don’t mind sharing. 
Italians have a love affair with food, but I’m sure many already know that about us. Our gatherings are centered around food and wine and plenty of both.
This particular recipe of Italian meatballs was handed down to me by my mother. They are simple (as was she) and delicious. So, what does this food say about me? Well, it’s Italian, and I am very Italian. I was born in Brolo, Messina, Italy. 
I speak Italian, write and read Italian and obviously look Italian.  I come from a big Italian family with lots of sisters, a brother, eighteen nieces and nephews and over twenty great-nieces and nephews. We enjoy family time, family reunions, and just being together every chance we get. When we do get together, the concentration is on food. All of us, men and women, cook something to bring to the feast and feast it is.
The list of food during one holiday may either excite or overwhelm some people. Let me give you an idea of what an Easter feast might be like at the Orobello’s.
We begin with two large platters of antipasto; this isn’t your typical antipasto, no, this is a combination of sliced oranges, sliced lemons, fresh ricotta salata, fresh mozzarella, aged salami (imported from Italy), aged suprosata, and homemade pretzels made with wine and lots of pepper. Then, we take an hour break. 
When we return, we have a meat dish, usually baby lamb chops with spring salad, shortly after we bring out the homemade lasagna or ravioli or manicotti surrounded with meatballs, sausage, and more lamb.
Afterwards, we rest – most of the time we clean up the kitchen during this time, then we head back for seasonal fruit and nuts, usually hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds. A little later we complete the meal with pastries and cakes. Most of which are filled with fresh ricotta. Why all the fresh chesses? Well, years ago many Italians who owned farms made cheese during early Spring because it was the best time of the year to receive the best milk from cows, sheep and lamb, so the tradition remains. 
I hope you will enjoy these rich, cheesy meatballs as much as we do. Everyone who has tried them, wants to have the recipe, so here it is.
Ingredients:
2 lbs. chopped meat
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 tbs. dried parsley
1 tbs. chopped basil leaves
1 cup grated cheese
2 eggs beaten
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped fine
Salt and pepper to taste.   

Directions:
Use a deep bowl for your ingredients. Mix well (if the mix is too hard, add some milk), create balls, fry or bake till cooked.
© Natala Orobello

Twilight


My heart is light with the love of you
Flying high above the sunset
Reaching the stars in the twilight
You are my breath of life
All the air I breathe is yours
We have shared all that is good
All that is evil
Together we have battled the unknown
Together we have survived the levels
Of our existence.
© Natala Orobello

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mia Colpa, Mia Colpa, Mia Grandissima Colpa

This prologue is part of a novel I am writing. At first, I thought to write a novella but as I began writing, I realized I had an entire story at the ready. I hope to have it completed by August 2015.

Prologue

The walls are thick and stained white, and there is no sense of clean or pure about me.  My fingers feel funny as I place them before my eyes and blindly walk around the 10 x 10 cell. I know the room well. I can go blind tomorrow and I wouldn’t miss my sight. Sometimes I pray for darkness, the deeper the darkness the better.
I’m tired of walking the easy twenty steps that take me from the toilet and back again. I have no interest in this form of exercise.  I open my eyes and take in the stainless steel mirror above the stainless steel sink.  I finger walk to the stainless steel toilet which sits alone on a cement floor of dingy gray dirt. It has no cover. 
How many feet have entered this cell?  I wonder.  How many have left their stink in this toilet, in this soiled, fetid air?  There is no sunlight coming in from the filthy rectangular window high above my head.  I can taste the smell of feces when I lick my parched lips.
This is my resting place, the place where I will grow old and die.  Some will say, “He deserves more than life in prison after the crimes he has committed.”  Others will take pity on me and perhaps remark, “Look at his history.  He is a tortured soul who knew no more than to continue the torture of his abusers toward the victims of his future.” 
My sickness, I call it a sickness because I cannot let myself believe that what I did is part of my personality, began many years ago.  Sitting here with just the ticking of thoughts sliding through my head, I think of how and why I became a murder, a serial killer, a “sicko.”  I wonder about all the “if only” in my life, but I guess there is no solace, no justification for the crimes I have committed.  My true offense is having been born.  That’s my first “if only.” 
“Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”  I can’t answer that question. I don't think I was born a murderer, yet I have murdered many.  At first, the murders were a night dream, then a daydream fantasy, and then killing became an obsession, possessing me, turning my very existence into a nightmare of feverish torment.  The dreams had a life of their own, apart from me.  I was the carrier.  I dragged the cement block of my obsession wherever I went. It was my deep dark secret shadow, and when the desire arose from the pit of my very being, it wanted to be satisfied. It left no room for question.  I merely followed its request, obeyed the order. 
I have tried on many occasions to explain the reason for my murderous needs, but my interviewers, the doctors, psychiatrists, and lawyers, don’t understand.  They leave my prison cell just as baffled as when they walked in. 
I have given up excusing my sins.  I know guilt, and I’m as guilty as they come.  I’m beyond guilty.  Satan took hold of me when I was eighteen and from then on I became his apprentice.  In my opinion, I had begun my training, my apprenticeship with Eddie.  He knew Satan very well, I’m sure.  He introduced me to him when I was five years old.  From then on we were quite a team, Eddie, me and the devil of Dante’s Inferno.
Stay tuned for next week's installment of, “Mia Colpa, Mia Colpa, Mia Grandissima Colpa.”
© Natala Orobello

