All posts tagged Nonna

If I Go Down, So Do You

Published April 8, 2019 by helentastic67

If I go down

If I Go Down – So Are You, Awkward

There are some days when I’m out and about, where so help me God. Sometimes I think people are going out of their way to get in mine. I get off a tram where I have to take a huge step down and before I get to the curb (2.5 metres away) someone has gotten off the same tram, come around on my left side, then cut right in front of me.

Get in my way

Just a friendly reminder, my worst eyesight is my peripheral on my left side, so I don’t see them coming, but I mean WHY??? Some days it’s every moment I’m out of the house. The last two sets of lights I cross to get from the tram stop to my home, guaranteed people will move into my path to get where they have to be.

Cross my path

One of these days Alice, one of these days, someone’s going to knock me over and I always say “If I go down, you go down with me!” I have been known to say this to kids running around the shopping centre when I’m there.

One of these days, Alice

Fucking kids and these are the ones old enough to know better, I give them my grumpy European stare. My Nona would be proud.

Grumpy Nonna Look

There are also times when I go to get off the tram or train, when I get up early so I can get my left leg to wake up. Rearrange my bag so I don’t have it get in my way and there is usually an awkward moment where another is trying for the door also and they are okay for me to go first. I always let them go first, stating they will be quicker and if I think they can take it, I also tell them, if I fall, I want something soft to land on.

Fall off Tram

If I’m luck to get a startled look from them, I know they heard me and I give them a little smile sometimes, it’s the little things.

Little Smile


Published February 22, 2019 by helentastic67



Sharp or quick witted, I’m told I’m both by people who have gotten to know me in the last few years. I mention this because it’s not what people imagine when they learn I have a brain injury. The general perception of someone with a brain injury is, someone who can’t think for themselves and can’t walk or talk. But definitely the process stuff.


Today, I saw the lovely Bella (it’s Italian for beautiful, but more importantly in the feminine) it’s what I call her because I can’t recall her name, however she speaks Italian, I do not, but not the point right now.

Bella 1


I asked how she was and took it as an opportunity to answer honestly. Winter has just begun in Melbourne and she stated her throat is a little sore.

I recommended something and wrote it down for her. I explained to her while I don’t know Italian, I am a bit of a Nonna (Italian Grandmother who likes to look after people).


On leaving my favourite café I handed the information on some paper to Tobey (the Barista), I mentioned my handwriting has really suffered of late, so I wrote it twice. He read it and passed it on to her. He said “Yes, echinacea, I could have told her that”, so I asked “Yes, but did you?”


He didn’t hear me the first time, but he did agree he had not thought to tell her. Luckily, I will be able to give him some cheek about it tomorrow and he won’t be offered. And I will have some for Bella tomorrow.


Italian Helen

Published January 25, 2019 by helentastic67

italian helen

Italian Helen

This morning while getting ready to go out, I swear there were about four ideas for posts in my head. I have an extra appointment in Cliffy Hill today, so I’ve come early for an extra lunch this week at my favourite café and while I’ve extra time, all my ideas disappeared.

good ideas

Ah, I should start all my posts with thought of my mind is a sieve (it has holes in it) because they then all come flooding back.

I thought it was high time I unpacked my Italian part.

italian heritage

If you haven’t read my “About” page, it may be mentioned there. My father came to Australia when he was only 4 years old, way back in about 1952. The ship my father and many other immigrants travelled here on, I recently learnt was called the Sorrento and I understand now why other Italians call their businesses something with Sorrento in their names. A supermarket back in Clifton Hill is the flower of Sorrento.

Dad Arrives by ship

The journey took 4 weeks. Shorter than I imagined but as a 4-year-old I’m sure it seemed to take for ever.

His father came out some years earlier to pave the way for his family to join him. He worked on the railways, building the train tracks and would send his wages back to Italy to his wife. Every so often, he would travel back to Italy on a ship to see his wife, meet his new son, knock up (that means impregnate) his wife, then get on a boat back to Australia.

worked on railways 1

He readied a home here in the country (where I’m from). So it was all ready for his wife and children to join him.

readied home

My father, the youngest was four years old and he had never even met him. I imagine my dad a little boy at a wharf in Melbourne, holding all his worldly possessions in a small suitcase. My grandparents both worked in factories. The two factories in town made fabric and wool, neither learned English.

arrive by ship

I think it was a generational thing that they worked in factories, stayed amongst their own (Italians with Italians, Greeks with Greeks etc) and because they really had no opportunities to socialize with Aussies, they didn’t learn. Whereas the three sons went to school here and had to learn. As a youngster, my older sister and I would tease my dad about his terrible spelling. He thought bath was spelt ‘Barth’. There is no silent ‘R’ in Bath.

going to school

Apparently, he used to duck his head down in the classroom so the teacher didn’t call on him. My father didn’t do too badly however. While his two older brothers both worked in the factories also (one worked driving trucks for many years, but eventually ended up in the factory also.)

