Gay Marriage in Spain

on Thursday, June 30, 2005

Parliament in Spain has legalized gay marriage, making Spain the third country in Europe to legalize gay marriages, after Belgium and the Netherlands. Tuesday, Canada's House of Commons passed legislation that would legalize same sex marriages by the end of July, as long as the Senate passes the bill, which is expected. I am a supporter of this. I feel that no matter what one's sexual preference, they are entitled to equal rights, we're all human beings. Why should people be discriminated against because they prefer one side of the fence to the other? Now only if President Bush would get off his high horse, quit trying to combine Church and State.

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Heatwave in Italy

We've been having a HEATWAVE here in Italy, at least in the northern part. As of yesterday, 18 people, mainly elderly people have died because of the heat. Highs have been in the upper 90's, close to 100, with high humidity. I know this may not seem to be a serious problem for some people, but consider here many people do not have air conditioning. First the air conditioning units are expensive, not as expensive as a couple of years ago, but still spendy. Second, electricity is OUTRAGEOUS. For example, our electric bill has been averaging about $80, for two months, and the only big appliances we have are the dish washer, small apartment size washing machine and a chest freezer in the garage. I didn't even pay that much in the States, and that's having all electric applicances, dish washer, stove, huge microwave, a/c and the heater for my water bed. Electricity here usually comes from France and Switzerland. In 2003 when there was a heatwave ALL summer with temps around 100, ALL SUMMER, at one point one Sunday night, the entire country experienced a 5 hour blackout. I think the only place that didn't have a blackout was either Sicily or Sardegna.

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Foreigners in Italy

on Thursday, June 23, 2005

In a previous post I mentioned an encounter I had last week in Milan, about the poll of Italian's opinion of foreigners here in Italy. For the most part I haven't had any problems. I get the usual question of "Where are you from?", of which I have NO problem with, since it's a normal question in the States. But when I get the sarcastic reaction of "She's a foreigner?!?!", which has happened on more than one occasion, it bothers me. Call me sensitive if you want. But when a person finds out I'm American, oh then their tone of voice changes totally. Then they're all nicey nicey.

Once I was at a small shop, asking if they had a certain Estee Lauder product. Here you can find pretty much any Estee Lauder product you want, so it's not like an "exotic"/typical american thing. So anyways, I went into this shop, asking for this product, asking in Italian, polietly. One shop asssistant was very nice and helpful. Then another walks up, very rudely in Italian says "Maybe in the United States, but not here in Italy". What the hell ever lady! I responded back with "I have bought this before, in Milan". Then she shut up and I walked out of the store, never to return to that one again. I went to another store a few blocks away, where the shop assistants were friendly and bent over backwards to help me. Now if I ever need any cosmetic products, the second shop I went to is usually the first place I stop.

Another time, I had to go to the local police station to pick up my permesso di siggorno (foreigners permit to stay, kinda like the American green card). One of the officers was helping a guy, don't know where he was from. The officer was rude with the guy, treating him as if he were an idiot. Once the officer found out I was American, he was being ooo soo polite with me.

With the influx of immigration, whether it be legal or illegal, I wonder if some people are "prepared", dealing with different cultures etc. In Milan and Rome it's probably a bit different, big cities. But in the small towns, some people are not so open minded.

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Italian Mother-In-Law

on Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Whatever you've heard about Italian mother-in-law's are probably true, or pretty darn close. For the most part, mine isn't TOO bad, basically a milder version. There are moments that she drives my husband and I crazy. For the first few months my husband and I were married, I didn't say too much. Now after three years, I'm not afraid to tell my husband what I think about his mother. Now he's starting to "see" how much a pain in the back side she can be.

For example. Last weekend my husband went to Slovenia for a bikers meeting and returned yesterday. He called home every day to let me know he was ok. Then he would proceed to call his mother, not because he wanted to, but because SHE wanted him to. My husband told his mom only to call in case of an EMERGENCY. Yesterday, while he's on his bike in Austria, she calls him, just because. When he didn't answer his phone (since he was on his bike), she immediately calls me wondering if my husband had called home yet. Not two minutes later, my husband calls home. I told him about his mother calling, he starts going off, and I don't blame him. He's almost 41 years old, intelligent man and is able to take care of himself. Yet his mother feels she NEEDS to talk to him EVERY day. Get a frickin grip lady, your son is a grown man with his own life and family now, time to cut the apron strings!

Once we were over at my husband's parent's house, and my husband's mother ordered pizza delivered. When it arrived, she went downstairs (they live on the 2nd floor), to pay for the pizza, but I had to bring them upstairs. She had a backache, therefore she couldn't bring up 4 pizzas that didn't even weigh a pound, including the boxes, up a flight of stairs.

One Sunday the four of us, my husband, his parents and I went for lunch with a couple of friends of the family. Basically everyone in the family smokes, minus my husband's sister and her husband. When my husband's mother wanted to smoke, she'd put an unlit cigarette in her mouth, and just sat there expecting someone to light it for her. This wasn't a once or twice incident, but ALL day! After the second time, I just ignored her. I figured if she wanted to use my lighter, she can ask me directly. About a week or so later I was out and about with her, we had stopped for a coffee. Afterwards, we were outside, she pulled the same stint. Finally I told her point blank "If you want to use my lighter, just ask me!". Don't play helpless/I'm too lazy to do it so will you do it for me attitude with me.

One day I was with my husband will he was running errands for work. His mother calls ME, to ask my husband to stop and get cigarettes for her, since she was too lazy to go get them herself. Heaven for bid she'd actually have to drive the six blocks to get them.

My husband's parents have helped us on a few occasions, but that does not give my husband's mother the excuse to act in this way.