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cleaning Tips

     

    My husband and I are not sloppy, and for that I'm very grateful. We pick up after ourselves, and we both pitch in to keep our home clean. I've had cleaning ladies come in, but they never do the job I expect and most of the time they either break something or rearrange my kitchen because they can't remember how it looked when they started. Cleaning takes organization and structure.

     I guess the best advice I can give to begin is to start one room at a time. Don’t try to clean every room at the same time! That’s not a good idea. Begin with one room, complete the cleaning of that room and move to the next until every room is clean. Don’t try getting rid of stuff at the same time either because that will delay the cleaning.

     Start with the easiest room first because that will give you a great sense of accomplishment and great motivation to move onward. The most difficult room, for me, is the kitchen. I leave that for last because that needs the most cleaning. Actually, cleaning the kitchen may take two days if you haven’t kept up, which brings me to my favorite part of this post, clean everyday so you never have to give up your weekends again.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


This poem, created by Frank Orobello, depicts his definition of marriage. Read on, and let us know what you think of marriage, its wonders and its woes.

My life, full of smiles and frowns,
Anger and laughter. I have simple
Regrets but more memorable
Rewards. It's not always perfect and
It's never easy, but it is worth it
All the time. Loving, caring, listening,
Giving, and always forgiving. Forever
Enjoying, growing and learning.

© Frank Orobello

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Slippery Slope of Ebola


     I’m afraid the U.S. is asking for trouble. We are accepting multiple Ebola patients to our country instead of keeping them where they are and tending to them there. According to the New York Times, the U.S. is treating two cases of Ebola.

One patient is in Omaha, Nebraska, and one is in Atlanta, Georgia (2014). Three individuals were treated and recovered. Two of which were given an experimental drug (of which we have mysteriously run out). The individual who came to the U.S. without notifying the authorities and then went to the hospital to report his illness recently died.

Meanwhile authorities are trying to find all those who may have had some exposure to this man. My worst nightmare is that our doctors and nurses will become infected and unintentionally infect others. NPR recently had a segment on Ebola, and the reporter interviewed several doctors who were flying to Africa to help, and they explained how difficult it is to completely cover oneself and the extra difficulty of taking the suit off without contamination!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Spinach Fritelle



My mom used to make these as a snack! They are yummy, and they are a great way to introduce spinach to the little ones!!

Ingredients:
1 large bag of fresh spinach (boiled, drained well, and chopped)
3 eggs beaten
½ cup Pecorino Romano (grated)
1 cup shredded sharp provolone or sharp cheddar
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup olive oil for frying or you can use a deep fryer for real crunchy fritters.

Directions:
Combine cooked and chopped spinach with remainder of ingredients. The consistency should be thick not runny. If the mixture is runny, then add a bit of flour or breadcrumb. Fry till golden. I bet there won’t be one left!© Natala Orobello

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Surely I Know



Surely I know what I look like
I've seen my image many times
my eyes as dark as chestnut brown
my hair auburn like sweet rum.