Work in factories

My father worked as a chippy (that is the tradie name/term for Builder or Carpenter). I learned very little if any Italian from my father. As a child, visits to my Italian grandparents resulted in my cheeks being pinched. Sweet Jesus! If you tried to hide them from Nona, she would pinch your butt cheeks instead. You just couldn’t win.

nona pinch cheeks

When visiting them, we would walk down the driveway and while the men would stay outside and chat about the grapevines over the roof of the trellis beside the garage and the vegetable garden. There was almost more vegetable garden than lawn in the backyard. Nona would take my older sister inside, open the fridge door and motion to the bottles of Loy’s soft drinks. Every colour was on offer.

vegetable garden 1

My sister liked Creamy Soda or Portello and I preferred Lime, but we were raised to have whatever was open. Nona would beckon us to just choose and it didn’t matter with very little English, it was easy to communicate. In very simple terms, Nona wanted to feed you and love you. So, food and cuddles.

nonas fridge

I know my mum would stay with my father, but because my father spoke only Italian to his father and didn’t make an effort to translate or include her, her resentment has stemmed from here.

Guess I should confess, my older sister and I attended Italian classes when I was about seven. I also did a class in high school as a compulsory subject, when I was about thirteen. Not much stuck. I can count from one to ten at a push to twenty and a few other things.

italian class

My twenty’s and thirty’s I spent more time meeting other wogs who would greet me in Italian, I would quickly point out politely I didn’t speak the language and then explain ‘I know a few words’. It was always assumed I know the swear word and I only learnt a few of those when I worked in my first administration job, where my superior was a grumpy ex-sous chef, who thought I was a disgrace to my heritage.

speak italian

So, in front of an all-male (all wog) group of our clients he would say things like ‘Oh what a misery’ (that was easy to work out) and he had a preference for saying ‘Che fa’ (I hope it’s realised Che fa sounds conveniently like “Get fucked?”) which eventually on a day he used it a lot I eventually called him on it. (his over use of the words) Yeah, yeah, we get it. You are not really asking ‘What the?’ but playing on the fact it sounds remarkably like (my favourite words) Something arse…

che fa

I appreciate my grandfather sacrificing seeing his boys grow up to come here to build something for their future. And even that immigrants these days come to Australia for a better life.

better life

I think every generation of immigrants that have made Australia their home have bought a little of their culture with them to enrich our lifestyle with theirs. Not always good, sure. But food culture especially. Better!

food culture




Today’s Lunch – 19th September 2018

Published September 19, 2018 by helentastic67

Todays Lunch

Today’s Lunch

Good Mental Health Day

Another busy week, a whole lotta crazy! What’s new, right? Monday, I did 5,000 steps. Yeah, I’m a step-counter, at 45 and steps are still important. Oh and today is International talk like a pirate day! Ah, yah! Yes, me hearties.

Pirate talk

Very happily was down at my regular cafe yesterday and got to have one of my favourites, the almond croissant and medicine!

Almond Crossaint

Got to see my GP, who gave me a print out of my latest blood tests. He confirmed my liver is ok (I wasn’t thinking I had pickled it I was previously told I had a fatty liver!) that can’t be good right? But now it’s all good! I’m happy to even donate my liver!


One of my friends mentioned to me this week when you are sliding into the Pause, your weight fluctuates. I smartly asked, “when does it go down?”


I confess I got lazy today and had a kip before leaving home to do “person”. I stayed local closer to home. And my two appointments. Getting stabbed and tortured by my beautician.

Doing person

Today’s offering, a Mediterranean focaccia. (Mina cut it up for me, she’s so sweet!) Medicine and this little pecan tart.

Med FoccaciaLatte









And lastly, I think I should mention Mika my companion cat might be getting a name change to include Houdini, maybe a middle name? We will build on it.

Mika 2

Last Friday, I let my carer out via the car park and returned upstairs, when I went back inside and locked the door Mika made her escape and I didn’t realise for several more hours! Eventually having looked everywhere inside including inside the pantry and the European laundry I checked out in the hallway. Saw my neighbour and as I’ve only met her once or twice she offered to come in and help me find her. She is a nurse who works night-shift. Hence why I never see her.  Now you know I asked if she had eaten? I make my Nona proud every time!


As I had sent out my texts to my other neighbours to collect muffins there was a knock at my door and Will stood there and suggested they had something in their apartment that might belong to me? I’m sorry, I blurted out “Do you have my fucking cat?” His partner wanted to keep Mika and Mika wasn’t much interested in me or returning home. She had to be caught and carried and not by me.  Now don’t hate me, however, my new fur-child is not food-orientated. So, when I had been banging around in my kitchen she had not surfaced and she had not noticed me putting out her food.

Mika 1
Mika has not had a collar but she’s getting one this week and it’s going to look like a charm bracelet, with those things. So, she if found roaming the halls, please return to, “xyz!”

Cat bling

I’m also imagining her out in the hallway thinking all the doors look exactly the same! Feeling like a bad fur-parent!

Bad Fur parent


Hump Day

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