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Excessive Debt Procedure

on Tuesday, June 21, 2005

According to the Corriere della Sera, one of the major Italian newspapers, the EU has started an excessive debt procedure for Italy. The deficit - GDP ratio in 2003 and 2004 was at 3.2%, exceeding the 3% threshold set at Maastricht. Shortfalls are expected to reach 3.6% in 2005, and 4.6% in 2006.

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Italian Economy

on Monday, June 20, 2005

According to an article in the Economist, Italy is "The real sick man of Euorpe." As of the first quarter of 2005, Italy was in a recession. In the 1950's & 60's, Italy's economy consisted of textiles, furniture, machine tools, food processing and white goods. Nowadays, since many of such things have been outsourced to other countries... I realize that there is no such thing as a "perfect" economy, but I think it's time to move on..

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Thick Stemmed Begonia

on Friday, June 17, 2005

The two photos I posted of the plant, finally figured out it's probably a type of Thick Stemmed Begonia.

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Italian Etiquette....

on Thursday, June 16, 2005

....Or should I say lack thereof, at least in American terms, in my opinion. I was in Milan today, running some errands, was approached by a young man, would say he was in his mid to late 20's, with a poll roster in his hand. The question of the day was "I'm doing a poll, finding out Italian's opinion's of foreigners in Italy." My response was "Buddy, I AM a foreigner." His jaw dropped and had a "oh shit" look on his face. He better be careful who he asks, Milan has a decent size ethnic/immigrant/tourist community, especially compared to the smaller towns in the area.

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Apartments in Italy

on Tuesday, June 14, 2005

When you rent an "unfurnished" apartment in Italy, it is LITERALLY unfurnished. The only things that are provided are the toilet, bath tub and sink in the bathroom. Otherwise, you provide everything else yourself, including the water heater, the ENTIRE kitchen (cupboards, frig, you get the picture), even the light fixtures. Closets do not exist, so one has to be creative when it comes to storing things.

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Eurpean Currency - Euro

Last week the Labor Minister, Roberto Maroni suggested Italy would be better off returning to the Lire, compared to the current currency of the Euro. For a country who's economy is already struggling, reverting back to the old currency of the Lire would be like committing suicide.

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Fertility poll

Sunday and yesterday there was an election here in Italy for a referendum, to change the currenty fertility law. Currently the law limits the creation of embryos to three, forbids sperm or egg donation and prohibits scientific research using embryos. It failed. The purpose of the referedums was to see whether these limitations should be ended, as well as permit fertile couples with hereditary diseases to screen their embryos. In a country that has such a low birth rate, one would think this referendum would be a good thing, but it failed. The Vatican had a campaign, telling people not to vote. I thought Church and State were supposed to be separate. Whatever.

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Weather in Europe

on Friday, June 10, 2005

For at least the last week or so, the temps have been cooler than normal here in Italy, and much of Europe. Right now, it's barely 70 F. Some parts of Austria has received snow. In the Austrian Alps, they received up to 16 inches of snow. Verona, Italy, home to Shakespere's Romeo and Juliet, was hit with a hailstorm.

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on Wednesday, June 08, 2005

These are the leaves of the same plant, dried. Have no idea what the name of this plant is, so if you know please tell me! Thanks. Posted by Hello

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I have no idea what the name of this plant is. I was given the dried leaves with seeds from my husband's friend's mom. So if you know the name of this plant, please let me know! Posted by Hello

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My niece, Anna, taken a couple of weeks ago. She's going to be six months old on FridayPosted by Hello

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Date Rape Drug Warning: Beer

on Wednesday, June 01, 2005

This was an "article" in the Twisted Parrot.

Police are warning all men who frequent clubs, parties and local pubs to be alert and stay cautious when offered a drink from any woman. Many females use a date rape drug on the market called "Beer". The drug is found in liquid form and available anywhere. It comes in bottles, cans, from taps and large "kegs."
"Beer" is used by female sexual predators at parties and bars to persuade their male victims to go home and have sex with them. A woman needs only to get a guy to consume a few unites of "Beer" and then simply ask him home for no strings attached sex.
Men are rendered helpless against this approach. After several "beers", men will often succumb to the desires to perform sexual acts on horrific looking women whom they would never normally be attracted. After drinking "beer", men often awaken with only hazy memories of exactly what happened to them the night before, often with just a vague feeling that "something bad" occurred.
At other times these unfortunate men are swindled out of their life's savings, in a familiar scam known as a "relationship". In extreme cases, the female may even be shrewd enough to entrap the unsuspecting male into a longer form of servitude and punishment to as "marriage".
Men are much more susceptible to this scam after "beer" is administered and sex is offered by the predatory females.
Please pass this warning to every male you know. If you fall victim to this "beer" and the women administering it, there are male support groups where you can discuss the details of your shocking encounter with similarly affected like-minded guys.
For the support group nearest you, just look up "Golf Courses" in the phone book.

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Sunless Tanning

The summer season has arrived. The time of year everyone packs up the car for vacation, and no one wants to be pale as a ghost. Seems the new "trend" in tanning is the sunless tanning, where you can have an airbrush tan. From what I've read, sounds as if it's at least healthier than the trational routes of either basking in the sun or hitting the tanning bed.
People here during the summer enjoy going to either the mountains or the sea during the summer, and HAVE to have a tan. Tanning salons are popular, there are two less than six blocks from my house. Have talked to a few of my students, none seem to care about the effects of too much sun. For a country that cares so much about beauty and looks, I'm kind of surprised no one is concerned about in the future they may have nasty looking skin, wrinkles or skin cancer due to too much time spent in the sun or tanning booth. Whatever.

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