Surely I know who I am
fierce as a lion
and gentle as a lamb
depending on foe or friend.

Surely I know my soul's intent
it worhips God ~
I am no saint 
Of this I'm sure.

Surely I know all there is to know
yet I've learned very little 
As I continue to grow ~
Even in old age, I do not know.
© Natala Orobello

Monday, October 6, 2014

Shopping to Save Time, Money & Gas


     The majority of people I know will shop for the items they are low on either in the refrigerator or in the pantry. So, their list will look something like this:
milk, eggs, bread, soda, water, chips, butter, etc. This is all well and good, yet these items are not going to be enough for a dinner. The best way to make a shopping list is to first consider what you might want to eat for the week and then look at what you need, so you will have all the necessary ingredients. Then, you can look for those items you are low on either in fridge and/or pantry. 

     Deciding on daily meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner will save you time, money and  gas, for you won't have to make daily visits to the grocery store. It will also eliminate the age old question, "What's for dinner?" 

     Make the decisions a family affair. Sit down on a weekend morning and put democracy to work. Give everyone a chance to voice at least one breakfast meal, one lunch, and one dinner. Consider what foods are healthy and which are not. Discuss variety, so you don't overeat on pasta or potatoes or meat dishes. Discuss the preparation time as well. Most parents work, so it is practical to decide on meals that will not take hours to prepare. Some meals can be prepared in the morning and cooked in a crock pot all day. Create variety for breakfast and lunch as well. Once all the meals have been decided, check out the ingredients you will need and begin the list.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Changes



My Life has changed again
another shoe box is filled
neatly with memories of the past.
My closet filled with a secret life.

Years pass and other boxes are filled
They have no pattern or completion.
When will the boxes stop?

How many more have to be filled
Before the closet gives way?
And, I can't take the burden 
of housing so many lives.
                                                                                       © Natalie Orobello

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Contract Marriages




     This morning I was watching the morning news and learned that some of our soldiers are advertising on Craig’s List for Contract Marriages (NBC News, "The Today Show"). At first I was aghast. Why would our military men advertise for a wife just so they can gain another thousand dollars a month, knowing this is fraud and will cause we the taxpayers a direct financial burden?  On my drive to work, I began to wonder what would force these individuals to commit such a crime? 

     What is happening in our military that our soldiers are submitting to illegal practices in order to remain financially afloat? The question reminded me of chopping off the hand of the young boy who steals bread in order for his family to survive. Drastic analogy? Yes, but look at some of the facts.

     The median salary for a recruit in the Army is nearly twenty-seven thousand dollars (benefits included). By comparison, a fire fighter generates a median salary of over forty-three thousand dollars and an extra eighteen thousand dollars in benefits. A police officer in the United States can be expected to make nearly seventy thousand dollars with benefits (Salary.com).  The discrepancy is monumental. Each of these job titles involve placing one’s life on the line, with our military men and women taking much more risk of mental, physical and emotional consequence!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tomato Salad

I love tomato salad, especially with fresh, homegrown tomatoes and basil! But, I will say that there is only one way to make an excellent tomato salad, and that is with extra virgin olive oil. Nothing else will do. My sister Sadie once asked me how and why it is that her tomato salad did not taste anything like mine. We went through the ingredients together and what we found out was that she was using regular olive oil not extra virgin. Big Difference!!

Ingredients:

4 Beefsteak Tomatoes - sliced in bite size
6 Basil leaves - julienned 
pinch of oregano
1 tsp. salt 
 1/2 hot chili pepper - preferably home grown - chopped really small or a pinch of dried red pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Begin with the amounts given, then taste. If you think you need more salt, oregano, basil, oil or pepper, then add accordingly, a little at a time. Serve with delicious, hard crusted Italian Bread.
My son loves the old fashioned tomato sandwich. You take a loaf of Italian bread and cut about four inches from the end. Scoop out the interior and spoon in the tomato salad. Replace some of the interior back on top. Best sandwich you ever had!

                                                                        

© Natala Orobello